Why Hire Me To Buy a Home When You Have The Internet?

3292307605_7f17566940_o

Let me start with a story that has nothing (and everything) to do with real estate.

A few years ago I started having heart palpitations. It was simply annoying at first, until it happened in the middle of the night and I thought I might die. I didn’t know much about it so I researched it on the internet. There were tons of articles and WebMD info about heart palpitations. It started by saying that most of the time this condition is harmless… unless it’s not… then you might die. Then it gave a list of 50 things to improve the symptoms. The list seemed to be the same for every health problem I’d ever had: reduce stress, eat better, exercise more-unless it increases the heart palpitations of course. So I went back to bed with lots of info but no clear direction.

After another night of not sleeping and more online research, I went to see my doctor. I explained my problem and her answer was that I should cut out caffeine for 2 weeks and see if that worked. To be honest, I was pissed. I took a half day off work, drove into the city, paid for parking, waited in the office, sat on the crunchy paper, had my pulse taken, turned off my phone etc. etc. for something this simple? Not ok. I told her I needed a real fix. She said…”Ok, here’s how this looks; I send you to a specialist, you go to the appointment, they do all these tests, hook you up to a machine that monitors your heart for 2 weeks, and you have to check in every couple days. But before they can start all that, they send you home with an order of no caffeine for 2 weeks.”

Aha. I understood.  She short circuited all my overthinking and personal problem solving with a clear direction. The simplicity of it was initially confusing but in reality she had seen thousands of people just like me and knew how to best help me with the least amount of pain and hassle.

My job as a Realtor is similar. Clients can access lots of online information about homes, neighborhoods, and schools all without me. They hire me because I am their advocate against information overload, helping sort out the meaningful content from the noise.  There are so many decisions to make in a transaction and it is impossible to pre-plan for all of the possible problems.  For example – when should you have a sewer scope done and when should you skip it?  What happens if there is a sewer line issue?  You might have been the winning bid, but your bargaining power is decreased when 3 other buyers are lined up in case you don’t want to buy the home.  Should you buy it anyways?  The answer is… it depends, and that is what I help clients decide.

Information is great, but it’s different than knowledge. At an average price of over five hundred thousand dollars per home in the Seattle area, it’s important to know when to have open heart surgery, and when to simply lay off the caffeine.

Sincerely,

Decaf Girl

Advertisements

October King County Market Update

We’re seeing a slight seasonal cooling in demand this month. Potential buyers should keep in mind that interest rates may not always be this low and rate increases will reduce their buying power significantly. Want to talk strategy? Give me a call!

october-2016

September Real Estate Market Update

Are you sick of all the media hype about Seattle’s real estate market? (here’s yet another article telling us that the area is growing- goo.gl/pHHGd0) Or does the 11% increase in median sold price have you wondering what your house might be worth? Whatever you’re thinking, we’re happy to help you strategize your next step. Give us a call! -Mike (206)947-9085

september-2016

8 Reasons to Dump Whistler Next Ski Season

he ocean stirsthe heart, inspiresthe imagination& brings eternaljoy to the soul

It’s time to dump your Whistler ski trip in favor of Sun Peaks, BC. (For people over 30 or who have always wanted to be).

Side note- This is a real estate blog but it’s the end of summer and everyone is on vacation, so my blog is going on vacation too. J

Sun Peaks Resort

  1. Cost of tickets and rooms – Lift tickets are $15 less per day, and rooms are 25%-30% less. Save the extra for retirement, you’re over 30 now.
  2. Snow – Remember the 2010 winter Olympics in Whistler with no snow? They should have known, it’s the standing joke. Sun peaks has dryer snow for powder days first, followed up with perfect corduroy from the groomers the next morning.
  3. All trails lead to the base– Lots of terrain with most of it ending up in the main village- more likely ski patrol will find your kids the same day.
  4. Lift lines– Whistler needs to implement the Disney fast pass if any of us are going to take more than one run. Not at Sun Peaks… I’m annoyed if I can’t slide in sideways and straight onto the chair. And who is that other person on my run?
  5. Find Your Groove– Frankly-half my time on Whistler Mountain is spent skiing around figuring out where the heck I am. I’ve spent more time on crappy cat tracks trying to get around the hill than actually skiing runs. Sun Peaks is all about the ski runs; you’re only cat-tracking if that’s your thing.
  6. Real estate– Prices you might actually be able to afford in your lifetime. Honestly, part of skiing is dreaming of owning one of the ski/in-ski/out properties. Sun peaks has them for under $500k US.
  7. Night life – Since you’re probably here to ski as your main activity, a good night’s rest is a necessity. The drunk chicks screaming in Whistler Village will wake you up at 3am. Not at Sun Peaks. Everyone is tucked in by midnight.
  8. Dogs– Bring em’-Everyone has one. They’re the new Uggs.Bolacco Caffe

9***Bonus-Secret Eats*** No Starbucks. Instead, small business owner (Conrad from Poland) making fabulous lattes and the best berry scones hot out of the oven. Best you’ve ever had. Don’t miss Bollaco Caffe’ for your morning brew.

Does having A/C increase your home’s value?

Girl talking into fan

To A/C or not to…..That is the question

Ever since we purchased our current home without A/C thirteen years ago, this conversation has been a hot topic (pun intended) for my family. I argue that for $10,000 to install the new system, we could spend quite a few nights camped out at The Westin. In fact, 5 days per year at $200 per night means we could hotel it for ten years before we were in the hole.  On the other hand, my husband claims that a good night’s sleep allows for better work days, therefore upping our overall earning power which would offset the cost.

