Lewis County Real Estate market stats for the 1st half of 2016

The first half of 2016 is under our belts and the real estate market is much different than it was at this time last year. Let’s take a look at how it compares to our 2015 market.

Sale price to sale price in Lewis CountyMarch, April and May were hotter than a firecracker! Home sales skyrocketed thus depleting our housing inventory.

Our market quickly transformed from a “Buyer’s market” to “Seller’s market”.

What exactly does it mean when real estate experts talk about months of inventory?

Months of inventory reflects an estimate of the amount of time it would take to sell all of the current listings in a given area if no new listings became available.

How do months of inventory impact real estate clients?

# of months of inventoryMonths of inventory are referenced when determining whether it’s a “Buyer’s market” or a “Seller’s market”.

  • When there are 0-4 months of inventory, figuring that all current listings can expect to be sold within 4 months, it is considered a seller’s market. Homes are selling very quickly. In a seller’s market, sellers hold the advantage because demand for property exceeds supply.
  • If there are 5-8 months of inventory, it is considered a balanced market. Current listings aren’t selling like hotcakes, but they’re moving at a consistent steady pace.
  • If there are 9 or more months of inventory, it is considered a buyer’s market because houses are moving slowly. In a buyer’s market, buyers have the advantage over sellers because the supply of listings exceeds the current demand for housing.

These timelines are approximate, but is generally accepted that less than 6 months of inventory reflects good conditions for sellers whereas greater than 6 months of inventory represents positive conditions for buyers.

In June our market began to balance out, with inventory increasing and sales slightly slowing. Currently we’re experiencing a very strong market.

Conditions are favorable if you’re considering making a move, why wait? Give me a call to discuss any & all of your real estate needs.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


184 Highlander Dr, Onalaska 98570

184 Highlander Dr, Onalaska 98570Secluded & Private ~ A well cared for 3 bedroom MF home nestled in the trees with terraced garden beds, tasteful landscaping, green house & huge 24X36 detached shop with carport.

Escape the busyness of the city & relax with nature in this country setting.

 
This sale includes 4 additional surveyed and subdivided parcels totaling nearly 25 Acres. Investment potential! Id#s- 33040-4-5,6,8 & 9.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Curb Appeal

Everyone – including potential home buyers will want to see what’s inside, if your home’s curb appeal makes a great first impression!

Curb AppealIf you are thinking buying a new home or selling yours, you may want to consider the power of “Curb Appeal”.  This simple fix can provide you with a sense of satisfaction every time you pull up to your home.

Even though the interior of the house is where you most of your time will be spent, updating the look of the outside will definitely increase the sell-ability of your home. Homes that have “Curb Appeal” may have an increased value, it may even help increase neighboring home values.

With a few cosmetic changes and possibly the addition of a small portico to the front will give it a whole new look which is pleasing to the eye and more enticing to a potential buyer.

Dress up the front entrance!

The focal point of your home is the front door, make a statement by adding a splash of color. Make sure your entry way is clean, the door hardware is polished and a welcoming swag or wreath that reflects the interior is hung.

PorticoInstalling window boxes and symmetrically placing flower pots near entrances and walkways is an easy and fast way to add charm to your home.  Tasteful yard art such as fountains, metal sculptures or wind chimes are good choices.

Curb appeal may be the difference between a potential buyer deciding to take a closer look or just passing by.

One of the most important factors to be considered is Curb Appeal. Creating an attractive home exterior gives the homeowner satisfaction and a sense of pride.

If you’d like more ideas for enhancing the sell-ability of your home, don’t hesitate in contacting me, I’ve got more great ideas.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


What Does Interest Rate Hikes Mean, Really?

The Feds raised interested rates .25% on Wednesday. The first rate increase in 9 years!

So, what does interest rate hikes mean? And how will this one affect your home buying power in 2016?

What does Interest rate hike meanLike some of you, I was very interested in seeing what the interest rate hike would do to the real estate market in our area and more importantly, what baring would it have…if any, on your ability to buy a house.

Talking with my lender, I was quickly and quietly assured this rate hike would not be that Earth shattering! In fact, most of the markets responded quite favorably to the news.

This latest news got me thinking, “If interest rates go up and down all the time, what does an interest rate hike by the feds mean?”

My lender told me folks looking to make big purchases like cars and homes don’t need to necessarily run out tomorrow and make their purchase. But, it’s a clear ‘wake up call’ to be prepared for their pending purchase.

In particular, home buyers want to be diligent in know exactly what their interest rate will be for their loan and how this recent hike will make a difference in what they can afford should they wait until late Winter or early Spring to buy. He said, “Talk to a lender now…even if you do not (or can not) plan to buy for another 3 months.” It’s never too early to get your finances in order! He also told me it’s those buyers who are well aware and educated in the process that ultimately have the strongest buying power! Made sense to me!

The folks who will see the affects of the interest rate hike are credit card holders and those folks with IRA’s just to name a few.

So, What Does Interest Rate Hikes Mean?

