Choosing a real estate agent

Choosing a real estate agent that is right for you is important when buying or selling a home. Whether buying your first home or selling your 10th home, trust and communication are crucial when choosing which agent should represent you. The transaction should be transparent and your agent should provide a clear process for buying or selling your home.

Before you begin, sit down with your real estate agent to determine if their style of communication is similar to yours. Do they communicate in the same manner? If you don’t often check your email, and they don’t text, it won’t be a good fit. Your real estate agent should explain the process so you are comfortable and understand the steps. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

Choose a real estate agent that is an expert in the area you are looking to buy or sell. Here are some questions to ask:

When choosing a real estate agent you should feel comfortable that they will communicate with you in the manner which you are accustomed. Because you ultimately want to feel that they will be looking after your best interests, provide great value and are an expert in your area. Their experience (or lack of) will help you determine if they are the right real estate agent to help your purchase or sale go smoothly.

Read more here about choosing the right real estate agent from Forbes Magazine For Cathy Wahlin’s area of expertise, check out the website, Read more about the cities Cathy Wahlin serves

How to Attract Home Buyers

1. Sell it Fast!

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, you’ll need to figure out how to attract home buyers. You’re probably aware there’s some prep work to do. Most properties need to be spruced up before potential buyers start coming through, but it doesn’t have to mean a major investment of cash and time. There are many ways to put your house in position to sell quickly that won’t break the bank. In fact, you might be surprised at how much good you can do with some paint, a few gardening tools and a commitment to clean and declutter.

If you’re not sure where to begin, try seeing your home the way a potential buyer might. What could prevent someone from envisioning your home as their own? Here are a few tips that can get you off to a good start.

2. Boost Curb Appeal

Good curb appeal is a definite “must have” for any property. You want a landscape and home exterior that make passersby react instantly and positively. Keeping the grass mowed and the kids’ toys picked up is a start but remember that this is how you’ll attract people who are motivated to buy, as well as those who could be convinced to check into a house that just looks great. Keep the bushes well-trimmed and weed out dead plants and lawn debris. Add fresh flowers along the front of your house and mulch around trees and flower beds.

Check for cracks that need to be filled in the driveway and walkways and consider giving them a good pressure washing while you’re at it. Don’t neglect the front of your house. Does the front door or the entire front facade need to be repainted? A bright and clean presentation can make a tremendous difference when trying to attract buyers.

3. Clean Out Storage Space

Remember that prospective buyers will want to peer into every corner and closet and check out storage space, which is a big factor for many buyers. Clean out the basement and garage, especially if things have stacked up in there for a while. These are good places to declutter because people will want to see how much storage space they can expect. Get rid of any useless or duplicate items, sell or give away anything else that’s no longer needed or wanted, and carefully organize anything that remains in storage areas.

The decluttering phase is a great time to downsize and get rid of items you no longer need, but if you’re lacking in time or energy or still have too much “stuff” post-purge, store your extra belongings in an offsite storage unit. It’s easy to shop around online for the closest and cheapest storage options, but on average, you can expect to pay about $125 per month for storage in Seattle. It’s an extra expense, but if it helps make your home more desirable to potential buyers, it’s money well spent.

4. Check the Flooring

Few parts of your home show wear and tear as clearly as flooring. Years of use can make carpeting or hardwood flooring look roughed up. Consider whether carpeting can be brought back to life with a good cleaning or if it’s time to replace it. Often, a professional cleaner can remove deep stains and odors that have built up over a time. Bear in mind that hardwood is a popular choice among homebuyers these days and might make an attractive alternative to that old, worn carpeting.

5. Change up Window Treatments

Many buyers focus on natural light, so pay close attention to your window treatments. Change old curtains, drapes or blinds if they look yellowed and worn. By hanging window curtains a bit higher and wider than your window frame, you can make a room look both taller and bigger – a simple change with big results. And remember that curtains can be used for both practical and aesthetic purposes. They’re a great option for concealing shelving in your laundry room or as a graceful canopy over your bed.

