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1. Serious buyers

Even during the “off” season families still have to move, whether it is for a job change or concerns about their water supply in California, these buyers tend to be serious because they are on a timeframe, and the number of “lookers” are reduced in the off season.

2. Less competition

Inventory is low in the Winter and this year it is VERY low. Out of the almost 8000 homes on Bainbridge, there are only 72 currently for sale. Buyers are out looking but cannot find what they need. With less competition your home will stand out.

3. The process will be easier

Inspectors, lenders and County services slow down this time of year due to the low number of transactions occurring. It will be much easier to schedule an inspection or obtain staging in the Winter because due to the slowdown.

4. Great time to move up

It is a unique time, rates are still quite low and appreciation is expected to increase in the foreseeable future. Interest rates have been falling again over the last 10 weeks, with the 30-year mortgage at around 4%. Further, local economists predict home prices to rise 15.2% on average through 2016.

  • Holiday-Party

We are holding our annual Client Appreciation Holiday Party this December 4th and would love it if you could come! Save the dates were sent out last week via email, so if you didn’t receive one please contact me here so we can make sure you are on the list.

Look forward to seeing you!

  • Q3 Bainbridge Market

What a year! … well so far.

This year is shaping up to be the first solid “rebuilding” year, really since 2008 when the market fell. Sales are up, rising 7% each of the last two quarters, which has reduced time on the market and increased sales prices. The third quarter also brought a slight easing of the inventory issues we have been facing all year, but supply remains at historic lows. Inventory moved from -46% in the first quarter, to -31% in the second and was sitting at -26% these last three months. This still presents a problem for buyers looking to find the right home for their family, especially in certain price points where competition is intense.

Another issue in the third quarter came when the markets caught the bug known as the “taper”, which pushed up rates quickly on fears that the fed would start to scale back its bond buying program. Many people with pre-approval letters found them to be incorrect when they went to buy, due to rates jumping a full percentage point in some cases.

Finally, I would be remiss to not mention the Government shutdown and debt ceiling debate, which technically occurred in the fourth quarter, but affected some transactions which relied on government backed loans and created a large dent in consumer confidence. It remains to be seen what affect this will have on the markets over the next few months, but should make the next market update interesting nonetheless.

If you or someone you know are considering buying or selling, I would love to talk with you about your options. Contact me anytime.

  • GovShutdown (1 of 1)

I have received a few questions from clients regarding how the current shutdown could affect the sale of their home and thought it would be a great topic for a post. As of right now, a few days in, we don’t expect to see too much disruption of sales, but as it drags on for weeks or possibly months the situation becomes more difficult.

Mortgages

If a buyer is taking out a mortgage, the chances are the federal government is involved in some way throughout the process. Many lenders require an IRS form 4506-T, which verifies the SSN and income of the applicant. With the IRS shut down, significant delays are expected in this process. Another consideration is which type of loan you are receiving, because FHA and USDA loans may be impacted with the shutdown but Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are still operating as usual.

Backlog

Even if this is resolved today, the backlog from this last week is going to take some time to get through. Restarting the government takes time, and when the federal employees come back to work they not only have current applications to process, they have an ever-growing batch of shutdown documents to get through. Every day that the shutdown goes on, they delay will effectively double.

Effects

What are the effects for you? Well if you are selling, be aware that there could be a possible delay in closing. This is not a given, but it would be best to check with your agent about the status of the buyer’s financing and what your options are. If you are buying, you should be checking in with your lender to see what kind of delays they are expecting and relaying that info to your agent and the sellers.

What about if you are not buying or selling? Well this has little effect on your home, unless you are in the process of refinancing. Then of course the above delays may apply, but will probably not affect the process in the long run. Now of course, if we hit the debt ceiling, it may be another story…

Please contact me if you have any questions or need help navigating this uncertain time.

  • artwalk

Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty on Bainbridge Island, is pleased to announce that we are exhibiting art from The Island Gallery this Friday. Blue Delphic Sybil, an intaglio print with hand coloring by Curt Labitske, is one of our new pieces on exhibit.

Curt is currently the Chair of the Printmaking and Interdisciplinary Visual Arts Programs at the University of Washington, and regularly teaches in the School of Art’s study abroad program in Rome and Florence, Italy. His work is influenced by his extensive travels and reflects a passion for the sensuous quality of Etruscan art, the beauty of the Renaissance, the poetic storytelling of the Greeks and the brut directness of the German Expressionists. His intaglio prints, are often built of iconic figures inspired by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Currently showing: paintings by Kathleen Faulkner, Curt Labitzke, Martha Reisdorf and Irene Yesley; furniture by Donald Smith and Wendy Dunder; and raku ceramics by Stephanie Oliveira. Please stop by for a glass of wine and view our new pieces this Friday, October 4th from 6-8 pm.

