With typical low inventory in November, we saw an uptick in the number of homes going into contract. In fact, for King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties combined, accepted offers increased 9.2% over November 2018. (And in just King County, that increase was about 12%.)
Median sales prices increased as well. In King County the median sales price for a single family home was $650,000, up about 1.6% from November of last year.
What this tells us is that buyers are out there – that is demand is high. Record low interest rates are partially driving this demand. And inventory of homes for sale typically drops in November and December, so there’s a shortage of homes to meet demand. The housing market is virtually sold out in the more affordable and mid-price ranges where 75 percent of sales activity occurs in each market area.
If you’re a current homeowner on the fence about selling, now is a great time to get in the market. The buyers out in December and January are serious buyers who want to get into a home soon.
Comparing year over year sales prices for the month of November, you’ll see that prices have stayed relatively static in Seattle and King County and are increasing in Snohomish and Pierce Counties. This is because many buyers are being priced out of Seattle and King County, and are moving further out where they can find greater affordability.
I’d love to talk with you about the real estate market and your goals. Please give me a call at (206) 790-0081 or email me so that we can chat.
Our region’s real estate market picked up in October. Northwest Multiple Listing Service figures show system-wide gains in October’s pending sales (up nearly 5.6%), closed sales (up 4.1%) and prices (up nearly 7.7%) compared to a year ago. At the same time, compared to the same month a year ago, October’s supply of active listings declined by double-digits in 18 of the 23 counties in the NWMLS report. This means that less homes are coming on the market.
In Seattle, October prices rose 3.3% from a year ago, to $775,000 — the largest percentage increase in 12 months. In King County, there were 25.7% fewer homes on the market in October than a year previously. Snohomish and Pierce Counties saw similar dips, of 23.5% and 30.0%. However, pending sales are up, signaling that buyers haven’t given up on housing market after the slowdown at the end of 2018. That could be helped going forward by mortgage rates that continue to hover around historic lows.
Condo inventory is expected to increase in the coming year, as projects currently in the pipeline come online. Year-over-year, condominium prices in King County were down 3.75% overall, to $385,000, and nearly 7% in Seattle, to $460,000. That’s still the most condos have cost in Seattle since June, signaling strong demand for housing priced under the area median.
Many prospective sellers feel they should wait for spring to sell their home. They feel this way because of the seasonal downturn in the market and because homes don’t look as good without exterior flowers and plants and the general grayness of our part of the country.
However, there are several good reasons to list your home during the winter. The most serious buyers will still be out there – those that need to buy because of job relocation or need different space. And inventory is at it’s lowest, giving buyers fewer choices, so your home will stand out more.
To sell your home in the winter, there are some key things to do. Keep your home warm and cozy – buyers need to be comfortable when they come in the house and the warmer it is, the more likely they’ll stay longer. Leave lights on and shades open to keep the home bright. Make sure the yard stays neat and the roof is clean. Stage the home and have professional photographs that show off the home at its best.
If you’ve been debating whether or not to sell your house and are curious about market conditions in your area, give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com so we can discuss the best time to list your house.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
A large share of the sellers I work with are seniors and/or are downsizing. This is one of my favorite groups of clients to work with. (The other group is at the other end of the spectrum, first time home buyers.)
When working with seniors and downsizers, there’s often a lot of problem-solving involved. And I love to help people find solutions! Whether it’s figuring out where to move to or how to move out of a home you’ve lived in for 40 years, I excel at helping you figure out what steps are needed for your transition.
I am a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. As a SRES, I have received extensive education in working with people aged 50 and older in preparing and selling their home. I have the knowledge and expertise to counsel you through the major financial and lifestyle transitions involved in downsizing, relocating, and selling the home you have owned for decades. I offer you the opportunity to complete your real estate transaction with the patience, professionalism, and expertise you deserve.
For many people, they know it’s time to sell their home but the thought of moving and selling is overwhelming physically and emotionally. Here is where an SRES can step in and help. I have access to resources to help you with this major transition and will be there with you through all steps of the selling and moving process.
There are many reasons that you may be considering a move.
The cost of maintaining your home has become too high.
You want to be closer to your children and grandchildren.
Your home no longer meets your accessibility needs.
Your home is more home than you currently need.
Whether you’re looking to move to an active 55+ community, a senior-supported living situation, a smaller house, or a condo, I am here to help. I have worked with many sellers who have made such moves and understand how difficult this can be.
Give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email me at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com and let’s talk about how I can be of help.