Thursday, November 21, 2013

Afternoon walk in Discovery Park from Magnolia
After a few days of consistent rain the clouds disappeared to reveal a blinding sunny day with crisp low temperatures. I took the opportunity to hike around Discovery Park with my dog to get us both a bit of exercise.

With fall moving into winter and the holiday season before us, real estate is following some predicable trends as well. This time of year we see a dip from what we consider the second camel's hump in activity during the year.

If you are looking to buy real estate in Seattle November and December are good times to buy as there are often less buyers in the market. Some sellers are motivated by tax reasons to sell before the end of the year.

If you are thinking of selling the end of the year could be a good time as well - one reason is that interest rates are still low and buyers are motivated. While housing prices are predicted to go up in the spring, buyers are also motivated now before listings get more expensive. There are fewer listings on the market so less competition therefore you will have a bigger buyer pool.

Zillow put on a summit for real estate brokers and I loved listening to their economist. I summarized the talk here.

To summarize, enjoy the upcoming holiday season and if you are interested in real estate, don't be daunted - both buying and selling can have successes!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New York and the Adirondacks

As many of my friends know, I got a start in the outdoors when I was very young as my father built a ski lodge. Not just any ski lodge but the Mammoth Mountain Inn. I started skiing, hiking and swimming as soon as I was able and this eventually led to backpacking, rock climbing, river rafting and kayaking.

I've kept up the kayaking and over a decade worked my way through up through the American Canoe Association instructor hierarchy to become an instructor trainer educator.

One way this has paid off for me ties into my love of travel! In August I received a consulting contract in the Adirondacks to oversee an instructor trainer candidate and a Level 2 course held for the wonderful instructors of The Black River Outdoor Education Program.


Aside from the lovely environment in upstate New York, this also fed into my interest in real estate. We were told we would stay in the Wildflower guest cottage. Our cottage was a beautiful two story cottage on a grand scale made of hardwoods.

It is placed on a large piece of property which emulates a great camp such as the ones the early vacationers had. I like to call it a mini great camp!

On the main floor we found the master bedroom and bath, casual living area and a wonderful screened in porch where we managed to have our coffee one morning. The second story had the library and second bedroom with a wonderful four-poster bed.

Our cottage had a kitchenette but the dining room and commercial kitchen are in the lodge next door.

A stroll down a lane through the forest brought me to a carriage house with a horse washing station, and hidden in the woods were more homes and guest houses.



We drove each day to Nick's Lake near Old Forge, New York for our classroom and then were often treated to steak, red wine and chocolate desserts.








My hosts, Jeff and Laura Liebel,  have a canoe and kayak company called WECANU and are also quite involved in the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (dear to my heart as I am the current president of the Washington Water Trail).



I ended up extending my stay and drove as far as Lake Placid, visited a friend on Lower Saranac Lake and toured the Wild Center Natural History Museum.


The architecture of the museum is inspired by studies that show that seeing the living world each day can make one happier and healthier! More than ninety-five percent of the spaces inside have a direct line of sight to the outdoors.

Overall it was an exceptional trip which fed into many of my interests!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Based on my recent activity it would seem I am not very busy - however I've recently closed one transaction and had two in escrow last week!

In the spring I was in a multiple offer situation on a home in Magnolia and we won - it wasn't easy as the listing broker asked us to return with our highest and best while removing all of our contingencies. As my client had already lost an offer, he wanted to be aggressive and so we won!

It is a great location for him as he works on the Amazon campus at South Lake Union and he can bike or bus to work. In his off time he likes to hike around Discovery Park with his dog or work out at the local climbing gym.

Last week my latest listing closed - it too had its moments of excitement when we received two offers on July 3rd. We passed the pre-inspections and sewer scopes (with one recommendation for a big flush as they found roots and rocks near the house where a bathroom had been added in the basement). Deliberations when on until 1:30pm on Fourth of July when we received the signed-around purchase and sale agreement - great way to celebrate!

Simultaneously I had an offer accepted for another client - while we had lost six offers due to extreme escalations we finally won and came in under list price! The property will be used as a rental until my client downsizes from her six-bedroom home in Magnolia.

One thing to keep in mind when making offers in these competitive climates such as we have in Seattle - you want your offer to be as strong as possible. If multiples offers are asked for we want it to be as strong as possible - a pre-inspection, a closing time agreeable to the seller, cash or strong financing with proof such as a letter from the lender and a consistent earning history. A pre-inspection, while spendy, gives you and the seller peace of mind that you know what you are getting into.

The climate has switched in the last month or so to less multiple offers, less pre purchase inspections and more "regular" offers - offers are sent in with inspection contingencies. It is still good to know if the home one is buying has any issues with knob-and-tube wiring, oil tank decommissioning or leakage, outstanding permits, etc.

I recommend one inspection firm and they have a three-tiered pricing schedule - just over one hundred dollars for a basic walk-through, a bit more for a checklist and close to $400.00 or $500.00 for a full report. The more in-depth reports can be purchased at a later date by request.

There is also another trend I am seeing - with so much hiring from Amazon, Gates Foundation, Microsoft and all of the high tech firms in South Lake Union, Redmond and Bellevue parents from various states are buying condos to use in various times of the year to visit their children who are grown and working in Seattle. I held a condominium open at Ballard Place last weekend and me three sets of parents in this demographic. I might add that Ballard Place is a very clean and well-run condominium that has the feeling of a nice hotel - it has a concierge, fitness room, conference room, computer room, entertainment area (which can be rented for events) and a lovely roof garden with views of the Olympic Mountains.

To contact me or begin your search click here: andreehurley.cbbain.com or http://andreehurley.com