Category Archives: Real Estate

Low Inventory…What does that really mean?

You may have heard a lot lately about how low inventory is in the Seattle area.   But what metric is used to track inventory levels?    It is described a “Months of Inventory”.   A very short way to think of it would be if no more houses came on the market, how long would it take to sell everything?   Of course there’s a more detailed mathematical way to determine months of inventory, but that sums it up succinctly.

A “balanced market”, or one that’s equally split between buyers and sellers, is when months of inventory is roughly between 3 and 6 months.  Over 6 months and it’s considered a buyer’s market, less than 3 months and it’s a seller’s market.

The March inventory in the Seattle area is around a 1 month supply, sometimes less.  In West Seattle for instance, it’s about a 3 week supply.   This is an extreme seller’s market!   That’s great for sellers, but what about buyers?   That’s where having a creative real estate agent comes in handy! (I admit, that’s shameless plug!)   Give me a holler if you would like more info!

Changes to Landlord/Tenant Ordinances in Seattle

Below is a summary of changes to Landlord/Tenant Ordinances in Seattle that affect both renters and owners of rental properties.   Some of these changes have been in the news, and others not covered as much by the media.

 

First-in Time or First-Come/First-Served:

Requires landlords to review applications and accept renters on a first-come, first-served basis.   Landlords will need to time and date stamp applications. The Landlord is required to screen applications in the order received against previously determined minimum standards and make offers to renters in that order.  The implementation date was January 1, 2017, however a legal challenge has delayed implementation to July 2017, depending on the outcome of the challenge.  Additional information may  be found here and here.

Source of Income Discrimination: 

Although it has been illegal to discriminate against income from Section 8, legislation has been adopted to add legal protection to include people who receive other alternate sources of income such as a pension, Social Security, unemployment, child support or any other governmental or non-profit subsidy.  The implementation Date was September 19, 2016.  Additional information may be found here and here.

Criminal Checks

The rules about denying a rental to someone with a criminal background are shifting. A Landlord can not summarily deny housing to an applicant based on having a criminal record.   The Landlord will need to understand the nature of the applicant’s criminal background by asking the applicant about the crime committed and/or do research and determine if the crime can be used to deny the rental.  More information may be found here.

If you are a renter and are thinking about buying a home, check out my “Services for Buyers” section on my website, or just give me a holler.

If you are an owner of a rental property and are considering selling, check out my “Services for Sellers” section on my website, or just give me a holler.

Staying Sane in this Crazy Seattle Housing Market

Such a crazy housing market that we’re in.   Rising prices, multiple offers, low inventory, so many buyers!   How do you keep your sanity if you are buying or selling?   Of course I’m going to say to get professional help….not the psychology kind, the real estate kind!   There are many things that a full-service broker can do to help buy or sell a home – it’s not all smoke and mirrors…ah…I mean photography and staging!

From a Buyer’s perspective, it’s understanding what the Seller wants, crafting a clean offer (more than crossing t’s and dotting i’s).  The terms of the offer can sometimes outweigh the dollars.  Of course a Buyer will need to do their homework when it comes to financing and understanding all the parts of an offer.   That’s where a full-service broker can really show her stuff!

From a Sellers perspective, it’s about pricing for both the condition of the home as well as the market, plus all the house prep and marketing.   In this market, Buyers are generally thinking they will need to pay more than the list price.  If your home is over priced, it may not sell as quickly or for as much as hoped, but a severely underpriced home may leave money on the table.  Such a balance to strike!  But that’s where a full-service broker can really earn her keep!

There’s much more to this story than can fit into a simple blog post.   Give me holler if you want to talk more details, or check out the “Services” section on this website!

Water, Water Everywhere….But not in Your Home!

Manage the water in your home and you’ll avoid so 80% of issues that affect a house.    It’s something my Dad told me a long time ago and it stuck….and it’s soooo true!   Water can do a lot of damage.   Some helpful hints are:

  • Compare your water bills to see if your water usage is higher than normal. Yup, I am speaking from experience here.   It wasn’t a pleasant surprise.
  • Drips are bad, especially if it’s water dripping inside your home! Keep an eye out for drips anywhere (not just the ones from the sky).
  • If you are seeing spots, and it’s not from someone’s camera flash, it might be a cry for help from your house that something isn’t quite right.
  • Toilets can be such a drain. If they are the old 6 gallon type, consider replacing.   It will pay itself back.  If there is handle jiggling involved, well, time to stop the jiggle.  (More of that personal experience here.)
  • There are ways to determine if you have a leak,
    • Make sure no water is being used inside or outside of your house.
    • Locate your water meter and check the leak indicator to see if it is moving. Depending on the brand of your meter, the leak indicator could be a small triangular shaped dial or a small silver wheel that rotates when water is flowing through the meter. If the dial is moving, chances are, you have a leak.
    • Or, you can also take a meter reading and wait 1 or 2 hours and take another meter reading (make sure no water is used during this time). If the reading has changed, you have a leak.
  • To find out if it’s inside, or outside
    • Locate your home’s main shut off valve and shut off the water at the valve. Typically, you will find the shut off valve in the basement or garage directly behind an outdoor faucet, or outside below an outdoor faucet.
    • Again, check the leak indicator for movement or use the meter reading method, making sure not to use any water during this period. If the leak indicator stops moving or there is no change in the meter readings, then you have a leak inside of the house. If the leak indicator continues to move or there is a change in the meter readings, then the leak is outside between the meter and the house. (gasp!)
    • If you are unable to locate the leak, you may need to call a plumber.

Water, water everywhere, but not in your home!