Have You Thought about Your Garden Lately?

This house in Mt. Vernon is a great example of an amazing landscaping!

Winter is here and with it comes the cold planting season. We love Washington for the multitude of plants that can grow here, we have so many options! Plants are a great way to improve your home’s exterior and a well-done garden, such as the backyard of this gorgeous home in Mount Vernon, WA , ¬†can even help to boost the value of your home. While it isn‚Äôt a good time for flowers just yet, December is the perfect time to grow a vegetable garden! Many veggies do very well in the crisp winter air and are a great way to add something special to your front or backyard.

Winter is a great time to harvest veggies and plant new ones!

Don’t know what to plant? Consider a small herb garden or possibly some larger vegetables such as garlic or onions! November through April is also the best time to plant fruit and nut trees, the earlier you plant, the better. Winter is a great time to clean out an older garden too, weeds can peek through at anytime and keeping up with it over the wintertime is a must! Here is an non-toxic and easy way to protect your garden from unwanted plants.

It can be difficult to keep up a garden during the winter, if planting isn’t your forte then try some decorative seating and lawn ornaments. Decks are another wonderful way to keep your yard looking wonderful all year round. They are great for entertaining as well as a place for potted plants. Decks are easy to take care of and relatively inexpensive to furnish. Adding color to your backyard is great for all seasons.

Have you thought about your winter yard lately? Or maybe you’re wishing you had a garden! Anacortes, Washington is filled with gorgeous houses and phenomenal landscaped yards! If you’re looking to move and get a great new¬†home or condo,¬†contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC.

Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com or 360-941-3734

Five Tips for Luxury on a Budget

Everyone loves the look of high-end furniture and custom designed room decor. Unfortunately, not everyone has the budget it can take to get these items. With these five tips, you can give your house a luxurious look without the expense.

A stencil is a great way to add a different design to your walls.

1. Paint your walls: An easy way to give a room a fresh look is changing the color of the walls. With all the different types of paint, finding one that suits you is as simple as going to the hardware store and picking out of few samples. A look that is sophisticated but also personalized is to use a neutral color and add an accent wall for extra emphasis.
2. Add Curtains: Another great option for making a room feel more expensive is the use of curtains. Curtains are very easy to make which can help cut down the cost. By hanging them higher than your window, you will give the illusion that your room is taller than it actually is.
3. Update old hardware: This is an easy way to update your space to give it more of a high end appearance. Crystal knobs or silver colored knobs will take your room to a look of luxury home.  This is often the most important upgrade you can do when putting your home on the market to sell.

Baskets are a great way to hide clutter!

4. Remove knick-knacks and clutter: The cheapest of all my tips is as simple as organizing your home. Matching containers such as baskets are a great way to hide items while giving a uniform look.

5. Define a focal point: When designing a room it is easy to get carried away with different elements and furniture. If you are on a budget, just focus on one focal point in the main room. This could be a couch or even a piece of artwork. Finding something you love and designing around it will give you inspiration and take the stress off of buying other expensive items.

Find your home today with Anacortes Living!

These are great tips not only for decorating a home but for staging a home to sell too! For more helpful staging tips visit my page on furniture and preparing your home for selling.

Luxury and waterfront home sales in Anacortes, La Conner and throughout the San Juan Islands are on the rise!  If you own a waterfront or water home in Skagit or San Juan County, this spring could be the best time to sell.  If you want to sell your home this spring, please contact us now.  There are things you can be doing now to insure  your home sells for top dollar!

Jean Groesbeck  (360) 941-3734   Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com

A Great Deal Just Got Better!

Welcome to 2305 Sundown Court- Anacortes
A luxury condo located in The Gardens!
Take a peek inside…
Play VisualTour

Amazing value!!! Just reduced to $359,000!!!
Experience luxurious condo living conveniently located by WA Park in Anacortes, just 20 minutes from Oak Harbor. Beautiful interior amenities include gorgeous tile, inviting kitchen with Frigidaire appliances, gas stove, walk-in pantry, eating bar, double-sided gas fireplace, & lots of built-ins for storage. Spacious Master suite with huge terrace, beautiful master bath with jetted tub, double vanities and tile floor. 2 car garage. Beach Access. Assessed at $451,300. This is an incredible value!

Driving Directions: Commercial to 12th, West on 12th to Washington Blvd., Right on Washington Blvd. to Observation, Right on Observation to Sundown Ct.
For more information on this property, or other homes for sale in Anacortes & throughout Skagit County, please contact Jean Groesbeck at (360) 941-3734 or email Jean@ColdwellBanker.com.