Creativity and cleaning can go a long way towards figuring out how to attract home buyers. Presenting an attractive space inside and out is essential for staging a property and, best of all, you can do it affordably and attractively.

Article by Kelli Brewer –  Kelli Brewer is proud of her military family and is passionate about supporting other military families through DeployCare.

Love to Go Hiking around Seattle? Don’t Have a Car? No Problem.

For those people who love hiking around Seattle, but hate driving – or don’t have a car but still want to access the region’s amazing natural areas – it’s possible to go hiking by transit, both within the city and nearby. King County Metro’s Trailhead Direct shuttle service from Seattle to trailheads in Issaquah and North Bend is making this exceptionally easy during the late spring and summer when it runs, but there are year-round options for transit hiking as well.  Check out the link below to see all the trails!

Buy a home planning

How Much Does it Cost to Buy a House in Seattle in 2018

The Seattle market is expected to grow another 5.4% in 2018. Ahead, check out how much it costs to buy a home in the 3rd hottest real estate market of 2018 according to Zillow’s latest housing report.

Median household income: $78,612
Median home value: $463,800
Median rent: $2,243
Real estate market growth forecast: 5.4%
A bona fide tech hub like Seattle is bound to be popular, which the median home value and rents show. With a projected growth of 5.4%, this is one of the top three most popular housing markets in the country right now.

Article By Amanda Harding – May 26, 2018 from  | Photograph by Peter Muller/Getty Images

5 Tips For Making an Offer on a House in a Hot Market

It’s important for home buyers to make a strong, smart offer when the right house comes along. Here are five tips for doing exactly that.

Steady demand. Limited supply. That’s what we are seeing in real estate markets across the country right now. Inventory is particularly tight within the lower price ranges. “The starter house is nearly missing in some markets,” according to Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research and communication for the National Association of Realtors. So here are some tips for making an offer on a house in a hot real estate market.

Of course, conditions can vary from one city to the next. But the overall trend in housing markets across the country is that supply is still falling short of demand. (See the latest home prices for Snohomish County in this story from our online news partner The Seattle Times.) Given these conditions, it’s important for home buyers to make a strong, smart offer when the right house comes along. Here are five tips for doing exactly that.

1. Understand the supply and demand situation in your area.

According to housing experts, a so-called “balanced” real estate market has five to six months of supply. This means, in theory, that it would take five or six months to sell off all homes currently listed for sale, if no new properties came onto the market.
Many real estate markets across the country have less than a three-month supply right now. And some cities have less than a two-month supply.
The first step to making a strong offer is to understand the supply-and-demand situation in your area. We are still seeing sellers’ market conditions in many cities, as of spring 2018. And this could persist for some time.

2. Study recent sales prices in your area.

This is something a real estate agent can help you with, but you can do some of it for yourself. The idea here is to get a good understanding of recent sales prices in the area where you want to buy.
This will help you in a couple of ways. It will save you time during the house-hunting process, by eliminating the need for repetitive research and pricing “sanity checks.” It will also help you make a strong, realistic offer backed by recent sales trends. And speaking of offers…

3. Make a strong and timely offer, backed by comparable sales.

In a slow housing market, where sellers are ready to jump on the first offer that comes along, home buyers have the luxury of taking their time. A buyer might start off with an initial offer below the asking price, just to open negotiations. The seller would probably come back with a counteroffer, or accept the first offer.
But it doesn’t work that way in a more competitive real estate market with limited inventory. In a tight market, buyers are better off making their first offer as competitive as possible. Otherwise, the house could go to a competing buyer.

4. Consider writing a love letter to the seller.

A house love letter, that is! Recent studies have shown that buyers in competitive real estate markets can improve their chance for success by writing a heartfelt letter to the seller. Sure, real estate is a business transaction. But there’s a personal side to it as well. Writing a personal letter to tell the sellers what you love about their home might just tip the scales in your favor.

5. Get an agent on your side.

It’s always a good idea to have help from a local real estate agent. It’s even more important in a tight market with limited inventory. An agent can help you move quickly, putting together a strong offer that’s supported by recent sales data.

