Amazing Real Estate Tips, Trends & Ideas

Amazing Real Estate Tips, Trends & Ideas for the Greater Seattle market: Local real estate news in the Greater Seattle market: Home prices and trends in Seattle, on the Eastside, and across the Puget Sound region. By Dave McFarland, Broker with RSVP Real Estate.

Nov. 3, 2017

Renting in Seattle or Buying…Either Way, You’re Paying Someone’s Mortgage

There are some people who have not purchased homes yet because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich,”

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 3.94% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

Nov. 3, 2017

Daylight Saving Time

Remember to "Fall Back" on Sunday November 5th.  Don't forget to turn back your clocks - Daylight Saving Time is ending at 2:00AM on Sunday, November 5th.


Oct. 16, 2017

Thinking of Selling Your Seattle Area Home? You Should Do It TODAY!!

That headline might be a little aggressive; however, as August 2017’s housing market data begins to roll in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling your Seattle area home, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME TODAY!  

In a recent article by CBS News, they explained that the number of existing home sales is shrinking, and Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, said:

“There should be 3 million homes on the market right now…Yet, there are only 1.9 million.”

And this situation will be affected greatly by recent natural disasters. Yun continued by saying:

“Before the hurricanes I would have predicted 1.35 million in new-home construction in 2018…I’ll have to scale that down now.”

NAR, in their August 2017 Realtors® Confidence Index, indicated that:

“Amid sustained job creation and sustained historically low mortgage rates, REALTORS® reported…that buyer demand is stronger compared to conditions one year ago… and that fifty percent of properties were on the market for less than one month when sold.”

The only challenge to today’s market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is only a 4.2-month supply of inventory, which is down from 4.5 months one year ago.

Bottom Line

With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Let’s get together and discuss the inventory levels in your neighborhood to determine your next steps.


Want to know what your home is worth now in this crazy market? 

Oct. 13, 2017

Millionaire to Millennials: Buy a Home Now!

In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that “the single biggest mistake millennials are making” is not purchasing a home because buying real estate is “an escalator to wealth.”

Bach went on to explain:

“If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none. The average homeowner to this day is 38 times wealthier than a renter.”

In his bestselling book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” Bach does the math:

“As a renter, you can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years ($1,500 a month for 30 years comes to $540,000), and in the end wind up just where you started — owning nothing. Or you can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage, and in the end wind up owning your own home free and clear!”

Who is David Bach?

Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.

He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial TimesWashington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.

Bottom Line

Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.

Sept. 8, 2017

Fannie Mae - Provides for an increase in your HOME BUYING power

Do you know that a huge amount of new mortgages go through either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac’s automated underwriting systems. 

This helps create conformity in the mortgage market so mortgages can be transferred to Fannie/Freddie, bundled into mortgage backed securities and then sold on the open bond market.  Recently Fannie Mae updated their system to allow a couple of important changes. 

They include:

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio allowed goes up to 50%
  • On a buyer making $4000/month that’s a $200 increase in allowable payment.  THAT’s a BIG DEAL as it equates to about a $40,000 increase in purchase price.
  • Loan-to-value (LTV) on ARMS increased to 95% - this is what is currently allowed on fixed rate mortgages.
  • Typically self-employed borrowers are required to provide a two year history of tax returns.  They’ve loosened the guidelines so that a one year tax return finding comes back.  While they don’t specify what the magic pill is for getting the one year funding, a 5 year business history probably will be one of the requirements.
  • Some disputed accounts on the borrower’s credit report may ignored.  This helps as lenders historically have had to get borrowers to jump through hoops to remove or resolve them before qualifying for the loan.

Need a loan?  We’ve got some trusted lenders we work with.  Let us know how we can help!



Aug. 17, 2017

Getting a Loan AFTER An Extended Absence From Work

Got hurt on the job?  Took time off for personal reasons?  Just because you have only been back to work a short time, say for 6 months, it doesn’t mean you can’t buy a home.  Here’s how the requirements work.


Conventional Loans

You are not required to be back on the job for a certain time after an extended gap of employment.

Underwriters will need to determine that your income is stable, predictable and likely to continue based on the documentation you have provided.

A letter explaining the circumstances for the job gap may be required.



A borrower re-entering the workforce with an employment gap of at least six months must be employed for a minimum of 6 months before income can be considered for qualifying purposes. The underwriter must verify a 2 year history prior to the gap.  




A borrower re-entering the workforce with an employment gap greater than six months typically needs to be employed for a minimum of 6 months before income can be considered for qualifying purposes. A borrower with variable income or hours may require even greater than 6 months of employment for the underwriter to reasonably determine income is stable, predictable, and likely to continue.


Let me know if you have questions on this or other lending issues.


Don't Gamble With Your Real Estate! 

Make Informed Decisions with Our Market Reports

  • Is it a Buyer or Seller's market?

  • How are list prices vs. sold prices comparing?
  • How long are homes on the market before they accept an offer?
  • Are home prices going up, down or flat?
  • Stay up-to-date in your neighborhood.

Get our Market Snapshot Report to see what's really going on in your neighborhood!


You need this information.  It's FREE and available to you now! 

March 31, 2017

How Does Living Near a Light Rail Station Affect The Value of Your Home?

People ask all the time “How will the new transit system and loading stations affect the price of my home?”  In a recent report, it was determined that it can increase the price of a home by an average of $2,040, or 0.6 percent!

