Homebuying With Friends: Could Splitting the Real Estate Bill Drive Homeownership?

As the housing market continues to rebalance, alternative homebuying trends could help more people achieve homeownership.

Bob Dylan likely said it best: “The times, they are a-changin’.” This is especially true in the real estate market.

According to the January RE/MAX National Housing Report, the Median Sales Price currently sits around $385,000 – down 1.0% from December 2022 but still up 1.3% from a year ago. And Bankrate reports that the current average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate is hovering around 7%.

Meanwhile, Statista reports that in February 2023, inflation amounted to 4.2%, while wages grew by only 3.2%, leaving some prospective homebuyers wondering how to make it all add up so they can purchase a house.

For some would-be first-time homebuyers who are emotionally ready to invest but struggling to save for the down payment or fret having high monthly payments, renting with a roommate can help split the costs, but it doesn’t build equity – a key component to building wealth. The prospect of buying a house with someone, even if it’s not a romantic partner, comes to mind. But is that a good idea? Will the benefits outweigh the potential risks?

What to consider in joint homeownership

Christopher Audette, an agent with RE/MAX First in Calgary, Alberta, says with inventory issues and the current cost of rent, it makes sense for people to come together and pool resources when considering becoming homeowners.

“It can be the launchpad that’s needed for people to get into homeownership so they can build equity,” he shares.

While it’s a less common practice to purchase a house with a non-romantic partner, the trend could start to emerge for homeowners – especially from younger generations – to co-purchase with a family member, or friend. Even parents and children are considering this route.

“The sooner one can get into real estate ownership, the sooner they can begin to build wealth,” says Joe Allen, an agent with RE/MAX Results in Edina, Minnesota. “If partnering with somebody to buy a home is going to allow them to do it sooner than later, I think it’s a smart avenue to explore.”

However, when it comes to purchasing property with a non-marital partner, there are also some risks to be aware of. Apart from the necessary finances, another aspect to consider is the emotional toll it can take.

“Homeownership is very emotional. If you go into it with a friend, it can be hard for some people to compartmentalize friendship and business,” explains Shannon Murree, an agent with RE/MAX Hallmark in Barrie, Ontario.

And while the friendship outside of the house might be a great fit, it doesn’t always transfer to homeownership. Murree advises those considering house hunting with friends to assess the compatibility of their lifestyles, including how they handle finances and their level of cleanliness.

Audette agrees, noting, “Buying with a friend can lead to resentment when one person is putting more into things like renovations or home maintenance, or even day-to-day tasks like cleaning. Or, they could both be single at the time they enter the agreement, but then one gets into a primary relationship and now there’s a third person who’s constantly there as well. These are factors that should be thought of upfront as they can lead to hard feelings.”

While some of these are also risks for any married couple, Allen believes they can be even more pronounced for non-married partners.

“If you’re married and then get divorced, there’s a court system to help you divide assets. If you’re not married and one homeowner decides they want out or want to sell, there’s no system in place to help you do that,” he says.

Consequently, Allen says one of the smartest things someone can do when they’re considering joint homeownership is to engage an attorney and come up with an agreement where the parties determine how they would handle a sale or buyout.

It is highly encouraged to take all considerations into account before purchasing jointly. And, as Audette clarifies, there’s no need to rush the process.

“Don’t be cavalier about the legal aspect of it. Don’t do it now and figure it out later. Figure out the logistics now.”

Handling finances and setting expectations

For those interested in this pathway to ownership, working with skilled and knowledgeable professionals – a real estate agent and a mortgage broker – is key. There are quite a few nuances and differences when purchasing real estate jointly versus as a married couple or individual.

Chuck Simmons, a mortgage broker with Motto® Mortgage in Ankeny, Iowa, explains when a married couple applies for a home loan there is one application that looks at both parties’ credit score, income, and debt. The process is typically an open book to both sides. When applying as two unmarried individuals, there are two applications looking at the same criteria, but the flow of information is not as fluid.

