Daily Real Estate Blog

We hope you enjoy keeping up on the latest happenings in Snohomish and King County Real Estate market, trends, and real estate tips for buyers and sellers. 

May 20, 2024

Do You Still Need To Pay Buyer’s Agents’ Commissions?

Discussing the key benefits of offering competitive buyer agent rates.

In case you don’t know, the real estate world was flipped on its head recently. A lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors is challenging how buyer agents get paid, and it’s left a lot of people confused. Here’s the short version: A court recently ruled that the current structure of buyer’s agents’ commissions was illegal and needed to change. In the past, the seller would pay full commission to their agent, and the seller’s agent would then split that commission with the buyer’s agent. In this way, the buyer wouldn’t actually need to put any money down for their representation. Now, the buyer commissions are negotiated separately from the seller side. 

 

So, do you still need to pay the buyer’s agent’s commissions when selling your home? If you want the best representation possible, yes, and there are a few key reasons why: 

 

1. Setting a rate upfront avoids negotiations. Since buyer commissions are now negotiable, it’s better to get ahead of things and agree to a rate before negotiating. If you wait until closing to negotiate your buyer commission rate, it could become a sticking point that slows down your sale or jeopardizes the translation altogether. You may even have to end up paying extra just to make your buyer happy. Instead, I recommend communicating upfront about what you’re willing to pay to avoid confusion and unnecessary negotiations. 

 

 “Set your rate based on comparative home sales in your area.”

 

2. Offering a competitive rate will help your home sell. Just like you look at similar homes in your area to determine your listing price, you should also look at similar buyer’s agent rates in your area to determine how much commission you offer. A higher rate is a sign to buyers that you’re serious about getting your home sold and will probably reduce your time on the market. However, you don’t want to make your rate too high and end up paying unnecessary fees. Work with your agent and look at similar homes in your market to find a Goldilocks rate that isn’t too high or too low. 

 

3. Offering no commission to buyers comes with risks. You may think it makes the most sense to offer zero commission upfront and simply negotiate a low rate at closing; however, this isn’t how things will work in practice. Just because you list your home and offer a 0% rate upfront does not mean you won’t pay any buyer commissions—most buyers will simply ignore your home if they think their representation won’t be compensated. Instead, it means you’ll have to negotiate the rate at closing, which can lead to a drawn-out sale and potentially paying more than you would have otherwise. 

 

I know this topic can be a little confusing, so don’t hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions. Plus, I offer a flexible commission menu so that you can pay for representation no matter what your budget is. I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Home Buyers
March 25, 2024

Are Home Prices Finally Coming Down?

Here’s what you need to know about the future of home prices.

With the recent substantial increase in mortgage interest rates, many homeowners have been asking, “Will this finally cause home prices to drop?” The answer isn’t cut and dry. In a market where rates are predicted to rise even further this year, buyer affordability could take a serious hit. To give you a better idea of whether your home is expected to lose value in the coming months, I’m going to address four key points that explain what’s happening to buyers in the real estate market and what you can expect in the future if you’re thinking about selling:

 

1. More expensive mortgages. A higher interest rate means a more expensive loan payment, but the rate at which they’re rising is astounding. Rates are up 2% since the start of the year, which means the average homebuyer’s affordability has dropped by 20%. This has already priced some buyers out of the market, and if rates continue to rise as expected, it will price out even more of them. This is going to make the pool of potential buyers for your home much shallower, resulting in fewer offers.

 

2. Increased rental rates. One often-overlooked factor in all of this is rental rates. As homeownership becomes more expensive and more out of reach for some buyers, rental demand is only going to increase, which means that rent prices will jump up as well.

 

"Our market isn’t crashing anytime soon. "

 

3. Supply is still short. Although homes are more expensive, the demand for them is still high. The increased interest rates have also caused home sellers to stay in their homes longer, and our typical summer surge of inventory just isn’t happening right now. Low supply is good news for homeowners because it will keep your property values up.

