Market Mondays: Kirkland- Juanita Neighborhood

As a resident and home owner of both a rental property and primary residence in Juanita, I may be a little bias to this community.  However, there is good reason for that….with still semi affordable home prices relative to the rest of Kirkland, proximity to Lake Washington and a growing community… this area is on fire!

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In the 1920’s, Juanita was home to the Juanita Beach Resort complete with a 2-story bath house and an amusement park!  The Juanita neighborhood is defined as NE 145th to the North, I-405 to the East, NE 132nd to the South and 100th Ave NE to the West.  In analyzing this specific market’s housing data, the biggest growth in property values are happening South of 124th and East of 98th with close proximity to Lake Washington and new construction developments on the horizon.

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We are in a market where there is extremely low inventory!  As of October 19th, 2015 there are 12 active residential listings (excluding town homes and condos) in the Juanita neighborhood.  The price range is $359,950-$2.375M with a median list price of $715k.  An interesting observation is that $359,950 on the lowest end is located North of 124th, whereas the second most affordable listing is $499,950 located South of 124th (if you’re really interested in location specifics).

In the last 180 days, 17 homes are pending ranging from $350k-1.2M, with a median pending price of 625k.  To elaborate on pending, there have been 41 homes sold in the last 180 days ranging from 290k-1.15M, the median sale price was 500k and the average days on market is 8 days!!!  Another interesting note that I touched on in a previous blog post regarding pricing…homes that were priced strategically day 1 were the ones that sold in 8 days or less, AND sold for an average of 25k more than asking price!  The graphs below show months supply of inventory as well as list/sale price ratio graphics. (Note: the graphs only show data through September)

As you can see, the sale price/list price ratio is at or above asking price, this takes into consideration all of the data, including the homes that have sold for significantly over (all 8 days or less) as well as the homes that started out higher and dropped the price.

As of October 19th, 2015 Juanita has 1.5 months supply of inventory.  You can see that in August and September the months supply increased.  In my opinion, there were not many quality listings that came on during that time frame, and the ones that did come on the market were probably priced too high.  Those have since been absorbed but I will do another post updating the sale prices of these homes as we will see this impact in the market in October/November.

According to NWMLS September press release:

“Scarce inventory, new rules for mortgage closings and affordability concerns will likely slow home sales around Western Washington during the remaining months of 2015 and into early 2016, according to spokespersons from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.”

The “slow” months are a great time to both buy and sell a home.  Buyers will have less competition in a less frenzied sellers market and sellers will have little competition and attract serious buyers.  If you want “unbiased” real estate data, check out Seattle Bubble…it’s a great, data driven blog that illustrates some of the realities of the market.   It’s a nice balance to the sometimes “ra-rah” information coming from real estate professionals or skewed information from the media, but I always advocate clients to gather information from credible sources and think in a world where LOADS of information is available, it’s hard to sift through what is fact and what is BS.

I always welcome feedback, comments and questions so shoot me an email or text if you have any of the aforementioned!

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Market Monday’s: Kirkland Single Family Homes

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Happy Monday! Fall has definitely made its way here, leaves are dropping, rain is sprinkling and the housing market? Well, it’s still trucking right along here in Kirkland. The photo above is from our Sunday night run out Carillon Point in Kirkland, fall here can be quite lovely! The change in seasons typically brings a slight drop in real estate activity, this year however, is proving to be different.  As we adjust to the “new normal” as far as the real estate market goes, if there is one, foreign investors are still driving the market and the economy as well as job growth continues to grow at a healthy pace.

As of September 29th, 2014 there are 160 single family homes for sale in Kirkland, Washington.  The range of list price for these homes range from $265K-$2.2 Million with a median list price of $940K.  When we take a look at the 216 homes that have been sold in the last 90 days, the sale price ranges from $307K-7.5 Million with a median sale price of $750K.  An interesting aspect of this data is that the median “days on market” for the active listings is 80 days, while the median “days on market” for the sold and pending properties is only 17 days.  Why such a big difference? Well, first of all, some of these homes could have been taken off the market and relisted with the intention of creating buzz around the homes again…similar to a grand reopening, a way to invite the backlog of buyers to explore again.  However, what is more likely is that many of the homes that have been on the market for longer are either not priced correctly OR have passed the “sweet spot” for buyer interest.  Currently, Kirkland is at 2.2 months supply of inventory, which is still significantly below what we would call a normal or “healthy” supply, so when I talk about homes sitting on the market, it’s really not long at all when looking at the bigger picture.

We are beginning to see some price drops happening across the board, which I will be talking about in a post later this week.  I will also be talking about how you can add value to your home with simple exterior and interior projects if you are thinking about selling your home, so stay tuned!

Kirkland is still seeing an almost 100% list/sale price, demonstrating the demand for the area.

August 2014 saw 2.3 months of inventory and we are hovering around 2.2 for the month of September as well.  A normal supply is 6 months, we are still operating in a sellers market or an under supply.

Finance Friday: Improve Your FICO Score Quickly!

With mortgage interest rates hovering near record lows, you may want to either refinance your mortgage or purchase a new home before rates go higher again.  There is no better time than now to buy a home, interest rates are expected to climb which can have a big impact on the amount of home you can purchase!

The question is — can you qualify for refinancing or a purchase loan?

Since the recession, lenders have tightened loan qualification standards and their most widely used tool to determine if you qualify for a loan and at what interest rate are your credit scores. Credit scores are determined by a software algorithm that analyzes your credit and payment history.

These “FICO” scores run between 300 and 850, with the highest numbers considered to be the best scores. The 47% of Americans with credit scores of 720 or higher receive the best interest rates, according to MyFICO.com.