Simmons says when married couples apply for a mortgage, they ultimately give permission to talk to both sides, but single applications are closed to each individual applicant. So, if there’s an issue with one person’s income or credit, the mortgage broker can’t openly talk about that issue with both parties – they can go directly to only the applicant.

“Depending on the disparity, I will call the person and say, ‘Are you okay with me having this conversation with everyone?’ just so that they understand there might be some personal things we need to work through but it’s going to affect if they can get approved or not,” Simmons says.

When two applicants file for a home loan, the lender must use the lower of the two credit scores, which can affect the interest rate and ultimately save or cost thousands of dollars.

Allen says to consider looking at this joint venture as a business partnership.

“Build a business partnership around the property and choose your partner well,” he advises.

The planning portion of this venture should be a high priority and extremely thorough. Partners should create a business plan and have everything laid out on paper from the get-go, from who will take which room to what happens if someone wants out, and everything in between.

“A lot of homes are set up for families,” explains Jeff Feldman, an agent with RE/MAX Results in Edina, Minnesota. “So, there will be tradeoffs – one might get the owner’s suite while the other gets the garage. Other agreements will come when something goes awry. What happens if the furnace needs to be replaced? You’ll need to agree on which brand, the cost, what contractor to use, and level of efficiency. Putting certain guidelines on paper up front will help down the road.”

The process – and agreements that come in tow – can also differ depending on the type of property one is purchasing, be it a primary residence, vacation property, or payment partnership.

“There’s a difference between an occupant co-borrower and non-occupant co-borrower,” Simmons says. “If it’s two brothers buying together and both plan to live in the house full-time, there are standard [loan] programs available. If it’s a parent who’s helping a child with a down payment, they may not be able to take advantage of certain programs.”

Real life application

Homeowners Michael Smith and his wife purchased a secondary property in the mountains with good friends and co-owned the home for over a decade. Smith says there were definitely learning curves, but overall, it was a great experience for them. He believes things worked out so well because they laid out the ground rules right away and had parameters around arrival and departure times, who cleaned what, and even appropriations of the slush fund for repairs and replacements.

“I think it really helped that both families were in similar financial positions, and had similar lifestyles and mindsets,” Smith shares. “From the beginning, we chose a bank that neither of us previously belonged to so any mail that came from them we knew was in reference to the property. We opened a joint bank account which each family fed to be able to pay for maintenance and repairs. We even had a small cash deposit made to the property bank account of $10 or $20 if we had extended friends or family with us, just to account for additional wear and tear.”

Friends Dan Kenney and J.T. Williams purchased a primary residence together in a Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood in 2005 when they were just 24 years old. They lived together as co-owners for a number of years and took a less conventional route to figuring things out.

Admittedly easy-going guys, Kenney says that while some things – like deciding who got the bigger room – came down to rock-paper-scissors, other more important things were taken seriously.

“Our personalities complemented each other and we were able to decide in the moment what was needed or not needed. If we needed it, we did it together, 50/50.

“We also always wanted to make sure our friendship stayed intact. We knew there were going to be ups and downs, but we kept our friendship paramount.”

Just as important as figuring out what living arrangements will lead to the best living experience is asking what happens when one partner wants to exit.

Implementing an exit strategy

For the Smiths and their co-owners, life evolved and they found themselves using the mountain home less and less. When they all decided to sell, they chose to unload on the whole.

“When we purchased the home, we had to furnish it from the ground up and so when we sold it, we sold everything and split the proceeds 50/50,” Smith says.

Alternatively, for Kenney and Williams, they decided to transition the property from owner-occupied to a rental and use it as an investment property – a situation that worked well for them until they eventually sold.

While buying a house jointly with a non-marital partner is not as common of a route, and does come with some risks, Murree says it’s still worth it.

“It’s unconventional. It’s creative. It’s risky. But if you need a place to live, you might as well earn some equity,” she says.

For those interested in joint homeownership with a family member, friend, or business partner, remember to align with a like-minded individual, plan ahead, and put it all in print. Because the times, they are a-changin’ – and there are many routes to homeownership that may be the best fit.


Homebuying on the Horizon? 4 Ways to Prepare Now

The year ahead is full of opportunity to achieve goals. And for some, a major goal in 2023 is to buy a home.

