Getting involved in my local REALTORS Government Affairs Committee!

Today was my first meeting of the Thurston County REALTORS Association Government Affairs Committee.  And yes, it was as exciting as this picture depicts!!  🙂

But all kidding aside, I’m excited to be a part of this committee because this is really why being a REALTOR (over just a real estate agent) is so important:  this committee works directly on issues that impact homeowners and future homeowners.

As a committee, we will interview local candidates running for office, vote to endorse or not endorse candidates, attend city and county council meetings to learn what’s ahead,  and educate our colleagues on what is happening on the political front.

Politics have never been of interest to me, but what is of interest to me are issues that help or hinder homeownership.  Just recently, the Hirst decision was fixed with the help of A LOT of people including REALTORS.  The Hirst decision put restrictions in place for new homes being built that needed to be on wells.  It strangled the development in rural areas for landowners, homeowners and builders/developers.

The “Hirst Fix” made into law last week will allow counties to rely on the Department of Ecology’s flow rules for determining water availability.  Prior to this fix, developers were required to conduct their own hydrology tests which easily could have been a six-figure study with no guarantee the county would approve a well-site under the vague guidelines of the Hirst decision.

After my first Government Affairs meeting, I’m excited to become more involved in my community, work with some of the most dedicated REALTORS from all different brokerages in Thurston County, and to communicate with you and my colleagues the issues that impact us the most.  There is much we can accomplish together!

 

7115 Rothenberg Dr SW Tumwater WA 4-bedroom home for sale!

This beautiful Tumwater, WA 4-bedroom home for sale located at 7115 Rothenberg Dr SW offers a great location to schools, shopping and freeway access.  Plus Countryside Place it’s a great neighborhood to call home.

Click here for all the details.

The quick features of this home are:

  • 4 bedrooms / 2.5 baths
  • 2,570 square feet
  • 2-story home built in 2005
  • Tumwater school district
  • Fully fenced private backyard
  • 2-car garage

See this video for a tour of this Tumwater WA home for sale.

Best features of this home include:

  • Lots of natural light.  The home has large windows to let in the light, and the backyard faces west.
  • Oversized master bedroom and the fourth bedroom is what I’m calling a “super bedroom!”  It’s a very large room that also has an attached room that could be used for additional storage or built out to be that dream shoe closet!
  • Location!  Close to everything yet away from it all!  This is the best of both worlds.

Contact me with any questions, and be sure to let your Realtor know you’d like to add this to your home tour!

 

Found the right home in Spanaway WA for a relocating military family

I had the pleasure of working with Patrick and his family who are relocating from Virginia to Washington State.  They had one day to find a home in their whirlwind weekend trip here to the area last November, and we were very fortunate to find the right house at the right time!  They were kind enough to write a review for me:

If you think finding a home to buy in another state is challenging, imagine if you are in the military with very little time to house-hunt and need to make big decisions in a very short amount of time.  That is the typical story of my military buyers.

For Patrick and his family, I urged them to travel here first before his report date versus trying to buy a home sight-unseen.  They agreed and were able to make a weekend trip here.  We had one full day to scour the countryside looking for the right home.

With limited inventory and a list of wants and needs all within a specific budget, we looked at a total of eight homes.  If they didn’t find anything on this trip, then they would have to find a rental home and we would try again in a year.

They found a home in Elk Plain, the southern point of Spanaway.  It has a little bit of a country feel but is close to JBLM and amenities and schools.

If you are a military buyer needing to relocate here to the area, please contact me.   I have worked with many families in very similar situations, and I’m here to help relieve the pressure of finding a home fast!  I ask a lot of questions and work to narrow down the areas, neighborhoods, homes and price so that your house-hunting time is efficient and successful.

Just Sold – Condo in Dupont WA – but more for sale!

Just Sold this move-in ready condo at 2460 Simmons St, #B in DuPont, WA! 

