Emerging Exurban Neighborhoods

Where are the next housing hot spots? According to Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, they are the communities that exist between urban neighborhoods and the suburbs.

Posted on June 20, 2017 at 6:32 am
Jill Himlie | Posted in Windermere Blog |

A Love Note To Russell Wilson From Windermere

Dear Russell,

It’s us, your friends over at Windermere Real Estate. We wanted to take a minute to congratulate you on your recent $87 million (and change) contract extension. We think we speak for all 12s when we say we had a collective sigh of relief the moment your pen hit the paper. Phew! Now that that’s behind us, and you have some walking around money, we heard you might be in the market for a new home. But not just any home will do for the proverbial son of Seattle, so we took it upon ourselves to compile a list worthy of a Super Bowl champ. We know your favorite number is #3, so we took that, multiplied it by two (x2), and added one (+1). The result is seven hand-picked homes just for you – our favorite NFL quarter back:

Lovely in Laurelhurst | $10.6 million – One of the things we love most about you, Russell, is your commitment to Children’s Hospital. We hear that you make weekly visits to the kids at Children’s, so we thought a home near the hospital might come in handy. This classic Tudor beauty is right on the water in Laurelhurst and OOZES luxury. The gated entrance and surrounding brick wall provide privacy from those well intended (but sometimes crazy) super fans. There’s a guest house for Mark Rodgers when he visits (although after the contract he just got you, you might consider letting him sleep in the big house). And between Super Bowl wins, you can keep active in the pool and on the all-purpose sports court. There’s even a grassy knoll where your dogs can tend to their own business. What more could you ask for?


Modern & Masculine in Clyde Hill | $6,288,000 – Now, Russell, if you were to do one of those “What Architectural Style Am I?” quizzes on Facebook, we think this is what you’d get. It’s a Clyde Hill contemporary that’s new to the market (just like you) and sports a savvy, sophisticated style with masculine undertones (also like you). Some might underestimate the potential of this unconventional home on first glance (sound familiar?), but boy is it pure perfection with its sleek lines, strong arm, and amazing running game. Oh wait, that’s you, but you get the point. Oh, and did we mention the rooftop deck? Russell, this one is well worth your consideration.


Magic on Mercer Island | $8,889,000 – So, Russell, we hear that you like to boat over to the VMAC for practice. What a smart way to avoid the gruuuuueling Seattle traffic. When you buy, we figured you’d still want the option to commute by boat, so we located this TO-DIE-FOR waterfront estate on Mercer Island. The beauty about this locale is that not only can you boat to practice, but it’s a straight shot to the CLINK too. This home is all about the views, outdoor living spaces, and the incredible infinity pool that overlooks Lake Washington. Oh, and we know you like to golf, so we should point out that there’s a putting green where you can practice your short game. There might even be space for you to add a batting cage. Just sayin’.


Welcome to the Bellalago in Bellevue | $32,800,00 – Ok, Russell, we realize that this 11,500 square-foot masterpiece has a hefty price tag, but since you just signed an $87 million deal, we’re thinking that you can probably swing it. If you buy this home (which just happens to be the most expensive listing in Seattle), you’ll want for nothing. We mean NOTHING. It has a killer kitchen, movie theatre, gym, four master suites, eight bathrooms, four fireplaces, swimming pool, private beach, dock, and space enough to invite all the 12s over to play (YAY!). But we know you’re a stickler for details, so we think you’ll appreciate that all the stone used to build this house came from the same mountain in China. And if that’s not enough to impress you, all the interior woodwork (of which there’s  A LOT) is carved from one sinker cypress log found at the bottom of the Mississippi River. Russell: Buy. This. House. NOW.


Is this Tuscany or Queen Anne? | $7,500,000 – When you’re bringing home as much bacon as you are these days, Russell, you need a chef-worthy kitchen with all those fancy appliances to cook said bacon. Easy to do in this house. You also deserve a home with all the trappings a star athlete of your stature requires. Sweeping city and water views? Check. Media room? Yup. A huge bathtub for post-game soaks? That too. How about an elevator for those days when your muscles are too sore for stairs? You got it. All that and a gym where you can keep yourself in game shape during the off season. It really is the perfect package. Just like you, Russell.



