Archive for March, 2009

Three Tips for Savvy Seattle Home Buyers Shopping for a Real Estate DEAL

Sunday Seattle Times Real Estate article, March 29, 2009: "Inside Tips From Savvy Agents"

Sunday Seattle Times Real Estate article, March 29, 2009: "Inside Tips From Savvy Agents"

Yesterday, when I saw the title for the Sunday Seattle Times Real Estate section: "Inside Tips From Savvy Agents".   I thought  "cool"  let's see what kinds of tips other real estate agents are sharing with their clients.....  * Sigh *     *Jumps onto soapbox* The tips in the article are more like resumes (or advertising)  for those agents rather than geared as INSIDE Seattle Real Estate Tips from Savvy Agents for Home Buyers and Sellers.  Today, while writing this article, and linking it, I see that the online article now has a different title:  "Top Seattle Area Real Estate Agents Share Their Secrets for Sucess".  Which is a better title for the article than the title for the content of the printed article.  *Jumps off soapbox*  So, now I will  share with You,  Three "INSIDE" Tips for Home buyers looking for a DEAL in todays' Seattle real estate market.  These have come up recently with one of my clients......
  1. Be Patient.  Take the time to throughly look at what is on the market before you buy, to make sure you choose the best house for You.  You are going to live there for a while, and there are no quick turn arounds like in recent years.  Thankfully the Internet allows easy access to excellent home search sites so you can shop away!  Wish I could have done the same when I bought my house is 1997. 
  2. Don't pass a on great home (and DEAL) due to poor marketing.  One of my pet peeves is the poor marketing done on many short sale and bank owned homes.  There are some really great deals out there now right now, if you can find them.  Some listings are not noted in the public marketing remarks that they are short sales or bank owned homes, so that can be a challenge.   Many of these end up being passed over, and languish on the market because of the listing agents half-hearted marketing photos and marketing remarks.  Also, be sure your real estate agent is willing to look into the past sales history of the house, and send you those listings too, since those can have valuable information, as well as much better photos.  Your agent should include their insight on what that can mean to you.
  3. Don't become complacent.  When you do find THE house, don't allow yourself to become complacent and think you can ask for the world....especially if it's already a  DEAL.  You will likely miss out to another buyer who recognizes the DEAL and acts swiftly with a stronger offer.
Now...let's find a DEAL!

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: No Comments »

Mark, At Marks’ Expert Auto, Makes a “Miracle” Happen for My Bianca-saur!

Marks' Expert Auto in Seattle/Burien

Marks' Expert Auto in Seattle/Burien

I have an older SUV, a Ford Explorer, AND I have a wonderful Auto Repair shop that takes care of my hardworking Explorer...Marks' Expert Auto. Bianca-saur (my white Explorer) has been feeling a little under the weather.  Later, I described her symptoms to Marks' wife Lisa, as having bronchitis.  A few days before I was having a marathon day of touring houses for sale, and Bianca-saur, who had been suffering  for a bit, seemed to be much worse.   *sigh*   Time to take her to Marks'...oh how I hate being car-less in Seattle!  So I left her at Marks', and later in the day got some bad news.....  Bianca-saur's days are numbered as she is in need of an engine transplant.  *sigh* Mark told me that I might be better off replacing Bianca-saur rather than getting into the expense of an "engine transplant" and who knows what else might be discovered.  *sigh* THIS, I needed to think about....  Later when I called Mark back, I said well, lets just do an oil change for now, and I'll pick her up afterwards.  Later, I get a VM from Lisa telling me that Mark made a "Miracle"... Bianca-saur was running better!  When I picked her up, she was running sooo much better, not exactly purring, but without the recent "bronchitis" straining.  Yay!  Lisa did not know what Mark had done, and I only know that something wonderful had happened.  You don't question the nature of a miracle, you just have faith! I have been taking my cars to Marks' for a least a decade, I even followed when Mark moved his shop to Burien.  You know, it's so important to have a trusted auto mechanic.  TRUST is an important asspect in all professional service realtionships: Trusted Accountant, Trusted Auto Repair, Trusted Electrician, Trusted Plumber, and...ahem, Trusted Seattle Real Estate Agent! Thanks Mark, Lisa and let's not forget Nate!

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: 8 Comments »

“The Seattle Times” Article on Bank of America’s Much Needed Entry into the Jumbo Loan Market

"The Seattle Times" article "'Jumbo' Mortgage Market Reviving" March 22, 2009

"The Seattle Times" article "'Jumbo' Mortgage Market Reviving" March 22, 2009

Here is some good news for at least one of my clients.  In Sundays'  "Seattle Times", real estate columnist Kenneth Harney wrote an article called "'Jumbo' Mortgage Market Reviving".  Harney writes that Bank of America is entering into the very under-served Jumbo Home loan market this spring.  This will really help the Seattle / Bellevue real estate markets, which have high median home prices.  The median home price in King County for both single family homes and condos for Feb. 2009 was $348,000  (Feb. 2008 was $395,000, down 11.9% courtesy of the NWMLS).  Jumbo loans are loans above the Conventional loan limit of $506,000, and we have been waiting for that limit to rise again to $567,500.  Christi Meats from Evergreen Home Loans sent me an email last night to let me know that "We expect in the next week or 2 to see Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sort out the final details for the increased loans amounts for Conventional loans from $506,000 to $567,500". Christi also let me know that she will have more Jumbo loans available from B of A too, since Evergreen Home Loans; " will be participating in this when it happens through our correspondent relationship with Countrywide."  Countrywide is part of B of A and according to Harney in the article, Countrywide will be changing it's name to Bank of America Home Loans. The availability of Jumbo loans for high-end home-buyers began to contract in August 2007,  so this is Good News!

