Seattle Condo Blog Feed

403 13th Condominiums Coming Soon to Capitol Hill

403 Thirteenth403 13th is a new boutique condominium building coming soon to Capitol Hill.

Though their website has very little information, it does say that this building will be a collection of studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom condos. The building is being constructed by BrightWork Builders, who are known for building custom and floating homes. They are indicating that the building will be move in in winter of this year 2018.

The website describes the homes as "thoughtfully crafted with a focus on maximizing space and timeless, sophisticated finishes."

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

 


Tower East of Escala Delayed Again- Interview with Developer Giving More Details

1933 5th Ave Rendering 4This story has been updated after a recent email interview with a representative of the developer, Douglaston Development:

According to the PSBJ, a new ruling by Seattle's hearing examiner will further delay construction on the 48 story tower planned just east of Escala Condominiums, where Icon Grill was located, at 5th Avenue and Virginia Street.

The residents of Escala have appealed the construction of the tower as it is currently planned, specifically taking aim at the tower being as close as 22 feet away across the alley, which would devastatingly affect their natural light and privacy. The city's examiner agreed with the Escala residents on that point pushing the issue to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections to research, but ruled in the Developer, Douglaston Development's, favor on almost all of the other issues at the hearing.

Douglaston is now working on what options they have with regards to modifying the tower to address the issues raised by the Escala residents.

According to Douglaston CEO Michael Kaye, “During the design review process, we made major modifications to the design of the project to address the issues raised by Escala.”

Escala residents do have the option to appeal the city examiner's rulings against them to King County's Superior Court but they have not yet decided if they will proceed with any appeals.

It seems as if this ruling will delay the construction but not put a stop to it, so hopefully Escala's concerns can convince the Developer to redesign the new apartment and hotel tower to be set back farther from the alley and Escala preserving as much natural light and privacy as they can.

However, according to the developer speaking on the ruling , they indicate " the remand is actually on the procedural issue – not substantive", according to Kaye. "There is no reference in the remand regarding the distance between the two buildings."

Kaye would like to “reiterate Douglaston’s gratification that the Hearing Examiner ruled in our favor on almost every issue. Escala’s appeal was rejected on 22 out of the 23 claims made. Lastly, we’re committed to the project and we’ll keep working on it until it is built — we will continue to work through the process.” 

It will be interesting to see the outcome here as many condominium buildings in Seattle face this same or similar problem of loosing light and privacy due to a new larger and taller tower being constructed around them.

Updated 5/15/2018 By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.
Rendering courtesy of Perkins+Will


How Are My Property Taxes Determined?

How are my property taxes determined? They should be 1% of current market value, correct?

Well, no not really.  Last week, I covered why property taxes are estimated for new construction condos, this week I want to dig deeper into how your property taxes are determined, especially in light of the recent news about the upcoming Local Improvement District (LID) tax that will be used to help fund the new waterfront revitalization in Seattle.

Taxes10First a Couple of Myths:

  1. Aren’t my property taxes supposed to be 1% of current market value? No, this is a common misconception. While there is state legislation that caps the regular combined property taxes at 1% of your property's assessed value, this cap does not include voter approved special levies such as those for schools, or local improvement district (LID) taxes. So, your property tax bill could be more than 1% of your assessed value, or it could be less.    
  2. Current market value and tax assessed value should be the same amount. Not true. Your tax assessed value is determined by the county assessor’s office. The current market value of a property is just that, what the buying market is willing to pay for your property.  This can change from month to month in any given year based on the market activity and recent sales in that area. While it’s true that the market value of your home may influence whether your taxes go up or go down over time, your tax assessed value will remain the same for the year of the current assessment, until the assessor reassesses it for your next year’s tax bill. 

Now that we have that out of the way, where does the actual tax amount come from, you might wonder?

Well, it’s based on the specific tax district that your property is within, and what the specific levy rate is for that district.  And it’s assessed per $1,000 of assessed value. In the city of Seattle’s case, most of the city falls under levy code 0010 which for 2018 is $9.56207 per $1,000 of tax assessed value. However, there are 8 taxing districts within Seattle so it does depend where the property is located within the city.   

