The Truth About Real Estate Agents!

The Truth About Real Estate Agents!

Real estate is a prolific profession. Everyone either knows a real estate agent, or is connected to one through six (probably less) degrees of separation. Between friends and relatives, and the stereotypical representation of real estate agents on television and in pop culture, the general public has a adopted some assumptions about agents that are very far from the truth.

Here are ten things that people assume about real estate agents that just aren’t true. Read more

Are you Pre-Approved? Loan Pre-Approval Q&A!

Get a Loan Pre-Approval—Q&A!

Few experiences are more frustrating than falling in love with a home that’s for sale and then discovering you can’t afford to buy it. The majority of buyers need to finance their home purchase, and a consultation with a mortgage lender is a crucial step in the home buying process because you need to understand your purchasing power before you begin to look at homes. Read more

Harbour Pointe Village Buchan Beauty!

Sited alongside the 5th fairway, this handsomely-appointed Buchan beauty will surely exceed your wish list!  Gourmet kitchen with slab granite, gas cooktop and stainless appliances opens to the family room with a stone fireplace and patio for entertaining with family and friends.  Lavish and roomy master suite and 5-piece bath enjoy fairway views.  Gleaming hardwoods and vaulted ceilings, premier interior shutters, A/C, interior and exterior surround sound, security system and manicured landscaping with sprinkler system.  Located in desirable Harbour Pointe Village, including sought-after Mukilteo School District.  Meticulously maintained from top to bottom and 1st time on market!

Understanding Mortgage Loans – Part 1

mortgage application form

Mortgage Loans – Part 1

Buyers can easily get overwhelmed by the options they are confronted with when it is time to apply for a loan. Conventional? Government-backed? Fixed rate? Adjustable rate? Even within these categories there can be several options.

Before you can determine which loan is right for you, you need to have an understanding of how each one works and the costs and benefits of each. Let’s start with definitions:

Fixed Rate Mortgage: Fixed rate mortgages are exactly that–the mortgage rate remains fixed for the life of the loan. Monthly payments are fixed (for the principle and interest–if property taxes and homeowners insurance are paid as part of your payment, these are paid through an “escrow” account which can fluctuate from year to year).

Adjustable Rate Mortgage: These are also called ARMs. This type of loan has the potential to have monthly payments that change since the interest rate can change. There is usually an initial period of time where the interest rate does not adjust. This might be a “1-year” ARM, 3-year, 5-year, or 7-year. How often the interest rate adjusts will also depend on the loan. Since interest rates do change over time, the payment can either be higher or lower depending on the difference in the interest rate. For example, if someone took out a loan now when interest rates are at record-low levels, it is unlikely that interest rates will continue to be this low when the interest rate adjusts. Furthermore, ARMs generally start out with a lower interest rate than a fixed rate loan.

It is important to know your future plans when determining the type of loan which is ideal for you. For example, if you are planning on staying in your home for only seven years, it might save you money to use an adjustable rate mortgage with the expectation that you will be moving and taking out a new loan before the interest rate is adjusted. However, what happens if there is a health issue or something else which prohibits you from moving in seven years? What if you cannot move into a fixed-rate mortgage? These things must be taken into consideration when determining whether you can afford your monthly payment–now and later.

Below are our current interest rates as of the writing of this article:

Conventional Loan:
*30 Year Fixed Avg: 3.5%
*15 Year Fixed Avg: 2.75%
*5/1 ARM Avg: 2.875%
**Fees and Points: 1.0
***Margins: 2-2.5

FHA Loan:
*30 Year Fixed Avg: 3.25%
*15 Year Fixed Avg: 2.875%
*5/1 ARM Avg: 2.5%
**Fees and Points: 1.0
***Margins: 2-2.5

*Information provided by Ron Autry, Mortgage Advisory Group.

**Fees and Points refer to the cost of obtaining a loan. For example, on a $100,000 loan, the fees would be 1.0% or $1,000.

***Margin refers to the interest rate added to the measure for the ARM (also called the “index”) to determine the full interest rate charged. For example, if the index is the prime rate, in the instance of the 5/1 ARM above, the interest rate would be the prime rate plus 2-2.5%.

If you are thinking about buying a home in the near future, let me set up a meeting with a lender who can guide you through the ins and outs of each, and help you determine the best loan for your needs and comfort level. Please contact me at 425•213•3700 or send an email to kristy@betterhomesproperties.com.

Breaking News! Real Estate Provisions in “Fiscal Cliff” Bill

Washington D.C. Money.

House Passes Senate ‘Cliff’ Bill!

On January 1, both the Senate and House passed H.R. 8, legislation to avert the “fiscal cliff.” The bill will be signed shortly by President Barack Obama. Click here for a summary of important real estate related provisions in the bill.

Moving? Prepare for a Seamless Transition!

Family moving house

Moving? Prepare for a Seamless Transition!

Drawing from personal experience, I know there are lots of ways to help make your household move easier and more smooth. Read here (and also click on the photo above) for help to get your life, and your possessions, organized for a peaceful and exciting move.

Mistakes to Avoid – First Time Homebuyer!

hand holding key against house background

Mistakes to Avoid – First Time Homebuyer!

Not every mistake in a real estate transaction can be reversed, much less fixed before closing. If buyers goof up and make an innocent mistake, they might very well be stuck with the consequences for a long time or, worse, their deal might not even close. Enlisting the help of an experienced real estate broker, specifically a buyer’s agent, can make all the difference in your home buying experience. Check out this list for the 10 most common homebuyer mistakes.

Is Your Basement Getting You Down?

Is Your Basement Getting You Down?

In some home designs, basements and cellars are nothing more than storage or utility spaces in a house used to hold fuse boxes, air-conditioning and water-heater systems, breaker panels and the furnace. Today, savvy homeowners have completely waterproofed their basements and expanded the use of their below-ground space, converting it into a thoughtful extension of their aboveground living space. The design minded have also turned their basements into entertainment lounges with a full wet bar, a guest room, a man cave, a home gym and a home office. If your basement space has little to be desired, check out these gorgeous options. This cover picture defines a contemporary style with ‘rational’ cabinetry–Atmos Collection in Bookmatched stripey oak and a bog wood horizontal wood grain finish. The bar features a stainless steel back splash, antiqued cambrian black stone surface along with a glass bartop on stainless step posts, with footrest. A floating (ceiling hung) decorative bulkhead with lighting and wine glass racks finishes it off. WOW! Just beautiful! Click on the image above to view more great options for your basement face lift!