Buying, Selling, or Refinancing? Check the Mortgage Rates!

If you are buying, selling, or refinancing, the current mortgage rates are very important. Make sure you stay updated on the latest rates. You can see below what the current rates are as of today, March 15th.

March 15

Thank you Sidney Stonecypher at People’s Bank Home Loan Center for the rates. If you have mortgage questions you can reach her at 360-650-5365!

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In | MyKCM

As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become a hot topic. In today’s housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home’s ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.

According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.

1. Affordability

“It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.

Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

2. Equity

“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”

The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $14,000 in equity last year.

3. Maintenance

“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”

As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

4. Security

“Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.”

As scary as that thought may be, any additional security and an extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.

5. Pets

“Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”

Evaluate all of your options when it comes to bringing your ‘furever’ friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?

6. Mobility

“No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”

Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.

7. Convenience

“Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”

How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Bottom Line

When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, let’s get together to evaluate your ability to sell your house in today’s market and get you into your dream retirement home! Give us a call at (888) 713-3056 or email us at

6 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

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6 ways to boost your credit score
Pay more than the minimum. Paying the minimum just covers the interest. Paying over the minimum can help credit scores.
Pay on time. Late payments can hurt credit scores. For help, sign up for notifications from creditors, your bank or online services.
Keep balances below 30% of your limit. If your limit is $3,000, your credit score can suffer if the balance hits $900. Make sure balances are below 30% of the limit on all credit cards.
Close unused accounts, but keep an old one. Even if you’re not using cards, lenders worry you might. Close unused accounts, but keep an old one, and pay it promptly. Responsible behavior over time can raise credit scores.
Come back to cash. Use cash for gas, beverages, even groceries. Watch your credit card statements shrink.
Don’t open new credit cards and don’t make big purchases. Wait until after you close on your home.
When you need a mortgage, or you want to refinance for a lower rate or to pay for improvements, please text, email or call us any time…. Have a great day!
P.S.: Mortgage rates are still low, but don’t wait to contact us about today’s excellent options. Thank you Sidney Stonecypher from People’s Bank for this great info. If you have any mortgage questions, give her a call (360) 650-5365. 

4 Reasons Spring is a Great Time to Buy a Home!

4 Reasons Spring is a Great Time to Buy a Home! | MyKCM

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage hovered close to 4.0% in 2017. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings. Give The Johnson Team a call at (888) 713-3056 or email us at

March 9th Pending Ratios

Bellingham HomesThe number of real estate signs you see in yards can be deceiving as to the number of homes actually for sale WITHOUT offers on them. If you are seeing new signs around your neighborhood and curious if any of those homes already have offers on them, we have your answers!

Every week we keep track of how many homes are for sale around Bellingham and Whatcom County and how many of those homes have pending offers on them. Pending is the time frame between when an offer has been mutual accepted between the buyer’s and the seller’s of the home and when the title actually transfers hands. This give the buyer’s time to get the financing, do inspection, review the title reports and more.

As of Friday, March 9th, the pending ratio in Bellingham was 45%. Click the links to view a report of how many homes are for sale in each area by price range and how many of them are pending showing just how active certain sectors of the market are.

The Birch Bay Pending ratio was 32%

The Ferndale pending ratio was 40%

The Lynden pending ratio was 43%

If you are thinking of selling your home or property, Johnson Team Real Estate would love to help! We are here to help you will all your real estate needs! You can reach us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at

Saint Patrick’s Day

25657765_sIn Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a legal public holiday and a day of religious observance for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland. However, the day is perhaps better known for the parties and parades carried on in St. Patrick’s name.

The shortest of those parades takes place in Dripsey, Cork and lasts just 100 yards. This parade travels between the village’s two pubs.

How did it become a day of celebration in America?

In the 1700’s Irish immigrants celebrated their heritage with a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City, and from there it’s grown to epic proportions. We Americans do like an excuse to celebrate!

But what about wearing green?

Legend has it that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns that will pinch you if they can see you. So apparently, school children (and some adults) simply like to pretend that they’re Leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day!

So be safe – wear a bit of green on March 17 and avoid those unsightly “pinch bruises!”

I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day… and this Irish blessing:
May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

Call us anytime. We are always here to help you and yours with real estate concerns – even if you’re just curious about the selling price of a home down the street. Call us at (888) 713-3056 or email us at

Green Spring Cleaning Solutions

Natural Cleaning Ideas

The sun is shining and Spring is almost here!  With Spring often times comes the feeling to spruce things up around the house. But, don’t rush out and buy all the kitchen and bathroom cleaning chemicals you can find. You might be surprised to learn that you have many ingredients you could use to clean already in your pantry. Below are some green cleaning solution mixtures to help you keep your home sparkling clean.

 Floors: Mix 4 cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate, leaving behind only the scent of the oil.

Glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.

Counter tops and bathroom tile: Mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda with 4 parts water. Apply with a sponge, scour, and wipe away.

Wood furniture: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive and oil. Apply a small amount to a cloth, and rub onto the furniture in long, even strokes.

– Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub away! Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead. Wipe the outside of the toilet clean with straight vinegar.

– Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, 3 cups hot water, and 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use a spray bottle. Wipe clean.

– Mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar.

– Air freshener: Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball, and stash it in a corner of the room. If you have kids, make sure it is out of their reach as essential oils are very strong and could irritate their skin. Lavender is a relaxing scent that is great for bedrooms, and cinnamon, clove, and citrus oils are great for the rest of the house. You can stash a few in the car too—try peppermint, which may help you to stay alert.

Source: Lisa Barnes

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What Difference Does an Hour Make?


Difference an Hour makes

Some Highlights:

  • Don’t forget to set your clocks forward this Sunday, March 11th at 2:00 AM EST in observance of Daylight Saving Time.
  • Unless of course, you are a resident of Arizona or Hawaii!
  • Every hour in the United States: 614 homes are sold, 81 homes regain

Want to make your hours count for your real estate deals? We are here to help! 

Stay Up to Date On the Latest Mortgage Rates!

If you are buying, selling, or refinancing, the current mortgage rates are very important. You can see below what the current rates are as of yesterday March 8th.

Mortgage Rates 3.8

Thank you Sidney Stonecypher at People’s Bank Home Loan Center for the rates. If you have mortgage questions you can reach her at 360-650-5365!

Down Payment Assistance. Let Us Help You Find It!

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Down payment money is out there!

There are Down Payment Programs that can help you save on your down payment and buy sooner that you might have originally anticipated.


Let’s work together to determine your options.

Down payment connect is a free tool that helps uncover homebuyer programs for downpayment help, closing costs, tax credits and more!

How it works

Eligiable ButtonClick the link at left to visit our Down Payment Assistance page to see if you are eligible.

Here you will enter your household information and personalize your search to see the options available to you.

Get Your Results.  Here you can get full reports on all the programs and see which might be the best fit for you and your household.

Click to download a flyer and share with your family or friends

Have questions? Contact us today at (360) 303-2734 to learn more about this great program and how we can assist you in owning your first home.