Market Insights | April 2020


Our local real estate market is unique and we know that we can’t depend on Seattle real estate news to have a thorough understanding of what’s going on and what to expect here. That’s why Marla Heagle, owner and REALTOR®, prepares a hyperlocal report every month. This in-depth look at the Stanwood and Camano Island market includes key statistics, like listings sold by price point or the number of days on the market, and empowers our agents and our clients with the most up-to-date and relevant information. 


Subscribe to Market Insights here!



April 2020 Market Insights


As we continue to adapt to our new normal, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the trends we’re seeing in Stanwood and Camano Island real estate.


Let’s start with April’s stats! The local market took a hit but wasn’t knocked out – the number of new listings, pending sales, and closed sales decreased but prices increased an average of 17 percent. We also had higher rates of engagement on our virtual home tours, which shows that buyers, sellers, and Realtors® are adopting new tools to keep moving forward through COVID-19.


Looking ahead, some of the lasting effects of COVID-19 might include:


  • More businesses that choose to operate remotely, which could mean more people living in suburban areas like Stanwood and Camano Island rather than large cities
  • Streamlined real estate processes with the help of digital tools for contracts, notaries, and even home tours
  • A shift in what buyers are looking for, like more spacious homes or more outdoor living spaces


As always, we are here to help you navigate these changes and trends! Take a look at the full report for Stanwood and Camano Island and, if you have any questions about the report or about buying or selling your home, contact us! We look forward to continuing to serve you!

View Camano Island Report

View Stanwood Report


Posted on May 19, 2020 at 3:06 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying, Selling, We Are Stanwood Camano |

Market Insights | March 2020

Our local real estate market is unique and we know that we can’t depend on Seattle real estate news to have a thorough understanding of what’s going on and what to expect here. That’s why Marla Heagle, owner and REALTOR®, prepares a hyperlocal report every month. This in-depth look at the Stanwood and Camano Island market includes key statistics, like listings sold by price point or the number of days on the market, and empowers our agents and our clients with the most up-to-date and relevant information. 


Subscribe to Market Insights here!


March 2020 Market Insights


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape our lives and our economy, but we will continue to work tirelessly to help our clients move their lives forward during these uncertain times. Our homes are more important than ever before – providing tangible value while the stock market fluctuates, and acting now as our shelters, schools, offices, gyms, and more as we all take steps to curb the spread of COVID-19.


A quick look at the numbers shows that market conditions still seemed to favor sellers in March, which is common this time of year with limited supply and high demand. Pending sales decreased as expected but average sales prices are up over last year in both Stanwood and Camano Island. We’re also adapting our business practices to keep our clients and our team members safe at this time. According to the Governor’s order, real estate brokers are able to take new listings and send contracts electronically, and arrange for appraisals and inspections to be conducted as needed. Realtors® are also allowed to show listings with strictly limited group sizes, and we’ll continue to implement best practices to keep all parties safe.


Take a look at the full report for Stanwood and Camano Island and, if you have any questions about the report or about buying or selling your home, please contact us! We look forward to continuing to serve you!

View Market Insights


Posted on April 14, 2020 at 11:50 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying, Selling, We Are Stanwood Camano |

Vacation Home or Income-Producing Investment


This post originally appeared on


Whether you’re a skier who loves the mountain slopes of Colorado, a lover of the beaches of Southern California, or a potential retiree seeking to escape the snow-laden Northeast for the wide-open, sunny lands of Arizona, there are homes available to meet a wide range of budgets. The biggest decision a potential second homeowner must make is whether they are going to solely own their vacation home or turn it into a vacation rental. Here are the advantages and disadvantages to both options:


