Archives for December 2009

Where is the Best Hamburgers in Seattle?

IMG_5907 A conversation started on my Facebook profile over a review I did via Yelp on a West Seattle restaurant, Spring Hill.  We were drawn there because one of my husband’s co-workers insists the hamburgers there are amazing and worthy of their gourmet price.   He did like the burger, although prefers one you can eat with your hands (Spring Hill is kind of a knife and fork place).   

Jan suggested that we check out Zippy’s in White Center, which we’ve been meaning to do but we just haven’t.  However, when we were at the West Seattle Thriftway last night, I just happened to look at the coupons on the back of my receipt and there was coupon for Zippy’s.   We decided to check it out and cook our planned dinner we bought groceries for on another night.  

Zippy’s Giant Burger does not disappoint.  My husband and teens had the Zip Burger with Bacon and Cheese and I had the Lil Zip (of course with bacon and cheese).   This is a classic whole in the wall burger joint.  I wish we could have devoured them there but our kids were back at home and the place was packed!  I recommend calling in advance to place your order.  Parking can be an issue with the quicky mart next door aggressively protecting his few spots next to the popular Zippy’s.  Here’s my review on Yelp.

I’m really looking forward to Thursday where I’ll be joining David Gibbonsand others to start planning RE Barcamp Seattle 2010 (taking place in mid-March)…we’re going to Latona Pub to try what David claims is a fantastic burger.  I’ll be sure to report back!   My son claims that Jak’s in West Seattle may have the very best hamburger…so that’s gladly on my to do list to check out as well.

Who do you think makes the best hamburgers in Seattle?

UPDATE January 17, 2010:  We tried Porterhouse Pub in West Seattle last night (located by the Admiral Theater).  Hubby had their hamburger and is still raving about it.  

UPDATE April 2, 2012: I’ve had Latona Pub’s hamburger with bacon and blue cheese, twice now and it quite possibly be the best hamburger in Seattle. Hubby agrees!

Tougher Guidelines on the Horizon for FHA Loans

HUD Secretary Shaun Donavan testifed before House Finance Committee earlier today pledging to continue making adjustments to toughen up FHA insured loans.  

Here is the future of FHA: 

  • reducing the maximum seller contribution towards allowable closing costs to 3% (it's currently at 6%);
  • increasing the minimum credit score;
  • increasing the minimum down payment requirements so borrowers have more "skin in the game" (currently with purchases, borrowers are required to invest a minimum of 3.5% of the sales price);
  • considering increasing both the upfront mortgage insurance premium (currently 1.75% and typically financed into the loan) and/or the monthly mortgage insurance premium (currently 0.50-0.55% of the base loan amount/12).

From Secretary Donovan's prepared testimony:

Indeed, while most of these changes I’ve just described we can make on our own with no additional authority—and we expect to provide detail and public guidance for these changes by the end of January—in some cases, we will need Congress’ help.  In addition to asking Congress to increase the current cap on the annual mortgage insurance premium for new borrowers, we are asking for additional authority for our proposals to hold all FHA lenders responsible for their fraud or misrepresentations by indemnifying the FHA fund.  We will also be asking Congress to expand FHA’s ability to hold lenders accountable nationally for their performance as I mentioned earlier.

Around the summer of 2008, FHA had implemented risk based based pricing on mortgage insurance.   However the passage of HR 3221, The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, placed a 1 year moratorium on risked base pricing for FHA mortgage insurance.   The one year moratorium has quietly passed without the risked based mortgage insurance going into effect–you can see the writing on the wall.

Just last month, FHA tighted up FHA streamline refinances.  I agree that borrowers should show they qualify but I think the changes with appraisals being required if the closing costs are to be financed into the new loan is really bad timing.

If you're considering a mortgage, delaying to try to get a slightly better rate can cause you to not qualify at all.  We will continue to see with both government and conventional loans tougher guidelines.   Waiting longer will mean more hoops to jump through.

FHA 2010 Loan Limits for Washington State

HUD recently released the FHA loan limits for 2010.  In many areas around the Pacific Northwest, many of our counties are "between the floor and ceiling".  The 2010 loan limits are unchanged from 2009.

Many areas are eligible for loan limits between the national FHA floor and the ceiling, based upon area median home prices. In such areas, the limits shall be at the higher of the ESA-determined loan limits for 2008 and the HERA-determined limits for 2010.

Here are the 2010 FHA loan limits for Washington State:

King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties

1 Unit – $567,500

2 Unit – $726,500

3 Unit – $878,150

4 Unit – $1,091,350

Adam, Asotin, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln,Okanogan, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevents, Wahkikum, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima Counties

1 Unit – $271,050

2 Unit – $347,000

3 Unit – $419,425

4 Unit – $521250

Benton and Franklin Counties

1 Unit – $275,000

2 Unit – $352,050

3 Unit – $425,550

4 Unit – $528,850

Mason County

1 Unit – $310,000

2 Unit – $396,850

3 Unit – $479,700

4 Unit – $596,150

Kittatas County

1 Unit – $275,000

2 Unit – $352,050

3 Unit – $425,550

4 Unit – $528,850

Chelan and Douglas Counties

1 Unit – $342,700

2 Unit – $438,700

3 Unit – $530,300

4 Unit – $659,050

Thurston County

1 Unit – $361,250

2 Unit – $462,450

3 Unit – $559,000

4 Unit – $694,700

Skagit County

1 Unit – $373,750

2 Unit – $478,450

3 Unit – $578,350

4 Unit – $718,750

Whatcom County

1 Unit – $375,000

2 Unit – $480,050

3 Unit – $580,300

4 Unit – $721,150

Island County

1 Unit – $381,250

2 Unit – $480,050

3 Unit – $589,950

4 Unit – $733,150

Clallam County

1 Unit – $383,750

2 Unit – $491,250

3 Unit – $593,800

4 Unit – $738,000

Clark and Skamania Counties

1 Unit – $418,750

2 Unit – $536,050

3 Unit – $648,000

4 Unit – $805,300

Jefferson County

1 Unit – $437,500

2 Unit – $560,050

3 Unit – $677,000

4 Unit – $841,350

Kitsap County

1 Unit – $475,000

2 Unit – $608,100

3 Unit – $735,050

4 Unit – $913,450

San Juan County

1 Unit – $593,750

2 Unit – $760,100

3 Unit – $918,800

4 Unit – $1,114,850