Are We There Yet!??

Like a ten year old on a road trip, people are wondering if real estate prices have hit the bottom… are we there yet?  It goes beyond the usual “how’s the real estate market?”  More than ever, it’s:  Is this a good time to buy?  How do you buy a foreclosure?  Is it hard to get a mortgage?  Are homes selling … How long would it take to sell my home?  What if we buy and prices continue to go down?  Are interest rates going to increase?
 
It does seem that prices in the Seattle Bellevue Redmond real estate market are starting to level off.  While this is not true in the counties of Pierce, Thurston and areas in Snohomish County… King County and specifically Seattle and the Eastside have seen increases in home sales and a stabilization of pricing.  This is especially true for King County condos and homes under $400,000.  Many first time home buyers and those who have been waiting on the sidelines are jumping in and taking action as they find more affordable pricing and terrific interest rates.  Even if prices slide a bit more, all it takes is an interest rate bump and buying power can diminish.

Though it is a buyer’s market, it is only a buyer’s market if you buy.

If you are in the market to buy, Now is a great opportunity. Home sellers are still anxious as their home prices have fallen and many homes continue to sit waiting for a buyer.  Home foreclosures and short-sales have increased.  Interest rates are incredibly low.  There are also many First Time Homebuyer products available.  And the Housing Stimulus Bill provides a First-time Home Buyer credit of $8,000.   These facts, along with lower prices and tax advantages, even if the market hasn’t hit bottom, a buyer could loose money by waiting to purchase.

But the main point in home ownership is not even the economics.  While it is a fact that buying and holding real estate has been a great wealth generator, there is still ‘no place like home.’  Home is where families create memories.  Our home is our sanctuary.

Even with investment considerations, the main reason to purchase a house or condo is to live there.

Stimulus – Not all Bad

In reading and trying to stay updated on what details that have been made available on the Economic Stimulus package that has apparently been negotiated and agreed, it appears that the proposed $15,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit was a casualty.  Sort of. 

The overall cost of this credit would have been $35 billion. In its place, a more modest proposal was negotiated that will increase the credit to $8,000 and will also eliminate the repayment requirement currently in place.  In its current format, the $7,500 credit is in effect an interest-free loan that must be repaid within 15 years or when the home is sold, whichever comes first.  Though there is a minor possibiilty that things could still change, it appears that now the $8,000 credit will be an actual credit, not a loan like before so you’ll not have to repay the credit.  So, not all bad news.

One article stated that the credit would be 10% of the home purchase price or $8,000, whichever is less, but haven’t seen anything more to validate or dispute this.  ( http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/13/BUSH15O70T.DTL )
 
The Stimulus Home Buyer Credit is income qualified and good for First-Time Home Buyers for houses purchased prior to the end of August 2009. 
A first time home buyer is defined as a person who has not owned or lived in a owned primary residence within the past three years.
 
The stimulus agreement would also allow taxpayers to deduct the sales tax paid on new car purchases, though not the interest on the new car loan.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill in Denver on Tuesday, February 17th.
  
 Read the complete stimulus bill here as supplied by consumerism commentary
 

New Group on Facebook

One of my philosophies is to support local business.  I especially place emphasis on supporting and promoting the businesses of my friends and clients.

An example of the talent is Rob Heim.  Rob and his wife Amy used my services to help them sell their Duvall home and acreage.  They later called on me to help them find their current home in Maple Valley.  Rob and Amy are very active paragliders that fly off Tiger Mountain.

Professionally, Rob is a very gifted Landscaper.  Landscape artist actually.  After his move to Maple Valley, Rob jumped off the ledge.  He left his lead position at the company he where he worked and started his own landscape business.

View Rob’s site online at www.cedarrocklandscapes.com.  He works all around the Eastside and King County.  When you look at his portfolio, and should you get the opportunity to meet Rob & Amy, you will find two talented professionals and a very silly and terrific couple!

I’ve created a group on Facebook called The hello Real Estate Network.  My goal is to encourage discussion and networking among those interested or involved in real estate.  Consumers, real estate agents, as well as vendor and contractors.  It is an open Facebook group so anyone can join.

One of the tasks I am working on is that of compiling a list of contractors and vendors that would not only service my target markets, but would also service the various communities of those in the hello Real Estate Network Group.

First point of emphasis is always … quality first!

Rob’s business is one that I have no concerns in supporting and is an example of the many quality professionals I hope will become part of my Concierge list within the hello Real Estate Group.

You’re invited to share a story of someone that you would like to get noticed