If you’re thinking about selling your home, there is a lot to consider. Timing is everything, and so is a kick-ass marketing strategy! Part of that includes staging your home in a way that appeals to a wide audience of prospective buyers. In this video, we take you on a walk through tour of our newest condo listing before + after home staging. Click the play button down below to see for yourself!
May 21, 2020 List price: $339,000
Virtual Tour Link: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=N1F2XvaZKST firstname.lastname@example.org
Get Connected! www.h2homesnw.com
Staging by: Eden Home Staging https://edenhomestaging.com/
Photography + Matterport Virtual Tour by: Evan Parker https://www.evanparkerphotography.com/
The most commonly asked question we get as Real Estate Agents: How’s the market doing? We dive deep into the numbers in this week’s video. We talk about Buyer demand, decreased inventory and what that means for you as a Seller and a Buyer.
In March of 2020, the median home value was almost $770,ooo! This home value continues to rise, and homes listed at this price don’t stay on the market for long. Watch this video to find out what you get for that price tag in Seattle!
We put out a new video on our YouTube Channel, H2HomesNW. It’s packed full of valuable info.
As real estate agents, we work with a lot of first time home buyers. One common thread among them are the questions they ask… and the ones they don’t. Some of those important questions include:
- How much of a down payment do I need?
- What are closing costs?
- How much does a real estate agent cost?
- BONUS TOPIC: What the heck is earnest money?
We’ll answer all of those questions in this blog post:
You did it! You’ve made the decision to buy a house. You want it to happen. You’re tired of renting, and you’re ready to own something of your own. It’s going to happen.
Buying a home, whether it’s the first time or the third time, can be a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. Hiring the right real estate agent can make the difference between a relatively smooth transaction or one that leaves you frustrated and discouraged. As real estate agents, we meet a lot of people at open houses. This is usually where we meet the majority of our first-time home buyers. While we share our information with everyone interested in having a conversation, we also understand that not all of those conversations will turn into future client relationships. Some personalities will gravitate towards us, and some won’t – but that’s ok! In fact, that’s what makes our specific client relationships so unique to us. We’re not salespeople. We’re relationshippeople. And the clients we work with will connect with us in ways that are rooted in trust, knowledge and honesty. We invite Buyers to get to know us and ask questions in a Buyer’s meeting. Typically, our buyers meetings are more robust than what we can cover in a blog post, but for the sake of scratching the surface and hitting some really important key topics, let get started.
Let’s start by talking about Agency.
Why do I even need a real estate agent? Why can’t I just find a house on my own?
If you find a house on your favorite real estate website, chances are, the seller of that house is represented by a Listing Agent. If you contact that listing agent to purchase that home, they CAN legally represent you. BUT! They already work for the Seller, and their legal duty of loyalty and confidentiality ALSO already belong to the Seller. Buying a home is a significant moment in your life that comes with significant financial and legal responsibilities, having an agent whose priority is your best interest and only your best interest is essential.
Ok, great, as a buyer, how much will it cost to work with an agent?
That’s an excellent question, usually, when the Listing Agent and the Seller discuss how to market that home, they also discuss agency fees. In WA State, most of the time, the Listing Agent will offer half of their agency fees to any Buyer’s agent who brings an offer. That is where we come in. That’s how we get paid.
So what you’re saying is, as a buyer, hiring an agent to represent me ensures that I have someone advocating for my best interests but it doesn’t cost me anything, right?
Correct. In fact, the opposite is true. It will likely cost you money as a Buyer if you choose to be represented by the Listing Agent, instead of hiring a Buyer’s Agent.
So, as an Agent, what would you say is an important aspect within our role that you bring to the table for your clients?
As a Buyer’s Agent, it’s our job to make sure that our clients are well educated in the process and the market, are well prepared to make an offer, and it’s important that our buyer’s feel confident to allow us to negotiate that offer on their behalf. And once we are under contract it is then my job to help navigate the closing process.
Let’s say, for the sake of this situation, I’m a first time home buyer. I want to make an offer on a home. How much do I need for a down payment?
That’s actually a great question. We delve deeper into this during a Buyer’s meeting, and we always recommend that one of the first steps in searching for a home involves sitting down with a Mortgage Lender to better understand your budget. That being said, for most buyers, having a minimum of 3-5% for a down payment is required.
