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Escala 2 Bedroom + Den/2 Bathroom

May 28, 2009 by  
Filed under ESCALA, Featured

Our photos didn’t turn out as fantastic as we had hoped, but we were able to just get a few of the South-facing 2 bedroom + den condo on the 20th floor.

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We’ve placed them on an image of the floorplan so you can get an idea on what the unit is starting to look like:

Click for a much much larger image.

Click for a much much larger image.

Here are a few other noteworthy pics of a West-facing 2 bedroom unit:

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Escala Photos: 10th Floor 1 & 2 Bedroom Units

May 27, 2009 by  
Filed under ESCALA, Featured

Homes at Escala are just downright spectacular!  Everything from finishes, to floorplans, to views, and location is something to boast about.  The project is coming together very well and we’re excited to have a sneak peek for you.  Here are some 10th floor pics:

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10th Floor NW Corner 2 Bedroom

Every unit not only offered a spacious floorplan, but an eye popping view as well.

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10th Floor SE Corner 1 Bedroom

Even from the Southwest corner, which lacks the sight of the Space Needle and Puget Sound,  the open city view has been selling quite well. 

Back to the popular 2 bedroom floorplan on the Northeastern corner…

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10th Floor NE Corner Unit - Master Bedroom (Facing NE)

As you can see, with a view of the Needle, door to large patio, fireplace, large windows, and space for a king size bed, leaving for the office in the morning won’t be that easy–but then again, it could also be the best way to end the day.

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10th Floor NE Corner Unit - Master Bedroom (Facing NW)

Unfortunately, lights had yet to be installed in the bathrooms, so we were unable to get a quality shot.  Therefore, we’ll have to jump forward to where residents will enjoy breakfast and dinner.

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10th Floor NE Corner Unit - Dining Room/Kitchen (Facing SE)

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10th Floor NE Corner Unit - Kitchen (Facing E)

And how about that 2nd bedroom, office, or guest room…

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10th Floor NE Corner Unit - 2nd Bedroom (Facing E)

The patio.

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10th Floor NE Corner Unit - Patio (Facing N)

The patio photo above really does it no justice.  The space is fairly large, but the sun had already placed its noon position, so we stepped out a quite a bit to snap this one.

Western views from 10th floor 1 bedrooms.

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10th Floor Central Unit Living Room (Facing NW)

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10 Floor Central Unit Bedroom (Facing SW)

We’ll be posting 20th story 2 bedrooms tomorrow.  Here’s one of the floorplans.

Enso Buyers Receiving Notice of Price Reductions

May 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Enso, Featured

Buyers who have purchased at ENSO in 2007/09 should have received a letter today notifying them that the purchase price will be lowered.  Price reductions will be handled on a case-by-case basis rather than a percentage across the board.  We understand that buyers will be contacted by mid-June to discuss how much of a reduction they will benefit from and will vary based on floor, view, etc.

And here is a copy of the letter:

click for enlarged view

click for enlarged view

King County Weekly Condo Sales Ratios for May 20th, 2009

Condo Only, NWMLS Area 701 (Belltown & Downtown Seattle)

Active Listings and Pending Sales by NWMLS Area 701

Active Listings and Pending Sales by NWMLS Area 701

odds_05_20_09

New Appraisal Regulations Could Hold Up Your Next Transaction…

May 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Finance

The appraisal industry is undergoing some strict new changes, and it could end up costing buyers.  The reason for the shakeup is due to concerns of influence by mortgage brokers and borrowers who select their appraiser.  Therefore, the right to choose an appraiser has been taken away from the borrower, mortgage broker, and real estate agent.  The lender has now been given the exclusive right to choose and must comply with a number of regulations to ensure the appraiser is both qualified and independent, as defined by the regulation.

In the recent legal bulletin announcing the change to federal regulations, there are a couple of changes to the process that may cause some confusion with buyers down the line.

  1. Since the lender is now responsible for ordering the appraisal, it is very likely that buyers will not know if financing can be approved until later than before. It’s very likely that the lender may have some delay in ordering the appraisal since it is now under their control.  Buyers should now be asking about the timing of the appraisal when selecting thier lender.  24 to 48 hours after notice of mutual acceptance (or removal of inspection contingencies) is the standard Windermere Mortgage has adopted.
  2. Buyers may now be required to pay for more than one appraisal.  Although a lender may use an appraisal ordered by another lender, many may be reluctant because it would be difficult to verify that it satisfies regulations.

Another note to make is that there will be fewer indpendent appraisers since the majority of them will now be on staff.  This means they may not be as knowledgeable about the neighborhood and/or unique property characteristics.  This change also means that borrowers, mortgage brokers, and agents can no longer suggest comparable properties or discuss possible misunderstandings.

It’s very likely that this could increase the amount of appraisals that come in below purchase price which will in turn drive more sellers to lower their prices to reach mutual acceptance.

