Northwest Living

All posts by Jamie Hanley

Help Us Help the Kids

Lending a Helping Hand!

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate is making a donation to the Special Olympics for every listing taken during July and August 2015!FacebookGraphicSpecialOlympics_Ad

 

With low inventory, low interest rates and so many buyers looking for homes, we are in the midst of a strong seller’s market.

List your home with us in July or August and help positively impact the lives that the Special Olympics supports. If you are considering selling your home, or know someone who is, let’s talk.

Together we can make a difference.

 

Northwest Real Estate is Stronger than Ever!

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate Merges Oregon and Washington Offices for a Total of 26 Offices in the Northwest

By Susie Horan

Mike Gain

In January of this year, the eight Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate offices in Washington merged with the 18 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate offices in Oregon creating one company covering both states, comprising 26 total offices with over 750 agents.

This merger moved the company ranking to number 10 among the 1,100 national Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices offices.

The newly formed Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise, launched in the fall of 2013, now has 37,000 agents, 1100 offices and is in 47 states.  This year the franchise started a global expansion as well.

Mike Gain, President/CEO, of the BHHS Northwest offices, who just attended the Berkshire Elite Circle Awards meeting in Washington D.C.,  said  “I am excited about the future of real estate and the future of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate.  2015 is already off to an incredible start.  Buckle up!  It will be a good ride for many years to come.”  With historically low interest rates and a growing economy he added “Anyone who can buy a home today at today’s prices with today’s low interest rates should do it.  In my opinion, prices and monthly payments will never be lower than they are today.”

Is A Career in Real Estate Right for You?

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Is A Career in Real Estate Right for You?

By Susie Horan

 

I have run Career Nights for over 25 years and have introduced hundreds of people to the career of selling real estate.  I have hired people new to the business and I have trained them to be very successful. It is so rewarding to see someone join our team, hit the deck running and find success quickly.  For others it may take more time but we have the training and support to help them win at this new career.  This is a business of passion.  People who have the passion don’t mind working evening and week-ends.  They are helping people make major life decisions both emotionally as well as financially.  It is a labor of love.

 

I have a Career Night once a month at our Federal Way office.  I tell people “I am going to share with you in one hour everything that you need to know to make a good decision about whether or not a career in real estate is right for you.”  I don’t try to sell people on the idea – it has to be a fit for them.  But I do give them information about how to get their real estate license, how much it cost to get started and how much it cost  to stay in the business.  I talk about our extensive training program and then I share the tools that you need to be successful in real estate. Since we are a full service company, for our clients as well as for our agents, we provide all of the tools including a personal website for each agent that shows all of the listing in the Northwest Multiple Listing Service as well as a Mobile App that they can give to their clients to easily search for properties from any mobile device.  Fifty percent of today’s buyers search for homes from their mobile device and we’ve got that covered.  We have a fabulous 65 page Marketing Plan that agents use to share with sellers everything that we are going to do to market their home and give it maximum exposure.  And finally, I show some of our automatic stay in touch tools including a “What’s Active, Pending, and Sold in Your Neighborhood Report” that goes out automatically to clients wanting the report.

 

At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate we have 7 offices in the greater Puget Sound area that have regular Career Nights.  They include offices located in Kent, Bellevue, West Seattle, Lynnwood, Burien, Puyallup and of course Federal Way.   On our Real Estate Career website www.realestatecareer.org  we answer many of the questions that people considering a real estate career want answered as well as providing a portal to register for our next career night seminar.  The dates and times are on the website.  We even have “Career Night on Demand” for those people whose schedules do not match our Career Night dates.  We also have a special program for veterans providing financial help so that they can get started with a new career in real estate.  If someone has a particular question on any aspect of getting started in a new career they can contact our Career Resource Center at 253-765-2355.  Or email me at susiehoran@bhhsnwre.com.  I am happy to answer any questions.

