Tips for Making the Move to Homeownership!

Tips on Making the Move to Homeownership!

You’ve saved for a down payment. You’ve pored over the local listings for months. Touring open houses has become part of your weekend ritual. But months, perhaps years, have passed and you are still in your rental.

For many first-time homebuyers, pulling the trigger on a purchase can be a frightening experience. Will you be happy there? Will you like your neighbors? Will you be tied down—house rich and cash poor? What if you lose your job? Will you hate your commute? In short, your fears stem from the unknown. Read more

Make Your House Feel at Home!

Make Your House Feel at Home!

We often see architectural designs that don’t seem to fit in with their surroundings. Following design clues from the environment is a good way to avoid that. Considering the scale, materials, proportion and siting of your house are just a few ways to design with sensitivity. Read more

The Biggest Air Leak in Your Home You Don’t Know About!

The Biggest Air Leak in Your Home You Don’t Know About!

Have you caulked windows and replaced weather stripping on your doors? Good for you. But if you think you’ve sealed up air leaks, you’re in for a shock. The biggest air leak in your home is right under your nose. Read more

Should You Fear Rising Mortgage Rates?

No Need to Fear Rising Mortgage Rates!

History shows us that we don’t need to fear the recent spikes in mortgage rates because they won’t have an impact on home prices, according to Fannie Mae researchers in a new report.

Fannie Mae evaluated the trajectory of mortgage rates since 1990. Over the years, researchers have found that rising rates don’t hamper home sales and have no impact on home prices.

“History suggests that interest rate increases at the level recently witnessed will not stop the current housing recovery,” the report notes.

For example, the study found that from October 1993 to December 1994, mortgage rates rose from 6.8 percent to 9.2 percent. However, home prices leveled off and then only dropped slightly during that time.

From October 1998 to May 2000, mortgage rates soared from 6.7 percent to 8.5 percent and there was no impact found on home prices during that period, according to Fannie Mae.

“What we see through the ups and downs of rate changes is that sellers are reluctant to lower prices,” Mark Palim, who led the Fannie Mae study, told CNNMoney. 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!

Comfort & Convenience in Desirable Harbour Pointe Village!

Nestled alongside a greenbelt preserve, this lovely Craftsman home combines quality with convenience. The chef’s kitchen features a gas cooktop, upscale appliances, tile countertops and an island which stylishly adjoins the comfy family room with a stone gas fireplace. Vaulted and coffered ceiling elements join skylights and clearstory windows designed to maximize natural light. The sumptuous master suite boasts a 5-piece bath and spacious walk-in closet. The upper level also offers a private office/den, two additional generous bedrooms & a handy laundry room. Located in desirable Harbour Pointe Village! Sought-after Mukilteo School District!

Understanding Mortgage Loans – Part 2

Printed on the seal of approval documents

Mortgage Loans – Part 2

In Mortgage Loans Part 1 we talked about fixed and adjustable rate mortgages. There are additional terms that may be discussed and you may be wondering what the terms mean and how it applies to you.

In addition to the fixed rate mortgage and adjustable rate mortgages, mortgages may also be either “conventional” (meaning funded by the private sector–usually a bank) or a “government-backed” loan. Government-backed loans are backed by the federal government, including the Department of Veteran Affairs or the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The government agency is “insuring” the loan, although the funding may still be by a bank.

So why the two different types of loans? The Department of Housing and Urban Development typically has less stringent lending qualifications, making it easier for some buyers to get a loan. For example, at the time of this writing, the down payment on an FHA loan (by the Federal Housing Administration) can be as low as 3.5%; a private loan generally requires 10-20%, but can be as low as 3%.

Below are the most typical types of government loans:

FHA (Federal Housing Administration) Loan: The three benefits of this loan are the low down payment, lower credit score requirements, and additional monies to fix the home up can be included in the loan amount. Buyers who want to take advantage of an FHA loan first need to find an FHA-approved lender. I have a full list of our local FHA-approved lenders in the event these loan parameters sound like a good match for your needs.

Once the buyer finds a home and makes an offer, FHA will require an inspection of the property the buyer has made an offer on. There is a minimum list of requirements the property must meet in order for FHA to back the loan.

The drawback to an FHA loan? Government mortgage insurance is an additional expense you will need to cover.

VA Loan: These are managed by the Department of Veteran Affairs and are reserved for military service members. The benefit of a VA loan is that it does not require a down payment. If you are a military service member, an agent can help you find a property, but when it comes time to apply for the loan, your Veterans Administration office will point you in the right direction and help you with the application process.

USDA Loan: These loans are managed by the United States Department of Agriculture and are reserved for rural areas. They are available to low-income residents. Please visit to see if a particular property is eligible for USDA financing.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both conventional and government-backed loans. 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

Inexpensive Ways to Spruce Up Your Home Before Selling!

Sold Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and Beautiful New House.

Inexpensive Ways to Spruce Up Your Home Before Selling!

Looking for ways to spruce up your home without putting yourself in the poorhouse? Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home or want to spiff it up inexpensively for your own enjoyment, click here (and on the image above) for some great strategies to consider.

Speaking of Real Estate–13 Reasons to Look Forward to 2013!

Maison Basse Consommation énergétique

Positive Outlook for 2013!

When we look back on 2012 a long time from now, it may be viewed as the first year of the recovery, the year in which real estate reversed its course and moved in a more positive direction.

With that in mind, here are 13 reasons — courtesy of REALTOR® Magazine’s online news — why real estate pros can look forward to next year.

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. Lending remains tight, there’s a large foreclosure backlog and regulatory challenges, and the fiscal cliff loom ahead. But on balance, real estate appears to have a bright future in 2013!

Being Walkable–What Does It All Mean?

Evening street cafe in Gorinchem. Netherlands

Is Walkability Important to You in Your Next Home Purchase?

Seattle ranks 6th most walkable among the nation’s 50 largest cities with a Walk Score of 74!

If being able to walk to most, if not all, destinations that meet your personal needs is important to you, then knowing a locale’s walk score may be a defining factor in determining where you will purchase your new home. Many of today’s buyers are looking for ways to eliminate excess and simplify their lives. Having the ability to walk/ride a bike to the most frequented places in your routine can minimize stress levels and add years to your life. Take a look at Seattle’s score—could being ‘walkable’ be right for you?