Best Condos in Seattle

3The Seattle real estate market over the last few years has seen an impressive uptick in activity versus where we were only a few short years ago. One of the best places to invest in Seattle real estate right now is purchasing a condo of your very own. For a young professional, a condominium is the perfect place to call home as you begin to build a career and life that will eventually support a family (if you aren’t already). In fact, during October, Condos showed a surprising improvement in sales with available inventory falling to its lowest level in years and the price spiking to its highest price (an improvement of 21% year over year) this year. With the additional units scheduled to be built and opened in Ballard in 2014, prices should stabilize in anticipation of that well ahead of their openings.

Currently, there are some great places to find available condos in Seattle, some of the more promising areas include:

Ballard: Right now, there is a glut of apartment building in Ballard. All this construction is scheduled to be completed by 2014 and open up nearly 1,500 new rental units in the market. This will help alleviate pressure on renters who are spending too much money on their rent and enable them to save money for a down payment. This means that there will soon be upward pressure on condominium prices based on the amount of inventory that will be left.

Downtown Seattle: The famous Seattle Skyline contains more than a few buildings with some incredible condominiums available for a price. Because of the close access to many businesses and retail locations, along with the incredible views they offer, Downtown Seattle has some of the best condominiums available to those looking to get into a place that offers luxurious amenities as well as a space of their own. These condos start in the higher end of prices (around $350,000 and higher), so be prepared for a bit of sticker shock if you decide to look for property downtown.

Belltown: Located on Seattle’s city waterfront, Belltown was former arts district and industrial district that now offers a walkable neighborhood with just about anything you might need. With a variety of residential towers, warehouses and art galleries, Belltown offers a great place for young professionals who need a place close to work with a lower price than you might find within Downtown proper. It’s a beautiful area that you shouldn’t pass up on any tour of condos.

Queen Anne: Located northwest of downtown Seattle, the neighborhood sits on the highest hill in the city and looks down on most of Seattle proper. Here, there are many affordable options for single young professionals who are looking to find a quieter neighborhood while still maintaining the feel of a community with their condo. Queen Anne is disproportionately young adults, so this is the place where many people make their first purchase with a starter home/condo. There are a lot of great deals if you watch this market closely!

How to make money with Seattle Real Estate Investments

5Over the last twelve months, Seattle real estate has seen a real improvement in prices and home sales. Over the last year, bank owned foreclosures have fallen to an all-time low which is an early leading indicator of a recovering real estate market. What this means is, if you are serious about making money with Seattle real estate investing, it’s time to start buying and holding onto as much real estate you can get ahold of.

Along with the Case-Schiller housing price information showing a marked improvement for Seattle real estate over the last year (and especially the last few months), unemployment numbers continue to fall in Seattle. A clear recovery is underway in Seattle and with a strong economy comes new young professionals with money looking for their opportunity to live and work. For now, rent on an apartment is much too high for it to be worth it for someone moving into the area. It makes much for sense for someone who has the resources to buy.

Seattle ranks high on the list of where investors want to invest. In a report issued by the Urban Land Institute this past summer, Seattle has emerged as the fifth best place for investors to place their money in real estate. Citing strong economic growth from nearby companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and other tech industry giants, Seattle also benefits from being a 24-hour global city. With access to international airports and one of the largest sea ports on the West Coast, Seattle is already mentioned as the San Francisco of the Northwest.

Along with the strong economic data, the report from the Urban Land Institute said that Seattle was rated #1 as a buy and hold market. This means investors see a robust recovery coming very soon for the Seattle market and are already positioning themselves in homes and properties that will give them the best return on their money. Office and retail space especially have become hot items on the Seattle real estate market. It can be easy to overlook retail space, but with recent developments after the election, Washington (and Seattle especially) have incredible potential to capture and lead a whole slew of new markets that are about to open up to the nation.

Another thing that’s helping Seattle Real estate investors is the glut of apartment building that’s occurring right now in the city (especially in Ballard). These apartment complexes are scheduled to open in 2014 and offer nearly 1,500 new apartments for the Seattle area. This will help relieve pressure on renters and stabilize the prices that have been rising without end since 2008. With the renters satisfied, people will be more likely to save money and be able to look towards the future to find a more permanent home that they can invest in. This will be an opportunity to look out for in 2014 and 2015 as these apartments begin to come online and rents begin to go down. It’s nearly a cliché in real estate, but with all the recent economic data, there really never has been a better time to invest and make money with Seattle real estate.

