Market Monday’s: Kirkland Condos

I’ve been watching what’s happening in the Kirkland condo market closely as of late, it’s fascinating that such a desirable location can have A LOT of affordable condos still on the market for people looking to make a great investment in their future, or get into their first home. Not only that, the rental market is creeping up in the area making it challenging to find an affordable place to live, which makes buying a condo even more appealing.  So, what’s happening? As of August 18th, 2014 there are 65 active condo listings ranging between $105,000 to over $6 million! The median list price is $315,000 while the average list price is $525,000, it’s pretty clear that the big listing prices are skewing the data.  There were 127 condos sold in the past 90 days in Kirkland, with the sale price being 98% percent of the list price.  This means that people are paying the list price, and in some cases more depending on the property and demand for that location.  

The graph below demonstrates the for sale/sold/pending condos through July 2014:

As of August 18th, 2014 the Kirkland condo market is at 1.54 months of inventory based on closed sales.  This is down slightly from 1.8 months of inventory in July of this year.  Interest rates dropped slightly last week, making buying a home even more appealing as well as affordable.  

The list/sale price ratio has been fairly consistent since last year, being close to 100%.  Again, this data is skewed slightly due to the million dollar + condo listings that aren’t seeing that kind of ratio (the million + residential home market, however, is seeing a 100% + list/sale ratio).

Months of inventory was up slightly in July to 1.8 months, although August is currently looking at 1.54 months of inventory.  This is definitely a hot market, with no signs of it slowing down anytime soon.  It is a great time to get into a condo either as a  first time home buyer or as an investment property.  The listing below is one of the many great condos available in Kirkland…

 

 

 

Open House (1)

 

Stay tuned for a post on financing and a big announcement this week! I have partnered with Full Circle organic produce delivery for an opportunity to give my followers! So, if you haven’t already…follow my blog via email for a chance to win some awesome, organic produce delivered to your door! Have a great week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spruce Up Home Value: Low Cost Bathroom Updates!

Over the past few decades, the kitchen was the average home buyers focal point when buying a home.  That is not the case anymore, in 2014 bathrooms are more important to buyers than kitchens.  That being said, an additional bathroom, even a half bathroom, adds significant value to your home.  Growing up with a real estate Appraiser as a father, I heard horror stories about homeowners irate over the news that their special remodel project added ZERO value to the resale of their home.  Many times, it’s hard to differentiate between what we think is value based on our emotional involvement vs. what the market wants, the difference is sometimes surprising!

For starters, A half bath may add up to 10.5 percent to a home’s value, while a full bath can tack on an additional 20 percent. Of course, the amount of additional value you will receive varies according to the home’s other features.

Tip: If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford a bathroom addition, give the existing bathrooms a little TLC with a few of the following suggestions.

Install a Dose of Tile

Install a dose of tile! Give your bathroom sink an upgrade with some intentional detailing. Rather than tiling a whole tub surround or wall, add just a border of tile above the sink vanity. Here, elegant blue, white, and brown tiles introduce color and pattern into the bathroom. The small mosaic tiles make the vanity area look luxurious and rich.

Update Cabinet Hardware

Cabinetry’s handles, hinges, and doorknobs are the final touches and style setters for any vanity. Luckily, they’re simple to replace whenever you want a fresh look — and cabinetry hardware is available at any price point. Give your cabinet doors and drawers a good cleaning before installing new hardware. Or freshen them with paint or stain to best display the new accents.

Install Wainscoting

Give bathroom walls interest by adding wainscoting. Crisp white-painted wainscoting provides contrast to the sunny yellow hue used on the upper portion of these walls. For humid rooms such as the bathroom, look for paints treated with mildewcide to eliminate worries about mildew.

Update Light Fixtures

Refresh a tired bath by replacing outdated light fixtures with modern versions. Online you’ll find hundreds of sconces that cost less than $100. For an even thriftier change, look for replacement shades to update the fixtures you have. If you like the style of what you have but the metal finish doesn’t work with your decor, tape off the surrounding areas and give the fixtures a fresh coat of metallic spray paint!

Replace Fixtures

Swap outdated light fixtures, medicine cabinets and faucets for up-to-the-minute versions. Fashion-forward fixtures will make your bath feel fresh and fabulous, and they can draw attention away from less-desirable areas of the bath.

There are so many inexpensive ways to update your bathroom, a fresh coat of neutral colored paint goes a long way and don’t forget to check the fan! That’s a simple update that can add functional value to your bathroom, skimping on quality can hurt in the long run.

Buzzwords explained: “green home”

 

 

With phrases like global warming, greenhouse effect and sustainable management being tossed around in everyday headlines, more people are focusing on the effects of their actions. It’s not just about what manufacturing companies are doing to help or hurt the environment; it’s also about what people do in their everyday activities.

How many of you have noticed the term “green home” weaving its way into your life? “Green” is a big trend in homes right now, but you’re forgiven if you’re not sure exactly what that means.  In fact, I wasn’t completely sure what it meant until I did some research of my own.  When I think “green home” I think of energy conserving, water miser Energy Star appliances, composting toilet and a home with solar panels.  But what about a home with traditional heating and electrical systems that also has low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) drapes, paint and carpet? Or, can it be as simple as making our environmental impact as small as possible, given the tools we already have?

What I found is that any of the aforementioned are steps in the right direction.  Going green can be anything from where you buy a home, how you build a home and the ways in which you cut water and energy waste.

It is possible to be a little bit green. Everything helps, even if you simply choose a floor of sustainable cork instead of Brazilian rain-forest cherry or a kitchen counter top of recycled glass tiles rather than granite. Not only will you help the planet, but doing so often helps your own bottom line through lower energy bills and your home’s potentially higher resale value.

So, how can you make improvements without breaking the bank?

  • Use certified (sustainably harvested) wood products
  • Buy products made of recycled materials
  • Cut energy use with insulation and a highly efficient furnace and appliances
  • Install renewable energy sources like a wind generator or solar panels
  • Reduce light pollution
  • Maximize open space on your land

You’ll be happy to know that some of the best investments are also the easiest to implement. These four will give you the most return for the money spent:

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. They last seven or eight years and use less energy, saving about $100 per year in electricity. Cost: $2+.
  • Install a timer on your lights and heating-and-cooling system so you can program your home to consume less energy when you’re gone or sleeping. Cost: roughly $30.
  • Put aerators on faucets to dramatically reduce water use. Find them at hardware stores for about $3 each.
  • Caulk and weather-strip air leaks around windows, doors and other places where the wall is penetrated. Cost: Roughly $5 for a 10-ounce tube.

Yes, there is some extra effort involved in going “green”, however, the lower monthly utility bills might just be worth the up front work.  Not to mention, according to the National Association of Home Builders, 85% said they were more satisfied with their green homes then with previous, traditional houses.  I know that I will be making some changes in my own home, what about you?