Suburban ‘Boom’ Coming? May be Time to Act!

More Telecommuters Might Want to Move to the Harbor

An interesting article came across my path from the Seattle PI.

“Zillow” found that 75% of Americans working from home due to COVID-19 would prefer to telecommute at least half of the time once the pandemic subsides, and 66% said they would consider moving if their job allowed them to continue telecommuting.”

This means if you are debating moving or downsizing, this may be the time!

Many of my clients live in the Washington State Peninsula. Our homes will be in top demand if more Seattleites or Bellevue dwellers decide to step away from the rat-race. They can buy a better, bigger home in Gig Harbor or Ollala and still be a ferry ride away from the city.

This was the quote that made my heart skip a beat: “Moving away from the central core has traditionally offered affordability at the cost of your time and gas money. Relaxing those costs by working remotely could mean more households choose those larger homes farther out, easing price pressure on urban and inner suburban areas,” said Zillow senior principal economist, Skylar Olsen.

Did you read that? LARGER HOMES FURTHER OUT?? That means our neck-of-the-woods may be store for a buyer boom.

And here is what I believe will be a big deciding factor: “More people will leave San Francisco, New York, and even Seattle, some for nearby towns like Sacramento and Tacoma that are close enough to support a weekly office visit.” Think about this… yes many may move south to Pierce County, but Tacoma isn’t that different from Seattle.

Gig Harbor though…that is another planet. A stunning, green, quiet heavenly planet. So while they may start looking in Tacoma, the traffic and rat-race mentality will eventually lead them to our paradise.

And if you are selling, get ready for a prime opportunity.

When people realize that their future commute might include a monthly Ferry Ride and taxi drive, they will start salivating at the possibilities that the Peninsula offers.

And that might make some sellers salivate at their options.

Call me, and we can talk about strategy! This may or may not be for you…but if you don’t call, you’ll never know.

 


Posted on June 4, 2020 at 12:10 pm
Maria Kalafatich | Posted in Gig Harbor Real Estate, Olalla Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,

Zillow Vs. Reality

Zillow is a very popular Real Estate estimation service…but does popularity mean accuracy? 

As a real estate agent, I love helping people find, improve, sell or invest in real estate. I think I have the best job in the world. Every day, I get to walk alongside people who see a preferred future and have asked me to help them get to that preferred future. 

Along the way, I get to answer many, many questions. And questions about Zillow are usually the first ones I get to answer. 

 

Let’s clarify a few misconceptions about Zillow…

Since I am a positive person, I’ll start with Zillow’s positive attributes. Zillow brings together a ton of information in one place. If a buyer wants to make a first glance at the homes for sale in a given area, Zillow is thoroughly adequate. If someone wants statistics on how prices have changed in a zipcode over time… than Zillow works. 

If a buyer wants a quick look at square footage, room numbers and age of a home than again, Zillow gives some great information. 

Zillow’s proprietary calculations look at the LAST SALE price of a particular home and compare that price with CURRENT sale prices of similar homes in the area. From here, Zillow calculates their Zestimate. 

Oh, one other good point about Zillow is they clearly state that this is an estimate and not an actual value. 

Now, let’s talk about the reality. Zillow can not know if you have spent $60,000 on home improvements. Likewise, Zillow can’t tell if you have significant water damage, a crack in the foundation or an old roof. 

This is where real estate agents like myself come into the picture. We spend our days looking at and evaluating the values of a home. We are able to take into consideration the up-keep of a home. We are able to actually look at see that the shag carpet hasn’t been replaced since 1960. We look at comparable sales of homes in the neighborhood to give a true context to the prices that are requested. 

Also remember that Zillow is funded by ad revenue. Over inflating someone’s home value is a sure way to get people to bring their eyeballs back to a site. The more eyeballs Zillow delivers, the more money they can charge advertisers. 

Pricing your home for sale or knowing what price to pay for a home is what real estate professionals spend all our time discussing.  When the right time comes, give me a call and we will sit down and make sure your next real estate transaction is your best real estate transaction.  


