My first time at a foreclosure auction

2015-02-13 09.44.30I recently attended my first trustee sale on the King County courthouse steps. The house next door to us, that has been vacant for a couple years was scheduled to be auctioned. My husband and I were curious as to who might be purchasing the property and I’ve always wanted to see what happens at a foreclosure auction.

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Coming Soon: 2015 Property Tax Bills

detctiveIn a couple weeks, King County along with others, will begin posting property tax bills for 2015. This may be a non-event for most…unless you’re in the process of buying a home and your debt-to-income ratios are tight. It’s possible that should the tax assessor decide the home you have a contract on now or during the next month has a higher value, and therefore a higher tax bill, that this may jeopardize some loan approvals and/or transactions.

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Washington State Down Payment Assistance Programs and Grants

2013-03-07_0746Washington State home buyers have several various down payment assistance programs available and they’re not just limited to first time home buyers.  These funds can go towards closing cost and the down payment of primary residence.

Here’s an updated list of what I have available.

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Median Home Prices up 18.5% in King County

A few days ago, I shared an article about how the greater Seattle – Bellevue – Everett area is one of the top 5 places in the country to be a home seller.  Yesterday’s article in the Seattle Times appears to back that up.

A record-low inventory of homes for sale in King County, very low interest rates and a growing Puget Sound economy combined to push the median price of houses sold in February to $365,000, an 18 percent jump over a year ago.

Only 2,947 homes were listed for sale in King County last month, down from 5,178 a year ago, according to Tuesday’s report by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

I’m currently working with several pre-approved buyers who are ready, able and wanting to buy a home in this area. What they need is more inventory.

If you have been considering selling your home, now could be the time. You may find that you have an advantage being listed before other homes plan to go on the market for Spring.

If you are planning on buying a home, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be prepared for competition. It’s crucial to be fully preapproved with a local, reputable mortgage professional.

If you’re considering buying a home in King County, or any county in Washington state, I’m happy to help you with your mortgage needs. 

Seattle PI reports Surging Home Prices in King County

This week Aubrey Cohen from the Seattle PI reported that sales prices in King Count jumped up just shy of 20% last month:

The median price of a King County house that sold in November was $385,000, up 19.7 percent from a year earlier and 4.1 percent from this October, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported Wednesday. The median price in Seattle was $425,000, up 18.1 percent from last November and 1.2 from October.

Some non-distressed homes continue to experience bidding wars as inventory remains low. Here are some tips on what you can do to prepare for a “bidding war”.

Experts speculate that part of the jump in sales price could be from home buyers taking advantage of extremely low mortgage rates to buy a higher priced home.

If you are interested in buying a home, whether it’s your primary home, a vacation home or an investment property, I strongly recommend getting preapproved first. Being preapproved will help give you an advantage over unprepared buyers. 

If you are considering buying a home anywhere in Washington, I’m happy to help you with your mortgage needs. I have helping people buy and refinance homes in Washington at Mortgage Master Service Corporation since April 2000.

King County Home Prices are up 7% from last year

The Seattle Times reports that home prices for King County have jumped up 7.2% from July last year. This pencils out to $25,250 with the median sales price of $375,250. The article also notes that closings are up 26% YOY which is great news for the housing industry. It doesn’t matter how low mortgage rates or home prices are unless transactions can actually close.With less inventory, many buyers are finding themselves in bidding wars or having a property in contract before they can get their offer together. From the article:

“Another recurring theme is the dramatic drop in the number of homes for sale. Home listings have been sliding for a full year; in July the number of home listed for sale was down 38 percent year-over-year…

…distressed home listings — bank-owned properties and short sales — are down 60 percent from last year. This also contributes to the small number of listings and brings up home prices.”

Part of the reason for the low inventory, per Seattle real estate economist Matthew Gardner, is that many people are not able to sell because they are underwater with their mortgages and don’t want to go through a short sale.

If you’re considering selling and your property is non-distressed (you have enough equity to sell), this could be a great time with more buyers than sellers.

If you’re underwater with your home and would like to sell once you have equity, you might consider a HARP 2.0 refinance (if your last conforming mortgage closed prior to June 2009) or an FHA streamlined refi (if your existing mortgage is FHA). While you wait for home values to continue to trend higher, why not save on your monthly mortgage payments?

If you’re a home buyer, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be fully preapproved BEFORE you start shopping for a home. If you’re considering buying or refinancing a home in Seattle, King County or anywhere in Washington state, I’m happy to help you!

Hold Everything! What is Your Title Company’s Recording Protocol?

Satchmortgageporter If you’re a long time reader of The Mortgage Porter, you know that my pre-mortgage career was in the title and escrow industry.  One of my early jobs was preparing documents to be recorded at King County.  Later in my career, as a sales rep, I would sometimes have the opportunity to “be a hero” by driving “rush recordings” directly to the court house in Seattle and either meeting the title company’s recorder or actually having to “walk on” the documents myself. Recordings are the deeds and deeds of trust that will be recorded at the county to become public record to give the world notice that you now own the land or have debt attached to the property.  (It also gives scammers notice to hound you with loan and other offers).

On a recent transaction, I learned that all title companies are not the same when it comes to how the manage their recordings.  When a title company receives documents from the escrow company, they are typically “on hold” meaning–do not record yet; or they’re a “walk on” which means, record as soon as possible.  It’s my understanding that most title companies keep holds at King County UNLESS they have verified with the escrow company that the documents are not scheduled to close for some time.  

This transaction involved a title company who apparently keeps recordings for King County at their Lynnwood office until they know they are released for recording and then they are sent with their recording courier.   Problems can arise when recordings are released later by escrow or if the courier faces high volumes of traffic with her commute to Seattle (what are the odds of that?).  I have been informed by their Senior Title Officer that they are changing their policy on keeping holds at their office.

It could be worth asking your preferred King County title provider:

Where do they keep recordings that are on hold? 

Will they do a special courier to the court house if needed? (a title rep can do this) 

Hopefully the recordings are kept at King County (or the appropriate county) so that in the event of a later release, the documents are prepared and ready to go to avoid delays with closings. 

Related Post: 

What Takes Place Between Signing and Closing

Is Your Agent in Bed with a Title Company?

Who’s Who with Local Title Companies