Eastside Seattle Real Estate Blog

Paying Credit Card Balances Before the Statement Date - Applying for a Mortgage

credit cards and mortgagesBuying a new home and applying for a mortgage? For the next 2-3 months, you should consider paying off your credit card balances in full just prior to the "statement date."


Yes... yes... I know, you proudly pay all your balances in full, and you carry no debt. So what's the problem? Why on earth would you want to pay your balance before the statement date?

Because if you don't, your credit card charges and balance as of the statement date will be reported to the credit bureaus. Thus, even if you always pay your statements in full, carry no revolving credit card debt, and never pay any interest, as far as the credit bureaus (and potential creditors) are concerned, it "looks like" you are carrying...

Redmond, WA Ranked in Top Mid-Sized U.S. Cities For 2012

redmond washington top place to liveThinking of moving to the Seattle area, and want to live in a great community?

While there are many fantastic communities in the Seattle area, some rank higher than others based-upon various factors. CNNMoney has released its Best Places To Live 2012 list, and Redmond, WA is on the list, ranking #5. Bellevue didn't quite make the Top 10... coming in at #40, but obviously well within the Top 100.

The survey is based on data from Onboard Informatics. Using Quality of Life factors such as education, crime and "town spirit", and focusing on towns with between 50,000 and 300,000 residents, this year's survey ranks the country's best mid-sized cities.

To be eligible for the Best Places...

How Much House Can You Buy for $500K on Seattle's Eastside

home buyingAs home prices are rising in all of Seattle, prospective home buyers often wonder how much house their home-buying budet will afford them. Let's take a look at what type of home you can buy on Seattle's Eastside between $450K - $550K, including the communities of Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Sammamish, Snoqualmie and North Bend.

As of the date of this post, in the Eastside Seattle suburbs below (single-family homes only), there are 201 homes active on the market and available for purchase between $450-$550K. This sounds like a lot  of inventory - but we're looking at a large area here, and we're not applying any home search filters, other than price. And more importantly, there...

Resale Homes in Issaquah Highlands in High Demand

Want a Home in the Issaquah Highlands? Get in Line...

The Issaquah Highlands have always been incredibly popular, and this summer, the pace of the housing market in the Issaquah Highlands shows no signs of slowing down. Resale home inventory continues to be exceptionally tight, with only one, to two months worth of inventory - though in the lower price ranges, homes are selling in a matter of days. And, for the first time in 3 years, the number of pending listings was actually HIGHER than the number of homes for sale!

So... What Does This Mean? Well... in short, for buyers it means making decisions quickly. No one likes to feel pressured - and we certainly...

Cost of Living in Seattle - Is it More Expensive?

cost of living in seattleMoving to Seattle? Be Sure to Consider ALL Living Expenses

With home values slow to rise and mortgage rates at all-time lows, there's never been a more affordable time to buy a home in the Seattle metro area. However, there are many more aspects to the cost of living than just a mortgage or rent payment. There's the cost of utilities, groceries, household goods, gasoline, other commuting expenses, professional services, routine medical care, etc.

Not surprisingly, where we live can tremendously affect our costs, and our overall standard of living. Big cities are often more expensive in which to live, for example, and local tax laws influence daily costs, too.

In looking at the entire Seattle metro area, there can also be significant differences...

Make Small Repairs To Raise Your Home Sales Price

home repairs t raise sales priceIf you're preparing to list your Snoqualmie Ridge home for sale, please resist the temptation to make major home improvements. Major home improvements can end up costing you more than double your original budget. Additionally, you will be dealing with the mess yourself, and more importantly, delaying how soon your home is shown to potential home buyers in Snoqualmie Ridge. Rather, for a better return on your time and money, focus on minorprojects instead - especially your "honey-do list." It's the smaller projects that tend to have a bigger, long-term payoff.

Start Thinking Like a Home Buyer!

So, how do you determine which projects are the "smaller ones"? It's obvious...

3 Tips For Buying or Selling a Home During a Divorce

divorce and real estateWhen getting a divorce, understandably, anger, confusion, hurt feelings and often jealousy can overshadow the ultimate objective in a divorce, which is quite simply to part ways and move forward separately. In order to accomplish this without causing more conflict, both will be required to make certain concessions - and buying and selling homes and real estate is obviously at the top of the list. Here are 3 tips to help you buy or sell a home during a divorce.

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT "legal advice". This article is written based-upon my own opinions and experiences as a real estate agent in Seattle, and Washington State. If you are considering, or are in the process of a divorce, please consult with a divorce attorney.

Try to Help Each Other With Real Estate Needs


Leasing Or Buying Car May Affect Mortgage Loan Approval

Be Cautious When Buying a New Car Before Applying for a Mortgage

It is quite often the case, where a prospective new Seattle homeowner also decides to purchase a new car before buying a home. I have worked with several Seattle area home buyers recently who needed to purchase a car before moving to Washington state. I always caution home buyers about the potential pitfalls of buying a new car where it concerns their credit and debt to income ratios. Surprising to most, there can also be a hazards when paying off a car loan before applying for a mortgage.

