Monday, September 14, 2009

RMLS Lockbox Activity

Lockbox Activity Down Over Labor Day Weekend
House Hunters Take Break Over Holiday
It appears some house hunters took a break to get in that last camping trip or to prepare their kids for school. In Washington, the number of times RMLS™ subscribers opened Supra lockboxes was down 8% when comparing the week of August 24-30 to the week of August 31-September 6. In Oregon activity was also down 5.5%.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Prices Drop Making Homes More Affordable

Seattle metro prices have dropped to a point that is allowing families to purchase a home...two years ago the same home would be out of their reach. Read more about this family and 4 others that are able to make "affordable" purchases because of the adjustments in the housing market.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Interesting in Building Green? Check out for building supplies and ideas.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

2007 Housing Slump Alters Moving Trends
The housing slump and mortgage crisis combined to reshape population flows in 2007, according to demographic estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau in early 2008. “The hot housing market cooled off, and it’s stopping people from moving,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution that analyzed the Census estimates.
In particular, the data revealed that:
Nevada’s growth rate fell to 2.9% in 2007 from 3.5% the previous year. Florida’s growth also hit a low of just above 1%, down from its high of 2.3% in 2005. Arizona, No. 2 in growth, slipped to 2.8% from 3.6%.
Washington this year became the 13th largest state, bumping Massachusetts to No. 14.
Midwestern industrial states, including Michigan and Ohio, continue their population decline. Michigan lost 30,000 people in one year, leaving a total population of 10.07 million (8th largest state), and Ohio grew by only 3,404 people for a total population of 11.47 million [7th largest state).
Reflecting a slowdown in the lure of the Washington, D.C. metro area, Virginia gained a net 3,000 people from other states, down from 10,000 in 2006 and a high of 41,000 in 2003. “Maryland had an increase in out-migration,” Frey says. “In-migration into the greater D.C. area seems to be slowing down.”
Louisiana, still grappling with the effects of 2005’s Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, gained almost 50,000 residents between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, although the state still has 200,000 fewer residents than it did before the storms. New Orleans’ population is about two-thirds of its pre-storm level.
The housing slump also could affect the political landscape. If population declines continue, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania will each lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives through reapportionment after completion of the 2010 Census.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Secrets to Staging the Outside to Get Them InsideThursday, January 03, 2008 - By David Sobel as published in National Realty News
You’ve had that experience with a client where you drive up to a house and they don’t even want to go inside. It’s an immediate “un-appeal.” You may know the inside of the house shows much better, but you just can’t convince them to spend the time to even go inside. In today’s market where lots of choices in housing are available to the buyer, why should they?
Let's talk about some easy, inexpensive fixes that will help create that outside appeal and get you one giant step further to a sale.
Paint or stain the front and garage doors, especially if they show any weathering. These are the first visuals where a potential buyer focuses. If garage doors are metal and dented, they may need to be replaced.
Any old, basically abandoned sheds or small structures must be removed and thearea should be graded and the grass replaced.
Change any dated outside light fixture(s).
Fix that driveway. If it is blacktop, make sure cracks and crumbling areas are dug out and filled and then the whole driveway sealed. If it is cement, have large cracks filled and repaired professionally. The buyer must at least feel they can drive the moving truck in confidently!
Make sure landscaping bricks are in their proper placement. Mowing, weed-whipping sometimes moves them and this is something the homeowner rarely notices, but makes the property look unsightly.
Fill in bare dirt under large shade trees. Plant shade-tolerant plants in defined planters or groundcover. Landscape properly for that area.
All landscaping beds should be cleaned out and updated for the time of year it is in your region. Place new bedding material down.
Have trees and bushes pruned and trimmed. If a bush or tree is looking old or about to expire, remove it and replace it with a similar size and type if you can. If there is a tree limb(s) over the roof, have them removed.
If the house needs painting and a full paint job is not in the cards; have it touched up professionally in the worst, most visible spots. Paint shutters and fix them if they are hanging crooked. At least this may help get your client in the front door, even if they negotiate a full paint job into the sale later.
If the house is sided, have it power-washed and have gutters and windows cleaned! Window cleaning inside and out makes the house feel updated and fresh, rather than old and dingy.
Make sure grass is in good shape, weeds are removed, trimming done regularly. So many sellers fall down on this job the minute the house is listed, and this is critical to selling a house quickly, especially one where the owners have already moved out. In snowy climates, removal must be done regularly too. If owners have moved out, make sure you have an HWA Home Warranty to re-assure buyers.
Keep garbage and recycle containers inside the garage, along with all toys and equipment. Make sure the garage is neat and organized. Painted walls and floors also go a long way in this area and are inexpensive to do.
Decks should be washed and repainted or re-sealed; with plantings around them cleaned, weed-free and looking good. Patio furniture should be in excellent condition. Even though it is in the backyard, this is the area where the family can envision enjoying the warm days and the new yard.
If the roof has missing shingles and they can be replaced inexpensively, suggest this be done as it may save negotiation over a completely new roof. Roof repair needs and costs should be minor or the homeowner might as well replace the entire roof.
If the homeowner wants to do a bit more, suggest solar lights lining the driveway or installing a more attractive front door with lead glass inserts and replacing plain doorknobs with something more custom.
If you have an evening showing, make sure lights are on outside and inside the house. This is warm and inviting.
If it’s a holiday season, by all means decorate the home! Just like sugar cookies or vanilla scent on the inside of the house, this really says “it’s a home” and I can see myself enjoying life here! In the least, always have some greenery or flowers for the season on the front step or porch; even a birdbath with a little garden around it says home.
Remember, most homebuyers cannot visualize even these simple changes and clean ups in a house and the ones who can will be looking for a reduced price. So to sell the house at top dollar and quickly by making it “appeal” to the many who will be seeing it rather than the few who are looking for a “fixer upper.” These people know what they want, go after it and need less assistance.
Finally, have neighbors or friends look at the finished results to see if you or the home owner has missed anything key that would be quick and easy to do.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008
1. Selection, selection, selection. There are thousands of resale homes on the market in Your County. Regardless of the price range a buyer desires, there are plenty of houses from which to choose. Just a few years ago the resale inventory dropped below 1,000 units. A buyer was forced to make compromises if they were going to locate the home of their dreams.
There is a great selection of attached homes, condos, and townhouses. You can find large lots, small lots, and a lot that willaccommodate your boat or RV. There are lots of options in this market.
2. No Bidding Wars. In 2005 we had one client that made an offer on ten homes. They lost the first nine to the ’feeding frenzy’ that existed. Other buyers bid the properties up substantially from the original listing price. There were escalationclauses where buyers authorized their agents to outbid other offers by thousands of dollars. There is no competitive bidding
in this buyer’s market.
3. You can make an offer. A few years ago when you made an offer, the only question was how high above the list pricecould the buyer reach in hopes of being the best offer on the table. Today the sell price list vs. price ration is about 96%. Aseller will not be insulted if you ’make them an offer they can’t refuse’.
4. Patience is tolerated. In the hot seller’s market that existed everything was rushed. Find a house before other buyersdid. Hurry up and make the offer. Today a buyer can take their time. Look at several homes and think about your decisionfor a few hours.
5. Due diligence is welcomed. In this market a buyer is encouraged to obtain a home inspection, termite inspection, andappraisal. In 2005 many buyers waived these contingencies in order gain an advantage with multiple offers.
6. There are plenty of specs. In the not too distant past buyer had to ’play games’ if they wanted a new home. There werelotteries and waiting lists in order to obtain new construction. Some buyers slept in their cars in order to get to the head of
the lines. R.L. Brown estimates that builders have thousands of specs ready for immediate occupancy.
7. Repair requests are welcomed. After a buyer completes a home inspection, they are allowed to submit a repair request to the seller. In the past a seller might insist the home was sold ’as is’. Many times, there were back-up buyers waiting for a primary buyer to upset the seller whose home was increasing in value almost daily.
8. Few, if any investors. It is estimated that one third of all sales in 2005 were to investors. These non-owner occupied buyer caused the market to inflate and affordability to decline. Mortgage fraud became commonplace. It’s a great time to buy without having to compete with hundreds of prospective landlords.
9. Location, location, location. Today’s buyers can find homes closer to work. In the past buyers flocked to outlying areas in order to find affordable homes. In this market, reasonably priced homes are within biking or walking distance to schools, rapid transit lines, and relatives.
10. Real Financing is available. The ’wink, wink’ zero down, no doc, adjustable, sub-prime loans are gone. Fixed rates are back. FHA financing, first time homeowner bond programs, special loans for teachers, and police officers are back in business.
It’s a great time to buy real estate!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Living Here Houses In Winter Wonderlands

“It snows almost every day here and when we look out the windows, the conifers are draped in white, and it seems as if we’ve walked into a postcard.”'

Published: December 28, 2007
Don: It snows almost every day here and when we look out the windows, the conifers are draped in white, and it seems as if we’ve walked into a postcard. From the great room with its huge fireplace, we will often see elk grazing.

It’s been three and a half years since we bought this lot, which is in a community called Suncadia. And it’s been a lot of hard work to get the house built, but it’s been worth it. Our lives have been on the desert side of Washington state along the Columbia River where we farm. When you live in a desert area, you miss the snow and the trees. Some people long for a vacation where it’s sunny and warm. We look forward to the snow.

Some people know the town of Roslyn from the television show “Northern Exposure.” It’s a great location. We’re close enough to the Pacific Ocean to get large amounts of snow at a time, and we’re on the east side of the Cascades, so the views are spectacular. And there’s a purity to the environment that’s hard to describe.

During the holidays, we entertain a lot and the house, which is timber frame, was designed with seven master suites. During the day, everyone congregates to go skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling or walking in the woods, but at night when it’s time for bed, everyone has a cozy, private place to retreat to.