Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Normandy Park Market to Open in Normandy Park Town Center

Normandy Park has finally landed a "high end" grocer.

Coming soon to Normandy Park Town Center: a "Metropolitan Market" type grocery store.

Gluten free will no longer be a problem for South King County!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Decline in High End Pricing; a South King County Case Study

Always wanted a view or waterfront home?

Now is the time.

Depending on the area, studies show high end pricing (greater than $500,000) in King County having decreased 30-50%.

Here is an extreme example, on a home I love.  It's an EXTREMELY private mid-bank waterfront home in Normandy Park, WA.  It has full, protected, unimpeded sunset/Vashon views.




Obviously, no single example is an accurate reflection of the market as a whole.  But, where family/median price homes fell around 35%, the high end market fell more.  Your discount on these homes, now, the ones listed, is significant.

There are some good ones out there!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Who Should Invest in Real Estate Right Now in Seattle?

They say agents can always find a reason you should do a deal (I have no idea who "they" are!).

Not everyone should do a deal right now (obviously).

Here are three situations under which it makes sense to complete a real estate transaction now (not including personal issues):

1.  If you would be buying "up." - Prices are down by all indicators.  If you are buying up, for sake of example, from a $500k home to a $1M home, the discount on your home, your "loss," is $125k.  You will get a $250k discount (or more) on the higher priced home.  If you are buying "down," this is a poor time to do it.

2.  If you are looking to buy/hold/sell land. - There are few loan programs, and tough ones, for land and construction loans; the demand for land to build on is relatively small, compared to the past, because the buyer pool has been made small.  But, economists tell us, somewhere in the next 0-5 years there will be a shortage of new homes.  New homes require land/lots which will see greater increase in value with greater demand in the future.

3.  If you are entering, as opposed to leaving, the market. - Warren Buffet works off the age old principle "buy low, sell high."  It is low.  If you are leaving the market, cashing out, this is not the optimal time to do it.  Essentially, this is a good market for first time buyers.

So, if you fit one of these categories, I hope your broker is calling you ;)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Top 5 Reasons (besides price) your House Didn't Sell

Your house didn't sell, and you are see red when you talk to realtors.  The thought of leaving all the lights and tidying up for people who are going to track wet pine needles into your house makes you nauseated.  You hated the process.

We have all felt that way.  Once past the anger, when you can look back objectively, was there anything you weren't doing?  Maybe you didn't know you should be.  No excuses now!  Here they are, the top reasons, besides price, the process of selling your home didn't work:

1.  Your house was nasty-dirty.

We all love our families and pets, but we don't like running our hands across the messes of other folks' families and pets.  Take 2 hours and do a deep clean.  You yourself will feel much better.

2.  Your house stinks.

Easy - dedicate yourself to 3 months of mundane cooking.  No Emeril Lagasse pork fat jalapeno dishes.  Cook chicken tacos.  Salads.  Gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  Anything besides foods that leave buyers heading strait to the dry cleaners.

3.  You "hung out" while, or right up until the moment when, buyers were at your home.

This feels like having a random stranger sit in on their yearly physical with the doctor.  Buyers feel really awkward around sellers.  Use a showing as an excuse to have coffee with your dad or play catch with your brother at the park.

4.  You dictated strict showing times.

"No showings on Monday or Tuesday, showings before 4 on Fridays, showings only when I am listening to Train on my Ipod and drinking bubble tea and walking."

You have to leave your house when buyers want to see it, 80% of the time.  It takes a lot for the modern family to drive around and view homes.  When they do, you want to be on the list.  If you're not, they'll forget about you :)

5.  Your house is staged too personally; you have personal items and photos all over the place.

There is a reason hotels don't hang pictures of the management and cleaning staff in your room.  That's an extreme example, but, the feeling applies.  Residential buyers (as opposed to investors) are looking to FEEL like they could live life in the house.  Conversely, they don't want to FEEL like they would be moving into someone else's apartment.

There they are, unofficial, a little direct, but in our experiences real.  Take a little more time to get ready for the market, so when you do, the process is palatable and positive.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Matt Parker Real Estate Logo Seattle Waterfront

How do I Choose a Listing Real Estate Agent/Broker?

I get this question when customers call with a property to sell in another city or another state.  I know a lot of folks ponder this as they begin to think about listing their home.  Here are the questions I have given to people, including my brother, for interviewing an agent.  Using these questions and getting the right answers has not failed my customers yet:

1.  Please provide proof of 4-8 sales in the last year.  (Gives you an idea what type of volume/property the agent does, provides real data on sales experience)

2.  Are you going to pay for professional photography AND graphical enhancement for my homes pictures for the internet (this is VERY important with technology.  The pictures cost us about $350, but you will see a 0-3% higher price as a result of them in my opinion).

