RE/MAX does a great job at presenting the status of housing. I much prefer their reports to the National Association of Realtors as they are much more objective in their reporting.

As has been true throughout 2014, August home sales remained below the pace set in 2013. However, last month’s sales were 10.2% above the number of sales seen in August 2012, and were 17.8% higher than August 2008 sales, when the RE/MAX Housing Report began. The Median Sales Price of all homes sold in the 52 metropolitan areas surveyed in August was…  Read the full report

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Manson Swimming

Courtesy of Mountain View Lodge

It wasn’t but just a few years ago that Manson seemed like it might just fade away.  That has all sure changed the last few years!  Manson is hot these days.  I talked to another agent yesterday who had taken potential new residents around the area.  After she took them through the Village of Manson, they were hooked.  They announced that Manson was the place they wanted to be.

It isn’t a coincidence that the Manson Business Association formed a few years ago, driven in large part by Kim Ustanik from the Mountain View Lodge.  Since its founding, it has become a strong group that has really helped put Manson back on the map!

The Mountain View Lodge is one of the prime spots to stay in Manson.  It is motel style, as compared to Wapato Point Resort, but with so many things going on in Manson, the whole area is really your resort!

One thing I take a bit of exception to is the Manson Business Association’s slogan on their web page, “Discover Serenity.”  You might think that nothing happens in Manson from that, but you’d be wrong!  Manson may be a bit less chaotic than Chelan, but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t happening!

Manson has the most concentrated group of wine tasting rooms anywhere in the area!  If that wasn’t enough there are restaurants from casual and ethnic to fine dining!  Manson has an active night lift too!

Manson is one of the best areas for water sports as well and boats or jet skis can be rented right in Manson Bay or at Wapato Point.  As far as housing, Manson has choices that can’t be found anywhere else, from patio homes in The Village to some of the finest waterfront on Lake Chelan!

The hydroplane races switched their venue to Manson this year.  It is something you might want to consider too!

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According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates had their sharpest rise of the year last week.  Here are the national average numbers:

30 year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.23% with an average 0.5 point.  That was up from 4.12% average.  Last year the 30 year fixed rates averaged 4.50%.

15 year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.37%, with an average 0.5 point.  That was up from last week’s 3.26% and one year ago they averaged 3.54%.

As someone who bought their first home in the early 1980s, those still look like incredibly low rates to me.  But, that is the latest from Freddie Mac.

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We have recently had some homes in the Lake Chelan area that are equipped with security cameras that can record both video and audio of people being shown the homes.

Video, like a nanny cam, is legal in all 50 states as long as it is not done in areas where privacy is expected, like bathrooms.

Audio is a different story.  Washington State requires notification of and consent of all parties for audio recording to be legal.

The recording of a buyer’s comments during a showing might give information to a seller that would advantage the seller if done in secret.

Listing agents should caution their clients about audio-recording laws.  However, when buying a home it is probably always a good practice to assume you could be being both video and audio recorded during your showing.

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The age of a home can usually be pretty well ascertained just by its floor plan.  Different consumer desires have been reflected in homes ever since homes have been built.

Examples include open floor plans that have replaced lots of individual rooms for various functions.

But here are the latest trends in consumer desires that are already changing home design.  None of these things are so 1990s, or even early 2000s.

  • Efficiency, in size and function are a big deal.  Size purely for drama is out.
  • More private outdoor spaces that are integrated into the living space are in demand.  Back yards that are wide open to public view are out.
  • The outdoor spaces are more integrated into the home space, through transitions that extend light and the connection between the outdoors.
  • Covered outdoor spaces are in, providing more living space and some protection from the weather or elements.
  • “Super Kitchens” that embrace being the hub of a home with seating and gathering spaces as well as work spaces for food prep and storage for appliances and Costco shopping trips.
  • Spa like master suites.  Granite and a couple of sinks are not enough!  The experience, from lighting, design, bathtubs and showers, should be spa like in its function and detailing.
  • Garages that have room not just for cars, but for hobbies and storage.  Bigger garages are in.

Read about 14 of the latest trends in home design!

 

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Redfin looked at over 10,000 offers that were written in 2013 and analyzed the results to determine the best strategies to win a bidding war on a home.

  1. The top factor that helped win is a cash offer.  Cash offers were 28% more likely to win a bidding war than an offer that includes financing.  In Miami, cash offers increased the likelihood of winning by 127%!  Cash offers were often accepted over higher priced offers that required financing.
  2. Having the home inspected before making an offer, a pre-inspection, was the next most successful strategy.  Offers with pre-inspections were 21% more likely to be accepted than offers without a pre-inspection.
  3. Offers that waived financing or inspection contingencies were 15% more likely to be accepted in a bidding war.  Waiving the contingencies is risky for a buyer, who could lose their earnest money.  However, waving the financing contingency assures the seller that you are likely to come through with the money even if your lender does not.  Simarly, waiving the inspection contingency makes your offer more attractive by removing concerns that you may back out or negotiate for home repairs.
  4. Personalized letters raised the likelihood of winning the bidding by about 9%.  Letters can help by making the transaction more personal rather than it being just a numbers game.

Cash talks, if you have it!  If you don’t, here are some other approaches that can help if you find yourself in a bidding situation on a home you want.

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Over the past 15 years, the net worth of the typical homeowner has ranged between 31 and 46 times the net worth of the typical renter.  While the National Association of Realtors would like to associate causation with that statistic, it is more likely that higher net worth people are more likely to own homes than lower net worth folks.

Most folks rent before they buy their first home as well.  The same article shows that the median homeowner has about $200,000 in net worth, about 36 times that of the median renter, with $5000 of net worth.  The median value of owners’ homes was $170,000.

Owning a home can be a way to help build equity, compared to renting, but comparing renters versus homeowners without correcting for age, income, etc. probably does not tell the whole story.

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NBC News has a great story on how Tim McGraw is providing mortgage free homes to veterans in need as a way of giving back.

McGraw is working with Chase Bank and Operation Homefront in awarding homes, mortgage-free to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  The families selected have to prove they can be responsible homeownerf for two years, and then own the home free and clear.

Thanks to Tim McGraw, and to our veterans.  That can’t be said enough.

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Redfin reports that they expect listing price drops to drive a surge in home sales this fall.  There are a couple of issues driving their expectation.

Home sales have been below last year’s since November.  Additionally, pricing is becoming more stable with July showing virtually flat pricing.  Those factors have driven the market to a more balanced price negotiation point between buyers and sellers.

Additionally, 23.7% of homes listed in July had price reductions, compared to only 17.7% one year earlier.  Price drops are happening more aggressively this year as both buyers and sellers are seeing a softer market than was expected.

Lake Chelan has an additional factor, with its tourist season taking a dramatic downturn every year after Labor Day weekend.  It is a great time to make offers on homes at Lake Chelan.  Think of it as the “Labor Day Sale.”

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