Investing In a Green Home Will Pay Dividends In 2019

As we step forward into 2019, eco-friendly “green homes” are more popular than ever. Upgrading your home’s sustainability improves quality of life for those residing in it, but it is also a savvy long-term investment. As green homes become more popular, properties boasting sustainable features have become increasingly desirable targets for homebuyers. Whether designing a new home from scratch or preparing your current home for sale, accentuating a house with environmentally-friendly features can pay big dividends for everyone.

While the added value depends on the location of the home, its age, and whether it’s certified or not, three separate studies all found that newly constructed, Energy Star, or LEED-certified homes typically sell for about nine percent more than comparable, non-certified new homes. Plus, one of those studies discovered that existing homes retrofitted with green technologies, and certified as such, can command a whopping 30-percent sales-price boost.

There are dozens of eco-friendly features that can provide extra value for you as a seller. To name a few:

 

Cool roof

Cool roofs keep the houses they’re covering as much as 50 to 60 degrees cooler by reflecting the heat of the sun away from the interior, allowing the occupants to stay cooler and save on air-conditioning costs. The most common form is metal roofing. Other options include roof membranes and reflective asphalt shingles.

 

Fuel cells

Fuel cells may soon offer an all-new source of electricity that would allow you to completely disconnect your home from all other sources of electricity. About the size of a dishwasher, a fuel cell connects to your home’s natural gas line and electrochemically converts methane to electricity. One unit would pack more than enough energy to power your whole home.

For many years, fuel cells have been far too expensive or unreliable. But as technology has improved, so too has reliability. Companies like Home Power Solutions and Redbox Power Systems have increased the reliability of these fuel sources while reducing their size. Much like we’ve seen computers and cell phones shrink in size while improving reliability and power, fuel cells continue to be refined.

 

Wind turbine

A wind turbine (essentially a propeller spinning atop an 80- to 100-foot pole) collects kinetic energy from the wind and converts it to electricity for your home. And according to the Department of Energy, a small version can slash your electrical bill by 50 to 90 percent.

But before you get too excited, you need to know that the zoning laws in most urban areas don’t allow wind turbines. They’re too tall. The best prospects for this technology are homes located on at least an acre of land, well outside the city limits.

 

Green roof

Another way to keep the interior of your house cooler—and save on air-conditioning costs—is to replace your traditional roof with a layer of vegetation (typically hardy groundcovers). This is more expensive than a cool roof and requires regular maintenance, but young, environmentally conscious homeowners are very attracted to the concept.

 

Hybrid heating

Combining a heat pump with a standard furnace to create what’s known as a “hybrid heating system” can save you somewhere between 15 and 35 percent on your heating and cooling bills.

Unlike a gas or oil furnace, a heat pump doesn’t use any fuel. Instead, the coils inside the unit absorb whatever heat exists naturally in the outside air, and distributes it via the same ductwork used by your furnace. When the outside air temperature gets too cold for the heat pump to work, the system switches over to your traditional furnace.

 

Geothermal heating

Geothermal heating units are like heat pumps, except instead of absorbing heat from the outside air, they absorb the heat in the soil next to your house via coils buried in the ground. The coils can be buried horizontally or, if you don’t have a wide enough yard, they can be buried vertically. While the installation price of a geothermal system can be several times that of a hybrid, air-sourced system, the cost savings on your energy bills can cover the installation costs in five to 10 years.

 

Solar power

Solar panels capture light energy from the sun and convert it directly into electricity. Similarly to wind turbines, your geographical location may determine the feasibility of these installments. Even on cloudy days, however, solar panels typically produce 10-25% of their maximum energy output. For decades, you may have seen these panels sitting on sunny rooftops all across America. But it’s only recently that this energy-saving option has become truly affordable.

