The Cost Across Time

The Cost Across Time [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • With interest rates still around 4.5%, now is a great time to look back at where rates have been over the last 40 years.
  • Rates are projected to climb to 5.0% by this time next year according to Freddie Mac.
  • The impact your interest rate makes on your monthly mortgage cost is significant!
  • Lock in a low rate now while you can!

Buying a House This Year? This Should Be Your 1st Step!

Buying a House This Year? This Should Be Your 1st Step! | MyKCM

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show that you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are not in an incredibly competitive market, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you through this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  • Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  • Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  • Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  • Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential homebuyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores necessary to qualify for a mortgage. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so today.

Whatcom County Current Pending Ratios

Bellingham HomesIf you have been following the local real estate market you know it’s active and inventory is low. If you are thinking of selling now is the time!

The 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, January 11th, the pending ratio in Bellingham was 40%. 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 18%

The Ferndale pending ratio was 36%

The Lynden pending ratio was 29%

The Sudden Valley pending ratio was 35%

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

Cascade Motessori Middle School- Non-Profit Truck User of the Quarter!

Your referrals let us provide help to Whatcom County non-profit organizations who benefit our community. Please think of us when a friend or relative talks about moving – and tell your favorite non-profit to give us a call when they need a truck!

CMMS logo

Local Non Profit Moving Truck User of the Quarter is Cascades Montessori Middle School

CMMS is a community that provides adolescents with a loving, learning, and safe Montessori environment. At CMMS, adolescents are allowed to explore and develop their moral, intellectual, emotional, physical and social selves, as well as cultivate the courage and skills necessary to  actively participate in their world.

Learn more at


Using the Johnson Team moving truck, the kids at Cascades Montessori Middle School were able to collect enough items with it to make over $750 for their school through their fundraiser working with Value Village.

Thank you so much Arnie & Kelly Wong for sending in these great photos!

We are so happy to be able to help our community out in this way.



The Johnson Team Moving Truck is available FREE of charge to community organizations, non-profits and our clients. Want to learn more? Visit our website!

How Much Has Your Home Increased in Value?

During 2018, home values increased nationally by over 5%! If you are planning on selling your home in 2019 you may be pleasantly surprised by home much your home has appreciated! Every market is different. Let’s get together if you are curious just how much your home has gone up in value!

The State of the Bellingham Real Estate Market


The following details breakdown the figures from the chart above.  If you look at the 74 homes sold in the past 30 days, exactly half sold below the list price.  Of the remaining sales, 18 sold at the list price & 17 sold above the list price.   Of those selling for greater than the list price,

  • 5 sold at up to $2000 over the list price,
  • 4 sold between $2001 & $5000 over the list price
  • 2 sold between $5001 & $10,000 over the list price
  • 6 sold in excess of $10,000 over the list price

So the take away is this:

  • Inventory continues to remain low with no end in sight
  • Interest rates, while tipping the scales in Dec @ 5.249% for a 30 year fixed with 5% down are today 4.957% for the same loan
  • There is still competition among buyers as evidenced by the breakdown in the above sales, although it appears buyers are not willing to pay as much over list price as they have previously.
  • Moving into 2019, interest rates and inventory will determine where prices are headed.
  • Based on the number of people coming through my open houses & the number of buyers from out of area we will continue to see demand out stripping supply with prices continuing to increase, but at a slower rate

Certainly, if you or your friends have questions about the market in general or about a specific property, do not hesitate to give us a call.  We’d be happy to help any way that we can. We wish you the best in 2019!!

Team Talk- From Our Home to Yours!

While it all seems to be a bit of a blur now, 2018 started off with Lylene insisting I have my eyes checked. For some reason she felt that rather than me asking her what those freeway signs said, that I should be able to read them myself. If I couldn’t, then something must be wrong. As it turned out, as usual, she was right. There was hardly a chart in the Optometrist’s office that I could even see, much less read. If I had to take an eye exam to qualify for my driver’s license, I guarantee you I would have been walking home that day! The Optometrist told me not only did I have cataracts over both eyes, but also a pterygium growth over the right eye. Now, I have to tell you that I am a bit of a wuss when it comes to needles & such, so the idea of eye surgery was almost beyond the pale for me. Anyway, with Lylene holding my hand the entire way (almost 10 months) and with the skillful hand of my Optometrist, the cataracts & pterygium were all successfully removed.  My vision improved from 20/70 to 20/20 in one eye & 20/25 in the other.


