Category Archives: Real Estate

Green Lake Real Estate ~ The Continued Frustration of Buyers

Every now and then, I provide stats on the local real estate market.  I moved from Green Lake to Maple Leaf last year, but Green Lake is still a big neighborhood of focus for many of my clients.  I can’t blame them, it’s a fantastic place to live and just keeps getting better (yay second PCC!).  Here’s a look at where things are at for June – keep in mind this is obeying the street borders that most people commonly recognize as “Green Lake” and not the outskirts that some try to sneak in.  We stay within the outline of Aurora Ave and I-5 to the west and east, and N 85th Street south to 50th.

Stats and Facts

In June, there were 10 residential homes that closed in Green Lake (and 5 condos, but we’ll exclude them from this data).  The lowest price home sold at $452,000 and the highest at $1,125,000, with an average price per foot in the area of $332.58.    On average, a home sold for 104.3% of asking price – but the biggest difference was one home that sold for 116.7% above asking price.  The average time a home spent on the market was 7 days.

So with all our complaining about bidding wars, is this much different than last year?  Not really, although competition might be tighter.  In June of 2013, there were 19 residential homes that closed – almost twice as many – BUT, the average time on market was still only 10 days, and the average home sold for 103.15% of it’s asking price.

Of course, if we look back at June 2012, we see a little more normalcy.  The average time a home spent on that market back then was 20 days, and the average home sold for 100.08% of it’s asking price – so most homes sold for exactly what they are listed at.

Looking Outside the Box

Feeling the frustration?  Join the club.  Many buyers are upping their game, and some are stepping out and waiting until things get a little less competitive.  Others, like me, looked outside of the most desirable neighborhoods:  In Maple Leaf, there were 7 homes that closed in June 2014.  They ranged in price from $360,000 to $545,000 and the average price per foot was just $299.45.  That means that on average, a 1500 square foot home that would cost close to $500,000 in Green Lake would only be about $450,000 a few blocks north.

Upping Your Game

If you’re determined to keep trying in the most desirable areas of Green Lake, Wallingford, Fremont, Phinney Ridge and Ballard, you’ll need to up your game and be prepared to maybe take on less square footage than you originally wanted or something that potentially needs work instead of a newly updated home.  Preapproved for $600,000?  You should be looking at homes in the $500,000-$550,000 range so that you have room to over-bid.   Many buyers these days are waiving contingencies, making their earnest money deposits non-refundable, and waiving appraisals.  If you’re going to do something like that, you must make sure you have the cash reserves to make up a difference in price, should one occur.

Happy hunting!

NEW LISTING: One bedroom condo in Greenwood

Here’s a little info on my newest listing!  Waterford North is a fantastic building on N 90th just a block east of Greenwood Ave (that means it’s walking distance to Naked City Brewery, just sayin’.)

This one bedroom, one bath condo is on the market for the first time in over twenty years and priced for a quick sale at $150,000.  It has a wood-burning fireplace with tile surround, kitchen with eating bar, and a huge private patio off the living area.   The seller is offering a $500 credit at closing towards a new range, as the current one is a little old (but works).

There is one assigned parking space and one storage space in the controlled-access garage beneath.   For more information, you can call me directly at (253) 653-6299 or email sheath@matrixrealestate.com.   Or, stop by the open house this Sunday, May 4th, from 1pm to 4pm.

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MAKING A FULL PRICE OFFER? GET USED TO REJECTION.

I’m frustrated. Other real estate brokers are frustrated. A lot of homebuyers are frustrated.  In some parts of Seattle, making a full priced offer on a home just doesn’t get you anywhere anymore.

Let me give you a backstory: I have clients that are looking for a new home in north Seattle.  They’re open to a lot of different neighborhoods, but they have wants and needs just like everyone else so over the past two months of house hunting they’ve found only four or five homes they like enough to actually pursue.  And out of those four or five, they’ve so far put offers in on three of them, and lost out every time.

The first home they put an offer in on was listed at $650,000.  They didn’t get it – but whoever did paid $760,000 for it – $110,000 more than list price.

The most recent home they put an offer in on went the same way – it was listed at $650,000, and it sold to someone in the range of $760,000 + (it’s still pending).

From the time I started house hunting with these particular clients, to this past week of facing another rejection, I have felt like it’s gotten worse.  So I checked the stats – and yep, it’s gotten worse.

