If You are in any aspect of the real estate industry, you don’t want to miss this…


Both events are at the Seattle Center:

March 18, 2010 – Pacific Northwest Housing Summit  
March 19, 2010 – RE Barcamp Seattle

The panelist for the Summit continue to grow and we anticipate quite a turn out from across the country at both events.  Sponsorship opportunities are still available and start at $250.  

Of course there will be "tweet-ups" and social hours following both days.

Be there!  Follow both events on Twitter: @pnwhs #pnwhs and @REbarcampSEA #rebcsea

PS:  Space is limited to the first 700 registered attendees for the PNWHS…and there's a "sweet heart deal" for pre-registrations by Valentines Day.  


100 Days Remaining for the Home Buyer Tax Credit (and my 1000th Post)

Fthbtax My apologies for the home buyer tax credit clock I've added to the left side bar of my blog ticking away the time remaining for home buyers tax credit.  It's not my style, I don't like to pressure folks and I really don't like telling someone that they missed an opportunity. 

Whether you are for or against our home buyer tax credit it is something that many home buyers, first time and "move-up" home buyers, will take advantage of.   Unlike the first tax credit that was passed where the home buyer had to pay it back over 15 years, this is a "tax credit".  This credit repaid if you sell your home within three years. 

The available tax credit for first time home buyers (those who have not owned a home in the last 36 months) is up to $8,000.   For the "move-up" or "long-time resident" (you don't have to be buying a bigger home to qualify), the available tax credit is up $6,500.  The long-time resident is defined as someone who has owned their home as their primary residence for the last three out of five consecutive years.  The tax credit for both first time and long time residents is for the purchase of a primary residence (owner occupied).

Income limits were raised for transactions closing after November 6, 2009 to up to $125,000 modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) for taxpayers and $225,000 for joint filers.  The credit is reduced up to those with MAGI above $145,000 for single and $245,000 for joint.

Homes with a sales price of over $800,000 are not eligible (too bad–the Jumbo market needs all the help it can get). 

In order to qualify for the tax credit, home buyers must be in contract to purchase a home by April 30, 2010 (100 days away as of today)* with a closing date no later than June 30, 2010 (no summer vacations for escrow officers in June).   Home buyers will need to file IRS Form 5405 and be sure to include a copy of their HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

Members of our Armed Forces serving outside of the United States have been granted an extra year for the tax credit.  They must be in contract by April 30, 2011 and close prior to June 30, 2011.

Check with your tax advisor for more information.

Special note: this is my 1000th article posted at Mortgage Porter!  Thanks again for your continued support and readership. 

Estimating Your Property Taxes

Sometimes the information shown on tax records may not be what a person will actually pay for their property taxes.  This is common with new construction or if the property is currently qualified for an exemption, such as for a Senior Citizen. [Read more…]

Do You Pay Property Taxes On Your Own?

If you have elected to not have your property taxes included in your monthly mortgage payment (no reserve account), second half taxes are due for King County by October 31, 2008.   For more information, or to pay on line, click here.

If you have property taxes included in your mortgage payment, you shouldn’t need to do anything at all.  Just sit back and take it easy.

Adorable Ballard Bungalow


This charming bungalow in Ballard could be yours.  It’s offered at $530,000 and will be open this Sunday, April 20, 2008 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

I’m not a real estate agent…but I’m happy to help you with financing on this home! 

For more information on this home, please contact your real estate agent.  This home is listed with Windermere – MLS #28058060Dirkhome_3 

This listing is posted with the permission of the home owners.


Is the Seattle Area in a Recession?

Not according to this graph from USA Today.


The article reports that Washington State is a leader in exports, which is helping our State stave off recession.   Even though our State seems to be fairing well as compared to other economies, it’s important to keep in mind:

"Businesses and consumers not in areas most affected by the housing boom and bust are not escaping the effects of the housing slump entirely. That’s because in the fallout from the subprime mortgage mess, banks have tightened lending standards for a variety of loans, no matter where the borrower is."

Hat tip to Transparent Real Estate

Seattle-King County Third Quarter Foreclosures are Down

Property Shark reports that foreclosures in King County are down year over year and are down 24.85% from the previous quarter based on trustee sales.    New_trustee_sales_seattle_2 

Why have foreclosure numbers improved in our region?  Hopefully distressed home owners are contacting their lenders for help before it’s too late.  Banks do not want to own homes and many are willing to work with home owners who are facing difficulties with their mortgage and are possibly facing foreclosure.   Another possibility is that investors are seeking out and buying “pre-foreclosure” homes.

South King County is reporting the most foreclosures for the third quarter.


Don’t wait if you’re having difficulty with your mortgage payments.   The earlier you take action, the more options you may have. 

Feeling unappreciated? At least you’re not Stockton, California.

CNN just published an excellent report forecasting depreciation in top housing markets in the nation.

"According to an analysis conducted by Moody’s Economy.com, declines will exceed 10 percent in 86 of the 379 largest housing markets. And 290 of the cities will experience price drops of 1 percent or more The survey attempted to identify the high and low points of housing prices in each of the markets, some of which started declining from their peak in the third quarter of 2005. All are median prices for single-family houses.

Nationally, Moody’s is projecting an average price decline of 7.7 percent. That’s a jump from the 6.6 percent total price drop that the company was forecasting in June and more than twice that of last October’s forecast of a 3.6 percent price decrease."

The major areas below are reported to be peaking the 3rd quarter of 2007 and to be "hitting bottom" (doesn’t that mean rebounding back?) by the 3rd quarter of 2008.   The amount of the changes in home values being predicted varies:

  • Seattle-Bellevue-Everett -2.9%
  • Tacoma -5.5%
  • Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton -7.2%.
  • Spokane -2.6%

Compared to Stockton and other parts of the country, we’re doing pretty darn good.

"The Stockton, Calif., metro area, where Moody’s predicts a 25 percent price drop, will be the hardest hit among the 100 most populated cities surveyed.

Prices in Stockton – in California’s Central Valley – rose quickly through 2005 as many would-be Bay Area buyers, frozen out of the expensive San Francisco area housing market, moved in. That influx drove up the median, single-family home price to about $375,000. Stockton prices peaked during the first quarter of 2006 and have gone downhill since. Prices likely won’t turn around until the end of next year."

Even though a 2.9% decrease in home value is not hugely significant, it can be if you’re looking at refinancing out of a high loan to value mortgage.   Especially when you factor in the tightened guidelines with loan to value and credit.   Please don’t delay contacting your Mortgage Professional if you have an adjustable rate mortgage that will be adjusting in the next two years or sooner.   

On a home valued at $500,000, this would be a reduction of approx. $14,500 based on the predicted Seattle depreciation rate.

If you read the entire report that features the top 100 cities…you’ll actually feel pretty good about how our local real estate seems to be fairing