Explore Anacortes – April 16th Open House Weekend!

Looking for a new house? 
Interested in seeing what is on the market? 
Want something fun to do? 

Saturday, April 16th from 1p.m. to 4 p.m.
Look for the open house signs around Anacortes &
stop by our office to pickup our new Anacortes Neighborhood Map.

 

407 2nd Street – Cap Sante’ Victoria Home hosted¬† by Kelli Lang

3410 West 7th Street – Great Value – 4 bedroom home hosted by Mona Myers

4820 Portalis Way – Upgrades galore hosted by Jean Groesbeck

7 Things All Borrowers Should Know About FHA Loans

FHA loans are mortgages issued by qualified lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

1. FHA Loans Are Not Only For Lower-Income Borrowers. FHA loans are available to everyone. In fact, even Bill Gates can get one. There is no maximum income restriction associated with FHA loans. Borrowers do need to substantiate income and assets by submitting proper documentation. This requirement ensures that borrowers are well-vetted and truly able to afford their future homes.

2. FHA Loans Are Not Only For First-Time Buyers. Many people believe FHA loans are available only to first-time homebuyers. This is not the case. Whether borrowers are making their first home purchase or their fifth, they can look to FHA loans as a home financing option.

3. FHA Loans Are Not Just Small Loans; In Fact, Loan Amounts Can Be As High As Almost $800,000. The government recently raised the maximum loan amount from its original cap of $362,790 to $793,750 as a way to help stabilize the housing market. The amount a buyer can borrow varies from county to county. Later this summer, condo buyers interested in FHA loans can visit www.checkfhaapproval.com to instantly identify FHA-approved condo associations and review maximum loan amounts for a given location.

4. FHA Loans Are Not Affiliated With The Section 8 Housing Program. While both programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), FHA loans have nothing to do with low-income subsidized housing. FHA loans are simply mortgages insured by FHA. This insurance provided by the federal government allows lenders to lend more freely by assuring them that they will be repaid in the event of default. Most traditional lenders, including Wells Fargo & Co., JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup are able to provide FHA loans to their customers.

5. FHA Loans Are Often More Affordable Than Conventional Loans. While FHA loans typically offer the same interest rates as other loans, borrowers benefit from a much lower down payment of as low as 3.5 percent.

6. FHA-Approved Condo Developments Are More Desirable To Buyers. With 87 percent of home buyers indicating that they plan to use FHA loans, condo associations that are not FHA approved are missing out on a significant pool of prospective buyers. Under rules in place since February 2010, an entire condominium development must now apply to HUD and be granted FHA approval before a buyer can purchase a unit in an association with an FHA loan or before an existing unit owner can refinance into an FHA loan.

Due to the general unwillingness of today’s lenders to extend credit with respect to conventional loans, many borrowers find that FHA is their best bet. Lenders don’t mind lending when the federal government (FHA) assures them of repayment.

Homeowners associations (HOAs) should note that although FHA-insured mortgages might be easier to obtain, they are not ‚Äúrisky‚ÄĚ loans, due in large part to the strict ‚Äúfull documentation‚ÄĚ requirements placed on borrowers.

Individual buyers or sellers can initiate the approval process or current owners can encourage their HOA to apply.

7. FHA Loans Are Assumable. In addition to lower down-payment and credit-qualifying requirements as compared to conventional loans, FHA loans are assumable. This means that when a seller with an FHA loan sells his or her property, the loan and its financing terms (interest rate) can be transferred to the new buyer. This unique feature will certainly make a property more valuable in times of rising interest rates.

“Now, more than ever, buyers and sellers need to understand the options available to them when it comes time to buy a home.  At Coldwell Banker Island Living we have worked with countless individuals to easily and efficiently navigate the home buying process.

Originally printed by RISMEDIA, July 1, 2010

Moving This Summer? Check Out These Tips

This month, the kids will be out of school and for a lot of families relocating, it is time to pack up and move. Moving brings on an entire new set of stresses and tasks for the family.

Here are some tips for moving, courtesy of Move.com. It might just help save you a bit of time, stress and headache for the move ahead.

4 weeks from move date: Get organized and start notifying the right people and companies that you’ll be moving soon and give them a date to forward or terminate service. Start looking for licensed and professional moving companies, moving guides and relevant coupons.

Tip:
If using a professional mover, get quotes from multiple moving companies to get the best deal that is right for you and your needs. Ask plenty of questions like whether or not they give binding quotes and what kind of insurance is included. Be sure to talk with them about the different options available with full-service moves such as packing and unpacking services and providing boxes and packing supplies.

