West Seattle Bungalow in the Roxhill Neighborhood

Wonderful 3-bedroom home with a large lot, green house and shed in the backyard with a vine bearing grapes for producing your own jelly. Enjoy the home with a nicely laid out floor plan, large master bedroom, nice size bathrooms, family room on the lower level and able to walkout to a secluded patio off the lower level.  If you exit out the main floor through French Doors you'll be on a maintenance free deck that overlooks the lovely backyard.  Don't miss out on this cute West Seattle charmer.  


Posted on April 7, 2016 at 4:54 am
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Economists Forecast the 2016 Housing Market

Trends, forecasts and more from some of the most prominent economic minds in the industry

As we ring in a New Year, Housing News Report asked six prominent economists to forecast what 2016 will bring for the U.S. housing market.

For housing, 2015 was a strong year, with home sales high and home prices continuing to rise.

Overall, the economists surveyed were cautiously optimistic about 2016 when it comes to home prices, home sales, interest rates and the impact of loosening lending standards that have recently been introduced by government agencies. Since 2016 is a Presidential election year, the economists were cagey when it comes to regulatory changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Here’s what they are forecasting for 2016:

What will be the most important housing market trend(s) in 2016 and why?

Alex Villacorta, chief economist, Clear Capital: The two most important housing market trends to watch in 2016 will be the continued growth of rental rates and the moderating trend in home prices. The pattern seen in 2015 was largely characterized by a white-hot rental market, and if this continues, more households will likely choose to rent over buy in 2016.

In addition to driving rental prices up and vacancy rates down, this trend disengages an increasing proportion of potential home buyers — evidenced by the lowest homeownership rate in almost 50 years. Adding insult to injury for the purchase market, increasing rental rates continue to make it more difficult for potential buyers to save up for a down payment.

In 2016 we’ll use data from Clear Capital’s Home Data Index to see, at a local level, when the tide turns from rental to purchase demand. Many markets are already hospitable for buyers, but we have yet to see the demand. This implies that consumer confidence and the inability to overcome the barriers to purchase are a real headwind to a fully engaged housing market, especially for first-time home buyers.

As the year evolves we’ll be watching both rent and purchase trends closely, as a waning pattern in rental prices will suggest that momentum is shifting to the broader housing market, which should result in a more robust price growth in 2016.

A waning pattern in rental prices will suggest that momentum is shifting.

A headshot of Jonathan Smoke

Jonathan Smoke

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist, realtor.com:Demand for for-sale housing will grow and will continue to be dominated by older millennials, aged 25 to 34. This demographic has the potential to claim a third of home sales in 2016 and represent 2 million home purchases.

Two other demographics will also be dominant forces on the buy side but will also be a key part of providing the necessary inventory on the sell side. Gen-X is in prime earning years and thus is also experiencing improvements in their economic circumstances, which include more relocations and seeking better neighborhoods for their families. Older boomers are approaching — or already in — retirement and seeking to downsize or lock in a lower cost of living. Together, these two generations will provide much of the suburban inventory that millennials desire to start their own families.

Supply will also improve as a result of additional growth in new construction and particularly in more single-family construction. The growth will be in more affordable price points, which will help bring down the average new home prices and average size of new homes, which have grown dramatically so far in the recovery as builders principally focused on the move-up, luxury, and active adult segments.

Mortgage rates should also begin their long-anticipated ascent as the Federal Reserve attempts to “thread the needle” on influencing rates up without negatively impacting economic growth. The increases in mortgage rates will likely be lower than the increases in short-term interest rates created by Fed policy as global weakness and a strong dollar limit more pronounced movement in long bonds. Mortgage rates will also be volatile, moving up and down by day and week, similar to how we’ve seen the market in 2015, but the key difference will be a more pronounced longer trend towards higher rates.

New Home Sales & NAR Existing Home Sales - Jan05-Dec15

The move up in mortgage rates should be a net positive to the market as fence-sitting sellers and buyers begin to understand that rates are moving higher and decide to jump into the market while they remain at such historically low levels.

The final key trend is that rents will rise more rapidly than prices, adding to the already burdensome level of rents that exist in more than 85 percent of the markets in the country. In the near term, this reinforces the consumer’s decision to buy, but higher rents also start to negatively impact the pipeline for future purchases by keeping renting households from saving towards a down payment.

Where is the housing market headed in 2016?

Douglas Duncan, chief economist, Fannie Mae: Lots of discussion of the need for subsidy but the real problem is lack of income growth for low and moderate income households. There will be a discussion of the regulatory cost of land development which is an inhibitor to production of low to moderate income affordable housing. Rents will remain strong as a result.