To help the process go as smoothly as possible, prospective homebuyers can start to prepare long before it’s time to search for a house. From organizing finances to finding a compatible real estate agent, it’s best to get a head start. 

Looking to buy a home in 2023? Consider these four ways to prepare now.

1. Get your finances in order

For starters, check in on your credit score. When it comes time to apply for a mortgage loan, credit score is one factor lenders consider to determine your eligibility. A better credit score can help you get increased access to financing options and ultimately a more desirable mortgage rate.

Research loan options in advance, too. RE/MAX President and CEO Nick Bailey shares that in today’s market, a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage isn’t a homebuyer’s only route and suggests they look into alternate options like an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), too. There are also specific loan programs for various cohorts, including veterans and military personnel. It’s helpful to get pre-approved by a lender prior to home shopping as it can set realistic expectations and help determine a budget.

Saving up for a down payment is one of the most important parts of preparing for purchasing a home – but there are other costs to consider along the way. Ideally, in addition to a down payment, prospective homebuyers will save up for other fees, including closing costs, moving costs, and more. Once living in the new home, it’s best practice to have funds set aside for regular maintenance and timely repairs.

2. Find a trustworthy real estate agent

With their experience and expertise, a real estate agent can be a homebuyer’s best asset in ensuring a smooth transaction. Seek out an agent that knows the area well, has a proven track record of success, and is a compatible fit.

Not only is a real estate agent knowledgeable when it comes to helping finding clients the right home, but they also can help negotiate with sellers and recommend services in the area for financing options, moving services, and more.

Best of all, work with a real estate agent you trust. According to a BrandSpark® survey of consumers, RE/MAX is home to the most trusted agents throughout the U.S.* and Canada**.

3. Consider what you want in a home

Take time to determine wants vs. needs in a future home. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer who’s done with renting, or a current homeowner looking to upsize or downsize, assess your current dwelling for clues as to what to prioritize in a living space.

Is more storage a must? Does the need for a garage top all else? Creating a list now of these features can help identify – or rule out – properties when it’s time to start the home search.

4. Start area research

To help narrow down the home search radius when the process begins, do your due diligence in advance to figure out which areas meet the needs of you and your family. Some people may be moving to be closer to work, school or family and can start researching commute times to these locations (especially during rush hour!). And for those who have a dog, being near a park may be important.

Research can be especially important for those moving from farther away, some of whom may be purchasing a home sight unseen. Use tools like online maps, Google street view, and local town and city websites to determine what areas have to offer.

When you’re ready to look for properties, head over to my website or download my RE/MAX Real Estate Search App, and contact me!

*Voted most trusted Real Estate Agency brand by American shoppers based on the BrandSpark® American Trust Study, years 2023, 2022 and 2019.

**Voted most trusted Real Estate Agency brand by Canadian shoppers based on the BrandSpark® Canadian Trust Study, years 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2017.

6 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

Whether you’re looking for a yard for a pet or bigger closets for storage, buying a home could offer more flexibility than renting – and it can be a long-term investment. Are you ready to be a homeowner?

With the housing market balancing in many places, many people are finding that now is a great time to purchase a property of their own. Renters looking to buy are usually in the pursuit of more living space, creative freedom to decorate, and ownership of an asset that can appreciate in value over time.

Renters, are you tired of spending money each month to pay someone else’s mortgage? It may be time to consider buying a home. Here are the signs to look for:

You need more square footage

Upsizing is a common reason renters venture toward homeownership. With more heads under one roof – from children to aging parents to pets and more – an extra bedroom, in-law suite, or garage space can go from being a want to a need. Whether you find a place that has everything you want or a fixer-upper that can be turned into your dream house, owning property offers the potential of adding more space.

You’re looking for outdoor space

Having access to the outdoors – especially for those renting an apartment – has become an increasingly more important factor to prospective homebuyers. This can be especially true if you welcomed a new pet into your life recently.

The options for your outdoor spaces are much greater when you own the property, whether you want to add a fence around the yard for the dog, put in a swimming pool, or lay out a patio for entertaining guests.

