Seattle Real Estate News

The Spring home buying is typically when real estate season starts. However, according to research, there are certain months and even specific dates that offer the biggest premiums above market value for sellers. 

The top five dates to sell are still between May and June. Best dates for home sellers are: 

  • May 24: Commanding 10.5% seller premium.
  • May 31: Commanding 10.7% seller premium.
  • June 20: Commanding 10.6% seller premium.
  • June 28: Commanding 10.8% seller premium. 
Weather has a lot to do with the home buying season with summer being the most popular because the kids are out of school and there's more time to shop for a house It's no surprise that the worst dates for sellers happen in the colder months closer to the holidays - October and December.  However, ski towns sell more in winter. 

Advise for thrifty home buyers is to keep a close eye on the market and watch for houses that aren't selling. During the busy holiday season while people are shopping for the holidays, serious house hunters should be looking for houses. Look for houses that linger on the market. If the house has gone on and off the market, you can potentially get it when it's not listed.  The downside is that waiting could also mean someone else gets your dream house and must choose from less desirable properties in terms of condition and location. 

How to prepare your house during peak selling times: 

  • Experts agree that a fresh coat of paint is essential. Choose a color that is neutral so that it appeals to a wide variety of buyers. A property must look as neutral as possible. 
  • Deep cleaning and de-cluttering. Most home sellers leave too many personal belongings out. Some personal photos are O.K. but no more than 10. 
  • Changing light bulb to bright, white bulbs and make sure blinds are clean or replace. Strategically place fresh flowers and house plants. 
Posted by Sam Kader on August 22nd, 2019 4:29 PM
Ring video doorbells, Nest Hello and other connected security cameras are the fastest-growing home improvement gadgets since garage door openers. These cameras alert your phone when someone is at your door and save footage online.  Here are some tips from lawyers and city officials to make an ethical field guide for people who want technology to help us stay safe.  

  1. Don't point your camera at neighbors. If your doorbell is located in an awkward place, you can try to use wedges to angle the camera toward your door. Some cameras let you mark zones to limit recording only to action that's important for your home. Also let people know that they're on camera and put up a sign to flag that you're filming might also deter a burglar. 
  2. Share footage sparingly. Some people love posting clips of "suspicious/looking characters" on social network app. But are you actually an expert in what counts as "suspicious"? Sharing on these sites can help fight crime but also perpetuate racial profiling of actual crimes. 
  3. When police get involved, it should be voluntary. Police should only access to your footage on a voluntary basis. Law enforcement doesn't have  aright to the footage without a court order. 
  4. Delete old footage. The more you have the more vulnerable you are. You should only keep your footage for two months. You can always download and save the ones you want to keep. 
  5. Keeping hackers out is a serious responsibility. Make sure that you update software, using unique passwords and taking other security protections. 
  6. Facial recognition is not a product feature, it's a super power. The ability to keep tabs on a person's whereabouts by reading their face is a super power that we don't have yet the legal or ethical framework to handle. Initially, our cameras will offer to flag family members faces. Next, they'll link to a few public databases such as a terrorist watch list, missing kinds and sexual offenders The real question is who gets to make those lists and how accurate are the systems flagging people? 
Posted by Sam Kader on April 2nd, 2019 5:24 PM
While most people are happy with the results of their first home-purchase experience, there are some homeowners that have a few regrets and lessons learned. 

Here are some of them: 
  • The No.1 regret across all generations was buying a property that was too small. 
  • The second most common mistake was not saving enough money before buying their first home. Most buyers anticipate the money the'll need for their mortgage, homeowner's insurance and taxes but they don't always budget for home maintenance and repairs. As a general rule of thumb, most financial experts suggest saving at least 1 percent of the home value annually for repairs. 
  • Homeowners spent the most money on new appliances (16%) during their first year followed by replacing the roof (13%), replacing a furnace or air conditioner (11%), landscaping (10%) and replacing flooring (9%). 
  • Nearly half said they spent more than their budget during the first year of home-ownership. 
Posted by Sam Kader on January 23rd, 2019 7:46 PM
The federal government recently classifies a family of four earning up to $117,400 as low-income in three counties around the Bay Area in California. It's used to determine eligibility for federal and local housing-assistance programs, but it's different from the federal poverty guidelines. To generate the number, officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) factor in the median income and average housing costs in an area.  In the Seattle-Bellevue area, $80,250 classifies a family of four as low-income. As tech industry has drawn legions of highly paid workers to the area, the prices of homes isn't the only thing that has gone up - transportation, utilities, and food are also costly.  Many residents who have been forced to move farther inland now face grueling commutes to their jobs. The "low-income" designation allows people to qualify for affordable housing and a variety of government programs such as those for first-time home buyers.  

