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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – JUNE 2020

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JUNE 9, 2020 [THE STATE OF] REAL ESTATELOCAL ECONOMY As we move to the next phase of reopening, life feels like it’s slowly inching back towards normal.  The same is true in real estate. Statistics on home sales in May provided the first true picture of the effects of COVID-19. Those reports confirmed the incredible strength and stability of the local real estate market. The Stay Home order, as expected, continued to impact the number of sales. However, the market is starting to move its way towards more normal activity. Pending sales, a measure of current demand, have risen every week since April. The slight drop in median closed sale price is a result of a proportionately larger number of lower priced homes selling than is normal. It should not be interpreted as a decrease in individual home value. There were significantly fewer homes for sale in May than the same time last year. With less than a month of available inventory, competition among buyers was intense. Bidding wars and all-cash offers were common. The monthly statistics below are based on closed sales. Since closing generally takes 30 days, the statistics for May are mostly reflective of sales in April. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.  As we adapt to new phases of reopening, know that the safety of everyone remains our top priority. EASTSIDE KING COUNTY SEATTLE SNOHOMISH COUNTY VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – MAY 2020

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MAY 11, 2020 [THE STATE OF] REAL ESTATELOCAL ECONOMY We hope you are weathering the new normal as best as you can. With everyone spending more time than ever at home, real estate has taken on a whole new importance. For those who are interested, here is a brief update on how COVID-19 continues to affect our local market: Business was better than expected under the Stay Home order. COVID-19 did reduce real estate sales in April as compared to a year ago, however the number of sales rose steadily each week of the month. Sales growth continued in early May and we expect sales to increase slowly week by week. The number of new listings dropped, suggesting that would-be sellers are waiting until the shelter-in-place order is over to put their home on the market. With local technology companies continuing to hire, buyers will continue to face competition for limited inventory in the coming months. Home prices remain stable, with the median price of homes sold in April up slightly from a year ago. Sellers appear to be pricing homes realistically and buyers are not finding deep discounts. The monthly statistics below are based on closed sales. Since closing generally takes 30 days, the statistics for April are mostly reflective of sales in March. Next month’s data will offer a more telling trend of the effect of the virus on the local housing market. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here. As our current situation evolves, know that the safety of everyone remains our top priority. EASTSIDE KING COUNTY SEATTLE SNOHOMISH COUNTY  

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Neighbors in Need

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Regular price$10.00 You may enter your local Windermere office name so that your donation stays in your local community (optional): Amount$10$15$25$50$100$150$200$250$300$400$500$1,000$1,500$2,000$2,500                      $10                                        $15                                        $25                                        $50                                        $100                                        $150                                        $200                                        $250                                        $300                                        $400                                        $500                                        $1,000                                        $1,500                                        $2,000                                        $2,500                    ADD TO CART We’re on a mission to help our local food banks keep their shelves stocked through our “Neighbors in Need” campaign. For every dollar our offices raise, the Windermere Foundation will match up to $250,000. The need has never been greater, so let’s all do our part so no one goes hungry. You can help too by donating here! Thank you for supporting the Windermere Foundation. You are making a positive difference in the lives of local low-income and homeless families in your community. Please consider making a gift through our secure site or mail a check to: WINDERMERE FOUNDATION 1151 Fairview Ave. N. Seattle, WA 98109 Questions? Contact foundation@windermere.com

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Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

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  The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.   A MESSAGE FROM MATTHEW GARDNER Needless to say, any discussion about the U.S. economy, state economy, or housing markets in the first quarter of this year is almost meaningless given events surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Although you will see below data regarding housing activity in the region, many markets came close to halting transactions in March and many remain in some level of paralysis. As such, drawing conclusions from the data is almost a futile effort. I would say, though, it is my belief that the national and state housing markets were in good shape before the virus hit and will be in good shape again, once we come out on the other side. In a similar fashion, I anticipate the national and regional economies will start to thaw, and that many of the jobs lost will return with relative speed. Of course, all of these statements are wholly dependent on the country seeing a peak in new infections in the relatively near future. I stand by my contention that the housing market will survive the current economic crisis and it is likely we will resume a more normalized pattern of home sales in the second half of the year.   HOME SALES There were 13,378 home sales during the first quarter of 2020, a drop of only 0.2% from the same period in 2019, but 27% lower than in the final quarter of 2019. The number of homes for sale was 32% lower than a year ago and was also 32% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019. When compared to the first quarter of 2019 sales rose in eight counties and dropped in seven. The greatest growth was in Cowlitz and Lewis counties. The largest declines were in Island and Snohomish counties. Pending sales — a good gauge of future closings — rose 0.7% compared to the final quarter of 2019. We can be assured that closed sales in the second quarter of this year will be lower due to COVID-19.       HOME PRICES Home-price growth in Western Washington rose compared […]

