Interst rates reach 18 month low!!!

Interest Rates reach 18 month low THIS WEEK!

It’s been said that “opportunity comes knocking.” And that’s certainly the case for people looking to purchase or refinance a home, as home loan rates remain near 18-month lows.
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In recent weeks, investors have moved into the safe haven of the Bond markets for several reasons, including weak economic data here at home, concerns about Ebola, and economic and geopolitical uncertainty overseas. This has helped Mortgage Bonds reach 18-month highs, and since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, rates have reached 18-month lows.

In addition, Stocks have been volatile due to the upcoming end of the Fed’s Bond-buying program. The Fed has been slowly tapering its purchases throughout the year, and every indication is that the Fed will completely end the program at its meeting on October 28 to 29. The key takeaway is that Stocks performed terribly after the first and second rounds of the Fed’s Bond-buying program ended. If Stocks worsen, Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates could continue to improve.

In other news, key housing reports showed mixed results for the sector. September Existing Home Sales reached its highest pace of the year, showing gains in all major regions except for the Midwest. September New Home Sales also reached a six-year high. However, New Home Sales for August, which were originally reported at 504,000, were revised to 466,000. Sales in June and July were also revised lower.

The bottom line is that home loan rates remain near some of their best levels of the year, and now is a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.

The Stock & Bond Market Oct. 2014 – Looking good!

It’s been said that history repeats itself. That seems to be the case as we approach the end of the Fed’s big Bond-buying program. Read on to learn why.

In recent weeks, Stocks have seen a sell-off while Mortgage Bonds have pushed considerably higher. Why has this happened? Concerns about slowing global economic growth have pushed investors into the safe haven of the Bond market, and investors have also secured profits with Stock prices near all-time highs.

But there’s another reason that’s important to mention. After the first and second rounds of the Fed’s Bond-buying program (known as Quantitative Easing) ended, Stocks performed terribly—and that behavior seems to be repeating itself as the Fed’s latest version of its Bond-buying program is nearing its end later this month. But that’s not all that could impact the markets in coming weeks. If corporate earnings are worse than expected, Stocks could continue to drift lower, meaning Bonds and home loan rates could continue to benefit. This will be a key story to monitor in the weeks ahead.

In housing news, research firm CoreLogic reported that home prices rose by 6.45 percent from August 2013 to August 2014, which is down from the annual figure reported in July. CoreLogic went on to say that home prices are 12.1percent below the peak seen in April 2006. Looking forward, prices are expected to increase 5.2 percent from August 2014 to August 2015. The takeaway from this is that home price gains have slowed to more normal and sustainable levels, after the large appreciation seen last year.

The bottom line is that home loan rates remain near some of their best levels of the year, and now is a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.

My Reviews from Past clients

REVIEWS FROM PAST CLIENTS


What was your favorite part about working with Candice

Candice took a dream I presented to her and turned it into reality by using imagination and hard work to find a way to land the condo I wanted.

 What did Candice do to set herself apart from other Real Estate Agents?

As seems to be the case: “The condos you are interested in almost never come on the market.” Candice found a way to not only create a sale, but also negotiated a fair deal for both buyer and seller. She took the time to research the properties, found the names of owners and wrote hand-written personal letters to each owner indicating she had an interested buyer if they might be interested in selling. It worked, and I got my condo!

 What did she do to make you feel valuable as a client?

She treated my needs seriously and did not take the easy route of saying: I’ll let you know if anything turns up.” She created a sales opportunity where there appeared to be none. The mark of a great agent.

 Would you recommend Candice to others?

Yes.

 In the future, what can Candice do better to make each client have the best experience possible?

Candice needs nothing more than as much experience as she can squeeze into her early experience in the market. Candice is a quick study with a lively imagination. She has a window of opportunity as a relatively new agent without the burden of being stuck in a system. The more challenges she faces the more she will find her own imaginative ways of solving the problems that buyers and sellers throw in her path.

cheers

-Peter m Herford  -Purchased 2 condos in Belltown


 What was your favorite part about working with Candice?

She was very helpful, listened to what we were looking for, and seemed determined to find it for us! She responded to us promptly, and never seemed to be inconvenienced.

 What did Candice do to set herself apart from other Real Estate Agents?

