Listing Your Home For Sale in the Fall?

1. Demand Is Strong in Maple Valley

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase…and are in the market right now. More often than not, in many areas of the country, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy the same home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal market. This means that in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.

Historically, a homeowner would stay an average of six years in his or her home. Since 2011, that number has hovered between nine and ten years. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years due to a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

Many homeowners were reluctant to list their homes over the last couple years, for fear that they would not find a home to move to. That is all changing now as more homes come to market at the higher end. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler, as buyers know exactly what they can afford before shopping for a home. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time needed to close a loan is 43 days.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up. There is currently ample inventory for sale at higher price ranges. This means if you’re planning on selling a starter or trade-up home and moving into your dream home, you’ll be able to do that in the luxury or premium market.

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.2% over the next year. If you’re moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to these questions. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. That is what is truly important.

Courtesy The KCM Crew

Excited About Buying a Home in the Greater Maple Valley Area This Year?

As we kick off the new year, many families in the Maple Valley area have made resolutions to enter the housing market in 2019. Whether you are thinking of finally ditching your landlord and buying your first home or selling your starter house to move into your forever home, there are two pieces of the real estate puzzle you need to watch carefully:     Interest Rates & Inventory

 

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for much of 2018, but they made a welcome reversal at the end of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.94% in November before falling to 4.62% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week. Despite the recent drop, interest rates are projected to reach 5% in 2019.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal & interest payments between $2,020-$2,050/month:

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With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000).

Inventory

A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 3.9-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 81 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last six months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, since June, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

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This is a trend to watch as we move further into the new year. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, make sure that you have an experienced Maple Valley area agent who can help you navigate the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory.

 

Courtesy: KCM

 

Seven Tips For Picking a Great Real Estate Agent

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Real-estate agents promote themselves with yard signs, online ads, direct-mail postcards and even sponsored public benches. So cutting through the advertising hype and finding the right agent can be tough.

“We don’t have the information (about real-estate agents) that we have about other service professionals,” says Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America.

Still, there are ways to size up an agent’s record — and potential. Check out these seven ways to find a great real estate agent, whether you’re buying or selling a home.

  1. Talk with agents’ recent clients

Ask agents to provide a list of what they’ve listed and sold in the past year, with contact information.

With past clients, “I’d like to know what the asking price was and then what the sales price was,” says William Poorvu, adjunct professor emeritus at Harvard Business School and co-author of “The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decision-Making and Investment.”

If you’re selling, ask whether the previous properties were similar to yours in price, location and other key features, Poorvu says. You want someone who specializes in what you’re selling.

Another good question for sellers to ask: How long were the homes on the market?

  1. Check for license and disciplinary actions

The states license and discipline real-estate agents. Check with the Washington state Department of Licensing to find out whether an agent you’re considering is licensed or has any disciplinary actions or complaints. Information is online at www.dol.wa.gov/business/checkstatus.html.

  1. Ask about professional awards

Peer-given awards count says Ron Phipps, a past president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). One that really means something is “Realtor of the Year,” which is awarded by the state or local branch of the NAR.

“These agents are the best as judged by their peers,” Phipps says. “That’s a huge endorsement.”

  1. Select an agent with the right credentials

Doctors have specialties, and so do real-estate agents, many of whom get additional training in particular areas. The alphabet soup after an agent’s name can indicate that the agent has taken classes in a certain area of real-estate sales. Some of the designations include:

  • CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Completed additional training in handling residential real estate.
  • ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative): Completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions.
  • SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.

If the agent calls herself a Realtor with a capital R, that means she’s a member of the NAR.

“The most important thing you get (by hiring a Realtor) is an agent who formally pledges to support the code of ethics,” Phipps says.

  1. Find out how experienced an agent is

A state licensing authority often can tell you how long an agent has been in business. Or, you can ask the agent directly. “If they haven’t been in business five years, they’re learning on you and that’s not good,” says Robert Irwin, author of “Tips & Traps for Negotiating Real Estate.”

Ultimately, what you want is someone who is actively engaged in a particular area and price range. You’ll want an agent to demonstrate knowledge of the area and homes in your price range.

  1. Look at the agent’s current listings

Check out an agent’s listings online, says Brobeck, of the Consumer Federation of America. Places to look include the real-estate agency’s website and sites such as Realtor.com, which offer a searchable online database of properties in the multiple listing service.

Most buyers start their search online, and you want an agent who uses that tool effectively. “A key thing is an attractive presentation on the web,” Brobeck says.

Look at how closely the agent’s listings mirror the property you want to buy or sell. Are they in the same area? Is the price range similar? Does the agent have enough listings to indicate a healthy business, but not so many that you’d be waiting days for him or her to return your call?

