Saturday, June 14, 2008

Still possible for some to get no-downpayment loans

I'm happy to say that some options still exist to make homeownership possible for buyers with limited credit and savings, including teachers, firefighters, and members of the military. Some come from federally insured programs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and are available through cooperating lenders. A few even allow 105 percent financing to cover closing costs. Freddie Mac says such loans actually have lower delinquency rates because borrowers are required to complete homeownership education.

Another source to check out is a non-profit group known as Nehemiah Corporation. Here are two websites with pertinent information: http://www.nehemiahcorp.org/ and http://www.getdownpayment.com/ Give me a call if you have any questions. 206-708-9800

Friday, June 13, 2008

This Sunday's Open House

Take your dad house shopping this Father's Day! I will be holding open a terrific new listing in the Seaview neighborhood this Sunday from 1-4PM. The address is 6006 46th Av SW. This is a beautifully maintained and updated 1943 cottage with 1,140 sq. ft. of living space. The free-flowing floorplan includes 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The property has nicely landscaped front and back yards and a 1-car detached garage plus additional off-street parking. Listed by Prudential agents, George Butterfield and Chris Koelling, the asking price is $429,000. MLS# 28096232.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Natural pest repellents

If you are a homeowner, you may have occasional problems with unwelcome "guests" such as ants, cockroaches and mice. If you are hesitant to use commercial pesticides, here are some natural alternatives.

Ants: Sprinkle cinnamon, bay leaves, cayenne pepper or baby powder wherever they swarm, especially along windowsills and baseboards.

Cockroaches: Mix equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar and sprinkle it in problem areas.

Mice: Dip cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them in problem areas. Used kitty litter is another repellent, though it may repel humans as well!

Mosquitoes & Fruit Flies: Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons of water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Leave it out where they tend to swarm.

Do you have any other natural remedies you can recommend?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Most common mortgage scams

Sad to say there are still, and will always be, scam artists on the horizon who promise to save homeowners from foreclosure, but instead, walk away with their money. I typically prefer not to focus on such negative stuff, but forewarned is forearmed, so here is a brief description of five of the most common scams out there.

1) Bait and switch. The scammer discusses refinancing with the homeowner. Homeowner then proceeds to sign what he believes to be a loan application. In reality, they are title transfer papers. The homeowner has just, unknowingly, signed over his home to the scammer.

2) Upfront fees. The con artist tells the homeowner that he can get him into a program to clean up his credit and/or get him out of foreclosure -- for a fee. Once the homeowner pays the fee in advance of receiving service, the scammer disappears with the money.

3) Bankruptcy ploys. Similar to upfront fees, an attorney (or more likely, someone claiming to be an attorney) convinces the homeowner that filing for bankruptcy is his only way of avoiding foreclosure. The "attorney" collects a filing fee and disappears with the money.

4) Rent-to-buy. Scammers convince the homeowner to sell him the home with a provision that the original owner can remain as a renter. Once title has transferred, the former owner is kicked out.

5) Fraudulent loans. The con artist offers to secure a refinance deal for the homeowner, using the scammers supposedly higher credit score. Of course, the homeowner has to sign over title for the loan to go through. The scammer never reassigns title.

Source: Daily Real Estate News

Sunday, June 8, 2008

New consumer protection law

The Washington State legislature has passed a new law intended to protect homeowners from scammers who might try to take advantage of homeowners who fall behind in their loan payments. Known as the "Distressed Homes" law, real estate agents will now be required to take extra actions to determine if a seller is in danger of foreclosure.

If your home is currently on the market and the sale will not close before midnight, June 11th, you will need to sign an addendum to your original listing agreement, declaring whether or not your home meets the four-pronged criterion for a distressed home. All new listings will now be required to fill out these additional forms. Your agent will provide you with all the necessary information to comply with this change.