— Content provided by MetroDepth

Tips For an Easy Moving Day

Your family has finally settled on a home, and now you are ready to make the next big leap in your life. Moving is a time of great excitement but can also be filled with stress and high anxiety. You don’t want to leave anything behind, and you don’t want to be caught up in limbo as you transition from your old home to your new one. Here are three tips for an easy moving day – so things can go as smoothly as possible and you can start adjusting to your new digs sooner.

1. Pack With Purpose

When you finally prepare to make a move, it can seem like you are standing at the foot of a gigantic mountain. It’s easy to see why so many feel overwhelmed when there is so much to organize, tear down, put away, and pack. The best way to eliminate unwanted stress and anxiety is by taking on a methodical approach to your packing. Separate the big task at hand into smaller, more manageable tasks. Break it down room by room or start boxing away decorations before moving onto clothing and furniture. Just like with climbing a mountain, there are many different paths you can take. As long as you plan your approach, you’ll reach the summit in no time.

2. Know When to Hire Help

As you set about the task to get your furniture packed up, you’ll quickly realize that even with the proper moving equipment, this is a job that cannot be done alone. You’ll need an extra pair of hands, or more, as you figure out how you ever got that L-shaped couch into your living room in the first place. For many, moving day itself can be one of the biggest hurdles to face, and if you’re balancing being a parent along with a moving an entire house worth of stuff, then it might be time to call in the cavalry. Hiring movers is the most practical solution if you are already juggling enough responsibility as it is. For a set price, you essentially cut the work you have to do in half, giving you more time to focus on preparing your family for the move itself.

3. Keep Pets Out of the Equation

If you think that the moving process is stressing you out, think of what it must be like for your pet. Both cats and dogs are territorially conscious creatures. When something changes in their environment, they are instantly aware and sometimes become unsettled. Now, imagine what it must be like to see your territory essentially uprooted, with all your favorite napping spots occupied by towering brown boxes. Moving can be extremely stressful for your pets, which is why you should consider hiring a pet sitter to watch them during moving day.

These are just a few useful tips to help you manage your move. Just remember that planning is an essential part to making your transition into a new home. Prepare for the unexpected and always keep essential items such as water, food, medicine, and some extra clothes on you while you embark to your new home. Reduce your and your pet’s anxiety by hiring a sitter, and don’t be afraid to hire professionals to give you a lift when you have your hands full. If you manage to do all of these things, your moving day will be a breeze.

Photo Credit: Pixabay
Article by Kelly Brewer – Kelli Brewer is proud of her military family and is passionate about supporting other military families through DeployCare.

Resource links

So much to organize –
Plan your approach –
Hiring movers –
Both cats and dogs –
Hiring a pet sitter –
Photo Credit: Pixabay –

What Affects Property Values?

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you’re likely worried about your house value. So what affects property value?

Some the features that increase values are obvious – like a remodeled bathroom, a modern kitchen, or a sought-after neighborhood. But here are a few features and circumstances you may not realize can greatly affect property values.

  1. The neighbors: Not every neighborhood or community has an HOA that can keep the neighbors from going overboard with decorations or neglecting to care for their home. Homes adjacent to crazy neighbors can potentially be undervalued.
  2. Trendy groceries and coffee: Recent statistics suggest that if your home is a short walk from popular grocery stores like Whole Foods or coffee chains like Starbucks, it can actually appreciate faster than the national average.
  3. Mature trees: A big beautiful tree in the front yard is enviable, and it’s not something that can be easily added to any home. Homes with mature trees tend to get a little boost in value.
  4. Parking: This isn’t too much of an issue if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area, but residents in dense cities can have real problems with parking, and homeowners might need to rent a spot just to guarantee a place to park each night. That’s why having guaranteed parking in urban areas will raise property values.
  5. The front entrance: First impressions matter to buyers-many will cross a home off their list within 10 seconds of stepping through the front door. An appealing front door, a friendly entryway, and a functioning doorbell are all necessities for getting top dollar.