Investing in vacation rentals

  • Pros:
    • A good vacation rental property generally provides a healthy rental revenue which could potentially cover mortgage payments while also generating healthy additional profit.
    • Using an online short-term rental service like Airbnb makes it convenient to manage your rental property. Their website interface makes pricing, marketing, and communication with potential guests quite straightforward and easy. Airbnb will also oversee the billing process for you.
    • You may qualify for federal tax breaks and deductions related to your investment property. Everything from professional fees or commissions – including property management services- to cleaning and maintenance are potential tax write-offs.
  • Cons:
    • Vacation rentals can be costly to manage, both in terms of time and money. These properties may require seasonal upkeep and special maintenance considerations. You may even incur costs to maintain or monitor the property even when it’s not actively being utilized.
    • Vacation rental properties are particularly sensitive to seasonal fluctuations and economic downturns, which could leave you financially exposed if you suffer a lack of booking revenue.
    • Many states and cities are cracking down on short-term rental services. In California, for example, the fight has been primarily local, reaching a fever pitch in the San Francisco Bay Area. Increasingly state and local municipalities are seeking to reign in short-term vacation rentals, which could put a damper on potential revenue from these properties.
    • You may experience higher renovation and repair costs on a short-term rental. Most travelers expect the latest appliances and furnishings, so you will have to update every few years. Unfortunately, short-term renters are less likely to report any necessary repairs and guests are far less likely to treat the property with respect since there’s no sense of ownership or obligation.


Owning a vacation home

  • Pros:
    • Long-term profits: While assets fluctuate in value in the short term, vacation properties are more likely to retain their value and appreciate because they are located in popular areas with a geographically limited supply.
    • Familiarity: Returning to the same place time and after time can be comforting as you become familiar and comfortable with the location. It allows you the freedom to be yourself and the opportunity to expand long-term friendships with residents.
    • Convenience: The ability to conveniently store items that are used exclusively at the second home simplifies travel and packing.
    • Retirement head starts: Though we may love where we work and live, every place has its drawbacks. A common goal of retirement is to have a place to retreat for the times of the year we dislike the most at our main residence. Locating and buying a second home prior to retirement enables you to experience the benefits of a refuge before actual retirement, a time to correct and amend your plans if the reality is different than the dream.
  • Cons:
    • Initial purchase costs: Most people have higher expectations for a property that they intend to own, rather than to rent. These expectations can translate into high prices.
    • Home maintenance: As the homeowner, you are responsible for all home maintenance work.
    • Travel time: A second home will be located hours from your primary residence, requiring either long auto trips or airline flights.
    • Inflexibility: If you are paying a significant amount of money each month for a second home, you may feel that you need to constantly visit the property to justify your investment.


Posted on April 3, 2020 at 9:00 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying |

Is it time to downsize?

Image Source: Shutterstock 


Choosing less space often has to do with a desire to live a life that’s simpler. Whether you’re retiring, want an eco-friendly, low-maintenance lifestyle or your children have moved away, downsizing might be the best option for you. Here are the advantages and disadvantages to consider before making the move and questions to begin asking yourself now.



  • Increased cash flow.
    • Spend less on your mortgage payment and you are likely to have more money leftover for other needs or desires.
  • More time.
    • Cut down on time spent on household chores such as cleaning and vacuuming which will leave you with more hours in the day to do something more enjoyable.
  • Lower utility bills.
    • Costs less to heat and air condition a small home.
    • Less square footage decreases the amount of energy expended.
    • Reducing energy is better for the environment and it helps keep your home green.
  • Reduced consumption.
    • You would likely buy less since you won’t necessarily have the room for it.
  • Minimized stress.
    • Homeowners who have successfully downsized often feel happier because they are no longer overwhelmed by the demands of a larger home.
    • Less responsibility, less housework to do, increased cash flow and flexibility equals reduced stress.



  • Fewer belongings.
    • Moving into a smaller space would mean you would need to give away or donate furniture, books, kitchen supplies, etc.
  • No room for guests.
    • Hosting holiday dinners might be out of the question for a smaller home.
  • Space restrictions.
    • Less space means you could feel cramped.
  • Lifestyle changes.
    • For long-term homeowners, downsizing means changing a lifestyle.


What to consider before downsizing

These questions are important to ask yourself because for some people, downsizing may not be the best option for them.

  1. Does size matter to me?
    1. Think about how much your identity is wrapped in your house.
    2. Is it important for you to have a guest room or a second bathroom?
  2. Will I miss some important things about a more spacious home?
    1. Will moving into a smaller home feel like a step backward?
  3. How will other life events affect my living in a smaller home?
    1. Consider possible scenarios you may not expect such as adult children moving back home or if you plan to add a child.