In 2010, installing a solar system on a typical mid-sized house would have set the homeowner back $30,000. But as of December 2018, the average cost after tax credits for solar panel installation was just $13,188! Plus, some companies are now offering to rent solar panels to homeowners (the company retains ownership of the panels and sells the homeowner access to the power at roughly 10 to 15 percent less than they would pay their local utility).

 

Solar water heaters

Rooftop solar panels can also be used to heat your home’s water. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average homeowner who makes this switch should see their water bills shrink by 50 to 80 percent.

 

Tax credits/rebates

Many of the innovative solutions summarized above come with big price tags attached. However, federal, state and local rebates/tax credits can often slash those expenses by as much as 50 percent. So before ruling any of these ideas out, take some time to see which incentives you may qualify for at dsireusa.org and the “tax incentives” pages at Energy.Gov

Regardless of which option you choose, these technologies will help to conserve valuable resources and reduce your monthly utility expenses. Just as importantly, they will also add resale value that you can leverage whenever you decide it’s time to sell and move on to a new home.

Posted on January 3, 2019 at 3:07 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Buying, Housing Trends, Selling

2019 Economic and Housing Forecast

What a year it has been for both the U.S. economy and the national housing market. After several years of above-average economic and home price growth, 2018 marked the start of a slowdown in the residential real estate market. As the year comes to a close, it’s time for me to dust off my crystal ball to see what we can expect in 2019.

 

The U.S. Economy

Despite the turbulence that the ongoing trade wars with China are causing, I still expect the U.S. economy to have one more year of relatively solid growth before we likely enter a recession in 2020. Yes, it’s the dreaded “R” word, but before you panic, there are some things to bear in mind.

Firstly, any cyclical downturn will not be driven by housing. Although it is almost impossible to predict exactly what will be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”, I believe it will likely be caused by one of the following three things: an ongoing trade war, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, or excessive corporate debt levels. That said, we still have another year of solid growth ahead of us, so I think it’s more important to focus on 2019 for now.

 

The U.S. Housing Market

Existing Home Sales

This paper is being written well before the year-end numbers come out, but I expect 2018 home sales will be about 3.5% lower than the prior year. Sales started to slow last spring as we breached affordability limits and more homes came on the market. In 2019, I anticipate that home sales will rebound modestly and rise by 1.9% to a little over 5.4 million units.

Existing Home Prices

We will likely end 2018 with a median home price of about $260,000 – up 5.4% from 2017. In 2019 I expect prices to continue rising, but at a slower rate as we move toward a more balanced housing market. I’m forecasting the median home price to increase by 4.4% as rising mortgage rates continue to act as a headwind to home price growth.

New Home Sales

In a somewhat similar manner to existing home sales, new home sales started to slow in the spring of 2018, but the overall trend has been positive since 2011. I expect that to continue in 2019 with sales increasing by 6.9% to 695,000 units – the highest level seen since 2007.

That being said, the level of new construction remains well below the long-term average. Builders continue to struggle with land, labor, and material costs, and this is an issue that is not likely to be solved in 2019. Furthermore, these constraints are forcing developers to primarily build higher-priced homes, which does little to meet the substantial demand by first-time buyers.

Mortgage Rates

In last year’s forecast, I suggested that 5% interest rates would be a 2019 story, not a 2018 story. This prediction has proven accurate with the average 30-year conforming rates measured at 4.87% in November, and highly unlikely to breach the 5% barrier before the end of the year.

In 2019, I expect interest rates to continue trending higher, but we may see periods of modest contraction or levelling. We will likely end the year with the 30-year fixed rate at around 5.7%, which means that 6% interest rates are more apt to be a 2020 story.

I also believe that non-conforming (or jumbo) rates will remain remarkably competitive. Banks appear to be comfortable with the risk and ultimately, the return, that this product offers, so expect jumbo loan yields to track conforming loans quite closely.