Selling a House With Pets: Make Your Home Catnip to Potential Buyers

Selling a house with pets? There are challenges. To ensure your home is catnip to potential buyers, we have assembled at top 5 list of tips:

  1. Take the Dog for a Walk.
    When your prospective buyers are in the house, your pets should be out of it. Even if Fido is friendly and your Persian purrs at all visitors, it’s almost impossible to predict how a potential buyer will react to a strange animal. You don’t want any part of the tour to be negative, and for many people, cat dander and a lick on the hand is a definite no. During tours, arrange for your pet to be out of the house. Your dog is probably up for a trip to the dog park, and your cat… well, your cat could probably stand some sunshine, too. (Crates were built for this.)
  2. Hide the Evidence.

No one likes the smell of a litter box, and you can bet that it will be noticeable to potential buyers, even if you’re used to the odor. So, a few hours before a showing, open a few windows to get the smell out, then relocate the litterbox to the garage. You don’t want to leave a bad smell in a buyer’s nose.

  1. Pick Up the Toys.

Your pet’s playthings probably have a way of turning up in unexpected places. That’s why, if you don’t have one already, it’s a good idea to designate a particular storage place — a box or closet — for them. Keep an inventory, and before any tour, find each plaything. You don’t want your prospective buyers tripping over a squeaky mouse, or sitting down on the couch only to be jabbed by a drool-soaked rawhide bone.

  1. Leave Carpets to the Pros.

Carpet cleaners and vacuums might have made astronomical progress over the past few decades, but they still often find themselves conquered by Pomeranians. Instead of obsessing over your carpets before every single showing, arrange to have them deep-cleaned. It will save you hours of time fussing with carpet shampoos and vacuum cleaners. (And it goes without saying: Post-cleaning, try to keep your four-legged friends to hardwood or tile areas.)

  1. Lint-Roll Everything. And Clean Up the Yard.

Potential buyers probably bear no ill will toward your pet. But that doesn’t mean they want to spend the rest of the day after touring your house picking cat hair off their clothes. So please: Buy a lint roller. Use it on every fabric surface you think a buyer might touch. Then use it again.

And just because your yard is outdoors, that doesn’t mean that you’re not responsible for its contents. Your dog might do his business out of sight in the back yard, but it shouldn’t be out of mind for you — and it definitely won’t be for buyers. Take a shovel to the evidence.

Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.

New Home Buyer Guide

Getting a Home Inspection? What to Expect.

Buying a house?  Then you’ll want to get a home inspection. Here’s what to expect.

I recommend making your offer subject to a satisfactory home inspection. These are some of the questions the home inspector should answer for you:

  • Action Steps First Time Home BuyersIs the home structurally safe?  Is it soundly built?
  • What condition is the home’s exterior?
  • What condition is the roof in?
  • Is the ventilation and insulation adequate?
  • Are the heating and AC systems working properly?
  • Are the windows and doors in good working order?
  • Are the plumbing fixtures working properly?
  • Where is the main water shut-off valve?
  • Is the electrical panel properly labeled?
  • Is there any evidence of water leaks in the basement or crawlspace?
  • Are the gutters and downspouts working as intended to control water?
  • Are smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors installed and working properly?
  • Does the home have a security system?
  • Is there evidence of pests (ants, termites, rodents)?
  • Is there mold, radon, or asbestos present?

Once the home inspection is completed, the inspector usually emails you a report with photos that you can use to negotiate any deficient items with the sellers. If inspector referrals are needed, just ask.  I know several good ones!

New Home Buyer Guide

Credit Score Myths

We’ve all heard of them – the credit score myths that pop up just when you’re getting ready to apply for a home loan.

Here are the most common ones I hear from prospective buyers.

Myth: Checking your credit score will lower your score. You can check your own credit score as many times as you want without impacting your score as long as you are pulling it from a consumer website or directly from one of the 3 Bureaus.

Myth: I pay for everything with Cash, I have no debt, I have great credit. Absolutely False! This person probably has a N/A for a credit score and most lenders will automatically turn him/her down.

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