2018 Northwest Washington Fair

It’s that time of year again… it’s time for the 2018 Northwest Washington Fair! One of Whatcom County’s largest annual events is coming up next week, and we’re excited to see people from all over the state coming out to enjoy the festivities!

This August 13-18th, the Lynden Fairgrounds will be full of people coming to enjoy the entertainment including the annual demo derby and rodeo, performances by Bret Michaels and Jeff Foxworthy, and a brand new carnival!

Don’t forget to stop by The Muljat Group North booth located in the Northeast corner of the Expo Building. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Follow the link to the Northwest Washington Fair website: https://nwwafair.com/

Sandy Point Living!

If you’ve been dreaming of living on the water, but still waiting on the right home to hit the market, this gem might be it! Turn-key vacation or year round home w/ newer private dock at beautiful Sandy Point. Peaceful, low maintenance, private backyard set on the Sandy Point Canal is the entertainer’s dream. Main floor features living/kitchen space with large windows, bedroom, utility room and bath. Upstairs has additional living space, master bedroom, bathroom w/ jetted tub and deck with sweeping views of the bay. Enjoy community golf course, pool and clubhouse. Rare find and a must see!

Battling Buyer Fatigue

In areas with limited inventory and many buyers, multiple offers are common. This is a fast and frenzied situation which can be exhausting for all parties. Some buyers who have been working the market with no success can easily get frustrated, tired, and no longer wanting to take part. This is due to the hurriedness of the market, the urgency to see new listings, possibly spending hundreds of dollars for pre-inspections, getting emotionally-committed to a home and making an offer only to find that they didn’t get it…again.

If you are a buyer and are either actively searching now or are a buyer who has stepped out of the market to regroup, I want to assure you there are opportunities, possibly with a slight change in strategy. If your goals are indeed to buy in the next few months to a year, now is still the best time to do so as rising prices and interest rates will erode your buying power the longer you wait.

So how do you battle buyer fatigue and adjust your home-buying strategy? Here are three great ways:

  1. Get competitive – Consider lowering your price point in order to increase your offer competitiveness. If you are currently searching for homes between $350,000-$400,000, consider searching for $300,000-$350,000 homes. This way, if you are competing, you can still offer an amount that you are comfortable with which can be high enough to get the sellers’ attention.
  2. Evaluate your offer –Maybe an adjustment in the amount of earnest money or down payment would be effective. Perhaps going back to your lender and making sure you have not just gotten pre-approved but have gone through the entire underwriting process will make you a stronger buyer. If you are working with me, let’s take a look at the last few offers you made with fresh eyes. I will offer you options which you can implement as you are comfortable. I will also let you know the pros and cons of each so you can have a full picture of what these options can mean for your bottom line.
  3. Look at homes that have been on the market for a while – Although what we are hearing from the media is that homes are flying off the market as soon as they come on, there is actually a large number of homes that have been on the market for weeks. Some sellers are pricing their homes aggressively – too aggressively – and when another home comes on the market that is a good substitution for the overpriced home, buyers are flocking to it, not the overpriced home. Therefore, the overpriced home sits on the market. The price may get reduced, but because it hasn’t sold, buyers assume something is wrong with it. Hint, hint – there may be nothing wrong with it besides it being priced too high at the outset.

When you are ready to get back in the market, let’s look at all the inventory – homes that are priced just above your preferred price range (as these sellers may be anxious to sell and be willing to negotiate) as well as homes that might need some cosmetic updates that have been languishing on the market. It is important to remember that in this market, a great deal doesn’t necessarily mean a low price – it may just mean you don’t have to compete.

In every market there are opportunities that come with strategy. If you are a tired buyer, this is a great time to regroup and take advantage of your opportunities. Let’s talk!

Local Market Update

The months of inventory – how many months it would take to sell out of the current inventory of active residential listings based on the sales rate – remains at extraordinary lows for both Lynden and Whatcom County. See the table & chart below for past to current inventory trends!

Months of Residential Inventory

Lynden VS. Whatcom County May 2008-May 2018

Is Now a Good Time to Upgrade?

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about “moving up.” Although your current home has served you well, you know that you could use some more space, a different area, or better functionality. The real estate market in our area has been challenging for the last few years. Inventory issues, multiple buyers competing for the same home, and now an increase in interest rates may have you wondering if you missed your window.

However, would you believe that now may provide you with the best opportunity in the next few years to move up?  “How!?” you ask? Let me show you the math!

Let’s say you bought your home in 2007 for $300,000 and, with appreciation, the market value is now $475,000. You have about $200,000 in equity and are paying 4.5% interest since you refinanced in 2016 (which would be similar to your rate today if you acted quickly). But your needs have changed, and the type of home you want is closer to $600,000. Although there will be a lot of buyers for your home, there are also a lot of buyers for the home you want to buy. What is the best option?

Here is where the power of leverage comes into play. You have $200,000 in equity. Is it better to keep that equity in your current asset (your home) or trade up?  Take a look at the table below. I have even factored in 7% in closing expenses for moving in the “trade up” column.

Although your monthly principal and interest payment will be higher, the ending projected equity at year ten is $87,361 higher for the trading-up scenario. Why? Higher-valued assets appreciate faster – all other factors being even.

