New Retailers Are Calling the Granary Building Home!

It’s just been announced the Bellingham’s Granary building will be home to several new tenants!

According to the Bellingham Herald, ” Holly Bevan-Bumford has announced plans to open a Good To Go Meat Pies eatery in the building, which is in Bellingham’s Waterfront District near Waypoint Park. She’s planning to have the place ready by mid-June, just in time for summer park-goers.

A new meadery called Artizem also is making plans to lease space on the ground floor and basement.”

If you have questions about other Bellingham happenings don’t hesitate to give the Johnson Team Real Estate a call today at 360.303.2734, we would love to fill you in!

Selling Your House: Here’s Why You Need A Pro In Your Corner!

Selling Your House: Here’s Why You Need A Pro In Your Corner! | MyKCM

With home prices on the rise and buyer demand still strong, some sellers may be tempted to try to sell their homes on their own rather than using the services of a real estate professional.

Real estate agents are trained and experienced in negotiation while, in most cases, the seller is not. Sellers must realize that their ability to negotiate will determine whether or not they get the best deal for themselves and their families.

Here is a list of just some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate if they decide to For Sale by Owner (FSBO):

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interests of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The termite company, if there are challenges
  • The buyer’s lender, if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value
  • The title company, if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
  • The town or municipality, if you need to get the CO permits mentioned above
  • The buyer’s buyer, in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling

Bottom Line

The percentage of sellers who have hired real estate agents to sell their homes has increased steadily over the last 20 years. Let’s get together to discuss all that we can do to make the process of selling your house easier for you.

Today’s Mortgage Rates Determine Affordability

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.

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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!

Buying A Vacation Property? Now Is A Good Time!

Buying A Vacation Property? Now Is A Good Time! | MyKCM

Every year around this time, many homeowners begin the process of preparing their homes in case of extreme winter weather. Some others skip winter all together by escaping to their vacation homes in a warmer climate.

For those homeowners staying at their first residence, AccuWeather warns:

“The late-week cold shot should fade next week, but this is a warning shot for winter’s return late in the month and early February.”

Given this, it’s time to go and stock up on winter weather supplies! However, if you’re tired of shoveling snow and dealing with the cold weather, maybe it’s time to consider obtaining a vacation home!

According to the Investment & Vacation Home Buyers 2018 Report by NAR:

72% of vacation property owners and 71% of investment property owners believe now is a good time to buy.”

It’s time to take advantage of the equity in your home. As the latest Equity Report from ATTOM Data Solutions stated:

“Nearly 14.5 million U.S. properties (are) equity rich — where the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value — up by more than 433,000 from a year ago to a new high as far back as data is available, Q4 2013.

The 14.5 million equity rich properties in Q3 2018 represented 25.7 percent of all properties with a mortgage.”

This means that over a quarter of Americans who have a mortgage would be able to use some of their home equity to make a significant down payment toward a vacation home, and many are doing just that! According to the same report by NAR:

“33% of vacation buyers purchased in a beach area, 21% purchased on a lakefront, and 15% purchased a vacation home in the country.”

Many homeowners who are close to retirement will use some of their equity to purchase vacation homes, which may eventually become their permanent homes post-retirement!

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by investing in a vacation home, let’s get together to discuss your options! Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

It’s Wassail Time! Our Favorite Holiday Tradition

Johnson Team Holiday TraditionsHope you and your family are enjoying the holiday season and all that it brings!

No matter what holiday you embrace and choose to celebrate, there is always some sort of tradition that symbolizes the holiday season to you. For The Johnson Team, that holiday tradition is Lylene making her famous “Wassail.” Wassail is a wonderful holiday drink that is a combination of fruit juices and spices that will keep your home smelling like the holidays and provide a cup of cheer for all ages. We all enjoy the incredible smell and holiday memories we hold dear.

If you would like to try making Wassail for yourself or your next holiday party follow the recipe below:

  • 1 can frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1/2 can orange/pineapple juice concentrate
  • 3 1/2 cans water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 10-12 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

Make in a pot on the stove, a crock pot, or a coffee maker used solely for wassail.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays from The Johnson Team!

Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve Hiking

We have some pretty awesome hiking locations in Whatcom County. If you love beautiful scenery, the addition of 4 miles of new trails in the Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve will definitely be something you will want to check out! These trailheads are the most recent trails built for Whatcom county parkland, and are accessed adjacent to Sudden Valley. The new trails span 8,844 acres on both sides of Lake Whatcom. The land used for the trails was transferred from the state to Whatcom County in 2014. Currently, all new trails are open for use, with the exception of Cougar Ridge Trail, as crews are working on this trails completion.

