Just Listed! Stunning West Seattle Townhome.

Gorgeous End Unit West Seattle Townhome! This contemporary 2 bed, 2.25 bath with den offers custom touches throughout with gleaming hardwood floors, built-in gas fireplace, granite countertops, beautiful kitchen island, alder cabinetry & stainless steel appliances including gas range. Lovely private deck off kitchen. Upstairs you will find the large Master along w/ 2nd bedroom & office. 2 Car Garage. With easy access to downtown, shops, dining and beaches all nearby this is truly an unbeatable location. 1 Year Home Warranty Included.

7121 Shinkle Place SW, Seattle 98106  Click here for entire photo gallery.

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~Pending within a Week ~Move In Ready! Our Newest Listing in Marysville.

Check out our newest listing in Marysville.  It is super cute and is waiting for new owners.  New carpet & paint throughout as well as many other upgrades.

Click here for the link to listing.

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A fan of pro photos for real estate listings, but where’s the staging?

Today I was on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and found a few photos of a house that had me scratching my head. Not only is this over $1.7M house sporting some seriously old styles, but no one seems to have had the discussion with them about “staging” the home – which often includes decluttering and going through to clear off counters and such once the photographer arrives so you get the best view of the home through the camera lens.

It’s clear that in today’s home selling environment over 92% of everyone starts online. If your photos (and therefore house) are not up to snuff then “next!” is the action you can expect from an online buyer.

Check these out:

crazy pink kitchen crazy red kitchen crazy wallpaper bathroom

You’ll never find our listings where we’ve worked with the seller to stage having this kind of wild color scheme and/or amount of intense clutter on the counters. I can’t even begin to imagine what they were thinking….

Want to know more about our full listing service package?  Contact us as info (at) Team Reba (dot) com or call Reba direct at 206.910.3429.

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June 2015 real estate sales in Seattle and surrounding areas are sizzling!

This is reprint with permission from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service which services real estate broker members within Washington State.

Home sales sizzling around Western Washington
July 6, 2015
Current Statistics | Market Recaps | Market Update Charts

KIRKLAND, Washington (July 6, 2015) – Temperatures around Western Washington were not the only thing sizzling during June. Northwest Multiple Listing Service members reported 11,453 pending sales last month, the highest volume since August 2005 when members notched 11,546 mutually accepted offers. Last month also marked the fourth consecutive month of 11,000-plus pending transactions.

MLS members credit first-time buyers, an influx of relocating workers, and escalating rents for part of the surge.

“First time buyers are returning to the market, but cautiously and with more knowledge based on market values and trends,” said George Moorhead, designated broker and owner at Bentley Properties in Bothell.

“Educated buyers today are no longer just dipping their toes in the water. They are diving right in,” reported Mike Gain, CEO and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate. Gain, a past chairman of the Northwest MLS board, said in his 38 years in the industry he’s experienced “good years, bad years and everything in between,” but he’s never seen a market as complex as the current one. “It’s been challenging for everyone involved in a real estate transaction, whether buyer, seller or agent.”

Gain and many of his colleagues bemoan the lack of listings. “The only real problem we are experiencing today is the lack of inventory,” he said.

Brokers added 11,581 new listings to inventory during June, about the same number as a year ago (11,541), but pending sales outgained the same month last year by nearly 16 percent, depleting the selection. At the end of June, the number of active listings across the 23 counties in the MLS report totaled 20,333. That compares to 25,342 for the same month a year ago for a drop of 19.8 percent.

OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate noted some improvement in inventory over the past three months. “I’m happy to see the total number of homes listed has grown by nearly 20 percent since March. That’s still down compared to last year, and well below historic averages, but we are trending in the right direction,” he remarked.

Most counties in the MLS service area reported double-digit drops in inventory compared to a year ago. In King County, the number of active listings is down almost 24 percent compared to a year ago, while in Kitsap County the volume plummeted nearly 35 percent.