Posted on May 1, 2020 at 4:02 pm
Maria Kalafatich | Posted in Eatonville Real Estate, Fox Island Real Estate, Gig Harbor Real Estate, Olalla Real Estate, Port Orchard Real Estate, Puyallup Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate, Union Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

COVID-19 Real Estate FAQ

COVID-19 has been a scary time for all of us. If you’re thinking about buying or selling, you may have some questions. I’m going to answer the ones I’m hearing most frequently.

 

Can I still buy a house during the COVID – 19 Crisis?

Yes, you absolutely can still buy a home during this crisis. There are just a few extra precautions that are implemented for sellers and buyers when showing a home-like: ​wear a mask, wear gloves, use hand sanitizer, and 2 people in a home at one time.

What do I do if I am in the middle of a move and house hunt?

House moves are still happening, movers are essential types of business.  ​You can search for homes online, then when you find a home you want to see your agent makes a showing appointment for you both to see the home, use Marco Polo video to view the home, or face time.

Are you keeping regular business hours?

Yes, I am. 8am-6pm and answer phone up until 8pm. 7 days a week.

Are there special assistance programs available for purchasing homes?

You need to get a pre-approval from your lender or I can refer you to a few great people I work with that will go over all the loan programs, payments, rates, etc.

Are you still showing houses?

Yes I am.

Can you help me find a place to rent while I wait this out?

The Rental Market is very tight but you can check on Zillow rentals, Spinaker Property Management, & HCS Property Management.

How are you making sure the houses you show are clean and safe for my family?

When making showing appointments for buyers I ask the agent if the home has been cleaned and if there are masks, booties, hand sanitizer and I carry it all in my car in a showing basket that we can use before and after a showing.

Any community resources you know of?

I’m following the Governor’s recommendations, the NWMLS & CDC for the COVID-19 disease.

I am always here to help in any way that I can, don’t hesitate to give me a call if you need help selling or buying a home during the pandemic.


Posted on May 1, 2020 at 3:53 pm
Maria Kalafatich | Posted in Eatonville Real Estate, Fox Island Real Estate, Gig Harbor Real Estate, Olalla Real Estate, Port Orchard Real Estate, Puyallup Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate, Union Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Gig Harbor Market Report

Gig Harbor

*photo credit: cward360

Quick market update on our favorite city- Gig Harbor

Hey friends! 

I want to give you a quick update on the Gig Harbor real estate market. If it seems like houses are for sale all over our beloved city…it’s because THEY ARE! Once people visit and see the views, the green surroundings, and quick access to everything, they want to live here! 

January 2020 was quite active for a winter month. The median sale price was $380,000 and the average price was $330,000.  These amounts are an increase of just over 1% for the month and 13% for the year. Yes, you read that right- 13% increase for the year! 

Just over 800 homes sold, and almost a thousand homes went on the market. That is an active winter month. 

The average time on the market was just under five weeks. This time on the market is down 35% for the year. So, when homes pop up in Gig Harbor, they sell FAST! 

Currently, there are two sellers for every buyer. My guess is that number will change pretty dramatically over the next few months as people come out of their homes, see their shadow, and start thinking about moving. Spring is always a great time to sell as the winter funk starts to fade. 

So- with all of this in mind, what should you do? 

Great question… first of all, if you are thinking about ANY real estate issues, make me your first call. I live with my finger on the pulse of the entire region and I can help you discern between a good idea and a great idea. And when it comes to real estate, the difference between good and great can be thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars in your pocket. 

If you are debating selling your home…call me! I’ll take a look at your home and give you great options to ensure you get the top dollar for your home. 

If you are debating buying a new home…call me! My eyes are scouring the available listings daily! Nothing makes me happier than finding a house that is underpriced or in a distressed selling situation and calling one of my clients! This creates quick transactions that help both the seller and the buyer. 

Thanks for reading! I love Gig Harbor and I REALLY LOVE handing keys over to people whose lives are about to get better. 

 

Hope to talk to you soon! 

