Monday, February 29, 2016

Keep Your Commission America

Savvy Lane has rebuilt real estate from the ground up by combining For Sale by Owner and the traditional process. Using our flat fee MLS service will save you thousands of dollars by eliminating the traditional 6% commission. By listing your property on the MLS and hundreds of real estate websites you will increases your exposure tenfold. 

Today 98% of buyers start their search online, make sure your property is seen on as many sites as possible with our flat fee MLS options. As a licensed brokerage Savvy Lane will provide access to the MLS, forms, yard signs, lock boxes and support to help you sell like the pros. Our proven technology has transformed the selling process.   

Savvy Lane has helped thousands save millions on commissions. Join the revolution and let us help you today.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

10 Low-Cost Tweaks to Help Your Home Sell

Many homeowners won’t even consider listing their home, because they can’t afford extensive remodeling to get it ready for sale. But sometimes it’s not the major renovations that buyers notice. Consider this checklist of cheaper to-do’s before hanging that for-sale sign.  Full Article

1. Quick-clean the exterior and landscape. They don’t call it curb appeal for nothing. Check for loose or clogged gutters and broken or missing flashing materials, which help prevent leaks behind the gutters. Cut the lawn and trim the bushes. Make sure the garage doors open and close properly. Wipe down lawn furniture. Fix any dangling shutters.

Estimated costs: Completely replacing gutters can be expensive; replacing just parts is more economical. A 10-foot gutter starts at $6; downspouts start at $8. High-end garage doors cost $1,000, but a decorative garage door hardware kit starts at $19.

2. Make that door (and doorbell) stand out. Many homeowners don’t come in through the front door, but prospective buyers do. “While the Realtor is fiddling with the lockbox, trying to get the door open, the buyer is standing there looking around,” says stager and interior designer Deborah Goode of A Goode Start Decorating and Home Staging in Annapolis, Maryland. Fix cracked or peeling doorways with a fresh coat of paint and be sure the bell actually rings.

Estimated costs: Exterior paints start at $30 a gallon; doorbells are $10 and up.

3. Evaluate every entrance. It’s not just the front door that will get the once-over. “Doors offer a huge bang for the buck visually,” says Chris Neumann, director of operations for Pyramid Builders in Annapolis. Update interior doors or at least replace hinges and knobs, he suggests. “And replace any junky bifolds with double-swing or heavier solid-core doors,” he adds.

Estimated costs: Bronze door hinges can cost $3; solid-core, unfinished pine interior doors start at $99.

4. Look down. People walk in and wipe their feet. One of the first things they’ll notice is the condition of the floor, says Goode. Stained carpets, raggedy rugs and scratched floors are fairly easy fixes.

Estimated costs: You can rent a carpet steam cleaner for $60; the cost of area rugs varies significantly.

5. Select the right scent.  Beware the four most dreaded words in real estate: “What is that smell?” Buyers will associate musty odors with mold damage or disrepair, so eliminate any nose agitators. Clean out litter boxes, make sure your animals are bathed, banish the kids’ stinky sports equipment to the basement or garage, and throw out that science experiment in the fridge. Find one scent (or complementing scents) you love and use it throughout the house to avoid scent overload.

Estimated costs: Scented candles can cost $10; plug-in odor eliminators start at $17.

6. Spot treat any blemishes. Walls are an excellent canvas, but they also clearly display age, dirt, indifference, even foundation issues. Fix any scuff marks, nail holes and paint cracks. “Remove all peeling wallpaper and repaint in neutrals to maximize the natural light,” says interior designer Jana Abel, president of J. Abel Interiors in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Estimated costs: Spackling paste starts at $18; interior paint costs $28 a gallon and up.

7. Have a place for everything. If buyers see that your stuff doesn’t have a home, they won’t want your home. “I always advise my clients to take out at least a third of what they have in closets,” Goode says. Make sure anything that’s not on display — shoes, coats, papers, pots, pans — is tucked away and neatly organized.  When closet space is at a premium, repurpose other areas for storage. “Finish the garage walls and floors and add some simple storage to make the room part of the home,” says Abel.

Estimated costs: Attractive bins and baskets cost $20 and up; basic shelving systems start at $200.

8. Check the tracks. You may no longer notice that lopsided utensils drawer, but potential buyers will. New cabinetry may be out of the question, but fix bent drawer tracks and slides, replace dangling pulls and tighten screws and handles.

Estimated costs: Basic rail-drawer-track kits start at $3; decorative cabinet knobs start at $4 each.

9. Give the appliances some elbow grease. Buyers want stoves that shine, not evidence of last week’s tuna casserole. Clean the oven, refrigerator, microwave, sink and any other appliance that will be included in the purchase of the home.

Estimated costs: Most cleaning products start at $4; elbow grease is free.

