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October 2015

Gridiron Condo’s First Week Update – The $800 +/sqft Prices are still the Talk of the Town

2This week I popped by the new sales center to talk with the Sales team to see how things are going.

Well, despite last week’s shocking public reaction to Gridiron’s lofty prices for their lofty units, they have already reserved over half of the 26 units that were released as part of their phase one.  With pre-sale prices that seem to hover at around an average of $831/sqft based on the those listings posted on the MLS for Gridiron, the days of getting a good deal when you buy early seem to be gone.

Earlier last week the developer released about 25% of the 107 units to the public with pricing for an opportunity to reserve a unit.   The reservation period, along with buyer’s $10,000 refundable reservation deposit, is in effect until the purchase and sale agreement and additional specifics such as the amount of HOA dues are worked out by the developer.  Then buyers with reservations will have a couple of weeks to review the new purchase and sale agreements, along with the required disclosures before making a final decision to move forward with a purchase.

Continue reading "Gridiron Condo’s First Week Update – The $800 +/sqft Prices are still the Talk of the Town" »


New Condo Building Coming to Belltown

6On the site that now houses US Bank at 2401 3rd Ave, on the corner of 3rd Ave and Battery St in Belltown, a new condominium building is being planned. According to a recent article by the Seattle DJC, the Taiwan-based Chainqui Development is planning to construct an 12 story condo tower that will evoke the feeling of living in a French villa. It will be their first US development.

The project will be called Urban Green Villa and will have 116 condo units along with first floor retail and 112 below grade parking stalls. Proposed design elements include a roof top deck and garden and green screen walls of landscaping along the side of building.

We will continue to follow the progress of this potential new condominium building in the Belltown core.

Image by GWest Architecture

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.


Gridiron Condos Starting Reservations for Presales this Week!

Gridiron Photobooth2We attended the Gridiron Condos opening party last night and were able to see their new sales center, the scale model of the new building and hear some updates on the project from the Daniels development team as well as the Sales Manager.

Here is what we learned:

  • Studio, urban (open) 1 bedrooms, 1 and 2 bedrooms, loft units
  • Studios: 12 studios from 430-500sf
  • Urban 1 bedrooms: 39 urban 1 bds (which are open 1 bds) from 471-779sf
  • 1 bedrooms: 38 1 bds from 547-829sf
  • 2 bedrooms: 16 2 bds from 877-1373sf
  • Lofts: 2 full height loft units on the 3rd/4th floor from 1302-1645sf (the only units in the historic Seattle Plumbing Building) - these will be cool!
  • Amenities: rooftop deck, roof-top level party room, gym, bike storage
  • 107 units
  • 11 stories
  • 88 parking stalls - this means some units will not have the option to purchase a stall
  • Two color palettes available (pre-selected) and no unit customization will be offered
  • Estimated completion: Mid-2017
  • 1st and 2nd floor will be retail
  • 3rd and 4th floors are mainly parking though there will be two 2-story loft units on these floors as well
  • 5th and 6th floor units will have balconies or decks
  • Sound proofing was a high priority - they have the highest level of residential soundproofing available according to the sales team
  • Finishes/Features: hard surface flooring throughout, 10ft ceilings in most units with the 2 story lofts being 16’ ceilings, quartz counters, gas cooking, in-unit washer/dryer
  • Sales: the building will be offered in phases with the first phase hitting the market before the weekend and this is when prices will be released; the units will go into reservation first, then convert to purchase and sale agreements once the developer has the purchase agreements finalized

Continue reading "Gridiron Condos Starting Reservations for Presales this Week!" »


Rumors of a Condo Building Coming to Aurora Ave in Green Lake

Zion ChurchAccording to King 5 News, the 100 year old Zion Lutheran Church on Aurora Ave N and 71st in Green Lake has been purchased to make way for a condominium building.

The church, after suffering declining attendance numbers at their services and the building falling into disrepair, decided to merge with a larger church in Lake City and sell the Church on Aurora to a Chinese Development Firm. The rumors are that the new owners will demolish the building to construct a condominium building.