I took some of the most popular neighborhoods – Ballard, Green Lake, Fremont, Wallingford, and Phinney Ridge – and to narrow my stats down, I took a popular price point right now – homes between $600,000 and $800,000.   Looking back at those homes that closed in the month of January, the average sale price was 101.8% of list price – so if a house was listed for $700,000, for instance, on average it sold at $712,600.

In February, the average sale price was 102.5% of list price – or $717,500 on that hypothetical $700,000 house.  In March it crept up just a little more to 102.6% – $718,200.

Then came April.  In the month of April, the average sale price in that range and in those neighborhoods was 105.3% of list price – that means that $700,000 house is now costing on average $737,100.   And a scary thought here – the biggest percentage difference during April between list price and sale price was 123.3% – that would have made a $700,000 house $863,100.  OUCH.

I very much wish I had a point here, but I think instead this post is meant more to vent everyone’s joint frustration on the matter.   What’s my advice?  Persevere, buyers.  Don’t pay more for a home than what you value it at.  Consider how long you intend to live there.  Know that you’re not alone. Because hell, if you were alone, you wouldn’t be paying so much.

Keep on truckin’.  And punch a pillow, instead of a wall.

 

JUST LISTED: TWO-BEDROOM AT HJARTA IN BALLARD

It’s not easy to find decent square footage when condo shopping in Ballard, but this 1,181 sq-ft two-bedroom home definitely provides it.   Located on the 6th floor of LEED Silver certified Hjarta, this condo has a spacious living area with slider to back patio and electric fireplace, designated dining room, and kitchen with breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances and under cabinet lighting.

The master bedroom has a walk-in closet and big bathroom with separate tub & walk-in shower.  Conveniently, the second bedroom is all the way on the opposite side of the home, with a full guest bathroom.  Washer and dryer are included, and found in the guest bathroom.

Home 610 comes with one parking space and one storage space, both located in the garage below.  Hjarta also has some fantastic building amenities – a community room with kitchenette, pool table, lounge seating and patio, and an exercise facility located off that room with separate spaces for cardio and yoga/pilates.    There’s also a large rooftop deck with seating, barbecues and a p-patch.  The building itself is solid concrete & steel.

You can call me at (253) 653-6299 or email sheath@matrixrealestate.com for more info on this condo at 1530 NW Market Street in Seattle.

Priced at $549,950

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NEW SEATTLE LISTINGS: Two Fantastic homes on the market this week

If you’re in the market for a new home in Seattle, my firm Matrix Real Estate just brought on two pretty cool homes – and they couldn’t be more different from each other!

812 15th Ave E ~ 4 beds/2.5 baths/2910 square feet.

$799,950

First up is this pretty cool Capitol Hill home built in 1906.  It’s kept most of its original charme – like leaded glass windows, fir floors, and built-in cabinetry – but it’s also had updated electrical, new high tech gas fired boiler system, new water lines.  To top it off, it’s a legal duplex with an upstairs unit that’s about 1000 square feet with two bedrooms.  It also has a garage!

This one is listed by Steve Snider and he can be reached at ssnider@matrixrealestate.com.  It’s open Saturday and Sunday (4/5 and 4/6) from 12-3 each day.

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1933 48th Ave SW ~ 3 beds/3.5 baths/3,460 square feet.

$1,495,950

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have this pretty rad contemporary home in the North Admiral neighborhood of West Seattle.  As you walk in, there’s a butcher block & frosted glass stairway.  The ceilings are 10′ high with 8′ doorways, and the kitchen has a ten-ft long work island with white marble eating bar.  There are two wine coolers that fit 150 bottles each, plus there’s a stellar view of the Puget Sound from the master suite (and the master closet is the size of a normal person’s bedroom).  And check out the freestanding tub!

This one is listed by Nick Jarman and he can be reached at njarman@matrixrealestate.com.  It’s also got an Open House on Sunday afternoon (4/6) from 1-4.

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5 Budget-friendly tips for prepping your yard and home exterior for sale

With Spring finally here in Seattle (don’t look out the window just yet though), more people will be putting their home on the market.  And despite it being a seller’s market with a lot of Seattle homes getting multiple offers, you still shouldn’t slack off on curb appeal as it might just make that difference to the one buyer who is willing to go the extra mile on their offer.   With that said, here are the most cost-effective tips on getting your yard and home exterior ready for a spring sale:

1. Clean out your gutters & remove roof moss.  You can easily pay someone to do this, or depending on your confidence level and roof pitch you might want to get up there yourself.  Admit it, you slacked off in the winter and didn’t get your gutters cleaned.  No one is going to see it anyway, right?  Wrong. With a lot of spring rain, buyers will easily see rainwater spilling out over places it shouldn’t because your gutter is all clogged up from the fall and winter.  They’ll notice moss too – which is common where we live, but can make a person wonder how well the roof has been maintained overall.

