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Posts made in 2015

  • A Message From Our Mortgage Partner: Cody Touchette!

    December 18, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    The Fed, Mortgage Rates, and Rent The Fed has recently raised interest rates from a range of 0% - .25% to a range of .25% - .5%. Predictably, this decision has lead many to wonder whether higher rates will mean a slowdown of the generally recovered housing market. The fact that buyers have recently recovered their confidence after slogging through the recession makes answering this question particularly important. Luckily, it’s unlikely that the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates will significantly slow the housing market’s recovery. Indeed, according to a recent NPR article, most of the nation’s homebuilders do not believe that the housing market’s recovery is going to slow following the Fed’s  decision to raise interest rates. The primary reason for this opinion is that the raise in rates has been modest and will take place gradually. Additionally, mortgage rates have already been slowly inching upwards in anticipation of the Fed’s decision, further softening the impact of the increase. Finally, it’s unlikely that dramatic spikes in interest rates will be occurring any time soon. As of now, interest rates are expected raise about one percent over the next several years. Additionally, it’s important to realize that, as of now,…Read more

  • Buying and Selling a Home During the Holidays

    December 11, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Some people consider the holidays as a real estate no-man’s land, a time of year when everyone is too busy donning tacky sweaters, huddling around festive fires, and drinking egg-nog to either buy or sell a home. This perception, however, is misleading, While it’s true that the real estate market may slow down a bit during November, December, and January, it’s a great time to take action as a buyer or seller. In fact, there are benefits to buying or selling at this time of year. Read on to learn about how buying or selling a holiday home can work toward your advantage Buying your home during the holidays The biggest benefit to buying a home during the holidays is that, more often than not, sellers are going to be more eager to sell. Perhaps your seller unexpectedly got a new job on the East Coast, for instance, and she needs to sell her home pronto and move before the New Year. The American adult’s life is more mobile than ever, so situations such as these are becoming more and more common. In any case, someone selling his home during the holidays most likely needs to move the property sooner…Read more

  • Edmonds, WA: ever thought of moving to Edmonds?

    December 4, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Edmonds is a beautiful city located just 15 miles north of Seattle and 18 miles south of Everett. A historic community, the Snohomish tribe used the land around Edmonds as a harvesting ground for mussels and clams long before the arrival of white settlers. The city of Edmonds was first officially recognized in 1890 under the leadership of the entrepreneurial George Brackett. Since then, Edmonds has become a cherished part of the greater Seattle community, and it’s easy to see why. The city enjoys enviable views of the Puget Sound and the dramatically mustered peak of the Olympic Mountains. Additionally, Edmonds has access to no less than four beaches and plenty of waterfront parks, providing plenty of robust and healthy saltwater breezes for lovers of a barnacle-clad maritime lifestyle. For example, the Edmonds Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Dive Park is the perfect place for aficionados of scuba diving to explore the Sound’s unique underwater ecosystem. While access to water is certainly beneficial for recreational purposes, Edmonds’ location on the Sound has practical purposes, too. For example, Edmonds is also home to the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry, which carries the highest number of vehicles and second highest number of passengers for all state…Read more

  • Improve the Value of your home!

    November 16, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Whether you’re trying to sell your home now, or simply want to prepare for the possibility of selling in the future, improving the value of your home is essential. Of course, most people know that already. What most people don’t know is how to improve the value of a home. While there are many ways to approach this dilemma, you’ll find a couple of the most important ideas below: Create Curb Appeal One of the best ways to improve the value of your home is to tidy up the front lawn, the garden, and any other features that can be seen from the sidewalk. Curb appeal is the first thing someone sees when entering your home, so take the time to invest in the landscaping. Trim your lawn or, if you’re rather not tackle it yourself, hire a contractor to spruce up the grass instead. In addition to planting colorful flowers, plant some native foliage in the garden. Native plants will promote a healthy environment and will also require less water and maintenance, saving you time and money. If you’re not trying to sell your home right away, invest in the future by planting a tree or two in your…Read more