Ballard Real Esate

Over the last five year, Ballard real estate has seen a renovation unlike anywhere else in Seattle. Former Mayor Norm Rice targeted the Ballard neighborhood as part of his fight against urban sprawl. Here, the neighborhood has undergone a renaissance with as many as 20 new buildings that have been scheduled for construction or recently opened. With the amazing growth in urban population in Seattle, the mayor was looking for ways to create new housing while revitalizing neighborhoods that were in bad need of repair. Ballard serves as an example of how far they’ve come.

Because of the recent construction, Ballard real estate now offers 2,500 new family sized units and condos for homebuyers interested in the area. With so much development, Ballard real estate is particularly desirable – especially since construction is beginning to wind down (most of the projects have recently finished, or are temporarily holding while they find new sources of financing) and people are now receiving the benefits of this forward thinking neighborhood.

Originally, Ballard was its own independent city until issues with available potable water forced Ballard to become part of Seattle proper. Bordered by Puget Sound on the west and Greenwood to the east, Ballard real estate has become especially valuable to homebuyers during the recent upturn in the Seattle economy because of its close proximity to major companies, downtown Seattle and easy commute. With Amazon completing its campus only a few short miles away, Ballard is the perfect neighborhood for commuters to purchase a comfortable home that falls within their budget.

In the past, Ballard has been best known for its former large Scandinavian fishing community that settled in Seattle around the turn of the century. In fact, Ballard is so well-known for this, that an Almost Live Sketch riffing on the Scandinavian community in Ballard coined their unofficial slogan of “Uff da.”

Those who are looking at Ballard real estate are often impressed by the choice and variety of schools available to them. With several excellent public schools nearby, parents can be confident that their child’s future will be secured by well-qualified teachers who enjoy the support of a large and involved community. Many of the children who live in Ballard attend affordable private schools which are located nearby.

Ballard residents enjoy a thriving nightlife that include a variety of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and live music. Some of the local venues include several venues where many of the local grunge scene performed long before they were famous. Downtown Ballard also includes a large selection of fine dining and local shops, but the real crown jewel is the Majestic Bay Theatre. Once the oldest operating movie theater on the west coast, it was closed and then reopened as a multi-screen multiplex in 1997 giving residents access to first run movies in a theater that most people in our generation have never experienced.

Ballard real estate has consistently shown to be a proven winner over the years. It was one of the first neighborhoods to recover from the housing slump and it continues to show strong growth. If you’re stuck as to where to live in Seattle, Ballard will probably help you feel like you fit in perfectly.

Donate to Seattle Charities this Holiday Season

This holiday season, consider donating to one of your local Seattle charities. Over the last few years, the financial recession has put a special pinch on charities. Donations aren’t flowing in as fast and furious as they used to, so please take the time to look over a few of Seattle’s charities and consider donating to one of these many great causes.

When you donate money, you’ll want to make sure that the charity spends the majority of its money on actually helping their cause. Ideally, you should find organizations that use no less than 20% of their donations for administrative costs.

If you don’t feel comfortable donating money directly, consider donating to one of Seattle’s Toys for Tots program. This Holiday season, many families are feeling the pinch of a tough economy and many families aren’t able to afford gifts for their children

Treehouse
Set up in 1988, the Treehouse helps foster children with all those little extras that make childhood memorable for good reasons. Treehouse provides for after school and camp programs, as well as items such as clothing, toys, food and anything else they may need. You can get involved with Treehouse by visiting their website: www.treehouseforkids.org.


seattle milk fundSeattle Milk Fund
An organization that’s been serving Seattle for over one hundred years, The Seattle Milk Fund seeks to help families and individuals get back on their feet after a crisis in their life has affected them such as abuse, unemployment, injury or illness. Each family is assigned someone that is responsible for their care and to help them get back on their feet with a variety of programs including counseling, temporary assistance, and practical support. To get involved, visit their website at www.seattlemilkfund.com.


Childhaven
Childhaven is a charity that seeks to protect those who cannot protect themselves – namely children. They try to assist children from one month to five years of age who have been subjected to abuse or neglect. Along with monetary donations, there are several ways you can get involved including a variety of open volunteer positions. At Childhaven, your time there is an incredibly valuable donation to not only the organization, but the abused children it helps. Check out www.childhaven.org for more information.


Amara
Amara is an organization that seeks to unite foster children with permanent homes (known as foster-to-adopt). Amara also provides pregnancy and parenting counseling advice to those parents who are facing a pregnancy they did not expect. They also provide families with education, support and guidance they need to learn in order to properly care for a newborn child. Amara also helps new families with continuous conseling to help them create a strong bond and keep their family grounded and together. Amara is often in need of supplies that deal with the care and raising of infant, so donations in that vein are highly appreciated. They also have a WishList posted on their website at www.amaraparenting.org/ for you to check out and see if you can help with anything.


