Winter Time & Buying (or not) Buying

by | Dec 28, 2018 | Real Estate | 0 comments

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:  
…we also have home seller classes available.  Link on left on website page

Saturday, January 5th, from 9am-12pm (ish)

Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Thursday, January 17th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, January 26th, from 11am-2pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀
Happy New Year!

Welcome to the ‘lost time’… when I was a little girl I really thought this time of year was time in limbo.  We had Christmas, and then time kind of stopped and floated…then BAM! …  it was New Years Day, and time started again. I know it sounds silly, but that is the way it really felt to me , and kind of still does.  There is all this build up to Christmas, and then time kind of ‘floats’ to New Years Day.  This is the time for reflection maybe?  I love the holidays… November, December…those are my absolute favorite months of the year.  I love the cold, wet weather.. I love the darkness… and I love that my husband has time off to be home, and winter vacation for the youngest.  I love having all my family together.  This time of year I love to snuggle down on the couch with some tea, and a fire, and some good movies on the TV….with some crochet to occupy myself with too.  LOL
Let’s be honest though… this is also the time of year for reflection….and this year was maybe one of our hardest as we had a very difficult loss this summer in my family, and then just this past week, a very loved friend of mine that Ive known for 30 years… he passed. This Christmas my son decided to spend both christmas eve, and christmas day with his girlfriends family, and I didn’t like that at all.  Like every year there is good, and bad… but this year the losses seemed to be overwhelming for so many. However, it wasn’t all bad…. we had some wonderful family vacations, we had some AMAZING client appreciation events, and I was blessed to assist 54 people with the home buying & home selling adventures. 54 sets of keys exchanged as some folks sold their homes and moved to their next adventures, and some folks got keys for their first home (and you never forget your first), and some folks got the keys for their next home to carry them to their next adventures. Man, it has been a mixed bag year for certain….

Here’s to 2019!  Here’s to helping you, and yours with your home buying … or selling… adventures.  Here’s to the Clark County Fair in August, the Home & Garden Show at the end of April, and the Client Appreciation events (Infinity War: End Game, the new Star Wars and another one that we are still deciding on. Here’s to birthdays, anniversaries, house-iversarys, and get-togethers with the ones we love.  Here’s to house warming parties, and that final walk through on the home you’re leaving.  Here’s to the joy you feel when you get keys to the home that is YOURS, and no one else’s.  Here’s to love, friendship, joy, and happiness.  Here’s to memories, and 365 days of new adventures.  We got this!

So, this week, let’s talk about the current market for a quick moment…..I know that it’s winter, and it’s the after holidays, but honestly, if you are even ‘thinking’ about buying a home….NOW is the best time.  Yes, there are not a whole lot of homes on the market, but the market is not as competitive as it is during the spring time.  Remember that from offer to keys it will take about 6-7 weeks.  The market tends to pick up and start getting crazy again right about March-April when folks start getting their tax refunds.  

So lately I’ve had a few clients lately asking me where all the homes are.  Well, it’s the holidays…  and many folks will wait until after the new year to put their home on the market…new year, and fresh start.  I know of a few homes getting ready to go on the market within the next month.  If you’re thinking about buying ….January through March is a great time to be out there.  We are in that tail end of the best time of year to be a buyer  🙂
Now…please remember that my magic wand is broken, and the magic 8 ball exploded all over my house with the holidays… so no one really knows what is going to happen.  However, most people in the real estate industry agrees that in 2019 we will see interest rates continue to go up. This is a very solid bet.  It’s a split decision with industry sources on when prices should plateau off.  With Seattle and the Portland area being 2 of the top markets in the United States, it really depends on how soon we will see more homes on the market.

This is a lot like foretelling the weather right now… as it really depends on when things happen.  Most industry sources do say that home prices should start plateauing though.  This doesn’t mean that the home prices will not go up…they just shouldn’t go up like last year.  They should steady out. As people see the change in the market coming, more homeowners should put the home on the market so they can begin their move to their new home, and this will help all the price ranges see more homes on the market…which should help with the multiple offers that we saw so much of during the spring of 2018. I’ll be honest here… the last couple were awful for multiple offers. This past summer, and fall were not as bad, and this winter has been quite a bit different than the past couple of years winters. This is usually a beginning sign that we have reached that plateau… but this spring and summer will tell the tale.

