What’s a Split Level





A Modern style that architects created to sequester certain living activities–such as sleeping or socializing–split levels offered an multilevel alternative to the ubiquitous style in the 1950s. The nether parts of a typical design were devoted to a garage and TV room; the midlevel, which usually jutted out from the two-story section, offered "quieter" quarters, such as the living and dining rooms; and the area above the garage was designed for bedrooms.


Posted on September 22, 2014 at 8:40 pm
Jason Jarvie | Posted in Uncategorized |

The Return of the Exurbs?

Areas on the outskirts of cities—known as the exurbs—were among some of the hardest hit during the housing crisis, but these areas are gradually recovering years ahead of when many economists had predicted.

It all comes down to the decrease in home affordability: Home buyers in search of lower prices are taking their searches further afield. In general, home prices have risen by about 23 percent since 2009. But home prices in the outskirts of towns have remained relatively low. Buyers facing skyrocketing rents and higher home prices near city centers are starting to consider the exurbs more seriously.

Some researchers are predicting city-loving Millennials will change their tune in a few years.

For example, in Phoenix’s Maricopa County, median existing-home sales prices have rebounded by 82 percent since a low in 2011, while those in the exurban Pinal County, Ariz., have surged 65.5 percent, according to the Phoenix Association of REALTORS®.

Many economists believed that a recovery in the exurbs was unlikely for several years. Exurbs are usually overwhelmingly residential in nature, which means residents often face long commutes. Agriculture or open land often makes up a big part of exurban borders. Exurbs lost their appeal during the housing crisis due to job losses, mortgage defaults, and high gasoline prices that brought home sales and construction mostly to a halt, as more people started to look closer in to city centers.

But as buyers look to exurbs again, so are builders, particularly since land prices tend to be much lower in the exurbs than city centers.

"I'm definitely seeing a trend toward these areas," Bob Bennett, division president for home builder Ryland  in Charlotte, N.C., told The Wall Street Journal. "People are starting to consider driving a bit further to get the home they want at a better price."

Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood LLC research firm, analyzed home construction in exurban counties nationwide and found that developers in the 10 counties analyzed produced 136.1 percent more home lots in the last four quarters than in the previous year—much greater than the broader market's 46 percent increase during that period.

Source: “Affordable Homes Drive Rebound in Exurbia,” The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 18, 2014)


Posted on September 22, 2014 at 8:33 pm
Jason Jarvie | Posted in Uncategorized |

How Interest Rates Impact Family Wealth

How Interest Rates Impact Family Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

With interest rates still in the low 4%’s, many buyers may be on the fence as to whether to act now and purchase a new home, or wait until next year.

If you look at what the experts are predicting for 2015, it may make the decision for you.

Predictions for 2015 3Q:

Even an increase of half a percentage point can put a dent in your family’s net worth.

Let’s look at it this way…

The monthly payment (principal & interest only) on a $250,000 home today, with the current 4.1% interest rate would be $1,208.

If we take that same home a year later, the Home Price Expectation Survey projects that prices will rise about 4% making that home cost $10,000 more at $260,000.

If we take Freddie Mac’s rate projection of 4.8%, the monthly mortgage payment climbs to $1,364.

Some buyers might not think that an extra $156 a month is that bad. But over the course of 30-year mortgage you have spent an additional $56,160 by waiting a year.


Posted on September 16, 2014 at 1:05 pm
Jason Jarvie | Posted in Uncategorized |

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Agent

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Real Estate Agent | Keeping Current Matters

Whether you are buying or selling a home, the process can be challenging. That is why we always suggest that you take on the services of a real estate professional when embarking on a potential home move. However, not all real estate agents are the same. A family must make sure they hire someone who truly understands the current housing market and, not only that, knows how to connect the dots to explain how market conditions may impact your decision.

How can you make sure you have an agent who meets these requirements?

