Property of the Week! Point Williams Vacant Land

beach view

Build your dream home on this beautiful waterfront acreage in Samish Island WA!

Few waterfront estates are behind the electric gate at Point Williams on Samish Island. Just 70 miles from Seattle, this approximately 6.5 acre property features 2 lots and boasts 450’ of beautiful waterfront on Samish Island, with cleared space as well as acres of timber. Just follow a gentle trail that takes you directly to the beautiful reflective cove within Samish Bay, while Mount Baker looms in the distance. aerial

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How to describe Samish Island, this property and the surrounding areas…Words cannot accurately portray them…One must experience this place and all it has to offer to fully understand what they are missing!

It all starts with the scenic drive through Skagit Valley to Samish Island, not only is there no ferry hassle but as you near the island one can see the tops of the other San Juan Islands such as Guemes, Lummi, Orcas, and Cypress just to name a few.  If it happens to be in the evening you have a great chance of viewing an amazing sunset.  Soon you will smell the soft scent of salt in the air and all your thoughts and burdens of the day or week disappear from your body in one big Ahhhh!

Contact us to learn more about building your dream island retreat! Samish Island is a well-kept secret of the Pacific Northwest- you don’t even need a ferry to get there!

Why Should You Wait? Winter can be the Best Season to Buy.

Did you know that in many cases it is actually less expensive to own a house rather than rent one?

In Skagit County, the average price of a home is around $247,250 while the average cost to rent a house is $1,463. Initially, the upfront costs of buying a house can seem like a lot more. Plus, thinking about a mortgage can be intimidating but with rent prices increasing and mortgages at an all-time low, now is the perfect time to consider buying that home you’ve dreamed of.

If you qualify for a mortgage, have the funds for a down payment, and intend to live in a home long enough to cover the transaction costs—you will be better off financially if you buy as soon as you can. After all, if you’re already tired of the house you’ve been in, that feeling is just going to grow!

Typically, summer is thought to be the best time to buy a house; the weather and school calendar make this a convenient season. Because most people consider that time as the right time, hidden gems that go up for sale in the winter are often overlooked.

So, if you are ready, consider looking for a home now instead of early spring. You will have more choices and less competition, and you can lock in today’s rates rather than risk rates increasing. Click here for wonderful winter options!

Skagit County Washington and Anacortes, Washington are great places to buy a home and with the market growing, now is a wonderful time to buy or sell! If you’re interested in finding out whether you can afford a home, contact Jean Groesbeck , Anacortes Living. If you would like more information on buying versus renting,read more about it here.

Pending Home Sales UP!

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says it’s important to look at the broader trend. “Month-to-month movements can be instructive, but in this uneven recovery it’s important to look at the longer term performance,” he said. “Pending home sales have trended up very nicely since bottoming out last June, even with periodic monthly declines. Contract activity is now 20 percent above the low point immediately following expiration of the home buyer tax credit.”

OPEN HOUSE: Saturday, February 5th from 11-2 pm

 

816 37th St., Anacortes

EASY access to Highway. nicely remodeled 2 story. Master Bd on main level 3 additional bd upstairs. additional office space on main level.

Nice tiled bathroom with soaking tub. Close to neighborhood Deli store. Garage in back alley access. Large deck Room to park RV or boat Additional 336 ft in basement

DIRECTIONS: Take Commercial Ave to 37th: curve left and go past The Store Deli, home is on the left

Mona Myers
360-391-0681
Coldwell Banker Island Living
3110 Commercial Ave #101
Anacortes, WA 98221
Mona.Myers@ColdwellBanker.com

Internationally Speaking

More foreign buyers showed interest in purchas­ing U.S. properties in 2009, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR)’s 2010 Profile of International Home Buying Activity. More than one-fourth of REALTORS® (28 percent) say they worked with at least one international client in the past year, up from 23 percent a year ago. Nearly one in five REALTORS® (18 percent) completed at least one sales transaction with an international client, up from 12 percent in 2008. Sales involving foreign buyers represented about 7 percent of the overall residential market.

