Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Why is a Home's Measurement of Square Footage Important to You?


The total Square footage is commonly used to determine if a home will fit a buyer's needs.  The price per square foot is often used to compare the costs of different homes and even, determine the value of a property.
The challenge is what is the source of the square footage measurement and how was it calculated.
County records use square footage to determine assessed value for property tax purposes.  They are assumed to be reliable but there can be inaccuracies in their tax rolls.  Another source of square footage could be from the house plans but the problem there is that the builder may have made modifications, or a subsequent owner may have made additions.
Appraisers are required to measure the home to determine square footage and they generally, adhere to a standard method which leads to uniformity in the industry.  The ANSI, American National Standards Institute, guidelines are considered the standard but there are no laws governing the process.
Because basements are below grade level, regardless of whether they are finished, they are typically not counted toward gross living area.  Attics because they are above grade level can be included in gross living area if they are finished to the same standard as the rest of the home and they meet the minimum height requirement of seven feet.
Unfinished areas are usually not considered in the square footage because it is not livable.
For detached properties, it is common to measure the perimeter of the house but to only include the living areas, not porches, patios or garages.  Gross living area includes stairways, hallways, closets with minimum height and bathrooms.  Covered, enclosed porches would only be considered if they use the same heating system as the house.
By contrast, condominiums, generally measure the inside area of the unit. Some appraisers may add six inches to account for the wall thickness.  If you were to compare the total of the interior room measurements of a detached home, it would be far less than the stated square footage using the normal method.
If the county records are significantly different from the appraisal or the plans, it will be necessary to determine which one is more accurate.  This may require getting the home measured by an appraiser which should be less than paying for a complete appraisal. This is an approach we've recommended to our customers on occasion to validate a home owner's measurement subsequent to an addition.
Finally, we real estate brokers do not provide, nor are we licensed to provide measurements of the homes total living area.
I look forward to your comments or questions.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Warning! There May Be A Hidden Camera...

With the rapid integration of video and Internet-connected devices, one Big Change in the Home Buying process is not necessarily getting the recognition it deserves - namely, the possibility that your visit to a home for sale may be recorded by the home owner! 



To be sure, the home owner may very well be concerned about theft if items in their home, and we don't ever want any of our customers to be involved with thievery.  However, it is potentially a bit of "thievery" on the part of the home-owner if they capture the feelings and intent of the home buyer with respect to this particular home - especially if the details of an offer are being discussed with your real estate broker.

I rarely see in a listing's remarks to brokers that video or audio recording devices are present in the home.  Thus, the best advice I can give at this time is: while you are inside that home that you absolutely love and want to submit an offer for, to be circumspect in your remarks about that home or your plans for an offer.

I welcome your thoughts, questions and comments!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Don't Leave Home on that Vacation Trip Without ...



You've been planning this trip for some time and almost every detail has been considered...or has it?  Have you thought about how to protect your home while you're out of town?  What's going to make sure that everything you left is still there in you return?

Nothing could ruin a trip more than coming back to find out your home has been burglarized or worse.  It makes sense to spend a little time before you leave on making sure your home is as safe and sound as it can be.

There are a host of devices to use across the Internet including camera door bells, video cameras, door locks, garage door openers, light and thermostat controls.  You can monitor your home whenever you have an Internet connection.  The question is whether you want the distraction from your trip.

Consider these low-tech suggestions along with your other normal efforts:
  • Tell your neighbors you'll be out of town and to be aware of any unusual activity.
  • Notify your alarm company
  • Put on Vacation Hold your postal delivery
  • Use timers on interior lights to make it appear you're home as usual.
  • Don't make it easy for burglars by leaving messages on voice mail or posting on social networks.
  • Post on social networks AFTER you've returned about your vacation.
  • Remove the hidden spare keys and give it to a trusted neighbor or friend.
  • Lock everything, double-check and set the alarm.
  • Take pictures or video of your belongings in case you need them.
  • Disconnect TVs and other equipment in case of unexpected power surges.
  • Adjust your thermostat.
  • Arrange for lawn care.
  • Consider disconnecting the garage door opener.
  • Put irreplaceable valuables in a safety deposit box.
It's nice to go out of town on a well-deserved trip and it's always nice to get back home...especially when it is just the way you left it.

Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Homes For Sale in Clark County WA - June 2019

Home Sales Ramping Up for Clark County WA this June 2019.

The number of Units-Sold were 18 below last year for this month - and Down 104 units (-3.34%) year-to-date; while the short-term price-trend moved up to tie last year's high. These are this month's highlights: 

  • Average-Sales Price trend is on its seasonal rise, with the 12-month/long-term trend line up 5.13% year-over-year;  with the 3-Month Moving Average up 2.21% from this time last year; 
     
  • The Inventory for Resale Real Estate again rose 0.2 months, and is now at 2.2 Months of Supply;
     
  • Approximately 630 Resale Properties closed in the month, which is about 18 fewer (-2.8%) homes than in 2018; and 26 more than last month;
     
  • REO/Bank Owned property sales were 2 units (0.3% of total); down from 4 (0.6%) in 2018; 
     
  • Short Sale /Pre-Foreclosure property sales were 0 units (0% of total); down from 2 (0.3%) in 2018.

