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Real Estate News

Its crazy busy out there! Buyer demand brings home prices up 8.5% in July
Real estate remains strong in current economy
Considering selling? How to market your home in today’s climate
Rare home-buying opportunity for millennials due to Coronavirus
First time home buyers it’s a tough market for you. Do your homework for the least hassles or call us and we will walk you through it.
25 tips for first time homebuyers
Are more Americans planning to purchase homes due to coronavirus?

BOREDOM BUSTERS

Have you visited any of Washington’s 23 wackiest attractions?
Missing baseball? How about that food? Mariners bring ballpark food to you with cooking demos & recipes
Take in the view with this live camera tour of the Space Needle
Video Expert advice on HOUZZ from a designer on color pallette

LOCAL News

Annual auction of Washington Wines will be held virtually! Washington Wines (AWW) has raised more than $50 million, benefiting Seattle Children’s Hospital and Washington State University Wine Science Center.

Best places to pick Blueberries in the Puget Sound region.

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MORTGAGE & FINANCE news.

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Mortgage applications up 6%
Economists predict mortgage rates may stay below 3%
Mortgage interest rates nearly reach the lowest rate on record

Why now may be the right time to invest in real estate 
How millennials are investing to make a social impact

HOME TRENDS

Did you know brass is making a comeback? What do you think?
Stylish laundry room trends
10 best home improvement trends
5 ways to redesign your living room

A look inside 3 Seattle home offices
Spring/Summer home trends
26 home décor trends of 2020

THE Home CONNECTION

You know what happens when the market is so HOT🔥🔥🏠 you barely have any down time? You forget to get the monthly newsletter out! Sorry!! Welcome to August and your home connection. 🌞
I would love some feedback on the virtual “experience this” that has taken place of local events (😢) for now. Some of them look 👀 really intriguing and while I know they are not the same I would love to know your thoughts?

The Home Connection July 2020

It’s that time again for your monthly newsletter. With your eye on the market, virtual experiences, important dates and a few more tidbits I hope you enjoy.  Independence day is almost here and however this month is going to enfold lets roll with it and make some lemonade!

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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. 

 

 

The Home Connection February 2020

Its February & not only is the market heating up there are lots of great events this month to heat your 💏 Valentines day 💝

YOUR GUIDE TO BUYER’S AGENTS

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If you’re looking to buy a house, then whom do you trust to help you find the best deal possible? A real estate agent, right? While that is true, it’s imperative that you have the right agent working on your behalf.

Today we’re going to be talking about setting up an agency agreement with a buyer’s agent. We’ll discuss the meaning of that term, what your arrangement can consist of, and the benefits of that relationship.

What is a Buyer’s Agent?
Simply, this is a real estate agent who represents the person on the buying side of a real estate transaction: the buyer. The agent on the selling side of the transaction representing the seller is often referred to as the listing agent. They are there to serve the seller, which means that they will be interacting with a lot of different buyers.

However, if you’re the one looking for a home, then having a buyer’s agent working for you is probably the best move that you can make. At first, you may wonder if it’s necessary to have one in the first place, but there are a lot of benefits that come from this relationship.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you have to have an agency agreement to get the best services. While you could work with an agent without an agreement, a lack of guarantees on both of your parts could lead to a lackluster process, which could affect your ability to close.

Overall, it’s much better to enter into an agency agreement with your buyer’s agent if you want to proceed. Not only will this ensure that you get the best service, but it offers written protections and guarantees that will come in handy during the buying process.

Benefits of Using a Buyer’s Agent
As you can imagine, having someone representing you when searching for a new home can have a few perks. Assuming that you’re not familiar with all of the details of what it takes to get into a new home (e.g., paperwork, inspections, financing, title insurance, appraisals, and so on), an agent will be able to make the experience much easier and smoother for you.

Let’s go over the primary reasons that you would want to sign up with a buyer’s agent.

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Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

BETTER REPRESENTATION
If you were to search for your next home by yourself, and you contact the listing agents you meet along the way, they will only have the interests of the seller in mind. Sometimes buyers unknowingly ask the agent representing the seller to help them in preparing an offer of the home. While this process is possible, as a home buyer you are asking the agent who represents the seller to now represent you as well.

This can bite you in a few different ways.

First, if there are multiple buyers interested in the property, you will have to compete with them without having a buyer’s agent to consult with you regarding strategies to beat the other offers. Essentially, you are negotiating blind, which means that you have little power in the proceedings. Secondly, if you are presenting your offer to the listing agent directly, your enthusiasm (or lack thereof) can be communicated to the seller without any context. For example, if you think that the asking price is a “great deal,” then it may limit your chances of negotiation in the future since the agent will have relayed that comment to the seller.

Finally, you won’t have someone who understands all of the complexities of the home-buying process at your disposal. Thus, you will have to rely on the seller’s agent to provide you with all of the details, and again, your interests are not their primary concern.

Overall, a buyer’s agent will make sure that your needs are met during the whole experience. You will be building a relationship with your agent, who will want to know what kinds of elements are most important to you for your new home and what parameters you’re hoping to fill.

Then, when the negotiations begin, you will have a knowledgeable expert in your corner. The buyer’s agent will be able to guide you through the transaction, letting you know if there are risks or concerns along the way. He or she will help you navigate through the process so that you understand what’s going on every step of the way.

NO FEES
Before you sign with a buyer’s agent, you may be wondering how much it will cost you. After all, he or she is putting in a lot of hours and work for you, so you’ll have to provide compensation, right?

Fortunately, that’s not handled by you. Rather, in almost every home sale, it’s up to the seller to pay both agent’s fees. This means that you don’t have to pay for anything out of pocket, and you can rest easy knowing that you got the best service regardless.

