The Current Cost of Renting vs. Buying

Deciding to buy a home instead of renting is a tough call, especially in a hot real estate market like this one where housing is scarce. This infographic shows that the tide has shifted a bit, and it will actually cost you less to purchase a home than it is to rent a home, apartment, condo or townhouse. Buying right now costs significantly less than renting.

 

Here are some other statistics from Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy Report:

  • Interest rates remain low, and though home prices are appreciating, they haven’t outpaced rental appreciation.
  • Shifts in the ‘rent vs. buy’ decision are largely driven by changes in mortgage rates.
  • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1% (the current average is 4%) for renting to be cheaper than buying.

For more on renting versus buying, please read these two previous blog posts:

If you’re thinking of buying instead of renting this summer, give us a call. We can help you analyze your situation, so you can make the right choice.

Zillow Testimonial: “The Ultimate Negotiator”

Thank you to the Knobloch family for this wonderful, five-star review on Zillow! The Knoblochs sold a single-family home in Auburn in 2015 for approximately $525,000.

Testimonial: Team Marti is amazing!“Marti is the ultimate negotiator. She works hard to get your house sold and is the utmost professional when dealing with the difficult emotions of both seller and buyer. She makes things happen. She knows areas thoroughly and has been active in real estate for a long time. We so appreciated her calmness and let’s get this done attitude!! Thanks, Marti, for everything!

Read this five-star testimonial and dozens of others on Zillow.

Team Marti’s Top 10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Team Marti's Top 10 Tips for First-Time HomebuyersA seller’s market can be a tough place for first-time homebuyers to purchase their first home, but don’t despair. It is certainly doable. Educate yourself on what’s needed to succeed in a seller’s market and work with an experienced Realtor who will give you world-class, 24/7 service. Here are our top 10 tips for first-time homebuyers. Good luck!

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. We recommend doing this before you begin shopping a home, so you know how much home you can afford and what type of credit you have, which will ultimately impact your loan terms, including the interest rates.
  2. Begin your home search online to get an idea of what’s available. Check out Realtor.com, Zillow, Northwest MLS or your favorite Realtor’s website.
  3. Work with a Realtor early on in your process. A talented Realtor can help guide you through what can be a very complex process, and offer advice specific to your situation. Get recommendations from friends and colleagues, and be sure to check out the referrals online before you meet with them. Read their online reviews and testimonials and their LinkedIn profile to see how long they’ve been selling real estate. You might also interview a couple of different agents to see who might be a good fit for you.
  4. Know the difference between your wants and needs in a first home. List all the features you want in a home and categorize them as ‘must haves,’ ‘should haves,’ and ‘absolute wish list.’ Learn more here.
  5. Check out the neighborhood and schools. The features of your home will be very important to you, but the neighborhood where you want to buy should also play a factor. Are there similar homes in the neighborhood? Are they well maintained? What amenities are nearby (e.g., parks, restaurants, shopping)? If you have a school-age child, or will be starting a family, what schools will your child attend? Visit the neighborhood at different times of day, if possible.
  6. Attend open houses. This is a great way to tour homes on the market to see what’s available. Keep in mind though that in a HOT real estate market like this one, a new listing may receive multiple offers the day of the open house. If you fall in love with a house you are touring, you’ll want to act on it right away.
  7. Write a winning offer. In a seller’s market, you need to bring your best offer to the table with as few contingencies as possible. Work with your Realtor to offer a fair but attractive price.
  8. Understand that your offer might get rejected. Competition is tough these days, so you may not get the first home you put an offer in on. Be patient. It will happen.
  9. Be prepared to cover closing costs. In a seller’s market, the seller tends to have control, so prepare to cover your own closing costs which will be on top of your down payment. Here are some additional guidelines.
  10. Don’t expect any home to be perfect. Sure, you have your heart set on a dream home with all of the desired features, but that is unrealistic. Realtor.com suggests you focus on three main factors: price, size and location. If you get all three, great, but getting two is more likely.

Good luck, and let us know if Team Marti can help!

[Sources: Inman, Realtor.com and CNN Money]

Zillow Testimonial: Honest, Up Front and Accommodating

Thanks to Tammy McQ for this five-star testimonial on Zillow. Much appreciated! We were glad to help, especially at such a difficult time.

Five-Star Zillow Testimonial“Marti helped us prepare and sell our mother’s house after her passing. She was compassionate and accommodating. She is honest and upfront. There are no questions when she is done taking care of an issue. I find that her knowledge of Kent and surrounding areas is by far the best. She has your best interest at heart and is willing to help you accomplish all the tasks that you need to do.

