Thinking Of Buying A Home When School Starts?

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Back to School is just around the corner! Parents are jumping for joy as they ready their kids to return to school. (Who can blame them?) As the hot summer eventually cools down and turns to fall, parents are not the only ones who should be excited.  If you are looking for a good deal on a home, now is the time to find your perfect place. With the kids focused on school, it might just be the time to get your focus on finding your home.
Get started now, you’ve procrastinated long enough.

Waiting until August or September can have its pay offs.  Traditionally there are fewer buyer’s shopping. Which means for you less competition for that perfect mid-century ranch, a little cottage, or Tudor that you have been dreaming about.  No matter how hot the market is you will see price reductions and homes staying on the market longer from September through December. And schools within each market tend to drive the prices on single family homes. The pressure on property prices in these areas eases as July turns to August. With fewer buyers competing, it makes getting your offer accepted just a little higher and save some cash too. This really applies to single family homes in the suburbs. Those downtown lofts and condos, they will stay at the more consistent higher prices. So, no real deals there.
Stay Flexible

 After school starts sellers tend to be more inclined to negotiate to help seal the deal.  More sellers may contribute to closing costs. Which is helpful to buyers who have a good steady income, good credit, but not a lot of cash on hand. Interest rates are staying low, so buyers are feeling motivated to buy because interest will not stay low forever. A home buyers warranty, carpet allowance, are a couple of items you can ask for if sellers won’t budge on price. Price is not always the main negotiating factor involved. Flexibility to shorten or extend closings in the fall buying season can make both buyers and sellers happy.
Take Time

Home buyers have increasingly had to deal with bidding wars, unbelievable cash offers, homes on the market for 1 or 2 days. The results are, buyers buying to buy because that was the only home that they sort of liked. Waiting until the kids are in school means taking your time, and finding the home that is right for you. You will be happy with no buyer’s remorse, financial regrets and things that they did not notice about the house in the rush to buy.
Be Ready with the Right Offer

In the fall research, the area and be ready to make the right offer on the right home.  Sellers tend to want to get their property sold prior to the holidays. This gives buyers the opportunity to research the comps and know what to offer at just below asking or at asking. Versus the Spring /Summer over asking price, shelling out extra cash to get the home they want.  Contrary to what many believe, August and September are good for buying homes and finding the right home at the right price for your budget. So, do your research, find your REALTOR® and get house hunting.
Mary Klein Photo 2016Mary Klein, REALTOR®
253-590-7140
maryklein@cbbain.com

 

Broker Spotlight: Elisha Scott

I chose Coldwell Banker Bain because of their attention to detail, training and their ability to provide their clients with the best services around. And being a proud resident of the Puget Sound area for over 25 years, it is only natural that I choose a local company like Coldwell Banker Bain.

I have been a REALTOR® since April 2017, but have experience buying/purchasing real estate for the last 10 years. Before going into real estate, I was a stay at home mom, who homeschooled. Before that, I was an air traffic controller in the FAA and served in the navy. I chose to become a REALTOR® because I want to help educate home buyers so that they can purchase a home that will make them happy for years to come.

I enjoy taking my three daughters to the 3 local zoos, Pt Defiance, NW Trek and Woodland Zoo. I also like to hike and travel to new places.

OutlookEmoji-1501887265935_D-1cfe465b1-d0f9-4b72-bb12-dc6c0c772d18Elisha Scott, REALTOR®
360-731-2762 mobile
elishascott@cbbain.com
http://elishascott.coldwellbankerbain.com

 

Broker Spotlight: Lorena McPhail

Purchasing a home is often the single-most expensive investment a person will make in their lifetime.  Buying or selling can be an emotionally-charged process that often comes with unexpected obstacles.  Such an important purchase requires an understanding and knowledgeable professional to help buyers and sellers successfully navigate through the transaction process.  Since being licensed in 1999, I have assisted buyers and sellers in Washington and Colorado, providing them with the necessary knowledge and negotiating skills to close the deal and achieve the best possible outcome.

Partnering with Coldwell Banker Bain in Tacoma was to me the obvious best choice! According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, Coldwell Banker has the largest market share and highest sales volume on the I-5 corridor.   I’m excited to be partnered with a brokerage whose mission is to “Do the right thing”, reinforcing my mission to be a caring Realtor for you, and to convey the professional image needed to attract the highest-quality buyers for your home.  As a home-buyer, you can expect the same quality service while finding your dream home.

Caring for people and being supportive are the most important things I will ever do in my lifetime. Becoming an advocate for families and children with special needs has become one of my passions.  Prior to my real estate career, I taught preschool for 12 years, working with children and families with special needs.  Following the death of my adult son Jordan to schizophrenia and suicide in 2011, I became an advocate in the Washington State Legislature for Mental Healthcare Reform and Suicide Prevention. I currently work with the Steilacoom School district to help children with special needs.

