October 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report

 

September Home Sales Slow Amid Strong Prices, Low Inventory

September became the fifth month this year to post a decline in home sales compared to a record-setting 2016, while marking the 71st consecutive month of rising sale prices year-over-year, according to the October RE/MAX National Housing Report.

Joining August, July, April and February, September home sales dropped 4.2% year-over-year in the report’s monthly analysis of housing data in 54 metro areas. Going in the opposite direction, the Median Sales Price increased to $225,000. Though the lowest price since March, it was 2.3% higher than September 2016. The last month when home prices did not increase year-over-year was October 2011.

Read the full article in RE/MAX’s newsroom

Watch the 40 second summary video on YouTube

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Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for September 2017

6 Easy Ways to Boost Curb Appeal

The exterior of the home counts big for creating first impressions. Here are a few things you can do to enhance the curb appeal to your listing:

1. Paint colorful flowers.

Adding colorful flowers, like yellows or pinks, to your landscaping can be the pop of color needed to attract buyers. Visit the local nursery or garden center to learn which varieties are the most hardy for where you live.

2. Freshen up the mailbox.

The mailbox counts too in adding curb appeal. Consider a new mailbox, or try to save the old one with a fresh coat of paint. Add new numbers to the box to spruce it up too.

3. Pressure wash.

Driveways can develop oil stains and a deck can show some wear and tear. To remove pesky stains, power wash the deck and driveway to get them clean.

4. Add lighting to walkways.

Beckon buyers to the front door by adding lighting to the path to the door. This will also create a clean border along your walkway. Select solar-powered LED outdoor lights, which don’t require any wiring, to brighten up the exterior pathways.

5. Revisit the front door.

Invest in a new door if the current one is looking too old and dingy. A fresh coat of paint may help improve an existing one, if a new door isn’t in the budget. Consider a new color, like red. Also, replace the hardware, like the doorbell and locks, to give the front door a fresh new look.

6. Repaint the shutters.

Painting the entire house may not be in the budget, but sellers can still make a big impact to the exterior by painting just the shutters. They might even want to consider changing up the color to boost their curb appeal.

Source: “Foolproof Upgrades That Will Instantly Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal,” Cheetsheet.com

Moving with pets? How to ease their anxiety on moving day

Moving comes with many emotions for both you and your pets – from the excitement of a new city, new house, or both, to sadness for leaving a place you’ve called home. Moving is emotional for many reasons, and your pets pick up on how you feel. Here are some tips to keep your pets comfortable and confident during the moving process, and ultimately make it easier for you, your pets and your family.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

It’s important to take care of yourself during your move. Pets pick up on their family’s energy and can sense if you’re upset, frustrated or anxious. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, make sure to take a breath and relax, because your pets will do the same!

Safety First!

The worst thing that can happen during a move is realizing that your pet has slipped out unnoticed in all the commotion. With you and helpers coming in and out of the house, and all of the noise associated with moving, pets can easily become distressed.

To allow yourself to concentrate on moving and to keep your pet safe and secure, perhaps the best option is to have a family member or friend take your pet to their house during move-out day. If there isn’t someone close by that can pet sit for the day, consider doggie daycares and boarding facilities.

If neither of those options will work for you, consider giving your pets their own space in the house, and closing the door with a “Do Not Enter” sign, especially if you have movers helping you. If you can’t designate a room, consider a crate to keep your pets safely out of the way and unable to escape when you aren’t looking.

A Busy Pet is a Happy Pet

Do your best to keep your pets busy and help them forget all of the hubbub going on around them. Consider turning on a TV or radio, giving them toys to play with, or propping them up near windows to look outside.

Keep Up Their Routine

Pets thrive when routines are maintained, so it’s important to keep feeding and walking times the same during your move. This gives some normalcy to an otherwise anything-but-normal situation. Signaling to your pets that what they have come to count on won’t change is a great way to keep them feeling confident and comfortable.

Hardwood Flooring – DIY or Go with a Pro?

If only life were like HGTV. Rooms would be transformed in 30 minutes. Debris would magically disappear. And all the work would be done by model-quality contractors. Reality can be much different – especially when it comes to installing hardwood floor.

If you’re ready to update your flooring, here are some considerations to help you decide if DIY or hiring a pro is the way to go.

What type of floor do you want?

