Is Selling to an “iBuyer” for me?

We’ve all seen the commercials with the couple on a front porch saying “Our house sat on the market for a year. Then we listed our home ourselves and sold within days.” It’s the same story over and over, but is it really true? The rise in iBuyers has left many people wondering “Is that right for me?” Before jumping into why iBuyers are absolutely not for everybody, it is important to know exactly what an iBuyer is and is not.

An iBuyer is basically a company or investor that places an offer on your home based on an algorithm. Once they have purchased the home, the company then resells it for a profit. While this may not initially sound like a bad thing, especially to a motivated seller it does have plenty of drawbacks as well.

Hidden Costs

A typical broker will charge typically 5-7% of the sale price for your home. It is clearly laid out in your contract and along with closing costs, a seller is generally not asked to pay for anything else. However, with an iBuyer there are multiple fees that may or more often not disclosed upfront. Typically, with an iBuyer, a “convenience fee” of 6-9.5% is the first requirement for a seller. They also require sellers to pay for fees typically paid for by the buyer. In total, iBuyer’s fees range from 7-10% of the selling costs. Which is a lot of money compared to a traditional broker.

Purchase Price

The purchase price when selling your home to an iBuyer may have some surprises as well. Remember, their goal is to resell your house for money. Their offer will not be market value for the home, it will be significantly less. As shown in a study by Collateral Analytics. The difference in the purchase price and market value was as much as 7%. This means that potentially your home will already be purchased for up to 7% of what would be a fair price, you will pay up to 10% of the selling price in fees. And the costs of using an iBuyer are still not complete.

Repair Costs

Along with charging a convenience fee and offering you below market value iBuyers typically also credit your home with repair costs. Which if your home is in disrepair and you are unable to do the repairs yourself it does sound like a feasible solution, however, some sellers have reported the repair costs going as high as $300 to simply replace 3 lightbulbs in the home. All of these repair “expenses” are costing you money, way more than what it would take to have fixed yourself.

All in all, using an iBuyer is rarely the correct choice for anybody. With sellers losing tens of thousands to these platforms based on false promises an agent will always be your best choice when preparing to sell your home.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Great Pumpkin Giveaway!

Great Pumpkin Give Away

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Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Are Zestimates Accurate?

According to Zillow: “The Zestimate® home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula. It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value. The Zestimate is calculated from public and user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions.” While this sounds like the data collected would be accurate, Zillow’s proprietary formula often leaves people scratching their heads.

With over 90% of home buyers starting their search online the Zestimate (or similar online tool) is one of the first places they check. Many believe that the Zestimate is the “true” price of the house and the asking price is just wishful thinking from the homeowner. The problem with these Zestimates is that they are usually inconsistent and more often than not inaccurate.

But what makes the Zestimates so inaccurate? Below are some very common reasons why the number Zillow gives is nowhere close to what the value of the home actually is.

Mistakes or Omissions in Tax Records or Sale Price

Accidents happen, it is too easy to lose a zero along the way or a number ends up transposed. If the data Zillow uses to generate a Zestimate is incorrect then obviously the number will not reflect the correct value.

Inaccurate Information

If a home is recorded as a two bedroom when in fact it has 3 that will cause the Zestimate to be incorrect. Also, lot size and square feet have a big impact on the Zestimate as well. If the adjoining lot was sold along the way then Zillow could have the wrong lot size, therefore, making the Zestimate overestimate home value. Zestimates are only as accurate as the information given and when that is faulty the number will not be correct.

Upgrades

This is actually a pretty common issue with Zillow. Say the last purchase of the home was 10 years ago, and 2 years ago the homeowners did an entire remodel as well as added on a screened in porch and pool. There is no way for Zillow to know this and the estimate will not reflect that information. Upgrades like granite countertops, hardwood floors, or additions will increase your home’s value but the Zestimate will not.

Zillow’s Zestimates are a great place to start but it is important to understand that at the end of the day they are just an estimate. There are just too many factors that can change the Zestimate for them to be entirely accurate.

Using a local REALTOR is the best way to get an accurate evaluation of your home value and its marketability. Buy local, Sell local!


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


How to Beat the Heat!

Cool Down in the Sprinkler

Ever had one of those days where you start to do the first of fifteen million projects for the day only to realize 10 minutes in you are absolutely melting? When the temperature reaches close to 100 in the shade it’s a perfect excuse to sit 3 inches from the AC but what if you HAVE to get things done (and let’s be honest, that’s most of us.) So, what are some ways to still stay cool?