But to keep it simple, here is an example. Say you own a condo up on Queen Anne that has a tax assessed value of $500,000 for 2018.  The levy code for this area is 0010, which like most areas of Seattle is $9.56207 per $1,000 of assessed value. So, in this example, the annual total property tax would be $4,781 assuming there are no other special assessments or LID taxes for the tax district.  Further, let’s assume the condo was recently on market and sold for $650,000 after multiple offers.  In this example, even though the “market value” of the condo is $650,000, which was verified by the buyer’s lender’s appraiser when it sold, the tax owed is still based off the last tax assessed value of $500,000 and will remain that way until the tax assessor reassesses the property value.

For more information on tax levy rates, and the specific levy codes for Seattle,  you can visit the King County Tax Assessors website at www.kingcounty.gov/assessor

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


Client Question: "Why When Buying New Construction Condos are my Property Taxes Estimated?"

Client Question: "Why When Buying New Construction Condos are my Property Taxes Estimated?"

Tax9Dear Why Are My Taxes Estimated,

If you are buying a new construction condo, such as our clients who just purchased at the recently completed Gridiron condominiums, the exact amount of your annual property taxes will not yet be known and an estimated amount will be used.

This is because the county tax assessor’s office takes some time after a condo building is completed to separate the one tax parcel, for the lot the building was built on, into individual condo units with individually assigned property values and tax assessed amounts based on those values.  Because of this, there will only be an estimate at the time of closing that will be used by the buyer’s lender and/or escrow company to pay those estimated property taxes upon closing. How much do they estimate you might ask? Well, it does depend on the lender, but it’s fairly common that they will use an amount equal to 1% of the purchase price as the estimated amount for the year. Then, at closing, they will pro-rate that amount to pay the taxes to the county and take an additional 3-6 month’s worth of the estimated taxes (called impounds) to fund your mortgage’s escrow account so your lender can pay the taxes on your behalf when they come due again.

So for example, if you are buying a $700,000 condo unit, the estimated annual property tax bill will be $7,000. This amount will be pro-rated to reflect the time you owned the condo during the current tax bill period and used to pay your taxes current with the county.

Once the county tax assessor's office separates the tax parcel, they will update your property tax account to reflect the actual tax amount and then your mortgage company, who pays your property taxes on your behalf, will adjust the amount that is owed and will send the property owner a notice. If you have over paid based on the estimated tax amount, then your account will show a credit and if you have underpaid (which is likely not the case) then they would adjust the account and send a bill for the difference.

Next week, more on how the property tax amount you owe is actually determined.

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


Coffee Table Chat Video Series - How do we compete as Buyers in this Highly Competitive Seller's Market? Lending Strategies.

Coffee Table Chat - Episode 7

Our video series addressing actual client questions and concerns in our current market. They will cover whatever issues our clients are experiencing and will typically feature a guest who also works in the industry such as a lender, an Escrow closer, a Title rep, etc.

Hopefully you find the videos informative and helpful!

Enjoy Episode 7! "How do we compete as Buyers in this Highly Competitive Seller's Market?" Lending Strategies.



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


Koda Condominiums Flats Will Be Taking Reservations This Saturday 2/24

RenderingKoda, the 17 story 97 unit condominium building planned for the International District, will be taking reservations this Saturday 2/24 at their Reservation Event in Belltown starting at 11am. A $5,000 deposit will secure a reservation. At the event, preliminary floorplans, specifications, amenities and price ranges will be shared with buyers however those offerings are only preliminary and will not be solidified until the summer of 2018 when reservations will convert to Purchase Contracts.

With plans to break ground this summer, the Koda project will be one of few new construction condo projects to hit Seattle since the recession and certainly the only new construction condo building to break ground in the International District in recent history. Though pricing isn't firmly set yet, they are estimating that the studios will start just under the low $400,000s and will go up to 2 bedrooms around $1.3M, not including parking. The units will be sized from around 435 square feet up to 1200square feet. The amenities are set to include a concierge, gym, yoga room, library, work lounge, conference room, 7th floor terrace, a party room with game tables, theater, kitchen and rooftop terrace.

Other features include mostly in-line kitchens, walls of windows, high ceilings, hardwood flooring, and high-gloss cabinetry. Buyers will be able to choose their color scheme and also opt in on other design upgrades such as natural stone counters, optional islands, window coverings, high-tech features (including audio/visual/security components) and customized closet systems.

The Developer of Koda, Da Li Development, has also mentioned that the company is also looking into purchasing apartment sites and developing them as condos instead. This is an interesting development that could mean more condominiums coming soon to Seattle.