Downtown Seattle Penthouse | $7,155,000 – Russell, it’s probably wrong of us to assume that you’re looking for a house; perhaps your idea of home is more along the lines of a luxury penthouse. If so, we can tell you that it absolutely, positively does not get any better than this 4,400 square-foot private residence at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seattle. Not only are you a short distance from the CLINK, but you can live the high life while enjoying all the perks of being in a hotel (can you say room service?). And since the Four Seasons is pet friendly, your two Great Dane pups will be welcome too. #WOOF


High Style on Lake Sammamish | $6,450,000 – OK, we have to come clean. This one is for Ciara. No two ways about it. Just check out that closet . . . all her friends will have closet envy, we promise. And we recommend buying it with the furnishings (hello, Louis Vuitton furniture). This Lake Sammamish estate probably isn’t super practical for you since it’s quite a distance from both the CLINK and Children’s Hospital – and you can’t boat to practice (at least not very easily) – but it’s SOOOOO pretty. And it has everything a super star (and his super star girlfriend) could ask for. Marble floors, Swarvoski crystal knobs, 150-bottle wine cellar, African Moabi wood flooring. Even the garage doors are made from a rare variety of Mahogany (natch). We bet Colin Kaepernick has nothing on this crib. BOOM!


Russell, we hope you enjoyed our little tour of “Russell-worthy” homes as much as we did. We know you have #NoTimeToSleep, so let us know if we can do anything to help. At this point, all that’s really left to say is good luck with your home search and the upcoming season. Oh, and do us a solid and invite us to the house warming, would ya? #GOHAWKS



Posted on August 12, 2015 at 10:25 am
Jill Himlie | Posted in Windermere Blog |

August Perspectives

Every year there’s some aspect of the real estate market that becomes a focal point for the media. A few years ago it was whether or not housing would ever recover from the Great Recession. Then it was historically low interest rates and inventory levels. And more recently, it’s whether or not this hyper-paced, multiple-offer real estate market is heading towards another housing bubble. To explore this further, we’d like to introduce Windermere’s new Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, who doesn’t believe there’s a cause for concern, for now.


I’m often asked if we are on the verge of another “bubble” bursting due to an overheated housing market. My response is no, and here are the reasons why:

Fewer flippers: Foreclosures are the preferred property type for home flippers because they offer significantly higher margins. But with the continued drop in foreclosures, we’ve seen a marked slowdown in flipping. Nationally, the percentage of flipped homes has decreased from 6.7% in 2014 to 4% today, and this share is expected to keep declining, signifying a more normalized market.

Lending standards remain stringent: Banks actually learned a lesson from the collapse of the housing market and have made qualifying for a mortgage quite difficult. Even low down payment programs like FHA, that have less stringent FICO requirements, have significantly tightened their standards, thus lowering the risk of lending to borrowers who cannot handle their mortgage obligations.

Home prices are up, but not to pre-bubble levels: Data provided by the S&P/CaseShiller Home Price Indices tells us that in the Seattle area, the bursting of the housing bubble led to a 33 percent drop in the index. The index has certainly recovered significantly, but is still 7% below the prior peak.

Interest rates will (eventually) rise: Some fear that rising rates will take some steam out of the market, but growth in employment, and the subsequent drop in the unemployment rate, will lead to wage growth and increasing incomes, which will take some of the sting out of any rate increase.

As you can see, the housing market and economic climate of today are very different from the conditions that led to the housing bubble in 2007. Nobody can predict what’s going to happen with 100% certainty, but given the current state of things, I don’t believe there is a risk of history repeating itself in the foreseeable future. 


Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. 

Posted on August 10, 2015 at 9:05 am
Jill Himlie | Posted in Windermere Blog |

New Features vs. Character

We are often asked, “Which is the better buy, a newer or older home?” Our answer: It all depends on your needs and personal preferences. We decided to put together a list of the six biggest differences between newer and older homes:

The neighborhood

Surprisingly, one of the biggest factors in choosing a new home isn’t the property itself, but rather the surrounding neighborhood. While new homes occasionally spring up in established communities, most are built in new developments. The settings are quite different, each with their own unique benefits.