She has great references for companies that we needed to handle all the issues we came across after the building/house inspection. Her assistants that I got to deal with were equally accommodating and helpful. She has put together a great team! I definitely will use her services when I am ready to sell my home. In summary….she ROCKS!”

Read this testimonial and others on Zillow.

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

Five Reasons to Hire a Real Estate ProfessionalHome buying and selling are complicated, detailed processes and, because they are often the most significant financial commitments of your lifetime, they can be highly stressful too. However, with a real estate professional on your side, buying or selling a home can be manageable, even enjoyable. Here are 5 reasons to hire a real estate professional when buying or selling a Kent, Covington or Maple Valley home.

  1. Rules, regs and paperwork. Each state regulates the contracts needed to buy or sell a home and these regulations change all the time. However, a real estate professional – ideally a Realtor – is up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations, and she can streamline the process for you.
  2. 180 steps to closing. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there are 180 steps a full-service Realtor follows in return for their sales commission, including everything from pre-listing activities and entering a home into the MLS database to the home inspection and post-closing follow-up. Yes, 180! Let your real estate professional focus on those steps, while you focus on selecting the right home and getting ready for your move.
  3. Negotiation. Even if you enjoy a good negotiation, it can be very stressful, particularly when you are talking about a transaction worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A real estate professional like me can take the emotion out of that process for you while putting years of negotiating experience to use.
  4. Home value. A real estate professional has the experience to price your home correctly, based on its true value and how current market conditions will affect the value. While you may know what you paid for your home and what you need to get out of it, a real estate professional can provide an objective value and her recommendations for putting a price tag on your home.
  5. Market conditions. The Seattle real estate market is one of the hottest in the country right now. An experienced and trusted real estate professional will stay on top of selling trends and know the ins and outs of the local real estate market to ensure you get the best deal possible.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home this summer, contact Team Marti now for a no-obligation consultation of your situation.

A Seller’s Market is the Best Time to List Your Home

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, but haven’t decided yet, consider this. We are currently in a seller’s market. Typically, the real estate market has 6 months of home inventory available. However, whenever inventory dips below 6 months, it is considered a seller’s market. According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, there is only a 4.2 month supply available.

 

 

This morning’s Seattle Times shows that Seattle has led the country in home price growth for the seventh straight month, and in Seattle, 90 percent of homes sold in the last two months have been involved in a bidding war, reports Redfin. When a bidding war occurs, prospective buyers put their best offer forward, many times above the home’s asking price.

Still not sure? Call Team Marti today. We’d be happy to review your situation and explain your options and the current real estate market in South King County.

John L. Scott Realtor® Marti Reeder Named “Best of Kent” for Ninth Time

Marti Reeder, a full-time, full-service Realtor® and managing broker with John L. Scott, was named “Best Real Estate Agent” by Kent Reporter readers in their 2017 “Best of Kent” contest. This is the ninth “Best of Kent” award for Reeder. In addition, Reeder was a finalist in the “Best of Covington – Maple Valley – Black Diamond” contest in the real estate agent category.

The honors come just months after Reeder was named to John L. Scott’s Chairman’s Circle for the third year in a row for her work in 2016. Also, last year Reeder was the top residential producer in the John L. Scott Covington-Kent-Maple Valley office. In the last few years, Reeder has sold an average of one home per week, and was the top producer in three out of four quarters for the office last year.

“This is such an interesting time for real estate, and I love helping people navigate this seller’s market, whether they are buying their dream home or selling an existing one to upgrade or move onto their next one,” Reeder said. “Being recognized for doing work I love is just icing on the cake! Thanks to everyone who voted for me. Your trust in me means the world.”

As a lifelong resident of King County, Reeder focuses on clients in the South King County communities of Kent, Covington, Maple Valley, Auburn, Black Diamond and Renton. As a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Reeder also dedicates her time and expertise to educating home buyers and sellers on the value of home ownership and ensuring that they understand the ever-changing real estate and mortgage industries, including new rules and regulations that may affect them. Reeder is the leader of Team Marti, a small staff that helps Reeder serve her clients 24/7, whether they are buying, selling or building a home.

For more information about Reeder or to talk to her about your real estate needs, visit MartiReeder.com or call 253-246-8938 (office) or 206-391-0388 (cell). You can also read testimonials about Reeder on Realtor.com and Zillow.

About Marti Reeder:

With 12 1/2 years as a Realtor® and more than 30 years of industry experience, Reeder is affiliated with the Covington-Kent-Maple Valley John L. Scott office. She is a full-time, full-service real estate broker, serving the South King County region. She has a background in mortgages, home inspections, construction and real estate. Reeder is also a Certified Residential Specialist, representing only 3% of the Realtor® population. As a CRS, Reeder is a dedicated professional working to ensure her clients receive exceptional service by tapping into her extensive training.

