Welcome to our real estate blog! 

We hope you find the information here to be helpful, whether you are a Buyer or a Seller.  Whether you are just getting started on the road to home ownership, or whether you are a seasoned veteran, there's something here for everyone.  

Of course, if you have questions you don't find answers to here, you can always reach us by clicking on the contact button at the top of the page, or by calling (425) 345-8099.  

We look forward to serving you for all your real estate needs!  

Oct. 13, 2021

If You're Out of Space, You Might Be Wondering, Should I Renovate or Move?

The Big Question: Should You Renovate or Move?

The Big Question: Should You Renovate or Move? | MyKCM

The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021. The survey reveals the following:

  • 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
  • 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
  • 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
  • 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
  • 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space

If you’re a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire. The decision you make could be determined by factors like:

  1. A possible desire to relocate
  2. The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
  3. Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)

In either case, you’ll need access to capital: the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

Home Equity Is Skyrocketing

The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners’ equity. The graph below uses data from CoreLogic to show the average home equity gain in the first quarter of the last nine years:The Big Question: Should You Renovate or Move? | MyKCMOdeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, quantifies the amount of equity homeowners gained recently:

“Remember U.S. households own nearly $35 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $11 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$24 trillion in equity. In inflation adjusted terms, homeowners in Q2 had an average of $280,000 in equity- a historic high.”

As a homeowner, the money you need to purchase the perfect home or renovate your current house may be right at your fingertips. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.

If you decide to renovate, you’ll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you’ll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home.

Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you’ll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you’re one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you’re one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.

First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home

If you’re ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you’ll need two things:

  1. The current mortgage balance on your home
  2. The current value of your home

You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To find the current market value of your house, you can pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate professional who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report.

Bottom Line

If the past 18 months have refocused your thoughts on what you want from your house, now may be the time to either renovate or make a move to the perfect home. Call or text me today at (425) 345-8099. I'm here to help.

Sept. 30, 2021

Home Equity Gains Over the Past Year

As Home Equity Rises, So Does Your Wealth

As Home Equity Rises, So Does Your Wealth | MyKCM

Homeownership is still a crucial part of the American dream. For those people who own a home (and those looking to buy one), it’s clear that being a homeowner has considerable benefits both emotionally and financially. In addition to long-term stability, buying a home is one of the best ways to increase your net worth. This boost to your wealth comes in the form of equity.

Equity is the difference between what you owe on the home and its market value based on factors like price appreciation.

The best thing about equity is that it often grows without you even realizing it, especially in a sellers’ market like we’re in now. In today’s real estate market, the combination of low housing supply and high buyer demand is driving home values up. This is giving homeowners a significant equity boost.

According to the latest data from CoreLogic, the amount of equity homeowners have has continued to grow as home values appreciate. Here are some key takeaways from the Homeowner Equity Insights Report:

  • The average homeowner gained $51,500 in equity over the past year
  • There was a 29.3% increase in national homeowner equity year over year

To give you an idea of what that looks like in your area, the map below shows the average equity gains by state.As Home Equity Rises, So Does Your Wealth | MyKCM

What does all of that mean for you?

If you’re already a homeowner, you likely have more equity in your house than you realize. The numbers in the map above reflect year-over-year growth. If you’ve been in your home for longer than a year, you’ll likely have even more equity than that. That equity can take you places. You can use the equity you’ve gained to fuel your next move, achieve other life goals, and more.

On the other hand, if you haven’t purchased a home yet, understanding equity can help you realize why homeownership is a worthwhile goal. Homeowners across the nation gained an average of over $50,000 in equity this year. Don’t miss out on this chance to grow your net worth.

Bottom Line

If you want to learn more, let's connect. A trusted advisor can help you understand where home prices are today, how they contribute to a homeowner’s net worth, and the impact equity can have when you own a home.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 18, 2021

Are Rapidly Rising Home Prices Affecting Demand?

Real Estate: It’s Still a Lack of Supply, Not a Lack of Demand

Real Estate: It’s Still a Lack of Supply, Not a Lack of Demand | MyKCM

One of the major questions real estate experts are asking today is whether prospective homebuyers still believe purchasing a home makes sense. Some claim rapidly rising home prices are impacting demand and, by extension, leading to the recent slowdown in sales activity.

