Seattle Metro 3rd Quarter Report

Q3 Report


Posted on November 12, 2019 at 11:22 pm
Aaron Calvo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Waiting out the Housing Market.

Should You Wait out the Housing Market?

Posted in Economics 101 Videos by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate

The housing market is remarkably tight across the U.S., and you may be wondering if you should wait for home prices to slow before making your move. Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, shares why waiting could end up costing you more money in the long run.

 

 


Posted on August 21, 2017 at 7:52 pm
Aaron Calvo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Why Owning a Home is Such a Smart Investment

 

After succumbing to the “Great Recession” ten years ago, the stock market has made a comeback. So, does that mean you should forget about buying a new house and invest in stocks instead? The answer to that question, say experts, depends on your investing savvy, your financial discipline, your age, and your current financial situation.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I disciplined enough to invest in stocks?” According to two professors who recently studied 30 years of personal-finance performance, you need to be someone with exceptional financial discipline if you want to earn real money in the stock market. Or, you could simply buy a house.

When you buy real estate, the down payment and monthly mortgage payments force you to set aside a significant amount of your earnings on a regular basis. It’s automatic. But if you can’t summon the same discipline to invest that same amount of money in the stock market on an equally regular basis, then stocks are probably going to be a losing proposition, according to the professors’ study.

“We find that if people don’t invest all the money, actually about 90% of the time, you’re better off buying real estate,” says Professor Eli Beracha, co-author of the study.

 

Other issues that make stock investing risky

Investing guru James Altucher wrote a column in The Wall St. Journal titled, “8 Reasons You Stink at Trading Stocks.” In it, he argues that most non-professionals don’t have the investing savvy required to be successful in the stock market. Here are a few telling excerpts:

  • “Nine out of 10 people think they are above-average drivers. Nine out of 10 people think they are above-average investors. Both are mathematically impossible.”
  • “Most people sell at the bottom and buy at the top—the opposite of what you want to do as an investor—because they let emotions get in the way of patience and strategy.”
  • “It’s really hard to own stocks. It’s not just picking a stock and watching it go up 1,000%. It’s buying it and sometimes watching it go down 80% before it ends up rising 20% above your purchase price. It’s waiting. It’s patience. Psychology is at least 80% of the game. And knowing when to sell? Even harder.”

 

Age matters

When you’re young, many financial advisors encourage investing in things like individual stocks. With a long career ahead, you have time to wait for any bad investments to turn around before you may really need the money. But once you’re a little older, with a family, and starting to focus on your financial future, that’s when advisers recommend you buy things like real estate—a conservative investment with a long history of stable, predictable earnings.

 

The type of loan you choose also makes a difference

If you want to both own a home and invest in stocks, consider a 30-year home loan, which will significantly reduce your monthly payments and leave you with extra money for playing the market. (Just remember the tradeoff: You’ll end up paying thousands of dollars more in interest over the life of the loan.)

If you don’t have a burning desire to play the stock market, choose a 15-year home loan. You’ll pay less interest over the life of the loan, you’ll build equity faster, and, obviously, you’ll be mortgage-free 15 years sooner.

 

The tax advantages of owning real estate

As a homeowner, you’re entitled to a bevy of tax benefits you don’t get as a stock investor. You can deduct your mortgage interest and property taxes from your annual tax return. Plus, depending on your circumstances, you could also get a deduction or credit for any home-office expenses, moving expenses, capital gains, any “points” used to lower your interest rate, and more.

 

One caveat: investing in real estate takes time

No matter what some of those reality TV programs show, buying a home should not be viewed as a get-rich-quick scheme. But if you think you’re ready to put down roots for as long as seven years, chances are very good that any home you purchase will appreciate significantly during that time (even if the economy runs into some bumps along the way).

 

The non-financial benefits

Of course, not all of the benefits of owning a home are financial. For most Americans, their home is a source of tremendous pride, comfort, security and freedom. Most of us also use our homes to showcase our personality, through paint colors, furnishings, landscaping, yard signs, holiday decorations and so much more.

Yes, the stock market is on an upswing currently (depending on the week), but if you want an investment with a long-term track record of consistent returns—plus tax breaks and a variety of personal perks—you may want to buy a home instead.

 

If you have questions about the buying or selling process, contact Aaron Calvo at 425-766-4202 or email at aaronc@windermere.com.


Posted on August 1, 2017 at 7:03 am
Aaron Calvo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Priced out of Seattle? Tacoma offers great houses for a fraction of the cost.

Seattle and Tacoma metros both among most competitive housing markets in the U.S.