Look for more condos for sale in DuPont WA here.

This condo sold for $238,000 in January 2018.

With brand new carpets and freshened up interior paint, this neat and clean condo is ready for its lucky new owner.  The floor plan is exceptional as it makes this condo feel like a single-family home.  You aren’t aware there are two other units in this building!

The entry opens to the great room, with an open kitchen with a breakfast bar.  All the matching appliances are included in the sale.  Downstairs, there are two large closets for storage and a guest powder room.  And there is a 2-car garage – an unusual but welcome feature for this condo.

Upstairs is the large master bedroom with attached 4-piece bath and walk-in closet.  The two other secondary bedrooms and a full hall bath are also upstairs along with the washer and dryer.

Just minutes from JBLM!  Northwest Landing in DuPont, WA offers miles of sidewalks, trails, biking paths and golf courses.

See this quick video and read more about this condo here.

My Twelve Years at Coldwell Banker

This month marks my twelve year anniversary at Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia WA.

In thinking over the last twelve years, I certainly have learned a lot.  A career in real estate not only provides some really funny stories you can tell at parties (like when your clients watch you climb over a fence to get to the lockbox, and you rip your pants and of all the days, you went “commando”) but it also provides exposure (no pun intended) to a lot of characters, situations, and life-lessons. Some lessons I would have preferred to learn sooner rather than later (like ALWAYS wear underwear)!

Here are a few lessons I have learned the hard way but I’m glad I eventually learned them:

A real estate contract is not just a real estate contract.  Coming from a sterile, drama-free background of appraising and commercial real estate, I thought residential sales would be similar.  I thought, “this is a business transaction. Buyers and sellers and their agents would be civil, reasonable, and professional.”  Well, not exactly!  But even though emotions sometimes run high, here’s what I learned:

  • Don’t take it personally
  • Don’t get dragged into other people’s drama
  • Stay centered in reality and remain neutral
  • Take the time to listen and talk it out

 

You have a choice.  Real estate is a career that offers freedom.  For me, this freedom comes with working with like-minded people.  I do not have to work with everyone or anyone that comes along. I have a choice, and that is a great freedom to have.

I even remember going to a Brian Buffini (a real estate guru) conference early in my career, and he said the same thing.  He called these people “turkeys.”  He said let someone else work with these turkeys!  But I didn’t believe him then.  I learned this lesson the very, very hard way.

Keep your blinders on.  There are a lot of distractions today, and these distractions can easily lead you astray from achieving your goals.  (Here’s a subpoint – have a plan – a marketing plan, a business plan, an action plan, a calendar, a to-do list, whatever – have a plan and work it.)  Don’t get caught up in what other people/co-workers/friends/relatives are doing.  Just do YOUR work.

Let it go!  Who knew adults needed this Frozen theme song more than kids!  But seriously, let it go.  Let go of the stuff that doesn’t matter, let go of the problems you cannot solve, let go of perfection, let go of beliefs, clutter, and stuff that are holding you down, let go of the buttheads in your life, LET IT GO!

Embrace Airplane Mode.  Another very hard-learned lesson for me, but turn off your phone or put it in airplane mode and take some time off!  Really take some time off.  Don’t go to the beach and then sit there and email the whole time.  Your spouse would really appreciate that, too.  I have a new-found appreciation of Airplane Mode and I’m loving life now! 😉

These are just a few of my a-ha moments.  And there will be more!  Real estate is definitely a crazy career but honestly, I can’t see myself doing anything else.

Helped military buyers buy their first home in Shelton WA

I was happy to be able to assist in the first-time home purchase for my military buyers in Shelton WA! And the lender was able to close the transaction 10 days ahead of schedule.  Buyers and sellers were very happy with the faster close.

Although Shelton is a bit of a drive from Joint-Base Lewis McChord, many military buyers are finding good deals in this town in Mason County.

