Real Estate News

Tacoma family’s mortgage no longer underwater — they had an offer in 48 hours

In a living room that doubles as a classroom for their homeschooled children, Michelle and David Allen shared concerns in 2014 with Windermere realtor Stephen Janho, second from right. The couple bought their home at the real estate market’s peak in 2007. In 2014 they had outgrew it, but were unable to move because their mortgage is underwater. Last week, Michelle Allen said the family had an offer above asking price.
In a living room that doubles as a classroom for their homeschooled children, Michelle and David Allen shared concerns in 2014 with Windermere realtor Stephen Janho, second from right. The couple bought their home at the real estate market’s peak in 2007. In 2014 they had outgrew it, but were unable to move because their mortgage is underwater. Last week, Michelle Allen said the family had an offer above asking price. Staff photographer

A family featured in 2014 as the face of Pierce County’s underwater mortgage problem now has an offer on their home that’s above asking price, and they plan to sell and move to a bigger home early next year.

“I’m so grateful for how things are working out,” said Michelle Allen in an email. Allen, her husband and their three children have lived in 936 square feet on East 57th Street in Tacoma for more than eight years.

That time “has been fantastic, but I am so looking forward to moving to our next place,” she wrote.

At the time the Allens were interviewed about their underwater mortgage, Pierce County led Washington state in the percentage of seriously underwater mortgages, according to data from real estate tracking firm RealtyTrac. The company defines “seriously underwater” as the loan amount being at least 25 percent higher than the home’s market value. Some people refer to this situation as being “upside down” on a loan or having negative equity.

A year and a half later, Pierce is no longer first, according to RealtyTrac data from the second quarter of 2015. Pierce County is now 10th in the state, with only 14.6 percent of its mortgages qualifying as seriously under water.

The Allens have waited for the market to improve so they could sell their home. The family listed their home last week, and within 48 hours were under contract with an offer $5,000 above their asking price, Allen said.

“Now not only are we ‘above water,’ but it seems like we’ll net around ($13,000) from the sale,” Allen said.

The family plans to move to Sumner, she said, which is closer to work, family and church. Since 2014, the family’s financial health has improved as well. David Allen earned a promotion and a raise; Michelle Allen landed a part-time job. Those things, plus some inheritance money and the proceeds from their house sale, should help them swing a new down payment.

Kathleen Cooper: 253-597-8546

kathleen.cooper@thenewstribune.com

@KCooperTNT

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