She had a fabulous attitude, and definitely made the experience about us finding what we want in a timely manner. Never once did we feel like we were just her paycheck. We felt like she had our best interests at heart the whole time. She was also completely candid and honest because she wanted to ensure that we were making the best choice for our family.

 What did she do to make you feel valuable as a client?

Listened and did everything we asked and more!

 Would you recommend Candice to others?

Yes! I already have!

 In the future, what can Candice do better to make each client have the best experience possible?

Nothing! I would recommend her to anybody, and I would definitely use her again!

-Samantha Burch – Purchased a Fairwood Condo


 What was your favorite part about working with Candice?

Candice has amazing energy and enthusiasm.  She has creative ideas and works tirelessly.  I completely trust her.

What did Candice do to set herself apart from other Real Estate Agents?

From the first meeting, Candice asked great questions and really understood the best about my house (the beauty, personality, functionality, “homeyness”) – and also the challenges that come with an older house.  She was able to share current information about the market and had clever ideas for moving forward.  She was positive and personable.

What did she do to make you feel valuable as a client?

Candice takes her job to heart.  She worked at selling my home like she was selling her own home.  During weekend open houses, she arrived looking beautiful – setting the stage with background music, scented candles and opened windows to let in the light.  I could call her anytime or any day, and she was there to help.  She would also call me with ideas and updates on a frequent basis.  I knew she was my partner in this big event.

Would you recommend Candice to others?

Definitely – yes!

In the future, what can Candice do better to make each client have the best experience possible?

No suggestions . . . my experience with Candice was exceptional.

Jennifer S. – Listed West Seattle Home


Working with Candice, on the purchase of our condo, was a pleasure.  She approached the project with enthusiasm, great energy and good humor.  My priority, in selecting an agent, was that she be quickly available for showings.  My husband and I knew, approximately, where we wanted to locate and had limited time in which to find a place.  Candice had fresh listings in my email each morning, and within a few days we had a new home.  From start to finish she answered all questions, returned calls promptly, kept the many moving parts, of a home purchase, advancing smoothly and always kept us in the loop.

Candice is intelligent and very professional.  She was a delight to work with.

Judith D. – Sold condo in Belltown and bought on Alki using Candice on both ends!


When reflecting back on our recent condo purchase with Candice as our agent, my immediate first thought is her ENERGY!

Candice was upbeat, professional and ready to start the journey that would eventually lead us to the right place.  If we were at all interested in a particular place she would quickly get to work investigating the pros and cons, special assessments, etc…We felt that our search for just the right spot was important to her. She was not just looking to make a sale, she was finding us a home.

Any phone calls or emails were responded to quickly and efficiently.  What sets Candace apart from other agents is that she has the energy of a young person coupled with the wisdom of someone with years of experience.

Since closing and moving into our condo, Candice has checked back with us to see how things are going, affirming the fact that she is interested in more than just making a sale.

I would highly recommend Candice to anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the future.

Sincerely,

Randi J. M. – Queen Anne Condo buyer


Maureen B. – “Best Realtor ever!!!! Thanks Candice!”


   Highly likely to recommend

09/04/2013 – user0315151

Bought a Single Family home in 2013 for approximately $925K in Kennydale, Renton, WA.
  • Local knowledge: 5
  • Process expertise: 5
  • Responsiveness: 5
  • Negotiation skills: 5

Candice helped our family select and buy a home near my hospital in Renton this year.

Her experience seamlessly matched the who, what, when, and how of real estate into a tailored home-buying result for us. I would describe Candice’s approach as no-fuss professional, personable, and timely – all qualities that as a physician I appreciate. Our experience in searching for and buying our home with Candice was enjoyable and clearly defined. Once the home was purchased, she continued aftercare indicated to us that he was also in the process for the long haul, as we were. In life it is good to know an effective, personable, and trusted doctor, lawyer . . . and now, realtor. We are certainly glad our friends introduced us to Candice!


   Highly likely to recommend

09/03/2013 – user92427773

Helped me rent a Apartment home in Downtown, Bellevue, WA.
  • Local knowledge: 5
  • Process expertise: 5
  • Responsiveness: 5
  • Negotiation skills: 5

Candice was great during our process to find a new place! She was very assertive in the places that we went to check and listened to all our ideas and suggestions.

We are now living in a place that she found for us, and we love it! I 100% recommend her!! She is smart, responsible and very sharp!


