Must have a good location when selling your HOME

Add seasonal flowers for curb appeal

One thing is common among all properties that receive multiple offers these days: the home is in a good location. Location is nearly always what drives homebuyers in their search. Before considering price, number of bedrooms or size of home, a buyer looks for location.

If your home is on a busy street, not in the best school district or near a freeway on/off ramp, chances are you won’t receive the kind of activity that a well-located home would. In that case, work closely with your agent to price the home correctly.

Must be priced right

Buyers in any market look for perceived value. Homes priced 10 percent (or more) over their market value won’t get noticed. Pricing isn’t an exact science, and it’s nearly impossible to pin a precise number to a home until buyer and seller sign a contract and close. Then, the price officially becomes the home’s market value. Until that time, agents can provide sellers with a value range. Have a good location? Does your home show well? Are you in a strong sellers’ market? Price your home on the bottom of that price range and you’ll be sure to attract buyers — and possibly multiple offers.

Must show well

A generation ago, sellers simply did some deep cleaning and maybe some de-cluttering before their first open house. Presentation wasn’t as important then as it is today, given online listings. More buyers today develop an emotional connection to a home. They want to imagine themselves in your home and not feel like they’re a guest. What does that mean? Appeal to the masses. If you have a good location and you plan to price your home realistically, then you need to make sure you give buyers what they want. If you can afford it, make cosmetic upgrades; invest in some staging and work to turn your home into a “product.” Emotionally disconnect from your home and try to see it more objectively.

Plan on having the home in perfect condition for the photo shoot. A buyer’s first impression of your home likely will be via the Internet or an email from their agent. Make them want to step inside. The more buyers you attract to your home, the more activity.

Know your market

Don’t assume that national trends apply to your region, city or neighborhood. If you’re not in a strong sellers’ market or you spend a fortune on last-minute upgrades, you could be in for a giant surprise. Just because you hear about bidding wars and multiple offers on the news doesn’t mean that applies to your area. Home selling is like the stock market it is goes up, down and can have a bit of a lull when interest rates go up and what is happening in the news for your area and even around the world.

Work with a good Realtor and, no, not all agents are Realtors learn the difference.  A local Realtor knows the area and what has recently sold as well as ones that have sold over the past six months to a year. Knowing those homes, having walked inside and personally knowing the agents who have sold them matters. This is market data that an outsider just doesn’t have access to. This knowledge empowers good local agents to educate their sellers.

Seller Prepare For The Home Inspection

Be Prepared!

I know the last year has you asking yourself I don’t need to worry buyers are waiving inspections. I guarantee you that is changing and if you do not wish to have a Seller’s pre-inspection than you may wish to check out this list. You can make your home more attractive to buyers and increase your likelihood of obtaining a positive inspection report by performing routine maintenance now before going on the market.

A visual inspection does not pass or fail a house but simply describes those items in need of minor or major repair or replacement. The inspector will visually examine the structure, crawl space, attic, mechanical components and all interior rooms, as well as closets.

On the day of you can help by having keys available to any locked doors, removing obstacles around water heaters and other appliances, removing items from closets that provide access to attics, and so on. Please be ready to indicate the location of hidden components such as the water meter, electrical panel, sump pump and main sewer clean out.

You can eliminate seasonal limitations on the inspection by clearing pathways of snow or debris. Ensure that appliances not tested because of the temperature (such as air conditioners in winter) are operation. Move boxes and storage items away from interior walls and make certain the entire perimeter of the house can be observed. Finally, leave pets with a friend or, take them with you, for the few hours of the inspection.


EXTERIOR COMPONENTS

  • Repair minor defects in the exterior wall coverings.
  • Repair damaged masonry on walkways and steps.
  • Repair missing or loose railings on decks and steps.
  • Recaulk around exterior windows and doors.
  • Replace missing or damaged shingles
  • Recaulk around flashing.
  • Clean debris from gutters.
  • Ensure downspouts are intact and water drains away from the house.
  • Trim trees and shrubs away from the roof.

INTERIOR COMPONENTS

  • Loosen any windows that are painted shut.
  • Replace missing or faulty hardware on doors and windows.
  • Repair any broken or cracked windows.
  • Replace damaged baseboard or molding.
  • Recaulk around bathtub and kitchen/bathroom sinks.
  • Re-grout tub and shower enclosures and the kitchen backsplash.
  • Repair leaky faucets and fixtures.
  • Unclog slow drains using commercial cleaner.
  • Replace oversized fuses with proper fuses.
  • Repair faulty receptacles and switches.
  • Ensure exhaust fans are in working order.
  • Have the fireplace chimney swept.
  • Have the furnace or other major appliances serviced.
  • Ensure central vacuum, garbage disposal, water softener and other ancillary components not part of the standard inspection are in working order.
  • Replace dead batteries in smoke and CO detectors.
  • Have service contracts, manuals and warranties available and in a drawer for the inspector/buyer to access.

