Oct. 12, 2017

Eastside Real Estate Stats for September 2017

September Stats Highlights


The market continues to move fast, however, it is slower than it has been in the last six months. 

  • Months Supply of Inventory increased to 1.1, the highest level in one year, yet still historically very low.
  • The percentage of closed sales selling for above list price was 46% in September, down from the peak of 63% in June and is at the lowest level since January 2017. 

  • More than 1/3 of the homes that were sold were on the market for over 15 days. That is the highest level in six months. 

Based on normal seasonality, Buyers should try to buy this month or by the end of the year rather than waiting until January. Buyers should consider three things:

  1. Can you afford the monthly payments?
  2. Do you like the location you can afford?
  3. Are you going to live there a minimum of five years?


Posted in Statistics
July 27, 2017

Eastside Market Review Q2-2017

The stats are in and the sellers market is going strong. This Q2 market review shows our very hot spring market for Eastside real estate. Activity has slowed a bit this summer, probably due to summer vacations. The numbers will tell us more after Labor Day. Enjoy!

Here is the PDF if you would like to download. 


Posted in Statistics
Feb. 2, 2017

Windermere Wins in Multiple Offers

The broker that represents you as a buyer matters. In a multiple offer situation where a listing agent is looking at say, 10 offers from various buyers, they are trying to help their clients assess which one is the best to go with. Usually 2-3 float to the top because the offer prices and terms are the best of the bunch.  With competitive offers there are several factors that come into play. Here are a few of most common. 

  • Price
  • Earnest money- 2%-5%
  • Close date
  • Financing- Is there financing or is it cash? Did the buyer waive their appraisal condition? How long is the contingency?
  • Inspection-Did the buyer do a pre-inspection? Did they waive their inspection contingency?
  • Other contingencies- Is the offer contingent on the sale of the buyer's pending property? Did they waive the seller disclosure, title, etc?
  • Is there a rent-back if the seller needs one?

Often an important factor is the broker representing the buyer. All other things being equal, the Buyer Broker that has a good reputation and the trust of the Listing Broker will likely get the house. Windermere excels here. Our market share increases by 3% when we are involved in multiple offers. That means you have a 15% more likely chance of getting the house. 


Posted in Buying, Statistics
Feb. 2, 2017

Preparing to Buy a Home


So you’ve decided to buy a home. Maybe this is your first or your fifth but either way, being prepared is key to purchasing in this market. The competition is fierce and if you don’t have all your ducks in a row, you are not going to be take seriously buy any seller or listing broker. 

 So what does it take to be ready to roll?

Narrow down your neighborhood

This is something you can do with or without your broker. You may know exactly where you want to live or perhaps you are new to the area and need some help narrowing down your choices. In either case your broker will be most helpful. We find that many of our clients pick their neighborhood based on schools and where they work (due to traffic). If schools are important to you we highly recommend using the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website-http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us and staying away from websites like Great Schools which we find to be less reliable. 

Financing and your lender

This is the big one. 

You MUST have a pre-approval letter from a lender before you can write an offer on a house. It should not be a pre-qualification but a full credit approval where your application has gone through underwriting for a full vetting of your income and debts. This enables us to assure a listing agent looking at several offers that there will be no surprises as we go through the financing process. There is nothing worse than being halfway through the escrow period and finding out that something you did on your tax return a year ago affects your ability to buy a home. Our preferred lender, Sheila Bryan of Caliber Home Loans, can get you credit approved and on your way. If you have a lender you have worked with in the past or that a friend has recommended, call them too. It won’t hurt your credit to have 2-3 lenders give you quotes on a loan. Choose wisely though, your lender is part of your team. If your lender can’t follow through, is late getting your docs in or is difficult to work with, it could end up costing you money in the long run. 

Work with a real estate broker

Many of our clients love to go look at open houses on their own and that’s fine, especially in the beginning when you are just feeling things out. When it’s time to get serious however, you need to have a broker in place for a couple of reasons.

#1- You should always have your own representation. Your broker works for you and no one else. Many listing agents will write up an offer for a buyer but in most cases, they are still only representing the seller, not you. You want someone on your side to advocate for you, explain the process, the pros and cons of decisions you have to make and then to support you all the way. This is a tricky market and you want someone who knows how to negotiate the offer process and the transaction.

#2- Homes move fast in this market and you need someone who can get you in to see a home quickly. Waiting for an open house is often not an option. Also, having your broker go scout the house out ahead of time to see if it fits your criteria or if there are flaws you can't see in the photos (like powerlines, busy streets, etc) can make the process more efficient. 

Get out there and find that house!

With pre-approval in hand, a great broker by your side and a lot of patience and perseverance, you will find a house to buy. In our experience, most buyers go through a learning curve of understanding what has to be done to buy a house. Sometimes you have to lose a few before you win, that the nature of this market, but eventually you will prevail.

Good luck and good house hunting!

Posted in Buying
Jan. 26, 2017

Eastside Market Review Q4-2016

Posted in Statistics
Nov. 15, 2016

October Market Statistics

October was a good month overall with 1,137 pending sales on the Eastside. Inventory declined 20% from September and 17% from a year ago. Clearly, this inventory problem is not easing up. Historically, the next four months slow down in number of pending sales. The table below shows pending sales by month as a percentage of an average month with average being 100%. If you are considering selling your home, the first few months of the year will give you the least amount of competition. Buyers are out in droves looking and there isn't much for them to choose from. It's my favorite time to list a house!



