xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Wil Coloma: April 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Free Fun in Seattle!

Have some spare time?

Take in some of the many cultural experiences
in and around the Seattle area!

Best of all, they are FREE!

Klondike Gold Rush Museum

Center for Wooden Boats

Frye Art Museum

Many others are free on First Thursdays of each month!
Check their site, or here, for more information.

Seattle Art Museum
Museum of Flight

Museum of History and Industry

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Homebuyers take note - housing prices are on the rise!

With the housing market changing, take a minute to gain some powerful knowledge before getting into the homebuyer game!

Inventory is tight, and bidding wars are back in some parts of the country.  To snag your dream home, you’ll have to pay up and contend with continuing strict loan requirements.  The bright side: Despite rising prices and mortgage rates that are edging upward, buying a home is still cheaper than renting in the majority of the top 100 markets.

Don’t waste time with a low-ball offer.

Yes, home prices are still way down from their highs, but the days when you could scoop up a house for 20% less than the list price are long gone.  The typical home sells for pretty close to what the owners asked for, and even in shaky markets, sellers have gotten more realistic about pricing.

Be the winner in a bidding war.

You win bidding wars, of course, by raising your price, it also helps to have few contingencies and to move quickly, since today’s sellers don’t want multiple go-arounds.  You have to give your best offer.

Be flexible about closing too:  Quick deals – the median time on the market for homes is 71 days, down from 99 a year ago – have left many sellers scrambling for alternative housing.  Leave the closing date blank on your contract for the seller to fill in, or negotiate a leaseback if the seller needs to stay put for a while.

Outsmart the pros who bring cash.

Lead with your best offer, investors count on nabbing properties at a big discount and are unlikely to boost their bid by more than 5-10%.  Also include a bank prequalification letter or statement of funds to show that your money is as reliable as investors’ cash.

Assess the risk in your local market.

Though prices have revived in most areas of the country, they don’t all have the same staying power.  In markets that bounced back last year merely because prices had fallen so far, you can’t assume a continued streak; once investors clear out, demand will die down.

Play bankers off one another.

Get multiple Good Faith Estimates.  A good Mortgage Loan Broker will be able to do this for you and can explain, line by line, what the pros and cons are for each potential lender.

It’s an exciting time to be a homebuyer, but also a very beneficial time to be a seller.  Demand is high, which is driving prices up.  Be aggressive, and hold the keys to your new home knowing that you’ve been a smart player!

Questions?  Give me a call!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Advice on how to close on your home quickly!


Bring the money needed to close the transaction in certified funds. Do not bring a check of any kind to closing because this may cause a delay of up to two weeks while the escrow company cashes and certifies the funds. Ask the escrow company staff members whether they prefer wire transfer or a cashier's check. Do not send the money through the mail without using a tracking number.
Hire a knowledgeable real estate agent that will actively manage the escrow process. When selecting a real estate agent, ask "Why should I hire you?" A good agent is often able to respond with a list of the ways that he works to make sure that escrow closes in a timely manner. While real estate agents can't fix every problem that could occur in a transaction, a good agent will have a plan to head off most of the problems that prevent escrow from closing on time.
Write the sales contract as cleanly as possible. Do not include lots of complicated terms. Once these details are specified in writing, the escrow will require that each item is met prior to closing, even if the buyer has changed his mind about a particular detail. Write the sales contract to include the buyer's right to rescind the offer and be made whole upon any dissatisfaction during the contingency period. This way, the buyer is protected in the case that he decides not to purchase the home or wants to renegotiate the contract.
Hire an escrow company with a good reputation. If the real estate agent hired is in business for any length of time, he is typically able to provide referrals to a good escrow company. Stay in communication with the escrow company at least twice per week. Communicate in writing, in order to create a paper trail.
Line up a homeowners insurance policy and any other insurance, such as a flood policy, on the first day that escrow is opened. Give the policy numbers and insurance broker's telephone number to the escrow officer as soon as possible.

Have a question?  Let me know!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The top 10 things you need to know when buying a home.

Tips for buying a house

1. Don't buy if you can't stay put.

If you can't commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner - even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it's an even worse proposition.
2. Start by shoring up your credit.
Since you most likely will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.
3. Aim for a home you can really afford.
The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you'll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.
4. If you can't put down the usual 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan.
There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a small down payment.
5. Buy in a district with good schools.
In most areas, this advice applies even if you don't have school-age children. Reason: When it comes time to sell, you'll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, thus helping to boost property values.
6. Get professional help.
Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better off using a professional agent. Look for an exclusive buyer agent, if possible, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.
7. Choose carefully between points and rate.
When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points -- a portion of the interest that you pay at closing -- in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time -- say three to five years or more -- it's usually a better deal to take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run.
8. Before house hunting, get pre-approved.
Getting pre-approved will you save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can't afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Not to be confused with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.
9. Do your homework before bidding.
Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at 5 percent less than the asking price, you should make a bid that's about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.
10. Hire a home inspector.
Sure, your lender will require a home appraisal anyway. But that's just the bank's way of determining whether the house is worth the price you've agreed to pay. Separately, you should hire your own home inspector, preferably an engineer with experience in doing home surveys in the area where you are buying. His or her job will be to point out potential problems that could require costly repairs down the road.