Friday, December 12, 2008

Current loan rates

Here is this week's recap of interest rate activity, courtesy of Troy Chambers, loan officer for Arboretum Mortgage.

Rates have dropped even more this week! We are actually selling 5.00%, and on Wednesday I
locked in 4 loans at 4.875%. I am incredibly busy with refinances, and I would assume that
purchases are sure to follow!

Please let me know if there is anything you need from me … My cell is 425-418-5103, and I am
always available.

Troy Chambers
Arboretum Mortgage
Phone: 206-720-6628
Fax: 206-860-9340

Click here to see a table of loan rates.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Waste Free Holidays Info

The following is reprinted from the newest edition of Northwest REporter, the official real estate publication of the Seattle-King County Association of REALTORS® and the Northwest Multiple Listing Service:

There are green gifts galore for this year's gift-giving. The eco-friendly options also include creative solutions for gift-wrapping, entertaining and decorating.

Waste Free Holidays, sponsored by several cities and counties in the State of Washington, promotes "giving experiences instead of stuff." Participating businesses offer experiences (e.g., tickets to concerts) and services at discounted prices.

Waste Free Holidays, King County
To find other local options, enter "waste free holidays" plus your county as key words in a search browser.

As noted on one of the "Waste Free" sites, reducing waste is especially important during the holiday season. Americans toss one million extra tons of waste each week between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. If every family in the U.S. used two feet less of gift wrap ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved would be enough to tie a bow around the whole planet!
Here are links and brief descriptions for other ways to observe "green holidays."

Green Gift Guide
Site features business gifts, clothing & jewelry, "for pet's sake," garden & outdoor, house & home, toys, games & sports, and more. The site also has links for waste-reducing ways to trim the tree, wrap presents. And entertain.

Tree Hugger
Site strives to be an international one-top shop for green news, solutions, and product information through blogs, newsletters, video segments and a weekly radio show. The site currently features more than 100 green gift ideas in 11 categories: foodie, fashion buff, pop culture fan, philanthropist, do-it-yourselfer, jet-setter, green geek, wee-hugger, animal lover, health nut, and outdoor enthusiast.

Yahoo's Green Gift Guide
Offers gifts in a variety of categories (.e., green gadgets, gifts under $20, gifts of experiences, do-it-yourself gifts, save money & planet, luxury gifts, sports gifts)

Green Home Huddler
Here you'll find a list of 16 ideas for giving eco-friendly gifts. Examples include homemade coupons for low-impact activities, making a donation in someone's name, buying a carbon offset, buying earth-friendly personal care products, and even links to organic and fair-trade chocolate and other treats.

Environmental Defense Fund
With more than 500,000 members, this nonprofit organization partners with businesses, governments and communities to find practical environmental solutions. Its roundup of holiday suggestions includes intangible presents that deliver green good long after the holidays, stocking stuffers, a "kid's corner," books & board games, a grab bag for gardeners, and wearable recyclables. Also offered are tips for setting an earth-friendly holiday table.

Grist magazine's Stuff Free Gift Ideas
Ten ideas for stuff-free gifts, ranging from adopting an acre of rainforest to buying a share in a Community Supported Agriculture farm (check localharvest.org).

Co-op America's Holiday Green Gift Guide
This guide features special offers from businesses listed in the National Green Pages™. Among categories "all around green;" beauty and body care; food and drink; and gifts, art and accessories.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Helping Heat Homes of Needy Families

I hope you will take a minute to read the following story about a local businessman who is helping local families in need. I am truly humbled by his generosity and caring.

The following is reprinted from the newest edition of Northwest REporter, the official real estate publication of the Seattle-King County Association of REALTORS® and the Northwest Multiple Listing Service:

Real estate professionals with clients who are converting from oil to natural gas or electricity can connect those homeowners with a new nonprofit organization so their unused oil can help others who can't afford to heat their homes. More than 200 families have been identified as needing such assistance, a number that is expected to grow.

The win-win arrangement is the creation of Dallas Gigrich, owner of Tanks by Dallas in Lake Forest Park, north of Seattle. His charitable endeavor, called Home Energy Assistance Team (HEAT), recently attained federal nonprofit status, so donations of oil and money may be tax deductible.

Gigrich started his home-based oil tank decommissioning company in 1996 when new regulations mandated unused oil tanks be removed or cleaned according to strict requirements to prevent environmental damage from leaks. He said a typical decommissioned or abandoned tank still has 200 to 400 gallons of oil left in it.

Instead of transferring unused oil from the out-of-service tanks to a recycler to resell, the businessman with a benevolent heart started offering to drain the tanks at no charge. Then he provided free delivery service to single parents, the elderly and others who lacked funds to fill their own oil tanks. (A typical 3-bedroom house requires 500 to 600 gallons annually, at a cost of around $3 per gallon.)

In recent years, the "Oil Angel," as he's been dubbed, has delivered around 100,000 gallons or oil per year. The recipients are referrals from friends, churches, social-services agencies and other sources.

The donations come at a cost to Tanks by Dallas, including expenses for transporting and staffing.

With winter upon us and a business slowdown that's affected Tanks by Dallas, HEAT welcomes donations of oil and money to help defray the costs of delivering and filling tanks to cash-strapped families. Gigrich also hopes to find a volunteer who can help him apply for environmental grants, since he is reusing oil. He can be reached at 206-365-0291.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Happy 97th Birthday, Dad!

Can you believe this man turned 97 on Friday? And he's still living on his own! I've inherited great genes!

I'll be foregoing my usual Open House today in order to celebrate with my family.