5 Reasons to Sell Your House Now

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? Can buyers qualify for a mortgage?  These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are five of those reasons.

1. The Most Serious Buyers Are Out Now

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

In the local Seattle market, there is a shortage of homes for sale. We are seeing above-price, multiple offer situations for homes in all price ranges.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen.  Selling now will make the process quicker and simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate at about 4.5% right now. Rates are projected to be well over 5% by this time next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and decide whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

You already know the answers to the questions we just asked. You have the power to take back control of the situation by pricing your home to guarantee it sells. The time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 10:10 am
Katie Criddle | Posted in Selling |

How Long Buyers Must Wait to Obtain Financing

In today's market, it's common to meet someone who went through a forclosure, short sale, or bankrupcy. In fact, it may have been you! Since the market crash in 2007-2008, thousands of people have had to face these difficulties, and it's nothing to be ashamed about.

Many may think that they have to wait a lifetime before they can finance another home. 

But that simply isn't true.

It may be surprising how soon a buyer can qualify again! . If this is you, or you know someone in this situation, please SHARE this information with them! It is crippling to think it will be a lifetime before you can move into that dream home. 

Email katie.criddle@windermere.com for a copy of this flyer, share on Facebook, or simply forward this blog post to a friend!

If you ARE ready to obtain fincancing – despite your background and history – I reccomend contacting Andy Fernando at Alpine Mortgage – he's very responsive and knowledgable. Afernando@alpinemc.com


Posted on February 13, 2014 at 5:53 pm
Katie Criddle | Posted in Buying, Financing |

10 Tips for Buyers and Sellers in 2014

Today I came across an MSN article by Steve McLinden of Bankrate.com. As I read through his tips, I knew this was valuable information to share as a Real Estate Professional. I am a huge advocate of educating my clients, so I would highly recommend reading this full article. Below I've written McLinden's 10 tips, with my own local perspective and twist. 


Here are the 10 tips for Buyers and Sellers in 2014

1. Sellers: Jump start the process

The greater Seattle market is hot if you are a seller. Homes that are priced right are only lasting a few days on the market before receiving several offers. So how do you get here? If you are getting ready to sell your home, take an honest look at what small improvements need to be made. New paint? Window treatments? Taking the photos down and de-cluttering your home? These factors will honestly make a huge difference. 

2. Buyers – be credit ready

I've actually run into this situation recently – I had a buyer put an offer in on a home with a pre-qualification letter. The offer was rejected, because they wanted a pre-approval letter. The seller did not want to go through the process without knowing ahead of time that the buyer was actually approved. Also, because this is such a fast-moving market, if a buyer is not ready to pull the trigger because they haven't talked to a lender when they find "the one," someone else will beat them to it. 

3. Sellers – vet your real estate agent then follow their advice

I always recommend interviewing several potential agents. You want to hire someone who knows the market and is tech savvy, as 85% of buyers start their search online. Your agent should walk you through exactly how they are going to help you get ready, market, and ultimately sell your home. 

4. Buyers – Adjust your negotiating expectations.

Ultimately, the decisions are completely up to you. It's my job as an agent to carry out your wishes in a real estate transaction. However, most buyers want some advice or suggestions on offering price because this is the world we live and breathe. Sometimes low-ball offers stick, but be prepared for them to be rejected outright. If you receive a counter offer, respond quickly so they don't accept another offer in the meantime. 

5. Sellers – its your market (finally!) so make the most of it

As I mentioned before, homes are selling quickly. As interest rates continue to rise, more and more buyers will be looking for a home. This means you have the upper hand and can finally demand more than you could in the last 7 years!

6. Buyers – find life after Foreclosure

Chances are, you know someone who was laid off with the recession. Do you judge them harshly or understand because it was just a rough market? The same is with foreclosures – its not something to be despised. Its something that happened. Now its time to pick yourself back up and jump back in!

7. Sellers – Hesitate to renovate

I go back and fourth on McLinden's 7th point. I think the choice to renovate is all based on the situation. If you are selling in an area that home prices are well above what the value of your home, there is room to renovate and earn a bigger profit margin. However, over-renovating for your area is really easy to do. Always keep your budget in check. If you are unsure about what to renovate, talk to your Real Estate Professional for some advice. 

8. Buyers – Ask and you won't receive (an unpleasant surprise)

You would be surprised at the things sellers neglect to disclose. It is in your best interest to get a thorough inspection, as well as ask all the tough questions. Visit the home at all times of the day to see the conditions. Talk to the neighbors, look at the schools, and research the crime statistics. 

9. Sellers – Tailor your local game

The national news always includes information on the real estate market. However, chances are your local market is drastically different and will behave different from what the national norm is. Discuss real estate trends with your agent so you know what to expect through the process. 

10. Sellers and Buyers – Heed Changing Trends

It is so important to stay in the know and understand what your local market trends are. Hopefully, your Real Estate agent provides you with this information. If not, ask them! I send out regular information on local housing trends. If you would like to be included in this newsletter, fill out the information below:





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Posted on February 11, 2014 at 11:04 pm
Katie Criddle | Posted in Uncategorized |

Government “Tapering” Continues

Last week, the Federal Reserve, in a unanimous vote, decided to further decrease its bond purchasing. The bond purchases were the government’s stimulus package created to keep long term mortgage interest rates artificially low in order to help drive the housing market. Most experts believe that tapering will cause interest rates to increase as we move through the year.

