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.

 

Real Estate news you can use!

Check out these articles for great information about our community and the real estate industry.

New home sales hit highest level in 9 years! 

Millennials still believe in the homeownership dream even if they can’t afford to buy

Housing market across the U.S. finally starting to look healthy

MORTGAGE & FINANCE news

Salary needed to buy a home in 19 major U.S. cities

Tips for staying out of debt

Calculate how much house you can afford

HOME trends

King County’s eco-remodeling tool provide tips for going green for your next home renovation

Four colors that may hurt a home’s sales price

LOCAL news

7 percent of Puget Sound homes are underwater, compared with 12 percent nationally

A teardown a day: Bulldozing the way for bigger homes in Seattle, suburbs

BLS stats show Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue is #7 Metro area for fastest job growth

What does Vancouver’s housing market implosion mean for Seattle?

seattle

Seattle home-sale market provides small hint of slowdown

You need an annual salary of $83K to afford a home in Seattle

Everett welcomes the film industry, an important economic driver for local businesses

WEEKLY DOSE OF awesomeness

Happy 100th Birthday U.S. National Parks

 

 I hope your week is a great one! 

Jen Murrweiss | Remax Elite | 425-422-7243

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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

Welcome to winter in Snohomish County and a serious housing shortage

Snow

Are you looking for a home this winter? If so it could be a long wait to find that perfect one and you will need lots of patience.

Historically after Thanksgiving inventory of homes on the market are down 15%. Last year it was down 25% on average nationwide.  So far it seems that might be a pretty accurate percentage this year too. Home prices in the Snohomish County have also gone up.  For example the Northwest Multiple Listing report for the year shows some pretty good numbers.

The Bothell/Kenmore/Kirkland/Woodinville area shows in 2011 Median Price was $372,990 and at the end of 2012 $400,000.

Lynnwood/Edmonds/Mill Creek/Mukilteo areas show 2011 Median Price $299,900 ending 2012 at $339,000.

Marysville/Lake Stevens/Snohomish/Smokey Point areas show 2011 at $239,900 as the Median and at the end of 2012 $259,450

For the areas above only 620 total active listings at the end of 2012 versus 2011 with 1204. That is almost half. The majority, of course, were short sales and bank owned but it shows a definite change is happening and predicted to creep up more in the spring.

This will help more distressed home-owners who are starting to recover from delinquencies and can finally start to consider refinancing giving them some relief. It’s an important start to a healthy Real Estate Market.

Another sign of improvement is a lot of new home construction again.  I occasionally work and sit in a new home plat that is priced in the high 4K range and another in the 200K range. Buyers are coming in and all saying the same thing:  I have been looking for a while and there is not much out there.  My advice? You need a good agent that will be right on top of your search and listen to you. Don’t wait! When they tell you there is a hot one you need to go see it ASAP. And don’t be surprised if there are multiple offers. If it’s in a good location, good conditions and the right price it will go fast. I have seen bidding wars this year bringing the asking price up $10,000-$25,000. NO JOKE!  Buyers just can’t believe it when they offered 5K over asking price and they didn’t get it. Bottom line?  Offer what you will not bang your head against the wall if you don’t get it. Like the saying says “put your best foot forward” FIRST.

A few years ago you could play around a bit but, no longer, otherwise you will be putting in offer after offer and not get the house you want. Another mistake I see is many potential home-buyers thinking short sales are the best deal. NOT!  To add to this further- 3 out of 4 fail.  I know this first hand as I negotiated a short sale for a seller of mine and we had no problem getting offers; it was a great property.  The problem was 3 buyers backed out before we got bank approval and we had to start over again.  Causing major frustration for my sellers and me. You see each time I had to redo the paperwork, beg the bank to take another offer and start negotiating all over again. If you have your heart set on a home that is a short-sale you must commit yourself 100% to that home or do not waste your time. Why? Because on average you will wait 3-9 months.

Another one of my clients, a buyer, bless her heart, was the most patient client I have ever had. We put an offer on a short sale in January of 2012. She finally closed on the home in October.  The bank also came back with a higher price. They wanted 10K more than we offered. She had been waiting so long and loved the house so we went ahead and she finally got to move in before Halloween. If she had not been able to come up in price she would have had to walk because the banks final price is just that, their price. You either go for it or walk.