More Eastside Market Stats

More Seattle Stats

More Snohomish Stats

Posted in Statistics
Oct. 26, 2016

Eastside Market Review 2016-Q3

Sept. 13, 2016

Eastside Market Review 2016- Q2

Feb. 18, 2016

Bridge Loans: Buy First, Sell Later

So you've found your dream home and want to write an offer or maybe you are just thinking about moving. Either way, if you are like many homeowners, you can't buy without selling. You've heard about this crazy real estate market and how hard it is to buy a home due to all the competition. The idea of selling your home first and possibly being stuck without a place to live seems like a logistical nightmare. What can you do? This is where a bridge loan or a HELOC comes in handy. Most people tend to use HELOC's but they do have limitations. Today we are going to talk bridge loans.

What is a bridge loan, and how can you benefit?

Bridge loans help make it affordable to financially span the time between when you buy a new home and when you sell your current home.  There are several types of bridge loans, the first two in the list below are the most common and the third is a new product offered by one of our lending partners.

Leverage Your Equity:  You borrow against the equity in your current home and use that money as the down payment on your new home. This type of loan requires that you have sufficient income to qualify for the mortgage payments on both your current home and your new home.  The bridge loan allows interest to be deferred to the balance of the loan (so the balance grows monthly based on simple interest) but your lender will still calculate the payment into the qualifying ratios.

Leverage Your Equity with Combined Financing:  Similar to the first type but in this case you use a single loan to cover what you need to borrow to buy your new home. The equity you have in your current home is leveraged to cover the down payment requirement on your new purchase (the lender’s loan-to-value limits).  When your existing home sells, you pay down the balance of the loan and end up with a regular 30-year fixed rate mortgage.  Your lender will usually re-amortize your loan, which means they recalculate your monthly payment based on your newly reduced principal balance.  This option does not change your payment or obligation with the lender on your current home.

But wait there is more....

Cross Collateral Bridge Loan* : This is a third type of bridge loan.  It allows you to borrow against the value of your new home based on how much equity you have in your present home. You can secure a fixed-rate loan to cover the down payment on your new purchase without changing the payment or obligation to your current lender.  Being able to leverage the equity in your current home in this way means you can make an offer on the new home without contingencies.

Most people don’t have the income to qualify for two mortgage payments long term. That’s why your lender will take a look at your financial situation and may be able to exclude your current house payment when evaluating your loan application.  They will want to make sure you clearly have the ability to handle the temporarily high payment obligation until your current home sells. If you qualify, this option can work out really well – especially in the current real estate environment. It is a quick and easy calculation to determine if this option will work for your circumstances.

Bridge loans can also be used to finance the construction of a custom home, allowing you to live in your current home while your new home is being built.

If you are considering a move to a new home and don't want to sell the one you have until you have found the new one, consider some of these financing options. They can be complex, but with the help of our lending partners we can help you find the best solution for you and make your home transition as painless as possible.

The above loan information was provided by Sheila Bryan at Caliber Home Loans. Sheila.bryan@caliberhomeloans.com 425-605-3110, MLO-175890

Jan. 13, 2016

New Construction 2016

New Construction

Recently I attended a Windermere event to listen to a panel of experts from the local builder community. The three panelists were Eric Campbell of MainStreet Property Group (formerly of Camwest Development), Todd Bennett, CEO of BDR Capital Partners and Ron Boscola, GM of Murray Franklin Companies. The discussion was facilitated by Windermere's Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. It was a great discussion and they covered a number of topics but there were a few take-aways I wanted to share.

  • This is the first time in decades that there has been no master-planned community in King County in the works. These large developments bring a lot of housing stock on the market and, although we desperately need it now, we won't have that kind of volume hitting the market all at once. This is mainly due to the price and scarcity of large tracts of build-able land and the very long length of time it takes to permit such a project. 
  • There will be no movement of the Urban Growth Boundary so any development that takes place will be on existing lots. There are areas like Shoreline, Lake Hills and Finn Hill that have large lot sizes that could be re-zoned to allow higher density housing if the political will were there. 
  • After the recession, builders are much more conservative with their money. They put more down and pay cash when possible. They also scrutinize land purchase opportunities much harder. If the numbers don't work within their business model, they will pass. The cost of land is the biggest hindrance to more new construction. 
  • Ron Boscola of Murray Franklin talked about the difference in price growing between their resale homes and their new homes. It used to be that their new construction got a 15% premium over their resale homes. That number has increased because they don't reuse the same floor plan over and over again like they did in the past (apparently they built one of their plans 200 times). He said every home built now is different and new homes have become quite innovative. They also build homes specifically for the demographic of the area they are building in. 
  • As far as trends go, they see more millennials getting into the market despite predictions that they would be forever-renters. The early millennials are starting to have kids and that changes their home ownership needs. They are looking for good schools in locations that provide the shortest commute time they can afford. They still want to be close-in to where the action is but they are looking for a suburban setting to raise a family.
  • Traffic is an issue for everyone and home buying decisions are made around that factor. People will pay more to avoid traffic.
  • They all predict we'll see more new homes this year. New growth will be in the north (Bothell) and in the south. New construction in the cities will mostly be 1 for 1 infill.


Posted in New Construction