Compared to Olympia’s average home price of $330,648 last year, Shelton buyers can find good real estate deals for an average of $213,247.  With that kind of savings, many buyers will endure a longer commute.  Shelton is 25 miles from Olympia and is an easy drive on Highway 101.

What is it like to live in Shelton?

Shelton is a small town with less than 10,000 residents in the city limits.  It definitely has that small-town feel as you walk through the downtown historic district but Shelton also has a Wal-Mart!

Shelton, like many parts of the Puget Sound area, offers lots of outdoor activities.  There are miles of water to explore and trails and forests to hike.  Shelton is considered the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula, where the Olympic Mountain range anchors the surrounding ocean beaches and rainforest.  You are not far from enjoying the scenic views of the mountains, water, and forests.

Shelton has a strong history in logging, and the timber industry is still a predominate trade.  The residents honor this history with their annual Paul Bunyan parade.  Another major industry is the farming of oysters.  And yes, there is a festival for that, too!

If you are looking for a smaller town with better real estate prices, consider looking in Shelton WA.  Now is the best time to purchase real estate.  If you are ready to make your next move, contact me today.

What has your REALTOR® done for you today? They worked to save homeowners money

What has your REALTOR® done for you today?  They worked to save homeowners money.

Most recently REALTORS® rallied together to contact Congress about shaping the final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  In short, REALTORS® worked to educate legislators on how to advance the bill with these improvements:

– Keeping the capital gains exclusion.  This is a huge win for homeowners.  The current law was left in place on capital gains of $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for married couples.  The original bill was to make this exclusion much harder to qualify for, but fortunately, REALTORS® worked with legislators to keep this exclusion in place.

– Mortgage interest deduction.  This topic has been highlighted frequently in the news as homeowners with a mortgage know that they can deduct their mortgage interest on their taxes.   It has even been threatened to be done away with in its entirety but it hasn’t – it has just been reduced from a $1 million limit to $750,000 on primary and secondary homes.  The original bill was looking to reduce this to $500,000.

– Real estate tax and state/local deductions.  This also made headlines as the bill sought to eliminate this altogether.  Now real estate taxes along with state and local taxes remain deducible with a combined limit of $10,000.

These are significant successes for homeowners but there is still work to be done.  As with any significant changes, there will most likely be unintended outcomes that will need to be addressed.  REALTORS® as a group will continue to work on tax issues that support homeownership.

 

Did you know? Not all licensed real estate agents are REALTORS®.  What’s the difference?

– REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), which means they have pledged to adhere to NAR’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.  The Code centers on the treatment of buyers and sellers providing them with the utmost of care, promoting their interests first and treating all parties honestly.  In short, a REALTOR® has got your back.

– REALTORS® are consumer advocates who are members of the largest trade group in the US, fight for consumers and defend the goals of homeownership.

– REALTORS® have more educational opportunities available to them.  NAR offers its members over 20 specialized certifications.  For example, during the recession when homeowners needed knowledgeable short-sale experts, REALTORS® had the education and training to help these consumers who needed our services the most.

– REALTORS® are licensed agents who choose to be REALTORS® and are invested in their careers by being REALTORS® and not just real estate agents.  (You may be surprised that some of the larger real estate firms are not REALTORS®.)

When looking to buy or sell a home, work with the agent who is also a dedicated REALTOR® – you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fierce Ugly Christmas Sweater Competition 2017 in Olympia WA

The competition is FIERCE this year amongst the brokers at Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia WA on Ugly Christmas Sweater Day 2017!

We don’t need to have a fancy party to have fun!  This is a great group of people who I consider to be not only my trusted colleagues but also my friends. I’m fortunate to work with a great group of people!

We celebrated Ugly Christmas Sweater Day 2017 with a potluck in our transformed lunchroom and spent the previous days and weeks decorating our workspaces.  It definitely looks like Christmas with all of our decorations and we had a blast!  Karen Hamilton took the prize for her nutcracker display, which I personally thought was hilarious considering our current state of affairs.

