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Ardell's Seattle Area Real Estate blog

Ardell's Seattle Area Real Estate blog
ARDELL's Seattle Area Real Estate Blog talks to consumers about the ins and outs of the Real Estate Market in the Seattle Area.
Articles: 1, 2, 3

Articles

What's so good about Bamboo Hardwood Floors?
2008-05-07 17:24:00
I recently listed a townhome at Rivertrail in Redmond where the owners replaced the carpet on the first floor with bamboo flooring from bamboohardwoods.com Above is a sample of the flooring used, and I am noting some info from the brochure so I have a link to some FAQ's about this "strand woven engineered" bamboo floor. Why Use Bamboo ? "Bamboo is harvested and replenished with no impact to the environment. It can be selectively harvested annually and is capable of complete regeneration without the need to replant. Because of its short growth cycle, it can be harvested in 3-5 years vs. 10-100 years for most tree woods." Strength and Durability "The Janka Ball Harness Test measures the force required to drive a 11.28mm steel ball half it's diameter into the wood. The test is a good indicator of resistance to denting as well as its harness for nailing and drilling." From softest to hardest: Fir-Pine-NA Cherry-Walnut-Moso Bamboo-R...
More About: Good , Floors
Transparent Real Estate Commissions
2008-04-09 22:55:00
It's challenging to come up with and post commissions as they really are, and in the manner that we charge them, as there is not really one hard and fast formula. Yet "it depends" is never a good answer, is it? Most of our seller clients believe that home buyers find homes on the internet vs. print ads. So almost always our commission is a flat fee that acknowledges that the seller doesn't want to waste money on print ads in newspapers or home magazines. We had one client recently who wanted no print ads and no Open Houses who sold her home for about $550,000. We charged a flat fee of $7,500 which we reduced to $6,000 at the end by splitting the home inspection request with her. That worked out well and everyone seemed to be fairly happy, though all of us would have been happier if the buyer didn't want an extra $3,000 :) That house sold to a buyer who had a buyer's agent, so the total commission to us was $6,000 and the amount to the buyer...
More About: Estate , Real Estate , Commissions , Real , Transparent
Home Sales Statistics King County Washington
2008-03-30 17:32:00
<$200,000 - $400,000 - $600,000 - $800,000 - $1,000,000 - >$1M + January YOY 01/05 361 - 37 1,157 - 34 319 - 37 116 - 46 42 - 61 48 - 104 01/06 222 - 27 971 - 29 481 - 32 162 - 41 74 - 61 66 - 59 01/07 114 - 29 895 - 45 510 - 53 208 - 56 85 - 45 91 - 77 01/08 73 - 58 578 - 61 375 - 59 120 - 57 65 - 69 68 - 69 February YOY 02/05 417 - 31 1,419 - 27 482 - 26 159 - 47 58 - 55 66 - 67 02/06 233 - 21 1,239 - 21 557 - 24 190 - 37 85 - 35 69 - 65 02/07 128 - 25 1,080 - 35 675 - 35 240 - 53 91 - 68 109 - 57 02/08 77 - 32 ...
More About: Washington , Sales , Home , Statistics , County
A snippet from a conversation with Jeff Turner in early 2007
2008-03-25 17:08:00
We have not reached the tipping point yet? Ahhh...we have reached many points of tipping... The (real estate) industry has about five main bullet points to address, and have already chosen how to address those to a large extent and over a period of say 15 years. Their chosen course in each disappoints me, obviously. Some are more problematic for me than others. Are these courses reversible? More importantly, should I care if they are not reversed or moved forward differently? Give me a sec. I have to go ask Jesus. 1) Broker survival-compensation models (becoming landlords of cowboys. The cowboys is my issue more than the fee structure. Starting our own company was a huge eye opener though. I see it...I get it...but I don't care much about the big picture of broker compensation...just the impact on consumers of the cowboys that structure creates. 2) Buyer Agency and all that goes with (disclosure of and negotiation of the Buyer Agent...
