Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mortgage Rates Drop to 5-Week Low

Reprinted from: Daily Real Estate News October 24, 2008

"Mortgage rates moved south this week, reaching their lowest point in five weeks, according to Freddie Mac's nationwide survey. The company reported a drop in the average interest on a 30-year fixed loan to 6.04 percent from 6.46 percent last week and a slide in the 15-year fixed rate to 5.72 percent from 6.14 percent. Meanwhile, interest on adjustable-rate mortgages slipped to 6.06 percent from 6.14 percent for five-year ARMs but bumped up to 5.23 percent from 5.16 percent for one-year ARMs. "

Fauntlee Hills Rambler

This Sunday, 10/26, from 1-4 I will be holding open a one-level, mid-Century home in Fauntlee Hills. It has a fabulous view of Puget Sound from the large entertainment deck on the front of the house. The home sits high above street level but also has a level entrance from the carport off the back of the house. Listed by Prudential Agent, Ken Arkills, at $599,950. The address is 8806 39th Ave SW, cross street is Henderson. MLS# 28143401.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rave review

I'm a big fan of live theater, so I want to pass along my rave review for ACT Theater's current production, "Becky's New Car." It's difficult to describe what it's about -- sort of a situation comedy -- exceptionally funny! Very well written, well acted and well directed! The whole audience howled during the preview performance I saw last night. Do yourself a favor and go!

Monday, October 20, 2008

5 Ways to Give Your Home Character

Reprinted from: Daily Real Estate News October 17, 2008

"Far too many of today's homes and communities lack character, says urban designer and author Marianne Cusato, a featured speaker at this week's Sustainable Development & Restoration Summit in Newport, R.I.

Urban sprawl is largely responsible for poorly constructed communities popping up across the country, Cusato says. It's resulting in homes that lack energy efficiency, cities with poor layouts, and long, congested commutes.

So how do you avoid the cookie-cutter look and create a sense of identity for your house? Start by using older homes as a model, Cusato suggested.

Use four-sided architecture. Many home designs focus exclusively on the front, but the side of the home can be just as important and prominent. For example, windows on the side of a home are not only aesthetically pleasing but they also are functional – they offer cross-ventilation for cooling the home during the summer months to curb air conditioning costs and they allow more light to enter the home.

Use color. Think beyond beige. Color can add more identity to a house. For example, if all the homes on the block have the same architecture, the color of the exterior can be one way to differentiate and add more character to the home.

Less is more. Don’t overdo it on design elements to the exterior of a home; Too many details can make a home lose character. Focus on creating a hierarchy of most important elements. For example, the entryway and the side windows are prominent areas.

Be functional, not just stylish. Shutters along a window of a home that aren’t functional and don’t close, don’t make much sense. The towering, grandiose entryways on many McMansions won’t provide much covering when it’s raining outside. One aspect of good design is that it’s functional, Cusato said.

Connect with the outdoors. The home doesn’t have to be as big inside if it offers livable outdoor space. For example, a side private garden, front porch, and a public area near the house can connect home owners more to the outdoors."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Buying real estate with friends?

Reprinted from: Daily Real Estate News October 14, 2008

Co-Ownership Gets Popular as Lending Tightens

"Real estate co-ownership arrangements are becoming increasingly popular, especially in cities where prices—even after the real estate meltdown—remain out of reach for many buyers.

"Lending guidelines have become twice as hard to meet because of the housing market," says Joe Schiller, an associate with Rubloff Real Estate in Chicago. "People just don't qualify like they used to. But if they get some friends and put money together, they can afford that 20 percent down that you now need to purchase."

Schiller says that while financing is easier, these arrangements have the capacity to fail. He recommends that people who are considering a joint purchase hire a lawyer to draw up a co-ownership agreement, including a plan to get out of the arrangement.Here are some other tips for co-buyers:

Before you begin looking for property, decide the geographic and financial ranges for the search.

Understand potential co-buyers’ finances; lenders will look hard at the finances of all partners in the deal.

If the property is a condo, understand the rules regarding rentals, just in case one partner needs to move out.

Put everything in writing, particularly the escape plan."