Author Archive

The times, they are a changin’

| May 30th, 2017 | No Comments »

For the loser now 
Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin’. -Bob Dylan

You’ll find plenty of news reports about our rising housing market, but how does that spell out in neighborhoods? See the anecdotal comparisons below for some real-life context.

2014: I listed a Kirkland home for $429,000 and had to lower the price three times. It finally sold 61 days later for $357,000.
2017: The exact same home a few doors down was listed yesterday for $500,000.

2015: I helped a buyer score an awesome condo in downtown Kirkland for less than the list price. It was listed at $399,000 and sold for $380,000. It had two bedrooms and was over 1100 square feet.
2017: A one-bedroom condo in downtown Kirkland hit the market yesterday for $490,000. It has one bedroom and is only 728 square feet.

2016: I listed a lovely four- bedroom house in Kirkland with 2800 square feet for $899,000. We received only one offer but it sold for $915,000.
2017: I listed an almost identical Kirkland home a few blocks away for $999,000. Twelve offers later, it sold for $1,210,000.

Down the block…

2014: I thought my seller was nuts when he wanted to list his Kirkland home for $860,000. Turns out I was right because it took 107 days to sell. The final price was $791,000 and the seller had to contribute $2,000 towards buyer’s closing costs, making it a net offer of $789,000.
2017: The exact same house two doors down just sold for $899,000.

2016: I sold a cute four-bedroom split level home in Kirkland for $840,000. Less than six months later the same home a few doors up sold for $893,000.
2017: A split level a few blocks away with only three bedrooms sold for $925,000.

….a year later. What a difference!

Boy, have times changed! You probably understand this from reading about local housing trends, but it can feel very different when you are personally selling or searching for a home.  Don’t go it alone! I can help you navigate this ever-changing market so you get the most bang for your buck.


 

The utterly fascinating world of inspections!

| April 20th, 2017 | 2 Comments »

rsz_inspectionsOK, the fact is that inspections aren’t that glittery. And maybe not fascinating. But what they sure can be is eye opening, helpful and — if you’re lucky — uneventful and boring!  And a good deal less invasive than, say, having the TSA screener unload your entire carry-on in public because you packed a full-size bottle of shampoo. Not that I would EVER do that (ahem).

Traditionally inspections are paid for by the buyer after the offer is accepted. It’s usually done by a licensed inspector who spends about 2-3 hours going through the home to perform a visual inspection of the home’s major components. Afterwards the buyer can either ask the seller to repair things that were found during an inspection or they can ask for a credit to fix the items on their own after closing. If there are major red flags that come up during an inspection the buyer may choose to terminate their offer and move on. If all goes well and nothing major is discovered it’s a win-win for both buyer and seller.

In a non-traditional market like ours — meaning houses are sometimes selling in a matter of hours — an inspection may not be feasible for number of reasons. For one, there isn’t always time to coordinate an inspector. Secondly, when there are multiple offers, a seller will likely see offers with inspection contingencies as less desirable. No inspection to the seller means there isn’t the risk of added repairs, cost or time. However, to a buyer it means giving up an opportunity to find out information about the home, both good and bad. So what’s a possible better alternative? Introducing the pre-inspection:

The pre-inspection is an abbreviated inspection that can be done by the buyer before making an offer. It’s less expensive and not as comprehensive but certainly better than foregoing an inspection. It gives the buyer an opportunity to “kick the tires” before writing the big check, and sellers get assurance that the buyer is not going to further negotiate price, ask them to make repairs or terminate the offer down the road. The best practice for buyers is to have a licensed inspector perform a thorough inspection but in this market that is not always possible. Having a pre-inspection can be the next best thing!

For more riveting information about inspections don’t hesitate to contact me! Or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell I’d love to help!

I’m glad you asked!

| January 9th, 2017 | 2 Comments »

directory-1699948_1280Let’s highlight 2016 in a fun and creative way, shall we? While I had tons of cool experiences to share from last year, at the end of the day (or year) I’m just not that fascinating. So let’s keep it simple and I’ll share some of the most common questions (and my answers!) of 2016.

Should I buy a house?: yes
Should I sell my house?: yes
Did you give up Diet Coke?: yes
Will interest rates go up?: yes
Are you sick of baseball?: no
Should I stage my house?: maybe
Do I need to paint my house?: if you are asking, the answer might be yes

Should you buy a house? Just ask anyone who either did or didn’t buy last year. I can honestly say that every single person I sold a house to last year has seen an increase in their home value. People who didn’t buy are kicking themselves. Seattle has an extremely good job market and people want to live here. We have great schools, beaches, mountains and good coffee. The rental market is so strong that you are likely to pay as much in rent as you would a mortgage.  The prices have only gone up year after year — so pull the trigger now while interest rates are good and next year you can also sit back and enjoy the equity.