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – APRIL 2020

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APRIL 9, 2020 [THE STATE OF] REAL ESTATELOCAL ECONOMY Windermere is focused on keeping our clients and our community safe and connected. We’re all in this together. Since the early days of COVID-19, our philosophy has been “Go slow and do no harm.” While real estate has been deemed an “essential” business, we have adopted guidelines that prioritize everyone’s safety and wellness. Like everything else in our world, real estate is not business as usual. While market statistics certainly aren’t our focus at this time, we’ve opted to include our usual monthly report for those who may be interested. A few key points: The monthly statistics are based on closed sales. Since closing generally takes 30 days, the statistics for March are mostly reflective of contracts signed in February, a time period largely untouched by COVID-19. The market is different today. We expect that inventory and sales will decline in April and May as a result of the governor’s Stay Home order. Despite the effects of COVID-19, the market in March was hot through mid-month. It remains to be seen if that indicates the strong market will return once the Stay Home order is lifted, or if economic changes will soften demand. Every Monday, Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here. Stay healthy and be safe. We’ll get through this together. EASTSIDE KING COUNTY SEATTLE SNOHOMISH COUNTY

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Your Guide to Spring Cleaning

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  Image Source: Canva Posted in Living by Sandy Dodge Many of us have found ourselves spending much of our time indoors as of late, and as spring blooms in the sunlight, you might be noticing that it’s time to treat your home to a little TLC. When it comes to wellness, your health and the health of your home go hand in hand. Here are some tips to guide you through your spring cleaning this year.   First clean, then disinfect​ ​​​​​​​General cleaning rids your home’s surfaces of contaminants, but disinfecting targets pathogens. A combination of the two before—as well as after—your spring cleaning will have your home in peak health. When disinfecting, target high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, and faucets.   Devices like your computer, phone and tablets are worthy of disinfecting as well, since they are high-touch surfaces that we carry around constantly. Avoid cleaners heavy in toxins and chemicals, which spread throughout your home. Look for plant- and mineral-based ingredients and natural solvents.   ​Work top-to-bottom ​​Working from ceiling to walls to counters to floors guides dust and debris downwards and prevents any re-cleaning of the same areas.   Ceiling Being the season when allergies kick up, a quality dusting can be even more important for your health. Curtains, blinds, carpets and ceiling fans all collect dust easily; being thorough in these areas will pay off in the long run. Don’t forget the corners where cobwebs collect.   Walls & Windows Consider giving your walls a cleanse with a damp towel, especially in the kitchen near your oven and coffee maker. Cleaning your windows helps bring in more natural light and is the key to getting the most out of your home’s view.   Floors All floors need a good cleanse, but different materials require different cleaning methods. With laminate and vinyl flooring, dry mopping will do the trick. Sealed wood floors can take mopping, but waxed floors can’t—they require sweeping or vacuuming instead.   Declutter Decluttering can be a daunting task. But with more time at home, we have more time to conquer this task day by day. Divide the rooms up by how much time they will take to declutter. Rooms like the kitchen and playroom will likely take longer than the living room or bathroom.   Separate the unnecessary or underused items into two categories: Donate and Storage. Gather your donated items—whether they’re going to thrift stores, local shelters, or charity—so they can be distributed out in one trip.   When it comes to storage, consider which items are likely to be taken out more often, like tools or seasonal items. Put them away last so they are easy to access. Hopefully this […]

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The Life Expectancy of Your Home

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Image Source: Shutterstock Posted in Living by Sandy Dodge Every component of your home has a lifespan. Common questions asked by homeowners include when to replace the flooring or how long to expect their siding to last. This information can help when budgeting for improvements or deciding between repairing and replacing when the time comes. We’re all familiar with the cliché: They just don’t build things like they used to. And while this may be true when it comes to brick siding or slate roofing, lifespans of other household components have increased in recent years. Here are the life expectancies of the most common household items (courtesy of NAHB):   Appliances: Among major appliances, gas ranges have a longer life expectancy than things like dishwashers and microwaves. Appliance Life Expectancy  Oil-burning Furnace  20 years  Heat Pump  16 years  Gas Range  15 years  Electric range / Refrigerator / Dryer  13 years  Electric / Gas Water Heater  10 years  Garbage disposal  10 years  Dishwasher / Microwave / Mini Fridge   9 years   Kitchen & Bath: When choosing your countertops, factor in the life expectancies of different materials. Kitchen / Bath Item Life Expectancy  Wood / Tile / Natural Stone Countertops  Lifetime  Toilets (parts will require maintenance)  50+ years  Stainless steel sink  30+ years  Bathroom faucet  20+ years  Cultured marble countertops  20 years  Kitchen faucet  15 years   Flooring: If you’re looking for longevity, wood floors are the way to go. Certain rooms in your home will be better suited for carpeting, but you can expect they’ll need replacing within a decade. Flooring Material Life Expectancy  Wood / Bamboo  Lifetime  Brick Pavers / Granite / Marble / Slate  100+ years  Linoleum  25 years  Carpet  8 – 10 years   Siding & Roofing: When choosing roofing and siding for your home, climate and maintenance level factor into the life expectancy of the material. However, brick siding and slate roofing are known to be dependable for decades. Siding / Roofing Material  Life Expectancy  Brick Siding  100+ years  Aluminum Siding  80 years  Slate / Tile Roofing  50+ years  Wood Shingles  30 years  Wood Siding  10 – 100 years (depending on climate)   Are extended warranties warranted? Extended warranties, also known as service contracts or service agreements, are sold for all types of household items from appliances to electronics. They cover service calls and repairs for a specified time beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranty. You will have to consider whether the cost is worth it to you. For some, it brings a much-needed peace of mind when making such a large purchase. Also consider if the cost outweighs […]