 

4. We’re not headed for a crash. Some buyers and sellers are rushing to the market in fear of an impending crash. However, there aren’t many parallels between this market and that of 2008 when the last crash occurred. That crisis was the result of irresponsible lending practices. Since then, underwriting standards have tightened significantly.

The current frenzied market has been brought on by basic supply and demand, and any kind of market crash is pretty unlikely. According to Brandon Haefele, CEO of Catalyst Mortgage, “I think we’re now going to start seeing individual markets potentially have some slowdown…my reasoning is we still have extremely low inventory. But it’s not going to go the other way and crash.”

 

Although rising rates are going to cause some buyers to leave the market entirely, all of the evidence we’ve seen on the ground points to home values continuing to appreciate as long as supply remains this low. This is good news for you if you’re thinking about selling. In the meantime, call or email for more information; we look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Market Reports
March 13, 2024

3 Ways To Discover What Your Home Is Really Worth

Three useful strategies to help you determine your home’s value.

 

Whether you're considering selling, refinancing, or simply curious about your property's value, understanding how to determine your home's worth is crucial. Today, we'll explore three essential strategies to help you unveil the mystery behind your home's market value.

 

1. Research comparable sales (comps). One of the most reliable methods for determining your home's worth is researching comparable sales, often called "comps." This strategy involves analyzing recently sold properties in your neighborhood that are similar to yours in terms of size, features, and condition.

 

Look for properties that have sold within the last six months, as they provide the most accurate reflection of the current market. Pay close attention to factors such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and overall condition. Adjust the value of your home based on any significant differences. Properties in the same neighborhood or even on the same street can have varying values. Take into account the proximity to amenities, schools, and public transportation. Real estate markets are dynamic and can fluctuate. Consider whether property values in your area are rising, stabilizing, or declining.

 

2. Get a professional appraisal. While researching comps can give you a good estimate, a professional appraisal provides an authoritative and impartial assessment of your home's value. Appraisers consider various factors, including the property's condition, recent improvements, and the overall real estate market.

 

"Determining your home's worth is a crucial step."

 

Ensure the appraiser is licensed or certified by a recognized authority to guarantee their expertise and adherence to industry standards. Clean, organize, and address any necessary repairs before the appraisal to present your property in the best light. Inform the appraiser of any recent renovations or improvements that might positively impact your home's value. An appraisal typically comes with a cost, but the insights gained can be invaluable, especially when negotiating with potential buyers or lenders.

 

3. Utilize online valuation tools. Various online tools and platforms, like Zillow, can provide quick and convenient estimates of your home's worth. While these tools may not replace the accuracy of a professional appraisal, they can serve as a useful starting point.

 

Different online tools may provide varying estimates due to differences in algorithms and data sources, so consult multiple platforms. Online tools may not account for unique features or recent improvements. Use them as a supplemental resource rather than the sole determinant of your home's value.

 

By using these strategies, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of your home's market value, whether you're planning to sell, refinance, or simply want to stay informed about your investment. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions regarding your property. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out by phone or email.

 

Posted in Sellers
Feb. 20, 2024

What Must Sellers Reveal in Disclosures?

Three important things to disclose before your home is sold.

 

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
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Today, I want to discuss what sellers should disclose to potential buyers when listing their homes. Keep in mind that disclosure requirements may vary depending on the state. Since I'm based in Washington State, I'll focus on the regulations here. Proper disclosures are crucial for several reasons. Firstly, they enhance transparency in the process, fostering trust between sellers and buyers. Moreover, thorough disclosures protect sellers from potential legal liabilities down the line. So, what should sellers disclose?

 

1. HOA information. If your property is part of an HOA, obtain a resale certificate containing essential information such as meeting minutes, budget details, and any upcoming maintenance plans. Providing this early in the process helps avoid wasted time for both parties.

 

2. Material facts. Sellers must disclose any material facts about the property, including structural issues, plumbing or electrical concerns. Full transparency can prevent surprises during inspections and post-sale disputes.

