April Showers Bring Low Mortgage Rates

We are all practicing social distancing and staying at home. You could be looking online for our future dream home. There is a possibility you are thinking of selling ,because you figured out that you need more room or you want to downsize. You could be completely content with where you are living and just want to refinance your current loan.

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

Property Tax Deadline Extended for Whatcom County

Whatcom County Treasurer Steve Oliver signed an order extending the first half property tax due date to June 1st for individual and commercial taxpayers that pay taxes themselves. 

If you can still pay your taxes on time, it’s still urged that you continue to do so.

The Treasurer’s Office is also offering a new payment plan option for property owners and they have announced that foreclosures are currently suspended until 2021.

For more information visit the Whatcom County Treasurer Website today!

4 KEY SKILLS TO COPE WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING

As most states are under stay-at-home orders, many schools switch to online learning, and many businesses encourage (or require) employees to work remotely, we’re facing a changing world. It can be challenging to adjust to these new professional and personal circumstances. Here are some best practices to help you stay healthy, hopeful, and productive during these uncertain times.

Keep a schedule

Treat working from home just like working at work: Decide what time you’re going to start working, when your lunch break is, and what time you clock out. Designate an area as your “office” and try to only be there when you’re working. If you treat work too loosely, you can lose whole days to unproductivity — or never stop working. Having a schedule will also help kids who are used to the structure of school.

Stay aware of time outside of a work environment, too. During isolation, it can be easy to oversleep or stay up too late, which can be bad for mental health. Keep setting alarms and stick to a general bedtime if you can.

Practice self-care.

Social isolation can be mentally and emotionally draining, and staying at home certainly isn’t great for your physical health, which is why it’s more important than ever to practice self-care. If you’re anxious about the state of the world or the health of your family and friends, this might be a good time to pick up journaling, start meditating, or even connect with a therapist who can meet with you online. If the constant influx of news is stressing you out, grant yourself permission to only check the news at certain times of day.

If your lifestyle is feeling a little more sedentary than normal, you might consider picking up an at-home exercise app or adding bike rides to your routine. If you can get outside to get some fresh air and sunshine without putting yourself into a crowded place, try to do so every day.

Stay social

Just because you can’t go get coffee with a friend or throw a dinner party doesn’t mean you can’t still be social! This is a great time to bring back the good old fashioned phone call — or get a little more personal with video chatting via Facetime or Google Hangouts. Have a virtual coffee date from the comfort of your own home, or play board games online. Settling in for some Netflix? Download the Netflix Party browser extension to watch TV shows and movies in real time with your friends.

Take action

If you’re feeling helpless, you’re not alone. But there are ways you can help without leaving the house! Donate to nonprofits that are struggling, buy gift cards to support businesses that are suffering without in-person shoppers, see if your local hospital is accepting homemade fabric masks, or offer to grocery shop for an elderly or immune compromised neighbor.

Dealing with social distancing can be difficult, but we’re all facing it together! That means there are plenty of resources being circulated to help everyone handle this changing landscape. By taking these tips to heart, you can give yourself a solid foundation to get through whatever you’re facing and come out the other side stronger.

Thank you to Sidney Stonecypher at People’s Bank Home Loan Center for the great tips! Stay healthy friends.

SHAKE UP YOUR SPRING CLEANING WITH THESE USEFUL TIPS

Since many of us are home right now, now is a great time some Spring Cleaning! Take this as an opportunity to tackle some of those essential annual deep cleaning tasks and banish the musty winter months from your home!

But, even if you’ve been diligent about cleaning your windows or dusting your ceiling fans every spring, there may still be important cleaning tasks that you’ve left off your list. This year, add these things to your to-do list so you can have a fresh living space to enjoy!

Bathroom — Deep cleaning the bathroom shouldn’t stop at scrubbing the toilet or wiping down the mirror. For example, when was the last time you cleaned out the exhaust fan? If it’s clogged up with dust, it’s less effective at venting the moisture created by steamy showers, which can lead to mold.This is also a good time to eliminate those hard water deposits that build up on your shower head and sink and tub faucets. Pro tip: White vinegar will take those right off! Finally, when was the last time you replaced your bath mat or your shower curtain liner? Spring cleaning is a great time to make sure none of your bathroom items are past their expiration dates.