Prior planning always pays off and makes for a smooth transaction after securing a buyer. Reach out to me for questions on this or if you are considering selling your home.

Houses across the county are selling FAST!

In today’s whirlwind real estate market, houses are selling at astonishing speed – from sea to shining sea. Four years ago, the average house spent 39 days on the market. Two years ago, homes were on the market for about 24 days. Today, that number has dropped to just 17 short days. If you’re looking to sell your house quickly and on the best possible terms, today’s market can’t be beat. DM me to discuss how to secure a speedy, top-dollar sale for your house.

Real Estate Market in Snohomish County is seeing double digit escalation offers: Need sellers!

Trying something a bit unconventional! 💡If you do not know how the Real estate market is right now I am going to take a quote🗣 from the MLS “The economics of scarcity are driving prices up at an unsustainable pace,” said Dick Beeson, managing broker 👩‍🏫at RE/MAX Northwest. “What will happen this spring and summer 🌞 will likely be more of the same. 🆘The real estate vortex we’re in of depleted inventory and high prices is real and unrelenting.” “If interest rates weren’t historically low, buyers would be unable to afford the escalating cost of housing,” suggested Beeson. “We’re feeling nervous about where this market is headed,” he said, adding, “Help is not on the way. Sellers are almost as rare as the dodo bird.” Although he noted the number of new listings🏡 coming onto the market has kept pace or even exceeded last year’s totals in some areas, (Not Snoho county) “new listings are immediately devoured by a plethora of waiting buyers.” The situation has buyers asking, “Am I paying too much?” 💸and sellers asking, “Can we ask more?” 💸That answer for both is “Yes,” says Beeson

Do you know Snohomish county does not even have 2 weeks of inventory? I listed a home in Marysville a few weeks ago and within 2 days I had 18 offers! Many waived everything and, I mean everything. The offer my sellers decided to accept? 140k over asking and covering the difference of a low appraisal! 👀 So why am I bothering you with this?👂We have 5 home buyers that we have been working to find homes and one family that currently has 7 family members living in the same townhome as they have special needs and we want to find them homes! We were just beat out of an offer that we put in for them. Our offer was 50k over asking and waiving all we could plus they would cover a 25k low appraisal. The offer that got it was $80k over list❗️❗️In almost 11 years in Real Estate I have never experienced anything like what is happening. I rarely do not get my clients the home they want on the first try but, right now there are to many buyers, low interest rates and not enough homes on the market to sell. So I am trying to think outside the box.🕵️‍♀️ If you happen to know of anyone thinking of selling within these parameters can you PLEASE consider having them contact me? 📞 Believe me I have scoped out everything online, even FSBO, and so I am reaching out.

✅ Local firefighter‍🚒Veteran wanting to use his VA loan for the first time. They are approved for up to 500k. They would love a small rambler w/garage and a bit of a yard. Flexible on area. Currently looking in Lake Stevens, Marysville and Arlington. 3-bed, 1.5 bath. Home does need to be in good condition for VA financing but if something is called out and if a little something is needed to push I will do it!

✅Family of seven. Multigenerational family with one of the parents being confined to bed permanently. We are trying to find a home that has 2, or potentially 2, living arrangements. A split maybe for parents to live downstairs and the younger families up? They have 2 small pet 🐐goats so no HOA neighborhood. Underwritten approved to 675k.

✅First time home buyer with 2 small kids and need a home they can keep their laying hens with them. No HOA against chickens. 🐓3 bed/ 1.5 bath with a garage detached or attached. Like homes with a bit of lot. Looking in Marysville, Granite falls, Arlington area. Underwritten approved to 500k.

✅First time home buyer couple. No kids yet but want to have a couple fur babies 🐕🐕‍🦺soon as they lost there two older ones in the last year. Underwritten approved to 570k, 3 bed, 2 bath. Like newer modern homes but not the zero lot line ones.

✅First time home buyer expecting their first baby in May. Underwritten approved to 425k. Flexible on location but prefer Everett and going east or north is okay. At least a 2 bedroom, 1 bath.

🔑This is not something I would normally do or ask but I want to do the best for my clients and never hurts to try right?