To make this simple, let’s say one house was valued at $10 and another at $20 and both appreciate at 10% per year. After year ten, the first house is worth $27 while the second is worth $54. The second house enjoyed twice the appreciation because its beginning value was twice as much to start with.

Of course, I have made generalizations here and properties don’t always appreciate equally, but people increase their net worth every day due to the power of leverage. Don’t worry about the market – strategy can help you land the right home before interest rates creep higher.

Unsure about the math or want more examples? I’ve got plenty of them. Just give me a call or text at (360) 410-1297 or send an email to Jerry@JerryBlankers.com. I’ll crunch the numbers to show you how moving up may actually do more for your net worth
than remaining in your current home.

4th of July Block Party

Last year was the second Annual Front Street 4th of July Block Party and it was a great success! We’re looking forward to making this year’s even BETTER. Come out on Wednesday, July 4th between 11:00 am to 3:00 pm for family events, food trucks, a beer garden, BBQ contest, music, and the Washington Truck Meet! Let’s celebrate independence day in downtown Lynden aka the Best Main Street in America; see you there!

Father’s Day Weekend

No plans for Father’s Day Weekend? We’ve got some ideas!

  • Spend the holiday out on the farm at BelleWood Acres. They’re hosting a GearHeads Father’s Day Car Show, buffet breakfast, and ultimate BBQ!
  • Stroll through the Lynden Farmers Market or Ferndale Market. The Ferndale Market is having their 2018 Opening Day at the Centennial Riverwalk Park on Friday and Lynden will have their Opening day on Sunday. There will be crafters, food vendors, artisans, and tons of local farmers!
  • Hit up the trails either on foot or mountain bike! There are ample hikes for all levels and the weather is going to be wonderful, so why not go out and enjoy the beautiful PNW with your dad!

Check out the link below for some more ideas for things to do this weekend around Whatcom County!

http://www.whatcomtalk.com/2018/06/14/around-bellingham-fathers-day-weekend/  

Image courtesy of Whatcom Talk

Lynden Market Update

As pending sales approach or exceed the number of active listings on the market, that indicates demand is approaching or exceeding supply – and hence a very competitive market! Take a look at the chart below to see comparative data on active listings vs pending sales from April 2016 to April 2018.

Active Listings VS Pending Sales

 

Outdoor Features That Buyers Love

As spring turns to summer, homeowners begin to dream about beautiful backyard retreats, barbecues, and outdoor entertaining. Functioning – and fun! – outdoor spaces are also being sought out by home buyers near and far. What are they looking for? Here are four of the top outdoor amenities that make buyers take notice:

  • Decks and patios—When planning your patio or deck, making sure the flow between the home and the yard is important to keep it from becoming an unused space. But a well-planned patio or deck can add value to your home as it becomes usable square footage (from a value point of view). Buyers will be looking for opportunities to kick their feet up or lounge in the sun, so make sure whatever space you have set aside for outdoor living beckons with defined space (by adding flagstone or a rug), plush outdoor furniture, and potted plants. And don’t forget outdoor lighting! From guiding people down garden paths to illuminating trees and landscaping features as well as your home itself, outdoor lighting is crucial.
  • Outdoor kitchen—Outdoor kitchens can be fancy or simple but making sure that the design works is critical. Remember, food needs to travel from the kitchen where it is often stored or prepared, so stairs need to be considered as well as distance. Be sure to review your cooktop options such as a built-in grill or barbecue as well as the staging area for foods about to be cooked and then served.
  • Landscaping—According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 47% of REALTORS have suggested landscaping adjustments when selling a home. Why? Buyers need that “wow” factor when they pull up to the curb. What’s great is that landscaping doesn’t have to cost a lot; shrubs, flowers and mulch can go a long way. According to Quote.com, the average cost of a landscape upgrade (hardscape such as a path or planters) was $4,750 but it provided $5,000 worth of value to a home.
  • Fire pit—According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, outdoor fire pits or fireplaces were the top design element/trend in 2016. A fire pit area can consist of a few chairs and a portable fire pit or it can be completely built-in. You may even want to consider the fuel source – are you okay with throwing on your own logs or would you prefer a gas option that you just need to turn on?

Show value to today’s home buyer by adding a few features that allow them to understand your home’s outdoor living potential and you won’t be disappointed with the result. Potential adds value! If you have some outdoor living projects that you are considering this spring and summer and would like to know how these will impact your home’s value or you need some help determining which projects to take on, I would be happy to help. Call or text me, or send me an email!

What to Do Memorial Day Weekend

 

Looking for something to do this Memorial Day Weekend? There’s tons of events and activities going on around Whatcom County… here’s a few to choose from!

Ski to Sea Race: This annual 93.5 mile, 8-person relay race is held on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend every year. Come out to watch downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, running, canoeing, bike riding, and kayaking!

Fairhaven Festival: If you’re not interested in watching the race, there will be a festival going on near the race finish line featuring live music, food and vendor booths, a beer garden, and more.

Whatcom Memorial Day Parade: Starting at noon on Saturday, the Memorial Day Parade will be celebrating our communities and remembering our heroes. Starting at the corner of Alabama street and Cornwall, this event will showcase local talent, businesses, and products. Come support or even volunteer at their website! http://www.1335mclbellingham.com/

Happy Memorial Day, enjoy the long weekend!