2. Choose season-appropriate plants for flowerbeds & pots.  It’s fantastic that you currently have 100 daffodils blooming in your front yard – but when you put your home on the market next month, those daffodils will all be long dead and you’ll just have leaves and nothingness.   Likewise, don’t plant something now that won’t flower until later in the summer.  Your best bet is to find flowers that are going to be current for the time period that the home is being listed – so that you have color, and not just leaves, during the Open House.

3. Make the yard low-maintenance.  Although you may end up with a buyer that’s an avid gardener, chances are they’re going to be stressed out around move-in time and won’t want to get right to it.  Or, they may just not like yard work at all – make your yard as maintenance-free as possible; perennials that take care of themselves, bushes that don’t need extensive pruning on a regular basis, and nothing that grows large roots too close to the house that an inspector might see as a problem.

4. Repair dog damage.  I have a dog, and thus I have bare patches in my backyard from, well, pee, and a hole in one corner that she insists she keeps digging, and I don’t mind because I love her.   But there’s a good chance the new buyers of your home might not share your affection for pets.  About two to three weeks before listing is a good time to curb your dogs habits a little.  Restrict where he can go to the bathroom so that grass starts to repair itself.  Don’t allow digging, and look for other noticeable damage they generally cause.  While yards usually find a way to mend themselves once a dog is gone, buyers without pets may see the aftermath and wonder if there’s more damage inside the home that isn’t totally visible – and that can turn some people off.

5. Check all exterior lighting and buy a new welcome mat.   Someone might want to see your house at dusk – make sure all the outdoor light bulbs are working an clear cobwebs and dirt from your porch light so it’s welcoming – and make sure to flip the lights on when you leave for an evening showing (or just a showing in gray weather).  A new front door mat for $15 goes a long way in making a first impression.

When you combine these five tricks with the usual suspects: weeding, painting or repairing the fence and gates, exterior window washing where reachable – you should have a house exterior that shows curb appeal and attracts a new and excited owner!

 

Why I moved to Maple Leaf (and why you should, too)

I lived in Phinney Ridge for a year, and Green Lake for three years, before moving to Maple Leaf this summer.  A good friend of mine still jokes that I moved to “southern Canada,” and some other friends less familiar with the area ask me where Maple Leaf is.

Maple Leaf is pretty much considered to be everything east of I-5 to Lake City Way, and then as far south as 80th and as far north as Northgate Way.  And now, it’s home.

So why would I ever leave Green Lake, and move to Maple Leaf instead? Well, affordability for one.  If you look at every currently active single family home on the market in Maple Leaf right  now, you get an average price per foot of $228.91 (average price of $562,238).    Compare that to Green Lake, whose borders are 80th to the north, 50th to the south, and Aurora and I-5 west to east, and you see a big difference.  The average price per foot of a home in Green Lake right now is $338.30.   That means if you take a 1500 square foot house in Green Lake you’re likely to pay $507,000 – put the same house in Maple Leaf and you’ll be paying closer to $343,000.

But Green Lake is cool, right?  Short answer: yes.  But, Maple Leaf was listed by Redfin earlier this year as one of the hottest and most “up and coming” housing markets in the entire country. They attributed this to the lower housing prices, local schools and easy commuter access.

I’ll admit I was hesitant to leave Green Lake.  But did I really leave?  I can walk to the lake in about 15 minutes.   More importantly, I’ve discovered a whole new slew of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and more that are right in my own neighborhood (not the mention the amazing Maple Leaf Hardware, who is getting me through some remodel work).

So if you’ve been shopping for a home in Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Wallingford or surrounding area, and are feeling down at the rising prices that are edging you out of the market, come see me in southern Canada.

Green Lake Real Estate: A look at Inventory

I’m not the only real estate broker who has been talking nonstop about the lack of inventory in the Seattle area.  So if there’s no inventory, why do I keep seeing “for sale” signs on every block – does that mean ?

