Olympia and Thurston County Washington
Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from national market statistics to greater Olympia area home value trends and Thurston County happenings. That’s because we care about the community we serve and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all or have a question or situation we can bring clarity to, and maybe it will end up being an article to help everyone!

April 16, 2020

Housing Crash? I Think Not.

 

With all of the unanswered questions caused by COVID-19 and the economic slowdown we're experiencing across the country today, many are asking if the housing market is in trouble. For those who remember 2008, it’s logical to ask that question. Many of us experienced financial hardships, lost homes, and were out of work during the Great Recession – the recession that started with a housing and mortgage crisis.

Today, we face a very different challenge: an external health crisis that has caused a pause in much of the economy and a major shutdown of many parts of the country. We've included a graphic showing you what happened last month in our local real estate market including increased sales and a tremendous decrease in listings coming to market, making an already low supply / high demand environment more challenging.

But let's look at five things we know about today's U.S. housing market that were different in 2008.

  1. 1. Appreciation first of all

When we look at appreciation, there's a big difference between the 6 years prior to the housing crash and the most recent 6-year period of time. Leading up to the crash, we had much higher appreciation in this country than we see today. In fact, the highest level of appreciation most recently is still below the lowest level we saw leading up to the crash. Prices have been rising lately, but not at the rate they were climbing back when we had runaway appreciation.

 

Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | Simplifying The Market

  1. 2. Mortgage Credit

The Mortgage Credit Availability Index is a monthly measure by the Mortgage Bankers Association that gauges the level of difficulty to secure a loan. The higher the index, the easier it is to get a loan; the lower the index, the harder. Today we're nowhere near the levels seen before the housing crash when it was very easy to get approved for a mortgage. After the crash, however, lending standards tightened and have remained that way leading up to today.

 

Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | Simplifying The Market

  1. 3. Number of Homes for Sale

One of the causes of the housing crash in 2008 was an oversupply of homes for sale. Today, we see a much different picture. We don't have enough homes on the market for the number of people who want to buy them. Across the country, we have less than 6 months, and here in our local market, less than a month's worth of inventory, an under supply of homes available for interested buyers.

Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | Simplifying The Market

  1. 4. Use of Home Equity

In 2008, consumers were harvesting equity from their homes through cash-out refinances and home equity loans, using their homes like a cash machines to finance their lifestyles. Today, consumers are treating the equity in their homes much more cautiously.

Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | Simplifying The Market

  1. 5. Finally, Home Equity

Today, 53.8% of homes across the country have at least 50% equity. In 2008, homeowners walked away when they owed more than what their homes were worth. With the equity homeowners have now, they're much less likely to walk away from their homes.

Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | Simplifying The Market

Here's the Bottom Line:

The COVID-19 crisis is causing different challenges across the country than the ones we faced in 2008. Back then, we had a housing crisis that led to a recession; today, we face a health crisis. And, though some say we are due for a recession, historically speaking, the housing market fares quite well through recessions and it's difficult to see how a product like homes, with such high need and low supply, could drop in value. What we know now is that housing is in a much stronger position today than it was in 2008. It is no longer the center of the economic slowdown. Rather, it could be just what helps pull us out of the downturn. If you have any questions or need to speak to someone about your home or a hardship you may be facing, we're here for you. Don't wait. We have years of experience to assist you. Remember, this too shall pass.

Posted in Market Updates
March 29, 2020

Covid-19 Update for MVP Tenants

Update 3/29/2020:

Real estate brokers can now meet clients at properties in the capacity of a "residential sales broker" if absolutely necessary, as long as no more than two people (including the broker) meet inside the property at one time. There is not yet any allowance for property managers to perform any other services outside of their homes except for the purpose of maintaining and securing properties under their oversight.

From 3/27/2020:

Please view the video above for information regarding tenant rights and options to pay rent during the Covid-19 Coronavirus crisis.

Take Stock of Something More Than Toilet Paper. Watch the video below...

Covid to FPU

 

Covid-19 Tenant Update:

Hello, I'm Matthew Plummer, CEO of MVP Realty Group. I hope this message finds you healthy and safe in your homes. Here at MVP Realty Group we are all working hard to stay on top of the ever changing situation we all find ourselves together but distanced in.

As a real estate firm the Governor has declared that we are NOT an essential business and so we, like many of you, are struggling to find ways to continue operating our business while adhering to the order to stay home. This means no meeting with clients and no showing homes, which as I'm sure you can imagine places a virtual halt on our business and revenue. Some of you might be experiencing challenges with your work and income as well and we empathize. We are still working online and over the phone, and we are allowed by law to visit the property in the case of an emergency and the keep the property secure and maintained for you.

There is a lot of misinformation out there right now, and so I hope to serve as a factual source of information to you as this Covid-19 situation evolves. On March 18th Governor Inslee signed an emergency order that prohibits eviction actions specifically for non-payment of rent, but only until April 17, 2020. Nothing in the order relieves tenants from their obligation to pay rent and applicable late fees. As of the recording of this message, there have been no updates to this order and, though The U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package that is said to include a one-time payment of $1,200 to most adults and $500 per child, there is no telling if and when that will actually arrive.