Pantry — Most of us regularly clean out the fridge, but the pantry is also an important food storage area that needs occasional check-ins! Now is a good time to make sure all the food in your pantry is fresh by checking expiration dates. Don’t forget to check your spices and cooking oils as well!When was the last time you actually cleaned and disinfected your pantry? You’re storing food here, so make sure to occasionally wipe down those shelves with a food-safe cleaner.Finally, it’s time to reorganize for efficiency. Tidying expert Marie Kondo suggests organizing your possessions based entirely on how you use them, even if that violates common storage expectations. For example, if you always take your shoes off near the front door, then store your shoes near the front door — even if most people expect you to store them in your bedroom closet. By the same token, make sure the pantry items you use the most often are the most easily accessible.

Garage — Cleaning the garage can be a daunting task. Some people let their garage get so out of hand that they can’t even park their car in it! One way to make it feel more manageable is to break it down into sections and don’t expect yourself to get it all done in one day.Garages are often treated like the “junk drawer” of rooms: A place where you can throw anything that doesn’t have a home. To truly create a clean, organized space, you’ll need to ask yourself what actually belongs in the garage, versus what you put there because you didn’t know where else to put it. Creating space-efficient storage is essential in order to make sure your garage can fit both your car and the items you need to store. Shelving and pegboards are a great way to get items off of the floor. And remember, if you haven’t used it in a year, you might not actually need it.

Appliances — You can extend the lifespan of your appliances and keep them working well by taking good care of them! During your spring cleaning efforts, you probably already clean the oven, empty and wipe down the fridge, etc. But there are a few appliance upkeep tasks you might be skipping.If you want your washing machine to properly clean your clothes, make sure to clean your washing machine every once in a while! The same goes for your dishwasher. Cleaning your refrigerator coils will keep your fridge running efficiently and could prevent expensive repairs. If you’re not sure how to clean a certain appliance, or how often you should clean it, a simple “how to clean [appliance name]” search on Google will help you create a useful list.

Also, remember that even though spring cleaning is the popularly accepted time to deep clean your entire home, that doesn’t mean you have to do all of these things at once! If your spring cleaning list starts to get overwhelming, maybe it makes more sense for you to split annual tasks into seasonal to-do lists. Over time, you’ll learn what works best for you and your home!

Thanks to Sidney Stonecypher at Peoples Bank for this great information. If you have any mortgage questions, you can reach her at (360) 650-5365.

Need Some Reading Material? The latest mortgage rates are here!

Are you tired of reorganizing your pantry or closet for the fifth time this week?

You are probably thinking that you could have a bigger closet to fit all your clothes, then you wouldn’t have to get rid of anything? Or, how you could use a bigger pantry during times like these!

Take a look at today’s mortgage rates and how you could possibly benefit from buying, selling, or refinancing in the future! The rates are LOW.

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

5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time

5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

With all of the volatility in the stock market and uncertainty about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), some are concerned we may be headed for another housing crash like the one we experienced from 2006-2008. The feeling is understandable. Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at the real estate consulting firm Meyers Research, addressed this point in a recent interview:

“With people having PTSD from the last time, they’re still afraid of buying at the wrong time.”

There are many reasons, however, indicating this real estate market is nothing like 2008. Here are five visuals to show the dramatic differences.

1. Mortgage standards are nothing like they were back then.

5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

During the housing bubble, it was difficult NOT to get a mortgage. Today, it is tough to qualify. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association releases a Mortgage Credit Availability Index which is “a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.” The higher the index, the easier it is to get a mortgage. As shown below, during the housing bubble, the index skyrocketed. Currently, the index shows how getting a mortgage is even more difficult than it was before the bubble.