Older neighborhoods often feature tree-lined streets; larger property lots; a wide array of architectural styles; easy walking access to mass transportation, restaurants and local shops; and more established relationships among neighbors.

New developments are better known for wider streets and quiet cul-de-sacs; controlled development; fewer aboveground utilities; more parks; and often newer public facilities (schools, libraries, pools, etc.). There are typically more children in newer communities, as well.

Consider your daily work commute, too. While not always true, older neighborhoods tend to be closer to major employment centers, mass transportation and multiple car routes (neighborhood arterials, highways and freeways).

Design and layout

If you like VictorianCraftsman or Cape Cod style homes, it used to be that you would have to buy an older home from the appropriate era. But with new-home builders now offering modern takes on those classic designs, that’s no longer the case. There are even modern log homes available.

Have you given much thought to your floor plans? If you have your heart set on a family room, an entertainment kitchen, a home office and walk-in closets, you’ll likely want to buy a newer home—or plan to do some heavy remodeling of an older home. Unless they’ve already been remodeled, most older homes feature more basic layouts.

If you have a specific home-décor style in mind, you’ll want to take that into consideration, as well. Professional designers say it’s best if the style and era of your furnishings match the style and era of your house. But if you are willing to adapt, then the options are wide open.

Materials and craftsmanship

Homes built before material and labor costs spiked in the late 1950s have a reputation for higher-grade lumber and old-world craftsmanship (hardwood floors, old-growth timber supports, ornate siding, artistic molding, etc.).

However, newer homes have the benefit of modern materials and more advanced building codes (copper or polyurethane plumbing, better insulation, double-pane windows, modern electrical wiring, earthquake/ windstorm supports, etc.).

Current condition

The condition of a home for sale is always a top consideration for any buyer. However, age is a factor here, as well. For example, if the exterior of a newer home needs repainting, it’s a relatively easy task to determine the cost.  But if it’s a home built before the 1970s, you have to also consider the fact that the underlying paint is most likely lead0based, and that the wood siding may have rot or other structural issues that need to be addressed before it can be recoated.

On the flip side, the mechanicals in older homes (lights, heating systems, sump pump, etc.) tend to be better built and last longer.

Outdoor space

One of the great things about older homes is that they usually come with mature tress and bushes already in place. Buyers of new homes may have to wait years for ornamental trees, fruit trees, roses, ferns, cacti and other long-term vegetation to fill in a yard, create shade, provide privacy, and develop into an inviting outdoor space. However, maybe you’re one of the many homeowners who prefer the wide-open, low-maintenance benefits of a lightly planted yard.

Car considerations

Like it or not, most of us are extremely dependent on our cars for daily transportation. And here again, you’ll find a big difference between newer and older homes. Newer homes almost always feature ample off-street parking: usually a two-care garage and a wide driveway. An older home, depending on just how old it is, may not offer a garage—and if it does, there’s often only enough space for one car. For people who don’t feel comfortable leaving their car on the street, this alone can be a determining factor.

Finalizing your decision

While the differences between older and newer homes are striking, there’s certainly no right or wrong answer. It is a matter of personal taste, and what is available in your desired area. To quickly determine which direction your taste trends, use the information above to make a list of your most desired features, then categorize those according to the type of house in which they’re most likely to be found. The results can often be telling.

If you have questions about newer versus older homes, or are looking for an agent in your area we have professionals that can help you. Contact us here.

Posted on August 5, 2015 at 12:15 pm
Jill Himlie | Posted in Windermere Blog |

How long should they last?

Nothing in life lasts forever – and the same can be said for your home. From the roof to the furnace, every component of your home has a life span, so it’s a good idea to know approximately how many years of service you can expect from them. This information can help when buying or selling your home, budgeting for improvements, and deciding between repairing or replacing when problems arise.