   Highly likely to recommend

08/15/2013 – user0340825

Sold a Condo home in 2013 for approximately $350K in Issaquah, WA.
  • Local knowledge: 5
  • Process expertise: 5
  • Responsiveness: 5
  • Negotiation skills: 5

My husband and I were very impressed with the level of service we received. Candice was very knowledgeable, responsive and follow up was great. We sold our home within a few days of it being on the market for asking price.


   Highly likely to recommend

08/09/2013 – user8500943

Sold a Single Family home in 2013 for approximately $700K in Issaquah, WA.
  • Local knowledge: 5
  • Process expertise: 5
  • Responsiveness: 5
  • Negotiation skills: 5

My wife and I sold and bought a home from Candice and we could not have been happier. We felt as though her knowledge and negotiation ability got us the most money out of our home and got is the best deal on our new home. The process was seamless and felt great about the experience. I highly recommend Candice!


   Highly likely to recommend

07/11/2013 – user1635589

Helped me rent a Vacant Land home in Federal Way, WA.
  • Local knowledge: 5
  • Process expertise: 5
  • Responsiveness: 5
  • Negotiation skills: 5

Candice provided exceptional service in finding rental properties in the Seattle Area. I was new to the area and she was able to obtain a range of properties for me to view in two days. A basic criteria was provided to her and with her result driven attitude, she delivered!

Go Candice!


   Highly likely to recommend

07/10/2013 – user8677115

Sold a Condo home in 2013 in Downtown, Bellevue, WA.
  • Local knowledge: 5
  • Process expertise: 5
  • Responsiveness: 5
  • Negotiation skills: 5

Candice and Ray went above and beyond my expectations in selling my home. Since this was the first home I have sold, they were very patient and answered all of my questions. They have great follow-through and I would recommend them to anyone looking to buy or sell.

Profile picture for BrokerCandice Response from BrokerCandice on 07/12/2013

Absolutely, it was our pleasure to work with you! I know your pup loves the yard even more than you! :)

Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Every season has a checklist of “to dos” so you can be sure your home is staying is great repair.

Fall is an ideal time to tackle maintenance projects both inside and outside. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Gutters top to bottom: Water in the wrong spots can do a lot of damage. Start by ensuring that gutters and downspouts are doing their job. (Don’t attempt this task yourself if you have a two-story house with a steep roof; hire a professional instead.) If your home is surrounded by deciduous trees you may need to clean out your gutters a few times a year, especially in the fall. Check to make sure your gutters are flush with the roof and attached securely, repairing any areas that sag or where the water collects and overflows. Clean out the gutters and downspouts, checking that outlet strainers are in good shape, and are firmly in place. Finally, check that your downspouts direct water away from your house, not straight along the foundation.

If you haven’t already, you may want to consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards create a barrier so water can get through to your gutters, but debris cannot, limiting gutter buildup (and the time you spend cleaning out your gutters). There are DIY installation kits available or you can always hire a professional to install a gutter guard system.

If you have a sump pump under your house, now is a good time to test it. Run a hose to be sure draining water travels directly to the pump (dig small trenches if needed), and that the pump removes the water efficiently and expels it well away from the foundation. For more information about how sump pumps work go to howstuffworks.com.

Check for leaks: The best opportunity to catch leaks is the first heavy rain after a long dry spell, when roofing materials are contracted. Check the underside of the roof, looking for moisture on joints or insulation. Mark any spots that you find and then hire a roofing specialist to repair these leaks. What you don’t want to do is wait for leaks to show up on your ceiling. By then, insulation and sheet rock have been damaged and you could have a mold problem too.

Don’t forget the basement. Check your foundation for cracks, erosion, plants growing inside, broken windows, and gaps in window and door weathering.  Make sure to properly seal any leaks while the weather is nice. This will ensure materials dry properly.

Pest Prevention: Rodents are determined and opportunistic, and they can do tremendous amounts of property damage (and endanger your family’s health). As temperatures cool, take measures to prevent roof rats and other critters from moving in. Branches that touch your house and overhang your roof are convenient on-ramps for invaders, so trip back branches so they’re at least four feet from the house. If you do hear scuttling overhead or discover rodent droppings in your attic, crawl space or basement, take immediate action. The websitehttp://www.thisoldhouse.com has several helpful articles on the topic.

