Whidbey Island Real Estate Information
Updates, news and information about Whidbey Island Real Estate.
Most Real Estate agents say spring is the season to sell a home, but don’t rule out fall just yet. There may be fewer buyers, but they tend to be more motivated. The key is to find them fast, because you don’t have much time before the holidays kick in and real estate really slows down. Try these selling tips:
Price aggressively. You don’t have the luxury of starting high and making incremental price drops. Be competitive – price your home 5% to 15% below comparable homes on the market.
Stage it to sell. Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it can also be hard on home maintenance. Make sure the front yard is clear of leaves, clean out gutters and downspouts, and touch up paint. Incorporate tasteful fall decor. If you have a fireplace, make it the focal point of the room.
Be flexible. Bargain hunters are out in force in the fall, so don’t be discouraged by low-ball offers. See them as opportunities to negotiate. If you don’t want to come down on price, be creative, such as offering to pay for closing costs or repairs.
In a short sale, your mortgage lender agrees to let you sell your house and agrees to take the amount you get for it-not the full amount of the mortgage.
Short sales help in many ways. For one, during the process of negotiating for and holding the short sale, you can live in your house. Also, when you have a short sale on your home, you don’t walk away with as big of a black mark on your credit as you do with a foreclosure. Of course, even if you start out with a short sale, you may only be delaying the time before you end up foreclosing if your house doesn’t sell.
Now, you can’t just walk into your lender’s office and say you want to have a short sale on your house. You are going to have to prove financial distress, and you’re going to have to walk in with proof of what your house is actually worth now. You will also need to have a proposal, complete with total costs of the sale. Your Realtor will work with you to create these documents.
But even if you qualify, you may have a hard row to how with your lender at first. Many lenders are still resisting, even though the sales save them thousands of dollars on foreclosing costs, property maintenance, and sales costs. So be persistent if you have to – someone at your lender may well see reason.
Also, there’s a new federal program that is giving money to both lenders and homeowners to help the process along. This program will also help if you have more than one mortgage on your house. We have more information about the Home Affordable Foreclosures Alternatives program. Please contact us for more information.
So before you get into a panic over your situation, realize that yu do have some power here. You can come out of this with your family, your pride, and even some of your finances intact. Just take the lead and start negotiating – home short sales save lenders money, save homeowners heartaches, and save communities from the blight of foreclosed, empty houses!
Don’t worry about finding an educated, certified short sale Realtor to list your home. Just contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.
Article Source: William Bud Gragg Jr.
First-time homebuyers are contributing to an increase in demand for smaller and less expensive new homes, according to research from economists at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Delving into data from the most recent biennial American Housing Survey, which was conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau in 2009, the study, “Characteristics of New and First-Time Home Buyers,” finds that 41 percent of the 8.4 million households who bought a home between 2007 and 2009 were first-time buyers.
The market share of first-timers was up from 35 percent in both 2005 and 2007. Although some of the demand was fueled by the initial version of the home buyer tax credit in mid-2008, which was specifically targeted to those buying a home for the first time, the upward trend is expected to continue as children of baby boomers – members of a generation that is larger than their parents’ – move into their household formation years in the period ahead.
First-time buyers for the two years of the study had an average age of 34, compared to 46 for those trading up. The average income of first-timers was over $67,000, about 30 percent below the average household income of trade-up buyers of $97,000. About half of the first-time buyers earned less than $60,000.
The household size of both first-time and trade-up buyers has been declining, while single-person households have been on the rise. First-timers bought homes with an average market value of about $184,000, compared to more than $297,000 for trade-up buyers. First-time buyers bought homes averaging 1,874 square feet, significantly below the 2,549-square-foot home purchased on average by those trading up. Forty-six percent of first-timers bought homes smaller than 1,500 square feet.
The full report is available here.
Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC released its Home Listing Report, a snapshot survey of U.S. four-bedroom, two-bathroom home listings, which found a $1.7 million difference between America’s most expensive and most affordable housing markets. Newport Beach, Calif., led the list of most expensive real estate markets in America, with an average home listing price of approximately $1.83 million for property listings meeting the subject home criteria. By contrast, America’s most affordable housing market was Detroit, Mich., with an average home listing price of approximately $68,000.
Known for its sandy beaches and historic Balboa Pavilion (established in 1906), Newport Beach, the most expensive market, has been the backdrop to numerous television shows including “The O.C.” and “Arrested Development.” Detroit, the most affordable market, is the only major U.S. city that looks South to Canada. Residents of the Motor City take great pride in Red Wings hockey and appreciate the city’s hard-working industrial and automotive history.
Home listing prices in Oak Harbor average $264,900 making Oak Harbor one of the more affordable markets in the nation. Oak Harbor compares to the average listing price of homes in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho ($239,540) and Fairbanks, Alaska ($262,752).
The HLR is a great way for people who are curious about home listing prices to get a glimpse of various markets. By reviewing the report data, people can truly recognize the local nature of real estate. Here in Oak Harbor, we are seeing the market stabilize and with the lower interest rates, it has become a very good time to be a home buyer.
Coldwell Banker Real Estate has released national real estate market reports annually for many years to provide consumers with insight into local market conditions,” said Jim Gillespie, chief executive officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “Our study shows that homeownership in the United States is generally affordable, with nearly 30 percent of the studied markets averaging $200,000 or less for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home – a size many buyers aspire to own. Today those who have the financial resources and a desire to move up to a larger home have a unique opportunity to take advantage of historically low mortgage interest rates coupled with comparatively lower prices and greater selection.”
2010 Coldwell Banker U.S. Home Listing Report – Highlights
America’s Most Affordable Markets: In addition to Detroit, America’s most affordable real estate markets are as varied in culture and trivia as they are in listing price ranges:
- Grayling, Mich., is home to many top cross-country skiing destinations.
- Sioux City, Iowa, has been recognized as a top U.S. economic community for areas between 50,000 and 200,000 people.
- Cleveland, Ohio, is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- Muncie, Ind., has gained notoriety for its successful prep sports programs.
- Norfolk, Neb., is home to many healthcare and manufacturing companies.
- Kansas City, Mo., is just behind Rome, Italy, for the largest number of fountains in a city (more than 200).
- Canton, Ohio, is home to the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
- Port Huron, Mich., features the School of Strings, which presents over 50 concerts a year with its Fiddle Club, Faculty and Student Ensembles.
- Topeka, Kan., was once temporarily renamed “Topikachu,” in honor of the Pokémon franchise.
Homeownership Affordability: In total, there are 85 U.S. markets in the HLR with average reported listing prices less than $200,000. There are 183 markets (out of a total of 296 surveyed) that are less than $300,000.
- Great Midwest: Michigan has three markets on the most affordable housing list (Detroit, Grayling and Port Huron), and all 10 of the most affordable markets are in the Midwest.
- Low Monthly Payments: Put in perspective, a $200,000 30-year-fixed mortgage at a 4.5% rate could cost a buyer a relatively low monthly mortgage payment of just above $1,000. The average $68,000 four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Detroit could average less than $350 a month.
- Pacific Paradise: Out of the 10 most expensive real estate markets, six are from California: Newport Beach, Palo Alto, San Francisco, La Jolla, Pasadena and Santa Barbara.
- Above $750,000: The survey included 25 housing markets where the average listing price for the subject home was more than $750,000, including 10 markets whose average listing price exceeded $1 million.
