Categoriesinfo for buyers, info for home owners, Seattle neigborhoods, Washington real estate

Is a House or a Condo a Better Choice for You?

When looking for a new place to live, the first thing you need to decide is what type of home you want. Many
people dream of owning a house, but others prefer to live in condominiums. Each has advantages and drawbacks.

Pros and Cons of Owning a House
One of the main advantages of living in a house is the amount of space. Houses come in a wide array of sizes to suit the needs of any family. They typically have yards where children and pets can play and the owners can host family and friends. With a house, the owners are free to renovate, paint and make other changes, subject to local laws and ordinances. Houses also offer more privacy than condos since neighbors are not as close.

The primary downside of owning a house is that the owners are responsible for all repairs and maintenance. This can cost a lot in terms of both money and time. The burden can feel overwhelming if several things go wrong at once. Electricity bills are typically higher for houses than for condos because houses are larger.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Condo Ownership
Many people who like to live in urban areas opt for condos. They are often located near restaurants, entertainment venues and other attractions. Condos typically offer amenities such as pools and gyms that would be too expensive for many homeowners. Condo owners pay fees that cover maintenance and repairs for the building and grounds.

Some people are reluctant to consider living in condos because they do not like having so many people nearby. Noisy and inconsiderate neighbors can be problematic. Another downside is the need to pay association fees for maintenance. The fees can change from year to year and can be a significant burden. Owners are also expected to abide by rules set by the association.

Which Is Right for You?
If you like the idea of having a lot of space to yourself or plan to expand your family, a house may be a better choice. A house is also a good idea if having your own yard is a priority.

If, on the other hand, you dread the thought of spending your free time mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters and performing other tasks, you can avoid all of that by buying a condo. If you like the idea of having amenities located where you live instead of having to drive somewhere and pay a monthly membership fee, a condo could also be a good choice.

If you are trying to decide whether a house or a condo is a better choice for you, think about your personality, lifestyle and preferences. Weigh the pros and cons of each type of housing and explore options in your area to see which is right for you.

Photo by faiq daffa on Unsplash

Categoriesinfo for buyers, info for home owners, Seattle, Washington real estate

Great News for Renters Who Want to Buy a Home

Rents in the United States have been skyrocketing since 2012. This has caused many renters to face a tremendous burden when juggling their housing expenses and the desire to save for a down payment at the same time. The recent stabilization of rental prices provides a great opportunity for renters to save more of their current income to put toward the purchase of a home.

Just last week the Joint Center of Housing Studies of Harvard University released the America’s Rental Housing 2020 Report. The results explain the financial challenges renters are experiencing today,

“Despite slowing demand and the continued strength of new construction, rental markets in the U.S. remain extremely tight. Vacancy rates are at decades-long lows, pushing up rents far faster than incomes. Both the number and share of cost-burdened renters are again on the rise, especially among middle-income households.”

According to the most recent Zillow Rent Index, which measures the estimated market-rate rent for all homes and apartments, the typical U.S. rent now stands at $1,600 per month. Here is a graph of how the index’s median rent values have climbed over the last eight years:Great News for Renters Who Want to Buy a Home | MyKCM

Is Good News Coming?
There seems, however, to be some good news on the horizon. Four of the major rent indices are all reporting that rents are finally beginning to stabilize in all rental categories:

1. The Zillow Rent Index, linked above, only rose 2.6% over the last year.

2. RENTCafé’s research team also analyzes rent data across the 260 largest cities in the United States. The data on average rents comes directly from competitively rented, large-scale, multi-family properties (50+ units in size). Their 2019 Year-End Rent Report shows only a 3% increase in rents from last year, the slowest annual rise over the past 17 months.

3. The CoreLogic Single Family Rent Index reports on single-family only rental listing data in the Multiple Listing Service. Their latest index shows how overall year-over-year rent price increases have slowed since February 2016, when they peaked at 4.2%. They have stabilized around 3% since early 2019.

