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  • What Empty Nester Investors Should Know About House Hacks

    October 14, 2019 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    One of Pickett Street’s many specialties is helping buyers find “house hacks” to significantly increase the return on real estate investments. "House hacks" include single-family residential homes with in-law or mother-in-law apartments (MIL) or other additional dwelling units, either attached to or detached from the house (ADU or DADU). For example, a split-level home with a separate entrance and kitchen in the basement allows homeowners to rent this space for extra income. Or, a buyer might invest in a duplex so that they can live in one of the units and rent out the other unit to cover their mortgage. According to Pickett Street’s Jesse Moore, house hacks are one of the smartest investments for empty nesters who are moving toward retirement. Empty nesters who are considering downsizing can buy "house hacks" to earn passive income through their extra space. Then, this extra income can go toward dreamy post-retirement activities like finally making that Hawaii trip happen. Pickett Street recently helped Director of Operations Margaret Smith’s parents find the right empty nester investment house hack—a rambler without stairs, which is a smart buy for empty nesters, and with a detached ADU. Margaret’s parents currently rent out this ADU. Not only…Read more

  • The Gift of Equity

    January 25, 2019 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Because we’ve grown used to living in small spaces together, my husband and I try to avoid giving each other things. Instead, we like to gift each other time together—dinner at a restaurant, a hike in the mountains, or even just time to sit together at home over a bottle of wine and connect. My husband is especially good at these non-material gifts; early every morning he makes a big pot of coffee so that it’s ready when I wake up. He inherited this aptness for generosity through acts of service from his father, who will quietly fix a lightbulb or change the oil in our cars whenever we visit. Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. When it comes to nontraditional gifts, I recently learned the coolest idea from the Pickett Street team—did you know that family members can give each other the gift of equity? Neither did I. Pickett Street can tell you more about this gift (info@pickettstreet.com or 425-502-5397), and you can also read on for the basic rules. 1. What are gifts of equity? According to Pickett Street’s preferred mortgage lender Cody Touchette with Caliber Home Loans, “gift funds or a gift of equity is when…Read more

  • Community Highlights: Cody Touchette

    October 8, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Pickett Street Properties is dedicated to serving the community and is highlighting businesses and community members that are dedicated to doing the same. This week we are excited to share from our very own preferred lender, Cody Touchette! My story really starts before I became a mortgage professional. I graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in finance and put that to use by managing a jewelry store for a large national company. I enjoyed that position for a few years, was awarded a few promotions, but eventually found myself bored. Two things happened that drove me to begin my mortgage career. First, I bought my first house and thought the mortgage process could have been way easier and smoother than what I had experienced. Second, I saw a friend over the holidays who was a mortgage broker and he gave me the encouragement I needed to try it out. The rest is history! I currently run a team of nine amazing and talented mortgage professionals, The Touchette Team, at Caliber Home Loans, Inc. We work in mortgage lending, purchase, refinancing and investment strategies. Our team’s mission is two-part: help people attain the dream of homeownership and then change their financial…Read more

  • What to Know About the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

    February 9, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Recent changes stemming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may feel, as taxes sometimes do, a bit confusing. Luckily, Pickett Street and their preferred mortgage lender Cody Touchette of Caliber Home Loans are here with the breakdown of how recent tax changes will affect you. Keep in mind that most of these changes will not affect you until it's time to file 2018 taxes (the taxes you will file in 2019). For more information about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Cody recommends this helpful link. 1.  Standard deduction. According to the Washington Post, the new tax law increases the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for joint filers. This means that, for many homeowners, it will no longer make sense to itemize deductions. Zillow broke it down for the Washington D.C. area: under the old tax law, it made sense for 98 percent of homeowners to itemize, while under the new law, it only makes sense for 64 percent of homeowners to itemize. 2.  Mortgage interest deductions. If you bought your home on or after December 15th, 2017, then you can claim a maximum interest of $750,000 for each secured primary residence. If you bought your home before December 15th,…Read more