These are questions and scenarios that buyers must be aware of as they enter the market. I know most potential buyers search all over the web for homes. Sites like Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and of course my new favorite; the new and improved Remax.com but, bottom line you are getting old information. It’s great to educate yourself, see what are out there, prices in certain neighborhoods, types of home, new construction and find yourself an agent (hint,hint). I can guarantee you however, if it’s a great home a Realtor is getting their client there first or it already has an offer. Consumer websites are not always up to date. There good don’t get me wrong and some better than others but, they can’t keep up with how fast homes go pending.  I even have verbiage that I copy and paste to respond to consumers that contact me when the information is on a home that is not available. I always check on there request, of course, it just happens 9 out of 10 times the home they are asking about it not available any longer so I have a response ready. I wish it was not the case because I want to get you in and show you a home you want to see. Reality is however y re, take a need to get their first.

Well take it in stride March is coming and with the first pop of bulbs the Spring buying season pops up too with more buyers and more competition on those great homes. A lot of potential sellers are still on the fence and are going to want to make sure they’re going to break even or be able to trade up. It will be an interesting year, in my opinion, to see how it changes. I hope that rates stay low which will bring the buyers and I hope that prices do come up a bit to bring more sellers into the market.  We need to have more of an inventory which will bring stabilization of prices and more choices of homes for people.

Here’s to Spring!

www.snohomishcountyhomes4u.com

FHA Making Some Changes To Condo Rules

FHA MAKING SOME CHANGES TO CONDO RULESEdmonds

Anyone that has tried to buy a condo knows that if you’re trying to purchase with FHA financing it may limit your choices and can cause great headaches with deals falling through and more frustration than you bargained for.

So why is this the case?

Typically a condo purchase with FHA financing means the development must be FHA approved. There are numerous boxes a lender must select to make sure it is FHA compliant and if not? Either you work with your lender and the Home owner association, which could take months to get it approved or you move on to the next one. Additionally, other types of financing tend to go along with the same guidelines as FHA and if it does not meet FHA standards it may not meet theirs either. So what is a buyer and mostly first time home buyers to do?

There seems to be some good news on the horizon that is getting attention and may help condos get sold instead of sitting vacant and then going back to the bank. Finally, it seems FHA is starting to ease up a bit. On September 13, 2012 FHA implemented some changes that will cause an easing up for prospective home owners and investors. Here are the four main financing changes:

1. The condo to commercial ratio is being relaxed. This means for mixed store/commercial with home units above there can be a mix of 50% commercial. Previously 25%.

Great news in downtown Seattle!

2. Allowance is being made for investors to own ½ the units which is a huge jump up from 10%.

3. Change has been made to the rule on delinquent home owner association dues. Previously it could deny a loan if 15 percent were delinquent 30 days on HOA dues. The change now states 60 days.

4. Condo board certification in regards to liability risks of the condo’s board. Since most boards are made up of home- owners who volunteer, they were reluctant to sign FHA paperwork that could have legal implications if they forgot to add something or checked the wrong box. Now there is some verbiage that FHA recognizes their efforts to verify information. Not sure that will suffice and make members feel relaxed but, at least they are moving in the right direction.

Now I must add that these new rules will not pertain to most individual buyers and mostly will affect areas of resorts and urban developments but, it is very important because it opens the door for more changes in the future. There is talk of loosening the 50% FHA denial if ½ the units were already sold under FHA and they are looking at the owner –occupied guideline.

As an agent I see so many complications with condo/townhomes and as the market is starting to turn more positive, especially here in Snohomish County, it is good to know one of the big players in financing is starting to maybe listen a little bit to move us in the right direction for home-ownership and recovery.

Information taken from The “New York Times”es

www.snohomishcountyhomes4u.com

How Much Of A Home Do You Qualify For?

 Keys House

You have saved a down payment, cleaned up your credit, have been looking on-line dreaming for months now and finally have found a great Realtor to help you. So now what? Go out looking at homes? Not so fast. You need to find out how much of a house  you can buy? It does no good to look at $350K homes when you are more in the 250K range. If you start, believe me, it will be very had to settle in your mind on what you saw and what you can get. You need to meet with a lender and get the good news- “Yes you are pre-approved for a motgage of _____.

Have you  ever wondered how they come up with what they do and what formula is used?  The chart below is a handy guideline to reference what your payment would be based on your income and how much home you can afford. Look how interest rates play into this. Its huge! For example, we bought our house in 1998 and paid a whopping 7.25%!  Look at the difference today versus then. In other-words you can afford more house now. I bank with BECU and checked current rates today they are at 3.881% for a 30 year. In the 4rth quarter of 2012 rates were about 3.36%. There coming up!

We know these great rates wont last forever so if your on the fence take a look at what your payment would be and see if it makes sense for you. For example here in Snohomish County rents are around the monthly payment for a $300K  single family home. Crazy huh?

