Phinney Ridge Homes: Guess How Many Offers

Phinney Ridge Real Estate Bidding War Galore

Phinney Ridge homes in Seattle are hard to come by as any buyer looking in the Seattle neighborhood knows. There are bidding wars on Seattle homes in many of the hot neighborhoods including Phinney Ridge.

Looking at this Phinney Ridge Listing from the NWMLS listing data:

“Prime upper Phinney Ridge real estate! Sunny east facing 4 bedroom 2 bathroom craftsman ready for renovation. Nice entry space transitions to open living/dining room & nine foot ceilings. Large open attic with seven foot ceilings and views! Lower level has good ceiling height,an over-sized family room,2 beds and 1 full bath. An easy stroll to the Zoo,local,eateries,breweries,coffee shops of Phinney Ridge,Fremont & Ballard. Detached 1 car garage has private driveway. Easy commute to downtown.”

Cooper Jacobs Real Estate was able to sell this Phinney Ridge home located at 4806 1st Ave NW in Seattle, WA 98107. This Phinney Ridge buyer is THANKFUL this holiday season because she beat out 16 other offers.  Yes.  There were 17 offers on this Phinney Ridge home for sale. Curious about how to beat 16 other Phinney Ridge buyers in a bidding war? We have been in the trenches for a while in the Seattle real estate market and are able to offer you the tips on winning in a bidding war for a house if that is your goal.

It is interesting when you have a Seattle listing in a neighborhood where you know you are going to get multiple offers. We aren’t pricing these homes too low as some believe. There just aren’t enough of them relative to the buyers in the marketplace. Some sellers have gotten greedy under these circumstances, but most remain fair and reasonable. We have seen some take the “better” offer instead of just the “highest” offer. This is always the best course of action when it comes to the most likely way to close the property successfully. So how do you become the “better” offer when you may not necessarily have enough money or means to be the highest one? That is exactly where we come in as she has demonstrated time and time again.  *We represented the Phinney Ridge buyer in this transaction.

Hiring a Professional Buyers Agent who can get your offer in front of the pack:

We can go through the tools you will need in your arsenal to purchase a home in a seller’s market. We also happen to have brokers who are extremely personable and well liked in the industry (insider tip: if the listing agent doesn’t like your buyers agent or your buyers agent has a reputation for being difficult to work with then it will translate to it being more difficult for you to purchase a home).  We can’t stress enough how important a Realtor’s character and reputation in the industry is when it comes to representing YOU.

realestate@cooperjacobs.com

Seattle Real Estate: Interest Rates, Affordability, And What’s Next

Looking At Seattle Homes For Sale, Interest rates, and Affordability – Should You Buy Now?  Or Wait?

The fact is that interest rates on 30-year, 20-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages are some of the lowest in history.  We don’t know how they will increase over the next two years.

In discussions with friends about their plans to purchase a home I often hear them say that they would like to purchase in a year or two.  This is great news for everyone.  However, I usually try to educate them on the current advantages of low mortgage interest rates. – Cooper Jacobs Real Estate

Taking advantage of a 4% or lower loan rate can save prospective homebuyers thousands, if not over $100,000 in the amount of interest paid on the life of a loan.[1] Currently, interest rates on a 30-year fixed loan are setting at 4.02%.  That is the lowest since June 2013.[2] With the economy on track for a solid 3.5% annual growth and inflation rising, investors are beginning to dump bonds for stocks.[3] This, in turn forces financial institutions to raise the interest rates on loan products to keep a profit.

Seattle homes

The economy is no doubt on an upward trajectory.  Baring another economic disaster, the economy will continually improve and force interest rates up.  Can we predict whether interest rates will be significantly higher in 2016?  The answer is no.  However, we can say with confidence that they will be higher and when it comes to your money every dollar matters.