Report says Tacoma isn’t far behind Seattle in demand—or cost growth

Cheryl Marland/Flickr

There’s a lot to be said about Seattle’s high-cost, high-competition housing market. But as it turns out, Tacoma’s right up there with us, according to a new report by real estate group.

Their market report for June shows that the Seattle metro, which includes Everett and Bellevue, shows no signs of slowing down—but neither does the Tacoma area.

As Seattle-area home prices have risen, the Tacoma metro has increasingly seemed like a viable alternative, with bigger-city amenities but lower housing costs. That might not be the case for much longer.

The Tacoma area is directly behind the Seattle area in two top-five rankings: price growth and competition.

Seattle has the third-highest price growth in the country per Redfin’s report, with 13.5 percent, but Tacoma is right there in fourth place with 12.2 percent.

How that translates to home prices: The Tacoma area’s median home price has jumped to $320,767, according to Redfin. That’s still a good $200,000 more than the Seattle-area median of $525,000, but it’s climbing.

Competition is driving up both Seattle and Tacoma-area home prices at a similar rate, too. The majority of homes are selling above asking in both areas, to the tune of 52.6 percent in Tacoma and 62.3 in Seattle.

For both, this is more competitive than last year: a 5.6 percent jump for Tacoma and an 8 percent jump in Seattle.

Things are getting super rough for buyers out there; in June, the report says, Seattle was tied for fastest market, with 7 median days on the market per listing, one day faster than this time last year.

Tacoma, the homes are lasting just over a week, with 9 median days on the market—two days faster than the previous year.

RE-POSTED FROM CURBED SEATTLE: https://seattle.curbed.com/2017/7/14/15974856/seattle-tacoma-metro-home-prices

 


Posted on July 30, 2017 at 3:58 pm
Aaron Calvo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Selling your Seattle Home? The Value of Staging

Selling Your Home: The Impact of Staging

 

How can you make your home more attractive to potential buyers? The answer is with some “home staging”. According to the Wall Street Journal, implementing some basic interior design techniques can not only speed up the sale of your home but also increase your final selling price.

It all comes down to highlighting your home’s strengths, downplaying its weaknesses, and making it more appealing to the largest pool of prospective buyers. Staging an empty house is also important to help buyers visualize how the spaces would be used, and to give the home warmth and character.

 

Cohesiveness Is Key

Make the inside match the outside. For example, if the exterior architectural style of your house is Victorian or Craftsman Bungalow, the interior should be primarily outfitted with furniture styles from essentially the same era. Prospective buyers who like the exterior style of your home are going to expect something similar when they step inside. If the two styles don’t agree or at least complement each other, there is likely going to be an immediate disconnect for the buyer. Contact your agent to help determine the architectural style of your home and what makes it unique.

There is always room for flexibility. Not all your furnishings need to match, and even the primary furnishings do not need to be an exact match to the architectural style of your home. To create cohesion, you simply need to reflect the overall look-and-feel of the exterior.

 

The Role of Personal Expression

Every home is a personal expression of its owner. But when you become a seller, you’ll want to deemphasize much of the décor that makes a place uniquely yours and instead look for ways to make it appeal to your target market. Keep in mind, your target market is made up of the group of people most likely to be interested in a home like yours—which is something your agent can help you determine.

 

Your Goal: Neutralize and Brighten

Since personal style differs from person to person, a good strategy to sell your home is to “neutralize” the design of your interior. A truly neutral interior design allows people touring the house to easily imagine their own belongings in the space—and to envision how some simple changes would make it uniquely their own.

In short, you want to downplay your own personal expression, while making it easy for others to mentally project their own sense of style on the space. Ideas include:

  • Paint over any bold wall colors with something more neutral, like a light beige, a warm gray, or a soft brown. The old advice used to be, “paint everything white,” but often that creates too sterile of an environment, while dark colors can make a room look small, even a bit dirty. Muted tones and soft colors work best.
  • Consider removing wallpaper if it’s a bold or busy design.
  • Replace heavy, dark curtains with neutral-colored shear versions; this will soften the hard edges around windows while letting in lots of natural light.
  • Turn on lamps, and if necessary, install lighting fixtures to brighten any dark spaces—especially the entry area.
  • Make sure everything is extremely clean. You may even want to hire professionals to give your home a thorough deep clean. Remember, the kitchen and bathrooms are by far the two most important rooms in a house when selling, so ongoing maintenance is important.

 

The Importance of De-Cluttering

Above all, make sure every room—including closets and the garage—is clutter-free. Family photos, personal memorabilia, and collectibles should be boxed up. Closets, shelves, and other storage areas should be mostly empty. Work benches should be free of tools and projects. Clear the kitchen counters, store non-necessary cookware, and remove all those magnets from the refrigerator door.