Stroupe Scoop: April 2009 Sales Statistics

May 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Stroupe Scoop

This month we have featured Mosler Lofts as the building of the Month.  We also have two featured listings.  One at The Vine, and another one at The Newmark (a must see).

Be sure to receive the Scoop when it first comes up by subscribing!

Download pdf

Download pdf

Foreclosure Buyers Beware: Read that Fine Print!

May 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Buying, Finance

Watch for this Clause:

Transfer taxes/Tax StampsRegardless of local custom or practice, the purchaser shall pay and all real estate transfer taxes due as a result of the conveyance of this property.

An agent informed us that she and her buyer had missed the clause above when the lending bank selling a foreclosed property countered with their purchase and sale agreement paperwork.  With more and more buyers moving towards the purchase of foreclosed properties, we had to make the communication for the record.  It is ultimately YOUR responsibility to read your documents thoroughly and be aware of what you’re signing!  Fortunately, the buyer in mention had a sizeable downpayment (as any foreclosure buyer must have) so they were able to increase their loan amount to cover the extra $6,200 this clause covered.  Still, that’s too much money to overlook.

Quarterly Gardner Report on Current Market – Have We Hit Bottom?

May 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Puget Sound Region

Every quarter, Matthew Gardner from Gardner Land Use Economics delivers a detailed analysis on the current market exclusively for Windermere.  Fresh off the press is The Gardner Report for the first quarter of 2009 and it appears to be on track with his predictions from the last time we posted his synopsis.

In his conclusion, Gardner is predicting that the market has hit bottom and suggests that transaction activity will continue.  Numbers are showing that sales are actually up 18.7 percent compared to March of 2008, but unfortunately many of those sales are from a result in increased foreclosures, he reports.  At the same time, Gardner points out that prices are not moving upward, but rather beginning to plateau even though he expects some declines–just not as excessive.  Overall his data didn’t present anything extremely promising, but it does show a solid slowing in the rapid decline.

Pending sales, a good indicator of market stability when taken in context with available inventory, saw a decline of just 4 percent over the same period in 2008.  If we counter this with a 14 percent decline in total active inventory, the result leads us to believe that the signs of a bottoming market might be upon us.

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So, while the reports’ pieces and parts weren’t all that great of news, the overall regional real estate message was moderately good.  The same goes for his regional economics study on employment.  People losing their jobs are likely to be the worst result of the recession and the slowdown in layoffs is also being used by Gardner as an indicator that the market has bottomed out.  A whopping 100,000 estimated private sector jobs were lost in the last year, which will of course extend the delay of any potential skyrocketing prices as the market begins to stabilize.  From the sudden upward spike in consumer confidence, we also believe the worst is over, but time will tell.

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The government has kept rates low, prices are “soft,” and there certainly is some increased foot traffic among hesitant buyers.  As buyers continue to see that prices are stabilizing at a level which seems to be considered affordable, it seems as though buyers should be leaping over the fence, but that may not happen until interest rates start to tighten.  Gardners’ prediction is that tightening on rates will happen during the second half of 2010.

It’s a smart time to buy!  Let’s talk!

King County Weekly Condo Sales Ratios for May 13th, 2009

Condo Only, NWMLS Area 701 (Belltown & Downtown Seattle)

Active Listings and Pending Sales by NWMLS Area 701

Active Listings and Pending Sales by NWMLS Area 701

Will an Energy Audit become a Mandate for Sellers?

May 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Puget Sound Region, Selling

The City of Seattle is proposing that all homes in Seattle go through an audit which will score the address on its carbon footprint and energy efficiency.  So far, the program is only being proposed as a mandate on residential homes and small multi-family transactions.  If approved, the performance of the audit would require sellers to disclose the  results to prospective buyers.

Inspiration for the mandate comes from the city’s desire to be a leader in greenhouse gas reduction.  Jurisdictions in California, Oregon, Texas, and Colorado are also discussing the idea.  However, there is a list of concerns regarding the transaction itself which could prevent the idea from becomoing legal:

  • Mandate places another burden on an already complicated, stressful and costly process.
  • Preservation of cash and ease of transactions are critical.  Additional dollars often are scarce for both the buyer and seller.
  • Buyers are already struggling to afford their first house or move-up house.
  • Sellers are seeking to preserve equity at a time in our history when low or no down payment options have meant that sellers have very little equity in thier home.  Sellers’ equity enables the purchase of a more expensive house or, for seniors, cash to supplement savings and fixed income.
  • Both buyers and sellers value a transaction free of last-minute obstacles to closing.
  • At such a time when the program expands to not just require an energy audit, but also require energy improvements that raise the energy performance score, we would expect to see reduction in homeownership options for middle-income earners within the city.
  • Concerns that the proposed audit mandate will expand to include a requirement that energy improvements are made to the residence as a condition of sale.

Currently, SKCAR (Seattle King-County Association of Realtors) is urging Realtors to use this as an opportunity to encourage their clients (sellers) to do the audit voluntarily.

Here’s a Do it Yourself Home Audit if you’re interested in testing your own energy usage.

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