Projected home price appreciation into 2021

Experts agree the 2021 forecast is calling for continued home price appreciation. Let’s connect to get your house ready to sell while home values are still rising in your favor.

No one has a crystal ball and as you can see, projected home price appreciation estimates are all over the board. The best time to sell is when you are ready. I hope this video helps you decide when the right time is for you. I would be happy to be a resource if 2021 is the right time to move!

Mortgage Forbearance Explained

This video explains that Mortgage Forbearance is part of the CARES Act of 3/28/2020 that allows those with government loans to suspend mortgage payments for up to 1 year. I asked my good friends Jim and Stacy Brebner to do this video to explain Mortgage Forbearance and when is a good time to take advantage of it. With rates so great, you may want to refinance, but it would not be possible if you have already started the forbearance process. Activating Forbearance does not affect your credit score but the Forbearance is still on your credit report and will make it hard to buy a new home, refinance to lower your mortgage rate or to get cash out for at least 1 year. For more info contact The Brebner Team at 253-576-7968 or brebnerteam@apmortgage.com.

Work from home

A home office is more desirable than ever!

Now more than ever a home office is important. With stay at home orders, having a good place to work from home is crucial! If you have been thinking of selling your home and have a home office, your home will be more desirable and sell quickly. This article is courteous of Keeping Current Matters, Inc.

Why Home Office Space Is More Desirable Than Ever

For years, we’ve all heard about the most desirable home features buyers are looking for, from upgraded kitchens to remodeled bathrooms, master suites, and more. The latest on the hotlist, however, might surprise you: home offices.

Homes selling faster with offices

In a recent article by George Ratiu, Senior Economist with realtor.com, he notes how listings with an office are selling quickly.
“As more companies have been embracing remote work, buyers are driving demand for houses with home offices higher. Homes featuring the term ‘office’ are selling 9 days faster than the overall housing inventory.”

More people are working from home

Today, more and more people are working remotely, and that’s not just because the current pandemic is prompting businesses to operate virtually. According to the same piece and the most recent data available, the number of employees working at home was fairly steady from 1997 – 2004 but has been climbing ever since (see graph below):Clearly, the work-from-home population is growing, and technology is making it possible. Just last month, according to an article on Think Google, searches for telecommuting hit an all-time high, and that’s certainly no surprise given our current situation.

People all over the U.S. are looking for answers on how to be most effective at home, and it’s making the ideal workspace more and more desirable. In fact, best practices from seasoned work-from-home professionals, like Chris Anderson, Senior Account Executive at HousingWire, tout that having a dedicated space is a must for productivity.

With today’s increasing demand for home offices, it’s a great feature to highlight within your listing if you’re selling a house that may meet this growing need. From bright natural light with large windows to built-in bookshelves or a quiet and secluded atmosphere, whatever makes your office space shine is worth mentioning to buyers when you’re ready to list your house.

Ratiu concludes:
“For housing, the continued increase in the share of remote workers implies that demand for homes with offices or dedicated work spaces will continue to increase. The current coronavirus pandemic offers a dramatic indication of the fact that companies and employees will have to develop plans and clearer policies for remote work beyond the current crisis.”

Bottom Line
Remote work may become more widely accepted as this current crisis teaches businesses throughout the country what it takes to function virtually. So, what seems like a business challenge today may be more of the norm tomorrow. With that in mind, if you have a home office, your house may be more desirable to buyers than you think.

Ready to purchase a home? Let’s talk finances

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Are you ready to purchase a home? Have you considered creative financing? Don’t worry — it’s not illegal! But there are some terrific personal finance hacks for homebuyers. 

Understand the Process

Before you can reach full home-buying-hack potential, you should understand the basic process. As Curbed explains, you should start by getting a handle on your budget. Tally up what you normally spend in a month, calculate your income, and decide how much can go toward a mortgage and homeownership. Remember to include things like utilities, insurance, and homeowner association fees. You also need enough in your bank account to cover the down payment and closing costs.

Once you have a general idea, it can help to play with a pre-qualification calculator. This will help determine what you can afford. Then, you should get pre-approval for your loan with a lender.  Pre-approval will be based on your ability to afford a home and will review documentation proving income, employment, and identity. The lender will also consider your credit history. Those pieces of information will help decide how much your loan will be and for what interest rate. You can then make a serious offer on a property.

Keep Finances Stable

One of the first things you should know about buying a home is to leave your bank account alone. HGTV points out that you should try to avoid any substantial expenditures within three to six months of your home loan application. Not only will it help you to have that cash handy for a down payment and closing costs, lenders like to see a reliable, stable financial situation. 

Credit Facelift

Another way to enhance the appearance of your finances is to improve your credit score. This may sound complex, but it’s actually pretty simple. Make sure you pay your bills in a timely fashion, pay down your debts, and keep credit card balances low. Also, don’t apply for credit unless you really need it. Opening unnecessary accounts generally won’t help you. 

