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Real Estate in the Seattle Area

The real estate market is picking back up again, and Pete and Rob are joined by Ivy Jo Houghton from Keller Williams in Marysville to talk about where the local market is headed.

“[The market is] pretty exciting, because in the past few months, there’s been 50 percent fewer foreclosures happening,” she says. “This means the banks are working with the homeowners either with loan modifications or short sales.”

Ivy Jo contrasts this to the past few months, where “many banks just foreclosed on you, wouldn’t work with you at all, wouldn’t offer any options to help you. Now banks are starting to realize that it’s very important to keep people in their homes.”

House values in King and Snohomish counties have also appreciated in the past several months. “We’ve seen house values increase approximately eight percent from last year, and they’re still climbing,” Ivy says.

Home inventory, or houses available on the market, has also decreased, meaning fewer homes are available.

“We have, right now, a very low inventory, where last year, there was eight months worth of inventory on the market in the Seattle area, and now there’s about three months,” says Ivy Jo. “What we’re seeing – and maybe this is just a small bubble – but what we’re seeing is multiple offers on homes. People are having to fight for the houses that they want.”

If you’re looking into selling your home, Pete, Rob and Ivy all recommend not selling it yourself. Ivy Jo adds that realtors negotiate for a living, and can usually negotiate with an owner to a price beneficial to the buyer.

Realtors, she says, when employed by the seller, can be an advocate in many ways; for example, they have a finger on the pulse of the market and can ensure you get a fair price for your home.

If you’re having difficulties making your payments on your mortgage, Ivy Jo offers some tips to avoid foreclosure and a bad mark on your credit score.

Keep in touch with your real estate broker. “You have to call your real estate professional as soon as you know you’re going to be in trouble with your mortgage,” she says. “Even if you’re still making your payments, but you know next month you’re not going to make your payments.”

Work with your real estate professional. “Make sure they know how to work a short sale,” Ivy Jo says, “And make sure they know how to negotiate with the bank. If they don’t, there are plenty of attorneys that do.”

Contact the Homeowners Help Hotline.If you do wind up becoming upside down on your mortgage, Ivy Jo first recommends calling the Homeowners Hope Hotline, at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673). “It’s free HUD-certified counseling services, available 24/7. They can talk to you about what your options are because the perfect option isn’t always a short sale,” she says.

Listen to the whole show.

Home Matters can be heard on KIRO Radio Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. Available anytime ON DEMAND at Like Home Matters on Facebook.

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