Home Buying in Seattle>Question Details

John, Other/Just Looking in 10024

moving to Seatle area, more precise Kirkland, We sold our Co-op in Mnahattan, NY and have about 950,000 of

Asked by John, 10024 Sat Mar 8, 2008

capital.
Shoule we just rent for awhile and see where prices are going?

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19
Dear Paul,

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 ‘supply vs. demand’ 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 “dream home”. Please feel free to contact me if you need more specific information about the local market.

Best regards,

Ineza Kuceba, M.A.
Windermere RE/S.C.A., Inc.
737 Market Street,
Kirkland, WA 98033
Telephone: 425-442-6544
E-mail: ineza@windermere.com
Web site: http://www.inezahomes.com/

“Whether 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!” http://www.explorekirkland.com
Web Reference: http://www.inezahomes.com
7 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2008
Hi Paul, my advice is to speak with a real estate professional that specializes in Kirkland. I dont think that it would hurt to rent in our current market; however, I would recommend keeping the lease term short. Keep you buying options open, your position is a good one. I would get to know the market closely and be prepared when you find the right home. Let me know if you need a good referral in Kirkland.

Darren
Web Reference: http://www.darrenpobran.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008
If you aren't in any hurry or need to buy a place right away, I would highly recommend you rent for 6 months, get to know the specific areas of Kirkland and then start shopping to buy something. Here's why.
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.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
Paul,
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
Windermere, Issaquah
425-417-6194
Web Reference: http://www.HomesEast.net
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 17, 2008
Paul,

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.

Zipskinny.com
walkscore.com

To be honest though, nothing beats being here and experiencing neighborhoods for yourself.

PS - cute cat by the way
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2008
Hi Paul--I do most of my work in Kirkland and I don't think you're going to see much in the way of price drops, at least in properties nearing the $1m range. Any gain you realize by waiting will be offset by the rent you're throwing away. If you are planning to own your home for at least 5-10 years, this will be a moot point. Start looking at properties and get a feel for various areas in Kirkland. Right now the best neighborhoods are Houghton, Downtown, East of Market and of course, West of Market. Juanita is waking up but doesn't carry the same cachet as living within walking distance of downtown.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 23, 2008
Paul - You have a lot to consider but it sounds like you have narrowed your search to Kirkland. I can only guess that you know something about the local market. There is more inventory on the market than we've seen in years, interest rates are low and moving once is far superior to renting and having to move again in six months. My advice would be to start narrowing down neighborhoods by browsing the listings on line, then schedule an appointment with your realtor. Good luck! - Donita
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2008
I just read a great article on the WSJ re: this issue.(I will attach it) Many experts feel that we are already rebounding from the "bottom"of this downturn and now, more than ever, is the time to buy. Kirkland is an amazing commuity and prices here are fairly stable. There is anabundant inventory on the market right now-so you have your pick of some incredible properties. I encourage you to spend time finding the right neighborhood in Kirkland - each is very different, but I truly do not think you will see a benefit in waiting.
Good luck to you, please let us know if we can be of any help to you. Take care. Rich & Brandy

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121003604494869449.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
My advice: Rent for at least 6 months, get a feel for the area, your favorite places to shop, eat, and play, then decide where to buy your next home. You may decide Seattle is more to your liking especially since you're coming from Manhattan...that's after you've lived in Kirkland for awhile. Not that there is anything wrong with Kirkland...but...Seattle is more diverse, eclectic and closer to Puget Sound and the islands to the West. On a clear day, views of the Olympics are breathtaking.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 16, 2008
I would certainly look hard at the renting options. There are some great companies that specialize in furnished and unfurnished "flex" rentals (month to month, or 3 or 6 month leases)...you can Google short-term or executive rentals.

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!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 14, 2008
To rent or not to rent - that is the question. The answer of course depends on your needs and what you'd like to accomplish. There are times when renting is appropriate, though having chosen the Kirkland area, I suspect you have already done much of the research you would do while renting. I know that moving across the country is a big deal. I suggest you visit first and have a Realtor spend a weekend showing you the various areas of Kirkland, focusing on the types of properties you're interested in. I work with buyers from all over the globe and from US. Naval ships, and have found that renting is fine if you're completely unfamiliar with an area. If, as it seems you have, you've gained a basic knowledge of the area, I suggest visiting with the intent to purchase. You may want to buy a modest home or condo first and bank some of your capital. After your move, and given some time to familiarize yourselves with the area, you can move into another area and sell or lease your first residence. Either way, I wish you a smooth and successful move.
Web Reference: http://www.ziprealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 11, 2008
As a life long resident of Kirkland I can tell you that now is an excellent time to be a buyer in the Kirkland market. There is a good amount of inventory in different price ranges and styles. Do not expect the bottom to fall out of the prices. Personally, I don't much like to pack my stuff & move, so I would not rent and move twice in the hope that there will be better prices/values in six months. Find a house you like, then use your agent's negotiating skills to see what the bottom line is. I am happy to assist, check out my web site http://www.GoddardGreen Realty.com.

Sean
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 27, 2008
It's definitely a buyer's market in real estate right now, and interest rates are great. Washington State hasn't been hit as hard as other parts of the country with the real estate slowdown. Nobody has a crystal ball to see how much lower prices will go, but it is a good time to buy. If you buy now, you'll be all settled in just in time for our wonderful summer weather. Good luck with your decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
here is a site where you can search all of South King county and North Pierce county for current home listings:
http://www.victoriagulsvig.com/custom3.shtml
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2008
Here is a link to a free search for current home listings homes in the South King County and North Pierce County:
http://www.victoriagulsvig.com/custom3.shtml
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2008
We looked at over 300 homes in various neighborhoods areas before falling in love with exclusive Holmes Point neighborhood in Kirkland, with traffic bypass access points to both Redmond and North Seattle from this Kirkland neighborhood. This 4900 sf mansion now leases for only $4900/mo. furnished and has dropped their price to only $1.5 million cash-out investor price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2008
We have a wonderful home in Redmond on 2 acres in the affluent neighborhood of Broadhurst. Not sure where you will be working, but it's only 15 minutes to Microsoft. Here is the link
http://www.cbbain.com/PropertyDetail.aspx?GroupID=35744406&a…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 15, 2008
Paul,

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.

Evan Musikantow
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
800-989-8198
480-483-6014 FAX
http://www.musikantow.com



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Web Reference: http://www.musikantow.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2008
Have you thought about investing in the multi family apartment market? That market is very strong here. I would suggest speaking with a finacial planner/CPA if you haven't already to discuss leverage of your $950k. We have one of the best real estate markets here in the country. I wouldn't suggest renting at all-it is a fabulous time to buy here!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2008
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