I am a local Realtor who specializes in Kirkland and we look forward to welcoming you and your family to our community. For more information about the city itself, please visit http://www.explorekirkland.com and http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/home.htm.
There are several aspects that you should consider before making your final decision about buying vs. renting, since both of them involve certain advantages as well as disadvantages, e.g., tax deductions-- interest / property tax, building equity, monthly living expenses, maintenance, etc.
Home prices in Kirkland are pretty steady--it is my understanding that they will not drop suddenly; however, the high level of inventory (the â€˜supply vs. demandâ€™ rule) gives you plenty of buying power, thus you should be able to find the right property in your price range and make it your â€œdream homeâ€. Please feel free to contact me if you need more specific information about the local market.
Ineza Kuceba, M.A.
Windermere RE/S.C.A., Inc.
737 Market Street,
Kirkland, WA 98033
Web site: http://www.inezahomes.com/
â€œWhether your visit is a day, a week, or a lifetime, time spent in Kirkland is time well spent. Unique shops, world class art galleries and top notch restaurants await you. Enjoy Kirkland, where life is truly an art!â€ http://www.explorekirkland.com
Kirkland has historically been a very stable market. Since 2004 the average ratio of inventory to sales has been hovering around 1.3 ...meaning 1.3 new listings per sale. By being so consistent, Kirkland seemed to be buffered from the growing trend of inventory increasingly outpacing sales. However, in Q4 of 2007 and even more so in the first two months of Q1 this year, ...the trend is gone...by a lot. In January of this year, the ratio of new listings to sales was 3.7. In February it was 2.5. The number of times in the last 50 months Kirkland's ratio has hit 2.0 or higher ...including this year ... is 6. Once in 2004 (January), once in 2006 (January again), 3 times in 2007 (January, Sept. Oct), and both whole months in 2008. Not a good trend to start the year. Basic econ ... too much inventory will keep prices down or make them fall.
So I say rent for 6 months because ... assuming you move here in this month or in April sometime, it would put you in early Fall ...september/october time frame. We should have a fairly good picture of where the market is headed by then. You will likely be able to find some really good deals around this time.
All depends on your ability to wait. If you can't wait too long, then be armed with the knowledge that there are 3 new listings for every 1 sale so far in 2008. Whomever you choose as your representative should be armed with as much informational leverage as possible. The better price you can get today, the more buffer you create in any further price erosion we may experience this year.
I have high hopes for 2009 as the recovery year...no hard numbers to justify that claim though. I just think with the continued job growth in the area and the new president we'll have by then (and with it renewed hope and optimism .... hopefully) that whatever slums our local market is in will shake itself out and be back on track.
Now is a GREAT time to buy, as interest rates are low. I recently attended a seminar given by Matthew Gardner (local economic analyst). Our area is very strong due to: low unemployment rates, exporting, and other factors. If you send me your email address, I will give you a link to this report (PS This is free of charge and I won't contact you to solicit your business!)
Cheri Klavano, CRS
I'll try to keep this short and sweet. 950K is a lot of money and you are wise to want to do some research so you know you are investing wisely. I think renting for a time may not be the worst thing you can do. Seattle is very different then NYC and you will want to spend a little time getting used to neighborhoods and price ranges before making a decision. Seattle is very neighborhood specific and so if you spend some time out here you will benefit from greater familiarity. Depending on what you are looking for, 950K is enough to get you a single family home and have plenty left over to buy an additional rental property that would cash flow for you, or put into other investments. Here are a few web sites to help you get used to neighborhoods.
To be honest though, nothing beats being here and experiencing neighborhoods for yourself.
PS - cute cat by the way
Good luck to you, please let us know if we can be of any help to you. Take care. Rich & Brandy
Renting really gives you time to experience all of those great things that only come with living in a place for awhile, like....traffic patterns....where the best Thai restaurant is.....great outdoor spaces/activities, etc. Those factors may fine-tune where, exactly, you decide to live (even saying "Kirkland" brings into play a significant number of very different neighborhood options....waterfront, view, older established community, newer, luxury development with a small lot, Dntwn Kirkland...lots to consider).
Additionally, you can begin to build a working relationship with a good agent and keep an eye on prices. Remember one important factor: Historically, in every market that has experienced significant movement downward (or upward for that matter), even the most learned economists and real estate "gurus" have not been able to "time" the bottom (or top) of the market. In fact, we don't know a market has begun to go up until, well, it has already gone up....for quite a while.
So possibly rent, give yourself time, and buy when YOU think the time is right for YOU. Good Luck!
Is there a particular reason you are specifically looking only in Kirkland? If you are being re-located for business reasons you may want to consider a corporate housing option until you have time to better analyze the market. Kirkland is one of and close to some of the nicest Seattle suburbs. Unless there is a particular school for your children or some other reason you must be in Kirkland, you should study the market a bit to confirm 100% that another area may suit your needs even better. There are many comparable areas within a short driving distance if you don't have to be in Kirkland.
Now is the time to buy for numerous reasons. You have the capital to move swiftly, rates are low, prices are low, and many Seller's/developers are over-extended. Regardless, even in a good market, it is never a good idea to buy unless you are willing to hold for a minimum of five years. That is typically the amount of time it will take for you to cover your commissions and closing costs. You definately need to interview local agents, find one you feel comfortable with, and make sure you engage one who is a seasoned Buyer's agent who has a handle on the market. A strong agent can make short work out of the available properties in the current market.
You will find a dramatic difference in per square foot pricing compared to what you are used to coming out of a Co-op in Manhattan. Don't move too quickly because you are used to values in the 1,000's of dollars per square foot, but be prepared to move when the right deal presents itself. Don't be afraid to present multiple offers far below the asking prices with aggressive terms or a lease with rights to purchase. If you go with a lease, a two year minimun with one or two additional year extensions will be important. Make sure you have provisions that the property can not be listed for sale or be shown during the lease term, no for sale/available sign, and try to lock in a favorable purchase price in advance.
A local agent who is well established will not mind handling a transaction that has a good likelyhood to turn into a purchase as opposed to pushing for a purchase only to get paid quickly.
We can provide a good agent referral if you need one.
Musikantow & Associates
Keller Williams Beverly Hills
439 N. Canon Drive Suite 300
Beverly Hills, California 90210
Russ Lyon Realty Scottsdale
7150 East Lincoln Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85253
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