If you decide now is the time contact me and lets get started ! 

Interest Rate 3.25% 4.25% 5.25% 6.25% 7.25%
200,000          
Monthly Payment $1,266 $1,377 $1,496 $1,620 $1751
Monthly Income $3,246 $3,542 $3,835 $4,155 $4,489
Hourly Pay $18.73 $20.37 $22.12 $23.97 $25.90
250,000          
Payment $1,572 $1,712 $1,860 $2,015 $2,179
Income $4,032 $4,389 $4,768 $5,168 $5,586
Hourly $23.26 $25.32 $27.51 $29,81 $32.23
300,000          
Payment $1,879 $2,046 $2,223 $2,411 $2,606
Income $4,817 $5,246 $5,701 $6,181 $6,683
Hourly $27.79 $30.27 $32.89 $35.66 $38.55
350,000          
Payment $2,185 $2,380 $2,587 $2,806 $3,034
Income $5,603 $6,103 $6,634 $7,194 $7,780
Hourly $32.33 $35.21 $38.27 $41.50 $44.88

www.snohomishcountyhomes4u.com

OPEN HOUSES! Dont Miss These Ones!

OPEN HOUSES!

Bordering Mill Creek/Bothell and South Everett you will find 5 new homes tucked back on a culdesac. These are not any ordinary homes but absolutely extrodinary with builders touches and quality that you do not see everyday.

Come and see me Friday 1/11 and Saturday 1/12 from 1-3 p.m. You will fall in love!

12315 31st Ave SE, Everett 98208

Huge lots in Silver Lk~GREAT location! Private, dead-end street and lot will be mostly fenced. Features 4 bdrms, 2.75 bath, HUGE master bedroom (16×24!!) includes 5-pc master bath! Office/den downstairs *WITH CLOSET* so can be used as possible 5th bedroom!!, formal dining, rec room w/ fireplace AND living room. You’ll appreciate this builder’s attention to detail and design.

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For details on these homes please click here

Get Ready For Old Man Winter!

Winterize your home – now!

You’ve started to look for a sweater in the evenings and found yourself wearing jeans again. You’re ready for winter, but what about your house? Take these easy few steps to save yourself money and possibly damage to your home in the coming cold winter months.

  1. Clean your gutters – Once the leaves have fallen from the trees, grab a ladder and gently remove the debris from the gutters. Then, rinse the bottoms of the gutter to ensure good flow of water for those winter showers.
  2. Stop the draft – The cold winter draft that is leaking in around your doors. Take a candle or piece of incense around your home on a windy day and go near doors and windows looking for wind making its way into your home. Also check recessed lighting, door frames and electrical outlets. A variety of caulks, gaskets and weather-stripping is available at any local hardware store.
  3. Insulate your attic – If your attic has less than 12” of insulation, regardless of where in the country, you should consider adding more. It is an easy do-it-yourself project.
  4. Check the furnace – The furnace can run much more efficiently if it has a clean filter in it. Consider changing your filter once a month. They are inexpensive and pay for themselves in efficiency gains.
  5. Check your ducting insulation – Ducting in homes can become exposed from being bumped in the attic or crawlspace over time and there are huge efficiency losses from this. Ensure your ducts are covered with insulation and not exposed. Also, check for any leaks in connections while the system is running.
  6. Single-pane windows – Add an inexpensive window insulation kit to add another “pane” to the glass. This keeps the cold air trapped between another layer instead of entering your home.
  7. Get your chimney swept – A cleaned chimney will remove creosote, a flammable byproduct of burning wood. Keep your home safe from chimney fires by hiring a professional chimney sweep to remove any build-up.
  8. Reverse your fans – Who knew? You can change the direction your fan spins to push warm air downwards. When you look up to your fan, it should be turning clockwise.
  9. Wrap exposed pipes – If a pipe bursts in winter it can cause thousands of dollars in damages. Protect any exposed water pipes with insulation. Pipe insulation is inexpensive and can be applied in minutes.
  10. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors – It is always a good idea to check your batteries in the smoke detectors a couple times per year. Count this as one.
  11. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home? As of April 2012, in Washington state, it is mandatory for the selling of a home that it contains a detector on each floor and in proximity of bedrooms. Winter we spend most of our time indoors so make sure you protect yourself and your family.

You Cannot Miss Seeing This Lake Stevens Home!

BACK ON THE MARKET BUYER FINANCING FAILED. I want to get this one sold. Make us an offer! Your friends will be jealous of what a beautiful home you have!  Just take a look at what all this Lake Stevens Rambler has to offer. High end everthing with a unique bonus that you will love!