More About: Early , Turner , Snippet , Jeff , Conversation
Yes, Open Houses DO sell houses
2008-03-07 17:33:00
Did you ever ask yourself how it can be that you meet people all the time that first saw the home they live in at an Open House. Yet if you Google "Open Houses " you get story upon story of how Open Houses rarely, if ever, help to sell a house? Did you ever ask yourself why you can't drive through any neighborhood on a Sunday between 1 and 4 without running into scads of Open House tent signs pointing to an Open House, if they don't work? Mainly it's because Open Houses DO work for the owner who is selling the house but they DON'T work for the agent who is holding the house open. Many people see a house at an Open House and then call their agent to buy it. The same agents who will say Open Houses don't work, will be the same runs crying the blues that a buyer who came to an Open House bought the house...but not with the Open House agent. Because often the agent holding the Open House is not the listing agent, you read many stories about h...
More About: Sell
Pricing Your Home Right and Having Patience
2008-03-06 16:24:00
It is more difficult now more than ever to determine whether or not you have priced your home right. With average days on market doubling in many areas, it is hard to tell if you are not getting showings and offers because your price is incorrect, or simply because there are fewer buyers in the marketplace. It is not unusual for buyers to want to see price reductions, but it is also not unusual for buyers to want to pay less than asking price. Consequently you could get a triple whammy if you lower your price to get an offer, the offers are coming in at less than asking price AND then you get hit hard at the time of the Home Inspection. Still, I think the next 6 months will be better than the last six. Just try to be more patient, more flexible, and try not to worry if you don't get an offer in the first 10 days. The market is not a Buyer's Market and still leans to the seller side for the most part, but only if the seller is realistic and ...
More About: Patience
Greatest Real Estate Agent in the World
2008-02-14 17:45:00
Greatest Real Estate Agent in the World The contest has gotten pretty quiet, but I've decided to test how cateogies do or don't assist in putting your blog entries into better position. While you don't want to do totally odd things to increase your SEO, you do want to blog naturally, but in good form. Tagging and setting catergories like Greatest Real Estte Agent in the World may or may not be of value. Most people say categories are very important, so let's see if adding one makes any difference. I'm also going to link to this post in my Rain City Guide post and see if that pulls them closer together. If edited this post, the original is below. Greatest Real Estate Agent in the World is just a silly contest, an SEO one at that. But it makes me stop and think about the Greatest Agents that I have met here in Seattle Real Estate, including Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland plus the Seattle Neighborhoods of Green Lake, Greenwood,...
More About: Real Estate Agent
King County Home Sales 2005
2008-01-01 19:27:00
The purpose of these charts is to try to predict the market for 2008 as we compile the numbers on a month to month basis by comparing YOY Home Sales for Seattle King County . These percentages are needed so that we are not treating each month as if it represents 1/12 of all sales for the year. Perhaps an average of 2005 and 2006 and 2007? Not sure yet, and I will be posting 2006 and 2007 stats as well. So many more graphs and charts to come. Looking at the graphs below, you might think this unnecessary given the percentages are not dramatically different. But something tells me that changed in the two subsequent years, particularly in 2007. So having this historical data will come in handy much later in the process of comparing data. Apologies to those who may be bored with all of these stats, but 2008 is "anybody's guess" at the moment. So in order to base 2008 commentary on best guess vs. WAGuess, having these stats to refer to as 2008 ...
Seattle Real Estate - 2005
2008-01-01 19:14:00
These are the last real stats for 2005 when you add these to the last two posts, but before moving into 2006 stats, I'll have one last set for 2005 after these. Given 2005 sales were markedly higher than 2007 sales, but moreso for single family homes than condos, it's necessary that we track these markets separately.
