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Thursday, June 22, 2017   /   by Christine Robertson

Don’t Trust Zillow When It Comes to Home Value

Zillow’s Zestimates are absolute trash, and now there is a lawsuit in Illinois to prove it.
If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that Zestimates are just below trash when it comes to finding the value of your home. However, there is an interesting lawsuit that you ought to know about.
This Illinois homeowner is suing Zillow for undervaluing her home. Zillow says that the Zestimate is just a tool, not an official appraisal. However, according to Illinois state law, since the Zestimate is used by buyers to generate a value for a home, the Zestimate could be considered an appraisal.
You can learn more details about the lawsuit from Barbara Corcoran here.
Basically, this woman bought her townhouse for $626,000 in 2009, and Zillow said her home was only worth $562,000. Now, you and I know that the Zestimate is trash, but the prospective buyers walking through her home insisted that it was only worth what the Zestimate said. ...

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Monday, June 19, 2017   /   by Christine Robertson

Vashon Mortgage Strategy Includes Student Loan Burden

All of a sudden last month Vashon readers might have come across a number of new articles
dealing with the same topic: the problem young first time home buyers are encountering due to
outstanding student loans. The target group is the millennials—everyone born between the early 1980s
and 2000s. If you are one of them, you are frequently reminded that there are millions and millions of you
out there. And millions who also share the same student loan problem.

There are conflicting accounts of the precise size of the issue, but it seems that the average college
graduate now carries somewhere between $30,000 - $50,000 in debt upon graduation. The Federal
Reserve says that the amount of student debt has more than doubled since 2007, to something like $1.3
trillion, at this point!

Nobody would deny that this appears to be a roadblock to young adults contemplating applying for
their first Vashon mortgage. Dealing with banks or any lending institutions for the first tim ...

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  vashon, vashon island

Tuesday, June 06, 2017   /   by Christine Robertson

The Pros and Cons of Investing in Airbnb

Should you invest in Airbnb? I’ve laid out some pros and cons in my latest video.

Today I’m out on the water on my commute back from Vashon, enjoying one of the only 90 days of sun we get in the Seattle area. Today’s topic is about investing in Airbnb. What does it take to “Airbnb” your house? Should you look into purchasing a condo specifically for Airbnb?
If you’re doing this with a condo in Seattle, you need to be careful because very few condos actually allow short-term rentals. They don’t want to run a hotel and the people living there don’t want to live in a hotel so their bylaws exclude anything less than a 30-day rental.
If you’re buying a place, you want to know what the rules are regarding short-term rentals. Most single family residences in Seattle allow for short-term rentals. Almost no neighborhoods have zoning laws that would restrict that type of rental, so if you own or are planning to purchase ...

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Thursday, May 25, 2017   /   by Christine Robertson

How the Pick the Right Offer for Your Seattle Home

If you sell your Seattle home, odds are good that you’ll receive multiple offers. However, the highest price isn’t necessarily always the best offer.

Today I wanted to talk about how to handle multiple offers when selling your home because in today’s competitive environment, chances are you’ll wind up with multiple offers. The highest price is not always the best offer.

You want both the most money for your home and the deal to close. So why isn’t the highest offer always the best? The deal may not close, and the house may not even appraise for the amount of the highest offer. If someone offers you $1 million for your house and the next highest bid is $500,000, that $1 million is probably not coming through because the house won’t appraise for $1 million. If a buyer doesn’t offer to make up the difference, then the offer is nonsense that’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

   If you sell your S ...

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Thursday, May 11, 2017   /   by Christine Robertson

How to Handle Multiple Offers as a Homebuyer

Multiple offer situations are very common in our market right now due to low inventory and high demand, even in smaller communities like Vashon. Today I’ll go over a few ways you can win a multiple offer situation as a homebuyer. 

So, what’s the best way to beat the competition and score the home of your dreams? 

First, set your expectations. If your budget is set at $500,000, don’t look at homes that start at $500,000. You’ll need to start looking at houses that start at $400,000 to see what the market will bear. Your agent will able to talk to you about how high offers have gone over asking price in the area and help you adjust your search accordingly.

Second, you need to increase the value of your offer beyond increasing the price. There are three ways to do this:

1.) Get a pre-inspection. Obviously, if any one of the other offers has done a pre-inspection, then you will need to do so as well. You cannot compete again ...

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