Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Should I or Shouldn't I scope it?

Is it really worth it or necessary to spend $250 on a sewer scope for a new construction or re-habilitated (flipped) unit?

YES you should.  TODAY I had a client do a sewer scope on a 1947 Townhouse that was just re-habilitated into new units (very cute rehab BTW).  The units were gutted with new plumbing and 97% new electrical, complete new kitchens and baths.  From the looks of it, the sewer line is new but the question is where does the new line connect to the old?  In this case the new connected to the 1947 clay sewer line (that runs to the main sewer in the street) right at the home.  Sometimes the clay pipe being from 1947 is still in good shape.  In this case, the pipe was crushed and in some places you can actually see dirt.  If this does not get fixed, my client could wake up one day with a huge back up problem (how crappy!)....not fun in any case but especially when you are a first time buyer.  Here's the sewer scope video for fun.  From about 27ft to 14ft you can see the breaks.

We will be asking for this on our inspection response to be repaired by the builder and I am sure he will agree to fix it before closing.  Stay tuned for the outcome!

So YES, moral of the story, always do a sewer scope.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MCC tax credit....what's that??

THIS IS NEWS WORTHY!  I recently found out about a tax credit that's available right now!  A current client is going to receive around $1500 the first year!!  That's incredible!  If the mortgage applicants (single or both combined) make under $90,000 a year, buy a home under $475,000 (King county, other counties have different requirements) and are going to live in the may qualify.

What you get;  so, everyone gets to write of 80% of their mortgage interest on their taxes (that amount reduces your taxable income).  With the MCC you get a dollar for dollar tax credit for the other 20% of the mortgage interest.

That mean that lets say you paid $10,000 in interest for the year.  80% of that, or $8,000 will reduce your taxable income (so if you made $60,000 now you will be taxed on $52,000).  20% or $2,000 will be a tax credit (this is the good part!) so if you are normally getting a refund of $1,000 you now get a refund for $3,000 ($1,000 plus $2,000).

This credit is for the LIFE of the loan!  Check out this link for more info:

Why isn't this spread around the NEWS??

Monday, March 14, 2011

Homes for sale getting multiple offers? this market?? YES, seriously.

The last 2 listings I've listed received multiple offers....why you ask?  Well here's my story;

Both homes the sellers put effort into the presentation, painting, landscaping, staging and smoothing out any rough edges.  The homes photographed great (always professional photography) and looked fantastic on line.  Both homes were staged using most of the home owners own furniture.  Lots of items went into storage.  MY POINT:  Presentation is key!  You want the buyer to walk in and go wow, I want to live here!

One home was in Broadview, just North of Ballard (close to 7 restaurants and coffee shops), the other was in Maple Leaf, 2 blocks from Roosevelt Way NE where there are coffee shops, restaurants and some shopping.   MY POINT:  Good location.

Both homes were priced under 400k.  MY POINT:  Huge buyer pool, this pool of buyers are either first timers or move up buyers from condo's and townhomes who want dirt.

Final point is the most important.  Both sellers were realistic with pricing, going out and looking at the competition and pricing the home to sell.  MY POINT:  The price not only has to be good, it has to be enticing! We hit the sweet spot with the price on both homes.

Moral of the story;  you can get all the stars to line up and get the house to sell quick if you put the effort into it.  If you price it right and it shows great you can get a few people excited about the home and they'll think to themselves "I don't want to lose this one!"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fannie Mae Housing Survey 4th Quarter 2010

This is an interesting publication on consumer confidence in Real Estate.  Fannie Mae puts together a survey every Quarter, it looks like consumer confidence is up.

Click on link:

Fannie Mae National Housing Survey 4th Quarter 2010

Friday, February 18, 2011

Staging your home to sell while living there. Part three.

This is tip #3 for staging your home (when you are living in it) to sell in this climate.  Yes, you can do it. But, you wouldn't want to live this way forever.  So, the goal here is stage to sell and sell quick, capture the buyers attention and keep it!

Tip #3: Use paint, fabric and light to make that home sell fast!  This is Seattle people...we want sunlight, we want it bright and buyers want it sparkling!  Now I'm not talking about all white either....boring. I'm talking about bright colors on the walls, furniture and letting in as much sunlight as possible.  

