Home Sellers in Q3 Netted $61K at Resale

Home Sellers in Q3 Netted $61K at Resale | Keeping Current Matters

According to a recent report by ATTOM Data Solutions, home sellers who sold their homes in the third quarter of 2018 benefited from rising home prices and netted an average of $61,232.

This is the highest average price gain since the second quarter of 2007 and represents a 32% return on the original purchase prices.

After the Great Recession, many homeowners were left in negative equity situations but home price appreciation in the recovery period since then has given homeowners something to smile about.

The results from ATTOM fall right in line with data from the latest edition of the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Below is a chart that was created using NAR’s data to show the percentage of equity that homeowners earned at the time of sale based on when they purchased their homes.

Home Sellers in Q3 Netted $61K at Resale | Keeping Current Matters

Even though those who purchased at the peak of the market netted less than those who bought before and after the peak, the good news is that there was a double-digit profit to be had! Many homeowners believe that they are still underwater which has led many of them to not even consider selling their houses.

Bottom Line

If you are curious about how much equity you’d earn if you sold your home, click here to contact us today for an equity review. We can help you determine the demand for your home in today’s market and help you develop a plan!


From a Dated Renovation to an Updated Cottage


The project was right in Jamie Keskin’s wheelhouse. The Boston-based interior designer’s style can best be described as a modern take on cottage chic. Which is exactly why when her clients reached out to her about updating their cedar-shingle, Nantucket-style home she was excited about the opportunity. “There was beautiful craftsmanship everywhere,” she says of the remodeled stunner. “They didn’t skimp on any details during the remodel.”

The architectural details laid the foundation for Keskin’s redesign, which aimed to brighten the space by taking advantage of the home’s ample natural light as well as modernizing it with playful fabrics and finishes. Having known the clients for several years—they met at a local antique marketplace—Keskin was in tune with their personal style. “They love a good mix of traditional with a cottage feel,” she says. “I’d say they were traditional but in a casual, comfortable way so I knew that was the direction I would go in. Nothing midcentury or contemporary or over the top. We just really wanted to stay true to the style of the home.”

The homeowners enlisted Keskin to help rework their master bedroom, living room, dining room, and mudroom as the adjacent kitchen had recently been updated with the renovation. But Keskin wasn’t starting with a blank slate. Like many of her clients, they wanted to utilize existing pieces—namely furniture and antiques they’d collected over the years—into the home’s interior design while also incorporating furniture, fabrics, and textures to infuse new life into the space. “I love when clients have existing pieces that they want to include in the home’s design, especially heirloom pieces because they make the home feel more personal, it tells a story,” she explains.

Keskin drew inspiration from the kitchen, which boasts shiplap walls, exposed reclaimed wood beams, mahogany, and honed granite countertops, Carrara-marble subway tiles, and a touch of color via a light gray blue for the base of the island. “It’s such a welcoming space and we wanted to capture that in the living areas,” she says.

The living room is where the homeowners do the bulk of their day-to-day living and entertaining, so it was important that it be comfortable and inviting. A coffee table—a small antique boat outfitted with a glass top—along with the area rug were two of the clients’ existing pieces that Keskin built her design around. The rug with its pops of tomato red and celadon blue served as color inspiration and led Keskin to keep the furniture and walls simple and neutral. She layered throw pillows and draperies to bring color and texture into the room.

The draperies by GP & J Baker set the stage with the same hues as the rug, while a pair of adjacent chairs swathed in a playful but more neutral ocelot-print fabric by Cowtan & Tout offset the colorful draperies and custom throw pillows by Jane Churchill, Scalamandre, and Kerry Joyce Textiles. “It was all about balance in this space. So, mixing tiny, bold fabrics with neutrals really allows everything to blend together,” says Keskin. The ample natural light also played a role in the interior design as it highlights the organic texture of the existing coffee table while also brightening the colorful prints and patterns.

In the dining room, Keskin applied the same tactic of using the homeowners’ existing pieces as the base—the dining room table and chairs, for example, were the clients’ own prior to enlisting Keskin—as a base. A stunning blue grass cloth wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries in the room immediately adds a dose of modernity amongst the ultra-traditional furniture. Likewise, draperies also by Phillip Jeffries in a geometric pattern feel playful yet sophisticated in the traditional setting.

To add pops of color, designer Jamie Keskin added custom throw pillows by Jane Churchill, Scalamandre, and Kerry Joyce Textiles to the neutral sofa.