Maintain your heating and cooling systems: Preventative maintenance is especially crucial for your home’s heating and air-conditioning systems. Fall is a smart time to have your systems checked and tuned up if necessary. Don’t wait for extreme temperatures to arrive, when service companies are slammed with emergency calls. Between tune-ups, keeps your system performing optimally by cleaning and/or replacing air filters as needed.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, a professional inspection and cleaning will help prevent potentially lethal chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, always keep a supply of dry firewood or sawdust-composite logs so you have a backup heat source in an emergency.

Insulate & seal: Insulating your home is a cost-efficient investment, whether you’re trying to keep the interior warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Aside from more major improvements like energy-efficient windows and insulation, there are some quick fixes that do-it-yourselfers can tackle. If an exterior door doesn’t have a snug seal when closed, replace the weather stripping; self-adhesive foam stripping is much simpler to install than traditional vinyl stripping. If there is a gap under the door (which can happen over time as a house settles), you may need to realign the door and replace the vinyl door bottom and/or door sweep. Air also sneaks inside through electrical outlets and light switches on exterior walls. Dye-cut foam outlet seals placed behind the wall plates are a quick and inexpensive solution.

Parking in Seattle – New changes!!!

Circling a city block looking for a parking spot is a frustrating urban ritual, one that the city hopes to reduce with new parking meter technology that could start popping up on Seattle’s streets next year.

Earlier this week, the City Council’s Transportation Committee approved a plan that would involve replacing and retrofitting the city’s 2,200 parking pay stations. One major reason for the project, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation, is simply that many of the existing stations are getting old. But by updating the kiosks with newer “smart” technology, the city will also be able to set higher or lower rates for parking depending on the demand for spaces in different neighborhoods at different times of the day.

“A lot of the pay stations out there right now are like having a 10-year-old cell phone,” said Mike Estey, manager for parking operations and traffic permits for SDOT. For example, adjusting rates involves sending a person to each kiosk to install new programming. That process could be done remotely, from an office, with the new machines the city is planning to buy. The new pay stations should also be able to process transactions faster and will also not suck in credit cards the way the current machines do, reducing the risk the cards will get stuck — or forgotten.

“Another thing we’re talking about doing is going to time-of-day pricing,” Estey said. “It helps to make sure there’s either one or two spots available per block.”

 Parking rates in neighborhoods south of the Lake Washington Ship Canal through fall 2014. Map: SDOT

10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

Century old home with blue paint and gingerbread styling 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

Buying a ‘fixer-upper’ for a house seems like a romantic proposition. Anyone who appreciates a good antique can understand the nostalgic appeal of an ancient home whose walls are filled with history. Older homes have amazing character traits and historical features that most new homes simply do not have.

Oh! Those huge wood burning fireplaces, the wood trim and moldings, and those ceilings with rustic wood beams — these are all the amazing features that usually do not come in todays mass produced homes.  It would be easy to hastily buy one of these ancient gems before doing a little research. However, a thorough (almost forensic) investigation is needed before buying an older home. Behind the beautiful facade there can be a train wreck of crumbling concrete repairs.

How do we buy a home that is overflowing with this historic beauty and character, while not falling into a money pit full of outdated plumbing, wiring and foundation problems?

Here are ten things to think about before deciding if an older home is the right fit for your lifestyle.

Older home with character 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

 1.  An Older Home Comes With Older Technology and Building Materials

The use of older technologies and building materials is not always a bad thing. The custom, hand-crafted qualities of an older home usually mean long-lasting value and a durable structure that one cannot find now-a-days.  There is a reason that older homes are still standing — they were built to last.

Most of today’s builders do not take the time to dove-tail wooden joints, or hand-scrape large wooden ceiling beams. These are the qualities that make us fall in love with a historic home.

Sadly, this nostalgic charm also comes with some issues. Technologically speaking an older home is usually filled with ancient methods of plumbing, wiring, heating, windows, roofing and insulating properties. This means a lot of costly repairs! Refitting a home with new wiring, windows, and plumbing can cost a fortune.

Hiring a plethora of contractors, engineers, foundation experts and inspectors is a must before making any life-altering decisions.

Yes, it is life-altering if you buy a centurion home. The home will become your new baby (and babies are expensive). All potential costs must be factored into the purchase of an older home. Even if it seems the home is in good standing—it’s still  old, and with age comes problems.

