Spring is in full swing and the real estate market is blooming. If you are debating or on the fence about whether or not to sell your home this season, Here are 3 reasons you should list your home for sale during spring:
Tap Into Your Home Equity
According to a recent report released by Zillow, in Seattle, homeowners are gaining $54.24 in equity per hour, 3.5 times the minimum wage of $15 an hour. This indicates that home values are appreciating at a rate per hour that’s actually higher than the local hourly minimum wage. This equity, however,
is only available once a homeowner sells.
Low Inventory Means Less Competition
According to another report released by Remax, the Seattle metro area is tied only with Denver for lowest home inventory and has one of the fastest markets in the country. This means that, in the majority of Seattle, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market.
Quicker Home Sale Than Ever
Due to the low home inventory, home buyers are doing all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford home shopping.
Only you can decide whether or not now is the time to sell your home or downsize, however, the real estate market is ripe for a quick and profitable home sale.
Click to view quarterly market reports for Metro Seattle Condos, Magnolia, NW Seattle, NE Seattle, Central Seattle, SE Seattle, Central Seattle SW, and West Seattle.
Flowers are blooming, spring is in the air, and the housing market is as active as ever. Take a look at these three great reasons why you should consider buying a home during spring.
Home Prices Will Continue To Rise
CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months and predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.
Just to give you perspective, on a $400,000 dollar home that’s around $17,000!
With home prices continuing to appreciate in value, waiting no longer makes sense.
Mortgage Interest Rates Are Predicted to Increase
Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey noted that in 2017, interest rates for a 30-year mortgage hovered close to 4.0%. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors, all agree in forecasting that rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year. Once again, driving up the cost of purchasing a home.
Pay Rent Or Pay Mortgage – The Choice Is Yours
Unless you are living somewhere rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.
As a homeowner, your mortgage payment can act as a form of ‘forced savings account’ that allows you to have equity in your home with which you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you’re helping your landlord gain that same equity.
If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying one sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.
If you’re a first time home buyer, consider reading my top first-time home buyer tips!
Ready to take the first step and own the home meant for you? Get in touch
Don’t Make These Mistakes When Downsizing
Selling a home can be one of the greatest financial and emotional decisions of your life, whether you’re downsizing or not. Avoid these common mistakes and take some of the stress out of downsizing.
1. Less is not always more
Just because a home is smaller than the one you currently own, it doesn’t mean that it’s cheaper. While most home sellers focus on the costs they’ll save on energy usage and utility bills in a smaller place, they can often overlook additional costs like increased transport fees or possible long-term maintenance costs. Carefully weigh up the all the possible costs of your new property, especially if you’re looking to not just downsize space but costs in your day-to-day life.
2. Budget for your move
Make sure to leave enough money in your budget to stay-up-date on payments in your current home, as well as any additional costs you might accrue in the process of purchasing your new home or rental. To make sure that you’re covered in the time between selling and buying your new home, look into obtaining a bridging finance loan. Check with your Realtor or mortgage broker to see if you need to apply for this type of loan. Otherwise, ensure that you’re budgeting enough to cover your move and any extraneous expenses you may face along the way.
3. Not letting go of the past
It’s normal to want to keep the personal items that you and your family have accumulated over the years such as memorabilia, furniture, photos, and knick-knacks. The best way to handle this would be by creating a downsizing plan and writing down a list of what to pack and what to discard. Although it might be difficult in the moment, be ruthless and stick to your list, not only will it save you space in your new smaller place but it will empower you to start anew!
4. Don’t forget to cancel services and utilities
During your move, ensure that all home services and utilities get canceled or transferred over to your new property. Neglecting to disconnect or redirect home services like your Internet, phone line and utilities, as well as your home and contents insurance, can cause unexpected costs that could potentially result in your budget being off balance.
5. Move Comfortably
A common mistake made by folks downsizing is not allocating enough time in their schedules to comfortably move. Even the most experienced and methodical organizers would find it difficult to sort out an entire life’s belongings in just a few days. A good rule of thumb is to set aside time in blocks of 2-hours and tackle one room at a time. On the other hand, be sure to also give yourself enough time to unpack when you finally make the move to your new downsized home.
Ready to downsize?
Contact Jill Judy
Jill Judy is a Realtor with Windermere Wall St with over 15 years of experience helping Seattle buy and sell their homes. Jill specializes in helping families buy or sell their home, downsize, and manage their estate sales.
When listing your home for sale, your top goals should be to get your house sold quickly and for top dollar.
Follow these 5 tips to get you started on the right path to getting your home sold!
Clean & Unclutter
The most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to get rid of clutter. A clean and decluttered home allows for buyers to not be distracted by messes and instead focus on the parts of your house that they love. Depersonalizing your home has many great benefits, the top one being that it allows potential buyers to picture themselves living in the home.
