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New HARP Guidelines

Now May Be The Time To Refinance Your Home!

Now May Be The Time To Refinance Your Home!

On Tuesday, The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)  announced changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in an effort to help eligible borrowers who may benefit from refinancing their mortgage. As a result of the announcement, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be making the following changes, noted below.  These changes are designed to assist borrowers who have demonstrated an acceptable payment history on their existing Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac mortgage loans, but may not have been able to refinance in the past, due to their home appraising for lower than the amount the borrowers currently owe. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Changing Role Of A Real Estate Agent: A Historical Perspective

The Old Days

The Old Days

Realtors as Gatekeepers

Prior to entering real estate as a career back in the mid 90’s, I spent nearly ten years working in the computer industry, using the most advanced PCs at the time.  When I first saw the tools available to real estate agents, I felt like I was stepping back in time.  If you were a buyer looking for a home, you couldn’t just log on to the internet and search.  Real estate agents were the gatekeepers of the data, and that made them an integral part of the process.  Back then, all of the homes for sale were listed in paperback books that came out every couple of weeks.  The photo to the left shows what the books looked like.  Depending on what area you worked in, you could have 3 or 4 of these books in your possession at any one time. Read the rest of this entry »

Daylight Savings Time Is Over

Screen Shot 2011-11-06 at 11.11.35 AMTime on my clock as I write this post

Did you remember to turn your clocks back by one hour?  It’s a beautiful, crisp, sunny day here in Woodinville, WA and you should take advantage of what little sunlight remains.  Go out and enjoy the day!

Get The Poop On Septic When Selling Your Woodinville Home

Septic_Tank_Riser_LidIf you’ve been a reader of my Blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that I tend to focus on certain topics and run them into the ground.  I like to think it’s because I’m being thorough and want to cover the topic fully, but those who know me might argue that I’m just odd.  Today’s post should be my last on the subject of septic systems unless someone asks me additional questions or some new changes in the law require an update.

King County Septic Regulations

Title 13 of the code within The Board Of Health Regulations is the governing document for all things septic within King County.  Within this chapter, 13.60.030 of the health code specifies what a seller must do when selling a home that is served by an OSS (On-Site Septic System).  Click HERE to view the regulations.  If your home is connected to a public sewer system, you can stop reading now.  BUT if you have a septic system serving your property, read on… Read the rest of this entry »

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Food Waste In America


Today is Blog Action Day for 2011.  It is the one day of the year that this organization attempts to get bloggers all over the world to blog about one particular topic that affects everyone.  This year’s topic is FOOD.

While some bloggers may choose to blog about their favorite restaurant or their favorite food, I’m choosing to blog about food waste.  While thinking about my topic for today, I came across a previous blog post that cited some statistics about food waste in America.  I didn’t research the authenticity of the data cited, but on the surface, the numbers are staggering.  Here are just a few statistics:

  • A report completed in 1997 cited a statistic of 91 Billion pounds of food waste in 1995 by consumers and food service.
  • Food disposal costs the US about $1 Billion each year.
  • Households waste approximately 14% of their food purchases each year; 15% of this waste is still within the expiration but never opened.
  • An average family of 4 tosses out $590 of food each year in meat, fruits, vegetables and grains.  This doesn’t even include packaged food that gets thrown out! Read the rest of this entry »

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Condos – Part II

CondosThis is part II of my introduction to condos.  Part I can be found HERE.  In my last post, I shared with you the legal definition of a condo, and how costs incurred in the project are divided among the unit owners.  In this post, I will discuss the pros and cons of condo living, monthly fees and why in some projects, they are so high. Read the rest of this entry »

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An Introduction To Condominiums

Questions?This past week, I’ve been working with a client who is interested in purchasing a condominium in Redmond, Kirkland, or Bellevue WA as an investment. Although this client is not new to investment properties, this would be his first condo purchase.  As we looked at various condo complexes, a number of questions surfaced.  After lengthy explanations, I realized that many other folks probably had similar questions, so I’m doing a two-part post on condos.  The first part will explain what a condo really is, and the second part will try and help you understand some of the issues involved in purchasing and owning one. Read the rest of this entry »

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How To Get To An Auction In 3 (Not So Easy) Steps

AuctionThis past weekend while sitting at a condo in Redmond, WA that is currently being auctioned off by a company called Auction.com, I met several people that stopped by to look at the property, and even spoke to a nice couple that intended to make a bid on the unit. One question that came up from a visitor was “How does a home get to the auction stage?” Read the rest of this entry »

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What You Need To Know About Septic Systems

septicA Primer On Septic Systems

Several months ago, I wrote about a problem I encountered with a septic system that serves a rental home I own.  You can read about that post HERE.

In that post, I briefly mentioned how my septic system was designed (built using concrete pipes abutted together where the septic effluent just seeps out between the pipes back into the ground), and some things to be aware of when getting your system pumped.  Just recently, my tenant in this home contacted me because the drains were backing up and he thought that we were experiencing the same problem as last time (drainfield clogged).  I knew this couldn’t be the case, and queried him as to his disposal habits.  Of course, he denied any wrongdoing and stated the problem couldn’t be a clogged pipe.  It just couldn’t! Read the rest of this entry »

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Update: Left Hand Meet Right Hand

May I Introduce You To A Bank With Two Left Hands?

This is an update to my previous post about the infamous AofB transaction that I’m currently working on.

9/23/2011 – Bank finally sends FHA appraiser out to the property.
9/24/2011 – Appraiser contacts me asking for the Purchase & Sale Contract because the bank mistakenly sent him the wrong contract (someone else’s deal?)
9/26/2011 – FHA Appraisal is received by AofB who then tells our mutual client that the appraisal came in $12,000 lower than the purchase price.

Hmm… The last appraisal (from the now failed conventional financing debacle a few weeks ago) came in at value.  Has the market dropped that much in 2 weeks?

What’s even more frustrating is that the bank doesn’t seem to care, because hey, that’s just how the market is, right? Read the rest of this entry »