2. Prices are not soaring out of control.

5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

Below is a graph showing annual house appreciation over the past six years, compared to the six years leading up to the height of the housing bubble. Though price appreciation has been quite strong recently, it is nowhere near the rise in prices that preceded the crash.There’s a stark difference between these two periods of time. Normal appreciation is 3.6%, so while current appreciation is higher than the historic norm, it’s certainly not accelerating beyond control as it did in the early 2000s.

3. We don’t have a surplus of homes on the market. We have a shortage.

5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

The months’ supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale in 2007, and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory which is causing an acceleration in home values.

4. Houses became too expensive to buy.

5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, the wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Fourteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased and the mortgage rate is about 3.5%. That means the average family pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then. Here’s a graph showing that difference:

5. People are equity rich, not tapped out.

5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

In the run-up to the housing bubble, homeowners were using their homes as a personal ATM machine. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up, and they learned their lesson in the process. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over fifty percent of homes in the country having greater than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time. Here is a table comparing the equity withdrawal over the last three years compared to 2005, 2006, and 2007. Homeowners have cashed out over $500 billion dollars less than before:During the crash, home values began to fall, and sellers found themselves in a negative equity situation (where the amount of the mortgage they owned was greater than the value of their home). Some decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area. That can’t happen today.

Bottom Line

If you’re concerned we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, take a look at the charts and graphs above to help alleviate your fears.

March Pending Ratios

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 13th, the pending ratio in Bellingham was 51%. 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 48%

The Ferndale pending ratio was 44%

The Lynden pending ratio was 62%

The Sudden Valley pending ratio was 53%

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 Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

Lake Whatcom Waterfront Oasis! NEW PRICE

Dark Gray House Just Sold Postcard

Live your dream with 132′ of Lake Whatcom west-facing waterfront property.

Savor the quiet mornings on your enormous deck; stunning sunsets and starry nights on your secluded beach. Dock your boat and make that tough decision: lake or hot tub? Delight in your friends’ enjoyment of the lakeside guest house. Artfully landscaped fenced yard and a gazebo give privacy to remodeled 4 BR+office main house. Sport court, 3 car garage, and abundant storage allow for all of your toys. Welcome to Paradise!

Listed at just $1,725,000

Click here for the virtual tour.

Interested in learning more? Call us today at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

Buying a Home: Do You Know the Lingo?

Buying a Home: Do You Know the Lingo? [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Highlights:

  • Buying a home can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with the terms used throughout the process.
  • To point you in the right direction, here’s a list of some of the most common language you’ll hear along the way.
  • The best way to ensure your homebuying process is a positive one is to find a real estate professional who will guide you through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher.’
  • Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

Confidence Is the Key to Success for Young Homebuyers

Buying your first home can seem overwhelming. Thankfully, there’s a lot of great information out there to help you feel more confident as you learn about the process. For those in younger generations who aspire to buy, here are three things to consider sooner rather than later in your journey:

1. Understand What it Takes to Purchase a Home

Overall, Millennials make up the largest group of homebuyers in today’s real estate market, and Gen Z is not too far behind. A recent study shared by Freddie Mac shows, however, that Generation Z isn’t as confident in the homebuying process as Millennials. The best thing potential young buyers can do is understand what it takes to buy a home. Learn as much as you can about the mortgage processdown payment options, and the overall steps to take along the way.

2. Realize Your Opportunity to Build Wealth

Homeownership allows you the chance to put a small portion of the home’s value down when you buy, and then watch your appreciation grow on the full value of the home – not just on the down payment. It’s one of the best investments you can make, and a form of forced savings working in your favor over time. The added bonus? You get to live there, too.

3. Find Someone You Trust to Help You Through the Process

Having someone you trust to guide you through this process is invaluable. Finding a local real estate expert to help you navigate through the transaction and feel more confident as you make important decisions could be the best choice you make.For Millennials and Gen Z’ers thinking about buying, today’s historically low interest rates combined with the outlook for future home appreciation is a big win. This means whatever you buy today, you’ll be bragging about 10 years from now. You can feel confident about that!

Bottom Line

If you’re ready, buying your first home sooner rather than later is one of the best decisions you can make. But there are many things to consider before taking that step, so let’s work together to help you confidently navigate the full journey.

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 Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com