Beautiful 2BR/1BA Home Just Sold

Our Listing At 6943 25th Ave SW Seattle, WA 98106 Just Sold For Full Price!

Beautiful 2BR/1BA Home on Private, Country-like Setting with Fruit Trees All on a Little More Than a ¼ of an Acre. Nice Open Layout. Free Standing Wood Stove adds Tons of Charm to Home. Master Bedroom has Sliding Door that Leads to a Patio – Great for Breakfast, Coffee or Just Relaxing. Very Convenient Location, Minutes to Shopping, Restaurants, Downtown and More.

Congratulations To The New Owners!

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Art Display on Alki for Earth Day

With Earth Day on April 22, Value Village is unveiling an art installation on Alki Beach to visually represent the impact clothing has on the environment. The 2,000 square foot pop-up piece will only be up on Friday from 8am – 7pm. Check it out!

The installation by with will be up through this evening. Go see it!

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What If I Wait Until Next Year To Buy A Home?

What If I Wait Until Next Year To Buy A Home? | Simplifying The Market

What If I Wait Until Next Year To Buy A Home?

As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As either a first-time or repeat buyer, you must not be concerned only about price but also about the ‘long term cost’ of the home.

Let us explain.

There are many factors that influence the ‘cost’ of a home. Two of the major ones are the home’s appreciation over time, and the interest rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase their home. The rate at which these two factors can change is often referred to as “The Cost of Waiting”.

What will happen over the next 12 months?

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, prices are expected to rise by 5.5% by this time next year.

Additionally, Freddie Mac’s most recent Economic Commentary & Projections Table predicts that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will appreciate to 4.5% in that same time.

What Does This Mean to a Buyer?

Here is a simple demonstration of what impact these projected changes would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:

What If I Wait Until Next Year To Buy A Home? | Simplifying The Market

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Just Listed And Just In Time For Summer!

10453 Forest Ave S, Seattle WA 98178

3 Bedrooms, 1.75 Baths

Offered at $465,000

Just In Time For Summer!

Just in time for summer! Gorgeous well maintained Lake WA view home in Lakeridge. Views abound from almost every room in the house, giving you a front row seat to the Blue Angels & fireworks. Expansive windows & open kitchen provide perfect back-drop for entertaining. Hardwood floors, new appliances, heat pump, mature landscaping, multiple terraces, patios, & decks are just a few things that make this property special. Lower level has family room, full bath, huge laundry room, separate entrance.

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In a Seller’s Market: Is it Time to Downsize?

In a Seller’s Market: Is it Time to Downsize? | Simplifying The Market

A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their house in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller’s market.

In a recent blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.

Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in a recent article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help.

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profit from the sale of their current home and splitting it in order to put down payments on a smaller home in their current location, as well as a vacation/retirement home where they plan to live when they retire.

This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values. This makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”

Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 72.6% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about.

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, let’s meet up so I can help guide you through the process.

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Seattle Among Most Geographically Diverse Cities in America

Seattle Among Most Geographically Diverse Cities in America

The only major U.S. cities that are more geographically diverse are Las Vegas and Colorado Springs

BY

The Seattle Times’ FYI Guy Gene Balk is back with his latest Census-driven analysis and he’s found out that Seattle’s residents are among the most geographically diverse in the nation in terms of where they originally come from.

Among the 50 biggest U.S. cities, Seattle ranks No. 3 on the “geographic diversity index” with a score of 79.3 Here’s what that means:
The undrafted free agents who might have the best chance to make the Seahawks’ roster If you were to compare any two Seattleites at random, there’s about a 79 percent chance they were born in different areas of the country or the world.

The only cities that are more geographically diverse are Las Vegas and Colorado Springs.

Only 38 percent of the people who live in Seattle are native Washingtonians, the fourth-lowest of the top 50 U.S. cities. So who is Seattle attracting? Midwesterners, for one. Seattle has the highest percentage of Midwestern transplants of any West Coast city. One area they’re not coming from is other West Coast cities. Despite what we’ve heard about NoCal transplants, Seattle is behind Las Vegas, Portland, and Mesa.

Balk also dug into specific Seattle neighborhoods to see what the breakdown is. If you’re looking for diversity, look to Downtown, First Hill, and Pioneer Square. Looking for the least diverse neighborhoods (for some reason)? Try Fauntleroy, Broadview, Greenwood. If you want to be among Northeasterners, move to Capitol Hill. If you want to be among Southerners, move to South Lake Union. The most international of all the Seattle neighborhoods? The aptly-named International District (60 percent foriegn-born-born).
· Seattle ranks near top for people from all over the map [ST]

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Get All the Facts about PMI

Get All the Facts about PMI | Simplifying The Market

When it comes to buying a home, whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

What is PMI?

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.
Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:

“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.”

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 6%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their home). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.

Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:

Get All the Facts about PMI | Simplifying The Market

The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:

“It’s no doubt an added cost, but it’s enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, let’s get together to discuss our market’s conditions and to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

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5 Tips for Buying a Home

5 Tips for Buying a Home

Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

Find a house you can afford.

As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

Hire a professional.

While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

Do your homework.

Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.

Think long term.

Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.

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Preparing to Sell

Preparing to Sell

Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.

Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.

Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.

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