Are You Ready for the Rainy Season?

Don’t get all wet. Prepare for the rainy season while it’s dry.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

We know. The last thing you are thinking about at the summer barbecue is preparing for the stormy season. But it really is worth taking a look around your house during fair weather, because finding out you have a problem during inclement conditions is at best inconvenient and at worst very costly.

Check your rain gutters.
Clear them out and make sure they are in good working order to prevent damage to the roof or house.

Look at your roof.
If you see loose or damaged shingles, get them repaired. Look for tears and buckling on flashing. Check the chimney and look for damaged bricks, cap or cracked joints. Don’t forget the flashing there too.

Check indoors for signs of roof leaks.
Look for discoloration and peeling paint on ceilings and walls. Check in the attic for damp rafters.

Check the trees.
Trim back branches and cut sections that could fall in a rainstorm.

Check doors and windows.
Make sure there are properly insulated with weather stripping.

Look for water collecting at the base of the house.
Redirect water with trenches or drains.

Keep sandbags on hand.
if your area is prone to flooding, keep them filled and at the ready.

Check for erosion.
This is important if you live near a hillside. Shore them up if necessary.

Most importantly enjoy the fall and all the beauty it holds.

Snohomish County Statistics May 2019

May was not as hot as 2018 but with summer here we are starting to heat up a bit! I have started to see a bit more listings come on the market and price points under $450k were faster to move as buyers are starting to pick up the pace. Homes under $400,000 your chances of competing with multiple offers was much higher. It has certainly helped all price points that interest rates have leveled and even dropped a bit.

Active Inventory

We are up 1% May 2019 vs. May 2018

There were 2,426 available homes to come on the market +362 vs. April.

Pending Transactions

Down 5% May 2019 vs. May 2018

1962 units -109 vs. April

Sold Transactions

+0%!!! May 2019 vs. 2018

1660 units +223 than April

Days on Market

Snohomish County Active to pending 27 days vs. 18 a year ago. Down 8 days from last month. Homes prices over 450k seem to be taking up most of that time.

Median home price in Snohomish County 494,000 +0% last year. Down $1,000 from last month!

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

Bothell-$670,500 down 8% from last month.

Edmonds/Lynnwood -4% to $525,000.

Everett/Mukilteo -3% to $452,000. Snohomish/Monroe +4% to $465,000

Lake Stevens/Granite Falls + 10% to $449,000

Marysville +6% to $410,000

King County Median home prices are $661,000 that is down 2% over last year and up $22k from last month. Woodinville area Median price is $764,000. Last year they were over 800k. Definitely a leveling in our east Snohomish/King County area.  Days on market 36 compared to 11 a year ago.

May19_MktSnapshot

Why an Economic Slowdown Will NOT Crush Real Estate this Time

Why an Economic Slowdown Will NOT Crush Real Estate this Time

Why an Economic Slowdown Will NOT Crush Real Estate this Time | MyKCM

Last week, the National Association for Business Economics released their February 2019 Economic Policy Survey. The survey revealed that a majority of the panel believe an economic slowdown is in the near future:

“While only 10% of panelists expect a recession in 2019, 42% say a recession will happen in 2020, and 25% expect one in 2021.”

Their findings coincide with three previous surveys calling for a slowdown sometime in the next two years:

  1. The Pulsenomics Survey of Market Analysts
  2. The Wall Street Journal Survey of Economists
  3. The Duke University Survey of American CFOs

That raises the question: Will the real estate market be impacted like it was during the last recession?

A recession does not equal a housing crisis. According to the dictionary definition, a recession is:

“A period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.”

During the last recession, prices fell dramatically because the housing collapse caused the recession. However, if we look at the previous four recessions, we can see that home values weren’t negatively impacted:

  • January 1980 to July 1980: Home values rose 4.5%
  • July 1981 to November 1982: Home values rose 1.9%
  • July 1990 to March 1991: Home values fell less than 1%
  • March 2001 to November 2001: Home values rose 4.8%

Most experts agree with Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist, who recently explained:

“There’s no reason to panic right now, even if we may be headed for a recession. We’re seeing a cooling of the housing market, but nothing that indicates a crash.”

The housing market is just “normalizing”. Inventory is starting to increase and home prices are finally stabilizing. This is a good thing for both buyers and sellers as we move forward.

Bottom Line

If there is an economic slowdown in our near future, there is no need for fear to set in. As renowned financial analyst, Morgan Housel, recently tweeted:

“An interesting thing is the widespread assumption that the next recession will be as bad as 2008. Natural to think that way, but, statistically, highly unlikely. Could be over before you realized it began.”