The Cost to You

  1. How much will it cost to replace the furniture?
    1. When you move into a smaller home this means you might have to downsize your furniture to make room.
  2. How much will it cost to get rid of the stuff I don’t need or won’t fit?
    1. It’s important to have a plan for how you’re going to sell or give away the things you don’t need.
    2. Consider things like family heirlooms. What are you going to do with all your antiques or treasures that your smaller home may not be able to accommodate?
  3. How much will I get when I sell my current home, and will it help cover the cost of buying my new home?


If you know downsizing is the right option for you, you’re probably asking yourself, “Should I sell first and then buy or buy first and then sell?”. When you’re ready to discuss your options, talk to an experienced Real Estate Agent. 


This post originally appeared on

Posted on February 21, 2020 at 2:36 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying, Selling |

A Guide to a few of the Puget Sound’s Unique Island Communities

Seattle is the beating heart of the Puget Sound area. An explosive regional economy backed by some of the world’s largest tech companies has brought an array of big-city benefits to the once sleepy city. World-class culture, cuisine and sporting events are at the fingertips of those in the city. However, like many large cities, there comes the impacts to traffic and congestion, increased cost of living, and long gone is that once sleepy little fishing town. 


While many locals and transplants thrive on the new Seattle, whether for retirement, remote work, family life, or to simply get out of the metropolitan areas, more and more people are looking to move out of the urban core. Unique to the Puget Sound area, many of the so-called suburbs of Seattle are in fact surrounded by water, physical and metaphorical islands, each offering a unique set of characteristics that aligns with those seeking change from city life. 

Here we will explore the variety of island communities in and around the Seattle area, hearing firsthand from local island experts who weigh-in on each island’s character, community, and vibe. 


Three islands stand out as offering something distinct and compelling. For some, the attraction will be an island that affords them the chance to stay connected to a more urban area – a true island suburb. Others will gravitate towards a more rural island, away from the commuter corridors, and still, others may seek a blend. 


First, we start just a 15-minute drive off of Interstate-5, an hour north of Seattle with a serene, outdoorsy, family-friendly island that is Camano Island. 


Camano Island: Real-life island experience – without the hype.

Simply put, Camano Island blends all the benefits of island living with easy access to the urban cores of Puget Sound. Get away…way away — but remain close. While it sounds contradictory, Camano offers a real-life island experience — without the hype or big tourist traps. There are a few restaurants, a handful of country-style grocery stores, bed and breakfast facilities, and to serve the elite few who have discovered Camano Island. Boasting stunning sandy beaches, abundant wildlife, and relaxed small-town charm, Camano Island is a haven for crabbers, water-skiers, and beach-lovers.


Rich in history and culture, Camano Island is home to a vibrant arts community as well as an array of surprisingly charming restaurants, country-style grocery stores, intriguing fine art galleries, and annual festivals. The enduring appeal of Camano Island is that it offers an idyllic, island experience that feels away from it all — without actually being away from it all. 


Without the need for a ferry thanks to an always-open bridge from neighboring Stanwood, you can find yourself ensconced in a diverse community of families, retirees, artists, and locals who value culture and the finer things in life – which now includes easy access to travel. The recent opening of commercial flights at nearby Paine Field means locals and visitors can hop on a quick flight to or from the island, opening the world to Camano. 


Real estate and housing options are as diverse as the flora and fauna who call Camano home. Desirable family neighborhoods walkable to the beach, small cabins in the woods, or majestic beachfront homes dot the island. If building that dream home from the ground up is in the cards, Camano holds a large amount of undeveloped land, again at a full range of options to meet your desired lifestyle. 


Come to Camano for a weekend to explore and you may just end up staying! 


Mercer Island: A breath of fresh air in an urban center

Connected via the I-90 bridge on both sides, Mercer Island is situated right in between Seattle and Bellevue – less than 20 minutes from either city. The island itself is only 13 square miles, but it has everything you need to feel at home: a close-knit community with beautiful waterfront, easy commuting, excellent schools, unique local businesses, and hundreds of acres of parks and trails. 


The petite island has more than 20,000 residents – all of whom share a strong sense of community. Residents are active and connected, giving Mercer Island a small-town feel at the core of a major urban settlement. Education is highly regarded, with an emphasis on innovative learning, technology, and attainable challenges. The island’s schools are consistently ranked among the best in the state. 