However, demand isn’t the real issue. Instead, it’s the lack of supply (homes available for sale). An article from the Wall Street Journal shows this is true for new home construction:

Home builders have sold more homes than they can build. Now they are limiting their sales in an effort to catch up.”

The article quotes David Auld, CEO of D.R. Horton Inc. (the largest homebuilder by volume in the United States since 2002), explaining how they don’t have enough homes for the number of buyers coming into their models:

“Through our history, to have somebody walk into our models and to tell them, ‘We don’t have a house for you to buy today’, is something that is foreign to us.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, also explains that, in the existing home sale market, the slowdown in sales was a supply challenge, not a lack of demand. Responding to a recent uptick in listings coming to market, she notes:

“. . . if these changing inventory dynamics continue, we could see a wave of real estate activity heading into the latter part of the year.”

Again, the buyers are there. We just need houses to sell to them.

If the slowdown in sales was the result of demand waning, we would start to see home prices beginning to moderate – but this isn’t the case. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist for First Americanexplains:

“There’s a lot of conversation around rising prices and falling quantity in the housing market, and there’s this concept, or this idea, that it's a demand-side problem . . . . But, if demand were falling dramatically, we would actually see less price pressure, less home price growth.”

Instead, we’re seeing price appreciation accelerate throughout this year, as evidenced by the year-over-year percentage increases reported by CoreLogic:

  • January: 10%
  • February: 10.4%
  • March: 11.3%
  • April: 13%
  • May: 15.4%
  • June: 17.2%

(July numbers are not yet available)

There’s a shortage of listings, not buyers, and there are three very good reasons for purchasers to still be interested in buying a home this year.

1. Affordability isn’t the challenge some are claiming it to be.

Though home prices have risen dramatically over the last 18 months, mortgage rates remain near historic lows. Because of these near-record rates, monthly mortgage payments are affordable for most buyers.

While homes are less affordable than they were last year, when we adjust for inflation, we can see they’re also more affordable than they were in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and much of the 2000s.

2. Owning is a better long-term decision than renting.

recent study shows renting a home takes up a higher percentage of a household’s income than owning one. According to the analysis, here’s the percentage of income homebuyers and renters should expect to pay now versus at the end of the year.Real Estate: It’s Still a Lack of Supply, Not a Lack of Demand | MyKCMWhile the principal and interest of a monthly mortgage payment remain the same over the lifetime of the loan, rents increase almost every year.

3. Owners build their wealth. Renters build their landlord’s wealth.

Whether you’re a homeowner or an investor, real estate builds wealth through growing equity year-over-year. If you own, your household is gaining the benefit of that wealth accumulation. Fleming says:

The major financial advantage of homeownership is the accumulation of equity in the form of house price appreciation . . . . We have to take into account the fact that the shelter that you’re owning is an equity-generating or wealth-generating asset.”

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, elaborates in a recent article:

“. . . once the home is purchased, appreciation helps build equity in the home, and becomes a benefit rather than a cost. When accounting for the appreciation benefit in our rent versus own analysis, it was cheaper to own in every one of the top 50 markets, including the two most expensive rental markets, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.”

Today, that equity buildup is substantial. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports:

“The median sales price of single-family existing homes rose in 99% of measured metro areas in the second quarter of 2021 compared to one year ago, with double-digit price gains in 94% of markets.”

In 94% of markets, there was a greater than 10% increase in median price. That means if you bought a $400,000 home in one of those markets, your net worth increased by at least $40,000. If you rented, the landlord was the recipient of the wealth increase.

Bottom Line

For many reasons, housing demand is still extremely strong. What we need is more supply (house listings) to meet that demand.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 12, 2021

Home Renovations - Which Ones Matter

The Best Use of Time (and Money) When It Comes to Renovations

The Best Use of Time (and Money) When It Comes to Renovations | MyKCM

In the current sellers’ market, many homeowners wonder what, if anything, needs to be remodeled before they list their house. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help you think through today’s market conditions and how they impact what you should – and shouldn’t – renovate before selling.

Here are some considerations a professional will guide you through:

1. With current supply challenges, buyers may be willing to take on projects of their own.

A more balanced market typically sees a 6-month supply of homes for sale. Above that, and we’re in a buyers’ market. Below that, and we’re in a sellers’ market. According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), our current supply of homes for sale, while rising, still remains solidly in sellers’ market territory:

Unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace, modestly up from May's 2.5-month supply but down from 3.9 months in June 2020.”

