Structuring Your Offer to Dominate the Competition

In our current market, we’ve noticed an influx of buyers making cash offers on the homes they
want. This is great news for the seller, but if you’re another buyer who also wants to make a bid
on the same home as a cash buyer, this can present some challenges. You’ll need to make
your offer especially enticing to compete with cash buyers.

One way to do this is to get a letter from your lender—one that is so strong that it puts your offer
on par with that of a cash buyer. Now, this letter isn’t a pre-approval letter, but rather an
underwritten approval letter that’s subject only to title and appraisal . If you do that, you will
be miles ahead of any other financed offer.
Above and beyond that, another thing to consider is to shorten—or eliminate entirely—some
contingencies in your offer . For example, you could shorten the inspection contingency from
the typical 10-day period to one or two days. In fact, if you get permission from the listing agent,
you could schedule the inspector to come to the house prior to the seller examining their offers.
Though it might not seem like a big deal, having an open, positive line of communication
with the listing agent can make all the difference between a seller accepting or rejecting your
offer. Too many agents take things for granted and have an aggressive demeanor when it
comes to representing their clients, but a good agent avoids coming off harsh or aloof.
Adding an escalation clause to your offer may well keep it on the table , too. Essentially,
this is a clause in your contract that states you’re willing to pay X amount for the home, but if a
competitor offers a higher price than that, you’re willing to increase your offer to Y amount. With
this clause, you could potentially outbid your competition without necessarily exceeding your
budget, and it may just entice the seller to strongly consider your quality financed offer over a
cash offer.
Additionally, try writing a “love letter” to the seller . This letter should explain what you love
about the seller’s home, why you’re so motivated to buy it, and what it would mean for you and
your family to live there. This makes the seller feel good, and it also helps them get to know you,
which can give you the edge in a multiple-offer situation.
Finally, make sure your offer is complete . We’ve had scenarios in which there were several
competing buyers, some of whom failed to fully complete their offers by leaving certain boxes
unchecked or providing inaccurate or confusing information. This doesn’t necessarily happen
that often, but diligence and accuracy are both qualities that can set your offer apart, as well.

Call us today at (360) 303-2734 to learn more today!

The Top Reasons to Own Your Home

The Top Reasons to Own Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • June is National Homeownership Month!
  • Now is a great time to reflect on the many benefits of homeownership that go way beyond the financial.
  • What reasons do you have to own your own home? Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

Top Days to List Your Home for Sale

Top Days to List Your Home for Sale [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • ATTOM Data Solutions conducted an analysis of more than 29 million single family home and condo sales over the past eight years to determine the top days to list your home for sale.
  • The top five days to list your home brought in a 10% premium over market value and are all in either May or June!
  • “Families start their home search when they know their kids will be out of school and when the weather is ideal for home viewing and moving, giving home sellers an upper hand in price negotiations.”
  • There is still time to list your home before these dates pass you by! Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

Buying a Home this Year? Here Comes the Inventory!

The top reason homeowners cited for not listing their home for sale in 2018, was their belief that they would be unable to find a home to buy. After 3 years of declining inventory for sale, we’re finally starting to see more listings come to market! Let’s get together to chat about what this means for our market!

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay? | MyKCM

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed consistently throughout 2018 until the middle of November. After that point, rates returned to levels that we saw in August to close out the year at 4.55%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

After the first week of 2019, rates have continued their downward trend. As Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater notes, this is great news for homebuyers. He states,

“Mortgage rates declined to start the new year with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipping to 4.51 percent. Low mortgage rates combined with decelerating home price growth should get prospective homebuyers excited to buy.”

In some areas of the country, the combination of rising interest rates and rising home prices had made some first-time buyers push pause on their home searches. But with more inventory coming to market, continued price growth, and interest rates slowing, this is a great time to get back in the market!

Will This Trend Continue?

According to the latest forecasts from Fannie Maethe Mortgage Bankers Association,and the National Association of Realtors, mortgage rates will increase over the course of 2019, but not at the same pace they did in 2018. You can see the forecasts broken down by quarter below.

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Even a small increase (or decrease) in interest rates can impact your monthly housing cost. If buying a home in 2019 is on your short list of goals to achieve, let’s get together to find out if you are able to today.

5 Reasons to List Your Home This Holiday Season

Every year at this time there are many homeowners who decide to wait until after the holidays to list their homes. Here are 5 powerful reasons why waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn’t make sense. Let’s get together today to discuss how we can market your home this holiday season! Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-305 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

 ‘

Where are Home Values Headed over the Next Few Years?

Where are Home Values Headed over the Next Few Years? | MyKCM

There are many questions about where home prices will be next year as well as where they may be headed over the next several years to come. We have gathered the most reliable sources to help answer these questions:

The Home Price Expectation Survey – A survey of over 100 market analysts, real estate experts, and economists conducted by Pulsenomics each quarter.

Zelman & Associates – The firm leverages unparalleled housing market expertise, extensive surveys of industry executives, and rigorous financial analysis to deliver proprietary research and advice to leading global institutional investors and senior-level company executives.

Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) – As the leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, the MBA enables members to successfully deliver fair, sustainable, and responsible real estate financing within ever-changing business environments.

Freddie Mac – An organization whose mission is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market in all economic conditions extending to all communities from coast to coast.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) – The largest association of real estate professionals in the world.

Fannie Mae – A leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, providing access to affordable mortgage financing in all markets always.

Here are their projections of prices going forward:

Where are Home Values Headed over the Next Few Years? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Every source sees home prices continuing to appreciate – just at lower percentages as we move through the next several years.  Have questions? Call us today at 1-888-713-3056!

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019?

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019? | MyKCM

The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment; the higher the rate, the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to know where rates are headed when deciding to start your home search.

Below is a chart created using Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic & Housing Marketing Outlook. As you can see, interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next year.

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019? | MyKCM

How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?

Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated 6.2% from this time last year and are predicted to be 5.1% higher next year.

If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become a reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next homes.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth, so don’t wait until next year! Let’s get together to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home now.

Vacancy Rates at Historic Lows. Looking to Invest? Now is the Time!

The Bellingham and Whatcom County rental vacancy rates have been hovering around 1% for the past 5 years. Owning a rental in our area is an incredible investment. The Bellingham and Whatcom County real estate market has many options for those looking to make a real estate investments from large commercial sites to apartment buildings and small rentals homes, there is something to fit your every need.

J Team Vacancy Rate

From large condominiums complexes in Bellingham’s historic Fairhaven District to modest townhouses and apartment click here to search for multi family real estate in Bellingham and around Whatcom County. Bellingham is home to Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College making rentals highly sought after in the city.

Bellingham Single Family Investment and Rental Real Estate

Bellingham and Whatcom County is home to many college students and business executives seeking rental housing. Take advantage of a great real estate market and low interest rates and invest in a rental home. Search from our list to see what the Bellingham Real Estate market has to offer

 

Want to stay informed on the latest investment properties to hit the market? Sign up for our Homes by Email service to be alerted via email as new properties become available!

For more information on investment real estate in Bellingham or Whatcom County feel free to call us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com, we’d be happy to help!

Bellingham Real Estate Market Update & Happenings!

Market Snap Shot Jan 18

As we look into our real estate crystal ball, the question always is “so where have we been & where are we going?”

The “where have we been part” is pretty simple as it’s already logged into the history books. Closed Bellingham residential sales for 2017 were 1042 homes as opposed to 1145 homes in 2016. The median sales price for a home in Bellingham in 2016 was $363,465 as opposed to $393,249 in 2017. We are started the year off with approximately 111 active listings with an additional 79 homes pending as opposed to 193 active listings a year ago with, at that time, 86 pending listings.

So with that in the rear view mirror, what does the road ahead look like & what are some of the chuck holes in the way that could throw a monkey wrench in things?

First, we have a new Tax Code.  As it was initially stated, it had all of the real estate pundits up in arms, but as it went through the Congressional “Grinder” it was trimmed down to the point where it may not have the negative impact people initially felt.  Now in the interest of full disclosure, even though I graduated fairly high in my class at the U of W (sorry Cougar fans), accounting was not necessarily my bailiwick.  Even if it was, I’d ask you to consult with your personal accountant or financial planner to see how it impacts you personally.

So “Where are we headed in 2018”? 

A local lender posts a current 30 year fixed rate of 4.125%.  All indications are that rates will increase in 2018 with Freddie Mac projections to 4.6 in the 4th quarter of 2018.

Population data indicates that between 2010 and 2016, Whatcom County has seen a significant increase of people in their 60s and 70s. During the same time there’s been a decrease in the number of people in their 20s and 40s

A recent article in the Bellingham Herald quoted Zillow Economists as predicting a 3.1% increase in Bellingham home prices over the next 12 months, saying that the hottest neighborhoods ie: Lettered Streets, will have a 12 month increase of 4%, the York District an increase of 3.8% & the Columbia District of 3.7%.

As of today’s date, there are 87 residential homes pending in Bellingham.  Of this number, 34 pended within 5 days or less of the list date.  While we won’t know until the homes close, my guess is that with the quick pending dates, the probability is that the homes sold in excess of their list prices.  In the past 30 days, 69 residential homes sold.  Of that number, 27 sold either at or greater than their list price.

With that ground work, from what I hear on the streets, in my open houses & see statistically, I think, in Bellingham,

  • Inventory will remain at historically low levels.

 

  • While rising interest rates will make it more difficult for entry level buyers to find homes, it will have less or no effect on an older population that appears to be moving into the area & many times buying without the need of a home loan.

 

  • As climate change affects other parts of the US, our weather & lifestyle in the Pacific North West will be more appealing to others, causing them to move in increasing numbers.

 

  • Demand for Bellingham real estate will continue to outstrip supply resulting in increased prices. Quite frankly, I think the increases we experience will outstrip those projected by Zillow’s forecasters

In a nut shell, prepare for more of the same from our fast & furious real estate market.

If you have questions about the market in general or about your property specifically, Mike, Fawn & I would be happy to help you any way that we can.