Pure Craziness in Snohomish County!

  Bothell Home For Sale  Bothell Home For Sale 2   Kirkland Home For Sale
These three houses you see I toured with a client on Saturday. Two are in Bothell and one in Kirkland on Finn Hill. They just went on the market last week listed in the low to mid 300K range and are all now pending as of Sunday. What I would like to share with you is how crazy it was to get in and see these homes.
The first one looked like an Open House on steroids but it wasn’t.  We had an appointment to view at 3:00 and there were at least 10 couples inside! We barely had room to squeeze around and see the home.The owners were there and actually showing the home, describing features and speaking with all the prospective buyers. They said the home had been on the market one day and they already had 5 offers. Originally they were going to look at any offers on Monday but changed their mind to review on Sunday due to the amount of traffic and flooding of offers.
The second home we toured was just around the corner and when we got there it looked like a mob standing outside. An agent standing there with a client said there were some folks inside and they did not want a ton of people in their with them. So, out of respect, we were all lined up to take our turn; We were 5th to get in. After 20 minutes we finally got to view the home and there were more in line behind us. My clients said “this is insane and its starting to rain we should just let everyone in.” I agreed and told everyone that they could tour along with us.  Some went down while others went up and I waited to lock up until everyone was out. Wow!
Then off we went to the last home in Kirkland up on Finn Hill.  My clients told me they wanted to make a Starbucks run and would meet me there. I got there and it was an Open House.  I went in and introduced myself to the other agent thinking we could chat while I waited.  No way! She said that when she got there to open the home there were 7 couples in-line and so far at least 50 have been through! As I was waiting for my clients I counted 8 more families on tour. Unbelivable!

So what the heck is going on? Well recently I reported on current statistics from the Northwest Multiples, that states Snohomish County is down to 1.3 months inventory of current homes for sale. With interest rates so slow and prices starting to climb families are starting to realize they better make a move or lose out. A year ago I could find good homes available for around 250K. Now that is getting very difficult. I work all around Snohomish County and in a few new home developments in Lake Stevens and Silver Lake area and I can assure you builders are raising prices. More price hikes are set to go into effect this spring when its suppose to get busy.  From what I saw last weekend I don’t know how it could get any busier but if this is an indication there is going to be a lot of competition.

So how do we balance out? We need more homes on the market-period. Prices are rising but are they enough for those that have been under water for so long? My answer to that is, it really depends. What area are you in and how much under water are you? Every situation is different but I can tell you for example the first home above was a short sale and after all offers were in there was 9.  I always tell my clients you need to go in with your strongest offer you can. No low bidding it’s just not an option. So we did- and offered $17,500 over asking price. We did not get it! My clients were sad, of course, but, we had pulled out all the stops and I told them you did your best and can feel confident that you could do no more. Now lets get hopping as fast as we can onto the next one!
Prospective sellers are you seeing this?

You might be happily surprised that finally you can upgrade your home, make that move to give you more room for the kids toys, or if its time, maybe change to something smaller. We really need you right now to balance out, keep up with the demand, and return to a healthy market. Just remember when interest rates go up it lowers a buyer’s purchasing power. Rates have never been historically this low!

If you’re selling FSBO (For Sale By Owner) you are cutting off 99% of the market to try and save a few bucks at the beginning. In the long term you will end up losing money I am afraid. I have asked clients why they do not pursue FSBO, either alone, or, with their agent. Their number one answer was “I don’t feel safe doing so”. “With my agent I am covered and protected and would my lender even let me do one of those”?  This is the attitude that I have found. If a buyer is approved for 350K and can hire an agent to find a home for them for free what incentive do they have? The only one I can think of is to beat a FSBO down in price. This in turn makes you lose money. Now I have seen some pretty great FSBO’s out there and have reached out to several that I thought my buyers would like but, so far, my buyers just don’t want to go and see them. Agents want to support the sellers that are listed with other agents so do not take clients to FSBO’s. Investors seem to be the only ones that want in that sector as they think a FSBO is desperate and will go way down in price. Again losing them money.

