Posts Tagged ‘real estate’
Just because you’ve closed escrow and have given the keys to the house to their new owner doesn’t mean you’re done just yet. While the hard part is over, there are still a few tasks you should complete before calling it a done deal.
It should go without saying, but once you’ve moved your possessions out of your home, you should thoroughly clean it. Though it isn’t necessarily required, it is a nice courtesy to extend to the buyer of your home. Nobody likes moving into a dirty house, or wants to waste time getting settled in by having to give the entire home a thorough cleaning.
Organize and store sale documents
Selling a home can produce a mountain of paperwork, and it may be tempting to toss all of it once the sale is complete. But don’t go shredding those documents too soon. You will want to keep a copy of all your records for the upcoming tax season, to show your expenses and any proceeds from the sale. You should also hang onto them in case you should ever get audited for that tax year.
Keep records of home improvements
Not only should you keep all sales documents, but you should also keep records of any improvements you have made on your home. These are also needed for tax purposes. The IRS allows homeowners to improvements to your home’s cost during the time that you owned it.
Contact utility companies
Another important task to complete when you’re selling your home is to contact the utility companies to have your service discontinued. You should arrange for the services to be disconnected on your closing date. Also arrange to have home delivery of your newspaper canceled, and the alarm service disconnected. Notify each company of your forwarding address so they know where to send the final bill.
Change your address
At this point, you should also complete a change of address form with the United States Postal Service. The form can be completed in person at a local branch or online. Although this blanket service will ensure that most of your mail gets forwarded to your new address, you should still notify credit card companies, banks and other places where you do business of your new information.
Terminate homeowner’s insurance
In addition to disconnecting utility services, you also need to contact your insurance agent to cancel your homeowner’s insurance policy. You should do this even if you’ve arranged for a new homeowner’s policy with the same agent. They will not automatically terminate your old policy for you, so you should be sure to complete that task yourself.
Be aware of tax laws
Finally, stay on top of tax laws when you’re preparing your taxes for the year in which you sold your home. Tax laws do change from year to year, and you want to be sure that you’re making the most of any deductions that could be coming your way from the sale of the house. Please feel free to contact us for local Whidbey Island Real Estate information
Compliments of Virtual Results
If you’re thinking about selling your Whidbey Island home, chances are you’ve been told that the end of the year is a terrible time to do it. You’ve likely heard two main reasons to back up this assertion: the holidays are too stressful and there are no buyers this time of year.
Well, we’re here to argue that this is no longer true in today’s market. While selling during the holidays can present its own set of challenges, it actually can be a great time to put your home up for sale. Here are five great reasons why.
There’s less competition
During the holiday season, many homeowners decide to forgo any perceived hassle and take their homes off the market. This can be a great opportunity if you decide to sell now. Fewer homes on the market means less competition for your home, which is especially good if there are many houses like yours in your community. If there are fewer homes for potential buyers to visit, you’re more likely to get a better offer due to low inventory.
Buyers are motivated
The holidays are a busy time. Add into that a home search and it’s easy to see how some people could be overwhelmed and simply opt out of their home search during the holiday season. If a buyer isn’t restricted by an upcoming relocation, they can afford to take a little time off from their search. But there will be some buyers out there who need to find a home by a certain time. These types of buyers are a seller’s dream, as they are particularly motivated. They’re willing to set aside comfort and savings in order to expedite the buying process.
People are browsing online listings
Since the holiday season generally brings vacation time for most people, it means they have extra time to devote to home searches, especially those conducted online. If your home is on the market, it will show up in online searches, giving many more potential buyers an opportunity to discover your listing.
International buyers are increasing in number
More and more foreign homebuyers are becoming interested in the U.S. real estate market. These buyers don’t often follow the same schedule or calendar as we do in the states, so they may be using this time to do some serious house hunting.
Your home looks particularly nice
Even if you’re in the process of selling, you probably still feel compelled to celebrate the holiday season by decking the halls. Don’t fight that urge. Emotion plays a key factor in a buyer’s decision-making process, and if your home looks especially lovely decorated for the holidays, that could work in your favor. Just be sure to keep the decorations tasteful and that they don’t take away or hide any of your home’s best features.
