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What are Ballard WA zip codes?

98117 and 98107 are the two zip codes that cover the Ballard Seattle area.

Zip code 98117 covers the upper part of Ballard including Loyal Heights and Whitter Heights:

Map of Ballard Seattle zip code 98117

While zip code 98107 covers the lower section of Ballard including the main Ballard business hubs of Market Street and Old Town Ballard ad all the way down to Salmon Bay.

Map of Ballard Seattle zip code 98107

Here's some additional useful information for Ballard:

Information about living in the Ballard neighborhood.

Properties that are currently for sale in Ballard.

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Capitol Hill Seattle HOUSES for sale

Search ALL houses that are currently for sale in Capitol Hill, Seattle. View listing photos, maps, and StreetView, WalkScore, information on local schools and a mortgage calculator. If you would prefer to search all property types, not just houses, click here. Happy browsing! Read more...

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Capitol Hill Seattle condos for sale

Looking for condos for sale in Capitol Hill Seattle? Here's a complete list of all the condos that are currently available in the Capitol Hill area.  This part of the city has a lot more condos compared to most other Seattle neighborhoods plus it has more Co-Op condominiums.   Click here if you would prefer to view ALL types of properties for sale in Capitol Hill. Read more...

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How do you know if a home will get multiple offers?

Telltale signs that a listing will get lots of offers.

When the real estate market is strongly skewed in favor of the seller side of the equation, those sellers can expect their homes to sell quickly, and usually with multiple offers.

How do you know if a home will get multiple offersBuyers need to adapt accordingly,  both in terms of how they look for homes (hint: don't wait for the open houses at the weekend) and in how they structure their offers.  

One major factor in determining how a buyer should structure their offer is "how many other offers are there on the home?"

Based on that number, the buyer can decide if they can load up their offer with lots of contingencies or maybe have to make a slightly risky offer in order to win the bidding. 

But first, a quick note on the two main ways sellers decide to review offers on their homes:

The sellers set an offer review deadline about a week after the home is listed for sale. The home will usually come on the market in the middle of the week, have open houses at the weekend and set the following Tuesday or Wednesday to review submitted offers. This is common is a hot real estate market but will less common when the market slows down.  

The sellers are hoping to leverage buyer enthusiasm and generate offers with waived contingencies, particularly the inspection contingency. 

Caveat: the sellers retain the right to accept an offer before the offer review deadline.

The other set of sellers will state that they will review offers upon receipt. Basically,...

5 Potentially risky home buyer offers in multiple offer situations

Better to take smart risks and focus on winning because, if you don't, your competition will - John Rampton.

Risky home buyer offers in multiple offer situationsIn a hot real estate market, multiple offers on a home are the norm. When low housing inventory coincides with too many eager buyers, some buyers will resort to doing "whatever it takes" to win the home.

For some people reading this article and who live in real estate markets that are not in perpetual bidding wars, some of these actions will seem insane and way too risky.

Others, however, who are trying to purchase a home in places like San Fransisco, Boston, Austin TX, and Seattle will be all too familiar with these scenarios. 

Buying a home in a balanced market...how it's supposed to work (in theory at least).

In a balanced real estate market, the purchase process and contract paperwork are structured in such a way as to protect the buyers by including certain contingencies within the offer, i.e. conditions that need to be met for the sale to go through to closing.

Without going into the intricate details of how the home buying process works, here's a quick overview of a typical buyer offer on a home when the market is balanced:

  1. The buyer makes an offer on the home. The offer price will be close to the listing price; maybe a little above, or a  little below are the actual list price.
  2. The buyer and seller negotiate back and forth and then reach an agreement. They have mutual acceptance.
  3. The buyer deposits their earnest money to escrow which becomes part of the buyer's downpayment if the sale proceeds all the way to closing. If the sale fails for some...

Houses for sale in Magnolia Seattle

Looking to buy a house in Magnolia Seattle? The Magnolia area has some stunning, unique houses but also plenty of homes of lesser grandeur to suit all tastes. Here's a complete list of all the houses that are currently listed for sale in this part of Seattle.   Note that this list includes homes that are currently for sale, pending or recently sold houses in Magnolia Seattle (over the past week). Happy browsing and let me know if you have any questions or would like to view any of these homes.

Click here if you want to view ALL types of homes for sale in Magnolia including condos and townhomes.

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Ballard Breweries. The Ultimate Updated Guide.

Here's the current crop of breweries in Ballard.