More About: Seattle , Estate , Real Estate , Real
Seattle Real Estate
2007-12-29 20:21:00
Given Seattle Real Estate is one of the few markets in the Country that is faring well, and much better than most, many want to know how that is, why that is, and most importantly...if that is true and if it IS true, than will it sustain or are we just a "lagging market"? To consider our trends through 2008 and beyond, we need to go back to 2005 and 2006 as a comparison point. To some degree my theory is that Seattle did not have the same upswing from 1998 to 2005 as the rest of the Country. So Greenspan's prediction that an upswing will last 7 years would suggest that the rest of the Country completed their upswing by 2005, while Seattle did not. That would partially explain why we kept going up after the rest of the country stopped, and began their descent. I can't do all of King County prior to 2005, but will show the longer term trends in smaller apples to apples housing segments. But for the next many posts I will get the data up from 200...
More About: Real Estate
Seattle Area Home Sales
2007-12-22 18:50:00
For those of you trying to decide whether or not to sell your home in 2008, you need to ask yourself this question. If you do not sell in 2008, when will you likely sell at a later time? While it is true that selling in 2008 may be more difficult than in the hot market of 2005 or in the next hot market, you may be totally screwed if you are waiting a short time vs. selling now. Let's assume for a moment that we are at a point near the peak or just past the peak of that bell curve. If it takes three years to get to the bottom of the valley and eight years past that to get above the previous peak, you may be better off selling in 2008. Maybe that will be a fraction less than you could have gotten had you sold 12 months ago. But it very well could be 20% more than you will eventually sell for, if you can't wait until a very long time from now. The expectation of market changes is that since prices have doubled, they may drop back by 30% or eve...
More About: Seattle , Sales , Home , Area
Home sales way down October 2007
2007-11-10 19:04:00
That was scary. In the first three columns you can see that July 05 to 06 to 07 produces an increasing number of sales. In the second three you can see the difference in October sales from 05 to 06 to 07. So we can't just say "Of course sales are lower in October than in July. Yes, that is true. But the deep reduction in sales for October of 2007 cannot be explained away by brushing off the difference as July to October issues. This raises some more questions for me. Does this have something to do with this price range? I doubt it. But let's keep going to see if we can pinpoint exactly when this trend started, since July sales 05 to 06 to 07 were increasing from year to year while Octobers are...well...pretty darned scary. First I'll do all sales of King County on this same basis without restrictions as to price. In the next post I will do them all together, and then strip out the Single Family Home s sales from the condo sales.
More About: Sales , October 2007
King County Sales $400,000 to $600,000
2007-11-10 18:23:00
Throughout the year I have been tracking the market in this manner to see the changes in inventory and the "propensity of the market to sell". Since one would expect the market to sell unevenly from month to month, and more in spring and Summer than in Fall and Winter, I am using this "fan of sales" method to add more value to Absorption Rate statistics. It sounds good in July to say "there are 3 months of inventory", but not accurate. Using the three months prior to determine absorption rates gives a false picture, as you can see from the below graph. Absorption Rate statistics is an area where hindsight does NOT have 20/20 vision. Inventory today in this price range of $400,000 to $600,000 in King County is 3,997 on market vs. 3,386 on July 6, 2007. Properties currently in escrow of 1,030 compared to 1,657 on July 6, 2007 tells us that Inventory is up 18%, while pending sales are down 60%. Closed sales are down 45% comparing July to October. ...
More About: Sales
Seattle Area Real Estate Market
2007-08-22 17:41:00
Every worker has "a toolbox". A handyman or contractor's toolbox has many and varied implements required to perform a skilled service. The tool without the man of skill to use it, is not much use to anyone. The man with no tool is equally impotent at his task without the tool. Real Estate Agents are no different from other "workers" in the marketplace. Our "toolbox" is so large that we could never "carry" our tools off to work with us each day. We have sign posts and sign panels and riders and lockboxes and flyers and cameras. We have room measurers and surgical booties and mortgage calculators and most of all, we have our years of experience with more things packed into our brains than seems possible to store in there. Like little tips on how to turn the owners sink, he thought was beyond repair, into an almost new looking version of that thought ruined beyond repair. Just a bottle of bleach for $1.09 and letting the water sit overnight. ...
