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  • What Empty Nester Investors Should Know About House Hacks

    October 14, 2019 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    One of Pickett Street’s many specialties is helping buyers find “house hacks” to significantly increase the return on real estate investments. "House hacks" include single-family residential homes with in-law or mother-in-law apartments (MIL) or other additional dwelling units, either attached to or detached from the house (ADU or DADU). For example, a split-level home with a separate entrance and kitchen in the basement allows homeowners to rent this space for extra income. Or, a buyer might invest in a duplex so that they can live in one of the units and rent out the other unit to cover their mortgage. According to Pickett Street’s Jesse Moore, house hacks are one of the smartest investments for empty nesters who are moving toward retirement. Empty nesters who are considering downsizing can buy "house hacks" to earn passive income through their extra space. Then, this extra income can go toward dreamy post-retirement activities like finally making that Hawaii trip happen. Pickett Street recently helped Director of Operations Margaret Smith’s parents find the right empty nester investment house hack—a rambler without stairs, which is a smart buy for empty nesters, and with a detached ADU. Margaret’s parents currently rent out this ADU. Not only…Read more

  • Seattle Real Estate Update: Fall 2019

    September 27, 2019 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Seattle Real Estate Update: Fall 2019 As drizzly days and cooler temperatures arrive, I have to admit that fall is my favorite season in Washington. I love falling asleep to the rain, I love the silvery mist in the mornings, I love sipping on big steaming cups of coffee all day, and I love cozy fall layers (as the Swedish say, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes.”)  And while it’s always important to inhabit a home you love, the fall’s insistence on coziness makes a solid real estate investment even more necessary to one’s wellbeing. If you’re looking to buy or sell this fall, or if you have general real estate questions, Pickett Street Properties can help—reach out to them at info@pickettstreet.com or (425) 502-5397.  Also, to keep you informed, here is a fall real estate update for the Seattle area. 1. Long-term mortgage rates decrease. According to Freddie Mac, the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.64% from 3.73% this past week. A year ago, this rate held at 4.72%. Additionally, the average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans dropped this week to 3.16% from 3.21% last week. These declining rates are good news for…Read more

  • Living Mortgage Free!

    August 23, 2019 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    How Almost 40% of Americans Live Mortgage Free Imagine removing one thing from your mental list of things to worry about (don’t we all have a list like this? hoping it’s not just me). Now imagine that this one thing is your mortgage. What would you do with this extra mental space? Plan a long dreamed-about vacation? Spend more quality time being truly present with your loved ones? Learn a new language? The possibilities are endless. According to The Seattle Times, about 37% of American homeowners have paid off their mortgages, a 5.5% rise over the past ten years. Javier Vivas, economic director at Realtor.com, notes that this rise “is in line with brighter economic conditions, which is why we’ve seen the free-and-clear share increase over the last decade.”  These higher rates of mortgage-free homeowners also align with changes in homeownership demographics. Due to rising living costs and student debt, younger Americans are waiting longer to buy a home. As a result, the majority of homeowners today are older Americans who have had longer to build wealth and pay off their mortgages. However, no matter your age as a homeowner, you can take control of your mortgage with a few…Read more

  • 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