You want the flexibility to customize your home

One of the many luxuries of owning a home is having the freedom to do what you please with your space. Oftentimes when renting, tenants are unable to paint walls, drill holes, upgrade aspects of the kitchen, and more. Each household functions differently, so it can be comforting to live in a space custom-tailored to your needs. If you’re handy with DIY projects or can hire professionals, your options for making a new space feel like home are endless.

You’ve saved up for a down payment

Many people start the homebuying process once they have saved up enough money for a down payment. With a budget in mind, check out available financing options (like first-time homebuyer or military housing grants) that may help determine how much you can afford.

The down payment isn’t the only cost associated with buying a home. Don’t forget to save up for additional fees associated with the process, including closing costs, a home inspection and other potential service expenses. When the time comes that you’re ready to put in an offer on a home, you’ll already have these funds set aside.

You’ve saved for maintenance, emergencies and repairs

Owning a home inherently comes with more responsibility than renting. When buying a home, it’s helpful to have money set aside for necessary repairs and unexpected emergencies. Being financially prepared ahead of time will make the inconvenience of a things like a broken appliance or leaky roof more manageable.

You’re looking for an investment (financial and emotional)

If you’re tired of renegotiating terms, paying higher rent, or moving each time your lease expires, then purchasing a home is a great solution. But in addition to peace of mind, owning a home can pose long-term financial benefits, too.

Likely the largest financial transaction a person will make in their lifetime, a home is an an investment that may, potentially, help you create generational wealth. Best of all, the money you pay each month to a landlord can be used instead to pay down your own mortgage.

If you’re done with renting and ready to buy a home, contact me, I’ll be happy to help you through the process!

5 Ways to Make Your Pet Dog More Comfortable When Moving

Moving homes means big changes for everyone – including your furry friends. Here’s how to help dogs prepare.

As loyal members of the family, pet dogs play an important role in making any house feel like a home. But dogs are creatures of habit and may feel disoriented (nose out of joint, if you will) when it’s time to relocate or move to a new home.

While they may not help pack boxes or load the car, you can still appreciate your beloved furry friends accompanying you on the journey. Here’s how to make your pup more comfortable during the big move.

1. Contact the vet before you go

Pay a visit to your local veterinarian before moving,especially if your travel plans require a long car ride or taking an airplane. They may have tips and tricks for calming nerves during travel and can also provide you with updated copies of medical forms for your dog.

2. Pack their comfort items

Finding familiarity is key in brand-new surroundings. Make sure to bring along your pup’s favorite toys, blanket that lines their crate or go-to dog bed. These security items hold the scent of a place they are used to.

When you reach your new home, create a safe space right away – whether that’s a crate or just a cozy nook – that your dog understands is their zone for relaxing.

3. Update I.D. methods

It’s critical that you update important information like your address and phone number on your dog’s metal tag. If your dog is micro-chipped, make sure to update your contact info in the database system. Your dog may try to do some unwanted exploring – so if they do escape from a new yard, an updated address will help them get home safely.

4. Stick to their typical food

Sometimes, too many changes at once can lead to anyone not feeling their best. With new surroundings and so much unfamiliarity, make sure to bring along your pup’s normal food to not throw off their stomachs as they undergo stress. Plus, this will help ensure your new space remains accident-free (hopefully!).

5. Create routine from the start

For many people and dogs alike, routine is grounding. Even amid a busy move, try to stick to your dog’s regular schedule, like the time of day they eat and when they get their exercise. Taking a break from moving to walk the dog might even help clear your head, too.

Before moving day, take time to get acquainted with a map of your new neighborhood and look up parks and walking areas nearby. Once you’ve arrived at your new home, a neighbor may know of the best local dog-friendly spots.

Considering Buying a House? 6 Signs That Confirm You’re Ready

Are you sick of paying monthly rent that contributes to someone else’s mortgage payment? Are you craving the freedom to repaint walls? Or, are you looking to build wealth through what is often considered a smart investment? If so, it sounds like it may be time to start your homebuying process.

Consider these six reasons that help affirm you’re ready to become a first-time homebuyer.