 

Conclusions

There are still voices out there that seem to suggest the housing market is headed for calamity and that another housing bubble is forming, or in some cases, is already deflating. In all the data that I review, I just don’t see this happening. Credit quality for new mortgage holders remains very high and the median down payment (as a percentage of home price) is at its highest level since 2004.

That is not to say that there aren’t several markets around the country that are overpriced, but just because a market is overvalued, does not mean that a bubble is in place. It simply means that forward price growth in these markets will be lower to allow income levels to rise sufficiently.

Finally, if there is a big story for 2019, I believe it will be the ongoing resurgence of first-time buyers. While these buyers face challenges regarding student debt and the ability to save for a down payment, they are definitely on the comeback and likely to purchase more homes next year than any other buyer demographic.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to hear more about the market forecast join us and Matthew Gardner Jan. 25 at 6 PM at the Camano Center on Camano Island. Space is limited, reserve your seat here!

Posted on December 30, 2018 at 12:08 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Buying, Community, Housing Trends, News, Selling

Broker’s Perspective: Buyers Beware of Haunted Houses

Windermere Stanwood-Camano 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 market trends and topics.

This week we take a look at excerpts from the Windermere Corporate Blog about Haunted Houses. Tina Stoner, a broker from our Terry’s Corner office, gives us her thoughts on this topic.

 

Don’t Get Spooked! These Are a Buyer’s Warning Signs of a Haunted House

 

By: John Trupin, Windermere Blog

 

Here are some ways to identify – and avoid – ending up with a haunted house.

Something doesn’t feel right. When it comes to finding a home, we talk a lot about how a home feels. People generally feel it in their gut when they have found “the one”. If you feel like something is off, but you just can’t put your finger on it, you probably want to investigate a little further.

Follow the history of the home. Hit the interwebs and do a little online investigation to find out if the home has any skeletons in its closets (literally). Did anyone die in the house? Was it built on an ancient burial gravesite? Both of these could be DEAD giveaways for paranormal activity. Public records can be helpful for basic information, or you can check out this handy website: www.diedinhouse.com. If you don’t mind the house’s sordid past, use it as leverage to knock some zeros off the asking price.

Meet the neighbors. It’s always a good idea to get to know the neighborhood before moving in. Learn about the schools, check out the local shops and amenities, and take a good look at who your neighbors will be.  If you walk next door and the equivalent of the Adams family is staring you in the face, it might be a good time to look at other options.

Follow the paperwork. When selling a home, homeowners are required to fill out a “Self Disclosure Form” to reveal any known issues. In some states, this includes revealing if the home has any paranormal activity. In fact, if a home is known to be haunted, it can be deemed a “stigmatized home” which can impact the sale. But keep in mind, self-disclosure of paranormal activity is hard to qualify and prove, so buyers beware.

 


Tina Stoner, Broker & Realtor at Terry’s Corner Windermere

Tina’s Perspective

Is it common for buyers to ask about haunted homes?

If there is something that prompts a client to ask – a feeling of being uneasy, unusual noises, rumors of hauntings – they may ask about a home being haunted. Under regular circumstances, it is not very often that a buyer asks about a home being haunted.

 

Have you had any personal experience with a home that might have been haunted?

I have had one experience; my client and I were viewing a home and the home gave us an uneasy feeling. We both noticed what we thought to be a shadow that had no explanation and there was a feeling that something wasn’t right with the home. Who knows what we saw and felt in the home but we left promptly.

 

In this fast-paced seller’s market with lower numbers of homes on the market, do you find buyers un-swayed when considering a home that has reports of paranormal activity?

Not necessarily, but I think it really depends on the home. The home mentioned in the last question, I believe, was a foreclosure at the time.  It was on the market for over a year and sold several times after that as well. It was purchased then sold again immediately repeatedly and nobody actually moved into the home for quite some time. In 2017, the home sold for over twice the sales price that it sold for in 2016 – seemingly in this seller’s market whoever bought this home was not swayed by any stigmas or rumors, but every home is different.

