Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Some Quick Tips To Get Ready For Winter!

(Many people have asked me to run this the first part of November every year)

1. Clean the gutters! Water can penetrate into your walls and roofing and cause serious mold problems. Frozen water creates a dam that will flood once it warms.

2. If you haven’t done it already, call the heating and cooling contractors and have your furnace serviced and cleaned for the year. This is critical if you use a fuel like oil, propane or natural gas. This makes your furnace safer, but also saves you big bucks by running more efficiently.

3. Be sure you’re ready for power outages. Battery powered or propane lamps are good, also a battery powered radio for weather news. Have extra blankets handy. Never use propane, gas or charcoal grills or other such devises in the house.

4. Clean decks and walkways now so the moss build-up won’t be too slippery. Consider putting non-skid strips or outdoor carpet on slick wood decks or stairs.

5. Look around your yard for objects that can get lost under a few inches of snow. You don’t want to lose the dog’s favorite ball and you sure don’t want to step on a rake you forgot was there!

6. Be sure your car is serviced and checked out for winter driving. Install new windshield wipers. Have ice scrapping tools in the car and keep water, a flashlight and a warm blanket in the trunk in case you get stranded.

7. Try not to use portable electric heaters in the house and if you must, unplug them when you leave home. They can cause fires. So can holiday lights and Christmas trees. Turn them off when you leave the house.

8. Clean dryer vents.

9. Have a supply of warm coats, hats and gloves for each member of the family. Also be sure to have a good supply of food and water for power outages.

10. Have the chimney cleaned if you use wood heat, even occasionally. Fireplaces and woodstoves are a major source of house fires.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Q: We were disappointed that you didn’t show us that little farm we saw on the Internet.

It sold fast, we know, but we would have liked to buy it. Is there some reason you didn’t want us to see it?

A: Like many very old houses on the Island, this one was in such poor shape that the value was totally in the land. The reason I didn’t call you to see it is that you would not have been able to get a loan to buy this place. It would have required a rehabilitation loan at least, and I’m not sure the structure would hold up to a rehab. It’s likely that the folks who bought it are going to build another house on the land.
Buyers often forget that it’s the bank that is really buying the house, in a manner of speaking. You get to live there but only as long as you make payments on that home loan. Because of that, lenders can refuse to loan on a house that’s in really poor shape. Especially if you’re making a small down payment, the lender will look more closely at the house.
Years ago it wasn’t as hard to buy a fixer, but it’s difficult now. Even if you qualified for a rehabilitation loan, you would have to qualify for the total financial package. That would include the cost of buying the property and adding the bids for fixing it up. Let’s say the house is $300,000 and you get bids to do the required major repair work of $85,000. The lender would loan you $385,000, so you would have to qualify for that much.
In your case, you are approved for just under $300,000 so we need to find you a home in as good a condition as possible for the money. That may mean you won’t get a lot of land. But in the end you will have a home of your own and I can promise you that any property on Vashon is big enough for a great garden and some chickens!