News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

Entries from February 2013

Where are all the homes for sale?

February 20th, 2013 by Sara

(This is a sponsored story written by John Madrid, Managing Broker with John L. Scott Real Estate).

“A house, a house, my kingdom for a house”. If you are in the market for a new home you can probably empathize with Shakespeare’s King Richard III.  Single-family homes, townhomes, and even condos are all in short supply throughout most the city.

 

For Northwest Seattle (including Ballard, Fremont, Green Lake, Phinney and Wallingford) there is now less than a 1 month supply of single-family home inventory which is definitely favoring home sellers with the result that homes are really hard to come by.  We will continue to see more pre-inspections, multiple offers, and bidding wars on the fewer listings hitting the market.

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Why the shortage of homes for sale?  First, some home owners simply can’t sell since they have negative equity (they owe more than their home would sell for). Second, are home owners who can’t find a new home to upsize or downsize into that would allow them to put their existing home on the market.  Third is that some home owners are either unaware of the improved market for sellers or they are content to stay in their current home rather than over extend themselves. Fourth, are owners betting on continued prices gains over the coming months and years. A final factor has been the significant slowdown in new construction, up until last year, that typically helps alleviate the demand for more housing stock.

 

In addition to a reduced supply, demand has picked up with the influx of new hires (Amazon, Microsoft, etc). There is also a general belief that home prices and interest rates have only one direction to move and that is up.   Many renters have concluded that, with big jumps in rent, buying a home may be the wiser long term investment especially if they are able to lock in these historically low interest rates.

 

Home prices will continue to rise until there is more of supply/demand equilibrium.  If you are looking for a home there are a couple potential silver linings over the coming weeks and months. First, is that we are entering the historically seasonal high point for new inventory. Second, is that interest rates aren’t expected to move significantly upward until the end of the year at the earliest.

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More stats on other Seattle neighborhoods can be found at http://www.live206.com/seattle-area-market-update-c21537.html

Tip:  The fewer contingences (i.e. finance, inspection) a home buyer has, the more attractive they are to a home seller, especially in multiple offer situations.    Believe it or not, buyer “love letters” to sellers can swing things into a buyer’s favor, just don’t overdo it.

John Madrid is a Managing Broker with John L. Scott Real Estate – University Village and is a 2005-2012 Seattle Magazine “Five Star” Agent. His clients include both home buyers and sellers. He can be reached at 206-498-1880, john@live206.com or www.live206.com.

Statistics are deemed reliable but are not guaranteed.  All information should be verified to the users own satisfaction.

 

 

 

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New website connects neighbors and local businesses

February 19th, 2013 by Sara

From Meghan Walker with our sister site myballard.com

A new website aims to make it it easier for Seattle neighbors to connect and get things done around the house. Seattle-based start-up Knoq has developed a new type of social networking website, where users can find vetted local businesses that specialize in household services. The idea came from co-founders Karim Lessard and Ben Hanisko, who wanted to develop a tool to help foster more neighborly interactions. Here’s how it works: users sign up for free, create a profile, specify what kinds of household services they need (such as cleaning, yard work, or even in-home singing lessons), and then peruse the featured businesses that pop up based on that user’s needs.

It might look similar to some of the daily deal sites, like Groupon, or Living Social, but Knoq’s focus is more on keeping it local. “The problem is people don’t interact the way we used to,” Lessard said. “There aren’t tools that exist to help you interact, and social networks have left that behind. That’s where the idea was born; we’re helping neighbors get things done in their house by connecting them with their neighbors and local businesses.”

Every business on the website has been vetted by Knoq employees, and they back up those businesses with a money-back guarantee. So far, they have 55 businesses on the site, and earlier this month exceeded 1,000 users throughout Seattle.

“What we’re trying to do is make it easy to make a good decision,”  co-founder Hanisko says. The types of businesses on the site offer one of two things, usually: a household service or delivery. “Our intent is not to replace neighborly interactions, but to compliment on it and make it more likely to engage in conversations,” he says. Because each user’s address is attached to their profile, Hanisko says he hopes it helps neighbors connect. A common reaction, Lessard and Hanisko point out, is the concern for privacy. Each user must provide their address, which Hanisko says is important on a few levels. For one, it puts you in the right neighborhood, so you can find businesses in your area. Also, it’s for credibility. “You’re no longer, anonymous,” Lessard adds. “By virtue of knowing the people around you, we think it increases the level of accountability.” He says that a business recommendation from a neighbor carries more weight, because they likely live in a house that is similar to yours, and also likely deal with the same issues. “What they say might resonate with you,” Lessard says. The bottom line, they both agree, is to foster community through helping local businesses. “We strive to be neighborly in every way,” Hanisko said. “Our ultimate goal is to increase the quality of life, and get things done with less hassle. If we’re more connected, it’s good for the neighborhood.”

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