Reeder specializes in staging and marketing her listings as well as helping buyers, whether they are first-time homebuyers or are downsizing or upsizing their current homes. When not listing or selling homes, Reeder can be found blogging about real estate or playing with her grandchildren and is active in the Kent community. She is a member of the Kent and Covington Chambers of Commerce, Kent Downtown Partnership and Kent Kiwanis, and she supports a number of local nonprofits. Reeder is married to Merle Reeder, who was recently appointed to the position of commissioner to the Soos Creek Water & Sewer District. Learn more about Reeder at MartiReeder.com.

Real Estate Lingo for Homebuyers: Part 2

Continued from May 15, 2017

Freddie Mac Real Estate GlossaryBuying a home can be a daunting and complex process, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right Realtor, you can feel confident that you are being well represented and that she has your back. It can also help to understand real estate lingo. Here is part two of a Freddie Mac real estate glossary you can use to educate yourself on the home buying process.

Margin: A percentage added to the index for an ARM to establish the interest rate on each adjustment date.

Market Value: The current value of your home based on what purchaser would pay. An appraisal is sometimes used to determine market value.

Mortgage: A loan using your home as collateral. In some states the term mortgage is also used to describe the document you sign [to grant the lender a lien on your home]. It may also be used to indicate the amount of money you borrow, with interest, to purchase your house. The amount of your mortgage is usually the purchase price of the home minus your down payment.

Mortgage Broker: An independent finance professional who specializes in bringing together borrowers and lenders to complete real estate mortgages.

Mortgage Insurance (MI or PMI): Insurance needed for mortgages with low down payments (usually less than 20% of the price of the home).

Mortgage Rate: The cost or the interest rate you pay to borrow the money to buy your house.

Net Monthly Income: Your take-home pay after taxes. It is the amount of money that you actually receive in your paycheck.

Offer: A formal bid from the homebuyer to the home seller to purchase a home.

Points: 1% of the amount of the mortgage loan. For example, if a loan is made for $50,000, one point equals $500.

Pre-Approval Letter: A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you’re a serious buyer.

Pre-Qualification Letter: A letter from a mortgage lender that states that you’re pre-qualified to buy a home, but does not commit the lender to a particular mortgage amount.

Principal: The amount of money borrowed to buy your house or the amount of the loan that has not yet been repaid to the lender. This does not include the interest you will pay to borrow that money. The principal balance (sometimes called the outstanding or unpaid principal balance) is the amount owed on the loan minus the amount you’ve repaid.

Real Estate Professional: An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. The real estate professional is paid a percentage of the home sale price by the seller. Unless you’ve specifically contracted with a buyer’s agent, the real estate professional represents the interest of the seller. Real estate professionals may be able to refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers, but are generally not involved in the lending process. [Note: A real estate agent and a Realtor are not the same thing. Click here to learn the difference.]

Refinance: Getting a new mortgage with all or some portion of the proceeds used to pay off the original mortgage.

Title: The right to, and the ownership of, property. A title or deed is sometimes used as proof of ownership of land.

Title Insurance: Insurance that protects lenders and homeowners against legal problems with the title.

Truth-In-Lending Act (TILA): Federal law that requires disclosure of a truth-in-lending statement for consumer loans. The statement includes a summary of the total cost of credit, such as the APR and other specifics of the loan.

Underwriting: The process a lender uses to determine loan approval. It involves evaluating the property and the borrower’s credit and ability to pay the mortgage.

Click here to read Real Estate Lingo for Homebuyers, Part 1.

[Source: Freddie Mac]

 

Testimonial: “Absolutely the best!”

Five Star Review for Realtor Marti ReederThanks to Rodney Allen, a Kent home seller, for this five-star Zillow review on April 17, 2017.

Marti and her team are absolutely the best. We cannot thank her and the team enough with help selling our home. We listed on a Thursday and our house was sold by Sunday for the full asking price plus some.

Their communication with us throughout the process was top notch and whenever we had a question, she or a member of team was right there to answer it.

Here is the key to success…you have to listen to what Marti tells you and asks you to do. She really knows what she is talking about. We followed her recommendations and it paid off.

This is the 5th house that we have owned and sold. And hands down, this was the best experience we have had in any house buy/sell transaction.

Some may say it is because of the condition of the market and while that may somewhat be true, I cannot say enough about how Marti and her team took care of us throughout.

Take it from one happy seller, there are many realtors out there, but there is ONLY 1 Marti Reeder. Why settle when you can have the best? Don’t hesitate…call Marti…I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.”