So, what’s that mean for you? If you’re a seller trying to decide whether or not to renovate, this is especially important because it’s indicative of buyer behavior. When there aren’t enough homes for sale, buyers may be more willing to purchase a home that doesn’t meet all their needs and renovate it themselves later.

2. Not all renovation projects are equal.

You don’t want to spend time and money on a project that isn’t worth the cost or is too niche design-wise for some homebuyers. According to an article by Renofi.com, basing home updates on what’s trendy right now can be a costly mistake:

The last thing you as a homeowner want to do is center your home design around a passing fad - even worse, one thats design quality won’t last a good while.”

Before making any decisions, talk to your real estate advisor. They have insight into what other sellers are doing before listing their homes and how buyers are reacting to those upgrades. Don’t spend the time and money to be trendy – if your buyer wants to upgrade to the newest fad later, they can.

3. If you’ve already made upgrades this past year, your agent can help spotlight them.

If you have already completed some renovations on your house, you’re not alone. The pandemic kept people at home last year, and during that time, many homeowners completed some home improvement projects. HomeAdvisor’s 2021 State of Home Spending Report found:

“35% of households that completed an improvement project undertook some type of interior painting, while 31% completed a bathroom remodel and 26% installed new flooring.”

Let your real estate professional know if you fall in this category. They can highlight any recent upgrades you’ve made in your house’s listing.

Bottom Line

When it comes to renovations, your return-on-investment should be top of mind. Let’s connect today to talk through any upgrades you’ve already made and to find out what you should prioritize before you sell to maximize your house’s potential.

Posted in Home Renovation
July 28, 2021

The End of Foreclosure Forbearance

4 Reasons Why the End of Forbearance Will Not Lead to a Wave of Foreclosures

4 Reasons Why the End of Forbearance Will Not Lead to a Wave of Foreclosures | MyKCM

With forbearance plans about to come to an end, many are concerned the housing market will experience a wave of foreclosures like what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago. Here are four reasons why that won’t happen.

1. There are fewer homeowners in trouble this time

After the last housing crash, about 9.3 million households lost their home to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they simply gave it back to the bank.

As stay-at-home orders were issued early last year, the overwhelming fear was the pandemic would decimate the housing industry in a similar way. Many experts projected 30% of all mortgage holders would enter the forbearance program. Only 8.5% actually did, and that number is now down to 3.5%.

As of last Friday, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at  1,863,000. That’s definitely a large number, but nowhere near 9.3 million.

2. Most of the 1.86M in forbearance have enough equity to sell their home 

Of the 1.86 million homeowners currently in forbearance, 87% have at least 10% equity in their homes. The 10% equity number is important because it enables homeowners to sell their houses and pay the related expenses instead of facing the hit on their credit that a foreclosure or short sale would create.

The remaining 13% might not all have the option to sell, so if the entire 13% of the 1.86M homes went into foreclosure, that would total 241,800 mortgages. To give that number context, here are the annual foreclosure numbers of the three years leading up to the pandemic:

  • 2017: 314,220
  • 2018: 279,040
  • 2019: 277,520

The probable number of foreclosures coming out of the forbearance program is nowhere near the number of foreclosures coming out of the housing crash 15 years ago. The number does, however, draw a similar comparison to the three years prior to the pandemic.

3. The current market can absorb any listings coming to the market

When foreclosures hit the market in 2008, there was an excess supply of homes for sale. The situation is exactly the opposite today. In 2008, there was a 9-month supply of listings for sale. Today, that number stands at less than 3 months of inventory on the market.

As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains when addressing potential foreclosures emerging from the forbearance program:

“Any foreclosure increases will likely be quickly absorbed by the market. It will not lead to any price declines.”

4. Those in power will do whatever is necessary to prevent a wave of foreclosures

Just last Friday, the White House released a fact sheet explaining how homeowners with government-backed mortgages will be given further options to enable them to keep their homes when exiting forbearance. Here are two examples mentioned in the release:

  • “For homeowners who can resume their pre-pandemic monthly mortgage payment and where agencies have the authority, agencies will continue requiring mortgage servicers to offer options thatallow borrowers to move missed payments to the end of the mortgage at no additional cost to the borrower.”
  • “The new steps the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are announcing will aim to provide homeowners with a roughly 25% reduction in borrowers’ monthly principal and interest (P&I) payments to ensure they can afford to remain in their homes and build equity long-term. This brings options for homeowners with mortgages backed by HUD, USDA, and VA closer in alignment with options for homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

When evaluating the four reasons above, it’s clear there won’t be a flood of foreclosures coming to the market as the forbearance program winds down.

