Real Estate taxes are going up in San Juan County.

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Real Estate taxes are going up in San Juan County.

In San Juan County, where there is a 7.9 month supply of homes on the market (King County is 2.3 months) it is getting more expensive for Buyers to purchase a home.

The county already imposes a Conservation Area Real Estate Tax equal to 1% of the purchase price to be paid by the Buyer at the time of closing.  Now the county has added an Affordable House Excise Tax equal to 0.5% of the purchase price.  The law states the new tax shall be paid 99% by the Buyer and 1% by the Seller.

In November 2018 the median selling price of a home in San Juan County was $565,000.  The combined affect of these taxes raises the purchase price for a Buyer as follows: 

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Maybe It Is Time To Get Rid Of That HELOC

In September, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the third time in 2018 and they’re expected to go up one more time this year and three times next year.  If you have a Home Equity Line of Credit, HELOC, you’re paying more to use that money and it is going to become more expensive.

It may make sense to refinance your home and consolidate the balance of your HELOC to lock in a lower mortgage rate.  Most lenders require that the combination of these loans should not exceed 80% of the home’s fair market value and that you have good credit and adequate income to support the payment.

A HELOC is a first or second mortgage that allows the borrower to withdraw money as needed, up to the line of credit provided by the lender.  A draw period is established where the borrower is only required to pay interest.

Since all HELOC loans are variable rate mortgages, during periods of rising rates, the cost of the funds increase.  However, unlike adjustable rate mortgages that have specified adjustment periods and caps, a HELOC adjusts when the prime interest changes.

The formula for determining available funds on a refinance are to take 80% of the fair market value, which will probably have to be verified by appraisal, less the existing first mortgage and the costs to refinance.  The balance would need to cover the cost of replacing the HELOC.  Any remaining balance may be available for cash to be taken out.

Now is a great time for a mortgage review. In many cases, the equity you have in your home may allow you to eliminate mortgage insurance and substantially lower your monthly payment. As with all tax matters, always consult with a tax professional before making any decisions.  Call us at (206) 979-9632 for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional.

It Is All In The Name 

It Is All In The Name

You may be able to judge a neighborhood by its name. Some neighborhoods containing certain names tend to attract the wealthiest residents and boast the highest home values, according to a new study by Porch.com, a home improvement resource.

Neighborhoods that include names like “Hills,” “Island,” and “Village,” for example, tend to report some of the highest average household incomes in the country. On the other hand, the lowest home values were found in neighborhoods with words like “Fort,” “Junction,” and “Rock” in their names.

In the richest neighborhoods, researchers found places that had names using the words “Village,” “Valley,” and “Heights” tended to exceed $100,000 in average household incomes. For example, in Texas, 22 neighborhoods and communities that contained the name “Village” had average household incomes of more than $174,000. Colorado and Michigan communities that contained the word “Village” in the name also contained some of the states’ wealthiest residents, too.

 

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Porch researchers looked at the neighborhoods with the highest incomes and home values in each state. View the chart below for a breakdown of each state’s neighborhood name that boasted the highest average incomes.  

Highest and Lowest Names

Going On Vacation?

Before You Leave Town…

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Along with all the planning of what you’re going to do and where you’re going to stay, consider this checklist to make you feel more comfortable while you’re away from home.

  • Ask a trusted friend to pick up your mail, newspaper and keep yard picked up to avoid an appearance of not being at home.
  • Stop your mail (USPS Hold Mail Service) and your newspaper.
  • Don’t post about your trip on Facebook and other social media until you return; some burglars look for this type of announcement to schedule their activities.
  • Do notify police or neighborhood watch – especially if you’re going to be gone for more than just a few days. Let your monitoring service know when you’ll be gone and if someone will be checking on your home for you.
  • Light timers make it look like someone is home. Set multiple timers for various times to better simulate someone at home. There are plug-in modules for lights and appliances that would allow you to control them from your phone while your out of town.
  • Do unplug certain appliances – TV, computers, toaster ovens that use electricity even when they’re off and to protect them from power surges.
  • Don’t hide a key; burglars know exactly where to look for your key and it only takes them a moment to check under the mat, above the door, in the flower pot or in a fake rock.

These easy-to-handle suggestions may protect your belongings while you’re away and will add a level of serenity to your trip.

Waiting Will Cost You More

Waiting Will Cost More

An economist responded when asked how interest rates would change: “They may fall some and then, rise and after that, they’ll fluctuate.”

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Just because interest rates have been low for ten years doesn’t mean they are supposed to be low. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates twice this year and are expected to go up twice more plus three times next year.  Mortgage rates have risen from 3.95% to 4.62% since the first of January.

Increased rates directly affect the payments on homes but so does the price. With inventory levels remaining low, the prices will continue to go up. When interest rates and prices rise at the same time, it costs buyers a lot more.

If the mortgage rates go up by one percent and prices increase by five percent in the next year, the payment on a $250,000 home could go up by $200 a month. In a seven-year period, the buyer would pay $18,000 more for the home.

People planning to buy a home, need to investigate the possibilities of accelerating their timetable to take advantage of lower rates and prices. Use the Cost of Waiting to Buy  calculator to see how much more it could cost you to wait.  Call Profile.BusinessPhone} if you have questions about what can be done now.

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Don’t Let a Killer In

Don’t Let a Killer In

  • Carbon monoxide is a silent killer you don’t want in your home but because it is colorless and odorless; you may not even be aware the deadly condition exists. The Center for Disease Control says more than 400 people in the U.S. die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning and over 10,000 require medical treatment each year.16485740-250.jpg

Unmaintained furnaces, water heaters and appliances can produce the deadly gas. In addition, other sources could be leaking chimneys, unvented kerosene or gas space heaters or exhaust from cars or trucks operating in an attached garage.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests the following to reduce exposure in the home:

  • Keep gas appliances properly adjusted
  • Install and use an exhaust fan vented to the outdoors over gas stoves
  • Open flues when fireplaces are in use
  • Do not idle car inside garage
  • Have a trained professional inspect, clean and tune-up central heating systems annually

Headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and feelings of weakness or fatigue are a few of the most common symptoms. Lower levels of exposure to carbon monoxide may be mistaken for the flu.

Carbon monoxide alarms should be on every level of a home and especially, in sleeping areas. The alarms can be purchased for as little as $25 and plugged into the wall like a night light.

Regardless of the government requirements, no one would want to put their family, guests or themselves at risk for something so deadly.