Category Archives: Federal Way Real Estate

Joyce’s Voice…What buyers need to know!

Home buyers

1. Get preapproved or be disappointed…Knowing how much they can spend is paramount, both in avoiding wasting your time and your brokers. The sellers want to see a preapproval letter. The one thing many agents don’t warn their clients about, however, is the danger of disappointment should the unapproved shop for homes, clueless about how much they can afford to spend or even if they can get a loan.
You may fall in love with a house you found at an open on a Sunday afternoon only to learn later that it was way out of your price range. Nothing you see after that will stack up.

2. Understand the home loan process…It is very important that you get the lender everything they request in a timely manor. You will slow the whole process up if you do not stay on top of this. Remember it’s not a done deal until it closes. Changing jobs, making large purchases on credit and allowing credit inquiries after loan approval have all proven detrimental to many buyers. The lender’s soft pull on your credit prior to closing to confirm nothing has changed in your financial circumstances.

3. Make a list of wants and needs…Remember these are two different things. Wants are things you would like to see in a house but may not keep you from writing an offer if they are in the home. (They are a bonus) However needs are a must. These are things you will not compromise with on your purchase. Once you have made a list of both. When touring homes if you find a house that has all of your needs and most of your wants then realize this is the house for you and write an offer. There are no perfect homes just ones that meet your needs list and some of your wants.

4. Don’t lack vision when looking at a house…You need to be able to look past things like ugly wallpaper, paint colors you don’t like, bad carpet, or a messy house. These are all things that can and will be changed easily once you purchase a house. You want to look at the bones of the house, is it built well? Will it meet your criteria? All the other items are just items that can be handles later.

5. Read your HOA documents if the property has them…It is important that if you are buying in an area where the home owners associations requirements are being enforced then you need to understand them and be willing to live by their requirements. Many areas have home owners associations that are no longer active and the rules are no longer being enforced. Please make sure you find out what the neighborhood you are purchasing if they are active.

6. Write an offer that makes sense in the market you are purchasing in…Understand the current market conditions, are you buying in a sellers market or a buyers market? It is extremely important to know the difference. In other words, do not to lowball in a hot seller’s market, forget asking for too much in concessions and be willing to give a little bit. You will not get the house because other buyers are understanding the market and will go in with a better offer. Put your best offer up front in a sellers market. However, on the flip side in a buyers market no matter how bad they want the house, slow down and avoid giving money away.

7. The inspection report will always look read worse than it is…For this reason you should always be present at a home inspection so you are able to hear what the inspector is saying instead of just reading a report later. The inspector will be explaining to you what the issues are and how to fix the problems. Many times it is an easy fix that you may decide to do later instead of asking the seller to do the work.
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http://www.trulia.com/pro/buyers/7-warnings-buyers-need-hear/

Joyce’s Voice….Is there an upside to downsizing?

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Moving to a smaller home can free up money to help you meet other financial goals. Here are four questions to ask yourself first.

The Upside of Downsizing

AS THEY GROW OLDER, many people find that less is more when it comes to housing. They realize that they don’t need the space—or begin to doubt whether it’s worth maintaining the grounds of a larger home. Others might be attracted to city living or want to try a retirement community. Beyond all of these good reasons, there can also be significant financial advantages.

“Downsizing can have clear benefits in addition to the profit you could receive from selling your home,” says Debra Greenberg, a director in the Personal Retirement Strategy & Solutions at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. “Not only will your mortgage likely be lower in your new, smaller home, your energy bills and property taxes may be smaller, too.”

The windfall can be redirected into whatever area of your life you choose—bolstering your income in retirement, for instance, or helping to send your grandkids to school. But first you need to consider the financial aspects of the move. Below are four questions you should ask yourself before you make the decision.

How will the move affect my budget? “This question involves more than just the purchase price of your new home—or rental cost, if you choose not to buy,” notes Greenberg. “There’s the charge for moving your belongings. And you should compare the cost of living between your old and new locations.” A financial advisor can help you determine what factors you might need to figure into your new budget, and how the numbers could affect your progress toward your other goals, she says.

What if I sell my home before I purchase a new one? If there’s time between the closing date on your old house and the date you will take possession of your new one, you may have to find a temporary place to live. “That could create the need for short-term financing,” notes Danielle Klemow, a director of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Residential Real Estate. “There are a number of credit solutions that can potentially help you cover the cost of short-term housing.”

Will my income be affected? “If you’re moving to a new place, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about making other changes as well,” notes Greenberg. You might be considering working less or not at all. “Make sure you’re aware of how your new life might affect your income needs and long-term plans,” she says. Your advisor can help you create a strategy to draw down income from your investments as you begin a new life in your new home.