The imbalance between listings and sales means shrinking “months of supply,” an indicator of sales velocity. Industry experts use a figure of four-to-six months of supply as one gauge of a balanced market. For the Northwest MLS market overall, only 2.2 months of inventory existed at the end of June. In King County it was down to less than 1.2 months. Snohomish County had about 1.7 months of supply at month end. Both Pierce and Kitsap counties reported about 2.2 months of inventory.

“Kitsap house sales are hotter than a firecracker,” observed MLS director Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker and Kitsap district manager at John L. Scott Inc. in Poulsbo. “Despite heat, vacations and holidays the market has not slowed. We continue to see good open house traffic, low market times and multiple offer situations,” he stated.

Multiple offers are common throughout the Central Puget Sound region.

“We see many multiple offers on properties,” reported Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma, who described sales activity as “phenomenal.” For first-time buyers, the competitive bidding can be daunting, which he suggested underscores the importance of relying on experienced brokers. Anxious buyers have a sense of urgency as prices rise, he noted. “They need a great real estate broker to help guide them through multiple offer situations,” added Beeson, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors.

Rising prices are prompting some house-hunters to broaden their search beyond primary job centers.

“More and more buyers are starting to chase the market northward as prices increase in King County, especially around Seattle,” said Diedre Haines, principal managing broker-South Snohomish County at Coldwell Banker Bain in Lynwood. “Open house activity, despite buyers’ fatigue and slight increases in interest rates, remains robust,” added Haines, a past chairman of the MLS board.

Median prices continue to trend upward, according to Northwest MLS figures.

The area-wide median price for last month’s 9,163 closed sales of single family homes and condos was $321,500. That’s up 7.4 percent from a year ago, when the median price was $299,335 and up 1.4 percent from May’s figure of $317,000. Since January, prices are up 13.6 percent.

In King County, the median price for sales that were completed during June was $450,000. That compares to a price of $410,000 for the same month last year for a year-over-year increase of nearly 9.8 percent. Compared to May, prices in King County are up about 3.7 percent.

For single family homes only (excluding condos) in King County, the median selling price for sales that closed during May was $500,000, an increase of 10.3 percent from the year-ago figure of $453,500.

Rising prices are prompting some worries about affordability. Broker Dick Beeson believes the growth rate in jobs and the “sheer numbers of people flowing into the state make this market appear to be sustainable for the long term,” despite some uncertainty around reaching the upper limit in pricing and the likelihood of rising interest rates.

Referring to a list compiled by Forbes magazine that rank the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area as an “overpriced area,” MLS director Moorhead suggested it’s a matter of value. “An experienced real estate broker will be invaluable in navigating through the buying and selling process” and understanding value as inventory levels balance out and interest rates increase.

Appraisals are also concerning to some. Low appraisals are a big challenge, according to Beeson. Other MLS brokers agreed. “We are beginning to see a resurgence of low appraisals, most are small gaps between sale price and appraised value adding to frustration for both buyers and sellers,” reported Diedre Haines. “Kitsap is also beginning to see a higher incidence of low appraisals,” said MLS director Frank Wilson.

Several brokers were surprised the record-setting temperatures in June didn’t deter activity.

“The hot weather has not cooled the market,” exclaimed Kathy Estey, branch managing broker at John L. Scott, Inc. in Bellevue. “Buyers still struggle with multiple offers and escalating prices. It seems the excellent opportunity for employment, the beautiful Northwest climate, recreational opportunities and the low interest rates are continuing to fuel demand. It is an excellent time for those who own a home and want to move up to do so,” she added.

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott said “We are experiencing a heat wave of sales generated by home buyers wanting to buy today and lock in low interest rates.”

Gary O’Leyar, the broker/owner at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties also commented on the weather’s impact on activity while offering advice to sellers and buyers. “It’s been my observation that when the thermometer goes up, the market cools down a bit. Hint to buyers: while the waters and beaches are full, there are sellers wanting to sell. This season could be an opportunity in disguise for buyers who have been frustrated by the recent overheated market,” added O’Leyar, a past chairman of the Northwest MLS board.

