4 Questions To Ask Yourself When Selling a House This Year

Thinking of selling? Ask yourself these four questions before you make a move. Let’s connect to get you the answers you need to make the best decision for your family this year. Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

2020 Homebuying Checklist

2020 Homebuying Checklist | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • If you’re thinking of buying a home, plan ahead and stay on the right track, starting with pre-approval.
  • Being proactive about the homebuying process will help set you up for success in each step.
  • Make sure to work with a trusted real estate professional along the way, to help guide you through the homebuying steps specific to your area. Have any questions? Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

Wondering What The Current Mortgage Rates Are?

Thinking of buying, selling, or refinancing?  The mortgage rates are a must know! Interest rates are the rates at which money can be borrowed for a set period of time. The higher the rate, the more money a borrower must pay in the form of interest on the loan. When mortgage rates are lower, this makes the purchasing of a home more affordable. Although the cost of mortgages is closely tied to the interest rate, the price at which homes are sold does not always appear in direct correlation.

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!



How Buyers Can Win By Downsizing in 2020

How Buyers Can Win By Downsizing in 2020 | MyKCM

Home values have been increasing for 93 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors. If you’re a homeowner, particularly one looking to downsize your living space, that’s great news, as you’ve likely built significant equity in your home.

Here’s some more good news: mortgage rates are expected to remain low throughout 2020 at an average of 3.8% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

The combination of leveraging your growing equity and capitalizing on low rates could make a big difference in your housing plans this year.

How to Use Your Home Equity

For move-up buyers, the typical pattern for building financial stability and wealth through homeownership works this way: you buy a house and gain equity over several years of mortgage payments and price appreciation. You then take that equity from the sale of your house to make a down payment on your next home and repeat the process.

For homeowners ready to downsize, home equity can work in a slightly different way. What you choose to do depends in part upon your goals.

According to HousingWire.com, for some, the desire to downsize may be related to retirement plans or children aging out of the home. Others may be choosing to live in a smaller home to save money or simplify their lifestyle in a space that’s easier to clean and declutter. The reasons can vary greatly and by generation.

Those who choose to put their equity toward a new home have the opportunity to make a substantial down payment or maybe even to buy their next home in cash. This is incredibly valuable if your goal is to have a minimal mortgage payment or none at all.

A local real estate professional can help you evaluate your equity and how to use it wisely. If you’re planning to downsize, keep in mind that home prices are anticipated to continue rising in 2020, which could influence your choices.

The Impact of Low Mortgage Rates

Low mortgage rates can offset price hikes, so locking in while rates are low will be key. For many downsizing homeowners, a loan with a shorter term is ideal, so the balance can be reduced more quickly.

Interest rates on 10, 15, and 20-year loans are lower than the rates on a 30-year fixed-rate loan. If you’re downsizing your housing costs, you may prefer a shorter-term loan to pay off your home faster. This way, you can save thousands in interest payments over time.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning a transition into a smaller home, the twin trends of low mortgage rates and rising home equity can kickstart or boost your plans, especially if you’re anticipating retirement soon or just want to live in a smaller home that’s easier to maintain. Let’s get together today to explore your options. Give The Johnson Team a call at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

2020 Bellingham & Whatcom County Real Estate Report and Forecast

The intensity of our real estate market shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.  In short, there are too many buyers chasing too few listings.

To break this statement down statistically, consider the following as it applies to the Bellingham residential real estate market as of Jan 15th 2020:

-There are currently a total of 80 residential listings in Bellingham listed for sale. Twelve of them have been on the market 10 days or less.  The average days on market for the total of 80 homes is 126 days.

-There are currently 81 pending Bellingham listings of which 14 pended within 10 days of going on the market.

-A total of 88 Bellingham homes sold from 12.01.2019 to 1.17.2020.

-46 homes sold in Bellingham within the past 30 days.

-Of these 46 homes, 16 of them pended within 10 days of being listed for sale. Of the 16 homes, 11 sold in excess of the list price.

-86 Bellingham homes sold during the same period last year.

-Peoples Bank, 1 year ago, posted a 30 year loan with terms of 5% down and an interest rate of 4.375%. Their most current rate sheet for the same loan advertises a rate of 3.625%.

So the take away is this:Buyers have to be prepared to move quickly, have their financing secured, consider writing offers with fewer contingencies & most importantly, do not give up!!

Sellers need to understand that even though it is clearly is a seller’s market, the best homes sell quickly as evidenced by the number of homes that sold within the 1st 10 days of going on the market. If a home is too aggressively priced or is in need of touch up, the listing will more than likely languish on the market as evidenced by those homes currently listed for sale with an average days on market of 126 days.

These statistics are only for the Bellingham residential market.  If you have interest in a particular neighborhood within Bellingham or another area within Whatcom County, let us know.  We’d be happy to help you in any way that we can.