Tip: Important documents such as your child’s school records may need to be accessible during your transition. Make sure to put these items aside and make copies of any records for yourself, in case you forget what box they’re packed in.

3 weeks from move date: Once you’ve selected a mover, begin by taking inventory of your belongings and their worth and decide what will be coming with you to your next home.

Tip: Start cleaning out closets, drawers and storage areas of your home and divide things into categories: “pack,” “recycle” and “give to friend.” You can always have a garage sale or donate old items to charity. This will make packing day a lot easier and you may reduce the total weight you’ll be paying for to move.

Tip: If you’re moving yourself or contracting for a self-service move, pack the items you know you won’t need until 30 days after the move. It will feel great to get started early.

Tip: If possible, take pictures of rooms and areas inside the home or apartment you’ll be moving into so you can start thinking about placement of furniture, artwork and other items. This will help save time, headaches…and money…on moving day.

2 weeks from move date: If you choose not to take advantage of full service mover packing services, or are planning to do it yourself and rent a truck, start packing things into boxes. Figure out the logistics of the move, travel plans and if other specialized plans need to be made.

Tip: If you are using a professional mover find out what items are on their “non-allowables” list and discard those items or find a way to transport them separately.

Tip: Instead of stacking plates, pack them vertically; they will travel safer this way.

Tip: If you are moving long distance, remember travel arrangements for your pets. There are pet-exclusive airlines available such as Pet Airways but regular airlines have travel options for pets as well.

Tip: If you have young children, you may want to make childcare arrangements so you can be 100% focused on moving day and your little ones remain safe and busy with fun activities.

Tip: Schedule “move out” cleaning service, carpet cleaners and heavy appliance disposal if necessary for once you’ll be out of the home you’re vacating. Even if you’re selling your current home, it’s a nice welcome for the buyers to move into a clean and tidy home.

1 week from move date: Set aside valuable items and keep those with you. Clean before moving and leave your house or apartment as clean as it was when you moved in.

Tip: Make sure the details for paying the moving company are taken care of. Some will require money orders or cashier’s checks upon delivery; know their policy in advance to avoid stress on moving day.

Tip: Start eating all the frozen foods you have, or give them to a neighbor or friend. This way you won’t have to throw them away on moving day, or worry about packing an ice chest.

Tip: Also think about necessities for managing moving day like confining your pets and anticipating the amount of time you will need.

Tip: Place necessities such as toiletries, toilet paper, rags, “must-have” cooking supplies and organize them in boxes marked “open first” so it’s easy to find the initial items you’ll want handy on those first few days of being in your next home. Don’t forget the flashlight!

Tip: If possible, take one last tour of the new location and identify water and gas shut off locations, as well as the electrical breaker box just in case something happens in the first few days so you’re prepared. Might be smart to drop off a fresh box of light bulbs too!

Moving day and beyond: Take one last walk through and make sure nothing has been forgotten or overlooked. Also, make sure all doors and windows are locked and switches turned off, then you are on your way to your new house or apartment.

Tip: Go back to the photos you took when you began to pack up. Now you can show the movers or those helping you unpack exactly where everything goes with photos.

Tip: Unpack one room at a time according to basic needs starting with the kitchen and at least one bathroom…and don’t forget to make a bed as early in the day as possible if you’ll be sleeping in your home that evening! Remember, you don’t have to unpack everything in one day, or even in one week.

Tip: After you’ve settled in a bit, introduce yourself to some neighbors, ask for advice on the best places to eat, grocery shop, etc. This way you will feel like part of the community and can get some great local tips. Don’t forget, you can contact Coldwell Banker Island Living for any information you may need to find a new home & for relocation information. You can call any of our professional agents or email us at islandliving@coldwellbanker.com

Time is running out on the tax credits!

Time is running out to get
 the home buyer tax credit!
 

Get the key to your new home & money back,
but you have to act NOW!

 Homebuyers who qualify and have not owned a home for 3 years, can receive up to an $8,000 tax credit.  
Existing homeowners who qualify and have lived in their current residence for five of the last eight years can now receive up to a $6,500 tax credit.

 In addition, low interest rates and a large inventory of homes to choose from could put your dream home within reach. To learn more about the tax credit, or just want information about buying or selling a home, contact any of our experienced

Coldwell Banker Agents @  360-293-4511
or
e-mail us for more info.

 There is only 3 weeks and 3 days left to find your home to benefit from the tax credit.

You must have a written contract in place by April 30, 2010.