Bottom Line

As Ivy Zelman, founder of the major housing market analytical firm Zelman & Associatesnotes:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

Posted in Market Updates
July 27, 2021

The Housing Shortage and Sellers

A Look at Housing Supply and What It Means for Sellers

A Look at Housing Supply and What It Means for Sellers | MyKCM

One of the hottest topics of conversation in today’s real estate market is the shortage of available homesSimply put, there are many more potential buyers than there are homes for sale. As a seller, you’ve likely heard that low supply is good news for you. It means your house will get more attention, and likely, more offers. But as life begins to return to normal, you may be wondering if that’s something that will change.

While it may be tempting to blame the pandemic for the current inventory shortage, the pandemic can’t take all the credit. While it did make some sellers hold off on listing their houses over the past year, the truth is the low supply of homes was years in the making. Let’s take a look at the root cause and what the future holds to uncover why now is still a great time to sell.

Where Did the Shortage Come From?

It’s not just today’s high buyer demand. Our low supply goes hand-in-hand with the number of new homes built over the past decades. According to Sam Khater, VP and Chief Economist at Freddie Mac:

“The main driver of the housing shortfall has been the long-term decline in the construction of single-family homes.”

Data in a recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) tells the same story. New home construction has been lagging behind the norm for quite some time. Historically, builders completed an average of 1.5 million new housing units per year. However, since the housing bubble in 2008, the level of new home construction has fallen off (see graph below):A Look at Housing Supply and What It Means for Sellers | MyKCMThe same NAR report elaborates on the impact of this below-average pace of construction:

. . . the underbuilding gap in the U.S. totaled more than 5.5 million housing units in the last 20 years.” 

“Looking ahead, in order to fill an underbuilding gap of approximately 5.5 million housing units during the next 10 years, while accounting for historical growth, new construction would need to accelerate to a pace that is well above the current trend, to more than 2 million housing units per year. . . .”

That means if we build even more new houses than the norm every year, it’ll still take a decade to close the underbuilding gap contributing to today’s supply-and-demand mix. Does that mean today’s ultimate sellers’ market is here to stay?

We’re already starting to see an increase in new home construction, which is great news. But newly built homes can’t bridge the supply gap we’re facing right now on their own. In the State of the Nation’s Housing 2021 Report, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) says:

“…Although part of the answer to the nation’s housing shortage, new construction can only do so much to ease short-term supply constraints. To meet today’s strong demand, more existing single-family homes must come on the market.

Early Indicators Show More Existing-Home Inventory Is on Its Way

When we look at existing homes, the latest reports signal that housing supply is growing gradually month-over-month. This uptick in existing homes for sale shows things are beginning to shift. Based on recent data, Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, has this to say:

“It looks like existing inventory is starting to inch up, which is good news for a housing market parched for more supply.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NARechoes that sentiment:

“As the inventory is beginning to pick up ever so modestly, we are still facing a housing shortage, but we may have turned a corner.”

So, what does all of this mean for you? Just because life is starting to return to normal, it doesn’t mean you missed out on the best time to sell. It’s not too late to take advantage of today’s sellers’ market and use rising equity and low interest rates to make your next move.

Bottom Line

It’s still a great time to sell. Even though housing supply is starting to trend up, it’s still hovering near historic lows. Let’s connect to discuss how you can list your house now and use the inventory shortage to get the best possible terms for you.

Posted in Selling Your Home
July 20, 2021

This is Not a Housing Bubble

3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble

3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

With home prices continuing to deliver double-digit increases, some are concerned we’re in a housing bubble like the one in 2006. However, a closer look at the market data indicates this is nothing like 2006 for three major reasons.

1. The housing market isn’t driven by risky mortgage loans.

Back in 2006, nearly everyone could qualify for a loan. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association is an indicator of the availability of mortgage money. The higher the index, the easier it is to obtain a mortgage. The MCAI more than doubled from 2004 (378) to 2006 (869). Today, the index stands at 130. As an example of the difference between today and 2006, let’s look at the volume of mortgages that originated when a buyer had less than a 620 credit score.3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCMDr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, reiterates this point:

“There are marked differences in today’s run up in prices compared to 2005, which was a bubble fueled by risky loans and lenient underwriting. Today, loans with high-risk features are absent and mortgage underwriting is prudent.”

