Real Estate & Technology

Squeeeeeee!  In case you live on one of our many hills, or you work for Amazon or Nordstrom, we have a REALLY good news about a retailer popping into our midst!

That dear reader, is the giant Best Buy.  No longer will we be forced to drive to Northgate or Southcenter to pick up the electronic gadget of choice.  Naaaay, we have merely to saunter over to the old Seattle Times building and visit with the 50-100 employees they plan to hire for their Seattle store.

Can’t wait.  Truly it’s like having the icecream truck come down your street.  But this one offers electronics to geeks like me.  #Can’tWait

Goats Loose on Seattle’s Beacon Hill

Approximately 10 Bovidae went on the prowl and were suspected of chasing some children in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Seattle Police reported that the goats were loose in the 5000 block of S. Wallace.  Now, that’s not what I would personally call Beacon Hill, it’s more like the west side of Skyway, but hey….
The-goat-escape

As it turns out, SPD managed to wrangle or round up this unruly bunch, turning them over to Animal Control who promised to catch up with the owner.  Ouch.  I’d hate to be part of THAT conversation!

All in all, I’m pretty sure that this was a fun and lively interaction for our police department.  Like, how many times in your life do YOU have reason to round up some Bovidae?  LOL

The image above, was found out on the SPD Newsblotter.  I can’t take credit.  Someone was really clever!  Check it out.  It’s “Steve BaaaQueen.”

West Seattle Homeowners & Renters

Here’s your opportunity to have your voice heard regarding parking in your neighborhood!

West Seattle Homes - Seattle Area Homes for Sale

Much discussion has been going on about West Seattle parking, in general, as well as in the Fauntleroy area.  If you’d like to take a brief survey and provide your opinion and feedback before the end of business day on Thursday, March 26, 2015, do it!

The survey asks if you are a homeowner or tenant. It would like answers regarding parking, your public transit use, whether you favor more parking enforcement or the establishment of RPZ (restricted parking zone for the neighbors).

I entered my own information and offered how I use West Seattle.  I pick up dog food at Petco.  My husband and I eat at restaurants.  We buy antiques, clothing and home decorating items.  We are NOT going to take the bus to get there. But that’s just us.

My input included suggestions for either parking garages which could be obscured to make neighbors happy, or the construction of garages at SODO with a shuttle service that could take people to the Junction or to Fauntleroy to hop a ferry.  Fewer cars parking on the street?  Maybe they’d consider it, especially during the summer season.

What are YOUR ideas?  You’ve got a day or so to speak up.  IF you want to know the results, you can offer your email.  Otherwise, you are submitting the info anonymously.

Do you own a West Seattle home?  Are you a tenant looking to buy something in West Seattle?  Each of you have specific set of needs that someone with knowledge of the area and real estate experience can offer.  Call Rita Harris, Broker.  She’s an original Seattleite and will have answers for your questions. Don’t waste time.  Just call her…

#WestSeattleParking, #WestSeattleHomes, #WestSeattleTenant, #RitaHarrisBroker

Primo Sammamish Property is SOLD!

What does a church and 3 local colleges have in common?
Answer: 22 acres, an existing structure and a cool $6.1 million!

Seattle Area Homes 4 Sale - Sammamish Property Sale Pending

Yep.  That’s right.  When it comes to real estate, we all know it’s about “location, location, location.”  In this case, the now defunct Mars Hill Church that was located in the highly desirable “hood” of Sammamish, is selling off assets.  This include the 31,000 square foot structure (with accompanying 330 stalls of parking) and 22 acres of some strategically sited land.  What’s that saying again?  Oh yeah…”They don’t make dirt any any more….”

So, with this very tempting morsel right in the heart of residential real estate, it has been hard for city officials to pass.

Originally, the property had been listed for nearly $9 million, but rumour  has it that the price was reduced twice due to the limited development potential within the residential zoning.  Enter the city officials who are “god” (little g this time), want to control the land/structure/development, and gathered together letters of intent from 3 colleges: Cascadia, Bellevue CC and Lake WA Institute of Technology, which are a bit further away from Sammamish, and who’d be willing to operate satellite locations onsite in Sammamish.

Should cut down a bit on commute too, I would guess, since three high schools are right within reach of the property.  Kids who are part of the Running Start Programs have been driving to the colleges much further away.  Now, if it all comes together, they’ll be stayin’ in da hood to attend closer to home.  That’s a good thing, right?

If the deal comes together in the end, Seattle Times writer Lynn Thompson says that the city will be taking the funds from existing reserves.

What do I think of this?  Well, convenience certainly gets a nod, but traffic and noise impact come to mind for me.  As a homeowner, if you were tolerant of having a mega church nearby, you could reason that the traffic and noise would be only on Sundays and maaaaybe one more day in the week at night for bible study or whatever.  Now that it’s going to be a satellite for the colleges, how would YOU feel about this?

If you’re ready to jump ship, I know of a good agent.  Call Rita Harris, Broker of WP & Associates.  She’ll consult with you about your needs and come up with a plan of action to your satisfaction!