For Home Mortgage interest rates the month-end, 30-year-fixed loan interest rate (nationwide average) is 3.80% (Down from 4.07% last month) according to Freddie Mac; compared to 4.57% for June 2018. The current rate level is the lowest we've seen since 2016!

Next up I have prepared custom Unit-Volume (number of properties sold) chart showing the short term (in Red) and long term (12-month moving average in Blue) trends: 

Clark County Home Sales June 2019- Units Sold Clark County Home Sales - Units Sold Trend June 2019

This month the Short-term trend line has pierced and gone well above the Long Term line from below; and the Long-term line appeared to move up ever so slightly. 

Next I have my chart for the Average Home Sales Price trends, showing the results in both the short-term and long-term: 

Clark County Home Sales June 2019- Average Sales Price Trends Clark County Home Sales - Average Sales Price Trend June 2019

We see this month the short-term line bursting up, through the long-term line, and matching last year's high for this measure.  With the still very, very low Inventory level it is reasonable to expect strong upward pressure on home sales prices
 
The Average (using 3 months) sales price for Clark County is now $401,355; which is an increase of approximately $8,672 from this time last year.

My final charts come from RMLS and show:

Charts of Vancouver WA Home Sales Trends in June 2019 Clark County Home Sales Inventory
& Days on Market - June 2019


This month we see New Listings falling significantly, with Pending Sales and Closed Sales stalling near last month's level; resulting in a gain of 0.2 month's increase in the Available Inventory of Homes for sale. 

The second graph with the Average List and Sales Prices shows the average price for new listings continue at a high level; with the closed sales also doing well. 

Lastly, Both Average Days and Median Days on the Market remained close to last month's brisk level.

We've also made available the recent RMLS published report on the Clark County real estate scene, and you can find it here: RMLS Market Action Report on our main website.

Thank you for visiting our report; and please let us know if you have any questions or need help with your home or condo!
 


PS - The home sales market is in change-mode as prices are softer with loan costs now falling, keeping this an excellent time to List and Sell Your Home with Our Team; or, at least find out what your property is worth!  We offer a no-cost, no-obligation Clark County WA Home Valuation, and invite you to try it out!

PPS - Looking to buy a house reasonably soon?  Interest rates have been falling and are still at historically low rates.  You are invited to visit our web-page for Clark County WA  Houses For Sale where it is Quite Easy to search by City, Neighborhood or by Category, with homes and real estate listings from the entire RMLS.  Sign-up Not Required!  The property and home listings shown are provided via many updates each day, and you will be e-mailed hourly with any new matches once you've signed up for a home search.

We also have the MLS Listings for these great towns in Clark County:  Battle Ground WA Real Estate For Sale | Brush Prairie WA Homes For Sale | Camas WA Homes for Sale | Hockinson WA Homes For Sale | La Center WA Homes for sale | Ridgefield WA Homes for sale | Real Estate for sale in Vancouver Washington | Washougal WA Real Estate | Yacolt WA Homes For Sale | Amboy WA Homes For Sale



The information and charts in this Clark County WA real estate update (prepared by Vancouver WA Home Sales Broker, John Slocum, CRS, SFR, our resident statistician) are based on home sales recorded in the Clark County WA MLS system (RMLS), excluding sales of mobile home; and shows the purchase activity since 2009; charting the 3 month Moving average number of sales, and the 12 month Moving average.  This "smoothing" of the trend-data helps illustrate the short-term and longer term trends in Clark County's real estate market.

Disclaimer: as with any real estate statistics, we do our best to provide the best representation at the time the data was acquired and compiled.  The data and reports are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Clark County WA Real Estate Sales - May 2019 Update

Real Estate Sales Move Up for Clark County WA in May 2019.

Closed Unit-Sales came in at 19 units below last year for the same month - and Down 103 units (-4.18%) year-to-date; while the short-term price-trend edged up modestly. Here are this month's highlights: 
  • Average-Sales Price trend is showing a slowing of increase, with the 12-month/long-term trend line up 5.94% year-over-year;  with the 3-Month Moving Average up 1.52% from this time last year; 
     
  • The Inventory for Resale Real Estate rose 0.2 months, and is now at 2.0 Months of Supply;
     
  • Approximately 589 Resale Properties closed in the month, which is about 19 fewer (-3.1%) homes than in 2018; and 61 more than last month;
     
  • REO/Bank Owned property sales were 3 units (0.5% of total); down from 10 (1.6%) in 2018; 
     
  • Short Sale /Pre-Foreclosure property sales were 2 units (0.34% of total); down from 9 (1.48%) in 2018.
For Real Estate Financing interest rates the month-end, 30-year-fixed loan interest rate (nationwide average) is 4.07% (Down from 4.14% last month) according to Freddie Mac; compared to 4.59% for May 2018. The current rate level is the lowest we've seen in the past 15 months!

