Monday, December 22, 2008
1/2 cup butter (1 cube)
1 (12 oz) pkg. butterscotch chips
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. miniature marshmallows
1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans (these may be omitted)
In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add butterscotch chips and brown sugar, stirring until they are melted. Remove pan from heat (let it cool a bit), stir in eggs. Add flour, baking powder and salt, mixing thoroughly. Stir in vanilla then set aside and cool (this part is important so your chocolate chips don't melt, but stay somewhat firm.) When cool, stir in chocolate chips, marshmallows and pecans (if desired.) Spread into greased 9x13 inch pan (or a couple 8x8s.) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes (keep an eye on them & the longer time should make them less "uncooked".)Remove from oven and let cool thoroughly. Cut into squares.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
If you qualify for an FHA loan, the minimum down has been 3%, but effective January 1st, the required down payment will be 3.5%. There are several homes for sale that will accept FHA financing. Usually the home reqires an appraisal by an FHA appraiser and any repairs must be made before closing. Sellers can contribute up to 6% of the sales price for closing costs and pre-paid items, however the seller cannot assist with the down payment. Gift funds (from parents, grandparents, etc.) can be used for the down payment, closing costs and prepaid items. If you are a first time buyer, it is time to jump in to home ownership! Give me a call today and I will help you through the entire process.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
So, where are we today on a 30 year conventional fixed loan? How about 5 1/4 to 5 1/2%? That is pretty darn good! So whether you are looking to buy or refinance, don't miss out on these low rates. They could change tomorrow, so remember that you want to lock in your rate when it gets to a low spot. If you want to buy a home, call me! There are some fabulous deals out there. Especially for those of you who invest in properties. Lots of distressed/foreclosed homes to choose from. And if you want to refinance, let me know. I have a few great lenders to recommend who will take excellent care of you. Just give me a call at 425-890-0124
Thursday, November 13, 2008
RCW 84.36.381 "grants property tax exemptions if your total annual income is $30,000 or less and if you are 61 years of age or older, or you are retired because of physical disability, or if you are a widow or widower at least 57 years of age whose spouse had an exemption at the time of his or her death."
That pretty well narrows it down! Not many of us are going to qualify for senior exemption, but if you do, it is well worth the effort to apply. Just go to: http://www.kingcounty.gov/property.aspx
If you want to dispute your assessment, you may be running out of time, as you have a limited time to appeal. Check out the above website and go to "disputes."
I hope this helps.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
If you really consider this dilemma, you will see the difficulty that the assessor's office has in establishing value. They can't go out and inspect every house and have appraisals and market analyses. So, we must put up with a flawed system, but that doesn't mean that you can't appeal your case to the assessor and I wish you luck. If you do find that they listen and adjust your value downward, shoot me an email and let me know.
And I have to say that inspite of the discouragement of falling home prices for those trying to sell, it is about time that prices stop jumping up so high that many people are priced right out of home ownership. It looks like things are leveling out a bit, so maybe prices will begin to creep up but let's hope it's not at breakneck speed!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Back in April of 2008 the Housing and Economic Recovery Act decided to offer up to a $7,500 tax credit for first time homebuyers. This may not sound like much, but it does reduce your tax liability for the year you purchased your home by $7,500 and if, for instance, you paid $4,500 in taxes, you would receive a check from the government for the difference...$3,000! Not too bad. This offer expires at the end of June 2009, so there is a small window of opportunity for those of you who qualify. With all the bad news about our banking industry, some people are under the impression that there is no money to borrow. That just isn't true!! And now that zero down loans are gone forever, you are probably thinking you need 20% for a down payment. That is not necessarily so for first time buyers. FHA is still making plenty of loans and you only need 3% down.
And parents, if you want to help your kids be able to own their first home, then maybe you would like to gift some money to your son or daughter to make this possible. Talk to your tax adviser, but gifting money is easy and up to a certain amount there is no gift tax to pay.
I am placing a link here so you will have all the information you need about this $7,500 tax credit. I am calling it a flat $7,500 credit because though it is really 10% of purchase price up to $7,500, I haven't seen a home or condo here for $75,000 or less....unless we're talking mobile home! And finally, yes, that tax credit does need to be paid back, but only $500 per year for 15 years. Check it out, then give me a call so I can help you get into your first home! Maybe even by Christmas!!! (Sandy 425-890-0124)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
If you are the type who would rather start from scratch and design your dream house, then talk to me! I have 2 lots that would be perfect for you. One is on the 2nd fairway of the Prospector Golf Course, which is a very short walk to the Lodge and all the amenities. The other lot is located on the Rope Rider Golf Course, right on a man-made lake! This one has architectural drawings completed for a 3600 to 4400 square foot house, depending on how you choose to configure it. Whether you are thinking of buying a vacation or main residence home, condo or lot in Suncadia, give me a call. I can help you!! There are some really good deals right now so don't delay. Can't you picture you and your family spending time in the winter months over there? Do you like to ski? Snowmobile? Cross Country Ski? Relax, read a book and watch the snow fall? Perfect. And remember when the snow is gone there is biking, hiking, fishing, golfing and just plain chilling out!
If you are getting sick and tired of all the traffic here on the Eastside, it may be time to get out of Dodge! Call me, I'd love to talk. (425)890-0124
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I am a Realtor®, so first off, I should explain that not all real estate agents are Realtors®. The Realtor Association is an entity that came into being to distinguish reputable real estate agents from the unethical and unscrupulous agents who were doing business, by developing a "code of ethics" in 1913. This organization not only requires that their members adhere to the Code of Ethics, but they provide lots of ongoing education for agents and act as our voice in government policy making. The reason I want to explain that is to show you what we receive for our $450 membership fee per year. I am a Realtor® and although I don't like paying that fee, I feel that being a Realtor® automatically adds to my credibility.
I hear complaints all the time about how much money real estate agents make and yet, when I look at the industry as a whole, we aren't doing so well!! Most agents (including me) have to share a portion of their commission with the brokerage that they work for, in addition to paying a desk fee. We have to be licensed and every two years we give a big check to Olympia to keep our license active. Oh, and then there are the 30 hours of ongoing education required to renew our license. That education is paid for by the agent. Of course, we need to be members of our local Multiple Listing Service, which requires a yearly fee. If we have listings, well, we need lockboxes ($95 per lockbox) and our Super Display Key (separate fee for having this key,) which allows us to retrieve the key to enter homes that we show.
We need a computer and if we intend to use a laptop at our office, it needs to have be a Windows XP (at least it does within Coldwell Banker Bain) so we can hook into our wireless office router. Then there are all the programs and websites that we need to be familiar with. I have a document that is single spaced on both sides of an 8x10" page full of login names and passwords. Way too many to try to remember. It has both business & personal sites, but mostly business. Newer agents can become overwhelmed with all the information that they need to sort through and become familiar with!!
I need my cell phone. I can't get by without it! And it provides internet access, has a GPS, is text message capable and keeps track of all my contact information including all my appointments. It syncs to my computer so I'm totally connected and current. Gotta have a Blue Tooth too, for when I'm in the car. Speaking of cars.....you've got to have a car that is reliable and big enough to transport clients in. Kept in good running condition!
Most competent agents have a website. I have a webpage within Coldwell Banker Bain, but I also pay about $40 a month for my website (http://www.sandyyoung.net/) Lucky for me this blog is free, but I wouldn't be surprised if one day I wake up to find that I will need to pay!
There are other programs that I have purchased and/or signed up for, including Top Producer, E-Neighborhoods, Tarasoft Titan and Proquest. Some I still use and some I have cancelled. Most require a monthly fee. With housing the way it is, I've had to cut some expenses.
I haven't even talked about the cost of advertising our listings. Some agents use their listings to promote themselves and then consider that to be advertising for their clients, when in reality it is advertising their name so they can get more business. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it does all cost BIG money!! Printed ads for houses don't work so well in selling homes these days since most folks are computer savy and can search easily online for their next home whether near or far! We do print flyers for our properties (I use Microsoft Publisher to create mine) and I like my flyers in color and on both sides of the page. That costs the agent money too. For me it is $.50 per side in color. There goes $.50 to $1.00 everytime someone drives up to pull a flyer.
