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  • Smart, Creative Ways to Use the Cash After Selling Your Home

    March 16, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Unsurprisingly, 2017’s hot real estate market has carried over to 2018, and while the market isn’t getting any hotter, it’s also not getting any cooler. For more information, check out our blogs on why it’s good to be a seller right now and on why you should sell your home early in 2018. While letting go of your property might be emotional and uncertain at first, this decision has several amazing perks. One particularly exciting perk: in today’s seller’s market, it’s likely that selling your home will lead to some extra cash. Here are a few creative suggestions concerning what to do with the cash and what you have to look forward to after selling your home. (If you are looking to sell, let Pickett Street help you with this process. Get in touch with them at (425) 502-5397 or info@pickettstreet.com.) 1. Buy another home. The most common choice for home sellers is to put the cash they’ve earned through a home sale toward a down payment on a new home. While you should carefully consider what’s right for you and for your family, buying another property is usually a smart, sound way to invest your cash. 2. Pay off…Read more

  • Short Sales

    October 23, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Facing a foreclosure can be scary, and it’s easy to feel trapped and helpless if you’re in danger of losing your home. Even worse, you’ll feel like you’re losing your dignity as a self-sufficient adult. However, while things may seem hopeless, it’s important to recognize that there are alternatives to foreclosures. A short sale is one of the best of these alternatives. What is a Short Sale? A short sale refers to the process of selling your home for less than the balance of your mortgage. Short sales require the approval of your mortgage company, but, if you are approved, you’ll be able to sell your home and pay off either part or all of your mortgage, depending on the results of your particular situation. What are the Benefits of a Short Sale? It goes without saying that applying for a short sale is not an ideal situation. No one wants to face foreclosure, and no one wants to part with his or her home for less than is needed to pay off a mortgage. That said, there are many benefits to short sales, and they can help you escape and recover from stressful situations. The most obvious benefit of…Read more

  • Preparing Your Home For Sale

    October 2, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    So: you’re preparing to sell your home, and you’re unsure how to start getting everything ready. Even if you’ve taken good care of your home, preparing for a sale can be daunting. That said, a few small, simple improvements will go a long way toward preparing your home for the market, so don’t feel like the prep process is some kind of Goliath you have to slay. Instead, take a look at some of these tips and get rid of all your pre-sale worries... Perfect the Art of Pricing While you may be tempted to launch yourself into physically sprucing up your home, it’s also important to price it properly. A lead listing agent at Pickett Street only works with sellers, so working with Pickett Street will ensure that you receive individualized attention — and therefore better service than you would working with a conventional agent. Since about 90% of homebuyers search for homes via online real estate engines. Pickett Street uses this statistic to help you strategically list your home online using increments of $25,000 in order to maximize the potential buyers reached. Here’s how it works: if your home is worth roughly $500,000, most conventional agents would list…Read more

  • Paying the Governor’s Share: Excise Tax & Short Sales

    December 23, 2009 /
    admin /

    Here in Washington state, we are accustomed to paying an excise/state sales tax when we purchase goods. Interestingly enough, when it comes to the most significant acquisition most of us will make, the seller, rather than the purchaser, covers the taxes. Currently, the base Washington state excise tax rate is 1.28%, with each county adding on their own percentage for a total that fluctuates somewhat by area. Snohomish and King County excise taxes (in most areas) are at a .50 rate,  bringing the grand total to 1.78% of the purchase price. An obvious question if you're a distressed home seller would be, "who exactly pays this tax in the event of a short sale?"  In most cases, the burden falls to the bank that is carrying the mortgage to ‘eat’ that cost, along with the other costs associated with selling a home. For a brief time at the beginning of 2009, some sellers were required to pay excise tax on the amount of the shortage (the difference between what they owed, and what they were able to sell their property for in a declining market). Sellers in this category may now be eligible for a refund of excise taxes. Use…Read more

  • The anatomy of a short sale

    December 17, 2009 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    One of the most frustrating forms of a real estate transaction of late is the "short sale." We've had a lot of questions lately about this kind of sale, so I want to address some of the primary questions and myths. 1) A boy named Sue: There are a lot of misconceptions about short sales, starting with their name. A "short sale" is not a denotation of time - short sales actually take a long time to close. A short sale is a real estate transaction where the seller owes more for the property than the property is currently worth. In other words, the seller doesn't have any equity and in order to sell, the bank is going to have to agree to accepting less than what they're owed. For example, John Doe bought a property in 2007 for $380,000. It's now 2010, and the local real estate market has tumbled. In a "choose-your-own-adventure" twist, let's say that John (1) got divorced, (2) lost his job, (3) is transferred out of state, (4) develops a medical condition that forces a move, or (5) simply can't afford his home anymore. John's house is now worth $340,000, and since closing costs for…Read more

  • How over-pricing a home costs sellers money

    February 19, 2008 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Pricing a home for market: it very well might be the single most important element of a successful home sale, and probably the very reason most sellers should think twice before attempting to sell their home themselves. I say this as a Realtor and a home owner. No one knows better than myself the sweat and coin that I poured into my home, which my wife and I bought as a foreclosure. We had to rehab the septic system, replace the windows (all 15 of them), hang cellular blinds throughout, replace the attic insulation, sheet and replace the roof, update the kitchen, paint the exterior...well, you get the idea. Knowinig how much time and expense we put into our home, and staying aware of the neghborhood values and the lack of updates in many of those homes, it's easy for me as a home owner to assume that our home would warrant at least 6-8% more than the market average. As a Realtor, my experience tells me that I'm not objective, and my lack of objectivity might cost me money in the long run. What do I mean? Citing a collegiate study of the real estate market in California, an…Read more

