Enjoy a season’s worth of savings by taking a few steps to protect your home this winter:
Allow winter’s rain and melting snow to properly drain by removing fall leaves and other debris from your gutters.
Consider having your furnace professionally cleaned and tuned annually. Replace those furnace filters monthly, if needed.
Repair any obvious leaks in the most common drafty areas: recessed lighting, window and door frames and electrical outlets.
Feeling drafty? Check the attic to make sure you see a minimum of 12 inches of insulation.
Check crawlspace for flooding after the first long rainfall.
Check your heating ducts and clean out any abundant dust, animal hair and other debris that can gather and cause respiratory issues.
Reverse your ceiling fans to force warm air downward, keeping your home more comfortable. Note to self: As you look up, blades should be turning clockwise during winter months.
Make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher on each floor and in the garage.
If you haven’t checked the operation of your home’s smoke detectors….now is a great time to do so. Check the batteries, too!
Invest in a carbon-monoxide detector; every home should have at least one.
As we close in on the best 12 months in real estate in over five years, we have much to be thankful about. No matter what side of the fence you were on, the market in 2013 seemed to be in your favor. Buyers were able to buy due to record low interest rates and were prepared to make a move when the right house became available. More sellers were able to sell due to buyer excitement surrounding the lack of inventory and increased equity in their home. Notable gains were recorded in existing home sales, new-home sales and new construction starts.
As we look ahead, we see promising signs of continued strength and sustainability within the real estate market. Here’s a glimpse of what’s in our forecast for 2014:
- Modest rise in home values
- Renewed interest in condominium and multi-family development
- Increase in existing-home sales
- Sustainable growth in home equity
- High demand for new construction
- Decreased market share of distressed and foreclosure homes
- High demand for properly priced and positioned homes for sale
The general message looking forward is positive activity throughout the Puget Sound region as the market continues to find a new normal.
Check out these practical tips for creating eye-catching curb appeal without spending a fortune:
- Power-washing a cement driveway and walk to remove oil, rust and other stains.
- Clear the pathway to your front door by cutting back overgrown landscaping.
- Check for cobwebs and wipe down your front door and kick plate. Consider painting or staining your door if it looks faded/worn.
- August is a good time to refresh and prune planted pots to make sure they are blooming with color for the remainder of summer.
- A new layer of mulch will immediately improve the look of your yard. Well-maintained, clutter free yards are always appealing.
- Make your fence pop! A semi-transparent stain evens out signs of repairs and covers discoloration. Don’t forget your deck, steps, rails, shed, etc.
- Add some path lighting to highlight the best plants in your yard.
- Crystal clear windows are a strong indicator that the house has been well cared for.
Even in a busy market, it’s very important to seek professional advice from a licensed real estate broker to ensure a smooth listing process. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help go from ACTIVE to SOLD:
SHOWING INSTRUCTIONS If you are serious about selling, the easier you make it for potential purchasers to see your home, the higher your chances are of receiving an offer. Showing restrictions result in fewer showings which could result in additional days on the market.
APPEARANCE First impressions count, especially when it comes to a house that is listed. If staging is not an option, removing personal photos and clutter should be top on the priority list, next to touching up the paint. Turn lights on to give your home a welcome feeling prior to showings.
ASKING PRICE Every house must be sold twice: to the buyer and to the bank if a mortgage is involved. To get a home sold the price has to be right. Trust your licensed real estate broker to study the market in your area and show you the comparable sales when they present their professional price recommendation. The first few days on the market is when your listing has the most impact to capture potential buyers.
Now is a great time to live, work and invest in the Pacific NW. Here is a glimpse at what is happening in our local real estate market and why 2013 is turning out to be one of the best markets in years:
- Compared to a year ago, the number of pending sales has increased and prices are up across the board. Closed sales continue to track well ahead of this time last year as well.
- There was a double digit increase in the number of new listing last month as more homeowners made the decision to sell. Those who have been uncertain about the market are feeling more confident as they hear about positive market indicators and watch homes in their neighborhood sell.
- Despite the refreshing addition of new listings, inventory still remains slim in many areas.
- Buyers are eager to make a move, especially with some uncertainty surrounding interest rates. Even so, buyers recognize today’s rates are nonetheless low, keeping their affordability high and fueling their urgency.
- The few builders who have completed homes are selling them at a brisk pace. Many new construction buyers are securing presale homes due to lack of standing inventory.
Check in with your local Realtor to learn more about the unique market conditions in your area.
The number of new listings in April was reported as the highest volume since June 2011. While we hope this is a sign of a positive inventory trend to come, the additional listings did little to comfort the shortage felt throughout the Puget Sound region.
Multiple offers combined with the highest volume of pending sales in over 6 years makes it evident that buyers are not backing down.
Two main factors are driving excitement in the market: low inventory and low interest rates. Other strong influences include local news reports praising price increases, positive job growth and record highs for the stock market.
There’s even good news in the distressed market. Most banks are faster with their short sale approval and foreclosure process. The number of transactions that close have increased month over month.
Overall, it is a great time to invest in the Pacific Northwest! If you have any questions that our title and escrow teams can help with, please give us a call!
It appears that we are headed into a Spring real estate market to remember for all of the right reasons:
- historically low interest rates
- sustainable local job growth
- buyer demand remains high
- increase in new construction activity
- multiple offers on well priced listings
- enticing time for sellers to list
- rising prices = possible equity
The number of closed transactions and the median sales price both increased in February 2013 as compared to February 2012. This continues a positive trend felt throughout the marketplace. Low supply and high demand feels like the new normal with well prepared buyers ready to make a move as soon as listings become available.
There’s also a glimmer of good news for distressed properties. Banks appear to be closing more short sales in a timely manner according to those who have completed the process.
If you’ve considered selling your home, time is of the essence. The backlog of demand is high and now may be a great time to maximize your return.
Wishing you a wonderful month!
We are thrilled to announce that CW Title has recently acquired highly respected Ballard Escrow! Here is a peek at the latest press release:
SEATTLE (October 1st 2012) – CW Title, an independent title and escrow firm based in the Northwest and founded in 2001, has acquired Ballard Escrow, the company announced today.
“We are very pleased to add Ballard Escrow and their excellent team members to our CW family,” Don Riley, CEO of CW Title said. “I’ve always felt that Ballard Escrow’s culture and philosophy mirrored that of the CW Title family.”
Shelley A. Smith, co-founder of Ballard Escrow has co-owned Ballard Escrow for nearly 20 years. She is an attorney with more than 30 years of experience in the real estate industry. “Ballard Escrow’s goal has always been to provide exceptional quality of service to our customers while offering an excellent work environment and opportunities for our employees. CW Title shares these goals. We are very excited to join forces with CW Title and continue a shared tradition of superior quality service,” said Smith.