Down Payment Information

The traditional down payment for a mortgage is 20 percent. However, you should research the market where you plan to buy and know the average down payment in your target area, as well as the percentage of homes that sell under their list price. It’s also incredibly important to determine how much house you can afford before diving in. Even if you can afford the down payment, you might not be able to afford the mortgage

Finding Assistance

If you don’t have the money sitting in your bank account for your home purchase, you still have some options. You can get down payment assistance, which typically comes through programs operated by state or local housing authorities; for example, Redfin explains that FHA loans, VA loans, and rural housing loans can help you purchase a home if you don’t have enough to put down. Depending on your situation, this can mean coughing up substantially less cash for your down payment, and for some home buyers, there may be no down payment at all. 

View the Home Differently

Instead of looking for your dream home, some experts recommend looking for a property that’s a good investment. Even if you don’t intend to “flip” a house, chances are you will move on at some point. Instead of looking for the house that most appeals to you, you can make the most of your purchase by buying a home that will be desirable when it comes time to sell. Look for areas that hold their value well (ask your Realtor). Also, don’t buy the biggest and nicest home in a neighborhood. You’re actually better off buying the worst home in the neighborhood, as it’s most apt to give you a good return on your money.

Legal and Smart

Thinking outside the box can help with financing a home purchase. Get a firm idea of your numbers, improve what you can, get help if you need to, and reframe your ideas for the right home to buy. Your financially savvy choices will help you become a happy homeowner!

Think outside the box when its time to finance a home


Think Outside the Box When It’s Time
to Finance a Home

Are you ready to purchase a home? Have you
considered creative financing? Don’t worry — it’s not illegal! But there are
some terrific personal finance hacks for homebuyers.

Understand
the Process

Before you can reach full home-buying-hack
potential, you should understand the basic process. As Curbed explains, you should start by getting a
handle on your budget. Tally up what you normally spend
in a month
, calculate your income, and decide how much can go toward
a mortgage and homeownership. Remember to include things like utilities,
insurance, and homeowner association fees. You also need enough in your bank
account to cover the down payment and closing costs.

Once you have a general idea, it can help to
play with a pre-qualification calculator. This will help
determine what you can afford. Then, you should get pre-approval for your loan
with a lender.  Pre-approval will be
based on your ability to afford a home and will review documentation proving
income, employment, and identity. The lender will also consider your credit
history. Those pieces of information will help decide how much your loan will
be and for what interest rate. You can then make a serious offer on a property.

Keep
Finances Stable

One of the first things you should know about
buying a home is to leave your bank account alone. HGTV points out that you
should try to avoid any substantial expenditures within three to six
months of your home loan application. Not only will it help you to have that
cash handy for a down payment and closing costs, lenders like to see a
reliable, stable financial situation.

Credit
Facelift

Another way to enhance the appearance of your
finances is to improve your credit score. This may sound complex, but it’s
actually pretty simple. Make sure you pay your bills in a timely fashion, pay
down your debts, and keep credit card balances low. Also, don’t apply for
credit unless you really need it. Opening unnecessary accounts generally won’t
help you.

Down
Payment Information

The traditional down payment for a mortgage is
20 percent. However, you should research the market where you plan to buy and
know the average down payment in your target area, as well as the percentage of
homes that sell under their list price. It’s also incredibly important to
determine how much house you can afford before diving in. Even if you can
afford the down payment, you might not be able to afford the mortgage

Finding
Assistance

If you don’t have the money sitting in your
bank account for your home purchase, you still have some options. You can get
down payment assistance, which typically comes through
programs operated by state or local housing authorities; for example, Redfin
explains that FHA loans, VA loans, and rural housing loans can help you purchase a home if you don’t have
enough to put down. Depending on your situation, this can mean coughing up
substantially less cash for your down payment, and for some home buyers, there
may be no down payment at all.

View
the Home Differently

Instead of looking for your dream home, some experts recommend looking for a property
that’s a good investment. Even if you don’t intend to “flip” a house, chances
are you will move on at some point. Instead of looking for the house that most
appeals to you, you can make the most of your purchase by buying a home that
will be desirable when it comes time to sell. Look for areas that hold their
value well (ask your Realtor). Also, don’t buy the biggest and nicest home in a neighborhood. You’re
actually better off buying the worst home in the neighborhood, as it’s most apt
to give you a good return on your money.

Legal
and Smart

Thinking outside the box can help with financing a home purchase. Get a firm idea of your numbers, improve what you can, get help if you need to, and reframe your ideas for the right home to buy. Your financially savvy choices will help you become a happy homeowner!

Article by Kelli Brewer info@deploycare.org

Biggest mistakes homebuyers make when getting a loan

Choosing a real estate agent

Choosing a real estate agent that is right for you is important when buying or selling a home. Whether buying your first home or selling your 10th home, trust and communication are crucial when choosing which agent should represent you. The transaction should be transparent and your agent should provide a clear process for buying or selling your home.

