The Trump effect. How will it impact the US economy and housing? by Lisa Lewis

Originally published on Windermere Blog by author Matthew Gardner, chief economist of Windermere Real Estate.

The American people have spoken and they have elected Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Change was clearly demanded, and change is what we will have.

The election was a shock for many, especially on the West Coast where we have not been overly affected by the long-term loss in US manufacturing or stagnant wage growth of the past decade. But the votes are in and a new era is ahead of us. So, what does this mean for the housing market?

First and foremost I would say that we should all take a deep breath. In a similar fashion to the UK’s “Brexit”, there will be a “whiplash” effect, as was seen in overnight trading across the globe. However, at least in the US, equity markets have calmed as they start to take a closer look at what a Trump presidency will mean.American Flag

On a macro level, I would start by stating that political rhetoric and hyperbole do not necessarily translate into policy. That is the most important message that I want to get across. I consider it highly unlikely that many of the statements regarding trade protectionism will actually go into effect. It will be very important for President Trump to tone down his platform on renegotiating trade agreements and imposing tariffs on China. I also deem it highly unlikely that a 1,000-mile wall will actually get built.

It is crucial that some of the more inflammatory statements that President-Elect Trump has made be toned down or markets will react negatively. However, what is of greater concern to me is that neither candidate really approached questions regarding housing with any granularity. There was little-to-no-discussion regarding housing finance reform, so I will be watching this topic very closely over the coming months.

As far as the housing market is concerned, it is really too early to make any definitive comment. That said, Trump ran on a platform of deregulation and this could actually bode well for real estate. It might allow banks the freedom to lend more, which in turn, could further energize the market as more buyers may qualify for home loans.

Concerns over rising interest rates may also be overstated. As history tells us, during times of uncertainty we tend to put more money into bonds. If this holds true, then we may see a longer-than-expected period of below-average rates. Today’s uptick in bond yields is likely just temporary.

Proposed infrastructure spending could boost employment and wages, which again, would be a positive for housing markets. Furthermore, easing land use regulations has the potential to begin addressing the problem of housing affordability across many of our nation’s housing markets – specifically on the West Coast.

Economies do not like uncertainty. In the near-term we may see a temporary lull in the US economy, as well as the housing market, as we analyze what a Trump presidency really means. But at the present time, I do not see any substantive cause for panic in the housing sector.

We are a resilient nation, and as long as we continue to have checks-and balances, I have confidence that we will endure any period of uncertainty and come out stronger.

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

Photo Credit: Aktim Ι Pixabay

Posted on November 11, 2016 at 10:20 am
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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
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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
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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
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Don’t Make Mistakes Selling Your Home

 

1.     Not preparing to show your home in the right light. It’s critical to make sure when you are getting your home ready to sell that you put items in the right place.  Don’t have too much clutter; arrange furniture so the rooms flow. If you don’t have the right furniture the best bet is to place staging in place of your furniture.  Remember you are looking to get top dollar.

2.Doing a minor home improvement before selling might make sense.

If you have a ½ bath and have room to make it a ¾ bath to increase your selling price or a kitchen renovation to get more money, doesn’t that make sense? Yes!  But don’t get carried away by doing too big of a renovation.

3.     Not hiring an agent. So many people think they can do what an Agent/Broker can do. Are you willing to go through all the steps t get top dollar and then you don’t deal with an action in the right order or miss a timeframe that jeopardizes the deal, it’s critical that you have someone that can represent you to explain all the details. Studies have shown that hiring an Agent/Broker, you’ll get your money worth and it will eliminate a lot of headaches.  Hire a professional to do a professional job.

4.     Putting too high of a sale price. Wanting to get top dollar is everyone’s dream, but setting too high of a sale price can hurt in more than one way.  It will keep the house on the market longer, the first two weeks is when your house sees a lot of action and people.  When a house is on the market longer than a couple of weeks, then buyers believe they can get a bargain or low ball an offer. It’s key to get a BPO, (Brokers Price Opinion) this will provide an price with comps so you can make the right decision on the pricing.

