Seattle’s’ Urban Villages blog is experiencing a renaissance….

Kerry Park & Space Needle at Dusk

Kerry Park & Space Needle at Dusk

After having “disappeared” for a while, I am re-inspired to begin blogging again here at Seattle’s Urban Villages
I have been actively blogging for DANIEL SMITH Artist’s Materials on the DanielSmithBlog (over 2 years & 267 posts so far!) and have been their Social Media (Facebook & Twitter) Specialist since late last June which has kept me busy while I was on what turned out to be, a real estate hiatus.  For a number of reasons, I was not feeling very engaged with real estate (the blog, & other things) and this hiatus had been beneficial for me to re-energize and re-connect for this renaissance.
It’s actually feeling very exciting to step back into the Real Estate Market (the blog, & other things) again.  I have re-thought my purpose, and this gestational period has allowed me to grow in many ways that will benefit my clients, friends, family, and myself.
There is a lot for me to write about here on the blog, about Seattle Real Estate and Seattle’s Urban Villages, Art will be featured, AND I have a lot to say about a wide range of topics as well. 
 As Captain Picard would say…..”Engage!”

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: 161 Comments »

Big Change in Washington Real Estate Law this Week on June 12th with HB 2791: The Distressed Homeowner Law

This Thursday, June 12th, 2008, there will be some big changes to Washington State Real Estate Law with House Bill: HB 2791 that will effect Seattle Real Estate.

The new law was made to help protect Distressed Homeowners from being taken advantage of by buyers who might prey on those homeowners, and essentially swindle them out of their equity (equity skimming) by appearing to “save” the homeowners from losing their home.

Unfortunately, the new law also has some “bugs” in it and is causing a lot of confusion, concern and has extra liabilities for real estate brokers, their agents and potentially, oddly enough, ordinary home buyers like you.

The oddity of the new law is that under some circumstances, you as the buyer, could end up as a fiduciary to the Distressed Homeowner.  This means that you would have to act in the Best Interests of the Distressed Homeowner.  Instead of acting in your own best interests to buy the home, you would have to instead, put the Distressed Homeowners’ interests above your own! 

Now, this is not very likely to happen since the homes most buyers will make offers on are being sold because the homeowner is selling for regular reasons.  Those reasons include buying another house, moving out of town, or state, sad reasons from divorce, death, or illness, or even joyful reasons because two homeowners are marrying and they are selling the extra home. 

But there is a small (very small) possibility this could happen with buyers who are buying pre-foreclosure, foreclosure, and short-sale homes if extra care is not taken.  However, that status may or may not be known to the buyer or their agent, only if it is a material fact must it be disclosed to buyers and their agents.  If it is not a material fact, then it is possible get into a contract with a Distressed Homeowner, and not know until there is a 20 day notice of a foreclosure sale.  Once the buyer is notified of this situation, they automatically become Distressed Home Consultants and a fiduciary to the Distressed Homeowner

There is a provision in the new NWMLS forms so that the buyer will have the ability to get out of the contract for a certain time period following that notice.  To help prevent this from happening in the first place, there is a new form to be included with the Purchase and Sales Agreement…”The form provides a warranty from the seller that the closing date does not fall within 20 days of a foreclosure sale.”  

There is a lot more to the law than what I have written in this post, and if you are interested you can read it here .   I am not a lawyer, and I am not reading HB 2791 directly to make an interpretation and understand all its’ complexities.  However, I have read Legal Bulletin 179 that the Northwest Multiple Listing Service has provided to it’s members on their site to help explain the new law.  While I have read Legal Bulletin 179 several times, there are still questions that come to mind about the changes and how I can best help my clients. 

This new law is causing a lot of uncertainty for real estate brokers and their agents because there will be extra liabilities ($$$) that may cause them to choose to not work with Distressed Homeowners, and this is a bad thing…these homeowners need help selling their homes. 

Not only may some of these Distressed Homeowners have difficulty with listing their homes with agents because of potential extra liabilities, but there is a new buyers agreement that informs the buyer that the agent will not show homes known to be the homes of Distressed Homeowners…remember you as the buyer could end up as a fiduciary to the Distressed Homeowner.  Your agent also could inadvertently also become a Distressed Homeowner Consultant to the seller, and now would have to put the sellers’ best interests before your best interests!  How can limiting the number of potential buyers be good for Distressed Homeowners?

Of course right now all this is untested and there are many questions through out the Seattle real estate community still to be answered.   If you are a buyer, be sure you are talking to your agent about this.  If you are a homeowner with your home listed on the NWMLS, your agent should be talking to you now about the new documents you need to sign.  I have already talked with the one client with whom I currently have a listing contract with (the new one) and in his case (NOT a Distressed Homeowner) I have determined that there may actually be advantages for him with this new law, because some of his homes’ competition may be avoided by agents and buyers.

While the new law was made to help Distressed Homeowners, because of the concerns and extra liabilities for real estate brokers and their agents, it may actually hinder or prevent some Distressed Homeowners from being able to sell their homes, and end up in foreclosure instead.  I think that this is a very sad thing to add to Distressed Homeowners, well…distress.

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: 316 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: 181 Comments »

Welcome to My Seattle’s Urban Villages Blog!

Sun Breaks in the clouds over Downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay from Queen Anne’s Kerry ParkHello….

Welcome to my Seattle’s Urban Villages Blog!

I hope that your visit here is helpful, fun and gives you some insight to Seattle, the Seattle Real Estate Market, my Real Estate Ethics and Philosophy, and a good introduction to me.

Seattle is not my hometown, I chose to live in Seattle and moved here in 1994. That has been a wonderful decision…

….because I love Seattle!

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: 655 Comments »

Montlake Neigborhood of Seattle

Montlake Neighborhood of Seattle has many charming Tudor Homes

Montlake Neighborhood of Seattle has many charming Tudor Homes

Montlake, one of Seattle’s Urban Villages…is where I have been spending a lot of time these past few weeks.  I am working with some out of state sellers as their Seattle Real Estate Agent to prepare their house to enter the Seattle Real Estate market when we list their Montlake home for sale later this spring.  It has been an interesting project for me and it will be exciting to see it to it’s conclusion.

520 Freeway Bridges that pass through the Montlake Neighborhood and the Washington Park Arboretum

520 Freeway Bridges that pass through the Montlake Neighborhood and the Washington Park Arboretum

The Montlake neighborhood lies just south of the University of Washington across from the Montlake cut, north and down the hill from Capitol Hill, east of Portage Bay and Eastlake, and west of the Arboretum and Lake Washington.  It has great accessibility to Downtown Seattle, as well as Bellevue and The Eastside via the 520 freeway which runs through Montlake…in an interesting way. The freeway is mostly bridges over water and provides motorists with some great views of wildlife on their commute!

Tudor Home in Montlake

Tudor Home in Montlake

The homes, built mostly in the 1920’s, are made up of brick Tudor and Craftsman styles of single family homes.  The market history for the month of March has just sixteen total homes comprising it.  The eight that are active as of April 1st range between $549,000 to $879,000.  Three are STI (Subject To Inspection) ranging between $847,000 and $1,250,000, Four are Pending ranging between $609,900 and $959,000.  Only one closed for the month selling for $734,000.  This puts Montlake well above the median price for homes sold in King County, $429,925, in February. 

Now that spring had arrived Montlake is especially beautiful right now, good timing for the springtime Seattle Real Estate rush! 

Originally published on my first
Seattle’s Urban Villages Real Estate blog
on April 2, 2007:

Spoken by Deborah Burns | Discussion: 197 Comments »