 

Every State has it’s own Real Estate Law; what do buyers in Washington State need to be aware of? Do sellers need to disclose a possible haunted home?

There is no law requiring disclosure of possible paranormal activity in a home in Washington State. Seller’s Form 17 gives the seller the legally required information that must be disclosed. Form 17 is the statutory state minimum disclosure a seller must make and any other disclosures are not required by law. A few other States require “emotional” and “psychologically impacted” disclosures, Washington does not.

Did you know that our very own Stanwood Hotel claims to be haunted, the Stanwood Hotel website gives you a little insight and some descriptions on their thought to be friendly spirits right here.

 

 Original Windermere Blog Post can be found here.

 

Posted on October 27, 2018 at 9:39 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Buying, Housing Trends, Selling

Broker’s Perspective: Seattle Market Slows, Stanwood-Camano Area Market Holds Its Own

Windermere Stanwood-Camano 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 market trends and topics. Below is an excerpt from an article by Seattle Times columnist, Jon Talton, followed by a Q&A with Managing Broker of Camano Country Club, Beth Newton.

 

Slowing real estate might let us catch our breath — or knock the wind out of us

 

By: Jon Talton, Seattle Times Columnist

 

If you read my colleague Mike Rosenberg, you already know that segments of the Seattle real-estate market are slowing.

We have an apartment glut thanks to heavy investment in multifamily housing coming out of the Great Recession. Sales and inventory numbers for homes in King County are back to 2012 levels. Prices are dropping many places after record leaps in recent years.

Last week came further evidence: For the first time in about a decade, Seattle wasn’t among the top 10 markets for the coming year in the “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” report by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Last year, we were No. 1.

The report focuses on the Seattle-Bellevue area, setting Tacoma (No. 53) out separately. And it doesn’t directly correlate with livability. Rather, it assesses investment and development trends, and for several years has chronicled the rise of high-quality urban centers.

Many people will see this as all good news, a pause from explosive growth that has also been blamed for lower affordability, rising inequality and social ills. I would add that markets go down as well as up, and every swing creates winners and losers.

Still, while Seattle’s growth isn’t stopping, going from the equivalent of 90 miles per hour to 50 would be felt, and in some unpleasant ways, too.

“Emerging Trends” is the gold standard in real-estate forecasts, based on interviews and surveys of hundreds of leading developers, investors and lenders.

It provides a deep analysis of the outlook for residential, retail, office, hotel and industrial properties, as well as the wider economic environment.

For next year, the top overall markets according to the ULI study are Dallas-Fort Worth, Brooklyn, Raleigh-Durham, Orlando, Nashville, Austin, Boston, Denver, Charlotte and Tampa-St. Petersburg.

At No. 16, Seattle still shows a decent outlook among the 79 markets surveyed. We rank No. 20 in homebuilding prospects. And second, behind Boston, in local market attractiveness for investors. Office demand is expected to continue doing well in the central business district.

Being No. 1 isn’t everything. I’d take Seattle over almost any city among the top 10. But Seattle dropping off might mark an inflection point — emphasis on “might.”

The report also offers this caution about Seattle’s drop: “Seattle is still viewed as an attractive place in which to invest, but did media coverage of potential new supply being delivered and increased regulatory discussions sway the opinion of survey respondents?”

Hard as it is to process, Seattle also gets relatively good marks for housing affordability within the context of the Pacific Coast (Tacoma does even better). Demand remains strong for distribution space, too.

The report points to a local economy operating near capacity (e.g. employment) as a constraint on real-estate investment next year.

“This is evidenced by the comments from focus group participants in Seattle and Portland that attracting qualified labor is getting more difficult and could be hurting employment growth,” it reads.

The unemployment rate for Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue was 3.6 percent in August.

Assuming the larger economic climate is stable, we can expect Seattle to go from “hot” to “warm.”