 

5 Tips for a Successful Home Remodel

Now that spring is here many homeowners begin remodeling projects.  Everyone knows that is is a good idea to hire a professional remodeler, but it is also wise to consult with a REALTOR before you you start your plan.  Why?  It is always wise to remodel with an eye toward resale. Also make sure you stay in budget and do not over-improve your home for the neighborhood.

Here area few tips for planning a your home remodel:

1. Review your  list of home remodeling ideas with your REALTOR

2.  Set a budget and stick to it.  (This is the hard part)  Do the remodel in phases if necessary.

3. Get at least 2 and preferably three bides from professionals. 

4. Research the company!   Check the references, BBB, licensing  and background of the company you hire.
 

5. Agree on a contract.  Ask about warranties, time lines, what happens if the project is not finished on time, who pays for what and when, and will the person who are hiring be the one to do the work or someone else?  Ask to see the contract of all of the people you are interviewing.

 6. Research energy efficiency tax credits.  There are lots of great ones right now!

7.  Be patient!

If you want to know if you are making the right decision for the resale value of your home, please call one of our professional real estate agents to assist you!  Or visit us at www.CBIslandLiving.com

(360) 293-4511

 

Housing Market in Washington State Indicates Recovery

KIRKLAND, Wash. (March 4, 2010) ‚Äď Northwest Multiple Listing Service members reported strong gains in home sales during February, with brokers pointing to several encouraging signs for a busy spring season. Improving consumer confidence and a looming deadline for homebuyer tax credits are helping to boost activity, according to NWMLS officials.

‚ÄúWe are entering what is traditionally our busiest home selling season,‚ÄĚ said NWMLS director. The NWMLS director also reported ‚Äúsignificant traffic‚ÄĚ at open houses, which he attributes to the first-time homebuyer tax credit and rising consumer confidence.

Pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed) jumped nearly 45 percent last month compared to a year ago, marking the 11th straight month of month-over-month increases. Closed sales also outperformed year-ago totals, rising 33.5 percent. Members tallied 3,214 completed transactions last month, up from the 2,407 closed sales for February 2009.

 MLS members added 10,663 new listings to inventory last month, bringing the total number of active listings in the system to 36,350. That total is down 7.5 percent from the same month a year ago, creating a more balanced market that favors neither buyers nor sellers.

 Move-up buyers are accounting for some of the surge in activity. Brokers credit the combination of a $6,500 tax incentive for qualified repeat buyers and thawing jumbo loan market as factors in spurring activity for this segment.

 Interest rates on jumbo loans fell to 5.79 percent on a 30-year fixed-rate loan in the past few weeks. That’s a five-year low, according to Informa Research Services, whose clients include the nation’s top 25 banks.

Noting the peak real estate season is approaching, the MLS director pointed to several encouraging signs. ‚ÄúHomes are more affordable, mortgage rates are at all-time lows, and employment in the state appears to be on the rise,‚ÄĚ said the MLS Director.

‚ÄúAll signs point to a strong spring,‚ÄĚ she added.

¬†Earlier in the week, the state Employment Security Department reported the state‚Äôs economy ‚Äúpicked up some steam in January,‚ÄĚ adding an estimated 12,400 jobs ‚Äď the first monthly gain since November 2008. The plethora of shorts sales and foreclosures has diluted the price point of many homes that are selling, making appraisals more challenging. Buyers should be reminded of the possibility of rising mortgage interest rates due to the Federal Reserve‚Äôs plan to stop buying mortgages by the end of March.

Click Chart to View Full Size

 

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest.

LIFE CAN BE A WALK IN THE PARK

 

By Vicki Mitchell

The Residence at Storvik Park is a new 18 unit state of the art building complex located in the heart of Anacortes that will make your life anything but complex! In fact one of the many attributes offered is the close proximity to our beautiful city gathering place, Storvik Park. You can literally begin and end your day with a walk in the park.

 

A ready-made community awaits you with everything you could ask for: convenience, comfort, creativity, craftsmanship and class.  Close to shopping, hospital, schools and so much more.  Recreate your life with low maintenance, one level living in your choice of 1, 2 or 3 bedroom designs. Choose from solid hemlock, solid maple, or painted millwork with coordinating designer cabinets, slab granite counters, stainless appliances, hardwood floors, fireplace, tile baths, and master suites with walk-in showers.  The elevator provides easy access to all three levels as well as the underground parking garage. 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                      Built with the incredible quality from Strandberg Homesthat has earned them the Best Of Anacortes award for the past 8 years! This truly is your answer to the good life and the best  in Island Living.

 View floor plans, prices and photos at:  www.TheResidenceAnacortes.com

Or call Coldwell Banker Island Living  (360) 293-4511 or

email IslandLiving@ColdwellBanker.com