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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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Designing Your Home Office

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Image Source: Canva Working from home is an aspiration for many of us, but to do so effectively takes effort. A disorganized space at home can be just as troublesome as a hectic office. The most disciplined telecommuters will tell you that you need a structured routine and organization in order to be successful. Having a designated workspace is one of the most important elements to your success when you make the switch to telecommuting. Even if you live in a small space, you need to find a balance between home and office. People who work from home often have a difficult time separating their work hours from their non-work hours because it’s so easy to keep at it late into the night. But maintaining a balance and shutting down the computer is important for overall wellbeing. What are some other must-haves for a successful home office? Here are the top five:   Natural Light – Study upon study tells us that natural light is needed to boost productivity and mood. Make sure to set your desk up as close to a window as you can. If being near a window isn’t an option, a natural light lamp is the next best thing. It helps balance your body clock and leaves you feeling rested and refreshed. To-Do List or Planner – Start each day off by making a to-do list outlining what you need to get done before the end of the workday. Make sure to set a realistic time frame in which all of that should be completed, so you can check each one off the list and feel immense accomplishment once you’ve completed them all. Storage – If you have a big enough space, put in a large bookshelf where you can organize everything (think storage boxes). It reduces clutter and looks stylish. Using your walls and cabinetry is the most efficient use of space. Calendar – Many people tend to rely on digital calendars these days because of their convenience. When all of your devices sync together and pop up with reminders, you never have to worry about missing an appointment. However, many people find that it helps to keep a paper calendar handy too so you can easily view your whole month at a glance. Choose which options works best for you by playing with both options, or something in between and see which one lets you be more productive with the least amount of stress. Space for Inspiration – It doesn’t matter what field you work in, having a source […]

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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.   Garage […]

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Vacation Home or Income-Producing Investment

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Posted in Buying by Meaghan McGlynn Image Source: Alex Master Shutterstock Whether you’re a skier who loves the mountain slopes of Colorado, a lover of the beaches of Southern California, or a potential retiree seeking to escape the snow-laden Northeast for the wide-open, sunny lands of Arizona, there are homes available to meet a wide range of budgets. The biggest decision a potential second homeowner must make is whether they are going to solely own their vacation home or turn it into a vacation rental. Here are the advantages and disadvantages to both options:   Investing in vacation rentals Pros: A good vacation rental property generally provides a healthy rental revenue which could potentially cover mortgage payments while also generating healthy additional profit. Using an online short-term rental service like Airbnb makes it convenient to manage your rental property. Their website interface makes pricing, marketing, and communication with potential guests quite straightforward and easy. Airbnb will also oversee the billing process for you. You may qualify for federal tax breaks and deductions related to your investment property. Everything from professional fees or commissions – including property management services- to cleaning and maintenance are potential tax write-offs. Cons: Vacation rentals can be costly to manage, both in terms of time and money. These properties may require seasonal upkeep and special maintenance considerations. You may even incur costs to maintain or monitor the property even when it’s not actively being utilized. Vacation rental properties are particularly sensitive to seasonal fluctuations and economic downturns, which could leave you financially exposed if you suffer a lack of booking revenue. Many states and cities are cracking down on short-term rental services. In California, for example, the fight has been primarily local, reaching a fever pitch in the San Francisco Bay Area. Increasingly state and local municipalities are seeking to reign in short-term vacation rentals, which could put a damper on potential revenue from these properties. You may experience higher renovation and repair costs on a short-term rental. Most travelers expect the latest appliances and furnishings, so you will have to update every few years. Unfortunately, short-term renters are less likely to report any necessary repairs and guests are far less likely to treat the property with respect since there’s no sense of ownership or obligation.   Owning a vacation home Pros: Long-term profits: While assets fluctuate in value in the short term, vacation properties are more likely to retain […]

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Incorporate Pantone’s Color of 2020 into Your Home

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Posted in Living and Architecture by Meaghan McGlynn Image Source: Pantone Classic Blue has officially been anointed Pantone’s 2020 “Color of the Year”.  Pantone says it picked this color because of its ability to instill calm, confidence, and connection as we cross the threshold into a new decade. A dependable color, Classic Blue is timeless, and enduring, making it a great addition to just about any room in your home. Here are some ways to add this stunning shade of blue to your home:   Furniture Image Source: Stacy Zarin Goldberg  Add a splash of color to any room with Classic Blue furniture, such as these dining room chairs, which express a sense of tradition and elegance, as well as unexpected boldness.   Tile Work Image Source: Stacy Zarin Goldberg  Geometric patterns are all the rage this year, so why not liven up your kitchen backsplash with tiles that incorporate the color of the year? Here’s an example that achieves this through bold, colorful design that doubles as a piece of art.   Cabinets Image Source: Davonport Kitchen Designers and Remodelers.  If geometric tile isn’t your thing, the are other ways to bring your kitchen to life with this stunning shade of blue. If you’re not in a position to purchase all new cabinets, simply paint your current cabinets for a more affordable update.   Walls Image Source: Stacy Zarin Goldberg Whether it’s built-ins, panels, or an accent wall, Classic Blue can make your furniture and décor pop. Consider this color when you paint your living room or bedroom as a way to encourage calm and confidence in your favorite spaces.

