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Cory Brandt


Displaying blog entries 81-90 of 97

Mr. Brandt Builds a House: Eagle Tree Progess

by Cory Brandt

We're done! Well, almost done......

My lots are approaching the finish line; drawings are at the city and once they're approved, it's sell, sell, sell. Then I'm dirt poor no more. I don't know if I can articulate how good it will feel to have these lots off my books. Look for a big smile on my face soon ...


May Real Estate Market Update

by Cory Brandt

Is the market slowing or just taking a breath?

We're in one of those strange windows, from weather to taxes, Easter to Mother's Day and the whole lot combined. Sales have slowed a bit, but listings are picking up, so the pause is likely temporary as buyers start to see the inventory they've been waiting for to hit the market.

Cory's Speedy Home Tour: Sammamish, Issaquah & Seattle

by Cory Brandt

Watch for Sun Breaks as we Race through a tour of My Listings.

It seemed like a great idea, but you'll notice the weather gets worse as the tour progresses. I have some great properties on the market right now, all with amazing upside potential. For buyers concerned about the market direction, these are equity builders. More than one has lake access with docks and there are several condos - all move-in ready.

March Real Estate Market Update

by Cory Brandt

What's up with Real Estate so far in 2014?

As we start 2014, the real estate market is looking stable.   Current inventory is one to two months supply, depending on your location within King County.  Areas with low inventory are starting to show signs of a fever pitched spring.​

Is it time to Build your Dream Home?

by Cory Brandt

Can't find the house you want ... let's find a lot and build!

With inventory still remaining tight in and around King County, many buyers may want to consider vacant land.  While a longer process, buying a lot and building a home can help you get the features you want, but can't find in the re-sale market.

What You Should Know About Your Home and Your 2013 Taxes

by Cory Brandt

What You Should Know About Your Home and Your 2013 Taxes
Article From

By: Dona DeZube
Published: December 12, 2013

It's the last year for three sweet home tax benefits, but the first for a way simpler home office deduction.
These days few things start a fight on Capitol Hill faster than taxes. Despite the fact that three important tax benefits used by millions of American homeowners are days from expiring, Congress is unlikely to do anything to re-up them any time soon.

So if you're eligible, tax year 2013 is possibly the last time to claim the private mortgage insurance (PMI) deduction, the energy tax credit, and debt forgiveness benefit, all of which all expire on Dec. 31, 2013.

At least there's one piece of good news for homeowners: If you have a home office, there's a new, simpler option for calculating the home office deduction for which you may qualify on your 2013 taxes.

Meanwhile, here's what you need to know about those expiring benefits as you ready your taxes:

PMI Deduction

This tax rule lets you deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance, which is what you pay your lender each month if you put down less than 20% on a home. PMI protects the lender if you default on the home loan. Your deduction could amount to a couple hundred dollars depending on your tax bracket and other factors.
Find out if you qualify for and how to take the PMI deduction (

Energy-Efficiency Upgrades

This sweet little tax credit lets you offset what you owe the IRS dollar-for-dollar for up to 10% of the amount you spent on certain home energy-efficiency upgrades (, from insulation to water heaters. On the downside, the credit is capped at $500 (less in some cases). But on the bright side, the right improvement could lower your utility bills indefinitely.

Debt Forgiveness

When you go through a short sale (, foreclosure (, or deed-in-lieu (, your lender typically lets you off the hook for some or all of what you owe on your mortgage.

That forgiven mortgage debt is income, on which you'd typically have to pay income tax.

Suppose you're in financial distress and your lender agrees to let you short-sell your home, say for $50,000 less than you owe on the mortgage, and forgive you for the balance. Without the protection of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, you'll owe income tax on that $50,000.

It's likely if you had the money to pay income tax on $50,000, you'd have used it to pay your mortgage in the first place.

New Simplified Option for the Home Office Deduction

This may be the last year for the benefits above, but a new one kicks in for the 2013 tax year. If you work from home, you may qualify to use a new, simplified option for claiming the home office deduction when you file your 2013 taxes.

How much simpler is it? It lets you claim $5 per sq. ft. for up to 300 sq. ft. instead of having to compute the actual expenses of your home office using a 43-line form. To calculate the square footage of your office, just multiply the length of two walls. For example, an 8-by-10-foot room is 80 sq. ft. And at $5 per, that's $400.

Although using the simplified option is obviously easier, the basic requirements for claiming the home office deduction haven't changed. Your home office still must be used for business purposes:
    •Exclusively, and

    •On a regular basis.

Why Might the Tax Benefits Not Be Renewed?

Although the expiring tax benefits were renewed retroactively in past years, that may not happen in 2014 because many in Congress would like to see comprehensive tax reform rather than scattershot renewals of individual provisions. This could delay a decision on the homeownership tax benefits until the big picture budget and tax issues are resolved.

So if you can, enjoy them now!

Sammamish Construction Update

by Cory Brandt

Mr. Brandt Builds a House:  Eagle Tree Property Update

Oh the joy’s of being a developer.  We have things that make you go BOOM, and we have stuff that actually doesn’t roll downhill.   Well – I would argue that in an 8” pipe that is 240’ long and almost 20’ deep that stuff will still roll downhill if there is a ¾” dip in one of the pipes.   I know – that only leaves 7 ¼” left – I don’t know what you guys flush – but I can guarantee nothing has ever gone down my toilet that took up 7 ¼”.   But…the tolerance was a ½” so dig it up we did.  Tuesday we get the camera out there and praying that we buried it right this time.  

