What does FHA look for with an Appraisal?

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Content from Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

When an FHA loan is being used, the appraiser has two objectives. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires the appraiser to determine the current market value, as with any appraisal. But they also require a property inspection to make sure the home meets HUD’s minimum standards for health and safety.

Note that the appraiser does not replace your home inspection. The appraiser has a duty to report to your lender the comparable value of the home your buying as well as the overall condition of the home. Only a home inspector will do a thorough analysis of the condition of every aspect of your home.

HUD is mainly concerned that everything in the house functions properly and there are no health and safety issues. The basic concept of meeting FHA minimum requirements is that everything must work as it was designed to work.

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Do You Know How to Prep Your Home For Summer?

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While the Anacortes summertime is perfect for outdoor gatherings with friends and family, it can also be a dangerous, and inefficient, time for your home. That’s why it’s important to have a preparation strategy in place before the hotter months arrive. These quick tips will help you prep your home for summer, and ensure it stays safe and inviting all summer long.

Schedule an Air Conditioning Inspection

Having an AC professional look at your unit before summer officially arrives will address any potential problems before they become major headaches. You can also DIY some preliminary maintenance. Clearing saplings, grass and other underbrush away from your unit will improve airflow and help prevent clogs. Replacing the air filters in your home’s HVAC will also help your AC function at its peak efficiency.

Look for Insulation Leaks and Inefficiencies

Poor insulation will allow cooled air to escape, resulting in a hot home and enormous energy bills. Fortunately, spotting faulty insulation isn’t difficult. Begin by looking for deterioration around your doors and windows. Caulk, door sweeps and weather stripping should address the majority of your door- and window-related leaks. It’s also a good idea to have a professional perform an energy audit. Pros will be able to identify hard-to-spot inefficiencies in other parts of your home and HVAC system.

Prep for Pests

In addition to being an annoyance, some pests can actually damage your home — and even present health problems. Spraying insect barriers around the exterior of your home is a good beginning, but it’s also important to prep the interior of your home. Sealing all food sources and potential entry points like window frames and doors is an important part of finalizing your pest proofing.

Inspect Your Roof

Summer is mostly known for its beautiful weather, but it can also be a time of severe thunderstorms — or worse. This makes having a sturdy roof very important, especially during inclement summertime weather. Begin your inspection by looking for loose shingles, faulty flashing or other clear signs of damage. Your attic can also be home to leaks, rot and other problems not obvious from the outside of your home. Examining your attic insulation, walls and rafters for signs of moisture will help you prevent water damage and structural deterioration. If you notice signs of damage, it’s best to call a pro. Roof repair can be extensive and are rarely DIY-appropriate.

Reinvigorate Your Outdoor Spaces

Wintertime can take a toll on the appearance of your yard, patio and other outdoor living areas. Removing downed tree limbs, replanting dead flowers and power washing your patio and decking are simple ways to jumpstart your home’s summertime exterior. Your grill can also accumulate gunk during the colder months. Be sure to clean its interior and exterior before your first BBQ. Updating your tired outdoor furniture will also improve the looks and comfort of your entertainment areas. Wrap-around sofas, comfy love seats and luxurious hammocks are ideal additions to any outdoor space. You can perfect your entertainment areas with colorful throw pillows, planters, hanging candles and outdoor lighting.

Military Families: Rent vs. Buy

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With the highly-mobile lifestyle that comes with being in the military, often times renting a home seems like an easier decision than buying a home, even though renting can be a drain on your funds.

In a market like Anacortes and Oak Harbor where demand is high, it is important to consider your options and what is best for you.