5.     Not hiring the right agent.  You may have a friend or you see a truck that says “Use this truck for free when Moving, hire me” you get a postcard that says discounted fees or free staging. Do you want to think about discount people when selling your home?  You want the right person and the one that thinks outside the box, has great opinions and options to sell your home.

6.     Not exposing your home to the masses.  When interviewing the agents, what is the agent going to do for marketing?  Is she/he going to market to thousands of local agents, what about a Brokers open and open houses for the masses? Email marketing, Video tours on the Internet. Neighborhood mailer about the home. If the neighbors love the neighborhood, they’ll tell their friend about the great neighborhood, SOLD!

7.     Putting restriction on the buyers, not letting buyers access the home. Some sellers, believe they know better than the agent, so they restrict the agent from showing the home, not allow agents market the home strategically. The right agents know how to go to market and know how to sell your home, let the professionals do their job.

8.     Sellers should not be in the home while showing are happening. Several of my clients wanted to show the potential buyers their home, they felt they knew what to show buyers and they wanted to be there for the showings.  This is a big No-No. Buyers and sellers should not be together, buyers want to feel free to talk about the house what they like and don’t like. They may want to do a remodel and the sellers can’t imagine why someone would want to change their home. The best scenario is to have the sellers out of the home during any showing and any open or brokers open.  If they forget something, oh well they can come in after the showings.  Believe you want top dollar, this will shoot them in the foot if they are there while a showing is going on.

 

These are the main items that can help get you on the right rack for positioning your home with the right agent, maximizing your return and getting maximum exposure.  If you are in the Seattle and surrounding areas and you would like to discuss how we Tom Fine could help you, contact Tom today. Todays market is hot for sellers, positioning your home can potentially get more than market value.  Have fun selling your home.

 

 

 

Posted on May 16, 2015 at 7:09 pm
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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
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Contractor experience adds unmatched value in home-buying process

Realtors come from many different backgrounds—sales, IT, and consulting—to name a few. My experience as a former general contractor/builder is a huge advantage for my clients. Of all of the possible background for real estate sales, which experience brings the most to the client’s search, assessment, and negotiation process? I realize that I can’t be objective about this topic, but a former contractor’s knowledge of housing structure, materials, wear and tear, and renovation costs, are invaluable.  My background in construction has been a priceless bonus for all of my clients. Allow me to illustrate…

 

Imagine yourself as a homebuyer walking into a home that is for sale. As your agent, I look around and identify some things in the house that concern me; the exterior siding has moss growing on it, the railing is a little loose and penetrating the wall. I move the railing screw around and feel that the area is rotted. Then I start to wonder….what else is wrong? — is there anything else that is not taken care of by the owners? I see other items that prompt me to suggest to you that we move on and look at other houses.  If you loved the house, and all of its characteristics and layout, then I would let you know the problems that I saw.  During an intense inspection, we would see in total, all that was uncovered.

 

Scenario #2, the buyers that I represent are looking at a condo, and they love the view. I look around and make notes on my iPad. After a walk-through, I ask my clients what they think of the condo.  They like it. We look at the storage area—it smells moldy and musty. As we tour the mechanical room, we uncover a room that houses a sauna and a hot tub—both are decommissioned by the HOA (Homeowners Association.)  This is a HUGE red flag;  #1, the association has a moldy, smelling, storage area, and # 2 the hot tub and sauna are decommissioned by the HOA. This tells me that although significant dues are collected from each unit, the community facilities are not being maintained properly. What else is not being maintained? When we go outside, I see more items that concern me—the wooden soffits appear to have some deterioration issues. The exterior also needs attention, and my estimate is that this is a $250K improvement project.