A headshot of Matthew Gardner

Matthew Gardner

Matthew Gardner, chief economist, Windermere: I expect that we will see more homes for sale. Homeowner equity started to recover in 2013 and has been steadily improving since that time.  As such, I expect that it will increase their likelihood of selling. At last — more inventory!  But I fear that it will still fall short of the supply needed to match demand.

Mark Zandi, chief economist, Moody’s Analytics: The most important housing market trend in 2016 will be the developing housing shortage. New housing construction has picked up in recent years, but it remains well below that needed to meet demand from newly formed households, second home buyers, and obsolescence of the existing stock of homes. Rental and homeowner vacancy rates, which are already very low, will continue to decline. This will continue to push house prices and rents up quickly. The housing shortage will be most acute for lower prices and affordable housing.

Peter Muoio, chief economist, Ten-X: Wage growth will be the key new ingredient for the housing recovery. We have been watching signs of accelerating wage growth percolate through different data sources, but 2016 will see clear and convincing evidence of rising wages. This will help with housing affordability and be the final ingredient for higher household formations and housing demand.

Wage growth will be the key new ingredient for the housing recovery.

The other key 2016 trend will be the pace of interest rate increases. We know the Fed will pull the trigger, but the key question is how fast and strongly they continue to tighten in 2016, as that will affect mortgage rates.

This article was written by 

Posted on February 11, 2016 at 10:10 pm
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Choosing a Broker

Choosing a Broker Page 1 Choosing a Broker Page 2 Choosing a Broker Page 3 Choosing a Broker Page 4

Posted on February 9, 2016 at 12:07 pm
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Not your Average Open House, But one to go through

This is not what I do for Open Houses, It doesn't help sell it, unless it fits the right family.

Follow me to this Open House, Click Here


To see a Real Open House This Sunday on Queen Anne, Beatiful Brick Tudor inside and out,  1-4 This Sunday 10-25-15

I look forward seeing you.

Open House Sunday 1–4 Come and See Tom Fine[/caption]


Posted on October 23, 2015 at 10:40 am
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Buying a Home, What’s the Difference Between a Buyers Agent and a Listing Agent

Buying a Home: What’s the difference between a Listing Agent and a Buyers Agent and why should I care?

By law, a Designated Seller’s Agent MUST “promote the interests of the seller with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity” and MUST “protect the seller’s confidences…” A smart seller will hire a good seller’s agent to work for them in this fashion – As they should.

Listing Agent, represents the sellers

Buyers agent, (Selling Agent) represents the buyers

Why should I use a buyer’s agent, (Broker)?

The seller’s agent is only looking out for the seller. Understanding this, it is important to realize that what you say and act to a seller’s agent may compromise your ability to negotiate the best deal for you. If, for example, during an open house, you casually mention to the seller’s agent that your family must be relocated by the end of the month to accommodate the start of a new job, the seller’s agent, by law, must “promote the interests of the seller” by letting the seller know about your situation. As a result, the seller is now aware that you are somewhat desperate and must move quickly, thus compromising your ability to negotiate the best deal.

How does this affect your bottom line?

Remember, the seller’s agent is “promoting the interests of the seller… and protecting the seller’s confidences…” Usually, the interests of the seller consist mainly in getting the best price for their home within a given time period. Even if the seller’s agent knows the seller has enough equity and is willing to accept $10,000 less than the asking price and, in fact, the home may not be worth what the seller is asking, the seller’s agent cannot, by law, disclose that information to you. Without a real estate professional working hard on your behalf by providing you with experienced and accurate market information, you may end up paying more than necessary to purchase that particular home.

What’s Next?

Working with Tom Fine, a Windermere Real Estate Broker, has in-depth experience in home construction, remodeling and design, with this Tom’s knowledge helps buyers by explaining the good and bad aspects of homes. Tom looks at the construction materials, installation and finishes of these materials and he’ll explain why a home you are looking at is what you see a well built home or a band aid to mask hidden problems. Working with Tom as a buyers agent doesn’t cost you money, the buyers agent fee is paid typically from the sellers side of the transaction.  So why not work with someone like Tom, with knowledge and experience to save you, time, money and energy. Contact Tom Fine, today to help Buy or Sell your home,



Tom Fine, Broker, CNE & SRES

Fine Homes NW, Inc.

Windermere Real Estate, Mercer Island

Direct: 206-434-6561

Email: TomFine@windermere.com

Posted on September 13, 2015 at 5:26 pm
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer is Around the Corner, Real Estate Market in Seattle is Hot

In Seattle we have had an incredible year, with a mild winter and wonderful spring, we are getting ready for a great summer.  Our Seattle summers are wonderful, with a calendar full of events from the Blue Angles, Hydroplanes, and concert series in and around the city. What a great place to be during the summer.  My kids and I love to go to Madison Beach and dive off the floating dive platform and watching the big barges building the new massive 520 Bridge.