According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)study, the average life expectancy of some home components has decreased over the past few decades.  (This might explain why you’re on your third washing machine while Grandma still has the same indestructible model you remember from childhood.) But the good news is the life span of many other items has actually increased in recent years.

Here’s a look at the average life spans of some common home components (courtesy of NAHB). 

Appliances. Of all home components, appliances have the widest variation in life spans. These are averages for all brands and models, and may represent the point which replacing is more cost-effective than repairing. Among major appliances, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy, at about 15 years. Electric ranges, standard-size refrigerators, and clothes dryers last about 13 years, while garbage disposals grind away for about 10 years. Dishwashers, microwave ovens, and mini-refrigerators can all be expected to last about nine years. For furnaces, expect a life span of about 15 years for electric, 18 for gas, and 20 for oil-burning models. Central air-conditioning systems generally beat the heat for 10 to 15 years.

Kitchen & Bath. Countertops of wood, tile, and natural stone will last a lifetime, while cultured marble will last about 20 years. The life span of laminate countertops depends greatly on use and can be 20 years or longer. Kitchen faucets generally last about 15 years.  An enamel-coated steel sink will last five to 10 years; stainless will last at least 30 years; and slate, granite, soapstone, and copper should endure 100 years or longer. Toilets, on average, can serve at least 50 years (parts such as the flush assembly and seat will likely need replacing), and bathroom faucets tend to last about 20 years.

Flooring. Natural flooring materials provide longevity as well as beauty: Wood, marble, slate, and granite should all last 100 years or longer, and tile, 74 to 100 years. Laminate products will survive 15 to 25 years, linoleum about 25 years, and vinyl should endure for about 50 years. Carpet will last eight to 10 years on average, depending on use and maintenance.

Siding, Roofing, Windows. Brick siding normally lasts 100 years or longer, aluminum siding about 80 years, and stucco about 25 years. The life span of wood siding varies dramatically – anywhere from 10 to 100 years – depending on the climate and level of maintenance. For roofs, slate or tile will last about 50 years, wood shingles can endure 25 to 30 years, metal will last about 25 years, and asphalts got you covered for about 20 years. Unclad wood windows will last 30 years or longer, aluminum will last 15 to 20 years, and vinyl windows should keep their seals for 15 to 20 years.

Of course, none of these averages matter if you have a roof that was improperly installed or a dishwasher that was a lemon right off the assembly line. In these cases, early replacement may be the best choice. Conversely, many household components will last longer than you need them to, as we often replace fully functional items for cosmetic reasons, out of a desire for more modern features, or as a part of a quest to be more energy efficient.

Are extended warranties warranted?

Extended warranties, also known as service contracts or service agreements, are sold for all types of household items, from appliances to electronics. They cover service calls and repairs for a specified time beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranty. Essentially, warranty providers (manufacturers, retailers, and outside companies) are betting that a product will be problem-free in the first years of operation, while the consumer who purchases a warranty is betting against reliability.

Warranty providers make a lot of money on extended warranties, and Consumers Union, which publishesConsumer Reports, advises against purchasing them.  You will have to consider whether the cost is worth it to you; for some, it brings a much needed peace of mind when making such a large purchase. Also, consider if it the cost outweighs the value of the item; in some cases it may be less expensive to just replace a broken appliance than pay for insurance or a warranty. 

Posted on August 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm
Jill Himlie | Posted in Windermere Blog |

August Maintenance Guide

This article originally appeared on Porch.com

Written by Anne Reagan


August is a great month to enjoy the last part of summer. Days are hot, flowers are in bloom, and many people choose August as the perfect month to leave on one last summer holiday before the busy fall begins. If you enjoy working in the garden, you’ll find that August is a great time of year to harvest fruits and vegetables, trim back foliage and tend the soil. Watering may be occupying much of your time. You’ll want to read our tips about water conservation and ways to save water in the yard. If you have a swimming pool in your yard, or live near a body of water, be sure all of your guests know swimming safety basics. Sadly, children have a high rate of drowning or injuries related to swimming, and many of these incidents can be preventable. Read our swimming safety tips here.

