If you haven’t heard about Governor Inslee’s proposed capital gains tax and how it applies to owning your home, you will hardly believe he pledged not to raise taxes when he campaigned.  Further, you will laugh at how his proposed taxes, including increasing energy prices for everyone, only hit the “1%.”

Read about how Governor Inslee plans to tax you heavily when you sell your home!

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Fannie Mae expects a fourth quarter this year that is weaker than the third quarter.  Overall, the mortgage giant calls 2014 a “lackluster” year.

Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said “the housing market is likely to continue its gradual climb upward next year after a subpar 2014.We anticipate a fairly strong increase in housing starts in response to stronger employment and some improvement in related household incomes. As a result, that may help to unfold some of the suppressed household formation numbers and incent builders to meet some of that increased demand.”

Fannie Mae projects total housing starts will rise 22% and total home sales increase 5% in 2015.  Mortgage originations are expected to increase slightly to $1.13 trillion.  As for what really happens in 2015 we can talk about this time next year.

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Redfin has published another study showing why winter is the best time to list your home if you want to get the highest price and sell in the shortest time.

Redfin’s study found that listing in December, January, February and March gives sellers a higher chance overall than if their homes were listed anytime during the June to November period.  Surprisingly to many, December listings had the highest percentage of above asking priced sales for the entire year at 17%.

February was tops for quick sales, with with 66% of homes studies selling within 90 days.

The seasonal differences aren’t huge, but if you were thinking that real estate hibernated during the winter and your chances of selling were slim, you ought to think again!

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Key Bay Bank Owned Lot for sale

The last two weeks have seen quite a bit of foreclosure activity for the Lake Chelan market.  The FREE Lake Chelan Foreclosure report has had 2 new bank owned properties listed, 6 new trustee sale notices and one new short sale listing.  That is a bunch for this area and may be folks working to get things done before the typical holiday hiatus.

If you have been looking for a deal on a spectacular Lake Chelan lot, I listed a bank owned lot in Key Bay at 121 North Shore Drive.  This is a wonderful lot the home to be built on it would have fantastic Lake Chelan views.  Plus, the community has a shared waterfront beach park, marina, mooring buoys and pool!  A lot is a less desirable location sold for over $180,000 last month.  This lot is only listed at $140,000!  You would enjoy that pool and beach.  Hurry…

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Here is another headline for you, “Construction Defects Plague Trilogy Redmond Ridge Homes.”  The homeowners in the Trilogy Redmond Ridge development are facing tens of thousands of dollars of damage on their homes.  The defects are so widespread, that they  “have inspected over one thousand homes at Trilogy and documented that each home has incurred tens of thousands of dollars in damages,” said Steve Berman, one of the attorneys representing the group of homeowners.

Not only do the homeowners have to deal with repairs of defective construction, but they are now dealing with lawsuits and lawyers.  That can really sour the home ownership experience.

The defects include faulty roof construction, lack of roof flashing and failure to properly seal homes from rats, mice, squirrels, frogs, insects and other vermin, resulting in widespread wood rot and infestations.

I feel badly for the residents, and even the contractor, for having to deal with all those problems.  There is one thing that potential new homeowners could have done to find those issues and have them fixed, or be able to walk from the deal, before closing on the home.  They could have had a home inspection on their brand new homes.

Yes, the home inspection would have cost the buyers a few hundred dollars.  But, imagine what they would have saved, thousands!  A good home inspector would have found faulty roof construction and flashing as well as voids that would allow entry of vermin.

Most Realtors selling new construction will tell you that the home comes with a one-year builder’s warranty, so there is really no need for a home inspection.  The issue is that poor flashing, roofing,  window and siding installation that allows water to enter the structure doesn’t show up in the first year.  But when it does, the rot and damage can be extensive.

Do yourself a favor, no matter what the Realtor for the builder says, get a home inspection by a picky inspector on your new home purchase.

