June 2, 2017

If the Seattle Area Real Estate Market Is So Hot, Why is Housing Inventory Low?

A big question us Realtors get from our clients.

Homes are currently selling for more than they ever have in the Seattle real estate market, and each month keeps going up in price. We are beating records folks, every month. As far as year-over-year increases in value goes, March hit a 12.3% increase in sales price compared to last year. Second place was Portland, OR sitting at a 9.2% increase. We are the hottest real estate market in the country. So the question remains..

Why aren't that many people selling?  

Homeowners can't afford their neighbors house!

It's really a simple answer. The cost of living has gone up for two main reasons: foreign investors, and people relocating here for their high-up tech job. Both of these groups are generally wealthier than the average resident in our area. The foreign investors are cashing in on the fact that companies like Amazon, Alibaba, and Facebook are creating more and more jobs here every day. The relocation buyer is willing to bid extremely high on a home against you because they have to move here. They need the home more than you do - their job is now in a different state! They don't care if they have to bid $40,000 higher than you on a home. They are competing with other relocation buyers that have the same motivations as them. This in turn is causing many neighborhoods to skyrocket in price, because if one home sells for a high price, it becomes a new comparable when a neighbor with a similar home wants to sell.

For those of you that own a home, I'm guessing you would love to sell to cash out on the equity you have gained over the years if you could find a nice place to move. I have a client that has gained 200K in equity since last year in Kirkland. Crazy right? 

The problem is, many people can't even buy into their own neighborhood anymore. Lets say your home could sell for $450,000 now, and you originally bought it for $200,000. Sounds like it's time to sell and take advantage right? There is one problem. You have the same job since you moved into your home, and you make the same amount of money. You can only afford a $200,000 house right now. Yes, you could use money from the sale of your home to put a larger down payment, but your monthly income couldn't support the mortgage payment on a home like yours in the same area. You might not even be able to get approved for the home you live in right now! Even if someone wanted to sell to cash out, they would have to settle for a further commute and move farther away. Many families want to stay in their area because of the school district, low crime rate, and overall quality of living. This is why we have a low inventory of homes on the market. Is there a bright spot to sell in this market?

The Cash-Out + Rent Strategy

If you still want to sell and take advantage of your gained equity but don't want to get into these crazy bidding wars, the best option for most is to sell and rent until the market cools down (unless you can afford the area you want to live in). Yes, the market could continue to go up. Unless these jobs suddenly leave here, we shouldn't see any big changes anytime soon. No real estate agent or economist knows for sure what will happen. If you look at history though, the market over time will continue to go up and down, gradually moving up when you look at the big picture - always. Your home is like a giant stock. It's for you to decide if the gained equity makes it worth it to sell now. If you have a good strategy, it could be a very rewarding move. We haven't seen large increases in value this quickly - ever. So if you are in a good position to sell with considerable equity, you are making the right move - as long as you are putting your money in the right place immediately after.

How do I know when the best time to sell is?

That's the thing. Like stocks, you will never know the exact best time. If you want my best advice: Sell when the inventory of homes are low. The less homes that are on the market, the more you will get for your home. When buyers have more options, you get less offers. And when there are less homes on the market, even if your home needs fixes, buyers will more than likely overlook those issues because of their lack of options. If you've been thinking about selling, make your moving strategy now. Don't wait for more homes to come on the market. You will lose your leverage.

 

If you ever have any questions about the real estate market or need help buying or selling, I'd love to help you! Give me a call sometime. ~ Kevin, 206-734-1053

 

Posted in Real Estate
Aug. 25, 2016

Snapchat On-Demand Geofilters Guide for Real Estate

As Realtor's we are always trying to separate ourselves. We ultimately want to generate good leads, and sell more homes, but sometimes we are impatient and want the end result without putting in the necessary work to build our business and brand.

Facebook has been an all out mission to buy Snapchat, which they tried to purchase for $3 Billion in cash in 2014 (read more about that here). They didn't try to buy them because they have cool looking filters. Facebook, being arguably the best advertising platform in world, wants Snapchat in their portfolio because of the advertising potential. It is the most fun way to share, and with the Geofilters Snapchat allows you to buy, you can create brand awareness intuitively. Open your minds my fellow Realtors, it's 2016.