Please understand that, as your property manager, we have concern for everyone we serve, you our tenants and the owners of the homes you live in. It's important too that you know that we don't serve any large corporate property holding companies. The home you live in is owned by another real person who is likely struggling the same you might be and relies upon your rent to not only keep the property maintained but to also pay the property taxes and in almost every case, a mortgage payment. And, so far, there is no relief in sight for them either.

So, as we like to say here at MVP, let's get on the solution side to this. Almost all of our tenants pay their rent online from their bank accounts through their resident portals. We now have the capability of accepting credit cards for payment and, though the credit card processing company charges a fee, it is less than a third of what the late fee would be if rent is not paid by the end of the grace period in your lease. We have already had a few tenants ask us if we might be able to arrange some kind of payment plan for the rent in the case they cannot pay, and using your credit card to make your payment is going to be a much better and more manageable payment plan than any of our rental owners could possibly offer, so use your credit card if you have to. If for some reason you haven't yet setup or used the ePay option in your resident portal, please don't wait to the last minute to contact us if you need any help setting it up.

There may be other sources of financial assistance available to you, such as your church or the United Way. Communication during this time is key. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out and we will do our best to update you as new information comes available. In every challenge there is something to learn, and I invite you to follow this link to discover more about what we can do to better prepare for the next crisis that comes our way.

Stay home, stay safe and God bless.

 

March 27, 2020

What Can We Learn From the Covid-19 Coronavirus Crisis

It's Time to Take Stock of Something Other Than Toilet Paper

Can you believe that just a few weeks into the Covid-19 crisis large companies like Boeing were asking the U.S. Government what they plan to do to help them? Soon small business owners, homeowners and tenants will be asking the same question. Maybe we need to take this opportunity to make a plan to help ourselves before the next crisis, large or small, comes around.

Join us for Financial Peace University, and put an end to the madness!

Financial Peace University 2020

 

March 26, 2020

A Great Tool for Teachers to Communicate with Their Students

MVP Realty Group loves using tech to serve our clients and to make them feel a personal connection in times when meeting face-to-face just isn't possible.

During this time of distancing as a response to the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, teachers might be struggling to find ways to communicate effectively with their students. Systems like Schoology are great, but it's difficult to maintain a personal connection and engagement with your students using email. MVP Realty Group wants to help!

We've worked with our video messaging provider, BombBomb, to make the same system we use in our business every day absolutely FREE to teachers. Just follow the link below to take advantage of this special offer.

When you can't be there, be there in video. Though it's not at all the same as being there in the classroom with your students, we think you will find that video messaging will help to maintain those relationships you have worked so hard to cultivate with your students and their parents.

Teachers Click for FREE Video Messaging

 

Posted in Community
March 25, 2020

Three Reasons Why Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the Homebuying Journey

Three Reasons Why Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the 2020 Homebuying Journey | MyKCM

When the number of buyers in the housing market outnumbers the number of homes for sale, it’s called a “seller’s market.” The advantage tips toward the seller as low inventory heats up the competition among those searching for a place to call their own. This can create multiple offer scenarios and bidding wars, making it tough for buyers to land their dream homes – unless they stand out from the crowd. Here are three reasons why pre-approval should be your first step in the homebuying process.

1. Gain a Competitive Advantage

Low inventory, means homebuyers need every advantage they can get to make a strong impression and close the deal. One of the best ways to get one step ahead of other buyers is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you make an offer. For one, it shows the sellers you’re serious about buying a home, which is always a plus in your corner.

2. Accelerate the Homebuying Process

Pre-approval can also speed up the homebuying process, so you can move faster when you’re ready to make an offer. In a competitive arena, being ready to put your best foot forward when the time comes may be the leg-up you need to cross the finish line first and land the home of your dreams.

3. Know What You Can Borrow and Afford

If you’re pre-approved, you also have a better sense of your budget, what you can afford, and ultimately how much you’re eligible to borrow for your mortgage. This way, you’re less apt to fall in love with a home that may be out of your reach.

Freddie Mac sets out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

Local real estate professionals also have relationships with lenders who can help you through this process, so partnering with a trusted advisor will be key for that introduction. Once you select a lender, you’ll need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac also describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you’ll be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or Cash Reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

While there are still many additional steps you’ll need to take in the homebuying process, it’s clear why pre-approval is always the best place to begin. It’s your chance to gain the competitive edge you may need if you’re serious about owning a home.

Bottom Line

Getting started with pre-approval is a great way to begin the homebuying journey. Let’s get together today to make sure you’re on the fastest path to homeownership.


The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.
Posted in Buying
March 13, 2020

How Interest Rates Can Impact your Monthly Housing Payments

The Economic Impact of Buying a Home | Simplifying The Market

Many potential homebuyers are getting ready to step into the market. If you’re thinking of buying this season, here’s how mortgage interest rates are working in your favor.

Freddie Mac explains:

If you’re in the market to buy a home, today’s average mortgage rates are something to celebrate compared to almost any year since 1971…Mortgage rates change frequently. Over the last 45 years, they have ranged from a high of 18.63% (1981) to a low of 3.31% (2012).

