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Archive for April, 2010

Things To Do Before Buyers Come To Your Home
April 29, 2010 · Written by Brock Dunda · Filed under Helpful Tips

Taking time to prepare your home increases the homes desirability, provides a marketing edge, and ultimately results in taking less time to sell.

Below are some things a home seller can do to entice potential buyers to have a look at your house.

Before Buyers Come To Your Home

  • Turn on all inside lights. Keep the inside clean, light, and bright. Turn on lights even during the day.

  • At night, make sure all outside lights are on.

  • Play soft music to give your home a welcoming atmosphere.

  • Ensure that the temperature is kept at a comfortable 68-69 degrees.

  • If you have pets, make sure they are kept in a separate area and clean litter boxes daily to prevent odors.

  • Keep money, prescriptions, and other small valuables out of site or hidden.

  • Keep shades and blinds open to allow the most light to come in.

  • Open all doors inside the home except for closets.

During the Showing

  • If the home owner is not in the home, the potential buyer will likely spend more time previewing it.

  • If you can’t leave the home, have the children play outside or group them in front of the tv and watch quietly with the volume on low.

  • If you are following or preceding a prospective buyer, you may make them feel uncomfortable, as if their presence is an intrusion.

  • Let the agent show and sell the home.

By ensuring that potential buys have plenty of time to preview the home, you greatly increase your chances of making a great first impression which will generate a lot of interest from the buyer.

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New Lead Based Paint Certification
April 23, 2010 · Written by Becki French · Filed under Real Estate

EPA Lead Safe Certification Firm LogoNew rules will take effect for contractors and landlords who perform  repairs, or renovations to structures built prior to 1978.  The EPA now requires that the contractors need to take a training course to learn how to work with lead based paint and be certified in it’s proper removal.  Since 1978 lead based paints are no longer used in residential markets.

The lead can remain undisturbed if wall-papered over or painted over.  An exception to the new ruling  might be to test for lead and then paint over it; once determined that the level of lead that is present is safe.   Paint that is undisturbed will not have to be performed by a certified contractor and the new ruling wouldn’t  be applicable.  

Any renovation activity in an area that is 6 sq. ft. on the inside and 20 sq. ft. on the outside will be affected by this new ruling.  It will also apply to window replacement and will include landlords who do their own renovations.  Any disturbance of the surfaces that have paint on them prior to 1978 are affected by this ruling.

Here are some sites that can give you information on the harmful effects of lead based paints and their remedies:  www.epa.gov/lead

http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/enforcement/disclosure.cfm

http://www.commerce.wa.gov/site/515/default.aspx

Mailing Address:
                                                   Department of Commerce
                                                   Lead-Based Paint Program
                                                   PO Box 42525
                                                   Olympia, WA 98504-2525

Contact Information:
                                                   General Email

                                                   Lead Line Phone: (360) 586-LEAD (5323)
                                                   Fax: (360) 586-5880

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How To Price Your Home
April 21, 2010 · Written by Brock Dunda · Filed under Helpful Tips

House BrightOne of the most difficult aspects of selling a home is determining the selling price. Especially in this market there are a number of considerations that need to be reviewed.

Accurate Pricing Strategy

The pricing strategy that you choose to employ relies heavily on what the current market is like. In a buyer’s market, there are more homes available than there are buyers. This would cause home prices to be lower. In a seller’s market, there are more buyers than there are homes available. This causes home prices to rise. It’s supply and demand.

Once the house is on the market, a well priced home will sell. If a house is overpriced the majority of offers will be low offers that may not be considered, when in actuality, the low offers could be more accurate than the inflated price. A well-priced home will entice people to offer what the home is worth as they can see that the value represented in the price is accurate.

Pricing a home accurately maximizes your opportunity to reach the most potential buyers. Often, when qualified buyers are looking for a home the first thing they evaluate is the price. Before they consider any aspects of a home, they want to know how much they have to spend. When your home is marketed at a price that is similar to other comparable properties in the buyers price range, they will have the opportunity to view it.

Targeting the Right Buyer

A home receives it’s best exposure during it’s first several weeks on the market. Statistically, the longer a home spends on the market the lower the selling price. People will see that it’s been on the market for awhile and may start to assume there is something wrong with it, when in reality it’s the price that has kept it on the market so long. If your price is too low, you could lose thousands of dollars of one of the largest investments in our lifetime.