For Buyers: I use to get 3-4 inquires a week on homes in the area for sale now I am getting 3-4 a day. Why is this important? If you are currently looking, or going to be searching for a home, sure you can start on-line deciding on areas you like and even driving by some. Go to a few Open Houses and start getting a feel for the market. I would, however, strongly suggest you get yourself a good agent quickly. One that will search for you constantly, tell you at 4:oo p.m that a listing just came on the market and you need to go see now! I tell my clients right now we need to be the hare in the race as the tortoise’s are being left at the starting line. You must also put your strongest offer in up front. No wishy washy low offers will even get you in the door.

Moral of this story is: I strongly believe that we have crossed the line to more of a sellers’ market. Time will tell of course but, based on what I have been seeing and especially last weekend we might already be there.

www.snohomishcountyhomes4u.com

Thinking Of Selling? Maybe Selling Yourself? Inform Yourself first.

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 Why Pay A Commission??

Considering selling your home by yourself? Is it worth it? Only the home owner can answer that question but experience has shown that many for-sale-by-owners find that it’s not. Before making a costly mistake plus an astronomical amount of time and wasted energy consider the benefits, from A to Z, you receive from working with a Real Estate Professional:

Advertising– We have proven marketing strategies to get you the best exposure  and your agent should be rocking out the info on your home non-stop.

Bargain– research shows that 77% of sellers felt their commission was “well spent.” For the other 33% – I say they should have gotten another agent.  We must work for you to reach a common goal for all!  Look I don’t get paid if I don’t do my job and sell your house period. So why would I not want to do my best?

Contract Writing– An agent can supply the standard forms that are written by lawyers to protect all parties in the transaction which in turn speeds things up. If you sell by yourself you need to hire a lawyer to draw up the docs. How much does that cost?

Details– There is millions of them trust me. An agent frees you from handling the many details of selling a home. Getting an offer is the easy part holding the transaction together, after,  is where the details really count.

Experience and Expertise– In marketing, financing, negotiation and more.   If your agent does not seem to know the ropes get another one!

Financial Know How– An agent is aware of the many options for financing a sale and can make sure your home qualifies for as many as possible to open up the buyer pool.

Glossary- A real estate professional understands, and can explain, real estate lingo

Homework- Agents are informed through research and experience , an agent will know  your market and the areas they work in daily.

Information– If you have a real estate question, and agent will know (or can get the answer)

Juggle showings– We agents handle all showings and the 10 phone calls of anxious buyers who want to be the first one to get in and see.

Keep your best Interests in mind– It’s our job! Selling you home is emotional and you need to trust your agent with information to help them help you.

Laws– A real Estate professional will be up-to-date n real estate laws that affect you.

Multiple Listing Service– Our number one tool to get your home out there to over 5,000 agents with potential buyers. Bringing you both together.

Negotiation– An agent can handles all price and contract negotiations.

Open Houses– A popular marketing technique that gives you exposure.

Prospects– Our  network is huge and with reverse prospecting we know what other agents are looking for.  In turn helping to produce potential buyers.

Qualified Buyers– You don’t need any looky-loos!  You need Pre-approved buyers! Or if cash you want to see proof of funds. We make sure that is the case.

Realtor- An agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and subscribe to a strict code of ethics.

Suggested Price– An agent will do a market analysis to establish a fair price range. I also go a step further and visit other for sale properties in the area  to see  how we can stand out from the crowd.

Time- How much time are you willing to put into selling on your own? Believe me it can be huge and its one of the most valuable resources that an agent can provide.

