My Top 10 Picks of the Most Important Things Every Seattle Home Buyer Should Know based on HGTV’s “House Hunters” Top 25.

HGTV.com

HGTV.com

Sunday night  HGTV  ran a special based on their "House Hunter " TV series which  now has over 600 episodes, called "House Hunter's Guide to the Top 25 Most Important Things Every Potential Home Buyer Should Know ".  So I thought I would watch and pass along my top 10 picks from the 25 for you, and add my thoughts as well.  There were a lot of good, common sense suggestions in HGTV's tips, though I thought there were too many to try and stretch out the tips to 25, and fill an hour long program.  Space, and the *yawn* factor to include all 25 of the tips is going to limit me to posting just my Top 10 picks from the 25.  If you would like to see all 25, just drop me an email an I will send them along to you since HGTV does not have them listed on their site. So here you are with my Top 10 picks  of Important Things Every Seattle Home Buyer Should Know (plus a "Bonus Tip") from HGTV's Top 25 Tips, my comments are in italics:  #25  Know what you want and need: Make a list of you would LIKE and what you need.  Needs and wants are different!  Wants are extras. #24  Be ready to compromise - you won't be able to afford everything you want.  Your next "Move Up" home will very likely be closer to having more of what you would like.  The current one will help you leverage into your next home in 5 or more years depending on the market and if you add value to the home with improvements. #23  Factor in all the costs of your purchase
  • Mortgage
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners' Insurance
  • Closing Costs including your down payment
  • Moving
  • Commuting
  • Utilities
  • Updating/remodeling - don't forget this cost.  It might be things need to be done immediately, or over time.
Bonus Tip: #22  Buy in Winter - There is more inventory in Spring, but better deals in the Winter.  This is sooo true! #21  Check out the neighborhood - be sure you do your homework to find out important things about the neighborhood, like the schools (how good they are) possible development, or construction that could block a view etc.  There are lots of great online resources to help with this, but don't forget the importance of walking the neighborhood in the evening and weekend, and chatting with the neighbors. #20  Consider transitional areas - follow the Artists!  Artists need cheap space, they move in, then others follow.  This is especially true in Seattle, with older artist areas of Belltown, Ballard, Fremont, Georgetown and we all know how those areas had been going up in value and desirability. #18  Understand Land value - that is the price of the land minus the structure = land value  Ex: waterfront property, there is only so much available so that value holds better.  While Seattle does have lots, and lots of waterfront because of the Sound, the lakes, and canal, it is very desirable, and will always be very desirable...because there is still LESS of it.  Same goes for water views, just less expensive than waterfront. #8 Buy the house not the furniture - be sure look past both the bad (dirty homes and dated furnishings) and the good (staged homes) to see the true value for you.  YES!  You will likely get a better deal if you can look past the wear and tear, and dated things because many buyers will pass on those homes putting downward pressure on the home's value.  The same works in reverse, that is why staging is a valuable selling tool.  Be smart, it's all about the value of what STAYS with the house. #5  Buy the worst house in the best area - a great way to buy an affordable home in a great area.  Remember, that it can be time consuming and more costly than you originally thought to fix up.  If you are trying to get more for your money location wise, then this is very important.  Remember: Location, location, location!  This also works in reverse when you buy the BEST home in an area, the other homes pull down the value. #4  Know a cosmetic fixer from a "gut job" - BIG difference in the amount of time and money to fix up.  Identifying "good bones" in a property that can be improved.  Painting, changing flooring, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, window coverings, appliances etc. all qualify as cosmetic.  Floor plan changes (to correct bad flow, or open up house) additions, replacing systems such as electrical, plumbing, heating, foundations, roofs etc. start moving into the "gut job" area, and can really add to costs. #1 Follow your instincts - choosing your home should be equal parts intellectual and emotional.  One home buyer told her agent that "buying a home was like buying a wedding dress".   A real estate agent should help you with the intellectual part, but only you can decide on the emotional side.  Yes, you will know when houses seem like the right one, and your Seattle real estate agent should be there to think about the practical aspects of whether the house has the value that works for You. Last thing, HGTV says that home buyers see an average of 9 homes before finding the one they purchase.... There You have it....  Happy House Hunting!

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: 3 Comments »

It’s Summer Solstice Today in Seattle and The Fremont Solstice Parade Celebrates by Marching to it’s Own Beat!

Pink Flamingo Nude Cyclists at the 2007 Fremont Solstice ParadeSeattle is home to the "Center of the Universe" in Fremont, a free-spirited, funky neighborhood just north of Downtown Seattle.  To celebrate the longest day of the year, Fremont harnesses it's creative free thinkers into a fun parade, The Fremont Solstice Parade

The parade is a fun mix of humour, creative expression and oddly enough, community individualism.  There is a real spirit of joy and celebration....even if the Sun fails to make an entrance for it's own celebration...afterall this is Seattle!  The Parade celebrates it's 20th year today and fun reigns as the Nude Cyclists herald the Parade's beginning and the creativity ensues. 

I was unable to go this year, but I enjoyed it last year with a few friends so check out my Fremont Solstice Parade post from last year on my original Seattle's Urban Villages Blog...have fun!

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: 5 Comments »

What’s an Urban Village?

Seattle, like all cities, has many interesting neighborhoods that each have a unique flavor and character that make living in Seattle a wonderful experience. I call these neighborhoods Urban Villages.

Many of the Seattle neighborhoods have a center or village where shops, cafes, restaurants, galleries and businesses gather that provide places for the locals to shop, relax with a cup of coffee, meet up with their friends and neighbors, and catch up with the local happenings.

The Seattle Urban Villages that we are going to explore over time are: Alki, Ballard, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Eastlake, Fremont (the self proclaimed "Center of the Universe"!) Georgetown, Green Lake, Madison Park, Madison Valley, Magnolia, Montlake, Queen Anne, Pioneer Square, University District, Wallingford, West Seattle and many more.

We will also explore the cities surrounding Seattle such as: Mercer Island, Bellevue, Kirkland, other places on the Eastside and around Seattle.

So why take the time to explore these Urban Villages and more?

Because buying a house and choosing it's location where you will make a home is such an important step to make...it should not be taken lightly.

Location, Location, Location is not just a Real Estate phrase about one way value is determined, it's also about the lifestyle you will be enjoying and living for years to come. Making a good match with a neighborhood or Urban Village is important for truly making a home.

So...join me and let the adventure of Seattle's Urban Villages and Seattle Real Estate begin!

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: No Comments »