More About: Seattle , Real Estate , Real Estate Market , Market
Seattle Area Real Estate Market
2007-08-22 17:41:00
Every worker has "a toolbox".  A handyman or contractor's toolbox has many and varied implements required to perform a skilled service.  The tool without the man of skill to use it, is not much use to anyone.  The man with no tool is equally impotent at his task without the tool. Real Estate Agents are no different from other "workers" in the marketplace.  Our "toolbox" is so large that we could never "carry" our tools off to work with us each day.  We have sign posts and sign panels and riders and lockboxes and flyers and cameras.  We have room measurers and surgical booties and mortgage calculators and most of all, we have our years of experience with more things packed into our brains than seems possible to store in there.  Like little tips on how to turn the owners sink, he thought was beyond repair, into an almost new looking version of that thought ruined beyond repair.  Just a bottle of blea...
More About: Seattle , Real Estate , Real Estate Market , Market
Average Credit Scores
2007-08-11 19:24:00
Over at Trulia Voices, some asked what the "average" credit score was and we Trulia Voices all started guessing at answers. Our guesses weren't half bad. But I decided to go a step further and find the actual answer. Not sure how up to date that first chart is, but it seems to be fairly recent as I found a previous one that had scores a little higher. This one has 42% of the population at less than 700. The previous one had 40% of the poplulation at less than 700. Still, I'm surprised that 60% have over 700... Until you look at the per age group break down. While this chart is old from back in 2005, it would suggest that the average age of an area might also give a clue as to the average credit score. Also, if most of the younger people are the ones buying property and getting mortgages, than the average credit score of a person applying for a mortgage, might be less than the average score of people generally. So i...
More About: Credit , Scores , Average
Average Credit Scores
2007-08-11 19:24:00
Over at Trulia Voices, some asked what the "average" credit score was and we Trulia Voices all started guessing at answers. Our guesses weren't half bad.  But I decided to go a step further and find the actual answer.  Not sure how up to date that first chart is, but it seems to be fairly recent as I found a previous one that had scores a little higher.  This one has 42% of the population at less than 700.  The previous one had 40% of the poplulation at less than 700.  Still, I'm surprised that 60% have over 700...     Until you look at the per age group break down.  While this chart is old from back in 2005, it would suggest that the average age of an area might also give a clue as to the average credit score.  Also, if most of the younger people are the ones buying property and getting mortgages, than the average credit score of a person applying for a mortgage, might be less than the average score of people generally. So ...
More About: Credit , None , Scores , Average
Blog Tour USA - Seattle
2007-08-07 19:35:00
Recently in San Francisco at Inman News' Real Estate Connect, I had the honor of assisting in stripping off the decals from theBlog Tour USA RV with Joe and Rudy of Sellsius, my partner Kim Harris and Kevin Tomlinson of South Beach Condo Blog. The above photo was takin in front of my house when Sellsius was here in Seattle .  Bottom row left to right is Marlow Harris, Stephanie, Deborah Burns, Rudy Bacharaty, me, Rhonda Porter.  Top row right to left is Jillayne Schlicke, Caleb Mardini, Matt Heaton, Robbie Paplin, Larry Cragun, Joe Ferrara, Kim Harris, Galen Ward, Tim of Seattle Bubble and Mike a tech guy at Windermere.
Blog Tour USA - Seattle
2007-08-07 19:35:00
Recently in San Francisco at Inman News' Real Estate Connect, I had the honor of assisting in stripping off the decals from theBlog Tour USA RV with Joe and Rudy of Sellsius, my partner Kim Harris and Kevin Tomlinson of South Beach Condo Blog. The above photo was takin in front of my house when Sellsius was here in Seattle . Bottom row left to right is Marlow Harris, Stephanie, Deborah Burns, Rudy Bacharaty, me, Rhonda Porter. Top row right to left is Jillayne Schlicke, Caleb Mardini, Matt Heaton, Robbie Paplin, Larry Cragun, Joe Ferrara, Kim Harris, Galen Ward, Tim of Seattle Bubble and Mike a tech guy at Windermere.
