Amazon Raises and How Changes to Pay Structure Impacts Qualifying for a Mortgage

Amazon recently announced that it’s increasing it’s minimum wage to $15 for all employees, including part-time, seasonal employees and temps effective November 1, 2018. Amazon states this will benefit more than 250,000 employees and over 100,000 people who will be hired for the upcoming holiday season. Even Operations and Customer Service employees who are already making $15 per hour will receive an increase to their hourly wage.

Amazon is phasing out the restricted stock unit (RSU) grant program and adding an employee stock purchase plan. From Amazon’s blog: 

“Yes, we’ve heard from our hourly fulfillment and customer service employees that they prefer the predictability and immediacy of cash to RSUs. We will be phasing out the RSU grant program for stock which would vest in 2020 and 2021 for this group of employees, replacing it with a direct stock purchase plan before the end of 2019. The net effect of this change and the new higher cash compensation is significantly more total compensation for employees, without any vesting requirements, and with more predictability.”

I would imagine that employees working at the in the Operations and Customer Service departments will have higher odds of being able to participate in the employee stock purchase plan instead of having to wait until they are vesting in the RSU stocks.

Amazon has fulfillment centers throughout Washington state. One is located close to our corporate headquarters in Kent, Washington. When I look online – it looks like positions start at around $13.00 per hour. If there are minimum wage jobs (outside of Seattle) at their fulfillment centers, the minimum wage in Washington state (at the time of publishing this post) is $11.50 per hour. The City of Seattle currently has a $15.00 minimum wage.

As far as a mortgage is concerned, when someone is paid hourly, typically lenders take the hourly income x average weekly hours worked x 52 weeks and then divided by 12 months. Lenders ideally want to see a two year history with the employer with the amount of hours worked being steady or trending higher.

Overtime, bonus or seasonal income generally will require two years of documented history of receiving this type of income. This income is typically averaged over the last two years.

With RSU’s (restricted stock units), lenders can consider the vested RSU’s as income under certain conditions. The employee must have received the RSU’s for at least two years, been distributed to the employee without restrictions and have documentation that the RSU’s will likely continue for at least three

Again, I think it’s a greater benefit for employees in the centers to receive an hourly increase they can enjoy now instead of have their RSU’s vested. It’s a much more practical option just in time for the holidays!

If you’re considering buying or refinancing a home located anywhere in Washington state, I’m happy to help you with your mortgage needs.

 

EveryHome: A match maker for home buyers and sellers [Video]

On our last episode of Seattle RE Chat featured Bryan Copley, CEO of EveryHome.

Everyhome’s concept is based on the idea that every home is for sale for the right price. Bryan thinks of EveryHome.co as a “match maker” between home buyers and home owners – even homes that are not yet listed (off market).

Check out our interview with Bryan and learn more about EveryHome.

 

Redfin releases “Redfin Estimate”

mortgageporterhomeRedfin has unveiled their online home valuation estimating tool called (ready…) “Redfin Estimate”.

I’m doing some quick comparisons and from what I can tell so far by checking out homes in my West Seattle neighborhood, Redfin seems to offer more accurate home value estimates than Zillow’s Zestimates.

[Read more…]

Seattle Real Estate Chat featuring Houseline’s Bob Stewart [Video]

In this episode of Seattle RE Chat, Jim Reppond and I have a special guest, Bob Stewart. Many in the real estate community know Bob as one of the founders of Active Rain. He has recently been involved with launching a new mobile application to created for home buyers and real estate agents called Houseline.

[Read more…]

Moving towards a Paperless Mortgage with e-sign

This week our company, Mortgage Master Service Corporation, has been upgrading our “loan operating system”. This will allow our clients to have the option of reviewing their loan documents and acknowledge (sign) them electronically with “e-signatures”. Of course our clients can still print or receive hard copies of their loan documents. 

This step forward is not only “green” by reducing waste (it’s estimated a typical file uses around 400 pieces of paper); it will also help streamline the mortgage process. For our clients, instead of having to sign their names over and over again with their initial loan application documents, they will simply use their personal computer to securely access their loan documents and “click” their autographs.

