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 , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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
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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Understanding Closing on your New Home

So you are going to buy a home and you hear the word Closing, Title, Escrow, what does this mean to you and how does it affect you and the buying or selling of a property. Closing is also known as the settlement, the settlement of the property you are buying or selling. The settlement includes the accounting of the funds transferred between the two parties by the closing firm also known as the Escrow firm.

The funding source (Buyers Lender) will transfer funds from the lender to Escrow and Escrow will settle all debts associated with the property, such as the sellers mortgage, any utilities, taxes, and insurance or outstanding debts of the sellers associated with the property. The balance after the payoff is known as the capitol gains to the sellers.

Escrow will also transfer the needed funds for the buyer for insurance and taxes.

Escrow is the firm in which typically handles the settlement of the funds, transferring of the funds and coordinating the signing of all the documents by the buyers and sellers. Escrow protects all parties involved by making sure that no funds or properties change hands until all conditions in the agreement have been met.

Title, which is very important establishes who actually owns/owned the property and tracts whom has owned the property over the years. Title must be free and clear, this will make it a marketable title and must be free of any encumbrances (A clouded Title). A clouded title is a property that is not a marketable title (such as an easement issue, a lien against the property, or an encroachment on the property are just a couple of issues that could cloud the title and make the property not have a clear title, therefore should not be transferred to anyone else. Title was set up hundreds of years ago, when travelers where coming across the country and they needed to be reassured that the land/property they where buying was their property. Title was a way to guarantee that the property that they where buying was theirs and not someone else’s.
California or Seattle. Closing is explained in-depth at http://www.homeclosing101.org/index.cfm
and explains what Title is, what Title Insurance is and why you should have Title Insurance.

What is escrow?

Escrow will also transfer the needed funds for the buyer for insurance and taxes.

Escrow is the firm in which typically handles the settlement of the funds, transferring of the funds and coordinating the signing of all the documents by the buyers and sellers. Escrow protects all parties involved by making sure that no funds or properties change hands until all conditions in the agreement have been met.

Title, which is very important establishes who actually owns/owned the property and tracts whom has owned the property over the years. Title must be free and clear, this will make it a marketable title and must be free of any encumbrances (A clouded Title). A clouded title is a property that is not a marketable title (such as an easement issue, a lien against the property, or an encroachment on the property are just a couple of issues that could cloud the title and make the property not have a clear title, therefore should not be transferred to anyone else. Title was set up hundreds of years ago, when travelers where coming across the country and they needed to be reassured that the land/property they where buying was their property. Title was a way to guarantee that the property that they where buying was theirs and not someone else’s.
California or Seattle. Closing is explained in-depth at http://www.homeclosing101.org/index.cfm
and explains what Title is, what Title Insurance is and why you should have Title Insurance.

Posted on November 6, 2014 at 10:05 am
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Great Video Called a Time-lapse Study

It is great when we run accross articles, videlo's or photo's of great substance or content. A photographer and director made this Timelapse video and I am fan of cideos like these.

Durring my contruction days, weeks, months  well years, I loved to create timelapse photogtraphy. if shows so much in such a short time.

The Shard: A Timelapse Study – A Film by Paul Raftery and Dan Lowe

http://vimeo.com/portfoleo/theshard

 

Here is another Time-lapse video, about Vancouver

http://vimeo.com/95384593

 

Thank you

Tom Fine

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 11:10 am
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Throw your Money Away! Use the Referral From your Realtor

 

Do you like to throw your money away? If you are like me, I value my money and don't like throwing money away. Don't get me wrong, I do buy things once in a while that might be ridiculous, but at least I am making that choice.  When you pick a mortgage broker, because they are a friend or friend of a friend or they may be a big bank. This may be you are gambling with your money.  

Why do I bring this up, well this happens more than I would like. I have clients that come to me and they have a buddy that is a banker for a large bank and we have a real estate property that we are in contract with. It has a 45 day close.  The banker takes the information and the appraisal doesn't happen for 15 days, (what! 15 days for an appraisal) but the client is told by the banker everything is good and release the financing contingency. Done, Financing contingency is released, no contingencies left.  I tried to interject and emails would not come back to me form the banker, the banker was only responding to his client which is "our client". 5 days before the scheduled close, the client is rejected by underwriting, (What!) The banker said to his client (Suppose to be our client) he can work it out and needs another 5 days. We are now going to 50 days to close. Seller does not accept an extension, guess what, we are so close to the client loosing his earnest money. Why? Because of the buddies relationship with the banker. a large sum of money was on the table as far as the earnest money that was in jeopardy. After an exhausting day with multiple conversations with the listing broker, I was able to work out an extension with working with the listing agent and negotiating a deal. Today, the deal got done, but my gosh, none of us need to have this kind of stress.

What can be learned from this? Please use the referral from your Realtor. 

It is about getting the deal done for our clients, with the least amount of stress to the clients. Our clients need to feel special and that they are being taken care of. It's critical to provide them with updates with the current program and where they sit in the funding process.

This is what we do, getting the job done with the least amount of stress and provide updates and clear and open communication.

More stories to come.

If you need a referral or are looking for a property, contact Tom Fine.

 

Posted on January 25, 2014 at 6:59 am
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

17 Steps to Purchasing a Home

 

Here 17 Steps to purchasing a home. 

This list will prove guidance to understanding the steps to obtaining a home.

As any investment person would say, create a realistic budget and stick with it. This will give you a good perspective of what you can afford a month for a mortgage payment.

The realtor you have selected should be utilizing a process as shown below, will make finding your home a smooth process.

In each of the steps below there are details to understanding each of these steps

The 17 steps to home ownership

  1. Save money for down payment
  2. Select a Realtor
  3. Understanding financing methods
  4. Finding a lender
  5. Get Pre-Approved
  6. Determine your home search criteria
  7. Research and view homes
  8. Select a home
  9. Make an offer/negotiate, leave emotions out of it
  10. Sign a purchase and sale agreement
  11. Get inspections, Home inspection and any other inspections
  12. Apply for mortgage application
  13. Realtor/Broker will confirm a clean title
  14. Get home insurance
  15. Final walkthrough
  16. Closing, signing documents
  17. Documents recorded, keys are turned over to you

 

As with any part of the real estate process, if at any time you have any questions or concerns ask your realtor.  That is what they are there for, to provide you guidance that you can trust and believe in.

 

Do you have questions in the Seattle area, contact Tom Fine, tomfine@windermere.com or 206-434-6561

 

Tom's next blogs break down the 17 steps of purchasing a home.

 

Happy Home Hunting!

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 10:08 pm
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,