  • Empathy

    November 12, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    By Margaret Smith, Executive Assistant Empathy is something I’ve spent the last two weeks thinking about in both my work and personal life.  This word and topic seem to keep popping up in discussion and so I’ve decided to land on it.   Empathy:  the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.  I’m going to rewind my tape to 2 weeks ago when I was in Portland for a conference called Behind Every Leader- put on by the Executive Assistants Organization.  This was by far the best networking and learning opportunity I’ve been to for my role as Executive Assistant thus far.  For two days, 260 of us sat together and had the privilege of listening to leaders such as Zelda La Grange - Former EA to Nelson Mandela, Cynthia Thomsen - EA to Microsoft CEO, Dave Rendall - Executive Coach, and Bonnie Low Kramen - President of Ultimate Assistant.   What I loved about this conference, and what I love about learning in general, is that it always seems to reset my perspective.  When Zelda spoke about her experience…Read more

  • Neighborhood Profile: Green Lake

    November 9, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Imagine finishing a long day at work in the bustling city and then driving home to a green, secluded space with a vibrant and energetic community. If you live in Green Lake, then you’re one of the lucky individuals who gets to make this dream a reality. Located north of the Seattle City Center, and boasting a seemingly unfair number of gorgeous parks and green spaces (not to mention the eponymous lake), Green Lake is undeniably one of Seattle’s most attractive neighborhoods. The region was originally settled by intrepid pioneers in the 1860s, and since that time the it's appeal has only increased. In fact, in the last two decades the steady construction of new residences has firmly established Green Lake as one of Seattle’s most popular destinations. Green Lake’s most obvious draw is, of course, its lake. The region around the lake has been transformed into a park with an overabundance of activities, including a 2.8 mile walking/running/biking/roller skating path following the shoreline. If you’re an aficionado of water sports, or perhaps just trying to impress someone on a first date, then you can also rent kayaks for use on the lake. All in all, Green Lake is home to…Read more

  • LE vs. GFE and CD vs. HUD-1

    October 30, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    This month has seen a significant change to the way mortgages are finalized. The GFE, initial TIL, and HUD-1 and final TIL forms are gone for good and, as of October 3rd, the LE (Loan Estimate) and CD (Closing Disclosure), replaced them. If you’re an average consumer, you’re probably wondering two things: What do these new forms mean? How does this change affect me? Luckily, both questions are relatively easy to answer. Below, you’ll find the basic information about what the new laws mean and how they’ll affect anyone applying for a mortgage in the future. LE and CD: the Basics Historically, lenders have been legally required to provide consumers applying for mortgage loans with two documents, the TIL and GFE, and then two more documents, another TIL and the HUD-1, shortly before finalizing a mortgage loan agreement. All of these documents communicated repetitive information using irregular language, thus sacrificing an unnecessary amount of trees to provide you with much of the same information twice. This process, as you can imagine, was a complicated one for average Americans. To streamline the process, federal law has mandated that the GFE, initial TIL, and HUD-1 and final TIL forms be replaced by two basic forms, the LE and the CD. Anyone applying…Read more

  • Short Sales

    October 23, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Facing a foreclosure can be scary, and it’s easy to feel trapped and helpless if you’re in danger of losing your home. Even worse, you’ll feel like you’re losing your dignity as a self-sufficient adult. However, while things may seem hopeless, it’s important to recognize that there are alternatives to foreclosures. A short sale is one of the best of these alternatives. What is a Short Sale? A short sale refers to the process of selling your home for less than the balance of your mortgage. Short sales require the approval of your mortgage company, but, if you are approved, you’ll be able to sell your home and pay off either part or all of your mortgage, depending on the results of your particular situation. What are the Benefits of a Short Sale? It goes without saying that applying for a short sale is not an ideal situation. No one wants to face foreclosure, and no one wants to part with his or her home for less than is needed to pay off a mortgage. That said, there are many benefits to short sales, and they can help you escape and recover from stressful situations. The most obvious benefit of…Read more