Please reach out if you know of anyone, wanting or thinking, about selling. That could help my buyers or another family that is looking for a home. ☎️

Thank you!!

Top 10 Rightsizing Tips for Seniors

Top 10 Rightsizing Tips for Seniors

Are you considering selling your home and retiring? Maybe somewhere warmer? We all know the main areas for retiring are Florida with many cities being ranked in the top 10. I was surprised to see Myrtle beach- SC, Ann Harbor MI, and Lancaster, PA in the top 10 and I did not see Arizona in the top 25. In fact it looks like they were #38 in the 2020 ranking. Times are changing for sure! Where do you think Washington ranked? We ranked 46 out of 50!

Over the years seeing Seniors in my church, neighbors and with my own parents I have seen many challenges as we age that make you decide to move. After struggling to help one family move that had many medical challenges I decided I need to learn more to help this population and is why I am proud to be an Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). Helping those make a move that is more senior friendly and working with their family in taking the time they may need for their next adventure in life.

So where do you start when you are starting to consider a move and have lived in your current home for 20+ years?

1. Start with the easy stuff.

Eliminate anything that’s broken, damaged, or no longer wanted. Then, go to the out-of-the-way spaces like attics, crawlspaces, and garages. Progress in these “easier” parts of your home will help you build momentum and tackle the harder-to-decide areas.

2. Ask yourself,  “If this disappeared tomorrow, would I run out and replace it?”

If you wouldn’t miss it or need to replace it, it’s probably not worth keeping.

3. Don’t be a storage unit for others.

If friends or relatives have left things for you to store, it’s time to ask them to pick up their possessions—or arrange to have them shipped. You may need to be tough and set a firm deadline, after which you will donate the items.

4. Ask for help.

Although you can do much of this work on your own, a family member, a good friend, or even a professional organizer can help make the job more manageable.

5. Decide what’s important.

Pretend you are moving overseas, but you can only take a severely limited number of items because it costs a small fortune to ship them. What items belong on your list? These are the things that matter most to you!

6. Is this something from a lifestyle I no longer have or want?

For example, if you have three cabinets full of plastic containers, but only cook for one or two people, it’s reasonable to eliminate a few plastic sets—and dishes, pots, and pans.

7. Schedule a regular time each week—or several days a week—to work on rightsizing.

Realize that rightsizing is a life-changing marathon, not a sprint. You didn’t accumulate everything overnight, and you won’t sort it all out overnight, either.

8. Value what you keep.

The fewer things you keep, the more you will treasure and enjoy what you have, instead of tucking items away in a closet or stacked among dozens of other things. These are the select, meaningful items worth having in your personal space.

9. Prevent new collections from forming.

Instead of material gifts, ask people to spoil you by sharing time, enjoying new experiences, and helping you indulge in luxuries (spa certificates, imported chocolate, a musical or other theatre production, gift certificates for dinner out, etc.). In other words, ask for special treats that you love and want, but don’t always buy for yourself.

10. Use age to your advantage.

Now is a great time to give items to family members that you eventually want them to have. Take a photo (preferably a digital one) of your recipients holding their treasured gifts and create a scrapbook of “next generation” memories. These images can serve as powerful reminders of your most cherished items moving forward into posterity with the most special people in your life.

It takes time once you decide you want to start making the steps for a move. The average time frame I work with Senior sellers that have decided to move is a few months to a few years. I had one couple that I worked with for 3 years! They had been in their home for 32 years. Raised their kids and finally decided it was time to move into a ground floor condo with no steps and then go see the world. It takes time to navigate and sometimes many meetings to help them make decisions and keep them on their path. I helped with so many referrals and even some of the heavy lifting before we did the heavy selling. 🙂

Want more information on what a SRES can do for you? Visit the consumer site to learn about the value of working with a SRES and content with topics to assist you like Senior housing options, adapting your existing home and more.

The Home Connection for June

It’s that time again for your monthly newsletter! Notice QR codes seem to be back? While I like QR codes and think they are handy I sure hope we all can “experience” some of the beautiful places the Pacific Northwest has to explore in person and soon!

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Has Real Estate Shutdown in Washington State?

I wanted to reach out to you today as I have been receiving many texts, calls and emails on how this outbreak maybe affecting the busy real estate season. This is a difficult time for all of us and the months ahead will bring uncertainty and challenges, of that, there is no doubt. This morning the owners of our five RE/MAX Elite offices had an online meeting with all of us to share the recent changes that the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) is advising based on social distancing, lowering the group threshold to 50 and best practices to protect our clients, ourselves and the public. We shared thoughts and ideas to keep working and helping our clients with their real estate needs but also to take action to keep everyone safe.

