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October 2010

Should You Refinance Your Condo's Mortgage?

Refinancing is a hot topic for homeowners these days.  Given the condition of the market, many folks have decided not to sell their home but would really like to keep their payments down (especially when the value of the home has dropped quite significantly from a few years ago).  Here is a pretty common, generalized scenario and questions that homeowners are asking these days which I presented to two mortgage brokers. 

I bought my condo back in 2007 for $500,000 and have two mortgages on it. The first mortgage was $417,000 and my 2nd mortgage (HELOC) was $50,000. Recently, my Realtor told me that my condo is probably worth $400,000-$430,0000.  I don't want to sell it now but would like to refinance my condo.  How can I go about refinancing my home?  What kind of documents would I need to provide?  Do I need to send my own appraiser first before talking to a mortgage broker/lender? If I can't refinance , can I qualify for loan modification?


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Seattle Condo Update- Lakeview Condo

Lakeview Residence condos

Sales over at Lakeview condos has picked up pretty well over the second half of this year.  With only six homes in the building, it has already sold three with one under contract over the last two months.  That said, there has been a pretty significant price drop (~20-27%) from last year.  Here is a quick look:

1N- 2 Bedroom/2.5 Bathroom, 1,653 square feet
Listed for $799,000 a year ago, sold for $599,950  

2N- 2 Bedroom/2.5 Bathroom, 1,493 square feet
Listed for $849,000 a year ago, sold for $636,000

3S-  2 Bedroom/2.5 Bathroom, 1,405 square feet
Listed for $879,000 a year ago, sold for $645,000 

2S-  2 Bedroom/2.5 Bathroom, 1,493 square feet
Listed for $849,000 a year ago, pending under inspection for $674,950 

1S- 2 Bedroom/2.5 Bathroom, 1,670 square feet
Listed for $799,000 a year ago, available for $634,950 

3N- 2 Bedroom/2.5 Bathroom, 1,392 square feet
Listed for $879,000 a year ago, available for $649,950 

Related posts:

Lakeview Condos
Harvard and Highland Update
Harvard and Highland
200 West Highland 
22 West Lee

Seattle Condo Update: Mosler Lofts

(Penthouse 02 photos contributed by Sean Nielsen and archived under Seattle Condo Gallery)

This post is a little overdue but I thought it's better late than never.  Back in July 2006 during the condo boom, I did a poll asking readers which Seattle condo project they thought would get the best 3 year ROI.  The majority of the 161 voters voted for Mosler Lofts.  Of course, since then many things have changed.  The market took a turn after the financial crisis, lending became tighter, demand fell and buyers becoming wary of buying.  I thought it would be interesting to revisit Mosler Lofts and see how it has come along.

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Seattle Condo Market Update: September 2010

Activity for Seattle condo market slowed in September.  Both pending and closed sales took a dip.  Pending sales were down by ~20% from the previous month and down by 40.24% from 12 months ago.  We had 131 condos closed in September, ~8% lower than the previous month and 23.84% lower than same period last year.   

On the slightly more positive side, median prices, held steady versus the previous month at $297,000 and ~15% higher than the median price 12 months ago.

All things considered, it's still a very strong buyers' market.  We have about 9.5 months of inventory on the market based on the amount of condos that went pending last month.  While prices seem to be stable, it's hard to ignore the significant slowdown in activity.    

Related posts:

Seattle Condo Market Update: August 2010
Seattle Condo Market Update: July 2010
Seattle Condo Market Update: June 2010