Inside the home you might find it to be a good time to get organized before the fall. Cleaning out closets, donating unused items, and really cleaning under the bed can be a great way to get a handle on clutter. You might also want to make a “honey do” list of all the things around the home you haven’t had time to do. Hanging pictures, fixing a dripping faucet (watch our how-to video here), purchasing new water filters for the refrigerator….the list can sometime feel long. Take the time to find professionals in your area that can help you get these tasks done before the weather turns and days feel shorter. This is also a great time of year to book your winter-related professionals now like chimney sweeps, attic insulation specialists and tree trimmers. Put them on the calendar now and you’ll start the fall season feeling organized.


Here are some other tasks you can do this month:


  • Check roof and replace loose/missing/damaged shingles
  • Replace any missing mortar (if your home is made of brick)
  • Seal chimney to prevent small animals from entering
  • Check AC refrigerant levels. If levels are low it could indicate a leak.
  • Repair cracks in your driveway/sidewalk
  • Locate & block any animal-accessible attic vents
  • Clean any mold/mildew growing on siding


  • Check/replace air conditioning filters
  • Check and replace humidifier filters
  • Turn the lead edge of fan blades downwards to push cooled air down
  • Clear out hair/other debris from sink & tub drains
  • Vacuum coils behind refrigerator


  • Continue to mow frequently and high to discourage weeds
  • Keep up with watering (in the morning is best)
  • Inspect your irrigation system for damaged sprinkler heads
  • Turn the compost pile and add water if necessary
  • Repair fences or gates
  • Trim trees in preparation for winter storms


 Porch.com is the free home network that connects homeowners and renters with the right home service professionals.

Posted on July 31, 2015 at 2:45 pm
Jill Himlie | Posted in Windermere Blog |

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update



Our state appears to be pretty much firing on all cylinders with annual employment growth well above 100,000 and the unemployment rate trending down toward 5%. A ll in all, it’s difficult to f ind something to worry about at the moment.


  • 21,478 home sales were reported during the second quarter of 2015, up by a substantial 17.6% when compared to the second quarter of 2014.
  • Sales slowed in the volatile San Juan County but this is no cause for concern as it reflects a drop of just 26 units.
  • The growth in sales was most pronounced in Grays Harbor County—a turnaround from the last report—and all but two counties saw double-digit percentage increases from the same period last year.
  • A bigger concern is the continued decline in listing activity which is down by almost 20



  • Prices in the region rose by an average of 8.2% year-over-year, and are 7.8% higher than seen in the first quarter of 2015.
  • When compared to the second quarter of 2014, Kitsap County showed the fastest price growth with an increase of 15.9%. Doubledigit percentage gains were also seen in six other counties.
  • For the second consecutive quarter, Island County was the only market where year-overyear home prices fell—but the difference was very minimal.
  • I still anticipate price growth continuing to increase through the balance of the year as inventory constraints persist.



  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by seven days when compared to the second quarter of 2014.
  • It took an average of 84 days to sell a home in the second quarter of this year—down from 102 in the first quarter.
  • There were just three markets where the length of time it took to sell a home did rise, but the increase was minimal and ranged from one to five days.
  • Unsurprisingly, the average time it took to sell a house in King County dropped below one month to 27 days.



This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates, and larger economics factors. I have moved the needle a little farther in favor of seller. In as much as we have seen some improvement in the number of homes for sale over the past few months, the stock of homes for sale is still woefully low, and demand far exceeds supply.

I anticipate that we will continue to see price appreciation continue through this year at above average rates. The big question remains as to when we will see any significant increase in mortgage rates. Given current events in Europe, our mortgage markets will be looking east for direction, rather than concentrating on domestic economic data. As such, I don’t expect a rapid interest rate growth in the near-term.

In summary, the region’s housing market remains tight with little sign that we will see any significant increase in much-needed listings. This, combined with rising home prices, has some concerned that we could be heading towards another housing bubble, but the real estate market and economic climate of today are very different to those that led to the bubble in 2007. Nobody can predict what’s going to happen with 100% certainty, but given the current state of things, I don’t believe there is a risk of history repeating itself in the foreseeable future.



Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. 


Posted on July 29, 2015 at 9:10 am
Jill Himlie | Posted in Windermere Blog |

Windermere Foundation Quarterly Report Q2 2015

The year seems to be flying by… can you believe we are already more than halfway through 2015? And what a year it has been for the Windermere Foundation. Thanks to your continued support, we have raised more than $738,000 this year to support organizations that help low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S. Overall, that brings the total amount we have raised to date to $29.5 million!

This past quarter, donations from real estate sales/transactions made up 40 percent of the total revenue, with the other 60 percent coming from personal donations made by Windermere agents, owners, staff, and our community partners. We are getting close to our $30 million end-of-year goal for 2015, but we still need your help to get us there!

Over the past year, the Windermere Foundation has been able to provide grants to organizations, such as Multi-Communities (M.I.C.), which provides services to families surviving domestic violence, and Mary’s Place, a drop-in day shelter for women with children.


“I wanted to extend my sincere appreciation for the funding assistance. Funding included the Community Garden of Peace Project I for young mothers ages 14-18, as well as the Community Peace Project II, in addition to rental assistance for abused moms and their children, food cards, and financial assistance for toys, books, and other gifts during the holidays. Thanks to Windermere, we were able to provide services and other assistance directly to families, in addition to helping us work towards expanding our outreach and services to multiple youth and family services organizations throughout Seattle—a gift that just keeps on giving! Thus far, we have helped 17 families.”

–Bettie J. Williams-Watson, Founder/Executive Director, Multi-Communities (M.I.C.)


“Wow! You are just love. You fill our hearts and our shelter with healing and hope! Thank for being the grace and goodness we need to survive until we get our forever homes. We love Windermere!”

— Marty Hartman, Executive Director, Mary’s Place 


These are just a couple of organizations that have received assistance through the Windermere Foundation. If you’d like to help us reach our fundraising goal of $30 million by end of year, please click on the Donate button.

Thank you to everyone who supports the Windermere Foundation. Your generosity is truly making a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities.

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation

Posted on July 24, 2015 at 9:30 am
Jill Himlie | Posted in Windermere Blog |

6 Powerful Reasons to Consider a Short Sale Instead of Foreclosure

If you are unable to make your mortgage payments, you may be considering what to do next. One option is a short sale. Another option is foreclosure. There are many benefits to choosing a short sale over foreclosure.

Before you make a decision, make sure you know the facts. Our partner, Lambros Politis, Lead Counsel and debt settlement specialist at Ark Law Group, points out six powerful reasons to consider a short sale instead of foreclosure:

Selling your home can be a tough choice. It’s an emotion-packed decision that affects your whole family. Often homeowners feel that selling short is a catastrophe – even when it’s almost impossible to make their mortgage payments.

short sale can be the first step to a financial freedom. The relief from getting out from under an unaffordable mortgage can be exhilarating. It really is the beginning of a new life.

Foreclosure is a far worse alternative to a short sale. If you keep hoping something will change – you’ll get a windfall or a huge raise – and it doesn’t happen, at some point you’ll have to stop paying your mortgage. When you go into default, your bank will foreclose. And that’s very bad news.

If your mortgage payments are too much for you to handle and you’re at risk of losing your home, I want you to consider these reasons for choosing a short sale.

1.In a short sale, all debts will be settled or re-negotiated.

With a foreclosure, your home will almost certainly sell for less than what you owe. Your mortgage lender then might have the right to sue you for the rest of the debt or garnish your wages to get the money you still owe. The nightmare isn’t always over just because you lost your property.

Washington State allows non-judicial foreclosure on a lien. If your lender chooses non-judicial foreclosure, they can’t collect any remaining balance from you after they auction off your home. However, if you have other liens against your property – a second mortgage, a HELOC, or other debts secured by your home – those lenders still have the right to sue you, garnish your income or take money out of your bank account.

