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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think my buyer just bought the dirtiest house in the county

I think my buyer just bought the dirtiest house in the county, and she’s really happy about it!  Why?  Because she knows she saved about $25,000, all because of dirt.

She is not like most buyers.  She has great vision and can see (and smell) beyond the filth in front of her.  (I, on the other hand, spent most of the showing outside because I just couldn’t take it.  And then I was even more distraught when I noticed the smell followed me and clung to my clothes!)

The only advantage I can see of a dirty home is the money buyers can save on the purchase price.  But other than that, there are not many benefits to a dirty home that is listed for sale.  The majority of buyers will keep looking. So sellers, if you live in filth, you just can’t list in filth.

For her closing gift, I thought it would be best to go the practical route, and I purchased just about every kind of cleaner, scrub brush, and other cleaning tools to give her a head start on the big task.

I’m all for green cleaners but I’m not sure vinegar and baking soda could even get the first layer of dirt off, so I purchased the toxic, heavy-duty cleaners to give her a head-start!

As a Realtor, it’s tough for me to see homes in such condition.  It’s my view that your home is typically your biggest financial asset and you should take care of it as best as you can.  Walking into a home where pets are allowed to use the carpet as their bathroom or the living room that is being used as the garbage dump is disheartening for me.

My buyers are also frustrated because they don’t understand why or how a seller would allow their home to be listed in this condition. Sometimes the seller is unable to care for their home, and sometimes the seller just doesn’t care at all.

In the end, this transaction worked out smoothly and my buyer ended up getting a great deal in what is currently a strong seller’s market.  And she got a kick out of her closing gift!

Helped my client’s grandfather sell his Lakewood, WA condo

It’s certainly an honor whenever a client refers me to someone who needs help with their real estate needs.  In this case, my client’s grandfather needed to sell his condo in Lakewood, WA and needed to sell rather quickly.

There were a lot of moving parts to this transaction that required A LOT of teamwork to get this sold and closed for the seller.  And the good part was this condo was in great shape and had recently been renovated, so that part was easy!

We received very good multiple offers and choosing one wasn’t easy.  In just 3 weeks, we sold and closed this unit.  I’m sure the new owner will be very happy in their new condo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for a condo in Lakewood, WA, The Bluffs condominium complex is a great neighborhood.  It’s located next to the Oakbrook Golf Club, where you feel secluded yet just minutes from shopping, restaurants, the freeway and JBLM.

The Bluffs has a cabana, outdoor pool, tennis courts, great areas for walking and lots of gardens, trees and nature!

This particular condo was located on the main floor, making it very accessible.  It just had one step into the secured building, and then once inside the unit, two steps down into the living room and kitchen.

This is a 2 bedroom, 1.75 bath condo that has updated kitchens and baths – all new Shaker-style cabinets, tile floors, solid surface surrounds in the baths – all tastefully done!  And all the appliances are included.

This main-level unit faces out into the common green areas, offering a peaceful, nature view!

The covered patio is a private nook to sneak away and enjoy the fresh air!

Call me if I can help you with your real estate needs!

 

 

 

 

 

What do Halloween candy, pumpkin spice lattes and a well-presented house for sale all have in common?  

They all go fast!  And in this scary-fast real estate market, buyers and sellers now more than ever need a really good REALTOR® on their side.

But the fear of the unknown stops many buyers and sellers dead in their tracks.  They wander from open house to open house like the walking dead, not knowing where to start or where to go.  Sellers may feel apprehensive about contacting an agent and worry about the costs to sell.  They decide to list on their own and hope for the best. Real estate is only scary when you don’t have the information you need to make the right decisions.

Here’s what you should know to take the fear out of real estate.

NOT ALL REAL ESTATE AGENTS ARE THE SAME

First, there’s a big difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®.  And it’s not just that little “r” after the name.  Why work with a REALTOR® over a real estate agent?  Here are a few reasons:

– A REALTOR® is a member 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®’s got your back.

– REALTORS® are consumer advocates.  Did you know that REALTORS®, who are members of the largest trade group in the US, fight for consumers and defend the goals of homeownership?  For example:

– This year, your local Washington REALTORS® supported new sources of revenue for education.  This revenue was used to provide updated teaching materials and to do more for special education, gifted programs and children in high poverty areas.