At the time the virus started to rear its ugly head there was a housing shortage. Meaning there were not enough homes for all the buyers that were currently looking. In the last month I have listed 3 homes with each one receiving multiple offers. The last home was two weeks ago, received double digit offers and a listing price that soared the final purchase to over $66,000 from listing price. That fact has not changed. We still are at low levels of inventory and in the last week I have seen homes come on the market and then sell in 3-5 days. I have three closing this week and while I know they are thankful, they are through the process, others are now very concerned what it may mean to them.

With that said in the last few days these are the most pressing questions I have been receiving regarding real estate. I hope I can shed a bit of light for you on what I know to be true currently.

What are interest rates, should I refinance?

Am I going to close on time?

Are open houses still going to be happening?

Should I wait to list or buy?  

Sorry, this is long I will highlight the above question and try to answer the best I can with the information that is continually coming in.

Should I refinance now? I love how so many past clients and friends reach out to me with this question! While I am not a lender, I do try to read all the information coming in and what my preferred lenders are saying. When I am speaking to them I ask what they are seeing and what effects they are feeling. One of my preferred lenders, Duane Martin, at Caliber Home Loans indicated last week that they are inundated by those requesting refinancing. He mentioned that there may be a cap on refi’s right now and they may run out into 60 days to get completed. With so many wanting to refinance this is going to put a large strain on the lenders, title/escrow, appraisers and lending institutions. Home sales and purchase must be the priority.

So, to help answer questions, home mortgage interest rates did dip to a historically low rate and some were able to take advantage of this. They have since come back up to normal rates. This may change. They could go down again, rise or go higher. What you may be hearing more of right now are the interest rates for consumer debt being lowered. Another one of my lender colleagues, Jeff Tisdale from VIP Mortgage out of Tempe, AZ area states “The Fed Funds rate does NOT directly reflect in mortgage rates. The Fed rate impacts shorter term rates like credit cards, HELOCs, car loans, etc. Mortgage rates generally parallel the 10-year treasury bond. HOWEVER, there was a liquidity and volume issue due to the massive amounts of refinance volume, so rates spiked last week. We won’t know how this will affect mortgage rates until tomorrow and the coming days, weeks, etc. The industry can only take on so much at one time. Nobody truly knows what will happen, but I would expect continued volatility in the near future.

What is true is we are in uncharted territory and nobody knows what the short- or long-term effects of this will be.” Jeff goes on to say for anyone interested in refinancing or purchasing to get their application in with ALL supporting documents. The mortgage industry is beyond capacity right now and the complete files will get worked on first. The clients that need to be chased down for paperwork will suffer and wait.

Am I going to close on time? Our team has several clients that are scheduled to close the end of the month. Will we close on time? That is our goal. I am telling all of my clients that we are working behind the scenes to keep up with, and make sure, we work together quickly with Escrow/title your lender, insurance, mortgagor and all the other moving parts involved with a real estate transaction This is our goal! If we make sure all is in order beforehand and you are quick and diligent about getting any last-minute documentation requested into them we should. If, however, the county shuts down and there is no one to complete the transfer and recording process this very likely will delay homes closings.

There is that wish again for a crystal ball!   Best Crystal Ball Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Are open houses still going to be happening? Well that changed very quickly. As of this morning they were advising to not have open houses but you could do one with limiting people through a few at a time, taking safety precautions and letting your seller decide based on if the home was vacant or occupied. After speaking with a seller this morning and coming up with a plan for them and their needs it has since changed. The NWMLS stated this afternoon they are disabling the Open House and Broker feature until the end of the month. What does this mean? Essentially no open houses.  The consumer real estate sites are fed from the NWMLS. All the information on open houses regarding days, times, information and updates feed to sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin etc. If you go looking on Saturday morning for the open houses for the weekend you are not going to find any. I suppose there may be a rebel out there who puts up an open house sign in hopes that you are wandering aimlessly around and see their sign and say “Wow let’s go” but I doubt it.

Should I wait to list or buy? Of course, we have a huge concern for our clients many of whom we have been working with for months!  

