You Need a Professional to Sell or Buy a Home

Many people ask us whether they should hire an agent to sell their home or whether they should first try as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). In today’s market, we believe this is an easy decision: you need an experienced professional!

You need an expert guide if you are traveling a dangerous path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a buyer ready, willing and able to pay fair market value for your home at a time when lending standards are so stringent is not an easy task. Finding reasonable financing can also be tricky when interest rates are volatile like they have been over the last several months.

You 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 offer 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.

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 or seller in your deal.

Bottom Line

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.

Call on us today to save you money!

-Steve and Sandra

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Best In Client Satisfaction
Windermere Real Estate
Windermere Housing Trends Newsletter
call/text 206-769-9577

Our Preferred Lenders

George Runnels
Washington First Mortgage
call/text: 206-604-4545

Jackie Murphy
Cobalt Mortgage
call/text: 425-260-6834


Posted on October 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm
Steve Hill | Category: Real Estate Agent Broker | Tagged , , , , , , ,

14 mistakes that will kill your home’s value

14 mistakes that will kill your home's value

By Christopher Solomon of MSN Real Estate

Your home is your castle, and you can do what you want with it. Right? Sure. But if you want a good return on the dough — and sweat equity — you pour into Home Sweet Home, you should make sure those changes are smart ones.

Too often, that’s not the case. Real-estate agents and appraisers say they regularly see homeowners make changes that don't increase the value of the home by much, if at all. Some renovations or alterations can even drag down the value of a home. Then, of course, there is all the damage that a lack of upkeep and upgrades can do.

Check out these 14 home-improvement blunders and our tips from the experts on how to steer clear of them HERE.

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Windermere Real Estate
call/text 206-769-9577

Posted on September 26, 2013 at 11:00 am
Steve Hill | Category: Home Improvement | Tagged , , , , ,

Just Listed! Seatttle WA Home For Sale

Broadview Area ResidentialJust Listed!

13500 Northshire Road NW
Seattle WA 98177

Open Saturday 12PM-3PM
Open Saturday   1PM-4PM

The spirit of every home is in the kitchen, a base for decisions, planning, baking, grilling and parading your culinary skills. Chef's island is the centerpiece of this kitchen redesigned for today's lifestyle. Grand spaces inside and out, this home offers incredible entertaining areas. Walls of glass let light and nature flow between inside and out. Located in Seattle's coveted Northshire neighborhood, this home features a circular drive, master on the main, four bedrooms, den and media room. Don't  miss out on this beautiful home in Seattle's highly desireable Northshire neighborhood.

Online at

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Best In Client Satisfcation
Windermere Real Estate
call/text 206-769-9577

Posted on September 21, 2013 at 12:43 am
Steve Hill | Category: Seattle Home for Sale | Tagged , , , , , ,

Pricing Your House to Sell Can Be Tricky

The housing market is finally recovering. Sales are up and so are prices. That means good news for anyone thinking about selling. However, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of over exuberance. Pricing a house incorrectly when it is first listed for sale can be a huge mistake.

Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D. at Florida International University and Editor of the Journal of Housing Research, referring to previous research by John Knight, revealed:

“Sellers as well as Brokers/Agents should therefore be aware of the critical necessity of getting the price correct from the start. Sellers wanting to over list will ultimately take longer to sell and will sell their property for less, on average, according to Knight. Brokers/Agents’ desire to take a listing and get the price right later will ultimately lead to their working harder according to Knight, and they are not doing their sellers any favors.”

Why Are We Bringing This Issue Up Now?

Recent price increases seen in housing have been the result of a lack of salable housing inventory across the country. This inventory challenge is beginning to correct itself and many believe that price increases will begin to taper off.

Bill McBride, the author of the renowned economic blog Calculated Risk, explains:

I think that inventory bottomed earlier this year, and that the NAR will report a year-over-year increase in inventory very soon (probably for September). As more inventory comes on the market, buyer urgency will wane and price increases will slow and even decline seasonally in many areas this winter.”

If you are putting your house on the market, make sure you consult with a real estate professional before establishing your price. That is the only way you can guarantee getting top dollar in this market.

