Street Cents

Crisis In The Housing Market
7:21 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Renters No More: Newbies Lured To Homeownership

Kitsy Roberts and Janko Williams have traded a rent payment for a mortgage. The Seattle couple is planning to put a lot of sweat equity into their fixer-upper.
Wendy Kaufman NPR

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 7:45 am

In many American communities, buying a home is now less expensive than renting. And with the economics tilting in favor of homeownership, many first-time buyers are jumping into the market.

After eight years of renting, Kitsy Roberts and her husband, Janko Williams, are practically giddy about their new Seattle home. And like proud parents, they are eager to show it off, from its historic details to its fresh paint.

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Street Cents
2:39 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Renting out your basement: Extra income or extra hassle?

Is it worth finishing your basement and renting it out?
Kevin Saff flickr

In these tough economic times, it's always tempting to look for ways to bring in extra income. So how about fixing up your basement so that you can rent it out? It would be nice to have an extra $800.00 or so coming in every month. But are there questions that should be answered before moving forward? 

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Street Cents
12:26 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Will that remodel add to your home's resale value?

Remodeling breakfast nook windows.
Loren Owensby flickr

Remodeling can turn boring into wow but will it add to the value of your home? If your goal is to sell your home at a higher price after you doll it up, it pays to first ask some serious questions about the house, the land  it sits on, and the neighborhood.

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Street Cents
5:00 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Population growth and housing in Seattle: Going up, up, up!

1111 E. Pike is a six-story building with 26 residential homes and two commercial spaces.

As more people move into the Seattle area, the demand for housing goes up. And so does the style of housing with high-rise apartments and condos replacing older, stand alone homes. Real estate appraiser and educator Richard Hagar tells KPLU's John Maynard this trend is expected to continue, thanks to our relatively stable economy and mild weather. Both are factors for people moving here, as are the companies that continue to employ thousands of people such as Amazon and Microsoft.

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Street Cents
5:00 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Houseboats ahoy!

Houseboat for sale in Portage Bay.
Courtesy of Cooper Jacobs Seattle Real Estate

There are not many places on the West Coast where you can find house boats. That means the supply is limited so they are usually in high demand. And don't forget the slips for the homes. Those can go for a pretty penny, too. A recent ad in the Seattle property listings featured  a piece of property on Lake Union that's 14 x 30 feet, 35 feet of water, with an asking price of $95,000.

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Street Cents
5:00 am
Tue June 5, 2012

It's not an apartment or a condo. It's a co-op!

There are apartments and condos. Then there are co-ops.  This type of real estate ownership is pretty common in large East Coast cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Boston, but it's not as common here.

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Street Cents
4:30 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Bank loans tough to get for fire stations and churches

Fire Station #37 is a designated landmark.
Image courtesy Colliers International

Bored with regular, run of the mill houses? Looking for something unusual? How about buying a fire station or a church for a home? 

Seattle-area real estate appraiser Richard Hagar says although places like this could be fun to live in, banks are usually skittish about loaning money for anything out of the ordinary.

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Street Cents
5:00 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Cracking down on suspicious home buyers

Not all money used to buy a house is clean.
Images_of_Money

Since the 1970s, banks have been required to report any suspicious house purchases to the FBI. Now that mandatory reporting is netting mortgage brokers, too. Seattle area real estate appraiser Richard Hagar says that's a good thing since about 80 percent of home loans go through mortgage brokers. 

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Street Cents
4:00 am
Tue March 6, 2012

Real estate commissions aren't set in stone

Real estate commissions: It's something the seller usually pays.
The Associated Press

KPLU's  John Maynard posed this question to Seattle-area real estate appraiser, Richard Hager: "If I sold a $2 million dollar house and paid the real estate agent his standard commission, then he'd get $180,000 out of the deal. Is that a negotiable situation?" Hagar's answer?

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Street Cents
4:30 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Rough time refinancing? Try again.

Bank vault full of cold, hard cash.
Adolph B. Rice Studio Collection Library of Virginia

Is it true that there there's a bank vault out there full of cold, hard cash that's now available to people trying to refinance? That's what KPLU's John Maynard asked Seattle-area real estate appraiser Richard Hagar when he dropped by KPLU's studios recently. Without skipping a beat, Hagar responded:

"The good news is if you've missed some mortgage payments or you were in foreclosure, banks now have more cash available. And they've loosened up the purse strings a bit."

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Street Cents
4:30 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Not all condos are buildings in the investment world

When you invest in a parking space ... it can be kinda like investing in a condo.
Steve Rhodes Flikr

When most of us talk about condos, we’re usually referring to buildings with apartment units that are individually owned.  But as real estate appraiser Richard Hagar tells KPLU’s John Maynard, a condominium is technically a type of ownership.

So you can also "condominiumize" other types of property. Hagar says it's a hot trend for investors. 

Condo parking spaces

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Street Cents
4:28 am
Tue December 6, 2011

For some, the gamble of an adjustable-rate mortgage pays off

Low interest rates making headlines. That's good news for adjusting or locking in a mortgage.

KPLU's John Maynard bought a condo in 2007 – at the height of the market. He took out an adjustable-rate mortgage that's "adjusting" in June.

That's turned out to be good news for Maynard, who's mortgage payment will go down considerably since interest rates are low right now and expected to be so for quite some time.

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Street Cents
4:30 am
Tue November 1, 2011

Banks give money for keeping a foreclosed house looking good

Some banks will pay you if you keep your foreclosed house in good condition. That includes things like  mowing your lawn and keeping your toilets and countertops spick and span.

Seattle-area Real Estate Appraiser and educator Richard Hagar tells KPLU's John Maynard that some lenders offer in the neighborhood of $2,000.00 to ex-homeowners  for keeping foreclosed property looking neat and tidy. 

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Street Cents
4:30 am
Tue October 4, 2011

Buying homes from the bank saves money, but not time

It's a drawn out, frustrating process, but if you're willing to put in the time,  buying a home from a bank can save you a lot of money. Seattle-area real estate appraiser Richard Hagar tells KPLU's John Maynard that while it is mostly investors who seek out these properties, average home buyers can score great deals, too

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Street Cents
5:00 am
Tue September 6, 2011

New home sales: Great deals at center of state, end of runway

New home waiting for the right buyer on the plains near Quincy, Wash.

Great deals on new homes can be found on the plains and near the planes.

That's the word from Seattle-area real estate appraiser Richard Hagar. New developments on the  flatlands of  Quincy, Wash., and the "loud lands" near Sea-Tac Airport are being built and sold at a pretty fast clip. Hagar tells KPLU's John Maynard there are some interesting reasons for that.

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