(article continues…)


Beth Newton, Managing Broker Camano Country Club

Beth’s Perspective

Our local market is not quite the same as the Seattle Market, how much of a change have you felt in the local Stanwood–Camano market, if any?   

The local Stanwood-Camano market is definitely not the same as the Seattle market, so we have not necessarily felt any change other than the normal back to school slow-down in the September and early October market.

 

Some are saying that right now is the best the market has been for buyers since 2015 – do you see any indications of that holding true in the Stanwood – Camano market?

Not necessarily, though it is a dual market where the upper end high priced Real Estate prices may be coming down a little, the majority of the median priced market activity is still showing as a strong seller’s market.

 

The Stock market dropped, interest rates went up and Real Estate statewide seems to be slowing a little bit – do you see this as a simple market correction or a sign of something more?

This looks like a simple market correction for this time of year, or a normal flattening of the market for back to school, which is quite normal and expected.  I look forward to seeing this year finishing strong. And 2019 will be the best market to come!

 

Read full article from The Seattle Times

Posted on October 21, 2018 at 10:29 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Buying, Housing Trends, Selling

Local Market Stats For August

 

Marla Heagle, Windermere Stanwood Camano Island Owner

 

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. Here are our key takeaways from August 2018.


 Stanwood & Camano Island 

If you look at the pie charts below, Windermere has the largest market share with 26% of Stanwood and 46% of Camano Island. This means if you want to sell or buy a house in the area, we’ve got you covered with our talented, knowledgeable agents.

For Camano Island, the average number of days a home stays on the market is just 42, compared to 57 days last year. Last month, the average for Stanwood homes on the market dropped from 47 to 45 days, which is basically unchanged from the average in 2017 during the same months. Sellers can rest assured that in these particular areas, the fall season doesn’t have a negative effect on how fast a home sells.

Stanwood

Camano Island

The average sale price of each home has increased dramatically over the past year–around $40,000 more per home for Stanwood and $50,000 more per home for Camano Island. This, of course, depends on a variety of factors and doesn’t necessarily mean your home’s value jumped that much, but the good news is that the list price compared to the sale price is just about 100% for Stanwood and Camano Island. This means there’s a good chance that if you price your home right to begin with (which we are experts at!) the price you ask for is likely what you’ll get offered.

Stanwood

Camano Island

Stanwood

Camano Island

Camano Island’s largest chunk of active and pending listings falls within the 350-399K price range. The highest number of homes sold within the last year falls within the same price range, too. If you think your home is valued 350-399K, it may be a good time to sell, as there is lots of activity in this price range.

Stanwood has a slight increase in this department, with the largest number of active listings in the 400-449K price range and pending transactions in the 650-699K price range. However, most homes sold in Stanwood this year fall within the 350-399K range, which is the same as Camano Island.

Stanwood

Camano Island

The bottom line is that if you’re interested in selling your home, don’t let the changing of the season deter you. Buyers will appreciate having more options and you’ll likely get the price you ask for. The good news for buyers is the market hasn’t gotten worse in terms of the number of listings and prices as summer has transitioned into fall.

View Full Stats – Stanwood
View Full Stats – Camano Island

 

 

Posted on October 14, 2018 at 2:02 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Buying, Housing Trends, Selling, Uncategorized

How Reliable Are Home Valuation Tools?

 

 

What’s your home worth?

It seems like a simple question, but finding that answer is more complicated than it might seem. Sites like Zillow, Redfin, Eppraisal, and others have built-in home valuation tools that make it seem easy, but how accurate are they? And which one do you believe if you get three different answers? Online valuation tools have become a key part of the home buying and selling process, but they’ve been proven to be highly unreliable in certain instances. One thing that is for certain is that these valuation tools have reinforced that real estate agents are as vital to the process of pricing a home as they ever were – and maybe even more so now.

