Monday, December 04, 2017

Q: My son and daughter-in-law met with you a week ago and you encouraged them not to buy the house they were looking at.

They’ve been trying to buy on Vashon for a long time now and the last thing they need is to be talked out of something. We want to have them here, close to us, and now you’re chasing them away. What’s wrong with you?

A: There are probably many things “wrong" with me but I can’t let folks, especially young families, buy on slopes when the property is in a major slide area. They can buy that house, it just won’t be with me.

I encourage everyone to learn to navigate the IMap on King County’s website. You must work with it to find out what you want since it’s not intuitive. But you can find out if there are wetlands, landslide hazard, erosion hazard, history of slides, and map the topography using the tools on that site. You can find out who bought the property last and what they paid for it. You can get the square footage, the amount being paid for taxes, and a great deal of information if you have the patience to learn to use that County site.

The property your son was looking at is not only in a landslide hazard area, but there have been active slides on that road in recent history. I’m always surprised that folks who have lived here for years have forgotten the closed roads, homes that slide, red tagged homes from earth movement, etc. that have occurred over the last 20 years or less.

Your son and daughter-in-law are in a low-price range. We have almost no inventory now, and for lower priced homes it’s even less. If you really want to help them find a home, why not gift them some money to add to their down payment? It’s tax free to gift them funds and then they would have a few more options to consider. It’s common these days for parents to help children or for children to help aging parents.

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