Archive for April 24, 2012

Is a Seattle Condo Right for Me?

Is a Seattle condo right for you?  Condo’s can be a really good fit for someone that travels or works alot.  You may be too busy to maintain a stand alone home on your own.  Or you may even feel like home maintenance is a little intimidating.
Sick of paying someone elses mortgage?  Many renters in the Greater Seattle area find that they can own for the same amount as they pay in rent!  Even if you like renting because of the lightened responsibility, a condo can be a good middle ground.  Even though you would be responsible for replacing leaky faucets and broken appliances on your own, you wouldn’t be responsible for the big things like leaky roofs and replacing siding.
But what about dues and assessments?  Home owner’s dues can definitely be an added expense, but they generally cover alot of your ulitities and go towards major repairs.  But if your association isn’t saving enough in their reserve account you could have a VERY COSTLY assessment down the road.
But you may be able to avoid assessments!  Choosing a building with good upkeep and preventative maintenance is a must.  So make sure you hire a real estate agent that can help you assess the structural integrity of the building, and no matter what, even if it’s a brand new complex ALWAYS have an inspection done by a LICENSED INSPECTOR!
Choosing to buy any type of property is a big decision.  So whether you’re considering a stand alone home, townhome or condo, go to our Calendar/Reservations page and register for one of our First Time Home Buyer workshops.  Don’t make a decision without getting INFORMED first!


Dude, Where’s My House?!

Are you looking for your first home in the Greater Seattle area, and feel like there’s nothing out there?  Many first time home buyers are confused when they start to look for a home and find that there doesn’t seem to be much available inventory.  When they do finally find a house they like, they lose it to a higher bidder.  They say, “I thought this was a buyer’s market?!”

It could be because available housing inventory is down about 36% from this time last year! (see “10 Major Housing Markets with the Shortest Supply of Homes” ).  Yup, there are a third less homes for sale, which means the supply MAY NOT support the existing demand.  Many buyers are starting to feel like we’re at the bottom, so not only is supply short, but demand may be increasing as well.

But what about all those foreclosed homes, you say?  Yes, many economists have been speculating that we may continue to see further depreciation due to the fact that banks may still have “shadow” inventory that they need to liquidate.  So if more homes come on the market, then the increased supply could satisfy demand, meaning you’ll have more homes to chose from, right?

What if those foreclosed homes never hit the open market?  We are at a point (at least in Seattle) where it may actually be cheaper to own than rent.  Especially if you put down a decent amount of money, and make improvements to the property.  Investors have been picking up on this trend and are buying up houses by the THOUSANDS as a means to create cash flow from rents, as well as deal with less volatility than investing in the stock market (see “Investors Purchase Homes by the Thousands” ).

You can still find a great deal on a home if you’re aware of the current trends in the housing market.  But trying to find a home without this added information, is like looking for a needle in a hay stack…and then once you find the needle, you give it to someone else, because you were NOT AWARE it was the only needle!  If you’re looking for your first home in the Greater Seattle area, and would like to get educated before moving forward please go to our Calendar/Reservations page and register for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer workshops.


Why Wasn’t My Full Price Offer Accepted?

Did your full price offer get accepted rejected?  If you’re a first time home buyer in Seattle, offering full price may not be enough.

It could be because you’re dealing with a stiff seller’s market.  Many neighborhoods in Seattle are experiencing APPRECIATION, due to lack of inventory and high demand (see “Seattle House Prices Going Up” ).  That’s right, home prices are going up because there aren’t enough houses on the market to meet buyer demand!

But it depends on your specific demographic!  If your real estate agent isn’t researching your area and breaking down things like ABSORPTION RATES and SOLD/LIST% for you, you can’t possibly know what type of market you’re dealing with.  You need this type of information to make a decision of this magnatude.

You won’t know for sure unless you get educated.  If you’re a first time home buyer looking to buy in the Seattle area, go to our Calendar/Reservations page and register for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer Workshops.


Who Does the On-site “Buyer’s” Agent Really Represent?

At new construction developments, it’s debatable who the on-site agent actually represents.  Most new construction developments have model homes for buyers to view.  At these model homes there is almost always an on-site agent, but why are they there?

This agent may claim to be the on-site “buyer’s” agent, but don’t be fooled!  This on-site agent may not be the actual listing agent of the properties in question, but the on-site agent absolutely has a relationship with the listing agent as well as the developer.  If you use this person to write your contract, you will at best end up in a non-agency situation, if not a dual agency one (see “Who’s Representing Me?”).

On-site agents are there to facilitate the sale of THAT development, NOT to advise you as their client.  A true buyer’s agent is not only there to help you navigate the contract, but to help you evaluate the property in general.  Do you really think that on-site agent is going to tell you about the development down the street that has better upgrades and sounder construction?  Of course not!

Builders don’t use standard real estate contracts because they don’t want buyer’s to have the standard protections.  Because you may not have all the standard exit strategies allotted in a normal contract, you NEED to have a separate third party help you review the contract.  This should be a buyer’s agent that has absolutely no affiliation with the developer what so ever.  Don’t get burned by using the on-site agent.

Buying a home will most likely be the biggest financial decision of your life, so make sure you have someone in your corner that truly has your best interest at heart.  If you are thinking about buying your first home and would like to gather more information about the general process, please go to our Calendar/Reservations page and sign up for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer workshops.