Should I attend Seattle Agent ReBoot or Greater Seattle RE BarCamp?

Easy answer: BOTH! :)

Full disclosure, I am one of the organizers of this years Seattle RE BarCamp which will be taking place next week, Thursday, March 13, 2014. And I am planning on attending both Seattle Agent ReBoot and Seattle RE BarCamp next week.

Why? Because these two events offer two unique experiences.

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What May Impact Mortgage Rates this Week: February 3, 2014

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Mortgage Master representing the 12th Man!

SEA – HAWKS!!! SEA – HAWKS!!! Yes, I’m still very excited and thrilled over our team’s incredible Super Bowl win. Although trouncing the Denver Bronco’s in the big game won’t impact mortgage interest rates, it certainly influences the mood here in Seattle and for all Seattle Seahawk fans. We did it!!

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Seattle Home Buyer Education Seminar on September 28, 2013

iStock_000020110629XSmallI will be teaching a home buyer education class on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at the Columbia City Library located at 4721 Rainier Avenue South in Seattle. My co-instructor is non-other than Ira Sacharoff, Real Estate Agent with Better Properties Real Estate. Class begins at 11:45 am and ends around 4:45 pm.

We will be serving lunch. Please bring a snack if you have dietary concerns as we will not have a lunch break.  Sign up for this class by clicking here. 

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Two Home Buying Seminars Coming Up!

iStock_000020110629XSmallIf you are considering buying a home and want to learn more about the process, I invite you to attend one of upcoming seminars I have scheduled. Both classes are sponsored by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) and attendees are eligible for down payment assistance programs offered through WSHFC.

I’ve just scheduled the following seminars:

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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!

I Want to Buy a House

Do you or someone you know want to buy a house?

Could you use some help with down payment?

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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.

The Seattle – Bellevue – Everett area named as a Top 5 Place to Sell Your Home

Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch has named the Seattle – Bellevue – Everett area as one top five markets in the nation for selling your home. From the article:

Homes are flying off the market in Seattle. Listed properties spent a median of 56 days on the market as of January, down 38% from a year ago, according to Realtor.com. That’s almost half the median time homes are listed nationally….

….buyers have been left with a smaller number of homes to bid on, which in turn encourages multiple offers on properties that can push the purchase price higher than the asking price, experts say. There were fewer than 4,000 homes for sale in the Seattle metro area as of January, down 44% from a year prior, according to Realtor.com.  

This morning’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index also provides some positive data revealing that the Greater Seattle’s prices are up 8.2% year-over-year.

For hopeful home buyers, this means they need to make sure they have their ducks in a row before making an offer on a home. Home buyers in competitive markets like Seattle, Bellevue or Everett should contact a mortgage professional early on to start the preapproval process. The preapproval process typically only takes a day or two once the home buyer provides all the necessary supporting documentation. However it pays to get started early just in case there are situations that could be improved (such as credit scores, savings, etc.). 

The FHFA released their report on mortgage interest rates showing that rates trending higher since late November 2012 for the 30 year fixed conforming mortgage. If you’ve been following my rate quotes on Twitter, you may have realized this trend. Although rates are still very low, they are trending higher and have been for a few months.

If you are considering selling your home in the greater Seattle area, please don’t rule out buyers who are approved with FHA or VA financing. FHA and VA loans are much easier to underwrite and process in today’s market. In fact, they’re pretty much like a conventional mortgage. Plus buyers who qualify for FHA or VA loans are able to have higher loan amounts than conforming in our area.

Loan Limits for Seattle – Bellevue – Everett

Conforming: $506,000

FHA: $567,500

VA Jumbo: $1 million. $500,000 is the loan limit if the Veteran is looking for a zero down home. After $500,000, the down payment is 25% of the difference between the $500,000 limit and the sales price.

NOTE: Congress has been discussing rolling back loan limits. This is another reason to consider selling now if you have a home that would be impacted with reduced loan limits.

By the way, I have been in the real estate industry for just shy of 27 years. My first fourteen years were in the title and escrow industry and for the last 13 years, I have been a mortgage originator at Mortgage Master Service Corporation. I’ve worked with many real estate agents over my career and I’m happy to recommend one to you if you are considering selling or buying a home.