Here are some things to consider and discuss:

  • How long will you be living there? Short-term buying options only work out when you can sell the house right afterwards, and while in an ideal market that might be possible, it can take months or even years to sell a house after putting it up. Also make sure to check out the fine print on your mortgage. Many banks have a minimum amount of years before you can sell.
  • How close is it to friends and family? People rely on other people, especially their loved ones. While a house may seem like a good idea, if it’s too far away from your existing life, it could be a hindrance in the long run. Family can also be a great asset if you plan on renting your house out, since they can manage the property in your stead.
  • Is the property rent-able? Chances are, you might not be in your house forever. Renting it out to someone else can be a good way to make money while you’re not living in it, and help pay off any existing loans or mortgages in the meantime. Check to see if the house is fit for rental, and make sure you have someone who can handle calls and visits when you’re on-duty.

 

With any questions about the local real estate market throughout the greater Anacortes area and for all of your real estate needs, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC is available seven days a week. Contact Team Groesbeck at (360) 941-3734 or via email at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com, or stop by our office in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St.

How Hard is it to Get a Mortgage in 2017?

Dean-Hayes

From our guest blogger Dean Hayes with Bay Equity Home Loans

How hard is it to get a mortgage in 2017?

Another way to ask this question is – what is the current mortgage credit availability?

Some people are thinking that it’s too easy to qualify for a mortgage today – that we’re headed for another housing bubble. And if your entire existence in the housing market has been after 2009 (i.e. you never owned a home or thought about owning a home prior to 2009), then it might look that way to you.

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The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

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What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen or smelled and can kill an individual within minutes of contact. Carbon monoxide can quickly build to unsafe levels in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas.

What Are Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, confusion and nausea. Low-level carbon monoxide poisoning can include symptoms similar to illnesses such as the flu.

As these may be difficult symptoms to diagnose, they could be a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning if:

  • Symptoms go away when you leave your home, and come back when you return.
  • Everyone in the home experiences similar symptoms at the same time.

 

What Should You Do if You Suspect a Carbon Monoxide Leak in Your Home?

If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak in your home, gather your family outside in the fresh air and immediately call 911.

  • During power outages, never use charcoal or gas grills indoors or in enclosed spaces. Do not burn charcoal in a fireplace, as charcoal does not produce a draft strong enough to push the carbon monoxide outside.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, garage, carport, basement, or near an opening into your home while outside. Generators should be kept at least 20 feet from buildings in the hope that airflow will direct carbon monoxide flows away from the home.
  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home and do not sleep in a room using an unvented gas or kerosene heater.

 

When is the Right Time to Sell Your Home?

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Have you been interested in selling your home, but still wonder when the best time will be?

Here are a few reasons why NOW is the time to list your home for sale in Anacortes:

– SUPPLY AND DEMAND –

Inventory in Anacortes is low, but the demand remains high! Because of this, it is currently a sellers market. Homes listed for sale that are priced correctly are selling very quickly!

– FEWER CASH BUYERS – 

In the past few years, all-cash and investment buyers have maintained the real estate market. With fewer all-cash buyers, the price growth in the housing market will make for more stable and sustainable growth.

– INCREASE IN INTEREST RATES –

It is predicted that mortgage rates are going to rise in the near future; this will encourage buyers to make their move in purchasing sooner rather than later.

– RISING COST OF RENT –

As the price of rent increases, tenants become potential buyers and want to invest rent money towards owning a home.

Before you decide if now the right time to sell your home is, contact Team Groesbeck to discuss your options. Our team of honest and experience brokers will guide you every step of the way, beginning with a no obligation comparative market analysis (CMA) of your property, in addition to a complimentary staging consultation for our clients.

To schedule an appointment with us or for more information, we are available daily at (360) 941-3734 or by email at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com. As the #1 seller of pre-owned properties in Skagit County, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. are market experts and can assist with all of your real estate needs, providing you 5 Star Real Estate Services since 2002!

Timing is Everything!

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All home sellers want the most money for their home within the shortest time frame possible. How do you know what is the right price to ask for when listing your home for sale?

Timing is everything! Some real estate agents use the assessed value of the home as a basis for value. The assessed value of your home is not necessarily today’s market value. For example, Skagit County home values are only based on a drive-by viewing done once every four years!