The National Association of Realtors recently put out their 2019 Annual Housing Market Report.  Let us know if you’d care to receive a copy of it.  If so, we send it off to you ASAP.

If you have specific questions on real estate in your neighborhood, just give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to get you a report!

See What The Johnson Team Has Been Up To…

Team Talk: January 2020

Things are finally getting back to normal at the Johnson residence. 

All of the Christmas decorations are down, the Holiday left overs are gone, and Lylene & I are both getting back to our somewhat regular schedule.

This Christmas, we were able to spend the better part of December & the first few days of the New Year with our boys, Chandler & Graham.

I have to say that things change dramatically the moment either one of them shows up.  It’s instant chaos – multiple trips to the grocery store are made filling our cart with items that are full of things 70 year olds should never eat, one’s regular sleep patterns go out the window and of course your 75 year old body tries to keep up with the “Kids”– good thing Christmas only comes once a year.

Chandler is still teaching at a University in Oslo, Norway & is not able to get many of the things we just take for granted here in the States.  That said, multiple packages begin to show up at our doorstep containing things for he & Sophie to take back to Norway with them – pizza sauce, smoked fish, after shave, REA & Amazon boxes of every size & shape along with building supplies for a new shower enclosure they will be building once back in Oslo – it all shows up on our doorstep.

Graham, on the other hand is a minimalist.  If you can’t fit it into a camper van or backpack, it’s not worth owning is his attitude. It leaves me with the dilemma of trying to figure out what to do with the items he does not want to part with but prefers that we store them in our house rather than his apartment in Boise.  If there are any of you out there that have a suggestion as to how to solve that problem, I’d appreciate knowing about it.

Anyway, once we are all under the same roof it’s about baking and cooking from our “Family Cookbook,” recipes that have not seen the light of day for a very long time.  It’s about breaking out  and dusting off the card game “Mille Bornes” which we have had for almost 50 years. It’s about the re-telling of the family stories which are more embellished with every telling & unfortunately usually have me as the featured character. It’s about going through the family photo albums & remembering those who have gone before us. It’s about laughing, crying, and loving.  It’s about remembering who we are, where we have been & how we got here.

As always, in the end Lylene & I walk them out to the street, give them a hug with a tear in our eye and say goodbye, waiting for the next time we are able to be together again.

From our family to yours, Lylene & I hope you & yours had a wonderful holiday. We hope you were able to spend it with those who are most important to you!!

Bredeson Household

The Bredeson Family is ready for the New Year! In December, Lauren turned 16! The fast pitch team that she plays for, the “Whatcom Wolverines“ –will make their first trip of the year in January . They are off to Las Vegas – Should be a great trip for all the girls and parents. She is driving now and seems to be handling the responsibility of school and fast pitch all at the same time- we as her parents are very proud.

Mike and Kim have been busy as well. -The real estate market is quite good so we are running like crazy and helping lots of folks. Plus the boat is ready and in the water for a few family trips to the San Juan Islands as the salmon season is just around the corner.

The Morgan Household

The Morgan Family has had a great winter. They enjoyed an after Christmas hike into Fawn’s parent’s cabin in Index, Washington. The cabin is located off the power grid and without cell service, so it was nice for them to escape technology for a few days. They hiked, went sledding, and spent time together as a family.

McKenna continues to do well in her racing, She had an incredible winter racing season for the Flat Track Nationals in Monroe. She won the season championship for her class and brought home the win in 11 of the 12 races she competed in there this year. She’s also playing basketball for the 4th Grade Meridian Trojan Team. It’s fun to see her competing in a team sport and working together with other girls. Not something she gets to do a lot of on the race track.

Well, enough about us, let’s hear about you! What have you and your family been up to? Shoot us an email or give us a call to catch up.

Reel Estate Fishing Report

The upcoming Blackmouth salmon fishing starts February 1st.

These are the feeder Chinook Salmon and in our opinion, the best eating of all salmon that come out of the Puget Sound. With open season for reports in Washington State, we look just across the border to Canada. Canada is seeing a very good season with the average fish between 7-10 pounds. There have been reports of 15 pounders showing up on lines as well, so they are out there! Reports are that these have been caught on flashers and smaller spoons.

If you need a current report after the opener, just reach out! We will pass on any information we might have. There are several fishing derbies in the 1st month of the season, so we should have a great feel on the hardware used.

Happy Fishing!

9 Can Taco Soup from the kitchen of Fawn Morgan

Looking for an easy weeknight recipe that will keep you warm in this cold weather? Take a look at one of the family favorites from the Morgan household. This tasty taco soup will warm you up and also makes for great leftovers! If you decide to make it, let us know how you like it!

1 lb ground meat of choice

1 can black beans

1 can dark red kidney beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can white beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can sweet corn

1 can petite diced tomatoes

2 cans chicken broth

1 packet taco seasoning

1 packet dry ranch seasoning

Brown and drain meat in large soup pot. Then add all canned items, do not drain use all liquid from cans. Stir ingredients while heating at medium heat. Once warmed add taco seasoning packet and ranch seasoning. Simmer on low approx 30 min before serving.

