Bainbridge Island, WA Real Estate News

By Maureen Buckley, Managing Broker/ Owner
(Buckley & Buckley Real Estate)
If you have been wondering when the Bainbridge Island Fire Department Christmas Truck will be rolling down your street all you have to do is look here!  Please click on the link to get a map of the Island and the Christmas Truck routes.   Christmas Firetruck Map
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By Maureen Buckley, Managing Broker/ Owner
(Buckley & Buckley Real Estate)
Please JOINBuckley & Buckley Real Estate in supporting the new  Kitsap County Residential Emergency Shelter for homeless mothers and their children This new shelter is in great need of basic living items. Please review the List of Needsand donate what you can (cash donations are also welcome)  Our office is a drop-off location for all items(except large furniture-see below).  168 Winslow Way West    In Winslow Green  206-842-4099   Today, over 136 families in Kitsap County are currently waiting for emergency shelter. Over 60% of those families are headed by females as head of their household. Many are living in cars, tents, or making arrangements on a day-by-day basis. Shelter housing for families is hard to find in Kitsap County. The former Youth Home facility is being converted into a...
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By Maureen Buckley, Managing Broker/ Owner
(Buckley & Buckley Real Estate)
Christmas in the Country, held annually the first Friday, Saturday & Sunday of December, is Bainbridge Island's premier winter holiday event. Launching the celebration of the Christmas season each year since 1993 this event supports home-based business entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, artists, authors, and musicians. Following a map, visitors will drive the winding, tree-lined, rural roads on Bainbridge and stop at quaint historic cottages, farms, fascinating homes hand built by the owners, and nonprofit venues. Besides holiday shopping that is unique and personal, there are activities for children including free pony rides and Santa visits.  Six fascinating venues welcome you to stop in and experience history, meet fascinating artists and their handmade arts & crafts, nosh on sa...
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By Maureen Buckley, Managing Broker/ Owner
(Buckley & Buckley Real Estate)
According to MSN Real Estate, House prices are still dropping, so it pays to know which upgrades will deliver the best return when you sell your home. An annual remodeling report finds 4 basic replacements are likely your smartest choice. Remodeling is a better way to an investment .This year is among the worst if you�re hoping to recoup much money when you sell, says a newly released report. Homeowners are getting back just 64%, on average, of a project�s cost, compared with 87% in 2005, according to Remodeling Magazine�s 2009-2010 Cost vs. Value report.Maureen  
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By Kevin Hawkins
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have once again begun offering "Premium Pricing," which is a way for a lender to charge you a higher interest rate but pay for some or literally all of your closing costs. For many months the "no cost" refi (a misnomer because the "cost" is a higher interest rate) disappeared as Fannie and Freddie offered no extra fee for a loan with a higher interest rate. But with declining loan volumes, the secondary agencies are clearly trying to attract new volume by bringing back this option.  How it works: if rates are 5.00% with 1 point, and you have a loan amount of at least $300,000 (higher loan amounts are needed for most no cost loans as the premium is paid to the lender as a percentage of the loan amount), you are likely to be able to get a "no cost" option for ab...
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Bainbridge Home Sales Are Up Nearly 10 Percent Year-to-Date  The Northwest Multiple Listing Service says its members reported a 63 percent jump in pending sales during October compared to the same month a year ago, a gain many brokers attribute to the first-time buyer tax credit. On Bainbridge Island, according to the number crunching and meticulous tracking by local agent Jim Peek, single-family detached home sales (excludes condos) through October 2009 were 9.4 percent higher compared to the same period last year.   Peek's calculations shows October home sales totaled 23 on Bainbridge, versus just 12 in October 2008.  Totals for the year at the end of October are 173 versus 158 for the same period last year.  By comparison, through October 2007, there were 301 home sales on Bainbridge...
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Tax Credit Extended AND Expanded  President Obama signed into law the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 that will extend the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit as well as offer a new tax credit up to $6,500 for current homeowners who buy a new primary residence.  Estimates say that more than two-thirds of all current homeowners and nearly all first-time buyers will be eligible for the credit. Here are the highlights: KEY DATES-Purchase & Sales Agreement must be dated by all parties with a date on or before Friday, April 30, 2010.-Purchase must close on or before Wednesday, June 30, 2010.-For current homeowners, the home must be purchased on or after November 7, 2009 to qualify for the credit. AMOUNT-$8,000 or 10 percent of the home value, whichever is less,...
