Category Archives: real estate trends

King County housing market hits 5-year high

KING-5 News reports that Seattle is experiencing a stronger real estate performing the best in 5 years.  Small home inventory, increase in home values and excited buyers are contributing to the favorable performance.

Check out the full article and news report video at KING-5 News.

AMS Inspection Services is a home inspection company based out of Leavenworth, WA, with inspectors in Seattle, Wenatchee and throughout Chelan and Douglas counties.  AMS Inspection performs blower door tests for on new construction projects. 

Washington building industry to recover by end of 2012.

Our Wenatchee home inspection company is a member of the North Central Home Builders Association.  In the May/June issue of the Building Industry Association of Washington’s Building Insight Newsletter they included the chart below.  The green states show the best recovery predicted from 18 months from now.  These are promising numbers.  It is careful to note that the building demand may return but the cost of building may also increase.  With many out-of-work skilled laborers finding different jobs and mills shutting down during this construction lull the labor and materials may be in short supply and thus increasing the cost of new homes.  Those that are able to make investments right now are in a fine position to get the best deals.

Wenatchee Home Inspections

Source: BIAW Building Insight May/June 2011

Wenatchee Home Inspector Photo: Do you see the problem?

At first glance you may think the green algae is the issue in the photo, but not really.  This photo was taken under an exterior deck and algae is typical in those areas.  The real concern is the wood laying on the ground next to the home.  This a great place for wood destroying organisms to start residing and to begin gaining access to your lovely home.  Carpenter ants love decomposing wood!

Lake Wenatchee Home Inspection

Wenatchee Home Inspector Photo

Windermere Forms New Entity To Tackle Web Solutions

Photo credit: mobilemarketingwatch.com

Windermere is one of the biggest real estate companies in the Pacific Northwest. We work with their Wenatchee and Seattle area offices all the time. In a time when social media, phone apps and web solutions are the best way to reach your clients Windermere is jump starting it’s techy side to keep up with the competition. Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, Estately and other web-based real estate solution providers are making pretty big waves in the way that real estate professionals advertise their services and stay connected in the industry. Brett Eddy formed Windermere Solutions in January to boost the company’s digital connections. With 50 employees working in Pioneer Square, Eddy (the CTO) plans to reinvent Windermere’s online identity by integrating design, navigation, social media and functionality with mobile platforms.

In our business it’s very important to utilize web and mobile applications. We use palm pilots, smart phone apps and social media to conduct daily home inspection business. We have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Trulia, Zillow, Blogspot, WordPress, MerchantCircle, Yelp and others to help advertise our business, stay connected with clients and industry vendors and get involved in our community. Geekwire.com conducted an interview with Brett Eddy about his new endeavor with Windermere and he stated that the company’s web properties currently attract “1.2 million visitors per month.” Read more about the new Windermere Solutions in this Geekwire.com article.

Closing Costs Calculator for the Washington Home Buyer

We perform home inspections in about 10 counties throughout Washington from Seattle to Wenatchee.  Occasionally our clients call to book an inspection and are still a little confused about the inspection cost– who pays it, how much it is, etc.  We did a little internet search and found a few closing cost calculators that may help the potential home buyer.  The calculator we are sharing seems to have the most descriptions of the costs, but will only give you a rough idea since the costs are only estimations.  For example, they estimate the cost of an inspection at $175, but our inspections start at $275…this is standard for a single family home.  Condos may be less.  Also, the appraisal fee usually starts around $300.  A loan application fee will be added to the credit report for a combined fee of $75-$300.  With all this in mind you can use the calculator to get an idea of the added costs associated with buying a home.  If you have a good agent to walk you through the buying process then you won’t be blindsided with these costs.  They can also help you negotiate fees that may be shared with the seller.

Closing Costs Calculator from Mortgage-Investments.com

WA State Energy Code’s New HVAC Requirement

This week one of our staff went to a WSU Extension Energy Program training in Wenatchee with a focus on duct sealing and testing requirements for the 2009 Washington State Energy Code for HVAC: 503.10.3 Sealing. We have two Energy Star Performance Technicians on staff so this class was more of a refresher course on duct testing but we did benefit from understanding more about the changes to the new HVAC requirements. Basically, the code is in a trial period. Contractors must test the HVAC now but do not have to meet the target rate of allowable leakage during this 120-day testing period. In April 2011 a judicial committee will listen to arguments from all sides and make a decision about the 503.10.3 Sealing WA State Energy Code.

We performed a HVAC leakage test on a home in South Wenatchee. The new construction home performed well. It would have passed the new requirements. It was interesting to note the small leakages that could be easily fixed by mastic. The equipment used for testing the HVAC includes a duct blaster, manometer and blower door which could add up to $5,000. This is a new expense to contractors. There is also discussion about requiring third party testing due to conflict of interest. Should HVAC contractors be able to test their own work?

 Here are a few interesting facts we learned in class this week. Did you know that 40% of a home’s fresh air comes from the crawl space or garage? Thinking about cleaning those spaces right now…aren’t you!? This is also a good time to remind you to open your garage door any time the car is on. A family of four can emit up to 3 gallons of water into a home daily from sweating, showering, cooking, etc. Where do the 12 gallons of water go? Be sure to use your oven and bathroom exhaust fans regularly!

Seattle Home Show: Feb. 19-27th

Seattle Home Show

credit: Seattle Home Show

Spring is just around the corner and it’s beginning to look a lot like Home Show Season!  Wenatchee’s Home Show was a huge success last weekend, now we look forward to the Seattle Home Show starting on Saturday and open for 9 days.  Your online ticket purchase includes a full year subscription to “Better Homes & Gardens” and free parking.  Check out this info from their website:

The Seattle Home Show opens its doors for its 67th annual home products extravaganza on February 19, 2011 for a nine-day run through February 27.   This much-anticipated show of nearly 500 exhibits includes everything for the home and landscape, highlighted by Idea Street™ – a community of furnished and landscaped model homes. Idea Street is a showcase for home design, interior style and the latest appliances and fixtures.  Show attendees enjoy the variety and scope of the exhibition which includes green living displays, kitchens and baths, home decorating, arts and crafts, garden displays, and Meet the Expert Seminars featuring home improvement topics presented by industry professionals. America’s Biggest Open House™ – the Seattle Home Show – takes place in downtown Seattle at the Qwest Field Event Center. Details at www.SeattleHomeShow.com.