Cottages and Small Space Living has been an increased phenomenon in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle to be precise. They’re called Backyard Cottages and Europe offers many of these pint sized places.
Here in Seattle, I’ve noticed many of my clients (both sellers/downsizers) and buyers (saving money) have an increased awareness and interest in Cottages. Why not? They’re flexible (once an office, now a home), affordable (extra rent $), and emphasize sustainability within a dense urban city setting.
In 2009, the City of Seattle passed an ordinance for homeowners who wished to add a second dwelling unit onto their property. Of course there are guidelines to do this. And those requirements would be:
1) A single-family home on at least a 4,000-square-foot lot;
2) The lot must be at least 25 feet wide and 70 feet deep; and
3) The owner must reside on the property at least six months a year, in either the primary house or cottage.
They also can be 23 feet tall (two stories) and up to 800 gross square feet (you can add extra square footage from an upstairs). There is a 5′ set back too. Other restrictions apply so check with the city permits office for more information.
Just in the Green Lake/Wallingford and even Ballard areas I’ve seen a few homes listed with a second dwelling unit in the backyard. Medina actually has many of these set ups back when it was becoming a city. They were used as the butler’s quarters but now they’re being used as extra income for the homeowners.
What could be better than a Cottage on The Lake? Here’s a great example of small space living: a 500 square foot floating home on lake union’s westlake cove. Nestled amid the colorful planter gardens and rustic charm of floating homes surround this one-of-a-kind home.
Seattle Cottage On The Lake
It’s perfect for an in-city office, an islander who works in the city and needs a commuting home, or really scale down and live life simply!
Time To Sell?
Looking in Seattle for a home between $400,000 and $500,000? One word of advice: Get pre-approved. This price range is attracting both first-time home buyers and the downsizers right now. I’ve seen multiple offers on homes that have been sitting for a few months in this price range. A surge of solid, non-distressed homes came on the market and almost instantly had one or more offers.
Are you still thinking about waiting until spring to put your home on the market? I’d think again if I were you. Most buyers don’t want the hassle or have the time to close on distressed homes (short sales). The lack of non-distressed homes right now is a great reason (if you’ve been thinking of selling) to put your home on the market now. More buyers are trying to buy this type of home.
Having said that, it’s imperative to inspect your home as if you were a buyer and repair items which a buyer’s inspector would identify. Deep clean your home, new paint, rent a storage locker and purge. Staging (whether occupied or vacant) sells homes. If you’re still living in the house, ask a consultant’s advice to reorganize your furniture, paintings or accessory items. Keep lights on and the thermostat at a comfortable temperature.
Pricing is critical more than ever now. Distressed homes are typically discounted around 10 to 15%. Non-distressed homes have the advantage of being just that - able to negotiate price and terms with a seller (vs a bank). Non-distressed homes are usually much more appealing to buyers and most will pay for that, therefore having an advantage.
Let’s take a look at the market activity across the different counties for January 2011, courtesy of the NWMLS, for single family and condos:
Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary – January 2011
It’s spring fever in February! Green Lake, Tangletown, Wallingford, and Ballard-areas are all fired up with fresh, new listings that are flying off the shelf. Just as the for sale signs are speared into the ground, the buyers and their agents are making offers. One, two, three days on the market for some of these ripe listings.
I toured all the new listings in these areas on Wednesday (two days ago) and three are pending inspection. Pending inspection doesn’t necessarily mean other buyers are out of the running. They just have to take a back seat in the form of a back up offer. Home prices across the board ranging from $449,000 to $849,000 are being snatched up and if you blink, you might just miss out.
What’s the motivation all of a sudden? Well, the motivation has always been there. It’s the inventory which has been a bit stagnate. Inventory is up, school is back in session, the big holiday plans and vacations have happened and now it’s back to routines and work.
For more Seattle neighborhoods, visit Cooper Jacobs Real Estate’s home page and find the map you’re looking. Condos, houseboats, scheduled open houses for any area you’re looking for can all be found here.
Green Lake Real Estate For January ’011
Sometimes you forgo the strategies of buying real estate and offer full asking price. Beauty (cosmetically and/or structurally) are in the eye of the buyer. Fifteen homes sold in Green Lake so far this year. Three of those sellers got a full price offer.
In January, there were eleven homes under $500k. Yep, the median sales price of $430,000 (or about 95% of asking price) sold in 92 days or less on the market in Green Lake.
What does that tell us for our beloved Green Lake? Homes are holding steady but buyers want to see a deal: either in price (fixer upper) or finishing touches…turn key homes.
Green Lake inventory is low. The craftsman bungalows are desirable - and with low choices, it forces buyers to wait. If you’re contemplating selling your home in Green Lake, make sure you get an idea of what has been selling and sitting the last 180 days. Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in knowing the Green Lake market at 206-841-6800.