The same goes for furniture. If removing a chair, a lamp, a table, or other furnishings will make a particular space look larger or more inviting, then by all means do it.

You don’t want your home to appear cold, un-loved, or unlived-in, but you do want to remove distractions and provide prospective buyers with a blank canvas of sorts. Plus, de-cluttering your home now will make it that much easier to pack when it comes time to move.

 

Where to Start

Contact your agent Aaron Calvo at www.aaroncalvo.com for advice on how to most effectively stage your home or for a recommendation on a professional stager. While the simple interior design techniques outlined above may seem more like common sense than marketing magic, you’d be surprised at how many homeowners routinely overlook them. And the results are clear: staging your house to make it more appealing to your target buyer is often all it takes to speed the sale and boost the price.


Posted on July 28, 2017 at 3:21 pm
Aaron Calvo | Posted in Uncategorized |

7 Home Remodeling Projects With Top-Dollar Returns

Not all home improvements are created equal. These will reward you the most when it comes time to sell.

Your home is in the perfect location, came at the perfect price, with the perfect lot. (Yay southern exposure!)

But the home itself? Perfect isn’t the adjective you’d use. But you knew that moving in, and now you’re ready to start making it just right.

But where to begin? How about with data? Data is that friend who tells you like it really is.

Because while any home improvement that brings you joy is priceless, not all add as much home equity as you might expect.

The National Association of REALTORS®’ 2015 Remodeling Impact Report and 2016 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features (full disclosure: NAR is a sponsor of HouseLogic.) have tons of data on how much improvements cost — and how much of those costs you can recoup.

Here are the best seven home remodeling projects with equity-building might:

#1 Upgraded Landscaping

This one might be a bit of a surprise. (Maybe you expected a major kitchen reno to top the list.)

But if your yard is one of your home’s imperfect parts, a little color and a touch of hardscaping can make a huge difference to your curb appeal, which is a great immediate equity-booster.

What does a basic landscaping upgrade include?

  • Flowering shrubs
  • A 15-foot-tall deciduous tree
  • A flagstone walkway
  • Two 6-by-2 stone planters
  • Fresh mulch

The cost: $4,750

The return: 105% at $5,000

Related: 5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects

#2 New Roof

If you find yourself sprinting for the buckets when it starts to sprinkle, getting a new roof should be your No. 1 to-do. Measuring rainfall from the indoors isn’t cool.

The cost: $7,600

The return: 105% at $8,000

Considering it’s what’s between you and the elements, it’s a no-brainer.

Not sure if you need a new roof? Signs you might include:

  • Shingles are missing, curling up, or covered in moss.
  • Gritty bits from the asphalt shingles are coming out the downspout.
  • The sun’s shining through your attic.
  • You notice stains on ceilings and walls.
  • Your energy bill is sky high.

#3 Hardwood Floors

You flip on the TV to see that your fave home reno-ing duo is it at again, flipping a ranch that’s stuck in the ‘80s.

They make it to the living room, pull back the dingy carpet to reveal hardwood floors in great condition. They’re psyched — and for good reason.

Hardwood floors are a timeless classic. Refinishing is a no-brainer. Neither will you regret adding new hardwood floors if you have none.

The cost to refinish: $2,500

The return: 100% at $2,500

The cost to buy new: $5,500

The return: 91% at $5,000

Related: Should You Refinish Hardwood Floors Yourself?

#4 Patio or Deck

If your home is your castle, your yard is your kingdom. After giving your yard a much-needed overhaul, you need a place to watch over you handiwork. How about that deck or patio you’ve been dreaming of?

The cost of a patio: $6,400

The return: 102% at $6525

The cost of a deck: $9,450

The return: 106% at $10,000

#5 Insulation

Insulation is tucked out of sight, so it’s often out of mind — that is, until you’re forced to wear your parka indoors because it’s sooo darn cold.

The cost: $2,100

The return: 95% at $2,000 plus the added savings on heating and cooling costs

#6 New Garage Door

No surprise that a garage door replacement project made it onto this #winning list — a new garage door provides a big boost for your home’s curb appeal at a relatively modest cost.

The cost: $2,300 (for a two-door)

The return: 87% at $2,000

There are options galore, too. A host of factory-finish colors, wood-look embossed steel, and glass window insets are just some of the possibilities that’ll give your doors bankable personality.

#7 Vinyl Siding

In any color! And never paint again.