Homes with great transit access are really rare in U.S. cities. Less than one percent of homes that are listed for sale today are considered to be in a rider’s paradise (Transit Score of 90 and above). Yet in a survey of more than 1,300 people who bought a home last year, more than one in five said they wish they had paid more attention to the length of their commute from their new homes.

To estimate how much transit access is worth when buying or selling a home, the report looked at the sale prices and Transit Score ratings of more than one million homes sold between January 2014 and April 2016 across 14 major metro areas.

Here are the price premiums of one point of Transit Score on a home, grouped by metro area.

On average, across the 14 metros analyzed, one Transit Score point can increase the price of a home by $2,040. But it really varies widely from area to area.

It’s easy to see a value premium for a home located near one of the main commuter lines in the metro area because walkability and access to public transportation are relatively rare. 

Seattle is known for its traffic, so more and more homebuyers want to be closer to a light rail station or bus line for commuting to and from work.

Some people even commute from the suburbs to park near a transit line to get into the downtown area because it is easier than driving.  Homes near the proposed Lynnwood–Bellevue Express, the Everett/Lynnwood–Seattle Express  or the Everett–Seattle Express transit centers could see a real uptick in home values.

Transit is an important building block to economic mobility.  The more that cities invest in good transit the bigger financial impact for homeowners and the better access families of all incomes have to jobs and public amenities. Transit is an economic win-win for communities.

Want to see how a light rail transit center affects the value of your property?  Looking for a home near light rail centers?  Click here.  Or just call Dave directly at 425-330-0663 or shoot him and email at if you have questions.



March 30, 2017

How Your Neighbor’s Airbnb Rental Can Affect Your Home Value

If you’ve done any amount of travel recently, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Airbnb, a service where you can rent a room, an apartment or even an entire house from someone who lives in the area you’re visiting. It’s a growing trend among vacationers looking for either inexpensive accommodations or more amenities than a hotel can offer. It’s also very popular when big events come to town, like the Super Bowl in Houston or Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

According to DMR, there are an estimated 2.3 million properties listed on Airbnb across 57,000 cities and 191 countries. I was surprised to learn that in my small suburb, 1.5% of the housing market calls itself an Airbnb rental.

What makes Airbnb different than other rentals? This type of service is also known as a “short-term rental” or STR. Originally, customers who used the service would rent a room or space in an owner or renter occupied dwelling, so it was common to have to share the space with the residents. The trend now, however, is away from such shared spaces. In many cases, individuals are now purchasing single-family or multifamily units to turn them into STRs.

The Washington Post recently reported that STRs are of increasing concern to homeowners, real estate agents, local communities, and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). According to a spokesman for NAR, the organization hasn’t taken a position on either side of the argument. After all, someone is still buying and selling these properties, whether they’re primarily owner-occupied, vacation homes, second homes or investment homes.

So we asked ourselves, do STRs have an effect on properties in their neighborhood? And what’s the impact if you’re trying to sell your home and an Airbnb rental is next door?

It depends.

PRO?  STRs like Airbnb help struggling homeowners and protect a community’s character.

According to a Cornell University Case Study, the ability to rent one’s property?—?even in the short-term?—?may be a tremendous financial aid to struggling homeowners. It can help to avoid or at least mitigate instances of blight due to disrepair, distressed sales at below-market-rate sales prices, and even foreclosures. The case study concludes that allowing owners to home share can protect a community’s character and property values.

PRO?  Homes could sell for more money.

In areas where STRs are accepted or encouraged, and neighbors aren’t hostile to it, a home with “rentable” features might actually sell for more money, according to some realtors.

PRO?  Vacation home sales are increasing.

Craig Kalkut, Vice President of Government Affairs at the American Hotel and Lodging Association, said there’s evidence that vacation-home sales are going up because STR platforms have become an accepted way to book a vacation.

CON?  Party house stigma.

Trying to sell your home, but your neighbor is renting a “party house?” This could have a negative impact. And although Airbnb reports that the majority of their renters are respectful travelers, thanks to, we know these party houses do exist.

CON?  Revolving door of strangers.

You never know who your neighbors could be, and that’s a classic fear for homebuyers, especially for families with young children. A growing concern, Airbnb recently released an online feature where neighbors can now report annoyances such as safety, noise, cleanliness, parking and even suspicious criminal activity.

CON?  Neighboring homes could take longer to sell.

Although we couldn’t find evidence of this, many realtors feel that a single-family home or condo unit next door to a

STR?  Where the occupants change every few days?  Will take longer to sell and bring in lower offers.

It’s easy to see how the real estate industry is caught in the middle of a fight between those who oppose STRs and the property owners and companies promoting them.

According to a recent article in Realtor Magazine, in the future, real estate agents could be required to disclose to a seller or long-term renter the existence of a nearby STR. In fact, the California Association of REALTORS® may soon ask its Forms Committee to add a question to the Seller’s Property Questionnaire: “Is your home across from or nCext door to a short-term rental?”

Given the new nature of these rentals and occupancy issues, it may vary greatly from one neighborhood to another whether a STR like Airbnb can help or hurt a neighborhood or a particular development.

When buying a home you can never have too much information. Contact Dave McFarland at 425-330-0663 to and know before you buy!

March 3, 2017

Q & A: When Does The Clock Start Ticking?


Q & A:  When Does The Clock Start Ticking?



Jan. 19, 2017

Local Market Update - Woodinville 98072