Here are just a few questions every real estate professional should be able to answer for their clients and customers:

  • Are home values approaching a new bubble or will prices continue to appreciate?
  • Is it better for a first time buyer or a move-up buyer to wait until they save a bigger down payment before they purchase a home?
  • Where will 30-year mortgage rates likely be in 12 months?
  • Why do I need an agent when I can just as easily find the house online myself?
  • Is buying a home still a good investment for my family?

Make sure you hire an agent that can answer questions like those above. That will guarantee the home buying or selling process will be much easier for you and your family.


Posted on September 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm
Jason Jarvie | Posted in Uncategorized |

The Cost of Renting vs Buying

 

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

 


Posted on September 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm
Jason Jarvie | Posted in Uncategorized |

5 Reasons to Sell Before Winter

5 Reasons to Sell BEFORE Winter Hits | Keeping Current Matters

People across the country are beginning to think about what their life will look like next year. It happens every Fall. We ponder whether we should relocate to a different part of the country to find better year round weather or perhaps move across the state for better job opportunities. Homeowners in this situation must consider whether they should sell their house now or wait. If you are one of these potential sellers, here are five important reasons to do it now versus the dead of winter.

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at home right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any other time in the last twelve months which includes the latest spring buyers’ market. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

As we get later into the year, many people have other things (weather, holidays, etc.) that distract them from searching for a home. Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply is still under the historical number of 6 months’ supply. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. Any delay in the process is always prolonged during the winter holiday season. Getting your house sold and closed before those delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by this time next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.


Posted on September 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm
Jason Jarvie | Posted in Uncategorized |

Market Change?

A ‘Soft’ Housing Market? We Beg to Differ! | Keeping Current Matters 

There are some pundits lamenting the softness of the 2014 housing market. We can’t understand why. Though it is true that the early part of the year disappointed because of a myriad of reasons (ex. weather, lack of inventory, less distressed sales), the recent housing news is extremely encouraging. Let’s give some examples: 
 

Spring Home Buying Season is Healthiest in 3 Years

Move, Inc. just last week revealed that this spring’s housing market finished stronger than any time in the last three years. In the report, Jonathan Smoke, chief economist forrealtor.com explained:

"This is the first time, since the beginning of the recovery that we expect to see positive momentum throughout the second half of the year. While seasonal patterns are emerging in July month-to-month comparisons, all other metrics point to fundamental market health and a build-up of momentum."

Existing Home Sales are Up

In their latest Existing Home Sales Report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced existing-home sales increased in July to their highest annual pace of the year. That is even though distressed property sales fell to 9%, the first time they were in the single-digits since NAR started tracking the category in October 2008. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR explained:

“The number of houses for sale is higher than a year ago and tamer price increases are giving prospective buyers less hesitation about entering the market. More people are buying homes compared to earlier in the year and this trend should continue.”

New Construction Surging

According to an article on Market Watch, new constructing is surging:

“Construction on new U.S. homes jumped 15.7% in July to the highest level in eight months and starts were revised up sharply for June, indicating a pickup in home building after an early-year lull. Housing starts climbed to an annual rate of 1.09 million last month…Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected starts to climb to a seasonally adjusted 975,000 in July.”

Foot Traffic at Year High Numbers

Foot traffic (the number of people out actually physically looking at homes) has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future. 

The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any other time in the last twelve months which includes the latest spring buyers’ market
 

Bottom Line

The spring market finished stronger than any time in the last three years. Home sales are at year long highs. New construction is beating estimates. There are more buyers out than at any time in the last twelve months. 

We think the housing market is doing just fine.


Posted on August 25, 2014 at 6:52 pm
Jason Jarvie | Posted in Uncategorized |

Just Listed In Parkland

 
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The Lake 2 Lake Team
Windermere Bellevue Commons
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110330
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1609 GARFIELD ST S
TACOMA, WA
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Beautiful 2 bedroom home for sale in TACOMA, WA !