What it means in the area is that teachers, first responders, people who grew-up here of average income are being forced out by the high prices. The very success of the place undermines the viability of life for at least the lower half of the population. Those are the people who get the forgotten in the narrative of the glamour of tech changing the world. 

What makes cities such as Seattle great is its diversity, its creative and innovative economy and its free spirit. But the harder it is to house our artists, teachers, restaurant workers, health-care providers, the more we put the great spirit and the strong economy at risk. 







Posted by Sam Kader on July 2nd, 2018 10:44 AM

Why are home prices in Seattle so high so quickly?  The answer is simply - supply and demand.  There are just not enough inventory for sale. In King County last month, 2,000 homes were for sale last month (on average for the last two decades, the region had more than 7,800 homes for sale.)  On average, today's homeowner who sells has owned the home for about 10 years and makes about 64% return on investment (4th highest in the nation). The problem is people who are staying in the area would have to turn around and buy in the same crazy market. Thus, only people who are moving to a cheaper area or downsizing have real financial incentive to sell reducing the number of home sellers. Seattle homeowners also wait longer to sell than anywhere else in the country.   

In addition to not having enough inventory for sale, the demand side is not helping either. King County's population has grown 26% and job growth of 28% which translates that people who are moving here  are financially well off to buy a house. It all adds up to people making a lot more money fighting over a lot fewer houses. Historically, the county had 1 home for sale for every 230 people. Now, there's one home available for every 1,060 people creating bidding war beyond what a home should be worth. 

Are we setting ourselves for another real estate market bubble? Most critics agree that there are not clear signs of another crash because the elements causing previous housing collapse i.e. rampant subprime lending and home owners over extending themselves with  a "liar (stated income) loan"  are not presence this time around. Lenders now are lending to people with good credit and full income and asset documentation. 

Start your Seattle home search here

 

 

Posted by Sam Kader on April 22nd, 2018 5:26 PM
A lot more homeowners nowadays are staying put and are sprucing up current homes rather than moving  up to a larger place as their family grew or the home became outdated. They are also eager to hold onto the ultra-low mortgage-interest rates  they obtained after the crash.  Homeowners are expected to stay put for 15 years instead of 5 years traditionally.  The trend is so pronounced that it changed the dynamics of the housing market. It's fueling brisk sales in the remodeling business and at home-improvements stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot but it's leaving very few homes available for sale and causing prices to jump due to short supply. 

Posted by Sam Kader on February 4th, 2018 9:27 AM
The first 12 months of home-ownership set the tone for your journey. With a few smart decisions, you can help yourself to avoid some of common pitfalls. 

1. Start an emergency fund. An emergency savings fund provides a financial safety net.  You no longer have your landlord to call when something breaks. Ideally, your emergency fund should cover several months of expenses but it's O.K. to start small. Have a budget and set aside a portion of of every paycheck with the goal of saving $500 as quickly as possible and then contribute as much as you can going forward with a goal of $5,000 seat aside. This should be enough to handle most sudden major expenses such as HVAC replacement.  

2. Review your homeowners insurance.  Home-ownership insurance is not one-size fits all. There are unique coverage options and exclusions that homeowners need to be aware of. For example, does your policy cover the full cost of your jewelry/other valuables, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or if your dog bites the new postal worker. 

3. Get an energy-efficient audit.  Getting an energy audit using door tests and infrared cameras, energy audits ensure air leaks and detect air infiltration or missing insulation. Audits are usually performed by utility companies, city governments and some contractors.  An energy audit not only will save you money in the long run but also will make your house more comfortable. 

4. Consider a home warranty.  It is also called a home-service contracts with annual agreements that offset the repair of replacement cost of major home 
components and appliances. 