 

3. Environmental factors. Disclosure of environmental factors is mandatory, whether at the state or federal level. This includes information on lead-based paint for properties built before 1978, as well as any wetland or floodplain status.

 

Working with a real estate agent can streamline the disclosure process, ensuring compliance and minimizing complications. Remember, the goal is to facilitate a smooth transaction for all parties involved. Every home has its unique aspects, so if you have specific questions or concerns about disclosures or any other aspect of selling your home, please call or email us.

Posted in Sellers
Feb. 13, 2024

Get Your House Ready for the Market in 3 Easy Steps

Here’s what you need to know about preparing your home for sale.

 

Selling your home can be a significant undertaking, but with careful preparation, you can enhance its appeal and increase the likelihood of a successful sale. Whether you're a first-time seller or have experience in the real estate market, taking specific steps to prepare your home is crucial. Today, we'll explore three key points to help you get your home ready for the market.

 

1. Enhance curb appeal. When potential buyers arrive at your property, the first thing they notice is the exterior. A well-maintained and visually appealing exterior creates a positive first impression, setting the stage for a successful home tour. To enhance your home's curb appeal: Invest time in landscaping to create an inviting atmosphere. Trim overgrown bushes, mow the lawn, and plant colorful flowers to add vibrancy. A well-manicured garden not only improves the overall aesthetic but also signals to buyers that the property has been well cared for. Inspect your home's exterior for any needed repairs. Address issues such as peeling paint, cracked siding, or damaged roofing. A well-maintained exterior gives the impression that the entire property is in good condition, reassuring buyers about the quality of their potential investment. Upgrade your front door and entryway to make a lasting impression. Consider a fresh coat of paint, a stylish welcome mat, and well-placed potted plants. A visually appealing entry creates a positive atmosphere from the moment buyers step through the door.

 

2. Declutter and depersonalize. Buyers want to envision themselves living in your home, and that's easier to do when they can see the space without distraction. Follow these steps to declutter and depersonalize your home: Start by decluttering each room. Remove unnecessary items and furniture to create a sense of spaciousness. Consider renting a storage unit for excess belongings or items that may distract potential buyers. Pack away personal items such as family photos and unique decor. Depersonalizing your space allows buyers to visualize their own belongings in the home, making it easier for them to imagine living there. Give your home a thorough cleaning. Pay attention to details like dusty corners, smudged windows, and scuffed baseboards. A clean and well-maintained home suggests to buyers that the property has been cared for and is move-in ready.

 

3. Highlight key features. Consider professional staging to showcase the potential of each room. Stagers can arrange furniture and decor in a way that maximizes space and highlights key features, helping buyers see the full potential of your home. Make minor upgrades to key areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. Updated fixtures, a fresh coat of paint, or modern hardware can make a significant difference. These small investments can contribute to a higher perceived value of your home. Ensure your home is well-lit during showings. Natural light is particularly appealing, so open curtains and blinds to let it in. Consider adding ambient lighting in darker areas to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

 

By taking these three key steps, you'll not only enhance your home's appeal but also increase its market value. Call or email me with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Sellers
Jan. 10, 2024

Navigating the 2024 Real Estate Landscape: Insights and Opportunities

 

Here’s a look at how the 2024 real estate market is shaping up so far.

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Selling a home? Click here for an instant home price valuation

 

Happy New Year! As we step into 2024’s evolving market, I wanted to share some key insights and updates. One significant development that demands our attention is the notable drop in interest rates over the past month. Currently hovering just over 6.5% for a 30-year loan, this marks a decrease of about 0.5% from previous highs. In fact, it's the lowest we've seen since May, which bodes well for the real estate market as we embark on 2024. I’m anticipating a surge in market activity, particularly in January and February. The combination of lower interest rates and limited inventory sets the stage for increased demand. For potential buyers, now may be an opportune time to act decisively, securing a property before prices rise and competition intensifies in the coming months.