Should you sell your house? Yes, strike while the iron is hot. I don’t know where the rates will be a few months from now but we still have an extreme shortage in inventory. If you put your house on the market within the appropriate price range, it will sell. And it will likely sell quickly.

Did I give up Diet Coke? I sure did. But I replaced it with iced tea and Splenda. Don’t judge.

Will interest rates go up? They already have. We don’t yet know what effect the new president will have on interest rates but history tells us that rates won’t stay low forever.

Am I sick of baseball? Not possible. When I’m not working I’m probably at a baseball game between the months of March and August; I wouldn’t have it any other way. Actually, in the last 8 years I’ve been at a baseball game for each of my wedding anniversaries and birthdays, and that’s just how I like it!

Should I stage my house? Maybe. Staging really can add value, but don’t sell yourself short. A lot of you out there have wonderful taste and decor, which makes staging unnecessary. In my opinion vacant homes get the most benefit from staging.

Do I need to paint? Great question! Let me be the judge. These days you can get away with not doing much to your house before you list, but every once in a while that pink or purple room can be a hindrance to buyers.

What were your most asked questions in 2016? If you were ever asked “Do you know a great real estate agent?” I sure hope your answer was me! I look forward to working with many more buyers and sellers in 2017 (and of course answering your questions)!

“We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive for homeless youth

| October 13th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

hatWindermere and the Seattle Seahawks have come together to #tacklehomelessness in our community, and I’m helping through the “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive!

From October 17 through November 14, we are collecting new hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, and warm socks for YouthCare, a non-profit that provides support and services to homeless youth throughout the Puget Sound area. Each night in Seattle, nearly 1,000 young people are homeless.

Please help by dropping off your donations at my Windermere office at 3933 Lake Washington Blvd NE Suite 100 in Kirkland. Or, if you are in the greater Kirkland area, text me and I’ll come pick up your donations.  You can also drop them off at any other Eastside Windermere office. Let’s keep these kids warm during the cold winter months!

(PS, spread the word by taking a photo of your donations and post to social media tagged with #tacklehomelessness and #CaraintheHouse!)

got-covered-drive

 

Autumn, ready or not!

| October 3rd, 2016 | 3 Comments »

rsz_pumpkins-1432736_1280Fall is notoriously a busy time for everyone. New school year, new routine, new weather, new holidays on the horizon… it’s bound to make you feel stressed. Say goodbye to those long, lazy dog days of summer—it’s time to hit the ground running!  Back by popular demand is a Cara in the House Top 10 list featuring the best ways to survive October.

WWCD:

What Would Cara Do? — Autumn Edition

1. Ignore the Christmas decorations. For now. Who cares that Costco replaced the tent and lawn chair section with ribbons and bows? It doesn’t mean you have to start Christmas shopping. Unless you want to. And if you do start please don’t brag about it to me because I rather enjoy the pressure of getting my shopping done on December 23.

2.  If you don’t already, now is a fabulous time to start exercising regularly. This does not mean you need to train for a competition or race or event. Just block out some time in your schedule. If you look at my calendar it says “meeting” every Wednesday and Friday at 9:30. Don’t tell my clients but that really means “gym.”

3.  Take at least one walk where you get to crunch some awesome fallen leaves. That is just downright fun and festive.

4. Start a new fall show. For me its This is Us. Its AH-MAZING. Well, at least the first episode was.

5. Order pizza. When the kids have one thing after another or you’re busy at work, don’t feel guilty ordering pizza a couple nights a month (and by month I mean week.)

6. Think of new ways to market yourself. Wait, sorry that really applies to me. But if you have good ideas, please send them to me! The less time I have to think about marketing means the more time I have for all the fall shows (wish I was kidding.) Seriously do you watch The Goldbergs? Modern Family? Not sure how it’s possible that there are people who don’t!

7. Establish a routine. Whether it’s your work routine, homework routine, workout routine, or show watching routine you’d be surprised how much more productive you will be when you have a good routine. Need help with a routine? I suggest calling the amazing life coach Sheila Storrer pronto! She’s incredibly good at what she does. Check her out at http://www.sheilastorrercoaching.com

8. Cliché alert: take a deep breath and enjoy this glorious season. No, in all seriousness my Apple Watch sends me a reminder a couple times a day to breathe. Some days I actually need that reminder.

9. Bake something fall-like. I baked apple crisp two weeks ago and am still patting myself on the back. My house smelled like all kinds of fall! (Sorry, Mom, if you are reading this: I know you actually made it but it was at my house…so really it’s the same as me making it.)

10. Call me if you are thinking of buying or selling a home or property – or if know someone who is then send them my way! Just not at 9:30 am on Wednesdays and Fridays because I have a meeting.