 

– Washington REALTORS® stopped a proposal that would add a new 7.9% Capital Gains Tax for home sellers.

 

– Washington REALTORS® are currently fighting for land owners by fixing the Hirst decision, which restricts water availability to new homes relying on private wells.

 

This is just a very small sampling of the advocacy work REALTORS® are doing behind the scenes to promote and preserve the freedoms of homeownership.

REALTORS® are smarter than horror movie heroes who forget how their legs work to run away from the terrifying underworld creature. To meet the ever-changing and complex real estate environment, REALTORS® have more educational opportunities available to them.  NAR offers its members over twenty 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® aren’t the trick-or-treaters who caravan miles away to the neighborhoods that hand out the full-sized candy bars.  Agents who choose to be REALTORS® are choosing to be committed to their local community.  They live here, work here, advocate for their neighbors, and are local-area experts.  They 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®.)

Second, not all agents work full-time.  In this fast-paced market, many people are getting their real estate licenses but are still keeping their day jobs.  Waiting for your agent to get off work can prevent you from succeeding in your purchase or sale.

Third, experience counts.  A real estate transaction can take on a life of its own and might have a death-wish! An experienced agent knows how to keep your transaction alive.

 

BEING AN UNREPRESENTED SELLER HAS ITS CHALLENGES EVEN IN A FAST MARKET  

If you are thinking of selling your home, consider these reasons why you should call on an expert to help sell what might be your largest financial asset.

Photos and marketing.  You have probably seen those bad, askew listing photos that look like they were taken by a tipsy pirate with a cell phone.  You might be thinking that you can certainly do better than Jack Sparrow but your full-time REALTOR® can get you better results.  Your agent can capture compelling features of your home and will know how to engage a potential buyer, not only with the right photos but with lively descriptions.

Better promotion with better outcomes.  Buyers look for homes everywhere – from online to print to driving a neighborhood.  Your agent will create and fund a strategic yet comprehensive promotional strategy reaching the most buyers on a wide-range of platforms.

Pricing.  Some sellers are terrified of this pricing discussion, but really this is just a truthful look at the market and how the home fits into the market.  Your REALTOR® can advise you on the best price to squeeze the most money from your home. No scary stuff here!

What to do once you get an offer(s)? If you have multiple offers, which is the best one?  Will the highest offer appraise?  Is the buyer’s lender reputable?  Are they pre-approved or pre-qualified?  Your agent will be able to advise you, see red flags and will have the foresight to curb catastrophes.

REALTORS® take on liabilities and are held to an attorney-level standard when handling contracts.  The do-it-yourselfer may have no idea of the liabilities they may be exposing themselves to nor the laws they are expected to uphold.

Local knowledge.  Agents have local real estate market knowledge but are also excellent sources for referrals to contractors, lenders, and other professional that can help you.

 

Don’t let fear stop you from getting the most from your real estate experience.  You just read my resume but if you’d like to learn more about how I can help, contact me today.  You’ll get the information you need, the representation you desire and the peace of mind you’ll receive.

 

Helped an out of state, military seller sell their home in Lacey WA

I’m happy to have helped another out-of-state military seller sell their townhome in Lacey, WA this week!

Working with out of state clients, whether they are buyers or sellers, takes extra diligence.  It’s very easy for miscommunication and misunderstanding of the entire real estate process, especially when you cannot have face-to-face conversations.  Luckily my clients asked a lot of great questions!  I also had lots of information ready to go to share with the sellers on the selling process.

When sellers are not in town and are selling a property, there is a much longer list of things that I worked to take care of, including working with the tenant and the property management company to coordinate the listing, the showings and timing the move-out for the tenants.  The tenants also needed to understand the process even though they were not the sellers.

Many people were involved with this one sale: the seller, the tenants, the property management firm, the buyer’s agent, the buyer and all the lending, title, escrow, inspectors and the appraiser!  That’s a lot of people to coordinate and communicate with in order to have a successful transaction that closed on time!

The seller received three very strong offers, and had the tough task of choosing just one!  Not a bad problem for sellers to have!

Congratulations to the sellers and buyers for this great townhome in Lacey!

If you are an out-of-state landlord and are considering selling your property in the Thurston County, WA area, contact me today.  I can help you, too, have a successful home sale!

 

 

Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater WA Real Estate Market Update for Summer 2017

The end of summer is upon us, and the real estate market has been just as hot as the summer weather.