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When Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started offering "Premium Pricing" again -- is a way for a lender to charge you a higher interest rate but pay for closing costs -- the move also benefited those wanting to lower the rate on their rental property. This move can benefit those that have four or less total properties (at Golf we currently can help those with more than four properties in certain circumstances) and just want to lower the rate. Fannie and Freddie add on 1.75 points automatically to a rental/investment property. Without Premium Pricing, those with rentals had to pay hefty points to get a lower rate. But today an investor with great credit and lots of equity can lower their interest rate to 5.375% with no points for a 30 Year Fixed Rate loan. Again, superior credit (720 mid credi...
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By Maureen Buckley, Managing Broker/ Owner
(Buckley & Buckley Real Estate)
Edward and I have have just listed the most elegant and well designed coastal home on Pleasant Beach on Bainbridge Island. This home (www.PleasantBeachHome.com) is a new construction 4 bedroom gracious home with elements of turn of the century eastern coastal homes. The Builder, Gene Knox of Blue Fish was designer, architect, & builder. Having roots in Boston, Gene brings both traditional elements together with current north west styling. (check out the viking kitchen and luxurious master bath) This home will be open Sunday november 15th from 1 - 4 at Pleasant Beach Drive. Maureen
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By Maureen Buckley, Managing Broker/ Owner
(Buckley & Buckley Real Estate)
One Call for All, a unique Bainbridge Island tradition, started almost 50 years ago when a few forward-thinking Islanders decided to combine the individual fund appeals of multiple organizations into one annual mail drive.  Every Fall, Red Envelopes appear in our mailboxes and Islanders know this is the time to donate to our favorite local non-profit organizations.  By combining the fund appeals of all participating groups into one campaign, One Call for All gives you the opportunity to support the local organizations you choose without being swamped by more than 85 individual appeals!   The diversity of non-profit organizations operating on Bainbridge reflects the breadth of the island's interests and concerns. For more information, visit:  www.onecallforall.org or phone 206-842-0659  
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By Maureen Buckley, Managing Broker/ Owner
(Buckley & Buckley Real Estate)
It seems that everyone I talk to asks how our Bainbridge real estate market is doing. Home sales have remained steady through September and October. Inventory fluctuated in the 250 active listings range with around 30 to 40 under contract for an average absorption rate of 16%. Not exactly the 28% rate of early 2007 but much better then the 8% to 10% rate of late 2007 and 2008. Is it still a buyer's market? Yes, but some price ranges have seen multiple offers again, especially homes in the $600,000 price range. Meanwhile, non waterfront homes over $800,000 have continued to languish on the market. There are some excellent values seen here with properties offered at less than replacement costs. With jumbo loans available at 5% or less we hope to see more of these homes going under contrac...
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By Brenda Prowse
(Prowse and Company)
Bainbridge Island residential properties were selling for an October median price of $492,000, about 6% lower than in September. The more stable three month moving average of closed sale price fell 8% from last month to $536,333 and is 12% lower than it was a year ago. Sales at the top of the market lagged - there werre only 5 closed sales above $900k in Kitsap County last month. The Kitsap County 3 month moving average median price has fallen 6% over the past year. Note that prices tailed off at the end of last year so we expect this gap to close in the coming months. The 3 month moving average for Bainbridge Island's number of  closed sales is 35% higher than a year ago. The 3 month moving average number of pending sales in October rose 57% from a year ago. The 3 month moving average ...
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By Paul Pival, A Realtor with the soul of a professor.
(Coldwell Banker Bain)
I was chatting with  Karl Buchmeier this week about insurance matters and asked him to share a story about why health insurance is valuable.  Last November Jim, a 42-year-old general contractor from Port Orchard, met with Karl to explore health insurance options.  Jim had no coverage at all.  He chose a high-deductible plan with a monthly premium of $160. In February, after suffering for several weeks with an intense headache, Jim went to the doctor.  A series of tests revealed a large and growing brain tumor. Jim immediately went into surgery but it did not go well.  Another surgery was performed in March, and then again in June.  Finally in mid July, Jim learned that he was going to be okay.  But the good news had some bad mixed in. Jim's medical bills exceeded $800,000 dollars, of wh...