Ok, that makes sense. So a down payment that I’m comfortable with, plus the remainder amount that I owe for the total price. Is that all the financials I’m responsible for?
That is ALSO a great question, and one that is often missed from first time buyers. Yes, there are what is called Closing Costs. They are additional expenses that the Buyer is typically responsible for. Those can include Origination and Lending Fees, Title and Escrow Costs, and prepaids: Things like prepaid insurance, prepaid taxes, prepaid interest and even utilities. Those costs are generally around 1-4% depending on if you take out a loan and what kind of loan you have taken, sometimes upwards of 5% if you are buying down an interest rate, but this conversation should really be had with a lender.
One last question to address. What the heck is Earnest Money?
In the simplest of terms, think of Earnest Money like a deposit that is applied to the cost of the home at closing. This can be part of your down payment. Having an Earnest Money deposit not only strengthens your competitive offer, but it displays the level of your commitment and interest in purchasing the home. It’s a lot harder to walk away from a transaction when you are already financially invested. On average, the amount for that Earnest Money in Seattle varies from 1-3% of the purchase price for the home you want.
As a buyer, if I want to walk away from the transaction, is that money refundable?
If the appropriate contingencies are in place in the contract to protect the buyer and their earnest money, then yes. This is another huge reason to work with an agent who will work for your best interests.
We provide more information and a deeper understanding of these topics and more when Ashli and I host Buyer Meetings. We can send you our Buyer Presentation if you click the link shown here. We’ll have it down below in the description, in case you missed it. It doesn’t cost you anything to get this, and we promise not to flood your inbox with a bunch of unwanted emails. We offer this because buying a home is a really big decision, and it’s helpful to you, The Buyer, to have an informed starting point.
We’re always happy to chat! Until next time, stay healthy and happy.
-Joe and Ashli
With various restrictions in place within the Real Estate market, we had to get creative in the way we frame out business. Switching gears from in-person to virtual was a bit of a challenge at first, and then it dawned on us: YouTube. EVERYONE is on the internet right now, so why not use this vast, magical place as a tool?! It’s not just staying connected via Facebook. It’s about sharing information and being relatable. It’s about sharing moments of hope, positivity and a little bit of sunshine to the people we care about in our communities. So, without further adieu, here’s our latest video about Curb Appeal on a budget:
The theme for today is Inspiration! We put a poll up on our IG Stories over the weekend, and many of you have asked, “How can I improve the curb appeal of my home on a budget?” We have so many ideas for you! Stick around to the end of the video for an awesome giveaway on today’s topic.
Before we get into that, we wanted to share some good news! Because we have dogs, we go on long walks in our neighborhood and have watched the Free Little Libraries turn into Free Little Food Banks. We were so inspired by this. If you have these in your neighborhood, we encourage you to participate. A small donation like canned vegetables or a box of pasta can make a huge difference in your neighbor’s life. If you don’t these in your neighborhood, and you DO have extra shelf stable items in your pantry, consider donating to your local food bank. We recently learned that Food Bank Organizations have special agreements with grocery stores and are able to purchase food at lower price points. What does THAT mean? That means if you have the means to support them, rather than buying groceries to gift, donating money will have a greater impact on the community than purchasing new items yourself.
Let’s get into today’s topic: Curb Appeal on a budget!
There are many small improvements that can make a big difference in the exterior appearance of your home. We want to help you get started, so here are some examples from our own front yard, and those of some our friends and neighbors to kick this off.
First off – what is curb appeal? It’s the first impression of the exterior of your home. When we’re out living normal lives, traveling to and from the office and resuming busy life as usual, we tend to forget about the little nuances like weeds, gardens and even the condition of our fence. If you have some extra time on your hands – and let’s face it, most of us do, and you’ve got the willingness to put in some sweat equity, then this video is for you!
Example #1: Ashli and I spent the better part of last week upscaling a medium size patch of unused front yard space. It’s north facing, which means we needed to treat the soil and replant hardy foliage to make a shade garden because it doesn’t get much sun. Full disclosure, this was more work than we anticipated, so give yourself some time and grace to get these projects done. Slow and steady wins the race, especially if you’re not a master gardener. We certainly are not! After several days of pulling out stones the side of our fists, and churning natural soil with fresh, lightweight mulch, we planted a variety of ferns, hostas and azaeleas to brighten up this space. With mulch and new plants, this project cost us about $100 and was well worth the sore muscles we felt during this adventure!
If you’re working in a small space without much dirt, consider above ground planters, like these, from Wayfair. One of these pots costs around $30- $40 dollars and is perfect for updating a small outdoor space like a porch or entryway. Do some research when it comes to which plants grow best in full or partial sun, or if you don’t get much sun at all, a shade garden is your best option! If you’re working with a micro-budget and don’t need to see instant results, a pack of seeds will cost you a few dollars, as opposed to $4-$6 per plant start.
Small spaces are the perfect fit for small pots and succulents, as well. You can easily repurpose old planter pots by giving them a fresh coat of paint, even if it’s just a shiny clear coat to make them look new. A can of spray paint is around $8 and gives you endless possibilities. Just make sure the paint you choose is weather proof or you’ll end up with a wet color ring after the first rain. I learned that the hard way about a month ago.
Not quite ready to start a garden? Consider some exterior window treatments. Our friend had some additional wood planks from a recent deck renovation and decided to repurpose that wood to create faux shutters. A little sanding and a can of paint will put this project under $50 if you already have the wood to begin with. If not, set a realistic budget for lumber and stick to it! Pre-Measurements and having a game plan in order will help avoid mistakes and frustration.
Let’s get to that sun-beaten fence, now… Realistically, wood fences are eventually going to weather from sun exposure and need to be replaced or repainted. In the meantime, restaining a fence is easy and inexpensive! A can of stain is roughly $8-$9, so depending on the size of your fence, you can easily re-do this improvement project for less than $100!
Not sure where to start? Here are a few examples just from our friends and neighbors who have taken to the dirt and become reacquainted with their shovels. What inspires you? Do you love happy colors and are looking to brighten up your yard? Flowers sound like your jam. Maybe you’re looking for green foliage that is both long lasting and low maintenance! Look into evergreen varieties like ferns, which grow really well in shade and continue to grow gorgeous and green all year in the PNW.
Hopefully this is enough inspiration to get you started, and we want to help you kick off your next yard work project. Leave a comment below, or find our latest Yard Work post on our Instagram page. Subscribe to our Youtube or Instagram channel and leave a comment to enter. Tell us what curb appeal project you want to start, which project inspires you, or when you plan to get started. We’ll draw one winner from your submissions and we’ll announce you in our next video! You must be a local WA State Resident to enter the contest, but we’d still love to hear from you, even if you’re out of state!
As always, we love to hear from you, and we’re happy to answer your questions! Drop us a comment below, send us an email, find us on IG. We’re always here to chat! Til next week, happy days are ahead. Stay healthy and stay home!
Where do we even begin with this post? In an age of technology, human connection is a necessity. We consider it a gift to be able to disconnect from the internet, from our phones, and from the daily digital overloads so many of us experience, in order to be present with the people in our lives. And yet, given the unique and unforeseen circumstances beyond what the majority of global citizens ever expected would happen in their lifetimes… here we are: On the internet. In just a few short weeks, all of our in-person, travel to the office, drop the kids at school, morning commute, gym routine, happy hour, vacation destination lives have drastically changed in a mandatory, temporary stay-at-home order from the Governor of WA State. Inhale… Exhale…
We have been busy working from home, as so many others have been. However, rather than hosting Open Houses, touring with our clients, and having coffee shop meetings with Buyers, we have been busy navigating this unique circumstance as it relates to the real estate industry. Through email, phone calls and texts, the same question appears in our Inboxes almost daily:
What does this mean for the real estate market?
Our incoming information changes weekly, if not daily. In the spirit of transparency, it is impossible for us to make predictions as Brokers. To do so would be potentially dangerous, and we’re not in the business of sharing misinformation. That being said, Matthew Gardener, an economist for the Real Estate Industry (specifically Windermere) has been sharing valuable insight as to what we can expect in the coming months as normal life resumes.
Every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market. This week he discusses what it really means for the economy and housing to be in a COVID-19 induced recession (hint: it's not all bad news).
Posted by Windermere Economics on Monday, March 30, 2020
Matthew has published a series of video blogs recently, on Mondays with Matthew, in which he analyzes and dissects valuable information based on the statistics and records of the economy prior to, and throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic. He speaks to the state of our housing market prior to this outbreak, noting that there weren’t red flags or concerning economic markers which would otherwise suggest any sort of immense economic downturn in real estate. Relatively speaking, our economy was very strong as we headed into Spring 2020. For that reason, Matthew suggests that the housing market is likely to remain consistent and homes will be in demand as we come out of our Quarantines.
In this particular video post this morning, he suggests that the supply for housing is not likely to rapidly increase, as has been speculated upon due to foreclosure, but will remain rather low as it has been in recent years. That number is not likely to match the demand for such housing, as new construction for homeownership is slow to produce and the number of buyers continues to increase. He goes on to state that as we come out of this and head back into business, buyer demand will continue to increase, as investing in real estate is seemingly safer than the stock market at the moment.
We are privileged to live in a state with a growing metropolitan city and a housing market that is both consistent and stable. Yes, we realize this situation has the potential to change drastically and quickly, but for the time being, we still see consistent numbers. While we currently have to operate within the confines set in place by our Government, we understand that it’s crucial to the public health and safety of our communities that we do so. For our business, that means virtual meetings, appointment-only showings and limitations to the number of clients we are able to tour with. This is not impossible by any means, and we are taking extra precautionary methods to ensure you and your families stay safe and healthy.
To our clients who want or need to buy or sell a home in the coming months, we are here to help. We offer virtual tours of homes you’re interested in as a preliminary screening of sorts. This allows us to view homes and limit the amount of time you’re away from your own. At this time, we are encouraging our clients to continue noting properties of interest, and sharing that information with us so that we can pre-screen listings in your favor. For our sellers, we are inviting you to begin the conversation with us as to what it means to list your home in the current market. We have ideas, suggestions and work-arounds on a case-by-case basis. Regardless whether you are in the market to buy or sell, we will remain open and transparent with you on all pertinent information where Covid-19 relates to real estate. Beyond that, we are “Business as unusual” and working hard to ensure positive outcomes as this unfolds in real time.
To our communities as a whole, we miss you, we care about you and we can’t wait to reconnect in the (hopefully!) near future as we come out of this safe and healthy.
Joe and Ashli
We are bringing you an update as to whom and which businesses (and workers) have been deemed “Essential” for the time being, as it pertains to the Real Estate Market here in Seattle. In order to ensure transactions of buying and selling homes can continue to operate and close in a timely manner, here is the statement from Gov. Inslee of businesses permitted to operate:
While real estate activities along with mortgage lending activities have been approved as essential activities under the Proclamation, such activities shall only be permitted under the following restrictions and limitations:
- In-person meetings with customers are prohibited except when necessary for a customer to view a property or sign necessary documents;
- No real estate open houses shall be permitted;
- Property viewings, inspections, appraisals, and final walk-throughs shall be arranged byappointment and limited to no more than two people on site at any one time, exercising
social distancing at all times; and
- Except for the limited exceptions authorized above, all new real estate listings shall befacilitated remotely.
To that end, it is permissible to engage in real estate sales, as appraisers, settlement agents and escrow officers, property inspectors, mortgage loan originators, processors, and underwriters, and other necessary office personnel including IT professionals, and back office staff necessary to maintain office operations, along with those government workers necessary to review real estate excise tax and record documents.
All real estate and mortgage activities must meet social distancing and appropriate health and worker protection measures before proceeding.
Every relationship first begins as an introduction. I’m a handshaker or a hugger, depending on the other person’s preference. Ashli is definitely a hugger, but understands that she may be unique in that preference. Nonetheless, it’s important to us that you feel comfortable and at ease upon our introduction.
I’m Joe Haglund – Real Estate Broker for Windermere in the Wall St. office downtown in Seattle. My wife and business partner, Ashli Haglund, is a Broker at the same office. We work both together and independently for our clients; buyers and sellers alike.
This blog will contain pertinent market updates, news and helpful tips/ information regarding all things real estate and all things Seattle.
We’re excited to join you on this adventure and we look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise in real time.
Joe & Ashli Haglund