Here is the summer 2017 real estate market update for the Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater areas of Washington.

Click here to watch the 1-minute update:

 

Supply is LOW, Demand is HIGH, which is driving up SALES PRICES

Supply is VERY LOW with just 1.7 months of supply.  As you can see by this chart, the last time our market was anywhere near this low of supply within the last 17 years was in 2004.

This market has been in a Seller’s Market for a consecutive 35 months.

The buyer activity is going strong.  For August 2017, the market saw the most sales in the last 17 years with 594 sales.

The average sales price in Thurston County for August was $317,763.  That is up from $291,034 in August of last year.

 

Is a real estate housing bubble coming?

This is certainly debatable, but the current market doesn’t look like the market ten years ago.  Ten years ago, reckless lending was a major factor to the bursting of the housing bubble.  Buyers today are more financially solid than the buyers ten years ago.  Today’s buyers have more cash to put down, have solid credit scores, and are still enjoying low interest rates extending their buying power.

Most sellers today are profiting from the sale of their home, whereas ten years ago, many sellers were equity-poor. These sellers are now buyers and have the financial means to make their next move.

What do buyers do in a low-inventory market?

The good news for buyers is that there are A LOT of new listings coming on to the market.  Just because STANDING inventory is low, doesn’t mean there are not any homes available.  Check out our record-setting chart with the number of new listings entering the market:

Year-to-date, Thurston County added 4,571 new listings to the market.  Between 2006-2008, there were many new construction listings that bumped up those numbers.  This was also when the market started its decline, and the market became saturated with listings.

Today, buyers are snapping up these listings, keeping the standing inventory of homes very low.

Have questions?  Not sure if you should buy or sell?  

Contact me today and let’s have a conversation!  My job is to help buyers and sellers like yourself make their next move.  Call me today!

Olympia WA real estate market update for August 2017

Like our August weather, the Olympia WA real estate market is continuing to be smokin’ hot!

This update is short and sweet, but please contact me for customized information about how your home fits into the market.

Check out my video update here about the real estate market in Olympia WA.

As an Olympia WA seller, here is what to love about this year’s real estate market:

Buyers competing for your home – driving up the price

You may have heard that inventory levels are down.  They are but we are also adding new listings at a record pace.  Even with all the new listings coming on the market, buyers are snapping up the well-positioned and well-presented homes, and are competing with other motivated buyers.  Buyers are looking to buy your home!

Sellers are making higher profits

The simple principle of supply and demand is just one of the reasons why home prices have increased – there are more buyers than homes available for sale.  Buyers are also enjoying low interest rates, which is making home ownership attractive.  And buyers are finding that their potential mortgage payment on a house is cheaper than rent, which is also driving more people to become homeowners rather than home renters.

Homeowners waiting to sell can now sell – and for a profit

Since the top of the market in 2006 and 2007, where home prices were at their peak in Thurston County WA, those homeowners are now, on average, able to see a profit.  Many of these owners have had to wait until the market turned in order for them to sell at a profit.  And many became unintentional landlords.  But the time is here for most sellers to successfully sell!

For more details about your home and how it fits into the current market, please contact me.  With no obligation, I’m more than happy to sit down with you and tell you the facts so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Have a great rest of the summer!

 

 

Home sold in the Edgewater neighborhood in Lacey WA – happy buyers & happy sellers!

This beautiful home at 7601 Kodiak Ave NE in Lacey WA just sold!  

Happy sellers and happy buyers for this home in the Edgewater neighborhood in North Lacey.  This was one of the larger homes (2,173 square feet) available for sale this summer.

This neighborhood of Edgewater in North Lacey offers lots of parks within the neighborhood and just a few minutes away from Tolmie State Park – a great escape to the beach! This is also a commuter’s dream with quick and easy access to I-5. JBLM is just 15 minutes away!

Why did this home sell so fast and for over the asking price?

The sellers:

Prepared their home for sale.  They didn’t need to do much but they did take care of two repair items ahead of time, so that 1) the sale could close on time, and 2) the home inspector had fewer items to write up, which made the buyer feel more confident with their purchase.

Priced their home right for the current market.  Even in a busy market with more active buyers than sellers, properties need to be priced right.  With all of the apps, websites and information available to buyers, buyers are smart and savvy.  They know if a property is over priced or priced right.