What if you remodeled the interior of your home or added a room to your home? What if a neighbor’s tree was removed, improving your view? Or a neighbor’s tree now blocks your view? All of these have dramatic impacts on price.

Home staging also impacts the appeal of your home and pricing. Are you willing to do some staging? It has been proven that staged homes sell for a higher price, and in less time, which is why we offer all of our sellers free staging consultations.

Recent home sales impact the value of your home, but only if the right “comps” are used. Only homes of a similar age and style should be used, and if your home has been completely remodeled, then the “effective year built” could be used to determine the right comps to use. However, if only the kitchen was remodeled and the rest of the home is dated, then the actual year built is what should be used with an adjustment for the remodeled kitchen.

Current inventory of homes for sale with your amenities is a critical factor to consider, as is the absorption rate (how many months of inventory are on the market) and whether the inventory is growing or shrinking. The market price of real estate is always based on supply and demand, and demand is high in Anacortes currently while inventory remains low!

How much money you have put into your home does not always increase the value of your home. For example, if your home is in Anacortes and your neighbors with the identical home converted one bay of their double car garage to a family room and you have a two car a garage, your home is probably worth about $10,000 more, even though your neighbor has more money invested into his home.

The real estate market has shifted.

If you are considering a move, this is an excellent window of opportunity to sell because we are low of inventory and the pent up demand of buyers is being felt with active sales in most price ranges.

If you are thinking of selling your home in 2017, please call Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC  today to discuss what you should be doing now be to be ready sell your home quickly. We can be reached daily at (360) 941-3734 and via email at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

Staging Your Home to Sell

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Before staging and after staging

When you list your home with Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, we provide of our clients with a complimentary staging consultation because we understand the importance of making a great first impression to a buyer.

By decorating and arranging a home’s interior to present an ideal way of life, buyers are assisted in visualizing themselves in your home. Whether you undertake the process of staging your own home or decide to consult a professional, there are a number of different “props” that may be used around the home. For example, to add a vibrant sense of life to the home, many home staging professionals recommend using different types of potted plants and arrangements of flowers and fruit. Throughout the home, they tend to utilize soft, luxurious fabrics such as satin, lamb’s wool and silk to create an atmosphere of comfort. This process can also extend to the exterior of the property, where patio furniture can be added in the backyard and colorful flowers or unique accessories outside the front door.

Many home staging professionals come from interior design or art-related backgrounds. Hence, when working on staging a home for sale, these professionals utilize a number of visual tricks to capture the attention of potential buyers. For instance, furniture is always arranged very carefully to simulate the ideal living space. In living rooms, home staging professionals often use love seats and ottomans in lieu of large couches to create the illusion of added space. Likewise, mirrors are often placed throughout a staged home to make the living area seem larger to potential buyers.

One of the most important steps in home staging is the exchange of your personal decorations with more neutral furnishings. Beyond replacing family pictures with more design-friendly items, a successful home staging will attempt to eliminate any idiosyncratic tastes and represent a living space that has broad appeal. This commonly used tactic simply helps potential buyers view the property not as someone else’s home, but as something they can call their own.

Without any furniture or amenities, even a home for sale in the most attractive area can make potential buyers feel uncomfortable. If you are trying to sell your home and have already moved out, you may want to consider working with your agent to stage the home’s interior. With the assistance of your agent and a home staging professional, you could quickly transform a lifeless house into dream home.

In the end, home staging is about making the most of your home’s potential. If the staging of your home is completed effectively, it is also possible that your home may receive better offers from potential buyers and spend less time on the market. By minimizing the flaws of your home and making the living area seem larger, brighter and more appealing, home staging may be one of the most important steps in selling your home quickly and at the right price.

We look forward to working for you and assisting with all of your real estate needs. Contact us today at (360) 941-3734 or at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

2017 Home Design Trends

As the #1 selling brokers of pre-owned properties in Skagit County, Team Groesbeck knows real estate and the following are highly sought after among our buyers. We would be happy to discuss any of your real estate needs or renovation thoughts with you to ensure you get top dollar when it is time to sell!