  1. Drink water, dehydration can cause your body temperature to go up. It’s much easier to stay cool when you’re fully hydrated.
  2. Buy a fan that attaches to your phone. Your cellphone is already attached to your hand like its superglued so why not use it to your benefit. You can buy a fan that attaches straight to your charging port on your phone and instant breeze.
  3. Create a cross breeze, open a window and place a fan directly across from it.
  4. Chew minty gum and drink cold water. This will cool you down in a hurry. Don’t ask me how but it works.
  5. Need to cool down in a hurry? Run your wrists under cold water or apply ice packs to your pulse points.
  6. Wear cotton, it’s much more breathable than synthetic fabrics which allows for air circulation to keep you cooler. Bonus points if it’s lightly colored and loose.
  7. Got kids that you need to keep occupied? Freeze toys in ice (like dinosaurs) and let them play paleontologists until they get them all out or the ice melts.
  8. Set up your bed, hammock, or cot as close to the ground as possible. Warm air rises so the closer to the ground you are the cooler you will be.
  9. Freeze fruit in ice cube trays for an added boost to whatever you’re drinking.
  10. Unplug gadgets you aren’t using, they all emit a low level of heat that’s only adding to the temperature.
  11. Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the fridge. You can spray yourself down whenever you feel hot.
  12. Hang a wet sheet in front of an open window, this will cool down the whole room.
  13. Invest in a bed fan to make hot summer nights bearable.
  14. Try storing lotions or toner in the fridge to help cool you down.
  15. Go camping, you won’t have four walls and insulation to trap heat. Pitch a tent and sleep under the stars.
  16. If you’re wearing a hat, put some ice water in it and place it back on your head.
  17. Do NOT turn on the stove, invest in an instant pot, slow cooker, or anything else that doesn’t add extra heat to your home. Heck, just skip cooking all together and order a pizza if you’re so inclined.
  18. Avoid caffeine and alcohol (I know this is the most boring tip ever) both will dehydrate you.
  19. Eat cold foods like salads, pasta salads, fruit, sandwiches, etc.
  20. Keep popsicles in the freezer, you can make your own or buy them from the store. They even have dog safe treats!

Above all make sure your summer is enjoyable. Short of moving into a cave it’s hard to escape the heat. Be sure to use common sense by not doing intense activity when it’s the hottest part of the day, stay as hydrated as possible, and always use sunscreen!


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Is Owning a Vacation Rental Right for You?

It sounds great doesn’t it? Put your second or vacation home online and have income instead of a vacant space. It sounds like a great investment but is it really?

What Is It?

A little background on Airbnb and VRBO: these are websites that allow you to place your home, or vacant rooms for rent to travelers or vacationers who would prefer to stay in a different environment than a hotel.

Why Is It Right For You?

Lewis County, is one of the areas greatest destination places. Many homes in White Pass Ski, Riffe Lake, and Lake May-field benefit from using Airbnb and VRBO to list their property because this area is full of those looking for a vacation spot.

Having your home listed on VRBO or Airbnb is a reliable form of investment if you are looking to rent your home for short periods of time. This allows you easy  access to your property for you to vacation whenever you desire.

The Pros

Financial Renting your home out for short term makes a lot of sense if you only get to go once or twice a month and the home otherwise stays empty. This means you aren’t paying payments, tax, insurance, utilities, etc. on an empty house that you’re not getting to enjoy. You are instead making money off your property that in turn pays for itself and then some.

Ease of Use Airbnb and VRBO make adding your home a breeze. Their fees are affordable and not as outrageous as using a property management agency. They also have an accountability system where both renters and owners can leave feedback. So if your home exceeded expectations they will leave you a fantastic review, or if they left your home a disaster zone you can rate them warning other owners they may want to raise their cleaning fee.

Flexibility You get to choose your guests, unlike a property management company who is in charge of filtering renters it is your call. You make all the final decisions on how and to who to rent your home. You are allowed to screen guests by asking them questions, putting limits on the number of people, pets, noise, etc. The fact that guests’ Facebook pages are linked to VRBO and Airbnb websites also helps you to gather information about your guest. Just like if you were hiring them for a job, if their photos are nothing but partying every night of the week, you may just want to pass.

New Connections Isn’t it always interesting to see what draws a person to a specific area? While you may never meet face to face (unless you’re renting a room not a house) you still have a conversation with people you never would have otherwise. While some guests may not mind being left to their own devices you can always offer to be a tour guide or give them ideas of what to do that their Google search did not say. If you really enjoy their company, go to the local coffee shop or market together. New friends are always welcome, and they’re much more likely to rent from you again as well.

Cultural Exchange If you love learning about new cultures, this is one of the best ways you to achieve that. You can find more about a culture by a conversation than all the research in the world. By hosting people from different places you are have the possibility to learn something new and enrich your view of the world.

The Cons

Taxes and Fees The only thing certain in life is death and taxes right? One of the challenges specific to Lewis county is the additional fees and taxes you as a host are left to pay. You will need to record the income for tax purposes of course, you will also need to save money for cleaning costs and potentially feeding costs as well.

Registering a Business Which really sounds more intimidating than it is, however you cannot list your home without doing so. This requires additional time and financial management, receipts, income, and expenses must be well documented and managed well.

The Burden of Managing Your Property The cost of your time to manage your property may be worth more than what it gives you in return. To keep your home up to standard you may have to add maintenance costs in, or furnish your home differently, or buy additional items renters are looking for such as a hot tub or pool table.