But before we jump into the list, note that some establishments are family-friendly and some are not, many allow you to bring your furry four-legged friend (pet-friendly) and some have a food truck, (sometimes, but not always), parked out front to feed those with a surge of the munchies.

Two breweries, Maritime and Hale's have kitchens and cooks like regular pubs. With the exception of those two watering holes, all are fine with your bringing your own food or having some sustenance delivered while you imbibe.

And so you know what each brewery in Ballard is offering (besides beer), each has been tagged with some or none of the following badges:

Pet friendly and family friendly Ballard breweries

Maritime Pacific Brewing Company (aka Maritime)

1111 NW Ballard Way. Established in 1990.

Maritime is the first truly Ballard brewery. Red Hook may have been first in the Frelard area, which is fringe Ballard (don’t tell Hale’s or Bad Jimmys), but they abdicated to Fremont and then to Woodinville.

Maritime set up brewing in 1990 in the space where Peddler now brews Maritime Pacific Brewing in Ballard Seattleand started brewing English inspired ales (despite the Flagship being a German Alt style beer). They planted a flag in the building next door to open a taproom and later added a tiny kitchen. Once they outgrew...

List of all open houses in Ballard Seattle

Want to go see some real estate listings in Ballard Seattle without your Realtor? Well, here's a list of the current open houses for the Ballard neighborhood. The list includes Ballard condos, townhomes, and houses.

Note that "public open houses" are usually held on Saturdays and Sundays but for new listings, there is usually an additional "Brokers Open" on Wednesdays. Brokers opens are also open to the public and will be included in this list so keep an eye out for mid-week Ballard open houses. Have fun out there!

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Selling Your House to an iBuyer? Better Examine the Offer Closely.

The pros and cons of using an iBuyer to sell your home.

Pros and cons of selling your home to an iBuyer companyAs a homeowner these days, you have many options when it comes to selling your house. Aside from the traditional route of picking a reputable realtor and putting your home on the open market, you can also go FSBO (For Sale By Owner) or sell it to an investor or company. These have been the standard choices for a while now, with the recent addition of what is known as an “iBuyer.” So what does selling your house to an iBuyer look like?

An iBuyer is loosely defined as “a company that uses technology to make an offer on your home.” Which simply means they rely on the data of an algorithm to come up with a price for your home, versus the traditional way of comparing similar recently sold properties. Zillow isn’t the only company that keeps track of home prices, and other companies have leveraged the data in order to start purchasing homes in certain markets. These companies look for houses that are in good shape or need quick fixes in order to purchase them, take short term ownership of the home, make any needed repairs and sell them quickly.

Who are iBuyers?

The four main iBuyer companies are OpenDoor, Offerpad, Zillow Offers and Redfin Now. OpenDoor has been at it the longest (since 2014) and has the biggest market share. According to Zillow’s ATTOM data Solutions, OpenDoor purchased just over 10,000 homes in 2018. Currently, none of these companies operate in the Seattle...

Are low HOA fees always a good thing?

The pros and cons of low homeowner association fees.

Home Owner Association fees, or HOA fees for short, are part of life when you by a condo and the majority of townhomes. Although nobody loves them or walks around wearing a t-shirt proclaiming I LOVE HOA FEES!, they still cover some of the stuff you would have to pay regardless of the type of home you purchase or own.

Note that, for Seattle real estate at least, 99% of house owners do not have to pay HOA dues since they were built before the advent of big cookie-cutter developments and private communities.

HOA fees

Condo HOA monthly fees will usually be a lot higher than those for townhomes and buyers will need to take this into consideration when calculating how much they can afford to buy and pay each month.  For condos in Ballard Seattle dues for a 1-bedroom condo vary between $224 and $265/month and $200 to $994 for a 2-bedroom.

You need to add the homeowner association fees to the expected monthly principal + interest + property taxes + insurance (PITI) payments.

Buyers will naturally be attracted to homes with low HOA fees and be less keen on those with high monthly dues. However, buyer beware, just because the fees are low does not automatically mean it’s a good thing

Just like property taxes, HOA fees rarely go down and usually go up over time and so knowing the financial health of the homeowners association and overall health of the building itself are important. There are certain critical...

Buying a home in the USA compared to the UK and Ireland

Steps to buying a home in the USA versus Great Britain and Ireland. 

Every country does things a little differently and that's definitely the case when it comes to purchasing a home in Dublin, Ohio versus Dublin, Ireland or Manchester, New Hampshire compared to Manchester in England.

So if you're going to be moving between the two regions and intend to buy a home when you get there, then this article us for you!