In January, I wrote a post about the current state of the market and there were seven active listings – six single family homes and one condo.  So where are we at today?  Well, it’s Spring – a time when the market generally picks up and this year is no change.  There are currently 14 single family homes on the market and two condominiums.  Not including the condominiums, the average size of the homes on the market is 2,199 square feet and the average price is $611,268. This gives us an average price per foot of $278.

5608 Latona Ave

This home at 5608 Latona Ave NE is currently listed for $730,000. It has 5 bedrooms and 2.25 baths.

In April, fifteen homes sold in Green Lake (three condominiums and twelve single family homes).  Despite the amount of homes being added to the market, the average time these homes spent on the market was 13 days – and ten of the homes were on the market for a week or less.

Compared to 2012, we had just a few less homes on the market.  There were 18 homes sold last year in April, but at an average market time of 51 days – that’s almost two months compared to our current time of two weeks!  And in 2011, the average time on the market for April was 61 days.

To sum up: More houses are coming on the market, but we’re not balanced yet.  We still have a lot of home buyers out there and not enough houses to sell them.  Houses in Green Lake are selling quickly, often for more than asking price.  We’re still out of whack, but the addition of new listings each week is putting us on the right track to a balanced market.

 

 

Modern Townhome just listed in north Seattle under $300k

I know, I know, it’s just about impossible for a first time buyer to purchase in north Seattle.  Besides the fact that there’s barely any inventory, there’s also essentially nothing in a first-time buyer’s price range.

Luckily, Debbie Lee of Matrix Real Estate just listed this great modern townhome at 29 on Stone that should fly off the shelf fast (so hit me up if you want to see it!).

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The townhome is just three years young and faces southwest so it has lots of natural light.  It also has a high-efficiency A/C heat pump to keep energy costs low.   The kitchen features gas cooking, there are natural hardwoods in the living area, and you’ll find vaulted ceilings in the upstairs bedrooms.

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For three bedrooms and 1,210 square feet, it’s kind of a steal in north Seattle for just $294,950 – its almost impossible to find anything around here under $300k.   It’s located just off 99 at 1246 N Northgate Way (#29).    The home is having an Open House this weekend, so stop in Saturday from 1-4 or Sunday from 1-3 and say North Seattle Sarah sent you!  Call me at (253) 653-6299 if you can’t make it to the open house and we’ll set up a private appointment.

Green Lake Real Estate Inventory: 2013 and Beyond

Green Lake, I love you.  But if you don’t start providing inventory soon for my buyers that are still waiting in the wings to purchase, I’m going to get annoyed.

As I’ve done in the past, I’ve taken a look at current Green Lake inventory from 85th at the north end down to 50th at the south end, and between Aurora & I-5.  And do you know what I’ve found?   Seven homes for sale.  Seven.  That’s all.  That’s one condominium and six homes, with price ranges from $205,000 (for the condo, the lowest price house is $399,000) to $859,000.

This 3,500 square foot house on Green Lake Way N is currently listed for sale for $765,000:

5012 Green Lake Way N

I don’t think this data will come as shock to anyone, and I’m sure everyone can make the interpretation as to what this is continuing to do.  Limited inventory drives up house prices, causes bidding wars, and also reflects only a small amount of sales.  So far in  January, nine homes have closed in the Green Lake neighborhood.

Time to get frustrated?  If you’re a buyer or a real estate agent, sure.  Time to panic?  Nope.  Last January, Green Lake closed twelve homes – just three more than where we’re at today.  And in January 2011, Green Lake only closed four homes.   My biggest fear is that sellers who are waiting to list because they’re seeing prices rise will all list their homes around the same time, bringing on more inventory than necessary.  However, the desirability of the Green Lake neighborhood should continue to move homes quickly into the hands of new buyers, no matter how many come on the market at once.

The other trend I’m seeing right now is the greedy seller.  Yes, it is a seller’s market.  Yes, prices are rising.  But no, buyers out there aren’t actually stupid and still aren’t going to pay way more than market value for your home.  If your home is listed in Green Lake (or most of the surrounding area) for more than 30 days, there’s a strong chance that you overpriced it so much, no one even wants to make a low offer.

Other neighborhoods seeing similar action: Ravenna, Greenwood, Phinney Ridge and particularly Maple Leaf after Redfin named it one of the up-and-coming neighborhoods in the country to watch. 

As always, I’m happy to help any of my neighbors purchase or sell their home, and provide free extensive market analysis reports to sellers.  You can reach me directly at sheath@matrixrealestate.com or at (253) 653-6299.