Tag Archives: real estate

Market Update

September was an active month in the Western Washington real estate market, with year-over-year gains in pending sales, closed sales and prices, but it also showed an 18% drop in inventory compared to a year ago.

September’s activity had some areas up and others down. Pierce County prices rose more than 10% thanks to high demand and low inventory. Buyers being pushed out of the Seattle market are heading south. In Pierce County, the median sales price was $379,950, compared to $593,750 in King County. Snohomish County had a median sales price of $470,498.

King County prices were down slightly, 2.7%, while pending sales rose nearly 10%. This tells us that there is no shortage of buyers in the Seattle area. Home prices typically start to drop a little in the fall, so this isn’t a cause for concern.

In Pierce and Snohomish Counties in September, we saw inventory levels for single-family homes at 1.4 and 1.7 months, respectively. King County had 2.2 months. Historically, under 4 months of inventory is a seller’s market.

Overall, home prices have stabilized, creating great opportunities for buyers getting into the market. New jobs, lifestyle changes, and very low interest rates are driving the market and keeping our economy strong. My colleagues and I are seeing an increase in buyers at open houses, signifying that demand is still high.

For more information on buying or selling, please reach out to me at (206) 790-0081 orJamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

Things are Changing – Real Estate Taxes

The Washington State Legislature is changing the way real estate excise taxes (REET) are calculated. This change may affect the amount of excise tax you pay depending on the sale price of your property. For sellers whose homes sell for less than $1.5 million, you will see a slight decrease in the amount of tax paid. For homes over $1.5 million or more, you will see an increase in taxes paid, and this may be a substantial increase.

Currently, the state excise tax is 1.28 percent. Local municipalities add their excise tax on top of the state tax, with most cities in our area adding 0.50 percent, to total 1.78 percent. Effective January 1, 2020, Washington state will begin calculating real estate excise taxes based on a tiered system:

  • Sales under $500,000: 1.1% tax rate (down from 1.28%)
  • Sales from $500,000 to $1.5 million: 1.28% tax rate (unchanged and 1.1% marginal rate on first $500k)
  • Sales from $1.5 million to $3 million: 2.75% tax rate (115% increase, but marginal rate increase means first $500k @1.1%, then $500k to $1.5M @ 1.28%)
  • Sales over $3 million: 3.0% tax rate (134% increase, marginal rates in effect)

If you are thinking of buying or selling soon, now would be a great time to contact us and find out how this new legislation will affect your transaction. Whether buying or selling, knowing the effect of this excise tax could save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. The following graph shows you a comparison of taxes in 2019 (the gray) and after January 1st (the blue).

For more information on the real estate excise tax or on selling your home, please call me at (206) 790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

Broadview Contemporary Home

We’re seeing a lot of new homes on the market this fall, including this Broadview home that I just brought on the market.

Broadview is in the northwest corner of Seattle, bordering the city of Shoreline. It covers a large area, from approximately 105th/Holman road to 145th, and from the Puget Sound to Greenwood Ave. The neighborhood is primarily residential, with some retail and restaurants along Greenwood Ave. While it is in the city, when you’re off the main streets, it feels like you’re in the suburbs. Broadview offers excellent bus service to downtown Seattle and has many community amenities including:

  • Broadview-Thompson K-8
  • Seattle Public Library
  • Bus route 28
  • Carkeek Park
  • Dunn Gardens
  • Easy access to the Shoreline Farmers Market
  • Shoreline Community College
  • Northacres Off-Leash Dog Park
  • Shoreview Off-Leash Dog Park

This wonderful, light-filled, spacious contemporary home offers you beautiful views of the Sound and Mountains from the dining and living rooms. There are three bedrooms upstairs. The basement has been converted in 2019 to a MIL space with kitchenette – here’s your opportunity for rental income. Or use the basement space for your media/rec room/person-cave. Master bath renovated in 2019. Metal roof with a lifetime warranty. New gas water heater. Fully fenced backyard. Bonus – there’s air conditioning! Listed for $900,000, it has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a 2 car garage, and is 2,370 square feet.

