When’s the Best Month to Sell Your Home? You might be surprised?

 

This Just In: Data Says May is the Best Month to Sell Your Home | Keeping Current Matters

According to a newly released study by ATTOM Data Solutions, selling your home in the month of May will net you an average of 5.9% above estimated market value for your home.

For the study, ATTOM performed an “analysis of 14.7 million home sales from 2011 to 2017” and found the average seller premium achieved for each month of the year. Below is a breakdown by month and even by date!

Top 5 Months/Dates to Sell:

  • June 28th – 9.1% above market
  • February 15th – 9.0% above market
  • May 31st – 8.3% above market
  • May 29th – 8.2% above market
  • June 21st – 8.1% above market

It should come as no surprise that May and June dominate as the top months to sell and that 4 of the top 5 days to sell fall in those two months. The second quarter of the year (April, May, June) is referred to as the Spring Buyers Season, when competition is fierce to find a dream home, which often leads to bidding wars.

One caveat to mention though, is that when broken down by metro, ATTOM noticed that while warmer climates share in the overall trend, it turns out that they have different top months for sales. The best month to get the highest price in Miami, FL, for instance, was January, and Phoenix, AZ came in with November leading the charge.

If you’re thinking of selling your home this year, the time to list is NOW! According to the National Association of Realtors, homes sold in an average of just 30 days last month! If you list now, you’ll have a really good chance to sell in May or June, setting yourself up for getting the best price!

Bottom Line:  We can show you the market conditions in your area and get the most exposure to the buyers who are ready and willing to buy!  There’s no time like the present!


Posted on May 2, 2018 at 5:49 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Strategy |

Why We Are NOT Headed Toward Another Housing Bubble

Double-digit price appreciation has taken place for over 3 years now, so price are up. Way up. In fact, in just the last year we have seen prices rise 14% year-over-year. When talking with people about our real estate market, the conversation often involves the question, “are we headed toward a bubble?” I get asked this question often, and I can understand why. With the Great Recession not too far back in our rear-view mirror, the fear that surrounds the bottom dropping out in our home values is real. The large price gains might seem familiar to the gains of the previous up market of 2004-2007, but the environment is much different, and that is why we are not headed toward a housing collapse.

Lending Requirements & Down Payments
Previous lending practices allowed people to get into homes with high debt-to-income ratios, low credit scores, risky loan programs, and undocumented incomes. They called this sub-prime lending. This lead to the housing bubble bursting 10 years ago – because people received mortgages they were not equipped to handle. Borrowers were not properly qualified for their monthly payments, and with minimal down payments they had no skin in the game. There were also a ton of adjustable rate mortgages and interest-only loans, which created negative equity positions. In July 2007, the sub-prime loan products disappeared and literally became history overnight. This eliminated a large part of the buyer pool creating over supply, not to mention the foreclosures that followed due to these ill-equipped homeowners walking away. The combination of these two factors caused prices to plummet.

Conversely, in March of this year, the average credit score for an approved conventional loan according to Ellie Mae was 752. Banks are scrutinizing their borrowers much more thoroughly than in the past. Credit scores are only the start; solid documentation of employment, assets, and debt are all passed through strict underwriting standards before closing. During the days of sub-prime lending, banks were funding loans with scores as low as 560! This, coupled with many zero-down loan programs and the risky terms mentioned above, left many new homeowners with little to no equity. When you have little or no equity it is very easy to bail.

In addition to heartier credit scores, down payments have increased significantly. According to Attom Data Solutions the average down payment is 18%. To put this in perspective, the median price in Seattle Metro in the first quarter of 2018 was $775,000. 18% of that is $139,500! There is a marked difference in the connection to one’s investment with such a large amount on the line versus the common 0% down loans of the sub-prime era. When people have high equity levels they are not likely to abandon their home or miss payments.

Our Thriving Local Economy, Job Creation & Californians
According to Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist, it is foretasted that there will be 46,000 more jobs in the Seattle Metro area in 2018. This has created high numbers of residual migration into our area from other states. In 2016 there were 50,000 people that moved here, and 47,000 in 2017. Many of these new Washingtonians are former Californians, specifically from the Bay Area. Unbelievably, our prices are attractive to this group, as they can take a similar tech job here and make the same income with a lower cost of living. If untethered and up for a move, it’s a no-brainer.