Rough hewn wooden beams in home 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

Promoted Story How do I make my garage game day ready?

How do I make my garage game day ready?

 2.  Older Homes Have Character That’s Hard to Buy

Wide-plank wood floors, solid wood craftsman doors, wrap around front porches … the list of reasons to love an elderly home could go on forever.

To a certain extent, you can replicate these characteristics into a newly built home.  There are some amazing custom builders who can build homes that are full of character, allowing you to forgo all the unseen repairs of an older relic.

However, a new home usually comes with a young neighborhood that is still developing.  Which means no big century-old oak tree in the front yard, and unpredictable neighborhood developments.

A tree-lined street and quaint neighborhood do not happen overnight, hence the appeal of older neighborhoods where everything is already in place and established.

This debate of whether to build new and try to add new character versus buying an older, character-laden home is one that has pros and cons on both sides of the fence. Either way, there are costs involved that must be weighed heavily before making any decisions.

Country blue painted kitchen with character 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

 3.  An Older Home May Require Some Remodeling

The current aesthetic that most homeowners want in their home is a large open floor plan with big closets, bathrooms and bedrooms. Unfortunately, this was not the desire centuries ago when older homes were being designed and built.

Most older homes have one small bathroom (two if you’re lucky), a couple small bedrooms, and let’s not even discuss the lack of closet space and storage.

You may fall in love with the beauty of an older home, only to discover that your family of 5 and two dogs will quickly overfill the space. There will be little room for clothes in the closets, and you will soon be dreaming of a large jack and jill bathroom for the kids.

Buying an ancient home will most definitely require some remodeling and expansion. Yet again, this is another cost to consider before buying.

Modern bathroom with stand up glass shower 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

4.  How Much Will Your Home Owners Insurance Be?

This is something a lot of home buyers forget to look into — the cost of homeowners insurance. Insurance is an expensive must-have,  no matter what type of home you buy.  However, insuring an ancient home can be even pricier.

It masks sense — old homes come with more risks, and insurance companies are not willing to foot the bill for those unseen circumstances. Old wiring can be a dangerous fire hazard, old plumbing can pose major water issues, and crumbling concrete foundations can cause flooding and pricey structural problems.

While you are calling all the other experts ( builders, home inspectors etc..) remember to call around and get quotes from insurance companies.

It would be horrible to move into your dream home only to discover that your insurance policy is unaffordable or doesn’t cover all the unforeseen hazards that come with home ownership.

Older home with modern furnishings 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

 5. The Top Two Updates of an Old Home

Roof and windows. These are the two updates that must be done first and should be made a priority.

Any roof that is older than 10-15 years will need replacement sooner than later. Older roofs begin to leak and crumble, thereby loosing their insulation properties and causing more costly repairs.

Older windows are usually single pane with very low insulating properties. Ancient windows equal a drafty home in winter and sweltering home in summer.

Before buying your beloved antique home, put these two repairs at the top of your to-do list. Maybe you will get lucky and find an older home whose owners recently replaced the windows and roofing.

That would be like buying an antique oil painting whose previous owner already payed the expense of having it professionally cleaned. The value of the antique is increased and the work is already done for you!

Traditional yellow home with big windows 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

 6.  Mix the Old With the New

While on your house hunt for the perfect relic of a home, you may fall in love with the bathrooms old claw foot tub, but then think, “That’s great, but I want a stand-up shower too”.

Don’t be turned off of an old home simply because all the modern amenities are not there. Why not mix the old with the new? Why can’t you have that luxuriant claw foot tub AND your modern stand-up shower?

One of the biggest remodeling and decorating mistakes people make with older homes is getting stuck in the rut of “everything has to look old or be of that era”. Rules were meant to be broken when it comes to decorating. Just because you have an antique home does not mean it needs to be only filled with antiques.

The eclectic mix of old and new has a very appealing and unique aesthetic.

Clawfoot bath tub and modern glass shower 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

 7.  You Can Remodel an Older Home to Make it Become Modern

As mentioned above, the mix of old and new can be wonderful. Maybe you can take that idea even one step farther by taking an old home and attaching a new, modern home onto it. Why not?

Throw all the rules out the window and make an amalgamation of both your dream homes —ultra modern and ultra old.

Of course, this type of design would definitely require highly skilled architects and builders who can take your modern dreams and amalgamate them properly with ancient architecture.