 

What are Snapchat On-Demand Geofilters?

If you have used Snapchat before, you have probably taken a photo and added a filter, like a cool stylized name of your city. Snapchat now will let allow users pay for something called On-Demand Geofilters. This is your own filter you design that anyone can use, in a chosen geographic location. There are a number of rules you will need to follow, and your submission will be rejected if you don't follow them. You can upload the image you want, choose geographically where you want people to use your filter, at what time. It will then come up with a price based on area popularity, square footage of your geographic "fence", and the time frames of which you chose your filter to appear (you can do it for up to a month at a time.... expensive).

 

To start creating a Geofilter, visit: https://geofilters.snapchat.com (you will need a Snapchat account to login)

 

Use an interactive image to maximize filter use

The ultimate goal of using Snapchat Geofilters with your Real Estate business is to bring more awareness, while making your filters fun and something people actually want to use (see the image on the left as an example, click to enlarge). Don't just put your logo there. 

The guidelines for what you can actually put on your ad are fairly strict (see the guide here, and make sure to look into the Advertising Policies as well). You cannot create a call to action ("Visit my website www.bothellhomes.com), even if says something like: "Buy and sell Bothell Real Estate!" Trust me, I tried. I did verify you can say things like "We are on Facebook." Play around with it. You also will need to make sure the image quality is very high. Use a vector program or Photoshop. I added a bunch of little arrows to make it more fun when people are snapping. Remember, you want people to actually use your filter so it creates a ripple effect of many people that will see it. 

 

Step 1 - Upload your Geofilter image

This process is simple, navigate over to https://geofilters.snapchat.com and login. Upload your image, which must be 1080x1920. Remember to check the guidelines as stated above.

 

Step 2 - Date & Time of when your Geofilter will appear

Now this is where you need to be a little strategic. Pick a period that you know a lot of people will be there. On the next step we will talk about where your filter will appear, but make sure to choose the right time and that a lot of people will be there, preferably a younger (not too young, lol) crowd. The longer you keep your filter active, the more you will have to dish out. And I mean a lot more - If you wanted to place a filter around the Space Needle for a month it was getting to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do it for a couple days. The other thing that determines the cost is the size of the area of which the filter will show, so let's talk about that.

 

Step 3 - Choosing an area for your Geofilter

This is where you will need to do some research, mixed with your fabulous common sense. The site will ask you to click around and create a "geographic fence" around your area. The smallest it can be is 20,000 SQFT, and the maximize size it can be is 5,000,000 SQFT (super expensive). Larger doesn't necessarily mean better. You want to be in an area where you know a lot of people gather that are on the younger side (I'd say between 22-45 years old). I chose the new McMenamin's Anderson School in Bothell, which has multiple bars, outdoor firepits, a hotel, a movie theater, etc. Lookup where popular events will be happening in the area. Keep your ads local like mine above. Look for places like malls, popular bars, parks, etc. You could even draw one around a bank where people get pre-approved for mortgages. Not a bad idea eh?

 

Step 4 - Choose Geofilter Name, Business Name, and submit

On this page, you will need to choose a Geofilter name, and a business name. You cannot enter your website. No symbols. Just words. Snapchat may place a "Sponsored by: [YOUR BUSINESS NAME]" text on top of your filter momentarily upon someone swiping to it. So choose wisely. I put "Kevin Boroumand RE" so I can brand my name too. You will also pay on this screen. $43.70 for me. Not bad for a weekend at a pretty popular destination. I will update you guys on what happens.

 

Conclusion

If your submission gets approved, you will receive an email that looks like this. It may take you a couple times. Luckily, Snapchat has a really responsive support team, so you should have no problems ultimately. 

I will keep this page updated with results that I get. Think about it this way: If someone happens to see your filter and they have previously been on your site, seen your picture on Zillow, or have skimmed across your name on a mutual friend list - you are further solidifying yourself with your brand. This is definitely a long term marketing tool.

If you have any questions/comments on Geofilters for Real Estate or anything else, please email me at kevin@bothellhomes.com or comment below! Good Luck!!

