Archives for June 2007

Exactly 10 Years Ago Today

I was glaciating down Mount St. Helen’s with my future Husband!  He looks too happy at me being horrified, doesn’t he?


I just happened to glance up at my bulletin board in my home office and noticed my original permit to climb St. Helen’s dated 6-30-97.   It was kind of an odd feeling and that was quite an adventure for me.   

Rob was "in to" mountain climbing at the time and had actually reached the summit of Mt. Rainier.  I just had to see what the thrill was all about and let’s just say my happiest moment was getting off the mountain!  With that said, this is something that I’m really proud of doing…it’s amazing to look inside the crater (yes, I made it to the top).   The clouds were coming in by the time we submitted St. Helen’s…I was the last to reach the top and the first one down from our group.

Thank goodness Rob is now "in to" wines instead! 

Rain City Guide’s Girls Night Out

Karenkirr Ardell Kim Jillayneschlicke Rhondaporter

Tomorrow (June 30th) night at 7pm, Ardell & Kim, Jillayne and I are welcoming one of the newest members to RCG and Seattle: Karen Kirr.   It is the official “Welcome Karen to Seattle Night” that will take place at the Roanoke Park Place Tavern in Capitol Hill.

Guys are welcome too!   If you plan on showing up, drop by RCG and let us know!

My Community is now more expensive

Earlier this month, Fannie Mae changed the pricing on their My Community program across the board to all lenders by 1% increase to fee.    If you’re using a My Community program and you’re transaction is not yet closed, you may want to check with your Loan Originator to make sure your lock is still valid.

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Buying a house when you have a lot of debt

A reader who recently moved to Seattle contacted with a question that I think many will relate to.   He contacted me offering his story:

"One idea you may be interested in writing about are house buying options when you have good credit and income – but a lot of credit card debt. We’re paying off the credit card debt slowly — very slowly, and seeing housing prices rise 15% or more annually. It’s frustrating because as time goes by — the dream house only gets further out of reach. We will be able to buy a nice house — but not the dream house we could if not saddled with the credit card debt. The credit card debt also isn’t tax deductible!"

I work with many families who have visions of their "dream home" while they’re trying to manage monthly debts.   And as if buying a home wasn’t stressful enough on it’s own, many home buyers seem to feel panicked over our local appreciation with home prices.   It’s a definite balancing act of buying as much home you can afford without "betting the ranch".   If you’re over burdened with credit cards AND you take on a hefty new mortgage payment, you could be setting yourself up for financial (and emotional) disaster.   

I do not encourage using a mortgage such as an Option ARM for sole purposes of stretching into your dream home.   If you make the minimum payments (which most will opt for) the deferred interest will reach it’s cap and you will be faced with a much higher mortgage payment.  If you cannot afford the mortgage payment using a fixed period ARM or fixed rate product, you probably cannot afford the home.   

It’s very possible that home buyers may need to redefine what their dream home is.  Buying a home that needs a little TLC or is a little further out from the city may afford you more comfort when it comes to your monthly cash flow.   Plus, you may receive a better return on this type of property should you decide to sell it in 5 or so years, using the net proceeds (profit) to purchase your "dream home". 

Modo3530For example, this 1800 sq. ft. completely remodeled rambler (now subject to inspection) was recently listed in Kent for $349,950.   It’s on a corner lot, in a popular neighborhood with four bedrooms and 1.75 bathrooms.   I’m not a Real Estate Agent, but I would bet that similar homes in Seattle would sell for closer to $500,000.   Having the lower payment and more funds in the bank from a reduced down payment can translate into a higher quality of life.   I know…I know…you do have to factor in commute times with our traffic.   But once you’re home, you are HOME.

I will go into more details about this families information in future posts.   They were gracious to share their information with me and their story is certainly not unique.

Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers by Carolyn Warren: a book review


I just finished reading Carolyn Warren’s book, Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers. As  I mentioned over the weekend, this is a longer read at 222 pages…it is full of information that I feel is very useful.   If I had to be critical, I would say at times the book is a little on the sensational side…with that said, it does have me thinking.   I’ve only worked for one mortgage company and Carolyn, the author, has not only worked for several mortgage companies, but also varies types of mortgage companies (wholesale, subprime, bank, consumer loan, etc.).  She has been more exposed to various types of Loan Originators than I have.   I wonder how much of her experience is more subprime/consumer lending vs. working for an ethical mortgage company?

I do have experience with Loan Originators from my previous career in the title and escrow industry and I certainly developed an opinion of many in the profession.   Are there really that many bad Loan Originators out there?  I know so many outstanding Mortgage Professionals who I’m proud to be assoicated with…and I also know there are some giving our industry a black eye.  It will be interesting to see how many do not pass the mustard with the state’s new licensing requirements (this law only applies to Loan Originators who work for Mortgage Brokers: not mortgage banks, credit unions or consumer finance companies).   Anyhow, back to the book review…

What is most valuable with Carolyn’s book is that she teaches consumers how to shop for a Mortgage Professional…not interest rates.    She also has great points on how to compare good faith estimates and understanding YSP (Yield Spread Premium).   I do have some small issues with how she covers YSP.   I’ll have to do a separate post to dig into this issue and being a Correspondent Lender.   

Bottom line, she is providing consumers with a lot of information to help them navigate getting a fair deal on their mortgage and I am all for that! 

What I hope to do this weekend


Besides visit my baby sister (baby, she’s 36 years of age!) for her birthday on Saturday…I’m hoping to dig into a book that was graciously mailed to me.   

Carolyn Warren is the author of "Mortgage Rip-Offs and Money Savers".   She was kind enough to send me her book a week or so ago and I’ve only made it to page 16.  So far, it’s a fascinating read, even for someone in the industry…me making it only to page 16 is not a reflection on the book!   I’ve had a very crazy week trying to help a couple of clients who had the misfortune of getting involved with a major internet lender (you know, the advertiser on TV who promotes having 4 lenders compete and beg for your business)…I promise to post about their stories will follow once their transactions are closed (names will be changed to protect the innocent and not-so innocent, of course).   

Carolyn’s book is a bigger read than the last review I did, It’s Not About Rate…so I’m contemplating reviewing the book in sections or just reading all 222 pages and then giving my 2 cents!   I’ll figure it out and post the results soon.

Happy Birthday, Janette!

Something fun on Friday

…and you just might want to do this if rates keep up their upward trend!   Last Friday, my husband, some friends and I went to Castle Bridge Winery where you can make your own wine!  007_7_3

Here’s a shot of our group mixing our fruit…and in just 20 days, we’ll be racking the wine off the lees and degassing the wine (something I’m sure my husband is a natural at).  The entire process will take about two months.    It was a lot of fun…my assignment is to design our label for our wine which is similar to an Amorone.   Castle Bridge has several different wines to chose from if a hearty red isn’t your cup of tea, or should I say, glass of wine! 


Castle Bridge Winery is located 2 blocks west of Ikea where Renton, Kent and Tukwila meet.   If you don’t want to go make your own wine, they do have a retail store as well.   I know we’re enjoying the process so far and hope to have our wine ready to bring over to the family for the holidays.    It’s not Quilceda Creek, Pride or Insignia…it is fun!

Watch for more post on our wine making adventures for something fun on Fridays.  Cheers!

When an appraisal comes in low

Luckily this hasn’t happened often to me…last week we closed a transaction where the appraised value came in lower than the agreed sales price on the purchase and sale agreement.   Ugh!

The property is a nice home in south King County that was originally listed for $275,000. Shortly after going on the market, a bidding war commences and my client “wins” the home after it is bid up to $300,000 which includes building in $6,000 of closing costs to be paid from the seller.  My client is putting zero down into the transaction (100% loan to value).

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