  1. Gauge the agent’s knowledge of the area

A good agent should know about other properties that are available in the area, Irwin says. Mention a house in your area that recently sold or is for sale.

If the agent knows the property and can give you a few details, that means he or she really knows your area, he says. “You want someone like that, who’s on top of the market.”

Courtesy: Dana Dratch

 

Maple Valley – Music In The Park

Just one of the many reasons we love the community we serve … Hope to see you there!  2018MusicintheParkLedger_Page_1

Each summer Maple Valley celebrates summer with a series of FREE Music in the Park concerts at beautiful Lake Wilderness Park’s natural Amphitheatre. This highly acclaimed series brings some of the best northwest musical talents to our Park on several Thursday evenings throughout August. The family-oriented concerts are a great way to spend a summer evening and families are encouraged to come and enjoy the music and some delicious food.  Concessions including grilled hot dogs & hamburgers will be available for purchase.

(Please leave those adult beverages at home, alcohol is not allowed in the Park)

Maple Valley Days 2018

The weekend we’ve all been waiting for – something for everyone!  Hope to see you!

http://www.maplevalleydays.com/

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Maple Valley – Tahoma Levy Passing

Tahoma EP&O levy passing

The April 24 Educational Programs and Operations levy is passing, according to results released by King County Elections. The initial vote count showed the levy passing with a “yes” vote of 60.99 percent. Since then, the “yes” percentage has increased to 63.77. Additional vote counts will be released each day at 4 p.m. but the results are not expected to change.  Thank you, voters!

THS

Maple Valley Home Search – Big or Small?

small homeWhen it comes to homes, the popular credo is that bigger is better. More square feet = a larger slice of the American dream, right?

Not necessarily. For one, bigger homes obviously cost more, and oversized McMansions can be harder to sell. As such, you’ll want a home that’s neither too big nor too small. But how do you strike that balance?

Here are five questions to ask yourself that will help you determine how much space you really need

 

1. Is this my ‘forever’ home, or is ‘right now’ good enough?

While you can’t predict the future (darn those unreliable crystal balls), it is possible to evaluate the likelihood you might be moving in coming years. If so, then maybe you don’t need to buy that perfect “forever home” where you’ll grow old; maybe a “right now” home is good enough.

2.  What will my income look like later?

If you’re early in your career, odds are decent that your income will increase over the years. Or, if you’re reaching the end of your career, you may be looking at flattened or declining income. In either case, it’s never a good idea to get a mortgage at the max of what you can afford; it’s better to go small and have some wiggle room.

Also, remember more space means more time and money spent on upkeep and maintenance, more rooms to fill with furniture, and higher utility bills to heat and cool the home.

3.  What are my priorities?

Another question to consider is what you’ll use all that space for—and be honest: While you might dream of hosting epic dinner parties in that big formal dining room, will you really? Can you say with certainty that your in-laws will descend on you during the holidays and need a guest bedroom to crash in, or might they be just as comfortable in a nearby Airbnb?

Aside from justifying what you’ll use each space for, ask yourself what you’re giving up. If you dream of having a secret “travel fund” so you can see the world, that may be possible only with a smaller mortgage (and house). Or, perhaps you value things other than space, like school district or a walkable location. So make sure to factor in those variables, too—and make sure you aren’t sacrificing them for space you don’t need.

4.  How much space do I want from my own family members?

If you absolutely must have privacy—to, say, get work done in a home office or chill out in your man cave—then that extra square footage may be well worth the money. But if you’re more the type who loves having their family members nearby, a large home gives people plenty of alone time … sometimes too much.

5.  Does this home feel spacious even if it doesn’t have much space?

Keep in mind that even small homes can feel spacious purely based on an open floor plan and lots of light. Meanwhile, large homes can still feel cramped if they’re dark or poorly laid out. So, when shopping real estate listings, know that the little number next to square footage may not tell the whole story.

 

Courtesy: Julie Ryan

 

Almost Time to Spring Forward!

spring forwardDaylight saving time begins this Sunday, March 11, at 2:00 a.m. And yes, this is the one where you lose an hour of sleep. But don’t fret! That means you gain one more precious hour of sunlight at the end of the day to beat those end-of-winter doldrums.

So don’t forget to set any clocks that aren’t on a smart device ahead one hour before heading to bed Saturday night. And get ready to have your microwave display the wrong time for the next 8 months because you don’t want to break out the instruction manual.   🙂

Daylight saving time may not be the most thrilling day on your calendar, but the practice is celebrating it’s 100th birthday this year.