 

Scenario #3, my buyers and I go to the next condo. It’s great! I mean…the view is fantastic! It has a great view of the water, but as I walk through the unit and into the hallway, I feel like a drunken sailor.  The floor in the condo is not level. After a complete tour, my opinion is that the unit is OK, but nothing to write home about…..but THE VIEW–did I mention the view?!  The place also has a pool and sauna, and is within walking distance of many local restaurants and shops. Later, I step into the hall to look for the mechanical room and meet a couple who live in the building. We talk briefly about the building, the maintenance, and some general comments they have about the place. They are very nice, and forthcoming, and I learn something about the condo board. It consists of residents that have been there for many years and they don’t like to spend money on maintenance or capital improvements, so the north side of the building is about eight years overdue for siding replacement. The decking around the pool also needs maintenance. The kind couple also inform me that one condo owner recently requested to make some changes to their unit — requiring board approval — and were turned down. What about that great view?!  A difficult HOA board is a potential deal-breaker — even if you inherit the property.

 

Scenario #4, my clients who are first-time buyers and newlyweds want to buy a rambler that just came on the market.  It is in a great part of town, and the yard is gorgeous.  I walk in and notice that the owners renovated it poorly. The floor plan was modified and it does not flow right.  In the basement, the drain/sewer was exposed and a temporary fix-it job was botched—someone tied into the wrong plumbing fittings.  What else did they do wrong? (I say to myself) I look in the attic and find evidence of a fire years ago and also find more signs of poor renovations and framing issues.  I analyze these items and feel there are too many issues to consider this house as a viable property.  My buyers really want the property, but I feel an obligation to explain all the issues that I see. Regardless, they feel that all the problems were things that they could fix. I appreciated their enthusiasm, and of course I would like to make the offer and sale, but I want to be honest with them about how much it would cost—it would take a deep pocketbook. They are so serious about the place and as much as I dislike being pessimist, I ask them to give me a few minutes to put together a rough estimate as to what it would take to do the repairs and make the place right. The total renovation and correction costs are enormous, and when I review the rough estimate with them, they realize that buying that home would be a mistake. That property sold for 10% over the listing price and I know the new buyers did not have someone with my experience in their corner.  I am sorry for them and others like them.

 

I could have sold these properties to my clients, but not with a clear conscience. I choose to create a long-term relationship with them and be the kind of agent that I would want for my own family. I can feel good about my service to clients when I work hard for their trust and confidence and provide them the information that they need. After all, it is probably the biggest ticket item they will ever purchase. Beyond making a sale, and a commission, I want to feel good about helping clients make good choices and build a solid future. Sound construction and renovation counsel is a customer-service bonus for my clients. How many real estate agents can offer this invaluable home-buyer service at no extra cost?

 

Tom Fine | Broker | Windermere Real Estate Capitol Hill

SRES and CNE Certified

Senior Real Estate Specialist and Certified Negotiation Expert

 

tomfine@windermere.comwww.finehomesnw.com

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm
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Are you thinking of a new neighborhood to live in? Let’s talk about Wedgwood.

 

Seattle is so fortunate to have many great neighborhoods. It's all about what you are looking for?  Location close to Amazon, Broadway, Downtown, need to be North of town? Well there are others that are located in great areas, Ballard, West Seattle, Capitol Hill and on.  I am not here to talk about these but what about Wedgwood, that's how you spell it, with no "e" in it.  Wedgwood is located just North of Downtown Seattle and North of the University of Washington and East of I-5. Wedgwood has sidewalks and tree lined streets. 

Wedgwood was created right after WWII by a developer who built Cape Cod style homes in this area. The name Wedgwood came from the landowner’s wife who had china that was named "Wedgwood". This neighborhood consists mainly of the middle class America. There is dental clinics, hair salons, restaurants, you don't have to leave this area unless you wanted to. If you have a  craving for donuts, then you can go to Top Pot Donuts, or you can grab pizza at Fiddler’s Inn or Wedgewood Ale House & Cafe

If you would like to check out the Wedgwood Blog

It's a great place to take a drive to and check out this area. Go for a stroll and enjoy your afternoon and enjoy a great meal. You can't go wrong in or around Wedgwood, it's only a 15 minute drive to downtown.