10. Finish with finishes. Bathroom gut jobs can be pricey, but replacing finishing elements such as faucets, showerheads, towel racks and toilet paper holders can significantly brighten a room. “If you have polished chrome faucets or shower valves, you can pick up any chrome accessories and they will match, unlike satin nickel or oil-rubbed bronze,” says Abel. New shower curtains, towels and mats also will help the room look updated and clean, she adds.

Estimated costs: Showerheads can cost $40 and up; bath towels start at $10; faucets are $70 and up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Buying Options

Every buyer has different needs, you have three options when it comes to buying with us. Call us to start searching for the home of your dreams. 800-915-9174

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

6 Key Steps To Buying A Home This Year

Would-be homebuyers eyeing 2016 as the year have a fair bit working in their favor. Mortgage credit continues to thaw, interest rates remain surprisingly flat and more homes are expected to hit the market as Spring approaches.

To be sure, some buyers have a more streamlined path than others. Macro-level outlooks are one thing; it's another to build the credit and finances necessary to lock down a home loan in the current lending environment.

Whether you're a first-time explorer or a long-term dreamer, here are six tips to help you make the leap and take advantage of a promising housing market in 2016. Full Article

Take your credit:
Credit looks to be loosening as we head into the Spring homebuying season. Through the first six months of 2015, the average FICO credit score for all closed loans was 730, but that decreased to a 722 FICO score by the end of the year, according to mortgage software firm Ellie Mae.  Still, building the strongest credit profile possible can save you money when it comes to things like interest rates and private mortgage insurance.

Explore your options:
Homebuying education is key. Studies and surveys consistently show that buyers overestimate their mortgage knowledge or figure their lack of it doesn't matter. The reality is ill-prepared buyers can wind up in bad loans or simply miss out on maximizing their budget and options.

Take time to learn about the major mortgage types, the upfront costs of homebuying and what might make the most sense given your unique credit and financial situation.

Pre-approval is a must:
Shopping for homes is the fun part. But it's way more fun, not to mention useful, to shop for homes you can realistically afford. Work on getting loan pre-approval before starting your home search.

A pre-approval letter shows sellers and real estate agents you're a serious homebuying candidate. In fact, some agents won't accept purchase offers without one. Pre-approval also gives you a clear sense of how much home you can buy.

Know your market:
Bidding wars are breaking out in communities where housing inventory struggles to keep pace with demand. About a third of homes sold for or above their list price in October 2015, according to CoreLogic.

The likelihood of rising mortgage rates in 2016 may push even more buyers into the game. Look for seasoned real estate agents who really know your market and how to navigate a bidding war if need be. Coming in with a strong offer at the outset can be crucial for buyers competing in hotter real estate markets.

Be patient:
Getting to the closing table might take a little longer than normal this year, so plan accordingly. The average purchase loan closed in 50 days in December, eight days longer than the December prior, according to Ellie Mae.

Many mortgage industry professionals point to recent disclosure and documentation changes as the culprit. But those hiccups and delays may subside as lenders, title companies and other industry players better adjust to the new regulations.

A longer closing window can affect everything from purchase contracts and interest rate locks to closing costs and coordinating your move.

Avoid costly detours:
It's a good idea to keep a tight lid on your credit and finances once you've decided to pursue a home purchase. Taking on new credit, changing jobs and even moving money around accounts can raise a red flag with lenders and, in some cases, derail your loan.

Change isn't your friend during the homebuying journey. It's not enough to get your credit and finances in order before starting the process - work hard to keep them that way as you move toward closing day.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Savvy Lane Round Up

This week has been a busy one for us. We listed 12+ homes, went over offers, helped negotiate counter offers and closed a few homes in escrow!

Here are all the current homes we listed:

17302 Meadow Lane Mount Vernon WA 98274


Year Built: 1995
Square Footage: 2475
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2.75
Parking: 3 Car  
MLS Number: 897907


24593 NE Butteville Road Aurora OR 97002


Year Built: 1958
Square Footage: 2486
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3
Parking: 2 Car  
MLS Number: 16386476


7019 E J ST Tacoma WA 98404


Year Built: 2009
Square Footage: 1672
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Parking: 2 Car  
MLS Number: 897611


4220 Crestwood Place Mercer Island WA 98040


Year Built: 1969
Square Footage: 4050
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3.5
Parking: 2 Car  
MLS Number: 897595


8820 NE 15th Place Clyde Hill WA 98004


Year Built: 1974
Square Footage: 3680
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 2.5
Parking: 3 Car  
MLS Number: 896714


2332 Crosby Drive Mount Vernon WA 98274


Year Built: 1979
Square Footage: 3610
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Parking: 2 Car  
MLS Number: 896720


759 S 160th Street Spanaway WA 98387


Year Built: 1999
Square Footage: 3264
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3
Parking: 2 Car  
MLS Number: 896707


