3626 159th Place SE, Bothell WA 98012
Located on one of the premier streets in all of The Seasons at Mill Creek, this pristine two story home boasts an open floor plan, idyllic cul-de-sac lot location, tasteful upgrades and low maintenance landscaping. Features include large great room with fireplace, enormous kitchen with island, master bedroom with en suite and fireplace, deck with glass rails and greenbelt back yard. Superb street appeal with brick accents. Convenient location with reowned schools, major routes and shopping.
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Windermere Real Estate/FN
Open Saturday 1PM-4PM
305 NW 127th Street
Seattle WA 98177
Beautifully maintained Broadview rambler welcomes you with a plethora of features throughout. In superb condition, this captivating home boasts a convenient circular floor plan with new interior paint, elegant light fixtures, rich hardwood floors, slate entry and halls. Room warming fireplaces in the living and family room. Park like setting, efficient gas heat, oversized driveway, delightful street appeal, the list goes on and on. Single level homes of this size and location are hard to find.
On-line at: EldoradoLane.com
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Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Windermere Real Estate Seattle-Northwest
Q. Would converting my basement into a man cave increase the resale value of my home?
A. “For more and more of my younger couples, having a man cave is definitely on their radar,” said Doris Ghitelman, a sales vice president at William Raveis Real Estate in Westport, Conn. “I think it’s because they’re both wage earners in the work force, and they need not only family time, but their own personal time.”
For that reason, having a dedicated place for the buyer to pursue personal interests like video games or sports may improve your home’s resale value, she said. And it doesn’t have to be in the basement. “Sometimes it’s in a finished attic or at the back of a very deep garage,” she said.
“The true value is in having the space to have a man cave,” Ms. Ghitelman added, not in any decorative flourishes you might add. Because the design of a space like this tends to be specific to an individual’s interests, she said, “you’re not going to get your money out of it the way you would with a kitchen or bathroom renovation.”
Marshall Watson, a New York interior designer who has put man caves in many of his projects, agreed that if you’re concerned about resale value you should be careful not to personalize the space too much. You might not want to install that crown molding made from baseball caps, for example, or decorate entirely in blue and maize to demonstrate your support for the University of Michigan, as some of his clients did.
Still, there are lots of man-cave features that are almost universally appreciated. “The room definitely has to have some form of soundproofing,” said Mr. Watson, who often upholsters the walls and hides Dacron soundproofing material beneath the fabric. Most men, he said, “want to be as loud as they can be without disturbing their children and their wives.”
A large-screen television is de rigueur, as is furniture that offers “luxurious, deep, accommodating comfort,” he said. That could mean an expansive sectional sofa or “motion furniture,” like reclining chairs, he said, that “most designers would not prefer in the rest of the house.”
And there’s almost always some form of a bar, he added, which could include coolers, ice makers and wine storage.
With those basics in place, there’s still plenty of room for the buyer to personalize the space himself. “It can be a room that’s a depository for all of the husband’s paraphernalia that the wife doesn’t want to see, such as things from the college basketball team,” Mr. Watson said. “And remember: there can be woman caves, too.”
Just be sure that you really do have the space to dedicate a room to this kind of retreat, Ms. Ghitelman said. “Because if it comes to a choice between a playroom for the kids and a man cave,” she said, “I’m sorry, guys, but the playroom always wins.”
A well-known legal profession axiom:
“The attorney who represents himself is dumb and has a fool as a client.”
We believe this also applies if you attempt to sell your own home as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). In today’s volatile market, you need an experienced professional!
You and your family need a skilled negotiator
In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible re-negotiation of that off after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.
Here is a list of some of the people with whom your agent will potentially negotiate on your behalf:
- The buyer
- The buyer’s agent
- The buyer’s attorney
- The home inspection company
- The termite company
- The buyer’s lender
- The appraiser
- The title company
- The town or municipality
- The buyer’s buyer
- Your bank (in the case of a short sale)
How do you know if an agent negotiates well?
Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family? If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer in your deal.
You need a great negotiator. We believe that famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.
Give us a call and let us show you how we can save you money, time and aggravation.
Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Windermere Real Estate Seattle – Northwest
We are proud to be a part of the best, Windermere Real Estate.
The Puget Sound Business Journal ranks residential real estate firms operating in the Puget Sound area by their 2012 sales volume. Read on HERE.
Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Windermere Real Estate/FN
Seattle – Northwest
12250 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle WA 98133
Anyone in the real estate industry for any length of time realizes that the education required and the resources necessary to be a true industry professional have dramatically increased over the last two decades. In today’s volatile market, it is necessary to have a true real estate professional if you want to sell your home for the best possible price in the shortest amount of time – and make sure the deal gets to the closing table!