So there you have it. Don’t let fear keep you from selling your house during the holiday season. Now is a great time to list – and think how nice it will be to start the year with a sale under your belt!
Photo: Courtesy of Realtor.com
As we research the types of buyers that will be looking for homes in 2017, an interesting trend continues to come to the forefront. In years past, we have always looked to the move up buyers to stimulate the market. They bought the new and larger homes and sold the home they were living in. The new wave of buyers that are entering the market though, seem to be first time home buyers that have been cautiously waiting to purchase and now for a variety of reasons find this to be the time. While inventory of homes for sale is still a major concern, interest rates remaining at all time lows is still an attractive reason to consider buying now. With the unknown of when those interest rates will rise, buyers are wisely moving into the market now. It will be interesting to keep our fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the local Whidbey Island real estate market in comparison to the national market. I will keep you informed as we move forward.
I don’t usually post about our office in particular, but I am awfully excited about our new construction taking place and wanted you, my blog readers, to be excited with me.
On February 19th, ground was broken to begin construction of our new 3,600 square foot building – and remodel of the existing building – that will allow Koetje Property Management and Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate to be located side by side. It may have been a blustery day but Coldwell Banker Koetje Brokers, friends and family turned out for the big event!
Located on the corner of Pioneer Way (aka the Pi-OH) and City Beach St, we like to think of ourselves as being the gateway to historic downtown Oak Harbor. Since it has been more than 40 years that any new construction has happened in this historic area, we are happy to be stirring community interest downtown on the Pi-OH and to help bring more people to its restaurants and shops.
Our new building and remodel is going to allow us room for our 22 Brokers, 8 additional offices for future Brokers, our 13 employees and for our Owners, Rick Schutte & Camden Schutte.
Quantum Construction, Inc has been making great headway despite the strong winds since they began four and a half weeks ago. We are excited to share the progress they have been making and will continue to blog with updates.
We are also flattered that the Whidbey News-Times wrote a wonderful article on our expansion, please click to read it here.
Our neighbors struggling with the battles of Breast Cancer – NOT IN OUR HOUSE! October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate and Koetje Property Management are going PINK! “Not in Our House” is a fundraising campaign to help those locally in the area who are being affected by the obstacles breast cancer throw in their way.
HOW ARE WE HELPING?
For every sale of a home that Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate is involved with during the month of October, the broker from Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate involved in the transaction will donate an amount from his/her commission to the fundraiser & the company will then match that donation. Look for the PINK SIGNS on our “For Sale” riders!
For every new property that Koetje Property Management receives into management during the month of October, the company will donate to the fundraiser.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate and Koetje Property Management wanted to donate the money locally, so that our neighbors who may be struggling with the battles of breast cancer financially, physically and mentally may receive some relief. Whidbey General and Island Hospital both have cancer programs to help those who are in need of some sort of assistance.
It has been a while since I have posted real estate market conditions here on Whidbey Island. It has been a very busy market this Spring and Summer and it appears that it will continue into the Fall. On North Whidbey we are expecting the new Navy personnel to begin arriving sometime in the late Fall, early Winter, and to then continue throughout the next couple of years. That will definitely keep us busy helping them find housing. With the continual volatility of the stock market and the low interest rates available, we are seeing investors and second home buyers on South Whidbey purchasing without any financing and paying cash.
To get an idea of how today’s market is compared to five years ago, I ran some stats on a typical 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1600 – 1800 sq. ft. home. It was interesting to see that on South Whidbey the homes that match that criteria have sold for the same price as they sold for in 2010 and that the median price of all home sales for the same area had rebounded to where they were equal to 2010. Between 2010 and 2015 home prices had dropped but they are now back to 2010 levels and trending up.
Home sales prices on North Whidbey for the same criteria (3 bd, 2 bath, 16 – 1800 sq. ft.) have actually increased by 16% over the 5 year period from 2010 – 2015, while the overall market on North Whidbey has regained price losses that occurred during that five year period and are now back up to 2010 price levels and trending upward also.
Due to the continual low amount of listings of both the South and North Whidbey real estate markets, together with low interest rates, I would expect to see a continued upward trend in home prices. I would also expect to see an increase in new home construction, but with not much residential developments currently available to build, it may be a few years before we see much construction.