 

 

 

 
Relocating? I specialize in Relocation for Boeing and others. Here is some great information on the very popular Lake Stevens area.

History of Lake Stevens

Believed to be named after Governor Isaac I. Stevens, Lake Stevens was first settled in 1886 on a 160-acre homestead along the east shore. By 1890 the first town in the area, “Ferry,” was established. Its name was later changed to “Hartford,” and it served as the main link from the famed Monte Cristo timber and mining resources to the world.

In 1905 a railroad spur was built by the Rucker Brothers Timber Company, linking Hartford with Lake Stevens. Two years later Rucker Mill was opened, located along and in the north cove of the lake (original pilings can still be seen in the old lake outflow area just south of the boat launch). In 1919, the mill, which became known as the “world’s largest sawmill,” burned and was partially rebuilt. When it burned a second time in 1925 the mill was dismantled and Lake Stevens lost the very industry which caused its founding. However, by then a flourishing town was established and continued under its own momentum.

From the 1920’s to the 50’s Lake Stevens was primarily a resort community, with many public and private resort beaches scattered around the shore. In 1960 Lake Stevens incorporated as a City with a population of 900. Soon, its popularity and natural beauty, combined with changing commuter habits, attracted more and more residents, changing its character to that of a suburban community. By 2000 the City had grown to a population of 6,361 in approximately 1.8 square miles. The lake remains the focal point of the greater Lake Stevens community for recreation and as a symbol of our need to provide for a sustainable existence that will protect our natural environment.

Provided by: www.ci.lake-stevens.wa.us

www.snohomishcountyhomes4u.com

 

Current Eye On The Market.

Housing market rebound continues,
with “slow, unprepared buyers” settling for “2nd choice” homes

KIRKLAND, WA, October 4, 2012 – Home sales around western Washington continue to outpace activity of a year ago while inventory remains thin, according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.  Brokers say that combination is resulting in disappointment for buyers who are slow to accept the reality of a recovering housing market.

Commenting on September data from Northwest Multiple Listing Service that shows upticks in sales and prices, broker Frank Wilson said buyers who make unrealistic offers and requests are “back on the street looking at their second choice home.”  Meanwhile, some sellers with well-priced, well-prepared homes are receiving multiple offers according to Wilson, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors and the managing broker of John L. Scott Real Estate in Poulsbo.

Northwest MLS figures for September show the pace of sales slowed from the past six months, but still outgained activity of a year ago.  Members reported 5,535 closed sales, which compares to the year ago total of 4,988 for an increase of nearly 11 percent. Thirteen of the 21 counties served by the MLS reported double-digit gains in the number of completed transactions.

Through three quarters of 2012, closed sales are up 14.6 percent from a year ago (48,022 versus 41,906).

Prices on last month’s closed sales rose 9.2 percent from twelve months ago.  The area-wide median price on single family homes and condominiums that sold last month was $255,500.

Prices on single family homes (excluding condominiums) increased more than 12 percent, rising from $240,000 to $269,000.  The most expensive homes sold in San Juan County, which reported a median sales price of $380,000, and in King County, where the median selling price was $375,000.

Brokers added 7,300 new listings to inventory last month, the fewest number since January.  With those additions, there were 25,476 active listings in the MLS system at the end of September. That total is down 27.7 percent from the year-ago selection that encompassed 35,254 listings.

The sharpest drop in active listings occurred in Snohomish County, which has about half the inventory of a year ago (2,187 currently versus 4,308 active listings at end of September 2011).  Northwest MLS figures show year-over-year prices there jumped 14.6 percent.

The imbalance between supply and demand is “wreaking havoc” with some buyers and sellers, said Northwest MLS director George Moorhead, branch manager at Bentley Properties in Bothell.  Some sellers are lamenting “missed opportunities,” but he believes positive momentum will continue with the combination of below-normal inventory, record-low interest rates and changing views on home ownership. “We are seeing clients’ views change from a home being a short-term investment vehicle to being a place where we raise and teach our families,” Moorhead remarked.

MLS members tallied nearly 600 more pending sales last month than a year ago. Brokers reported 7,494 mutually accepted offers for an increase of 8.7 percent from the year-ago total of 6,897 pending transactions. Sales results were mixed across the MLS market area, with 12 counties reporting increases, eight reporting declines and one unchanged.

The rapid pace of sales in some areas coupled with dwindling inventory means below-average months of supply in some counties. Area-wide there is about 3.4 months of supply, with five-to-six months considered to be average.  King, Pierce and Snohomish counties all report levels below three months.