With a short sale, we will work with your mortgage holder to get a deficiency waiver, so the balance of your debt is forgiven. We will also work with any other lender to remove their lien from the property. This has to happen or the short sale can’t proceed. Our negotiator will also try to get a better deal for you, if the lender won’t forgive the debt – such as a reduced payment plan.

As a rule, we’re able to get full settlements for 90% to 95% of our clients while negotiating a short sale.

2.Foreclosure has a bigger impact on your credit than a short sale.

If you stop making payments on your home, that’s a big deal to lenders. That’s why a foreclosure is noted in your credit report for seven years. Even if you recover financially, have a down payment saved and great income, you’re very unlikely to be able to buy a new home for at least a few years.

A short sale is also kept in your credit record for seven years – and will also lower your credit score. Following a short sale, the waiting period before you can qualify for a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan is much shorter than if you go through foreclosure. And without delinquent payments, your credit score will be higher. If you’re hoping to get an FHA loan, you may qualify for consideration even sooner.

3.Foreclosure is public information.

There is some stigma to foreclosure. If the bank plans to auction off your home, they’ll put notices on your door and in your yard. Your neighbors will know you aren’t able to make your mortgage payments.

From the outside, a short sale looks like any other real estate transaction. No one needs to know. You’re in good company. As recently as March 2015, 10% of all home sales were short sales.

4.With a short sale, you may qualify for generous government cash incentives to help with relocation.

If you meet HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives) requirements you may get up to $10,000 when your short sale closes. While it’s called “relocation assistance,” you can use the money for anything. To qualify, you need to be using this home as your primary residence.

Even if you don’t qualify for HAFA relocation assistance, you have other options. If you have a Fannie Mae loan, you may qualify for up to $3,000 in assistance at closing. FHA and VA lenders may offer $1,500.

Not all lenders participate in these programs. We find that our clients get this assistance in about 70% of the sales we help with.

5.You don’t have to go it alone.

When you work with a team of professionals, you know that you have smart people on your side, working to get you everything you’re eligible for. You don’t have to talk to your lender yourself – we’ll take care of it. Nothing falls through the cracks. You don’t have to be the expert. All your questions are answered.

In the end, it’s always better to know you did everything possible to get the best outcome.

6.After a short sale, you can start fresh.

This is what people tell me is the biggest benefit of a short sale. It comes back to what I said at the beginning. A foreclosure only gets rid of your mortgage payment. Other lenders will still need to be paid.

We work very hard to resolve ALL your debts when we negotiate your short sale. You can let go of that stress and move forward with the rest of your life.


Richard Eastern is a Windermere broker in Bellevue, WA and co-founder of Washington Property Solutions, a short sales negotiating company. Since 2003 he has helped more than 900 homeowners sell their homes. A Bellevue native and a University of Washington grad, Richard is an avid sports fan and a devoted Little League and basketball coach. You can learn more about Richard here or at www.washortsales.com.


Posted on July 22, 2015 at 4:09 pm
Jill Himlie | Posted in Windermere Blog |



Life happens fast. New job, new baby, a new adventure. Whatever that next step is, your agent’s job is to help you find a home that fits. A place to create new memories, tell old stories – start the next chapter.


We want to hear your stories. Like the moment you and your agent found your perfect home, the way you felt when you were handed the keys, or when your home sold and you knew you could finally move onto whatever life has in store for you next. You and your real estate agent are on a journey together, and we would love to hear about what makes that work.

Over the next year, we will be collecting videos, photos, essays, and more. Tag your tweets, Instagram photos, and vine videos with #YourStoryIsOurStory, or upload your photos with captions directly to the gallery page.  If you would like to share a video, or post to our blog, contact us in the comments. We aren’t looking for agent testimonials or reviews; rather, we want to hear about your unique buying or selling journey and how your agent helped you get there.

Throughout the year we will be posting some of our favorite #YourStoryIsOurStory videos, photos, and blog posts. Please take a minute to share your experiences, and follow #YourStoryIsOurStory on our blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest pages.


Posted on July 20, 2015 at 2:42 am
Jill Himlie | Posted in Windermere Blog |