Rising rents are another contributor to brisk sales. “The cost of renting versus buying is another force that is fueling strong sales gains,” explained Mike Gain. “In most cases buying a home costs significantly less than renting and the good news is the monthly payment will remain the same as rents continue to rise. Numerous renters are entering the home buying market. Many who are renting today think they can’t afford a home. They need to think again and get pre-qualified for a loan to see just what they can afford.”

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

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Team Reba’s July Real Estate Newsletter

Here is a link to my “July Real Estate Update”:

This Newsletter is full of interesting and useful information that I think you will enjoy whether you are a buyer, seller, or homeowner.

This month’s issue includes topics such as:

“Consider Total Costs When Mortgage Rates Rise”;
“Eight No-skip Steps To Buying a Home”;
“The Critical First Two Weeks of Marketing Your Home For Sale”;
“When Not To Try And DIY”;
“5 Unexpected Side Benefits of Homeownership”;

Plus a roundup of June real estate activity as well as much more advice and information.

I hope you enjoy this monthly newsletter. If you have any comments, please e-mail them to me. Or, if you would like to see a certain topic covered in future months, let me know that too!

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~Pending~ New on the Market – Kentlake Highlands Home Offered at $325,000

Peaceful & Private all while being in a wonderful neighborhood. This beautifully maintained home sits on a large lot at the end of a dead end street & backs up to protected wetlands. Enjoy designer colors and elegant finishes throughout. The well designed main level offers an open floor plan, kitchen w/ stainless steel appliances & bonus office. Upstairs you will find all 3 nice sized bedrooms including the Master w/ large 5 piece bath & WIC as well as a huge loft. 1 yr home warranty included. More Photos Can Be Found Here. 

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Fairview Park in the Eastlake neighborhood of Seattle

As you can imagine, real estate brokers who cover a broad area get to see a lot of fun things in each of the neighborhoods where we frequent with clients. As part of our ongoing interest in educating people about the Greater Seattle area, we’ll be posting short videos on YouTube of spots that we think are fun for neighbors and visitors to the area alike! Here is one of our first videos highlighting a great local park in the Eastlake neighborhood (between South Lake Union & U Dist/Montlake) that you just don’t fully appreciate from street level.

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Team Reba’s Newest Listing – Lovely Home in Redmond

Stunning Burnstead home in the desirable Abbey Road community. Located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac this home is a sanctuary while allowing for easy access to the city. Gleaming hardwoods, large kitchen, beautiful formal spaces plus great room to relax in. All 4 Bedrooms are upstairs including the master suite w/ large private bath. 4th bedroom could be bonus room and is huge – potential for media or game room. New roof, 3 car garage & 1-Yr Home Warranty. More Photos Can Be Found Here.

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The NWMLS supports the statements of it’s a HOT real estate market in Seattle

Pent-up demand triggering record pace of home sales around Western Washington
Current Statistics | Market Recaps | Market Update Charts

Northwest Multiple Listing Service members notched a record high level of pending sales during April, surpassing the year-ago volume by nearly 1,800 transactions. Both closed sales and prices also surged last month as the spring market kicked into high gear.

Buyer confidence and buyer ability to purchase are fueling activity, suggested Ken Anderson, the managing broker and owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympia Realty. “Long building pent-up demand is being unleashed,” he commented.

MLS members reported an 18.7 percent year-over-year increase in pending sales, with the volume of mutually accepted offers rising from 9,590 transactions to 11,384. For the four-county Puget Sound region members logged 8,671 pending sales to top the 8,000 mark for only the second time in the past 16 years.

Closed sales and prices also accelerated, according to Northwest MLS statistics. Across the 23 counties covered by the report there were 7,696 closed sales. That total represents a 24.3 percent increase from the year-ago volume of 6,190 closings. Within the four county region, Pierce County experienced a jump of nearly 38 percent in closed sales compared to a year ago, followed by Snohomish County with a 35 percent increase, prompting one MLS director to comment, “That is super amazing.”

“We are still very clearly in the midst of a seller’s market and unless we see a significant increase in listings, it will remain that way for the foreseeable future,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. Jacobi and other brokers reiterated the dire need for listings.

