Whether it’s your first or your fifteenth transaction, buying a home is a significant financial decision that demands some measure of caution. Regardless of the property type, it is wise to operate from the point of view that most homes have flaws (even when they’re newly constructed). Hidden safety concerns and significant repairs can add up quick, so it’s a good best practice to avoid surprises and have a prospective home thoroughly evaluated by a certified, experienced home inspector.
If you have been following the local news you are probably aware that our torrid hot real estate market is shifting. What should we make of this? Is this 2008 to 2012 all over again? The good news is no.Historically, our real estate market fluctuates with 5-to-7-year up-cycles and then takes a 6-to-12-month breather where prices may drop 5-to-10-percent before heading back up for another 5-to-7-year-up-cycle. This shift can happen quickly and that is exactly what happened this time. Back in December, clients were asking me how long the crazy market would last and my response was that I saw no indication of an end, yet a few short months later, it happened. This is a macro-trend and it is important to know that each neighborhood has its own micro-trend dynamics and degree of change.
Dean Jones, President & CEO of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty offers insight in the latest Real Estate Buzz entitled “Condo demand rising faster than supply,” as the Daily Journal of Commerce says that the rate of demand for condos in downtown Seattle is much higher than available supply.
In a recent Puget Sound Business Journal article, Emily Parkhurst declares that “This is the best time to list your house for sale in Seattle.” The dates she’s referring to? The first couple of weeks in May. As the feature describes, “houses listed between May 1 and May 15 sell 20 days faster than the yearly average.” What’s more? “They also sell for an average of $2,600 more.” These dates apply to most of the market in the United States, but are even weightier in a market as hot as Seattle’s.
The Puget Sound Business Journal recently reported that, “nearly two-thirds of the people who bought high-end homes last year in the Seattle area paid cash.” In the feature, Stiles cites Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty research which found that the most expensive sale of 2015 was a waterfront estate on Mercer Island at $13.8 million.
Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty and Caliber Home Loans looked at average prices of newer condominiums and compared rents for comparable apartments. They found the total cost of ownership was effectively lower when factoring income tax deductions, not to mention the opportunity for capital appreciation. The research was performed as part of a recent think tank hosted by the Puget Sound Business Journal, which was published as a section called The Manhattanization of Seattle.
“We observe China as the soon-to-be largest economy and a wealth engine with a high propensity for its nationals to seek financial safe harbor and education overseas. Asian demographics are the fastest-growing segment in Washington State with the greatest number stemming from China.”
Other markets covered in the report include The United States, The United Kingdom, and Brazil. View more insights in our Luxury Life report.
Falling in love can be wonderful—and finding the perfect house can make a house-hunter weak in the knees.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, a survey by Realtor.com shows that falling head-over-heels for a house is fairly common—69% of respondents reported that they have had a home crush. House-hunters with a “home crush,” as defined in the survey, are drawn to the same house again and again. Realtor.com surveyed 1,082 individuals from Jan. 9 to Jan. 20 who reported having had a home crush.
Many people approach house hunting the same way they approach dating, by checking compatibility and fit, but the intangible factors are what tips a house from crush to true love, says Leslie Piper, Realtor.com’s consumer-housing specialist and an agent with Pacific Union in Lafayette, Calif.
“You have to make sure you know what’s really out there. You evaluate what is a turn-on and turn-off, and perhaps you’ll fall in love,” Ms. Piper says.
Also like dating, men and women approach a home crush very differently.
Some key findings from the survey:
Women are more likely to crush on home that is out of their price range: 41% of women said their home crush is out of their price range, compared with 30% of men.
Men tend to move from one home crush to another: 36% of men said they find a new home crush weekly, compared with 29% of women.
Outdoor living spaces are the most attractive home attributes to both men and women: 54% of women and 46% of men said outdoor living spaces like backyards, decks and patios make them fall in real-estate love. In addition, 42% of women preferred open-floor plans, and 40% of men indicated garages.
Nearly 80% of homebuyers first find their home crush on their computer. After that, about one-third then decide to go see the house in person.
About 16 years ago, Brenda Van Fossen of Lynchburg, Va., stumbled on a 2,600-square-foot, contemporary-style house with 10-foot ceilings and an open-floor plan. She called up the agent and was disappointed to hear that the house was already under contract.
But Ms. Van Fossen couldn’t get the house off of her mind. A year later, she found out that the house was back on the market and purchased it for roughly $170,000.
Ms. Van Fossen, who became a real-estate agent in 2006, says she has never felt this way about a house before: “That first night there, it sounds silly, but it was like I was in love.”
But love can have a downside—heartbreak.
“You have to be realistic. When you’re looking at homes outside of your price range, the last thing you want to be is disappointed. It would be like falling in love with someone on the other side of the country,” Ms. Piper says. To move on, she suggests keeping an open mind and perhaps considering several houses at the same time in case the first choice doesn’t work out.
Fortunately, unlike with relationships, picky homebuyers do not need to limit themselves to what’s on the market, she says. Rebuilding, redecorating or building from scratch are an option, too.