Buyers · Real Estate · Selling Real Estate · Statistics

May Market Stats…

The housing inventory (homes for sale) is currently at 6.6 months, which matches April’s housing inventory. The peak of our inventory was 18.6 months back in Feb 2009. Inventory is calculated by dividing the active listings at the end of the month by the number of closed sales for that month.

The average home sale price is down 3% and the median sale price is down 5.4%. Not bad when compared to other parts of the country.

The time it takes to sell a home is down 36.1% compared to May, 2009 stats.  This lower number could have something to do with the first time home buyer tax credit that recently expired on April 30, 2010.  Total market time to sell a home for 2010 is down 19.7% from 2009 statistics.

Interest rates are still incredibly low. If you’re considering  selling your home in the near future and you price your house right, the chances of it selling are high. If you want to buy a home, I highly recommend you talk to a lender first to verify you qualify. Once you’re pre-qualified, start watching the market.

These residential statistics are based on monthly figures reported by RMLS™ of which I am a member.

Law/Regulations · Real Estate · Selling Real Estate

Washington State Residents, Did you know…

Did you know that effective July 1, 2010 Washington state adopted the 2009 International Building, Residential, Mechanical and Fire Codes?

One change that is of particular interest to the real estate market is the requirement that all existing residences (Residential Building Group R1, R2 and R3) sold on or after July 1, 2011 must have carbon monoxide (CO2) alarms (complying with UL 2034) installed based on this new code and the manufacturer’s installation instructions. This means sellers will be required to install them before selling. Fortunately, a seller should be able to easily purchase carbon monoxide detectors in the smoke alarm section of any local building or hardware store or department.

Starting January 1, 2011 all new construction homes (Residential Building Group R-1, R-2 and R-3) will also be required to have CO2 detectors installed.

According to the Washington State Building Code Counsel, Group R-1 includes hotels & motels, R-2 includes apartments and R-3 single family, except owner occupied single family.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engine-powered equipment such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that on average, about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products. These products include malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters; engine-powered equipment such as portable generators; fireplaces; and charcoal that is burned in homes and other enclosed areas. In 2005 alone, CPSC staff is aware of at least 94 generator-related CO poisoning deaths. Forty-seven of these deaths were known to have occurred during power outages due to severe weather, including Hurricane Katrina. Still others die from CO produced by non-consumer products, such as cars left running in attached garages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that several thousand people go to hospital emergency rooms every year to be treated for CO poisoning.

For more information about this upcoming change check out the Washington State Building Code Counsel or your local building code office.

For information about the dangers of carbon monoxide, refer to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Please note that I am not endorsing the above brand of CO2 detector, I merely included a picture to show what one looks like.  They look very similar to smoke detectors. There are also combo smoke and CO2 detectors on the market.

And now for my disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer, so please consult a legal professional if you have questions.

Buyers · Real Estate · Selling Real Estate

New Search Feature Added!

I’m pleased to announce my new Property Search feature has been activated on my website. I’m very excited about adding this powerful feature to my site. It allows you to search for properties, save property searches, have new listings sent directly to your email, request additional information or showings and much, much more.

My website is your doorway to the SW Washington real estate market. Google: JoElla Realty to find me. How easy is that? Please check it out soon and let me know what you think.

Buyers · Real Estate · Selling Real Estate Updates…

I modified my Realty by JoElla website to feature a home search on the first page. I’m hoping this change is beneficial to my customers. Let me know what you think.

Buyers · Real Estate · Selling Real Estate


The information out there is confusing. I’ve read you can and you can’t use the $8000 tax credit as a down payment when buying a house.

I recommend a buyer talk to their trusted lender to find out what programs are available to buy a home. Most likely, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. If you don’t have a trusted lender, ask for a referal from someone you know. When dealing with someone you don’t know, check references, look up their business license, look up their company name on the Better Business Bureau, check with your local Chamber of Commerce or Angie’s List.

I’ve heard credit scores are vital when purchasing a home today. Apparently credit scores are more important than how much money you have for a down. You could have a large down, but if your credit score isn’t adequate, you may have trouble getting a loan. An idealistic credit score is 720 and above, although FHA and VA are more liberal regarding credit scores. I’ve heard lenders are requiring higher credit score standards when lending for investment property.

I’ve also been told several stories about people that put large amounts of money down on homes during the housing boom and later, when their home value dropped, they walked away expecting the bank to take their loss. Since banks are in business for a profit, it is now harder to get the banks to forgive a debt when they release the home (as collateral) on a loan if there is still a balance owned. Today, some banks are leaving themselves a window (in the small print) to allow them to continue to pursue any balance owed after a home is sold to the next buyer in a short sale (sold for less than is owed).  More banks are unwilling to absorb all the real estate losses, so they are going after the person that didn’t pay off their loan they promised to pay at closing (all buyers sign a promissary note promising to pay their loan back).

Remember, when in doubt, consult with a real estate attorney to find out what the small print means.