The #1 Reason Summer is the Best Time to Put Your Home on the Market

I don’t know about you, but we’ve been enjoying the recent beautiful weather here in Whatcom County! Historic trends have proven that in most areas of the country, early summer months can be the best time to list your home for sale.

An recent article written in Forbes claims, “The single best day of the year to sell a home, according to a new ATTOM Data Solutions analysis, is June 28, which sees an average seller premium of 9.1%. The other top days to sell a home are February 15, May 31, May 29, and June 21, with premiums ranging from 9% to 8.1%.”

What is it about this season that makes it so popular to sell? There are many factors that play into it, but ultimately it’s because buyers are HOT and motivated more than any other time of year!

  1. Foot traffic rises with temperature! The weather is getting warmer, therefore prospective buyers are more inclined to go out and explore potential areas and neighborhoods they’d like to move to.
  2. School’s out for summer! This can mean that family schedules have freed up from school drop offs and extracurricular activities allowing for house hunting to take priority. On top of that, many buyers may be eager to buy now in order to move in and get settled in time before school starts up again in the fall.

At the end of the day, the best time to sell is when it works for YOU. There are personal factors that play a major role in a decision to sell a home such as job changes, a growing family, or relocating. Making sure everyone involved is emotionally prepared and on the same page is vital before moving forward with the sale.

If you’re curious if this is the right time for you to put your home on the market, we are here to offer clarity! Enjoy your summer and always feel free to give our office a call if you’d like to explore the Whatcom County housing market.

Whatcom County Snapshot

With summer just weeks away, this is what the current market conditions are looking like in Whatcom County. Although we’re seeing sales prices continue to rise from April’s average of $444,650, the pace is much slower than what we saw throughout 2018. In the second quarter last year, home prices were climbing 6.8% and they are now rising at just under 5% rate.

This is good news for BOTH sellers and buyers, because sellers are still seeing increased value in their properties, but the slowed price growth makes home more accessible to buyers creating a balanced market!

With the housing market balancing, there are signs of a strong economy overall as April unemployment fell to 3.6%, its lowest levels in 50 years! Job and wage growth mixed with high consumer confidence makes for strong housing market activity.

If you’ve been hovering on fence, now is the time to jump. We have the expertise to make sure you enter the market prepared and with the right expectations; let’s talk!

The Million Dollar Question for Graduates

Image courtesy of nypost.com

Congratulations to all the Whatcom County high school students that will be graduating within the next week or two! This is such an exciting time to fly the nest and find new passions in life. A popular question that many graduates get asked during this time is, “What is your five year plan?”. According to a recent report conducted by Bank of America, a majority of Gen Z homebuyers between the ages of 18 and 23 are interested in buying property within the next five years, and 52% are already saving up!

It may seem to soon to start thinking about that type of investment, and that’s okay too. Whatever end of the spectrum you find yourself, it is worth getting educated on what it takes to become a first-time homebuyer and how to successfully plan accordingly. We hear many people comment on how they wish they at least had the knowledge of how and where to start the buying process at a younger age, so here’s a good place to begin!

  1. Take a homeownership class! Do some research on where and when they are offered in your area. Check out www.wshfc.org to find a class near you.
  2. Meet with a few different lenders to find the best fit for you. Not all lenders offer the same financing options, so it’s up to you to find one that provides the perfect terms for your situation! We always refer our first time homebuyers to Casey Porter at Caliber Home Loans. Casey works right here in our office, and has helped numerous of our clients get into new homes!
  3. Narrow down where it is you want to buy and find an agent that knows the area! Consider what type of features you’d value in a home such as a two-car garage, fenced yard, # of bedrooms, as well as the ideal location and proximity to nearby attractions. If Whatcom County is your focus, I’ve been in the real estate business for almost 40 years now and am very familiar with the local neighborhoods.
  4. Consider the possibility of house hacking! House hacking is when you own a home as your primary residence, but rent out bedrooms to help offset the cost of a mortgage payment. If covering the monthly cost of owning a home is a barrier to buying, this may be the answer.

Whether you’re just graduating and starting a five year plan, or have been renting all your life and ready to take that next step, we have the knowledge and resources to make it happen. Give me a call today, and we’ll make a plan!

Wire Fraud Could Happen to YOU. Here’s How To Protect Yourself!

In a recent article published in Forbes, It was found that Americans lost nearly $150 million to real estate scams in 2018.

As agents in the real estate business, we advice clients through the process of buying property as they make potentially one of the largest purchases they’ve ever made. Often times, buyers are required to wire large amounts of funds prior to closing, and this situation unfortunately opens a door to potentially dangerous scammers. Wire-fraud is becoming increasingly problematic as attacks are becoming more sophisticated and targeted to vulnerable parties.

Image courtesy of Fairway Mortgage

Although as agents, we are not involved in the transfer of funds between buyer and escrow company, we feel that it is our duty to ensure our clients are AWARE of the fraud schemes and have the knowledge to protect themselves.

3 Quick Ways to Protect Yourself:

  1. Study the email carefully! Verify the spelling of the sender’s email to ensure it is in fact from the person it says it’s from. Scammers will oftentimes add in or change just 1 or 2 characters that generally would go unnoticed.
  2. Voice verify! Although it might seem cumbersome in an already long home-buying process, following up emails with a call to verify is very smart. This step is especially important if the email involves e-signing, using a new website, or supplying funds or any kind of financial information.
  3. Be vigilant and on guard. Regard any email asking you to take action with suspicion, especially when communicating with title companies, attorneys, lawyers, or realtors. These are the type of situations that hackers are targeting, so better to be safe than sorry!

We are proud to work with the most reputable title companies in the area that provide a secure, encrypted environment that protects client information and documents. We recommend our clients stay in close contact with the escrow officer handling the closing of a transaction as this is the best way to avoid any issues!

The Local Event That Brings Everyone to Town

Starting it’s first year with less than 30 teams signed up, the Curt Maberry Memorial Classic 3 on 3 Tournament now hosts over 215 teams and brings thousands of people to downtown Lynden to watch basketball and celebrate the local community at the Lynden Raspberry Festival.

We are now just over 2 months away from the 21st Annual Tournament and so excited to get the ball rolling once again. This year’s event will take place Friday, July 19th through Saturday, July 20th. Participating ages range from Kindergarten all the way to Adult Recreational and Competitive brackets.

Get a group of friends together and enter a team or just come watch the action during a beautiful summer weekend in downtown Lynden, WA. The tournament is a large part of the Northwest Raspberry Festival that celebrates the largest harvest of raspberries in North America. Other festivities include live music, car show, arts & crafts, food vendors, beer garden, and of course delicious local raspberry sundaes.

To fill out a 3 on 3 application and find more information on the tournament, visit www.lynden3on3razz.com or call The Muljat Group North office at 360-354-4242!

UPDATE: Inventory is on the Rise in Whatcom County!

Spring has sprung and along with it is rise in inventory in Whatcom County! Although the number of residential properties newly listed increased 7.5% in April, inventory supply is still hovering around two months according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Typically, a balanced market shows about six months of available inventory, so the currently numbers are indicating Whatcom County will remain a sellers market this spring.

Even though inventory supply is still tight, there is hope for home buyers! The good news is the higher wage growth, slower home price appreciation, and low mortgage rates hovering around 4.375%. Here’s some professional advice to buyers looking to find a home:

  1. Start the pre-approval process as soon as possible. Get your credit score and debt to income ratio checked; there are great low to no down options available out there and we work with a reputable Caliber Home Loans officer that can sit down with you and discuss your options!
  2. Get realistic about what it is you are looking for. Knowing your price range before hand can help narrow this down along with nailing down the absolute necessities along with a wish list of added bonuses.
  3. If you’re in the early stages of discussing home buying, start saving money! This is a large investment and down payment on a mortgage is typically 20%. Planning ahead is key to being prepared when the time comes to move forward.
  4. Do your research on neighborhoods in the area of interest. We are a local company with expert knowledge in the Lynden community and surrounding counties, so don’t hesitate to ask for more information on a new development or specific area of town.
  5. And last but not least, find yourself a realtor you can work with! Your realtor should be knowledgeable of the current market conditions and a strong representative when it comes to making an offer. It’s a hot market, so make sure to find someone you can trust to get you where you want to go!

I have been serving the local market for 40 years now; give me and my team a call if you’re looking to buy property in the Whatcom County area!

Why Do Millennials Move to and Stay a Given Location?

According to the National Association of Realtors, there are a wide range of factors contributing to why millennials will choose to live somewhere. Two of the main reasons being affordability and the area’s job market. A recent study that analyzed the top metro areas with high populations of millennial residents found that employment opportunities and earning potential greatly attributed to an area’s attractiveness. Millennials want to feel secure in their career before making the decision to stay and create a life somewhere.

In the infographic above, notice that Seattle is one of the top 5 most popular areas for millennials likely because unemployment levels are low, income levels are high, and housing conditions are strong. Read the full article for more statistics on popular metro areas and why the younger generations are choosing to live there:
Affordability in the Top 10 Most Popular Markets for Millennials, According to NAR

One of the Most Overlooked Ways to Increase Property Value!

We see many sellers get so wrapped up in making sure the interior of the home is clean and updated that they forget all about the exterior. The first thing a potential buyer sees is the outside of a home, and if curb appeal is lacking; the chances of them wanting to go take a look inside drops drastically!

Curb appeal is the visual attractiveness from the street or sidewalk and can help attract buyers inside, boost property value, and improve neighborhood demand. This concept should be important to all homeowners, not just those looking to sell.

Some simple and effective ways to give your property that WOW factor are:

  • Mow and water the lawn, weed and mulch the flower beds, and sweep the sidewalk and driveways.
  • Clean windows and glass panels, replace exterior light bulbs, and remove dust and cobwebs from outdoor fixtures.
  • Repair anything dull or chipped like the trim, front door, or posts.
  • Power wash the deck or siding of the house for a fresh look

Putting in the extra work can seem like a hassle now, but the value and improved look these tasks can bring to your property will make the efforts all worth it!

Calling All Veterans!

Come join three seasoned professionals for an informative VA home buyer mortgage class coming up next Saturday, April 27th in Bellingham. Cherisa Hoekema, a Realtor here at The Muljat Group North is teaming up with two of Umpqua Bank’s finest Home Loan Officers to discuss how VA benefits can open up exclusive financing options. This is a great opportunity to come discuss your buying options!

THIS is Our Why!

The number one most rewarding part of being in the real estate business is getting to help community members make big life decisions. Whether it be relocating to or from a different location, upgrading to a larger property because of a growing family, investing for business purposes, or setting out to buy your first ever home, we can’t wait to be a part of it!

Just last week, Justin became a first time home-buyer, and we had the pleasure of helping his dream of investing in real estate come true. Growing up in Lynden, Justin worked for me on the farm and I’m proud to be able to give back some of that hard work through this big accomplishment!

Congratulations, Justin! If your goals involve investing in real estate too, we are seasoned and knowledgeable of the Whatcom County area. Let’s discuss your options… give us a call today!