Posted on September 14, 2013 at 11:00 am
Steve Hill | Category: Home Pricing | Tagged , , , , , ,

Alternative Ways to Come Up With the Down Payment on a Home

To successfully purchase a home today, you will need a down payment of at least 3.5 percent of the purchase price. Gone are the days of no down payment alternatives, down payment assistance and seller-offered programs to come up with the money needed to buy a home. Instead, let's look at the five ways you can come up with a down payment to seal the deal.

1. Gift Money: Gift money is simply that — a gift from family or documented close relationship. The giftor needs to provide a gift letter and paper trail for the monies they are gifting for the benefit of the buyer. In other words, they'll have to provide a bank account showing that they had the ability to gift the money. In short, gift monies cannot be funds sitting at home in a safe.

2. 401(k)/Retirement Loan: Typically, borrowed funds for a down payment are a no-go, but the exception is a 401(k) or equivalent retirement account (or current home equity line). If you can borrow money from your 401(k) for your down payment, this is accepted for obtaining a purchase mortgage loan. Note: Depending on the terms of your loan, this could be counted as a liability and factored into your debt-to-income ratio.

3. Sale of a Good: Believe it or not, you can sell your recreational vehicle and use the net proceeds from the transaction as your down payment. Let's say that you decide to sell your motorcycle for $10,000. You'll need to provide the full bill of sale — as well as the bank statement depositing those funds, matching the bill of sale — to your mortgage lender. Same goes for any other recreational vehicle, or other item that "makes sense." The key is as long as it's plausible and passes the litmus test and you can paper trail the monies from start to finish, you should have no problem using those monies for the house purchase.

4. Trust Funds, Settlement Awards, etc.: If you come into a chunk of change via an inheritance, settlement, lottery winning, trust fund disbursement, family buyout, even a gambling victory, all of these monies can be used for the down payment as long as the sourcing of the monies is fully documented from A to Z with no stone left unturned. Matching of the amounts of monies used to the original deposits will be required when it comes time to secure the loan.

5. Line of Credit: Where a down payment lacks, enter strength in income. You can take out a line of credit or a personal loan, deposit the full funds into your bank account and after two months, the funds will be eligible for use in the transaction.

While a down payment is needed to purchase in the current real estate market, a prudent homebuyer should also have plans for having available funds for closing costs. The same out-of-the-box strategies listed above can also be used to procure funds for closing costs.

Closing costs run at about 3 percent of the purchase price, on average. So the total funds to close would be 3 percent of purchase price plus 3.5 percent down.

Do your homework. If you don't have a down payment for a house, or your down payment is coming from more than one source, make sure that you talk to a lender upfront so they can help you navigate the best way to properly support and document your monies used. Doing this on the front end will save you from wasting time creating and gathering unnecessary paperwork.

If you would like further information on home loans, give our preferred lender, George Runnels of Washington First Mortgage a call at 206-604-4545.

For information on homes for sale in your market, give us a call or text at 206-769-9577, we are always ready to get to work for you!

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Best In Client Satisfation
Windermere Real Estate
call/text 206-769-9577


Posted on September 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm
Steve Hill | Category: Down Payment | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Thinking of Selling Your House? 5 Reasons to Do it Now

Many now realize that it is a great time to buy a home. Today, we want to look at why it might also be an opportune time to sell your house. Here are the Top 5 Reasons we believe now may be a perfect time to put your house on the market.

1.) Demand Is High

The most recent Existing Home Sales Report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed a 17.2 percent increase in sales over July 2012; sales have remained above year-ago levels for 25 months. There are buyers out there right now and they are serious about purchasing.

2.) Supply Is Beginning to Increase

Total housing inventory last month rose 5.6% to 2.28 million homes for sale. This represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with 4.3 months in January. Many expect inventory to continue to rise as 3.2 million homeowners escaped the shackles of negative equity in the last 12 months and an additional 1.9 million are expected to enter positive equity in the next 12 months. Selling now while demand is high and before supply increases may garner you your best price.

3.) New Construction Is Coming Back

Over the last several years, most homeowners selling their home did not have to compete with a new construction project around the block. As the market is recovering, more and more builders are jumping back in. These ‘shiny’ new homes will again become competition as they are an attractive alternative for many purchasers.

4.) Interest Rates Are Rising

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have shot up to 4.57% which represents a jump of more than a full point since the beginning of the year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will continue to climb.