There are limitations to every online valuation tool. Most are readily acknowledged by their providers, such as Zillow’s “Zestimate”, which clearly states that it offers a median error rate of 4.5%, with varying accuracy across the country. That may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that amounts to a difference of about $31,500 for a $700,000 home. For Redfin and Trulia, there are similar ranges in results. When you dig deeper into these valuation tools, it’s no small wonder that there are discrepancies, as they rely on a range of different sources for information, some more reliable than others.

Redfin’s tool pulls information directly from multiple listing services(MLSs) all over the country. Others negotiate limited data sharing deals with those same services, but also rely on public records, as well as homeowners’ records. This can lead to gaps in coverage. These tools can serve as helpful pieces of the puzzle when buying or selling a home, but the acknowledged error rate is a reminder of the dangers of relying too heavily on them.

Home valuation tools can be a useful starting point in the real estate process, but nothing compares to the level of detail and knowledge a professional real estate agent offers when pricing a home. An algorithm can’t possibly know about a home’s unique characteristics or those of the surrounding neighborhood. They also can’t answer your questions about what improvements you can make to get top dollar or how buyer behaviors are shaping the market. All of this – and more – can only be delivered by a trusted professional whose number one priority is getting you the best price in a time frame that meets your needs.

If you’re curious what your home might be worth, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations about your property and the surrounding market. And once you’re ready, we’re happy to connect you with a Windermere agent who can clarify this information and perform a Comparative Market Analysis to get an even more accurate estimate of what your home could sell for in today’s market.

Posted on October 7, 2018 at 9:14 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Selling

How to Acquire the Right Appraisal for Your Home

 

 

 

Appraisals are designed to protect buyers, sellers, and lending institutions. They provide a reliable, independent valuation of a tract of land and the structure on it, whether it’s a house or a skyscraper. Below, you will find information about the appraisal process, what goes into them, their benefits and some tips on how to help make an appraisal go smoothly and efficiently.

 

Appraised value vs. market value

The appraised value of a property is what the bank thinks it’s worth, and that amount is determined by a professional, third-party appraiser. The appraiser’s valuation is based on a combination of comparative market sales and inspection of the property.

Market value, on the other hand, is what a buyer is willing to pay for a home or what homes of comparable value are selling for. A home’s appraised value and its market value are typically not the same. In fact, sometimes the appraised value is very different. An appraisal provides you with an invaluable reality check.

If you are in the process of setting the price of your home, you can gain some peace-of-mind by consulting an independent appraiser. Show him comparative values for your neighborhood, relevant documents, and give him a tour of your home, just as you would show it to a prospective buyer.

 

What information goes into an appraisal?

Professional appraisers consult a range of information sources, including multiple listing services, county tax assessor records, county courthouse records, and appraisal data records, in addition to talking to local real estate professionals.

They also conduct an inspection. Typically an appraiser’s inspection focuses on:

  • The condition of the property and home, inside and out
  • The home’s layout and features
  • Home updates
  • Overall quality of construction
  • Estimate of the home’s square footage (the gross living area “GLA”; garages and unfinished basements are estimated separately)
  • Permanent fixtures (for example, in-ground pools, as opposed to above-ground pools)

After considering all such information, the appraiser arrives at three different dollar amounts – one for the value of the land, one for the value of the structure, and one for their combined value. In many cases, the land will be worth more than the structure.

One thing to bear in mind is that an appraisal is not a substitute for a home inspection. An appraiser does a cursory assessment of a house and property. For a more detailed inspection, consult with a home inspector and/or a specialist in the area of concern.

 

Who pays and how long does it take?

The buyer usually pays for the appraisal unless they have negotiated otherwise. Depending on the lender, the appraisal may be paid in advance or incorporated into the application fee; some are due on delivery and some are billed at closing. Typical costs range from $275-$600, but this can vary from region to region.

An inspection usually takes anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, depending on the size and complexity of your property. In addition, the appraiser spends time pulling up county records for the values of the houses around you. A full report comes to your loan officer, a real estate agent or lender within about a week.