Laminate flooring, like Pergo, can be fairly easy to install on your own. These boards arrive pre-finished and install without nails or glue. Real wood is not only more expensive, but much more difficult to install. Your decision to hire a contractor might depend on how much you can afford to spend fixing mistakes (after the cost of materials).

Are you comfortable with power tools, or is your electric toothbrush a challenge?

True wood flooring that needs to be finished on-site requires more technical skill. If you decide to forgo a contractor, make sure you have enough knowledge of power tools to be safe during installation.

What is your time frame?

Life happens. A day job, unexpected visits from the in-laws or running out of materials can all add delays to a project. Are you okay living with an unfinished floor in the meantime? A good contractor can complete the job within a set timeline, so you can get to enjoying your updated home sooner.

When in doubt, call a pro, at least for an opinion and a quote. Your agent can also help you decide which home improvements are worth the investment and find reputable professionals to work with if you decide to go pro. One thing you can easily do yourself? Contact me; I’ll be happy to help!

4 Tips to Help Kids Adjust to a new School After a Move

At any age, a move can be stressful. But for school-age kids, a major move means changing schools, adjusting to new curriculum and finding new friends. Here are a few things you can do to help ease the transition and encourage kids during a school transfer.

Acknowledge their anxiety.

The first day of school is always knee-knocking and nerve-racking. The first day at a new school can be even scarier for kids. Let them know that their feelings are completely natural and understandable. Affirm their feelings, and then offer advice or personal anecdotes about times you have been nervous about a situation that turned-out O.K.

Take a trial run.

If the new school doesn’t host an official orientation for new students, try to request a tour for you and your child. Younger kids can be comforted by seeing their classroom and playground, and learning the location of the bathroom and the bus port. Older kids may like to walk their first day’s schedule: from the bus, to the locker, to their different classrooms.

Meet the neighbors

Meeting your neighbors and parents at your new school can be a great help for your kids. You can hear first-hand how families have navigated the school district, and even arrange play dates or meet-ups between your kids and other students. Start making connections as a classroom volunteer, or mingling at the bus stop to chat to other parents.

Pack a special lunch.

If your kids bring lunch, make it a special one filled with their favorite snacks and an encouraging note from you.

Thinking about moving to a neighborhood with a better school district? I’ll be happy to help; contact me today!

4 Potential Surprises When Buying a Home

No. 1: Low inventory means you have to act fast …

In many cities around the U.S., inventories are tight, meaning there are too few homes on the market for potential homebuyers. Homes in good condition that are priced appropriately sell fast. The competitive market means buyers may find a home and make a serious offer in just a few days (sometimes 24 hours!). In extremely low inventory markets like Denver, Seattle and San Francisco, buyers may end up in bidding wars, paying more than the home’s asking price.

Professional real estate agents understand the unique trends in your market and can help buyers zero in on the right house and act quickly.

No. 2: … But closing takes longer than you think

According to Realtor.com, the average home sale takes approximately 50 days from the moment your offer is accepted to the time you move in, but this is contingent on a variety of things. As the days tick by during this comprehensive process of inspections and appraisals, you may find yourself impatient to move in and add Pinterest-worthy decor.

The good news? Advanced technology has helped streamline the exchange of a vast amount of paperwork. And, an experienced real estate agent will be able to set expectations and keep you informed every step of the way.

While you anxiously await the keys to your new place, you can occupy yourself by preparing your things for the move and planning an epic housewarming party.

No. 3: Home inspections leave nothing uncovered

For the benefit and protection of a new buyer, most home inspectors conduct a very thorough inspection of your new home, leaving a detailed and often intimidating list of recommended repairs and improvements. Remember, not every item on the list may need to be repaired for the home to be safe or for you to take possession. Yet again, your real estate agent will be able to walk you through this lengthy report, advising you on what you can and should ask the sellers to consider fixing.

No. 4: Closing costs may leave you asking: “I owe WHAT?”

Just when you think you know the bottom line, some additional closing costs can sneak up on you. Things like loan origination fees, prepaid property taxes, title insurance and more can add up at the end of the process. In fact, on average, closing costs can range from 2% to 5% of your home’s purchase price.

Now that you know, you can ask your agent for more details and factor this in when you prepare to buy. If you or someone you know is considering a purchase or sale, I’ll be happy to help; contact me today!