TABLE 1 – TOP 10 LISTS
The top 10 most expensive and most affordable real estate housing markets in the 2010 Coldwell Banker U.S. Home Listing Report are:
|Rank||Most Expensive||Avg. Listing Price for Feb. – Aug. 2010
In U.S. $
|Most Affordable||Avg. Listing Price for Feb. – Aug. 2010
In U.S. $
|1||Newport Beach, Calif.||$1,826,348.00||Detroit, Mich.||$68,007.00|
|2||Palo Alto, Calif.||$1,479,227.00||Grayling, Mich.||$84,625.00|
|3||Rye, N.Y.||$1,325,500.00||Sioux City, Iowa||$85,967.00|
|4||San Francisco, Calif.||$1,325,103.00||Cleveland, Ohio||$87,240.00|
|5||La Jolla, Calif.||$1,210,300.00||Muncie, Ind.||$100,314.00|
|6||Greenwich, Conn.||$1,195,614.00||Norfolk, Neb.||$107,814.00|
|7||Wellesley, Mass.||$1,080,458.00||Kansas City, Mo.||$112,449.00|
|8||Pasadena, Calif.||$1,043,683.00||Canton, Ohio||$114,325.00|
|9||Honolulu, Hawaii||$1,026,821.00||Port Huron, Mich.||$116,267.00|
|10||Santa Barbara, Calif.||$1,024,661.00||Topeka, Kan.||$116,343.00|
TABLE 2 – U.S. HOME LISTING REPORT
For all markets included in the U.S. Home Listing Report, below are the most expensive and most affordable markets by state (as well as Puerto Rico):
|Avg. Listing Price for Feb. – Aug. 2010
In U.S. $
|Avg. Listing Price for Feb. – Aug. 2010
In U.S. $
|ARKANSAS||Fort Smith||$238,540||Little Rock||$208,438|
|IOWA||Iowa City||$247,076||Sioux City||$85,967|
|LOUISIANA||Baton Rouge||$246,106||New Orleans||$166,009|
|MISSOURI||St. Louis||$223,819||Kansas City||$112,449|
|NEW JERSEY||Basking Ridge||$820,207||Toms River||$374,883|
|NEW MEXICO||Santa Fe||$410,707||Albuquerque||$355,169|
|NORTH DAKOTA||Minot||$216,248||Grand Forks||$197,644|
|RHODE ISLAND||Providence* $144,900|
|UTAH||Salt Lake City||$401,354||Provo||$193,325|
|WISCONSIN||Madison||$299,675||Fond du Lac||$119,838|Comments
The housing market in the United States may not be thriving, but business is booming for foreclosure rescue and loan modification scammers.
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report in July 2010 entitled “Home Ownership Preservation”. It states that: “The current foreclosure crisis has provided persons who may perpetrate mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification schemes with unprecedented opportunities to profit from homeowners desperate to save their homes.
The GAO report says there are two main types of foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams: advance-fee loan modification schemes and sales-leaseback schemes, with advance-fee schemes being the most common.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports on a new twist on the advance-fee scam that’s showing up this year, a “forensic mortgage loan audit.” The scammer offers to find regulatory violations in your original mortgage that will help you avoid foreclosure or even cancel your loan. There’s no evidence that anyone has ever succeeded in modifying their loan using this approach.
Here are some “red flags” that at-risk homeowners should watch out for when looking for foreclosure help, courtesy of the FTC. You should avoid any business that:
• guarantees to stop the foreclosure process – no matter what your circumstances
• instructs you not to contact your lender, lawyer, or credit or housing counselor
• collects a fee before providing you with any services
• accepts payment only by cashier’s check or wire transfer
• encourages you to lease your home so you can buy it back over time
• tells you to make your mortgage payments directly to it, rather than your lender
• tells you to transfer your property deed or title to it
• offers to buy your house for cash at a fixed price that is not set by the housing market at the time of sale
• offers to fill out paperwork for you
• pressures you to sign paperwork you haven’t had a chance to read thoroughly or that you don’t understand.
courtesy of MilitaryAvenue.com
Short Sales? Foreclosures? REO Properties? Bank Owned Properties? HUD Repos? What kind of houses are these? Are they good Deals? Should I buy one?