Wellspring Family Services
This holiday season, Wellspring Family Services are asking for donations of a new, unwrapped toy, grocery and gift cards to their holiday open house on December 3rd. You can also donate directly to their cause at their website at www.family-services.org.


Overlake Service League/Bellevue Lifespring
Last year, Overlake Service League provided Christmas assistance to over 1,600 needy families. So far this year, the volunteers at Overlake Service League have already found sponsors for this year’s needy families. But, there is always something you can do. Right now, they are requesting help with volunteers, and various items they need donated posted on their website at www.overlakeserviceleague.org.


Hopelink
Since 1971, Hopelink has been providing East King County families with emergency assistance such as food, practical support and other opportunities. There are many ways you can help a needy family with Hopelink this year including taking part in their annual food drive, and donating cash that’s pledged to specific causes or charities. They have also set up Holiday Giving Centers across the county for you to donate clothing, new, unwrapped toys, or any other donations. Hopelink is specifically requesting gifts and clothing for teens. Teenagers grow fast in and out of clothes all the time, so new clothing is always appreciated. www.Hope-Link.org.


United Way of King County
If you have trouble deciding on which charity you’d like you help, United Way of King County provides you an opportunity to give to a variety of different charities. If you like, you can donate cash on a monthly basis, or as a one-time gift. They have many programs that can benefit from your donation including the Parent-Child Home Program which seeks to help reunite children and parents with a new home of their own. The United Way is also an excellent organization with an above average reputation. They only use 3% of every dollar donated for their administrative costs. Everything else is put to work directly helping those in need. www.uwkc.org.


Marine’s Toys for Tots Program
An annual tradition, you will begin to see Marines line up around Targets, WalMarts and most grocery store entrances asking for your donations of a new and unwrapped toy. They collect and donate these toys to children and teens across the King County area. The Marine’s Toys for Tots program is another excellent example of a charity that does everything right. Cash and gift cards can be donated, but they would prefer you to donate cash on their website at www.toysfortots.org.

This holiday season, it’s important to remember just how fortunate you are and how much even a ten dollar donation can mean to a child or hungry family. The smallest act of giving can make the biggest difference in a child’s life, so donate to Seattle Charities this holiday season that you believe deserves some of your time and money and commit to making the world a better place!

Happy and safe holidays from the SREI Team!

Fremont Real Estate

Sometimes referred to as “The People’s Republic of Fremont,” other times as “The Artists Republic of Fremont” this neighborhood is one of the best examples of Seattle living. Once the symbol of 60’s counterculture, Fremont has become more gentrified over the years as they have attracted a diverse range of people, restaurants and coffee shops.

Living in Fremont is not like living in other neighborhoods in Seattle. Here in Fremont, you get a unique experience that you would normally only be able to find in a city like Portland, OR, Brooklyn, NY or Silverlake, California. Signs dot the neighborhood with advice like “Set your watch back five minutes,” to advising to throw the watch away entirely. Some signs boast that Fremont is the center of the universe and a local historical landmark will show you the distance from Fremont to a variety of cities across the planet. It’s this kind of avant guard art and statues that make Fremont such an amazing and unique place to live.

The residents in Fremont have a particular pride in art and culture that range from the breathtaking to the confusing to the downright disturbing. For example, in Fremont, you’re just as likely to see an 18 foot tall statue of Vladimir Lenin (the controversial Communist figure). As the story goes, a local art lover took a mortgage out on his house to rescue the enormous statue after the fall of communism in 1991. Since then, Lenin has looked down disapprovingly on the residents of Fremont.

Controversial statues from the 20th century aren’t the only statues that are on display. A rather large statue of a troll crushing a Volkswagen Beetle in its hand sits directly underneath the Aurora bridge. The Troll over eighteen feet high and weighs over 13,000 lbs. Visitors are encouraged to climb up on the statue to try to poke out his remaining good eye (a hubcap). Aurora Ave North was renamed Troll Avenue in honor of this local landmark.

With the best of both worlds, Fremont real estate is a great buy for artists, young professionals looking to make their first purchase on a house. Fremont is a promising area with many Fortune 500 companies opening offices there. Companies like Google, Adobe Systems, Tableau Software, BEA and Cutter and Block have all purchased office space in the Fremont neighborhood. As a result of all the tech companies owning Fremont real estate, the southern edge of Fremont is sometimes referred to as “Silicon Canal.”

With the large selection of restaurants, the unique culture that has flourished in Fremont and the proximity to many of the major tech companies, Fremont real estate is something you should be seriously considering for your new home. With the recent uptick in the local Seattle economy, places with available inventory like Fremont will sell quickly. The recovery is in full swing in Seattle, especially with housing and unemployment. All these factors are pointing towards a very strong year for home prices in Fremont. Get in now, or regret it later.