Professional promotion and representation.  The sellers hired me to professionally promote their home and to represent them when an offer was in hand.

We had a couple of hiccups in the transaction including an appraisal that came in lower than anticipated.  Because the buyer’s agent, the lender and I have years of experience, we were all able to work together, work with the appraiser, and work toward a mutually agreeable sales price.  What is great is that all parties were happy in the end!

If you’d like a happy ending, too, call me and let’s talk about your real estate goals!

 

 

 

Thinking of selling your Olympia or Lacey WA home in 2017?

Thinking of selling your home in Olympia, WA or Lacey, WA this year?  Now could be the time.

Here is just a sample of the sellers I represented who took advantage of the 2017 market.  The Olympia and Lacey WA inventory of homes for sale remains at an all-time LOW, while buyer activity remains at an all-time HIGH.

Think you missed out on the spring/summer market to list your home?

You didn’t.  This market is going strong and is not showing any signs of slowing down. (In fact, our ratios for buyer activity and sales was actually higher in December than in July of 2016.)

Talk is cheap – and free!

Gathering information is the first step in deciding if selling your home now is the right move.  Please contact me and we can talk about different options, with no obligation or pressure.  (Read what my clients have said about me here, and you’ll see that my clients appreciate that I keep it real!).

And if you email me, I can email you my pre-listing packet with the top strategies to get your home sold and you can see marketing examples of what I do for my seller clients.

I look forward to talking with you soon!

Seller FAQ: If my home sold in a day, was it underpriced?

If my home sold in a day, was it underpriced?

The answer to this is…..it depends. It depends upon:

• What are the seller’s goals, needs, timing?
• What is the current market?
• Is the house the only similar home available in the neighborhood?
• Are you positioning the house to deliberately create a bidding war?

The seller is the boss
The listing agent’s goal is to educate the seller on all aspects of the current real estate market so that the seller can make the best decision about where to position (price) the home within the market. Pricing depends on not only what is happening in the market but also what are the seller’s goals?

For some sellers, time is of the essence and a speedy sale has monetary value for the seller. It might be worth a seller pricing just below the market in order to get an offer quickly.

For other sellers, getting the price they want is more important and are willing to stay on the market longer.

If you received an offer on your home on the first day, would you accept it? Wait for other offers? Reject it outright? It all depends on what your goals are for the sale of your home.

The first offer may not be the best offer
The blanket advice I’d offer for sellers in a fast-paced market is to let the house “season” on the market for a few days. In the Olympia, WA market, we have a provision in the listing agreement that allows for a seller to review offers on a future date. For example, if the house was listed on June 1st, the seller would review offers on June 5th.

This delay in response has shown to be a very profitable tactic for sellers in my current market. Some benefits of this delay in response include:

• Giving time for more potential buyers to see the home and to submit offers.

• Quelling the anxiety and rush buyers in a fast-moving market are feeling.

Why is this important? Because too many buyers get into auction-mode and end up submitting an offer and escalating their offer just because they are in the frenzy of a bidding war. Sometimes these buyers who end up “winning” experience remorse and then back out of the transaction.

Evaluate what is happening in the market

  • How many showings are happening?
  • What is the feedback?
  • What is the competition? How many homes in this price range/location are available for sale?
  • Is the market in a decline or on a rise?
  • Are the marketing, the photos, the description effective?

Every market at any given moment is different, and your Realtor can guide you. For some properties, getting one showing a week is very positive while for other properties, this is disastrous.

Planned multiple offer strategy
Some sellers want to create a bidding war with the thinking that they can get more for their house than if they priced it at fair market value. This strategy definitely has its pros and cons, and those are unique to each seller and each property.

In general and in my experience, most buyers do not want to be involved in a bidding war. In fact, I’ve had some buyers give up in this seller’s market because they don’t want to compete.

Deliberately trying to create a bidding war can backfire for sellers. If buyers don’t want to play the bidding game, the seller may end up with a much lower offer than they had anticipated. It all depends on the property, the market, the buyers and the sellers involved.

Sellers, talk with your Realtor and discuss what the best listing strategy would be for you and the property. One of the many good things about real estate is that there are several ways to reach your goals.

It takes an experienced Realtor on your side who can objectively discuss the best strategies for you so that you are not left asking the question, if my home sold in a day, was it underpriced?