Despite being in such a central location, the island has a suburban feel with lots of neighborhoods. Each Mercer Island neighborhood has a distinct personality – from the amazing views of First Hill and the serenity of El Dorado on the north end, to the highly social community of The Lakes on the south end. Options for housing range from apartments and charming craftsman homes to luxurious waterfront estates. You may even find a rare opportunity for new construction if you’re interested in building something custom to suit your wishlist. 


With 475 acres of parks and trails, you’ll have plenty to do on Mercer Island. Take advantage of the children’s play area and sporting fields at Lid Park, or enjoy Pioneer Park’s 113 acres of trails – there’s even a designated area for horseback riding. If you’re looking for more, Luther Burbank Park features 4,000 feet of shoreline, a boat dock and fishing pier, the island’s largest playground, a dog park, an amphitheater, tennis courts, three miles of trails, and plenty of green space to relax and enjoy the view on Lake Washington. And of course, Mercer Island also has a rich culture with local theaters, unique restaurants and bars, charming local boutiques to shop, and plenty of community celebrations throughout the year. 


Make yourself at home on Mercer Island. It’s a place where neighbors feel genuinely connected and there’s always something wonderful to do. 


Orcas Island: Explore your passion and find your community

About an hour from Anacortes by ferry, Orcas Island is a popular second home market but there is more than enough to keep you engaged. Orcas Island is known for its high quality of life, numerous farm-to-fork restaurants, expansive arts community, variety of clubs and nonprofits, beautiful wildlife and scenery, and local businesses that offer everything you need to live comfortably on the island. 


The 57-square-mile island’s diverse population swells from 5,000 year-round residents to about 14,000 residents in the summer who come to soak up the island’s enchanting scenery and charm. Kayak along the shores of the horseshoe-shaped island, hop on a whale watching tour, hike along one of the island’s trails, or just relax on the beach. It’s a spectacular place to just take it all in, and you may be lucky enough to see bald eagles and hundreds of other bird species, rabbits, or the island’s namesake orca whales. 


With a relatively small year-round population, Orcas Island is known for a strong sense of community thanks to a large number of nonprofits and clubs geared toward niche interests. If you’re more interested in the arts than the outdoors, consider one of the island’s acting or dance clubs, visit a gallery, shop with local artisans, or explore during one of the summer’s art walks. There are numerous events on the island throughout the year geared toward the unique interests of visitors and residents, like Hops on the Rock beer festival, the Orcas Island Film Festival, or the Shakespeare Festival. 


In addition to being termed the Gem of the San Juan Islands, Orcas Island is also known as the “foodie” of the island chain. It’s home to a large population of local organic farms and livestock, which have inspired the menus at several amazing farm-to-fork restaurants on the island. If you’re looking for something to sip on, Orcas Island also has a number of boutique distilleries and a few wineries. 


There is room to grow on Orcas Island. Consider building a custom home on the island, or choose a home in an established hamlet. The island’s strong public and private schools and home school community have made it increasingly popular with families in recent years, but anyone who appreciates the relaxed island lifestyle is sure to love living on Orcas Island. 


Choose the quality of life you can only find on Orcas Island. 





Posted on February 17, 2020 at 9:00 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying, Community, Living |

Buying Puget Sound Waterfront? Top Tips You Can’t Miss

There is an unmistakable beauty to the waters of our Puget Sound. That unmatched feeling one gets from seeing the sun glisten off the salt water, the white caps be whipped up by a winter storm, or seeing our children play on the beach. 


While “new” waterfront property hasn’t been made for thousands of years in our area, fortunately around the Puget Sound there are still places where you can find your slice of heaven through purchasing a waterfront home or piece of land. But for those considering moving or building close to the water, there are some very important considerations to be aware of. At the most they could be a barrier to purchasing, and at a minimum they are factors that can influence what property is the best fit for your family’s lifestyle and plans. 


Let’s further explore the top tips any real estate agent should highlight with you when researching and purchasing your waterfront dream: 


  • Tidelands – While most of us know that the moon somehow magically makes our world’s oceans move up and down, and we may not fully understand the physics behind it, we should certainly the impact of tides on a piece of waterfront property. When it comes to real estate, there are essentially two classes of tidelands and their designation impacts ownership rights. Depending where in Puget Sound you are looking, the state could own tidelands up to “mean low tide”, impacting who physically owns the beach in front of your new home. An important step before buying is to research the specific Revised Code of Washington (RCW) tied to the location of the property in order to fully understand specific ownership of the tidelands.