3.  Do you have another job (maybe verify with their office manager that they don't).

4.  Will I be dealing with you in the transaction and who will be showing my property (maybe so, maybe not, but you want to interview anyone who will be working on your transaction; you don't want to sign with a good salesperson to be relegated to an inexperienced sales agent)?

5.  Are you a full commission realtor (We owe our offices over $20,000 every year, pay for our own health and savings plans, and have listing budgets of up to $1,000 per home.  Proven brokers will not negotiate their commissions down before a sign is even in the ground.  If they are, are you signing a listing to be ignored... what part of the service are they cutting?)?

This is a very basic list of questions, but, they are the best ones I have found for weeding out a potential unsuccessful listing.  A bad listing costs you money and market time, not to mention a huge amount of stress.

Feel free to contact us if you need help finding an agent in your area :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Love for Standup Paddling Through Real Estate

I phone solicited my way into Standup Paddling.

Never surfed, never SUP surfed.  Hated kayaks (back pain), had windsurfed about 5 times.  I lived in one of the most water-rich cities of the world and only ran and climbed.

“Why can you lease my building?  You are telling me you have never done it before?!”

The conversation began.  It was with Heather Merry, Remick Merry’s wife (The Godfather), and she is a savvy busineswoman.  

“I have found that I do a much better job than most realtors! (agreed!),” she said, something I now here almost daily.

Somehow, I managed to convince Heather a rookie deserved a chance, which led to a meeting, where Remick interviewed me at my real estate office.  Usually, if the wife is savvy and direct, the husband, in a real estate transaction, is a little laid back, maybe passive.  

“Let’s bring your manager in to validate your reputation.”  Remick knows how to get at the answers he wants.

Remick gave me the rundown too.  At that point in time, we definitely sat across the table from each other, thankfully.  I had never done a commercial real estate transaction, an I was begging two experienced businesspeople to let me do theirs.

Fast forward about 9 months, the deal closed, the relationships seasoned, and the Godfather calls me to try this “surf thing” on a cool fall night near his house in the Puget Sound with several other friends/family.

Since that night, I have paddled over 1,000 miles in Hawaii, California, Oregon, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico.  I have ridden over 30 boards, buying over 10.  I have taken 10 months off work, mostly to paddle, and thanks to my friends have formed sponsorship agreements with at least 5 companies.

I see those numbers, though, as I see cold calls in my industry, real estate sales.  I see them as part of ratios.  Make 100 calls, sell a house.  Paddle 1,000 miles, about ten great friends.  100/1.  That means every 100 miles I paddle I get another great friend or hero.  I like this ratio.

I couldn’t name all the standup related people who have teamed with me on projects ranging from relationship counseling to art creation, but this group of people is truly exemplary, and you are welcome to join.

My heroes in this sport are Remick, Beau Whitehead and Dave Kalama.

Remick for his ability to make life enjoyable all the time; great patience, big smile, wise instruction.

Beau for the fact he is the poster child for Pacific Northwest Water athletes; I literally have a picture of him on my vision board as an example of strength and tenacity.

Kalama is a hero to me, because when I watch him compete, or prepare to compete, I feel like he exudes a connectedness to the earth the vast majority of the globes population will never get a glimpse of.

Make 100 calls, sell a house.  Paddle 100 miles, get a great friend.  I am glad I cold called Heather Merry.

Friday, February 1, 2013

What's the Best Time to Sell a Home in Seattle?

Being on the market stinks.

Keeping your home looking like a wannabe Sheraton.  Giving your pets away.  Strangers sitting on your bed.

Realtors can admit it, being on the market stinks!

So what, ideally, is the best time of year to sell to maximize my price, ease negotiations and minimize market time?


After Memorial Day forget about it, really.  In Seattle we don't see the sun.  When we do, it's more powerful than our new favorite legal drug; we drop everything, put on weird close and run around outside.  Far from our minds is the intense real estate buying process.

This is both my opinion, and, fact.  Many places in the country have their highest sales volumes in the summer, when the family seems to have time to look together.  Not true in Seattle.  As realtors, our phones start ringing February 1, and if they don't, we know we are eating Top Ramen for the year.  After May 31, just when the kids start to trickle out of school and the weather comes up above 20 degrees (joke), the selling season is over until the kids get back in school.

What does this mean to a seller?

In a challenging market, which we have been in for five years, the seller needs all the help they can get.  Statistically, the most closed sales in Seattle occur in March, meaning February is the biggest month for making offers.  April and May are great too, but June drops off like a rotten apple.  If you list in the spring, you have lots of excited buyers, and if your home is clean, they will, no matter the market in Seattle, compete for it.  This is better than agreeing to re-roof, repaint, re-carpet and rebuild your entire home for a picky buyer who knows they are the only money in town (August buyers).

If you are a buyer, now, in the spring, your game has to be tight; great preapproval from a proven bank, timely touring and an aggressive agent who can win your home in a multiple offer environment.

Best of luck!

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