Value, Location, Size: We start out thinking neighborhood first. We want a desired lifestyle. Walking to shops and restaurants, close to an urban village. But not everyone is designed to walk home with their groceries.
Knowing yourself: Are you are the type to drive when walking is an option? You can probably get more house for the money heading a bit further out. Plus you may still be really close to school and parks, just not walking distance to Ethan Stowell’s new restaurant. That could be okay for you. Drive there, or take an Uber.
Examine your motivations. Is your home more of a respite to get away from a busy work day, or a hub for activity and parties? All of it is okay, but it is part of the evaluation process. What kind of a neighborhood do you want to live in?
If you could afford a whole lot more space north of 80th, you might honestly prefer that. It could be better for your growing family. Just stuff to think about.
Following trends could cause you to eliminate neighborhoods that might suit your lifestyle quite well, especially if you are newer to Seattle. If you’d like a neighborhood tour, let me know. I grew up here.
Rent vs. Buy
If you are a renter in many Seattle neighborhoods, you can probably afford to buy. Even if you are a short-timer, it is possible to pay less in mortgage than you would in this uncertain rental market. A recent client of mine complained that his rent went up 40% over two years. He reduced his monthly out of pocket expenses by purchasing a town home, and it only took two weeks!
The average rental price in Queen Anne, Ballard, Fremont, the Capitol Hill areas, and Belltown often exceed the monthly mortgage amount even when factoring in home owner’s dues.
People often don’t realize that they can afford to buy right now. Looking at the big house on Queen Anne can make you feel like you should wait and save more money. But often buying something smaller now can bring that Queen Anne dream much closer, in a shorter period of time.
Clients ask what paperwork they need for applying for a mortgage. Waiting until you fall in love with a home is too late. The time to get organized is before you shop. A lender I work with provided this list of required items. You can apply first and rate-lock later, when you find the right property.
Initial Documentation That Will Be Required For a Loan:
- Complete and signed mortgage application
- Last two years federal tax returns (all pages)
- Last two years W2 forms
- Most recent continuous 30 days worth of pay-stubs
- Last three months of checking, savings and retirement account statements
- Explanation and source of large deposits
- Gift Donor information (if applicable)
- Details on debt not shown on credit report – Alimony, child support, 401-K loans
When you make an offer to purchase, these additional items will be required:
- Copy of earnest money deposit check
- Copy of a fully executed sales agreement, including requests for repairs that you make of the seller
And for Condominiums:
- Copy of a complete set of recorded condominium documents (Master Deed, Trust, By-laws, current budget, Reserve Study, Insurance certificate, Two-years of meeting notes)
- Resale Certificate supplied to Lender from HOA to be completed prior to approval
If you need recommendations about experienced loan agents, I am happy to provide you referrals.
You Sold Your Home In Multiple Offers, Will it Appraise?
The Fall market has calmed some from Seattle's height in the spring, yet the problem of low appraisals still exist for homes that sell in multiple offers. In general, the appraiser is looking to justify the price of your offer and not to exceed it. It's rare for the appraisal to come in higher than the contracted amount even in a rising market. In some neighborhoods there still have not been enough sales due low inventory levels, to justify the inflated price driven by multiple offers.
Whether I represent the buyer or the seller in this situation, it's always a drag when the home doesn't appraise, because it may cause the buyer to regret their price. In a multiple offer situation, the buyer's agent will often recommend that the buyers come in without an appraisal contingency or pre-agree to cover some portion of a shortfall, if the property fails to appraise.
This happened in a transaction I worked on earlier this year, where the buyer agreed in their original offer, to cover up to $15,000 in appraisal shortfall. As it happened, the home did not appraise, but was only $10,000 short. The buyers then had to come out of pocket an additional $10,000 and the loan proceeded as usual. If the buyer has cash, this can be an acceptable solution. If not, and without a pre-agreement, the buyer can request the seller drop the price and this can be where the deal falls apart or goes to the back-up offeror.
Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you want to consider appraisals when you price your home or make your offer. Always scanning previous sales in the neighborhood before making a move, will protect your interests. Let me know if you have any questions about your home's value. #QueenAnneLife
Your UNIQUE Home
Every listing is unique and comes with its own challenges and unique selling points. As a veteran of selling older homes, I realize the importance of positioning your listing to emphasize the strengths of your beautiful home.
I specialize in staging your home for sale. Three to six months before selling your home, I will do a walk through to help you determine, what to repair, what to store, what to toss and what to ignore. We will get a working list of To Do’s, and provide you with a list of the Seattle experts Windermere Brokers have relied on for years to get their sellers homes in the best possible shape before listing.
Pre-Inspecting your home with a licensed home inspector tells prospective buyers that you are aware of the present condition of your home and any defects, such as an older roof or hot water heater. The pre-inspection notifies the buyer that you have taken those conditions into account when you priced and marketed your property. It sends a message that you have nothing to hide, that you are aware of the current condition of your home, and are selling it in that condition.
Despite the warm feelings you have for your home, it is important to recognize that your home is a commodity within the Seattle housing market and the buyer will ultimately determine what your home is worth. Homes that are priced properly from day one will sell the quickest and sometimes within days of listing.
Homes priced even 5% over market take up to 20% longer to sell, at lower prices. Overpriced homes often sell significantly under the recommended pricing from the original Market Analysis. Pricing your home too high even for just a couple of weeks is a proven money loser.
Never a cookie cutter approach to selling your home, I create a unique marketing story that emphasizes your home’s discrete selling points, while acknowledging areas of opportunity and framing them a positive, realistic manner, as part of the marketing.
It is my pleasure to design a custom marketing plan for your home, capitalizing on the broad market coverage Queen Anne Windermere Real Estate offers. To discuss your unique marketing plan call or email me.
A Seattle native, I work throughout the Seattle Area.
Nicole Bailey ~ 510.593.7501
It was the best of homes, it was the worst of homes… actually they are both really terrific homes at the top of Queen Anne in Seattle.
One listing agent, two different seller profiles.
With similar specs and qualities, these two four bed-room homes might have seen similar marketing periods in Seattle's super-hot real estate market. I'll show you how the differing pricing strategy resulted in a longer market time for the first home and higher carrying costs for the sellers. The difference between the two pricing strategies is buyer perception, Home 1 was slightly overpriced at market, whereas Home 2 was "value" priced, causing buyers to jump.
These homes were listed by the same agent, so we can assume that the pricing strategy and advice given to the sellers were similar. A seller’s position on these two strategies can make a huge difference in marketing days.
Home 1, a brick colonial was originally listed for $1,525,000 in May.
Home 2, an oversized Craftsman listed in October for $1,325,000.
Both homes have finished basements, plus three upper levels of living, partial views and updated kitchens. Home 1 has an extra 3/4 bath and more square footage. Home 2 has a larger kitchen. Smaller house, more open floor plan.
Going just by dollars per square foot, you could argue that the brick Colonial home has been priced correctly, but as of the third week of October it has been reduced to $1,395,000 and is still on the market after six months.
Home two, the Craftsman, was listed on a wet and rainy October 10th, when the heat of the spring/summer market had decreased. Unlike Home 1, the Craftsman sold over asking in multiple offers, and was pending in four days.
I held the Colonial open this Sunday and the funny thing is, neighbors were coming in to:
1. See what was wrong with the home
2. To explain to me about the dangers of overpricing.
Many sellers worry about leaving money on the table by underpricing, but in a competitive market, you will always sell at the market price, and in a slow market, you will sell before other homes in your bracket. Of course, seller motivation plays a big role in pricing and there is a lot more contributing to motivation than financial need.
I always recommend “Value” pricing for my sellers. An oftentimes, they listen!