National Open House Event – April 28 & 29, 2012

The annual National Open House Event is coming up this weekend on Saturday April 28th and Sunday 29th. The Washington REALTORS association anticipates several hundred properties will be open to the public. So far, are over 650 properties in King County are participating, including more than 200 in Seattle. That number will rise as we get closer to the weekend.

House hunters – including first-time buyers and investors – will be able to learn more about home ownership from experts who are hosting the open houses. The National Open House Weekend is a stress-free event where prospective home buyers can arrange their own customized tours (with or without an accompanying Realtor) as part of the Open House showcase.

Living Northwest provides online tools for identifying listings open this weekend. Simply click on the “Open House” tab in the left hand column on the property search page to locate open house opportunities.

I will be hosting an open house at Veer Lofts in South Lake Union on Sunday, April 29th from 1 pm to 4 pm. If you’d like to check out this fantastic building or want to chat about the Seattle real estate market, please come by.

Veer Lofts is located at 401 9th Avenue N.

Tips for Buying in a Home in a Seller’s Market

If you’re been looking to purchase a home in the Seattle region, it almost seems as though the market changed overnight. Ever since the housing market crashed several years ago, buyers had been keenly aware that Seattle represented a strong buyer’s market. However, since the start of the year the market has shifted.

Seattle is exhibiting seller market characteristics as the supply of available Seattle homes for sale constrict. Compared to last March, there are 38% fewer properties on the market today.

Demand has risen as homebuyers and investors take advantage of lower home selling prices and historic low mortgage interest rates. As a result, buyers are encountering more multiple offer situations and, yes, we’re even beginning to see bidding wars again.

How can buyers best position themselves to have their offer accepted at the best possible price?

Here are a few tips for buying a Seattle home in a seller’s market:

  • Get your finances in order before venturing out. Work with a recommended mortgage lender to get pre-approved, or if you’re a cash buyer, have your proof of funds on hand. You will benefit by knowing how much you can afford and you’ll be in a stronger position when making an offer. Buyer financing is the number one reason why transactions fall apart so sellers give greater weight to cash and pre-approved buyers.
  • Know your limit. If you happen to encounter a multiple offer situation, know how high you’re willing to go. This will allow you to present your highest and best offer while keeping you from straying beyond your budget. The last thing you want is being caught up in a bidding situation and paying more than you should.
  • Research in advance. Determine the neighborhoods and type of properties that best suit your needs and lifestyle – layout, number of stories, yard space, transportation and commute options, crime rate, market sales activity, price trends and so on. By defining the areas you’d like to live in, you’ll be able to move more readily giving you an edge over the competition when properties become available in your favorite neighborhoods. You will know a good value and the perfect property when you see it.
  • Be prepared to act quickly. When a house that ticks off all the boxes comes on the market, be prepared to act quickly. Homes that are well priced for the market, in good condition and located in desirable neighborhoods are selling faster. Recently, in the hour it took me between setting up a showing with a buyer and arriving at the property the unit went pending. It was on the market less than 24 hours.
  • Strengthen your offer position. In a multiple offer situation, consider minimizing contingencies and strengthening the other elements of your offer. This may include a larger down payment or earnest money deposit amount, pre-inspecting the property, or being flexible with the contract terms such as the closing date or escrow preference.

Heading into spring, we are moving towards the high season for home purchases. The low cost to finance, better values and warmer weather offer a compelling opportunity for buyers to enter the market, and as they do they are experiencing dwindling inventory supply and greater competition from other buyers. To get the edge buyers need to be aware of these essential tips for buying in Seattle’s evolving real estate market.

Are you ready to get your feet wet?   Contact the Living Northwest team at Keller Williams Greater Seattle to get started.


March 2012 Seattle Housing Market Update

In March, the Seattle housing market may have turned the corner, even if only for one month as the median Seattle home sales price inched up 0.56% to $359,500 over last March.

The single family dwelling median sales price fared better than condos increasing 3.12% to $397,000 while condos lagged behind falling 11.75% to $236,500, compared to a year ago.

