What kind of a market is this, anyway?

With news headlines that are no less constant than they are sensational focusing on housing starts, inventory, home prices, and foreclosures, it’s hard for most people to decipher just where we are on the roller coaster.  I don’t like the roller coaster mentality, because it suggests the ride has an end. Since the dawn of time, man has tried to own and control the land on which he dwells. It’s obvious there will continue to be only the same amount of that dirt which we already have, and a growing number of people to inhabit it. It doesn’t take Mark Twain to tell anyone, “Buy land, they aren’t making any more of it”. In this way, I have a hard time with the myopic attitudes of many people during what is surely a historically affordable time in the housing market. Interest rates haven’t been this low since World War 2, and many of the world’s richest men have gotten there at least in part by their investments in real estate. There are still really wonderful lenders working with buyers who have been through the credit wringer, and who have very little to no money to put down (these are private porftolio loans but they come with the same kind of amazing rates- Key Bank is a great source).  Let’s celebrate! Right?

Actually the unfortunate thing is that this housing market came yoked to a bad economy–what economists say is the worst since the Great Depression, and in some ways even comparable.  Life circumstances often outweigh market circumstances, and many people are forced to sell low after having bought higher.  Many people would buy, if they could just get a decent job. Are those people apt to look through Mark Twain’s long lense of history and feel like this downturn is a blip on the radar? Probably unlikely. Enter wave after wave after wave of short sales and foreclosure properties. We’ve seen years of this, and are we near the end? The numbers suggest a slowing but not an end anytime soon- technically and broadly speaking, property values have to return to their previous levels in order for these homes to be worth what most homeowners still owe on them.  How long will that take? Call me when you find a crystal ball.  I am already seeing prices edging back up here and there, by small increments, in select areas around Seattle (Ballard, Phinney Ridge, Bryant, View Ridge, Queen Anne, Ravenna, Greenlake, and Maple Leaf are a few locations where I’ve recently pulled information for a specific property and seen values adjust higher than last year). My guess is a few more years for us, longer for more depressed areas in the state and the country.  Because this looks to be the case, What’s called ‘Strategic Default’ (and is technically classified by the FBI as fraud) now comprises a huge portion of these foreclosures and short sale files. People who were ‘A paper’ loans (the good e credit, steady financials buyer), who are not in financial trouble necessarily, but feel that it’s a better business decision to walk away from this debt than to continue paying, not knowing how long it will take the property to regain its previous value.  Lienholders are glutted with delinquent files. It’s a mess.

My point? Buy when there’s blood in the street, as one notoriously rich real estate investor has said. If you can find a way to capitalize on this time of opportunity and focus on the options available to you as a buyer (even you, previous short-salers– if you wait 3 years post close), you will be tickled pink that we’re all sitting around talking about this being the ‘bottom’. The ground floor is always the best place to get in on something good!  What little inventory there is, is really flying off the market here in Seattle, most often with multiple offers.   The low number of homes for sale creates a strong competition among the buyers out seriously looking for a home to purchase, causing many to lose out multiple times to other higher offers. Bidding wars are de rigueur on reasonably priced homes in high-demand areas like Seattle proper.

So is it a Buyer’s Market? In the way of you getting a great deal as a buyer, yes. In the way of being able to boss the seller around and come in swinging with a really low offer- no.  These days, I like to call it a ‘Buying Market’.

What is a Buyer’s Agent?

What is a Seattle Buyer’s Agent? Do you ever wonder how this real estate stuff works when you buy or sell a home? Who pays who in a real estate transaction?


Over the years, I’ve had plenty of Seattle area buyers ask me how much my Realtor fees are if we work together. Likewise, I’ve had sellers shocked to find out what they have to pay for excise tax in our city. A seller’s net proceeds or a buyer’s closing cost worksheet are always in my back pocket to get down to an approximate number. Traditionally the commission percentage (which can vary) come from the seller’s wallet (sorry guys)…but that’s not to say there can be different scenarios.

So why am I a Seattle buyer’s agent? First of all, I absolutely love working with Seattle neighborhood buyers! And secondly I LOVE looking at Seattle homes. I listen very carefully to them. First we have to get through the NEEDS and then we talk about the WANTS. I love the satisfaction of walking into a home with my clients and they instantly fall in love with it. But more times than not, there are compromises so I’m all about letting my clients know what their options are. The permit process, the cost of remodeling, the little tweaks you can do here and there. It’s all so much fun to me and I can see the client getting excited as we proceed down the road.

The road is an exciting one too. I can probably explain the transaction process of buying or selling a home about 100 different ways depending on the client (unfortunately not in a 100 different languages because that would be really cool). Sometimes it’s a new home buyer, sometimes its an investor, and sometimes it’s a buy up or a buy down . I talk to the buyer about terms, the market, escrow, inspection, appraisal, the 21 page purchase and sale contract and specifically what to expect and what not to expect. It’s great!
The anticipation of presenting a killer offer to the seller is my favorite. Multiple offers  in hot Seattle neighborhoods don’t scare me. It’s all about making the right choices.