Current homeowners are taking advantage of these low interest rates by refinancing.  They understand the significant savings to be had by leaving their 30-year fixed rate mortgage for a new 20-year or 15-year fixed loan instead.  In fact, 44% of people who refinanced in the third quarter “ditched their existing 30-year fixed rate loan in favor of a shorter-termed 15-year or 20-year loan.  It’s the second quickest exodus from the 30-year fixed rate mortgage in recorded history…”[4]

So, instead of putting off the home buying process for another year or more, people should begin to get their feet wet.

  • Build a relationship with a local Seattle Realtor
  • Ask your Realtor for their trusted resources such as a referral for a lender.
  • Find out what kind of loan options you can qualify for and what is available.

By taking advantage of these resources you can be prepared to pull the trigger when you find a home that you love.  It should also be noted that using a Realtor that is from your neighborhood is a service that will cost you, as a potential home buyer, nothing out of pocket.  So, let a professional help you do the searching and narrow down the choices for you.  In the end, it is all about making things smooth and easy while saving money.


[1] Lisa Ward, “The Steep Cost of Not Refinancing,” The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2014.

[2] Average 30 Year Fixed Mortgage rates, http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/data/30-year-mortgage-rates.aspx

[3] The Detroit News, “U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rate up to 4.02%,” http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/personal-finance/2014/11/10/mortgage-rates-rise/18779027/

[4] Dan Green, Today’s Low Mortgage Rates Push Borrowers Away From 30- Year Loans, http://themortgagereports.com/16858/freddie-mac-refinance-report-transition-15-year-30-year-mortgage-loan

Cooper Jacobs Real Estate  realestate@cooperjacobs.com

 

 

Phinney Ridge Housing Inventory Crunch

Phinney Ridge Homes For Sale –  Exclusive Inventory:   Low inventory is still the story in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood.

Currently, according to the NWMLS, there are only five Phinney Ridge homes for sale (using the criteria area 705 and neighborhood Phinney Ridge) right now.  These homes range in price from $399,950 to $839,995 with a median list price of $499,950.  The average square footage on these is 2508 square feet.


There are 6 Pending Phinney Ridge Homes for sale that are in escrow.  This means they have not closed, but do have signed around contracts on them and have gotten past or never had an inspection contingency.  These Phinney Ridge homes range in price from $389,000 to $819,950 with a median Phinney Ridge list price of $619,475 and the average square footage is 1955 square feet.

In addition to the pending Phinney Ridge homes for sale, there is another home on Francis which is pending inspection.  It is listed for $479,900 and is 2230 square feet.

In the last month, 10 Phinney Ridge homes have closed in escrow.  These range in price from $300,000 to $867,500 with a median price of $590,000.   The average square footage on these homes was 2158  square feet.  you can see the full details for this Phinney Ridge Real Estate market update here:  Phinney Ridge Market Update 12202013

What does this data tell us? As with the rest of the year and in the early months of 2014, inventory is low and anyone interested in selling their Phinney Ridge home should reach out and please let us know how we can help.  We have Phinney Ridge buyers who are looking for homes and every home has its own unique qualities and attributes.  We are excited to learn about your property!   realestate@cooperjacobs.com

All The Single Ladies: Female Homebuyers The New Norm

A growing phenomenon. The Single Female Buyer.

With women more employed than ever, and with the average couple marrying later and bringing their own assets and properties to the relationship, women are not waiting until marriage to buy their first home.

According to the State of the Nations Housing: 2009 report, compiled by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, “social and economic trends have given women a more powerful presence in housing markets. Between 1980 and 2000, the number of households headed by unmarried women increased by almost 10 million.” The same study, however, also states that, “because women still earn less on average than men do, they are more likely to face housing problems than either married-couple households or households headed by unmarried men.”