Where can I invest the money I save by downsizing? “Think about where the money is most needed and how it could help you pursue your other goals,” advises Greenberg. “Are there any immediate needs you want to finance? Could you take a portion of the proceeds from the sale and give yourself a reward, like a vacation?” Perhaps you’re thinking about starting a small business or upping your charitable giving. “You may have a smaller home now,” says Greenberg, “but your opportunities have expanded.”
IF YOUR THINKING OF SELLING PLEASE GIVE ME A CALL! 206-790-4696

Thank you for sharing this information:
Kevin P McClain
Global Wealth Management
MERRILL LYNCH
WELLS FARGO PLAZA
1201 PACIFIC AVE.
Suite 1800
TACOMA, WA 98402
Phone: (888)-202-4992
Email: Kevin P McClain

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Joyce’s Voice….Now is the time to get your house on the market and get it SOLD!

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Thinking of buying or selling real estate in Washington State?

I would love to have the opportunity to meet with you and show you how I can get your house SOLD! Or if you wanting a certified buyers agent to represent you please give me a call. View all homes on the market at http://www.joycelowe-realtor or sign up for a free market snapshot of your area.

Joyce’s Voice…5 dumb negotiating mistakes smart people make

What great information: I think we can all use this in every aspect of life>>>Thank you Amy Levin-Epstein for sharing!Negotiations

(MoneyWatch) Whether you’re trying to negotiate a better salary or simply sway a colleague to your way of thinking, being a skilled negotiator can offer many benefits in your job and career. Some people are naturally able to persuade people to see things in new ways, while others struggle to make their case. Here are five techniques to take out of your repertoire. They simply don’t work. They can hurt your chance at a successful outcome, and even your reputation.

 Being combative or defensive from the beginning. Being passionate is good, but being angry is not. “Coming off harsh and aggressive is not a good approach to charm your boss or colleagues, particularly in a business setting when dealing with colleagues who you may know on a personal level,”  said David Fagiano, chief operating offer at Dale Carnegie Training. “We advocate to begin any business-related situation in an amicable manner, especially with a negotiation.” If you begin a conversation in a friendly manner, the tone has been set — it’s up to the other person to transition things into a nastier context.

Lying about details big and small. It’s a small world out there, and if you’re talking about something that is public knowledge, the Internet can make it even smaller. “They will find out. Then you’ve not only lost the opportunity in front of you, you’ve put your reputation at risk for the future,” said Erica Ariel Fox, author of “Winning from Within: A Breakthrough Method for Leading, Living, and Lasting Change.” 

Dominating the discussion. You’ll be able to articulate your case better if you know what is important to your “opponent,” and you can only do that if you listen to what they’re saying. “If you do not listen, it will come off as a one-way presentation and your audience will feel alienated and attacked. Be sure to listen and make certain it is mutual discussion, not just a one-way proposition,” Fagiano said.

Forgetting to do your research. People won’t be able to see your point unless you make it, and facts and figures will help you show, not just tell, what you mean. “If you are proposing something new to your supervisor and do not have support for why this is important or valuable, your proposed negotiation can turn into a lofty, unwarranted request. Always have background and proof as to why and what the benefits are to your proposition,” Fagiano said.

Pushing someone too hard. If you push someone to commit to something they didn’t really accept, you haven’t really “won” anything. “Agreements like these most often fall apart, because people don’t feel compelled to honor agreements they made in theory but which never reflected a true meeting of the minds,” Fox said. “Since they didn’t agree with the commitment when they made it, they very often don’t fulfill it.”

By Amy Levin-Epstein /

MoneyWatch/ November 12, 2013, 8:30 AM

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

Joyce’s Voice; Great news fewer homeowners are underwater!

|imagesNumber of Underwater Homeowners Down 42% Home prices are rising, more underwater home owners are regaining equity, and home sales are on the rise, according to the Obama Housing Scorecard, released each month by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is wonderful news for our economy and the real estate market!

The August report showed that home prices continue to make strong gains while the number of underwater home owners has dropped by 42 percent since the beginning of 2012. The number of home owners who owe more on their mortgage than it is currently worth has dropped from 12.1 million to 7.1 million as of the second quarter of 2013. Home sales—for existing homes and new homes—continue to rebound as well.

However, the report also stikes a cautious note, underscoring the fact that housing market hasn’t returned to normal quite yet.

“As we regain stability in our housing markets, it is important to remember that we still have a long way to go in making sure that our housing finance system is strong for future generations,” says Kurt Usowski, HUD deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs.

The report notes that more than 1.7 million home owner assistance actions have taken place through the administration’s Making Home Affordable Program, including loan modifications and other foreclosure-mitigation efforts. But the administration continues to press mortgage servicers to improve their processes in helping struggling home owners, such as through better identification of home owners who could be helped through the program as well as improving upon the timeliness, accuracy, and detail of servicers communications with home owners.