 

~ Kevin

 

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Kevin Boroumand Real Estate

 

Posted in For Realtor's
June 18, 2016

8 Reasons Why You Need to Move to Bothell, Now

Why move to Seattle? Bothell is a ever growing city in the Greater Seattle area - and is becoming more and more popular, especially recently. After you are done with this list, there is no doubt in our minds you will be packing your bags immediately to move here. If not, it's only because you haven't read the article! So, here we go..

 

1. Location - Where is Bothell, WA?

Have you ever looked at Bothell on a map? Holy smokes, it is a gold mine! The city is positioned near two of the main freeways in the Seattle area, giving you easy access to both I-5 and I-405. You can live in the suburbs and get away from the craziness of Seattle, and commute fairly easily in a number of ways. If you want to avoid tolls on I-405 and the 520 bridge, you can take Lake City way and get to Seattle toll free . Commuting to Bellevue is a breeze being a quick shot south, and the mornings are not terrible so you can avoid tolls, or buy a Flex Pass and carpool in the tool lanes for free! Shopping and fine dining is nearby and all around you, with Alderwood Mall just a few minutes north in Lynnwood and Bellevue Square in Bellevue (you don't say?) just a few minutes south. Kirkland is a fantastic option for a night out and great dining, and it is even closer. You. Can't. Go. Wrong.

 

2. The Real Estate market in Bothell is on FIRE

I am pretty sure you have heard that the general Seattle area is one of the hottest real estate markets in the entire country. Well, Bothell is no exception to this rule, actually, it may be even hotter. 80 percent of homes in King County sell within the first 30 days of being on the market, and most are selling in the first week! A "normal" market usually sells 30 percent of homes within the first 30 days. Well, in Bothell, homes are selling at an average of 20 days. On average. This is unbelievable considering that the last year (2015) average was 41 days. It is literally twice as hot of a market in one year flat, and this list among other things can give you the idea why. Bothell, WA is in what we like to call a Real Estate Hysteria, and many are moving to Washington for this very reason!

 

3. McMenamin's Anderson School

This place is basically Disneyland in Bothell, opened in late 2015. Named after the first principal of Bothell Junior High, Wilbert A. "Andy" Anderson, McMenamin's bought the old school built in 1931 and turned it into a paradise mixed with fine dining, multiple watering holes, a movie theater, outdoor fire pits, a hotel, and more. Just to add to the glorious mayhem of happiness, they even bought the adjacent Bothell Swimming pool and turned it into a beautiful salt water swimming pool, equipped with a tiki bar looking over. This place is awesome for families, young adults, and everyone in between - and it is also in the epicenter of fast growing downtown Bothell. It is no mistake that McMenamin's chose our city of Bothell for their newest attraction, and Anderson School is no exception to the argument of Bothell's growth.

 

4. The Northshore School District

Unfortuntately, if you move to Bothell (which you will), you will have to settle and send your kids to one of the best school districts in the state. Known for great educators, awesome extra curricular activities, and some of the highest GPA averages. If you happen to move to north Bothell, you may have to settle with the other great school district, Edmonds School District. What a shame.

 

5. University of Washington Bothell

If one thing could make Bothell the cream of the crop of suburban living, this could be the cherry on top of it all. University of Washington (in Seattle) is one of the highest rated universities in the nation, and they decided to place a campus location close to Downtown Bothell, right off the I-405 freeway. For the parents that want to keep their kids in proximity after they finish high school (good luck with that), this is a perfect option. For one, the class sizes are much smaller, so your child can have more time asking questions to the professors, and can benefit from a UW quality education. Also, the tuition for this campus is a little less than the Seattle campus, and provides a much easier commute avoiding the insane traffic that can accumulate around the main campus. Great education, with also an alternate reward winning community college right next door (Cascadia Community College), you cannot go wrong here at all.

 

6. PCC Natural Markets

 

The only thing that Bothell doesn't have is a upscale Natural Food grocery store..... oh wait! It will! Opening this summer 2016 in the Canyon Park neighborhood, PCC is very similar to Whole Foods. Great selection of quality foods, decent prices (it's a upscale store, don't expect deals), and great service. 