225-229 Gambetta Street Daly City CA 94014


Year Built: 1975
Square Footage: 2410
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Parking: 2 Car  
MLS Number: 441844


28150 237th Ave SE Maple Valley WA 98038


Year Built: 2005
Square Footage: 1954
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Parking: 2 Car  
MLS Number: 892605


15405 35th Ave W, #A3 Lynnwood WA 98087


Year Built: 2004
Square Footage: 1545
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Parking: 2 Car  
MLS Number: 893382


567 odyssey lane milpitas CA 95035


Year Built: 2014
Square Footage: 2497
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Parking: 2 Car  
MLS Number: 893382

Keep Calm

We have revolutionized property sales by streamlining the entire process. We provide a faster, easier and less stressful experience. Our helpful team is available 7 days a week. We are hands on during the entire period of your listing. Call us today to see how much you can save listing your home.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Home Sellers Shift Pricing Strategy From High To Middle Range

According to a January survey by Redfin, more home sellers are pricing their homes in a middle range – and fewer sellers are pricing high – than the results showed in a similar survey from October of last year. This article from Redfin’s Jon Whitely highlights the shift in pricing strategy.  Home sellers this season are taking a more grounded approach to pricing than they did in the fall, as buyers grow more selective and less willing to overpay.  Full Article

In a Redfin survey last month, 57 percent of home sellers said their strategy was to price their property in a middle range, an increase of 7 points from our October survey. Thirty-two percent said they would price high, down from 34 percent.

“We’ve seen a shift in the right direction toward pricing in the middle range to better encourage multiple offers,” said Will Fassinger, a Redfin agent in Atlanta. “There’s always the fear of becoming a stale listing that scares buyers off or pricing so low that you don’t attract the right buyers. We advise sellers that we don’t have to negotiate a ton to get the preferred price.”

Sixty-seven percent of sellers think prices will increase a little in 2016.  Seven percent think home prices will increase a lot, only a slight change from our October survey.

A greater share of survey respondents, 48 percent, said now is an OK time to sell in their neighborhood. Ten percent said now is a bad time to sell, down from 13 percent in our prior survey.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Consumers More Positive About The Future Of Housing

On Monday morning, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released the results of its monthly Survey of Consumer Expectations, showing that consumers feel more positive about the housing market in the next 12 months. Here are some of the details from the results, reported by Builder. Full Article

Median expected home price change dropped slightly to 3.00% in January, according to the monthly Survey of Consumer Expectations released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

This is a two basis-point change compared to last December’s 3.02%, and 42 basis-point decrease from January 2015. An upward housing market in 2015 has given consumers more reason to believe in a strong 2016 market. Consumer predictions of home price volatility have gone down in recent years, but have stayed fairly stable since August 2015.

Consumers in the Northeast region have the most faith in the housing market, expecting a moderate 2.59% change in future home prices. People in the South region came in second with a 2.90% expected home price change, followed by the Midwest and West, with a 3.00% and 3.27% median point prediction, respectively.

Younger consumers under 40 years-old are the most optimistic among all age groups, with a median prediction of 2.82%, while consumers over age 60 see the most volatility in the market, with an expected home price change of 3.00%

Friday, February 5, 2016

Flat Fee Listing Brokerage

We are a top flat fee listing brokerage for a reason. We pride ourselves on amazing customer service.

Today, we helped our seller go over an offer (who was listed less than 24 hours). This seller heard of Savvy Lane by his neighbor who listed her condo with us last week and also accepted an offer less than 24 hours of being listed . Both seller saved thousands in listing commissions.

At Savvy Lane we are all licensed agents giving sellers the support they need to help during the entire listing process.

Call us to see how much you can save listing with a top producing flat fee brokerage Savvy Lane.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Is it really 2016 already?  For those of you who happen to be planning on buying a home in the new year—or even just trying to—there’s a whole lot to celebrate. Why? A variety of financial vectors have dovetailed to make this the perfect storm for home buyers to get out there and make an (winning) offer. Here are six home-buying reasons to be thankful while ringing in the new year: Full Article

Reason No. 1: Interest rates are still at record lows  Even though they may creep up at any moment, it’s nonetheless a fact that interest rates on home loans are at historic lows, with a 30-year fixed-rate home loan still hovering around 4%.

Reason No. 2: Rents have skyrocketed  Another reason home buyers are lucky is that rents are going up, up, up! (This, on the other hand, is a reason not to be thankful if you’re a renter.) In fact, rents outpaced home values in 20 of the 35 biggest housing markets in 2015. What’s more, according to the 2015 Rental Market Report, 88% of property managers raised their rent in the past 12 months, and an 8% hike is predicted for 2016.

Reason No. 3: Home prices are stabilizing  For the first time in years, prices that have been climbing steadily upward are stabilizing, restoring a level playing field that helps buyers drive a harder bargain with sellers, even in heated markets.