Next up are custom Unit-Volume (number of properties sold) chart showing the short term (in Red) and long term (12-month moving average in Blue) trends (shown below): 
Clark County Home Sales May 2019- Units Sold Clark County Real Estate Sales - Units Sold Trend May 2019
This month the Short-term trend line nearly-pierces the Long Term from below; and the Long-term line is showing signs of perhaps stabilizing at this level of activity. 

The Average Home Sales Price trends chart is up next, showing the action in both the short-term and long-term: 


Clark County Home Sales May 2019- Average Sales Price Trends Clark County Real Estate Sales - Average Sales Price Trend May 2019
The year-to-date action for prices is somewhat unique this year in that the short-term line has remained, until this month, below the flattening long-term trend line. We'll want to watch this action closely in the coming months to see if the long-term upswing will resume or, if we've entered a period of change and perhaps consolidation.

The Average (using 3 months) sales price for Clark County is now $396,671; which is an increase of approximately $5,957 from this time last year.

The remaining charts come from RMLS and show:
Charts of Vancouver WA Home Sales Trends in May 2019 Clark County Real Estate Sales Inventory
& Days on Market - May 2019

This month we see New Listings taking a large jump upwards, with Pending Sales and Closed Sales also increasing at a more modest pace. The net result has been a 0.2 month's worth of increase in the Available Inventory of properties for sale. 

The second graph with the Average List and Sales Prices shows the average price for new listings continues to post at a very high level; with the closed sales coming in relatively high as well. 

Finally, Both Average Days and Median Days on the Market fell into a zone of brisker activity we usually see in the Spring season.

We've also made available the recent RMLS published report on the Clark County real estate scene, and you can find it here: RMLS Market Action Report on our main website.

Thank you for visiting our report; and please let us know if you have any questions or need help with your home or condo!


PS - The real estate market is in change-mode as prices are softer with loan costs now falling, keeping this an excellent time to List and Sell Your Property with Our Team; or, at least find out what your property is worth!  We offer a no-cost, no-obligation Clark County WA Real Estate Valuation, and invite you to try it out!

PPS - Looking to buy a house reasonably soon?  Interest rates have been falling and are still at historically low rates.  You are invited to visit our web-page for Clark County WA  Houses For Sale where it is Quite Easy to search by City, Neighborhood or by Category, with homes and real estate listings from the entire RMLS.  Sign-up Not Required!  The property and home listings shown are provided via many updates each day, and you will be e-mailed hourly with any new matches once you've signed up for a home search.

We also have the MLS Listings for these great towns in Clark County:  Battle Ground WA Real Estate For Sale | Brush Prairie WA Homes For Sale | Camas WA Homes for Sale | Hockinson WA Homes For Sale | La Center WA Homes for sale | Ridgefield WA Homes for sale | Real Estate for sale in Vancouver Washington | Washougal WA Real Estate | Yacolt WA Homes For Sale | Amboy WA Homes For Sale


The information and charts in this Clark County WA real estate update (prepared by Vancouver WA Real Estate Broker, John Slocum, CRS, SFR, our resident statistician) are based on home sales recorded in the Clark County WA MLS system (RMLS), excluding sales of mobile home; and shows the purchase activity since 2009; charting the 3 month Moving average number of sales, and the 12 month Moving average.  This "smoothing" of the trend-data helps illustrate the short-term and longer term trends in Clark County's real estate market.

Disclaimer: as with any real estate statistics, we do our best to provide the best representation at the time the data was acquired and compiled.  The data and reports are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Clark County WA Home Sales - April 2019 Report

Home Sales in the Seasonal Upswing, although at a Slower Pace for Clark County WA in April 2019.

Closed Unit-Sales fell only 14 units compared last year in the same month - and Down 92 units (-4.95%) year-to-date; while the short-term price-trend fell slightly from last month. Here are this month's key points: 
  • Average-Sales Price increases are slowing, with the 12-month/long-term trend line up 6.72% year-over-year;  with the 3-Month Moving Average up 1.9% from this time last year; 
     
  • The Inventory for Resale Homes rose 0.3 months, and is now at (the still low) 1.8 Months of Supply;
     
  • Approximately 520 Resale Homes closed in the month, which is about 14 fewer (-2.6%) homes than in 2018; and 29 more than last month;
     
  • REO/Bank Owned property sales were 9 units (1.7% of total); up from 8 (1.5%) in 2018; 
     
  • Short Sale /Pre-Foreclosure property sales were 5 units (0.96% of total); up from 0 (0%) in 2018.
For Financing costs we see the month-end, 30-year-fixed home loan interest rate (nationwide average) is 4.14% (Down from 4.27% last month) according to Freddie Mac; compared to 4.47% for April 2018. The current rate level is lowest it has been in the past 14 months!

