Real Estate in Seattle 2013


It’s been a good year for real estate.  Sellers are happy to receive higher than list price for their homes.  Buyers are happy to, well, have found a home with multiple offers.  Real estate professionals are happy to see the upswing in median home values to the tune of 7.5% from last year at this time.  If you remember, July 2007 was our peak with a median price of a single family home was $481,000.  Wowsers.  The low was back in February 2012 at $308,000.  Now we’re resting nicely at $455,000.  Home values have steadily increased since the 2012 but not so fast that we see double digits.

_MG_6887_88_89_90NaturalNorth King County, including Green Lake, saw the highest percentage of closed home sales with 40% growth from November 2012.  This would make sense with the low (two months) of inventory we’ve consistently seen through this year.  Six months or more of inventory is considered a buyer’s market.  Anything less is a seller’s market.

Condos really did great this year of 2013.  The median price for condos in King County jumped 17% from a year ago.

Green Lake has 18 active single family listings right now – with 7 being townhomes.  I’ve seen it fluctuate between 33 and 18 active listings this year and the homes have been selling quickly with offers being reviewed in 7 days or less.  Yes, it was a great time to sell and likewise buy since the sale of your home usually brought in $10k to $80k more than list price.

This is a perfect example of why, if you’re a home owner or own a rental, you should keep up on any deferred maintenance.  By keeping up on the general maintenance, it could save you weeks of market preparation AND the difference of thousands of dollars – particularly during a buyers frenzy.  Always be ready to sell!  So are you?


June Real Estate Results In Green Lake Seattle

A recent Cooper Jacobs Green Lake sale

Combined with historic low interest rates and low inventory, June 2013 proved to be a huge gain in Seattle’s real estate market compared to a year ago.  Green Lake, and the neighboring communities, made big strides.

The combination of closed condos and single family homes for King County in June gained 14.08% from a year ago.  I believe once July’s numbers are disclosed, the percentage will be even greater since I’ve seen some impressive competing offers and pending (to close) sales for July are already over 10% for King County.

Green Lake had 42 sold homes in the last 31 days.  The median home selling in Green Lake was nearly 2,000 square feet, averaged 14 days on the market, was listed for $564,592 and sold for $578,253 or 2.86% over asking.  High sold property in Green Lake was $1.36M and lowest (which was a condo) was $265,000.

Whether you’re a buyer or seller and would like more info on Green Lake and surround neighborhoods, feel free to call or email me.

Molly Cartwright, Broker
206.841.6800 direct line


Is Seattle’s Real Estate Turning Into E-Bay?

Is Seattle’s real estate turning into E-Bay?

It’s a fact that Seattle’s real estate market is looking more like spring time in the Pacific Northwest; not the quiet winter month’s people tend to expect.  Buyers are out in full force and it’s not unusual to have 100 buyers through a Saturday or Sunday open house.  This is simply due to supply and demand:  low inventory of homes for sale.  Are buyers frustrated or has it become the norm?  Is Seattle real estate turning into E-Bay?

I couldn’t help but smile when my client asked me if the property I was showing him was going to turn into an E-Bay auction.  The property was a luxury home and on the market for less than 24 hours.  I simply told him “yes”.  I then followed by “but what do you have to lose?”  If you don’t try then you’ll never know.

Here’s the deal:  buyers will either see a new listing (priced accordingly) and the listing agent delays reviewing any offers after 6 days of market exposure.  Or buyers will see a new listing where the listing agent omits this remark and its first come, first serve.  I’ve sold several homes by just being first in this instance.  It saves buyers a lot of money and anxiety.  Thankfully I’ve had buyers who are accessible and are motivated to meet me at the property very quickly.  If you run into the first scenario, however, chances are the property will most likely go to “the highest bidder”.  So how do you get there?

Have a buyer’s agent who is on the ball and can educate you about the market.  I’ve seen things selling for about 7% over list price or about $50k.  Obviously buyers need to have their finances together.  I haven’t seen an FHA in a long, long time.  Everything is conventional or cash now.  Good thing interest rates are crazy low right now.  Get the home pre-inspected IF IT MAKES SENSE TO.  If it’s a short sale, probably don’t need to get it pre-inspected.  Buyers: if you can’t go enough above the list price (and this is where a good buyer’s agent comes in) then don’t waste $300 to $500 for a pre-inspection.  There are other terms and conditions and of course every situation is unique.  Feel free to contact me if you’d like more market conditions or making your offer stand out.

I don’t see buyers getting frustrated, at least not the buyers I’m working with.  I see more buyers making more offers and if I didn’t know better, I think they’re enjoying the excitement.

Oh and my client with the E-Bay question got the house of his dreams, with multiple offers and his family moves in next month.

See ya next time,
Molly Cartwright, Broker and Green Lake resident

direct  206.841.6800

How To Buy When You Already Own

How To Buy When You Already Own
Do you own your home or condo but want to sell it and buy something with more space, a different location, or perhaps a view?   