The most influential factor that has led the run on prices has been low inventory levels coupled with high housing demand. It’s simply the concept of supply and demand. The growth of companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook in our area has created increased demand, especially for homes closer to job centers resulting in shorter commutes. When you have increased demand and not enough homes to absorb the buyers, prices go up. Over the last three years we have easily seen a 10%+ increase in prices year-over-year. That is above the norm, and will slow down once inventory increases. That slowdown will be welcomed and it will not be a collapse in values or a bubble bursting.

Interest Rates
Interest rates are increasing, and it is predicted they will reach close to 4.95% by the end of the year. This will naturally curtail price growth because it will not be as cheap to borrow money, which will cause buyers to temper their pricing ceilings. Bear in mind, that an interest rate of 4.95% is still historically low, we’ve just been incredibly fortunate to be able to secure long term loans with minimal debt service. The average interest rate over the last 30 years is 7%.

I understand that the recent increase in home prices has been big and that it might remind you of the previous up market before the crash. I hope that digging into the topics above has shed some light on how it is different. I always welcome the opportunity to have a conversation about these hot topics and discern how they relate to you. As always, it is our goal to help keep our clients informed and empower strong decisions. Please let us know if we can answer any questions or help you or anyone you know with their real estate needs.


Posted on April 27, 2018 at 4:54 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Statistical Information |

Getting Pre-Approved Should Always Be Your First Step!

 

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.  Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so.  Contact us if you would like more information on getting your finances in order before you pursue this fast paced real estate market.

 

 


Posted on April 16, 2018 at 9:47 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Strategy |

King County is King, and counting!

Seattle continues to lead in home price growth-Matthew Gardner

While its sports teams, like those in every U.S. city, begin each season dreaming of a first-place finish, Seattle’s rate of real estate appreciation has topped the national charts for more than a year and, based on the latest quarterly forecast from Veros Real Estate Solutions, will stay there for the next 12 months.

In the first column  of this HousingWire article, I listed the ten U.S. metropolitan statistical areas with the highest projected appreciation between March 1, 2018 and March 1, 2019.

Number one on the list, with a projected rate of appreciation over 11%, was Washington State’s Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area. It covers Seattle’s King County, along with neighboring Pierce and Snohomish counties.

For a decade and a half, VeroFORECAST provided projections to help lenders anticipate risk and facilitate loan portfolio management. The recent March 2018 report is based on data from SFRs, condos and townhouses in 342 MSAs, and covers nearly a thousand counties and more than 13,600 ZIP codes. These markets contain approximately 82% of the nation’s population.

The Seattle metro market’s rise is no anomaly. The influx of new residents into Washington has been trending upwards for decades and we see appreciation rates up in counties all around Puget Sound.

In addition to Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, the Bellingham MSA, in Whatcom County to the north, is projected to be at 10.1% over the next year. That ranks second highest in the nation.

With three more Washington State markets within the top seven forecast to have the highest appreciation – Kennewick-Pasco-Richland in South Eastern Washington at 10%, Mount Vernon-Anacortes in Skagit County at 9.9% and Bremerton-Silverdale in Kitsap County at 9.5% – the region is experiencing an unmistakable surge.

The population in the greater Seattle metro area, with an average age of just 37, is over 3.7 million and continues to grow rapidly, up 22% in the last 15 years. While unemployment is 4.5%, a little higher than the national rate of 4.1%, the number of jobs within the MSA is more than 1.9 million, with the highest percentages in the industries of healthcare and social assistance, retail trade and professional, scientific, and tech services. Median household income, currently around $75,300, is growing at an average of 5.7% per year.

The Seattle market’s remarkable strength is reflected in a supply of homes measured at a speedy one month of inventory.

The local media are cautiously celebrating the valuation increases. Seattle Times business reporter Mike Rosenberg declared March 2018 “the 17th month in a row that Seattle has led the country in home-price increases. That’s a record for Seattle and the longest streak for any metro area since San Francisco’s 20-month run that ended in 2001.”

According to a recent article by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner, the high appreciation and low inventory figures within these counties are also reflected in dropping rates of home sales. Between fourth quarter 2016 and fourth quarter 2017, Bellingham’s Whatcom County was off .2% and King County slowed by 1.1%, while home sales in Skagit County dropped 7.6%.