Well, in this case, it appears to mean the economy is moving in the right direction and the Feds are confident enough that a .25% interest rate hike can only help and strengthen said economy. Reports that the Feds main interests where to encourage investment and job creation, and to control inflation with this hike seems to indicate their intent.

In my humble point of view, I’m only interested in how this impacts my clients and their overall happiness. Selfishly, I want things to stay on the same tract it’s been on and see my buyers and sellers continue to achieve their real estate goals. If this recent action by the Feds does nothing to alter how my folks reach their dreams of home ownership in 2016…then I’m AOK!

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Selling Your Home During the Holidays?

As the year starts winding down, many people are thinking ahead to the coming year. Should we relocate, move up to a bigger home, or even downsize? Is now the time to list our home with the holiday season under way?

Selling your home during the holidaysThere are pros and cons with listing during the holiday season, but ultimately you have to decide what is to your advantage.

Having your house on the market during the holidays can be restricting for some as your home is constantly being invaded.
On the other hand, the market is limited and buyers shopping at this time of year are serious about purchasing a new home.

If you decide to sell your house through the Christmas season decorating can be tricky so you aren’t driving away potential buyers.

 
Remember less is more…if you cover your entire yard and home with lights and decorations you will detract from what the buyer wants to see – your home. Your role as a seller is to help homebuyers see themselves in your house. When buyers enter your home they want to visualize their own furniture in each room, making it theirs, and they can’t do it if holiday decorations are dominating rooms. Store wrapped gifts in a closet or in one corner.

Remember one man’s ‘Merry’ is another man’s ‘tacky’, so tone done any garish light displays and over abundance of holiday scenes.

 
Accentuate the positive…hanging stockings on a mantle may detract from the beauty of a fireplace, or a wreath hiding a flaw on the wall. Decorations can draw eyes toward its best qualities, like a well-lit tree compensating for a room that is dimly lit, or a slim tree in a small room or even opt for a tabletop tree, a dangling mistletoe can make a bay window seem larger just don’t block a beautiful view. A tall tree can show off your two-story great room, but make sure the base doesn’t overwhelm the floor space. Think about the best features of your home and choose decorations that make those stand out.

Keep it neutral…choose decorations in colors that blend and accentuate your home rather than colors that stand out. Silver, gold, white, and more natural colors can be more complimentary than the traditional reds and greens. If you have an earthy color scheme, accent with rich tones like forest green, gold, cranberry colors. Or a living room that is painted in soothing blue tones can be enhanced with colors like white and silver. Some contrast can be good, but pieces that draw your attention to a faded or discolored wall can make those spaces seem more unpleasant. Try to avoid decorations that belong to a particular tradition or religion. Religious ornaments are likely to drive away more buyers than they attract, so stick to neutral decorations like snow globes and nutcrackers.

Keep it cozy…you might be tempted to scrap the whole idea of decorating, but some seasonal flair can be an effective marketing tool, increasing curb appeal and warming the interior. Serving warm cider and cookies during an open house will make your home even homier. A neutral stark interior might also seem more lifeless during the holiday season. If you’re careful with decorations you can make your home stand out.

People tend to use every spare space in their home when they decorate, but you want your home to look as spacious as possible. Don’t feel you need to hang every last decorations, store some of those gaudy heirloom tree ornaments. If you miss some of your favorite holiday favorites, just remember with a little luck, you’ll be celebrating next year’s holidays in a new home and you can decorate that space however you please!


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Chehalis Market Report: Median Price Goes Up as Inventory Goes Down

Unless you’ve been living in a cabin in the woods over the last year, you know that the real estate market is smokin’ hot! Even with diversions like TRID and threats of interest rate hikes, homebuyers continue to flood the market as the housing inventory remains very low…here’s proof!

Median Price vs Total Inventory in Chehalis

Taking a look at this graph over the past year, it’s clear to see the correlation between price and how it roughly follows the amount of homes available…pretty standard. However, over the last 30 days, we have noticed a steady decline of homes for sale in our area. Couple that with a continued demand by homebuyers and now we are beginning to see home prices inch back up to near their peak of just a year ago.

Average Days on Market vs Total Inventory for Chehalis

Interesting graph depicting the areas average days a home stays on the market also indicates has declined sharply since the first of the year with inventory, again, beginning to wane.

What does all this mean? Low inventory coupled with higher than normal buyer demand equals continued increase in what sellers can ask for AND GET for their homes in Chehalis!

If you have more questions about the real estate market in our area or how you can take advantage of all this and get the most for your home, please do not hesitate to contact me at the info below.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


What Would You Do If You Had a ‘Dislike Button’

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

– Oscar Wilde


Dislike ButtonI thought it was very interesting when I came across a story on the news that Facebook was working on a Dislike Button.

As enthralled as most of us are with social media and posting the most inane stuff, it got me thinking about all the things we can easily use a dislike button for.

