Thursday, November 17, 2005

Seattle Rated Best City for Real Estate Investing

A national real-estate investment brokerage, Marcus & Millichap, recently picked the Seattle area -- King, Pierce and Snohomish counties -- as the nation's No. 1 market for real-estate investments over the next three years. The firm noted the region's improving economy and relatively small amount of retail space for the size of the population.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Internet is "Cool" for Real Estate. How Cool?

What's "cool" about the Internet is that there is so much information available, including information about real estate. You can read online articles about how to buy a house, sell a house, getting a mortgage, local communities, and more.
Especially cool is that now you can do something that, in the "olden days," only Realtors could do. You can see all the listings on the web.
Practically all of them, anyway.
...except online listings aren't always the most current data available, especially on some of the bigger national sites, but even so... is a LOT of information.
And it is cool.
As you're looking at listings, typing in search parameters, hitting your back button and your forward button looking for deals in different communities, trying to find the home that fits you....
...time just flies by.
You click and scroll until you find yourself looking at the same property more than once. Not all the listings have photos, so you skip by those. The online listings you like most have LOTS of photos - the view of each room, the view out the front window, the view of the back and front of the property, and so on. After a while, you begin to skip the "virtual tours" because they are so SLOW that they bore you. Clicking on pictures is so much faster.
At some point, you want to know "more."
So you send an email to a listing agent, perhaps. Maybe it is a property in a community you know or it is a property clear across the country, but you are genuinely interested in getting more information about that particular home.
Maybe you do this on several properties to several different agents.
Two days go by and nobody answers you. Not one response.
Believe it or not, most Realtors still are not used to the web and email. Some are though (hint, hint).
If you think the above is just a made-up scenario, it is not. A very web-savvy individual was relocating far away and described the above experience (in much more vivid detail than revealed here).
Plus, there is more to consider.
Since not all Realtors are used to the web, they don't all have a digital camera so they can take photos of property for upload. Of those that do, it often costs extra to put multiple photos on the web. And there are LOTS of web sites.
As a result, if you were to look at several different real estate sites (like our web-savvy friend did) you may find that multiple sites will display the same listing, but one may have no photos, one site may have one photo, and another site will display multiple photos.
You may have skipped something great.
Heck, a listing may not even display on the web. Or it may already be sold, but it displays as an active listing, or it may be a new listing that isn't on the web yet.
In short, the web is behind. That data isn't always current.
So yes, the web is "cool." More info is available, but there are also limitations.
Those limitations can be bothersome, but in the beginning stage of the house hunt, most potential buyers want independence and they enjoy that independence.
Just like you do.
Sometimes, like with our web-savvy friend, it isn't long before the need for more information can also be frustrating.
What helps is to have aa "mentor" - someone who respects your desire to be independent, but will answer your emails and phone calls promptly, answering questions and offering advice - someone who can tell you more about a particular property, someone who can tell you if it is overpriced or if it is a "make-sense" purchase. Someone who can tell you when a "three bedroom home" is actually two bedrooms and a study (there is a difference).
That mentor is your local real estate agent.
You still get to do the "fun" part (looking at property online), but don't have to deal with the frustration that comes when you need more information or get ready to act.

articles copyrighted by RealEstate ABC

Real estate news: Settlement affects 600 state residents

Nearly 600 Washington consumers will share in a $2.5 million multistate settlement with title insurer Fidelity National for providing kickbacks to Wells Fargo, state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said last week.

Refunds will range from $20 to $60.

According to the settlement, some Wells Fargo home-loan customers were directed to Fidelity National for title insurance, and Fidelity National passed a portion of their premiums to a reinsurance company owned by Wells Fargo.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff and Bloomberg News
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Winter weather is upon us! It's a great time to buy a home!

With the cold and rainy winter weather settling in, most buyers prefer to wait for the more pleasant spring weather before finding a home to purchase. Although it is much more enjoyable to go home-shopping on a beautiful spring day, think about this: If you really like a home on a gray, dreary winter day then you will absolutely love it on a bright sunny day! Also, after a heavy rain is the best time to inspect basements, windows and roofs for leaks, and to see if any "ponding" occurs in the yard which could lead to more problems down the road.

The holidays are also quickly approaching which means many people are pre-occupied with other things and are not thinking about moving. This is great news for buyers because it means there is less competition in our hot market -- which means you may get a better price! Also, most Sellers who have their home on the market during the holiday season do so because they don't have a choice. For whatever reason they need to sell their home.
Motivated Seller = Good deal for potential Buyers.