After doing some digging, we could not locate any additional information on the intentions of the Developer but we must remember that often people incorrectly assume that when a developer is constructing a multi family residential building that it is condominiums, but more often than not, they are building apartments that will be rental units. We will just have to monitor the Land Use bulletins to see what will actually be built here.

From our perspective, it would nice to have additional condo options in North Seattle for folks looking to live in that area but who can't afford a single family home or even townhome. However, having an address right on Aurora might make the sales a little more challenging. There are many condominium buildings on Aurora but they do tend to have longer market times due to the perceived stigma of living on the highway.

We will keep you posted as we hear more, and if anyone knows any additional info about whether or not this project will indeed be a condominium building  vs a rental apartment building, please feel free to post and let us know.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.


Another Source of Buyers Fueling our Seattle Market are the Boomerang Buyers

Boomerang BuyerThis article was an interesting read, even though it wasn’t about a local buyer, it still is relevant so I wanted to share it with our readers.

Ever heard of the term boomerang buyer? If not, it is something you might want to be aware of if you thinking about buying or selling. The boomerang buyer is someone who went through a short sale or foreclosure during the most recent recession but are poised to come back into the real estate market as those credit transgressions fall off of their credit reports. If you are thinking of selling your condo or house but fear things might be slowing down, this might make you think twice as boomerang buyers are great candidates and they are motivated to own a home and are adding additional demand to the marketplace. Or if you are a person wanting to buy a new home but fear your past credit issues resulting from the recession will prevent that, this is worth a read as you might be a boomerang buyer.

Continue reading "Another Source of Buyers Fueling our Seattle Market are the Boomerang Buyers" »


Client Question of the Week: What is the HOA Payoff Demand & Who Pays for it?

Client Question of the Week: “Escrow just called me and asked for a credit card to pay for an HOA Payoff Demand. What is this and who pays for this? Is it the same as the Resale Certificate I already paid for?” - Condo Seller

Dear 'What is the HOA Demand':

HOA DocsAs a seller of a condominium there are several additional fees that you will incur that relate to ordering documents that are required in order for the sale to close. When you list your condominium you will order and pay for what is called a Resale Certificate and provide that to the potential buyer. It contains important consumer information about the association. Included in this package are copies of the association documents such as the declaration, covenants, bylaws, budget, association meeting minutes and so forth.

Once you get into a contract with a buyer, the Escrow Company will contact you to ask you to order and pay for what is typically called the HOA Payoff Demand. This report gives Escrow  payoff information in order to ensure all funds due to the HOA are collected for the property at closing. It will include funds that are owed for both the seller and buyer.  The fees can include HOA dues, late fees, fines that might be owed, transfer fees associated with the transfer of ownership within the building, move-in fees, etc..

Some HOA’s also use a third party service to provide such information to the lenders, title and escrow companies.  The fees are established by your HOA and the company they use, such as Condocerts.com or Homewisedocs.com.  Sometimes there will be a rush fee if you have a short closing time frame to ensure the document arrives in time to meet the contractual closing date agreed to.

There is one last HOA document that is often required when you sell a condo and a mortgage lender is involved, that is the Lender Questionnaire, which has lender specific questions for the HOA (also called a Condo Questionnaire). If this document is required by the lender then it should be paid for by the buyer or the buyer's lender on their behalf. The key is that all of these documents need to be paid for when they are ordered. So plan ahead for that and be prepared to be asked to order and pay for the documents required. And try to order them as soon as possible as not doing so will eat up valuable time, and both the buyer and seller are obligated to close on time. 

In short, the Seller side orders and pays for the Resale Certificate and the HOA Payoff Demand. The Buyer's lender orders the Lender Questionnaire (or any other lender specific requests of the HOA) and the Buyer pays for that.

Hope this information helps sort out the fees that are usually charged for document preparation in association with selling a condo!

- Marco

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.