  • Bulkheads – If there is an existing bulkhead on a property, you must be aware of the health of the structure, as an old or poorly maintained bulkhead could lead to erosion and flooding of your yard or even home. Check if the bulkhead is made of wood (rotting), or concrete, and peek at what the neighbors bulkheads look like for clues to the overall health of the area’s infrastructure. Ultimately, a real estate agent should point you to an expert to learn more about the restrictions of restoring or building a bulkhead. If there isn’t a bulkhead in place yet, such as in high bluff or no bank waterfront, permitting to add a structure could take up to two years, and construction itself could be challenging and costly. 


  • Geotech Survey –  When considering buying a high bluff waterfront property with beautiful, unobstructed views, it is recommended to hire a Geotech specialist to conduct a thorough survey on the health of the bluff itself. Well worth the nominal cost of the survey, Geotechs can provide specific data and forecasts on the possibility of a slide, sluffing, or other land movement that can dramatically impact your home and property. Additionally this type of report can recommend specific actions that can be taken to strengthen the bluff – something as a buyer you may request of the seller to close the deal. 


  • Septic Systems – As much of the remaining unbuilt waterfront property is located in rural areas not connected to a city sewer system but rather on a septic system, there can be restrictions around the size of home you can build. Soils must go through a percolation test (commonly known as a “perc test”) to determine the water absorption rate of soil, and hence the ability to host a septic system. Older cabins or homes on the waterfront may have unpermitted “bootleg” septic systems that while functional (or not!) need to be inspected before any purchase. New permits for installing a septic system are often available, with modern engineers able to provide sketches and planning for a range of alternatives that will meet the needs of often more restrictive regulations tied to waterfront locations. 


  • Boat Storage, Buoys, or Marinas – If you are going to live on the water, odds are that owning a boat to enjoy fishing, crabbing, or just exploring the Puget Sound is in your plans. As part of your decision process, be sure to consider and research options for boat storage including access to a marina nearby, the placing or use of buoys off the beach from your home, and even any community covenants regarding the storage of your boat in your yard or on your property. Like being stuck up a creek without a paddle, you want to have a plan for storing your boat when not in use!


  • Rocky or Sandy Beach – Around the Puget Sound we have all types of beaches. From sandy, to small pebbles, all the way to big boulders covered in barnacles. When thinking about your future waterfront property, consider what you envision for your daily use of the beach. What is important to you and your family? Finding sand dollars, harvesting shellfish, or oysters…turning over boulders to find beach crabs, or even relaxing with the sand between your toes. There is something for everyone in the Puget Sound! 


  • Government Regulations – To protect the beauty, flora, and fauna of the Puget Sound’s shorelines, there are various state, county, or city regulations in place to ensure we have this precious resource for generations to come. That said, these types of regulations can have large impacts on your waterfront home so you should be aware of any specific to your property before purchase. Examples include around construction scale and type, septic systems (as outlined above), presence of archeological significant materials such as native burial grounds, potential of flooding and flood zones, and impacts on native species such as salmon. Some of these regulations may require additional insurance considerations or extra cost in building, so be sure to investigate and have your real estate broker connect you with further resources. 


  • Community Style – Lastly, and perhaps not specific to the actual piece of waterfront you have your eye on, but just as impactful to your enjoyment, is the type of community in which it is located. Each waterfront community has its own identity, and some may even change throughout the year depending on different use throughout the seasons. Some communities may have heavy boat traffic, or summertime parties (and noise), while others be known as sanctuaries for peace and quiet. Recognize what you are seeking, and consider matching your lifestyle with those of the community in which you buy to ensure everyone enjoys the beauty and adventure waterfront living can offer us all! 


Waterfront living is a unique and special part of our region. With great daily rewards, and responsibilities, there is something for everyone to be found in the waters and the beaches of Puget Sound. Ask the right questions and talk to the experts when needed to ensure you find a slice of heaven for you and your family. 

Posted on August 16, 2019 at 12:27 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying |

Broker’s Perspective – Love it or List it?