Unbiased Opinion– Most owners are too emotional about their home to be objective. Of course they are!  They have lived there, raised their kids, remodeled and have many memories. Someone wanting to buy your home has none of that and honestly does not care. It’s what is in it for them and if it fits their needs. This is one of the hardest thing a home-owner needs to do is emotionally remove themselves from their home. Stand back and look at it from stranger’s eyes. Not an easy task!

VIP– That’s how you will be treated by your agent and if not get another one!  No excuse… period.

Wisdom- A knowledgeable agent can offer the wisdom that comes with experience.

X Marks the spot– An agent is right there with you through the final signing of papers and can help you coordinate moving plus so many things you may have never thought about.

Zero-Hour Support– We are there to support you!

And just for fun do you know the Founder of the FOR SALE BY OWNER used a Real Estate Agent to sell his home?  Not only him but Dave Ramsey too and he recommends it!

www.snohomishcountyhomes4u.com

What’s Up For The Weekend??

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It Friday and Sunshine what could be better? How about taking in the Seattle Home Show this weekend? Starts tomorrow and runs through 2/24. Or Next week starts the NW Flower and Garden Show 2/20-2/24 at the Convention Center. Up in Stanwood till the 24th is the Great NW Glass Quest. And dont forget the Harlem Globtrotters are in town! Love them!

Whatever you decide to do have a wonderful weekend!

 

http://www.snohomishcountyhomes4u.com

 

 

What’s Up With The Market??

News from NW Multiple Listing Service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 5, 2013

Brokers report brisk sales, but rising frustration for home buyers

Kirkland, WA, February 5, 2013 – Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring is showing up in the latest housing activity report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Its statistics for January showed a 14.4 percent year-over-year increase in pending sales and a 23.6 percent jump in closed sales amid a 31.3 percent decline in inventory.

The MLS reported 4,289 closed sales during January, surpassing the year ago total by 820 transactions. Last month’s completed sales of single family homes and condominiums had a median selling price of $239,300. That’s up 11.3 percent from the year-ago figure of $214,990.

Supply has dwindled to less than two months in some counties close to job centers, spurring bidding wars. Some buyers are even resorting to writing “love letters” to win over sellers in these competitive situations. Brokers also report an increasing number of buyers have little or no interest in making offers on short sales.

“I personally have never seen the ratio between active buyers and available inventory in Seattle’s close-in neighborhoods so out of balance,” remarked Mike Skahen, owner/designated broker at Lake & Co. Real Estate in Seattle. Skahen, a real estate professional since 1976, said multiple offers and bids well over the list price are common. “Even homes that were hard to sell for various reasons are being snapped up so those sellers were wise to list,” he added.

Lena Maul, a new member of the Northwest MLS board of directors, and the designated broker/owner at Windermere/North in Lynnwood, agreed now is a good time for sellers to list. “Sellers who are considering a spring or summer listing may want to consider listing now as demand is outweighing supply,” she noted, adding, “This has given well priced sellers the advantage with the benefit of quick sales and multiple offers.”

With multiple offers on the rise, buyers are seeking an edge as they vie for a desirable home. Brokers are reporting an increase in the use of heartfelt letters from would-be owners who want to distinguish themselves and forge an emotional bond with the sellers.

Maul recalled a successful letter-writing effort last month by one of her office’s clients. Those buyers, who were using FHA financing, wrote a letter introducing themselves to the seller and explaining why they liked the home so much. After reviewing 13 offers, including one from an all-cash investor, the seller chose the letter-writer’s offer.

“Buyers should not forget the human element of appealing to a seller in this multiple offer market,” Maul emphasized, adding, “You just never know who is on the other side of a transaction and what might be important to them. In this case, selling their home to an owner occupant who appreciated special features of their home versus an investor sealed the deal, not cash.”

Brokers in the 21 counties served by Northwest MLS added 7,096 new listings to inventory during January. That total was just slightly more than the number of pending sales (7,016) that members reported last month and brought the total number of active listings at month end to 18,008.

Only two counties, Mason and Ferry, reported an increase in inventory last month compared to a year ago. The sharpest drops occurred in Snohomish County (down more than 51 percent) and King County (down nearly 48 percent). Both those counties have less than a two-month supply of homes for sale.

“Kitsap County is starting its spring market early this year,” reports Northwest MLS director Frank Wilson. It has 3.35 months of supply. Pending sales (mutually accepted offers) rose 23 percent in that market last month compared to a year ago, while closed sales surged nearly 40 percent. Prices in Kitsap jumped 32 percent, second only to Grays Harbor County where year-over-year prices jumped more than 54 percent.

“Often we don’t see momentum to really begin building until mid February to the first part of March. This year, I think due to the already low inventory and the continued low interest rates, the market feels like it started mid January” noted Wilson, the managing broker at John L. Scott’s Poulsbo’s branch.

Despite imbalance between supply and demand, Wilson said more and more buyers are opting not to purchase short sale homes because of the uncertainty involved. “It’s not uncommon for a lender to choose at the last minute to foreclose on a property instead of approving a short sale. When this happens it leaves the buyer high and dry with 2-to-4 months of time invested, only to have to start the process all over again,” he stated. That can leave them at a disadvantage considering the current pace of sales.

Sixty percent of homes close to job centers are selling within the first 30 days of being listed – twice the average rate, according to figures compiled by John L. Scott Real Estate. J. Lennox Scott, that company’s chairman and CEO, said extremely favorable market conditions have brought a surge of local home buyers into the market. Historically low interest rates and a shortage of inventory are creating an environment for multiple offer situations, he added.

Only two counties (Grays Harbor and Kittitas) reported a drop in pending sales last month compared to the same period a year ago, while 16 counties notched double-digit gains. The MLS attributes part of the improvement in sales to last month’s milder weather compared to January 2012 when a major snowstorm walloped the region. Nevertheless, even when compared to several previous years, pending sales were robust.

Northwest MLS members reported 5,548 pending sales during January in the four-county region (King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap). That total surpassed the previous high for the month of January, which was logged in 2005 when members reported 5,426 pending sales.

Even though buyers are flocking to newly listed homes, sellers must be smart about pricing, emphasized George Moorhead, branch manager at Bentley Properties. “In my area, a home that comes on the market that is well priced for the area, style and condition is usually under contract within a few days,” Moorhead said, but he also noted homes that have been on the market for more than 20 days are subject to price reductions.

Moorhead, who is also a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors, said the current market defies basic economics for supply and demand. “Interesting factors include sellers who are still holding back for myriad reasons. Some do not have the confidence or equity to put their home in front of buyers, and that is creating even more pent-up demand.”

Skahen, a past chairman of the Northwest MLS board, said it seems like two houses are selling for every new listing coming on the market. “Buyers keep getting more desperate,” he reported, adding “It will be interesting to see if sellers start jumping in after the weather improves in March,” as is the usual pattern.

Skahen also noted buyers who purchased one or two years ago have seen at least a 10-to15 percent appreciation in their value. “Amazon hiring is having a huge impact, especially around Ballard, Queen Anne and Capitol Hill,” he commented.

Yet another positive indicator of the state’s housing market recovery came from the National Association of Home Builders and its NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). Six markets in Washington appeared on the list, the largest number since that gauge was created in September 2011. The IMI is based on six consecutive months of improvement in housing permits, employment and house prices.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary – January 2013

Single Family Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

MONTHS SUPPLY
New Listings
Total Active
# Pending Sales
# Closings
Avg. Price
Median Price
King