That’s it for now. If you would like more in-depth information, please feel free to contact me.
The short answer is “yes,” but know what you’re signing up for.
In a seller’s market it seems like most homes should sell — given enough time and exposure on the market. But there are some situations where a home MUST sell: the owners need to move for work or because of a job loss; or, the home was left in a will and proceeds need to be split among the inheritors; the sellers are experiencing divorce, or any number of other reasons a home needs to sell quickly.
With a quick sale required, sellers may be temped to go for an agent’s offer that sounds too good to be true: The agent will “buy your home if it doesn’t sell!”
According to Angie’s List, such offers are not scams. They are, in fact, marketing tactics that might work for you in your situation — a win-win — or, might be a really bad deal. Before signing on the bottom line, make certain you know what you’re agreeing to.
Home sale guarantees
Real estate professionals may offer a variety of types of guarantees. Each has its own value to both the agent and the seller:
- “If I don’t sell your home, I’ll buy it” — Often, this type of guarantee offer comes from agents that work with investors. An investor wants to buy a home either to rent or to sell at a profit. In this scenario, you should plan to part with a chunk of your equity. This program may work for you if you need to sell quickly but don’t need top dollar from your home, if you need to sell to settle an estate, or if you’ve found a new home at a substantial discount and just can’t afford the two mortgages at once. Just know that you will see less return on this type of sale. If your agent only sells under this program and not to the general public, you’ll end up with less in your pocket.
- “If I don’t sell your home in X months, I’ll buy it” — When a program has time stipulations, it usually also has price stipulations. You’ll most likely be agreeing to a schedule of markdowns (monthly, bi-weekly or weekly) so that by the “I’ll buy it” date it reaches the price the agent will pay for it.
- “We guarantee you X% of the value” — In this approach, the agent offers a specific discounted price if your home doesn’t sell. Often, this is about 90% of its fair market value, plus fees and commissions.
The bottom line
Before you agree to any home sale guarantee plan, know that if the agent does not sell your home outright and the plan goes into effect you’ll be accepting far less for your home than on the open market. While this seems like a lose-lose for the typical home seller, it can be a win-win if the sale is urgent or the sellers have extenuating circumstances.
The best scenario
When selling your home, the best scenario is to work with a real estate professional that knows the home’s market, can advise you on the best way to prepare your home and create curb appeal, and offers all marketing resources (online, offline, print, local, signage, MLS, etc.).
Compliments of Virtual Results
I thought that I would share a couple of interesting graphs with you today. These are graphs of the sales and active listings for North Whidbey Island January 2013 – Sept. 2014. As you can see, the sales have continued to increase and the number of active listings has decreased, leading us into a good seller’s market. This is really unique though, since interest rates continue to stay low, probably not being raised until mid 2015, and our prices continuing to stay relatively stable. These conditions still make it very affordable for buyers also. In fact, we are seeing quite a few first time home buyers entering the real estate market. I will write another blog in the near future with complete stats and a video for the third quarter.
Rick Schutte, Broker/Owner of Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate in Oak Harbor, Wa. interviews Lyn Bankowski, senior loan originator, from AlaskaUSA Mortgage about the need of checking your annual credit report.
In this interview, Lyn mentions the free reports can be found at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/. This central site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies. AnnualCreditReport.com is the official site to help consumers obtain their free credit report. You can also go to http://ftc.gov/freecreditreport for more information.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to your credit report for free from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.
For more information on credit reports and real estate, please contact us at any time.
In today’s real estate environment, buyer’s representation is an important aspect of your real estate transaction. A buyer’s agent is always representing your best interest and is obligated to inform you of options you may have that will impact your purchase. The buyer’s agent has been trained in negotiations and local market conditions to help you get the best buy possible.
If you are a senior, there are buyer’s agents that have been trained and certified to work specifically with seniors and to understand some of the unique challenges that are created due to down-sizing, financing, etc. These agents have the Senior Residential Specialist Designation issued by the National Association of Realtors. If you are a senior, I would recommend asking for a buyer’s agent with this designation.
Do you need a buyer’s agent to purchase a home? Not necessarily, but in all honesty, it is one of the best things a home buyer can do to ensure a smooth transaction, best buy possible, and at the end of the day, peace of mind.