1. You crave the freedom to personalize and renovate

Owning a home gives you the freedom to express yourself by completely customizing interior and exterior spaces. You no longer have to abide by regulations regarding wall colors or hanging art.

Additionally, you can remodel and renovate your home as you see fit. From small projects, like changing cabinet pulls, to big projects, like tearing down a wall or adding hardwood floors, you have the authority to make decisions regarding design.

2. You’ve outgrown your space

An obvious reason to move is when you’re tight on space. For many, this could be because you’re expanding your family – think a baby on the way, more pets, aging children who want their own bedrooms or in-laws that are here to stay.

A shift in lifestyle patterns, like working from home and online schooling, means you may be on the hunt for more quiet workspaces. And, if you have hobbies or own outdoor equipment, it may also be time to assess your storage needs – like an attic or garage.

3. You seek outdoor accessibility

In apartment living, outdoor space is limited – and sometimes crowded. When you buy a home, a criterion may be a grassy yard, deck or patio space. Whatever your preference may be, you’re likely seeking a way to enjoy the outdoors with privacy.

Having your own outdoor space means room for entertaining and room for exercise. Plus, you can accentuate the curb appeal of your home with exterior décor like potted plants, flower boxes, furniture and seasonal holiday flare.

4. You’re done with fees and rules

A major downside to renting is paying for a property that you do not own, and therefore is not your personal investment. Apartment fees go toward necessary services, like garbage disposal, but also may contribute to amenities you don’t use, like a gym or pool.

Additionally, apartment communities often have time restrictions and limited hours on resources you would like to take advantage of.

5. You’re ready to make an investment

Have you been saving for a down payment? Though the initial cost can often be a barrier to entry for first-time homebuyers, the down payment may not need to be as high as you think.

Once you’ve saved enough money for that initial investment, however, the monthly costs associated with homeownership can be similar to what you would have paid in monthly rent. Only this time, your payments contribute to your property becoming an asset. The more you pay off your mortgage, the more valuable your home is to your personal net worth.

6. Long-term happiness

One of the biggest reasons to purchase a home is for the stability and security it provides you and your family. You can truly settle into the space and life can slow down a bit.

With the ability to personalize most aspects, and by thinking of it as a long-term investment, a home of your own becomes the place you cross milestones, celebrate holidays and create lasting memories.

Housing Experts Expect Post-Pandemic Rebound

Spokane-Spokane Valley is expected to be a “top 10” market during and in a post-COVID environment, according to the National Association of Realtors®, which made the prediction as part of last month’s second annual Real Estate Forecast Summit. It was the only area within Washington state to make the list.

In addition to demonstrated resilience, NAR considered a variety of indicators deemed to be influential for a metro area’s recovery and growth prospects. The factors for the “top 10” list included unemployment rate; net domestic migration, including movers from expensive West Coast areas; share of workers in retail trade, leisure and hospitality industries; mobility to retail and leisure places; and the fraction of the workforce working from home.

“Some markets have been performing exceptionally well throughout the pandemic and they’ll likely carry that momentum well into 2021 and beyond because of strong in-migration of new residents, faster local job market recoveries and environments conducive to work-from-home arrangements and other factors,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist and senior vice president of research.

Housing experts tended to be optimistic about a post-pandemic rebound, citing improving conditions for jobs and stable interest rates as key reasons.

More than 20 leading economic and housing experts participated in the summit, which was held virtually. Among their predictions they expect GDP growth of 3.5% and an annual unemployment rate of 6.2% this year. The forecasters believe the unemployment rate will decline to 5.0% in 2022.

Yun said another 9.8 million more jobs are needed to match the prior peak.

Housing prices are expected to rise 8.0% during 2021 and 5.5% the following year, while 30-year fixed mortgage rates are projected to be 3.0% this year and increase to 3.25% in 2022.

The panels of prognosticators also anticipate:

  • Housing starts will total 1.5 million this year and 1.59 million in 2022.
  • The share of U.S. workforce working from home will shrink from 21% in 2020 to 18% this year; by 2022, it is expected to shrink to 12%.
  • Small declines in office and hotel vacancy rates in 2021, but a slight improvement in retail vacancies.

