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

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

Market Reports, What’s Happening in and Around Seattle, Mercer Island and the Eastside

Are you looking for statistics, we have them!, the Windermere Mercer Island office produces 8 market reports for anyone that loves statistics. Here is a list of all the reports to review, just click on the report that you're interested in.  If you are looking for additional information contact my team to get you what you are looking for.  If you are looking for update information click here

Market Reports

Residential Q3 2015 Reports:

Click to view quarterly market reports for Mercer Island, Seattle and The EastsidePublished October 2015

Waterfront Q3 2015 Reports:

Click to view quarterly market reports for Mercer Island, The EastsideLake Sammamish and SeattlePublished October 2015

Posted on October 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm
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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

How long do things last in your home?

The life span of your household components

Nothing in life lasts forever – and the same can be said for your home. From the roof to the furnace, every component of your home has a life span, so it’s a good idea to know approximately how many years of service you can expect from them. This information can help when buying or selling your home, budgeting for improvements, and deciding between repairing or replacing when problems arise.

According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) study, the average life expectancy of some home components has decreased over the past few decades.  (This might explain why you’re on your third washing machine while Grandma still has the same indestructible model you remember from childhood.) But the good news is the life span of many other items has actually increased in recent years.

Here’s a look at the average life spans of some common home components (courtesy of NAHB).

Appliances. Of all home components, appliances have the widest variation in life spans. These are averages for all brands and models, and may represent the point which replacing is more cost-effective than repairing. Among major appliances, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy, at about 15 years. Electric ranges, standard-size refrigerators, and clothes dryers last about 13 years, while garbage disposals grind away for about 10 years. Dishwashers, microwave ovens, and mini-refrigerators can all be expected to last about nine years. For furnaces, expect a life span of about 15 years for electric, 18 for gas, and 20 for oil-burning models. Central air-conditioning systems generally beat the heat for 10 to 15 years.

Kitchen & Bath. Countertops of wood, tile, and natural stone will last a lifetime, while cultured marble will last about 20 years. The life span of laminate countertops depends greatly on use and can be 20 years or longer. Kitchen faucets generally last about 15 years.  An enamel-coated steel sink will last five to 10 years; stainless will last at least 30 years; and slate, granite, soapstone, and copper should endure 100 years or longer. Toilets, on average, can serve at least 50 years (parts such as the flush assembly and seat will likely need replacing), and bathroom faucets tend to last about 20 years.

Flooring. Natural flooring materials provide longevity as well as beauty: Wood, marble, slate, and granite should all last 100 years or longer, and tile, 74 to 100 years. Laminate products will survive 15 to 25 years, linoleum about 25 years, and vinyl should endure for about 50 years. Carpet will last eight to 10 years on average, depending on use and maintenance.

Siding, Roofing, Windows. Brick siding normally lasts 100 years or longer, aluminum siding about 80 years, and stucco about 25 years. The life span of wood siding varies dramatically – anywhere from 10 to 100 years – depending on the climate and level of maintenance. For roofs, slate or tile will last about 50 years, wood shingles can endure 25 to 30 years, metal will last about 25 years, and asphalts got you covered for about 20 years. Unclad wood windows will last 30 years or longer, aluminum will last 15 to 20 years, and vinyl windows should keep their seals for 15 to 20 years.

Of course, none of these averages matter if you have a roof that was improperly installed or a dishwasher that was a lemon right off the assembly line. In these cases, early replacement may be the best choice. Conversely, many household components will last longer than you need them to, as we often replace fully functional items for cosmetic reasons, out of a desire for more modern features, or as a part of a quest to be more energy efficient.

Are extended warranties warranted?

Extended warranties, also known as service contracts or service agreements, are sold for all types of household items, from appliances to electronics. They cover service calls and repairs for a specified time beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranty. Essentially, warranty providers (manufacturers, retailers, and outside companies) are betting that a product will be problem-free in the first years of operation, while the consumer who purchases a warranty is betting against reliability.

Warranty providers make a lot of money on extended warranties, and Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, advises against purchasing them.  You will have to consider whether the cost is worth it to you; for some, it brings a much needed peace of mind when making such a large purchase. Also, consider if it the cost outweighs the value of the item; in some cases it may be less expensive to just replace a broken appliance than pay for insurance or a warranty.

 

Posted in Buying by Tara Sharp

Tom fine Is a Reealtor with Windermere Real Estate Capitol Hill in Seattle Washington, Helping Byers adn Sellers "Making Home Ownership Easy"  Fine Homes NW, Inc.

 

Posted on March 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Happened with Housing in January and What to Expect

    The beginning of February brings us with an incredible time for sellers, it is a sellers market with limited inventory and lower interest rates. Buyers are having a tough time with the limited inventory, that are stimulating multiple offers and offers going over 15% above listing price in some instances.
 
    This is discouraging for many buyers and I am encouraging my buyers to hang in there and be ready to jump as soon as we hear of a new listing that matches my clients requirements.  With the limited properties coming on, we are doing a lot of jumping.
 
    From what we can see, it appears this spring and summer will be heavy activity in the real estate market, heated up from the limited inventory over the last several months.
 
    Exciting times are coming and buyers should be patient and sellers should be getting their homes on the market to take advantage of the limited inventory, this should provide a better sale price now than this summer when more home flood the market. 
 
If you have any questions r or comments please contact me.  If you need assistance in the market wiht buying or selling please contact me.
 
To see what your home is worth, contact me for a CMA, (Comparable Market Analysis) 
 
Tom Fine
Fine Homes NW, Inc.
 
Windermere RE, Capitol Hill
206-434-6561  direct
 
 
 
 
 
Posted on February 11, 2014 at 3:02 am
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Properties For Sale, what I look for, are you looking at them the same way?

 

Every day I am looking at properties, for my clients (Buyers & Investors) all over town from Capitol Hill heading South thru Mt. Baker, Seward Park and then West to West Seattle and then NW, to Magnolia and Ballard.  Don't get me wrong; I hit a lot more neighborhoods besides these.  

What I saw and continue to see from some other Brokers is disappointing; these are listings that come on to the market and they are not prepared for the buyers. The sellers have one opportunity to make a first impression and when I walk up the house and grab onto a post to open a gate and the post is wobbly, I loose trust, then I say, well let’s see maybe that was overlooked.  Then I see other items that make me nervous and concerned. These are minor items such as cover plates missing off electrical devices and poorly executed finishes. These are items that should have been addressed prior to putting this home on the market.  Why?  If these are not an issue then these items don’t turn off people. 

As a professional I am coaching my clients on getting the best return for their investment and this means installing cover-plates on switches and receptacles, fixing a wiggly post for a fence and dealing with a heap fix to meet a code issue. Oh I forgot to mention, the house smelled! I work hard for my clients and my clients know that when I ask them to do something, they know it is in their best interest, not mine and for them to maximize their return, they do what makes sense. 

I can see that several items feel thru the cracks for this listing, and I don't know where it was but I am glad to say I am thoroughly disappointed in what I saw. I saw another property that was on the market for a while and I can say the pictures online look great!  The in person comments are, peeling paint and cracks in the walls. For a fixer upper, not a problem, but overpriced is what we see and this will attract the low ballers. 

 

Look at the listing as what the buyer will see, the “Buyers Eyes”. Remember if a buyer sees items that don't look good, they start thinking what else is wrong with the house?

 

Don’t let the buyer drive the price down, get the price up.

 

Let me know if I can help you.

 

Tom Fine

Windermere RE, Capitol Hill, Inc.

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 8:08 am
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,