Damages It isn’t a matter of if it will happen but when. It is inevitable that at some point something will get damaged. Whether the toddler found a marker and decided to paint your walls or the college kids had too much to drink and flooded your second floor. Making sure you can have these damages covered by a homeowners policy is crucial for your business to be registered.

 

Like anything, renting your home on Airbnb or VRBO, isn’t something you should just jump into without considering the consequences. It can be a great opportunity for you to make additional income, however, it has drawbacks as well.

 

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


2017 Looking Back at Real Estate

 

Lewis County Market Statistics

Overall 2017 was a fantastic year for Lewis County. The amount of homes on the market went down slightly making prices higher than ever. There was a consistent amount of new listings for the year, and sold homes were on the rise. Below are some of the top statistics for 2017:

As you can tell, the number of homes decreased slightly from January 2017 with 982 to December 2017 with 868, with an overall decrease of -2.69%. At the same time home prices increased going from $154,500 in January of 2017 to $175,000 in December of 2017 going up 13.27%. With the low inventory the number of days on the market also decreased 38.18% with the average number of days in January 2017 being 55 and December 2017 being at just 34 days. The higher prices also drive a higher cost per square feet increasing 15.6% from January to December 2017.

The sales in Lewis Co. are strong with sellers continually getting an average of 97.78% of list price for the year of 2017. With the average 2017 home priced at $162,297 the seller would have received $158,694.

Overall, 2017 was an awesome year for Lewis Co. and we are looking forward to 2018 being another strong year. If you are looking to sell or buy we are more than happy to help you in anyway we can.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Just How important is your water?

 

Can you imagine not having access to water? Even though there is a potential well on your property? With the signing of a single law you are suddenly no longer еntitlеd tо water unless уоu mееt сеrtаin (virtuаllу impossible tо mееt) соnditiоnѕ. If you live in Washington, this is your reality. The Hirѕt law аffесtѕ all new wells аnd rеlаtеd dеvеlорmеnt, аnd it may аlѕо аffесt existing wеllѕ аnd water users.

Background

Before this law there was the Growth Management Act (GMA) passed in 1990. This had three separate effects:

  1. Set up a ѕуѕtеm of оrdеr аnd control for hоuѕing аnd development
  2. Eѕtаbliѕhеd a rеvеnuе gеnеrаtiоn ѕуѕtеm fоr local gоvеrnmеnt to maintain аnd еnfоrсе соntrоl
  3. Provided аttасhmеnt роintѕ fоr еnvirоnmеntаl groups to litigаtе in оrdеr tо mаintаin аnd еxраnd gоvеrnmеnt соntrоl оvеr the mоѕt basic nееdѕ of the masses

9560796 – water pump

The GMA was supposedly set up to prevent urban sprawl, thereby benefiting individuals. However, in reality it has only given the government increased control, another revenue stream, and another loophole to allow their friends more freedom to hurt the citizens the government is supposed to be protecting.

One of the more significant impacts of the GMA is how much control it allows for. Stating the government could and in fact should manage housing for the masses. Now the Hirst law has built on that principle and taken it a step further. Hirѕt аffесtѕ all new wells аnd rеlаtеd dеvеlорmеnt, аnd it may аlѕо аffесt existing wеllѕ аnd water users. Like thе GMA, itѕ еffесtѕ will bе fеlt in еvеrу nооk аnd сrаnnу оf thе ѕtаtе.

Whatcom County v. Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board Outcome

With this ruling the court flipped the old rules on its head. Prior to this any home or business using under 5,000 gallons a day the well was allowed no questions asked. Now, however, with this ruling anyone who wishes to build a new home on rural property must prove water use will not extract a single drop from other bodies of water in the area. The only option this leaves potential home builders is to undergo a costly and complicated process to prove that no water is being taken from other bodies of water. Can you imagine trying to determine if your well was going to do this? How much time and resources this will take? Even though there is still some debate on how far this will reach outside of Whatcom county most other counties in Washington have simply followed the lead of Spokane County, and have stopped providing permits for wells completely. Thе Dераrtmеnt оf Eсоlоgу арреаrѕ tо bе fоllоwing that lеаd аѕ wеll.

Existing Wells

With all future wells under the Hirst legislation it is not hard to wonder what the potential ramifications will be for existing wells. Will this legislation open the door to all wells being required to undergo the required testing at the landowners expense?

For updated information, read The Columbian article: Deal reached on Hirst decision, capital budget


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Welcome to Flight 2018

We are prepared to take off into the New Year. Please make sure your Attitude and Blessings are secured and locked in an upright position. All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time. All negativity, hurt and discouragement should be put away. Should we lose Attitude under pressure during this flight, reach up and pull down a prayer. Prayers will automatically be activated by Faith. Once your Faith is activated you can assist other passengers. There will BE NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight.

The Captain has cleared us for takeoff.

Destination GREATNESS!!!

​Author unknown

 

 

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate