Whidbey Island Real Estate Information

Updates, news and information about Whidbey Island Real Estate.

5 Demands to Make on Your Real Estate Agent

August 8th, 2013 at 12:30 pm by Rick Schutte
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Recently I read a great article that I wanted to pass along.  After being in this business for over 35 years, I have learned that the real estate customer doesn’t need a good broker, they need a GREAT broker.  This article shares some ideas that you should consider when looking for a GREAT broker.

 

Are you thinking of selling your home? Are you dreading having to deal with strangers walking through the house? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of selling. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant. You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one. Let us help.

If we were hiring an agent to sell my home today, we would require that they:

1. Tell us the truth about the price

Too many agents just take the listing at any price and then try to the ‘work the seller’ for a price correction later. Demand that the agent prove to you that they have a belief in the price they are suggesting. Make them show you their plan to sell the house at that price – TWICE! Every house in today’s market must be sold two times – first to a buyer and then to the bank.

The second sale may be more difficult than he first. The residential appraisal process has gotten tougher. It has become more difficult to get the banks to agree on the contract price. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the listing.

2. Understand the timetable with which my family is dealing

You will be moving your family to a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan. This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. I am not suggesting that your agent can pick the exact date for your move. You just want the agent to exert any influence they can.

3. Remove as many of the challenges as possible

It is imperative that your agent know how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.

Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on the parts of the listing contract that were most important to them (commission, length, etc.), don’t expect them to turn into Superman when they are negotiating for you with your buyer.

4. Help with the relocation

If you haven’t yet picked your new home, make sure the agent is capable and willing to help you. The coordination of the move is crucial. You don’t want to be without a roof over your head the night of the closing. Likewise, you don’t want to end up paying two housing expenses (whether it is rent or mortgage). You should, in most cases, be able to close on your current home and immediately move into your new residence.

5. Get the house SOLD!

There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving. You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with selling. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that selling the house is why you hired them. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. price correction, repair, removing clutter), insist they have the courage to inform you.

Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!

 

This article courtesy of  The  KCM Blog.

North Whidbey Home Sales Going Through the Roof

June 11th, 2013 at 9:59 am by Rick Schutte
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Homes on North Whidbey have seen a gradual price increase of 2.5% year over year as active inventory levels of homes for sale continue to remain low.. We are seeing more homes being listed for sale, but sales have increased at such a dramatic level  (68% closed increase year to date from last year and a whopping 95% more closed transactions in May 2013 then May 2012) that the inventory remains low with the homes that are least desirable staying available for sale and those homes that are priced right selling quickly

The average sales price for North Whidbey Homes for Sale was $223,600 in May 2013 compared to $218,100 during May 2012.

 

The number of North Whidbey Island Homes for Sale that sold was 45 in May 2013 vs. 23 in May 2012.

There are 59 North Whidbey  Homes for Sale that are in contract which represents 23% of the overall available inventory of 259 homes for sale.

This Month’s Most Expensive

The most expensive of all North Whidbey Island Homes for sale this month is listed at $1,800,000 and includes 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths and has 5,231 sqft. This home is located on the north end of Whidbey Island on 133″ on beautiful, pristine waterfront.(schedule a showing).

This Month’s Least Expensive

The least expensive of all North Whidbey Island homes for sale came in at $12,000 and would be a great home for a first time homebuyer. It is located in a local mobile home park.

Click to see the full report

See the Full North Whidbey Island Homes for Sale and Sold Report for May 2013
 
Information valid as of June 10, 2013. Please contact us for the most current information and status of these properties.

Choosing to Improve Your Home

May 28th, 2013 at 3:16 pm by Rick Schutte
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Seller Tips for Selling your Whidbey Island HomeIf you want to make improvements to your home, you may want to take a second look at Houzz.com. Cited as a source for inspiration and collaboration and research for home owners everywhere, Houzz is also a source for hiring local contracting professionals, too.

With more than sixty categories of home related projects to choose from, including interior remodeling contractors and outdoor living space professionals, Houzz is more than just a place to get great ideas for your home. Houzz is also a great source for you to find the interior designers, architects, and landscapers for your home who created and constructed those designs in the first place!

Increased home values often result in homeowners deciding to make changes in their homes, whether due to a potential sale or just a quality of life improvement, and technology makes this process so much easier.

“Homeowners and professionals alike are telling us that they are moving forward with more building, renovation and design projects this year,” said Liza Hausman, VP Community at Houzz. “Houzz provides homeowners with the absolute best resource to find the right professional for their project.”

As a homeowner, ideas for improving your home may come in many forms, but Houzz.com is definitely a resource to be considered. Another resource to consider when determining whether a home improvement will add to your home value is your local real estate expert.

Determining the Landscaping for Your Home

May 1st, 2013 at 12:48 pm by Rick Schutte
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Your Home and GardenImproving the landscape around your home is not just about good looks. Home value can also increase with fine-tuned and maintained landscaping. Before hiring a landscape designer to reconstruct your home, it’s helpful to compile a list of questions. You may share images of design styles and verify license and insurance, as well. The right landscaping combines local elements and weather conditions, as well as energy efficiency.

Your outdoor landscaping can also serve as a sound or visual barrier. Many options are available from furniture placement to the planting of tall shrubs along a home’s border.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, the Top Trends for Your Home in 2013 Include:

  • Fragrance Producing Gardens
  • Variation in Color of Flowers & Greenery
  • Bulb Gardens
  • Vegetable & Fruit Combination Gardens
  • Grocery Gardens
  • Old Fashioned Looks
  • Paver Designs Incorporated in Gardens
  • Garden Seating
  • Herb Gardens
  • Butterfly Gardens
  • Hanging Plant Gardens
  • Texture Gardens

Whether you are in a new home and just beginning your gardening plans or are in the home you’ve had for years, many of these gardening ideas may appeal to you.  As you consider your home and the landscape style that will surround it, consulting with a professional landscaper may give you additional perspective and save you from a expensive mistake.

National Open House April 20-21

April 12th, 2013 at 10:58 am by Rick Schutte
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Many local Whidbey Island Realtors will be participating in the Realtors National Open House event Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21.  This is always a great time to get out and see some of the beautiful homes that are for sale on Whidbey Island.

Check your local newspaper for information or Whidbey News Times online.

 

Buying Your Home – Is the Time Right?

March 4th, 2013 at 3:41 pm by Rick Schutte
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HOI and Your HomeWondering about the possibility of buying your home in the current housing market?

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released this week confirmed other recent reports of growth in the real estate market.  Spurred on by historically low interest rates in the final quarter of 2012, home buyers saw more housing affordability and relatively stable home pricing throughout the United States, making it possibly the right time for you to buy your home.

According to the HOI, gains in home affordability rose from 74.1 % to 74.9% in the final quarter of 2012,  making homes affordable to median income earners in the United States.  The current median income is $65,000.

North Carolina Home Builder and NAHB Chairman Rick Judson explained why this was good news for potential home buyers.  “The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers,” Judson said. “Because it shows that homeownership remains within reach of median-income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path.”  Judson also shared results of the recent NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index which noted that 259 out of 361 metro real estate areas qualify as improving.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe also remarked on this news, saying, “It is noteworthy that affordability remains historically high thanks to favorable mortgage rates even as national home price indexes show some rise in values.”  Crowe shared that the median price of new and existing homes in that same quarter was still up, at $188,000.

The top housing markets for affordability included Ogden-Clearfield, Utah; Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis-Carmel, Indiana; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida.; Syracuse, New  York; Fairbanks, Alaska; Cumberland, Maryland; Springfield, Ohio; Monroe, Michigan; and Mansfield, Ohio.  As you consider your home buying options, these areas may be of interest to you.

