July 12th, 2018

Time to plan your escape

Posted by at 2:39 pm

Want to combine the unpleasant experience of being locked in a room with the tedium of solving complex puzzle problems? While this may not sound like a lot of fun at first, the “escape room” experience has become something of a cultural phenomenon. But you don’t have to pay big dollars for a high-tech experience at one of the many businesses hosting the games. Whether dinner parties, family game night or birthday bashes, you can design and build your own escape room at home. It can be a bit intimidating. Isn’t it going to be a lot of work and cost? After all, don’t businesses make huge outlays for authentic costumes and high-tech gadgetry? Take a deep breath. The true magic of the escape room experience lies in creating puzzles that are difficult without being frustrating, and hiding essential clues...
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June 11th, 2018

Updated 2018 USDA Income Limits

Posted by at 11:35 am

This article outlines the updated income limits for USDA financing in 2018 for each county throughout Washington State. The USDA Rural Housing program is a wonderful zero down payment home purchase option for many people in rural areas, and especially those in Northwest Washington, where most areas are eligible. As you can see in the overview of this program, one of the limiting factors of getting 100% financing with a USDA Rural Housing loan program is household income. As opposed to most programs which have a primary limited factor of a loan amount, USDA limits it’s loan programs by income limits. The USDA income limits are intended to limit the program’s availability to households that have no more than 115% of the area’s median family income. Unlike the debt-to-income ratio that’s used to calculate the borrower’s ability to repay their mortgage loan, the USDA...
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February 22nd, 2018

Skagit Valley Herald – Housing Prices Up Significantly in 2017

Posted by at 10:46 am

A lot of people are concerned with the increase in interest rates and the prices of property climbing. The big question on everyone’s mind is simple. Are we going to have another housing crisis similar to 2008? This past week I was asked to contribute information to an article for the Skagit Valley Herald on our current housing trend. The article provides information from both the real estate side and our side, the mortgage side, of this market. It helps to understand the movement we are seeing and why those of us in the real estate and mortgage fields are comfortable with these changes. You can read the full article by going to Skagit Valley Herald Housing Prices, or clicking the image below. Remember that if you have any questions give us a call. My team and I are here to help you!...
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Can You Really Avoid Real Estate Fraud?

Posted by at 10:30 am

Fraud is an ever growing issue in all areas where money is concerned, including real estate. These types of fraud are largely surrounded in email hacking and wire transfers. A hacker will monitor incoming and outgoing emails from real estate brokers, escrow agents and even a clients personal email account, keeping an eye on all transactions taking place. When it comes time for wire fund transfers, the hacker will intercept and impersonate the broker or escrow company by hijacking the email address of the broker or agent. They will then email the client explaining an urgent change to the initial wiring method, giving the client new instructions for the funds transfer. Another note to take is that these hackers will advice the client to NOT CALL the broker or agent directly. Washington Realtor Magazine notes that “These [new] instructions often create a sense of urgency and often explain that...
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January 9th, 2018

VA Loan Limits for 2018

Posted by at 11:47 am

The article outlines the loan limits for VA financing by county throughout Washington State. The Veteran’s Administration provides 100% home mortgage financing, both purchases and refinances, for those who are eligible. Those people include veterans, active duty personnel, reservists/National Guard members and some surviving spouses. Additionally, there is no monthly mortgage insurance charged to the borrower. Veterans can actually borrow more than this by investing 25% of every dollar over that limit as a down payment (so a $553,100 home in Skagit County, a $25K down payment on a VA loan would be required). VA does not impose a maximum amount that an eligible person may borrow using a VA-guaranteed loan. However, VA does limit its maximum guaranty amount, and the limit varies by county. Click the link below to see the 2018 VA Loan Limits for Washington State Counties. VA Home Loan Limits...
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January 8th, 2018

FHA Loan Limits for 2018

Posted by at 9:08 am

Every year, HUD re-examines the home buying landscape and determines the maximum FHA loan limit for all counties throughout the United States. For 2018, the following FHA loan limits are in place and can impact your decision on whether to use FHA or another loan program. We must be aware of the FHA loan limits when considering any FHA loan – your base loan cannot exceed the FHA loan limit under any circumstances, but the loan limit varies by county and by the number of units in the home. Click the link below to see the full FHA Loan Limits in Washington State for 2018. FHA Mortgage Limits List for 2018 Related Articles: FHA Loan Limits for 2016 What does FHA look for with an Appraisal?...
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January 2nd, 2018

The Truth About Reverse Mortgages

Posted by at 10:43 am

A reverse mortgage has been made out to be a last resort elderly people use when they are in need financially. Why a last resort? The assumption is that taking out a reverse mortgage means eventual loss of the borrower’s home but the great news is, this is not true! There are many questions behind how a reverse mortgage works. The Mortgage Professor explains, “A reverse mortgage is designed to provide an elderly homeowner with spendable funds that can be used for a variety of purposes, including home purchase. More commonly, the funds are borrowed against a home the senior already owns and occupies as a permanent residence, and used in many different ways.” Another common assumption is that taking out a reverse mortgage means the bank now owns the home and eventually be forced to leave their home. “With a HECM reverse mortgage loan, borrowers still retain ownership of...
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Top 5 Things Every Home Buyer Should Know

Posted by at 9:53 am

Buying a home can be very stressful. Whether it’s your first time or you are a seasoned real estate professional, there are things you should always keep in mind before you make the leap into home ownership. Here are my five finds for you to remember when buying a home. 1. What do you want? A lot of people know the basics of what they are looking for when considering the purchase of a home. Things that are easy to think of, like the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, but there are details some of us may not consider until after they have made the move. These oversights may be as simple as school districts, heating/cooling systems and even neighborhood stipulations which can leave buyers feeling unhappy about their purchase. An HGTV article suggests writing down your wants and putting...
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December 5th, 2017

Coach Bill Hart Interviews Top Realtor Nicole Solari on 4 Secrets to Cultivating Leads

Posted by at 3:12 pm

  When Nicole Solari got her Realtor’s license in 2014, she literally went into real estate cold. She had no database to work from, and had no referral partners. Today, this top California Realtor has 4,291 leads! In 2016, after just 3 years in the business, Nicole and her team closed 181 homes. Here are 4 big ideas Nicole uses to capture and cultivate leads. 1. Be out there when everyone else isn’t. Instead of holding one or two open houses a week at the usual time when everyone else did, she changed up the script. “I did twilight open houses, happy hour open houses and what I called Wacky Wednesdays,” she recalls. “In Solano County, school gets out at noon on Wednesdays so you have all of these moms and nannies and everybody picking their kids up at noon...
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November 22nd, 2017

Business Strategy for 2018

Posted by at 9:27 am

“It is easy to start a project, but without careful planning it is like setting off on a journey to an unknown destination without a roadmap. You might manage to make it to your destination eventually, but don’t be surprised if you get really lost on the way!”- Stefan Topfer NASDAQ With the end of the year fast approaching, it’s time to consider what your business plan is for the coming year. No matter the goals you set, it is important you spend time working out that plan to keep you prepared and on task in 2018. Here are two useful downloads to a Simple Business Plan with Directions and the SWOT analysis that were mentioned in the video. These two documents will be useful tools while you’re setting up your goals for your business in 2018 If you have any questions please don’t hesitate...
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