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By Brenda Prowse
(Prowse and Company)
Bainbridge Island residential properties were selling for an September median price of $592,000, about 11% lower than in August. The more stable three month moving average of closed sale price fell 17% from last month to $580,417 and is 2% lower than it was a year ago (recall that the median price can be misleading when the price distribution of sales is changing). Sales at the top of the market lagged - there was only 1 closed sale above $900k in Kitsap County last month. The Kitsap County 3 month moving average median price has fallen 8% over the past year. Note that prices tailed off at the end of last year so we expect this gap to close in the coming months. The 3 month moving average for Bainbridge Island's number of closed sales is 15% higher than a year ago - a testament to last ...
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Condo rule changes from both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as FHA are radically altering the condo lending landscape.   Condos sales have been distressed and unfortunately, many of these changes are unlikely to help spur condo sales.  But Realtors need to know about these changes if they are going to make an offer a condo. Most condo loans have been approved through a process called Limited Review or Streamline, used for established condominium projects.  In recent years, for new condos, Fannie and Freddie required the lender to handle the approval, but now there is a formal approval process established with Fannie and Freddie to make sure the new condo complex meets their more stringent requirements. As part of this formal approval, which the builder often pays for, Fannie and Fre...
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Many homeowners who have been unable to sell their homes and take it off the market have been surprised by a lending rule when they go to refinance their home. It's called the "Time off Market" rule.  Because of it, many lenders require the homeowner to wait for six months after their listing expires before they will allow them to refinance. The clock starts when the application is taken, not when the loan funds. That puts homeowners in a bind. First they couldn't sell their home, now they want to take advantage of today's record low interest rates because they plan to be in the home for a while and would like to save money but are told they can't refinance. But there is hope as not all lenders have this rule.  At most of the big brand name banks, the rule is pretty much the same: you c...
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By Paul Pival, A Realtor with the soul of a professor.
(Coldwell Banker Bain)
Slowly we turn, inch by inch . . .  . Activity this week was less than last week, but ahead of this time last year. Average selling prices were higher. I expect activity to increase in the coming weeks as the deadline for first-time homebuyers approaches.  If you are interested in the details of the home that sold in your neighborhood, email me.                  
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Lenders continue to tighten their rules and the latest salvo is that a credit report, which for years has had an expiration date of 120 days from the time it was pulled until the loan recorded has now been shortened to 90 days. What can that mean for home buyers? If they get pre-approved too soon, before they are ready to make an offer, they are going to be looking at their lender pulling a credit report mid-way through their transaction. That means: More credit report fees charged to the buyer That could mean: The borrower's approval status could change and they could end up being denied if their credit score fell below their loan program's threshold or a derogatory item appeared on the new report that did not appear on the old one. The borrower's loan terms could change. If the loan's...
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FHA is the loan of choice for parents that want to help their kids buy their first home.  Even if your son or daughter is in college and has no income, if you are on the loan with them, FHA will allow your income and assets to be used to qualify for the home purchase. As long as you meet the lending requirements to qualify, your kids can be in their first home while they are attending school. How cool is that? That's been a big advantage to using an FHA loanL conventional loans require sufficient income and are not as accomodating for a "non-occupying" coborrower. Another big advantage is the down payment: today's minimum down payment is only 3.5 percent and the ENTIRE down payment can be a gift from you to your children.  Add on another huge plus: FHA loans are at or below 5.00% today....
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There are 30+ pending transactions currently and the Jumbo Fixed mortgage market is showing some signs of thawing.  While we only had 20 single-family detached home sales in August according to the Peekmeister (aka Jim Peek at John L. Scott, one of my favorite data gurus) vs. 26 in August 2008, we are likely to catch up in September. We only had 16 home sales last September. Sitting a Broker's Open House with Susan Murie Burris of Windermere on Cherry yesterday, we saw buyers come by from as far away as Florida and Virginia.  That's a very good sign, seeing buyers at an Open house repeat, albeit the home just had a very nice price improvement (reduction).
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