One option is to take out a HELOC.  A Home Equity Line of Credit (ask me for a lender with great programs of these right now) lets you take out a certain percentage of your home’s equity to use as a downpayment on your new home.  To find out how much equity you have, contact a Realtor, like myself, to research the value of your home (it changes ALL the time).  If you have a certain percentage of equity, you can qualify for a new loan.  And if you’re preapproved for your new home loan, I can get the home you want to sell prepped for the market pronto!

Another option is a bridge loan.  A bridge loan has some ramifications though.  They generally tend to have higher interest rates and need to be paid back in a specified amount of time.  It’s like a short term loan on your current property to buy a different property.  It’s all about timing with a bridge loan.  You can find out more about bridge loans HERE.

You can always make an offer contingent on your home selling.  This is perhaps the option offering the least amount of risk.  Of course with our current market today, properties are moving fast and a contingent offer isn’t as clean as an offer with a definitive close date, for example.  But if are you a homeowner considering the contingent offer option, consider the right list price and a home in tip-top shape, it won’t take long to sell.

molly a. cartwright  |  seattle realtor
cooper jacobs real estate, llc
“Serving home buyers and sellers in Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods”

What’s a Buyer’s Agent?

Do you ever wonder how this real estate stuff works when you buy or sell a  home?   Who pays who in a real estate transaction?
Over the years, I’ve had plenty of buyers ask me how much my realtor fees  are if we work together.  Likewise, I’ve had sellers shocked to find out what they have to pay for excise tax in our city.  A seller’s net proceeds or a buyer’s closing cost worksheet are always in my back pocket to get down to an approximate number.  Traditionally the commission percentage (which can vary) come from the seller’s wallet (sorry guys)…but that’s not to say there can be different scenarios.
So why am I a buyer’s agent?  First of all, I absolutely love working with buyers!  And secondly I LOVE looking at homes.  I listen very carefully my clients.  First we have to get through the NEEDS and then we talk about the WANTS.  I love the satisfaction of walking into a home with my clients and they instantly fall in love with it.  But more times than not, there are compromises so I’m all about letting my clients know what their options are.  The permit process, the cost of remodeling, the little tweaks you can do here and there.  It’s all so much fun to me and I can see the client getting excited as we proceed down the road.
The road is an exciting one too.  I can probably explain the transaction process of buying or selling a home about 100 different ways depending on the client (unfortunately not in a 100 different languages because that would be really cool).  Sometimes it’s a new home buyer, sometimes its an investor, and sometimes it’s a buy up or a buy down . I talk to the buyer about terms, the market, escrow, inspection, appraisal, the 21 page purchase and sale contract and specifically what to expect and what not to expect.  It’s great!  The anticipation of presenting a killer offer to the seller is my favorite.  Are you interested in talking to me as a buyer’s agent?   I’d be happy to talk to you too!
I HEART Green Lake (my ‘hood), Tangletown, Wallingford, Phinney, Ravenna and Ballard.  Got car.  Will travel.

molly a. cartwright | seattle realtor since 2001
cooper jacobs real estate, llc
206.841.6800 | |
“Serving home buyers and sellers in Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods”

Ready To Sell? Your “To-Do” List Is Here

Ready To Sell? List of Things To Do

Is Your Home Physically Fit?  To give your home a competitive edge when it’s time to sell, make sure it is in good physical condition. This not only makes your home more attractive and desirable, it also simplifies the negotiation process when the time comes for the buyer’s pre-purchase inspection.According to home inspection experts, approximately half the resale homes in the market today have at least one significant defect. Routine maintenance is the best way to prevent major, costly problems from developing in the first place. If you have been putting off those repairs, now is the time to make them.

A Home Seller’s Check List
Over the years, I’ve identified a list of common problems that typically appear on buyer’s home inspection reports. Early correction of these problems can increase a home’s appeal and its selling price. It also sets the stage for a favorable home inspection report for the buyer, and thereby helps to expedite the sale. The following checklist can help you achieve these marketing goals.

After size, style, and location, a home buyer’s primary concern is the condition of the home’s basic structure and major mechanical systems.  Most buyers do not want to invest a great deal of money correcting problems in such critical areas.  A pre-listing home inspection of the visible and accessible home components can reveal most of these problems, and include recommended repairs, if needed, on the following major items: Roof structure and covering.  Foundation, basement, and/or crawl space.  Central heating and air conditioning systems.  Electrical system.  Plumbing system.