2,638

3,853

2,777

1,781

$396,949

$315,000

1.39

Snohomish

1,015

1,548

1,154

713

$259,612

$235,950

1.34

Pierce

1,260

2,841

1,258

700

$214,883

$190,000

2.26

Kitsap

354

1,201

359

183

$262,730

$235,000

3.35

Mason

102

584

68

35

$154,086

$138,700

8.59

Skagit

190

626

155

81

$205,934

$179,000

4.04

Grays Hrbor

124

679

60

44

$125,264

$120,300

11.32

Lewis

83

555

54

48

$173,065

$149,975

10.28

Cowlitz

118

437

94

54

$140,727

$133,450

4.65

Grant

73

415

58

47

$166,680

$139,990

7.16

Thurston

348

1,027

321

189

$224,210

$214,000

3.20

San Juan

19

249

24

10

$417,515

$339,950

10.38

Island

117

581

104

64

$268,010

$232,000

5.59

Kittitas

40

331

39

25

$260,414

$174,990

8.49

Jefferson

40

327

45

29

$249,265

$224,500

7.27

Okanogan

27

320

20

26

$183,235

$133,450

16.00

Whatcom

288

1,073

239

142

$267,120

$235,000

4.49

Clark

36

168

58

24

$218,739

$189,745

2.90

Pacific

56

314

26

13

$100,800

$100,000

12.08

Ferry

5

74

1

1

$60,000

$60,000

74.00

Clallam

58

314

38

32

$185,092

$170,000

8.26

Others

105

491

64

48

$229,983

$179,200

7.67

MLS TOTAL

7,096

18,008

7,016

4,289

$299,747

$239,300

2.57

4-County Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (SFH + Condo combined) (Totals include King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties)

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2000

3706

4778

5903

5116

5490

5079

4928

5432

4569

4675

4126

3166

2001

4334

5056

5722

5399

5631

5568

5434

5544

4040

4387

4155

3430

2002

4293

4735

5569

5436

6131

5212

5525

6215

5394

5777

4966

4153

2003

4746

5290

6889

6837

7148

7202

7673

7135

6698

6552

4904

4454

2004

4521

6284

8073

7910

7888

8186

7583

7464

6984

6761

6228

5195

2005

5426

6833

8801

8420

8610

8896

8207

8784

7561

7157

6188

4837

2006

5275

6032

8174

7651

8411

8094

7121

7692

6216

6403

5292

4346

2007

4869

6239

7192

6974

7311

6876

6371

5580

4153

4447

3896

2975

2008

3291

4167

4520

4624

4526

4765

4580

4584

4445

3346

2841

2432

2009

3250

3407

4262

5372

5498

5963

5551

5764

5825

5702

3829

3440

2010

4381

5211

6821

7368

4058

4239

4306

4520

4350

4376

3938

3474

2011

4272

4767

6049

5732

5963

5868

5657

5944

5299

5384

4814

4197

2012

4921

6069

7386

7015 7295 6733 6489 6341 5871 6453 5188 4181
2013 5548

__________ Copyright © 2012 Northwest Multiple Listing Service ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This material may not be copied, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior permission.

What Do I Keep For Taxes Again?

With tax season in full gear, you may have questions about what you have to keep and for how long? Here’s a list to get you started!

Tax Returns    7 years
Keep tax returns and all supporting tax documents including W-2s, 1099 forms, property tax info, bank statements, mortgage interest statements, cancelled checks, receipts, home purchase, home improvement information.

Paycheck Stubs    1 year
Shred after confirming info matches your W-2

Home Ownership
Mortgage docs     10 years
After property has sold     7 years
Mortgage statements     7 years
After property has sold    10 years
Repair bills/contracts 10 years

Insurances
Home        5 years
Life        Life of policy + 3 years
Medical    5 years
Investment/Retirement Accounts
IRA contributions    permanently
401K annual summaries- Keep until you close the account
Investment statements    7 years
After last account is sold

Permanently- Never Shred
Adoption/Guardianship Papers
Birth Certificates
Citizen/Naturalization Papers
Health/Immunization Records
Lawsuits
Marriage Certificates/Divorce Decree
Pension Plan Documents
Veteran Papers

Wow! That’s a long list but a good one to keep around for a reminder.