Home Auctions on Bainbridge Island

With our slower market, sellers and builders are getting very creative when it comes to marketing. Last week our little corner of the world made the national news profiling Bremerton’s The 400 Condo development. On April 20th, twenty eight units will be up for auction. The Real Estate Disposition Corporation, a private auction firm will be conducting the auction. According to the Kitsap Sun, starting bids will be almost 60% off the list price. So, bidding for the smallest condos — one bedroom, one bathroom units with about 575 square feet — will start at $109,000, a drastic reduction from $259,000.

So, no surprise, these prices got the attention of the public. I called the sales office today and according to a representative at The 400, as of yesterday (3/30/08), over 1600 people have toured the condos since the first viewing weekend just two weeks ago (800 toured in the first weekend). What the media and the auction company fail to mention however, is the hidden reserve price built into each condo. The “bidding” may start at $109,000 for a $259,000 condo, but the hidden reserve price might be closer to $200,000. See the PDF under the Disclosure section on the auction REDC Website. Plus, the buyer must pay a 5% auction commission on top of the sales price.

I don’t blame the investors of The 400 for trying to sell their investment. But, misleading the buyers who are already wading through the media madness about the current real estate market is just not ok.

On March 31, 2008, in Real Estate Business, by

Ferry in Eagle Harbor on Banibridge Island
1. It is truly an island
Yes, there is a bridge to Poulsbo and beyond, but the Sound between here and Seattle is a perfect buffer to the action of the big city.

2. The low crime rate
I know we are not isolated from bad things or bad people, but I can breathe a little sigh of relief when I step off the ferry. The statistics speak for themselves. However, the incident at the pool the other day, proves it is very hard to totally get away from crime.

3. The great Bainbridge Island School District
We go back and forth with Mercer Island for the top spot in the state. However, as a former teacher, I know test scores are not everything. I love the small school my daughter attends. I love the feeling of the school, the kindness of the staff. The small size ensures that my daughter won’t get caught in any cracks and I love that Judy, the school secretary knows the names of everyone in our family!

4. Islandmoms Facebook
This group is awesome. It is a wonderful support community. If you are looking for a recommendation for a painter or doctor, this is the place to go. For feedback and advice on anything island, this is the message board to read and write on. If you are looking to borrow snow boots or a costume for your child, a total stranger will probably let you borrow them. It is great!

5. The Treehouse Café
They have the best Cesar salad and our family loves eating pizza on the couches in the restaurant.

6. Blackbird Bakery
An island institution. I just like knowing it is there. I am not too hip on their sweet stuff (my youngest daughter is though) or coffee, I actually like their loaves of wheat bread.

7. Dancing Paint Ceramic Studio
A great spot to spend an hour or two on a rainy or sunny day. It is a beautiful, light filled studio in downtown Winslow. You and/or your kids will love the creative outlet . . . and you thought you had enough coffee mugs, never! )now closed :(

8. The Bainbridge Island Public Library
Carmen the children’s librarian does a top-notch job with storytime. My preschooler loves to listen to her read and act out stories! Pierre the French Mouse is pretty cute too.

9. Sawan Thai Kitchen
Green Curry Chicken, yumm. Three-Star Spicy is spicy enough for me!

10. Bainbridge Performing Arts Theatre
Folks from Seattle ferry over to see our plays . . . and folks from Seattle come over to be in the plays too. They offer a great theatre program for kids too. My daughter loved the camp she was in last summer.

On March 31, 2008, in Activities, Community, Personal, by

Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park
In the last two days we have had rain, sleet, snow, and amazing sunbursts. Spring? It is not typical, but keeps you on your toes . . . and digging around in your closet for the snow boots, hats, and gloves you thought you were done with.

On March 30, 2008, in Community, Personal, by

In a fast-paced, good market, where homes are selling easily and for substantial profit to the seller, few sellers question the commission paid to the real estate agent/s. When a market is tough, homes sit on the market for six months to a year and agents work and market that home until it sells for perhaps a small or no profit to the seller – this is the market where sellers question the commission paid to the agent/s. When times are good, people have money, people are happy. When times are tough, money is tight, people are stressed, they look everywhere for how to keep their money. The agents are often the first people questioned.

Something to think about. When should you be happy to pay an agent their fee, when the house sells in three days with three offers, or when the agent sells the house for you after six months of hard work?

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On March 28, 2008, in Real Estate Business, by

Some interesting numbers from the National Association of Realtors.

Number of Existing Home Sales in the United States:
1998 – 4.2 million
2000 – 4.6 million
2004 – 4.7 million
2005 – 7.1 million (with a 38% appreciation rate in 2005)
2006 – 6.48 millioin
2007 – 5.66 million
2008 (projection) 5.7 million

The media makes things look really bad, but 2005 was just really “good” as far as pricing went for sellers. But, in regards to homes sold, we’re still better than 1998.

Home Equity Borrowed:
2000 – 26 billion
2004 – 139 billion
2005 – 450 billion
2007 – 620 billion (stats from the Mortgage Bankers Association)

This is the scary part. Real estate is still moving, but now many sellers are upside down.

On March 18, 2008, in Moving, Real Estate Business, by

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