When I have listings I need to provide shoe covers, a basket to put them in and a sign telling people to remove their shoes or wear covers. I need a flyer stand inside the house and oh, I need to put some of my business cards on display. (I had some double-sided full-color ones printed up to distinguish myself from the myriad of boring white cards.) The yard arm sign with the extra flyer box outside? Yup, I pay a fee for that to be installed and removed and it cost me about $800 for my "for sale" signs. I forgot, I also have 6 Open House A-Boards. They were several hundred dollars as well. I also had SOLD signs printed with my name on them. More money. You want "professional" pictures taken of your house? OK, there's another couple hundred (the photos I take are really pretty good, esp. compared to some of the stuff other agents use for their listings.....dark, wide-angle wowiness, drab for sure.) You want a slide show, or virtual tour? I like to provide that and as you might guess....more expense!
I mail out newsletters to over 200 addresses each month. Not a cheap endeavour! Postage costs money too. Any postcards that I send to advertise my listings. Yup, you are right, that comes out of my pocket.
Add the cost of my home office desk, file cabinet, old file storage boxes, file folders, binders, printer, fax, etc. etc. etc.
So, why AM I in this business??? I do love it! I really like people. I feel a great sense of accomplishment and reward when I can help people find the house of their dreams or get their current home sold. I have to admit that it is way more difficult in this current housing market! Lots of agents who have to support their families have had to find other jobs. It is tough to support a family with a commission job when the outgoing expenses are so high and there are few clients out there. I'm fortunate in that I am not the sole support of my husband and myself! I'm not doing so bad, but it would be nice to have my listings sell so I can actually get a paycheck!
Getting back to the huge income that we real estate agents make...HA! Sure, the ones who have been in business for many years and have listings coming out of their ears and more buyers than they can find time to help are doing pretty well. However, even they are struggling right now. If an agent is that busy, they certainly need a staff to help with all the work and you guessed it, the agent is responsible for paying for their staff! Lots of their "profit" gets eaten up just paying for help. And if they have lots of listings, they probably aren't selling and there is ongoing expense in trying to get those listings sold.
So, really, we are all in the same boat, whether we have a ton of clients or serve a few at a time. Money flies out the door! I plan on sticking around for a good long time, so I need to be wise with my money so I can fund the slower times in anticipation of the return of a strong housing market! And if you want to buy a house....call me! There are some GREAT deals out there.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Another thing that you may not be aware of is that a portion of our income as agents, goes to support these causes. That's right! We don't get to keep all of that commission that we make on our sales! More on this in my next post.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
If you are looking for a starter home or rental property, you might be interested in looking at this house. It is PERFECT! It has two-bedrooms, one bath and is under 900 sq. ft. It had extensive remodeling in 2000 including a new roof. The yard is fenced and includes a nice shed and a children's play fort. It is ready for you to move right in! The price is $260,000 and you might consider an FHA loan. Give me a call and I would be happy to show it to you. And if you need a lender, I have several that I can refer you to that would be more than happy to let you know if you qualify for this home. You can look on my website (http://www.sandyyoung.net/) and find the listing with more photos. The listing number is 28120940. It is close to everything! There is easy access to I-5, short drive to Boeing Field, the new and improved Westfield (Southcenter) Mall and the Tukwila Community Center is just a couple blocks from this home. If you haven't been to Allentown, check it out!
Here is another interesting fact, Billy Joel wrote a song titled Allentown back in 1982. Of course he was singing about the coal mines and difficult living conditions in Allentown, PA.
Click the following link or copy and paste it in your browser to see a map of Allentown in Tukwila, WA:
Monday, July 21, 2008
If you are looking to purchase a home, make sure that you are planning on living there for several years so you can avoid selling for less than you owe. Or have enough funds in the bank so that you have the money to close thereby avoiding a short sale. With our current market, we agents are definitely seeing housing prices coming down from what they were a year or two ago. The best strategy is to plan on staying in the house you want to buy for several years before selling and ride out this current storm. Prices will begin going up at some point!
Those of you who have remained in your home for several years should seriously evaluate whether you can "afford" to take out a 2nd mortgage on that boat, kitchen remodel, special vacation or just to pad your bank account for those extra luxury items that you want. Better to keep your home equity in place and SAVE some of your paycheck for those extra things.