Let Your Agent Help You Price Your Home

With many years of experience a good agent will be able to accurately price your home and make sure the price represents the value. If you need help pricing your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Comments Temporarily Closed
April 17, 2010 · Written by admin · Filed under General

Hi all,

Sorry for the inconvenience, but due to the increase in spammers, we’ve temporarily closed the ability to comment. 

The South Lake Union Writing Team

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10 Things You Can Do To Get Your Yard Ready For Spring
April 16, 2010 · Written by Brock Dunda · Filed under Helpful Tips

Spring GardenIt’s getting warmer out, and the trees and plants are blooming. It’s a perfect time for anyone interested in buying a home to get our there and start looking. As a seller, it’s perfect weather for getting your yard in shape and looking it’s best. Clean, light, and bright is your goal. Below are 10 things anyone selling their home can do to get their yard looking great, and entice potential buyers to come investigate your property and home.

  1. Rake up leaves and debris: With all the rain and wind we’ve had recently, there may be leaves and other debris that are littering your driveway or yard. Rake and pick it up and place in a compost bin making your yard look clean and clear.
  2. Pressure wash the driveway and patios: The Spring rains cause silt and other dirt particles to slowly collect on your driveway and patios. By simply pressure washing them, you can effectively make them look almost new.
  3. Plant new flowers or trees: By planting new flowers and trees, you can make your yard and walkways vibrant with color and greenery.
  4. Remove or replace dead plants: Dead plants detract from the cleanliness of the plants and area around them. A dead plant says to a potential buyer that the yard or garden was cared for. It also looks like more work a potential buyer would feel they needed to do before buying the house. Remove or replace dead plants to make the yard look clean and easy to maintain.
  5. Mow and fertilize the lawn regularly: Keeping the lawn mowed regularly helps your grass look uniform and fertilizing keeps the grass healthy.
  6. Pull weeds in the flower beds: Don’t let the weeds ruin the beauty of your garden or flower beds!
  7. Edge the walkways/driveway: Edging the driveway and walkways makes the edges defined and doesn’t look overgrown.
  8. Keep tools in the shed: Tools left out makes the area look like it isn’t finished and adds clutter. Store tools out of sight when not in use.
  9. Coil hoses/wires neatly: Hoses or extension cords that are left laying in the yard or driveway are very unappealing. Coil the houses and store them neatly.
  10. Trim overgrown hedges: Hedges that are overgrown need to be trimmed neatly, and all the debris from the job needs to be composted or sent away in yard waste.

 Got any more idea? Let us know!

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Know What to Ask Your Agent
April 15, 2010 · Written by Becki French · Filed under Helpful Tips

Ask Your Agent QuestionsThings that can make a home sale hard to close or not close at all…

If the buyer wants to buy a home contingent on, i.e. before, selling their primary residence the transaction can sometimes get very stressful as deadlines near. This situation can sometimes be remedied by a bridge loan. Bridge loans are temporary loans that bridge the gap between the sales price of a new home and a home buyer’s new mortgage, in the event the buyer’s home has not yet sold. The bridge loan is secured to the buyer’s existing home. The funds from the bridge loan are then used as a down payment on the move-up home.

Delays can be caused by the agent not having previously worked with the lender. Communication between the two parties may not be as open as with people who have worked together before. Ensuring open communication can make all the difference!

When phone calls or email are not responded to it’s amazing what glitches can come up. All parties need to stay in close contact with each other throughout the entire transaction right up until closing.

An out of town appraiser can often cause a bump in the transaction time line if they are unfamiliar with the area, types of property in the area or area pricing. Neither banks nor mortgage companies will lend above appraised value. This can be remedied by the buyer bringing in a larger down payment, reevaluation of the original appraisal or ordering an entirely new appraisal. These are not cures but could be options.

Inspections are utilized to find hidden defects even the seller might not be aware of. There may be issues that would not normally be recognized by the consumer. These can generally be remedied by price adjustment or repair.

Improper permits can often delay a transaction. Additions to garages, MIL’s, work sheds etc. When work is not properly permitted nor is grandfathered in it can sometimes disrupt the appraisal or inspection process.

Be sure you understand what the rules and regulations are for sewer systems and underground oil tanks in the area in which you are buying. Some of those guidelines are ever changing in regards to various environmental regulations. Some oil tanks can be filled with sand, some have to be dug up, some can be certified as is and won’t disrupt anything. Regardless, be aware.