We will be in attendance at the Reservation Event and look forward to learning more about this project and sharing that information with our readers and clients.

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


Florera - Green Lake Condominiums Coming Back to Market

FloreraSome of you might remember when Florera originally came to market back in 2008. It is a building  located at 413 NE 70th St in the heart of Green Lake. There are 59 condos built with sustainable materials ranging from 578 square foot studios to 1,215 square feet two bedrooms. The building is LEED certified and has amenities including a rooftop deck, courtyard and party room.

Unfortunately for Florera, it came to market right as the recession kicked in affecting real estate throughout Seattle and the country. The majority of the condominium units in Florera were rented out and remained that way until now. As renters vacate their condo units, those units are being offered for sale so this is a great opportunity to snag a condominium in desirable Green Lake. There are very few condo building in Green Lake and Florera's pricing is now starting in the low $400,000s so this will open up quite a few options for folks who love this location. They are also offering to sell units that are tenant occupied so if you are an investor you have the chance to purchase a condo unit that is already leased up, which is a nice bonus.

If you are thinking about purchasing at Florera let us know as we have been in close contact with the Seller's agent and have a lot of information that we are happy to share with you about the building, the purchase process and the current challenges with financing.

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


 


Sonata - New Construction Condominiums in Columbia City

SonataSonata is coming to Columbia City. With 96 condominium units plus live/work lofts, this new construction condo building will add more opportunities for home ownership to Columbia City. Sonata will be located at 3004 S Alaska St on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr Way S and S Alaska St, across the street from the Columbia City light rail station stop.

Sonata will have studio, urban one bedrooms, one and two bedroom condos ranging in price from $300,000 to $800,000+. They are offering financing options with just 3.5% down with ground breaking coming soon and occupancy in 2019. There will be building amenities and underground parking.

This is all of the information currently available on Sonata but we will keep you posted!

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


Our New and Improved Seattle Condominium Building Map

Seattle Condo Map (2)Since our blog's inception back in 2006, our Seattle Condo Map has been a place where our readers could go to find information about the various buildings in and around the Downtown Seattle core.

We decided that it was time to revamp SCR's Seattle Condo Map, expanding it to include all buildings in Seattle, to include more detailed information about each building and to create it in a format that allows our readers to search it for information important to them that might not be readily available either online, or within other real estate sites that rely only on information from the MLS.

We are very proud to announce that our new and improved Seattle Condo Map has launched!!!

Our new map contains information about all condominium buildings in the city of Seattle! It is a constant work in progress as condo buildings go through updates, condo buildings become apartment buildings, apartment buildings become condo buildings, new condominium buildings are proposed and new construction buildings are completed. The information contained in our Seattle Condo Map will continue to be updated so please make sure you check back in with the map often. We intend to add links to our Condo Review articles to each building as we review them so our write ups with pros, cons and stats about the building will be available via one click from the map listings. This is something we are actively working on and think will be an amazing resource tool for those looking to buy or sell their condo. 

A couple things to know about our new map:

  • There is a directory of buildings that is organized by area - Downtown Area, Northeast Seattle, Northwest Seattle, Queen Anne & Magnolia, South Seattle, Central Seattle and West Seattle
  • The buildings are also color coded to denote the following categories - luxury, proposed, under construction, historic or co-op
  • You can search the map if you open it up - for example, you can search 'concierge' and see all of the buildings in Seattle with concierge services

Since this map will forever be dynamic, we encourage you, as our readers, to let us know if any buildings are missing or if any of our information is incorrect. We want to do our best to provide the most accurate information we can and we need you all to make that happen!

We hope you find the map interesting and helpful and we hope it is a tool you will bookmark and enjoy using for many years.

Check the map out here! Or from the navigation bar on our website.

Cheers-
Marco and Loren Kronen


Coffee Table Chat Video Series - Want to Buy Place for Child in School, What are My Loan Options?

Coffee Table Chat - Episode 5
Our video series addressing actual client questions and concerns in our current market. They will cover whatever issues our clients are experiencing and will typically feature a guest who also works in the industry such as a lender, an Escrow closer, a Title rep, etc.

Hopefully you find the videos informative and helpful!

Enjoy Episode 5! "I want to buy a place for my child while they go to school, do I have to use an investor loan program? What are my options?"



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