Keep an eye out for more information about other neighborhoods.

 

Tom Fine, Broker

Windermere RE, Capitol Hill

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 12:42 am
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Real Estate Sales Volume Numbers in Sales Up 17% in NW Region (Seattle and Surrounding Areas)

 

#'s going up and Down, see the text below for clarification on which numbers are doing what

Great News, the numbers are in for real estate sales in the Pacific NW for 2013.  The sales numbers compared to the year before are up 17% equating to 11,000 more properties.  Who wants to argue that the economy is doing worst or stagnant?  I am very happy with these numbers and look forward to a great 2014. These numbers state we re a nice increase and hopefully it will be a nice gradual increase. While we look at these numbers to determine the health of the area, other factors are contributing; unemployment numbers are lower than they have been in over 6 years to 6.6%.

Investors are spending a great deal of cash to buy foreclosures and turn them around in record time to get them on the market.

Other great news, we are seeing more homes coming onto the market for sale.

 

Contact me to discuss your investments.

 

Tom Fine

Windermere RE, Capitol Hill

 
Posted on January 25, 2014 at 5:01 am
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How to Sell your Home, Several Simple Steps to Increase the Value of you Home

This is scary, challenging and exciting all at the same time. The thought of selling your biggest investment.  Well being wise and realistic you'll do fine. I knw you're thinking you can do the FSBO, of course as a realtor I don't believe in FSBO (For Sale By Owner), here you have your biggest asset and you have a fulltime job and know you are thinking of taking on this huge endeavor, is this smart?  Do you know how much time it will take? Do you have experience in selling a home? Marketing a home, Interacting with potential buyers?  Do you know what to say and how to close the deal or negotiate?  What are these values worth?

The right realtor will make the cost of their services pay off, they will make you as much money as possible and will engage with potential buyers and buyers agents.  Well let's get down to why you are here.

Here are some steps to get your home prepared for selling for the maximum amount.

1. Curb Appeal, this is the first impressions a potential buyer will see your home, beside the pictures online.  Clean the yard, make the yard attractive, simple plants and bark in the beds can make your yard stand out from other homes for sale.

2. The first thing to do is to declutter your home, this means getting rid if all the excess items, possibly too many chairs in the living room, too much furniture is a turn off. The rooms should feel larger and by minimizing them, making the rooms look clean, larger this will give the rooms more volume. Clean your home, this means dusting, washing windows, this means deep cleaning and keep it clean, you never know when a potential buyer will want to see your home.

3.  Make necessary repairs, do a walk thru and look at everything and make a list, that is what a good inspector will do and you'll loose money on the house if there any issues. Once you have the list, prioritize the list and go over the list with your realtor, they can help make key judgments on what should be repaired or replaced.

4.  Prepare a list of what you like about the house and what repairs and improvements you've made on the property.

5.  How about another list of what shops, restaurants and other great places are around your home that buyers can associate with and can see the proximity of these places. Anything special like this: "Look thru Living room window to see the Space Needle", "Walk to the Waterfront", "Pike Place Market are within walking distance from the house".

6.  Once you hire a realtor to represent your home, they will provide a CMA, (Comparative Market Analysis) which will have comparative properties to provide you with a good idea of what your home is worth and what price range the home can sell for.  A realtor is here to provide you with details and information and it is your job top make the decision on price from t he information they have provided. It's important to try to leave the emotion out of this process and try to look at it as a business transaction. i know that's tough, but emotions get in the way of a realistic price. Emotions increase the price.  Keep your emotions out, be realistic what your home is worth, otherwise it's a waste of time to try to sell an overpriced home

7.  Tell your friends and neighbors that you are selling your home, word of mouth is an incredible power full source, utilize it. Spread the word.

With the right presentation and price and terms, it should sell fast in the right market.

Good luck on your home sale and I hope you do well.

Contact me to help you sell your home.

 

Tom Fine

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 9:30 am
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