Why is My Mortgage Payment Going Up?

If you live in the greater Seattle area, you may be receiving a notice from your mortgage servicer stating that they need to adjust your mortgage payment because of an “escrow shortage”.  We actually just received such notice from our mortgage servicer. [Read more…]

Are markets shifting in Seattle?

This weekend while driving around my neighborhood in Seattle, I noticed more “for sale” and “open house” signs on homes. It’s a welcome sight after how long we’ve been in this tight market with very little housing inventory. [Read more…]

Gorgeous homes around $500k? Get OUT of Seattle!

This week, a real estate agent asked me to prepare some financial flyers for listings in Pierce County. The homes are stunning – I live in Seattle and cannot imagine having a large garage for our cars…although before living in Seattle, I had a sweet 2 3/4 garage. [Read more…]

How are property taxes determined?

Recently, after receiving a rate quote, a home buyer asked me, “What would the difference in taxes be if I bought in Pierce County verses King County?” [Read more…]

Do’s and Do Not’s of the Mortgage Process [Video]

In our last Seattle Real Estate Chat, Jim Reppond and I discuss what home buyers need to while in the mortgage process or considering buying a home.

Tune if for our next Seattle Real Estate Chat via our live Google Hangout on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 10:00 am Seattle time.
You can follow Seattle Real Estate Chat on Twitter at @SeattleREchat or #SeattleREchat

How’s the Market?

This is a question I’m often asked about the greater Seattle/Pacific Northwest region. Since I focus on helping people with mortgages to buy or refinance their homes, I defer these types of questions to local real estate professionals.

I recently posted this question with the challenge that the real estate agents keep their response to one sentence or roughly 140 characters. Here are some of the replies I received.

[Read more…]

S&P Case Shiller: Seattle home prices on the rise

SP_CS_postThis morning the S&P/Case Shiller Home Prices Index was released revealing gains across the board for the 20 city index.

The report states that Seattle had their largest monthly gain to home prices since April 1990 of 3.15% from April to May.

Year over year, Seattle boasted double digit gains of 11.9% for May.

This can be good news for people in the greater Seattle area who are considering selling their home and for those who have been waiting for home values to improve so they can refinance.

Mortgage interest rates are off their record lows. However, they are still what would be considered historically low.

If you’re interested in getting preapproved to buy a home or refinancing your existing home located in Washington State, I’m happy to help you!

Is it necessary in Seattle to get preapproved to make an offer on a home?

Recently one of my out of state clients who is looking to buy an investment home in Seattle asked “Is it necessary in Seattle to get preapproved?”

The short answer: YES!  Unless you’re paying cash! And if you are paying cash, be prepared to show the listing agent and seller that you have proof of funds.

Redfin’s “Bidding War Report” reveals Seattle is the 5th most competitive housing markets in the nation with 74.6% of offers “facing competition” (multiple offers) last month.

With Seattle area home sellers having more than just one offer from potential home buyers to choose from, you must be preapproved by a reputable local lender. Listing agents will help the seller review the offers to determine which one is the best for their situation.

According to the Bidding War Report, if you’re buying a home in Seattle, you may want to consider getting your home inspection done BEFORE making your offer (aka a “pre-inspection”). Last month, 14.3% of “winning offers” on Seattle homes had pre-inspections and 19% waived their inspection contingency.

Pre-Inspect-to-Play: This 2-bedroom, 1-bath home in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood had 300 showings, 19 pre-inspections (a competitive strategy common in Seattle in which the buyer has the home inspected before submitting an offer so that they can safely waive the inspection contingency), and more than 30 offers….

What did the “winning offers” have for financing in Seattle last month? 

  • 63.1% used conventional financing
  • 4.8% used FHA or VA financing
  • 2.4% paid cash

10.7% of “winning offers” waived their financing contingency.  17.9% of “winning offers” included a cover letter, or a “love letter” to the seller about why they want to buy their home.

This is great news for home owners who have been contemplating selling their home. Last night, King 5 aired this story about a couple from Seattle who sold their home in a matter of days for more than they expected with several strong offers to choose from. 

Rising home prices will also help home owners who have been waiting for their home values to go up so they can refinance (if they don’t already qualify for HARP or a FHA/VA streamline refi). 

ATTENTION HOME BUYERS is the greater Seattle area: you’ve got to get your game on if you want to “win” in a multiple offer situation! Be sure to get preapproved from a local trusted lender. Your preapproval letter needs to be strong enough to give the seller and listing agent confidence that you are the most qualified buyer with the highest odds of having the transaction close quickly and without issues. Here’s a list of what you’ll need in order to be truly preapproved…if you’re working with a lender who has not requested these items, you’re probably just prequalifed and there is a HUGE difference.  

If you are considering buying or refinancing a home located in Seattle or anywhere in Washington state, where I’m licensed, I am happy to help you! I have been helping home buyers with their mortgage needs at Mortgage Master Service Corporation for 13 years. Click here for a rate quote or contact me to start the preapproval process.