Tip: Put any furniture/decorations that don’t serve a purpose in storage.
Rooms With Purpose
Giving rooms their own identities will help buyers picture themselves enjoying that room’s functionality. Remember, Don’t overcrowd a room with furniture that is too large for the space; it will only make the room appear small and cramped. If you have a room that serves only to gather junk, repurpose it into something that will add to the value of your home.
Let The Light In
Bright rooms feel warm and inviting. Consider getting rid of any drapes or curtains on your windows that prevent sunlight from reaching the rooms of your home.
For more tips on how to add more light to a room read this -> Tips To Increase Your Homes Natural Light
Stage Your Kitchen To Sell
Store away any non-essential appliances and clean all surfaces.
A successfully staged kitchen looks, feels and smells clean and fresh. Don’t neglect the inside of your cupboards and drawers. If they’re full of stuff you’re sending a message to potential buyers that you don’t have enough storage space.
Fix The Small Stuff
Fix and finish all of your homes small or much-needed improvements. Even small fixes like damaged door handles can devalue your home in the eyes of potential buyers. Enhance your home’s appearance and boost its value.
Small and easy fixes that increase value perception:
→ Fix any squeaks on house or closet doors
→ Replace your light bulb with new ones
→ Make sure all of your light switches work
→ Replace outdated drawer, closet, door knobs
→ Add new light switch plates
→ Upgrade your bathrooms shower nozzles
→ Update all your bathroom fixtures
→ Add a new coat of paint to the interior of your home
Even if you’re a first time home buyer, you too can learn how to house hunt with confidence and with as few surprises as possible.
Take a look at my top first-time home buyer tips and gain the knowledge you need to help you take the right steps.
1. How much home can you afford?
Unless you have the finances to purchase a home in full, chances are you’ll most likely need a home loan called a mortgage to help you buy a home.
A mortgage is a loan that a bank or mortgage lender provides an individual to help finance the purchase of a house. It’s beneficial that you borrow approximately 80% of the value of the home or less. The house you buy acts as collateral in exchange for the money you are borrowing to finance the mortgage for a house. A mortgage payment is comprised of four parts: principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. It’s usually paid on a monthly basis.
So, What price range can you afford? Well, That depends on your income, lifestyle, location, and other variables.
However, in general, experts recommend that your house payments including, mortgage, maintenance, and taxes not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income.
For instance, if your monthly (before-tax) income is $4,000, multiply that by 0.28, and you’ll get a sum of $1,120.
This sum should then become the guideline for what you should spend a month on your home expenses.
For a more accurate assessment of what your home budget would look like, head on over to a lender for mortgage pre-qualification. When you pre-qualify yourself for a home mortgage, a bank assesses your credit history along with other factors and provides you with a Mortgage estimate. This will then enable you to save time by giving you a guideline of homes that will be within your budget and puts home sellers at ease, as it proves you have the cash to back up your offer.
2. Choose the right Realtor
Buying a home isn’t as simple as falling in love with a house and submitting an offer– You have to transfer a deed, title, along plenty of other paperwork involved in the home buying process.
You have to have home inspections, negotiate contingencies, and have a reliable network of professionals ready to help the process run smoothly and efficiently.
A trustworthy and knowledgeable Realtor by your side can be an incredible asset to your home buying process guiding you to make the best decisions at every step.
Make sure to find an agent familiar with the neighborhood in which you’re planning on purchasing in as the Realtor will have a better idea of proper expectations and realistic comparable prices.
3. Be prepared
Once you fall in love with a home and have an offer that’s been accepted, you may be eager to move in. Be cautious in your excitement. A home is a huge investment and one you shouldn’t just jump into. Don’t purchase a home without doing your due diligence and without adding contingencies to your contract– Contingencies allow for you to back out of the deal if something goes wrong.
The most common contract contingency is the home inspection, which allows you to request a resolution of issues (Example: leaky roof or weak foundation) found by a professional.
Most importantly: Be sure always to add a financing contingency. Financing contingencies give you the right to back out if the bank doesn’t approve your loan. Pre-qualification makes this potentiality less likely, but it is not a guarantee.
You also might want to consider an appraisal contingency, which also lets you leave the deal if your lender values the home for less than what you’ve offered. At the point, the last thing you’ll want to do is scramble to come up with out of pocket to make up the difference—a terrible gamble if cash is already tight or already tied up in the home buying process.
Buying a home for the first time can be a nerve wrecking and lengthy process. Be prepared by educating yourself on the processes and surrounding yourself with top notch professionals that will help guide you make the right choices.
Are you close to retirement but not ready to move yet? Are you living in a home that is too big in size and maintenance needs? When you retire would you like to stay in your home or does downsizing and vacation destinations sound like a better option?