  So yes, prices are still going up, but let’s talk about how all that works.  I bought my old home in late 2001, with a 6.875% interest rate….don’t feel bad, or shocked….in a ‘healthy’ market, a ‘normal’ interest rate would be about 7%.  We were THRILLED to be under 7%!   We sold that home in 2017, and it was harder than I thought it would be.  It was our first home, and we had lived there for 16 years.  It was the craziest thing, but did you know that when our buyers purchased our home for the $285,000 it was worth, with the 4% interest rate…. our mortgages were almost THE SAME!   Wait…I’m not (that) crazy…it’s economics.  Yes, they bought it for more than I owed, but with a much lower interest rate.   That equaled my lower owed amount, but higher interest rate. How crazy is that???  Now, here’s the crazy part… in 2016, my old house was only worth about $245,000, and right now, that same home is worth $325,000! NUTS!!!  My mother purchased a home in the 80’s for $70,000, but her interest rate was 18.375%!!!   ….now that is crazy!!    The point of this is that while yes, prices are going up, the interest rates are still really low, so you can purchase more home.   When this changes, and interest rates rise it doesn’t mean that home prices will immediately start dropping, they should start leveling off …it will take a bit of time to balance out though.

I have clients asking me if they should just settle then on a home, and frankly this is a tough question.   No, you shouldn’t ‘just settle’ on a home, but you may have to adjust either the type of home you want, the location, or be able to go up in purchase price to get what you want.  Please remember that this most likely is not your last home, but your home for the next 5-10 years….that’s the average.  Know what your top 3 things are that you need in a home.  Whether you are buying a home, or selling a home…it is exciting, scary, fun, and frustrating.  It’s a lot like a roller coaster, or driving down Mill Plain during rush hour,….or during that last month of pregnancy. I tell you….there’s a reason I don’t drink often…..I’m afraid once I start that I won’t stop!  ;-D  (just kidding)  Buying and/or selling a home always going to be a a roller coaster when you’re on the ride.  We’re here though to help…that’s what we do. 

When you are looking for a home,  you need to consider more than just the house.  You are also buying the neighborhood, the schools, the property taxes, the local parks, the neighbors, and the local infrastructure.  The home needs to ‘fit’ you like your favorite pair of pj’s. For example….this last weekend I had a client look at a home that she liked.  On paper it was everything she said she wanted, and she couldn’t find anything against the house that would cause her to not want to write an offer. So why was she hesitant?  Because this home was that sweater or shirt that looks good on the rack, and so you try it on.  It fits ok, and it looks all right, but there is just ‘something’ that is ‘off’ with it… can’t figure it out either.  Sometimes you buy it, but never wear it, and sometimes you put it back.  Buying the ‘right’ home is a lot like that.  You can, and will, see homes you like, but they just don’t ‘fit’.  Put that home back.  Sometimes you see an item of clothing on the rack that you really don’t know about….but you try it on anyway and BAM!  you look AMAZING!  Some homes don’t look like much from the outside, but you get inside and they are amazing.  Remember that internet home photos are a lot like internet dating….you never know what you are going to see when you get there, and many agents hire professional photographers for a reason.  I can always tell which photos an agent did themselves, and who hired someone.   Finding the ‘right’ home is like sliding into your favorite jeans, or boots…..there is just something about it that ‘fits’.  I see homes I ‘like’ all the time, but just because I like it doesn’t mean it fits.  If you are obsessed with a home that you have seen though.   You really like the home, and you keep going back to the pictures, and driving by the house…..that’s the ‘right’ home….even if it was one of the first homes you saw, or it was something you didn’t think you wanted, or weren’t sure about.  That home is that sweater/shirt/shoes that you just weren’t sure about….until you tried it on.  Darling, you look AMAZING!   Trust your instincts….this is YOUR home, and YOUR mortgage.    With rents going up so much lately you can buy for about what your renting…or close to it. 

   What is the best time to buy, or sell?  Whenever YOU are ready.  Sometimes waiting makes sense, and sometimes it really doesn’t.  I am a firm believer that the right home will always be ready when you are, and that it will all fall into place.  Remember….your agent works for you.   YOUR agent isn’t a salesperson.  We shouldn’t be trying to ‘sell’ you on anything.  YOUR agent works for YOU….not the other way around.  When you hire an agent you are hiring a representative; someone who should be looking out for your best interests. Always ask questions. We do this all the time, and we love it, so use our knowledge to your advantage.  There really is NO stupid question in real estate. There is always learning opportunities, and that is goes for us as well.   If i can’t answer your question; I will help you find someone who can.  We’re in this together.  

Don’t forget though… that the first step in ANY adventure is education. Take a home buyer class, or a home seller class….that’s what they’re there for.  

Information is power,  and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.  
If you have any questions, or comments please get a hold of me anytime.  You can call, text, email, or even facebook me.  Please remember that while I mean these emails/blogs to be helpful, and educational, I am still hoping that you will call, or email me as I would be honored to help you with your home buying, or home selling adventure.

    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.  
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 ….disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings… 
 Upcoming Topics:
Delayed Possession… What is this & what does it mean to you
Interest Rates (information from Chris Berg, Pinnacle Mortgage)
What do I need to buy a home,
Hiring a Realtor…questions to ask,

What if I don’t have a Down Payment? …..  &….
What does an Agent do for me?
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?

Last Week:  Winter time home maintenance and things to look for

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,

Tracie DeMars / Realtor

ReMax Equity Group
License# 81289
Vancouver, WA

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