 

Susie Horan has been in real estate management for over 30 years in the South King County area.  She is also the Marketing Director for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate.

 

Lynnwood Brings Heart to Home Sales

Lynnwood-Heart-of-Our-House

Putting into action their motto of “Bringing Heart to Home Sales”, the Brokers at the Lynnwood office came together in April  to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House. They served a pizza dinner to approximately 90 residents of the facility.

The Ronald McDonald House provides housing for families while their children undergo treatment at Children’s Hospital. The majority of the children are being treated for heart issues or various types of cancer. The goal is for volunteer groups to provide one meal a day – everyday. Purchase of the food, prep of the meal and clean up after all handled by the group of volunteers for the evening.

The Lynnwood office plans to host a community service event each quarter.

Mariners Treat the Sunshine Kids!

Sunshine-Kids-with-BHHS-Agents

The Mariner Moose made an appearance as Brokers from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate offices from Bellevue, Lynnwood and Kent treated a group of children, through The Sunshine Kids, to a special night at the ballpark.  King Felix shut out the Minnesota Twins and the kids were treated to the full hot dog & cotton candy experience.

The Sunshine Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to children with cancer and committed to providing positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients.

For the Brokers, it is a special experience because we have the option to donate a portion of each home sale to the Sunshine Kids, as many of these Brokers have.  The children and their parents were hopefully able to experience a night away from cancer, if even just for a short time, and create some wonderful memories.

Berkshire Hathaway Recognized by the Forbes Global 2000

Business People Listening to a Presentation About Growth

For 13 years, Forbes Global has listed the world’s 2,000 largest, most powerful public companies using a composite score that weighs the following four metrics equally:

  1. Revenues
  2. Profits
  3. Assets
  4. Market Value

This year’s Global 2000 companies came from 61 different countries and accounted for a combined revenue of $39 trillion, profits of $3 trillion, assets worth $162 trillion and a market value of $48 trillion.

Once again, Berkshire Hathaway stays in 5th place, making Warren Buffett’s conglomerate the largest U.S. company this year!

Click here to read the full report: http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/mutualfunds/the-worlds-25-biggest-companies/ar-BBjhgQC#image=1

 

This Week In Real Estate: May 11-17, 2015

 

Jason Waugh this week in RE

This Week in Real Estate NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun predicted existing home sales will reach their highest level since 2006. That years sales total was the second highest ever on record. ​Below are a few of the highlights from the second week of May that influence our business:

* ​​Existing Home Sales to Finish 2015 at Record Level. Existing home sales are expected to finish the year at their highest level since 2006, the National Association of Realtors’ economic forecast forum revealed at its 2015 Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. In the most recent existing-home sales report, sales surged to their highest annual rate in 18 months, showing a promising beginning to the spring homebuying season. Total existing home sales jumped 6.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in March from 4.89 million in February – the highest annual rate since September 2013 (also 5.19 million). “Sustained job growth and interest rates below 4% have been the catalyst behind the improvement in sales,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR. “Housing supply needs to increase measurably to meet the pent-up demand for buying,” said Yun. “To put it in perspective, there were 37 million more people in the U.S. last year compared to 2000, yet existing-home sales that year were higher (5.2 million) than last year (4.9 million).”

Full story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/33912-existing-home-sales-to-finish-2015-at-record-level

 

Housing Affordability Posts Solid Gain in First Quarter. Lower interest rates and home prices contributed to a solid boost in nationwide affordability in the first quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released Thursday. “The past two quarters have seen an improvement in affordability as mortgage rates remain low,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Eighty-five percent of the metropolitan areas measured experienced an increase in affordability.” In all, 66.5 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800. This is up from the 62.8 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter.

