Brooks & Heinze Real Estate Team – First Quarter Newsletter 2013

March 2, 2013

As we are well into 2013, we are thankful for all of our past clients, current clients and the opportunities we have living in this wonderful area.  Now to the market update…

State of the Market and Home Values:

After years of grave losses, home values finally started to increase in the latter part of 2012 (March/April 2012 was the bottom).  Gains could be seen in most of the Greater Seattle area. If you are curious about the value of your home, feel free to contact us. We are happy to prepare a free market analysis for you.  This last year also saw the return of multiple offers on some homes, especially homes that did not fall into the category of short sales or fixers. Buyers are having to compete for homes due to low inventory and increased buyer confidence.  Cash investors entered the market in a big way, as well as many first time buyers who see the value in homeownership and real estate. The low inventory of homes for sale can be largely attributed  to the large number of “underwater” homeowners who are discouraged to sell because they owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth.  Predicting real estate values for the future is difficult but there appears to be a consensus among industry professionals that home prices will continue to rise. If prices continue to go up, more current home owners who have held off selling due to negative equity might list their home and offer more inventory and choices to home buyers.

We are optimistic that the housing market recovery will continue moderately in 2013.

Tips for Selling in 2013:

Be realistic – Yes, there has been a lot of news of recovery, rising prices and multiple offers. It’s all true but the reality is that values are still off considerably from what they used to be. If you price your home right from day one, you will get fair market value. We can help you price your home competitively so you are not giving anything away and get what the market dictates based on comparable sales and current market trends. We will market your property to make sure it gets the attention it needs to sell but proper marketing will never overcome an inflated price.

Be prepared – You might want to do a preinspection. This gives you an opportunity to find out what issues will likely come up when a buyer has your home inspected. You can also get bids and shop around for contractors at your leisure rather than under time constraints when under contract.  This allows you to address any issues before going on the market.

Declutter,  dress up and stow away – Simple home improvements and decluttering can make your home shine and attract the right attention.  Repainting and a thorough cleaning, inside and out (roof, gutter, windows, carpets, floors, etc. ) will help make the marketing materials shine and attract traffic. It will also make a lasting impression on touring buyers.  Replace any broken light bulbs and consider using higher wattage light bulbs, especially in the winter months to make your home look brighter.  Big remodels generally do not pay back, especially if the buyer does not share your taste of finishes. Defects such as drippy faucets, leaks, etc. should most definitely be addressed.  Unattended defects might deter potential buyers or may make them more likely to haggle on price.  Start packing any items you do not need on a daily basis and declutter.  Open and organized spaces make your home look bigger and more appealing.  Lock up or stow away any valuables and medications.

Timing  – The best time to sell is when consumer confidence is on the upswing, interest rates are low, unemployment is decreasing and there are more buyers in your local market than there are sellers .  Spring is usually a favored time for sellers to put their house on the market because of longer daylight hours and healthier looking yards, as well as a convenient time for families with school aged children. However, with inventory at an all time low right now and currently increasing buyer confidence, sellers have an edge with buyers competing for a few good homes.  It is a good time to sell now.

Tips for Buying in 2013:

Jump – If you have been wanting to buy but you have sat on the sidelines because you have been afraid to commit, wait no more. The bottom of the market has passed (which was March/April 2012). Prices and interest rates are still low which makes this a good time to buy.

Be prepared – Decide if homeownership is right for you and take the time to run the numbers. Real estate is a long term investment and if you think you will live in your home less than five years, you should think twice about buying. Buying and selling have associated costs. We can run the numbers for you. If you have decided that buying is for you, get preapproved for a loan before you start the house hunt. Have your mortgage broker run your credit and then fix any blips or inaccuracies to make sure your credit score reflects your true rating. Better scores qualify you for better rates and better rates mean lower payments. Your income, credit and down payment amount will also determine the types of loan programs you are eligible for.  You should understand what your options and payments will be before you commit. Ask us for a referral to a qualified mortgage broker.  Also, sellers will not entertain offer from buyers who cannot show that they actually have the funds in hand or qualify for financing.

Carefully consider the neighborhood – there are a number of online resources that let you check crime statistics and the national sex offender list. Check out the commute and public transportation options for different areas and research schools. Visit the neighborhoods at different hours of the day and ask residents in the area what they like and dislike about their neighborhood.

Ask lots of questions and actively engage in the process  – Most sellers will put on the lipstick when they put their house on the market. They clean and paint the house, use airfreshners, cover things up with throw rugs, etc. – you get the picture. When you are looking at homes, take the time to look at details, ask to see the seller disclosure form that will show defects the seller is aware of and ask questions if you see things that seem out of place. No house is perfect but you want to know what you are getting yourself into. Turn on the stove, run the faucets, look in the closets, be aware of stains and blotches and so on. Of course, you should hire a licensed home inspector once you have decided to buy a specific home but you can weed out a lot of homes that are not in acceptable selling condition by paying attention yourself.

Attend our free homebuyer seminar – Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a move up buyer, you will learn valuable information at these free home buyer seminars. The class will cover the State of the Market, Important Steps of the Homebuying Process, Pros and Cons of Buying vs. Renting, and Financing Options. There will also be time for questions in the end to make sure individual interests and questions are answered.  Call or email Kerstin at 206.276.5827 / info@propertyinseattle.com .