Collected Cottage


Keskin drew inspiration for the living room color palette from homeowners’ existing rug and layered the room with custom draperies by GP & J Baker complemented by a pair of chairs swathed in a fun ocelot-print fabric by Cowtan & Tout. An antique boat repurposed as a coffee table anchors the space and provides a rustic element.

While Keskin loved reworking the living and dining areas for her clients, she is especially fond of the mudroom. “It was a fun, small space [where] we could really push the envelope a little bit,” she says. With minimal wall space to add color to, Keskin suggested a fun wallpaper in lieu of paint. “There wasn’t a ton of wall with the wainscoting, so I convinced her to go bold with the wallpaper,” says Keskin of the Galbraith & Paul paper, which complemented the bluestone flooring. “It made the room feel bigger. Some clients are afraid to commit to wallpaper but it’s easier to commit to it in a smaller space. She wanted something different in that room and this hit the mark.” To add more pattern to the space, Keskin also added a custom cushion for the bench swathed in Thibaut fabric, which Keskin had vinylized to prevent staining.

Though the clients are still tweaking rooms here and there, Keskin knows her clients love the final product. “It feels like you stepped out to a farm on acres of land,” she says. “It’s gorgeous.”

Still Think You Need 15-20% Down to Buy a Home? Think Again!


According to a new study from Urban Institute, there are over 19 million millennials in 31 cities who are not only ready and willing to become homeowners, but are able to as well!

Now that the largest generation since baby boomers has aged into prime homebuying age, there will no doubt be an uptick in the national homeownership rate. The study from Urban Institute revealed that nearly a quarter of this generation has the credit and income needed to purchase a home.

Surprisingly, the largest share of mortgage-ready millennials lives in expensive coastal cities. These cities often attract highly skilled workers who demand higher salaries for their expertise.

So, what’s holding these mortgage-ready millennials back from buying?

Myths About Down Payment Requirements! 

Most of the millennials surveyed for the study believe that they need at least a 15% down payment in order to buy a home when, in reality, the median down payment in the US in 2017 was just 5%, and many programs are available for even lower down payments!

The study goes on to point out that:

“Despite limited awareness, every state has programs that provide grants and loans to make homeownership more attainable, with average assistance in various states ranging from $2,436 to $21,171.”

Bottom Line

With so many young families now able to buy a home in today’s market, the demand for housing will continue for years to come. If you are one of the many millennials who have questions about their ability to buy in today’s market, click here to contact us now so we can assist you along your journey!

Will Home Prices Continue to Increase?


There are many unsubstantiated theories about what is happening with home prices. From those who are worried that prices are falling (data shows this is untrue), to those who are concerned that prices are again approaching boom peaks because of “irrational exuberance” (this is also untrue as prices are not at peak levels when they are adjusted for inflation), there seems to be no shortage of opinion.

However, the increase in prices is easily explained by the theory of supply & demand. Whenever there is a limited supply of an item that is in high demand, prices increase. It is that simple. In real estate, it takes a six-month supply of existing salable inventory to maintain pricing stability. In most housing markets, anything less than six months will cause home values to appreciate and anything greater than seven months will cause prices to depreciate (see chart below).

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According to the Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the monthly inventory of homes for sale has been below six months for the last five years (see chart below).

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Bottom Line

If buyer demand continues to outpace the current supply of existing homes for sale, prices will continue to appreciate. Nothing nefarious is taking place. It is simply the theory of supply & demand working as it should. If you have questions on what is happening in our local market, Click Here to contact us now.

What’s Going On With Home Prices?

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According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report, national home prices in August were up 5.5% from August 2017. This marks the first time since June 2016 that home prices did not appreciate by at least 6.0% year-over-year.

CoreLogic’s Chief Economist Frank Nothaft gave some insight into this change,

“The rise in mortgage rates this summer to their highest level in seven years has made it more difficult for potential buyers to afford a home. The slackening in demand is reflected in the slowing of national appreciation, as illustrated in the CoreLogic Home Price Index.  

National appreciation in August was the slowest in nearly two years, and we expect appreciation to slow further in the coming year.”

One of the major factors that has driven prices to accelerate at a pace of between 6-7% over the past two years was the lack of inventory available for sale in many areas of the country. This made houses a prized commodity which forced many buyers into bidding wars and drove prices even higher.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report, we are starting to see more inventory come to market over the last few months. This, paired with patient buyers who are willing to wait to find the right homes, is creating a natural environment for price growth to slow.