 This weekend I was at my Wallingford open houses this weekend we had great activity. It is a 1929 brick Tudor that was custom built. It’s on the market, for a couple days at $685K hosting 4 bedrooms and 1-1/2 baths.  What is great about a home like this is it hasn’t been renovated in bad taste and they didn’t do any bad updating.. The original mahogany millwork and the tilting windows make this a classic Seattle home.


This weekend I’ll be at the Braeburn hosting an open house that is a new listing. Prices continue to increase while the market is still a sellers market.  It makes sense to get into the market now instead of seating out and waiting till things slow down.  When the slow down, most likely form historical data, prices will be up 7% a year.


Interest rate’s at a glance, a lot of activity, the rates went form 3.81 to 3.8 last week.

nterest Rates at a glance


Exciting news in Seattle, the Polar Pioneer in town and all the excitement around this massive oil drilling rig. It is in town and moored at Foss’s maritime dock for modifications that will bring 400 jobs to the area and a lot of money for suppliers and parts.  It’s amazing people protesting in their kayaks, at least there won’t be much violence on the water from the protestors.

Cruise ships are in town and Pike Place market is busy with lots of people.  We love getting a sandwich at Three Girls Bakery and then heading down for a Priroshky for one daughter.  Don’t forget to visit the bubblegum wall.


Posted on May 18, 2015 at 6:35 pm
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

West Seattle New Starbucks and Chipotle are Coming to the Alaska Junction

It was just released on the Seattle DPD, (Department of Planning and Development) site that permits are being submitted for spaces on the East side of California just South of Alaska Avenue. It looks like Starbucks will be on the SE corner of Alaska and California and Chipotle will be approx. across the street from Husky deli. Well my daughter is excited about Chipotle. We have more Mexican restaurants in West Seattle than any other ethnic restaurants. This gives West Seattle a bigger variety of Mexican food.

Posted on February 18, 2015 at 7:02 pm
Tom Fine | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,

Elon Musk plans to build Hyperloop

Elon Musk plans to build Hyperloop test track
SpaceX and Tesla CEO wants to speed up the development of a 800-mph tube transport — and is willing to pay for testing in Texas to make it happen.
by Nick Statt
@nickstatt January 15, 2015 1:00 PM PST

Elon Musk calls the Hyperloop a fifth mode of transportation. Using electromagnetic pulses and pressurized tubes, Hyperloop can hit high speeds.
Billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Musk is getting more hands on with the Hyperloop.

Musk, who heads up both space transportation outfit SpaceX and electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors, casually announced on Twitter Tuesday that he’s decided to help accelerate development of his vision for near-supersonic tube transportation, first outlined in August 2013.

Musk said he will build a five-mile test track for the still-theoretical system for students and companies to use. A possible location would be Texas, he added, where presumably there is plenty of flat land to go around.

Will be building a Hyperloop test track for companies and student teams to test out their pods. Most likely in Texas.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2015

Musk originally floated the idea of the Hyperloop with help from fellow SpaceX and Tesla engineers, releasing their collective work in a 57-page concept paper that generated headlines worldwide. Until today, Musk has been notably hands-off about the project and has said it remains an open source and collaborative process. SpaceX declined to comment further on Musk’s plans or whether the test track will involve additional collaboration from members of his two companies.

Musk is known for dropping bombshell announcements on his personal Twitter account, like when a rocket from his space transportation outfit SpaceX exploded mid-flight because “rockets are tricky” or how he thinks artificial intelligence may be more dangerous thannukes.

Though Musk speaks of the Hyperloop with similar nonchalance, the idea could revolutionize land transportation. It’s simpler than it sounds. A Hyperloop would work similarly to an air hockey table, but instead of floating on a cushion of air, solar-powered electromagnetic pulses would propel pressurized cabins inside elevated tubes. T

Theoretically, the resulting system could reach speeds approaching 800 mph, faster than the speed of sound, through tubes held up by pylons placed between strategic cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. The system still needs years of testing, and as much as $10 billion to create even just one 400-mile stretch.

Yet Musk’s willingness to get involved after almost a year and a half of silence on the subject shows he’s serious about the idea and will, as he has with his other ventures, spend some of his own money to get it off the ground.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a collection of crowdsourced engineers working on the system, is already underway working out routes around the country.
Musk is known for taking risks and transforming industries. He did it with mobile payments and PayPal during the first dot-com era — then again with electric vehicles and private spaceflight.

