East and Emerald Blog

 

The term “get rich quick scheme” has been held in low regard since before Charlie Ponzi’s pyramid came crashing to earth in the 1920s. Probably that word “scheme” is a problem…sounds too shifty. And the whole idea of sudden riches sounds as reassuring as “something for nothing” or “free lunch.”

Prudent Bellevue residents tend to go a good deal more cautiously when they plan their investments. They usually aren’t even aiming to “get rich.” More like “get comfortable.” Instead of hoping to reap sudden wealth (living off all those tolls after buying the Brooklyn Bridge), they think in conservative terms like “passive income streams” and “lowered risk strategies.” Instead of responding to radio ads for the week’s fastest-growing franchise

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Illustrated by Bella DiMarzo
Last week, following the Fed’s hike in the rates they charge banks, you might expect a matching rise in mortgage rates for Seattle home buyers and refi applicants. If the experts are right, that’s far from a done deal.

The Washington Post headline said it all:

Mortgage rates move slightly higher but could be headed back down again.”

Mortgage News Daily reported the same: a slight nudge upward, then back down:

By holding flat, rates remain very close to the best levels seen in more than 8 months.”

The consensus was all but unanimous, with even Freddie Mac predicting that “mortgage rates are likely to follow” Treasury yields—that is, downward.

When the Fed raises the rates banks must pay, it’s

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In the Terminator movies, a robot from the future (Arnold Schwarzenegger) hunts down the human heroine in order to change the future by altering the past. Although that’s actually the present. It’s complicated.

Although generally considered science fiction, the same thing is happening right now in the realm of Issaquah home appraisals! Now, before any Issaquah readers panic, there’s no immediate danger to the community. The authorities have the situation well in hand; in fact, the robot in question has already been hauled into court. There’s certainly nothing that could affect any individual Issaquah homeowner…that is, unless your own house is about to be entered into the Issaquah listings.

First, about the robot: this is not the Terminator (Arnold) himself. In real life, if you saw him in the supermarket or walking down the street, there would be nothing to fear at all. In real life, he is an actor/Governor who is actually an American/Austrian who is a conservative/liberal and in no way the fictional robot character who was the antagonist/protagonist featured in the Terminator movies.

Neither is the robot that lurks in some online listings: the home appraisal robot. It, too, is nothing to fear, even though it has probably already visited your house without your knowledge. This robot comes from the Zillow website, and its name is “Zestimate.” It means no harm and is doing the best an automated home estimate robot could be expected to do. Any unintended consequences of what happens when it visits your house are, as the phrase indicates, unintentional.

About that court case: the online information company Zillow publishes a dollar figure that its robot calculates for most U.S. home addresses. It is featured as its “Zestimate” of a property’s market value. An Illinois realty lawyer has sued them because she claims that in her case that number is so low and off-kilter that it has materially hampered the sale of her condominium. State law has it that nobody can publish an appraisal without permission of the property’s owner. Zillow says that the $ number it calls its “Zestimate” is not an appraisal at all: instead, it’s an “estimated market value.” Who wins the court case is yet to be determined.

How this might affect your own Issaquah home is because prospective buyers might visit Zillow to see what the robot thinks your own property is worth, and be slightly misled. Zillow admits that, compared with actual sale prices, their Zestimate number has a median error rate of 5% (not bad)—but that it’s only within twenty percent 89.7% of the time. A 20% error would be terribly misleading; especially when it happens more than one out of ten times.

The fact is, this robot doesn’t come from the future like the Terminator. Its numbers are based solely on publicly recorded information, which may be outdated, incorrect, or, most likely, unable to factor in anything other than basic square footage and general comps. What the Zestimate cannot account for are things like how upgraded, or outdated, or depressingly dark, or delightfully light, or traffic-noise heavy, or majestically awe-inspiring the subject property actually is in comparison to the comps used to calculate the Zestimate. When human beings aren’t involved at all, the subject property itself is not actually compared. I think there is room for this kind of automated approach. It can be fun and interesting to look around a neighborhood to see how various individual properties fare, even if the numbers aren’t to be taken too seriously.  As the name implies, it's really just an estimate.