Maria

 


Posted on March 2, 2020 at 9:31 am
Maria Kalafatich | Posted in Gig Harbor Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate | Tagged , , , , ,

Curb Appeal is Sale Appeal

Curb AppealWhy is ‘Curb Appeal” such a big deal in getting your home sold? I’m glad you asked. This blog is a short primer on why the outside of your home matters almost as much as the inside! 

 

While HGTV gets great ratings on shows that talk about staging the INTERIOR of your home… I want to raise a quick flag about making sure the EXTERIOR of your home is equally considered when selling your home. 

 

Sadly, people do judge books by their covers. And buyers will PRE-judge your interior before ever seeing inside if they are taken back by the exterior. So let’s talk about some essentials.  

 

First, let’s agree on what exactly is curb appeal. In its most straightforward form, curb appeal is a subjective appreciation for a physical asset. Specifically, this refers to the level of attractiveness one may feel for a property when viewing it from the street. The house presents itself well, and all of the typical components are in place: the yard is well-kept, the paint is vibrant, the siding looks good, the roof is intact, and things are in order. Curb appeal sets expectations. Prospective buyers are more inclined to look inside if they like what they see on the outside. 

 

Everyone wants their home to have a “wow” factor… but let’s be honest; not every home will have that “wow” factor. But, at a minimum, your property shouldn’t turn off a vast majority of buyers. So, in many regards, our job here is to minimize any negative elements. 

 

 

Don’t be overwhelmed…most of these improvements aren’t too difficult. 

 

 

Driveway

 

Driveways full of weeds or cracks won’t present your property in the best light. Fixing this can be as easy as a bottle of weed spray and twenty minutes of labor. 

 

 

Roof

 

 

Few features will either turn away or attract prospective buyers more than a home’s roof. If the roof is old and has only a few years left, you will receive a positive return on your money by replacing it and trying to sell the home for a higher price. If the buyer doesn’t get a HUGE discount, they won’t want to spend to replace the roof. It is an option for the seller, but I like to keep my clients getting top dollar even if it requires them investing some money before the sale. 

 

 

Landscaping

 

 

Landscaping improvements can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them. Start with the grass and go from there. Then you should focus on the area immediately nearest to the house. A fresh layer of mulch can completely transform a property’s exterior. My advice to get a full picture of the home’s curb appeal, drive down your street, and take note of the first thing that stands out upon pulling up. These items are what others will notice, as well.

 

 

Exterior

 

 

In addition to the roof, you also should look at the siding and exterior of the property itself. A dirty exterior is something that should not be ignored. Power washing a deck or the siding of your property won’t take very long but will have a significant impact. 

 

 

Front Door

 

 

Instead of replacing the door entirely, start by seeing if a fresh coat of paint will be enough to give it an updated look. If you are looking for a more permanent fix, a new door is certainly money well spent and will come with an impressive ROI.

 

So, this was a quick primer on Curb Appeal. I’m not a fan of working with buyers who are always trying to low-ball my sellers. A small amount of effort on your home’s curb appeal will pay off where it matters most: your profit! 

 

Maria Kalafatich


Posted on February 1, 2020 at 11:01 am
Maria Kalafatich | Posted in Eatonville Real Estate, Fox Island Real Estate, Gig Harbor Real Estate, Olalla Real Estate, Port Orchard Real Estate, Puyallup Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate, Uncategorized, Union Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Turn Remodeling Projects Into a Money Pit!

Remodeling your Home

A great article came across my desk the other week about the home featured in the mid-eighties movie “Money Pit.” This was the hysterical movie with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long who were two yuppie home buyers who decided to buy a fixer and …well, fix it! Every home-fixer on the planet laughed until they cried at their never-ending parade of disasters. Of course, the reason the laughter turned to tears is we all remember the tears we’ve shed working on a ‘fixer-upper.’ This article focused on the fact that the same house used in the movie was recently sold for a huge LOSS. The couple who purchased the house set out to remodel, and spent close to $6 MILLION fixing up the home they purchased for just over $2 million.