Windermere Stanwood-Camano Real Estate Brokers are deeply connected to the issues that face local home-buyers and sellers. In this series of blogs, The Broker’s Perspective, Windermere Stanwood-Camano Brokers provide insight into current Real Estate market trends and topics.

This week we take a look at the popular topic of “Should I move or remodel?” Nancy McClure, a broker from our Camano Island office gives us her perspective on this hot topic.

Original Windermere blog;  Should I Move Or Remodel?

Windermere Broker Nancy McClure gives us her perspective –

Windermere Broker, Nancy McClure

What are the most important factors to consider when trying to make the decision to move or remodel?  

Most decisions with Real Estate ultimately come down to decisions based on Cost or Location.   If you are located in Seattle and accept a job in Spokane, most likely you will move instead of remodeling, basing the decision on your location.

If you love the neighborhood you live in, but would like an updated home, remodeling or moving is generally considered based upon the cost.

If you are looking at remodeling with the intent to move,  the remodeling decisions are usually based upon remodeling costs vs. possible returns.


What home renovation projects deliver the best return on investment?

Paint!  Something this small can make a big difference and does not cost a ton.   When you start tearing things apart and renovating large parts of the home, it can be challenging to recoup your investment dollar for dollar.   However, this is probably not the case with a “fixer – upper” that is purchased at a lower price point.  Fixer upper homes generally have more flexibility on larger renovation projects based on the fact that these homes are purchased with the intent to remodel and sell.  In the case of a fixer-upper,  here are a few things that can add good value to the home,

Remodeling the kitchen and bathroom – Kitchen remodels can change the entire feel of a home.  If the kitchen is outdated there is a good chance the bathroom is too!

Adding a bedroom – This can be done by finishing basements and attics or putting a closet in a spare room and can definitely raise the value of the home.

Replacing doors and windows, installing new heating or cooling systems – Energy efficient homes are in demand.

Adding a deck or putting on a new roof – These are just a sample of some exterior projects that will give you an immediately improved look and a higher home value.

Other projects that may add value include replacing siding, adding a garage or carport, repairing front porch, landscaping and resurfacing the driveway.


Could your renovations possibly decrease the sale price of your home?

It sure could.  When making the decision to remodel with the intent to sell the home it is important to choose timeless, classic details.  Choosing a color that is not popular, or a layout that is not functional could definitely be detrimental.   Contractors, Interior Designers, and Real Estate professionals can help you with the most sought after details in homes today.


Do we have good resources in our local Stanwood – Camano area such as custom builders, licensed contractors, and interior designers?

We do. Both of the Windermere offices have information on local resources. Also, our brokers are deeply connected to the community, so many have personal connections with contractors, builders and much more.  Stop by and we’ll give you a referral, or two!


Any parting tips you may want to leave us with?

If you end up selling, don’t forget curb appeal!  Homes that have great curb appeal tend to sell quicker and generally for a better price.

Remodeling a home isn’t quite as easy as HGTV makes it look!  Start with a good support network, know when to hire a professional, do your research and don’t forget to ask your contractors for references before hiring them!  And then go have some fun!

Posted on April 16, 2019 at 3:46 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying, DIY, Selling, We Are Stanwood Camano |

Market Stats February 2019

Every month, Windermere Stanwood-Camano publishes a snapshot of the local real estate market. Our Brokers use this data to help determine listing prices, realistic offers, and tailored advice for their clients. We also like to make this information public, to help you with your real estate journey. Market Stats are provided courtesy of Marla Heagle. 

February 2019 Stanwood – Camano Area Market Stats

If you have any questions about our local statistics, please contact our office and we will put you in touch with an experienced professional broker from one our offices.

Terry’s Corner office 360-387-4663

Stanwood office 360-629-8233


View Full Stats – Camano Island       View Full Stats – Stanwood

To read in-depth statistics from January 2019, click on the links below.

View Full Stats – Camano Island  View Full Stats – Stanwood

Matthew Gardner’s Real Estate Forecast for 2019

Year End Market Stats 2018 and MSI


Posted on April 3, 2019 at 2:43 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying, Selling |

Should I Move or Remodel?