Open up the blinds (all the way..I mean pull them all the way up) and take off those heavy drapes.  If the blinds are blocking the view or the sun, take them off.  Use a nice window shear to create softness.  Hang the fabric high to create a since of space and make those ceilings feel even taller.  And by all means, have those windows washed inside and out, take off the screens and leave them in the garage or basement (yes, leave them off for the buyer to put back on). 

Waterbury Cream HC-31 on the Wall and White Dove Trim
Paint the walls a nice bright shade that compliments your decor.  I've been using Benjamin Moore Waterbury Cream HC -31 It has a nice yellow/beige tint to it, bright but not too bright.  Some other good neutrals are: (all Benjamin Moore) HC-45 Shaker Beige, HC-44 Lenox Tan and HC-92 Wheeling Neutral.  I recommend White Dove from Benjamin Moore for all trim and ceilings, its a color right off the shelf.  (As a general rule, paint the ceiling white or match the trim, to "frame" your wall color.  It makes your wall color art).  I have to give a shout out here to my good friend I met in Interior Design school:  Tana Mattson,  She is my go to gal for color consultations, she'll come over and pick your colors for you and you'll love them!  I promise!

Using fabric:  Use fabric to create drama and add style.  If your couch is stuck in 1990 give it a face lift with a couch cover, target has a good selection.  Choose a neutral color and add your splash of color with pillows and a soft throw.  

The brighter the house the better it will sell, especially here in Seattle!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Staging your home to sell while living there. Part two.

This is tip #2 for staging your home (when you are living in it) to sell in this climate.  Yes, you can do it. But, you wouldn't want to live this way forever.  So, the goal here is stage to sell and sell quick, capture the buyers attention and keep it.

Tip #2:  Furniture placement and traffic patterns make an impact on your showings.  Your home needs to have an open flow of traffic, furniture should not block doorways or traffic patterns.  The potential buyer needs to be able to visually place their furniture in the space.  Create an "I want to live here" feel.  Take any excess furniture out.

Living Room:  If your entry door walks right into the living room try placing a small bench and hang a coat rack to create the feel of an entry.  Try floating the couch and chairs around a small coffee table and a rug to create intimate conversation spaces.  If you watch TV in this room and it is huge, (I know don't say it) remove it (you can do it, just think of how motivated this now makes you to sell your home quickly).  Showcase the fireplace and create a cozy spot for reading.  Think relaxing and inviting.  If your sofa or chair is old and ratty, get a cover, they make surprisingly cute ones now a days, google it.  And, get a nice soft colorful throw that compliments your decor.  Two or three brand new throw pillows add a soft layer.  

Dining Room:  The table cannot be too big or too small but just right.  Float the table to create an open feel.  Do not crowd the chairs.  If you need to, borrow a table that is just right.  There's no need to "set" the table, but have a nice center piece.  

Bedrooms:  The bed must be on a wall that is adjacent to the door (we are talking Feng Shui here).  You want to walk in and have the headboard opposite of you.  Create space on each side of the bed with a small nightstand.  Get a brand new comforter and shams, make your bed everyday.  Take out large dressers.  Look in your closets (because the potential buyer definitely will) and take out all the off season clothing, that will free up a lot of space.  If you have a walk in closet, actually being able to walk in is a huge plus.   You want to feel calm in this space and be able to walk around.  Sheers on windows soften the room.

Bathrooms:  Think spa in this room (it doesn't matter how big or small your bathroom is, it can still feel spa like).  Take off that over the toilet cabinet, unless its a nice built in unit.  If your floor isn't the greatest get a nice big fluffy rug.  Take everything off the counter (yes that includes your tooth brush, yuck).   Sometimes taking out a big vanity and replacing it with an original style that was made to fit that bath.  The photo shown did not have a rug because the beautiful hexagon subway tile was the star of this room.


Last but not least, complement your homes architecture.  To get inspiration, buy a home magazine that showcases your homes style.  If you're not sure, please consult an expert!  

 Tip #3 will be on Paint, lighting and floors.....stay tuned