It was first enacted by the federal government as a way to save coal during World War I in the spring of 1918 and was only meant to exist during wartime. The practice was technically ended later that same year, but many regions continued to follow it until eventually, the government put the measure back in place in 1966.

The next major change came in 2007, when the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is surprisingly in charge of the practice, expanded daylight saving time to encompass about 65% of the year.

States have the final say on if they participate, though. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not — the latter because it receives so much sunlight already.

And there is your “Friday Fun Fact”

 

Seven Bathroom Remodel Ideas That Really Pay Off

extraordinary-elegant-bathroom-interior-design-ideas-spa-like-bathroom-xGood bathroom remodel ideas aren’t just about saving you money. They’re about helping you start your day off right.

Let’s get real: The first room you stumble into in the morning—bleary-eyed, dazed, and yawning—should be a soothing oasis. A bathroom that achieves those lofty heights? That’s a bathroom you can love. That’s why these most special of rooms are second only to kitchens as the areas homeowners eagerly spend time and money renovating—and that catches a buyer’s eye when you’re trying to sell.

Bathroom Remodel Ideas: Where To Begin

But exactly which upgrades are the best, in terms of both usefulness and return on investment? Do you need to start knocking down walls and renovate the entire room, or you can you start smaller?

Reglaze – Don’t Replace The Tub

It’ll cost thousands between the tub and the installation. Instead, have the tub reglazed for “around $1,500,” which will make it look brand new. And, if the shower area “is in decent shape,” it’s best to concentrate on the front part of the bathroom, which “sets the tone for the space.”

Invest In A New Sink

Face washing, teeth brushing, gerbil bathing—your sink sees a lot of use. It’s also the very first thing a buyer notices in a bathroom.   Step 1 for getting the most bang for your buck is a new contemporary sink.  It will set you back a few hundred dollars and make all the difference.   Just note whether the bathroom sink you already have is an undermount (where the edge is below the countertop to create an uninterrupted surface) or overmount (where the sink lip comes up over the countertop).  An undermount can be difficult to remove unless it’s under a formica top. If the sink is adhered to the surface, the top will also have to go, which quickly drives up the cost. One easy and dramatic sink upgrade, for an inexpensive bathroom remodel, is replacing separate hot and cold faucets with a sleek single-handle faucet that starts at $70.

Go For Timeless Tile

Bathroom remodel ideas in general should appeal to a broader range of people and provide better return on investment, natural stone is hot, selecting neutral styles for this reason. Pricey stones are taste-specific, and can give a busy look that’s a turnoff regardless of expense.   In fact, one of the biggest issues buyers consider when making offers is the cost of redoing other people’s “bad choices.” So go for crowd-pleasing features such as bright white subway tiles, which run a mere 21 cents each. The payoff?   You can add $10,000 of value to your home by selecting timeless elements that won’t date it.

Upgrade Your Lighting

It’s not just Snow White’s evil stepmother and the Kardashians who spend lots of time staring into the mirror on the bathroom wall. For most of us, lighting and lighting fixtures are critical elements.   Dated light fixtures are a turnoff, and for no more than $100 you can buy a basic but nice bathroom light fixture.

Install A Double Vanity

The last thing you need in the morning is a battle with your partner over who gets the sink.  A double vanity typically costs between $200 and $800, with installation falling around $220 —and it’s a wise investment when you’re undergoing a bathroom remodel.

Swap In New Fixtures

Old materials such as bronze can instantly date your bathroom.  To knock out this easy DIY update, simply purchase new door handles, drawer pulls, and towel bars for a bathroom remodel that’s quick, easy, and inexpensive too. A nice chrome drawer pull can cost as little as $3, while a towel bar can average $30.

Get A Water-Saving Toilet

This may not sound like a bathroom remodel idea that will do much—it’s just the toilet! But beyond updating the look of the room, a toilet replacement could save you some serious green. Old toilets use 6 gallons of water per flush, gobbling up about 30% of all residential water in U.S. homes. Go green when you swap out your throne. New WaterSense models using only 1.28 gallons per flush (e.g., TOTO’s Carlyle II 1G toilet) conserve up to 18,000 gallons of water annually. The initial cost of $974 will shave more than $110 per year off a water bill and add up to almost $2,200 over the lifetime of the toilet. Bonus: The latest water-saving thrones actually work.

Article Courtesy:  Margaret Heidenry

 

 

Maple Valley – Legacy Site

Hey Maple Valley! Do you know what the Legacy Site is?

This is a 50-acre parcel of undeveloped land right across Maple Valley Hwy from Rock Creek Elementarylegacy. In 2016 a task force was developed in order to help decide the future use of the land.

The group meets this Thursday, February 8, 2018, and the public is welcome to join! Check out the City of Maple Valley for more information on what to expect!!