If you fall in love with an older home, then consider adding a modern addition that meets all your worldly needs.

However, read on to discover some obstacles you may have to hurdle if this is your plan….

Farm house with modern renovation 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

8.  Contact Historical Society if You Plan to Remodel an Older Home

Before signing on the dotted line of your ancient dream home, you may want to find out if there are any historical societies or neighborhood restrictions  on remodeling.

Some older homes and neighborhoods have restrictions in terms of the type and style of remodeling that can be done. Historical societies have a sole purpose of keeping the history of homes in tact, so allowing the owner to remodel the home into a modern mecca is probably off limits.

These type of restrictions may severely inhibit your freedom to remodel the home as you please. It is best to ask your realtor to look into any of these matters and find out if  there will be certain remodels that are not permitted.

It would be awful to discover after you have already purchased the home that you are restricted and forced to keep the home back in the old days.

Tradtional home with blue siding and picket fence 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

 9.  Will Your Appliances Fit into the Older Home?

This is one that everyone seems to forget (until the movers attempt to squeeze your fridge through the front door). Older homes were built when household items were smaller than they are today.

Long ago, homes were not built to contain commercial grade double ovens or mammoth stainless steel fridges. Therefore, the doorways were built much more narrow and shorter than they are today.

Do you have a huge sectional coach? A 60-inch wide television? Again, all of these items will have trouble fitting into the small doorways of your beloved relic.

It is best to measure all the doorways and other possible entryways before falling in love with a senior home. New doorways can be built, but again this is another cost to add to your ever-growing list.

Modern kitchen with antique stove 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

10.  Embrace the Difficulties of Owning a Old Home

You have to love the home just as it is —old.  It will consume you (and your wallet) if you try to completely modernize an aged home.

Complete modernization can be done, but are you sure you want to? The very reason that you fell in love with the house in the first place is its aged character.  Of course, getting rid of drafts via new windows, and leaking roofs are jobs that must be done.

However, there are certain quirks that you may want retain. The squeaky floors, the bedroom doors that never seem to stay closed on cold days and then get stuck shut on hot days— all are quaint characteristics of an old home that add a certain charm and lived-in feeling.

Remodel what you absolutely have to, but think about keeping some of the original historic appeal.

Brick cottage and country gardens 10 Things Nobody Tells You about Buying an Older Home

Buying an older home is not for the faint of heart. Living in and modernizing these homes can take years of unplanned  and costly repairs.

If you decide to take the plunge and buy one of these aged beauties, then take your time, make many to-do lists, and hire plenty of professionals along the way. It can be an amazing and fun-filled journey, but be sure to read this “Top 10 list” over many times. Do you have what it takes to ride this relic roller coaster?

If you feel ready, then go into this experience with a carefully optimistic, yet realistic attitude. Assume that everything will go wrong and need replacement, that way you will be pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t.

In Suburban Seattle, New Nests for China’s Rich

As a Bellevue Realtor, living in downtown Bellevue, I can personally attest to the story below. :)

By ROBERT FRANKSEPT. 20, 2014

Todd Lozier, left, and Bangze Wang of Lochwood-Lozier Custom Homes. They are at the site of an 8,000-square-foot home they are building in Medina, Wash., east of Seattle, for a Chinese investor. CreditStuart Isett for The New York Times.

As wealthy Chinese stash more of their fortunes overseas, they’re bidding up the value of everything from Bitcoins and Burgundy to Picassos and pink diamonds.

And, increasingly, China’s rich are also offshoring their families along with their cash. That’s created a real estate boom in an unlikely corner of the United States: suburban Seattle.

Wealthy Chinese have become far and away the biggest foreign buyers of real estate in Seattle in recent years, accounting for up to one-third of $1-million-plus homes sold in certain areas, brokers say. Seattle real estate agents are hiring Mandarin speakers and even opening offices in Beijing. Builders are designing much of their new construction for Chinese buyers.

Seattle real estate agents have even added a new term of art to their deal language: “the feng shui contingency.” Before closing on a house, many Chinese buyers are asking to have a feng shui master or consultant approve the house as part of a general inspection. Bad feng shui means no deal. Or, sometimes, some last-minute landscaping.

“We had a case where a tree was blocking the chi, or energy flow, of the home,” said May Wan, an agent at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Bellevue who works with many Chinese buyers. “So it had to be taken out. They planted another one nearby.”