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has recently reported that as many as 15% of all deals never make it to closing. Tighter lending requirements, stronger disclosure forms and tougher appraisal standards have all contributed to the more treacherous minefield through which today’s seller must navigate.
The good news is homeowners have realized that attempting to sell their home on their own is an arduous process best left to an industry expert. According to NAR’s most recent Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the percentage of sellers selling on their own, known as For Sale By Owners (FSBOs), has dropped in half over the last 20 years; from 19% to 9%.
If you are selling a home in today’s confusing real estate market, it is best to take on the services of a local real estate expert. He/she will guide you through each step of the transaction thereby increasing the likelihood that there will be fewer inconveniences for you and your family.
If you are considering selling your home For Sale by Owner, give us a call, we would be happy to share with you the pros and cons ofselling your hme FSBO.
Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner – Windermere Real Esate Seattle – Northwest – 206-769-9577
Here's a new app for on-the-go families. It's a great way to not only keep track of everyone, but keep in touch. It's called "Life 360" and has a host of features that bring your family circle closer even when it's scattered all over town.
From the website:
"Part location, part communication, all awesome. Life360 keeps millions of families connected, no matter what chaos life throws their way."
Family Map: Locate your family members with top-notch GPS technology. Your family members can see each other on maps, but no one else can. You can also get neighborhood snapshots to see hospitals, police and fire stations, as well as recent crimes and other threats.
Family Chat: Use FamilyChannel(TM) to send short and sweet messages throughout the day. It's private; only other family members can participate in group chats. Best of all? It's free. Cut out costly text messages.
Family Alerts: Check-in and let everyone know you're OK (and update your location!). Get help via panic text, email, and phone call. Setup automatic triggers to let you know when people arrive home or at school.
We've used this service and have had first-hand experience with the app. It's an impressive tool! You might send your clients a "just thinking of you" note to introduce them to the app. It's a nice way to show you care.
It’s likely you’ve heard the term “short sale” thrown around quite a bit. But what, exactly, is a short sale?
A short sale is when a bank agrees to accept less than the total amount owed on a mortgage to avoid having to foreclose on the property. This is not a new practice; banks have been doing short sales for years. Only recently, due to the current state of the housing market and economy, has this process become a part of the public consciousness.
To be eligible for a short sale you first have to qualify!
To qualify for a short sale:
- Your house must be worth less than you owe on it.
- You must be able to prove that you are the victim of a true financial hardship, such as a decrease in wages, job loss, or medical condition that has altered your ability to make the same income as when the loan was originated. Divorce, estate situations, etc… also qualify.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what a short sale is, there are some huge misconceptions when it comes to a short sale vs. a foreclosure. We take the most common myths surrounding both short sales and foreclosures and give a brief explanation. LET’S BUST SOME MYTHS!!
1.) If you let your home go to foreclosure you are done with the situation and you can walk away with a clean slate. The reality is that this couldn’t be any farther from the truth in most situations. You could end up with an IRS tax liability and still owing the bank money. Let me explain. Please keep in mind that if your property does go into foreclosure you may be liable for the difference of what is owed on the property versus what is sells for at auction, in the form of a deficiency balance! Please note this is state specific and in most states you will be liable for the shortfall, but in some states the bank may not always be able to pursue the debt. Check your state law as it varies widely from state to state.
Here is an example of how a deficiency balance works
If you owe $200,000 on the property and it sells at auction for $150,000, you could be liable for the $50,000 difference if your state law allows it.
Not only could you be liable for the difference to the bank, but in some situations you could also be liable to the IRS! Although there are exemptions (mostly for principle residences) under the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, there are times when you could be taxed on both a short sale and a foreclosure, even in a principle residence situation. Since the tax code on this is a little complicated and I am not a CPA, I advise always talking to a CPA when in this situation as you are weighing your options. Hard to believe? Well, believe it or not, the IRS counts the difference between the sale and the charged off debt as a “gain” on your taxes. That’s right-you lost money and it’s counted as a gain! (I didn’t make that rule, that’s a wonderful brainchild of the IRS). Banks and the IRS can go as far as attaching your wages. Not to mention if you let your home go to foreclosure you will have that on your credit, as well.
Guess What? A short sale can alleviate your liability to the bank, in most situations. There are also exceptions to this, but in most cases banks are releasing homeowners from the deficiency balance on a short sale.
2.) There are no options to avoid foreclosure. Now more than ever, there are options to avoid foreclosure. Besides a short sale, loan modifications along with deed in lieu are also examples of the many options. In most cases (but not all) a short sale is the best option. Either way, there are more options today than there have ever been to avoid foreclosure.