Historically, prices appreciated at a rate of 3.7% (from 1987-1999). CoreLogic predicts that prices will continue to rise over the next year at a rate of 4.7%.

Bottom Line

As the housing market moves closer to a ‘normal market’ with more inventory for buyers to choose from, home prices will start to appreciate at a more ‘normal’ level, and that’s ok! If you are curious about home prices in your area, CLICK HERE to contact us now.  We can help you understand what’s going on in your specific area!

3700 Alabama

Beautiful Lakeview Condominium

Own this Beautiful Lakeview Condominium in Bellingham for under $200k. Private Lake Whatcom beach access. Whatcom Falls Trail system in your backyard. No Stairs and reserved parking right in front of this well maintained condo. This complex sits on beautiful bird sanctuary. Private patio/deck offers park-like setting with east views to Lake Whatcom.


Call us today to arrange a tour!


Shannon Neufeld: 360.393.1183

Gordon Neufeld: 360.393.8299


510 Lakeway Drive. Bellingham



2 Factors to Watch in Today’s Real Estate Market Whether Buying or Selling


When it comes to buying or selling a home there are many factors you should consider. Where you want to live, why you want to buy or sell, and who will help you along your journey are just some of those factors. When it comes to today’s real estate market, though, the top two factors to consider are what’s happening with interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates have been on the rise and are now over three-quarters of a percentage point higher than they were at the beginning of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.72% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decreaseif you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

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With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be over 5% by this time next year.


A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 4.3-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 78 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last three months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, in June, July, and August, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

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This is a trend to watch as we move further into the fall and winter months. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, make sure that you have an experienced local agent who can help you navigate the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory. Click Here to Contact us Today!

How Does the Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand?


The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, as well as the market’s demand for it. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between seller traffic (supply) and buyer traffic (demand).

Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”

buyer traffic

The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey showed that in 38 out of 50 states buyer demand was slightly lower than this time last year but remains strong. Only six states had a ‘stable’ demand level.

Seller Supply 

The index also asked: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”

As you can see from the map below, 23 states reported ‘weak’ seller traffic, 22 states and Washington D.C. reported ‘stable’ seller traffic, and 5 states reported ‘strong’ seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are out looking for homes.

seller traffic

Bottom Line

Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, Click Here to contact us to see how we can help you capitalize on the demand in the market now!

The Cost of NOT Paying PMI

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Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer as median incomes, rents, and home prices all vary depending on where you live.

There is a common misconception among homebuyers that a 20% down payment is required, and it is this limiting belief that often adds months, and sometimes even years, to the home-buying process.

So, if you can purchase a home with less than a 20% down payment… why aren’t more people doing just that?

One Possible Answer: Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. The monthly cost of your PMI depends on the home’s value, the amount of your down payment, and your credit score.

Below is a table showing the difference in monthly mortgage payment for a $250,000 home with a 3% down payment and PMI vs. a 20% down payment without PMI:


The first thing you see when looking at the table above is no doubt the added $320 a month that you would be spending on your monthly mortgage cost. The second thing that should stand out is that a 20% down payment is $50,000!

If you are buying your first home, $50,000 is a large sum of money that takes discipline and sacrifice to save. Many first-time buyers save for 5-10 years before buying their homes.

To save $50,000 in 10 years, you would need to save about $420 a month. On the other hand, if you save that same $420 a month, you could afford a 3% down payment in less than a year and a half.

In a recent article by My Mortgage Insider, they explain what could happen in the market while you are waiting to save for a higher down payment:

“The time it takes to save a (larger) down payment could mean higher home prices and tougher qualifying down the road. For many buyers, it could prove much cheaper and quicker to opt for the 3% down mortgage immediately.”

The article went on to say,

“Since renters typically devote a higher percentage of their income to housing than homeowners, providing flexible down payment options can help renters with solid earnings purchase a home – and gain a fixed-rate mortgage with principal and interest payments that will not increase over the life of the loan.”

If the prospect of having to pay PMI is holding you back from buying a home today, Freddie Mac has this advice,

“It’s no doubt an added cost, but it’s enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

Based on results of the most recent Home Price Expectation Survey, a homeowner who purchased a $250,000 home in January would gain $50,000 in equity over the next five years based on home price appreciation alone (shown below).