But when the time comes to actually sell your own Issaquah home or to start looking in earnest for a house you will be calling home for many years, that’s no time to rely on anything less than comparables and guidance researched by a living, breathing real estate professional. In other words, when the information needs to be right—call me!  

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Photo: Unsplash/Caroline Hernandez  

As has become traditional on the third Sunday in June, Bellevue fathers can look forward to being honored and fussed over. For most families, Father’s Day in Bellevue is considered to be every bit as important a celebration as Mother’s Day. At least that’s what most families pretend. But there are two basic reasons why it’s usually an uphill battle.

First, there’s the checkered history. Then, there’s the reality.

HISTORY: Mother’s Day got the jump on Father’s Day because, starting in 1905, its zealous originator (Anna Jarvis) wouldn’t give up on the idea. Because the holiday was dreamed up right at the start of the 20th century, men were exclusively in charge of the calendar and holidays. Since they were

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Not everyone who is looking at the homes for sale in Seattle needs to come up with a winner right away. If their own house has just been listed, they may reasonably estimate that it will be some months before the moving vans need to be summoned. Or they may be contemplating a move only if they happen across just the right place at just the right price.

If you find yourself in a similar kind of low-pressure house hunting mode, some basic truths about homebuying still do apply. Remember that when you finally do find just the right home at just the right price, all of a sudden you could find yourself in competition with others who see the same thing: the house they’ve been looking for!

The takeaway is that, even if your interest in today’s

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You’d think that the whole notion of the American Dream is vague enough that it would be immune from challenge, and for the most part, that’s still true enough. Not so for its principal emblem, which most Issaquah residents would agree is owning your own home. Being free to work hard to reach that goal—no matter who you are or how humble your origins—has long been the leading sign that the Dream is alive and kicking.

Even so, lately it’s been getting hard to ignore some media discussions that seem to challenge homeownership’s legitimacy as a pillar of that whole American Dream notion. Simply put, the suggestion is that the financial benefits to be had from owning your own home are no longer valid—or at least, that they are growing less valid.

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The science of pricing a house in Bellevue isn’t really a science.

The thing about science that makes it reliable is that its findings can be confirmed experimentally. If Galileo drops a feather and a lead weight from the Tower of Pisa to prove something about gravity, anyone else can trot right up there and repeat the experiment. If the results are always the same, we’re in the realm of science.

Pricing Bellevue houses may not be pure art, but it’s a cinch it’s not science, either. You can’t repeat a pricing experiment because no two Bellevue houses are exactly alike (even the same models in a development are situated differently). And even if you sold the same house two times, the pool of possible buyers is changing all the time; the

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 You could say that selling a home—in Issaquah or anywhere else in the nation—is in large part “a light show.” When you dissect marketing statistics that trace the path of the vast majority of buyers, it’s clear that the first sense that comes into play in the selling of a home is sight: either a first view of the online listing, a glimpse of a property with a “for sale” sign out front, or an image in an ad or printed handout. As the saying goes, “the eyes have it.”

Selling Issaquah homes really begins with the photography. Professional photographers know that whenever they aim their cameras at something they intend to capture, as important as the actual object itself is the quality of the light that illuminates it. They talk about the

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Historic low inventory and (still) low interest rates, coupled with ever growing demand of working young professionals, eager to move in their own nest... Is it a surprise that almost any house in market (specially in East) is multi-bidded (above asking price) leaving several unhappy faces?

While good news for sellers, it is tough time for buyers. Indeed emotional roller coaster!

Its important to understand each transaction and strategies accordingly.

Pre-Approved or Pre-Qualified? 

(Hmmmm... what's the difference anyways?)

In layman's language - Step 1 Get Pre-qualified and Step 2 is Get Pre-Approved and definitely you would wish to be Pre-Approved in multi-bid situation. (better yet ask about getting pre-underwritten!)

In a

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Today’s buyers use a lot of resources in their home search – and 92% count on a real estate agent to help them purchase their home.

How People Buy Homes Today

If you’re looking to buy or sell your home, reach out to me to help you successfully navigate the Seattle housing market.

 

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