Thursday, March 30, 2017 / by Susan Hope
Of the more than 3,100 counties across the U.S., none saw a bigger net increase than Pierce and Snohomish in movers from other counties. Is this a reflection of people being priced out of King County?
A lot of Seattle-area renters surely can relate to the pressure that Casey and Deborah Roberts were feeling.
The couple nervously watched from the sidelines as home prices in the area hit record high after record high.
“We weren’t planning on moving,” Casey said, “but we thought we better bite the bullet now and buy while we can still afford it.”
The couple would have loved to stay in the Redmond area, where they’d been renting. But not with the median home price on the wrong side of $700,000. So they crossed the county line from King to Snohomish, where they closed on a four-bedroom split level in December for about $200,000 less than they would have paid in Redmond.
“We decided to go for Bothell, where the homes are a bit les ...
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 / by Susan Hope
Do I have need a 20% down payment to purchase a home? I’ve heard I can buy a home with only 3% down payment.
One of the biggest hurdles to purchasing a home that I hear from new homebuyers is the down payment. So many homebuyers believe that they need a 20% down payment but in fact, there are many loan programs that enable buyers to purchase a home with as little as 3% down or even zero for those who qualify.
There are various qualifying factors such as income or credit score, but here are some loan programs you might want to consider:
FHA Loans: With more lenient qualifying factors, FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans have been specifically designed to help borrowers with limited assets to buy homes. Down payment can be as low as 3.5% but mortgage insurance will be required.
VA Loans: The VA Loan provides affordable home financing and more lenient qualifying guidelines for veterans, active duty and surviving spouses. 100% financin ...
Thursday, February 23, 2017 / by Susan Hope
The tug-of-war between rising home sales and shrinking inventory is escalating and the pressure is showing in home sale statistics for January. The month topped all other Januarys in our report's nine-year history with the most sales, highest sales prices and fewest days on the market. It was quite a start for 2017. Here's the scoop:
1. Home sales increased
The overall average number of home sales was 4.5 percent higher than January 2016 in the 53 metro areas surveyed. Many of the metro areas we looked at — two-thirds of them — experienced an increase in sales year-over-year. A dozen saw double-digit growth.
2. Sales prices rose
At $208,500, the median sales prices was up 4.3 percent from January 2016. That marks the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. Only five metro areas saw year-over-year decreases or remained unchanged. Ten areas, including Portland, Cleveland and Dallas/Ft. Worth saw prices rise by double-digit percentages. ...
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / by Susan Hope
With fall right around the corner, it’s time to complete a few home projects that are best handled before the weather turns cold and the days grow short – most notably, buttoning up your house and getting its heating system working comfortably and efficiently.
Don’t wait too long. When cold weather and short days arrive, you won’t want to discover cold air blowing in through your windows or out of your heating system.
Nothing instills a sense of urgency like cold drafts or a broken furnace, but that urgency can be expensive and uncomfortable. In fact, an unheated house can be downright deadly in the wrong situation. The longer you wait, the more likely contractors will be overbooked and will charge a premium for their services.
Here are five things you should handle now, before the weather turns cold.
Get the heating system in order. A good place to start is your thermostat. To test it, set the thermostat to “heat,” and turn it up ...
Friday, November 18, 2016 / by Susan Hope
Should You Buy a Fixer-Upper?
It looks so simple on TV: Find a diamond-in-the rough with "good bones," hire a few telegenic workers, perhaps squabble with your significant other about the interior paint color and presto – the home has doubled in value. The reality, of course, is not so easy. Here are a few things to consider before investing your money – and time – in a fixer upper.
1. Can you afford it?
After consulting an experienced building inspector to assess the home, a contractor for a time and money quote on the work to be done, and a Realtor to make sure the renovations are in line with what buyers want, do the math. Be sure to include materials and add an extra 10-15 percent for renovation "surprises" that may arise. Once you have the general price tag, you can calculate whether you have the funds to cover the cost of renovation or need (and are qualified) to take out a renovation loan.
2. Do you h ...