Fully story… http://www.nahb.org/en/news-and-publications/Press-Releases/2015/may/housing-affordability-posts-solid-gain-in-first-quarter.aspx

 

U.S. Residential Loan Originations Increase 17 Percent in Q1 From a Year Ago. According to RealtyTrac’s Q1 2015 U.S. Residential Loan Origination Report, which shows that 1,551,865 loans were originated on single family homes and condos in the first quarter, down 6 percent from the previous quarter but up 17 percent from a year ago. Total dollar volume of loans originated in the first quarter was $377 billion, up 32 percent from a year ago. Refinance originations represented nearly $256 billion in the first quarter, 67.8 percent of total loan origination dollar volume, and purchase loan originations represented $121 billion, 32.2 percent of total origination dollar volume. “A dip in interest rates early in the year combined with lowered mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans breathed some life back into the refinancing market in the first quarter,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.  Full story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/realtytrac-reports/q1-2015-u-s-residential-loan-origination-report/

 

Metro Home Prices Maintain Steady Growth in First Quarter 2015. Stronger demand amidst lagging inventory levels caused home prices to accelerate in many metro areas during the first quarter of 2015, and the number of areas experiencing double-digit price appreciation doubled compared to last quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors. The number of rising markets in the first quarter was mostly unchanged compared to the fourth quarter of last year, when price increases were recorded in 85 percent of metro areas. Fifty-one metro areas in the first quarter (29 percent) experienced double-digit increases, a sharp increase from 24 metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2014. Thirty-seven metro areas (21 percent) experienced double-digit increases in the first quarter of 2014.

Full story… http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2015/05/metro-home-prices-maintain-steady-growth-in-first-quarter-of-2015

 

* More Millenials Renting, But Just as Many Want to Own. Those are the two findings of an Urban Land Institute commissioned survey of Americans age 19 to 36 discussing their housing preferences and finances. Millennials, loosely defined as people born in the 1980s and 1990s, are the largest customer segment since the Baby Boomers. At an estimated 75 million to 80 million, millenials account for a quarter of the U.S. population. The trouble for the housing industry is that millenials have abstained from buying a home for longer than previous generations did at their age. “The millenials are telling us they want to own a home eventually, no different from the aspirations of their parents or grandparents,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae. “But they’re not in a hurry. They still need some income rebuilding.”

Full story… http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2015/05/13/survey-more-millennials-renting-but-just-as-many-want-to-own/

Puyallup Brokers Support Nepal Orphan Home

Puyallup-Office-Nepal-Orphans-Home-Event

From Left: Tom McCullum, Dottie Traudt, Doug McCollum, Jennifer Gilbert-Smith, and Jeremy Omholt

Everyone in the Puyallup office enjoyed Dottie Traudt’s incredible homemade gumbo while raising money to help support the wonderful work being done by Life’s Handy Work.

The non-profit is “committed to improving the lives of impoverished children in Nepal by providing educational opportunities as they transition out of Nepal Orphans Home and into adulthood.”

Dottie and her group raised $1568 for this wonderful cause.  To find out more about Life’s Handy Work, visit their website at  http://www.lifeshandywork.com

Calvin Gligorea Is Number 1 in the West

Left, Calvin Gligorea; Right, Tom Jacobs

Left, Calvin Gligorea; Right, Tom Jacobs

Calvin Gligorea Named #1 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Agent in the West for Closed Units

Kent broker Calvin Gligorea was honored by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices for being the top broker in the West Region for Closed Residential Units in 2014 with 104 units.

Calvin (left) is seen here receiving this award from his Branch Manager, Tom Jacobs.

Congratulations on a very successful, busy year, Calvin!

Weighing the Pros and Cons of a High HOA Fee

Weighing the Pros and Cons of a High HOA Fee

By: Danielle Hegedus 1 Via Modernize

Via Modernize

 

When purchasing a new home, encountering a homeowners association (HOA) can feel like a mixed bag. You mady spare the expense of a lawn mower, snow shovels, and various other tools needed for the maintenance of your property, but how much are you willing to tack onto your monthly bills in exchange for these services? Are you willing not to paint your home your favorite shade of green in order to ensure your neighbor can’t paint their home pink? Being part of an HOA definitely requires some give and take.