3.) Banks do not want to participate in a short sale, or, it is too hard to qualify for a short sale. Banks would rather perform a short sale than a foreclosure any day. A foreclosure takes a long time and creates a huge expense for the banks; a short sale saves both time and money. Banks have more foreclosure inventory than ever before, and certainly do not want any more. Banks more than ever welcome short sales. Qualifying for a short sale is easier than you think, you need to have a true financial hardship, or a change in your finances and your house has to be worth less than what you owe on it. Not only do consumers, but banks also now have government incentive to participate in short sales.
4.) Short sales are not that common. At this present time, short sales range from 10-50 % of sales in various markets and it is predicted that in 2012 we will have more short sales than any other year, to date. Due to economic changes in the last few years, this is something that is affecting millions of Americans. Short sales are in every market, and are not just limited to any particular income class. This has affected everyone from all facets of life. A short sale should be looked at as a helpful tool, not a negative stigma. That is why the government is offering programs that actually pay consumers to participate in short sales. It is not just affecting one community; it is affecting communities and consumers across the nation.
5.) The short sale process is too difficult and they often get denied. Though the short sale process is time consuming; it is not as difficult as the media would have you believe. The problem is that most short sales are denied because of a misunderstanding of the process. It is true that if the short sale process is not followed correctly there is a good chance of getting denied. An experienced agent knows how to avoid this. Short sales require a lot of experience, and a special skill set. If you are looking to go the option of a short sale make sure your agent is skilled and experienced in this area.
6.) Short sales will cost me money out of pocket. A short sale should not cost you any out of pocket money. In fact, you could get between $3000-up to $30,000 to participate in a short sale. In many ways, a short sale may put you in a better financial position than prior to the short sale. Almost every short sale program now has some type of financial incentive for the home owner, as long as it is a principal residence, and we are even seeing relocation money being paid on some investment/second homes. As a seller of a property you should never have to pay for any short sale cost upfront to any professional service. Realtors charge a commission that is paid for by the bank. In most communities there are also non-profits and HUD counselors who can help you with foreclosure prevention options for free. The only potential cost you could incur is if the bank would not release you from a deficiency balance in the short sale, which is happening less and less now.
7.) If I am behind on my payments, I can perform a short sale any time. The farther you get behind on your payments, the harder it is to get a short sale approved. The closer a property gets to a foreclosure the harder it is to convince the bank to perform a short sale. As they get closer to a foreclosure sale more money is spent, thus deterring them from doing a short sale. If you think you need to perform a short sale, time is of the essence; the sooner you start the process, the better. Waiting too long can trigger the ramifications of a foreclosure, losing the ability to do a short sale as a viable option.
8.) I have already been sent a foreclosure notice so I can’t perform a short sale. For the most part just because you received a foreclosure notice or notice of default it does not mean that you do not have time to perform a short sale. The timeline and specifics do vary from state to state, but having done short sales all over the country, I have seen banks postpone a foreclosure to work a short sale option as close as 30 days prior to the scheduled foreclosure auction, but the longer you wait the less chance you have. If you have received a legal foreclosure notice, please reach out to a professional right away. The longer you wait, and the closer you get to foreclosure, the fewer options you have. If you have received a notice to foreclose this means the bank is filing paperwork and starting the process to take legal action to repossess the house. You still have time at this point to prevent foreclosure, but do not hesitate! The closer you get to the foreclosure date the harder it becomes to negotiate with the bank for whichever option you choose.
9.) I was denied for a loan modification, so I know I will get denied for a short sale. Short sales and loan modifications are handled by two separate departments at the bank. These processes are totally different in approval and denial. If you got denied for a modification you can still apply for a short sale; in some cases you can get a short sale approved faster than a loan modification, as some loan modifications are denied because they cannot reduce the loan low enough based on the consumers income.
10.) If I go through a short sale I cannot buy another house for a long time. The time to buy another house depends on your entire credit picture and can vary from 12-24 months. There are even a few FHA programs that allow for a purchase sooner than that. I have worked with clients who went through a short sale and bought another house in less than 12 months.
These are just a few of the common myths surrounding short sales and foreclosure. With the options available today, no homeowner should ever have to go through foreclosure, and hopefully this information can help a few more homeowners think twice before walking away from their home not realizing the possible long term ramifications a foreclosure can have.
About The Author
Brandon Brittingham is considered a leading national resource on foreclosure prevention and short sales. Brandon has been involved in several hundred short sales and has helped families avoid foreclosure across the country. Brandon is the co-author of the SSC (Short Sale Campus Certified) designation.
Considering A Short Sale?
Give us a call, we are happy to help you decide if a short sale is in your best interest. Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner, Windermere Real Estate Seattle-Northwest. 206-769-9577