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Bottom Line

If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, CLICK HERE to contact us or give us a call, we would be happy to discuss your options with you and refer you to one of our trusted mortgage lenders  who can explain your options to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Invigorating Infulence

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A Mix of Patterns and Colors Defines This English Abode



According to Roisin Lafferty, the talented founder and creative director of Kingston Lafferty Design in Dublin, Ireland, color is the single most transformative tool in interior design. “It can dramatically change the look and feel of any space. . . . We got to have fun with color here,” she says about a renewed two-story apartment in a London townhouse that originally lacked personality, character, and charm.


Lafferty describes the former interiors of the roughly 1,000-square-foot space as standard and plain. “The client already had the bold and brave House of Hackney sofa with so many colors, which allowed us to be all the more creative,” she says.

The clients—a Finnish husband and his Irish wife—met in London where they’ve lived for the past decade and had their young son. “The bustling, creative area of Hackney, East London is a place that is close to both their hearts. They wanted to create a fun-filled home that embraced the context of the location,” says Lafferty. “In terms of style, both have an appreciation of art and design and they were extremely open to color, pattern, and playfulness; the ideal clients!”

The apartment was completely redesigned with a focus on custom built-ins and other distinct features like the playful selection of furniture and lighting. New floors and freshly painted walls appear throughout, while an eclectic blend of styles combines market and vintage finds with contemporary elements, industrial references, and luxe details. “The main objective was to create a space that expressed the clients’ interests and personalities and one that would not date over time,” says Lafferty.


Her clients are very social and love to entertain. “We designed the kitchen and dining space to feel almost like a café or restaurant, so that there were lots of points of interest and different zones in which to have different experiences,” she says. For the kitchen, the husband wanted a streamlined “Scandi” feel. Instead of stark-white cabinets, they chose a bright mint green. “It is a positive color,” says Lafferty. “The copper detailing adds a feminine warmth and color tone, contrasting against the mint. We used authentic London tube [subway] tiles to frame the space in white with dark grout to emphasize the shapes.”

Invigorating Influence-

The monochrome patterned tiles provide a visual guide through the apartment spaces. “We wanted to draw your eye to the dining space and be playful here. We sourced a traditional gilded mirror to reflect the copper Tom Dixon pendants and opted for a pop of neon yellow on the mirror and the wall behind it,” she says. The artwork was a big color contributor as well, adds the designer, who worked with Hackney-based gallery Nelly Duff to get the right combination of prints.

In the kitchen, the subway tile makes its way to the high ceiling to create symmetry and frame the space. There, the original London tube tiles, which feature beautifully curved edges, surround a mirror-backed, illuminated alcove accessed by a custom ladder that travels through the kitchen and the lounge.

The lounge, which was meant to be more intimate, features generous proportions that allowed them to mix various prints and tones. Dusty blue appears on the walls with a brighter sky blue on the custom cabinetry, while mirrors reflect pattern and color around the space. A dark, chevron timber floor lends balance and depth.

“We wanted to deliberately play with ‘maximalism’ in this space,” says Lafferty, who counts Italian and Spanish designers among her favorites. “It was a space that lent itself to a ‘more is more’ approach. Taking reference from designers like Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, when done right, mixing clashing prints and colors can create excitement, fun, and drama.”

Repetition is definitely not in Lafferty’s repertoire. Instead, the designer likes to push the boundaries for interiors that are unique to the client and to the context of the space. “Sometimes the details make a project, and, in this case, it was getting all of those transitional details perfect. That is what makes it work in such a small space,” she says. “We are really happy with the depth and level of interest. It feels very [homey], which is what the client wanted, and it really is an environment that you want to spend time in.”

A Saturated Splash

If you’re looking to add a bit of color to your home, but in small doses, designer Roisin Lafferty has some bright advice.

Artwork can be a great place to start if you are hesitant to paint everything. Scale is important; the bigger the better.

A great way to add color in small sections is to paint larger rectangles of color behind your artwork. It makes the artwork pop and adds depth of color and tone.

You can easily incorporate color in small, loose items that are less of a commitment and easy to change over time, like pillows, accessories, and rugs.

Shannon & Gordon Neufeld

Shannon & Gordon Neufeld

360.393.1183 Shannon

360.393.8299 Gordon


Lic.# Shannon: 94057

Lic.# Gordon: 118864