Lots of open houses this weekend so that you can check the home:

Friday, October 11: 5:00-7:00pm

Saturday, October 12: 1:00-4:00pm

Sunday, October 13: 1:00-4:00pm

Feel free to contact me at 206-790-0081 or Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com with any questions or for a private showing.

Download a flyer.

Home Buying Myths

Buying a home can seem like a huge undertaking. You don’t need to be a first time home buyer to find the process overwhelming. There is so much information available, how can you tell what’s true and what’s a myth? Understanding the difference can help you make the best decision for you and your family goals.

Top Home Buying Myths – And the Truth

  • The First Step is finding the Right House – Before you head out shopping, speak with a lender to understand your financial options and how much house you can afford.
  • You Can’t Buy a Home Without Perfect Credit – The truth is there are many loans available which still offer good interest rates for those without that perfect score.
  • You Need 20% Down Payment – There are several loan programs out there that allow only 1-3% down. In addition, there are down payment assistance programs available.
  • You Don’t Need an Agent – An agent not only knows the market and can help you with value, but also customary charges, negotiations, and solutions to common hiccups.
  • Schools Don’t Matter if you don’t have Kids – The neighborhood is always important to home values, regardless of whether you yourself have children.
  • New Homes Don’t Need a Home Inspection – Every home should have a home inspection by a licensed inspector to check for existing or potential problems.

Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions you’re likely to make in your lifetime. Take the time you need to understand the process and learn from the professionals; don’t assume that everything you read is true.

Please give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com if you like more information on buying a home.

Adorable Home in Edmonds

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Edmonds, sharing what a lovely community this is. And now I present to you my latest listing, a charming bungalow just blocks to downtown Edmonds.

Built in 1953, this 1,660 square foot home offers 2 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom, plus a bonus space downstairs that could be a home office, rec room, media room, or potentially another bedroom.

Entering through the covered front porch, you’ll find a bright and light-filled home with views of the Sound and mountains and fabulous sunsets. The seller has made many updates, including new electrical, a remodeled full bathroom with custom tile work, and school house lighting. There’s also an oversized one-car attached garage.

This location provides easy access to all that Edmonds offers, including:

  • Delicious dining at restaurants such as Salt and Iron, Las Brisas, Anthony’s, and Top Pot Doughnuts
  • Shopping at PCC, QFC, and many local small businesses
  • Near the Kingston ferry, Sounder train, and bus route 116
  • Summer Farmer’s Market
  • Community organizations such as Edmonds Library, Boys & Girls Club, and Frances Anderson Center
  • Yost Park and the summer outdoor pool
Watch the video!

I hope that you will stop by one of our upcoming open houses or please contact me for a private showing, 206-790-0081 or Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

Wednesday, September 25: 11:30-1:30

Friday, September 25: 5:00-7:30

Saturday, September 26: 1:00-4:00

Sunday, September 27: 11:00-2:00

Just Sold in Wallingford

I’m excited to share that my listing in Wallingford recently sold. I listed it on July 30th for $850,000. The seller received multiple offers and the home recently closed for $937,000.

The seller of this home had lived there for more than 40 years and decided it was time to downsize and move into senior living. I helped her prepare the home for market including arranging for:

  • a person to help with selling and donating furniture and household items
  • a pre-listing sewer scope
  • repairs of some items in the home
  • professional staging

In addition, I provided professional photographs and a video tour of the home.

If you would like to learn more about how I can help you sell your home, please give me a call at (206) 790-0081 or email at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

Get to Know Edmonds

For this week’s blog, I thought I’d share some information for you on one of my favorite Puget Sound neighborhoods, downtown Edmonds.

Edmonds is just north of Seattle, and is a lovely, waterfront community. It’s best known for the Edmonds-Kingston ferry, but it offers so much more including beaches, a Marsh, adorable restaurants and shops, and home prices more affordable than Seattle. Edmonds has numerous annual events including: Edmonds Arts Festival, monthly art walks, summer wine walks, Taste Edmonds, an Oktoberfest event (new this fall), and a classic car show, which is this Sunday, September 8th.