New Listings

We have a new listing in Edmonds (Yost Park) neighborhood for $449,950.  It is 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 2-story with basement.  It has beautiful territorial views, a wine cellar, updated fixtures, spacious at about 2600 SQF and it is on a cul-de-sac, just minutes from downtown Edmonds.  Our first open house will be on Saturday, March 2nd, from 1-4pm and Sunday, March 3rd from 1-4pm.  Please let us know if you want more information.

Kerstin Brooks & Krisanne Heinze
Brooks & Heinze Real Estate Team
Skyline Properties, Inc.
Email: info@propertyinseattle.com
Web: www.propertyinseattle.com

 


Smart Homebuyers are focusing on taking advantage of favorable rates along with the Tax Credit

January 11, 2010

Smart home buyers are focusing on taking advantage of the present, very favorable rate situation along with the still available tax credit.

Rates are likely to go up:

Please note that the main reason interest rates are so low is because the government is buying mortgage backed securities, or you may have heard the term “toxic assets”, which are basically sub-prime loans or loans that required no proof of income, allowed low credit scores and were generally 0% down.

After you get a loan through your bank or mortgage broker, the loans are sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and then those 2 entities package them up to sell them to investors. After the sub-prime meltdown no investors wanted them and so to keep Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae afloat, we, as taxpayers, bought them for essentially the “list price” even though they were not worth anything.

Even now, because interest rates are so low, private investors are not interested in mortgage backed securities (even though most of the loans now have a stringent qualification process) and so we, as taxpayers, are still buying them (and probably over-paying the banks).

In December (on the 24th, while most of the country was spending time at home with their family for the holidays) the Treasury announced there was to be no limit on what the government spent to bail out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The prior limit was 400 Billion. This is a good article to explain what that means (besides we are all getting ripped off and our children, children’s children and so on will suffer). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dean-baker/fannie-mae-and-freddie-ma_b_405117.html .

So, when the government decides to start stepping out of the big business welfare role, interest rates will go up and I presume that will happen in 2010 sometime. So, what happens when interest rates increase? Buyer’s qualify for less money and it impacts the housing market because buyers can afford less.

Tax Credit for First-time Buyers and Move-up Buyers scheduled to expire April 30, 2010.

In order to qualify for the credit, all home purchase contracts need to be in effect no later than April 30, 2010 and close no later than June 30, 2010.

More about these tax credits can be learned in one of our prior posts from November 8, 2009 entitled “First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended” and “A New Tax Credit for Certain Existing Home Owners”.

A great way to learn more about the above topics or decide if becoming a homeowner is right for you, please contact us or attend one of our home buyer workshops:

UPCOMING HOME BUYER WORKSHOPS

Date: Thursday, January 28, 2010
Time: 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Location: Northgate (Seattle) – 9709 3rd Ave NE #450, Seattle, WA 98115


Topics covered:
Loan Application Process, First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit, Market Conditions, Own vs. Rent Illustration, Home Buying Process, For Sale by Owner (FSBO), bank-owned, short-sale properties, Q & A. RSVP to Kerstin at 206.276.5827 or info@propertyinseattle.com


Krisanne Heinze & Kerstin G. Brooks

Brooks & Heinze Team



Kerstin Brooks – Seattle – Real Estate Sales – Biznik

January 4, 2010

Kerstin Brooks – Seattle – Real Estate Sales – Biznik

First Time Homebuyer Workshop

Topics covered:

Loan Application Process
First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit
Market Conditions
Own vs. Rent Illustration
Home Buying Process
For Sale by Owner (FSBO), bank-owned, short-sale properties.
Q & A

Presenters:

Micah Cade of Choice Home Finance
Broker #510-MB-29714
Phone: 253.732.1432
Email: micah@choicehomefin.com

Kerstin G. Brooks (Brooks & Heinze Team)
Skyline Properties, Inc.
Phone: 206.276.5827
Email: info@propertyinseattle.com
Web: www.propertyinseattle.com

RSVP to 206.276.5827 or info@propertyinseattle.com

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Free Homebuyer Workshops in Seattle

January 11, 2008

The Brooks & Heinze Team hosts Free Homebuyer Workshops in Seattle on the following dates:

Thursday: Jan 10, 2008 at 5:30pm at Remax NW Realtors in Northgate.

Saturday: Jan 19, 2008 at 11am at Wells Fargo.

Thursday: Feb 21, 2008 at 5:30pm at Remax NW Realtors in Northgate.

Saturday: Feb 23, 2008 at 11am at Remax NW Realtors in Northgate.

Thursday: Mar 13, 2008 at 5:30pm at Remax NW Realtors in Northgate.

Saturday: Mar 29, 2008 at 11am at Wells Fargo.

Thursday: Apr 10, 2008 at 5:30pm at Remax NW Realtors in Northgate.

Kerstin G. Brooks, ABR, Realtor
Brooks & Heinze Team
Remax NW Realtors
206.276.5827
http://www.propertyinseattle.com/


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