 

  
Consulting with reputable lenders to assess individual circumstances is crucial.

 

For buyers, being proactive in the current market conditions makes sense. Acting swiftly could result in better deals and more favorable terms. On the seller's side, while the market is currently less competitive, the prediction is that it will gain momentum as we move into spring and summer. Sellers can use this time to prepare and present their homes in the best possible light to maximize profits. Looking ahead, the Federal Reserve's announcement of potential interest rate reductions throughout the year is a key factor to consider. Buyers have the option to purchase now and later refinance as interest rates continue to decrease. Each situation is unique, and consulting with reputable lenders to assess individual circumstances is crucial for making informed decisions. I have excellent connections with reputable lenders who can help analyze your situation, plan for the future, and position you for success in the real estate market. Feel free to reach out, and let's work together to make 2024 a fantastic year for achieving your real estate goals.

Posted in Market Reports
Dec. 14, 2023

What’s Happening in Our Housing Market as We Head Into 2024?

 

What buyers and sellers need to know about the end of 2023’s market.

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Selling a home? Click here for an instant home price valuation

 

What’s going on in our housing market as we approach the end of the year? As expected, we're observing typical seasonal trends in both Sonoma County and King County, which indicates a normal and healthy market. Compared to last year, inventory is down approximately 30% in Sonoma County and 17% in King County.

 

The market tends to slow down during this time of year, which is totally normal. Prices have seen a slight decrease, but this is likely to change come spring, especially with interest rates steadily declining over the past few weeks. If they dip below 7%, it would mark the first time in a few months that rates have reached such lows.

 

  
Buyers don’t have much competition at the moment.

 

In terms of the average days on market, the time it takes for homes to sell, we're seeing an average of 25 to 30 days overall. In Sonoma County, the median days on the market are closer to 15 days, indicating that well-priced and attractive homes are selling swiftly. However, less appealing inventory may linger on the market. Despite the winter season typically yielding fewer showings, serious buyers are still active, reflected in an average of about 10 showings before a house goes pending.

 

For buyers, this means relatively low competition at the moment. However, we anticipate a surge in activity as we head into the spring, with February usually marking the beginning of increased market activity. Sellers can benefit from the current market dynamics, enjoying fewer but more meaningful showings to serious buyers. It's a good time to prepare for the expected uptick in February or take advantage of the present conditions, with fewer inconveniences during the holiday season.

 

Finally, I’d just like to wish you all a happy holiday season and a happy new year! Don’t hesitate to call or email me with any questions; I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Market Reports
Nov. 13, 2023

We’re Thankful for You

 

This year and every year, we’re thankful for you in our lives.

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Selling a home? Click here for an instant home price valuation

 

The 2023 holiday season has officially begun! We hope you are as excited as we are.

 

We’d like to take a moment to express our gratitude to all of you this Thanksgiving. We have met some truly wonderful people, and we’re proud to have helped so many reach their real estate goals over the years. We wouldn’t be where we are today without all of your support.

 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner—that’s what we plan to do!

 

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any real estate questions. We would be happy to help you.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Just for fun
Nov. 9, 2023

Buying Your Dream Home? Here's How To Stand Out as a Serious Buyer

 

Enhance your prospects of landing your dream home with these insights.

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Selling a home? Click here for an instant home price valuation

 

If you're in the exciting process of purchasing your dream home, you may be wondering what it takes to be successful. Buying your dream home can be both thrilling and challenging, but with the right strategies, you can make the journey smoother and increase your chances of landing that perfect property. Here are three essential tips to help you achieve success in securing your dream home.

 

1. Get pre-approved. Before you start house hunting, it's crucial to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan, and if possible, consider getting pre-underwritten. Pre-approval involves a thorough review of your financial situation by a lender, increasing your credibility as a serious buyer. This pre-approval not only makes you more attractive to sellers but can even put you in a competitive position, potentially rivaling cash offers. Being pre-approved or pre-underwritten positions you as a strong contender, whether you're competing against other offers or not.