 

7. The Ranch Drive-In

There are many great restaurants in Bothell - but instead of the fancier options, wouldn't you rather have greasy high cholesterol pumping through your veins? I do too. If it's from this place. Opened in the late 1950s, The Ranch Drive In is comparable or even better than Seattle's famous Dick's Drive-In. Awesome burgers & fries, shakes, onion rings, BLT's, and much more. Try the Ranch Burger next time you are in town.

 

8. This Rooster

 

Convinced?

Are these enough reasons to move to our incredible city? Are you looking to buy your first home? 5th home? Are you looking for an investment property? Are you living in Bothell, WA and want to sell your home for top dollar? Whatever the case may be, send me a message and I will get in touch with you soon.

~Kevin, (206) 734-1053

Posted in Local
June 16, 2016

Steps to Owning a Home

 

Gather your financial paperwork

Before you go looking at homes, it is probably a good idea to find out what you can afford. To start, request your credit report from all three credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). Look for any inaccuracies, and fix anything that looks off. You will want to gather documents to present to a loan officer, including pay stubs, previous years' tax returns, and bank statements. You want to avoid the mistake a lot of buyers make, which is touring homes that they find out they can't afford. In our market, most sellers will not even accept most offers without a pre-approval. The point is, you do not want to fall in love with a home you cannot get financing for. You want to be prepared!

 

Shop your lending options

Once you have obtained your credit score and your paperwork, you are ready to start shopping around for a mortgage. We have great lenders that we highly recommend, but we also advise on doing your own homework and search lenders and their reviews online. Obviously, you want to work with someone who will give you the best rate - but also look for someone who is responsive, honest, and will discuss your options clearly and answer your questions in full. Choosing a good lender is crucial during a transaction for a home. Someone that can provide financing quickly during a real estate transaction will give us an upper edge when a seller chooses a buyer. In our market, giving a full price offer is usually not enough. Can you believe that? Having a good lender that can "close" fast can be the difference maker in a situation where you are in competition with another buyer. You do not want to lose your dream home! You want to be prepared!

 

Start your home search

Now - the fun part. Most people just start shopping for homes right off the bat. The smart thing to do would be to sit down and talk about exactly what you are looking for in a home so we don't see a bunch of homes you don't like, effectively wasting your time. What neighborhood? Good school district? How many bedrooms? Bathrooms? Location is huge. The other thing to discuss is other fees associated with your mortgage, like HOA dues. An HOA is an association that handles maintenance of the general area in your complex/neighborhood (everything outside your walls). Usually, this cost is associated with condominiums (newer single family homes have this fee, but it is usually small). The most important thing for most buyers is the bottom line - what they will pay monthly to live in their dream home. This is something to discuss thoroughly with an agent to insure you move into the perfect home that you love, and that makes sense. Buyers remorse won't exist when you do these things. You want to be prepared!

 

Making an offer

This is where your agent will come in to save the day (hopefully). You do not want the seller's agent drafting the sale documents for you - they have a duty to protect their sellers interests, not yours. First off, you want to make a strong offer. You have the power to make whatever offer you want, but whether it gets accepted or not is a different story. I won't expose all my tricks, but you will need to pick an agent that will win over the sellers agent and sell you (the buyer) to the seller. Making a great offer will require research, like looking at comparable properties nearby to determine if the home is reasonably priced. In the Bothell & Greater Seattle market, sellers will often price homes slightly lower than market value, in order to attract a bidding war. It usually takes 30-45 days to move into your new home from the beginning of a transaction to the end, make sure that throughout the whole process your agent is keeping great communication with you and is consistently providing updates. Make sure your agent discusses all the different scenarios you could run into during a transaction, it is crucial. You want to be prepared!

 

Moving day

Phew. Sounds like a headache huh? It doesn't have to be. This is why you hire a agent, a good agent. A good agent will take all the worry from you and almost act as your therapist! Preventing unforeseen problems from happening is 50% of our jobs. You want to feel comfortable and at ease during the whole thing. It is possible, I promise. Either way, headaches or no headaches, this is where everything comes together. You get your keys, and you have your beautiful new home!

 

Watch this 5 minute video:

Posted in Real Estate