So, imagine how happy I was when I learned that the real purpose for the conversation around such a button is more to show your sadness or offer condolence at the passing of a friend or loved one as well as perhaps other emotions that are more appropriate when we see a post about something or someone that doesn’t warrant a ‘Like’ on facebook.

So, What Would You Suggest the New Button Say?

I’m kinda sappy gal so I would be very encouraged to see a button that allows me to offer how I feel, emotionally about something or someone. I imagine there may be some that might ‘abuse’ or ‘over use’ a dislike button…but, I know I would likely use the heck out of a button that would allow me to use a ‘feeling sorry’ or ‘wishing you well’ button.

Since facebook already allows you to offer an emotional response to your posts, it may be a likelihood that we could see something along those lines in the way of a button to let folks know how we feel about their unfortunate situations.

Do You Really Like Something When You Hit the Like Button on Facebook?

Since it’s so easy to simply like something, I wonder how much someone likes something when they hit the like button. I know when I have questions about these sort of things, I immediately contact me trusted social media slash web guy Patrick Flynn. He explained to me that it’s often just a matter of wanting to let someone know you saw their post and acknowledged it made some kind of impact. That said, Patrick’s opinion on the like button is it may not necessarily mean they liked or disliked your post rather they just wanted to let you know they saw it.

So, I’m wondering with whatever facebook comes up with mean, will that suffer the same fate as the like button? I’m guessing it won’t!

In just about every case I’ve ran across when a post caught my attention, I’ve been compelled to comment rather than press the like button. Now, with the potential to offer a more emotional reply to a sad or profound post, I’m going to bet more people will stop and take the time to offer their feelings in a button rather than just taking a passing glance.

So we’ll see what the gang at facebook comes up with but I’m hoping it is something that keeps the newsfeeds positive and gives hope to those who’ve shared a personal moment…

 

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


3 Questions Every First Time Home Buyer Needs to Ask

It’s always a good idea for any first time home buyer to go into the home buying process well educated…forewarned is forearmed I always say.

Every First Time Home Buyer Should Ask These Questions:

1. How much House can I Afford?

Janet SimonsThis first question is largely dependent on how large a mortgage (basically, a home loan) you can handle.

Start your research by using a simple mortgage calculator to see whether you can afford to pay the monthly mortgage on the kinds of houses you have in mind. You may even apply for a mortgage at a lender before you start looking for a home. This is called getting pre-approved for a loan; it will tell you exactly how much you can afford and may make the closing process go faster.

But, remember that owning a home involves more than a monthly mortgage. You’ll also have to consider money you’ll need to have at hand when you make an offer, when you close on a home and on a monthly basis after the home is yours.

Payments you may have to make when you submit an offer and at closing include:

Earnest money, usually 1% to 5% of the cost of the house, which you pay as a deposit on the house when you submit your offer. It is your proof that you are a serious buyer

Down payment, usually 10% to 20% of the cost of the house, which you must pay at closing

Mortgage insurance, paid by borrowers making a down payment of less than 20% Closing costs, usually 3% to 4% of the cost of the house, to pay for processing all the paperwork

Don’t forget the day-to-day expenses you may incur once you own that home.

This includes:

  • Utilities
  • Homeowner or condo association dues
  • Property taxes
  • City and/or County taxes

Apply to the old rule – You don’t want to be house rich but pocket poor!

2. Do I have the right Home Loan?

There are a variety of mortgage types available today, each with advantages and disadvantages depending on how long you plan to live in the home, the financial marketplace and your income potential, among other things.

A fixed-rate mortgage is the most common. In a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate and payment stay the same for the life of the loan. An adjustable-rate mortgage usually starts out at lower interest rates and lower monthly payments than fixed-rate mortgages, but your rate and monthly payments may rise and fall based on a financial index.

There are also several government mortgage programs available, including FHA mortgages, which are designed to help people who might not otherwise qualify for a loan.

You may also have a choice in loan terms. There are 30-year loans and 15-year loans.

3. Am I Buying for the Future?

House hunting can be both exciting and frustrating. Most home buyers see roughly 15 houses before buying one. To make the search easier and faster, nearly half of all house hunters today begin by browsing for properties on the Internet, using web sites like this one.

Once you know what you want and what you can afford, its time to see the houses for yourself. To help stay focused, bring with you a checklist of things that you’ve decided ahead of time are important qualities of your future home.

This might include:

  • Is there enough room for you to grow in?
  • Is the house structurally sound?
  • Is the house in move-in condition or will it need work?
  • Is it close enough to everyday needs, such as grocery stores, schools, work?
  • Will you feel safe here?
  • Do the appliances that are part of the sale work?
  • Is the yard right for your needs?
  • Do you like the floor plan?
  • Is there enough storage?
  • Will you be happy in this house in winter, summer, spring, fall?
  • You may also want to take some exterior and interior photos of each house you visit so that you can keep track of its pros and cons.

You certainly want to be happy with your new home but try not to get paralysis through analysis…

Knowing these 3 questions to ask yourself before you start your home buying process will certainly make you and your first time home buying experience more enjoyable.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate