Thursday, April 29, 2010

Q: My neighbors just sold their place.

It seemed to take a long time. Is real estate selling much at all on the Island? One of my friends told me the market was really slowing down on Vashon according to one of those Internet sites.


A: First, keep in mind that some of the Internet sites can be significantly off in their statistical analysis and even with their basic facts. Let me give you some actual statistics for the Vashon market. The truth is that home sales were up 17% in the first quarter of this year over the same time period last year. Even more interesting, April sales so far this year are up 40% over last year! Some of that had to do with the deadline for the first time homebuyer tax credit, of course, but most of it reflects buyer confidence.


We’re also seeing a return of second home buyers and investors buying rental property. That tells me that these folks are feeling optimistic about the economic recovery and feel comfortable enough with their own finances to pick up some of the bargains that are still out there.


There are some general reasons for fast or slow sales. There are often reasons why a particular house takes forever to sell. Good examples include; a very poor floor plan, a home interior that’s really out of date, poor curb appeal, or even a neighborhood eyesore nearby.


But the main reason is almost always price. In the past few weeks we’ve had several homes come on the market and sell within a couple of days. They were nice homes in good condition, but they were also perfectly priced for our current market. That’s hard to do but it sure works well. Overpriced homes will sit for months or even years.


Buyers these days are far more sophisticated than in the past. They can find out all kinds of information about a property through King County’s vast website. They should also be receiving additional analysis from their real estate brokers who can help them decide what a home is worth.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Q: My neighbors just sold their place.

It seemed to take a long time. Is real estate selling much at all on the Island? One of my friends told me the market was really slowing down on Vashon according to one of those Internet sites.


A: First, keep in mind that some of the Internet sites can be significantly off in their statistical analysis and even with their basic facts. Let me give you some actual statistics for the Vashon market. The truth is that home sales were up 17% in the first quarter of this year over the same time period last year. Even more interesting, April sales so far this year are up 40% over last year! Some of that had to do with the deadline for the first time homebuyer tax credit, of course, but most of it reflects buyer confidence.


We’re also seeing a return of second home buyers and investors buying rental property. That tells me that these folks are feeling optimistic about the economic recovery and feel comfortable enough with their own finances to pick up some of the bargains that are still out there.


There are some general reasons for fast or slow sales. There are often reasons why a particular house takes forever to sell. Good examples include; a very poor floor plan, a home interior that’s really out of date, poor curb appeal, or even a neighborhood eyesore nearby.


But the main reason is almost always price. In the past few weeks we’ve had several homes come on the market and sell within a couple of days. They were nice homes in good condition, but they were also perfectly priced for our current market. That’s hard to do but it sure works well. Overpriced homes will sit for months or even years.


Buyers these days are far more sophisticated than in the past. They can find out all kinds of information about a property through King County’s vast website. They should also be receiving additional analysis from their real estate brokers who can help them decide what a home is worth.

Q: My neighbors just sold their place.

It seemed to take a long time. Is real estate selling much at all on the Island? One of my friends told me the market was really slowing down on Vashon according to one of those Internet sites.

A: First, keep in mind that some of the Internet sites can be significantly off in their statistical analysis and even with their basic facts. Let me give you some actual statistics for the Vashon market. The truth is that home sales were up 17% in the first quarter of this year over the same time period last year. Even more interesting, April sales so far this year are up 40% over last year! Some of that had to do with the deadline for the first time homebuyer tax credit, of course, but most of it reflects buyer confidence.

We’re also seeing a return of second home buyers and investors buying rental property. That tells me that these folks are feeling optimistic about the economic recovery and feel comfortable enough with their own finances to pick up some of the bargains that are still out there.

There are some general reasons for fast or slow sales. There are often reasons why a particular house takes forever to sell. Good examples include; a very poor floor plan, a home interior that’s really out of date, poor curb appeal, or even a neighborhood eyesore nearby.

But the main reason is almost always price. In the past few weeks we’ve had several homes come on the market and sell within a couple of days. They were nice homes in good condition, but they were also perfectly priced for our current market. That’s hard to do but it sure works well. Overpriced homes will sit for months or even years.

Buyers these days are far more sophisticated than in the past. They can find out all kinds of information about a property through King County’s vast website. They should also be receiving additional analysis from their real estate brokers who can help them decide what a home is worth.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Q: My neighbors just sold their place.

It seemed to take a long time. Is real estate selling much at all on the Island? One of my friends told me the market was really slowing down on Vashon according to one of those Internet sites.

A: First, keep in mind that some of the Internet sites can be significantly off in their statistical analysis and even with their basic facts. Let me give you some actual statistics for the Vashon market. The truth is that home sales were up 17% in the first quarter of this year over the same time period last year. Even more interesting, April sales so far this year are up 40% over last year! Some of that had to do with the deadline for the first time homebuyer tax credit, of course, but most of it reflects buyer confidence.


We’re also seeing a return of second home buyers and investors buying rental property. That tells me that these folks are feeling optimistic about the economic recovery and feel comfortable enough with their own finances to pick up some of the bargains that are still out there.


There are some general reasons for fast or slow sales. There are often reasons why a particular house takes forever to sell. Good examples include; a very poor floor plan, a home interior that’s really out of date, poor curb appeal, or even a neighborhood eyesore nearby.


But the main reason is almost always price. In the past few weeks we’ve had several homes come on the market and sell within a couple of days. They were nice homes in good condition, but they were also perfectly priced for our current market. That’s hard to do but it sure works well. Overpriced homes will sit for months or even years.


Buyers these days are far more sophisticated than in the past. They can find out all kinds of information about a property through King County’s vast website. They should also be receiving additional analysis from their real estate brokers who can help them decide what a home is worth.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Q: We have a very nice rental house that we’ve had for a few years now.

We’ve always been able to get $1,500 a month for it. Our last tenant moved out in September and we haven’t had a renter since. We pay a mortgage on it and are losing both the rent we are used to getting and are now paying the full mortgage payment. We’ve had many people look at it but when we call them back they all say they’ve found something cheaper. Some have even tried to bargain us down on the rent. We really don’t want to have to lower the rent. Any suggestions?

A: Lower the rent. Rentals are not bringing in what they were a couple of years ago for the same reason that housing prices dropped. We are in a recession and all of us have taken a hit in the pocketbook as a result.

The critical thing is to get a good tenant in the house and get some cash flow. I know it seems like fifth grade math but let’s do the numbers. Let’s just say that you are paying out $1,800 per month on the mortgage, insurance and taxes. If you had rented it in October for $1,200 a month you would have had a negative cash flow of $3,600 up to the end of March after paying your mortgage payment. As it is, you’ve experienced a $10,800 short fall in that timeframe! Think about it.

You should also know that some insurance carriers will cancel your policy if they know the house has been left unoccupied. In addition, leaving a house empty can set you up for break-ins even in our relatively law abiding community.

I know it’s hard to lower the rent after having it higher for a long time but it’s better to have a good tenant in there taking care of things and paying you a reasonable rent, than having it sit empty, draining your bank account. Best of luck.