Afraid of Selling Your House This Fall? Don’t Be.

October 14th, 2015 by Marc

Historically low inventory and a plethora of buyers makes this fall a fiendishly good time to sell

Popular wisdom says wait until spring to sell your house.  Of course, that same wisdom says don’t take candy from a stranger yet 50 million US kids are going to do precisely that at the end of this month.  If you’ve been thinking about making a move, now may be the perfect time to trick tradition and treat yourself to a big bag of money.

The logic for waiting until spring is that there are fewer buyers looking during the fall and winter.  It’s assumed that buyers wanting certain schools won’t disrupt their kids’ schedule and that buyers have generally settled in to wait out the winter doldrums before diving back into the real estate market.  While that may be true for some buyers, it’s not true for all of them.  Moreover, there is a great corollary benefit for sellers: fewer homes for sale means less competition for the buyers that are still looking.

2015 has been plain awful for buyers and absolutely amazing for sellers.  Per the dark green lines in the charts below, courtesy of our friends at SeattleBubble.com, the past year is on pace to be among the best for homes sold despite being the worst for the number of homes for sale.  And inventory is about to drop even further off the proverbial cliff over the next few months which presents a ghoulish opportunity for the bold seller willing to defy conventional wisdom.

KingCoSFHInventory2015-09KingCoSFHClosed2015-09

Interest rates are super low and there are plenty of buyers that want to buy a house.  Quite a few have lost out on bidding wars and are ready to pull the trigger the second a good house at a remotely decent price hits the market.  Many more are watching and waiting for just the right house to come along.

Every house is different and some may be better candidates than others to list in the fall or winter.  If you’ve been wondering if now is a good time to test the market, we definitely think you should consider it.  Give us a call or shoot us an email if you’d like a second opinion on whether now is the time to list or if waiting until spring is the way to go.  You can reach Marc at 206-357-4224 or marc@walawrealty.com.

 

 

 

For Sale By Owner Seminar & Workshop – Learn from a real estate attorney how to buy or sell a home without paying 6% in commissions

July 10th, 2015 by Claire

WaLaw Realty is offering a free workshop on Thursday, August 13th at 6 pm to anyone interested in buying or selling a home For Sale By Owner and cutting out the 6% commission traditionally paid to real estate agents.  The class will run from 6pm to 8pm here at our office in Lower Queen Anne.  We’ll provide pizza and beer plus a lot of great insight – all at no cost to you!

Whether you’re a first timer or an old pro, you’ll surely learn something new at this class.  Real estate attorney and managing broker of WaLaw Realty, Marc Holmes, will discuss:

  • Tools and resources for marketing a home FSBO (and how buyers can find off market deals)
  • Correctly pricing the home (probably the thing sellers most frequently get wrong)
  • Dealing with potential buyers and the agents that call
  • Seller disclosure requirements and protecting your interests (whether a buying or selling)
  • The offer negotiation process
  • The title and escrow process

Audience feedback and participation is encouraged so we can tailor the talk to address the interests of the folks who attend.

Marc will also answer any questions about WaLaw’s flat fee business model that combines the services of a real estate agent with the skills of an attorney, all at a cost that is a whole lot less than what you would pay a typical agent.

Click Here to Register Today for our next Free For Sale By Owner Class.  We look forward to seeing you!

WaLaw Realty quoted in Seattle Times article on Real Estate commission upstarts

November 13th, 2014 by Claire

Click the article below for the link!

Upstart firm sharply cut.._Page_1

FREE Home Buying & Selling workshop

July 29th, 2014 by Claire

Once again, WaLaw Realty is offering a free workshop on Thursday, August 21st to anyone interested in learning more about the process of buying or selling a home here in Washington.  The class will run from 6pm to 8pm here at our office in Lower Queen Anne.  We’ll provide pizza and beverages (beer and soda) plus a lot of great insight – all at no cost to you!

Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or an old pro, you’ll surely learn something new at this class.  Real estate attorney and managing broker of WaLaw Realty, Marc Holmes, will discuss the current state of the market including the impacts of low inventory of houses for sale, how to best handle multiple offer situations, as well as common and no-so-common pitfalls of buying and selling a home.  Audience feedback and participation is encouraged so we can tailor the talk to address the interests of the folks who attend.

Marc will also answer any questions about WaLaw’s flat fee business model that combines the services of a real estate agent with the skills of an attorney, all at a cost that is a whole lot less than what you would pay a typical agent.

Click Here to Register Today for our next Free Home Buying & Selling Class

Registration is appreciated but not required.  We’ll be setting up the other classes as time rolls on, and we’ll make sure to blog about each one when they’re open for registration.  We look forward to seeing you!