Looking at downtown Edmonds, you’ll find a lot of condos as well as single-family homes. I’m seeing that many recent buyers are moving to Edmonds from Seattle or they’re moving here from out of state to be near their grown children and grandchildren. These buyers are often looking to downsize to a condo.

For single family homes, from January through August 2019, 81 homes have sold with a median sales price of $932,500, a 13% increase in over the same period last year. For condos over that same period, 106 units have sold with a median sales price of $574,950, a 9.9% increase from 2018.

If you’d like to learn more about Edmonds or living here, give me a call at (206) 790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

A Look Back

As you may have heard, some parts of the Puget Sound have seen home prices drop over the past year. Real estate is a long-term investment, so even if there’s been a price drop, you likely still have a great return on your investment.

This table shows the median sales price in Seattle over the last 10 years. As property values increase, so does the equity of your home. That means if you’re thinking of selling, your investment could pay out!

Give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email if you’d like to learn more or would like to know how much your home has appreciated.

How to Price Your Home

When you go to sell your home, you’ll want to know what to price it at. As your real estate broker, I will help you determine the best price.

You’ll get a report that looks at houses similar to yours in size, location and features, whether they’re for sale, have sold, are pending, or failed to sell. Understanding the realities of the current market allows us to accurately assess your home and arrive at a price that properly positions your home for a successful sale.

The real market value of your home is determined when someone tells us what they are willing to pay for your home, you decide to accept that price, and escrow closes!

This may sound odd, but until this event happens, determining market value is really a matter of making an educated guess. Are you kidding, you guess? There are lots of opinions on price, yet only one set of facts. We will examine the facts of record (current, pending, sold, and expired listings) and together we will determine a pricing strategy designed to sell your home for the most money in the shortest period of time.

No one can tell me what my home will sell for? Not really. Someone might tell you a figure but no one knows the market value of your home because it is not established until someone buys it for a specific price. That’s why we use facts of record to determine a pricing strategy. Zestimates, tax assessments, and other automated values are not good estimates of market value – they are, however, pieces of information that can be looked at as part of pricing a home.

Therefore, in pricing a home, we must look at a variety of factors, including recent sales, current listings, homes in contract, location, condition, and amenities. I will gather information on recent and pending sales, as well as active listings, to identify current fair market value. This is a called a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), and both buyers and sellers will want to have their broker complete a CMA to help them understand price.

Chances are that your home will sell at its fair market value. Pricing it realistically at the outset simply increases the likelihood for a timely sale with less inconveniences and greater monetary return.

Buyers educate themselves by viewing many homes. They know what is a fair price. If your home is not competitive in value with those seen, it will not sell. Overpricing causes most homes to remain on the market too long. Buyers, aware of a long exposure period, are often hesitant to make an offer because they fear something is wrong with the home. Often homes on the market for a long time eventually sell for less than fair market value.

80% of the marketing of your home is done the day we decide at what price to list your home. If you are unwilling to list your home at or just below the current market value, you are better served to not put it on the market at all.

Low Mortgage Rates = Buying Power

Mortgage rates are at their lowest since late 2016, last week nationwide around 3.6%. This is driving homeowners and buyers to their mortgage lenders, for both refinances and new home purchases.

As the chart below shows, just a one-half percent difference in your interest rate makes a huge difference in your monthly payment. For example, when purchasing an $800,000 home with 20% down, a half-point difference is $181/monthly, $2,172/annually, or $65,160 over the course of a 30-year loan.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re a homebuyer, this is the time to get into the real estate market. With interest rates this low, you may be able to purchase more than you think.

If you’re a homeowner and considering a move, whether downsizing or to a new neighborhood or larger home, this is the time to do so. With interest rates so low, you’ll likely be able to afford more than you think.

If you’re a homeowner with no plans of selling in the next couple years and your interest rate is in the upper 4’s or higher, it might be worth talking to a lender about refinancing.

I have several excellent lenders that can help you determine what would be best in your situation, a refinance or a move. I would love to sit down and talk with you about your needs. Give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email me to schedule a time to chat.