June Perspectives

content_TheKids_crop_4x6Many years ago we realized that we have a responsibility that goes way beyond helping people buy and sell homes. We too are home owners. We too have kids. We too want safe, vibrant and livable neighborhoods. Because of that we have committed to helping create and maintain communities that are thriving and interesting places to be. One way we do this is through our annual Community Service Day.

For the past 31 years, Windermere offices have closed their doors for one day to give back to the communities that have given so much to us. The types of projects our offices take on vary from cleaning up parks and community centers to feeding the hungry. For example, one of our Bellevue area offices spends every Community Service Day at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, an organization that provides equine therapy to children and adults with disabilities. Like many non-profits, Little Bit is short staffed and heavily reliant upon volunteers to help care for their 18 acre property. So last Friday, our team was there washing fences, weeding, and clearing out paddocks to help keep Little Bit’s facility in prime condition for its patients.

On that same day, you could find a team of Windermere volunteers at Mary’s Place, an organization that provides food, shelter, and resources to homeless families. For the second year in a row, this group spent the day prepping meals, sorting through donations, and deep cleaning the shelter. Mary’s Place tells us that having the Windermere team there makes the families who use this facility feel loved and valued.

If you live in the area, you’ve probably heard of Camp Korey. It’s an amazing organization that provides recreational programs for children with serious medical conditions. For several years, a team of Windermere volunteers have spent Community Service Day cleaning the grounds, painting, gardening, and prepping for incoming campers. The group loves knowing that they’re making a positive impact on the brave children who visit Camp Korey.

We’re so proud of our team and the selfless role they play in their communities. We might be the leadership of this company, but it’s our agents who are the true leaders, proving time and time again that service to others is not something you do, it is who you are.

Jill Jacobi Wood, OB Jacobi & Geoff Wood

Luxury Lookout: Laurelhurst Waterfront

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5012 NE Laurelcrest LN

Laurelhurst

$3,250,000 | 5 Bed | 3.25 Bath | 6,100 SQFT

It’s not every day that you get a glimpse inside your boss’s house. Come on, you know you’re curious where the big guy (or gal) eats, sleeps, and plays when not running the show at work. Now think about your boss being the head of a large real estate company. It adds a whole other level of intrigue. That’s why we’re so excited that Windermere’s fearless leader, OB Jacobi, has put his Laurelhurst-area home on the market. And it’s not just any home. I mean, the views alone justify the $3.25 million price tag.

Back in 2003, OB built this home with both fun and family in mind. All you have to do is check out the outdoor living space with its Tiki Bar and fire pit to see what we mean. And get a look at the iron chandelier. Why you ask? Because it’s a custom-made replica from the movie Shrek. Yes, you heard right, Shrek. When it comes to the details, OB stops at nothing.

As for the rest of this 6,100 square-foot masterpiece, there’s everything you might expect from a home of this magnitude: chef’s kitchen, movie theatre, spa bathroom with steam room, and a climate-controlled, 700-bottle-wine cellar. It’s also steps away from the shores of Lake Washington and Laurelhurst Beach Club. And did we mention the views? They’re epic.

If this house tickles your fancy and is within your budget, then what are you waiting for? Make an appointment to see it today! Word on the street is if this legendary listing sells in a week, we get a raise. Game on.

See Patti Payne’s take on this ‘Cool Pad.’

The OB Update Feb. 4

Time for a quick real estate update. The housing market is going gangbusters, but we’re still starving for inventory. And if open house traffic is any indication, there are a lot of you out there looking for homes. So my message is to all you would-be sellers; the market conditions are so much in your favor right now. If you’re on the fence, it’s time to jump off. I should know,Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.56.54 PM I’m actually getting ready to sell my own home. But the problem that many of us run into is that we need the equity from our current home in order to put a down payment on a new one. And with so many eager buyers out there, most sellers aren’t accepting contingent offers.

One solution worth considering is a bridge loan. A bridge loan allows you to take a short term loan out against the equity in your current home. It gives you immediate cash flow to make a down payment. Then, when you sell, you pay the loan off. It allows you to bridge the financial gap between a home sale and a home purchase. Windermere is actually the only real estate company in Seattle that offers a bridge loan program. Yes, you can attain them through banks, but the process is much more arduous. If you’re thinking about selling and want to learn more about our bridge loan program, contact your Windermere agent.