2019 Exciting news!!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2019 is starting out, and will be, an amazing year for you and yours.

I am reaching out to you today to share some VERY exciting news. It has been wonderful to help so many families find homes, investment properties, save homes for those that needed it with my short sale and foreclosure knowledge and help others sell as they transition into something more comfortable for their changing lifestyle. I have been blessed by many of you referring me to your friends, family and colleagues. Thank you!

Life IS ever changing and because of the ever-changing nature of the real estate market, it’s imperative that my clients have the most up-to-date information available. My philosophy is that the market waits for nobody, and that’s why I pledge to go beyond the standard level of service even after your home has closed. I always want my clients to feel free, and comfortable, to contact me with questions, referrals for home repairs, or to just say hi!

With change in mind I am excited to announce that I have officially brought on an amazing, buyer’s specialist to assist me in providing the quality of service I want to give my clients and they deserve. Please help me in welcoming Britt Maltos to my team!

I am excited to partner with a Realtor who, like myself, is from Washington. I feel it gives us so much more knowledge of the neighborhoods we are helping families in. Britt grew up in Ballard and lives in Edmonds with her husband and kids. I grew up in Lynnwood and then the north Seattle area. My first apartment was in Ballard before moving to Redmond for many years and finally settling in the Everett/Snohomish area with my family.

I like to say we’re your local homegrown Real Estate team!

When you have Real Estate needs you want someone who knows the prospective area inside and out, someone who will not only find you the best property for your needs, but the best neighborhood as well. A team that can direct you to which loan product works best for you and knows of many that will save you money along the way.  A team that now gives CASH back to our local community heroes (firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, teachers, healthcare, and military) when they buy or sell a home with us. A team that is qualified to help seniors with downsizing or lifestyle changes and providing a senior discount (new)!

That’s where we come in: We can provide you with information that will inform your real estate decisions. So, rest assured that as long as you’re in the market, we are committed to be your neighborhood specialists and more.

Even if you are not considering buying or selling a home now, if any of your friends, family or colleagues express an interest and would appreciate the level of service we provide please, feel free, to give out our contact information. We would be happy to chat with them and promise to take great care of them.

Thank you, It is so rewarding to help families make their real estate dreams come true.

 

Should I Buy a House in 2018?

Young Woman Eating On Couch Thinking About Buying HouseBuying a home is a big part of the American dream and one of the most important decisions, and major investments, anyone can make. Many on-the-fence heroes are wondering: “Should I buy a house in 2018, wait until next year, or simply continue renting?”

Look at House Market Key Indicators

If the real estate market is your barometer, there are several key indicators to investigate:

Inventory Levels

Supply and demand plays a role. When there are not many homes for sale (low inventory), this often means home prices are higher, and the market becomes more competitive for buyers. This is the case in 2018. However, inventory levels have been steadily increasing June-August this year, and actually surpassed August 2017 levels. If inventory levels continue to increase, that’s a good sign for buyers for the remainder of 2018.

Monthly Total Existing Home Inventory

Home Pricing History

Inventory of homes for sale will affect pricing. More homes for sale will typically drive down prices, where as low inventory of homes for sale typically means there is higher buyer demand, and it will usually push prices up. This is the case in 2018 where most markets are experiencing low inventory and higher prices. The existing home price increase in August 2018 marks the 78th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains according to the National Association of Realtors. Some early estimates for 2019 show that home prices will continue to increase around 3% in most markets. Great if you’re selling a house, but challenging if you’re buying. It makes buying in 2018 look even better.

Monthly Median Existing Home Price

Number of Days Home is On the Market

House prices typically drop the longer a home stays on the market. When this happens, it’s a good sign the market is cooling off or correcting. This year, in most markets, homes have sold relatively fast. This means potential buyers need to have their ducks in a row so they can act fast on the home they want.

Market Seasonality

According to Realtor.com, it’s the perfect time to buy a house because fall and winter tend to be better for home buyers, and this year is no exception. Housing inventory is on the rise, and that may mean lower prices and more bargaining power for buyers. That, combined with sellers who are anxious to get the sale done before the holidays, makes fall and winter a great time to buy.

Interest Rates

The interest rate is a big topic of conversation this year, and probably one you’ve kept top of mind when asking, “Should I buy a house in 2018?” The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates a couple of times this year. Two or three more rate hikes are being predicted, which may mean a more expensive mortgage for you. In September, the rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage jumped to 4.88 percent, which is the highest level for the 30-year mortgage since 2011, according to Bankrate. But, you need to understand this is still well below the average over the past 45 years outlined below with FreddieMac data since 1972.

