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For Buyers Category

The Housing crisis is over!

If it’s in print, then it must be true. Right?
Don’t misunderstand me because as a Realtor, I like reading articles that are positive for my industry. But I live in the real world, not the financial world where analysts look at things on a more global or macro scale. I just hope that the people reading the article live here in the Seattle area where it will actually have an impact on our local housing market.
And let’s be completely honest, does the average person really understand the full meaning of what is written in articles such as these? I’ve always been a bit confused when the economists use phrases such as “When the rate of house-price declines halves, there will be a whoesale shift in markets’ perceptions… when valuing the collateral, market participants including banks are extrapolating…” What does all of this mean? I consider myself a pretty smart person, and I understood most of what was written, but I’d much prefer to read articles in more basic terms that the general public can understand.
Anyway, here is the full article in the Wall Street Journal. Maybe someone can read it and explain it to me…

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Private Schools?

Thinking of sending your kids to a private school? Seattle Metropolitan Magazine published a guide to all the schools in the greater Seattle area (includes Eastside, Snohomish County and more). Check it out here.

Save money, buy now?

According to a recent report by Radar Logic, a real estate data and analytics company, homes are less expensive on a $/sqft basis now than they were 1 year ago.

Seattle is down 1.4% from February 2007, however our area led the group of 25 metro areas with a 6.2 percent two-year annualized gain in price per square foot, while Sacramento, Calif., suffered the largest loss during that period at 18.8 percent. Seattle led with a five-year annualized gain of 9.6 percent, while Detroit was last on the list with a 2.5 percent five-year annualized loss.

February 2008 RPX Index

Rank MSA % change Feb ’07-Feb ’08
1 Charlotte, N.C. 3.6%
2 Milwaukee, Wis. 3.4%
3 New York, N.Y. 1.1%
4 Seattle, Wash. -1.4%
5 Columbus, Ohio -1.7%
6 Philadelphia, Pa. -3.9%
7 Denver, Colo. -5.4%
8 St. Louis, Mo. -7.2%
9 Washington, D.C. -7.3%
10 Cleveland, Ohio -7.3%
11 Chicago, Ill. -8.0%
12 Jacksonville, Fla. -8.2%
13 Atlanta, Ga. -9.2%
14 San Jose, Calif. -11.2%
15 Boston, Mass. -11.3%
16 Minneapolis, Minn. -11.8%
17 Detroit, Mich. -12.7%
18 San Francisco, Calif. -14.1%
19 Tampa, Fla. -16.4%
20 Miami, Fla. -17.7%
21 Los Angeles, Calif. -19.3%
22 Phoenix, Ariz. -19.4%
23 San Diego, Calif. -24.7%
24 Las Vegas, Nev. -26.2%
25 Sacramento, Calif. -29.8%

Source: Radar Logic Inc.

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A top reason not to buy stocks?

It seems these days that everyone is down on the real estate market. Well, not everyone. According to famous Wall Street investor Peter Lynch in a recent Time Magazine article, “A top reason to not buy stocks is if you don’t already own a home–in which case, that should be your first investment, since an owner-occupied home is nearly always profitable.” Sounds strange coming from someone who made his fortune in the stock market, but his words ring true. In spite of everything that you hear about the housing market, now may be the best time to buy. Read more about it here.

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License to Flip?

Last July, the Washington State Legislature enacted a new statute aimed directly at the Real Estate Industry.  While the laws are always changing, this new statute has a direct affect on Real Estate investors and occasional “Flippers”.  Read more about it here

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Woodinville home for sale

Okay, so this is just a self-serving post. I just listed a home in Woodinville near where I live. This is the 3rd home that I’ve listed in this particular neighborhood, and it’s a great place to call home. You can even walk to the local elementary school (East Ridge Elementary). It’s just a short drive to Redmond, Bellevue, or even Seattle. What’s really cool about this location, is that there are several golf courses within a 10 minute drive! Check out the slideshow on the right side of my Blog for photos of this great home. If you’d like to drive by the home for yourself, the address is 15049 225th Ave NE.