2. Homeowners aren’t using their homes as ATMs this time.

During the housing bubble, as prices skyrocketed, people were refinancing their homes and pulling out large sums of cash. As prices began to fall, that caused many to spiral into a negative equity situation (where their mortgage was higher than the value of the house).

Today, homeowners are letting their equity build. Tappable equity is the amount available for homeowners to access before hitting a maximum 80% combined loan-to-value ratio (thus still leaving them with at least 20% equity). In 2006, that number was $4.6 billion. Today, that number stands at over $8 billion.

Yet, the percentage of cash-out refinances (where the homeowner takes out at least 5% more than their original mortgage amount) is half of what it was in 2006.3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

3. This time, it’s simply a matter of supply and demand.

FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) dominated the housing market leading up to the 2006 housing bubble and drove up buyer demand. Back then, housing supply more than kept up as many homeowners put their houses on the market, as evidenced by the over seven months’ supply of existing housing inventory available for sale in 2006. Today, that number is barely two months.

Builders also overbuilt during the bubble but pulled back significantly over the next decade. Sam Khater, VP and Chief Economist, Economic & Housing Research at Freddie Macexplains that pullback is the major factor in the lack of available inventory today:

“The main driver of the housing shortfall has been the long-term decline in the construction of single-family homes.”

Here’s a chart that quantifies Khater’s remarks:3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCMToday, there are simply not enough homes to keep up with current demand.

Bottom Line

This market is nothing like the run-up to 2006. Bill McBride, the author of the prestigious Calculated Risk blog, predicted the last housing bubble and crash. This is what he has to say about today’s housing market:

“It’s not clear at all to me that things are going to slow down significantly in the near future. In 2005, I had a strong sense that the hot market would turn and that, when it turned, things would get very ugly. Today, I don’t have that sense at all, because all of the fundamentals are there. Demand will be high for a while because Millennials need houses. Prices will keep rising for a while because inventory is so low.”

Posted in Market Updates
July 16, 2021

The Tops Tips to Prepare Your Home For Sale

THE TOP TIPS TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR SALE

Home sales are projected to rise by as much as 8.9% in 2021 as the market continues to rebound from the pandemic.  Interest rates remain at record lows, causing more millennials to enter the home buying market for the first time, which has led to increased demand, that is expected to continue.

 

Given this increased demand, more and more people are considering selling their homes.  If you’re one of them, read on to learn about the things that make a difference when you’re getting your home ready to appeal to the masses. 

1. List Your Home at The Right Price

This might seem like a strange tip in a high demand market.  However, price still matters.  Even though demand is high, it’s still important to price your home competitively in order to attract as many buyers as possible.  In today’s market, buyers have been programmed to expect to pay more than list price to get the home they want.  Therefore, if you price your home too high, it will scare many buyers away and you could end up sitting on the market, costing you thousands of dollars in profit.  To get an idea of the right price for your home, have a professional agent visit your home in person and assess its condition, finishes, special features, the neighborhood, etc.  Your agent can then research its value using data from the sale of comparable homes in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and give you a recommended list price.  Remember, list price does not equal sale price.  In Snohomish County, homes are currently selling (on average) for 3.3% over list price, and oftentimes more.

2. Work with an Experienced Agent

Work with an agent who is experienced, informed and can provide helpful services throughout the entire selling process. The right agent should be able to provide you with advice to maximize your curb appeal and your profit, as well as have a good working knowledge of the local market and comparable properties in your neighborhood. 

3. Make Minor Repairs or Renovations

Patch holes in the walls, replace broken appliances, and change burnt out light bulbs. No problem is too small in the eyes of a potential buyer!  Also, fresh paint, in a neutral color, goes a long way to making your home feel new! 

 

Small issues send the message that the home has not been well taken care of. They could also indicate to a potential buyer that there is other more costly neglect taking place — like water or mold damage.

 

Nobody likes a dark house, especially here in the Pacific Northwest.  Maximize the light in your home. Take down heavy drapes, clean the windows, and swap the lampshades and up the wattage in the bulbs. Do whatever it takes to let the light shine in!

 

You can also add some pop to your home with fresh flowers, accent pillows, a new welcome mat — these little touches can amp up the welcome factor of any home and go a long way with buyers. You don't have to go out of your way, either. Just a few here and there to make it feel more like home.

