Buyers · Real Estate · Selling Real Estate

New Search Feature Added!

I’m pleased to announce my new Property Search feature has been activated on my website. I’m very excited about adding this powerful feature to my site. It allows you to search for properties, save property searches, have new listings sent directly to your email, request additional information or showings and much, much more.

My website is your doorway to the SW Washington real estate market. Google: JoElla Realty to find me. How easy is that? Please check it out soon and let me know what you think. byjoella.com

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Buyers

FREE Property Search Coming Soon!!!

I’m working hard to get a new property search set up on my website (byjoella.com) for my customers. I had hoped to have it up by the new year, but the holidays delayed my launch. I “should” have it up the first week of January.

I’m very excited about this feature. It will enable my customers to search for properties for FREE. It will also allow customers to save properties and set up a search that automatically sends them search results. The best part is, I’m local! By using my site, customers have my local expertise at their service.

Also, this feature will enable me to feature my own listings on the search results. This can be very advantageous for a seller when competing with all the other listings out there.

The internet is my office; adding this feature gives customers the convenience of shopping from home. If you have questions, you simply click the link in the page and it sends me a message.

Economy · Real Estate

Home sales are up…

Real Estate is picking up as home sales increase.  We are seeing more and more bidding wars on the lower priced homes.  Look in the rear view mirror folks and you’ll see the bottom of house prices as they start to slide back up ever so slowly.

Investors aren’t making much money in the banks, so many of them are buying up real estate.  Many of them are pooling their assets to purchase low priced homes. These money pools enable them to offset the risk of buying homes, making it a desirable venture.  This means the regular family home buyer needs to be prepared to make a competitive offer if they want to buy a home.

No word if Washington DC will extend the tax credit as the deadline inches closer. If you want to take advantage of the tax credit, it’s best to avoid short sales and, in some cases, bank owned properties that are notorious for taking a long time to close.  On the flip side, waiting could save you as much or more than the actual tax credit.

It’s a numbers and waiting game where everyone wants to win. If you’re a home buyer, buy because you want the house so you won’t regret the purchase later. There’s nothing worse than compromising to get a deal instead of getting the house you really wanted.

History

Moving Into a New RE Market…

We headed to the Midwest in March, 1998 through ice and snow.  I come from a rather large Midwest family, so we were able to temporarily stay at one of my relative’s apartments until we found a house to buy.  The apartment was located in the college town of River Falls, WI situated southeast of St Paul, MN.  River Falls is the home of the Kansas City Chief’s summer camp.  The housing market there was college oriented; there were a lot of rentals and temporary housing.River Falls Home

Shortly after we moved over there, my father unexpectedly passed away.  It turned out to be good for us to live close to my relatives during that time.  We eventually were able to buy a 1970’s ranch with a walk out basement/garage for $110,000 in May, 1998.  The house didn’t need a lot of work.  It had a fairly good sized, unfenced yard.  While living there we did some minor changes to the kitchen to increase it’s functionality and we put a new sink and countertop in the main bath.

My husband had never lived outside the Pacific NW before, so this was his first experience with full time Midwest seasons.  The biggest climate change was the humidity, followed by straight line winds/tornadoes, and of course, snow all winter long.  He used to watch the tornado chaser shows on TV, but living through those storms is a whole different story.  Waking up to sirens in the middle of the night was no laughing matter.  When  I said head to the basement, I meant it!  After he first hand saw the damage those storms cause, he had a little more respect for the storms.  Fortunately, our first winter we lived there was mild snow wise, but it was COLD.  By the end of our second summer over there, we were pulled back to the Pacific NW by my husband’s family.  Honestly, I was glad we didn’t get to live there another winter.  Moving back there reminded me why I left.  I really don’t like sub zero temps, high humidity and violent wind storms.

We put our house on the market FSBO for one week and then listed with my cousin’s mother in law in September, 1999.  Our house sold the first week for $128,000.  We moved back to Portland, OR into a rental prior to closing, giving our Realtor POA to sign our paperwork for us.  Back to the Pacific NW’s mild winters, occasional earthquake and volcanos.

Law/Regulations

Short Sale Debt Relief Act…

For a person about to lose their home to foreclosure, this information is important.

Prior to 2007 a seller would have to pay capital gains on the portion of their loan that a mortgage company writes off for them to sell their home in a short sale.  Today, “The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.”  This change is effective 2007-2012.

For more information, see:  http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=179414,00.html

I am not a tax professional, so please consult with a tax professional before making any tax decisions.

Law/Regulations

Know your Realtor…

Did you know that in the state of Washington, not all criminal offenses are neccessarily a bar to getting a Real Estate license?  In other words, there are some crimes that do not prevent a person from getting a Real Estate license.

I didn’t know this until I studied for my license.  I have to admit, I was a little shocked to find this out. 

So here’s my suggestion to anyone shopping for a Realtor: 

  • GET A REFERRAL…Ask your friends if they know a Realtor they can personally recommend.
  • CHECK REFERENCES…If you don’t know the Realtor, check their references.
  • TELL FRIENDS…If you know a Realtor you can trust, tell everyone you know about them.
  • BE WISE…Lock up your valuables before allowing anyone to show your house.

I truly do not like using fear tactics, but I felt this information needed to be shared.  

Reference:   The Washington State Dept of Licensing website FAQ. 

http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/realestate/disciplinaryfaqs.html#felony 

Disclosure:  I am not a lawyer.  If you have any questions regarding this information, please consult a legal professional.