Eventually, our owners decided to put the home on the market and asked a cool $12 million.
(Crickets)
And so they dropped the price.
(Crickets)
And…dropped it again. And again… until they finally sold the property for $3.5 million dollars.
So what is the moral of this story? I’m glad you asked.

Remodeling is a two-edged sword. The upside is you invest money to get the home that meets your needs and hopefully satisfies a few desires. The downside is, something you may love might not be something a potential home buyer may even like. The experts looking at this story all agree the couple spent too much money on their very personal, very ornate tastes. They added en suite bedrooms, an elegant pool (complete with a pool house), stunning fireplaces, and a modern, open kitchen. Plus, their desires were to create an over-the-top entertaining
palace that would reek excess and elegance. Sadly, the experts agreed that they over-developed for the time and for the area.

How then does a couple know what they should remodel and how much should they spend? They should make sure to have a friend like me in their corner.

As a rule, bathrooms and kitchens are safest, but be sure that your remodels don’t push your price above what your neighborhood can sustain when your home goes for sale. And, when it comes to return on investment, pools sink your return on investment to the bottom. I’d love to talk to you before you remodel if you are thinking of making a few changes before you list! I
spend all my days looking at homes like yours and seeing how buyers respond. Before you make any changes- give me a call!

Thank you for reading…and keep me in mind if you are looking or thinking of listing. I’d love to make the
whole process easier and make sure you get the best financial result!


Posted on January 1, 2020 at 2:17 pm
Maria Kalafatich | Posted in Eatonville Real Estate, Fox Island Real Estate, Gig Harbor Real Estate, Olalla Real Estate, Port Orchard Real Estate, Puyallup Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate, Union Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New and Unique Reason for Higher Home Prices

Home Prices

A couple of articles came across my desk this week that I found… interesting. 

Redfin, a Seattle based Real Estate brokerage did some research and the Wall Street Journal expanded it into an article. 

Their research showed them that home ownership has increased from an average of eight years to around thirteen years! This average increase has increased in just the last nine years. 

If this five-year increase happened over a few decades, no one would notice much. Or, they would have attributed the change to an aging demographic. But this increase was five years occurring over a period of around nine years. A homeownership change like this has created a marked decrease in the available homes for sale! 

Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather told The Wall Street Journal: “If people aren’t moving on, there just are fewer and fewer homes available for new-home buyers,” 

As I suspected, Baby Boomers ages 67 to 85 are not moving. Freddie Mac blamed this reality for creating a shortage of 1.6 million homes 

While I haven’t personally done similar research in the Pacific Northwest, I would concur that this is also happening here. More and more first-time buyers are finding it harder to find a home that is affordable.  If you are a ‘statistic junkie’ like I am, you’ll love the info at the bottom of this post.

Now…don’t take this new reality as all bad news. 

First, this information shows that the long-term investment in homeownership is stronger than ever. People who consistently pay off their homes will make their strongest investment! 

If you are looking…don’t despair. You are on the right path and I would love to help you start making equity that will benefit you for decades. 

But…if you’ve been in your home for a while… this would be a great time to at least test the waters. If you can downsize, or if you are thinking about moving somewhere new, now is a great time to call me and we can look at some comps and evaluate your possibilities. 

In the real estate world, bad news to some people can be GREAT news to you…as long as you have a real estate agent who knows how to navigate the process. 

I’d love to talk and weigh out some options. A tough time for buyers can be the perfect situation for someone wanting to maximize their selling price!


Posted on December 1, 2019 at 3:59 pm
Maria Kalafatich | Posted in Eatonville Real Estate, Fox Island Real Estate, Gig Harbor Real Estate, Olalla Real Estate, Port Orchard Real Estate, Puyallup Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate, Uncategorized, Union Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Fall Home Buying Could Mean Falling Prices!

Fall Home BuyingContrary to popular belief- buying homes in the Fall and Winter can be the best times if you know what to look for…and what to avoid. 

Fewer Buyers Mean More Motivated Sellers!