 

Don’t forget to cut the grass, pull the weeds, and a little fresh bark and flowers outside make a big difference too!

 

4. Clean, Clean, Clean!

 

Clean like you’ve never cleaned before, inside and out - and then keep it that way. Clean gutters, pressure-wash sidewalks and driveways, wash windows inside and out, and keep your bathrooms and kitchen sparkling! 

 

If you have carpets in your home, they need to be clean before you show your home. This will improve the appearance of your floors and eliminate any nasty odors that might be locked in the carpet.

 

Professional carpet cleaning is recommended – they just have more cleaning power.  Ask me for a referral to a local carpet cleaner that will do a great job.

 

A sparkling clean home will make for a better first impression when potential buyers walk through the door.

5. Depersonalize & Declutter

Sounds strange, but the truth is that the more personal your space, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. This includes family photos, collections, travel items, and keepsakes. It’s hard for a buyer to imagine themselves in the space with your family’s faces covering the walls!  

 

You should also remove any polarizing items, like political and religious memorabilia. Think generic!  Many people have strong feelings about these types of things, and you don’t want a buyer to pre-judge your home based on your political or religious beliefs. The best solution is to pack these items in storage.

 

Here is where a professional agent can help as well.  I will walk through your home and give you suggestions on what should stay and what should go into the garage sale, or at least into a storage unit. 

 

 

6. Organize Closet Space & Cabinets

Every buyer is looking for a place to store all their stuff. When I’m showing homes, my buyers regularly open closet doors, kitchen cabinets, etc.  Scale back as much as possible, think necessity only, and put the rest in storage. Then, neatly organize what’s left to highlight the home’s storage space.

7. Move Your Pets Out

Not everyone is an animal lover. If a potential buyer walks in and sees a dog bowl, smells a litter box, or is picking hair off their pants hours after the Open House, they will think the house is not clean. 

A potential buyer shouldn’t even be able to tell if a four-legged friend lives there or not. It’s best if your pet can stay with friends or relatives while your home is on the market, but if that’s not possible, you should at least take them out of the house for showings or open houses. 

8. Eliminate Bad Smells

You should be able to eliminate any unpleasant odors after a good clean. Even if it’s winter, open the windows and give the home time to air out. 

To add a pleasing smell, bake before an open house, or light a fresh-smelling candle. Keep it subtle because anything too overpowering will smell suspicious, like you’re trying to hide something.

9. Update the Kitchen & Baths

Kitchens & baths are probably the most important rooms in the house. They are also the most expensive to renovate. Investing a few thousand dollars might get you an eighty-five percent return, while dated kitchen or bathroom could knock a huge chunk off of the asking price. 

 

One of the fastest and most inexpensive ways to update your kitchen or bathroom is to repaint your cabinets & refinish countertops. Most home improvement stores carry cabinet and countertop kits that you can use to do a quick makeover.   

 

However, if you really want to up your game, you can give your home a total refresh prior to listing to help maximize your profit.  Your professional real estate agent can connect you with a company that specializes in renovating homes in advance of sale, and they don’t get paid until closing.  This allows homeowners to maximize their profit with no up-front costs.  Ask me for more information!

10. Always Be Ready to Show

Once your house goes on market, it needs to be “show ready” at all times because you never know when an agent will request a showing. You want your home to be available whenever they want to come and see the place. Keep the dishes clean and put away, beds made, and clear clutter. It may seem annoying but will get your house sold!

 

Removing yourself is the ultimate depersonalization. Buyers don’t feel free to browse your home when you are present.  You want to give buyers the freedom to open closets, inspect the rooms, and ask questions without feeling like they are snooping around. Before someone comes for a showing, open the windows, turn on all the lights, light a candle, and get yourself out!

 

I hope this guide has been helpful to you in knowing what items need to be addressed in getting ready to sell your house.  If you have any further questions, or need advice, feel free to reach out to me anytime at (425) 345-8099.  I’m here to help!

Posted in Selling Your Home
July 13, 2021

The Summer Housing Market

Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market

Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | MyKCM

In real estate, it’s normal to see ebbs and flows in the market. Typically, the summer months are slower-paced than the traditionally busy spring. But this isn’t a typical summer. As the economy rebounds and life is returning to normal, the real estate market is expected to have an unusually strong summer season.