There's plenty of online material to help you choose your optimal path, but this 3-minute piece from NBC's The Today Show serves as an excellent summary. In it, you'll learn about the basics of leasing a car, and for whom leasing can be a great fit. You'll also hear reasons to avoid a lease completely....

What is a Financing Contingency?

financing contingenciesA Financing Contingency, in basic terms, is a clause in the home Purchase & Sale Agreement which allows a homebuyer the time necessary to apply for, and obtain financing for a new home purchase.

Not all home financing contingencies are created equal however. Depending on the region and local real estate customs, such contingencies can vary greatly, particularly when non-MLS forms or addenda are used, or other local or state promulgated forms are not used - for example, when an attorney creates the contract, or when a home builder's purchase and sale contract is utilized instead.

Thus, it is critical for a home buyer to understand the precise meaning of the financing contingency, how it relates to ...

Mortgage Rates Rise For Third Straight Week

Attention Issaquah home buyers! Mortgage rates are on the rise again... not only in the Seattle metro area, but nationwide. But don't fret, mortgage rates in Washington State are still at record-low rates. However, combined with rising home prices in Issaquah, rising interest rates further reduce home affordability for many. Thus, while we know it's "cliche" - NOW is a great time to buy a home in Issaquah, or anywhere else in the Seattle metro area.

homes mortgage rates rising in Seattle According to Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, for the third week in a row, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate increased, this time tacking on 3 basis points on a week-over-week...

Energy Saving AC Cooling Tips for Seattle Summer

Hot, Hot, Hot - Snoqualmie Summer Temperatures Spike

So... we're a little "hotter" in Seattle area than we were last year. In Issaquah yesterday, the temperature reached a scorching 96 degrees - incredibly hot for Seattle standards. In Snoqualmie, it wasn't quite as hot - my thermometer maxed out at 92. But, considering I moved to Snoqualmie to escape the heat... I'm not especially thrilled. Fortunately, I have air conditioning. Unfortunately only about 25% of homes in the Seattle area have central AC.

With that in mind, consider the following tips to help your Seattle area home be more energy efficient, and stay cooler during our warmer - or hot - summer months.

hot summer Seattle AC cooling tips


Seattle Eastside Home Builder Confidence Rises July 2012

eastside seattle home builder confidence risesFor the second time in three months, the National Association of Homebuilders reports that the Housing Market Index made sizable gains. The Housing Market Index measures homebuilder confidence in the new construction market and is scored between 1-100.

New home builder confidence in the Seattle metro area also remains strong, and in areas on Seattle's Eastside, new homes are selling often as "pre-sales." Additionally, "spec" home (move-in ready) inventory continues to sell quickly. New home communities in the Issaquah Highlands, Talus, the ...

Be Smart When Buying a Foreclosed Home

Hot DealsA Foreclosure Does Not Equal a "Good Deal" By Default

With the events of the past few years, it's understandable that the home-buying public equates a "foreclosure" to a "good deal". But the fact is, that a foreclosed home deserves a much higher level of scrutiny - not only in terms of the market value, but also the property's condition.

You should never approach the possible purchase of a foreclosed home as though you are getting a "good deal" - that is unless the numbers truly indicate it is in fact a sound investment, compared to other homes. Always, be smart when buying a foreclosed home!

Old School Sales Tactics - Do You Have the Patience?

The companies...

Seattle Home Mortgage Loans Easier to Qualify For

Seattle mortgage qualification standards less restrictiveMortgage Lending Standards Ease - Our Seattle Buyers Still Frustrated

Yet another signal of an improving U.S. economy, the nation's biggest banks have begun to loosen mortgage lending guidelines. And while mortgages may be slightly easier to come by in the past few months due to less restrictive loan qualification standards, in the Seattle area anyway, we've still had buyers who experienced significant frustrations.

Lending Standards Relax... But Patience Still Required!

Last quarter, none of the larger banks reported tightening their mortgage lending standards when compared to the quarter prior and "modest fractions" of banks reported easier mortgage standards. While this is great news, a few of our recent home buyer clients...

July Home Sales at Snoqualmie Ridge Bounce Back from June

July Home Sales at Snoqualmie Ridge Bounce Back from June

The "Summer Cool Down" we discussed in July's real estate update for Snoqualmie Ridge , has bounced-back just a bit for single-family pre-owned homes. While pending listings and closings in July are up from June, we've clearly lost the a bit of the traction which was building in March through May - though it was unsustainable. This is somewhat in contrast with other parts of the Seattle metro area, where inventory remains exceptionally tight and prices continue to increase.

Undoubtedly, the pressure on pre-owned homes is in-part due to the new construction homes at Snoqualmie Ridge. However, Snoqualmie Ridge isn't alone in pricing pressures - I've noted a similar trend in some price-ranges on the ...

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