An overwhelming 90% of the experts surveyed expect the Federal Open Market Committee will make no change in the current federal funds rate of 0% during 2021. For 2022, a rate increase of 0.25% is predicted.

“It is an understatement to say the year 2020 has been filled with challenges and full of surprises,” said Yun. “Yet, one astonishing development has been the hot housing market as consumers eyed record-low mortgage rates and reconsidered what a home should be in a new economy with flexible work-from-home schedules.”

In his presentation, Yun said the months supply of inventory is at an all-time low.

In 2020, home sales will reach 5.52 million, the highest annual mark since 2006, with the median home price setting a record high of $293,000, according to NAR.

“Overall, residential real estate will continue to be an important driver of our nation’s economic recovery and the activity in these markets will help lead the way,” stated NAR President Charlie Oppler, a Realtor® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and the CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty.

The 2020 NAR Real Estate Forecast Summit consensus forecasts are compiled as the median of the responses of 23 economic and housing market experts who participated during the 2019 and 2020 summits. The survey was conducted from November 19 through December 4, 2020.

[Source: Seattle King County REALTORS® NW Reporter]

What Buying a Home Looks Like This Spring

Here’s how agents are helping clients adapt to homebuying under social distancing orders.

Streets may be quieter these days and open houses are on pause, but as people retreat inside to do their part in keeping the community healthy, they’re bringing their home search with them.

“Our online traffic is way up, more people are at home and have more time to look at properties,” says Mark Pietig, an agent with RE/MAX Lakes Area Realty in Nisswa, Minnesota. “We have not seen a slowdown in sales at all.”

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. real estate market showed every indication of heading into another strong spring market. Many buyers who had spent the previous months or even years preparing to buy a home this spring probably share the same question: What now?

According to Pietig, there’s still opportunity to buy a home this spring or summer, but working with an experienced agent has never been more important.

“We are fully capable of adapting to a new environment,” Pietig says. “Accommodating a new style or approach is something experienced agents, like RE/MAX agents, are great at.”

Preparing for Every Situation

A real estate transaction has always been complex – and even more so today. Many buyers are wondering how they can possibly plan for anything in 30 days, let alone closing on a home, when even the world’s top health experts are unable to predict when a sense of normalcy will return. The key for agents and other professionals is to adjust their business accordingly.

Agents are taking this into account, and while Pietig says he currently hasn’t seen a change in buyer timelines, steps are being taken to prepare for longer contingencies.

“As long as you’re working with quality agents, you’re not going to see any delays,” Pietig says. “If anything, there’s more collaboration between buyers, sellers and their agents than ever. Everybody truly has to work together to get a transaction done.”

John Manning, Owner and Managing Broker of RE/MAX on Market in Seattle, says the local MLS (the primary listing service of homes) has taken it a step further to help protect clients from the unexpected.

“They took an extraordinary step – they put together a ‘force majeure’ addendum to include in contracts.”

A ’force majeure’ is a legal term often referred to as, quite frankly, “an act of God.”

“It essentially allows our contracts to stretch as a result of unforeseen circumstances,” Manning says. “Let’s say we have a closing next Tuesday and we find the county recording office is closed because of staffing. This addendum allows for an extension of the closing, so we don’t have people refusing to leave their homes or ending up homeless because they can’t move into their new property.”

Opening Up Opportunities in a Competitive Market

Even with contingency plans in place, many buyers are putting their plans on hold while they wait out what the next few weeks could bring. At the same time, sellers are continuing to list their homes.

“We’ve been seeing more of an increase in new listings over the past few weeks, which is providing more opportunities for buyers,” Pietig says.

But Pietig doesn’t expect this to be a permanent reprieve.

“In the grand scheme, this isn’t going to last forever,” Pietig says. “You could remove a third of the buyers from our market here, and we would still have a seller’s market. Right now we have pent-up demand from earlier this spring with some people deciding to hold off until they’re comfortable again.  This will mean increased competition down the road.”

