Posts Tagged ‘Whidbey Island’
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.
You know that curb appeal is important to buyers of single-family homes, but you are selling a condominium in a large building full of similar units. How do you make yours stand out? Here are a few tips for prompting that positive first impression that makes your home memorable:
- Make sure the entry way is clean, clear and clutter free. Relocate bulky furniture that makes the entry seem smaller. Avoid coat racks and umbrella stands that jut out from the wall as well.
- Consider placing a fresh potted plant inside the doorway to bring the outside in. Make sure the plant is healthy and in an attractive pot, does not block the walkway and does not shed or drop leaves.
- If you have a mail slot and your home is likely to be shown after delivery, make sure to place a basket under the mail slot.
- Make sure the insides of your windows are clean. If your HOA is responsible for the outside windows, request that they be cleaned before showing your home or having an open house.
- If you live in a bug prone area, be sure to have your condominium treated for pests—and make sure you sweep up any dead bugs.
- Make sure the hallway or walkway to your unit is clean. If you need, to, sweep it yourself. Make sure to pick up any junk mail or papers cluttering the outside.
- When your home is likely to be shown, turn on the lights and have soft music playing. This may raise your utility bill slightly, but will give a warm greeting to visiting homebuyers.
- As with any home, make sure the countertops and floors and clean and personal effects are out of sight. Consider placing a bowl of fruit or bouquet of flowers on the table to add some color and interest.
- If you have pets, consider boarding them while your home is being shown, or ask a neighbor to collect them before the potential buyer shows up.
Most of all, call your real estate agent to learn what features to play up (or down) in your unit to place it in the best light.
Sometimes selling a home can feel like a big job – one with a thousand small tasks required to get it done. But many sellers make the job harder by ignoring or avoiding some of the biggest factors that contribute to a faster sale. Use this list to see if your house is truly ready for that “sold” sign.
1) Price is paramount.
With the housing market climbing out of its slump, many sellers are banking on higher sale prices. Just make sure you don’t reach too far when pricing your home, and rely on a good agent to help you find the “sweet spot” for your listing. Go too high and you’ll risk slowing down buyer traffic. And once your home has sat on the market for a long time, buyers automatically become suspicious. Even though your home might look great, buyers will notice the listing’s “time on the market” and naturally wonder “What’s wrong with it?”
2) Tour your home like a buyer.
Thousands of sellers make the mistake of looking around their home with the eyes of someone who knows it well and loves it dearly. But buyers won’t see it that way. So walk through your home as if you’re seeing it for the first time, taking note of everything that might give you pause as a skittish buyer. Never assume that a potential buyer will be able to overlook what you perceive as small flaws in the house.
Stage your home with the help of a professional stager (or a friend who’s great at interior design and organization) to create positive word-of-mouth with Realtors. While you’re staging the house, put away all or most of your family photos and other trinkets that make it “yours.” Your goal is to make it look like a model home so buyers can envision themselves living there. Don’t wait until an Open House is scheduled for your property to do repairs, staging and de-personalizing. Do it before your house ever gets listed online. As Realtor.com President Error Samuelson said, “Web appeal is the new curb appeal.” According to a study done by Trulia.com, homes with six photos posted online are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as homes with fewer than six.
3) Let them in!
Nothing is more frustrating for an agent than a seller who doesn’t want to let potential buyers in to see it. Yes, last-minute requests for showings are a hassle. Yes, it’s a real pain to keep the house clean all the time. Yes, it’s tough to do showings when you have babies or toddlers at home. But the homes that sell fastest are the ones people are able to see quickly and easily. If you have lots of requirements for showings or long wait times, agents are likely to skip your house and go on to the next.
4) Be social.
We live in an increasingly social world, so take advantage of connections by inviting your neighbors to tour your house. It’ll encourage them to spread the word to friends who may be looking for a house in the area. And ask your Facebook friends to help out by sharing a great photo of the house you’ve posted on their timelines. Some sellers even create video “love letters” to their homes and post them on YouTube to endear the home to potential buyers.
With the right price, the right look, accessibility and social connections, you’re well on your way to the “sold” sign you’re working toward.
Perhaps you have some home projects you just can’t find the time (or inclination) to start. With the holidays coming up, it may make sense to hire a handyman for smaller tasks. Do you have someone you already use or are you stumped wondering where to turn? No matter the answer, these tips can help you find someone in no time! If you would like contact information for some licensed handy men please contact us and we would be happy to give you some recommendations.
Decide on Your Project
Smaller repair projects are perfect for a handyman. However if you want a remodel, plumbing, or electrical work done, it may be best to turn to a contractor licensed in that field of work. Many of our local Whidbey Island builders also do outstanding remodel work.
Your neighbors, friends and real estate agents are great sources for referrals on home repairs. As a real estate company, we also work with many contractors and handymen and can give you some ideas on who to contact, depending on the scope of your project. Local recommendations are usually the best source of input for finding qualified contractors.
Determine the Cost
Find out how much the work will cost before it’s started. Get it in writing so there will be no surprises. Sometimes services are billed hourly with you supplying materials, sometimes hourly plus parts, and oftentimes you can agree on a lump sum to make it easiest.
One Project at a Time
Your handyman may have many talents, but you’ll want to test his skills before laying out too many projects in the beginning. On the other hand, creating a a small package deal may work to your financial advantage. If he has good or great recommendations and provides financial incentive for a multi-layer job, it may be worth considering.
Hopefully these ideas will help you as you find ways to spruce up your home and glide easily into the holiday season. If you need suggestions on who to call for referrals or other home related needs, please keep us in mind. Feel free to call us or email us at any time. You can always consider us your source for advice relating to your home and the local real estate market. We are here to serve all of your real estate related needs for Whidbey Island.
If 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.
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.