Photo credit: NWSign.com

Solar Panels on Seattle Homes?

Crikey – With all the rain we have, you’d think people wouldn’t install them, but what happens when you go to sell that charming Seattle home?

Seattle Homes 4 Sale - Solar House Seattle

(Photo credit: ReStore.org)

I read an article in the Seattle Times wherein the writer was commenting about the fact there is a growing trend here with Seattle Homeowners to go more “green” and recapture those dollars lost to power consumption.  The solar panel companies are springing up everywhere and they offer these super deals with no up-front costs to you.  You have a 15 year payment plan that is affordable in your eyes.

Then someone in your family gets a job promotion and you go to the sell house.  Whoops!

Many buyers are wary about the solar panels with reason – How long are they warrantied? What if there is newer and better technology in the next couple of years and these panels are obsolete?  What if the panels DON’T save as much as you/the solar company said? What if I don’t want to pay on YOUR panels for the remaining 12 years?  These buyers are now asking sellers to do a lump sum payoff of the solar contract (that could run you $12-$30k), so they don’t have to incorporate that into their monthly expenses.  After all, the buyer is likely paying far more for the house than you did and will have a higher mortgage payment overall.  Adding the cost of solar panel payments may not be in the budget.

Apparently, these issues are popping up all over So Cal.  Several transactions or real estate sales are falling apart because the terms and qualifications to assume the lease of the solar panels was prohibitive to the next buyer.  Over-all, it would’ve been smarter to just buy the panels, rather than lease. Wait… didn’t my dad tell me that about cars too?

Here’s the closing feedback from the Seattle Times reporter, Ken Harney:
“Take-aways from all this? Top on the list: Be aware of the potential complexities that can occur when you lease, rather than buy, solar panels. If you opt for a lease, understand your long-term obligations, and talk to your current utility company about the savings claimed. Most important, if you’ve got a leased system and plan to sell, contact the leasing company well in advance to learn about their lease transfer and buyout options. That way you’ll be ready if prospective buyers have problems with your panels.”

Do YOU already have solar panels on your house and now you’re thinking of selling?
Are you trying to decide if it’s worth the investment?
Call me and let’s chat further.  With the contacts I have, I might be able to provide you with the information you need to have options and make a smart decision.

Sunny Smiles from SeattleAreaHomes4Sale!

Jason Terry Sells Seattle Area Home

Seattle’s Franklin High School graduate, Jason Terry, who plays for the Houston Rockets, is selling his luxurious residence!

Basketball legend Jason Terry sells his Seattle area home!
(Photo taken by Carl Bortalami)

Pssssst!  Did you catch the news?  The elegant home is sited on Mercer Island, just across Lake Washington from Seattle.  According to the Seattle P.I. article, it is on the market for $2.4m.  It features all the usual bells and whistles one would expect in an elegant home, such a media/theatre and such.

I’m delighted to see that a Seattle Home Boy had a residence of this caliber right in our midst and that he was true to his community roots.  No details where he’s moving or why as yet.  It’s being represented by Sothebys.  Now I’m curious as ever to peek at the inside!  I’ll be checking to see what the touring instructions are going to be in the listing.

Want to see interior pictures?  Here’s the link to the house on my company’s website.  Be patient while the “white box” loads the images:
http://warringproperties.com/get-started/#PropertyID=94563381

If you want to read the P.I. article, then here’s that link:
http://bit.ly/1CDEtSd

If YOU have a Seattle area house or investment to sell, let me know.  You can go out on Trulia and see the comments I have from satisfied customers about my service.  I would be honored to discuss your specific circumstances with you so you can evaluate the feedback and make a good decision.  I look forward to the opportunity…. Rita Harris, Broker

Seattle Housing Shortage: Notice of Land Use

Will more Seattle condos and apartment buildings be constructed in order to handle the housing demand?  

Seattle Housing Shortage: Notice of Land Use

If the city’s leaders have anything to do with it, yes.  But will the neighborhoods allow it? What happens to Open Space?

This second question came into a discussion today when we learned that Seattle City Light intends to sell off several power substations to the highest bidder.  They don’t care who buys, just for the highest dollar.  (Wait… isn’t City Light owned by the city?)  This same city put forth a Climate Action Plan back in 2003, which calls for more open spaces, carbon reduction, tree canopy, etc.  I know because I was one of those Seattle homeowners who planted a slew of trees along my street’s parking strip to help with that tree canopy!

Why is this push by developers so massive?  Well, at a 6% increase in Seattle’s real estate property values and being one of the nation’s “hottest markets,” it’s little wonder that our developers are looking for in-city locations to plop more construction.  Did you  know that on a mere 4,750 square foot lot in a given location in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, a developer is allowed to construct 33 units?  That is a huge building for a tiny footprint of land!

The neighborhoods themselves are not getting enough advanced notice of these sell-offs before they see a “Notice of Land Use” popping up and cranes moving into position.  Would YOU want this next to your home?