  • Pickett Street posts 2007 Listings Stats

    January 28, 2008 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    As I write this, it’s January 28th, which means that by now, most people have broken their New Year’s resolutions, you’ve more than likely received your W-2 for 2007, and some of our clients from last year are looking forward to having something to write off for the first time! For Pickett Street it means that it’s time to look back at 2007 and look at our record. As a reminder, 2006 was a pretty good year for Pickett Street and the real estate market in general. Take a look at the stats below as a refresher: Closed Sales, King County 2006: 37,528 (down 10.48% from 2005) Closed Sales, Sno. County 2006: 16,475 (down 5.06% from 2005) Median Home Price, King County 2006: $381,463 Median Home Price, Sno. County 2006: $325,000 Overall sales in 2006 were down from 2005, but the median price was way up (almost 14% in King County, over 16% in Snohomish County). The market was stable, and there were many that reaped the benefits of this (especially sellers). The market in 2006 was conducive to Realtors as well - listed homes weren’t on the market long, and were selling at or above list price. The average…Read more

  • Dual Agency or Double Agent – What’s the Difference?

    May 3, 2007 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Recognizing that what is legal is not always what is best, I am writing this in response to a situation I recently found myself in: Imagine you are a buyer, searching for a home - for nearly a year and a half. The perfect home comes on the market, and your agent is hot on the trail; previewing the home, running comps, feeding you all the information you need to make an informed decision. Wanting to have all the latest status info, your agent contacts the listing agent, who reveals that she has a buying client of her own, who is viewing the subject property for a 2nd time, and considering making an offer. What to do? The listing agent, under Washington state law, and according to current MLS rules, has the legal right to “represent” both sides of a transaction. Now my question: Is it ethically, physically, and humanly possible for one person to effectively represent both sides of any transaction? What would you do? If, as a responsible agent, you recommend that your clients submit an offer prior to the listing agent’s clients, you know the listing agent’s competing offer will win, regardless of how strong your clients…Read more

  • Of Sharks, Birds, and Open Houses

    April 22, 2007 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    It’s a beautiful day in Bothell, WA. I could give you the specifics (57 degrees, light breeze, blooms are budding and the birds are chirping), but it’s enough to say that the sun is shining. Any day in the Puget Sound with a shiny orb beaming down on you is a beautiful day – no matter the temperature or wind speed. For prospective home buyers, it’s a great day to look at open houses. As a Realtor, it’s less than ideal. I think I would rather sit an open in the rain than in the sun, knowing that professional obligations aside, the weather would keep me from doing something more personally fulfilling. I can’t help but feel a little jealous working on a day like today - my clients, meanwhile, are taking their daughter to the park to play while they soak up the sun under the shade of a good book. I’m more envious of those that are chasing a little white ball on manicured greens, and I can’t help but think that many of these Columbia-clad golfers are my peers, who merely chose their 9-iron over sitting an open. I haven’t noticed that my traffic goes up on…Read more

  • Live Like You Were Selling

    April 15, 2007 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    A seller and I may work together for weeks (sometimes months) to prepare their property for the market. This is more work for the seller than for me obviously: decongesting closets that are busting at the hinges, getting the kids to put their clothes on hangers, painting a few spots that were missed because of large furniture, and fixing the hole in the drywall that was borne out of a misbegotten re-enactment of WrestleMania. When it’s ready for me to step in I schedule the cleaning, followed by the staging, followed by… [insert obligatory surprise service that is needed due to revealing nature of the prior events – carpet cleaning for spots that were covered by a rug for the last five years, handyman services for remembering that the large picture you didn’t like was placed only to cover several holes that were created in an attempt to prove that you didn’t need a studfinder, etc]. When all is said and done, I stand back with the seller and peruse the fruits of our labor: the floors are clean, the rooms are uncluttered and tastefully decorated, unsightly blemishes have been covered with designer paint, and the home even smells inviting.…Read more

  • Words matter…

    January 22, 2007 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    A recent study was done to examine how word selection in real estate ad copy affected the outcome of the sale. Originally detailed in The Seattle Times, the study came up with some interesting results: Words matter. Wars have started over them. Civilizations have collapsed because of them. And it appears the speed with which a house sells might be determined by them.As listings grow old on the vine in this flush-with-inventory market and frustrated sellers reach for the slightest edge, the findings of several academics might offer guidance. For example, a Canadian professor, as part of a broader study on real-estate sales patterns, found that homes where the seller was "motivated" took 15 percent longer to sell, while houses listed as "handyman specials" flew off the market in half the average time. FULL STORY   As I reflect on the story, I realize from my own experience how much sense this makes. Most home buyers make emotional decisions, not logical ones. Sure, they'll buy in an area that makes sense, within a range that makes sense, but when given the opportunity to buy a beautiful home or a value (both within their criteria), most buyers will pay more for…Read more