International buyers came from 53 countries; the top four were Canada (23 percent), Mexico (10 percent), the United Kingdom (9 percent) and China/Hong Kong (8 percent). The most impor­tant factors in a buyer’s decision to purchase U.S. property are the proximity to their home country and the convenience of air transportation.

Florida typically attracts European, Canadian and South American buyers, while the East coast draws Europeans. The Southwest attracts Mexican buyers and the West Coast attracts Asians.

“Wise Buyers” Taking Advantage of Chance to Get Stellar Homes

 

 KIRKLAND, Wash. (Oct. 5, 2010) – Home sales remained subpar around most of Washington during September, but directors from Northwest Multiple Listing Service say they are encouraged by some positive signs. “It’s a slow recovery, but it’s trending in the right direction,” said Joe Spencer, a member of the NWMLS board of directors.

Among positive indicators the directors cited were pending sales (“starting to show signs of life”), month’s supply of inventory (pointing toward a more balanced market), stabilizing prices (with more homes being priced competitively), the market adjusting to no more tax credits, and strong sales of “specialty homes.”

Northwest MLS members reported 5,741 pending sales during September across the 21 counties in its service area. That’s a drop from August (down 4.9 percent) and from the same month a year ago (a decline of 24.3 percent), but an improvement on the total number of mutually accepted offers for May, June and July.

MLS director Pat Grimm, reports an upsurge in people looking at properties, particularly move-up buyers. He attributes some of that activity to homes “finally being priced competitively.” The new pool of potential buyers are “getting their feet wet, but they’re taking their time before they jump in,” he commented.

Prospective buyers have plenty of choices across the price spectrum. MLS members added 9,038 new listings to inventory during September, bringing the total selection to 42,153 active listings.

 “There are many very wise buyers taking advantage of what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Mike Skahen, whose real estate career spans nearly 30 years. “We haven’t seen a summer like this in home sales since 1982 when interest rates were hovering around 16 percent,” he observed.

 “Buyers are snapping up homes in all price ranges that are well located, in good condition, and that are priced fairly,” Skahen reported. Buyers who procrastinate risk losing purchasing power because of anticipated increases in interest rates.

Interest rates below 5 percent are an extraordinary event, and buyers need to take advantage of them. A 1 percent increase in the interest rate on a $300,000 mortgage increases the monthly payment by $183, he explained, adding experts expect rate hikes. “It’s not if, it’s when,” he contended.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 24,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

City Wide Open House Event – HUGE Success!!!

In a combined effort, Anacortes Real Estate offices held a city wide open house event this past Sat from 1-4.  The event was such a huge success, there is another one planned for October 16th!  Coldwell Banker’s own Terry O’Reilly, as seen in the Skagit Valley Herald holding open The Garden’s & The Crest in Sunset Cove, was one of over 50 agents who had a steady stream of people. Many of the agents report staying open way past the 4pm cut off time because of the flow of people wanting to see the homes. 

Not only did Coldwell Banker have the entire office participate in this event, every Coldwell Banker agent is offering a free one year home warranty through American Home Shield on any home purchased from a CBIL Broker or one listed by a CBIL.  Home must be under contract by Oct. 31, 2010 and must close by Dec. 31, 2010.

The next Anacortes City Wide Open House Event will be Oct 16th from 1-4pm.  What better time to get out there and find your dream home or if you are thinking of selling your home, this is a perfect time to contact a Coldwell Banker Agent to get it listed and on tour for the next Open House Event!

What is your dream of an island retreat?

What is your dream of an island retreat? 

You want to be able to get to it easily.  You want low maintenance so you don’t spend your weekends working.  You are used to nice things and you want quality but you don’t want to spend a fortune.  You want a home that is sensitive to the environment, and of course an active water view.  You don’t want a huge home to have to maintain, but you plan to entertain and have friends visit so maybe a big clubhouse on site with a full kitchen and patio for entaining a crowd.

You have just described The Isles in Anacortes, WA  just a short 90 minute drive from Seattle.

We are very excited about the newest home at the Isles, “Catala” which is a new floor plan based on the feed back provided by Anacortes real estate agents as to what home buyers want in today’s market. 

