Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Buying

The inventory of available homes in east King County is at such low levels that it's driving up home prices and frustrating buyers alike.   If you have been looking for a home lately, you may have notice two things:  The good homes sell quickly and the really low bank owned homes are next to impossible to get. 

Those bank owned deals, the ones that are so under priced, are just getting eaten up by investors and buyers looking for a great deal.   Buyer frenzy is common and the prices get driven up and you have to put in an offer way over asking price to even have a chance. 

However, during Thanksgiving week, I showed and put in a bid for a client for one.  The home had just come out this week and was in very excellent condition and should go quickly but there wasn’t a lot of activity on it even though the bid ended the day after Thanksgiving.  Still waiting back on it, but I didn’t get a sense of any frenzy.

I was talking with another agent in the office today and they had put in an offer almost $25,000 over asking price, expecting a frenzy and didn’t want to be outbid again.  The listing agent asked why they put in such a high offer and after they explained about other missed deals, she said…”Not this week” it’s Thanksgiving, not very many offers came in”. 

Moral of the story:  A great deal doesn’t take a holiday or a vacation but your competition does! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Bank Owned Weekend

Last week it seemed like all I worked on was for Condos, so if this week was to have a theme it would have to be bank owned homes.  Over the weekend I did 3 showings, all for different clients, and all the homes we saw was for bank owned properties.  Even this morning I had a phone call with questions on a property they saw on my website and even that was for a bank owned property.

Now, I haven't dealt a lot with bank owned properties, so the fact that I had three showings and a phone call in a matter of a couple days, seems a little odd to me.  If there is one thing that stood out to me regarding these properties is that you never really know what to expect.

All of them had been sitting unoccupied for some time but the conditions between them really varied.  The first one was in pretty good condition and seem like the previous owners did all they could to keep the house in good condition, whereas the other two were in very poor condition.  But there was one thing in common with all three and this was they all were really great deals.

The properties were well under market price, even if their condition wasn't the greatest, which did bring in a lot of interests from investors and regular buyers a like.  We ended up putting in offers for 2 of the clients on the properties that they saw.  For the first one, we found out that the bank was holding all offers for a particular date, so we would have to wait awhile to find out if it would be accepted, while the other one was reviewing the offers as they come in.

The craziest thing that I ran across was for one of the properties that was drawing an extreme amount of attention.  The house pretty much needed to be completely overhauled but the property itself was listed so low, that it created a frenzy.  Even though the house was in very poor condition, the location of the property was in a prime area, so I have no doubt there were a lot of investors interested in this one.

During the showing it was like an open house with people just coming and going to view the place and people were lined up and down the street waiting for their turn.  I have seen properties that got a lot of attention but little in the ways of an offer but that wasn't the case in this one.  It turned out, that this property had already received 10 offers, which had driven the offers more than 100k more than what the listing price was.  Which of course prevented my client from putting in there own offer on the place, which they wanted to do before finding out there were so many offers.

I don't really have a lesson or tip with this post, I just  thought it was interesting how in a matter of a few days that I would end up spending some time with bank owned properties, which I haven't really dealt with previously.  But if I was to give a tip regarding bank owned properties, it would have to be expect the unexpected and just go with the flow.

Chris Weaver
Keller Williams
560 Naches Ave SW #100
Renton, WA 98055

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Condos and Home Owner Associations Dues

Recently I have been working with a number of first time buyers.  Like a lot of first time buyers, they are looking at getting a condo as a way to begin the home ownership process and a good way to start building equity to help with getting that family or dream home down the road.  With rent rates on the increase, why not purchase a condo instead of renting?  It's going to cost the same, right?  Not necessarily.

Most people are aware that they need to secure financing to purchase a condo and have monthly mortgage payments; however, a lot of first time buyers are not aware that in addition to their monthly mortgage payments, there is monthly home owner association (HOA) dues.  These monthly HOA dues can reach as high as $400 or more each month, with most condominium complexes in the area ranging from $250-$350 per month.  This can really put a damper on how much you can afford for a condo.

Lets say someone was looking at their finances and decide they can afford $1,000 a month in monthly housing payments.  They fill out the mortgage calculator on their favorite real estate website and it shows they can purchase a $200,000 condo, with monthly payments of $976, after a 20% down payment.  Awesome!  That's cheaper then most apartments for rent!  So they start doing web searches and find that perfect condo.  They call up their favorite real estate agent to set up a showing of the unit.  During the showing the agent states there is a $325 monthly HOA due for this unit.  A $325 whata?  I can't afford that.  Now they have to start their search over again, except looking at $150,000 condos, which in most cases would be smaller or not as nice units.

So why do I need to pay these fee's and what are they for?

The monthly HOA dues help pay for the maintenance of the complex and to maintain the common areas on the grounds.  This helps ensure the up keep of the condos and keeps the condo complex looking nice, which in return, helps keep the property values form going down.   Part of the monthly dues may go into a fund to help pay for major projects, like replacing the roof or major pluming fixes, which individual owners don't repair themselves.  A well-managed HOA can help reduce these major repairs and possible reduce the chances of a major assessment down the road.  Also, most HOA dues include garbage and water payments, as well. 

So if you are in the market to purchase a condo, whether to live in or as an investment, be sure to review potential condo units for their HOA dues and potential other charges, like assessments, in additional to your monthly mortgage payments.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Inaugural Blog Post

Hello World!  Welcome to my very first blog post (Ever!)

To start off I thought I would share to you a little bit about myself.  My name is Chris Weaver and I am a real estate broker with Keller Williams Realty (Southeast Sound) in Renton, Washington.  I live in Renton with my wife and my 2 kids (2+ year old and a 2 month old) and this is my first blog post.

I will admit that I am a little nervous and scared with the idea of blogging.  You are probably wondering then why I would decide to set up a blog and starting writing.  I did not decide to start this blog because I fell like a great writer or that it was some kind of grand mission to conquer my fears but because I have always admired people that write blogs and that participate in the blog world.  I read a lot of blogs and they have helped me so much in getting advice and information for both my professional and personal life, so maybe I can return the favor by helping someone with my own blog.

My vision for this blog is to focus on things that pertain to the real estate market on the east side of Puget Sound.  I plan on sharing things that  I notice happening in the market on the east side, real estate news, and include some personal experiences or stories from the field. 

I sincerely hope that you will come to enjoy my blog and find it entertaining.