Haller Lake – On the Road With Roger

Let’s call Haller Lake a ‘late bloomer’ of a neighborhood. No one really settled in the area until the mid-1900s; with the many other smaller neighborhoods nearer to downtown, there was no reason to. The majoring of households were on large plots of land with enough room for farm animals and orchards. The small lake was the most desirable place to settle. Residents of the community have long resisted expansion and population growth due to their love of the environment and their disdain for traffic congestion.
The boundaries of the neighborhood are N. 145th Street to the north, beyond which is the city of Shoreline; N. 110th Street to the south, beyond which is NorthgateState Route 99 (Aurora Avenue) to the west, beyond which is Bitter Lake; and Interstate 5 to the east, beyond which is Jackson Park.
The atmosphere in Haller Lake varies widely depending on where you are in the neighborhood. On its edges, near Aurora Avenue to the west and Northgate Way to the south, are the business districts (and the traffic we mentioned before). As you head towards the center, the activity fades and quiet residential streets take over. With larger plots of land than other places in the city, residents can spread out a little and enjoy the quiet.

Haller Lake itself has a ‘secret garden’ kind of feel; only one road lends public access, and the four or so parking spaces only further the sensation that you’ve stumbled across something private. The water has that glassy quality from being sheltered from wind and watercraft, and the small shore is perfect for a picnic or just sunbathing.

Nearby Northacres Park is perfect for letting the dog out for some off-leash time on the woodsy trails, or bringing the kids for some wading pool action. Haller Lake also offers the only granite curling facility in the area. Grab a broom, join a team, or sign up for some practice time at one of their monthly open houses to try your hand at that newly-famous sport!


May MarketFlash  0



Madison Valley, Seattle – On the Road With Roger


Though it hasn’t always been considered such, Madison Valley is a desirable neighborhood in the middle of the Capitol Hill/Central area of Seattle. With tons of parks and a growing business district, this place has it all. Close proximity to downtown makes it a sought after place to live.
Madison Valley is a neighborhood in Seattle WA, adjacent to Capitol Hill, Madrona, and Madison Park. Located near the Washington Park Arboretum, Madison Valley is two miles east of downtown Seattle and one mile west of Lake Washington.
About half of residents are singles of all ages, and about 17% of households have children. The public schools that service the neighborhood are McGilvra, Stevens and Madrona. According to Zillow, 57% of people in Madison Valley own homes vs. rent. The neighborhood is composed of 67% single family homes and 22% condos. There are active email lists that keep neighbors in touch with each other. Over the years there have been and continue to be many groups of neighbors who are doing habitat restoration, participating in babysitting co-ops, exchanging tools and advice as well as enjoying block parties and a good neighborhood vibe.
The Washington Park Arboretum is a hidden gem on the shores of Lake Washington. Free and open to the public daily from dawn to dusk, its 230 acres are a dynamic assortment of plants found nowhere else. The Japanese Garden, located at the south end of the Arboretum. Madison Valley is a quiet Seattle neighborhood with a European flavor. Madison Valley is known for its French restaurants, and is sometimes referred to as Seattle’s French Quarter. Anyone who loves a good neighborhood stroll will adore the shops and restaurants on Madison Avenue.

6 Mistakes Buyers Make  0

When you’re looking for a home, but the market favors sellers, you need a plan in place to avoid making mistakes.

The real estate market fluctuates often, making it tough to predict whether the market will favor buyers or sellers when it’s your turn to buy. Especially if you’re shopping for real estate in San Francisco, CA, or another market that currently favors sellers, you need to know some tricks of the trade to help ensure you don’t make any mistakes. Buyers in a seller’s market can get what they want, but they need to bring their “A” game — buying a house in a hot market isn’t for the indecisive. Here are six common mistakes many buyers make — mistakes that you can learn to avoid — when shopping in a seller’s market.

1. Not making your best offer

The drive to buy what we want for as little money as possible is practically in our DNA. So when most people see the listing price of a home, they naturally wonder what they can really get the house for. Offering lower than asking price is a perfectly reasonable strategy in some instances, such as if the house is overpriced compared with other similar homes in the area, or if it’s a buyer’s market with lots of available inventory. But trying to get a deal when you’re in a seller’s market might not be the best idea. “In a seller’s market, many buyers do not step up with a strong enough offer,” says David Dubin, a New York broker. “There is usually a shortage of inventory, and the competition is usually fierce. I always encourage a buyer to come in with a strong opening offer.”

2. Waiting too long to put in an offer

Just as impulse-buying a home is risky, analyzing a home purchase to death in a seller’s market is inadvisable too. When you wait too long, “You are at high risk of losing [the home] you have fallen in love with,” says Dubin. Once you’ve determined the type of home you want, the location you desire, and your price range, and finally find a home that meets your qualifications, make an offer. To give yourself more leverage, be prepared to make a quick offer by having your finances in order — get a preapproval if you can. “Know how much you can truly afford, repair any credit issues, have your down payment in hand, and delay [other] major purchases,” says John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association in Florida.

3. Not working with a seasoned agent

In a seller’s market, it benefits buyers to get all the help they can. If you have a seasoned agent on your side, you’ll probably have a better chance of getting the home you want. Plus, in most cases, buyers don’t pay real estate agents; sellers do. “When you are competing against other buyers in a fast-paced market, it is vital to be ‘offer-ready,’” says Michael Holt, a New York agent. “Working with a real estate professional saves tons of time and stress, as they know the ins and outs of the process and can provide tremendous insight regarding upcoming inventory.”