This time of year, usually means the families with kids are already situated. Those owners of homes that didn’t sell will be extra motivated. Find a few homes you like and start the discussion. As your realtor, I can make sure you are negotiating from a place of strength to maximize your budget! 

The year-end clock is ticking!

Many sellers will want to have their home sold by year-end! Tax considerations for the seller are a very real financial issue. 

For a buyer, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ should be your theme song. Certainly, jump on the house you love at the price you can afford…but if you have a little flexibility in your timeline, waiting till the clock strikes twelve is to your advantage!

Winter Exposes Many Flaws

It’s easy to make a home look perfect when the grass is nice and green. But no leaves and drab gardens will give a buyer some more information and negotiating room. If the seller has been watching their home go from glorious Summer to drab-and-dreary Winter, they may start to panic a bit. 

‘Days on Market’ Mean Dollars Off Price

Memorial Day…Mother’s Day…Father’s Day…Fourth of July… as those Holidays go buy and Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, a seller may get nervous. Especially as the Calendar says December and January. 

If you have time on your side, you can score an amazing value if a seller has to get out from under their property. As your realtor, I’ve been watching homes age on the market and can inform you of when a great time might be to offer an extra-low price. This means you’ll either get more home or pay less for the home you want.  

While most people are thinking of Football, Turkey and Mistletoe…we can be thinking about snagging the Real Estate bargain of the year! 

Send me an email and we can start talking! 

mariakalafatich@windermere.com


Posted on October 31, 2019 at 4:37 pm
Maria Kalafatich | Posted in Eatonville Real Estate, Fox Island Real Estate, Gig Harbor Real Estate, Olalla Real Estate, Port Orchard Real Estate, Puyallup Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate, Union Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Impeccably Updated 3-Bedroom, 1.5-Bath Vintage Home with Multi-Level Gardens in Excellent North Tacoma Location

Brimming with classic beauty and top-notch amenities that modern homeowners are sure to love, this 2,016-square-foot residence is move-in ready! In addition to 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bath, this home also includes a gourmet kitchen, stunning entertaining spaces, ample storage, a newer gas furnace and water heater, and many more updates. Plus, you’ll find a versatile backyard that features patios and multi-level gardens that are perfect for entertaining. Located at 213 N G St Tacoma WA 98403 and just a block away from places like Shake Shake Shake, Art House Cafe, and Indo Asian Street Eatery in the Stadium District, this home is listed for $489,950.

Built in 1906, this gem offers the unique opportunity to own a piece of Tacoma’s history, all while enjoying the benefit of contemporary offerings throughout! This home’s many quality upgrades include new built-in cabinetry, bookshelves, recessed lighting, wainscoting, accent lighting, and custom paint. Each carefully curated space in this home could easily be found in the glossy pages of a home decor magazine as inspiration, but you have the fabulous opportunity to call it “home”!

In the front of the home, the formal living room makes for a memorable first impression, and cheerful bright sunlight streams in through large windows. Stunning built-ins frame the fireplace at the center of it all, and open shelving shows off the perfect place to display framed photos and chic decor elements. The layout flows right into the formal dining room, a well-appointed space with wainscoting and crisp white trim.

Just around the corner you’ll find the gourmet kitchen, an entertainer’s dream characterized by a fresh color palette and thoughtful design! This dynamic package features custom kitchen cabinets by Medallion, Cambria quartz counters, Jenn Air oven and French door fridge, a 6-burner Wolf Range with a vent hood, a Bosch dishwasher, plus a charming corner dining nook for laid-back meals.

This home’s 3 bedrooms all show off something special, but for the master suite, you’ll find that each eye-catching detail was carefully considered. A wall of exquisite built-ins ensure that staying organized is both easy and elegant, and beautiful wainscoting instantly elevates this inviting retreat. Find versatility with this home’s 2 additional bedrooms, and the unfinished basement is ready to be transformed into a fitness center or art studio!