Starting Your Home Search
2007-07-27 21:55:00
1)  Determine your price range - 3 to 4 times your annual income plus your downpayment, is a good guideline if you don't want to talk with a lender yet.  Stick closer to 3 times. 2)  Go to my site or any Broker's Website with a property search function 3)  Put in all of the cities you might like to live in 4)  Put in your price range 5)  If you are using my site, you will see two types of property.  Active and Offer STI.  The Offer STI properties are "SOLD Subject to Inspection", but will most often better represent what your dollars will buy in a given area. 6)  Narrow down the places where you would like to live and can afford, using this method It's a start. Any questions?  Just ask below or email me.
More About: Home , Search
Starting Your Home Search
2007-07-27 21:55:00
1) Determine your price range - 3 to 4 times your annual income plus your downpayment, is a good guideline if you don't want to talk with a lender yet. Stick closer to 3 times. 2) Go to my site or any Broker's Website with a property search function 3) Put in all of the cities you might like to live in 4) Put in your price range 5) If you are using my site, you will see two types of property. Active and Offer STI. The Offer STI properties are "SOLD Subject to Inspection", but will most often better represent what your dollars will buy in a given area. 6) Narrow down the places where you would like to live and can afford, using this method It's a start. Any questions? Just ask below or email me.
More About: Home , Search
Pricing Homes Is Our #1 Challenge
2007-07-23 19:28:00
I dubbed 2007 the year of the Never Ending January. In January of almost any given year, stale inventory from "the previous year", which on Jan 1 could be two weeks ago, sits - while everyone runs for "the hot NEW listing". In most years, that January market fades into "high season" long before this time of year. But in 2007 we seem to be having a never ending January. New listings are either gobbled up quickly, or left to go stale and rot along with the rest of the stale inventory, some of which is still hanging around since 2006. Is the market slow? I can't say it's slow, since my most recent seller closing had its best offer in less than 12 hours, and sold at top dollar. What we are seeing are buyers being exceptionally discerning, and looking really hard for value. We are also seeing buyers saying, at these interest rates THAT just isn't worth it. The rise in interest rates, though only up a fraction, has had an impact on people's w...
More About: Homes , Challenge , Halle
Pricing Homes Is Our #1 Challenge
2007-07-23 19:28:00
I dubbed 2007 the year of the Never Ending January.  In January of almost any given year, stale inventory from "the previous year", which on Jan 1 could be two weeks ago, sits - while everyone runs for "the hot NEW listing". In most years, that January market fades into "high season" long before this time of year.  But in 2007 we seem to be having a never ending January.  New listings are either gobbled up quickly, or left to go stale and rot along with the rest of the stale inventory, some of which is still hanging around since 2006. Is the market slow?  I can't say it's slow, since my most recent seller closing had its best offer in less than 12 hours, and sold at top dollar.  What we are seeing are buyers being exceptionally discerning, and looking really hard for value.  We are also seeing buyers saying, at these interest rates THAT just isn't worth it.  The rise in interest rates, though only up a fra...
More About: Homes , Challenge , Allen , Halle
I want this house-it has great Onions!
2007-07-13 17:33:00
I might not think this photo was odd if it were the #13 shot or so of 15 photos.  But it was one of ONLY FOUR total photos! Picture of front of house.  Picture of back of house.  ONE photo of ONE room, which was not the kitchen...and then this shot of the food in the pantry. Call me crazy, but I've never had someone say, "ARDELL, I MUST see this house.  It has some great Tuppeware and some of the best onions I've EVER seen!  
More About: House , Great , Ouse , Onion , Onions
I want this house-it has great Onions!