There are a number of things that can trigger the decision to remodel or move to a new home. Perhaps you have outgrown your current space, you might be tired of struggling with ancient plumbing or wiring systems, or maybe your home just feels out of date. The question is: Should you stay or should you go? Choosing whether to remodel or move involves looking at a number of factors. Here are some things to consider when making your decision.


Five reasons to move:

1. Your current location just isn’t working.

Unruly neighbors, a miserable commute, or a less-than-desirable school district—these are factors you cannot change. If your current location is detracting from your overall quality of life, it’s time to consider moving. If you’re just ready for a change, that’s a good reason, too. Some people are simply tired of their old homes and want to move on.

2. Your home is already one of the nicest in the neighborhood.

Regardless of the improvements you might make, location largely limits the amount of money you can get for your home when you sell. A general rule of thumb for remodeling is to make sure that you don’t over-improve your home for the neighborhood. If your property is already the most valuable house on the block, additional upgrades usually won’t pay off in return on investment at selling time.

3. There is a good chance you will move soon anyway.

If your likelihood of moving in the next two years is high, remodeling probably isn’t your best choice. There’s no reason to go through the hassle and expense of remodeling and not be able to enjoy it. It may be better to move now to get the house you want.

4. You need to make too many improvements to meet your needs.

This is particularly an issue with growing families. What was cozy for a young couple may be totally inadequate when you add small children. Increasing the space to make your home workable may cost more than moving to another house. In addition, lot size, building codes, and neighborhood covenants may restrict what you can do. Once you’ve outlined the remodeling upgrades that you’d like, a real estate agent can help you determine what kind of home you could buy for the same investment.

5. You don’t like remodeling.

Remodeling is disruptive. It may be the inconvenience of loosing the use of a bathroom for a week, or it can mean moving out altogether for a couple of months. Remodeling also requires making a lot of decisions. You have to be able to visualize new walls and floor plans, decide how large you want windows to be, and where to situate doors. Then there is choosing from hundreds of flooring, countertop, and fixture options. Some people love this. If you’re not one of them, it is probably easier to buy a house that has the features you want already in place.


Five reasons to remodel:

1. You love your neighborhood.

You can walk to the park, you have lots of close friends nearby, and the guy at the espresso stand knows you by name. There are features of a neighborhood, whether it’s tree-lined streets or annual community celebrations, that you just can’t re-create somewhere else. If you love where you live, that’s a good reason to stay.

2. You like your current home’s floor plan.

The general layout of your home either works for you or it doesn’t. If you enjoy the configuration and overall feeling of your current home, there’s a good chance it can be turned into a dream home. The combination of special features you really value, such as morning sun or a special view, may be hard to replicate in a new home.

3. You’ve got a great yard.

Yards in older neighborhoods often have features you cannot find in newer developments, including large lots, mature trees, and established landscaping. Even if you find a new home with a large lot, it takes considerable time and expense to create a fully landscaped yard.

4. You can get exactly the home you want.

Remodeling allows you to create a home tailored exactly to your lifestyle. You have control over the look and feel of everything, from the color of the walls to the finish on the cabinets. Consider also that most people who buy a new home spend up to 30 percent of the value of their new house fixing it up the way they want.

5. It may make better financial sense.

In some cases, remodeling might be cheaper than selling. A contractor can give you an estimate of what it would cost to make the improvements you’re considering. A real estate agent can give you prices of comparable homes with those same features. But remember that while remodeling projects add to the value of your home, most don’t fully recover their costs when you sell.


Remodel or move checklist:

Here are some questions to ask when deciding whether to move or remodel.

1.      How much money can you afford to spend?

2.      How long do you plan to live in your current home?

3.      How do you feel about your current location?

4.      Do you like the general floor plan of your current house?

5.      Will the remodeling you’re considering offer a good return on investment?

6.      Can you get more house for the money in another location that you like?

7.      Are you willing to live in your house during a remodeling project?

8.      If not, do you have the resources to live elsewhere while you’re remodeling?


If you have questions about whether remodeling or selling is a wise investment, or are looking for an agent in your area, we have professionals that can help you. Contact us today!

Posted on March 19, 2019 at 10:45 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying, Living, Selling |

Market turnaround? King County home prices take biggest one-month jump ever.

Originally published March 6, 2019 at 4:22 pm

For months, there’s been one question in Seattle-area real estate: How low can prices go?       We may have found our answer.