4. The Apartment List National Rent Report uses median rent statistics for recent movers taken from the Census Bureau American Community Survey. The 2020 report reveals that the year-over-year growth rate of 1.6% matches the rate at this time last year; it is just ahead of the 1.5% rate from January 2016. They also explain how “the past five years also saw stretches of notably faster rent growth. Year-over-year rent growth stood at 2.6% in January 2018, and in January 2016 it was 3.3%, more than double the current rate.”

It seems tenants are getting a breather from the rapid rent increases that have plagued them for almost a decade.

Bottom Line
Rental expenses are beginning to moderate, and at the same time, average wages are increasing. That power combination may allow renters who dream of buying a home of their own an opportunity to save more money to put toward a down payment. That’s sensational news!

Categorieshome values, info for buyers, info for home owners, Seattle, Washington real estate

Selling Your Home? Don’t Make These 4 Common Mistakes

Thinking about selling your home?

At some point or another, nearly all homeowners consider selling their property. If this thought has been on your mind, there are a few things you should know about the home selling process before you put your home on the market.

Selling your home isn’t always easy. But, it can be streamlined by avoiding these 4 common mistakes.

Not Hiring a Real Estate Professional

The first and biggest mistake that sellers make when they’re trying to sell their home is not hiring a real estate professional.

Some people who go at it alone are indeed successful in selling their home – but the vast majority aren’t. Selling without an agent on your team is entering into the market alone, without being equipped with the tools, knowledge, and resources you need to cultivate a profitable sale.

Whether you’re going to work with a real estate agent, broker, or realtor; you need to have an expert on your side throughout the process. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for disaster.

Trying to Cover Up Property Flaws

Never try to hide property issues when you’re selling the house. The truth will come out eventually, and if you’ve tried to cover up something you knew was wrong during the sale, you’ll pay the price.

Sellers are responsible for communicating any and all property flaws to prospective sellers before the deal has been sealed. This happens in the transaction’s official property disclose package – so make sure you’re extra careful when filling this out.

Incomplete, incorrect, or fraudulent disclosure forms will likely end up in a lawsuit being filed against the seller. Save yourself the money, legal issues, and stress by being honest the first time around.

Creating an Unclear Listing

Make sure your property’s listing is on its A-game.

Since most buyers begin their home shopping process online, your e-listing will likely serve as an introduction to your home. You’ll need to make a good impression, so don’t create an unclear listing. Use HD photographs, videography, and include all the necessary details.

Don’t leave any important information out and be as clear and concise as possible. This will help you attract serious buyers who are interested in moving forward with a deal.
Not Screening Your Buyers

Failing to screen your buyers is a huge selling mistake.

Selling your home to a weak buyer can cause all sorts of transaction problems. Whether it’s a financial issue, timeline incongruity, or some other complication; unqualified buyers are bad news.

Strengthen your screening process for interested buyers and look out for red flags when you’re reviewing their applications.

Avoid making these 4 mistakes for a safer, easier, and all-around less stressful selling experience.

Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

Categorieshome values, info for buyers, info for home owners, Seattle, Washington real estate

Build Your Culture With Love

We typically don’t think of love and business as existing in the same universe. But not only does love belong in the business world, says author Deb Boelkes, it should fuel everything you do, both internally and in your interactions with customers.

“Your customers are the reason you exist, and your job is to earn their love and loyalty,” says Boelkes, author of The WOW Factor Workplace: How to Create a Best Place to Work Culture. “That means you must first love them. And that, in turn, means you must first love your employees.”

Boelkes offers the following tips to help leaders inspire employees to deliver impeccable service, creating an unparalleled experience for both employees and customers that makes them both feel special, appreciated and respected.

Don’t be afraid to use the “L” word (especially on Valentine’s Day). In her book, Boelkes quotes the late Teresa Laraba, former vice president of Southwest Airlines, as saying, “Early on, when we started, one of the taglines was: ‘Somebody up here loves you.’ Our stock symbol is LUV. We were open about introducing love to corporate America and the airline industry. We were going to have a product which loved you and a company which was going to serve you and appreciate you doing business with us versus the attitude: ‘You exist to keep us in business.’”