Of course, the article that was published in Sunday's Seattle Times on the front page of the real estate section stated that 20% of all home sales in March nationwide were short sales. While that is true, it is important to read further down when it says that ony 4% of home sales in March in King, Kitsap and Snohomish county are short sales. I guess we should be thankful we live in an area that is better than the norm!
If you want to read the entire article in the Times just go to:
Monday, July 14, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
And those of you who want to sell your house and buy another, why are you waiting!? You might be thinking that you won't get as much for your house than you might get in the future. Of course! BUT you will also be paying less for your new home! Good deals are out there. Don't be scared off by our media! They like to quote NATIONAL statistics. Places like Sacramento and Las Vegas don't represent our housing market.
NOW IS STILL A GOOD TIME TO BUY OR SELL!! Need more convincing?? Give me a call at (425)890-0124 and let's talk.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Put some distance between you and your renters! Give Dorothy a call and find out for yourself what Coldwell Banker Bain can do for you.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The bottom line is this.....if you have been sitting on the fence regarding making a move, now isn't as bad a time as you may have been led to believe! Sure, the market isn't what it was a year ago, but getting home prices to slow down a bit isn't a bad thing. Do we really want prices to keep going up and up and up??? Plenty of people can't afford to live in our area as it is and I sure would like for our grandkids to be able to afford a house of their own when they reach that point in life! I bet you feel the same.
If you are thinking about making a move, give me a call. I will help you with pricing your home correctly for a timely sale and would also love to hunt down that new piece of real estate that you can call "home."
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Here is a link for more information:
You can also go to a page where you are able to enter your address to make sure that those shippers are charging you the correct amount for tax. I really feel sorry for retailers in our state who now have added work in finding the tax rate every time they make a shipment. Life sure gets complicated!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Then simply go to the area of the map you would like to see using the blue box and click. This will bring up a new page where you can enter the information on the left hand side of the page to zero in on the criteria you want and VOILA! There you are! Enjoy!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
If you want to simply search without signing in, you can click on an area of interest on the interactive map and see what is listed. It's quick and easy!! Coldwell Banker Bain and Sandy Young....two names to remember!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Be sure to bring your camera and capture all the delights of the flower show. You will find great tips to help you with your garden and there are a great many goodies to purchase, from bulbs to orchids and from ceramics to trellis'. ENJOY!!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Some of you may not qualify for a loan since the subprime lenders have gone away. A subprime loan is one which means the buyer has poor credit scores, little or no down payment and is unable to prove their income. Although there are still zero down loans out there, it is imperative that purchasers 1) verify their income through pay stubs and the latest tax return, 2) have SOME money saved, and 3) work to increase their FICO credit scores.
FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850, and lenders usually get a borrowers' scores from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and their rate and terms are based on the middle of the three scores. Anything 620 and below used to be considered subprime, which meant that getting a loan would be more difficult and expensive. At the height of the boom, some lenders lowered that bar to 580, which I'm sure helped to cause the bottom to fall out of the subprime loans! Today, 660 is often considered subprime, and any score below 680 is likely to result in higher rates and more difficult terms.
If your score is mediocre, say between 640 and 680, you need to have 10% down. If you have a good credit score, you can buy with a 5% down payment and if you have great credit and verified income, you still may be able to find a zero down loan that won't have interest rates that will kill you!
If you want more information on getting a loan, I have several lenders that I work with and trust. I would love to put you in touch with one of them. Give me a call, or send me an email.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Although it sounds something like the communes of the 60's, it is a more rational solution to the need for people to live in a friendly and helpful community. These are usually folks who believe that living in a smaller space is better than having excess and they own their own home, whether attached or detatched depends on the community. Amazingly, according to the artilce, the Seattle area has about 15 (out of 90 nationwide) already established or forming communities and is one of the top cohousing centers in the nation. Who knew!? The article features a couple in their 80's who were instrumental in planning Jackson Place and eagerly moved in in 2001 after it was completed. This type of living isn't just for the older folks, but younger familes and singles all are part of these communities. Doesn't this sound like a great thing for people who move away from their parents? It gives their children surrogate grandparents, right next door!
