Impactful Real Estate News
Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Mother Always Said You Should…
My Mom used to tell me repeatedly to do this and do that, not to do this and not to do that. ALL, I recall, very valuable advice. Looking back on it, I can say she was, and still is, a very wise woman.
Time reveals, in fact, just about every caring Mother is a Wise Woman. I can see why we carve out a special day each year to acknowledge Mothers. So here is a shout out to all Mom’s – Happy Mother’s Day!!
Unfortunately, my Mom’s Mom is no longer here. I am sure that makes her sad this time of year. I am sure some reading this can relate and have similar stories. For ALL those whose Mom is no longer with us, may you remember the best about them. In addition to that, there are also many who never knew their Mom due to unfortunate circumstances. I bet someone played that roll in their life and they too deserve a Happy Mother’s Day!
Regardless, we can celebrate this Mother’s Day knowing Moms both here and no longer here are special in more ways than we can count.
Why We Support the Seattle Animal Shelter
As you all know by now, I am a huge animal lover! My home life includes 11 pet pigeons in an outdoor aviary, a ring neck dove and pionus parrot in my home office, two 3 year old cats and, thankfully, a very easy-going husband! All but one of the pigeons are rescues, the dove is a rescue and our 31 year parrot was adopted 11 years ago, and, of course, the two cats were adopted from the Seattle Animal Shelter and PAWS. I’m a huge believer in giving animals a second chance.
The Seattle Animal Shelter is, for the most part, a no-kill shelter. Meaning, they will not euthanize an animal because of space or time. They rely heavily on volunteers and donations. Please help us to help improve the lives of these shelter animals!
We donate a portion of every transaction to the Help The Animals Fund. Donations to this fund are put to work in numerous ways to promote animal welfare. The top priority is to rehabilitate animals that are the subject of cruelty and neglect. Donations to this fund pay for veterinary care for shelter animals along with promoting educational outreach to prevent homeless, unwanted and abused animals. This fund also supports the shelter’s foster and volunteer program ensuring that each animal receives loving care while at the shelter.
Your referrals help improve the lives of local shelter animals…
Steve and I are happy that we can help out the Seattle Animal Shelter. If anyone you know is considering making a move, wanting to buy or sell their home, please refer them to us. They will receive excellent care and service. And as you know, we back our performance for both buyers and sellers with our Performance Guarantees. Not only will your friends and family receive our award winning service, but we donate a portion of our commission to support the Help The Animals Fund. It’s our way of saying Thank You for your loyalty and trust! So YES! your referrals help local shelter animals.
We want to make it easy to refer your friends, neighbors, associates or family members consider making a move. Here are your options:
- You can pass along our business card to them. We have enclosed a couple for that purpose.
- Fill out the enclosed card and pop it back it the mail.
- Email Sandra with your referrals at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Of course you can always call or text us directly! We would love to hear from you. Steve 206-769-9577 or Sandra 206-271-7100.
You and your referrals mean the world to us. Please know we are extremely thankful for you being a part of our business.
With much appreciation— Sandra & Steve
Did you know that 44 percent of home sales involve multiple offers? In fact, buyers working with a Windermere Real Estate broker are 18.4 percent more likely to win the sale in a multiple offer situation.
- 36% of Americans think they need a 20% down payment to buy a home.
- 44% of Millennials who purchased a home this year have put down less than 10%.
- 71.8% of loan applications were approved last month.
- The average credit score of approved loans was 731 in September.
There has been a lot of talk about the falling homeownership rate in the United States. In December 2004, the homeownership rate reached an all-time high of 69.4%, while the current rate is 62.9%. When comparing these two figures, there is some room for concern regarding the difference.
However, today we want to shine some light on the issue by:
- Showing what historic homeownership rates have looked like over the last 130 years.
- Breaking down the current percentages by state.
Historic Homeownership Rates:
Current Homeownership Rates by State:
All of the states that you see in blue on the map above have a greater homeownership rate than the national average.
Though the homeownership rate has fallen recently, the percentage is still at a healthy rate compared to historic numbers, and most states currently have a higher percentage than the national average.
So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. More often than not, your agent may have made your offer contingent on a clean home inspection.
This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.
How to Choose an Inspector
Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. Realtor.com suggests that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:
- Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection & if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
- Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report the better in most cases.
- References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients that you can call to ask about their experience.
- Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Often membership in one of these organizations means that there is continued training and education provided.
- Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen.
Ask your inspector if it’s ok for you to tag along during the inspection. That way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.
Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof, crawling around in the attic, and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace & chimney, the foundation and so much more!
They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money in a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.
The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.
The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 17.4% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 53.2% less expensive in Miami & West Palm Beach (FL), and 37.7% nationwide!
Other interesting findings in the report include:
- Interest rates have remained low, and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
- Home prices would have to appreciate by a range of over 23% in Honolulu (HI), up to over 45% in Ventura County (CA), to reach the tipping point of renting being less expensive than buying.
- Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 145% increase over today’s average of 3.7%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.
Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together to help you find your dream home.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report revealing that distressed property sales accounted for 4% of sales in September. This is down from 7% in 2015, and is the lowest figure since NAR began tracking distressed sales in October 2008.
Below is a graph that shows just how far the market has come since January 2012 when distressed sales accounted for 35% of all sales.
Existing Home Sales Hit 2nd Highest Figure Since June
Mortgage interest rates remained well below 4% in September at 3.46%, prompting existing home sales to stay at a healthy annual pace of 5.47 million. Month-over-month sales were up 3.2%.
Inventory of homes for sale remains below the 6-month supply that is necessary for a normal market, as it fell 2.2% to a 4.5-month supply. The shortage in inventory has contributed to the median home price rising an additional 5.6% to $234,200.
NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say about the lack of inventory:
“Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in.”
There is good news though, as Yun went on to say:
“There’s hope the leap in sales to first-time buyers can stick through the rest of the year and into next spring. The market fundamentals — primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates — are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the homeownership rate.”
If you are debating putting your home on the market this year, now may be the time. Buyers are still out there looking for their dream home. Let’s get together to determine your best plan.
- Distressed property sales fell to its lowest number since NAR began tracking it in 2008.
- As you can see, with less distressed properties, sales are up in all price ranges except the $0 – $100K price range.
- Interest rates are still at historic lows, signifying that now is the right time to buy!
Recently there has been a lot of talk about home prices and if they are accelerating too quickly. In some areas of the country, seller supply (homes for sale) cannot keep up with the number of buyers out looking for a home, which has caused prices to rise.
The great news about rising prices, however, is that according to CoreLogic’s latest US Economic Outlook, the average American household gained over $11,000 in equity over the course of the last year, largely due to home value increases.
The map below was created from CoreLogic’s report and shows the average equity gain per mortgaged home from June 2015 to June 2016 (the latest data available).
For those that are worried that we are doomed to repeat 2006 all over again, it is important to note that homeowners are investing their new found equity in their homes and themselves, not in depreciating assets.
The added equity is helping families put their children through college, and even invest in starting small businesses, allowing them to pay off their mortgage sooner or move up to the home that will better suit their needs now.
CoreLogic predicts that home prices will appreciate by another 5% by this time next year. If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by moving up to your dream home, let’s get together to discuss your options!