Recently I saw on a major news program that a community was formed called. ‘Staying Put’. It was founded by the news person’s parents, which is why I think it got on the evening news. I contacted Staying Put and found that this is a community resource network of members, volunteers and local businesses dedicated to looking after seniors in their own homes. Rather than the institutional model of our last generation of seniors, these people want a sense of independence while having the support of other’s around them. Sounds like a good idea to me. I know an architect locally that redesigns homes so that the residents can age in place. It makes financial sense as adult residences are costly and emotionally stressful for those who feel they are forced out of their homes and familiar surroundings and put into “a home”. Downsizing does not have to mean the previous scenario. What about buying a smaller home that is 1 level? Or what about adding a floor level shower with grips, a ramp off the deck as well as the stairs, widening doorways, and purchasing this home within a short walk from a rapid transit pick up? The sooner this happens, the sooner you and your family will have the peace of mind that whatever happens in the future, you are prepared for it. Too many wait until something terrible happens-forcing family members into the equation without a real plan on how this will work out for the long term. Being pro-active is the smart approach. Look into what senior resources are available to you locally. Check with your real estate broker about what your house is currently worth and while you are at it, take a ride with them to look at homes that might fit your lifestyle as you age. Contact an architect or builder who specializes in retrofitting homes to age in place. Maybe start your own ‘Staying Put’ community network in your town. Sounds like good advice to me!
A Contingent Offer means a buyer is under contract and needs to sell their other property (usually, but not always in order to finance) There is a bump clause stating if another offer comes in they have (X) amount of days to either remove this contingency and risk loosing their Earnest Money, or get into second position behind the new buyer. Many Buyers will make an offer before they actually sell their current home in order to qualify to purchase another. Using a contingent upon sale offer, gives the buyers a house to move to when their house sells. The risk is not being able to sell the house in time and so loosing the new house to another buyer, however there is no financial risk if written properly.
This is one of a series of posts explaining the basic items in a real estate transaction. Although it is useful, it should not be taken as legal advice and as always, there are many nuances to each real estate transaction that need to be considered with your real estate broker an/or your attorney.
While coaching my agents and clients, I got the idea to write a series of posts explaining real estate basics. This information we brokers know very well, but may be confusing for a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction.
This is the first of a series of posts explaining the basic items in a real estate transaction. Although it is useful, it should not be taken as legal advice and as always, there are many nuances to each real estate transaction that need to be considered with your real estate broker an/or your attorney. So, that being said, let’s dive into the earnest money component of an offer.
Earnest Money (EM) is given by the buyer to show that they are “in earnest” and have some funds deposited into escrow until close or given to:
2013 NWMLS Annual Review News Release
Brokers reported nearly $25.5 billion in 2013 sales
It’s a daunting task, getting a home loan and now there are a few more stringent rules that the mortgage lenders need to comply with. The new rules change the maximum loan to debt ratio. This of course is the maximum amount your new loan would cost, plus your other debts such as credit card payments added together. Currently it may not exceed 43%. Of course there will be exceptions as the lenders take a look at assets, credit scores and the possibility of an in-house (portfolio) loan. Another change is the term. There will be no more 40 year notes. 30 year mortgages are now the maximum. Also, there will not be any more interest only loans. These loans traditionally have become a big problem for some owners when the term for the interest only payments expire. In many cases, the monthly payments will double!
So, talk with you lender about these new rules. Interest rates are still at record lows and the housing market has not recaptured the loss in values since the housing crash. So even with these changes, it’s a great time to buy residential properties.
Washington State home prices have increase to almost 8% from 2013. We have also about a 4 month supply of homes currently for sale which bodes well for home owners. Whether you plan to sell or not, this is a very good thing. Also, buyers looking for a home to invest in as a rental property or as a primary residence, should consider 2014 as the year they buy. Prices and interest rates are still a bit lower than they were before the real estate bubble burst and interest rates remain in the low 4% range so if you can buy, do it! You will probably pay more next year in both interest and price. The Seattle market has suffered least, probably because of the robust job market and of course, Boeing being an easy commute, and farther to the north, Bellingham remains about 20% lower in home values from 2008. Bellingham still is holding as one of the top “Best Places to Live” in various categories, which makes both areas great investment choices. Bellingham also is redeveloping it’s expansive bay coastline, making it especially appealing for kayaking, cycling and just strolling by the water. Contact us for more area information and see our on site home search for real time home prices and see what is on the market.
The vote is in and Boeing is staying in the Puget Sound with a lucrative ten year contract. Housing prices would be 5.9 percent lower than the baseline, by 2030 in the greater Seattle area had Boeing left, so this is good news for those who are invested in the area. The ripple effect bodes well for the area with good jobs and a robust economy. Thank you Boeing Machinists! It was the right vote for a special part of the country.
Happy New Year…Luanne Highlander
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We have 2 locations in Washington. Give us a call if you are looking for savvy agents in the Pacific Northwest to help you with all of your real estate purchases, sales, management and leasing. Offices are in Bellingham and Woodinville. 888.583.5678