Since moving back from Colorado in 2016, I now live on Anderson Island with my family.  However, most of my childhood memories are of living and going to school in both University Place and North Tacoma where I attended Stadium and Foss High Schools. I frequented Pt. Defiance Park and spent countless summer weekends at my parent’s vacation cabin on Anderson Island.

Lori McPhail PhotoLorena McPhail, Managing Broker, CRS
lorenamcphail@cbbain.com | 253.592.8205
lorimcphail.coldwellbankerbain.com

Inspections And Appraisals in this Hot Real Estate Market

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Our local real estate market continues at the hot pace we’ve been on, although there are signs of inventory increasing with homes beginning to come onto the market at a faster pace than they have recently. That is a good sign in that we may see more balance in the market soon.

As I mentioned previously in this space, the intense competition for listings has impacted the role and effects of both home inspections and appraisals.

Typically, once agreement has been reached between buyer and seller, the buyer will have ten days (could be less, depending on the terms) to conduct a thorough home inspection and respond back to the seller.

These inspections are done for the benefit of the buyer, and generally consist of a licensed inspector taking a thorough look at the home, from the crawlspace to the roof, checking plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems, etc. Often, especially with older homes, a sewer scope inspection is also done.

Inspections in any market always constitute a second round of negotiations. Options for the buyer include simply approving the inspection and moving forward to closing, rejecting the inspection and terminating the transaction, or most commonly, asking the seller to make some repairs or concessions. The seller may agree to all repair requests, or agree to some but not all, or to none. Then the ball is back in the buyer’s court. Unless the seller agrees to all requests, the buyer can continue to negotiate, though they have limited time to do so, can agree with the seller, or reject the response and terminate the sale.

Recently we’ve seen some buyers making exorbitant requests to compensate for feeling that they may have overpaid for a home which had lots of competition. This has often caused sales to fail.

Once the parties have agreed on the inspection results, the next step is to order the appraisal.

Appraisals are done primarily for the benefit of the mortgage lender, though they do assure the buyer that the value of the home is appropriate to the sales price. The focus is value, though the appraiser will look for glaring signs of deferred maintenance, such as peeling paint or a bad roof, and may call for those sorts of items to be repaired. These repairs are not negotiable; if the loan is to be approved, the seller MUST do these repairs.

In the case of a home selling at an inflated price, the appraisal value may come in below the agreed upon sales price. In that event, the parties have options. The seller may agree to sell at the reduced price. The buyer may agree to bring additional money to closing, to keep the new loan amount at or below the appraised value. They may dispute the appraisal and ask for a review, or negotiate a compromise. Or the sale may simply fail.

Our current market requires up to date strategies for both buyers and sellers. Develop a plan with your REALTOR®. Be realistic, and you can do well, and have fun in the process!

Feel free to call me to discuss these or any real estate topics or properties.
ED Tropp's PhotoEd Tropp, REALTOR®, GRI
253-988-5763 (cell)
EdTropp@cbbain.com

Strategies For Success In This Hot Real Estate Market

As most people are aware, the Puget Sound real estate market is pretty wild right now.

Seattle, Bellevue and King County are experiencing a more challenging market than is Pierce County and the greater Tacoma area, but throughout the region we are seeing prices escalate and a shortage of available homes for sale. There are bidding wars, buyers are waiving the right to conduct home inspections, prices are exceeding appraised values, and many folks feel frustrated or intimidated.

Nevertheless, every day new homes are listed and come on the market, and everyday buyers successfully make offers and get them accepted.  Working with a REALTOR to implement a good strategy will help you whether you are a buyer or a seller.

As a seller, especially of a home in a “hot” price range, it can feel exciting and flattering to get lots of showings and even multiple offers.  Buyers can fear to lose a home to a higher bidder, and sometimes offer more than a home will appraise for.  This can cause a sale to fail, aggravating everyone. Your REALTOR should be able to provide good advice in avoiding the pitfall of accepting a sky-high offer, only to have it collapse due to a low appraisal.

There are options your broker can suggest to a buyers’ broker to make their offer more acceptable. In some cases, a buyer can agree to bring extra down payment funds to make up for a low appraisal. Or an offer which doesn’t require the seller to pay the buyers’ closing costs can keep the purchase price lower, making the appraisal less challenging, and keeping the sellers’ net proceeds higher.

Opinions differ, but some real estate professionals advocate being transparent with buyers’ brokers in a multiple offer situation. Giving your broker permission to disclose some information about other offers, and about your priorities can help guide buyers in making an offer that best meets your needs. Discuss this with your REALTOR and develop a plan.

As a buyer, you need a REALTOR who is advising you immediately of listings which may work for you. Time is of the essence! Strategizing with your broker to ask questions of the listing broker to find out as much as possible about the sellers’ motivation can help make your offer stand out. It’s not always just the price that matters to a seller. For example, they may desire a fast closing, or perhaps a delayed one. Giving them what they want to get what you need is the key to negotiations, and knowledge is power.

