Call Maria Today: 206-650-3015

unrivaled expertise

Equestrian Properties | Homes on Acreage | Country Estates

since 1990

maria’s blog

What Buyers Want Today

By in maria's blog with 0 Comments

The National Association of REALTORS® recently released their 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Here are a few items about buyers that I thought you’d find interesting. • The top reason buyers purchase a home is they want a place of their own. • Buyers chose homes fairly close to their last residence. In our region, buyers purchase a home within a 13 mile radius of their last residence. If you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let’s talk! I will help you successfully navigate the Seattle housing market.

Read More

How Seller Gridlock is Controlling Seattle’s Housing Market

By in maria's blog with 0 Comments

The typical winter cooldown is over and it seems like a scorching spring housing market is already underway in the greater Seattle area. Recent statistics reported by The Seattle Times show “home prices in Seattle have nearly doubled over the last five years,” while the number of homes for sale has hit its lowest point since available records began in 2000. Home prices in King County jumped up 6.7 percent last month from the month before giving us the biggest one-month jump since early 2015 according to The Seattle Times. The biggest increase, the report continues, hit the suburbs. This sharp increase comes after a few months of slower price growth that is typical of winter months. Does this symbolize an early start to the spring market? When you combine these high prices with low inventory, an abysmal 1,400 homes available across King County last month, it would seem so. Our inventory has become so low that fewer people are even wanting to sell their homes. KOMO News reports that our housing market is now facing “seller gridlock” because owners are not selling since they do not have any good options available for buying or upgrading their homes. KOMO also explains homes are being purchased faster than new listings can even hit the market. According to the same article, not many expect the typical springtime increase in inventory to meet the demand our area is currently facing and could be facing for some time. Key advice many are sharing is to get started in the spring market sooner rather than later. Right now is the perfect time for sellers to get the most out of their home and take advantage of current market conditions. Read more from The Seattle Times and KOMO News.

Read More

New Features vs. Character

By in maria's blog with 0 Comments

We are often asked, “Which is the better buy, a newer or older home?” Our answer: It all depends on your needs and personal preferences. We decided to put together a list of the six biggest differences between newer and older homes: The neighborhood Surprisingly, one of the biggest factors in choosing a new home isn’t the property itself, but rather the surrounding neighborhood. While new homes occasionally spring up in established communities, most are built in new developments. The settings are quite different, each with their own unique benefits. Older neighborhoods often feature tree-lined streets; larger property lots; a wide array of architectural styles; easy walking access to mass transportation, restaurants and local shops; and more established relationships among neighbors. New developments are better known for wider streets and quiet cul-de-sacs; controlled development; fewer aboveground utilities; more parks; and often newer public facilities (schools, libraries, pools, etc.). There are typically more children in newer communities, as well. Consider your daily work commute, too. While not always true, older neighborhoods tend to be closer to major employment centers, mass transportation and multiple car routes (neighborhood arterials, highways and freeways). Design and layout If you like Victorian, Craftsman or Cape Cod style homes, it used to be that you would have to buy an older home from the appropriate era. But with new-home builders now offering modern takes on those classic designs, that’s no longer the case. There are even modern log homes available. Have you given much thought to your floor plans? If you have your heart set on a family room, an entertainment kitchen, a home office and walk-in closets, you’ll likely want to buy a newer home—or plan to do some heavy remodeling of an older home. Unless they’ve already been remodeled, most older homes feature more basic layouts. If you have a specific home-décor style in mind, you’ll want to take that into consideration, as well. Professional designers say it’s best if the style and era of your furnishings match the style and era of your house. But if you are willing to adapt, then the options are wide open. Materials and craftsmanship Homes built before material and labor costs spiked in the late 1950s have a reputation for higher-grade lumber and old-world craftsmanship (hardwood floors, old-growth timber supports, ornate siding, artistic molding, etc.). However, newer homes have the benefit of modern materials and more advanced building […]

Read More

The Perfect Storm for Home Sellers

By in maria's blog with 0 Comments

Thinking of listing your home? Sellers today stand to benefit from a perfect storm of market conditions that are delivering the greatest possible return on investment.    Record-Low Inventory: Fewer than 1,600 single-family homes were on the market in King County last month, an all-time low. Record High Prices: Prices are at historic highs, and are rising faster than anywhere else in the country. So, why not just wait and see if prices go even higher?  Just like with the stock market, it’s impossible to time the housing market. However, experts have predicted price increases to slow this year, and prices here are already showing signs of moderating. In addition, interest rates are expected to go up this year. A majority of the members of the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting board predict there will be three more increases coming in 2017. These increases will cause mortgage rates to rise, which means buyers will only qualify for less expensive homes. This reduced purchasing power starts slowing buyer demand. It’s the perfect time to list your home. Are ready to get started? I can prepare a valuation of your home based on current market conditions, walk you through the process, and answer any questions you may have.