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – MARCH 2020

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – MARCH 2020 MARCH 10, 2020 [THE STATE OF] REAL ESTATELOCAL ECONOMY The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has not yet dampened demand in the housing market. Traffic at open houses remains heavy. Buyers who had waited last year for a drop in prices have now seen several months of home prices increases. With demand far outstripping supply and record low interest rates, the market heading into spring looks hotter than ever. EASTSIDE KING COUNTY SEATTLE SNOHOMISH COUNTY Buyers that may have been in wait-and-see mode at the end of 2019 jumped off the fence in February. Pending sales (offers accepted but not yet closed) jumped 27%, snapping up already-tight inventory. 55% of homes on the market sold in 15 days or less. The median home price jumped 9% over a year ago to $985,000, an increase of $58,000 from the prior month. Development on the Eastside continues to surge and includes the recent groundbreaking for a 600-foot tower in Bellevue and a proposed 11 acre mixed-use project. VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

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What ‘s My Home Worth? The Downside to Home Valuation Tools

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What’s your home worth? Posted in Selling by Sandy Dodge It is a seemingly simple question. However, discovering the worth of your home is more complicated than it might seem. Sites like Zillow, Redfin, Eppraisal, and others have built-in home valuation tools that make it seem easy, but how accurate are they? And if you get three different answers, which one do you believe? Online valuation tools have become a pivotal part of the home buying and selling process, but they’ve proven to be highly unreliable in certain instances. What these valuation tools have made clear is that real estate agents are as vital to the process of pricing a home as they ever were—and maybe even more so now.   Every online valuation tool has its limitations. Most are readily acknowledged by their providers, such as “Zestimate” from Zillow, which clearly states that it offers a median error rate of 4.5%. That may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that 4.5% amounts to a difference of about $31,500 for a $700,000 home. For Redfin and Trulia, there are similar variances. When you dig deeper into these valuation tools, it’s no wonder that there are discrepancies. They rely on a range of different sources for information, some more reliable than others.   Redfin’s tool pulls information directly from multiple listing services (MLSs) across the country. Others negotiate limited data sharing deals with those same services, relying on public and homeowners’ records alike. This can lead to gaps in coverage. These tools can serve as helpful pieces of the puzzle when buying or selling a home, but the acknowledged error rate is a reminder of how dangerous a heavy reliance on them can be.   Nothing compares to the level of detail and knowledge a professional real estate agent offers when pricing a home. An algorithm can’t possibly know about the unique characteristics of neither a home nor its neighborhood. Curious about what improvements you can make to get top dollar or how buyer behaviors are shaping the market? They cannot provide an answer there, either. That can only be delivered by a trusted professional whose number one priority is getting you the best price in a time frame that meets your needs.   If you’re curious about your home’s value, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations on your property and the surrounding market. And once you’re ready, I’m happy clarify this information […]

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What to Consider When Adding to Your Home

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  Image Source: mimagephotography  When dissatisfaction with your current home strikes, it can be exciting to launch into a plan for a new addition. A new living room, bedroom, or more can add value to your home while improving your quality of life. On the other hand, even a modest addition can turn into a major construction project, with architects and contractors to manage, construction workers traipsing through your home, hammers pounding, and sawdust everywhere. And although new additions can be a very good investment, the cost-per-square-foot is typically more than building a new home, and much more than buying a larger existing home.   Define your needs To determine if an addition makes sense for your situation, start by defining exactly what it is you want and need. By focusing on core needs, you won’t get carried away with a wish list that can push the project out of reach financially. If it’s a matter of needing more space, be specific. For example, instead of just jotting down “more kitchen space,” figure out just how much more space is going to make the difference, e.g., “150 square feet of floor space and six additional feet of counter space.” If the addition will be for aging parents, consult with their doctors or an age-in-place expert to define exactly what they’ll require for living conditions, both now and over the next five to ten years.   Types of additions Bump-out addition “Bumping out” one or more walls to make a first-floor room slightly larger is something most homeowners think about at one time or another. However, when you consider the work required, and the limited amount of space created, it often figures to be one of your most expensive approaches.   First-floor addition Adding a whole new room (or rooms) to the first floor of your home is one of the most common ways to add a family room, apartment or sunroom. But this approach can also take away yard space.   Dormer addition For homes with steep rooflines, adding an upper floor dormer may be all that’s needed to transform an awkward space with limited headroom. The cost is affordable and, when done well, a dormer can also improve the curb appeal of your house.   Second-story addition For homes without an upper floor, adding a second story can double the size of the house without reducing surrounding yard space.   […]

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