Boelkes suggests finding fun, creative ways to show customers that you love them, such as personalized cards or putting together ‘We Love Our Customers’ gift boxes full of Valentine’s Day goodies. Or make a charitable donation to a local soup kitchen or animal shelter in honor of your customer.

Recommit to your relationship with agents and employees. Engaged employees are happy employees, and happy employees create happy customers. That’s why leaders make it a priority to work on their relationship with employees. And as with any good relationship, it means putting in time and effort. Know what’s going on with your agents and employees and find out if there’s something that’s stopping them from delivering on their work promise that day.

“If you have just two or three one-minute engagements as you walk through your workplace, it builds,” says Laraba.

Think of yourself as a “superior service” role model. When you wow customers, employees will too. If you commit to giving the best possible service to every customer and making decisions that benefit the customer first (both great ways to show you love them!), your employees will do the same. They are watching and taking cues from your behavior.

Look for the servant’s heart in those you hire (and make sure you have it, too). To win your customers’ love, you must truly love the work you do. No one should ever phone it in. Great leaders and employees alike develop what Laraba called a “servant’s heart.” She said, “We first try to hire people who care. Our hiring process is looking for people who genuinely enjoy what they do.”

Learn to look at your customers through “soft eyes.” Don’t treat them like transactions. Boelkes quotes Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks Coffee, as saying: “Rather than seeing people as customers or seeing people in their roles as bankers or teachers or authors or whatever, we need to see all people in the context of their humanness, of being a human being. Then, when you’re dealing with somebody and whatever the job happens to be, look at everybody through human eyes, through soft eyes.

Create service experiences that take the customer’s breath away. In her book, Boelkes cites her own experience with dining at Bern’s Steak House as one of her favorite examples of delightful customer service. She says the dining rooms were opulent. The menu was extensive and the food sublime. Finally, the wait staff was a testament to their mission of delivering impeccable service.

“We were so impressed with the service from our young waiter,” recalls Boelkes. “When I asked how long he had been a waiter there, he answered, ‘two weeks.’ Given his professionalism, manners, attention to detail, and superior service attitude, this was a surprise! We learned he had worked at Bern’s for two years. Everyone there starts out working in the kitchen. If they do well enough, they are promoted to assist in the dining room, and so on. Founder Bern Laxer was a firm believer in hiring for attitude and work ethic, not experience.”

Allow employees to go above and beyond for customers (in their own unique way). Take a cue from Donald Stamets—general manager for Solage, an Auberge resort in Calistoga, Calif.—and don’t make employees ask permission to go the extra mile to wow customers. As part of his Expected, Requested, and Delighted philosophy, Stamets encourages them to go above and beyond what the customer expects or requests and try to delight them at every turn.

“Likewise, tell your employees their goal is to delight customers,” says Boelkes. “Let them use their own judgment and tap into their creativity. Being allowed to do it ‘their way’ will encourage and inspire them to go in whole-heartedly.”

“Yes, it’s hard work to be a heartfelt organization, but the rewards are so much greater for you, your team, and most of all, your customers,” adds Boelkes. “Life is just better when you give and receive love every day, in all that you do. There’s no reason why this truth can’t apply to the workplace.”

Deb Boelkes is not just a heartfelt leader but an authority on creating best places to work, with 25+ years in Fortune 150 high-tech firms, leading business development and professional services teams. As an entrepreneur, she has accelerated advancement for women to senior leadership. Boelkes has delighted and inspired more than 1,000 audiences across North America.

Photo by Christopher Beloch on Unsplash

Categoriesfeatured listings

Beacon Hill Bungalow

Beautiful bungalow in “Georgetown Heights” area of Beacon Hill. This turnkey home features hand built cabinetry & custom tile work in the remodeled kitchen and bath, bamboo floors, AC, large laundry room with tons of storage. Sweet backyard patio bordered by a charming structure strung with party lights, hand painted mural retaining wall and shop/garage. Perfect location for commute North, South or East. Roll down the hill for all that Georgetown proper has to offer. Welcome home!

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