The business of relocating China’s uprooted rich is likely to grow in the coming years. A quarter of all real estate sold to foreigners in the United States last year went to Chinese buyers. Now the largest group of foreign buyers in the United States, the Chinese spent $22 billion on American real estate in the 12 months ended in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s up 72 percent from the year-earlier period.

They lean toward luxury: The median purchase for Chinese buyers is $523,148 — nearly twice the national average. Three-quarters of their purchases are all cash.

That’s made Seattle one of the world’s top catch basins for the billions of dollars spilling out of China every year. While foreign money has also been pouring into New York, Los Angeles and London real estate, the impact of the Chinese rich on Seattle is far more concentrated, focused on a few small, upscale suburbs. They’re especially attracted to Medina — home to Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos — and the West Bellevue area. “The first question you often hear from Chinese clients is ‘Where does Bill Gates live?’ “ said Moya Skillman, a broker with Windermere Real Estate.

Brokers and analysts say 20 to 40 percent of $1 million-plus homes sold on the Eastside — a collective term for eastern suburbs of Seattle — were purchased by Chinese buyers.

A $1.1 million listing in West Bellevue recently attracted 24 bidders, virtually all of them Chinese, and the home quickly sold for $1.4 million. Ms. Wan said a $2.5 million lakefront property recently sold with three offers, just days after coming onto the market. The median sales price in Bellevue is up 82 percent since 2011, to $1.37 million, according to sales data.

The boom may be just starting. A survey by the Hurun Report, a China-based wealth research firm, found that 64 percent of China’s millionaires have emigrated or plan to emigrate in coming years. They listed their favorite destination as the United States, followed by Canada and Australia. While respondents cited better education, air quality and food safety as their main reasons, concerns about political and social stability have also caused the wealthy to secure more of their fortunes overseas, according to advisers to wealthy Chinese families. Chinese residents held an estimated $659 billion offshore in 2013. The number is expected to surge to $1.9 trillion by 2018, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

Their attraction to Seattle stems from its top schools, clean air, longtime Chinese population and, more recently, a hit movie. The 2013 film “Beijing Meets Seattle” (or“Finding Mr. Right” in English) became one of China’s top-grossing films of all time, telling the story of a pregnant woman who flies to Seattle to find true love and American citizenship for her baby. The film struck a chord with younger Chinese, who saw Seattle as a liberating, romantic escape from the intense materialism of China (even though much of the movie was filmed in Vancouver).

“People my age in China suddenly started talking about Seattle,” said Bangze Wang, a Beijing native who now lives in Seattle.

Mr. Wang, known as James, embodies the new Seattle-China attraction. The son of a successful developer in Beijing, he arrived in Seattle in 2008 with plans to attend the University of Washington and return home to the family business. After graduation, however, he was offered a job at Lochwood-Lozier Custom Homes, one of Seattle’s top builders. Now he’s a project manager, negotiator and all-around cultural liaison between the company and wealthy Chinese buyers.

“Seattle was a better opportunity for me than China right now,” Mr. Wang said. “A lot of Chinese families are planning to move here.”

Lochwood-Lozier used to sell its high-end homes to Microsoft millionaires and other local executives. Now it is building 10 new homes aimed mainly at Chinese buyers, with prices of $2.5 million to $5 million.

Todd Lozier, the firm’s president, said Chinese buyers prefer big, modern homes with two kitchens — a small, vented one and a larger display kitchen — along with grand entrances and rooms for extended family. “They like curb appeal,” he said.

They also like a classic American look, feng shui notwithstanding. Ms. Skillman was showing one Chinese buyer a home with Chinese antiques on display “and the buyer almost walked out,” she said. Now she tells sellers to clear out most Chinese collectibles or artworks before they list.

David Masin, president of Masins Fine Furnishings & Interior Design in Bellevue, said business from wealthy Chinese was up more than 50 percent this year. One Chinese family, he said, recently bought a $24,000 Thomas Pheasant dining table, which they said was for their son, who’s in college. Another customer bought a multimillion-dollar house and asked Masins to furnish it, sight unseen. The cost: around $250,000.

ROBERT FRANK is CNBC wealth editor and the author of “Richistan” (and no relation to Robert H. Frank, the economist and contributor to Economic View).