OB Jacobi

President

Windermere Real Estate

The OB Update Jan. 29

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service just put out their annual analysis of the 2014 Western Washington housing market. From a high level, the message has remained pretty consistent all year: low inventory, stiff competition, rising prices. But when I dove into the report a little deeper, I found some interesting data that I thought I’d share with you:

  • Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.56.54 PMClosed sales: Northwest MLS broker-members reported 77,276 closed sales valued at nearly $28 billion.
  • Median price in Western WA: $285,000 for single-family homes and condos that sold last year, up about 5.6 percent from 2013.
  • Median price in King County: $440,000 for single-family homes, an increase of 6 percent from 2013. Median condo price was $252,000; increase of 8.6 percent.
  • MLS members added 107,722 new listings of SFH and condos to inventory, an increase of 3,554 (+3.4%) from 2012.
  • Represented 22,328 home sellers, on average, each month.
  • Median price in King County: $440,000 for single-family homes, an increase of 6 percent from 2013. Median condo price was $252,000; increase of 8.6 percent.
  • Months of supply: Inventory was tight in many areas. System-wide average for 2014 was 3.5 months; for 4-county Puget Sound region it averaged 2.5; in King county, supply dipped below 2 month for most of 2014.
  • Luxury sales: Reported 2,057 sales of single-family homes and 152 sales of condos priced at $1 million or more. 878 condos sold for $500,000 or more.
  • Highest prices: Among the 21 counties in the MLS service area, King County claimed the highest median price for single family homes that sold last year ($440,000).
  • New construction: The median price for 8,177 newly built single-family homes that sold in 2014 area wide was $374,000; for 607 newly constructed condos that sold the median price $369,950.
  • New listing activity and pending sales (mutually accepted offers) peaked in May.
  • Condos: Brokers sold 10,560 condominiums during 2014; about 62 percent of condo sales system-wide were in King County; 75 percent had two or fewer bedrooms.
  • Prices, 3-bedrooom homes: The median price for a 3-bedroom home that sold in 2014 was $262,500; county comparisons show a low-end range of $133,500 in Grays Harbor County to the high-end range of $410,000 in San Juan County.
  • Most expensive: The highest priced single family home that sold was in Medina ($11.3 million); the highest priced luxury condo was in downtown Seattle ($6.1 million).

If you have any questions about this information or anything else related to the Seattle housing market, contact your Windermere agent or go to Windermere.com.

OB Jacobi

President

Windermere Real Estate

The OB Update Jan. 14

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The man, the myth, the legend himself, OB Jacobi, is going to start giving us all a better idea of what is really going on in the real estate market in Seatown. Here’s what our president has to say starting off the year:

It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2015 – what a year in real estate we had last year. The Seattle housing market was great for some and not so great for others. I had first-hand experience with this, so I’d like to start by telling you my story.

Right after the 2013 holiday season, my kids and I decided that it was time to move. It had been 11 years in our house and we just felt like it was time for a change. So, being completely optimistic about buying a home, we did what most people would do: we started packing. As someone who works in real estate, I should’ve known better. This was only the start of a very long road.

The hunt for the perfect home was on. We searched and searched, and couldn’t quite locate anything that fit. Not only was there low inventory, but all the good homes were snapped up quickly. Man the market was fast. While we were on a 10-day family vacation, a home I’ve always loved both listed and sold before I even had a chance to see it. So frustrating. The months passed with no success, but in November, we finally found a house. In total, it took us 11 long months. But in a way, I’m happy that I had this experience so I could better understand what my agents and their clients are dealing with out there.

Let’s face it; if you were a buyer last year, the real estate market was tough. The number of homes for sale was at its lowest in history. The competition was fierce and there were multiple offers on most properties. The perfect house wasn’t necessarily “perfect”; it was one that you felt good about buying. For some buyers, that added up to a very frustrating experience that I can sympathize with. If you were a seller, you probably did quite well. The Seattle market appreciated by around 9% last year and the number of days it took to sell a home went way down.

So what can we look forward to in 2015? Prices will continue to appreciate, albeit at a slightly slower pace than last year – probably around 4% – 6%. Unfortunately, inventory is still at an all-time low. There’s less than 0.8 months of supply in some neighborhoods. What that means is that if no more homes were listed, and people continued to buy at the current pace, there would be nothing left for sale in less than a month. To further put that into perspective, a healthy, balanced market should have 3-6 months of inventory.

There are still a lot of eager buyers out there, so for now it looks like we are in the same situation as last year. We’re heading into the time of year when the market starts to ramp up again, so we should see growth in the number of homes for sale. Although if the Seahawks continue on their current winning streak and make it to the Super Bowl, this may delay things a little, which – let’s face it – is almost guaranteed to happen.

OB Jacobi

President, Windermere Real Estate