For the next few weeks, current buyers could find more options available in their price range, and score a deal while others are sitting out.

Buying in a Time of Uncertainty

One thing has not changed: It’s impossible to predict what the real estate market is going to do next. But that hasn’t stopped buyers from trying. Manning says over the course of his career, he’s found that homebuyers tend to move in groups.

“What tends to happen is buyers get spooked and they all rush out together, and they all wait together,” Manning says. “They say they’re going to buy at the bottom – but they don’t know where the bottom is.”

Once prices appear to be moving up, all the buyers that were on the sidelines rush back in, Manning explains. Competition – and home prices – end up right back where they started.

Pietig advises homebuyers to focus on their personal goals of wanting to own a home, and not worry about trying to time the market.

“If we look at things day to day, it’s not going to feel like the right time to buy,” Pietig says. “I would advise people to take a long-term approach and don’t get caught up with the short-term mindset.”

More importantly, stay positive as you navigate the new process with an agent.

“I know right now people could use a little nudge saying that it’s going to be okay,” Pietig says. “If you wake up each day and focus on the good in life, you’re going to be fine.”

Source: ReMax.com

Great News for the Real Estate Industry in WA

On Saturday, March 28th, in cooperation with Washington Realtors, Governor Inslee agreed to certain modifications to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order for the real estate industry.  Due to the fact that the vast majority of real estate brokers are abiding by the Order, several of the original restrictions on in-person activities have been revised – provided that strict protocols for social distancing are implemented.

The protocols that must be followed for the permitted in-person activities include:

  • In-person activities must be by appointment only
  • No more than two people, including the broker, may be at the property at any one time
  • Those two persons must strictly follow social distancing guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) by remaining at least six feet apart at all times.

The revisions to the Order are limited to allow the following in-person activities, provided the above protocols are followed:

  • Previews and showings of listings by appointment only
  • Listing presentations, photography, and creating virtual tours for new listings [Note: professional photographers are not considered “essential,” thus all photos must be taken by the broker or seller]
  • Inspections for pending transactions
  • Appraisals for pending transactions
  • Buyer “walk-throughs” for pending transactions prior to closing
  • Providing keys to buyers at closing

The Order strictly prohibits all other real estate brokerage services that are not conducted remotely from the broker’s home. Also, please note that staging and moving services are not considered essential and also remain prohibited by the Order.

Source: NWMLS 3/28/20

WA State Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order

Effective midnight on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, real estate brokers in the state of Washington are limited to providing services to their clients remotely from their homes using technology for a minimum of 2 weeks. You may read the document NWMLS created that provides details of how we’re effected. If you’re planning to buy or sell real estate soon, please reach out to me and I’ll be happy to explain what we may do to help you prepare to be ready when the order is lifted.

(you may select/click the picture above
to open and view a large version)

3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Second Home

Buying a second home is a great way to lock in a great vacation spot and earn some extra rental income. However, there are also some financial realities that many homeowners aren’t aware of before they purchase their second home.

IRS Limitations

If you rent your second home more than fourteen days a year, the IRS qualifies that home as a rental/investment property. As such, the income you gain from your home is taxable. Your second home also won’t qualify for the same deductions as your primary home.

Risk & Liability

It’s easy to overlook problems like leaks and water damage in a home that goes unoccupied for long periods of time. Empty homes are also more likely targets for vandalism. Hiring a property management company to keep an eye on the home can help ensure you catch potential problems before they get out of hand.

Other Expenses

Expenses such as home insurance, security monitoring fees, and running utilities can add up in your second home. On top of these costs, you have annual maintenance costs and repairs that will inevitably pop up over the years.

Understanding the expenses involved with owning a second home is an important part of purchasing your next home! That way, you can make a plan. Vacation rental services like Airbnb make it easy to cover the costs of owning a second home or even profiting from it. You can also use remote monitoring technology, such as video doorbells, access control systems, and environmental monitoring to minimize the risk of missing important developments while away from your home.

Buying a second home is a great investment, but one that you need to be well informed about before you commit yourself. For more information about buying a second home or an investment property, give me a call!