Whether you are moving up or moving down, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

5.) It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you are thinking about selling and decide whether it is worth waiting. Is the possibility of a few extra dollars more important than being with family; more important than your health; more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

You already know the answers to the questions we just asked. You have the power to take back control of your situation by putting the house on the market today. The time may have come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. That is what is truly important.

If you are considering selling, give us a call or text, we will be happy to provide you with a no-obligation market analysis and suggest those things you need and don't need to do to prepare your home for market.

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Best In Client Satisfaction
Windermere Real Estate
call/text 206-769-9577

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 11:00 am
Steve Hill | Category: Home Selling | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Just Listed! Captivating Edmonds Bowl Home

911 Carol Way
Edmonds WA 98020

Just Listed! Captivating Edmonds Home

Elegantly remodeled four bedroom, three bathroom, mid-entry home in the heart of the Edmonds Bowl. From exquisite tile work to a stunning epicurean kitchen featuring granite slab counters and stainless steel appliances, attention to detail is evident. The light filled living room features abundant natural light and a gas burning fireplace. The Master bedroom boasts a private bathroom and large walk in closet.

The Lower level features a large family room with gas burning fireplace and complete separate living quarters. Step outside to the park like setting and enjoy a large patio designed for Summertime entertaining, soothing water feature,  manicured lawns and tastefully designed gardens.

2,464 square feet of interior space make this Edmonds home a rare find. Convenient location just minutes to downtown Edmonds, parks, schools and shopping.

Step inside and see why this home will captivate you.

My Zillow Reviews:

Seattle Area Real Estate Market Trends:

More Details & Price Online at:

Proudly Presented By
Steve Hill
Best In Client Satisfation
Windermere Real Estate/FN



Posted on September 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm
Steve Hill | Category: Seattle Area Home for Sale | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Seattle Homes Priced Under $250k

There are still over 100 homes priced under $250k in the city of Seattle. For a list of those homes, see them all right HERE.

Curious about home prices in your neighborhood? Find out HERE

For information on any home in Seattle, priced $100k-$10M, give a call, we would love to speak with you!
Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Best In Client Satisfation – Zillow and Seattle Magazine
Windermere Real Estate Seattle – Northwest
CALL/TEXT: 206-769-9577

Posted on August 21, 2013 at 8:01 pm
Steve Hill | Category: Seattle Homes Priced Under $250k | Tagged , , , , , , ,

When to Buy a House? Right Now!

traffic lightsAfter witnessing the housing bubble ‘pop’ just a few years ago, many would be buyers may be hesitant to pull the trigger. Today, we want to explain that the greatest risk a buyer can take right now is actually waiting to buy a home.

We realize that every purchaser wants to be able to get the best deal. They want a great price and the lowest mortgage interest rate possible because those to items together will determine the monthly cost their family will pay. Let’s look at each one:

Are home prices rising?

Just last week, the Case Shiller Pricing Index was released. The index revealed that U.S. home prices increased by 10.2% over the last twelve months. Last month, theHome Price Expectation Survey was released predicting that home values would increase by at least an additional 3.5% for each of the next five years.

If you were waiting for the absolute bottom of the home price declines, you already missed it.

Are interest rates rising?

According to Freddie Mac’s Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30 year mortgage rate shot up to 3.81% last week – the highest level in over a year. This is an increase of a half of a percentage point in the last six months. And the Mortgage Bankers AssociationFannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors all predict that rates will continue rise over the next eighteen months.


If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Considering Buying?
Give us a call and let our experience save you time and money.

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Best In Client Satisfaction – Seattle Magazine
Windermere Real Estate Seattle Northwest
Call/Text: 206-769-9577

Posted on August 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm
Steve Hill | Category: Seattle Home Buying | Tagged , , , , , ,

Just Listed – Mill Creek WA – Open Sunday 1PM-4PM

Located in Mill Creek Village, a distinctive community of fourteen homes. Lush, spacious grounds set this neighborhood apart. This light filled home includes an updated kitchen, hardwood floors and new fixtures. The living room features vaulted ceiling and fireplace. Master suite boasts 5-piece bath. Small, private backyard and attached 2 car garage. Reasonable homeowners dues include landscaping, watering and exterior maintenance. You are sure to be impressed with this Mill Creek home.

Steve Hill
Windermere Real Estate
Best in Client Satisfaction
Call/Text: 206-769-9577

Posted on August 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm
Steve Hill | Category: Mill Creek WA Home for Sale | Tagged , , , , , ,