Read More

Millennials and the American Dream

By in maria's blog with 0 Comments

Contrary to some predictions, Millennials are making owning a home a priority. While they’re buying their first home a bit later than prior generations, they’re embracing the long-term value that home ownership brings. 1) Millennials are dominating the first-time homebuyer category today. The median age of first-time homebuyers is 31, according to a National Association of Realtors study. 2) The vast majority of Millennials think owning a home is important. According to a Merrill Lynch study, 81% of Millennials agree that “homeownership is an important part of the American Dream.” Percent who agree that “Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream” 3) Most Millennials consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons. In a survey by Fannie Mae, Millennials who own a home prefer owning over renting for these reasons: A strong local economy, rising rents and low interest rates have all helped Millennials reach the tipping point and take the plunge into the American Dream of home ownership. I can help first-time buyers find the best home for their needs. Reach out with any questions you have, or forward this to a first-time homebuyer you know!

Read More

How the American Home has Evolved

By in maria's blog with 0 Comments

Owning a home has been an American tradition from the start. But the home itself has changed dramatically over the years. For example, you may be surprised to learn how much the size of the average American home has increased since the turn of the 20th century—especially when you compare it to the size of the average family during the same time period. In the year 1900, the average American family was relatively large with 4.6 members, but the average home featured just 1,000 square feet of usable floor space. By 1979, family size had shrunk to 3.11 members, but the floor space they shared had expanded to 1,660 square feet. And by 2007, the average family size was even smaller still—just 2.6 members—while the average home size had increased by the largest amount yet—this time to 2,521 square feet. To accommodate those larger homes, property lots have also had to expand in size. In the 1930s and ‘40s, Bungalow homes were usually built on lots measuring 60 by 100 feet (for a total of 6,000 square feet). However, by 1976, the average size of a single-family property lot had expanded to more than 10,000 square feet. In 1990, it expanded again (to 14,680 square feet). Today, the average property lot in America is a staggering 17,590 square feet. Exterior building materials Until the 1960s, the building materials used on the exterior of most homes were limited to brick, wood, or wood shingles. However, by the early 1960s, many Americans chose to cover their homes with a more affordable material that was also maintenance-free: aluminum and vinyl siding. Today, many homeowners are using low-maintenance siding materials made of cement fiber. Interior building materials The primary building material for interior ceilings and walls for much of the 20th century was plaster applied over wood lathe. Modern day sheetrock didn’t become popular until the 1950s. In the 1960s, wood paneling and textured walls became prevalent, largely for their quick and easy application. In the 1970s and ‘80s, “popcorn ceilings” became a common way to hide imperfections in ceilings. Today’s style again favors smooth walls and ceilings, which can result in a lot of work removing paneling and textures in older homes. Throughout the early 1900s, the floors throughout most homes were almost always bare wood. Linoleum tile became a popular choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms in the 1940s. However, by the 1960s […]

Read More

Our Historic Population Growth

By in maria's blog with 0 Comments

Residents of the greater Seattle area have all been feeling the pressures of population growth over the last several months. Not only are we seeing increased activity in the housing market, but plenty are moving to our area to take advantage of the economy, new technology jobs, quality of life, and more. A new study from The Puget Sound Regional Council reported by Geek Wire states that Seattle and the surrounding counties have added 86,320 new residents between April 2015 and 2016. This marks our largest population gain this century. When you average that out, we’re looking at about 236 new people calling Seattle home every single day. King County saw the biggest growth at 2.5 percent with 52,300 people. If we continue with numbers at that rate, the Puget Sound area will likely pass the 4 million resident mark by the time you read this. As Geek Wire reports, we can largely attribute this growth to the expansion of the region’s tech booms and major employers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing. The success of these companies has helped to spark a growth in the startup environment as well. Additionally, dozens of big companies have decided to set up their engineering centers here. Geek Wire continues their analysis of the report and our population growth by reminding us that this isn’t the first time we’ve seen expansion like this. “The region’s population has grown by more than 80,000 people in one year five times since the 1960s.” They quote the report stating, “these rapid population changes have occured over two to three years before settling back to a steadier rate of change.” Looks like we may be seeing this continued growth for another year or two. Read the full story from Geek Wire.