Reason No. 4: Down payments don’t need to break the bank  Probably the biggest obstacle that prevents renters from becoming homeowners is pulling together a down payment. But today, that chunk of change can be smaller, thanks to a variety of programs to help home buyers. For instance, the new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage Program allows for a 3% down payment for credit scores as low as 620.

Reason No. 5: Mortgage insurance is a deal, too  If you do decide to put less than 20% down on a home, you are then required to have mortgage insurance (basically in case you default). A workaround to handle this, however, is to take out a loan from the Federal Housing Administration—a government mortgage insurer that backs loans with down payments as low as 3.5% and credit scores as low as 580. The fees are way down from 1.35% to 0.85% of the mortgage balance, meaning your monthly mortgage total will be significantly lower if you fund it this way. In fact, the FHA predicts this 37% annual premium cut will bring 250,000 first-time buyers into the market. Why not be one of them?

Reason No. 6: You’ll reap major tax breaks. Tax laws continue to favor homeowners, so you’re not just buying a place to live—you’re getting a tax break! The biggest one is that unless your home loan is more than $1 million, you can deduct all the monthly interest you are paying on that loan. Homeowners may also deduct certain home-related expenses and home property taxes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

U.S. new-home sales soar in December

Americans rushed to buy new homes in December at the strongest pace in 10 months, with 2015 marking the strongest year for this segment of the housing market since 2007.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new-home sales surged 10.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000. It was the third consecutive monthly gain since sales collapsed in September. The increase nearly pulled the sales rate even with the level of 545,000 in February 2015 and points to continued momentum for real estate and construction in the opening months of this year.

"This is a promising sign for the housing market as we move into 2016," said Tian Liu, chief economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance. "We expect the strong increase in new home sales to continue as the fundamentals in the housing market remain strong and newer vintage homes are in short supply."

Sales of new homes accelerated sharply in 2015, rising 14.5 percent on the entire year to 501,000. Steady job growth that cut the unemployment rate to a healthy 5 percent has given many homebuyers increased confidence, while relatively low mortgage rates improved affordability. Yet sales of new homes continue to run below the 52-year historic average of 655,200, a sign of the severe hit absorbed by the market after the housing bubble burst.

Builders responded to the demand by increasing construction. Over the course of 2015, ground breakings rose 10.8 percent to 1.1 million. Yet supplies main relatively low with only 5.2 months' inventory of new homes available, down from 5.6 months in November. The industry generally considers six months' supply to be healthy.

New-home sales climbed strongly in the Northeast, Midwest and West in December. They were nearly flat in the South — the country's largest housing market.

The median new-home sales price fell 4.3 percent from a year ago to $288,900. But Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at the real estate firm Trulia, cautioned that this doesn't necessarily mean that affordability has improved for first-time buyers. Full Article

Monday, February 1, 2016

Tips for Real Estate Photography


Great architects understand the importance of light and design houses around this. If you are fortunate enough to have a well designed lighting system, you might be able to get away with only using existing light.

The first step is to turn on all the lights in the house. This will add more depth and color variance to your photos. Be sure that the lights do not show up as reflections in pictures, windows, mirrors, or other reflective surfaces.

Often you’ll need to use external lighting such as flashes or strobes to balance the natural and artificial light. A simple tactic is to replace the incandescent bulbs with more powerful tungsten bulbs. These have a higher output and are more consistent in color temperature with outdoor lighting.

When using a portable flash, it is best not to point the light directly at your scene. Instead, aim it at a wall or ceiling. This will diffuse and spread the light throughout the entire room. Use caution with colored walls as the color may transfer to the light.

Bright and large windows often cause various problems in an interior shoot. They distract the viewer and can cause exposure problems. Planning your shoot when the sun isn’t at its strongest or entering directly into the window is an easy solution to this. Full Article 


 After you’ve completed all the pre-production phases of interior photography, now comes the actual photo taking! The following are a few tips for taking better residential interior photos.

  • Be Spacious  To make rooms appear more spacious, be sure to avoid shooting straight at walls. This will make the photo look flat and can also warp the perspective. Instead, shoot into the corners of rooms. This will create more depth and make the room appear larger. Photographing from a lower angle and with a wider angled lens is also a great way to increase the perceived size of the room.  
  • Choose Attention Grabbing Areas  There is no way to photograph a room in one picture (besides photo stitching). When you photograph a room select the interesting parts. Choose objects of importance or parts of the room with more interesting architecture.
  • Keep the Lines Straight  Be sure that the vertical and horizontal lines in your photos are straight. Crooked lines are signs of poor technical skills and will detract from the image.  
  • Know Your Goal  Are you photographing the house to feature the architectural design or the ambiance? Understand your goals for the photo shoot and compose accordingly.

“Cantabria” captured by Sherwood CC