VA? FHA? Conventional Financing? ARMS? 15 Year? 30 Year? What Down payment? Points? Buy Down? Closing Costs? Yikes, what should I do???
There are many opportunities and questions in today’s real estate market. I believe because there are also so many unknowns and choices that consumers are overwhelmed and fearful of making a decision. They don’t want to make the WRONG decision.
Our responsibility is to help you make the decision that is RIGHT for you. We are passionate about this. We want what is best for you. As professionals, we have been guiding home buyers and sellers through this maze for a long time. We are continually educating ourselves on the latest laws, trends, marketing ideas, and technology so that we can answer your questions and point you in the right direction.
If you are a buyer with questions or frustrations, let us help you with some answers. If you are a seller and need some counsel or want to know our marketing strategies, give us a call or email or visit our website. We consider it an honor to be of help to our neighbors and friends. Thank you
Whidbey Island, Wa. is home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Many of our homeowners are active military members and must relocate every 3-4 years. During normal economic times, purchasing a home, living in it for 3 years and selling when needed is not a problem. With a normal 3% – 5% yearly appreciation, selling costs are absorbed and a small profit can be made if the owner needs to sell after 3 years of home ownership. They have experienced the tax benefits, as well as all of the other benefits of owning a home on Whidbey Island during that time.
During today’s economic times though, most of our homeowners that purchased a home in the last 3 -4 years are upside down with their mortgage. There is more money owed than the house can sell for thus creating a predicament for the homeowner. One of the solutions is to allow the bank to foreclose on the home, drastically affecting credit ratings, etc. Another possible solution is to work out a compromise with the lender and sell the home for less than what is owed. These are commonly known as a short sales.
On Whidbey Island today, we are experiencing quite a few short sales. It is a large segment of our real estate market at this time. Anyone considering purchasing a home would want to consider short sales. There are some unusual circumstances and time lines required with short sales and they should be entered into only with a knowledgeable agent as your guide.
Many military members are not aware of the Homeowners Assistance Program
(HAP) that went into effect when the Stimulus package was signed last month.
Most of the info on the “Homeowner’s Assistance Program” is found on their
- Current provisions from HAP:
*Reimburse the applicant for part of your loss from selling the
*Assist the applicant if you don’t receive enough proceeds from the
sale of the home to pay off the mortgage
*Buy the applicant’s home by paying off the mortgage (not available
for overseas applicants).
*Help the applicant if the mortgage is in default.
- Individuals eligible for HAP now that the Economic Stimulus Package is
*Wounded warriors with at least a 30% disability rating relocating
for medical treatment or medical retirement
*Uniformed Service Members under PCS orders to a duty station
outside a 50-mile radius of their current station. The primary residence
must have been purchased before July 1, 2006 and sold between July 1, 2006
and Sep. 30, 2012.
*Uniformed Service Members, & Federal Civilians including NAF
funds) employees who are affected by BRAC (Base Realignment & Closure),
without tying the decline in home values to BRAC.
*The Spouse of a member of the Armed Forces or a civilian employee
of the Department of Defense or the United States Coast Guard if – the
member or employee was killed in the line of duty or in the performance of
his or her duties during a deployment on or after September 11, 2001, in
support of the Armed Forces or died from a wound, injury, or illness
incurred in the line of duty during such a deployment.
While it seems that waiting for the price of Whidbey Island homes to go lower before purchasing is a good idea, it may cost you more to wait than to purchase now. Trying to time the bottom of a market, to get the “best deal” is very hard to do. With interest rates at their lowest levels in quite some time, it is in the buyer’s best interest to negotiate their best deal now and lock in the mortgage rate that is currently available. It is recommended that you visit with your local Whidbey Island lender and get pre-qualified at today’s interest rate and go shopping for your dream home now instead of waiting for prices to go lower.
This video discusses and compares the differences of interest rates. Please feel free to call us with any questions or visit our website for further information.