Read More

What We Know (and Don’t Know) About the Impact of Brexit

By in maria's blog with 0 Comments

This article from Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner discusses what Brexit means for the U.S. economy and housing market.  The decision of the British public to leave the European Union is a historic one for many reasons, not least of which was the almost uniform belief that there was absolutely no way that the public would vote to dissolve a partnership that had been in existence since the UK became a member nation back in 1973. However, rightly or not, the people decided that it was time to leave. As both an economist, and native of the UK, I’ve been bombarded with questions from people about what impact Brexit will have on the global economy and U.S. housing market. I’ll start with the economy. Since last Thursday’s announcement, there have been exceptional ripples around the global economy that were felt here in the U.S. too. This isn’t all that surprising given that the vast majority of us believed that the UK would vote to remain in the EU; however, I believe things will start to settle down as soon as the smoke clears. The only problem is that the smoke remains remarkably dense. The British government does not appear to be in any hurry to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which allows a member country to leave the conglomerate. Additionally, nobody appears able to provide any definitive data as to what the effect of the UK leaving will really have on the European or global economies. As a result, you have those who suggest that it will lead to a “modest” recession in the UK, as well as extremists who are forecasting a return of the 4-horsemen of the apocalypse. But in reality, no one really knows, and it is that type of uncertainty that feeds on itself and can cause wild fluctuations in the market. It’s important to understand that last Thursday’s vote does not confirm an actual exit from the European Union. There is a prolonged process of leaving that is set out in the EU Treaty which requires a “cooling off” period. And during this time, even confident political leaders, such as Boris Johnson who championed the exit campaign, might be tempted by reforms that would see Great Britain actually remaining in the EU. The EU itself has been shaken by the vote, and there are already signs that many of its leaders are talking about […]

Read More

Buyers Benefit with Windermere Real Estate

By in maria's blog with 0 Comments

We’re in a seller’s market, no doubt. But I work hard to make sure that buyers see every benefit available to them. Before they help you buy your home, Windermere Real Estate brokers help you find the perfect home for you. They go the extra mile and scour the listings to find the home that best fits your needs and lifestyle. In our 2015 survey of Windermere customers, 44 percent of buyers said their broker introduced them to the property while 37 percent found it themselves online. Our brokers do more than help you with the paperwork. They help you navigate the housing market with ease. Windermere Real Estate brokers also hold the advantage in multiple offer situations when home sales often go over list price. With their expert knowledge and education, our brokers work hard to get you your new home and make your offer stand above the rest. Our brokers will get the job done quickly. We’re all too familiar with the cost of waiting to buy a home, so trust that your broker will help you get into your new home as quickly and stress-free as possible. If you’re ready to jump into our spring housing market, make sure you get in touch with me soon! I’ll help you buy the home of your dreams.

Read More

Tips for Buyers in a Hot Seller’s Market

By in maria's blog with 0 Comments

There is no doubt that the local real estate market is hot. Last month in King County: 57% of homes sold in less than 15 days. 4 out of 10 homes sold for over list price. 25% of home sales were cash sales. With more people competing for fewer homes, it can be frustrating to be a home buyer. Here are some tips that can help you gain an advantage and get a home that you love. 1) Get ready to compromise. Separate your needs from your wants. In a competitive market, most buyers will have to compromise on location, amenities or condition of the home. Make a list of your must-haves and features you’d like (but can live without), and prepare to be flexible. 2) Get pre-approved for a mortgage. With many buyers now offering cash, it’s critical to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes. If financing is needed, sellers prefer conventional loans to FHA or VA loans. 3) Be ready to move fast. With homes selling within days – or even hours – you can’t afford to wait on a decision. If you see a house you like, be ready to act on it that day. 4) Work with an agent who is a great negotiator. Your agent needs to do much more than just write up an offer. A good negotiator can find out what terms are most important to the seller, and write an offer (and maybe additional counter-offers) that best meet their needs. 5) Find creative ways to make your offer more appealing. Every seller has their own wish list. It may be a large earnest money payment, or they may want to stay in the home a few months after the sale. A savvy agent can use that knowledge to sweeten your offer and give you an advantage over other potential buyers. You don’t want to navigate this frenzied market without the best possible representation. Contact a Windermere broker to help you get the home you want at a price you can afford. This post originally appeared on WindermereEastside.com.

Read More