2007-07-13 17:33:00
I might not think this photo was odd if it were the #13 shot or so of 15 photos. But it was one of ONLY FOUR total photos! Picture of front of house. Picture of back of house. ONE photo of ONE room, which was not the kitchen...and then this shot of the food in the pantry. Call me crazy, but I've never had someone say, "ARDELL, I MUST see this house. It has some great Tuppeware and some of the best onions I've EVER seen!
More About: House , Great , Onion , Onions
This House Comes With Coyotes
2007-07-12 18:09:00
I don't often show property down in Maple Valley, but it is hard to find a more idyllic setting at such a reasonable purchase price. When the owner told us about the coyotes that you can hear at night, I thought that would be alarming to the couple with two small children.  But no.  Apparently people who like to live out in a country setting, are well prepared for a coyote to stop by and visit. The couple wasn't in hearing distance when the owner was talking about the coyotes, so I said, "You may need a dog", to which the couple responded instantly, "Oh, you mean the coyotes." Didn't surprise them one bit.
More About: House , Ouse
This House Comes With Coyotes
2007-07-12 18:09:00
I don't often show property down in Maple Valley, but it is hard to find a more idyllic setting at such a reasonable purchase price. When the owner told us about the coyotes that you can hear at night, I thought that would be alarming to the couple with two small children. But no. Apparently people who like to live out in a country setting, are well prepared for a coyote to stop by and visit. The couple wasn't in hearing distance when the owner was talking about the coyotes, so I said, "You may need a dog", to which the couple responded instantly, "Oh, you mean the coyotes." Didn't surprise them one bit.
More About: House
Homes Sales in King County 2007
2007-07-06 20:23:00
Other than Inventory being a little overstated, the King County stats in the $400,000 to $600,000 range don't differ a lot from my normal microcosm of Kirkland, Bellevue and Redmond stats.  I think wen you do all of King County, the higher end doesn't sell as well as the K-B-R area.  Other than that, nothing of great note here as far as I can see. I don't use average sale price as a sign of appreciation the way that many do. I use apples to apples specifics for that.  I'm seeing a 25% to 75% overall gain for people who bought to years ago and are selling now, depending on product and area.  The higher appreciation for the lower priced properties, generally speaking.  Under $200,000 gaining more than the $400,000 to $600,000 properties due to a number of reasons, most importantly being "you buy it because it's there and can afford it" and don't fine tune value as much. It's been an interesting stat calculation time.  I'll post the two b...
More About: Sales , Homes
Homes Sales in King County 2007
2007-07-06 20:23:00
Other than Inventory being a little overstated, the King County stats in the $400,000 to $600,000 range don't differ a lot from my normal microcosm of Kirkland, Bellevue and Redmond stats. I think wen you do all of King County, the higher end doesn't sell as well as the K-B-R area. Other than that, nothing of great note here as far as I can see. I don't use average sale price as a sign of appreciation the way that many do. I use apples to apples specifics for that. I'm seeing a 25% to 75% overall gain for people who bought to years ago and are selling now, depending on product and area. The higher appreciation for the lower priced properties, generally speaking. Under $200,000 gaining more than the $400,000 to $600,000 properties due to a number of reasons, most importantly being "you buy it because it's there and can afford it" and don't fine tune value as much. It's been an interesting stat calculation time. I'll post the two big 6...
More About: Sales , Homes
2007 six mo. home sale stats K-B-R
2007-07-06 20:08:00
  A lovely progession of color expansion moving from Jan sales through June sales and into Active and In Escrow.  Totally as expected.  Rarely does life fall exactly where you expect it to fall.  This segment involves the largest number of home buyer's and sellers.  At year end I will add $200,000 to $400,000 to this category.  But since it currently has a basically unexplained abnormality with closings down in June, I'm leaving them out, as that point is best highlighted separately for May vs. June statistics.
More About: Home , Sale , Stats , Stat
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