Annual Average Mortgage Rate 30 Year Fixed Mortgage Over Past 45 Years

Trying to time your home-buying decision to take advantage of low interest rates or a buyer’s real estate market are smart home-buying strategies, but the real question is: Is it the right time for you, personally, to buy a house or maybe it would be better to rent?

Renting vs Buying a House

Some of you may not be a current home owner and are probably asking yourself, “Should I buy a house in 2018 or rent?” In order to figure out whether it would be better to rent or buy a house, consider these factors in addition to the current interest rate and real estate market:

How is Your Credit?

The interest rate can be as low as it’s ever going to go, but if your credit score is shaky, you’re not going to be able to take advantage of that. People with lower credit scores pay higher interest rates, and the amount can add hundreds to your monthly mortgage payment. Improving your score, no matter what the market is doing currently, is the smarter way to go.

If you haven’t checked your credit lately, you might want to take a look at it. Last year, credit reporting companies announced they were changing the way they handle negative information, resulting in many people seeing a spike of up to 40 points on their credit score. This overhaul was caused by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which found problems with the reporting of collections and tax liens and as a result, that data has been removed from millions of credit reports.

However, particularly for home buyers, a tax lien or civil judgement can still interfere with your ability to get a loan. LexisNexis Risk Solutions found that people who have a tax lien or judgement are five and a half times more likely to go into pre-foreclosure or foreclosure, so mortgage lenders may well pull a LexisNexis report to find out, even if it no longer appears on your credit report.

FICO scores (credit scores) range from 300 to 850. If yours is 700 or above, you’ll qualify for a better interest rate on a loan, so that’s the score you’re shooting for.

If your score is less than 650, here are some ways to improve it:

    • Pay down your credit card bills to show only 10 percent of your limit. If your card’s limit is $1000, your balance should be no more than $100. Doing this will increase your score almost immediately.
    • Make all of your payments on time. One late payment can drop your score up to 100 points, but on-time payments will raise it.
    • Check your credit report for errors. If negative information exists and you don’t recognize the account or the charge, dispute it.
    • Never close a credit account. Even if you don’t use it, keep it open. Closing an account can negatively impact your score.
    • If you have an account in default, request a “pay for deletion.” It’s an agreement made with your creditors that you’ll pay a debt in full or an agreed-upon amount in exchange for them deleting the negative information on your credit report. Simply paying off your debt will not raise your score unless the creditor deletes it from your record.

How is Your Income?

Most financial experts agree that your housing costs should be no more than 30 percent of your income. Can you find an affordable home based on what you’re earning now? Also look at your debt-to-income ratio. If you’ve got a high amount of debt and a relatively low income, it will be more difficult to get a home loan. Pay down your debt before applying.

However, there has never been a better time to increase your income by finding a new job. Unemployment is at an 18-year low, which means it’s a job seeker’s market out there. Take a look at the average salary range for your position in your area to gauge how your employer stacks up.

Do You Have Enough for a Down Payment?

Experts recommend putting down 20 percent or more. Why? There are a few reasons. If you put less than 20 percent down, you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance, which, on a $300,000 loan, will cost you an extra $250 each month. Another reason to make a larger down payment is to protect yourself in the event that you have to move shortly after you purchase the home, if you get a new job in another city or if your spouse is transferred, for example. With a small or nonexistent down payment, you might find yourself underwater, owing more than you can sell the home for, if real estate prices have fluctuated.

Do You Have Enough for Closing Costs?

In addition to the down payment, you’ll need money for closing costs. According to Motley Fool, you can expect to pay around 2 to 5 percent of the value of the property. So on that same loan of $300,000, you’ll pay in the neighborhood of $6,000 for closing.

And, if you’re still asking yourself, “Should I buy a house in 2018,” don’t forget to consider having enough cash on hand to cover your mortgage if you or your spouse loses a job, and have enough in savings for repairs if something goes wrong or breaks.

Bottom line, do your homework. Review these items and get to know your personal situation so you are prepared to discuss everything with a real estate and mortgage professional when your ready, whether it’s in 2018 or not.

Interested in doing a deeper dive? Here are some additional resources:
8 Advantages to Buying a House
First Time Home Buyer Tips
Wondering How to Get a Mortgage and Stop Paying Rent?
Financial Considerations When Buying a Home
Rent or Buy: The Great Debate

Ready to speak with a specialist, committed to heroes like you? Sign up and speak with one of our real estate or mortgage specialists in your area to learn more about how they can help you through the home-buying process and maximize your hero savings. Our heroes save, on average, more than $2,400 if they use our local specialists to purchase their home. There’s no obligation, and we guarantee the most hero savings among all national programs.

 

BLuke Feldbrugge