Before you begin, sit down with your real estate agent to determine if their style of communication is similar to yours. Do they communicate in the same manner? If you don’t often check your email, and they don’t text, it won’t be a good fit. Your real estate agent should explain the process so you are comfortable and understand the steps. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

Choose a real estate agent that is an expert in the area you are looking to buy or sell. Here are some questions to ask:

When choosing a real estate agent you should feel comfortable that they will communicate with you in the manner which you are accustomed. Because you ultimately want to feel that they will be looking after your best interests, provide great value and are an expert in your area. Their experience (or lack of) will help you determine if they are the right real estate agent to help your purchase or sale go smoothly.

Read more here about choosing the right real estate agent from Forbes Magazine https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesrealestatecouncil/2018/03/22/14-tips-for-choosing-the-right-real-estate-agent-for-your-property-search-or-sale/#7f9825057f54. For Cathy Wahlin’s area of expertise, check out the website https://cathywahlinrealtor.com/, Read more about the cities Cathy Wahlin serves https://cathywahlinrealtor.com/houses-for-sale-king-county-wa/

How to Attract Home Buyers

1. Sell it Fast!

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, you’ll need to figure out how to attract home buyers. You’re probably aware there’s some prep work to do. Most properties need to be spruced up before potential buyers start coming through, but it doesn’t have to mean a major investment of cash and time. There are many ways to put your house in position to sell quickly that won’t break the bank. In fact, you might be surprised at how much good you can do with some paint, a few gardening tools and a commitment to clean and declutter.

If you’re not sure where to begin, try seeing your home the way a potential buyer might. What could prevent someone from envisioning your home as their own? Here are a few tips that can get you off to a good start.

2. Boost Curb Appeal

Good curb appeal is a definite “must have” for any property. You want a landscape and home exterior that make passersby react instantly and positively. Keeping the grass mowed and the kids’ toys picked up is a start but remember that this is how you’ll attract people who are motivated to buy, as well as those who could be convinced to check into a house that just looks great. Keep the bushes well-trimmed and weed out dead plants and lawn debris. Add fresh flowers along the front of your house and mulch around trees and flower beds.

Check for cracks that need to be filled in the driveway and walkways and consider giving them a good pressure washing while you’re at it. Don’t neglect the front of your house. Does the front door or the entire front facade need to be repainted? A bright and clean presentation can make a tremendous difference when trying to attract buyers.

3. Clean Out Storage Space

Remember that prospective buyers will want to peer into every corner and closet and check out storage space, which is a big factor for many buyers. Clean out the basement and garage, especially if things have stacked up in there for a while. These are good places to declutter because people will want to see how much storage space they can expect. Get rid of any useless or duplicate items, sell or give away anything else that’s no longer needed or wanted, and carefully organize anything that remains in storage areas.

The decluttering phase is a great time to downsize and get rid of items you no longer need, but if you’re lacking in time or energy or still have too much “stuff” post-purge, store your extra belongings in an offsite storage unit. It’s easy to shop around online for the closest and cheapest storage options, but on average, you can expect to pay about $125 per month for storage in Seattle. It’s an extra expense, but if it helps make your home more desirable to potential buyers, it’s money well spent.

4. Check the Flooring

Few parts of your home show wear and tear as clearly as flooring. Years of use can make carpeting or hardwood flooring look roughed up. Consider whether carpeting can be brought back to life with a good cleaning or if it’s time to replace it. Often, a professional cleaner can remove deep stains and odors that have built up over a time. Bear in mind that hardwood is a popular choice among homebuyers these days and might make an attractive alternative to that old, worn carpeting.

5. Change up Window Treatments

Many buyers focus on natural light, so pay close attention to your window treatments. Change old curtains, drapes or blinds if they look yellowed and worn. By hanging window curtains a bit higher and wider than your window frame, you can make a room look both taller and bigger – a simple change with big results. And remember that curtains can be used for both practical and aesthetic purposes. They’re a great option for concealing shelving in your laundry room or as a graceful canopy over your bed.

Creativity and cleaning can go a long way towards figuring out how to attract home buyers. Presenting an attractive space inside and out is essential for staging a property and, best of all, you can do it affordably and attractively.

Article by Kelli Brewer –  Kelli Brewer is proud of her military family and is passionate about supporting other military families through DeployCare.

Love to Go Hiking around Seattle? Don’t Have a Car? No Problem.

For those people who love hiking around Seattle, but hate driving – or don’t have a car but still want to access the region’s amazing natural areas – it’s possible to go hiking by transit, both within the city and nearby. King County Metro’s Trailhead Direct shuttle service from Seattle to trailheads in Issaquah and North Bend is making this exceptionally easy during the late spring and summer when it runs, but there are year-round options for transit hiking as well.  Check out the link below to see all the trails! https://seattle.curbed.com/maps/car-free-hiking-trails-seattle