Steps to buying a home in the USA versus the UK and Ireland

As an Irish ex-pat, having lived in London for 7 years after college and now that I've been a Seattle Realtor for over 10 years, I thought it might be interesting to compare the home purchase process on each side of the proverbial pond.

Side note: an apartment in the UK and Ireland is the equivalent of a condo (aka condominium) in the US. In the UK & Ireland, you buy/own an apartment but rent a flat, whereas in the US you buy/own a condo and rent an apartment. In America, a flat is a punctured tire, which is spelled tyre in the UK and Ireland.

I'm glad we got that one out of the way early!

Although there is some state to state variations in the steps to buying a home within the US and some differences between Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and Nothern Ireland, the overall process is very similar for each geographical area. This article does not cover every little nuanced difference otherwise it would be the length of Moby Dick! 

Since I'm a Seattle real estate agent, let's review the steps to buying a home in Washington State, which obviously is the greatest state in the whole of the USA! Whether you're thinking of ...

Are home buyer incentives a win-win or just a distraction?

With the real estate market starting to show some signs of slowing down, some home sellers are starting to offer incentives to home buyers to encourage them to buy their homes.

Are home buyer incentives a win-win

First time home buyer incentives and home buyer incentives in general, can be tempting. However, buyers should be asking themselves.

  1. Why is the seller offering that incentive in the first place?
  2. What exactly IS the incentive and are there restrictions as to whether I get the incentive or not?
  3. If I accept the incentive, what might I be giving up instead?

Well, the answer is sometimes incentives really are a win-win for the buyer but sometimes it's just a distraction from something else.

Why do sellers offer homebuyer incentives?

The short answer is that sellers don't offer them when they know the home will sell quickly. 

If the seller and their agent think that the home might struggle to sell, then they will consider the option of dangling some incentive in front of the buyers to make the purchase more enticing and grease the wheels of industry towards a closing.

Examples of homebuyer incentives.

The are lots of different home buyer incentives and the type of offer might depend on whether the home is a resale by a homeowner or if the home is brand new construction and the seller is a builder/developer.

Work with the builder's lender for a discount.

Many builders require that homebuyers get pre-approved by the builder's preferred lender, even if the buyer has been pre-approved with their own lender already.  Also, some builder's lenders will offer some incentives like $3,000 paid towards the buyer's closing costs...

My prediction for the 2019 Seattle real estate market

What will the Seattle real estate market do in 2019?

My guess is as good anyone else I suppose, so I might as well have a crack at it.

I'm only predicting what the median sale price will do over the course of 2019. And home prices are what homeowners, sellers, buyers (and Realtors) usually obsess over the most.

I will revisit my prediction every quarter to see if I end up being anywhere near what actually transpires over the year.

Few people foresaw the way the market turned on a dime last spring and I definitely wasn't one of them. So with that in mind...

Here's my 2019 prediction: The Seattle and Eastside median price will increase by 4 to 6% between now and spring / early summer and then drop back down to current levels by the end of the year.

Seattle real estate market prediction for 2019

Why I think Seattle home prices are going to go back up:

  • Prices peaked in May at $802,000 and fell to $713,000 by January, a drop of 9%. 
  • This price drop is likely going to attract more buyers back into the market who gave up last spring when the market was in manic mode and buyers were constantly getting into bidding wars and forced to pay well over list price to get a home. Buyers got fed up being manipulated by the housing market and just stepped back en mass. Now they are seeing homes taking longer to sell, price drops and sales contingent on inspections.
  • Prices have finally hit the Conor Trend Support Line drawn (manually) under the lower prices of the upward trend. I predict that prices will bounce back up off that support price.
  • Prices will finally break BELOW the trend line by the end of 2019.
  • We are coming out of the winter/holiday hibernation season and will soon be entering...

Most Popular Green Home Upgrades That Buyers Want

Not every energy efficient upgrade or renovation is desirable and boostsMost popular green home upgrades for home buyers home value when a sustainable home is listed for sale. Much depends on the local market, as well as how soon after a renovation is made that a homeowner decides to actively sell their home. That being said, there are green home upgrades that have become popular and that potential buyers are willing to pay more. What green home upgrades may be worth the investment when it comes time to sell?

Quality of a Home Renovation Project.