Gardner also adds, “Home prices in the Seattle area will continue to appreciate at above average rates through 2018 and into 2019. The region’s economy continues to flourish and job growth adds to demand for homes. New construction activity remains constrained and this puts further pressure on the resale market sending home values higher.”


Posted on April 12, 2018 at 8:18 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Local News | Tagged

What is Your Home Worth? Price in 2014 vs 2018! – Shoreline

We pulled this example to show you actual pound for pound appreciation in north King County . We think this example, and others we pulled for different neighborhoods are pretty telling and quite exciting!  Today’s home values provide the opportunity for sellers to make big moves involving their retirement, upgrading homes, investing or even buying a second home. If you are one of those people, I hope this example provides insight on the increase in home values and how they might pertain to you. As we head into the active spring and summer months, if you would like a complimentary Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) on your home, so you have a better understanding of your home’s value, we would be happy to do that. It is our goal to help keep our clients informed to empower strong decisions.


Posted on April 5, 2018 at 12:48 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Statistical Information |

20 Tips for Preparing Your House for Sale

When listing your house for sale your top goal will be to get the home sold for the best price possible! There are many small projects that you can do to ensure this happens! We can help with a list of specific suggestions for getting your house ready for market and great resources for finding local contractors and the help you’ll need!  We’re here to help you get ready!


Posted on March 27, 2018 at 11:56 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Strategy |

Freddie Mac – Rising Mortgage Rates DO NOT Lead to Falling Home Prices!

Recently, Freddie Mac published an Insight Report titled Nowhere to go but up? How increasing mortgage rates could affect housing. The report focused on the impact the projected rise in mortgage rates might have on the housing market this year.

Many believe that an increase in mortgage rates will cause a slowdown in purchases which would, in turn, lead to a fall in house values. Ultimately, however, prices are determined by supply and demand and while rising mortgage rates may slow demand, they also affect supply. From the report:

 “For current homeowners, the decision to buy a new home is typically linked to their decision to sell their current home… Because of this link, the financing costs of the existing mortgage are part of the homeowner’s decision of whether and when to move.

Once financing costs for a new mortgage rise above the rate borrowers are paying for their current mortgage, borrowers would have to give up below-market financing to sell their home.

Instead, they may choose to delay both the sale of their existing home and the purchase of a new home to maintain the advantageous financing.”

The Freddie Mac report, in acknowledging this situation, concluded that prices are not adversely impacted by higher mortgage rates. They explained:

“While there is a drop in the demand for homes, there is an associated drop in the supply of homes from the link between the selling and buying decisions. As both supply and demand move together in this way they have offsetting effects on price—lower demand decreases price and lower supply increases price.

They went on to reveal that the Freddie Mac National House Price Index is…

“…unresponsive to movements in interest rates. In the current housing market, the driving force behind the increase in prices is a low supply of both new and existing homes combined with historically low rates. As mortgage rates increase, the demand for home purchases will likely remain strong relative to the constrained supply and continue to put upward pressure on home prices.”

The following graph, based on data from the report, reveals what happened to home prices the last six times mortgage rates rose by at least 1%.

Freddie Mac: Rising Mortgage Rates DO NOT Lead to Falling Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether you are a move-up buyer or first-time buyer, waiting to purchase your next home based on the belief that prices will fall because of rising mortgage rates makes no sense.  Contact us if you’d like information on the value of your current home, or have questions about the impact of rising interest rates on your future investment.


Posted on March 22, 2018 at 9:25 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Statistical Information |

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Home to Retire In

As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become a hot topic. In today’s housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home’s ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.

According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.

1. Affordability

“It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.

Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

2. Equity

“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”

The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $14,000 in equity last year.

3. Maintenance

“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”

As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

4. Security

“Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.”

As scary as that thought may be, any additional security and an extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.

5. Pets

“Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”

Evaluate all of your options when it comes to bringing your ‘furever’ friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?

6. Mobility

“No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”

Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.

7. Convenience

“Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”

How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Bottom Line

When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, contact a local real estate professional who can evaluate your ability to sell your house in today’s market and get you into your dream retirement home!