When the weather warms up, this home’s private backyard oasis provides something truly special! Low maintenance, multi-level gardens feature mature landscaping, and you can choose to keep things simple or put your green thumb to work growing garden beds that overflow with flowers! A spacious patio and a potential sport court offer space to hang out and entertain, whether you choose to install a basketball hoop or a pickleball court, or transform the space into an outdoor oasis with a comfy dining set, lounge chairs, and vibrant plants. Easy living awaits in North Tacoma! 

Living in North Tacoma

At 213 N G St Tacoma WA 98403, you’re just seconds away from some of the Stadium District’s best offerings! Just 0.2 miles away from home, you’ll find several restaurants and shops, like Shake Shake Shake, Indo Asian Street Eatery, Art House Cafe, Rankos’ Stadium Pharmacy, Harvester, Rhein Haus Tacoma, Stadium Thriftway, and so much more! Stadium High School is only 0.3 miles from home, and you’re also just minutes away from Downtown Tacoma, Ruston Way, and more. Those who commute are also sure to appreciate being just a 4-minute drive to hop onto Highway 705.

Interested in learning more? Click here to view the full listing! You can also contact  REALTOR® Maria Kalafatich online here or give her a call/text at (253) 376-5559!


Posted on June 13, 2018 at 4:50 pm
Maria Kalafatich | Posted in Tacoma Real Estate |

Well-Maintained Vintage 4-Bedroom, 1.75-Bath Rambler w/Daylight Basement & Gorgeous Backyard in Tacoma

Lovingly maintained over the years, this one owner property is wonderfully move-in ready! Built in 1968 and brimming with charming vintage elements, this rambler with a daylight basement features a sprawling 2,392-square-foot layout. Discover 4 bedrooms, 1.75 baths, inviting living spaces that are brimming with potential, energy efficient heat and air conditioning, plus a stunning storybook backyard! Located at 1001 143rd St S Tacoma WA 98444 in Parkland, this home is listed for $399,950.

Nestled on a generous 0.36 acres, this residence offers a truly idyllic setting! When you arrive home, the classic brick-accented exterior and lush green lawn delight the eye, offering a preview of the backyard oasis that awaits. Here you’ll find dreamy landscaping that features a stream that flows through mature greenery to reach a picturesque pond. Enjoy a view of it all from the large deck and covered patio! Whether you’re relaxing in the tranquil atmosphere or hosting weekend barbecues, you’ll find a time and place for it all in your very own slice of paradise.

When you head inside, this home’s inviting floor plan welcomes you in. Natural sunlight cascades in through large windows in the front living room, and an eye-catching stone-accented fireplace showcases timeless style while contributing to the cozy atmosphere. Plush carpets flow right into the adjacent dining area, where you’ll find laid-back meals among loved ones and special occasions alike are all a home.

The open kitchen is a haven of efficiency, and a skylight shines the spotlight on vintage details throughout. A smart design offers tons of counter space and storage, while unique details show off a splash of 1960s retro flair!

Even more dynamic living space awaits in the palatial family room downstairs where you’ll find a fireplace and a fabulous wet bar in the mix. Imagine transforming this versatile area into the ultimate hangout with a recreation area and an entertainment center—hosting game day or parties will never be the same again. This flexible space in addition to the home’s generous 4 bedrooms promises ample potential—you could even use the downstairs as a guest suite or rental. Plus, the 4 bedrooms ensure loved ones each have their own comfortable, private retreat to retire to at the end of each day.

Living in the Parkland Area of Tacoma

At 1001 143rd St S Tacoma WA 98444, you’re in a convenient Parkland location that’s close to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, parks, shopping, restaurants, services, highways, and much more. Enjoy being just a 5-minute drive to Spanaway Lake Park, where you’ll find Lake Spanaway Golf Course, Spanaway Lake, and scenic opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Pacific Ave is only a 4-minute drive away, making it easy to reach grocery stores, eateries for quick dinners out, shops, the library, and more.

Interested in learning more? Click here to view the full listing! You can also contact  REALTOR® Maria Kalafatich online here or give her a call/text at (253) 376-5559!


Posted on May 14, 2018 at 3:56 pm
Maria Kalafatich | Posted in Tacoma Real Estate |