  • Hi, I’m Ansley, And I’m a First-Time Home Buyer

    January 26, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    I’ve been writing for the awesome Pickett Street Properties Team for nearly a year now, and it seems I’m overdue for a personal introduction. Hello! My name is Ansley. I’m a teacher and a writer. I'm also a first-time home buyer. I spent most of my life in the Seattle area before moving to Colorado for graduate school. While I fell hard for Colorado’s snowy mountains, sunshine, and blue skies (seriously--you haven’t seen the sky until you’ve experienced it out here!) it’s my dream to move back to the Seattle area. I’m good at drinking a lot of coffee while watching the Great British Baking Show and reading New York Times articles in bed. I’m also good at whining at my partner to bring me things like socks and chocolate and more coffee so that I don’t have to get out of bed. I’m lucky that I have the most patient partner in the world. I love running and hiking in the mountains with my deaf puppy. I love learning and writing about the world in all its complexities. And now, a personal anecdote. A few weeks ago, my partner and I received the catering contract for our upcoming June…Read more

  • How to Take the Leap and Invest: A Conversation with Cody Touchette

    December 7, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    While investing in real estate is one of the best ways to build wealth, getting started can often feel intimidating. However, this exciting process is much more accessible than you think. In fact, one of my favorite parts about writing for Pickett Street has been learning from their wonderful team and realizing that investing in real estate is not just for experts in real estate and finance. I was recently able to talk with Cody Touchette, who is a mortgage planner with Caliber Home Loans and provides clients with expert guidance during their home financing processes. Here’s what he had to say. 1.  Why is investing in real estate a worthwhile endeavor? According to Cody, there are four main benefits to real estate as an investment: cash flow, appreciation, leverage, and tax benefits. First, investing in real estate through buying your own home, purchasing a property to rent to others, or other options, is a great way to receive immediate cash flow that can help you purchase more property. Second, regarding appreciation, Cody reminded me that real estate has always increased in value over time, if you look at a long period or time. While the market experiences normal ups and downs, appreciation on real…Read more

  • Seattle Real Estate Update for Fall 2017

    October 12, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    With its misty mornings and mouthwatering apple harvests, fall in the Seattle area is in full swing. As the seasons change, let’s check in on how the Seattle real estate market is doing. The median price for Seattle home is $667,500, or $476 per square foot, which is an increase of 16% over last year. Whether you are buying or selling, or are somewhere in between, here’s the latest scoop on the local market. 1. Mortgage rates rose last week but remain low. In the beginning of October, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose ever so slightly, from 3.83 percent to 3.85 percent. According to Freddie Mac, the 15-year fixed-rate also rose from 3.13 percent to 3.15. Adjustable five-year mortgages rose from 3.17 percent to 3.20 percent. Despite these increases, mortgage rates remain very low, which is good news for home buyers. 2. Seattle real estate reporter talks about the bubble. Because Seattle is experiencing such a competitive, wild real estate market, the question on many people’s minds is whether or not the current situation is a bubble that will eventually burst.  Seattle real estate reporter Mike Rosenberg discussed this question and more in his recent AMA interview on Reddit. According to…Read more

  • Five Reasons You Should List Your Home Today

    August 10, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    You may have heard that it’s a seller’s market right now. However,you may also be wondering what exactly that means for you, the potential seller. Here's the rundown of the current seller's market and a few reasons why you shouldn't wait to sell your home.   1. Seattle is one of the hottest housing markets in the country. According to several different reports, Seattle’s real estate market is one of the hottest in the country for 2017. And the city of Seattle isn’t the only area that’s hot: King, Snohomish, and Kitsap Counties are all experiencing competitive real estate markets right now. 2. Inventory is low. There are currently more people looking to buy homes than there are people listing their homes in the Seattle area. According to the Seattle Times, inventory is down by 27 percent when compared to last year's numbers. This means that competition among potential buyers is high. Plus, this competition often results in bidding wars, which means that sellers are likely to receive more than the original listing price. About 75 percent of listed homes have received multiple offers this year, and 56 percent of homes are selling for more than the asking price. In several city neighborhoods, and…Read more

