Buyers · dream · Real Estate

Dreaming of Home Ownership?

I’ve heard several media reports that right now it is better to rent than to own in many areas, including the Pacific NW.

I struggle with this information for the following reasons…

  • Interest rates are LOW right now. Why risk rates going up in the future?
  • Home prices are low. If you have time to play the short sale waiting game, there are some excellent short sale deals on the market right NOW!
  • Rent is not fixed. Rent may be low today, but remember a landlord CAN increase your rent in the future.

Ask yourself…

  1. Who really benefits when investors buy up all the short sales?
  2. Have you considered the fact that overall home prices go up when investors buy, fix and sell homes for a profit?
  3. Why should I let investors buy houses at a low price so they can turn around and rent them to me for a profit?

If you’re worried about unexpected home repairs that come with home ownership vs. the convenience of calling a landlord to fix things, consider buying a Home Warranty when you purchase your home. A Home Warranty typically covers systems (heating, plumbing, electrical) and appliances within a home. Structural issues (walls, floors, windows, roof) typically are not covered with a Home Warranty.

Don’t let investors buy your dream home!

Remember, there are tax advantages to home ownership for the owner occupied buyer (you) and the investor.

I recommend investing in your own dream home NOW!

Contrary to what many believe, home ARE selling fast. Start shopping the home market today…

Start DREAMING Today!

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Buyers · Real Estate · Selling Real Estate · Statistics

May Market Stats…

The housing inventory (homes for sale) is currently at 6.6 months, which matches April’s housing inventory. The peak of our inventory was 18.6 months back in Feb 2009. Inventory is calculated by dividing the active listings at the end of the month by the number of closed sales for that month.

The average home sale price is down 3% and the median sale price is down 5.4%. Not bad when compared to other parts of the country.

The time it takes to sell a home is down 36.1% compared to May, 2009 stats.  This lower number could have something to do with the first time home buyer tax credit that recently expired on April 30, 2010.  Total market time to sell a home for 2010 is down 19.7% from 2009 statistics.

Interest rates are still incredibly low. If you’re considering  selling your home in the near future and you price your house right, the chances of it selling are high. If you want to buy a home, I highly recommend you talk to a lender first to verify you qualify. Once you’re pre-qualified, start watching the market.

These residential statistics are based on monthly figures reported by RMLS™ of which I am a member.

Buyers · Real Estate

Expanding my Territory…

Just launched a new website created for buyers searching the MLS for property in SW Washington. It’s called VancouverWAhomes-ClarkCountyRealEstate.com. This website is a portal to my FREE property search feature. Unlike other sites out there, my site does not require a shopper to initially create an account to use my property search feature. This allows customers time to test my site to determine if they like it.

Non-account search features include:

  • Ability to search based on your personal criteria
  • Share information via social media like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.
  • Request more information
  • Schedule a showing
  • Map location

After viewing 500 detail pages a customer will be required to create an account. I figure if a customer is looking that hard, they might as well create an account.

Creating an account offers the following features:

  • Save custom searches
  • Save unlimited properties to compare or show others
  • Free customized email updates (only receive the information you want)
  • Organizational tools
  • Private and password protected

You’re invited to check out my site and let me know what you think of it.  VancouverWAhomes-ClarkCountyRealEstate.com

Mortgage · Real Estate

What you may not know about the VA Loan…

The VA home loan is set up so a vet can purchase a home for $0 down. This is possible because VA will allow a vet to get a 100% loan, guaranteed by the government, and will not allow a vet to pay buyer fees. VA loans typically offer veterans excellent interest rates which are often offset by a lender by charging discount points.

What are discount points?
The discount points are prepaid interest that has to be paid to make up for the difference between the FHA/VA rate and the current rate charged on conventional loans. These points cannot be added to loan amount to be paid the vet. Discount points must be paid by the seller or the lender.

Who pays the discount points? Continue reading “What you may not know about the VA Loan…”

Buyers · Law/Regulations · Real Estate

Home Buyer Tax Credit…

If you take the first time or move up home buyer tax credit, make sure you can provide eligibility documentation for the IRS.

It seems there are some people that took the credit that weren’t eligible. In an attempt to avoid this from happening in the future, the IRS has tightened the rules regarding this tax credit.

To take the home buyer tax credit, offers must be contracted by April 30, 2010 and must fund by June 30, 2010.

For more information regarding the home buyer tax credit eligibility, refer to a tax professional and/or the IRS.

Law/Regulations · Real Estate · Selling Real Estate

Washington State Residents, Did you know…

Did you know that effective July 1, 2010 Washington state adopted the 2009 International Building, Residential, Mechanical and Fire Codes?

One change that is of particular interest to the real estate market is the requirement that all existing residences (Residential Building Group R1, R2 and R3) sold on or after July 1, 2011 must have carbon monoxide (CO2) alarms (complying with UL 2034) installed based on this new code and the manufacturer’s installation instructions. This means sellers will be required to install them before selling. Fortunately, a seller should be able to easily purchase carbon monoxide detectors in the smoke alarm section of any local building or hardware store or department.

Starting January 1, 2011 all new construction homes (Residential Building Group R-1, R-2 and R-3) will also be required to have CO2 detectors installed.

According to the Washington State Building Code Counsel, Group R-1 includes hotels & motels, R-2 includes apartments and R-3 single family, except owner occupied single family.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engine-powered equipment such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that on average, about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products. These products include malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters; engine-powered equipment such as portable generators; fireplaces; and charcoal that is burned in homes and other enclosed areas. In 2005 alone, CPSC staff is aware of at least 94 generator-related CO poisoning deaths. Forty-seven of these deaths were known to have occurred during power outages due to severe weather, including Hurricane Katrina. Still others die from CO produced by non-consumer products, such as cars left running in attached garages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that several thousand people go to hospital emergency rooms every year to be treated for CO poisoning.

For more information about this upcoming change check out the Washington State Building Code Counsel or your local building code office.

For information about the dangers of carbon monoxide, refer to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Please note that I am not endorsing the above brand of CO2 detector, I merely included a picture to show what one looks like.  They look very similar to smoke detectors. There are also combo smoke and CO2 detectors on the market.

And now for my disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer, so please consult a legal professional if you have questions.

Buyers · Real Estate

Asbestos…

Today most people know that asbestos is hazardous to one’s health, but did you know that the material dates back to 3000 BC? Back then it was viewed as a miracle material that wouldn’t burn and for it’s insulating properties. Roman restaurant owners used table cloths woven with asbestos, which is a mineral that is soft like cotton. They would throw them in the fire to clean them for the next customer. The table cloths would come out of the fire cleaner than they went in.

Over time, ancient Roman leaders began to realize that slaves that worked with asbestos developed lung sickness. Health problems associated with asbestos were ignored for years and the material was widely used in many common items. By the 1970’s asbestos was openly recognized as a contributor to serious health problems and the use of it has greatly diminished.

Asbestos has a history of being used in building materials. Though it is not used today, there are homes that may have been built with it. When shopping for a home, buyers need to be aware of it’s use in roofing, siding, floor tiles, ceilings, duct work, insulation, etc.  Primarily, any home built prior to the 1990’s may have asbestos building material in them.  For more info on materials to look for, check out Inspectapedia.com.

Removal of asbestos materials in a home requires special care.  It is recommended you hire a professional that is qualified to properly remove asbestos from a home.