5. Create a disaster kit with a home warranty.  A home inventory can be as simple as snapping pictures of big-ticket items in your home, record items, brands, original prices, ages and condition in a spreadsheet (you can find an app to do it). It is the best way to make sure you have enough insurance coverage to replace your valuables. Store the inventory along with copies of your personal identification, credit-card information and other important documents in a fireproof safe or another place that's easily access if you have to evacuate. 

6. Make a plan to build equity. Equity is a fancy word for how much of your house is paid off. Home equity can be used to pay off major renovations or pay off your student loans. You can build equity slowly just by making your monthly mortgage payments or you can find ways to speed up the process by switching to biweekly payments to get equity rich even faster. 

Posted by Sam Kader on January 14th, 2018 1:36 PM

Some of the important steps to homeownership include:

Here are 5 tips first-time homebuyers should avoid:

  1. Budget.  Your monthly payment consists of principal, interest, property insurance, taxes, and homeowners association dues (if applicable). Keep in mind that here in King county, property taxes are not fixed and tend to go up every year. In addition, you have to incorporate property maintenance and utility bills into your monthly budget.
  2. Looking for a home first and a loan later. Often, first-time homebuyers "are afraid to get Pre-Approved" for fear of denial or qualify for a loan smaller than expected. No real estate brokers (with any common sense) would show houses to first-time homebuyers without a solid Pre-Approval Letter.  Please consult me for your Pre- Approval letter.
  3. Not getting professional help. You will need a reputable real-estate agent and a good mortgage broker (as a start). In general, first-time homebuyers will need a selling real estate broker (not a listing broker). A selling broker represents a homebuyer (you) and will only work for you (don't worry - you do not have to pay their commission since it will be paid by a home seller). If you hire an agent or loan officer without a referral from friends or family, ask the agent to provide references from previous buyers.
  4. Using up savings on the down payment. I prefer if you put down 20% to avoid paying monthly mortgage insurance. However, spending all or most of your savings on the down payment and closing costs is one of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers make.  You can still put down less than 20% and not pay monthly mortgage insurance. It's crucially important that homeowners to have rainy day fund.
  5. Violating any of these rules before the deal is closed. You found the house you wanted, the contract is signed and the closing is in 30 days. Don't celebrate by buying another big purchase on CREDIT. Lenders will re-pull credit reports before the closing to make sure the borrower's financial situation has not changed since the loan was approved. Any new loans on your credit report can jeopardize the closing.  

 

 

 

Posted by Sam Kader on December 25th, 2017 10:37 AM

The Seattle housing market has gotten hotter across the board every passing months in 2017 since bottoming out in 2012. Prior to 2006, prices were up nearly 20% from a year before and tumbled back down during the recession. Prices in Seattle are rising twice as fast as the national average and rising faster than anywhere else in the country for the 10th straight month. The typical home in Seattle now costs nearly $750,000 and $860,000 on the Eastside. The new statewide median home has hit a record price of $337,000 according to University of Washington's Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies. Looking for some affordable homes in Seattle adjacent areas

 

Fastest-rising home prices compared to a year ago

1. Seattle +13.4%
2. Portland +8.2%
3. Dallas +7.7%
4. Detroit +7.6%4. Denver +7.6%

Source: Case-Shiller home price index


Posted by Sam Kader on August 31st, 2017 7:14 PM
Seattle has been listed as tops in home-price growth in the country for seventh straight month. The local market has gotten so competitive that 90% of homes for sale ended up closed higher than the listed price. Seattle recorded 12.3% increase from 2016 in March compare to national average of 5.8%. There's simply not enough inventory in Seattle metropolitan area to calm a feeding frenzy. Seattle had the highest rate of bidding wards of any hot markets such as San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Portland, Denver, Boston, Austin and Washington, D.C. The typical single-famiy house in the city sold for a record $722,000.

Home buyers may take up between 6 months to a year largely due to keep losing to the highest bidder. Spring time is when competition at its peak. To stand out some buyers have resorted to waiving contingencies, inspections, and submitting a bigger portion in nonrefundable cash sums. And because houses can go so quickly, buyers often need to pull the trigger and submit an offer on a home within hours of it hitting the market resulting in less due diligence. Some even submitted offers sight unseen with escalating clause. 

Most of the cases, sellers will set a deadline of reviewing all offers and will pick the highest one. This trend seems to have spread out to adjacent Seattle neighborhoods as well.
Posted by Sam Kader on June 16th, 2017 11:56 PM

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