A number of maintenance improvements are relatively easy and inexpensive to make, yet they can substantially improve a home’s appearance, efficiency, and comfort. A professional home inspector may make helpful maintenance suggestions, such as:  Trim trees and shrubs which touch or overhang the house.  Apply new caulking and weather stripping as needed around windows and doors.  Clean gutters of debris and leaves; repair or replace cracked or broken gutters, downspouts, and extensions to ensure proper drainage.  Replace bathroom caulk or grouting where necessary to prevent seepage and improve appearance.  Ventilate closed basements and crawl spaces, or install a dehumidifier, to prevent excessive moisture build-up.  Regrade soil around the foundation, as needed to keep water away from the house.  Replace dirty filters in the heating and air conditioning systems.  Have the heating and air conditioning systems professionally serviced.  Have chimneys professionally cleaned, and install chimney hoods or caps as needed.

If you’re thinking about selling, a pre-listing inspection isn’t necessarily a bad idea.  I have inspector referrals if you are interested.  Feel free to contact me for more information about listing your home!

Molly Cartwright, Broker
(206) 841-6800

Should I buy a Co-op?

Should I buy a Co-op?

Should I buy a Co-op?” asked my client.   Hmmm…good question!  We’ve been looking at condominiums in a higher end neighborhood in Seattle.  It’s a good shoe-in for an expensive neighborhood.

I think we can largely agree it’s a good time to buy real estate in general right now.  But let’s back up for a sec.  First let me answer the question what is a condo association and what is a co-op association.

Condominium is a big building with individual units.  Each unit has a tax parcel number and the owner has ownership of the interior walls inside.  They also own the Title for the unit.  Each owner pays a home owner due (HOD).  Which it turn goes into an account managed by the home owner association.  If there are any needed assessments (aka repairs) on the building or lawsuits to pay out, it is debited from this account.  You qualify.  You buy.  You’re in.

Co-Op is a big building with individual units.  The building is the company.  The units are the shareholders within the company.  You don’t hold Title.  The co-op committee does.  And usually the building is one big parcel number.  There are home owner dues just like condo ownership.  You interview with the co-op board.  You buy.  You’re in.  Oh yeah, and no dogs (usually) and no leasing (usually).

Should you buy a co-op?  Yes, you should.  If you are a person who likes people, who likes sharing, who likes working together for a common goal, then yes buy a co-op.  If you like relinquishing some of your control issues and collaborating with your fellow shareholders, then yes you should think about buying a co-op.  If you don’t want to pay 1.78% excise tax as a seller in King County, co-op is a way to avoid this tax.

Should you buy a co-op?  No, you should think twice about buying a co-op if you own a dog (usually), if you like larger buildings (co-ops are generally smaller buildings), if you are an investor/landlord and intend to rent.  Oh, and perhaps you don’t want to know who your neighbors are.

Financing is no different for co-ops.  You can do an FHA loan if you want.  Just make sure you ask for the Financials Addendum from the building.  This is similar to the Resale Certificate for a condo building.  It contains meeting minutes, financials, and future assessments.

Hope this bit of info helped you make the right move.  Questions?  I’m here.


A Little Gem Called Maple Leaf

A Little Gem Called Maple Leaf sits contently just Northeast of Green Lake in the active North Seattle area. It’s a quaint rural suburb community annexed from Seattle in the 1950’s. There are different stories on adopting the name Maple Leaf but I still like the story of being a neighborhood so far north it’s nearly to Canada.

Since I help people buy and sell homes, it’s my nature to know interesting quirks about the community and a snapshot of the type of homes that are resting here. When I think of Maple Leaf, I think beautiful brick Tudor style homes that transpire individualism.

So to give you an idea of what your hard-earned money will buy you in Maple Leaf, within the last six months of these mostly Seattle bungalows and Tudoresque style houses, 65 residential homes have sold.

Maple Leaf Tudor

The median price is $450,000 for (on average) a 1900 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2 bathrooms house and a decent size lot. Half of these 65 homes were on the market for less than 30 days and sold for at or near list price.

Maybe the downside of Maple Leaf is the lack of sidewalks off the main Roosevelt drag that runs North and South. Street lamps light up the roads for safety though.

But the goodness far outweighs the “no sidewalk downer” in the 20,000 residents of Maple Leaf. Best known for – believe or not – the water tower and reservoir that sits atop the rounded hill – if 500 feet is rounded to you.

Speaking of the reservoir, the city decided to bury all reservoirs under ground to make room for 15 acres of park and playgrounds! To read more go here.

There’s a dynamite Olympic Elementary School, an ACE Hardware store that will knock your socks off and an awesome diner called Blue Saucer. I give it four out of five stars for food and ten stars for $ and 20 stars for serving locally brewed Stumptown Coffee. Shopping is close too with Northgate Mall right up the road. It was one of the first malls to be constructed West of the Mississippi.

Maple Leaf ranked 29th on the list in Seattle for walkability, scoring a healthy 73!

I hope this gives a good idea of what Maple Leaf can offer for you. It’s a great community with 20 active homes on the market right now just waiting for me to show them to you!  Find more Maple Leaf Listings!