Got to love development.  Even with all that my new favorite swear word – Patelco!   I just thought of that … kind of like it…except every time I use that swear word I’ll just have visions of money flying out of my wallet – Patelco!   Or delays – Patelco!   I better stop or I’ll get myself in trouble – but they’re not a fan favorite in my house.

So what now?  P-Plat!!!  That’s my new favorite word.  P-Plat is Preliminary Plat – it is where you do the engineering to a point where a builder/developer is willing to buy it off you based on a defined highest and best use.  But what you don’t have to do is dig, put in utilities, restore wetlands, pave roads, etc. etc.   

The finish line is near – and it is P-Plat from here on – YEE HA.  That way I can “relax” and sell houses (only from 9-5 of course).

2014 Real Estate Market Outlook

by Cory Brandt

“Which way did he go, which way did he go?” 

I know, kind of weird I’d do a Bugs Bunny reference – but that is the first thing that came to mind when I hear the “experts” talk about the market that we’re going to have this year and beyond.  I hear predictions from “credible” sources of 12-18% appreciation in 2014, with roughly 6% in 2015.  I’ve heard 4% with zero in 2015 (granted that was from a firm that was trying to get a discount on a purchase price).   As many of you know my opinion falls in the middle – I think we’ll be about 8% this year (2014) and 4% in 2015.  In other words I’m predicting a healthy and reasonably sustainable market. 

So, when will be see the 8% appreciation?  Believe it or not in some areas we’re already seeing it.  I just sold a home for 5% higher than I saw the value.  But I’m also seeing homes that should fly off the shelves that haven’t moved yet.  I’d say we’re not in the fully matured spring market yet…but we will be very, very soon.

For my buyer clients, I’m recommending they should RUN to the deals; especially if they have a house to sell, but don’t need to sell right away.  In other words, buy a little low, then sell after we get the bump in the market. 

The interesting dilemma for sellers is that the inventory is increasing, so if you have a tougher property.   it may sit for a little while before it sells (even with the prices going up).  We are still very much in a seller’s market.  There is approximately two months of inventory in King County (balanced is 3-4 months).  However last year in April we only had a little over one month of inventory.  So, while we now have double the supply from last spring, it’s still less than it should be.

Just to give you a little perspective: with a typical buyer I’ll do a price search and historically find 70 properties.  In the current market, it isn’t uncommon to see just twelve.  So part of the challenge is finding the right home in the limited inventory (hence the reason some of the new listings end up in bidding wars).

Anyway – a bit crazy…but crazy can be fun.  The one promising note from every single expert I’ve heard from and talked to expect this to be a good year, and none expect 2015 to be a bad year.

However, the wild card could be interest rates.  Most industry analysts expect interest rates to go from 4.25% to 5.5%+ by the end of the year.  This will definitely impact the refi market, so if you are still considering a refinance or have a purchase on your radar…best hustle.



Simple Staging Tips to Sell Your Home

by Cory Brandt


As the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression.  Getting your home ready to sell shouldn't be overwhelming.  Just focus on these three main areas to make a the biggest impact with the most buyers.


Street Appeal

The first thing a potential buyer sees is your front yard.  Make sure your yard and the exterior of your home shine by simply mowing and edging the lawn, trimming shrubs and a sweeping the driveway.  A fresh coat of paint for the front door or at least a good scrub can pay big dividends.  In the fall, remember to rake leaves, pine needles and debris.  In the spring and summer, plant bright annuals along the walk or in planter boxes near the front door.


The house you live in is very different than the house you sell. Remember, buyers are looking for a home to suit their personal style and family, not yours. You want a buyer to be able to visualize living in your home.  The first step is removing personal items, like photos and memorabilia.  You want to make each room look as big as possible; removing a few pieces of furniture can super-size an otherwise modest room.  As your agent, I can help you "edit" each room to make the best first impression.


Cleaning your home from top to bottom makes your home look good and tells buyers you care about your house. Clean up in the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor redecoration.  Fresh paint adds pop and value to your property. Potential buyers would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look, "with a little work."

Another great thing about cleaning; it isn’t expensive.  Some of the most common household items make the best cleaning products.  For example, baking soda removes wall marks and pet fur oils if mixed into a paste and rinsed with warm water.

The Reluctant, Realistic and Radiant Landlord

by Cory Brandt

Sell, Hold, or All-In


During the real estate downturn, many homeowners chose to rent their homes instead of trying to sell in a difficult market.  Now that the market is improving, a lot of folks are asking if they should continue as landlords, sell the property or add to their real estate portfolio.  There is a ace for each, but first you have to determine your "landlord" personality:  Reluctant, Realistic or Radiant.

The Reluctant Landlord
If you didn't want to rent your home in the first place, but were forced to by market conditions, then this may be the time for you to sell.  Being a landlord isn't for everyone.

The Realistic Landlord
If you understand what it takes to rent a house and manage a good relationship with a tenant, but still aren't at a good profit threshold to sell, then you may want to continue as a landlord.

The Radiant Landlord
If the thought of adding to your current rental is appealing, then you may want to start looking for other rental properties and build your real estate portfolio.


Displaying blog entries 81-90 of 97

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Cory Brandt
RE/MAX Integrity
371 NE Gilman Blvd, Suite 160
Issaquah WA 98027
Mobile: (206)419-2679