Now a very vocal new group calling themselves “Seattle Green Spaces Coalition” is trying to save these spaces that City Light wants to auction off to (presumedly) mostly developers.  The idea would be to allow for more community gardens, space for artists, allow the bees and birds to continue to have their nests and way with the plants in the old space around the City Light lots.  Whatever the community in which one of these substation resides, decides they want as use for the land.  It’s not privately owned.  It’s being paid for all these years, by us, the residents and consumers of electricity.

How do you feel about this?  Would you as a City of Seattle Resident support verbally, financially, letter-writingly (is that even a word?) the notion that we could save some of these little niches in the community to be used as WE see fit?  If we don’t speak out or write letters now, then what are your options when more construction comes to your street?  Will you be moving?  If you DO decide to move, keep Seattle Area Homes 4 Sale in mind.

How Much Do You Need to Earn to Buy A Home?

How Much Do You Need to Earn

Here below is the rendering of US cities with income averages needed to buy a home.  It gives you a clearer understanding where the “affordable” parts of the country are located compared to your city, or MY Fair Emerald Lady – Seattle!

How Much Do You Need to Earn

The image originated from HSH.com.  I mentioned them in yesterday’s post too.  Who are they?  They tout they are “the nation’s largest publisher of mortgage and consumer loan information.”  They’ve tracked mortgage markets for over 30 years.

“HSH is an objective, independent source of information about consumer loans. HSH does not make or broker mortgages and is not beholden to any lender.”

What cities are considered affordable these days?  Well, according to The Washington Post that would be: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis and Cincinnati.  Personally, I think Seattle and her beautiful surrounding burbs are also affordable, considering our cost of living and wages here.  Agreed, not everyone can afford a $500-$800,000 residence, but there are still some very cute homes in our area between $200 and $400,0000 range.

If you are relocating to Seattle, I’ll find you a good match for your needs.  Contact me and we’ll consult what your timing, needs and price range will be.  I can also facilitate arrangements for hotel accommodations, city tour, school information, etc.  If you’d like to email me or telephone me, the page where you can do so ishttp://www.seattleareahomes4sale.com/contact/

Oh, and if you are still interested in the rest of the article about various cities, here’s the link: http://wapo.st/1HqouXC

#SeattleHomes #SeattleHomeBuyer #HowMuchHomeCanYouAfford #IncomeLevelsNeededToBuyAHome #SeattleAreaHomesForSale

Better to Buy in Seattle or San Francisco?

Seattle or SanFrancisco-SeattleAreaHomes4Sale

Only 21 percent of Bay area residents can afford to buy homes, according the California Association of Realtors.  “I think Austin or Seattle would be better places to buy,” said Stefano Acerbetti, a software development manager for a startup in SFO, though he has no plans to move away from San Francisco.

According to HSH.com, Seattle, home buyers need to earn about $73,000 to qualify for the $352,000 median, according to the analysis. In San Antonio (the closest metro area to Austin it looked at), HSH found a $45,000 salary is enough to afford the $185,500 median price.

I for one, can tell you that the market for a buyer is very brisk, whether here in Seattle or in SFO.
If you are serious about being able to get a home or condo this year, YOU need to take proactive steps in advance of stepping into a real estate agent’s car or attending open houses.

What sort of steps?  How about:
–  Interview 3 Mortgage Brokers to talk about financing and determine what kind of loan would be the best fit for you.
–  Get PreAPPROVED, not just PreQualified.  Difference is that the first option actually gives you power in negotiations with a seller.  All you are waiting to obtain is the report by a bank approved appraiser. PreQualification only says that based on the story you told the banker, you “look like” you can afford the house.
–  Be realistic what you can afford to buy and know that in a brisk market, you may well be up against other people making offers on the same house.  This process is going to take time to be the successful bidder on a property, ESPECIALLY in certain price ranges.
–  Interview Professional Real Estate Brokers to look for a good personality match.  Is the person a go-getter who is knowledgeable, pleasant but enthusiastic, or do they strike you as a plaid-short coat wearing motivational speaker with a dash of car sales thrown in?  (*Hint: Call Rita Harris, Broker as one of your choices to interview!)
–  DON’T try to negotiate with the listing agent to buy the house you want.  You’re not likely to “get a better deal.” a cheap commission (buyers in our area generally don’t pay that anyway), or be put ahead of any other offer coming in.  In fact, you put yourself in a very uncomfortable situation concerning the Law of Agency and representation of your interests!  Would you go to court for a lawsuit and have the opposing counsel/attorney represent you in a court case?  If the answer is “No” then don’t have the listing agent handle your interests.  You need a Professional Broker who is an advocate of YOUR needs and interests.

Be glad you are choosing to find a home here in Seattle, WA.  Although there will be a flood of buyers looking this Spring and Summer, persistence will pay off and you are money ahead of trying to buy in San Francisco.  Here’s the rest of the story if you’re interested in reading: http://cnet.co/1Bij2Fu

#SeattleRealEstate #BuyInSeattle #BriskSeattleMarket #RitaHarrisBroker