All cash buyers are returning to the entire market, observed MLS director Darin Stenvers. “Cash offers are being made across the price spectrum, including the million dollars-plus ranges,” he added.

Stenvers, the office managing broker at John L. Scott, Inc., in Bellingham, said the ingredients are in place for “a perfect buying season,” citing rapid absorption of inventory and well-priced homes as two factors. How long such conditions will last is “the $64,000 question,” he stated, noting pent-up demand in some areas has buyers feeling the pressure to move quickly to get their offers accepted.

New home construction will continue making a rebound, Stenvers believes. He said builders are moving cautiously in most markets, being careful to build only the sizes and quality of homes that are likely to sell before completion, and not starting too many foundations at one time.

Despite brisk activity, Stenvers noted foreclosures and owners who are delinquent on mortgage payments remain a concern. The number of owners nationwide who are 90 days or more late in making payments is again on the rise, a situation that will continue to affect foreclosure rates, he explained.

“The lack of foreclosed homes not coming on the market has successfully stabilized prices but also created a lack of homes for buyers to buy,” Stenvers stated.

Buyers are also weighing the pros and cons of renting or buying.  “The rent versus buy conundrum is still the biggest obstacle facing buyers today,” Stenvers reported.

Referring to new reports on recent and planned rent increases and low availability of good rentals in some areas, Stenvers said home ownership is “a better investment in many areas even if buyers are thinking of holding the home for a relativity short time frame.”  It is hard for someone to move into an apartment after having the freedom of a larger home, so displaced home owners are looking to rent homes first, he reported, adding, “This alone is driving investors back into the housing market,” he stated.

MLS director Wilson said while the story of a few years ago has flipped, the path to ownership remains constant. “We used to say the seller who priced and staged their home the best would get buyers. Today we’re saying buyers who are most realistic with their offers and pre-approved with a lender, and who are the most aggressive might get the house they want.”

“This is what a normal market looks like — buyers and sellers negotiating fairly with each other and each feeling they may have left a little on the table,” Wilson remarked. One of the benefits of a “normal” market is that it is not all about sale price, he explained, noting closing costs, type of loan, closing date, possession date and work orders are all things that balance out a normal transaction.

Setting up buyers for success remains the paramount goal, according to Wilson. A buyer’s path for success includes pre-approval with a lender, sufficient funds to pay their own closing costs, and the patience to wait through the closing process, especially if they are buying a short sale or bank owned home, he explained.

George Moorhead, another MLS director, echoed that advice, saying “Smart recovery is what everyone should be considering as we heal from the neglected financial actions of the past.”

Current buyers are cautiously optimistic, Moorhead reported.  Clients in general are united in debt reduction, building up savings and reserves, spending more wisely than they ever have, and have an optimistic outlook of the economy as a whole.

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 – September 2012

Single
Family
Homes
+ Condos
LISTINGS PENDING
SALES
CLOSED SALES
New
Listings
Total
Active
# Pending
Sales
#
Closings
Avg.
Price
Median
Price
King 3,009 6,312 3,072 2,312 $424,085 $335,000
Snohomish 987 2,187 1,206 880 $284,833 $261,658
Pierce 1,128 3,731 1,247 773 $231,335 $200,500
Kitsap 379 1,552 346 238 $282,866 $240,250
Mason 102 791 75 68 $202,012 $180,000
Skagit 156 904 146 121 $267,587 $230,000
Grays Harbor 100 858 93 59 $142,108 $130,000
Lewis 107 717 64 68 $159,612 $155,000
Cowlitz 137 526 102 78 $141,492 $127,450
Grant 70 571 52 57 $147,326 $137,000
Thurston 323 1,283 317 289 $223,461 $211,000
San Juan 18 408 35 29 $736,017 $375,000
Island 114 848 132 90 $311,867 $270,900
Kittitas 67 506 55 38 $259,489 $196,500
Jefferson 47 515 52 39 $239,002 $225,500
Okanogan 35 438 18 22 $206,500 $192,150
Whatcom 272 1,529 271 216 $277,558 $239,944
Clark 45 229 37 30 $194,755 $175,450
Pacific 34 414 34 23 $138,635 $119,000
Ferry 8 82 1 0 0 $0
Clallam 49 422 39 37 $223,025 $220,000
Others 113 653 100 68 $219,385 $214,750
MLS TOTAL 7,300 25,476 7,494 5,535 $323,747 $255,500

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

Current Statistical Reports

Information and statistics compiled and reported by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.