Those are two of the three benefits of vinyl siding. The third, of course, is your home’s value.

But if long-time homeowners look at you funny when you mention vinyl siding, just tell them that today’s vinyl is way better than what they remember because of fade-resistant finishes and transferable lifetime warranties.

The cost: $12,000

The return: 83% at $10,000

Want fiber-cement siding instead? It also shows a strong payback of 79%. Although it’s the pricier option — you’ll spend $19,100 — it has one thing vinyl still lacks — the perception of quality.

And quality matters. In a survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “quality” was the one of the most important traits that home buyers focused on when house hunting.

Related: 


Posted on July 4, 2017 at 6:16 am
Aaron Calvo | Posted in Living & Style |

Is Seattle an Affordable City?

HSH.com has calculated the average salary required to afford a median-priced home in 27 U.S. metro areas.

Seattle is among the 10 least affordable metro areas on the list. You’ll needed to earn more than $86,000 to afford the median-priced home here. Want to put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent? Then the required salary increases to $100,969.

Year-over-year, HSH.com says home prices here grew by 10.18 percent.

The most affordable metropolitan areas are Pittsburgh, where you’d need to make $31,507, followed by Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Here are the least affordable markets: San Francisco at $161,110, San Diego at $111,665 and Los Angeles, $98,542.

The salary analysis and more information is at http://www.hsh.com/finance/mortgage/salary-home-buying-25-cities.html


Posted on June 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm
Aaron Calvo | Posted in Uncategorized |

Get Rid of Unwanted Items in Your Home

Time to De-Clutter? Some Tips for Selling Your Stuff

Posted in Selling by Tara Sharp

 

If you are looking around your home and thinking to yourself that it’s time to de-clutter, the summer months provide an ideal time to hold a garage sale. But if that sounds like too big of an undertaking, there are other options available to you thanks to popular resale sites like eBay and Craigslist. And if even that sounds like too much effort, you might also consider donating lightly used items to charity or sending them off to the dump. Here are some questions to help you decide which method is best for you.

 

How much stuff do you have?  Are you liquidating your space of large furniture items, a large quantity or quality items, or do you have a small pile of electronics?

If you have yards worth of stuff to get rid of, you definitely want to consider a garage sale. Getting rid of multiple items on Craig’s list can be time consuming, and shipping items sold on eBay can be expensive and eat into your profits. On the other hand, if your items are easily shippable or you have a small enough quantity to take quality photos and post online, then you can save time by using eBay or Craig’s list – and potentially make more money too.

 

What type of stuff am I getting rid of? Is it worth anything?

 If you have large furniture or unique/valuable pieces it may be worth the time to take some quality photos and try to sell these items on Craigslist first. Generally Craigslist works as “first come, first serve” so be prepared to respond to inquiries quickly. If you have small items that have some value, you may want to consider eBay. You reach a much larger audience through eBay which can result in a greater financial return.

 

How much time do I have?

Garage/yard sales are by far the most time intensive of your options. If you choose to hold a garage sale, you will likely need to dedicate at least three days for prep, clean-up, and the sale itself. All items should be cleaned up, priced, and neatly displayed for sale. Signage should be prominently placed around your neighborhood. You can also place an ad in your local classifieds or on Craigslist to attract a larger crowd.  

 

Will your home/community accommodate a Garage Sale?

Garage and yard sales are generally held at a single-family residence. If you live in an apartment or condo, you may want to consider alternatives due to limited public space. You may also want to consider your community traffic. If you live on a quiet street, you may not get enough customers to generate sales. 

 

Can you enhance a sale by joining with neighbors, friends and family?

Some communities hold an annual neighborhood garage sale, encouraging all neighbors to participate on the same day. This increases your ability to market the event and attract a larger audience.

 

Want more information on hosting a garage sale? Go here.


Posted on June 11, 2017 at 2:21 pm
Aaron Calvo | Posted in Living & Style |

Seattle inventory and what is driving high cost of home ownership.

How are inventory shortages impacting the housing market?

Posted in Economics 101 Videos by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate

 

The shortage of homes for sale has been a major concern for buyers and real estate agents over the last few years. Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, explains the impact these shortages are having on the housing market.

 


Posted on June 3, 2017 at 3:57 pm
Aaron Calvo | Posted in Buying a Home |

Buying a Home in West Seattle/Beacon Hill?

Todd & Bryan stuck it out to own a home in Beacon Hill. With some elbow grease these

two will have an amazing place to call home. Thanks for trusting me to guide you through

the process.


Posted on June 1, 2017 at 6:27 pm
Aaron Calvo | Posted in Customer Note |