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The market for luxury homes continues to outperform the general market.  Sales of homes priced $1 million and above grew by 16.2 percent year-over-year in October.  Comparatively,  overall home sales rose only about 4.7 percent year over year according to the National Association of Realtors.

The inventory levels of high-end homes fell to a 10.6 month supply from a 12.1 month supply one year earlier.  The supply of high-end homes still dwarfs lower priced homes, where the inventory levels rose from a 4.9 month supply to a 5.1 month supply over the last year.  A 6 month supply is generally considered balanced between buyers and sellers.

So, while the high-end home market is improving, it still has inventory levels favoring buyers.  It also had the longest way to come back after the housing crash.

 

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Trulia has an article today on why the holiday season, and November in particular, is the time of the year that your home has the highest probability of selling.  According to Trulia, “homes listed during this time are more likely to sell, sell more quickly, and sell closer to the asking price.

A home market in November has less competition on the market, more motivated buyers and could lure buyers looking for end of year tax breaks.

The old thinking is families wait until school is out to move and buy a new home.  But, more than half of home buyers aren’t married and their decisions are not based on kid’s schedules.  In the Lake Chelan area, the percentage of home sales that are driven by school schedules is even lower.  Vacation home buyers can buy anytime of year.

A great way to have a happy Thanksgiving is to get your home sold!

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Just because Washington State has legalized pot use doesn’t mean that the feds can’t seize your property because of pot use by your tenants.

Federal law trumps state law, and under federal law marijuana use is still illegal.  Federal drug forfeiture laws could allow for seizure of your property even though what you or your tenants were doing was completely legal under state law.

Since state marijuana laws have not been challenged at the supreme court level, there is no legal precedent preventing the feds from seizing property in legal marijuana states.

Federal law gives the government the right to seize finances and property that are connected to illegal activity, including marijuana possession or use. Therefore landlords who let tenants grow weed in their apartments or smoke it on site for any purpose run the risk of having their real estate property taken away from them by the federal government.

Changing state marijuana laws could mean that multifamily properties and condos need to add language to their leases specifically covering marijuana policies on the properties.  New disclosures may be required in the future to sell condos in pot-friendly buildings or homes near properties that allow marijuana since there have been reports of explosions in properties where tenants are growing or processing pot.

Smoke and odor impact from neighbors could become an issue in multifamily properties.  Growing marijuana requires a high level of humidity that could cause mold which could be a problem in many types of buildings.  At a minimum it seems likely that disclosure to buyers and renters might become wise if a home, apartment, or condo is near properties where marijuana is allowed or near where marijuana use is allowed.

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In the last housing crisis, Bank of America helped out and bought the troubled Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch with the encouragement of federal regulators.  BOA then had to work though all the troubled assets of both companies, but helped avert a deeper financial crisis.

Then, shortly after doing that, the same feds sued BOA for billions for the misdeeds of Countrywide and Merrill.  President Obama went on for years about how the evil bankers should be punished, and has sicked his corrupt justice department on BOA and other banks with ridiculous arguments about “disparate impact” and continues to go after banks.

Now the same feds are screaming for banks to open the lending environment to more buyers, particularly low income and minority buyers, by easing credit standards.

Bank of America has finally seen the writing on the wall, with CEO Brian T. Moynihan saying at a New York investor conference: “I don’t think there’s a big incentive for us to start to try to create more mortgage availability where the consumers are susceptible to default. … I know that doesn’t sound good for an instant housing recovery and faster housing markets, but it’s actually good because, in the long-term, it keeps housing more fundamentally based.”

He probably realizes that when he does what the feds ask, and it backfires as it surely will, that the banks will be blamed anyway.  Hopefully that means he and BOA will do the right thing and only make loans based on sound underwriting principals, not federal social justice policies.

I imagine BOA still feels the sting of the over $70 billion in legal settlements they have been forced to pay in the aftermath of the financial crisis.  That amount is more than any other company.   No good deed, like helping sort out the Countrywide mess, goes unpunished.

 

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