Find out more and see housing market updates online at the National Association of Home Builders.

 

A Realtor’s Most Asked Question

January 14th, 2013 at 4:55 pm by Rick Schutte
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Contributed by Gil Daigle – Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate

When I am at work, I always wear a nametag, and often I will wear a Coldwell Banker golf shirt or vest, it is just what I do when I’m when I’m working. In my daily travels, people see the nametag and logo shirt realize, I’m a Realtor®, and invariably ask, “How’s the market?” It’s like meeting someone and asking how they are. My response is always a form of what prices are doing. I might say, “Prices are down over 7% from last year.” This got me thinking, maybe I should let my friends know how the market is doing.

When discussing real estate, the major thing to keep in mind is that real estate is very local. Network news likes to quote National Association of Realtors® statistics for the whole country. Those statistics may be valuable for an economist but they don’t mean a thing to you and me locally. So, here is my state of real estate report for you.

The total number of sales (residential, condo, and homes in parks) on North Whidbey Island in 2012 was 360. This number is down ever so slightly from 361 the previous year and down significantly from 942 in our peak year of 2005. In 2012, the average sales price of a house was $217,400, which is down 7.12% from last year. It took an average of 153 days to sell that house and the final sales price was 90.85% of the initial list price. In other words, the seller needed to lower the initial asking price by 9.15%.

In Central Whidbey, the total number of sales (just residential) was 102 which is up from the 88 sales in 2011 but down from the 173 sales in the peak year of 2005. The average sales price was $280,500, which was down from 2011 by 7.84%. This typical house took 164 days to sell and it sold for 11% less than the initial list price.

Okay but what does it mean. To me the significant numbers are the total sales. The housing market is driven by sales. In North Whidbey, we had one less sale than in 2011, and in Central Whidbey sales increased by 14. I think this is a good indicator. The way to turn the housing market around is to sell houses. When people get their confidence back, sales will happen. When sales increase, prices will increase and we will be on the road to recovery.

The truth about wealth for most Americans is that nothing they will do in their lifetime is likely to make them as much money as buying a house and living in it. Investment in my house has secured my retirement. True that investment has lost ground since 2005, but I’m still ahead of the game. America needs the housing market to recover and it will. There has never been a better time to buy. Interest rates and prices are as low as they will ever be.

 

Flip Your Home Through 2014

December 12th, 2012 at 4:03 pm by Rick Schutte
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house flipping your house through 2014If you are considering investing in real estate in the new year or in selling your home that was recently purchased, you’ll be excited to know that the Federal Housing Administration has agreed to a temporary extension on the waiver on home flipping.

At one point in time, home owners were required to hold title for more than 90 days before selling their property. Now, however, you can buy your home, fix it up, and resell it without time restrictions, per the original policy put into place in 2010 by the Obama administration.  Since 2010 the extension has been granted on a yearly basis, but this announcement extends it for two years.

The renewal of this policy, announced at the end of November, will remain in force until December 31, 2014 to allow security to buyers and lenders who wish to engage in these practices. The waiver is subject to certain restrictions, and may result in an increase in available home inventory.

According to Carol J. Galante, Acting FHA Commissioner, the extension was granted to increase resales of foreclosed properties in struggling neighborhoods. He said,  “FHA remains a critical source of mortgage financing and stability and we must make every effort to promote recovery in every responsible way we can.”

Learn About How the Extension Affects Your Home and Neighborhood

To read the actual waiver and restrictions placed on anti-flipping regulations, such as the need to show renovations and an inspection to support a sales price increase of greater than 20%, click here.  If you are interested in learning more about investing and how this change can impact your home, give me a call.

Home Mortgage Rates Continue to Dip

December 3rd, 2012 at 3:24 pm by Rick Schutte
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PMMS rates are low for your home2012 has seen consistently low mortgage rates, but according to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) recently released, those rates have gotten even lower this week!

