Thursday, October 16, 2008

Q: I’ve been looking to buy a home for some time now but all the news abut the economy has me scared.

And, people keep telling me that it’s almost impossible to get a loan. But I see that there are a large number of homes for sale on Vashon in my price range and some of them look really good. I’d love to buy while there is a good selection of homes but I’m afraid I won’t be able to get financing.

The media is so full of bad news that it’s easy to miss the good news. There is good news, especially for real estate buyers. There are many reputable lenders left out there who are offering excellent interest rates at reasonable fees. Even the FHA has made an effort to offer very attractive loan programs.

This is a great time to buy. I have always been prejudiced in favor of investing in real estate as opposed to the stock market. That doesn’t mean that diversifying is bad, it’s just that with real estate you have something that is…..well…….real! You can rent it out, sell it, or most important, live in it!

We have an outstanding inventory of homes in all price ranges and with a slower market you have more time to look at everything and really compare. If you have good credit and sufficient income to qualify you will find it easy to get a good, conservative, long term mortgage at a great rate.

You can still buy a home with no money down by just paying closing costs, or get better interest rates with a more substantial down payment. While we’ve been watching the melt down of many financial institutions lately, there are still those who didn’t put all of their eggs in the high risk basket. Those folks can still offer you a great fixed rate mortgage that will get you into your own home.

Remember that you’re losing money every month by paying rent and you’re not able to take advantage of the tax deduction of mortgage interest that can save you thousands every year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

February 12, 2009

February 12, 2009 will mark the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. When our new president rededicates the Lincoln Memorial in 2009, what could it tell the world and our own children about who we are now if, 200 years after the birth of the “great emancipator”, the ceremony was led by our first black president?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Q: We saw a house with you a few weeks ago that we really liked.

My husband emailed you several times with a lot of questions. You were great at answering all of our questions, but now it ended up that someone else bought the house. How are buyers supposed to find out everything they need to know about a place before someone else beats them to it?
Most questions can be answered during the inspection contingencies. There are specific forms that give you the right to check out the neighborhood, inspect the property and house, examine and study the title documents, and complete other "due diligence" before committing to buy the home.
There are specific questions that should be asked and answered before making an offer, of course. First and foremost is to determine if the house is within the price range you're qualified to spend. Next, you should ask yourself if it meets your basic needs for size, location, and condition.
It is also common that there is anecdotal information about the property I can share that I've learned from 20 years of selling real estate on Vashon Island. I generally discuss a number of things with clients that might not be obvious to them. That might include, for instance, traffic patterns, serious slide areas, distance from each ferry, closeness to parks or schools, and any information I may know about each specific property. I am also happy to provide information on recent comparable sales that can help determine value.
All of those issues can be resolved in a day or two. Spending days or weeks trying to find out every detail possible about a property puts you at risk that someone else will come in and make an offer. Buying always includes some level of risk. I do what I can to help minimize that for you, but you need to be prepared to commit to a property if you hope to relocate to Vashon Island.