Some of the particulars:

Listed at $750,000
3678 Sqft on a horse acre lot
4 bedrooms / 2.5 baths / den / bonus room
3 car garage
Built in 1997
The master suite has a gas fireplace!
MLS# 28059231

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3Ms continued

So what if you’re looking at a home, and you’re not sure whether it is a Mobile, Manufactured, or Modular home? What’s the next step if you’re interested in it, but need to know which one it is?

There are several things you can do to further investigate:

1. Take a walk around the entire home, looking for any tags that may be affixed on the exterior (usually near a corner of the home). If there is a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), it probably is a mobile or Manufactured home (note: See my previous blog entry for links to definitions).
2. Look inside the home. You may find a VIN tag inside a utility closet or someplace near where the utilities are located.
3. Call the Department of Licensing in Olympia. They can look in their records and tell you if there is a registered mobile home under the current owner’s name.
4. Visit the county’s Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES). In order to place a home on the property, the owner must have gotten a permit from the county. In the permit records, you may find information that specifies whether the home is a Mobile, Manufactured, or Modular. (note: don’t rely soley on the county records, as they can be wrong! I listed a home that was specified as a Mobile in the permit, but it was a Modular home).

If after all of the above steps you still don’t know, call the title company. They can send out a title inspector to the property who can make the determination. In fact, the title company is a critical factor in this process because if they state in the title report that it is a mobile home, your lender’s interest rates may be higher!

*It may seem redundant to state, but the above information applies mostly if you’re looking at a home on owned property, not in a “mobile home park”. By its very definition, a mobile home park will likely have mobile and manufactured homes located there.

**Another thing to be aware of, is that not all appraisers can spot the difference either! I’ve had a appraiser tell me that a home was a mobile (even though he couldn’t find a VIN), when it was a modular home.

Happy house hunting!

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Mobile vs. Manufactured vs. Modular

The 3 M’s of housing… Thanks to Hollywood, all three words used to conjure up the same visual in my mind. I thought of Jim Rockford of the The Rockford Files. This was my favorite show growing up. He used to live in a mobile home in a parking lot in Malibu, CA. I once won a radio show call-in contest for trivia about his Firebird. The question? What was Jim Rockford’s license plate number? The answer? 853 OKG. But alas, I digress… This is after all, a blog about real estate. Back to the 3 M’s.

Visually, the 3 homes may look alike. Structurally, they are built the same way (they are all built in factories and brought out to the lot in sections). But, that is where the similarities end.

Mobile and Manufactured homes are built to standards set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Modular homes are built to state and local building codes. When sold, Mobile and Manufactured homes are considered to be no different than a motor vehicle. On these structures, you’ll find a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) just like a car. And like a car, these structures are considered to be “Personal” property. Modular homes on the other hand, are considered to be “Real” property just like stick built homes (built on the property).

Financing a Mobile or Manufactured home is more difficult than financing a Modular home. In fact, unless the seller has taken steps to convert the home from personal property to real property in a process called “title elimination“, it can be nearly impossible to find a bank who will lend on a mobile or manufactured home. Financing a Modular home is much easier and no different than if the home were built on the lot. The revised codes of Washington (RCW) section 65.20.040 outline the process for title elimination.

Bottom line –

There are serious financial and legal differences between Mobile / Manufactured / Modular homes. Be educated. Know what you are buying. And if you get the chance to watch The Rockford Files, look for his license plate…

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Happy New Year!

Like most everyone, I started out in 2006 with a plan. About halfway through the year, something went awry and I just got too busy with life (you know, the stuff that keeps us busy such as work, home, kids, etc…). As a result, I didn’t follow through with a few of my original goals. One was to stay in better touch with my clients. The other was to maintain regular posts to this blog.

Welcome to 2007! New year. Same goals. So, here I am posting my first blog of the year. Nothing groundbreaking, just wanting you to know that I am also starting to create videos for my listings as a way of gaining additional exposure for my clients. If you click on the link for YouTube and type in my name in the search box (Daniel Jeung), it should bring up a window with the videos I’ve created (only one so far, but I’m taking a movie making class to improve my skills…).

Here is my first video [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8R5uglbbs8]

This is a home I have listed in Duvall, Washington for $540,000 in Legacy Ridge.

How smart are you?

Do you consider yourself smart? According to a recent survey by Bizjournals.com, if you happen to live in Seattle, you live in the most highly educated city in the country. Give yourself bonus points for being smart enough to read my blog!