With the 30 year fixed averaging at 3.31% and the 15 year fixed averaging at 2.63%, qualifying home buyers have increased opportunity to purchase the home of their dreams, possibly even your home. These rate averages include points (.7 on a 30 year loan and .6 on a 15 year loan), but are still lower than any other week compiled this year by Freddie Mac. Lower rates mean that a home buyer can buy the same amount of home for a smaller monthly mortgage payment and/or possibly qualify for more home than previously expected.

According to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac,”Fixed mortgage rates continued to ease somewhat this week to record lows and should help the ongoing housing recovery.” Nothaft continued, “Already, new construction on homes was up 3.6 percent in October to the strongest pace since July 2008. In November, homebuilder confidence rose for the sixth straight month to its highest reading since June 2006 according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. And existing home sales increased 2.1 percent in October to an annualized pace of 4.79 million, exceeding the market consensus forecast.”

When home buyers have more buying capacity and inventory is low due to increased home sales, home sellers are likely to see increases in home prices and multiple offers. If you are interested in selling your home, these trends make it worth your while to contact a real estate professional to learn specifics on selling your home. Read more about mortgage rate trends by clicking here.

Now Is A Unique Period in History

November 13th, 2012 at 4:11 pm by Rick Schutte
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This article is written by one of our experienced agents, Gil Daigle.

I got a flu shot last week. Because it was a workday, I was wearing my nametag, which advertises me as a Realtor®. The nurse who was giving me the shot started to talk about real estate. The conversation started out like all of these conversations do with the nurse asking me “How’s the market?” I gave my stock answer that it could be better and then went on to say what a great time it is to buy real estate. I talked about the depressed prices and the low interest rates. When I was finished, he told me a story.

A Remarkable Story

Last November he and his wife started to invest in real estate. Between November 2011 and April 2012 they purchased four condominiums in Kirkland for $300,000 cash. He went on to tell me that all four are rented and they generate $4,000 a month. After condominium fees and other expenses, the monthly net is $2,500. A very quick and basic calculation indicates this is a 10% return on his investment per year. You might be asking yourself “so what?” The simple answer is where else can you get 10% interest on an investment that will increase in value.

What Other Investments Are Available?

I searched the Internet and discovered the best interest rate you can get for a certificate of deposit is 1.1%. The big catch is you must deposit $25,000. The stock market might be the answer. Unfortunately, the average gain of the Dow Jones Industrial average since 2000 is only 2.57% with the big catch being its wild fluctuations. In 2003, the Dow gained 25.32%; however, in 2008 it lost 33.84%.

Do we all have $300,000 cash on hand to invest? I’m guessing the answer to that is no. However, interest rates are very low even on investment properties. Check with your banker for rate information. Talk to me about the availabilities of property. Whatever your circumstances it make good sense to think about investing in real estate.

If you are a renter, take the plunge and buy. If you have a good credit rating, there are multitudes of financing opportunities available. Talk to your banker and see what works for you. Then talk to me, I’m sure I can find you something you will like.

We Are In A Unique Period of History.

We are in a unique period of history. Since World War I interest rates have been this low only once, between 1933 and 1950. Remembering your U.S. History that was the Great Depression and World War II. Currently the US economy is down and the government is doing everything it can to bring about a recovery. These real estate conditions will not last. Get your piece of the American Dream while is it at its most affordable!

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About Rick Schutte

Rick is the owner/designated broker of Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate and Koetje Property Management. He has been involved with the real estate industry on Whidbey Island for over 32 years. He is a past president of the NWMLS as well as a current board member of the North Puget Sound Association of Realtors. He has been designated by the National Association of Realtors as a Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager as well as a Graduate of the Real Estate Institute. Rick can be reached at 360-675-5811 or cbk@WhidbeyRealEstate.com You can also check out his website at http://www.cbkoetje.com

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