Sometimes you can play on the heart strings of a seller. A heartfelt letter explaining why their home is such a great fit for you may tilt the scales in your favor.

With good REALTOR representation, you can do well in this market. Use strategy, and work smart. Good luck!

ED Tropp's PhotoEd Tropp, REALTOR®
253-988-5763 (mobile)
edtropp@cbbain.com

The Art of Decluttering

THE ART OF DECLUTTERING OR HOW TO “LET IT GO”

Awe the retirement years! You are finally free from the things that tie you down and are ready to embrace a new adventure. But, where do you begin? You have lived in your home for many years and are surrounded by the “things” that house your memories. As you look around your home, you see the wedding gift you received from Aunt Sally.  It has been sitting in your china hutch for 40 years – never used. You never really liked the gift, but you love Aunt Sally.  Then there are the five boxes of your children’s artwork dating back to Kindergarten. These are all fond memories. So, where do you begin with deciding what to keep and what to eliminate?

A good rule of thumb is: “Either you love something or you need something. If it doesn’t answer either of those things, it doesn’t stay,” says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers. Another question that will help you decide is: Are these objects in my life going to help me move forward or are they blocking me?

Items in the “Love it” column might include things that remind you of loved ones, big life events or milestones, precious pieces of artwork or craftwork, heirlooms or anything that you cherish. In the “Need It” column, you would keep anything that you use on a regular basis. For example, you might use a coffee pot daily, but when was the last time you used your fondue set? Don’t get caught in the trap of keeping things out of fear that you might use it sometime in the future. Also, just because an item might have value for someone, if it is not something you use, let it go. Another good principle to follow when evaluating what you really “need” is the six-month rule. If you have not used the item in six months, it is probably not worth keeping. Consider donating items that could be of value to someone else and let it go.

If an item has no value to you or to anyone else, then it goes in the “Leave It” column.  Examples include old papers, appliances or lawn equipment that don’t work or that are very outdated, broken items, outdated sporting goods, clothes that you haven’t worn in years, things you purchased on a whim that seemed to be a good idea at the time, and virtually anything that you can let go of without feeling remorse.

Once you have made the decision about what to keep and what to let go, then the awesome job of figuring out how to get rid of the “Leave it” items begins. In my next article, I will define some clear and simple steps that will help you through the process. The key is to get an early start so that you are not pressured for time.

croppedjoyceheadhighresv2 (1)For more information about the downsizing process, consider attending an upcoming event called “The Upside of Downsizing” being held on April 22nd at the Tacoma Dome and find out about the eight steps involved in the downsizing process. For more information on downsizing in general or to register for the April 22nd seminar, please call Joyce Hill at 253-318-2792.

(Information gathered from Renew by Home Health Care)

Broker Spotlight: Stephanie Callen

CaptureIn taking every measure to help her clients successfully accomplish their personal real estate goals, Stephanie Callen exhibits genuine care, dedication, and professionalism.  As a specialist in the Greater South Puget Sound real estate market, she constantly provides her clients with outstanding guidance and expertise. Through her comprehensive knowledge and experience as a specialist in Residential, Distinctive Luxury and Investment Properties; she provides her clients with a truly impressive real estate experience. In 2017, Stephanie was appointed as the Director of Global Luxury for Coldwell Banker Bain Puyallup.

Stephanie excels at executing on behalf of her clients with
very deliberate, strategic and skillful measures that achieve outstanding results. When working with sellers, she implements effective and resourceful marketing strategies that clearly accentuate each property’s specific features. Skillfully taking every measure to position the seller’s property to stand out in the marketplace, she designs a beautiful presentation that incorporates professional photography, refined staging services and extensive visibility in print and on multiple internet sites. Regardless of the time and effort it takes, when working with buyers, she works tirelessly to identify key opportunities that meet their lifestyle requirements.  She exhibits a relentless commitment to securing just the right property for each buyer.  One of her special areas of focus is in serving the specific needs of military personnel.  She is highly attuned to the unique requirements that military members and their families may need and is very attentive to meeting all of their expectations.

Stephanie’s clients trust in her integrity and insight and value her timely guidance and expertise in addressing all aspects of the transaction with professional competence.  In indulging her clients with first class service; her warm and friendly personality is very present in everything she does on their behalf and it is truly her joy to ultimately fulfill their request. Her immediate accessibility, answers to timely questions and trusted council makes her invaluable to her clients. She readily delivers results that are beyond their expectations and is truly committed to providing the highest level of expertise and outstanding personal service. “There are Realtors – and then there is Stephanie!”

Stephanie Callen
ABR, CRS, GRI, REALTOR®
253-370-2771 (cell)
stephanie@stephaniecallen.com (email)
http://stephaniecallen.com/  (website)