Currently, Seattle’s real estate market is exhibiting a “seller’s market” characteristic with low inventory supply and high buyer demand. The number of available homes for sale dropped 38.4% from a year ago while sales have increased 15.4%. Brokers are reporting a greater number of multiple offer instances, something we haven’t seen since the bubble burst.

Citywide, the inventory supply rate has dropped to 1.6 months of supply. That means, at the current rate of sales and provided no new listings come on market, it will take 1.6 months to sell out the remaining inventory. The months of supply metric is used to identify the market environment:

1 – 3 Months:  Sellers Market
4 – 6 Months:  Neutral Market
6 + Months:     Buyers Market

Will this trend continue? It’s hard to say. This time of year we normally see the number of listings rise as homeowners take advantage of the Spring selling season to put their homes on the market. However, that hasn’t happened this year, which is resulting in a dearth of inventory. On the other hand, low mortgage interest rates, rising rental rates and a better economic outlook in the Seattle region are encouraging buyers into the housing market.

Inventory will likely remain low until (1) housing prices start to increase and homeowners feel more confident about realizing appreciation (or minimizing their losses) and (2) banks begin to reduce the shadow inventory.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms Required for Sellers

Recently a new law went into effect in Washington state requiring all residential homes for sale to have carbon monoxide alarms installed.  The new law (RCW 19.27.530) took effect on April 1, 2012 and is applicable to single family homes, condominiums, townhomes and manufactured/mobile homes.

The building code requires that carbon monoxide alarms be installed outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of each bedroom, on each level of the dwelling, and in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

What is carbon monoxide and why are alarms necessary?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that kills approximately 500 people in the United States every year. Carbon monoxide killed over 1,000 Washington residents between 1990 and 2005. You cannot hear, taste, see or smell carbon monoxide.  In many cases of reported carbon monoxide poisoning, victims were aware they were not well, but became so disoriented that they were unable to save themselves by either exiting the building or calling for assistance.  Young children and household pets are typically the first affected.

More info from the Washington State Department of Health:


Seattle Green Home Tour – April 21 and 22, 2012

Coinciding with Earth Day, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is presenting the 2012 Green Home Tour and Expo in Seattle and surrounding areas.

The Seattle tour includes 13 properties primarily in North Seattle and West Seattle including a home built from reclaimed steel shipping containers, a net-zero energy house, and new construction as well as green renovated homes.  Other tours include Bothell & the northend, the Eastside, Kitsap County and the Olympia area.

In addition to the tour, the Green Depot is hosting a Green Home Expo on Saturday, April 21 from 10 am to 4 pm.   The Expo features over 20 exhibitors including green home experts, energy auditors, solar companies, living wall installers and others.

Then on Sunday, April 22 GreenHome Solutions will be hosting a number of Energy Workshops including sustainable lighting choices, home performance testing, energy-saving ideas, and incentives and financing options.

For more info visit or download a tour brochure.

Modern Single Family in Columbia City

This property just came on the market today in the Columbia City area of Seattle at 5239 39th Ave S #A.  I’m a huge fan of modern architecture and this is just a very cool single family townhome style property.  It’s part of a multi-unit development of similar styled standalone homes.

The property is a a Built-Green 4 Star & Energy Star certified home.  Very modern, sleek and simply gorgeous.

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 316120 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

Home Maintenance Tips

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December 2011 NWMLS Report: Shrinking Inventory

“Healthy marketplaces” emerging with shrinking inventory, favorable financing

NWMLS KIRKLAND, WA. (Jan. 4, 2012) – Home sales finished the year much stronger than they started, with pending sales for the fourth quarter outgaining the first quarter by more than 3,000 transactions for a 21 percent increase, according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

A year-over-year comparison shows December’s pending sales (mutually accepted offers) rose more than 20 percent from a year ago. Northwest MLS brokers reported 5,237 pending sales last month, up from the previous year when they recorded 4,359 transactions.

Last month’s pending volume exceeded the number of new listings (4,604) for the second consecutive month. The last time such an imbalance occurred was November 2006.

Closed sales also outgained year-ago totals. December’s completed transactions were up 7 percent from twelve months ago, rising from 4,430 closings to 4,741. Six counties registered double-digit gains (Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, and Snohomish).

Continue reading the NWMLS December 2011 housing news release – click to download (pdf)

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