When rates are low – qualified buyers can benefit significantly over time.

To put this in perspective, the following chart from the same article shows how average mortgage rates by decade have impacted the approximate monthly payment of a $200,000 home over time:

*Morgage payments are principal and interest only, based on $200k fully amortizing, 30 yr mortgage.

When rates are high, this can push many potential homebuyers out of the market, eliminating a lot of the competition. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) notes:

“Prospective home buyers are also adversely affected when interest rates rise. NAHB’s priced-out estimates show that, depending on the starting rate, a quarter-point increase in the rate of 3.75% on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage can price over 1.3 million U.S. households out of the market for the median-priced new home.”

Bottom Line

You certainly don’t want to be priced out of the market this year, and waiting may mean a significant change in your potential mortgage payment should rates start to rise. If your financial situation allows, now may be a great time to lock in at a low mortgage rate to benefit greatly over the lifetime of your loan.

Posted in Buying
Feb. 19, 2020

Financial Peace University is back May 4th 2020!

Due to the Covid-19 Outbreak, we will be hosting Financial Peace University Online in a Virtual Classroom!

And what an eye-opener this coronavirus crisis has been to everyone, families, companies and our government alike.

Did you know that 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and 64% can't cover a $1000 emergency? Join MVP Realty Group as Dave Ramsey shows us step-by-step how to create a budget, pay off debt, make wise spending decisions, and save for the future.

We're switching it up this year! This is a unique opportunity to do 2 classes per week. Commit to 30 days to get a solid start on your financial goals! We will be meeting every Monday and Thursday, beginning May 4th from 6:30-8pm. The class is complimentary. The only cost is for the class kit which is available online for $99. Trust us. It's worth it! Find Out More or Register with us below!

Posted in Community, MVP Events
Feb. 10, 2020

The Price Is Right

How Pricing Your Home Right Makes a Big Difference

How Pricing Your Home Right Makes a Big Difference | MyKCM

 

Even in a market where there might be big buyer demand for homes and low inventory, it doesn’t mean you should price your home as high as the sky when you’re ready to sell. Here’s why making sure you price it right is key to driving the best price for the sale.

If you’ve ever watched the show “The Price Is Right,” you know the only way to win the game is to be the one to correctly guess the price of the item up for bid without going over. That means your guess must be just slightly under the retail price.

When it comes to pricing your home, setting it at or slightly below market value will increase the visibility of your listing and drive more buyers your way. This strategy actually increases the number of buyers who will see your home in their search process. Why? When potential buyers look at your listing and see a great price for a fantastic home, they’re probably going to want to take a closer look. This means more buyers are going to be excited about your house and more apt to make an offer.

When this happens, you’re more likely to set up a scenario with multiple offers, potential bidding wars, and the ability to drive a higher final sale price. At the end of the day, even in a "seller's market", pricing it right – or pricing it to sell immediately – makes a big difference.

Here’s the other thing: homeowners who make the mistake of overpricing their homes will eventually have to lower the prices anyway after they sit on the market for an extended period of time. This leaves buyers wondering if the price drops were caused by something wrong with these homes when in reality, nothing was wrong, the initial prices were just too high. We've seen this happen and, in the end, the home sold for less than it truly should have.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your home this year, let’s get together so you have a professional on your side to help you properly price your home and maximize demand from the start.

Posted in Pricing, Selling
Jan. 25, 2020

FAQ: Why Make a Back-up Offer?

Why should I make a back-up offer on a property already Pending? Why not just wait until the home comes back to market if the current buyer doesn't complete the purchase?

When you make a backup offer, if accepted the seller holds your offer in second position and commits to notifying you if and when your offer automatically moves into first position due to the failure of the first buyer to complete their purchase. No other buyer can come in and take your second position, nor can the seller change any terms of your agreement. And, at any time prior to that notification you have the right to terminate so that you can go purchase another property.

Only if you attain that first position is it advisable to deposit any earnest money or invest in a home inspection, and then you still maintain your right to terminate for any reason or no reason at all with a full refund of your earnest money during that inspection period. But it is still important to have a solid financing plan for that property to present to the seller with your back-up offer, so don't skip that step.

You could choose to wait and watch for that property to come back to the market in an Active status. You won't know the sale failed until it does. And it may never come back if another buyer finds a place for themselves in a back-up position making it impossible for you to have another go at the property.

Bottom Line
There's really no downside to being in a back-up position on a property you like as long as you have an experience broker drafting your offer and guiding you through the process. Just don't put all of your hopes in it. Keep looking for the next property.

Posted in Buying, FAQ
Jan. 24, 2020

Homebuying Checklist

2020 Homebuying Checklist | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • If you’re thinking of buying a home, plan ahead and stay on the right track, starting with pre-approval.
  • Being proactive about the homebuying process will help set you up for success in each step.
  • Make sure to work with a trusted real estate professional along the way, to help guide you through the homebuying steps specific to your area.
Posted in Buying, Mortgages