For sellers to get them to the point of selling its not always easy! If you have not sold a home you may not realize the time, energy, cost and all the prep work that goes into doing so. I have 2 sellers right now that I have been working with since September and one since August! We were going to be listing in April/May. So now what? We have some buyers and sellers that are moving on to their next adventure in life. Some are moving across country for jobs or family. Some are downsizing and some are looking for a different home to fit their family’s needs. There is so much thought that goes into buying or selling a home and our job is to direct them while keeping them moving forward to their goal. This service we provide to our clients prior to ever being compensated. Our advice, suggestions, referrals for contractors, lenders, timelines and helping them coordinate for their new home takes great thought, planning, experience and counseling.  We want our clients to know that we will continue to do all we can to direct and guide them. If they have a job they have to be at here in Washington, or another state, then we move forward and help them buy or list their home when planned. If they are moving because they have a new home being built, and do not want 2 mortgages, or need to move to take care of a family member we move forward as planned the best way we can. For each client it’s going to be a different scenario.

When you’re selling a home exposure is key. The more potential buyers see your home and feel themselves living in it the more likely you will get an offer. If we are limited on showings, open houses, Brokers opens, advertising then it will affect the entire experience and days on market will be longer. That is a determination that each needs to make based on their future goals. If, by chance, your kids are now home with you and that idea of decluttering and packing while they were at school has now turned into home-schooling then well, we may have to re-adjust your goal.

For our buyers you may be looking on line but you need to see the home and feel how you would flow in it and make sure it meets your needs. This is very difficult to do without physically viewing and we want you to know that Britt and I will be available for private showings at this time, and as the needs arise, if the home allows it. 

It will be okay and together we can do it! We need to go with the flow but flow we must.  I feel the worst thing we can do is just freeze and not move forward. Yes, we may be hitting the pause button for a bit but, we must move forward.

Please remember during this time of uncertainty, I want you to know that we are thinking of you and will do whatever we can to support our clients and their goals. Yes, this outbreak is very scary, but we can’t let it dismantle our economy. Small businesses will suffer and there will be effects down the road that will affect us all. We need to be caring and do all we can to support/shop local.

Please don’t live in fear. Be smart, stay safe, stay healthy and keep in touch.

I would be happy to go into this deeper with anyone that has questions.

Feel free to reach out!

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Jen Murrweiss and Britt Maltos

 

Home buyers in Western Washington “hit the ground running” in January

KIRKLAND, Washington (February 6, 2020) – “All indicators point to a vigorous spring market,” suggested broker Dean Rebhuhn when reviewing just-released statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The report covering 23 counties shows pending sales outgained new listings, record-low inventory that’s down 33% from a year ago, and double-digit price increases.

This information above taken from the NWMLS is exactly what my team has been seeing! We just got a buyer under contract on a home and it was their third offer! Another buyer lost out to a “cash” offer and there were 14 other offers on the same property! Yet another buyer competed with 10 offers. Yes, it is making for a busy January and start to the spring selling season for the Snohomish County Homes Team! 

Snohomish County Statistics as of January 2020

Active Inventory +11% January 2020 vs. January 2019. 1504 available homes came on the market that is up 673 from December.

Pending Transactions +13% January 2020 vs. January 2019/1727 units +458 vs. December

Sold Transactions +12%! January 2020 vs. 2019 /975 homes sold.

Days on Market Snohomish County Active to pending 47 days vs. 49 a year ago.

Median home price in Snohomish County 505,000 +7% last year. Up $21,000 from last month! Our months of inventory has gone up giving more choice for buyers but keeping it a sellers’ market. There is currently 1.43 months of inventory in Snohomish county which is up 12%. In King County there is currently 1.40 months.

Area price and % based on last month (includes new construction

Bothell-$659,000 -2% from last month.

Edmonds/Lynnwood $520,000 +14%.

Everett/Mukilteo $478,000 +11%.

Snohomish/Monroe $510,000 + 25%—– WOW!!

Lake Stevens/Granite Falls $459,995 +18%

Marysville $424,600 +13%

King County Median home prices are $610,000 +3% over last year but down $77k from last month! With an average day on market of 76 days. King County does have a slower percentage growth over last year and days on market is up plus the price point dropped quite a bit over the end of 2019. However, bouncing around monthly depending on inventory and will keep us hopping into 2020.

Here is a snapshot of statistics for all counties under the Northwest Multiple services. 

 

 

Real Estate Market Snapshot December 2019

Welcome to 2020 and happy New Year! I hope it will be an amazing year for you and all of us! The infographic you see below is for Washington in a whole. If you would like to see local stats I  am also providing you with the stats for Snohomish County and King County. 

December 2019 Market Snapshot Infographic

The Home Connection January 2020

Happy New Year!!!

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