Are you interested in talking to me as a buyer’s agent? I’d be happy to talk to you too!

I HEART Green Lake (my ‘hood), Tangletown, Wallingford, Phinney, Ravenna and Ballard. Got car. Will travel.

molly a. cartwright | seattle realtor since 2001
cooper jacobs real estate, llc
206.841.6800
cooperjacobs.com | greenlakeloop.com
“Serving home buyers and sellers in Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods”

Sunset Hill Charmer For Sale – Beautiful Home In Ballard!

Brand New Sunset Hill Listing

2841 NW 60th St, Seattle 98107

$474,500
Located in desirable Sunset Hill close to downtown Ballard!
This special remodeled Craftsman with modern kitchen including SS appliances,gas range, cool tile back splash & counter space galore is what you have been looking for. Genuine touches throughout this updated Craftsman charmer starting w/ classic front porch, large circular floor plan, tiled gas fireplace, wood wrapped trim, oak wood floors & tiled bath.
Upstairs, you will find a third bedroom & home office.  Lovely French doors lead to sunny backyard with private deck and hot tub.
  • 4 Bedroom
  • 1 Bath
  • 2170 Square Feet
  • Built in 1922
Or check out other great Seattle homes for sale, too:

3408 NW Market Street, Seattle, WA 98107 Open House Today Until 3PM

Sunset Hill Home For Sale Open House Today

3408 NW Market St Seattle, WA 98107

(Make sure and go see this beauty today while it isn’t pouring out there!!!!!)

Sunset Hill

From the MLS Listing Marketing remarks:

Check out this modern remix of a cool Ballard classic. With 2450+ sf of living space, this 4BD home is on a quiet street w/outlook onto ship canal & beyond. The light-filled interior is essentially new construction. Sweet kitchen w/stainless gas range, Fisher Paykel fridge, Caesarstone quartz counters, patio access for BBQ’s, Grohe fixtures thruout. There’ll be no turning back once you lay eyes on your mstr retreat w/vaulted ceiling, balcony, dual sinks, & rain showerhead. This is one fine home.

$579,999
For more info on this gorgeous Sunset Hill listing:
Or check out other great Seattle homes for sale, too:

Sunset Hill View Condo!

Sunset Hill View Condo!

5615 24th Ave NW #46, Seattle 98107

$289,900

Light filled corner Ballard condo unit with open Northwest views of Olympics.  West end Ballard location in the heart of the best of Ballard.

You will love living here with bright sunny outlooks in all rooms, granite slab counter tops, SS appliances, cherry hardwood flooring, tiled bath & beautiful two sided gas fire place.

Enjoy gorgeous sunsets everyday from your private western facing corner balcony. 2nd bedroom converted from original home office/den w/ $5,000 custom built King size murphy bed

  • MLS # 270308
  • 2 Bedroom
  • 1 Bath
  • Built 2006
  • 827 Square Feet
  • Views!

If you are interested in Ballard real estate, please let us know!  Cooper Jacobs has great Ballard Realtors!  realestate@cooperjacobs.com.

Just A Few Hot In City Seattle Neighborhoods

Here’s a short analysis on the in city hot areas which includes many neighborhoods like Green Lake, View Ridge, and Maple Leaf, and Ballard.

Molly touches on Green Lake Real estate below, but I thought I would also touch on at least one other so check all of these great Seattle neighborhoods and others out on the Cooper Jacobs Seattle neighborhoods page.  (PS -One of my favorites is Ballard.   If you are interested in Ballard real estate, please let us know!  We have a great selection of Ballard Realtors who live and/or work in Ballard!)

Seller’s Market!

by Molly Cartwright Molly@CooperJacobs.com  206-841-6800

ONE month of inventory in Green Lake equates to a seller’s market, indeed.  We haven’t seen inventory this low since 2005 and ’06.  Multiple offers are definitely not unheard of.   Because the inventory is so tight, it’s keeping buyers  squirming in their seats for a solid home in some of our most attractive neighborhoods – Ballard, Green Lake, Ravenna, View Ridge, and Maple Leaf.  Translation:  It’s in-city mania.

First time home buyer, moving up, scaling down – the target price is all across the board.  A good Realtor will give you a laundry list of “to do’s” to get your home in tip top shape for hitting the market.  Savy buyers still want to see a value (who doesn’t?) and they’ll know when a house is overpriced.  Pricing will always be the pivotal strategy but if the home is clean, well staged or organized and is easy to show, the seller will see their return.

Financing is the biggest hurdle I’ve seen lately.  So make sure you’ve got your financing nailed down first and happy buying!

Seattle Area Real Estate Stats Through October 2010

Catching up with 2010 Stats so far

King County Real Estate Overall Picture Ending Oct 2010

Eastside Overall Ending in October 2010

Let’s look at some local targeted areas for a minute to see how real estate is local…

Area 705 : Ballard/ Green Lake / Greenwood  Ending 10/2010

Area 700 Queen Anne & Magnolia

Area 710 – North Seattle (Laurelhurst, View Ridge, Wedgwood, etc.)