Here is another little known benefit of entering into an agreement with a buyer’s agent. Let’s say that you have an agent who has been helping you search for homes, but you have not signed a buyer agent agreement. That agent has to consider this risk: without an agreement, you could, at any time. decide to work with someone else to find a home. There is a chance the agent isn’t going to put as much time and effort into the experience to make sure that you’re satisfied.

No one wants to work for free, and when you don’t have a contract, it doesn’t make sense for the agent to make you a priority. Instead, he or she may focus on his or her other clients and put you lower on their list because the other people were willing to sign an agreement.

Overall, if you want the best service from your agent it’s a good idea to enter into an agency agreement.

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MORE OPPORTUNITIES
How much time can you devote to buying a new home? By that, we mean how many hours can you spend looking for properties for sale, vetting them, and calling different agents to try to schedule showings? Assuming that you have a job and a life, the answer is probably a lot less than it should be.

With a buyer’s agent on your side, you don’t have to worry about missing out on an opportunity. He or she will dedicate enough time to finding places that fit within your parameters. Also, your agent will make sure to do legwork beforehand so that you don’t waste time on houses that won’t be desirable.

Have you ever gone to an open house, only to be disappointed by the asking price or some other element of the property? A buyer’s agent will be able to vet the home before you even think about visiting it to make sure that this doesn’t happen. A good agent will know what’s important to you and avoid properties that don’t meet your criteria.

Another thing about having an agent is that you can get access to more homes. If you’re checking only a handful of sites or listings, you will miss out on properties for sale that aren’t on your radar. Since your agent is connected to the real estate industry, he or she will be able to hear about houses that may not get listed publicly, or at least not on sites that you would be checking. Often, agents will let the other agents in their own office know about properties that will be coming on the market before anyone else. This can be great for you if your agent gets an inside tip.

PROFESSIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
If you’re new to the home-buying process, you probably aren’t aware of all of the steps you have to take to make sure that you’re getting a good deal. You’ll also have to work with a variety of people, from mortgage brokers to lenders to appraisers.

With a buyer’s agent, he or she can recommend high-quality service providers to fit your needs. If you still haven’t secured a loan, your agent can put you in touch with someone who can help expedite the process.

These recommendations can run the gamut from people who will help you get financing to movers who can transport your stuff quickly and safely. Most buyer’s agents will have a talented roster of various people who can help make your transition into your new home as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

PROFESSIONALISM & LOYALTY
As we mentioned, you will want to sign an agency agreement with your buyer’s agent to ensure that he or she will be committed to you for the duration of your home buying experience. Once this happens, you will be able to get a lot more done in much less time.

For the most part, this paperwork stipulate that you and your agent are exclusive. This means that you agree to work with only your agent to find and submit offers on homes. This doesn’t mean that you can’t shop for homes online or walk through an open house without your agent; however, when it comes time to schedule a private showing or make an offer, you need to work solely with your agent.

This level of commitment is going to help you find your dream home much faster than if you tried to do it on your own. When you have someone working full-time, you can see more houses and work with more sellers to find the right fit for you.

On top of that, buyer’s agents are all about building a relationship with you. This experience is more than just about making a commission; it’s about ensuring that you are satisfied with your new property.

Because the agent isn’t paid until you close the deal, he or she can’t be satisfied unless you are. That means your agent will pull out all the stops to make this process as simplified and streamlined as possible.

Do you prefer to get emails or texts? Do you want to look at virtual tours or do you want to see homes in person? Whatever your preferences are, a buyer’s agent will make sure that your wants and desires are met at all times.

What to Ask a Buyer’s Agent?
By now, you’re probably sold on the idea of having an agent in your corner to help you find your new home. However, how can you be sure that you’ve found the right one? Here are some critical questions to ask so that you know that you’ve made the right decision before you sign anything.

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This question is crucial because you want an agent who knows the areas in which you want to live. If you work with someone who is unfamiliar with the neighborhood, then how can you be sure that your needs are met?

For example, if there are particular “must-haves” that you want near your home, how will your agent know if they’re there? If he or she doesn’t specialize in that neighborhood, you run the risk of missing out on the crucial elements you desire.

WHAT’S YOUR AVAILABILITY?
Even with an exclusive contract, your agent may only do this as a part-time gig. If that’s the case, then you have to make sure that he or she can dedicate enough time to finding the home of your dreams.

One thing to consider is your timeline. Do you have to move quickly due to a new job or expiring lease? If so, then you might want to find a buyer’s agent who can be on your case full-time. Otherwise, it could take longer to get into a new home, and you won’t have the luxury of waiting for the perfect opportunity.

Something else to consider is scheduling. If you have very little time or a unique schedule that will make it difficult to see homes during normal hours, you may want to find an agent who can accommodate these needs.

Finally, remember that there are a lot of steps to getting into a new home. Before you hire your buyer’s agent, ask them how they help their clients achieve their home buying goals. If the market is really hot, ask them how they help their buyers compete and get the winning contract.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AN AGENT?
In many cases, you want a buyer’s agent who has a lot of experience. Although new agents can be knowledgeable, there are a lot of different elements of this process that can be challenging. As a result, experience usually trumps knowledge.

Considering that you’re not paying out of pocket for a buyer’s agent, it’s usually a good idea to sign with someone who really knows what they’re doing.

Bottom Line
If you’re ready to get started with a buyer’s agent, then contact us today to find out how the Snohomish County Homes Team can make your home-buying experience enjoyable and effortless. Check out our Reviews and Don’t stress about finding the home of your dreams; let us handle the dirty work for you so that you can focus on what matters.