Members added 11,495 new listings to inventory during April, but brisk sales kept supply tight and well below the level of a year ago. At the end of April, the MLS reported 18,132 listings of single family homes and condominiums in its database, a drop of more than 15 percent from the year-ago total of 21,390.

Compared to March, inventory at the end of April improved by 6.6 percent, but pending sales jumped 13.7 percent from the previous month.

“We’re in desperate need of inventory so I hope to see an increase in listings as we move further into the late spring/early summer,” stated Jacobi.

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, noted the record sales activity is lowering the months of supply of inventory and continuing the upward movement of pricing.

Northwest MLS figures show less than 2.4 months of supply at the end of April, down from the March figure of 2.5 months and down from a year ago when there was about 3.5 months of supply. Inventory is especially tight in King County, with 1.3 months of supply, and Snohomish County, with about 1.5 months. Many industry analysts use a range of four-to-six months as an indicator of a balanced market.

Prices on last month’s closed sales were up 12.4 percent. The median price for April’s sales of single family homes and condos was $309,000, which compares to the year-ago price of $275,000. For single family homes only (excluding condos), the median price rose from $287,500 to $320,000 for a gain of 11.3 percent. Condo prices jumped nearly 13.8 percent system-wide.

In King County, where homes fetch the highest prices, the median price of last month’s sales of single family homes was $480,000. That reflects a gain of 11.5 percent from the year ago price of $430,500. King County condo prices increased about 8.8 percent from a year ago, rising from $250,000 to $272,000.

“What’s available and that looks at least ‘pretty good’ is selling,” according to MLS director Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma. Commenting on the latest MLS statistics, he said, “What we have in the Greater Puget Sound real estate market is too many buyers chasing too few homes.”

Beeson cautioned buyers against “playing games” with sellers. “The new normal for buyers is that the quest for the perfect home may have to wait,” suggested Beeson. “You should buy now, get in the mix, buy a home and build equity for a future decision,” he advised. “Don’t wait to pay more for the same home next year.”

Brokers do not appear to be worried about a housing bubble.

“Some are talking about the potential for another housing bubble given the lack of homes for sale and the bullishness of buyers in bidding up properties,” acknowledged Jacobi. “For now,” he said, “I believe there are sufficient safeguards in place to keep this from happening.”

Anderson agreed. “With pending home sales in Thurston County at record levels I am often asked if we are repeating the problems the last run-up caused,” he stated, adding, “There are two important differences in this market. There is not the overbuilding we saw before, and the buyers are truly qualified for today’s mortgages. Both facts suggest we won’t have a problem with the oversupply that contributed to the recent downturn. This time the market improvement is built on solid footings.”

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

Contact us here at Team Reba using info (at) Team Reba (dot) com, if you’d like to request a specific breakdown of information for your home or area.

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Real Estate news in May 2015 for the Seattle area and beyond by Team Reba

We’re fully enjoying the lovely spring weather and the gorgeous blooms going on out here in the Pacific Northwest and hope you’re getting outside to enjoy it too!

Speaking of blooming, the local real estate market has been growing like crazy and now is the perfect time to take advantage of this seller’s market but also the low interest rates for buyers.  Whether a home buyer, looking to sell or looking for an investment, Team Reba is the Team for you!  Our #1 goal is to always set you up for success.

Here is a link to the Team Reba “May Real Estate Update“:

This Newsletter is full of interesting and useful information that I think you will enjoy whether you are a buyer, seller, renter or happy to stay put homeowner.

This month’s issue includes topics such as:

“It Doesn’t Pay to Wait To Buy A Home”;
“Online Home Values And The Price of Your Home”;
“Why Older Homes Rock”;
“Sellers: Ramp Up Your Curb Appeal”;
“The 7 Hot Home Trends That Might Not Be Right For You”;

Plus a roundup of April real estate activity as well as much more advice and information.

As always, thank you for your business and your referrals.  Cheers from all of us here at Team Reba!

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