” As a builder, my goal is to provide Anacortes home buyers with product that is right for Anacortes at a price that is right for the times.”  states Pete Peterson, developer and builder of The Isles.  “I look forward to building more homes in Anacortes to fulfill the dream of building a highly interactive, cottage community. Salmon bakes at the clubhouse, family gatherings, and other fun activities are picking up at the clubhouse. Our neighbors who have invested as vacation rentals/second homes are coming into town regularly to enjoy ‘their cabin’.”    These are the things the current home owners love about living in The Isles.


 
Prices start at $429,000. If you would like a tour of The Isles, please call Connie Moulaison 360-391-5561 or call the Coldwell Banker Island Living Anacortesreal estate office
at 360-293-4511.

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 “risky” loans, due in large part to the strict “full documentation” 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

Housing activity: “not as bad as some think; not as good as some would like”

KIRKLAND, Wash. (July 6, 2010) – Home sales around Western and Central Washington remained sluggish, but not all the numbers were down. June’s pending sales (mutually accepted offers) outgained the total for May by 5.8 percent. Closed sales were up from both a year ago and the previous month. Brokers also applauded congressional approval of legislation to extend the tax credit deadline on contracts signed by the April 30 deadline. That measure, which President Obama signed on July 2, pushes the deadline to Sept. 30.

“In general consumers seem to be stuck in uncertainty surrounding the world’s economic concerns, our lack of jobs and the rollercoaster of the stock market. They seem to be hunkering down despite the lowest interest rates in years,” said NWMLS director Frank Wilson.

On a more upbeat note, Wilson said the deadline extension for the tax credit is good news. “Congress has acknowledged the length of time it is taking banks to close a transaction by passing this extension,” he remarked. Without the extension, the National Association of Realtors estimates as many as 180,000 buyers wouldn’t have qualified for a tax credit of up to $8,000 because they couldn’t meet the June 30 deadline to close on their purchase.

The latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows mixed news across its 21-county market area, with arrows going in both directions. “The current market is not as bad as some people think, and not as good as some people would like it to be,” observed NWMLS director Pat Grimm. He also said the combination of low interest rates and affordable prices are the best he’s seen in his 25 years of experience in real estate.

The MLS summary statistics for June show:

  • Pending sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) fell 28 percent from a year ago, but rose 5.8 percent from May.
  • Year-to-date (through June), pending sales are up 12.4 percent compared to midyear 2009.
  • Closed sales for June outgained the same month a year ago by 617 transactions (up 12 percent), and rose 8.9 percent from May’s total.

“The economy is still recovering and that makes some consumers hesitant to buy,” Grimm stated, adding, “On the other hand, with prices down and mortgage rates at their lowest in 50 years, homes are more affordable now than they were before the tax credit went into effect.”

Grimm said the market has created its own incentive for buyers who missed out on the most recent tax credit. “Lower prices and lower interest rates more than offset the benefit of the tax credit. Homes are actually more affordable than they were three months ago, and that factors in the tax credit,” he emphasized. To illustrate his point, he said the purchaser of a $500,000 property this month with a $400,000 mortgage would save more than $250 per month as a result of the interest rate drop. “Do the math and you can see you are way ahead if you stay in the property for more than three years.”

House-hunters have plenty of choices. Brokers added 10,354 new listings to inventory last month, bringing the selection to 42,940 residences being offered for sale system-wide. That’s up about 4 percent from a year ago. Included in the current listings are 36,027 single family homes priced from $8,500 to $25 million, and 6,913 condominiums priced from $20,000 to $15.6 million.

Asked if now is the right time to buy, Grimm replied, “You can’t time the real estate market any more than you can time the stock market,” but added, “If you want to buy a home, and can afford it, I haven’t seen a better convergence of affordable prices and low interest rates in the 25 years I’ve been working in real estate.”

Last week’s benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.75 percent, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. That’s the lowest rate for the 30-year fixed in the nearly 25-year history of Bankrate’s weekly survey. Freddie Mac reported an average of 4.58 percent, the lowest level in more than five decades.

Click to view large chart

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 24,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.