 

The lunchroom was decorated with fun ideas, too.  Look at our cute Hot Cocoa Bar!

 

Even the refrigerator got a holiday make-over!

And……I’m so proud to announce that I actually WON the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest 2017!!  #Goals

I’d like to thank the Dollar Tree in Tumwater WA and their great blog for inspiring me to create this winning masterpiece! #INeedToGetALife

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Olympia WA Real Estate Market Update December 2017

Here is the Olympia WA real estate market update for mid-December 2017.

It’s been quite a record-breaking year in Olympia and the surrounding areas in Thurston County WA.  In 2017:

We had more closed sales:

All of 2016 – 4,912 sales

YTD 2017 – 5,212 sales so far with two more weeks left in the year

 

The number of new listings is up slightly from last year:

All of 2016 – 5,930 new listings

YTD 2017 – 5,932 new listings so far.

The last time we had these many listings added to the market was in 2005 to 2008 BUT the STANDING INVENTORY was higher in those years compared to today.

You can see that in 2005, standing inventory numbers started a very steep climb.  In the last two years, our standing inventory has been at record lows.

 

Average sales price continues to go up:

All of 2016 – $283,052

YTD 2017 – $329,054

 

So what’s going to happen in 2018?  

Inventory expected to increase – right now in Thurston County, we are averaging 1.1 months of inventory, which is historically low.  (In contrast, a balanced market is 4-6 months of inventory.)  I expect to see this increase in inventory in the first and second quarters of 2018 as many sellers are waiting to list their homes in the spring.  Buyers – be ready for more new listings to hit the market!

Home price appreciation – the Thurston County market is still experiencing “pent-up demand,” meaning from our history, we still have a lot of growth to do to catch up to our historical trends.  I still see home prices going up even though we will have more homes available for sale for buyers early on in the year.

Mortgage rates may increase by the end of 2018– every year, we predict mortgage rates are going to climb to 5% and every year, they have not.  Right now, the average interest rate is about 4%.  But it would make sense for rates to increase by the end of 2018 due to the several years of stronger economic growth and the pressure to address inflation, which has been put off year after year.  Historically, any mortgage that starts with a 4 or a 5 is very, very good.  (In the 1980s, interest rates were over 10%.)

 

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

For buyers, the same advice for the last couple of years applies:

  1. Be ready and prequalified to buy.
  2. Be able to make decisions quickly.
  3. Be prepared to look at homes under your budget in case you need to bid over the asking price.

 

For sellers:

  1. Preparing your home for sale is still required to lure in buyers (staging, decluttering, cleaning, etc.).
  2. Pricing right for the market.
  3. Having professional representation when selling your home.

 

What is happening in other counties

Statistics compiled by Francine Viola from Northwest Multiple Listing Service data. Statistics not compiled or published by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Just Sold another home in Lacey WA – more available!

3091 Eagle Lp NE in Lacey WA just SOLD to the happy new buyers of this home in the Hawks Prairie area of Lacey.

The new owners will certainly enjoy the 4 bedrooms, the main floor office and the huge upstairs media/bonus room!  They will also like that they only have ONE neighbor!  The fenced yard with the large composite deck will be perfect for entertaining outside (in a few months when it gets warmer!).  And what’s not to love about an easy to maintain yard?!

This is in the Eagle Court neighborhood and offers GREAT access to I-5 within minutes, and is also close to shops and restaurants.  The kids will also like the park and playground equipment in the neighborhood.

I represented the sellers in this transaction, but I’d also like to give a big thanks to the buyer’s agent, Rick, who worked just as hard to make this a successful transaction for both parties.  Thanks, Rick!  It’s always a pleasure to have a great agent working on the other side!

When looking for a home with lots of room in a newer neighborhood that is close to amenities, be sure to check out Eagle Court.  Or better yet, give me a call and I can help you find your next new home!