  • Tips for Navigating Seattle’s 2017 Real Estate Market

    August 9, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Seattle’s real estate market is on fire right now, and it’s easy to see why. Tech giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Expedia are creating healthy job growth, making the local job market one of the hottest in the country. Additionally, despite its growing costs, this urban area remains one of the more affordable west coast cities, especially when compared to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Not to mention, Seattle is just plain gorgeous. With these perks, Seattle one of the fastest growing cities in the county; the most recent data found that about 1,100 people are moving to the city every week (you heard me right--1,100 people per week!). So, how does one navigate this exciting and competitive atmosphere when buying or selling a home? Here are a few tips, along with more information about what to expect from Seattle’s real estate market in 2017. 1. Don’t Wait to Buy If you’re serious about buying a home in Seattle, now’s the time to go for it. Real estate professionals predict that the market will remain competitive throughout 2017 and beyond. According to the NW REporter, while there was a small increase in residential listings this past June (a 7…Read more

  • Fannie Mae Changes Help Homebuyers With Student Debt

    August 4, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    It’s tough out there for students. Take it from me, a millennial who has collected a bachelor’s degree and a master's degree, as well as a bit of debt along the way. Recent surveys have shown that the average college graduate has more debt than ever before, and that this increased debt makes it harder for graduates to save money and therefore more hesitant to buy homes. What’s more, millennials aren’t the only ones who carry this burden--about 43 million Americans, including millennials, Gen Xers, and even some baby boomers, are currently drowning in student debt. However, luckily for us former students, the mortgage investor Fannie Mae has introduced three new changes that will make it much easier for individuals with student debt to purchase homes. Here are three situations in which these new rules will help. 1. If Someone Else Makes Your Student Loan Payments Many employers now offer their employees student loan repayment benefits. In the past, this system has made it more difficult for individuals looking to buy homes; when calculating a homebuyer’s debt-to-income required for mortgages, mortgage lenders did not take into account that the potential homebuyer did not have to make their student loan payments…Read more

  • Do You Love to Rent?

    June 2, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Three Things to Know Before Agreeing to a Mortgage Because moving and buying a home can be time-consuming and stressful, it can be tempting to rush into a mortgage to get the process over with as quickly as possible. However, a mortgage is an important commitment, and there are a couple key concepts you should understand before signing the dotted line. Luckily, you don’t need to be a mortgage lender to understand your contract, and the most important mortgage concepts are relatively simple once you grasp the basics. Below, we cover the basics of interest rates, adjustable rate mortgages vs. fixed rate mortgages, and points to give you a better idea what to expect when you prepare to agree to your first mortgage. What’s My Interest Rate? Saying your mortgage’s interest rate is pretty important is an understatement, as the interest rate you agree to can dramatically affect the final price tag of your home. It’s surprising, then, that roughly 30% of the country’s homeowners have admitted to not knowing what their interest rate is. Even a slight difference in interest rate levels--say, 4% rather than 4.5%--can save you hundreds of dollars a year and thousands of dollars over your…Read more

  • Do You Like Low Interest Rates?

    May 9, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Interest Rates Unchanged After The Fed's Wednesday Meeting After its meeting this Wednesday, the Fed voted to leave interest rates unchanged, keeping its benchmark rates at 0.75-1.00%. The decision was a response to the economy’s slow .7% growth in the year’s first quarter. Much of this slowing growth can be attributed to the transition period following the presidential election, so the Fed remains optimistic for future economic growth. In that case, two more rate increases are expected by the end of the year. The next rate hike is expected to occur in June as long as the economy continues to grow, while many experts expect a second increase to occur in September. Overall, the decision seems to have had a very slight indirect effect on mortgage rates. As of Thursday, the average 30-year FRM was down about 1 basis point, hovering around 4.02%, while the average 15-year ARM and remained around 3.27%. And, though rates are always changing, many experts don’t expect them to increase dramatically between now until the end of the year. Many economists expect the 30-year FRM to fall between 4.2-4.5% at the end of 2017. For some, these rates might seem to be way too high.…Read more