Stats by price point, for 15 areas in Greater Seattle and Eastside:
Terrific, timely waterfront information. Enjoy!
This video featuring Mark Corcoran, from the Windermere-Sand Point office, discusses the Windermere Foundation. A portion of each commission earned by Windermere agents is donated to the Foundation. Since it’s inception in 1989, Windermere Foundation has grown from helping low-income and homeless residents of Washington state to serving people in 10 states and raising over $22 million dollars. Foundation funds support programs and organizations in providing shelter, clothing and emergency assistance, along with supporting children’s programs and other services to those who need our help the most.
The Windermere Foundation is one of the best reasons to work at Windermere. Not only are we helping families find homes (which we love!); we’re also working with you, our clients, to reach out to those who need assistance and support in our communities.
On behalf of those you help, thank you for choosing Windermere.
We wanted to give you a heads up that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Open House Weekend is scheduled for the last full weekend of April (Saturday, April 28th & Sunday, April 29th). The Mercer Island Tour of Homes will coincide with the NAR open house weekend. Stay tuned for more details!
Over at Neighborly News, there is a terrific, new blog post discussing how to price your home to sell. Please click the link and read the post in its entirety— but to give you a taste of the information I’ll highlight the major points below.
1. Overpricing a home is risky. Largest exposure window for the home is first 2-4 weeks on the market. Overpricing can eliminate strongest prospective buyers for your home and may induce a negative feeling with buyers, and their agents, when the price is lowered weeks later.
2. An overpriced listing languishes on the market, costing you, the seller, in lost time (plans have to be put on hold) and money (mortgage, taxes, maintenance). Quality of life can be effected by having to maintain a “show-ready” home 24/7.
3. Working with a real estate professional nets sellers an average of $25,000 more per home sale than “For Sale By Owner” sales, according to a study done by National Association of REALTORS®.
4. Your real estate agent will do research for you to help determine the best price for your home in your neighborhood, including a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA is a report analyzing comparable houses in the community that are currently for sale, that have recently sold and were listed for sale but did not sell. The CMA includes pertinent details about the comparable homes, including the number of bedrooms and baths, square footage and any special features. Included are the listing prices and sale prices for each comparable home in the report. The CMA also discusses the Days on Market (DOM) for each home– this is an important feature of the report. The DOM tells you the number of days it took to sell the home once it was listed.
5. Analyzing special features of your home, and comparing them to what are buyer hot buttons in your market, is another service your agent will give you. If your home contains some of the hot button features, that may affect how your home should be priced.
6. Current market conditions– the real estate professional you work with will explain what those conditions are for your local market. An analysis of the current market conditions for your locality should include the inventory of homes on the market, the rate homes are selling, if prices are trending up or down and what the current economic conditions are.
Setting your home’s list price is one of the most critical steps in the overall selling process. By working with a real estate agent, you will have access to your agent’s industry experience and market knowledge. Armed with these important tools, the achievement of your goals, and desired home sale outcome, have an increased chance of success.
The rise in gas prices the last month has been mind boggling. Every day has brought a new increase to the per gallon price. As of 2/27/12, the Seattle area saw a $.40 increase per gallon in just 30 days.
One of the ways our family has coped with these daily increases is to use a phone app to find the best price per gallon in our vicinity. Our favorite app is from Gas Buddy. My husband downloaded it a few months ago, prior to a trip we took to California. We were traveling in an area we hadn’t visited for years; by using Gas Buddy we were able to decide well in advance what exit we wanted to use to get gas, and what the best prices were by station.
We now use this app on a daily basis, after it was so helpful on our trip. We watch prices around both our home and workplaces. Through the use of this phone app, we are planning more strategic refilling our gas tanks rather than just waiting for the needle to hit E.
Gas Buddy gives users a choice of showing nearby stations as a list or map. Users can further sort by grade of gas, price or distance to your location. Tap on a station and a dedicated page for that station is pulled up, and includes a map button for mapping just that station. The Gas Buddy app is available to download on iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone 7, the most broad availability of all the gas price apps according to Mashable.
Facing steep gas prices encouraged me to also evaluate my daily struggle with Seattle area traffic. I decided that commuting by bus would be a good option to explore. With the help of the University of Washington’s OneBusAway, I am embracing bus commuting. With this powerful app downloaded to my phone, I have navigated around the greater Puget Sound with more confidence than I ever had with carrying a print out of the bus schedule for the route I was hoping to utilize. I can save my favorite stops, look up bus routes and see if my buses are running on time. If I miss my desired bus, I can see when the next one will be by or look up the time schedule for an alternate route. One caveat, however– if your phone gets no signal in the bus tunnel, OneBusAway won’t work on your phone while you are down there. OneBusAway is available as an app for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7; it’s also a website and optimized for mobile web browsers. Users can also call or receive text messages regarding real-time arrival information.
If you drive an electric car to beat the gas price heat, don’t forget that back in January charging stations were set up on Mercer Island. In fact, the other day I spotted a charging station right in front of Walgreens! Have you noticed any other stations around the island, beyond the 3 set up at MICEC, the Boys & Girls Club and City Hall in January? If you have, please share in the comment section below.
Today the HUD announced changes to the premium structure for FHA-insured single family residential mortgages. According to the press release, “FHA will increase its annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) by 0.10 percent for loans under $625,500 and by 0.35 percent for loans above that amount. Upfront premiums (UFMIP) will also increase by 0.75 percent.”
The premium increases will be rolled out in the next few months. Starting April
1st 9th, 2012, all FHA-insured loans will see the 0.10% increase in MIP. Loans over $625,000 will be assessed an extra 0.25% increase in MIP starting June 1st 11th, 2012, to reach the total 0.35% increase.
The increase in UFMIP will bring this charge from 1% of the base loan amount to 1.75% starting April
1st 9th, 2012. This change will amount to approximately $5 a month increase to borrowers, on average. The FHA will still allow borrowers to roll this charge in with their mortgages.
The HUD press release about these upcoming premium increases can be read here. What are your thoughts about these increases? Do you think the increases will achieve the goal the FHA has set out for these monies– to contribute to the ongoing stability of its Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund?
EDIT: On March 6th HUD released Mortgagee Letter 12-4 which contains the exact roll out dates of the MIP and UFMIP for new FHA borrowers. The press release sited in this blog post used the language “on or after …” when indicating the projected roll out dates. I’ve updated the text above to reflect the actual roll out dates contained within Mortagee Letter 12-4.