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: 5 Comments »

“The Seattle Times” Real Estate Article: “It’s a Good Time…to be a First Time Home Buyer” and MY First-time Homebuyers

The Seattle Times Real Estate Article: "It's a good time...to be a first-time homebuyer"

The Seattle Times Real Estate Article: "It's a good time...to be a first-time homebuyer"

Sunday mornings and it's The Seattle Times, and a cup of coffee...ahhh.... So, this morning when I got to the Seattle Real Estate section, the first thing that caught my eye was the photo....I showed THAT house to my first-time home buyers last September!  It was for the article "It's a good time to be a  first-time homebuyer" While that home did not suit my clients, together we eventually found a great deal last fall, on a wonderful new construction, 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in Beacon Hill over looking Columbia City, I am glad that the buyer in the article, with the help of her Seattle real estate agent,  found what she was looking for.  The article did a good job of pointing out why for many first-time home buyers it is a good time to buy:
  • Lot's of inventory - this is how my clients wound up with such a great deal, the builder needed to sell some of his inventory and was willing to take a much lower price than what the house was originally listed for.
  • Lower prices on homes - the downward pressure of lots of inventory beause of potential home buyers watching and waiting.
  • Low interest rates -  my lender, Christi, updates me on how the rates are and they are very good.
  •  Up to $8,000 tax credit- available for first time home buyers who qualify, and who buy between Jan. 1st 2009 and Dec. 1st 2009.
Anyway, it was funny to see that house again in the newspaper, good thing I had already swallowed my coffee, or my photo would be of a coffee stained article...LoL!

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: 2 Comments »

Winter in Seattle is not quite over yet…. We are Waking up to Snow this Morning!

This is what Seattle woke up to this morning...HUGE snowflakes falling!  Even though Spring officially begins this coming Friday (just 5 days away) the Seattle area is being dusted with more snow. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_6RkexJ7Rk[/youtube] Here is what I saw on my patio this morning...snowfalling, so HUGE you can hear it land!

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: No Comments »

Alki Walk: Clear and Cold with the Moon Rising!

Seattle and the Space Needle from Alki walk on March 10, 2009

Seattle and the Space Needle from Alki walk on March 10, 2009

This evening's walk on Alki was clear and COLD.  Since last Sunday was "Spring Forward" one hour we also had sunshine...Yay! 

The walk also had a few funny surprises this evening:  we saw a woman walking her skate boarding dog,  and a man holding his indoor cat in his arms because he told us the cat enjoys being outside occassionally for fresh air! 

On the way back the sun had set, it was even colder, and as we were rounding the curve of the point, we were surprised by the HUGE rising full moon coming up over the SafeCo Field....it was Awesome!

Moon rising over Seattle after Alki walk                           March 10, 2009 ....Just Awesome!

Moon rising over Seattle after Alki walk March 10, 2009 ....Just Awesome!

 

 

***

 

The moon rising...  

 

 

 

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: 5 Comments »

First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square – March 2009

Artforte Gallery in Pioneer Square

Artforte Gallery in Pioneer Square

It's a new month and here it is again, First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square and it was a fine evening to be out enjoying the Art in the Galleries with a couple of friends.  I met a friend at her office and we to Pioneer Square and met up with another friend in one of the Galleries.  So, every month I allow myself to pick which artists' whose work catches my eye and appeals to my "would I want to see that artwork in my home" criteria and this month I found my favorite Artists for the evening in this order at Artforte, Linda Hodges and Marni Muir Galleries. 
Flora S. Bowley beside her paintings at Artforte Gallery in Seattle's Pioneer Square

Flora S. Bowley beside her paintings at Artforte Gallery in Seattle's Pioneer Square

My favorite artist for the evening was Flora S. Bowley at Artfort Gallery.  I noticed her paintings last spring and was happy to see more of her gorgeous surreal/abstract landscapes.  These color drenched, organic natural abstracted shapes are beguiling....  Yes, I think Flora's paintings are candy yummy and would love to see them in my home or yours!  Linda Hodges Gallery was showing mixed media collage and oil paintings by Patrick LoCiero .  These paintings quietly draw you in as you begin to notice the details of the background collage (which almost begin to tell a story) and realize the paintings are not a flat as they first appear.  The paintings have almost quilted, rich burnished surface from the collage and set against that surface are the painted (and collaged) floral subjects.  At first glance the paintings are quiet, then as you look deeper, you are drawn into seeing stories in the images of the collage backgrounds.  Marni Muir Gallery was showing the dreamlike, surreal  paintings of Scott Goodwillie .  Technically amazing paintings in oil with dream-like  images (and dreams often have disturbing imagery) that first catch your eye, then as you settle your gaze on the subject you realize *oh* and wonder at what you are seeing, you are perhaps a little unsettled at that point.  The painting that appealed to me in the show was a large painting of a life-sized woman surrounded by writhing ferrets that reminded me of a few favorite Frieda Kahlo self portrait paintings. It was an engaging evening of Art!

***

Update:  Flora S. Bowley emailed me April 3rd, to let me know that she has been asked to make, "5 or more really large paintings to go in the lobby and restaurant of the new Escala condo building up in Seattle." Congratulations Flora!  I will check them out.

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: No Comments »