“While there is significant progress, there is still more improvement needed in [mortgage] servicer behavior,” says Tim Massad, Treasury assistant secretary for financial stability. “And while the housing market has recovered substantially, there are still home owners struggling to avoid foreclosure and it is vital that we continue to try to help them.”

Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and “Obama Housing Scorecard: Housing faces long journey ahead,” HousingWire (Sept. 13, 2013)Daily Real Estate News |      Monday, September 16, 2013 

Joyce’s Voice…Now is the time to buy and sell real estate in The Pacific Northwest

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Joyce’s Voice…,Buying and Selling a House during the winter months can be a PLUS!

Joyce's Voice...,Buying and Selling a House during the winter months can be a PLUS!

Think about it! So many sellers think they should wait until Spring to put their houses on the market. Typical real estate wisdom states the spring summer months are the hottest selling months of the year, because families with children prefer to move into their new homes before September. This may be true to an extent but one thing to keep in mind is that when you wait to Spring or Summer to list your house you will have much more competition and that is not a plus when you are selling. Even though there are fewer buyers and sellers out there right now, those who are active tend to be highly, highly motivated.

Buyers remember that the sellers who are willing to clear the whole family out of the house when everyone else is having warm fuzzy holiday gatherings are motivated to get their homes sold – and ready to entertain your offer to make that happen. Also seeing a house in the winter months will allow you to see how it holds up in the worst of weather. Don’t wait until Spring to buy and sell, now is the best time of the year to get your house on the market and get it SOLD!

Joyce’s Voice…Real Estate Prices moving up according to NAR, this is the time to buy!

ImageWASHINGTON (August 22, 2012) – Sales of existing homes rose in July even with constraints of affordable inventory, and the national median price is showing five consecutive months of year-over-year increases, according to the National Association of Realtors®.  Monthly sales rose in every region but the West, where inventory is very tight.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in July from 4.37 million in June, and are 10.4 percent above the 4.05 million-unit pace in July 2011.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said housing affordability conditions are very good.  “Mortgage interest rates have been at record lows this year while rents have been rising at faster rates.  Combined, these factors are helping to unleash a pent-up demand,” he said.  “However, the market is constrained by unnecessarily tight lending standards and shrinking inventory supplies, so housing could easily be much stronger without these abnormal frictions.”

NAR is asking the government to expeditiously release the foreclosed properties it owns in inventory-constrained markets.

Given population and demographic demand, Yun said existing-home sales could be in a normal range of 5 to 5.5 million if all conditions were optimal.  “Sales may reach 5 million next year, but it will require more sensible lending standards and stronger job creation to push beyond that,” he said.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 3.55 percent in July from 3.68 percent in June; the rate was 4.55 percent in July 2011; recordkeeping began in 1971.

“Fewer sales in the lower price ranges are contributing to stronger increases in the median price, but all of the home price measures now are showing positive movement and that is building confidence in the market,” Yun said.  “Furthermore, the higher median price naturally means more housing contribution to economic growth.”

The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $187,300 in July, up 9.4 percent from a year ago.  The last time there were five back-to-back monthly price increases from a year earlier was in January to May of 2006.  The July gain was the strongest since January 2006 when the median price rose 10.2 percent from a year earlier.

Distressed homes3 – foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts – accounted for 24 percent of July sales (12 percent were foreclosures and 12 percent were short sales), down from 25 percent in June and 29 percent in July 2011.

Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 17 percent below market value in July, while short sales were discounted 15 percent.

NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami, said pricing is the primary factor in determining how long homes stay on the market.  “Correctly priced homes, regardless of price range, are selling quickly these days,” he said.

“Fully one-third of homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, and only 21 percent were on the market for six months or longer.  Sellers should carefully consider a Realtor’s ® advice about marketing their homes,” Veissi said.

Total housing inventory at the end July increased 1.3 percent to 2.40 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.4-month supply4 at the current sales pace, down from a 6.5-month supply in June.  Listed inventory is 23.8 percent below a year ago when there was a 9.3-month supply.

Yun said there are distortions in housing inventory.  “The total supply of housing inventory appears to be balanced in historic terms, but there are notable shortages in the lower price ranges which are limiting opportunities for first-time buyers,” he said.  “The low price ranges also are popular with investors, so entry-level buyers are at a disadvantage because many investors are making all-cash offers.”

First-time buyers accounted for 34 percent of purchasers in July, up from 32 percent in June; they were also 32 percent in July 2011.  Under normal conditions, entry-level buyers account for four out of 10 purchases.

All-cash sales slipped to 27 percent of transactions in July from 29 percent in June; they were 29 percent in July 2011.  Investors, who account for the bulk of cash sales, purchased 16 percent of homes in July, down from 19 percent in June; they were 18 percent in July 2011.