Here’s how this summer is stacking up against the norm and what it means for you.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | MyKCM

Inventory is increasing.

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), inventory levels have been rising since February of this year. Looking at the graph below, there’s a clear upward trend, as shown in the green bars. Currently, there’s roughly a 2.5 months’ supply of homes for sale nationwide.  Locally, that number is around 2 weeks!  And while inventory is trending up as more houses are coming to the market, it’s still much lower than several of the previous summers, as the orange bars indicate.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | MyKCMIf you’re looking to buy, a small amount of relief is on the way in the form of more homes coming to the market. Just remember, we still have less inventory than the norm, so be patient in your search.

If you’re thinking of selling, now is the time. Work with a professional agent to list your house before it has more competition on the market.

Time on the market is still shorter than normal.

Unlike the typical summer trend, time on the market is moving at the fastest speed we’ve seen since NAR started collecting this survey-based information in 2011. The most recent Realtors Confidence Index shows that nationwide, the average home is on the market for just 17 days, as shown in green in the graph below. Locally, that number is much lower. This means houses are selling at a much faster pace than a typical summer, which the orange bars represent.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | MyKCMIf you’re looking to buy, this means you need to be prepared to move fast. Brace for a quick pace and rely on your agent to stay in the know on the available homes in your area.

If you’re thinking of selling,  your house will sell quickly. If you’re worried about where you’ll go once your house sells, consider a newly built home as a good way to move up.

Alternatively, ask me about how you can sell your house now, and still stay in it while you use your cash to shop for your new one! 

Price appreciation is still rising.

The last big factor making this an unusually strong market this summer is home price appreciation. According to the State House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), we’re currently experiencing double-digit house price appreciation and have an average of 12.6% appreciation across the country. The graph below uses data from NAR to show a more granular view of how prices have changed month-to-month over the past few years. The green bars show the current price appreciation we’re experiencing today. Our current levels are well above what we’ve seen in recent summers, shown by the orange bars.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | MyKCMIf you’re looking to buy, competition and bidding wars are driving prices up. Getting pre-approved is required if  you’re serious and it help you know what you can afford. Once you do, work with your agent to make a strong offer that stands out.

If you’re thinking of selling, seize this opportunity to use your additional equity from this price appreciation to power your next move.

Bottom Line

This isn’t a typical summer. Whether you’re buying or selling, let’s connect to talk about how you can capitalize on today’s market conditions to sell your house or find your dream home. Call (425) 345-8099 or pilchardproperties@gmail.com

Posted in Market Updates
July 8, 2021

Pricing Your Home in This Seller’s Market

Selling Your House? Make Sure You Price It Right.

Selling Your House? Make Sure You Price It Right. | MyKCM

There’s no denying we’re in a sellers’ market. With low inventory and high buyer demand, homes today are selling above the asking price at a record rate. According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

  • Nationwide, homes typically sell within 17 days (compared to 26 days one year ago). Here in the Pacific Northwest, homes are selling in about 4 - 6 days. 
  • The average home sold has five offers to pick from.
  • 54% of offers are over the asking price.

Because so many buyers are competing for so few homes, bidding wars are driving up home prices. According to an average of leading expert projections, existing home prices are expected to increase by 8.9% this year.

Yet even in today’s red-hot sellers’ market, it’s important to price your house right. While it may be tempting to price your house on the high side to capitalize on this trend, doing so could limit your house’s potential.

Why Pricing Your House Right Matters

Here’s the thing – a high price tag doesn’t mean you’re going to cash in big on the sale. While you may be trying to maximize your return, the tradeoff may be steep. A high list price is more likely to deter buyers, sit on the market longer, or require a price drop that can raise questions among prospective buyers.

Instead, focus on setting a price that’s fair. Real estate professionals know the value of your home. By pricing your house based on its current condition and similar homes that have recently sold in your area, your agent can help you set a price that’s realistic and obtainable – and that’s good news for you and for buyers.Selling Your House? Make Sure You Price It Right. | MyKCMWhen you price your house right, you increase your home’s visibility, which drives more buyers to your front door. The more buyers that tour your home, the more likely you’ll have a multi-offer scenario to create a bidding war. When multiple buyers compete for your house, that sets you up for a bigger win.

Bottom Line

When it comes to pricing your house, working with a local real estate professional is essential. Let’s connect so we can optimize your exposure, your timeline, and the return on your investment, too.

Posted in Selling Your Home