As one looks into various green home upgrades, the quality and energy-efficiency of a finished project is important to potential buyers. They may be interested in looking a homeowner’s bills in order to ascertain how much they may save by paying more for a sustainable home. A buyer may appreciate knowing that a structure has LEED Certification and was built according to specific sustainable practices that support the environment. This certification can involve projects for existing homes, the surrounding neighborhood and schools. Such certification can prove to be a significant attraction for the environmentally-conscious homebuyer and a way for an agent to differentiate a home from comps without such certification.

Get Additional Insight on Local Green Features.

Sellers need to know what features or upgrades are on trend when it comes to selling a sustainable home. Speaking with a reputable agent may provide more insight on recent comps in the area and what buyers may have been looking for when they were shopping for a home. Some popular green upgrades include...

How much is my home worth? EXACTLY what somebody is willing to pay for it.

The real answer to "how much is my home worth" is by actually listing it for sale.

Everything else is just a guesstimate of varying degrees of accuracy and believability.

How much is my home worthSo, how much IS your home worth?

The short answer is that it's worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay for it.

The longer answer is that your home is worth...

What someone is willing to pay for it.
If listed for sale on the open market.
Will depend on how well your home has been prepared for market, the marketing exposure it gets and whether you selected a competent Realtor or not. 
The prevailing market conditions at the time your list your home.
And potentially on whether it's an all-cash offer or not.

Pretty simple, huh?

Obviously, putting your home on the market just to determine it's current market value is a little extreme. 

So, how can a homeowner find out how much their home is "worth"? And what are their limitations?

(1) Online home evaluations.

The granddaddy of these is the infamous Zestimate from Zillow.

Simply enter your address and within a few milliseconds, voila, up pops the current market value of your home. So easy and convenient, right?

Easy and convenient it might be but it's about as reliable as the Seattle Marines making the playoffs!

Zillow has never set foot in your home, has no idea if your kitchen is original, if your roof and furnace need replacing or if you remodeled the kitchen and bathrooms last year and added a swimming...

How much are HOA dues for Ballard Seattle Condos?

And what's included in Ballard condo HOA dues?

The Ballard neighborhood in Seattle has lots of different condo styles. From modern construction with the latest bells and whistles to funky older buildings that Don Draper would feel right at home in, and from large units with expansive views of the Puget Sound to small condos on busy roads. 

But one thing they all have in common is that they ALL pay monthly Home Owner Association (HOA) dues. 

Compared to buying a house, when buying a Ballard condo, or any condo for that matter, you need to do some additional research. Here's a post I previously wrote on The 9 Critical Questions to Ask When Buying a Condo. It's too late to ask after you've closed on the home!

And one of those questions is: "How much are the HOA dues and what do they cover?"

As you will see below, there's a lot of variation in what you might pay from one condo development to another. When looking at condos for sale in Ballard Seattle and calculating your potential monthly mortgage payments make sure to allow for HOA dues.

Here are some numbers on HOA dues for Ballard Seattle condos.

I looked at HOA dues for condos that were either currently for sale, pending or had sold over the past 2 months in the Ballard neighborhood as of the first week of October 2018. I looked at dues for both 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom condos. 

For each, I calculated the average monthly HOA dues and the range (low and high). All data were obtained from the NWMLS. There were 28 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom units.

HOA dues for Ballard Seattle condos...

Why hiring a licensed, bonded and insured contractor is important.

What does licensed, bonded and insured mean?

Need a new roof, a plumber in a hurry or that peeling exterior paint needs to be repainted?

Many a homeowner will ask friends for a referral or be wooed by a "special discount" mailer and hire a contractor willy-nilly without ever checking them out fully.

What does licensed bonded and insured mean?

'"Joyce next door just loved Bob the Builder. That's good enough for me and my home!"

Or you get 3 quotes for those crawl space repairs. Two of them are $4,000 but the 3rd one is only $2,500. Before you leap on #3, ask yourself why it's a lot lower than the other two.

Besides obviously that big fat dollar number on the quote (you did get a quote didn't you?), the most important things to do are (1) check out the company's reputation, ask for referrals and look for any current and past litigation against the company... and (2) determine whether the contractor or service provider is licensed, bonded and insured.

Sure, Bob the Builder seems like a nice guy and even has his own TV series...but is he licensed, bonded and insured? 

 

What does licensed bonded and insured mean, and why are they important?

In this case, we will be focusing on contractors and service providers that you might end up hiring during your course of owning your home.

Let's start with the licensing requirements.

For certain services, each state will require someone who plies their trade in a particular field to get a business license before being able to practice their business. Even your hairdresser is required to have a license. Chemical scalp burn anyone. Same as your electrician, plumber, painter, landscaper...