Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Where is Allentown?

Most of you would probably say "Pennsylvania!" That is correct, but did you know that there is an Allentown right here in the Seattle area? It is located in Tukwila, just about 2 miles north of Foster Golf Course off Interurban Avenue, right by the Duwamish River. The reason I bring this up is that I have a house listed for sale in Allentown, and most people (even life-long residents of this area) don't know where that is!

If you are looking for a starter home or rental property, you might be interested in looking at this house. It is PERFECT! It has two-bedrooms, one bath and is under 900 sq. ft. It had extensive remodeling in 2000 including a new roof. The yard is fenced and includes a nice shed and a children's play fort. It is ready for you to move right in! The price is $260,000 and you might consider an FHA loan. Give me a call and I would be happy to show it to you. And if you need a lender, I have several that I can refer you to that would be more than happy to let you know if you qualify for this home. You can look on my website (http://www.sandyyoung.net/) and find the listing with more photos. The listing number is 28120940. It is close to everything! There is easy access to I-5, short drive to Boeing Field, the new and improved Westfield (Southcenter) Mall and the Tukwila Community Center is just a couple blocks from this home. If you haven't been to Allentown, check it out!

Here is another interesting fact, Billy Joel wrote a song titled Allentown back in 1982. Of course he was singing about the coal mines and difficult living conditions in Allentown, PA.

Click the following link or copy and paste it in your browser to see a map of Allentown in Tukwila, WA:

Monday, July 21, 2008

What is a Short Sale and how can you avoid it

The easy explanation is that a short sale happens when a seller owes more on the loan on a home than he can sell it for. The way that happens is when a person hasn't owned the home long enough for it to appreciate (maybe 3 to 5 years) and with closing costs, he is going backwards on his investment. The other scenerio is when money has been so readily available to borrow on a home and homeowners get themselves in trouble by taking out a HELOC (home equity line of credit) or a 2nd mortgage to free up cash to use however they wish. Instead of increasing equity in holding on to a home for several years, they lose their equity with increased debt.

If you are looking to purchase a home, make sure that you are planning on living there for several years so you can avoid selling for less than you owe. Or have enough funds in the bank so that you have the money to close thereby avoiding a short sale. With our current market, we agents are definitely seeing housing prices coming down from what they were a year or two ago. The best strategy is to plan on staying in the house you want to buy for several years before selling and ride out this current storm. Prices will begin going up at some point!

Those of you who have remained in your home for several years should seriously evaluate whether you can "afford" to take out a 2nd mortgage on that boat, kitchen remodel, special vacation or just to pad your bank account for those extra luxury items that you want. Better to keep your home equity in place and SAVE some of your paycheck for those extra things.

Of course, the article that was published in Sunday's Seattle Times on the front page of the real estate section stated that 20% of all home sales in March nationwide were short sales. While that is true, it is important to read further down when it says that ony 4% of home sales in March in King, Kitsap and Snohomish county are short sales. I guess we should be thankful we live in an area that is better than the norm!

If you want to read the entire article in the Times just go to:


Monday, July 14, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Real Estate Agent Part 1

Wake up sleepy head!! I'm NOT a morning person, but I'm out the door at 7:45 (I know that is late for most of you!) with my list of tasks that need to be done today. Here is the clock in the laundry room as I make my way out to the garage, get in the car and get going for the day. In the old days when the kids were still home, Monday was laundry day. Bye laundry room....Bye Dave....Bye Frodo!

I needed to stop at my listing that is now pending and put up a sold sign, so decided to do this before my sales meeting. I also removed my lockbox and flyers from inside. This sale will close next week. See...there really ARE buyers out there!!!!

Here is my cube! Boy, I didn't realize how messy it looks until I saw this picture! It looks like a jungle, but I'm pretty organized even though it doesn't look like it! There is my grandkids Valentine card! Their pictures are pinned on the wall along with all sorts of information that I need to keep at arms length. I don't leave my laptop at the office....I have a computer rolling tote that I can put my files in and all those cords necessary for uploading photos from the camera and syncing my phone to the computer. My coffee mug is out of site on the right, and usually I have a cup of coffee keeping me company.

I bet your are thinking just what our office manager, Sharon, was thinking when she saw me taking a picture of our fax machine. "WHY are you taking a photo of the fax machine?" I tried to explain that I was chronicling (that sure looks like incorrect spelling to me, so let's try the word "recording") my day so I could post it on my blog. She wasn't impressed and I'm sure she thinks I'm crazy! But I'm at the office and I have to send a fax, so here's the photo.

Monday Morning 9 am Sales Meeting. Tim McCanta is our broker and we have an hour meeting to review the latest news about the market, learn about the law and the latest real estate forms, have reports from our mortgage rep, Tim Cassill, escrow rep, Barbara Fox, and title rep, Janene Jaramillio. Janene missed the meeting this morning but she showed up later to keep in touch with the agents. Don F. (an agent) used to bring Krispy Kreme donuts in each week for our meetings but I think he got tired of paying! Did anyone ever offer to reimburse him? I didn't! I just figured the broker was paying for them and didn't discover the truth until the donuts stopped showing up!

A Day in the Life of a Real Estate Agent Part 2

There is Kristi Hansen. Several agents toured one of her listings today after our business meeting. We always tour homes after our business meeting. I rode with her and another agent since, as you will see later on, I'm just about completely out of gas in my car. Kristi's car is a Ford hybrid with a 12 gallon gas tank. What was Ford thinking??? 12 gallons? More trips to fill up.
Another source of frustration for me...our color copier! There is the flyer I created for my newest listing. Printing the flyer was easy. Printing postcards? Ugggg. For some reason my computer doesn't communicate well with the printer. It takes FOREVER to get the information from the computer to the printer and then sometimes when several other agents are printing their documents (how dare they!) it really gets interesting! Luckily we all seem to get have similar frustrations in using office equipment so it can get comical.

I don't usually go out to lunch, but Lorraine asked if we wanted to join her, so she, Nancy and I walked over to O'Char's for some Thai food. My favorite? Cashew Chicken. And what do you suppose we talked about? Business. We are all real estate agents after all. Should I have my business in an LLC? Just what can we take as tax deductions? Oh, and of course we talked about the difficulty in finding buyers for our listings!

You get the idea! I bet you have all wanted to toss your computer into the garbage can. I have spent so much wasted time trying to print color postcards, cut them apart and make the blankety-blank labels print within the proper space. I guess I will have to give in and send my file to the print shop. I love the creativity that this business affords me but I get so exasperated!!

I'm driving on fumes and Costco is just around the corner from my office...glug, glug, glug....$84.78???? And I use regular not premium!

In the car. I would be sunk without my bluetooth so I can talk on the phone and drive at the same time. I spend quite a bit of time in the car on SR 900 between Issaquah and home.

Quick stop at home to let Frodo outside to run a bit. I gulped down a big glass of ice water too. It sure is hot outside!

A Day in the Life of a Real Estate Agent Part 3

4:30 Appointment to talk about the comparative market analysis I put together on this home. Lovely, elegant and backs up to a tranquil stream. Plenty of room inside and out to enjoy! Let me know if you want more details or might be interested in purchasing it!

And where has my "official" assistant been all afternoon? He looks weary from a day of awsome golf in the heat! I should have had HIM print my postcards!!

The table is set for a simple dinner for two. Thank you COSTCO! Lasagna, broccoli, garlic bread and cherries. And to think that I always cooked a homemade dinner when the kids were home.

I still have one more phone call to make this evening and then I will be working on adding all my photos to this blog. I thought I would be showing a home to some buyers this evening, but they need to postpone it until later this week. Now it is after 8 pm. All in a days work! OK, now it is 9 pm and I'm having difficulty in loading all these photos. I have to do it in reverse order and I'm stuck. VERY FRUSTRATING!! This happens all too often with computer use. Well, here it is now 10:50 and I'm just finishing up. I began uploading photos using my laptop and when I encountered problems decided to try my desktop computer. I can't explain why I was then able to download the pictures. I'm tired and I guess the laundry will have to wait until tomorrow! Thanks for reading. Not all agents sit around all day eating bon bons and waiting for the phone to ring!!