Depending on taste you can add shredded cheese or tortilla chips to each bowl before serving.

Enjoy!


The 2 Surprising Things Homebuyers Really Want

The 2 Surprising Things Homebuyers Really Want | MyKCM

In a market where current inventory is low, it’s normal to think buyers might be willing to give up a few desirable features in their home search in order to make finding a house a little easier. Don’t be fooled, though – there’s still an interest in the market for some key upgrades. Here’s a look at the two surprising things buyers seem to be searching for in today’s market, and how they’re impacting new home builds.

Homebuyers Are Not Giving Up Their Garages

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently released an article showing the percentage of new single-family homes completed in 2018. The data reveals,

  • 64% of new homes offer a 2-car garage
  • 21% have a garage large enough to hold 3 or more cars
  • 7% have a 1-car garage
  • 7% do not include a garage or carport
  • 1% have a carport
The 2 Surprising Things Homebuyers Really Want | MyKCM

The following map represents this breakdown by region:Evidently, a garage is something homebuyers are looking for in their searches, but that’s not all.

Homebuyers Are Not Giving Up Their Patios

Patios are on the radar for buyers as well. Community areas are often common amenities in new neighborhoods, but as it turns out, private outdoor spaces are quite desirable too. NAHB also found that,

“Of the roughly 876,000 single-family homes started in 2018, 59.4% came with patios…This is the highest the number has been since NAHB began tracking the series in 2005.”

The 2 Surprising Things Homebuyers Really Want | MyKCM

As shown in the graph below, the number of new homes built with patios has been increasing for the past 9 years. Clearly, they’re a desirable feature for new homeowners too.

Bottom Line

Homebuyers are looking for garage space and outdoor patio living. If you’re a homeowner thinking of selling a house with these amenities, it appears buyers are willing to spring for those key features. Let’s get together today to determine the current value and demand for your home. Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020

Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020 | MyKCM

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. led and inspired a powerful movement with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Through his passion and determination, he sparked interest, ambition, and courage in his audience. Today, reflecting on his message encourages many of us to think about our own dreams, goals, beliefs, and aspirations. For many Americans, one of those common goals is owning a home: a piece of land, a roof over our heads, and a place where our families can grow and flourish.

If you’re dreaming of buying a home this year, the best way to start the process is to connect with a Real Estate professional to understand what goes into buying a home. Once you have that covered, then you can answer the questions below to make the best decision for you and your family.

1. How Can I Better Understand the Process, and How Much Can I Afford?

The process of buying a home is not one to enter into lightly. You need to decide on key things like how long you plan on living in an area, school districts you prefer, what kind of commute works for you, and how much you can afford to spend.

Keep in mind, before you start the process to purchase a home, you’ll also need to apply for a mortgage. Lenders will evaluate several factors connected to your financial track record, one of which is your credit history. They’ll want to see how well you’ve been able to minimize past debts, so make sure you’ve been paying your student loans, credit cards, and car loans on time. Most agents have loan officers they trust that they can refer you to.

According to ConsumerReports.org,

Financial planners recommend limiting the amount you spend on housing to 25 percent of your monthly budget.”

2. How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment?

In addition to knowing how much you can afford on a monthly mortgage payment, understanding how much you’ll need for a down payment is another critical step. Thankfully, there are many different options and resources in the market to potentially reduce the amount you may think you need to put down up front.

If you’re concerned about saving for a down payment, start small and be consistent. A little bit each month goes a long way. Jumpstart your savings by automatically adding a portion of your monthly paycheck into a separate savings account or house fund. AmericaSaves.org says,

“Over time, these automatic deposits add up. For example, $50 a month accumulates to $600 a year and $3,000 after five years, plus interest that has compounded.”

Before you know it, you’ll have enough for a down payment if you’re disciplined and thoughtful about your process.

3. Saving Takes Time: Practice Living on a Budget

As tempting as it is to settle in each morning with a fancy cup of coffee from your favorite local shop, putting that daily spend toward your down payment will help accelerate your path to homeownership. It’s the little things that count, so start trying to live on a slightly tighter budget if you aren’t doing so already. A budget will allow you to save more for your down payment and help you pay down other debts to improve your credit score. A survey of Millennial spending shows,

“70 percent of would-be first-time homebuyers will cut spending on spa days, shopping and going to the movies in exchange for purchasing a home within the next year.”

While you don’t need to cut all of the fun out of your current lifestyle, making smarter choices and limiting your spending in areas where you can slim down will make a big difference.

Bottom Line

If homeownership is on your dream list this year, take a good look at what you can prioritize to help you get there. Let’s get together today to discuss the best steps you can take to start the process. Give The Johnson Team a call at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.