Single-family home sales increased 2.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.98 million in July from 3.90 million in June, and are 9.9 percent above the 3.62 million-unit level in July 2011.  The median existing single-family home price was $188,100 in July, up 9.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 490,000 in July from 470,000 in June, and are 14.0 percent higher than the 430,000-unit pace a year ago.  The median existing condo price was $180,700 in July, which is 7.7 percent above July 2011.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 7.4 percent to an annual level of 580,000 in July and are 13.7 percent above July 2011.  The median price in the Northeast was $254,200, up 3.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 2.0 percent in July to a pace of 1.04 million and are 16.9 percent higher than a year ago.  The median price in the Midwest was $154,100, up 5.8 percent from July 2011.

In the South, existing-home sales rose 2.3 percent to an annual level of 1.77 million in July and are 8.6 percent above July 2011.  The median price in the region was $162,600, up 6.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West were unchanged at an annual pace of 1.08 million in July but are 5.9 percent higher than a year ago.  With pronounced inventory shortages, the median price in the West was $238,600, a jump of 24.5 percent from July 2011.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

NOTE:  For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services.  Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

The Pending Home Sales Index for July will be released August 29 and existing-home sales for August is scheduled for September 19.  The commercial real estate market report and forecast is out August 27; all release times are 10:00 a.m. EDT.

1Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from multiple listing services.  Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series.  A rebenchmarking of home sales is done periodically using other sources to assess the overall home sales trend, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit.  Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month.  In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger sample – about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months.  Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity.  For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns.  However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began.  Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases.  Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to a seasonality in buying patterns.  Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns.  Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data.  Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if more data is received than was originally reported.

3Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), all-cash transactions, investors and first-time buyers and are from a monthly survey for the Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

4Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, condos were measured quarterly while single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions).

Joyce’s Voice…Sales of 2nd Homes at Highest Level Since 2005

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This is good information and great news for the market!
Last year’s sales of investment and vacation homessurged to their highest level since 2005, according to an annual survey of such transactions.The 2012 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey by the National Association of Realtors® shows investment-home sales jumped 64.5 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, rising from 749,000 to 1.23 million. Vacation-home sales rose 7.0 percent to 502,000 in 2011 from 469,000 in 2010. Owner-occupied purchases fell 15.5 percent to 2.78 million.

Vacation-home sales accounted for 11 percent of all transactions last year, up from 10 percent in 2010, while the portion of investment sales jumped to 27 percent in 2011 from 17 percent in 2010.

(Editor’s note: NAR defines vacation homes as recreational property purchased primarily for the buyer’s (or their family’s) personal use, while investment homes are defined as residential property purchased primarily to rent to others, or to hold for other financial or investment purposes.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said investors with cash took advantage of market conditions in 2011. “During the past year investors have been swooping into the market to take advantage of bargain home prices,” he said. “Rising rental income easily beat cash sitting in banks as an added inducement. In addition, 41 percent of investment buyers purchased more than one property.”

Half of investment buyers said they purchased primarily to generate rental income, and 34 percent wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity.

Yun said the shift in investment buyer patterns in 2011 shows the market, for the large part, is able to absorb foreclosures hitting the market. “Small-time investors are helping the market heal since REO (bank real estate owned) inventory is not lingering for an extended period.”

Other key findings of the survey, which was conducted in March, include;

  • 49 percent of investment buyers paid cash in 2011, as did 42 percent of vacation-home buyers.
  • Half of all investment home purchases in 2011 were distressed homes, as were 39 percent of vacation homes.
  • Of buyers who financed their purchase with a mortgage, large downpayments were typical. The median downpayment for both investment- and vacation-home buyers in 2011 was 27 percent.
  • The median investment-home price was $100,000 in 2011, up 6.4 percent from $94,000 in 2010.
  • The median vacation-home price was $121,300, down 19.1 percent from $150,000 in 2010.
  • Investment-home buyers in 2011 had a median age of 50, earned $86,100 and bought a home that was relatively close to their primary residence – a median distance of 25 miles, although 30 percent were more than 100 miles away.
  • Eighty-two percent of vacation-home buyers said the primary reason for buying was to use the property themselves for vacations, or as a family retreat. Thirty percent plan to use the property as a primary residence in the future, and only 22 percent plan to rent to others.
  • Sixteen percent of vacation buyers and 14 percent of investment buyers purchased the property for a family member, friend or relative to use. In many cases the home is intended for a son or daughter to use while attending school.
  • Forty-two percent of vacation homes purchased last year were in the South, 30 percent in the West, 15 percent in the Northeast and 12 percent in the Midwest; 1 percent were located outside of the U.S.
  • Forty-four percent of investment properties were in the South, 23 percent in the West, 17 percent in the Midwest and 15 percent in the Northeast.
  • Eight out of 10 second-home buyers said it was a good time to buy.
  • Nearly half of investment buyers said they were likely to purchase another property within two years, as did one-third of vacation-home buyers.