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Tolin Peterson's Blog

By Tolin Peterson | Broker in Seattle, WA
  • When Will We See More Listings?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Seattle, Home Buying in Seattle, In My Neighborhood in Seattle  |  August 13, 2013 10:45 AM  |  354 views  |  No comments

    When will we see more listings in the Greater Seattle area?  This has been a major question on many first time home buyers minds.  In the housing market decline many home owners lost enough of their equity position that they ended up under water, or owing more on their mortgage than the house was worth.  This often prevents them from selling.

    Is this still the case with many home owners?  This equation is definitely changing due to all the appreciation we have seen in the Greater Seattle area.  Depending on the demographic that you’re looking at, many areas values are about where they were in 2006.  If prices continue to rise we may get to 2007 levels at the end of 2013 or early 2014.

    Will this cause more home owners to list?  This definitely could be the case.  Many economists speculate that there are a lot of home owners that either bought or did a cash out refi in 2006-2007, that would really like to sell but won’t be able to until values reach these prior year levels.

    Should first time home buyers wait until there’s more available inventory to buy?  That really depends on your specific situation.  If you wait for more inventory, it’s quite likely home values and interest rates will continue to rise.  However, if you currently have room to afford more house and aren’t concerned with being priced out of the market, waiting might help you find a home that better fits your needs.

    Don’t make the biggest financial decision of your life without getting educated!  If you’d like to find out more about todays current housing market or the home buying process in general, please go to our Calendar/Reservations page and register for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer workshops.

  • Is Cash Really King?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Seattle, Home Buying in Seattle, In My Neighborhood in Seattle  |  May 7, 2013 10:45 AM  |  275 views  |  No comments

    Is cash really king in the Seattle real estate market?  Yes, cash has been fairly dominate in the Seattle real estate market for at least 12 months now.  We’ve especially seen a strong presence of cash buyers in the entry level first time home buyer market in the surrounding area, representing anywhere from 50-75% of the overall buyer pool depending on demographic.

    How are first time home buyers paying all cash?  It’s more likely that this make up is comprised of institutional, small time and foreign investors.  Also, we have seen many situations where a first time home buyer’s parents may give them a loan to buy their first home and charge them a standard market 4% interest rate, as it gives them a much better return than say leaving the money invested in CD’s or the bond market.

    How does this affect first time home buyers?  Competition is already stiff in the Seattle real estate market due to an influx of buyers and very few homes for sale on the market.  Cash buyers are generally given preference by sellers because this type of buyer can close very quickly, generally doesn’t require an appraisal or inspection, and doesn’t have to worry about meeting underwriting guidelines to receive a loan.  So it can be very difficult for first time home buyers to compete in this arena.

    Is there any way first time home buyers can compete with cash buyers?  Yes, but it can be tricky.  First time home buyers can employ many different strategies including; conducting a pre-inspection, waiving their financing contingency, using an escalator clause, offering more earnest money, and much more.  However, it is important to understand before using any of these strategies, that they each come with pros and cons.

    Don’t make the biggest financial decision of your life without getting educated!  If you’d like to find out more about competing with cash buyers or about the home buying process in general, please go to our Calendar/Reservations page and sign up for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer/Down Payment Assistance workshops.

  • What Are Down Payment Assistance Programs?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Seattle, Financing in Seattle, In My Neighborhood in Seattle  |  July 31, 2012 11:14 AM  |  157 views  |  No comments

    Down payment assistance programs are set up to help First Time Home Buyers purchase their first home. These programs are set up to loan an amount of money to the home buyer that will be paid back with interest over a period of time. The interest and monthly repayment amounts for these programs tend to be fairly low.

    This will have an effect on what your total mortgage payment will be. In most cases the mortgage payment will consist of: your first loan (principal and interest), your second Down payment assistance loan (principal and interest), property taxes, homeowners insurance and your monthly mortgage insurance premium.

    Down payment assistance programs can be a great fit for many would be First Time Home Buyers, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to purchase a home on their own. After educating yourself on how different down payment assistance programs function, you may well discover that it is the perfect way to turn you from a renter into a homeowner.

    There are many different types of down payment assistance programs available. We have programs fit for different geographic regions as well as different personal situations. There are general programs offering $1,000 to $10,000 in assistance, as well as more specific programs offering up to $45,000!

    The amount of down payment assistance a person is eligible for will depend on their financial situation. A needs assessment form will take several factors into consideration to determine the amount of assistance alloted. The amount will depend on such things as a person’s income, liquid assets (not including retirement accounts or 401Ks) and the purchase price of the home.

    You must attend one of our First Time Home Buyer workshops to be eligible for our programs. The Washington State Housing Finance Commission requires that you attend one of our workshops in order to apply for down payment assistance. The workshop is FREE, and there is no obligation to move forward in the process if you decide the programs are not a good fit for you. If you would like to learn more about the programs, or gather more information on the home buying process in general, go to our Calendar/Reservations page and sign up for one of our free First Time Home Buyer workshops.

  • Aaaw, Do I Have to be Polite?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Seattle, Home Buying in Seattle, In My Neighborhood in Seattle  |  June 12, 2012 11:21 AM  |  156 views  |  No comments

    Do I really have to be polite to the seller when submitting my offer? Many buyers are still under the impression that this is a buyers market, and feel that the seller should consider themselves blessed to receive their offer. But is your offer the only one they’ve received?

    Many properties are receiving multiple offers within the first few days of being on the market. Especially if you’re a first time home buyer in the Greater Seattle area, consider your competition STIFF. You may not be able to get away with calling the shots.

    So is it even worth buying a house any more? Being rude to the seller doesn’t mean you’re going to get a great deal, and playing nice doesn’t mean you’re going to get taken to the cleaners. All parties can walk away from the table feeling whole and you can still get a great value.

    You don’t have to beat the seller up on list price to get a great value. Every first time home buyer should be more concerned about the VALUE of the home as opposed to the PRICE. If a home is priced for 300K and worth 250K, did you get a great deal if you paid 280K. Of course not! It doesn’t really matter if you knocked 20K of the list price, you still OVERPAID by 30K!

    If getting a great deal is you’re number one priority, there’s still time. Even though we’ve seen some SLIGHT appreciation in the Greater Seattle area lately, prices have not shot up dramatically overnight, and probably won’t for another couple years. But if you wait too long, you may find that rising prices AND rising interest rates make housing much LESS affordable than today’s equation plays out.

    It’s not too Late! If you’re a first time home buyer in the King County area, there are many factors to consider. Don’t make this big of a decision without getting EDUCATED first. Go to our Calendar/Reservations page and sign up for one of our FREE First Time Home Buyer workshops and peace of mind.

 
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