Posted on March 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Strategy |

Mill Creek

Welcome to Mill Creek! 

Located in Snohomish County and just about 20 miles northeast of Seattle, Mill Creek is a smaller community brimming with excellent amenities to take advantage of. Originally built around a country club and golf course that you can still enjoy today, Mill Creek offers a long list of city conveniences whether you’re looking for gorgeous outdoor opportunities or plenty of restaurants, shops, and activities close by.

In addition to the pristine Mill Creek Country Club and Golf Course, Mill Creek is brimming with ways to stay active. A long list of parks and an incredible trail system offers picturesque settings to enjoy, and parks and the incredible sports center will keep the whole family busy! Additionally, the Mill Creek Town Center is another top destination whether you want to have a delicious dinner out or spend the day shopping!

“Mill Creek officially incorporated on August 30th, 1983 and was built around the Mill Creek Country Club and its golf course. It currently has a population of just under 20,000 people. It is full of hiking/jogging trails throughout the wooded areas. The Country Club is a private club that has a gem of a golf course that people love to play!”Travis DeFries


Getting Out & About

“There are some nice walking trails near the downtown area and around village green drive, many parks including a skateboard park. The towncenter is a fun place to walk around, go for coffee, dessert or dinner.” -Tonya Tye

“Central Market grocery store has the best selection of fresh fruit, wine, seafood, meats, made to order sandwiches, fresh sliced deli meats and cheeses, large selection of organic foods, sushi and more. Grab a bite to eat and enjoy the outdoor courtyard or stop to shop for a special dinner. This store has has it all.” -Heather Potts

“There is such a broad array of restaurants to choose from when meeting up with friends & clients. Something for everyone!” -Tonya Tye

“I love the convenience and the downtown feel of the Mill Creek Town Center! I can grab my coffee, get a manicure, grocery shop, and run other errands all in the same great spot!” -Ginna Demme

“One thing I also love about Mill Creek is all the doctors, walk in clinics and dentists that are in town. Super convenient to have so many health providers in close proximity.” -Jen Bowman

“Miles and miles of walking trails linking parks all over Mill Creek is one of my favorite features.” -Jen Bowman


Commuting from Mill Creek

Located just minutes from Interstate-5, Mill Creek is nestled in between Seattle and Everett. Mill Creek to Downtown Seattle is approximately 24 miles, while Mill Creek to Everett is just about 10 miles.


Homes in Mill Creek

“[Mill Creek is home to] nice planned single family and condo communities ranging from $500s and up in varying styles and ages.” -Tonya Tye


Want to learn more about living in Mill Creek?

 

 


Posted on February 27, 2018 at 12:08 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Local Communities, Mill Creek |

South Everett

Described by local Brian Hayter as “growing, affordable, and convenient,” South Everett is in a wonderfully central location that offers great commuting options. But aside from being close to the many jobs and attractions in Everett, Seattle, and the surrounding areas, South Everett offers its own set of things to do and see! From excellent shopping, bountiful dining options, and lovely outdoor opportunities, South Everett offers its residents with a long list of top-notch city amenities to explore.

Take advantage of everything that South Everett has to offer all while benefitting from its affordability, wonderful sense of community, and of course, it’s aviation facilities and attractions. South Everett is home to Boeing, Paine Field, the FlyingHeritage & Combat Armor Museum, the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, and more flight-inspired attractions.


Getting Out & About

“I love the silver lake park. Excellent facilities for big or small events at fort Patterson and great big huge place for kids to play. Paddle boarding kayak and tubing!” Janet Buehler

“Don’t forget Emory’s, a great place for dinner, and you can cozy up to the large outdoor fireplace too.”Greg Buehler


Commuting from South Everett 

“Close enough to the city and the I-405 interchange yet far enough to feel like you’ve somewhat escaped! Quick commute up north if you’re headed to Lake Stevens or Bellingham.”Heather Potts


Homes in South Everett 

“A mix for sure. There are many older established nice neighborhoods, all different styles of homes, and a mix of new construction. Townhomes and condos as well.”Heather Potts

“Lots of nice neighborhoods, accessible to everything, affordability.”Brian Hayter


Want to learn more about living in South Everett?

 


Posted on February 27, 2018 at 12:06 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Local Communities, South Everett |