4. Not being prequalified (or better yet, preapproved) for a loan

You might know that you’ll be approved for a mortgage loan based on your steady income, your low debt-to-income ratio, and your high credit score — but the seller probably doesn’t know that. The only way to prove to the seller that you’re a qualified buyer is to be prequalified from a lender. “Prequalification is absolutely paramount,” says Teka Klopfenstein, a New York agent. “A buyer has zero advantage if they do not have the cash to purchase without a mortgage and haven’t taken the time to speak with a lender.” Not getting prequalified, she says, “sends a message to the seller that the buyer will lag on getting their ducks in order and aren’t taking their house hunting seriously.”

Preapproval is a step above prequalification (where you simply tell your lender your financial story). The preapproval process involves submitting a mortgage application, complete with supplying verifying documents. “Preapproval from a reputable lender is key,” says New York agent Ryan Stenta. “Presenting this shows the seller that the buyer has already set the wheels in motion and is serious about making [the deal] a reality.”

5. Not being prepared for a bidding war

If there is ever a time when a bidding war could be imminent, it’s during a seller’s market. No buyer wants to be involved in such a battle for fear of possibly going over budget. But broker Michael Holt presents this solution for buyers: “Set your search below your max budget to leave room in case of an over-asking bidding war.”

6. Not learning from your mistakes

There’s no shame in learning that your offer has been declined, but it’s easy to get frustrated if your offers are declined over and over again. Learn from your last transaction(s) so you can get what you want. Stenta says that buying a house, particularly for first-time buyers, is a lot like dating. “You probably have to let a few keepers slip through your fingers, have a couple sleepless nights over it, and then come back with serious intent to lock up the next greatest opportunity in front of you.

– via Trulia

Leschi – On the Road With Roger

Off the beaten path, once you discover Leschi you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard of this lovely neighborhood before. Maybe because those in the know want to keep it as their little secret. Perched atop Lake Washington with fantastic views, a harbor and a sweet business district, Leschi has a very casual, laid back feeling. Close to downtown, the scenic drive out to Leschi puts you in a relaxed state of mind – far from the frenzy of the city.

Bedroom Qualification – On the Road With Roger

Today we are going to look at what makes a legitimate bedroom. It is not uncommon when looking at a house, to get to a bedroom, usually in the basement, that does not meet the criteria for a bedroom. They are called non conforming. But you also may not have a legitimate bedrooms upstairs either. There is a difference between what meets a bedroom code and how a Realtor of Appraiser may define a bedroom.

On The Light Rail With Roger  0

Today I am taking the brand new light rail that just opened from downtown to the University of WA with one stop on Capitol Hill. You can now go from Husky Stadium/UW Hospital all the way to the airport. Capitol Hill station serves not only 21,000+ people who live with in a half mile, but Seattle Central College – where 8,000-10,000 students, faculty and other employees arrive daily. Streetcars to Seattle University and First Hill hospitals depart from the light rail west entrance.

April MarketFLASH




Central District, Seattle

The culture and demographics of the Central District has changed repeatedly throughout the years. The Central District is on the east side of Capitol Hill and is considered one of the oldest surviving neighborhoods in the city. Throughout its history it has seen many changes in demographics and politics, but has recently seen a period of new construction and community improvement projects. The Central District’s main thoroughfares are Martin Luther King J Way (or MLK) and 23rd Ave (north and southbound) and E. Union, E. Cherry and E. Jefferson Streets and E. Yesler Way (east and west bound). It is indeed, very Central, and it borders Capitol Hill, First Hill and the Madison Valley areas. The area was first cleared for development in the mid 1800’s. It was the ideal place to settle because of its close proximity to the business district of Seattle. Some homes in the CD have recently undergoing extensive renovation. Many houses are being replaced by multi-unit townhouses and condominiums. Easy access to Interstate 5, Interstate 90 and downtown, as well as ample street parking, makes the CD an attractive and convenient place to live.
In the 1970s, the CD became largely an African-American neighborhood and the center of the civil rights movement in Seattle. The Central District is currently home to the Northwest African American Museum.

Condo Hot Buttons

One of the first questions I get asked is Can I rent the place? Some units have rental restrictions and that can be changed at any time by a vote of the homeowners. There is a love/hate with renting. Of course, as the owner, you want to be able to have that option. But when you sell, if the owner occupancy is too low, a lender could turn down your loan. The owner occupancy rate needs to be 51% or higher to obtain a loan. I personally think it’s good to have rental restrictions because a day will come when YOU will want to sell and you don’t want the building to have turned into too many rentals. Owners have a tendency to also take better care of their places than renters.
Logical question to ask and you must do your due diligence to get the answer. When you buy you get a resale cert, and meeting minutes come with that. That is also a question that is answered in the resale certificate you get as a buyer and have 5 days to review. But there is a difference between knowing about an assessment or the board just discussing an issue that could lead to an assessment. Assessments can be ok if the dollar amount is specified, and either paid by buyer or seller at closing.
Limited litigation can be ok if dollar amount specified and insurance is enough to cover the full amount. I lived in a condo once that had a litigation issue, and I couldn’t sell until the litigation was resolved.
If there is work being done on the complex, many loan programs require the work be completed prior to funding. The association must have a current and approved budget with at least 10% reserve funds.
The complex must be FHA or VA approved and most are not. There is a process to obtain this approval and most associations don’t want to do what it takes to obtain this qualification. It is more frequent to see VA financing in newer condo construction.