Credit scores make a significant impact. For every 20-point credit score increase, according to Zillow, the average low APR declines 0.12 percent, a savings of $6,400 on a $300,000 home over 30 years.

Improve your credit scores

FICO scores are based on your credit history. Each credit reporting bureau, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax calculates its own score, so you may have three scores.

The first thing you need to do is review your credit reports for errors and get them resolved as quickly as possible. Visit freeannualcreditreport.com to get copies. You can then purchase your credit scores for approximately $14.95 from each agency or all three at myfico.com.

FICO scores change with every new piece of information that comes into the credit reporting bureau, so the credit score you receive today can be improved quickly by following some dos and don’ts.

 

Don’t close credit card accounts. FICO scores utilize a credit utilization ratio that turns against you because it appears that you might be overusing your available credit.

Don’t max out or consolidate credit cards. Credit card companies like it if you only use about 30% of your available credit on your card. You’re better off having small balances on multiple cards than a large balance on one card.

Don’t apply for new revolving credit or transfer balances. If you’re buying a new home, it’s tempting to buy some new furniture, but don’t open that account until after your loan closes. You don’t want “inquiries” to be raised in the scoring algorithm.

Don’t change jobs right before you apply for a home loan, although job changes within the same field are considered more favorably in scoring.

Do pay all bills on time and with at least the minimum payment due. Lenders like on time payment histories.

Do pay down your debt, as lower income-to-debt ratios are attractive to lenders. Start by reducing credit card balances first, beginning with the balances that generate the highest interest rates. Revolving credit is considered riskier debt than installment loans such as student loans or car payments.

Do shop lenders simultaneously. Credit score software takes into account several inquiries from mortgage lenders as normal, but if you space rate-shopping out over weeks or months, that could impact your credit score negatively.

Remember, mortgage lenders are most interested in your ability to repay their loan. The most important factors are job and debt payment history. Job security — long-term employment in the same field and on-time.

There are literally thousands of people renting that could be saving money by owning their own home, and like I mentioned earlier, there is no better time than now.  If you are wondering if this applies to you, contact me at rachelwagner@johnlscott.com and I can connect you with a lender who can educate and begin the process.

Liven Up Your Kitchen With Full Circle + Easy Updates For Your Home


First things first, Happy Hump Day! I want to start off by offering all of my readers an opportunity to win one month of organic produce delivered by Full Circle! How do you enter? If you aren’t already, follow my blog! Not only will you get the latest real estate news and useful home ‘how-to’s’, but you will automatically be entered to win the Full Circle drawing. Already a follower or not interested in the long term commitment? Shoot me an email with your name/phone number/address and I will enter you.  All I ask is that you be a Washington resident when the winner is announced on Monday, September 1st.

What is Full Circle?

“Each week we handpick fresh, certified organic fruits and vegetables to create your personalized order. We build relationships with growers using sustainable farming practices and source our produce as locally as the season allows. We also source from organic growers in warmer climates for increased variety throughout the year. It’s like having the farmers market come to you—all year long!”  What’s not to love about that?

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Easy Updates For Your Home

Enhance the entry

First impressions matter. Invest in a new front door or paint your old one, it can dramatically change the look of your home and enhance curb appeal. Try other easy DIY fixes like repainting the exterior trim, replacing the house numbers or installing new outdoor lighting.

Build a Headboard

Headboards can be made out of anything – find something you’re passionate about and turn it into a headboard. Use old skis or skateboards; or make a collage by decoupaging magazines or attach family photos to an old headboard. Also, think about using salvaged materials such as fencing, old doors etc.  There are literally thousands of examples on Pinterest and is a great weekend project!

Illuminating Ideas

New kitchen lighting or a new fixture over the dining table is sure to brighten up any meal. Try one of these projects: Make a fabric-covered drum shade to match your decor. Install a dimmer switch to make your current lighting more versatile. Use a few cans of spray paint to give an old chandelier new life. Replace or paint the blades on a ceiling fan. Also, if you’re thinking about selling your house, remember that light creates an atmosphere that people either want to be in or not.  Think about creating a warm, inviting space with as much natural light as possible!

Paint Cabinet inside cabinet

Cabinet Facelift

If your cabinets need more than new hardware, paint them. It can be a time-consuming project, but if done right, your kitchen will look brand new and add value to your home.

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.

Market Mondays: Woodinville

 

 

 

The city of Woodinville is most well known as Seattle areas “wine country” and is increasingly known for its local wineries, which showcase wines from grapes grown in Eastern Washington including Chateau Ste. Michelle (well known for their popular summer concert series), Columbia Winery and dozens of other smaller ones. The Woodinville Tourist District is also home to the Redhook Ale Brewery and several fine restaurants including The Herbfarm “destination” restaurant. The downtown area includes Molbak’s Garden and Home, a nationally acclaimed garden center! All that being said, Woodinville is a sought after place to live and has seen only a slight change in market statistics over the past year.

As of July 28th, 2014 there is 2.5 month supply in inventory based on closed sales, which is up slightly from June of this year.  What is interesting is that when the current pending sales are added to the mix, months supply of inventory drops down to 1.5.  Woodinville itself is a consistently stable market, the months inventory fairly stable over the past year, hovering somewhere between 1.5-2.3 months supply except for a spike in January of this year, which is to be expected during the “slow” season. This makes Woodinville unique when compared to some of it’s neighboring cities, it’s stability and high desirability make Woodinville a safe place to buy a home.  The median sale price of homes over the last 90 days was $525,000 while the median current listing price is 475,000.  The median sale price and listing price have seen only a slight increase since July 2013.