$ Click for current price
2 BEDROOMS
1 BATHROOMS ( 1 full )
984 Square Feet

Great first time buyer home in Parkland. Close to entertainment and commuting channels. 2 Bedrooms and 1 bath with a great yard. Almost all windows updated to newer vinyl dual pane, original hardwoods refinished. Don't miss this deal!

L2L Property Websites WP
 

Posted on August 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm
Jason Jarvie | Posted in Uncategorized |

Bold, Bald and Powerful!

I had to post this link today. Who knew that shaving my head for the past decade was a good business decision. 

 

Read On Here!


Posted on October 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm
Jason Jarvie | Posted in Uncategorized |

Is a “Home Exchange” vacation right for You?

 

It is finally summer; time for barbecues, summer camp, and family vacations. In recent years we’ve  heard of people shortening their vacations, staying closer to home, or going nowhere at all for “staycations”.  Another way to save money, while still getting away, is to leverage your own home for a home exchange.

A home exchange—often called “house-swapping”—is a money-smart vacation idea that’s been around for a long time. With virtually everyone feeling the economic squeeze, some exchanges are more popular than ever before.

Why a home exchange? Since accommodations are usually the priciest part of a vacation, a home exchange saves money, allowing travelers to take longer vacations and perhaps splurge a bit on dining, tours, or shopping. Larger families appreciate how homes meet their needs for space, meals, and a good night’s sleep. And, home-swappers often say they enjoy “living like the locals,” especially when traveling internationally.

How it works. The basic idea of a home exchange is that two families agree to live in each other’s home (usually at the same time) at no cost—it’s considered an even trade. Exchangers find one another via home exchange website that provides detailed listings of available homes. Exchanges take place within the United States or internationally, and the length of stay is whatever the parties agree upon. Exchangers typically do not meet in person but get acquainted via phone calls and emails before the exchange happens. Details, including pets, the use of a car, and cleaning are all agreed upon ahead of time, usually in a written contract provided by the website.

What makes a house desirable? You might be surprised! As a general rule, home exchangers are looking for location, location, location. They want to explore attractions in your area, attend an event, or visit family. A beachfront house in California is highly desirable, as is a condo in an exciting city—and even a home in the suburbs will appeal to the right travelers. Because swappers are primarily looking for a convenient jumping-off point for their adventures, your home’s age, floor plan, and furnishings don’t matter too much, as long as it’s clean, comfortable, and accommodating.

Vacation homes are ideal. Whether it’s a rustic cottage on a secluded fishing lake or a condo at a popular ski area, a second home is ideal for exchanges. Logistically, you don’t have to vacate your primary residence, and you have more flexibility as to when the swap can happen.  For this reason, many retirees—who often own second homes and enjoy freer schedules—find home exchanges especially appealing.

First steps. If you’re intrigued, start by exploring a few websites; you can view a lot of information for free. Home exchange websites typically charge an annual membership fee of $50 to $100 to list your home. If you decide to join a service, you’ll provide several photos and a detailed description of your home. You’ll also post your desired destination(s) and travel dates, and you’ll be able to peruse the homes that meet your criteria. It’s common to trade information with several homeowners before finding just the right match, and the process may take several months.

Focus on the basics. Once you’ve agreed to an exchange and are preparing your home for guests, think about what makes a hotel room enjoyable.  A clean, clutter-free home is universally appealing, and comfortable mattresses and attractive bedding are a must. Your kitchen should be well organized, and internet access is a big plus. Your guests know they’re staying in someone’s home, so don’t worry about scuffed baseboards and well-worn furniture.  Likewise, don’t expect five-star accommodations when you step into your host’s home.

Is a home exchange right for you? If the very thought of others living in your home and sleeping in your bed—or you in theirs—makes your palms go clammy, an exchange is probably not for you. But many travelers are hooked!

 
 
 
By: Tara Sharp

Posted on July 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm
Jason Jarvie | Posted in Uncategorized |

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