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Staying Safe When Selling Your Home

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Image Source: Canva Staying organized while uprooting your life and moving from one home to another can feel impossible. There’s also the pressure to keep your home clean and tidy for showings to prospective buyers, but your personal safety is an important consideration as well. When selling your home,  there will be strangers entering your space, so it’s important for you and your agent to take certain safety precautions. Like so many things in life, they can feel more manageable once written down, so we made this handy checklist.   Prepare your home: Go through your medicine cabinets and remove all prescription medications. Remove or lock up precious belongings and personal information. You will want to store your jewelry, family heirlooms, and personal/financial information in a secure location to keep them from getting misplaced or stolen. Remove family photos. We recommend removing your family photos during the staging process so potential buyers can see themselves living in the home. It’s also a good way to protect your privacy. Check that your windows and doors are secure before and after showings. If someone is looking to get back into your home following a showing or an open house, they will look for weak locks or they might unlock a window or door. Consider extra security measures such as an alarm system or other monitoring tools like cameras. Don’t show your own home! If someone you don’t know walks up to your home asking for a showing, don’t let them in. You always want to have an agent present to show your home.   Talk to your agent about the following safety precautions:  Do a walk-through with your agent to make sure you have identified everything that needs to be removed or secured, such as medications, belongings, and photos. Go over your agent’s screening process so you are both on the same page about phone screening, and how to qualify buyers before showings, as well as personal safety tactics during showings and open houses. Lockboxes to secure your keys for showings should be up to date. Electronic lockboxes track who has had access to your home. Go through your home’s entrances and exits and share important household information so your agent can advise how to secure your property while it’s on the market.

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LOCAL MARKET UPDATE – FEBRUARY 2020

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[THE STATE OF] REAL ESTATELOCAL ECONOMY New jobs and low interest rates continue to fuel the housing market boom. While January is traditionally a slower month for activity, the new year saw steady buyer demand. With the number of sales exceeding new listings, all indicators point to a strong spring market. EASTSIDE KING COUNTY SEATTLE SNOHOMISH COUNTY The tech industry on the Eastside continues to grow rapidly. Microsoft and Alibaba both have significant expansions underway. Amazon expects to increase its workforce in Bellevue to 15,000 in the next few years, a sevenfold increase from today. As the economy continues to grow, inventory keeps being squeezed. There were 47% fewer single-family homes on the market in January than the year prior. Home prices have been stabilizing for some time, fluctuating slightly from month to month. In January the median home price slipped 2% over a year ago to $892,000. VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

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Western Washington Quarter 4 Gardner Report

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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.   ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Employment in Washington State continues to soften; it is currently at an annual growth rate of 1.7%. I believe that is a temporary slowdown and we will see the pace of employment growth improve as we move further into the new year. It’s clear that businesses are continuing to feel the effects of the trade war with China and this is impacting hiring practices. This is, of course, in addition to the issues that Boeing currently faces regarding the 737 MAX. In the fourth quarter of 2019 the state unemployment rate was 4.4%, marginally lower than the 4.5% level of a year ago. My most recent economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2020 will rise 2.2%, with a total of 76,300 new jobs created.   HOME SALES There were 18,322 home sales registered during the final quarter of 2019, representing an impressive increase of 4.7% from the same period in 2018. Readers may remember that listing activity spiked in the summer of 2018 but could not be sustained, with the average number of listings continuing to fall. Year-over-year, the number of homes for sale in Western Washington dropped 31.7%. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, sales rose in nine counties and dropped in six. The greatest growth was in Whatcom County. San Juan County had significant declines, but this is a very small market which makes it prone to extreme swings. Pending home sales — a barometer for future closings — dropped 31% between the third and fourth quarters of 2019, suggesting that we may well see a dip in the number of closed sales in the first quarter of 2020.     HOME PRICES Home price growth in Western Washington spiked during fourth quarter, with average prices 8.3% higher than a year ago. The average sale price in Western Washington was $526,564, 0.7% higher than in the third quarter of 2019. It’s worth noting that above-average price growth is happening in markets some distance from the primary job centers. I strongly feel this is due to affordability issues, which are forcing buyers […]

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