The following list is from Realtor Mag, the official magazine of the National Association of REALTORS:

Community Gathering Spaces – Clubhouses, fitness centers and outdoors spaces are often desirable perks for families and individuals when seeking a new home.

Taupe in the New Gray – A flexible and warm neutral shade, Sherwin-Williams named “Poised Taupe” as its 2017 Color of the Year.1216_AC_trends2

More Playful Homes – Space in the yard for a putting green or a game of boccie ball appeal to many for outdoor activities, or perhaps an indoor bonus room for the kids to play or a place to enjoy a pool table.

Naturally Renewable, Warmer Surfaces – Renewable materials like cork, harvested from the bark of cork oak trees, has become a favorite material as it is resistant to mold, mildew, water, termites, fire, cracking and abrasions.

Surface-Deep Energy Conservation – As energy costs rise, energy-wise appliances and more efficient HVAC systems appeal to homeowners looking to save on their utility bills.

More Authentic, Personalized Use of Space – Making every space within the home count is a very popular need for many home buyers. Being mindful of the home’s layout, storage space, bonus space, garage, room to entertain, etc. are things buyers would like designated areas for today.1216_AC_trends6

The Walkable Suburb – The convenience of being able to walk or bike to shops and dining and cutting commute times are often top priorities for home buyers.

Healthier Homes – Consumers are more aware now than ever of hazardous indoor environments and are actively seeking out healthy water supplies such as purifiers, HVAC systems, such as nontoxic plants and adhesives. A newer element to this trend in 2017 will include enhanced environmental testing.

Shifting Hearths – The traditional log-burning fireplace has lost some appeal as homeowners realize it is less energy-efficient, however there are various options today including gas fireplaces or even new ventless alcohol-burning, as well as outdoor fireplaces.

Counter Options – Much like granite did, quartz and quartzite are predicted to be kitchen favorites until another material comes along. But other green laminate options are gaining in popularity, and they’re no longer just for the budget-minded consumer.

The Transforming Office – Regular work-from-home time among the non–self-employed population has grown by 103 percent since 2005. Having a designated work space at home is becoming more of a necessity for many than just a desire.

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC knows real estate throughout Anacortes, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties and can assist with all of your real estate needs! Contact us today with any questions or to schedule a complimentary, no obligation market analysis of your home. We can be reached daily at (360) 941-3734 or at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com. We look forward to working for you!

Expediting the Sale of Your Home

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It is our goal to sell your home in the shortest amount of time; however there are some things that the seller will need to do to help make this process successful.  Our team of dedicated and full-time brokers is the number one sellers of pre-owned properties in Skagit County and we know what appeals to buyers!

Things we recommend to each seller:

  • Staging makes a home more appealing.  It does not need to be expensive, but may involve a little work.  If you want to get the highest price for your home, we recommend professionally staging the home.  Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC can provide guidance on economical ways to stage your home and we offer free staging consultations.
  • Call your insurance company to let them know your house is on the market.
  • Complete Form 17, the Seller’s Disclosure Form, and return it to our office as soon as possible.  Make sure that you answer each question to the best of your knowledge.  Marking most answers “I Don’t Know” is a red flag for potential buyers.
  • For your own safety, do not let anyone into your home for a “look around” who is not with a verifiable real estate agent.
  • Real estate agents must access your home by using the lock box.  This will allow us to have a record of who gained access to your home. Even if you let them in, have them “log in” to the lock box.
  • The buyer(s) may have requested a home inspection as part of the contract. They will schedule this on their own, however they will let us know the date and time. You should not be home when the inspection takes place, as the buyer(s) will feel more comfortable talking candidly with their inspector and agent.

For all of your real estate needs in and around Anacortes, please contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com or (360) 941-3734.