  • The Monroe Equestrian Property

    October 16, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    If you’re a native of Washington State and the Puget Sound, you’ve probably got a few cherished memories from your youth: black coffee on cold winter mornings, the sound of rain pattering on the roof, crackling wood stoves, waves of mist rolling over a sea of pine trees at dusk. While such memories are wonderful, it’s likely that the myriad responsibilities of the adult world have pushed them back into the recesses of your brain. Setting foot on the Monroe Equestrian property, however, allows the once-forgotten sounds, smells, and sights of a Washington childhood to once again flood back into the present.   Hidden in a lush undergrowth of pine forest, and commanding a view of five immaculate acres, the Monroe Equestrian property is the classic custom Washington home. The house’s rustic wood paneling mimics the stately trees clustered around it and, while the dense foliage creates a sense of protection and security, expansive and wandering lawns give the property plenty of breathing space. A gazebo affixed to the rear of the house overlooks the backyard, making it the perfect retreat for those fond of autumn mornings, bold coffee, and rustling newspapers.   The true charm of the property, however,…Read more

  • Neighborhood Profile: Bellevue, WA

    October 9, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Bellevue, WA Population: 134,400 Named the #1 place to live and launch a business in America by CNNMoney in 2008, Bellevue is located just 10 miles east of Seattle. Bordered by Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish, and overlooked by the snow-capped peaks of the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, Bellevue is brimming with stunning natural beauty. Combine this feature with one of the best school systems in the country, buoyant business opportunities, a luxury retail and restaurant center, and a plethora of parks and recreational areas, and it’s clear that Bellevue truly is a sensational place to call home.   The Bellevue School District consistently ranks as one of the top districts in Washington. The school district serves students in Bellevue and the smaller surrounding communities of Clyde Hill, Medina, Hunts Point, Yarrow Point, and Beaux Arts, plus portions of Issaquah, Kirkland, Newcastle, Redmond, and unincorporated King County. Five of Bellevue’s High Schools ranked in the top 100 in the nation by Newsweek in 2010, while their elementary and middle schools are also exceptional. Likewise, in 2015 U.S. News and World Report ranked the International School in Bellevue as the top high school in Washington and the 26th best high school in the…Read more

  • Preparing Your Home For Sale

    October 2, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    So: you’re preparing to sell your home, and you’re unsure how to start getting everything ready. Even if you’ve taken good care of your home, preparing for a sale can be daunting. That said, a few small, simple improvements will go a long way toward preparing your home for the market, so don’t feel like the prep process is some kind of Goliath you have to slay. Instead, take a look at some of these tips and get rid of all your pre-sale worries... Perfect the Art of Pricing While you may be tempted to launch yourself into physically sprucing up your home, it’s also important to price it properly. A lead listing agent at Pickett Street only works with sellers, so working with Pickett Street will ensure that you receive individualized attention — and therefore better service than you would working with a conventional agent. Since about 90% of homebuyers search for homes via online real estate engines. Pickett Street uses this statistic to help you strategically list your home online using increments of $25,000 in order to maximize the potential buyers reached. Here’s how it works: if your home is worth roughly $500,000, most conventional agents would list…Read more

  • The Fed and Mortgage Rates

    September 25, 2015 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    If you’ve been keeping up with recent economic events, you’re probably aware that the Fed has chosen to keep interest rates stable, rather than moving forward with the raise that many experts anticipated. While the American dollar has strengthened, and while unemployment rates have improved more quickly than originally expected (it currently sits at a lean 5.1%), the Fed still decided to take a cautious approach. The Fed has cited a few factors, most notably a weak global market, for its decreased confidence in predictions for inflation. The Fed considers the global economy to be weak for a couple of reasons. The prices of commodities have decreased, and a relatively robust American economy has lowered the price of imported goods. Additionally, while the domestic economy shows encouraging signs of continued improvement, there are still a few worrying trends; many employed citizens, for instance, only work part-time and are still searching for more lucrative, full-time employment. Additionally, the rate of inflation still lies below the Fed’s desired 2%, the ideal rate of inflation for a healthy economy. In the face of a less than ideal global economy, the job market is going to need to strengthen, and the inflation rate must…Read more