Interest rates have remained relatively stable since the onset of the tapering in December. This is probably because the first round of increases had already been ‘priced into’ the equation last summer when rates skyrocketed by over a full percentage point just on the speculation that tapering would take place later in 2013 (See below).

2.3 Update Visual.1

However, as we move forward, most analysts believe rates will start to rise culminating in a rate close to a full percentage point higher than current rates by this time next year.

2.3 Update Visual.2


Posted on February 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm
Katie Criddle | Posted in Regulation & Policy |

2014 Olympic Game Schedule

The Olympics are a time to show our American pride. A time to support athletes who have dedicated years of their life to perfecting their physical abilites. It's also a time to escape to the couch and watch some figure skating or curling – sports we only seem to find interesting during the olympics.

And yes, there is a lack of preparation from the Russians, but it's still important to support our American team members and tune in! Below is a schedule of events. Hopefully you can take time from your busy schedule to enjoy!


Posted on February 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm
Katie Criddle | Posted in Uncategorized |

What can you afford, based on payment?

Most people know what type of payment they can afford each month. We call that "buying power." For obvious reasons, the larger payment you can afford, the more house you can purchase. 

However, as interest rates rise, your buying power will decrease. At the beginning of 2014, interest rates are close to 4.5%. By the end of 2014, interest rates are predicted to rise roughly 1%.

Below are some GREAT charts that show you exactly how much you can afford at each interest rates. Here are some ideas of how they can help you:


  • Print these out and take them with you as you search for homes!
  • Forward this blog to your friends who are thinking of buying
  • Show your agent so they can help you
  • Email me for further explanation and consultation!


Posted on January 16, 2014 at 11:26 pm
Katie Criddle | Posted in Uncategorized |

Infographic: History of Mortgage Rates

It is interesting to see the trends of mortgate rates since 1971. You can really see the correlation of events in history to these rates. I know people who during the 80's, were excited that their interest rates hit 13%! What a change since then.



Posted on January 13, 2014 at 5:18 pm
Katie Criddle | Posted in Buying | Tagged

Infographic – The Importance of Curb Appeal

Posted on December 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm
Katie Criddle | Posted in Selling | Tagged ,

How long can I expect my home be on the market?

It is in your best interest to sell your home as fast as possible, and that is my goal as a Realtor. I have yet to meet someone who hopes it takes 6 months to sell their home. There are many things that go into selling you home including marketing on the internet,  yard signs, open houses, flyers, mailers, and all the word of mouth a Realtor can manage. But sometimes a bidding war doesn't happen and a home does not sell the first day on the market – and that is ok. 

Based on 2013 data through early November, here are the average days homes are on the market. In Seattle, the average time on the market is 64 days – a healthy number. San Francisco (and California in general) are the hottest markets right now with not only the shortest amount of days on the market, but fastest growing home prices. Anywhere you see red, this is where it is taking longer to sell the inventory. There are a number of reasons this is the case, but that's for another blog. 

Many of you have heard that there are bidding wars and homes snatched off the market in under a week. This does happen! There are a number of reasons why a home is sold quickly including initial appeal, it shows well (inside is staged/clean), but most importantly (by far) is that is is priced correctly. Your agent should ALWAYS complete a Comparative Market Analysis on your home before listing. This will compare recent sold/pending homes in your area which will determine a good selling price. If you are about to list your home, expect any agent you interview to prepare a CMA for your home. 

In conclusion, don't get discouraged if it takes a month or two to sell your home – this is normal. If it is 

taking longer than average, have a frank conversation with your agent about why they think it is not selling. Be open to their suggestions, but don't be afraid to look for a new agent if you feel they are not doing their job. 

How many days was your home on the market before it sold?

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 12:15 am
Katie Criddle | Posted in Selling | Tagged ,

Good News for the Economy = Bad News for Rates

The economy is improving. As an example, the latest employment report showed that the unemployment rate hit a five-year low. We must realize that, as the economic news gets better, the government will consider whether or not to continue the programs they put in place to stimulate the economy. One such program is the Fed’s purchasing of assets which has led to historically low long-term mortgage rates.

Analysts at Capital Economics noted in a recent HousingWire article:

"The 203,000 increase in November's non-farm payrolls, along with the drop in the unemployment rate to a five-year low of 7.0%, gives the Fed all the evidence it needs to begin tapering its asset purchases at the next FOMC meeting later this month."

Whether such ‘tapering’ occurs this month or early next year is questionable. The fact that mortgage rates will spike when it does occur is more a guarantee.

Here are the thoughts of a few Fed presidents regarding whether it is in fact time to cut back on this stimulus program:

James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

“To the extent that key labor market indicators continue to show cumulative improvement, the likelihood of tapering asset purchases will continue to rise. The Committee’s 2012 criterion of substantial improvement in labor markets gets easier and easier to satisfy on a cumulative basis as labor markets continue to heal…Based on labor market data alone, the probability of a reduction in the pace of asset purchases has increased.”

Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

“In my view, we at the Fed should begin tapering back our bond purchases at the earliest opportunity…I consider this strategy desirable on its own merit: I would feel more comfortable were we to remove ourselves as soon as possible from interfering with the normal price-setting functioning of financial markets.”

Jeffrey Lacker, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

“I expect discussion about the possibility of reducing the pace of asset purchases. The key issue, in my view, is the extent to which the benefits of further monetary stimulus are likely to outweigh the costs.”

If you are thinking about purchasing a home, buying before the tapering will probably mean a lower mortgage interest rate than if you waited.

Posted on December 16, 2013 at 10:18 pm
Katie Criddle | Posted in Uncategorized |