Saturday, April 28, 2007

Snohomish County 'Air Condos' Debated

Snohomish County 'Air Condos' have become popular with developers and residents, but many city government and fire department officials warn they are an accident waiting to happen.

'Air Condos' are single-family residences built as condos. The homes are not connected and owners only own from the walls in. The exterior, grounds and roads are all common areas, owned and managed by the association. This type of housing is also referred to as Low Density Multiple Residential.

Developers like them because they allow for higher density and lower prices. Buyers like them because they are affordable and cut down on yard maintenance for busy families, while still having the feel of a single family home.

So, what is the problem. First safety. The buildings are so close together and the yards so small there is no place for children to play. Many of these homes are only 10 feet apart and most of these communities don't have common play areas. There are no sidewalks, so that leaves the street for kids to play.

Fire safety is a concern because the houses are so close together a fire truck could not get a ladder to a third story window and there are no sprinkler systems. Because the streets are privately owned, they did not have to be built 24 feet wide, which would allow for a fire truck and parking on one side. In addition, driveways are so short, residents often park in fire lanes. Parking regulations are not enforced because the roads are private.

As always there are two sides to this issue. Read the full story and let me know what you think.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Washington Real Estate Prices On The Rise

"As home sales moderate, overall home prices will be essentially flat this year," says David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. Tighter lending standards are expected to slow sales, but the good news is, inventory remains well below the levels seen in the real estate downturn of the early 1990's.

The King County and Snohomish County housing markets are both experiencing a slow down in sales, but prices and inventory continue to climb. Let's look at the numbers.

Active listings in King County increased in March 2007 by 2,341 homes or 37 percent compared to the same time period in 2006. In comparison, sales in March decreased by 1 percent or 44 homes. The average market time in March was 57 days vs. 43 days in 2006.

King County continued to experience healthy appreciation, with the average sales price 12 percent higher in 2007 than 2006, bringing the average sales price to $499,470.
Year to date, sales weakened by 2 percent, while prices strengthened by 8 percent and market times increased 31 percent.

Likewise, Snohomish County had a 17 percent decrease in sales. Down 268 homes from March a year ago.

The number of active listings increased by 44 percent in March. Market times increased 18 percent or 10 days. The average sales price increased by 17 percent compared to March 2006, increasing to $393,981.

Year to date, sales declined 17 percent, market times increased 25 percent and the average sales price increased 14 percent.

What does this mean to today's buyers and sellers? Buyers are enjoying their new found negotiating power, while sellers are enjoying rising prices.

If you are thinking of buying a Washington home? You can get a daily email list of new homes for sale as they hit the market by visiting It is fast, easy and FREE!

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Snohomish County Rethinks Its Parks

A growing population is causing Snohomish County to rethink its park system, which in the past has comprised of mostly open, natural areas.

Residents now say they want multi-use parks with lots of different amenities. "Traditionally, we're known for a passive park system, but people don't just want walking trails anymore," Reardon said. "They want equipment, entertainment, an active lifestyle." The City Council and the Parks & Recreation Department are working to give Snohomish County residents what they want from their community parks. Full story...

Is living close to public parks a priority for you? Give me a call at 425-308-3669. I will help you find the perfect Snohomish County home. Be sure to visit my website to view all Snohomish county homes for sale.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Tips to Make Your Snohomish County Home Sell Faster

The current buyers market in Snohomish County has caused buyers to be pickier and more demanding in the quality of the home they buy. Sellers need to have their home in tip-top condition to attract ready, willing, and able buyers. Below are some tips to help you prepare your home for sale and insure a timely closing.

1. Curb appeal is everything.

Buyers won't even look at the inside of a home, if they outside is not appealing. Keep the grass and beds neat and trim. Plant flowers for color. Freshen up any faded or peeling paint, especially the front door. Keep the yard and drive free of clutter and debris. A well cared for exterior usually means a well cared for interior.

2. Neutralize and de-clutter.

It is difficult for buyers to visualize themselves in a space when they are looking at someone elses family photos and heirlooms. Pack away all those family pictures and excess knickknacks. Paint the walls a neutral color, such as white or off-white. This makes the rooms appear larger and avoids objections to personal color choices.

3. If its broke, fix it.

Buyers see the value in a home that doesn't need repairs. The little things make a difference. Now is the time to complete the "Honey Do" list you have been putting off. You wouldn't try to sell a car that is broken. Don't sell a home that is broken either.

4. Focus on the kitchens and baths.

The kitchen and baths are the most important rooms in the house. When prioritizing your repair list, start with these rooms. You can't go wrong with an updated kitchen or bath. Even something as minor as new fixtures can make a world of difference.

5. Provide a Home Warranty.

If buyers are debating between two homes they like equally as well, they will go for the one with the Home Warranty most of the time. A Home Warranty costs between $300 and $400 and may be all it takes to tip the scales in your direction. If you take out the warranty when you list the house for sale, repairs that crop up during the listing period will also be covered.

Need some advice on repairs you need to do before selling your Snohomish County home? Give me a call at 425-308-3669. I am glad to help! Be sure to visit my website for all your Snohomish County real estate needs.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Many Faces Of Karen!

Having been licensed since 1984 and working in Everett, WA, I've had many, many real estate photos and cards made. I thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane - hold on to your seat!

Which Karen Schweinfurth sold YOU a home?

Call me or visit my website for all your Snohomish County real estate needs! 425-308-3669.

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