  • BainbridgeIslandMarketQ2

Second quarter 2013 largely brought a continuation of the first quarter, with inventory at historic lows and buyers quickly picking up well-priced properties, especially in the median range.

Inventory

Inventory rose as expected from first quarter to second quarter (101 homes to 131 homes), although it is still at a historic low. This lack of inventory has created more competition amongst new listings, lowering the days on market by almost 50% (147 to 74) from 2012.

Interest Rates

Interest rates increased quickly in the second quarter by almost a full percentage point, which will encourage buyers to lock in rates before they continue to rise. With rates increasing so quickly, it is important to have a current pre-approval letter when making your buying decisions. Increasing interest rates could bring up your payment considerably, which needs to be planned for in advance.

With low inventory and high demand, home values should continue to increase throughout 2013. Contact me with any questions you may have.

  • Staging
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  • Living
  • Outdoor
  • Flowers and water

When selling your home, staging provides the best appeal to buyers and can bring a quick sale at a higher price. Even small changes can create a more inviting space and an emotional connection that will make a lasting impression. Here are some simple staging ideas you can use, whether your are preparing your home for sale, or an upcoming open house.

Flowers and water

Dining

Pops of color in the kitchen and dining room, through plants, can bring a fresh and lively feel. Plants that are edible and colorful highlight their utility while bringing life. Prepared drinks, cookbooks and place-settings on the kitchen table can bring a warm and inviting atmosphere to the dining spaces.

Living

Living

Distinguishing each room will highlight your homes maximum value and purpose. Whether it’s displaying office supplies in a corner or rearranging furniture to highlight a formal living room and casual family area; each space’s function will stand out. Differentiation will provide potential buyers with the mindset in which they can then envision their own family’s life within your home.

Outdoor

Outdoor

When staging a home, outdoor space can easily be neglected. However, it can be a huge selling point and a way to differentiate your home from others. If you have a large deck consider staging it with additional dining space or a cozy spot to sit around an outdoor fire. Show buyers that your large, grassy, backyard is perfect for kids by laying out a game such as croquet. For water front homes or homes with a pool, remind buyers that its perfect for summer by laying out a beach towel and a magazine. Always remember that you can highlight lifestyle pieces in many parts of your home, even in your yard.

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For those of you visiting Bainbridge Island this summer, here’s a bit of history to keep in mind while you pass through the historic parts of the island. Patriotism remains instilled in our residents because of the islands contributions to the military and navy for several centuries.

Bainbridge Island was named after a U.S Navy Commodore, William Bainbridge, after he spend years at sea protecting American ships from attacks from pirates, as well as the French and British forces during the War of 1812. Years later the U.S military established Fort Ward in order to protect the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Although abandoned in the early 20th century, the fort was re-established in anticipation for World War II. Good thing it was because this location was perfect for eavesdropping on radio transmissions from the Far East. In fact, military men at Fort Ward were the ones who deciphered the Japanese wartime code.

For a detailed history of Bainbridge and its historic landmarks visit the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum. More information can be found at http://www.bainbridgehistory.org/visit.aspx

  • 4th of july copy

The Bainbridge Island community invites you to join family and friends in our small town’s 46th annual celebration of our nation’s independence. Patriotism goes beyond flags placed outside every home with a full blown day of festivities.

Kick off the holiday on July 3rd at the Street Dance on Winslow Way from 6-11pm. Stop by the tasty food carts including Bon Bon sweets and Casa Rojas’ Mexican fare. Relax with beers from our Bainbridge Island Brewing Company and entertain the kids with sidewalk chalk and a variety of street fair vendors.

July 4th ushers in an endless variety of events to stay entertained and keep your stomachs satisfied. A Traditional Pancake Breakfast will energize you for the Street Fair that follows. Wander downtown Bainbridge and take in all that the island has to offer with its arts and crafts, food and non-profit stands. Car enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Classic & Electric Car Show that displays over 100 vehicles and the Mile Long Parade at 1pm is fun for the whole family. This fanfare draws in thousands of spectators and displays Bainbridge’s patriotic, community-centric, island living spirit.

Bainbridge concludes the 4th of July in style with a Fireworks Show over Eagle Harbor. Join the community once more to watch the night sky light up and to celebrate our nations independence.

For more information visit: http://www.bainbridgechamber.com/default.aspx?ID=47

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With great fanfare, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art opened its doors Friday to the public. The day celebration started with a ribbon cutting and a brass band, followed by a stellar lineup of performers from The Suquamish Tribe Song & Dance to the Bainbridge Bluegrass Festival Performers.

It was a tremendous day, and filled with many visitors from all over the sound wanting to share in the festivities. The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art will be hosting open house activities, free to the public, through the 4th of July.

If you haven’t been yet I would suggest going next weekend, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 22 and noon to 4 p.m. June 23, when the museum will be partnering up with their new neighbor, Kids Discovery Museum, to host a free family weekend. Admission will be free for both and activities will be going on all day!