Mold, lead based paint or homes where there was illegal drug manufacturing can all be environmental issues that can derail a transaction.
Certain changes in the financing terms can be limiting factors as well. Change of terms or fees can affect an outcome of a loan. Be sure that the good-faith estimate of fees and rates is seen by the buyer within 3 days of receiving an application. This is a pretty accurate disclosure of what the loan is going to cost the buyer.

The Preliminary title policy commitment is the best way to see if the property is “encumbered.” Encumbrances can be anything having to do with water rights, property lines, easements, clouded ownership or workman’s liens, among many others. Often a good title officer can find solutions to these situations. However, they can be the cause of some stressful hurdles in the transaction.

You don’t have to know everything about everything in order to buy a house. But, the pertinent things that apply to your loan or the property you want to buy are important enough to have enough information to ask the questions. . . . .

Hire a good agent!

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Ten Things To Consider When Looking for A House
April 2, 2010 · Written by Brock Dunda · Filed under Helpful Tips

Looking for a home can be a tedious and grueling process. There’s a great many variables that need to be considered when deciding what homes you’ll want to go look at. Hopefully the list below will help to narrow it down your parameters and thus narrowing your search results to homes that meet your requirements.

  1. Location: The primary guiding principle in real estate are these three things. Location, location, location. Is the house close to your work? Will you be too far away from family and friends? Is the house close to grocery stores, parks, or other amenities? You also might want to research the crime rate for the area.
  2. Price: How much do you qualify for if you’re getting a loan? Is the price reasonable for what the home has to offer?
  3. Parking: How many vehicles do you intend to require space for? What about boats and trailers?
  4. Bedrooms: How many people will be living in the home and how many rooms will that require? Will you need a room for an office or other activity room?
  5. Bathrooms: How many bathrooms do you think you will need? Sharing a single bathroom in the morning with several people can be difficult.
  6. Fence: Is the yard fenced? Do you have or do you plan to have children, pets, or other animals that would require a fence?
  7. Landscaping: How much time to intend to spend in your yard? Do you require space for gardens or other landscaping? How much time, money, and effort will it take to get the yard in the condition you’d like it to be in.
  8. Condition: Is the home’s condition good? How much work will it take to get it looking the way you want? Is it move in ready?
  9. Energy Efficiency: Is the furnace oil, natural gas, or does the home rely on electricity? Does the home have good insulation? Are the water tanks and heaters energy efficient?
  10. Waste Disposal: Is the home on septic or sewer? When was the last time the septic tank was inspected or the last time the sewer was inspected?

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Celebrate Earth Day, Everyday!
April 2, 2010 · Written by Becki French · Filed under News

Earth Day, April 22nd, 2010.Earth Day Flag

Earth Day can and should be every day.  Celebrate  and take part in a turning point for our earth and our lifestyles.  A day designed to bring out awareness and be an environmental  “teach-In” .  Earth Day was started in 1970 and is recognized by the United Nations. 

 Be the person who commits to making contributions to  sustainable living.    Learn about energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. In over 40 years of celebrating earth day let’s continue to be one of the one billion people in 190 countries that take action on Earth Day.  Some celebrations are starting on April 17th and running through April 22nd.  Check out your neighborhood, city or county for their activities.

Most cities offer events such as contests and awards for the cleanest neighborhoods, workshops on how to reduce garbage, organic soil and worms, green building and remodeling, native groundcovers and plants, composting and compostable food bags, just to name a few topics.  There is truly something for everyone and there are often free samples. 

Check out these informative websites for further information. 

Northwest Native Plants

www.kingcounty.gov/gonative

Eco-Cool remodel tool

http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/ecoconsumer/eco-remodel.asp

Energy efficient practices and products

http://www.energystar.gov/

Puget Sound Water quality

http://www.pugetsoundstartshere.org

Related Phone numbers

Natural Lawn and Garden Hotline 206-633-0224

Household Hazardous Waste                        206-296-4692

Recycle hotline                                                206-296-6542

Tree Inquiries~Seattle City Light                 206-386-1663

Burn Ban Hotline   800-595-4341

Puget Sound Clean air Agency   206-343-8800

State Department of Ecology 425-649-7000

Illegal dumping,Call your local police department or your city

 Ecology Flag

Enjoy the day! Help to celebrate!  Utilize your local resources! RX5,  Rethink, Retrain, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.

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