King County home prices had dropped $116,000 since last spring, falling to a two-year low in January.

But in February, home prices bounced back as the median sale rose by $45,000 from the month prior, according to new data released Wednesday. It was the first time in eight months that prices actually went up, on a month-over-month basis.

And it was no small increase, either: In dollar terms, it’s the biggest one-month jump since records have been kept.

One month of data does not necessarily guarantee a new trend. But there’s evidence the market could be picking up speed as buyers start slowly coming out of the woodwork: Sales increased 1 percent on a year-over-year basis, a small amount but nevertheless the first increase since April 2018, back when Seattle was still the hottest market in the country. Brokers and buyers are reporting more traffic in open houses and the slow return of bidding wars.

And while prices usually grow in February coming out of the winter doldrums, this year’s bump was triple the average increase from the previous five years. It’s an ominous sign for buyers, given that prices almost always rise the most in spring, which is just around the corner.

King County’s median single-family house sold for $655,000 in February, up 7.4 percent from a month prior but still comfortably below record highs reached last spring, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

“Everything has picked back up,” said Grant Burton, a Seattle-based Redfin agent. He’s working on two buyer offers right now, and has four pending sales — all featuring bidding wars, which had all-but disappeared in the second half of last year.


“When we noticed the cool-down last spring, buyers were fatigued, they were burnt out on the crazy market and not having enough time to do their due diligence,” Burton said. But then things went in the opposite direction — homes sitting unsold longer, prices being negotiated down — for long enough that buyers have started to feel comfortable enough to come back.

“It helps that there’s more inventory, and having more time (to decide on a house) has been a little bit easier for buyers to digest. And I think maybe people were trying to take advantage of not as many buyers to compete with,” he said.

Still not red hot

The market isn’t back to red-hot by any means. On a year-over-year basis, prices rose a bit less than 1 percent. And the number of homes sitting unsold still doubled in that span. Brokers say instead of bidding wars with 10 buyers driving up prices way above the list price — which was common for years — now there might be two or three bidders on sought-after homes, willing to go slightly above list price.

House Sales by Sub-market

Paul Lundin and his wife are closing on a $1.5 million Ballard home now after losing three previous bidding wars. They wound up having to go $80,000 over list price and waive all their contingencies — such as the clause that allows buyers to back out of a home purchase if an inspection turns up new problems — to beat out other bidders.

“We ended up overpaying or at least paying more than we wanted to,” Lundin said. “I certainly would have liked to land something in December (before the market picked up), but it just is what it is.”

Lundin said it’s clear the competition among buyers has increased compared to when they started looking around last fall.

“It was going pretty fast, very contentious,” he said. “If you go to open houses on a weekend, there are people streaming out all day.”

A closer look at the numbers

In Seattle, the median home price hit $730,000, up from $711,000 the previous month but still down from a year ago.

The biggest gains came in Southeast King County, where prices grew from $450,000 to $473,000 in the last month – led by gains of $100,000 in Renton.

But the turnaround hasn’t started on the Eastside. There, prices fell to $900,000 — down from a month ago and a year prior.

Also helping nudge buyers back into the market: mortgage interest rates, which had grown last fall, have fallen back down in the last few months.

Despite a shift in single-family home values, condo prices continue to fall — down 8.4 percent from a year ago across King County, the biggest decline in seven years. The median condo across the county sold for $380,000, down from a record high of $466,000 last spring. The number of condos sitting unsold more than tripled in the past year while sales continued to decline.

The cool-down also continues in Snohomish County, where the cost of the median single-family house fell 2.1 percent from a year prior — the county’s first annual drop since 2012. The median Snohomish house sold for $475,000, down from last spring’s peak of $511,000.

Pierce and Kitsap counties, which have been mostly immune from the recent slowdown as buyers seek out cheaper alternatives, continue to see prices grow.

In Pierce, the median house sold for $355,000 — up 9.2 percent in the past year, and matching the record highs reached last spring. In Kitsap, prices grew 3.7 percent, to $341,000.

Original article from Seattle Times

Source, Seattle Times Newspaper March 6th, 2019

Posted on March 15, 2019 at 3:40 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Posted in Buying, Housing Trends |