 

  
Securing your dream home requires a strategic approach.

 

2. Craft a competitive and attractive offer. In a competitive market with multiple offers, finding ways to make your offer more appealing to the seller can make a significant difference. Consider conducting a pre-inspection on the property or tailor your offer to meet the seller's specific needs and circumstances. However, you can still make your offer more enticing even in a less competitive market. Pay attention to what matters to the seller, and you might even ask for credits towards your closing costs to sweeten the deal. Tailor your offer to each property's unique situation to increase your chances of success.

 

3. Work with a real estate professional. One of the most crucial steps in the home-buying process is to partner with a professional real estate agent. They bring valuable experience, knowledge, and insights to the table. A real estate professional can help you navigate complex contracts and create offers that stand out to sellers. They can also identify opportunities you might not have considered, such as off-market properties or negotiating favorable terms based on the seller's motivation. Collaborating with a real estate expert ensures you are making informed decisions and helps safeguard you from potential risks throughout the buying process.

 

By following these steps, you can position yourself for success and increase your chances of making your dream home a reality. Remember, every situation is different, so it's essential to tailor your approach to your specific needs. Feel free to reach out by phone or email for personalized guidance on your home-buying journey. Your dream home may be closer than you think!

Posted in Home Buyers
Oct. 19, 2023

Your Comprehensive Guide to Thriving in the Low Inventory Real Estate Market

 

Here are some ways that buyers and sellers can get around low inventory.

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Selling a home? Click here for an instant home price valuation

 

In today's challenging real estate market, both buyers and sellers are grappling with a significant problem – low inventory. If you've been on the hunt for your dream home recently, you've probably noticed the limited options available. In fact, inventory levels are currently at their second-lowest point for this time of year in the last decade. This scarcity of available homes presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities for both parties involved.

 

As a prospective buyer, the first step in tackling the low inventory issue is to understand what you truly desire in a home. This clarity will help you identify off-market properties that align with your preferences, saving you time and effort in the search process. Off-market properties are those not publicly listed for sale, and they can offer a hidden world of opportunities.

 

Working with a real estate professional is a valuable approach to uncovering off-market listings. These professionals have the expertise to locate these properties and bring them to your attention. However, keep in mind that off-market sellers often require more serious buyers. Therefore, being preapproved and having a clear vision of what you want is essential when reaching out to these sellers. They're not interested in entertaining non-serious inquiries.

 

  
Low inventory offers unique opportunities
for those willing to explore alternative avenues.

 

So, where can you find these off-market listings? Several sources can help you discover these hidden gems:

  • For Sale by Owner (FSBO) Properties: Owners who choose to sell their homes without a real estate agent's assistance often don't list their properties on the open market. A knowledgeable real estate professional can keep track of these listings.

  • Expired and Canceled Listings: Sometimes, properties were previously listed but didn't sell for various reasons. As market conditions change, these sellers may become more motivated or realistic in their pricing.

  • Foreclosures: Identifying properties heading for auction can be a lucrative opportunity for buyers.

  • New Construction: Builders often offer pre-market listings for properties under construction. This can be advantageous for buyers, as they may secure better financing rates through the builder's preferred lenders.

For sellers, the challenge lies not only in selling their current property but also in finding their next home. Making this transition seamlessly is a key concern. However, there are various solutions to consider:

  • Renting Back Your Current Home: After the sale, consider renting back your current home for a period, giving you time to find your next property without the pressure of a looming move.

  • Bridge Loans: These loans can provide financial flexibility for homeowners. They bridge the gap between selling your current home and purchasing a new one.

In this slower-moving inventory market, sellers have the advantage of time and may find a smoother transition into their next home

If you're a buyer or seller navigating the complexities of today's real estate market and need guidance, don't hesitate to reach out to me by phone or email. I can provide valuable insights and assistance tailored to your specific situation.

Posted in Real Estate Tips