Statistics on Women and Homeownership

  • Interestingly, single female buyers accounted for nearly twice as large a share as single male buyers for both first-time buyers (23 and 15 percent) and repeat buyers (17 and 9 percent).
  • Twenty percent of recent home buyers were single females, and 10 percent were single males.
  • More women (15.5 million) than men (11.8 million) lived alone. Among these, women were more likely than men to own their homes (56% vs. 47%).
  • About one-quarter of the nation’s nearly eight million single mothers spend more than half of their incomes on housing, compared with one-tenth of households headed by single fathers.
  • Over the time period of 1994-2002, the number of unmarried females owning homes climbed from 13.9 million to 17.5 million.

Below is a slew of articles chronicling this rapidly growing phenomenon and suggesting to you, the Single Female Buyer, what you ought to do in terms of real estate investment. My advice is from the heart: buy a home. If you can find a way to do it, especially now that we have gotten through the slump and are in a healthier economic climate, do it.  Nobody can evict you, raise your monthly housing cost, tell you not to paint the kitchen yellow, restrict your pets, etc. Because land ownership has not historically been a woman’s place, it was hard for me to find a great quote by a woman pertaining to this. But as a wise man once said, “Buy dirt, they aren’t making any more of it”. Ownership of one’s home is powerful, both financially and personally. There is nothing I love more than seeing someone become more empowered. Unless that person is trying to take my parking spot.

Sources: 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, (Chicago, IL: National Association of REALTORS®, 2010) and The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2012, (Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, 2012).

Single, female and shopping for a home, (MSN Real Estate, Jan. 29, 2013).

Guess Who’s Driving the Demand for Rental Apartments?, (CNBC, Jan. 29, 2013).

Here’s Some Advice For All The Single Ladies Flooding The Housing Market, (Business Insider, May 16, 2012)

Singles dive into the real estate market, (MSNBC, July 12, 2011).

What Women Home Buyers Want, (Builder, Jan. 14, 2011).

Women Home Buyers, a Major Economic Force in the Industry, Have a Language All Their Own, (NAHB, Aug. 23, 2010).

Single Women Home Buyers: Key to the Housing Recovery?, (AOL Real Estate, May 14, 2010).

Wanted: Single Women Home Buyers, (SmartMoney, Apr. 9, 2010).

Singles, especially women, a growing share of homebuyers, (Chicago Tribune, Feb. 28, 2010).

Women make up their mind faster when buying a home, (Inside Tucson Business, Sept. 11, 2009).

Gender differences abound in the home-buying process, (RISMedia, Sept. 1, 2009).

Single women skilled in house buying, (Washington Times, July 11, 2008).

Women homebuyers growing in number, (Ventura County Star, Jan. 27, 2008).

They’re buying solo, (Newsday.com, Mar. 15, 2007).

Singles taking stride in the home buying market, (The Hammond Times,Feb. 17, 2007).

As the Nation Changes, So Do Home Buyers, (RISMedia.com, Feb. 13, 2007).

How To Buy When You Already Own

How To Buy When You Already Own
Do you own your home or condo but want to sell it and buy something with more space, a different location, or perhaps a view?

One option is to take out a HELOC. A Home Equity Line of Credit (ask me for a lender with great programs of these right now) lets you take out a certain percentage of your home’s equity to use as a downpayment on your new home. To find out how much equity you have, contact a Realtor, like myself, to research the value of your home (it changes ALL the time). If you have a certain percentage of equity, you can qualify for a new loan. And if you’re preapproved for your new home loan, I can get the home you want to sell prepped for the market pronto!

Another option is a bridge loan. A bridge loan has some ramifications though. They generally tend to have higher interest rates and need to be paid back in a specified amount of time. It’s like a short term loan on your current property to buy a different property. It’s all about timing with a bridge loan. You can find out more about bridge loans HERE.

You can always make an offer contingent on your home selling. This is perhaps the option offering the least amount of risk. Of course with our current market today, properties are moving fast and a contingent offer isn’t as clean as an offer with a definitive close date, for example. But if are you a homeowner considering the contingent offer option, consider the right list price and a home in tip-top shape, it won’t take long to sell.

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

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”