 

An HOA is typically run by a group of your neighbors, elected to enforce the HOA by-laws and maintain certain standards for the appearance, and activity within a neighborhood. If you buy a home that is covered by an HOA, you’ll be responsible for dues (monthly or annual), as well as special assessments for major expenses. You must adhere to the HOA rules, but you also get to enjoy the perks.

 

The Bright Side of a Homeowners Association

 

Community Appearance is a Priority

Though services differ between HOA’s, most offer ongoing maintenance for the community’s common areas such as parks, pools, fitness centers, and parking lots. An HOA might also offer security personnel or a gated entry to your neighborhood. Regular maintenance such as landscaping is typically covered, as well as major repairs that would impact a majority of homeowners. If you are a first time homebuyer, face health challenges, travel often, or just don’t want to worry about handling major home issues, an HOA could be for you.

2 Via Modernize

 

Via Modernize

 

Access to Pricey Amenities

An HOA offers you access to amenities that you may not be able to afford in a single family home like a pool or a golf course. Even if you aren’t keen on these features, they could be major selling points for buyers when you are ready to sell.

3 Via Moderize

Via Modernize

 

Your HOA dues could save your some money, too. If your new community offers a fitness center, maybe you can cut the cost of an expensive gym membership out of your budget.

 

Conflict Resolution

Does your neighbor’s dog bark all day? Has your neighbor found a new passion for “tinkering” with cars and turned your parking lot into a junkyard? Have you had enough of your neighbor’s year round blinking and singing Christmas lights? The HOA (or a property management company contracted by them in many cases) enforces the rules and has the power to fine residents that are not adhering to them.

4 Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

 

Carefully consider all that an HOA offers in terms of amenities, property maintenance and repairs, and peace of mind

 

What’s the Downside? Renting Restrictions

Sure you are happy in your new home right now, but what if you get a great job opportunity across the country? Well, you’ll just rent your home out, right? Not so fast! If you are in a condominium, many HOA’s limit the percentage of condos that can be rented at any given time, and there is often a long wait list to be able to rent your home. In other communities, HOA’s can have a say in who you rent to with restrictions that may eliminate tenants with children or specific breeds of dogs. You’ll want to investigate this before you buy.

 

Limited Freedom–It’s a Two Way Street

It’s so great that your neighbor can’t keep their giant work trailer in front of your home, right? Well guess what? You can’t put up that political sign or decorative flag. Same goes for window coverings and that manatee mailbox (pictured) that you love so much. Understand not just the community standards before you purchase your home, but the fine print details of what you can and cannot do to individualize your home.

5 Via Holy Taco

Via Holy Taco

Fees, Fees, and More Fees? Did I Mention the Fees?

Find out what HOA fees are like in your area for comparable properties. Depending on the neighborhood, HOA fees can range from $200 a year to $600 a month. It’s important that you know what you are getting into before you buy. Ask how much the HOA fees have increased over the past five years. Find out when was the last time major repairs, like the resurfacing of a pool deck were performed? Understand that special assessments for major repairs or maintenance can come without any warning, and unlike your mortgage, HOA dues are not tax deductible.  Additionally, some HOA’s will level fines for rule infractions so toe the line!

 

All HOA’s are Different. Do Your Due Diligence

Ask your agent to get a copy of the HOA by-laws, fee structure, and any other applicable information. You want to be clear about what is the HOA’s responsibility and what falls under your jurisdiction. Investigate the financial health of the HOA and what major expenditures they have approved over the past five years. This information will give you a sense for what kind of fee increases or special assessments you may expect down the line.

 

If you ultimately decide that the high cost of an HOA is worth it to you, consider getting involved  and even taking a leadership role within the HOA. If you’re a part of making the rules and approving expenditures, you just might get the best of both worlds.