We managed to get both of the kids home for Thanksgiving, which with their work schedules is no small event.  At any given time Chandler is somewhere between Oslo, Norway & any point on the globe, & Graham will email with a photo of downtown Dubai, Munich, Germany or wherever. To get them under the same roof for a few days in November was really special. We broke out our Family Cook Book which contains special recipes from family members & friends that in some cases date back several generations.  Anyway, we sorted through them & chose those that we could remember growing up with for the meal of the day.  So along with food, drink, laughter & memories we settled in.Lylene Graham Rib Roast

As the year drew a close, I wish could tell you that I was up at 12:00 midnight on Dec 31st helping the rest of you usher in the New Year… but truth be told I was sound asleep leaving the job to all of you.  Upon waking on the 1st of January, I was happy to see that you had apparently done an excellent job as the world all seemed to be in order, or at least in no worse order than it had been in the night before. I do have to say I didn’t see many of you on the Lake Padden Trail that morning.  I don’t mean to sound above it all but one of my New Year’s resolutions was to quit receiving Fitbit notices that “it’s time to start moving”,  so I started the year early in the morning walking around the Lake.  The intention, of course, is to log on the appropriate number of steps per day so that I don’t have to start wearing those senior citizen pants with the hidden elastic bands in the waist. If the next time you see me, I’m wearing a pair of suspenders, you’ll know that my New Year’s resolution went by the wayside.


Mike has been busy with work and family. Kim is helping out in the office and  also being the driver for Lauren, but not for long. Lauren turned 15 in December and has her eyes set on her driving permit. Lauren driving will free up Kim’s schedule  and also get Lauren some independence. As you may recall, Lauren loves fast pitch. Practice has started for the 2019 season, with practices 2 nights a week through August. Typically, we are out of town about 7-9 times for tournaments. This is a travel team and she can’t get enough of the action the sport provides. In addition, the Ferndale High School team is starting practice for the spring. What a year this is going to be for Lauren in sports. Both Mike and Kim are excited to see how she progresses this season!

Fastpitch pic

Jr Sprint carFawn and her family are staying just as busy as always. McKenna is wrapping up her go kart racing season down in Monroe. She is on a winning streak right now, having won the past 4 races down there with a season championship in her sights! They have about a two month break from racing before starting back up in April with her Junior Sprint at Deming Speedway, where she races every Friday night April to September.  McKenna is also playing basketball and really enjoying it as well. Between racing and basketball games and practices, we are not sure when they all sleep!

Well, enough about us! Tell us about what you and your family have been up to. Give us a call or send us an email. We would love to chat up and chat or grab some coffee!

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs From the Kitchen of Fawn Morgan

This time of year, crock pot dinners are not only super easy when you have a busy schedule, but delicious!

Serve with a fresh salad or your favorite dinner sides and you have a simple dinner that everyone will enjoy.

Honey Garlic Chicken thighs (1)


Mike’s “Reel Estate” Fishing Report for Marine Area 7

Puget Sound Fishing Report Marine Area 7 has opened for the winter Chinook season.

This season is slated to run through April in the regulations but will close early as the quota will be caught. New Year’s day saw Mike , Lance and John out in the islands. It was really a surprisingly slow day. 4 hookups and only a nice Native Chinook to the boat. But the word is that other areas produced better than Pt Migley off Lummi Island (we were there). The reports were plenty of fish at Pt Thompson as well as Eagle Point and Obstruction. I guess we zigged when we should have zagged. Spoons have been most productive, just like most years on this opener. A little orange on the spoon seems to be the ticket and keep the bait right on the deck.

Need a current report?

Give the Johnson Team Fishing Hotline a call at 360-303-2734 we are happy to help.

Lance Fish

Credit Card Fraud Is On The Rise

29330911_sFirst, the bad news: If you use a credit card, there’s no way to fully protect yourself from credit card fraud. Even worse, fraud has been increasing: You’re more likely to find fraudulent charges on your credit card statement today than you were just a few years ago.

The good news is, there are still steps you can take to significantly reduce your risk, and to protect yourself from damages if your credit card should be compromised. Here are a few best practices to keep your data and your money as safe as possible.

Stay on top of your credit accounts. It’s hard to notice fraudulent transactions when you aren’t looking at your transactions! It’s smart to review your purchases daily to make sure they match up with all your authorized card uses. If you do notice something fishy, call your credit card issuer right away.

Use credit, not debit. Since debit cards pull straight from your accounts, theft could drain an account enough to put you at risk of checks bouncing and automatic transfers failing. Plus, you have a much smaller window during which you can report fraud on a debit card and not be liable for some of the money.

Take advantage of your card issuer’s fraud alert system. Most card issuers and financial institutions have built-in fraud alerts that you can sign up for. This allows them to contact you when certain suspicious activity occurs on your account, allowing you to identify fraud quickly.

Make mobile payments more secure. When shopping online, it’s best to use payments methods that use biometric authorization (like a fingerprint or face ID) to add an extra level of security to your purchases.

If you use a credit card, you’ll probably have to deal with credit card fraud someday. But the more cautious you are, the less of a target you are. If you can implement these best practices, you’ll be a lot less likely to wake up to someone using your credit card to order something on Amazon!

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