Critics, including members of the US High Speed Rail Association, say high speed rail is a more-viable option. High-speed rail is widely used throughout Asia and the state of California this month broke ground for its high-speed rail system costing $70 billion. Musk has criticized the project’s high costs and sees the Hyperloop as leapfrogging the technology.

Musk isn’t alone in trying to make the idea a reality. A group of entrepreneurs and scientists have banded together to create Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. Put together first on a crowdfunding platform called JumpStartFund, it’s a loose collective of around 100 engineers, unaffiliated with Musk, who exchange free time for potential equity. Each works in small teams focused on specific interests, such as designing passenger pods and propulsion prototypes.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has also partnered with UCLA’s SUPRASTUDIO design and architecture program to design capsules and stations, as well as work out prospective routes around the country that could be potentially be linked into a nationwide Hyperloop network.

JumpStartFund did not comment on Musk’s plans, but CEO Dirk Ahlborn said the company will know soon where a finalized test site will be located.

Posted on January 15, 2015 at 9:11 pm
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

I love working with my clients!

November 5, 2014

To Whom it May Concern:

Tom Fine was our buyer’s agent for our recent home purchase in Green Lake, Seattle. We have decided to pen an unsolicited testimonial to his services.

Our family recently relocated from Australia to Seattle and decided to purchase a home. Luckily for us, we found Tom. Tom was able to explain the real estate market and buying and selling process in Seattle (which differs greatly from what we were used to in Australia). He was tireless in identifying properties that met our criteria and spent countless hours on the road with us explaining the positives and negatives of different localities, housing and building styles while viewing ‘open homes’. He was very flexible and understanding in his approach and his availability.

Tom’s knowledge gained as a building contractor was invaluable. He was able to walk through houses with us explaining potential benefits or pitfalls of the construction, layout, style, materials used and potential areas for improvement or maintenance. Several times he drew our attention to problems with construction that we would not otherwise have noticed.

In the end we found a house we wanted to make an offer for and Tom was able to calmly handle negotiations, helping to secure the house below the asking price in a highly competitive real estate market. He kept us in the loop every step of the way.

Subsequent to closing on the house, Tom has been happy to provide advice and expertise in relation to our plans to improve the property.

We’ve been impressed with Tom and would wholeheartedly recommend his services to others looking to buy or sell a home in Seattle.

Mark and Caroline Gordon
Green Lake, Seattle.

Posted on January 9, 2015 at 6:05 am
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Does Your Realtor Know?

When I go to purchase items whether it is a small item or large, I look to the salesperson to be knowledgeable about what they are selling, don’t you? So I turn the tables and say here are some questions to ask your Realtor.

What should you expect out of a Realtor?

Let’s discuss the knowledge items.

Your Realtor should have knowledge of the following:
➢ Of the area you are showing with information of schools, parks, and the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods
➢ About the structure, basic information, what kind of construction is the structure (Just because I know a lot about this subject I didn’t put this in here, but I expect a salesperson to know what they are selling at least the basic information)
➢ Thoroughly describe the features and benefits of the property
➢ Ability to inform the clients about the forms they are signing and the ability to get them any answer relating to the transaction
➢ Communicate consistently with all parties about updates, changes or modifications of the terms, contracts and schedules, not through text, but phone and email
➢ Ability to discuss the handling of earnest money
➢ What Escrow and Title is and why they are important
➢ Ability to negotiate for the best terms for their clients, know when to talk and when to walk
➢ Follow through, continuation of communicating about the status of the process
➢ Be able to provide their clients with CMA’s (Comparative Market Analysis) for price points of the house whether they are selling or buying, so the clients know what your house value is
➢ Knowing how to maximize your return on investment, preparing your property for sale
➢ Lowering his/her commission will not make the property sell faster, (A realtor should be able to respond to this question, why won’t my property sell faster with a lower commission, *larger dollar sales do have a lower commission structure)
➢ Realtor (Selling) provides you with preliminary costs to sell your home with several scenario’s for different selling prices
➢ Realtor (Buying) provides you closing cost scenario’s, (what it will cost you to purchase a home)
➢ Realtor provides you what the process is for selling or buying and what to expect from the beginning to the end

The items I have pointed out above are key reasons to use a Realtor; another key item is the Code of Ethics that Realtor’s commit to, to be a Realtor. Please note that if you have a license to sell real estate, this does not mean they are a Realtor.

To discuss how I can be of any assistance to you whether you are interested in buying or selling, please contact me, Tom Fine, Broker – Windermere Real Estate, tomfine@windermere.com or call me at 206-434-6561 and I will be glad to help you with your real estate needs. I work with individuals, couples or groups to buy and sell real estate in the state of Washington, from single-family homes, raw land, multifamily properties and investment properties.

Posted on January 8, 2015 at 7:12 am
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,