Fueling the discussion recently, Seattle has had particularly hot summers in the past few years. Last summer saw 12 days over 90 degrees and 26 days over 85 degrees. The year before was the previous record at 22 days. Not to mention the 116 days over 70 degrees. Typically Seattle only has 10 days a year with temps over 85 degrees. With the heat climbing, I know we aren’t the only ones dreaming of A/C on another sweaty sleepless night.

So how does having A/C play into the value of your home? Here comes the tough truth… it doesn’t add value to your home.  It is a fabulous feature to market, and the buyer will be very happy to have it, but I couldn’t take the value of a home and add $10k because of the A/C.  I help folks from all over the country purchase in Seattle. The locals never assume a house has A/C, and people from the East always assume it has A/C. Either way, they don’t make their decision to purchase it, or whether it is worth the price, based on A/C.  In that moment there are too many other important considerations, mostly about location, lot size, room size/count, overall condition, schools etc.

So here is my advice. If you want to get A/C for the enjoyment and comfort of your family, go for it!! Consider it an investment in your well-being. As for us, after 13 years of discussion, we have decided to make the investment. And since we will apparently be getting a better night’s sleep, we will be extra ready to help you sell your home- A/C or not. J

Bonus Round – Ideas in case you don’t want to purchase full A/C

  1. Buy a small local unit. It’s good for one room at a time. Cost $400
  2. Once the sun goes down, open all windows and turn on fans to blow the hot air out. It usually cools down enough at night making for a natural A/C.
  3. Visit your friend who has A/C. We all have that one friend with A/C. Now seems a good time to catch up. (Give us a call if you want to come mooch off of ours).
  4. Starbucks – At $4 per coffee, the price of A/C is built in, so stay and hang out all afternoon.
  5. Movies – So cold you’ll need a sweater.
  6. Small plastic pool – for the adults. Put it in your front yard, pull up a lawn chair and put your feet in. It will give your neighbors something to talk about. If you want to give your neighbors another reason to talk, leave it there over the winter.

July Real Estate Market Update

In Seattle’s fast paced sellers’ market, the media makes it seem like all you need is a “For Sale” sign to have buyers fighting to make an offer. So why would a homeowner need a real estate agent if they want to sell? An experienced agent can help sellers maximize their property’s exposure to the market, and as a result, receive the top market value. Without this exposure, a homeowner may be selling themselves short. Do you have questions about what your property might be worth? Give me a call and I’d be happy to help you strategize. – Mike (206)947-9085

July 2016

King County Market Update May 2016

Wondering what’s going on in the real estate market? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Population growth and a healthy job market are continuing to push median home prices upward, 11.8% year over year! Absorption of inventory is over 100%, meaning there are more people wanting to buy houses than there are houses for sale. Although it can be a competitive market for buyers, low interest rates make buying a home now a solid choice. Questions about what this all means for you? Give me a call and I’ll be happy to help. -Mike (206) 947-9085

May 2016.jpg

Home buyers don’t want a stranger in their shower

Bathroom Picture.png

Exhibit A

 

My teenage son’s bathroom is a source of angst in my house. No, not from the teenager himself, but the mess left in his wake. Every day I walk past the usual basketball shorts and balled up socks on the floor. The damp towel barely clinging to the rack, deathly scared to join the shorts on the floor. The myriad of personal grooming items scattered on the counter grow in number as a new scent or 10 blade razor system is added and never used. Despite its incredible radius, most of the time I just don’t notice the mess. I call this “Selective Blindness.” My husband, however, does not have selective blindness causing much angst which we shall save for a future post, or my therapist/hairdresser Amy.

Because I don’t see his messy bathroom anymore, I figured this is what it’s like for my clients when they put their home on the market. Thankfully, my clients’ bathrooms are rarely as messy as my teenager’s. Nevertheless, clients will clean up their whole house, install new carpets, paint the walls, and declutter the kitchen, but when I go into their bathroom they still have out their razors, toothbrush and soaps out!  This is another version of selective blindness.

The most important part of making a bathroom presentation-ready is to have ALL personal items put away. Even Shampoo is a very personal item to a buyer who is in your home looking at your shower. To you, it may blend into the natural landscape of the bathroom, but all a buyer sees is the mental image of a stranger showering in their potential new home.

I understand that there’s a practical reason for having these items out. Toothbrushes and razors are used every day. Unfortunately, getting a home ready for sale means suspending some of the everyday comforts of home. Ask anyone who has eaten Teriyaki for dinner five times a week to avoid messing up their kitchen for showings – not practical. Selling your home can sometimes be stressful, but I promise that this part doesn’t have to be!

So… what to do? Don’t worry, there’s an easy solution. Get a shower caddy or basket to hold all of your bathroom items and tuck it under the sink. Pull it out when you need to use it in the morning. Before you leave for work, tuck it back under the sink and out of sight. A quick wipe of the counters and you’re done. The bathroom will stay tidy for the duration of the home being on the market with little additional effort.

Our own son will be a college kid in a few months, but I am not going to bother buying a shower caddy for him…we all know why right?

April Update for King County

Image

I was just working on our market update for this month and was struck by the fact that with 2 million people living in King County, there are only about two thousand homes available for sale … come on people time to move – Mike.

April 2016