Continuing on I have prepared a Unit-Volume (number of homes sold) chart showing the short term (in red) and long term (12-month moving average in Blue) trends (shown below): 
Clark County Home Sales April 2019- Units Sold Clark County Home Sales - Units Sold Trend April 2019
The Short-term trend line is rising nicely from the seasonal low; with the long-term trend appearing to be moving side-ways now, instead of going lower.

The next chart shows the Average Home Sales Price trends, both short-term and long-term: 


Clark County Home Sales April 2019- Average Sales Price Trends Clark County Home Sales - Average Sales Price Trend April 2019
Without a doubt, the start of this year's "high season" is showing a very soft profile to the price trend, which is very different when compared to the same time period in the past 5 years. This pattern makes great sense in light of a real estate market that is slowing locally and nationwide.

The short term Average sales price for Clark County is now $386,869; which is an increase of approximately $7,200 from the same month last year.

The final graphs are from RMLS and show:
Charts of Vancouver WA Home Sales Trends in April 2019 Clark County Home Sales Inventory
& Days on Market - April 2019

This month we see New Listings growing at a steeper slope than Pending Sales and Closed Sales are. This is one reason the Active Inventory level has risen modestly. 

The second graph with the Average List and Sales Prices shows the average price for new listings again moving to a very high level. 

Both Average Days and Median Days on the Market fell substantially, which is what we expect at this stage of the high-season.

For the recent RMLS published report on the Clark County real estate scene you can find it here: RMLS Market Action Report on our main website.

Thank you for visiting our report; and please let us know if you have any questions or need help with your home or condo!


PS - The home sales market is in change-mode as prices are softer with loan costs now falling, keeping this an excellent time to List and Sell Your Home with Our Team; or, at least find out what your home is worth!  We offer a no-cost, no-obligation Clark County WA Home Valuation, and invite you to try it out!

PPS - Looking to buy a home reasonably soon?  Interest rates have been falling and are still at historically low rates.  You are invited to visit our web-page for Clark County WA  Homes For Sale where it is Quite Easy to search by City, Neighborhood or by Category, with homes and real estate listings from the entire RMLS.  Sign-up Not Required!  The property and home listings shown are provided via many updates each day, and you will be e-mailed hourly with any new matches once you've signed up for a home search.

We also have the MLS Listings for these great towns in Clark County:  Battle Ground WA Homes For Sale | Brush Prairie WA Homes For Sale | Camas WA Homes for Sale | Hockinson WA Homes For Sale | La Center WA Homes for sale | Ridgefield WA Homes for sale | Homes for sale in Vancouver Washington | Washougal WA Real Estate | Yacolt WA Homes For Sale | Amboy WA Homes For Sale


The information and charts in this Clark County WA real estate update (prepared by Vancouver WA Real Estate Broker, John Slocum, CRS, SFR, our resident statistician) are based on home sales recorded in the Clark County WA MLS system (RMLS), excluding sales of mobile home; and shows the purchase activity since 2009; charting the 3 month Moving average number of sales, and the 12 month Moving average.  This "smoothing" of the trend-data helps illustrate the short-term and longer term trends in Clark County's real estate market.

Disclaimer: as with any real estate statistics, we do our best to provide the best representation at the time the data was acquired and compiled.  The data and reports are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Warmer Weather is Coming - Is Your Comfort System Ready?

Heating and air-conditioning are frequently referred to as the "comfort systems."  If one has gone out in the dead of winter or the heat of summer, lack of comfort becomes a primary concern.  Regular maintenance with a HVAC checklist is something that homeowners can do themselves to ensure that the units operate properly.
Periodically
  • Change your filter every 90 days; every 30 days if you have shedding pets. 
  • Maintain at least two feet of clearance around outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps.
  • Don't allow leaves, grass clippings, lint or other things to block circulation of coils.
  • Inspect insulation on refrigerant lines leading into house monthly and replace if missing or damaged.
Annually, in spring
  • Confirm that outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps are on level pads.
  • Pour bleach in the air conditioner's condensation drain to clear mold and algae which can cause a clog.
  • Avoid closing more than 20% of a home's registers to keep from overworking the system.
  • Replace the battery in the home's carbon monoxide detector.

While using this list will prevent some things that may impede the comfort system's proper performance, it is recommended that you have your units serviced annually by a licensed contractor.  Furnaces should also be inspected for carbon monoxide leaks. Preventative maintenance may help avoid costly repairs.