If you are the seller, you won’t get a copy of an appraisal ordered by a buyer. Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, however, the buyer has the right to get a copy of the appraisal, but they must request it. Typically the requested appraisal is provided at closing.

 

What if the appraisal is too low?

If your appraisal comes in too low it can be a problem. Usually, the seller’s and the buyer’s real estate agents respond by looking for recent and pending sales of comparable homes. Sometimes this can influence the appraisal. If the final appraisal is well below what you have agreed to pay, you can renegotiate the contract or cancel it.

 

Where do you find a qualified appraiser?

Your bank or lending institution will find and hire an appraiser; Federal regulatory guidelines do not allow borrowers to order and provide an appraisal to a bank for lending purposes. If you want an appraisal for your own personal reasons and not to secure a mortgage or buy a homeowner’s insurance policy, you can do the hiring yourself. You can contact your lending institution and they can recommend qualified appraisers and you can choose one yourself or you can call your local Windermere Real Estate agent and they can make a recommendation for you. Once you have the name of some appraisers you can verify their status on the Federal Appraisal Subcommittee website.

 

Tips for hassle-free appraisals:

  • What can you do to make the appraisal process as smooth and efficient as possible? Make sure you provide your appraiser with the information he or she needs to get the job done. Get out your important documents and start checking off a list that includes the following:
  • A brief explanation of why you’re getting an appraisal
  • The date you’d like your appraisal to be completed
  • A copy of your deed, survey, purchase agreement, or other papers that pertain to the property
  • If you have a mortgage, your lender, the year you got your mortgage, the amount, the type of mortgage (FHA, VA, etc.), your interest rate, and any additional financing you have
  • A copy of your current real estate tax bill, statement of special assessments, balance owing and on what (for example, sewer, water)
  • Tell your appraiser if your property is listed for sale and if so, your asking price and listing agency
  • Any personal property that is included
  • If you’re selling an income-producing property, a breakdown of income and expenses for the last year or two and a copy of leases
  • A copy of the original house plans and specifications
  • A list of recent improvements and their costs
  • Any other information you feel may be relevant

By doing your homework, compiling the information your appraiser needs, and providing it at the beginning of the process, you can minimize unnecessary phone calls and delays and get the information you need quickly and satisfactorily!

Here are a few Local Appraisers from Stanwood & Camano Island:

W.E. Kintner & Assoc.  (360) 629-4216

PC Appraisal Company (360) 387-2043

Peterson Appraisal & Consulting (360) 629-0445

Hamilton Appraisal Services, Inc.  (425) 422-3348

Posted on September 30, 2018 at 8:41 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Selling

Broker’s Perspective: Housing Inventory Increase

Our 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 and Camano Island brokers provide insight into current market trends and topics. This week, we discuss the King 5 feature on increased housing inventory with broker, Jill Vail.

 

King County home buyers saw relief in July, but it’s not the same story across the region. King County’s real estate market continued to see a cooling effect in July with year-over-year inventory up and sales down, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported Monday.

Housing inventory – or how long it would take to sell all houses on the market without more being listed – improved 6.5 percent since last July, according to the Northwest MLS. At the same time, pending sales and closed sales are down 7 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

“It has been a long time coming, but we finally have some solidly good news for buyers in the Puget Sound area,” OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, said in a statement.

In July, Seattle and King County saw the highest housing supply levels since 2015, according to Robert Wasser, owner of Prospera Real Estate.

Industry leaders said the increased inventory has had a calming effect on prices as sellers have had to let go of expectations of multiple offers or massive price escalations.

However, it isn’t the same story across the state. Of all counties in Western Washington, King County saw the largest gains in inventory year-over-year. Snohomish County inventory improved slightly, but Pierce County saw a decrease in inventory coupled with more pending sales and increased prices. “Pierce County has, for a handful of years, been the affordability solution for buyers who would otherwise buy in King County,” Northwest MLS director Mike Larson said. “I think the craziness of the King County market has magnified that fact even more.”