NEW DATE – Free Home Buying & Selling Seminar in Seattle – Perfect for People Trying to Figure Out This Crazy Real Estate Market

February 19th, 2014 by Claire

Once again, WaLaw Realty is offering a free workshop on Thursday, March 27th (previously March 20th) to anyone interested in learning more about the process of buying or selling a home here in Washington.  The class will run from 6pm to 8pm here at our office in Lower Queen Anne.  We’ll provide pizza and beverages (beer and soda) plus a lot of great insight – all at no cost to you!

Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or an old pro, you’ll surely learn something new at this class.  Real estate attorney and managing broker of WaLaw Realty, Marc Holmes, will discuss the current state of the market including the impacts of low inventory of houses for sale, how to best handle multiple offer situations, as well as common and no-so-common pitfalls of buying and selling a home.  Audience feedback and participation is encouraged so we can tailor the talk to address the interests of the folks who attend.

Marc will also answer any questions about WaLaw’s flat fee business model that combines the services of a real estate agent with the skills of an attorney, all at a cost that is a whole lot less than what you would pay a typical agent.

Click Here to Register Today for our next Free Home Buying & Selling Class

Registration is appreciated but not required.  We’ll be setting up the other classes as time rolls on, and we’ll make sure to blog about each one when they’re open for registration.  We look forward to seeing you!

Buyer Liability for Seller’s Tax under FIRPTA: Another Great Reason to Use WaLaw

October 7th, 2011 by Marc

This is not legal advice.  For legal advice, consult an attorney about your specific situation.  Never rely on a blog – even one authored by an attorney.

I just authored a post on Rain City Guide regarding a buyer’s potential liability under a federal law, the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA).  If you don’t have time to check it out, here’s the quick-n-dirty:

FIRPTA requires a buyer to determine whether the seller of real property is a “foreign person” as defined by the act (essentially any non-resident alien).  If the seller is a foreign person, then the buyer is responsible for withholding 10% of the sale price and forwarding it to the IRS.  This insures that the seller pays the tax due on the gain from the sale.

Here’s where it gets really interesting: if the seller is in fact a “foreign person,” yet the buyer fails to so determine and fails to withhold and forward the 10% to the IRS, then the buyer is liable for the 10%.  Ouch!  That’s quite a bite!  The current NWMLS form contracts specifically inform the Closing Agent to make this determination and to withhold these funds on the buyer’s behalf if appropriate.  However, most escrow instructions (which supplement the contract) relieve escrow of this responsibility.  As a result, most Closing Agents don’t determine whether seller is a foreign person and won’t withhold the funds.  So if you’re the buyer, and if the seller is indeed a foreign person, you run a risk of serious liability to the IRS absent this determination and withholding.

At WaLaw, we’re lawyers.  It is part of our job to insure you comply with the law.  Unlike your average real estate agents (I suspect “almost all” is more appropriate) we appreciate this law and the obligations it imposes, plus the penalty if you don’t comply.  When you hire us, you know that you won’t fall into this trap.  Oh, and you’ll save alot of money, too!

Free Homebuyer Seminar Tonight! Bellevue 6:30p

July 6th, 2011 by Marc

Market conditions, saving money, finance options – lots of good information!   Come join us at the North Belleve Community Center, 4063 148th Ave NE at 6:30 pm.  RSVPs appreciated but certainly not required!  We’d love to see you.

Buying a Condo in Seattle? Here Are the Questions You Should Ask and What You Should Know Before You Buy

June 22nd, 2011 by Marc

Owning a condo (which can be an apartment, a townhome, or even a house) may seem like the easier and more affordable route for many reasons.  However, if you don’t do your research you could end up in the middle of a disaster!  Here is a condo buying checklist: important questions you should ask and things to research before you decide whether to buy a condominium in the Seattle area.

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The Short Sale Hardship Letter: What Is It? Why Is It Important? How Do I Write It?

April 27th, 2011 by Marc

“Short sales” continue to grow in number and now — with REOs — represent a substantial portion of the real estate market. When seeking a short sale, the owner will invariably be asked by the lender to submit a “hardship letter.” Owners should make the hardship letter as compelling as possible, while — needless to say — remaining honest and accurate. (more…)

Short Sale vs. Foreclosure: Which is Best?

April 20th, 2011 by Marc

This post is neither legal nor tax advice. Moreover, this post is focused on Washington State, and the laws of each state differ.  For actual legal or tax advice, you need to consult an attorney or tax professional about your specific situation. Rely on a blog for legal or tax advice at your peril.

Short Sale vs. Foreclosure: What’s the difference and is one better than the other? Many, many people now own property that is worth less than the amount owed on it.  Moreover, many people purchased the proverbial “starter home” within the last five years, and they’re ready to move on to their next home (commonly kids are on the way).  Under these circumstances, an owner can either sell the home and then write a check at closing for the balance owed — OUCH! — or get rid of the home with, hopefully, cancellation of the balance of the debt. (more…)