The answer for many empty nesters and retirees lies directly in their home equity.
According to the newest Equity Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner in the United States has seen an estimated $14,000 gain in their home equity in just the last year alone. On the West Coast, where the Real Estate Market is thriving due to the tech industry, homeowners have gained twice that amount, some even more than that!
If you’re unaware or unsure of how much equity your home has earned in recent years, please feel free to take my Free Home Estimate.
In this Seller’s Market, homeowners have the advantage. Especially in Seattle, where supply has yet to catch up to the demand, Homeowners can quickly sell their current house and use the profits from that sale to downsize, relocate, or even enjoy vacations that were once financially impossible.
The sale of your home can allow you to take full advantage of today’s seller’s market, enable you to cash in on the equity your home has built throughout the years, and live a lifestyle relieved of the everyday tasks that come with homeownership.
Use mirrors. Mirrors reflect light, so the more mirrors you have in a room, the more light will bounce from wall to wall! Hang your mirrors opposite of windows or glass doors to maximize the natural light in your room. Tip: Buy furniture with glass panels or mirrored accents.
Paint with light colors. Light colors reflect sunlight better than dark ones, so a wall painted in cool tones (like gray, cream or eggshell blue) will boost the natural light in the room.
Move furniture. Unless you have some clear plastic theme going on, your furniture is blocking natural light! Move furniture at least a few feet away from any windows or glass doors so you can let the light shine into your home’s rooms.
Ditch the heavy fabric curtains. It’s important to have drapes and curtains to maintain your privacy and block out unwanted sunlight, however, stay away from heavier fabrics like velvet or brocade (which will cause the room feel darker and smaller) and instead opt for lighter materials such as linen or cotton!
Change the door. If you have a solid, exterior door in your dark room, replace it with a door that has a window. If you’re worried about burglary, you can find glass doors at your local hardware store that have high-security glass.
Choose the right shades. Some shades, like Roman shades, block sunlight even when they’re open! Unless you’re trying to keep glare off of a TV, this isn’t an excellent choice for darker rooms. Instead, opt for blinds that let you better control the amount of light that comes in.
As the majority of the country currently experiences a seller’s market, a recent study by Edelman Berland reveals that an estimated 33% of homeowners are considering selling their homes in the near future as they plan to scale down. There are several reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners.
A smaller home implies less space; however, it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.
You’ve built up enough equity in your current home to make a profit.
For most homeowners, this is the case. Of course, this is only true if the homeowner has held on to their properties for long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.
Downsizing can offer you a different lifestyle.
For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.
If you are currently considering downsizing your home and want to evaluate your options, I am available to guide you and your family on the best housing opportunities available to you now.
It may seem like there are a million things to think about when moving. But like anything else, if you’re organized and think ahead, you can make the process a lot easier. Use these tips to keep your move on track and prevent any important items from slipping through the cracks.
Before Moving Day
- Decide if you will be handling your packing and moving or contracting with a professional service.
- Contact the post office to file a change of address notification.
- Notify all utilities and service providers of your upcoming move (e.g., gas, electric, water, telephone, trash disposal, cable/satellite, the Internet, landscapers, newspaper delivery, etc.).
- Arrange for any special care needed for small children or pets on moving day.
- Coordinate with local trash disposal service for bulk item pickups or a particular dumpster for items you won’t be taking with you.
- Transfer medication prescriptions to a pharmacy closer to your new home.
- Register children at new schools if necessary.
- Contact all of your insurers and inform them of your move.
- Arrange for a cleaning crew to come in after you move.
On Moving Day
- Mark each box on the top and sides to indicate contents and the room in which they should be placed at your new home. (Boxes usually are stacked on top of each other, so you want information on the sides to be visible.)
- Mark boxes that you want immediate access to at your new home (e.g., bed linens, towels) and make sure they are the last boxes to be loaded into the truck.
- Keep possession of all valuables (cash, jewelry, antiques, valuable artwork, important documents, etc.) and take them with you in a private car if possible.
- Verify that all utilities have been disconnected at the appropriate time.
- Lock the doors and windows.
- Arrange for the old house keys and garage door opener to be provided to the new occupants.
- Take one last look around (including checking closets and cabinets) to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.
- Leave your contact information with the new occupants so they can forward any mail, packages, etc., that are shipped to your old address.
After Moving In
- Contact your new municipality to see if they have new resident guides available or if they require residents to display municipal vehicle stickers.
- Update your contact information on your driver’s license.
- Provide your new address to all financial service providers (banks, credit card companies, credit unions, etc.) as well as magazine and newspaper subscriptions.
- Register to vote at your new address.
- Order new checks.
- Familiarize yourself with the locations of grocery and drug stores, hospitals, police and fire stations–any place you plan to visit frequently or may need to find in an emergency.