Tuesday, September 27, 2011
It’s important to remember that you are not just buying a house … you’re buying a neighborhood.
How do you know you’re buying in a neighborhood that is right for you? It’s easy when you keep five things in mind:
1. The time of day when you first lay eyes on a prospective house can affect your impression of the neighborhood. Make sure you visit at various hours throughout the day, and on both the weekdays and the weekends. What may seem a very safe neighborhood during the day can drastically once it’s dark outside. The same can be said for neighborhood traffic flow, which can change dramatically depending on the time of day.
2. Neighborhood choice can be a pocketbook issue, and not just because of house prices and property taxes. Commuting costs – both in time and money – are critical. While you’re paying attention to home prices and subsequent mortgage payments, remember to calculate the actual cost of a commute. You may find the savings you envision based on a home’s lower price isn’t actually a savings at all.
3. Neighbors can be a great resource. Introduce yourself to your prospective neighbors and get their impressions of the neighborhood. Doing your research includes getting to know the neighbors. Ask them what they love about their neighborhood, and what concerns them. If you’re looking at a condo, and there is a condo association which manages the complex, ask neighbors who live there how effective the association is.
4. The Internet can be a boon for researching the nitty-gritty. Check out websites like Moving.com that look at factors such as appreciation rates, neighborhood amenities, commute times, and crime statistics.
5. Some neighborhood characteristics don’t fit neatly into numerical categories or scores. Another website worth taking a look at is NabeWise.com, which looks at 65 "quality of life" characteristics. Want to be near a farmers market, public transit or nightlife? Simply complete the check-list and the site does the search for you.
Remember – house hunting isn’t just about finding the perfect floor plan and the best back yard for relaxing and entertaining. It’s also about finding a neighborhood that suits you.
When it’s time to sell your home, there are a myriad of details to take care of – including recognizing the impact the sale of your home will have on your tax responsibilities. Below are ten tax tips from the Internal Revenue Services’ Summertime Tax Tip newsletter. You can find more tax tips on their website at www.irs.gov.
1. In general, you are eligible to exclude the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the five years prior to the date of its sale.
5. If you have a gain that cannot be excluded, it is taxable. You must report it on Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.
6. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Given all the negative news about the real estate market, one may not know that the median home value in central and north Seattle appreciated 14% since 2004!!! Above shows appreciation for the neighborhoods of Queen Anne, Magnolia, East Lake, Capital Hill, Madison Park, Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, Green Lake, University District, Ravenna, Bryant, Wedgewood and many more...
Keep in mind this is comparing the first 6 months of 2004 to the first 6 months of 2011. If one purchased a home after 2004 the picture may not be as rosy. However, the image above shows that real estate is a solid invest for those who intend to buy and hold. Below is more information about the real estate market since 2004.
In 2004 the median home value was $397,5000. In 2007 it peaked at $555,000 and in 2011 it was $453,000 which was roughly the same as in 2005. The graph shows that median home values are trending up since 2009 which is a good sign.
In 2004 the average home that sold was on the market for 35 days. Compared to 51 in 2011. The graph shows that the number of days on market is trending down since 2009 which is a good sign. A market time of 45 days is consider healthy
In 2004 over 2,000 home sold in the first 6 months of the year. In 2011 just over 1,300 sold. The graph shows that the number of home sold is trending up since 2009 which is a good sign.
If bought and held real estate in central and north Seattle is a good investment.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Museum Quality Framing Map: http://g.co/maps/53qca