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The new trails include:

Rufus Creek Trail
Starting at the Lookout Mountain Trailhead, Rufus Creek Trail gently climbs for 4.3 miles. It goes through a variety of forest types, streams, wetlands, and has amazing views of sandstone cliffs.

Waterfall Trail
A stunning waterfall is accessed by a short loop trail near the junction of Rufus Creek Trail and the LM-2000 Road.

Baneberry Trail
This steep trail makes a large loop out of Rufus Creek Trail. Bikes travel uphill only on this trail.

Leila June Trail
This is a hiker only trail and is part of the original Lookout Mountain Loop. There are plenty of options for shorter or longer hikes with this trail!

Cougar Ridge Trail
Cougar Ridge Trail is a descending only mountain bike trail, and is more difficult with optional harder sections. This trail contains technical terrain including drops, steep sections, cliff edges, and sharp corners. Currently closed but is nearing completion.

With the new routes, there are currently over 8 miles of new trails. These new trailheads will eventually total about 98 miles when finished.  The network of larger and smaller trails allows you to decide how long (or short) of a hike you would like to take!

Parking is free, and there is a restroom at the trailhead. Dogs are allowed, as long as they are on a leash. The WTA also provides bus service to the trailhead on the 512 line.

How to get there:

The trailhead access point is at 2537 Lake Louise Road. The Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve trails connect to the mountain bike trails on Galbraith Mountain via 4000 Road. Get out there and do some exploring in our own back yard!!

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Wage Increases Make Home Buying More Affordable

Wage Increases Make Home Buying More Affordable | MyKCM

Everyone knows that housing affordability has been negatively impacted by rising prices and increasing mortgage rates, but there is another piece to the affordability equation – wages.

How much a family earns obviously impacts how easy or difficult it is for them to afford to own a home. Because of an improving economy, wages are finally beginning to increase – and that dramatically affects home affordability.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) September 2018 Housing Affordability Index,wages have increased in every region of the country:

Wage Increases Make Home Buying More Affordable | MyKCM

After applying current salaries, home prices, and mortgage rates to their Home Affordability Index equation, the index, though still lower than this time last year (160.1 to 146.7), increased over the last month (141.2 to 146.7). For the complete methodology used by NAR, click here.

The percentage of income needed to own a home has also decreased each of the last three months. It currently sits at 17% which is substantially lower than historic numbers.

Wage Increases Make Home Buying More Affordable | MyKCM

Bottom Line

If you are a first-time buyer or a move-up buyer who believes that purchasing a home is not within your budget, let’s get together to determine if that is still true.

Where are Home Values Headed over the Next Few Years?

Where are Home Values Headed over the Next Few Years? | MyKCM

There are many questions about where home prices will be next year as well as where they may be headed over the next several years to come. We have gathered the most reliable sources to help answer these questions:

The Home Price Expectation Survey – A survey of over 100 market analysts, real estate experts, and economists conducted by Pulsenomics each quarter.

Zelman & Associates – The firm leverages unparalleled housing market expertise, extensive surveys of industry executives, and rigorous financial analysis to deliver proprietary research and advice to leading global institutional investors and senior-level company executives.

Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) – As the leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, the MBA enables members to successfully deliver fair, sustainable, and responsible real estate financing within ever-changing business environments.

Freddie Mac – An organization whose mission is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market in all economic conditions extending to all communities from coast to coast.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) – The largest association of real estate professionals in the world.

Fannie Mae – A leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, providing access to affordable mortgage financing in all markets always.

Here are their projections of prices going forward:

Where are Home Values Headed over the Next Few Years? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Every source sees home prices continuing to appreciate – just at lower percentages as we move through the next several years.  Have questions? Call us today at 1-888-713-3056!

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019?

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019? | MyKCM

The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment; the higher the rate, the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to know where rates are headed when deciding to start your home search.

Below is a chart created using Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic & Housing Marketing Outlook. As you can see, interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next year.

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019? | MyKCM

How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?

Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated 6.2% from this time last year and are predicted to be 5.1% higher next year.

If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become a reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next homes.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth, so don’t wait until next year! Let’s get together to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home now.

Is Housing Affordable?

As home prices continue to rise due to a lack of inventory, many people are becoming more concerned about housing affordability. Taking a look at NAR’s Housing Affordability Index puts that concern to rest. Let’s get together to go over your specific market and determine whether or not you are ready to buy today!

Here’s a great video detailing the facts and the subject.

Have questions on the local Bellingham and Whatcom County Real Estate Market?

Contact us today at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com to learn more!