Industry leaders cautioned that while the market has cooled, it is by no means cold. King County still only has 1.57 months of inventory, which is below a healthy inventory of four or five months, according to President and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain Mike Grady. “We are still a seller’s market,” Broker Keith Bruce said. “Much more inventory is needed to meet the overall demand for quality homes in Seattle.”

 

Jill’s Perspective

I often have clients asking if we are seeing the same craziness in our real estate market as they are in King County. The good news is that our market was never as frenzied as it was for our urban neighbors. We had multiple offers and escalated prices but never to the tune that they did in Seattle. Our market still needs some corrections, but we are not seeing the significant increase in inventory that Seattle is seeing. No market can sustain the kind of price increases they saw in Seattle, so some adjustments were due.

Even though reports indicate that housing inventory has increased in King County, Camano Island inventory has actually decreased since the same time last year. Listings are down almost 20%, from 124 to 100 residential listings. Inventory in Stanwood is a little different, though. It has increased by 10%, from 94 to 103 homes at this same time last year. Stanwood’s market is affected by the new construction communities that have been popping up. Some new homes have come on the market over the past year, making up for a lack of new construction over the last 10 years, which is great for buyers.

While the market is slowly correcting itself, make no mistake—it is still a seller’s market. The average days on market has decreased sharply. A year ago, the average days on market for sold homes was 60. Currently, we are down to only 43 days. There are still some strong upward pressures on prices, too. A year ago, Camano Island’s months of inventory was at 2.4. Currently, we are seeing only 2/3 of that, at 1.6 months. Stanwood is up to 1.5 months from 1.2 this time last year. A balanced market should be 3-6 months and we have a way to go before we get to that level.

So, it’s still a great time to sell in Stanwood and Camano Island. I have buyers out there waiting for the right home to come on the market for them. We are starting to see an improvement in conditions for buyers, but they still need to act fast when they see that great house come on the market. Some buyers are still learning that the hard way. It is important for buyers to keep an eye on the market and hire a professional who can help them act quickly and be competitive.

Jill Vail | Windermere Stanwood and Camano Island Broker

Posted on September 2, 2018 at 9:05 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Housing Trends, Selling

Local Market Stats for July

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. Here are our key takeaways from July 2018.

Insights From Marla

Even though it’s back-to-school time, it’s still a great time for Stanwood-Camano sellers to list their homes as inventory is low in certain areas and prices are going up. In our community, sales aren’t drastically affected by the school year starting, as seen in other areas where young families represent a large percentage of the buyers. Even more, the average amount of days houses are on the market is down, so you’ll spend less time waiting on offers.

Camano Island

Fifty new listings were added on Camano in July, which is down from 70 last year. This means inventory is lower, which boosts your listing’s chances of being considered. Overall, the number of listings is down to 100 from 124 in 2017. That’s a decrease of 19%. Lower inventory means less competition.

The average home’s sale price has increased by 11% over the last year, translating into an average of $47,000 more per sale.

The most significant change is the average time spent on the market for sold listings, which has decreased by 28%. An average of 60 days on the market in 2017 has now dropped to 43 days.

Stanwood

While inventory is relatively stable in Stanwood, the average sale price per home has increased by 13%, which averages to over $54,000 more compared to 2017.

The average amount of time spent on the market for sold listings has also decreased by 3 days.

Full Stats – Camano Island

Full Stats – Stanwood

 

Posted on August 27, 2018 at 9:42 am
Marla Heagle | Category: Buying, Housing Trends, Selling

How Zoning and Regulatory Costs Impact Housing Affordability

Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner explains the ways zoning rules and regulatory costs can limit housing affordability.​

 

 

Posted on August 24, 2018 at 9:53 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Buying, Housing Trends, Selling