Uncategorized January 22, 2015

Why it Might be Time to Refinance Your Mortgage

Interesting: (at 2:10), the idea: “we overweight the importance of housing…economically….culturally.” Disagree; Americans value independence.



Case Study January 22, 2015

Case Study: 816 NW Market St

Driving Elements:

  • Investment
  • Good agent relationships
  • Showing up


I helped the buyers purchase this property in 2013. As of January 2015, 60% of the buyers loan is being covered by the rent generated in the lower level apartment. In this short time, the buyer has been accumulating cash and is preparing to make another investment. 

A few things worked particularly well here. First, and most critically, the buyers had done their homework and understood the potential. 

When we found ourselves in multiple offers, it was helpful that I had a good working relationship with the listing agent. Because of this, the seller agreed to meet for an in-person offer presentation (I don't believe competing agents/buyers presented in person). And, at that presentation, the listing agents encouraged their client to take my client's offer. 

View listing details here. 


Case Study January 20, 2015

Case Study: 4202 Bagley Ave N

This project was a study in:

  • Exercising restraint until the "right" time
  • The importance of pre-inspection
  • The importance of great staging
  • The importance of great photography
  • The importance of my getting in front of the buyer when possible to establish trust (for them) and to see first-hand their motivation (for my clients)
  • Picking the right Buyer's Agent


This project was at first interesting in that we could have listed it for sale a month or so before we did. The owners had the ability to hold it until the right time, though, so we used that to our advantage and used the extra time to button up maintenance items that came out of the pre-inspection, get the home staged and then adjust the staging, have good photographs taken and then take a few more. The Sellers were not excited about the items that came up on pre-inspection (before listing) but having the inspection proved to be of great value. Not only were they able to get some maintenance items out of the way that buyers would have seen as important, but they were able to demonstrate to buyers that they knew the condition of the home (very good over-all) and had priced it with full knowledge.

The staging was good when first installed, but we made some tweaks to it before photography. One challenge with stagers is that they often use what they have. The Sellers and I felt that this home needed a “significant” dining room table in order to fit with the architectural design of the home, and also to show that home as one that would accommodate a family. We knew we were fighting a bit of a battle on this one, as many young families prefer at least three bedrooms on one level (one for the parents and the others for kids) and the house simply didn’t offer that. 

Once the staging was perfect, we shot good photographs in good weather. There were a few angles that we then thought should be re-shot, so we did. It was nice to have the time to merchandize and market correctly. We held a few open houses, and everyone in the neighborhood showed up. I was personally able to spend a few moments with one of the eventual Buyers; this was important – I believe – as he needed to trust me later in order to get across the line. 

On offer review day, the importance of the pre-inspection was reinforced when I had a prospective buyer ask me to see the report and then made an offer not subject to inspection based upon what they saw. More offers normally means a higher price, and this case was no different. We had a priced at a number that the Sellers would have been happy with, but were able to push that number, and our confidence in closing at that number. The Sellers chose the offer they wanted to work with, and we were able to make it better by having the buyer’s agent ask her clients if they would waive their financing protections. They did.

When we met the appraiser, we were sure to show the appraiser all of our offers, and to indicate how completely the Buyers wanted this house. The appraisal came in “at value,” the Buyers arrived in town and all were happy.

View listing details here

Buyers February 22, 2014

Argument that housing is actually underpriced

Interesting presentation Wednesday at Windermere Premier Properties Breakfast. Gardner acknowledges potential economic issues (more national than regional) and posits that home prices in the Seattle Market may be underpriced v. the trend line. My take: that is likely true for some properties, and appreciation may cure all, but…in this market of low supply/high demand, there is always the risk of over-payment. Said more clearly, I think the value is there on a lot of the transactions out there, but…some of the new owners will need many years of appreciation to protect them from the risk of having to sell what they’ve bought in a Buyer’s market. Advice: It is OK to pay top dollar for a great property…but be mindful of resale value. 

Buyers October 29, 2013

Battle-worn Buyers

I just had another client ask me whether he should make an offer on a property he likes…Buyers typically ask this if they are worried about getting emotionally committed to a home and then not getting it; normally by being "beaten" out by other Buyers. Every case is different, but generally…make the offer. Unless you are so battle-worn that you just can't take it anymore…dust your shoulders off and get back in there. You can't win if you don't play. Better to play and lose than to not play and see someone else win a game that you could have won. 

Uncategorized October 16, 2013

To make a “Contingent” offer…or not

To make a “Contingent” offer…or not

I recently had the opportunity to share some thoughts on the use of a “Buyer’s Sale of Property” contingency for a home they like. They like the home, but are concerned that they have less price leverage with that contingency included. Here’s what I told them:

It is true that a Buyer conceivably have less negotiating power when making a contingent offer, but sometimes the Seller has a bottom line that ignores that element; that is, their opinion of value is not tied to a contingent v. a non-contingent sale.

It is also true that it is relatively unique for a Buyer to find a situation in which a) they like a home and b) the Seller is in a position where they might seriously consider a contingent offer on that home.

It is also relevant to those Buyers who might make a contingent offer that if such an offer is accepted and goes through to close, it will likely help the Buyer avoid the “two moves” situation that selling first and then buying often requires. That avoidance can save real out-of-pocket dollars (movers, storage, short-term or broken leases) and allow the Buyers to avoid sometimes costly disruption to their lives and careers. 

BuyersUncategorized July 15, 2013

Buyers: Don’t want to “show your cards” at an open house? Think again.

Buyers: If you are going to worry about “showing your cards” be sure you at least don’t show jokers.

I often hear Buyers worrying about showing too much interest at an open house. The rationale is generally that they don’t want to compromise their position in the event they make an offer. That is, they don’t want to seem like they want it “too badly,” because that puts them in a vulnerable spot. That is potentially relevant in a Buyer’s market. And,  even in a Seller’s market, a potential Buyer should not walk through the property verbalizing how much over the asking price they are willing to pay, but…remember that you are being watched!

Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of multiple offers.

Have you thought through, for instance, what happens when a Seller can’t decide which of several multiple offers to choose? Often times that Seller asks her agent something like “Well, did you meet any of them? What did you think?” In a recent case, my client began the narrowing of four pretty similar offers by eliminating the hopeful Buyer who asked me – after I told him that we had an offer and a couple more coming in – whether I thought my client would take less than the asking price. I’m sure to this person it seemed like something he just had to ask; “couldn’t hurt” he probably thought. Maybe someone at “his table” (one of his advisors; a self-appointed negotiator, perhaps) told him he should always ask that. Think again. My client chose to work with someone he determined was better rooted in reality.

So…don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you like a property. After all, you may be making an offer to purchase it; an act that is a pretty significant “show” of your cards. If you act excited and then don’t offer…well, that doesn’t harm you, and you’ve had a brief but fun time dreaming about the place. If you have reservations about the place, but are going to make an offer anyway…share those with your agent, and investigate during your diligence period (inspection, re-sale certificate review, etc.).