If you are interested in learning more, whether for right now or sometime in your future, you may want to attend an informational meeting on February 20th from 1 to 3 pm at Jackson Place Cohousing, 800 Haiwatha Pl. S, Seattle. Questions? Go to: www.seattlecohousing.org
Perhaps you and your friends will discover a new way of living, as you develop your very own community!
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Residential sales volume for December 2007 decreased 6% from November 2007
All Sales (vs. Year- to date 2006)
- Residential sales volume: off 10% to $18.8 billion
- Residential transactions: off 17% to 37,672
- Mobile home sales on land: off 5% to $71 million
- Plexes (2-5 units) sales: off 25% to $411 million
- Land sales: off 13% to $1 billion
- Commercial volume: up 35% to $8.2 billion
- Average residence: $496,347, up 9%
Existing home transactions sold decreased 13% in December 2007 from November 2007 Existing Home Sales (vs. Year- to date 2006)
- Units sold: off 24%; volume: off 16% to $11.2 billion
- 20,157 units sold this year vs. 26,427, lowest since 1995
- Average price up 11% to $556,490
- Half homes (median) sold for less than $449,000, up 10%
- Average $/SF for homes sold at $299.17 (all sales), up 7%
- Best range: $300,001 - $350,000, with 224.9 monthly
- Second best absorption rate: $500,001 - $600,000, with 220.9 per month
New single family homes units sold in December 2007 up 24% from November 2007 New Single Family Homes (vs. Year- to date 2006)
- Average sale price: $670,460, up 13%
- Median sale price: $553,925, up 13%
- New homes represent 18% of volume and 15% of units recorded
- 3,680 sold vs. 4,993 last year, off 26% volume: off 17% to $2.5 billion
- Average $/SF: $260.74, up 1% (48% of sales with data)
- Best ranges: $500,001 - $600,000 - $750,000, each with 49.3 per month
- Next best range: $750,000 - $1,000,000, with absorption of 49.1 monthly
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I am a survivor (18 years!!) so when a friend asked me if I could volunteer to help with fitting gowns, I jumped at the chance. The big trucks will roll up to the Hilton Hotel in Bellevue Friday and Saturday (18th and 19th) and I plan on helping again on Friday. It is great fun, for a good cause. AND a bonus is to see all those beautiful gowns and accessories! Check out the website and see how you might help.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I thought I should just share this with you so that you can keep me in mind if you know of anyone who needs the services of an expert! Please do send them my way. You may want to begin by pointing them to my website: www.sandyyoung.net and telling them to click on my link for First Time Buyers on the left side of the home page. I have prepared some important information that they will need to know as they begin their adventure into home ownership. Thanks for your referrals....please keep them coming!
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Click on the photo to enlarge it.
Our daughter, Shauna, became engaged early in December and she and Pete (Myron) are planning a February 23rd wedding. We are all busy, busy, with all the details and looking forward to a great wedding celebration! Who says you need 6 months to a year to plan a wedding? Don't believe them. Shauna and Pete are making decisions, moving on to the next decision and don't have all that extra time to second guess themselves. We are looking forward to having Pete officially in the family!
1) The Emerald City has experienced strong price appreciation over the last six quarters, and that's expected to continue in the new year. Third quarter median home sale prices increased by 6% compared to the third quarter of 2006. Forbes Magazine, November 2007
2) Washington State's population will increase by nearly one million over the present decade and reach 6.8 million by 2010. About two thirds of the growth is due to immigration, the rest is a result of the growth of families. Washington State Office of Financial Management
3) The number of building permits issued in the tri-county area has declined by 6% for the first three quarters of 2007, compared to the same time period for 2006. John Murphy, Director of Operations, New Home Trends
4) Unemployment in Washington has been below 5% for nine straight months and is in the running for the lowest annual average since modern records began in 1976. Washington added over 57,000 new jobs in the last year. The majority of these jobs are in the Puget Sound area.
National Association of Realtors
5) Mortgage Interest Rates are near historic lows. Based on market indicators, rates are not likely to stay this low for long. James Wirth, Landover Mortgage
6) Current conditions mean this market is in the "Buy Zone" and is the perfect buyers market. Looking at the housing market graphically over the past 25 years, it's evident there are periods when conditions make it the perfect time to buy a home, and this is one of them. NWMLS