E-signatures are allowed with conventional and VA mortgage loans. Currently it is not yet available for FHA or USDA mortgages. Hopefully this will change soon!

You may notice that my on-line loan application has changed – this is to support our new system.

Here is more information on how our e-sign process works

If you’re considering buying or refinancing a home anywhere in Washington, I’m happy to help you!

Walla Walla Weekend

Col Solare

Earlier this month we decided to travel to Walla Walla for a "wine weekend". The scenic 4-5 hour drive from Seattle takes you over the Snoquamie Pass via I-90.  I relied on an app from the WSDOT on my Droid to provide us up to the minute pass conditions and information on traffic.

We like to stop in Ellensburg for lunch at the Yellow Church Cafe; I recommend their burgers and the tuna melt.   Ellensburg is a wonderful old town and my husband went to Central so it's a fun place to stretch our legs before heading on towards Yakima (another great area of wine country in Washington) before reaching our final destination.

Some of my favorite places we visited this trip are Rotie Cellars, Seven Hills, El Corazon, Basel Cellars and Zebra Cellars.

DSC00394 We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express which is actually just on the outskirts of Walla Walla.  If you want to be more in town so that you can walk to different wineries and tasting rooms, you may want to check out a local B&B, the Marcus Whitman Hotel or another location.  If you have a favorite spot to stay at in Walla Walla or wineries to visit, please comment and let me know!

Next time we're planning on visiting Red Mountain.  Col Solare is pictured above and they require an advanced appointment tastings.

Check out more of my photos of our road trip to Walla Walla.

My Interview of Frank Garay and Brian Stevens

The day before Seattle reBarCamp, Frank and Brian from Think Big Work Small, will be here teaching a one day class on video blogging and marketing for real estate professionals. Check out my quick video interview:

 

The NW Video Marketing Summit takes place on March 2, 2011 at the Seattle Center NW Rooms.   To RSVP or learn more about this event, please visit www.videomarketingsummit.tv the cost for the event is $100 and you'll walk away with your own video blog.  Real estate agents can receive 4 hours of c/e credit.

PS:  Seattle reBarCamp is on March 3, 2011 at the Seattle Center NW Rooms.

Links for both events are on the left.

Two Great Real Estate Events coming to Seattle Center in March

In less than two months, real estate agents, mortgage originators and other real estate folks, there will be two events they really should consider attending at the Seattle Center's Northwest Rooms.

On Wednesday, March 2, 2011, Frank Garay and Brian Stevens (the guys from Think Big Work Small) will be here to teach real estate peeps about video blogging at the Northwest Video Marketing Summit.  This is an all day event (sounds like a boot camp to me) where at the end of the day, you will have your own video blog.  This event is open to all real estate peeps and real estate agents may receive 3 clock hour credits.  The cost for this day long education (which includes your blog) is only $100.   For more information or to rsvp, click here and be sure to watch their video below.

The following day, Thursday, March 3, 2011, is something near and dear to my heart:  Seattle RE Barcamp.  This will also take place at the Seattle Center Northwest Rooms (same place as last year). 

The Seattle RE Barcamp is an "un-conference" where real estate professionals learn peer to peer – not planned presentations.  The agenda is determined the morning of the event by what the attendees (participants) want to learn.  Ideally, participants are sharing with each other "what they're doing now".   It is all about active learning and sharing and it's not limited to social media; latest real estate trends and issues are also discussed.   RSVP for Seattle RE BarCamp here.

There is no fee to attend the Seattle Real Estate BarCamp – it's FREE!  We depend on our sponsors to keep it that way.   If you're interested in supporting this ad-hoc event and having the love and adoration of 300+ real estate professionals, please click here.  By the way, I'm a proud sponsor of this event and so are Brian and Frank. 

I hope to see you at both events.  

Please spread the word!  You can retweet on Twitter (hash tags for the events are #vmssea and #rebcsea) and post this info on Facebook.  Here's a flyer for Seattle RE Barcamp that you can print and post in your office.