Are We Feeling the Shockwaves of Seattle’s Market?

The headline on the front page of The Seattle Times this morning is “Home Prices Jump in South Seattle”.  The article goes on to say the City’s median house price is now nearly $820,000. We feel the shock waves of the Seattle market here in Whatcom County as more Seattleites search up & down the I-5 corridor to find an affordable home.

More often than not, one hears “how can local folks afford to buy a home here”? Many times the buyers are people displaced by the high prices of the Seattle market & searching out a place for their family. Terms we are hearing now include “Pressure Cooker Market”, “Surging Prices”, “Instant Response Market” rather than a “Quick Action Market”.  No matter what terms you prefer to use, know that our local real estate market will continue to rise, inventory will be in short supply & while interest rates will continue to rise, it’s doubtful to me that it will do much to slow things down.

Here’s a great visual on the number of homes available overtime:

April 2018 Snap Shot

If you or your friends or family have questions about the market, Mike & I would be more than  happy to help you make some sense out of it.  Give us a call at 360 303 2734.

 

Spring is Here! Is your lawn ready?

Hand LawnSpring is officially here! Even though the sun is not shining today, warmer and brighter days are ahead.

Now is the time to attend to our lawns and get ahead of the curve to achieve a vibrant and healthy turf! Winter can change soil pH, compact the soil and create hospitable environments for weeds and disease.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

 

1. Give your yard a good raking now. This helps with thatch build up and leaf removal left over from last season. This will remove any dead grass blades and give you a fresh start. Also, if you find any “matted patches” from winter, a light raking will help you to avoid a disease called “snow mold”. It’s best to start this step after all the snow is gone for the season… Watch for uneven areas. Low spots cause poor drainage and high spots can get scalped by the lawn mower. A shovel can help you even out the ground…cut back raised areas and fill in the depressed ones. For very large lawns, you can rent a de-thatcher.

 

2. Check for compaction. Compaction happens when there is high foot traffic. Grass can’t take root when there is compaction and weeds can flourish. Moss can signify compaction (among other things). The remedy is lawn aeration. Aeration is best performed in late Spring, in our area of the country. How do you know if your lawn is compacted? Try this trick: stick a garden fork into the ground. If the tines fail to penetrate 2 inches (5.08 centimeters), your soil is compacted and should be loosened with an aerator designed to remove small plugs of soil from your lawn.

 

3. Moss also signals acidity. Grass likes it neutral, so lime is a good idea to help this situation, although it’s a slow fix. ONLY lime if there is truly an acidity issue, otherwise, you can go backwards as your lawn may become alkaline, which is not helpful either. Consider having your lawn tested to identify its condition. Also, consider an iron application which is usually in spray form. Within days, the turf should respond to the iron applications and turn darker green in color.

 

4. You may need to overseed if you have dog spots, heavy traffic or neglect *(bare, brown spots). A slow release nitrogen fertilizer should be applied while overseeding. Five weeks later, after the grass germinates, apply a quick release nitrogen fertilizer.

 

Special thanks to our friends at Corion Landscape Management for the great article. If you need professional help with getting our lawn ready for spring, Corion Landscape Management is here to help. Corion offers exceptional landscaping installation and maintenance services for Bellingham, Ferndale, Mt. Vernon, Burilington and all of Whatcom, Skagit and Island Counties.

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!

Let it Snow! Winter Driving Tips

SnowDrivingIt’s officially here!  Snow is currently lightly falling at the office with more expected throughout the day. The tips below are courtesy of AAA.

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Stay warm and safe!

Burrrrrrr! How to Weather The Winter in an Older Home

Thermometer

Burrrrrrrrrr! It’s cold outside today in Bellingham and around Western Washington!

Many Bellingham and Whatcom County were homes built  in the early 1900 and even late 1800’s. Weathering the cold and dark winter months is a challenge for anyone, but can be especially difficult if you live in an older home. Older homes carry a lot of appeal but older homes also come with problems and a lot of them are brought to light in cold winters. These are common issues that should be addressed and corrected so that your focus is on friends, family and holidays, and not with home repairs.

Many older homes come with beautiful glass work but unfortunately, these drafty, single-pane windows allow heat to escape, wasting energy and money. Replacement windows can be expensive but they are often the most effective way to increase energy efficiency and comfort.

Insulation overall can be a problem in older homes, and inadequate insulation should be supplemented with additional insulation, particularly in attics. In order to ascertain how much insulation you need, check with local sources to determine if minimum insulation ratings (R-values) are required in your area for new homes and then meet or exceed those levels in your older home if you can.

Outdated water pipes can cause huge problems if cold temperatures cause them to freeze or burst. Older pipes made of galvanized steel, iron, or lead may need to be replaced if they are not in good condition. Good replacement options include copper or CPVC.
Early sunsets can make the winter seem dreary and long, so simple steps to brighten the interior of your home can go a long way to lifting those winter blues. Add bright color to any room with pillow covers, flowers, or indoor plants. Likewise, giving a small space like a powder or laundry room a fresh coat of paint in a cheerful color can help brighten an indoor space without becoming a major project. If you’ve got a green thumb, you can also take this time to plan out your spring garden, reminding yourself of sunnier, longer days to come.

Thanks you to Jefferson Livingston with Pillar to Post Home Inspections for sharing this great information with us!  Stay warm everyone!

New Pending Ratios!

Homes by EmailThe 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, February 2nd, the pending ratio in Bellingham was 50%. 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 42%

The Ferndale pending ratio was 32%

The Lynden pending ratio was 42%

The Sudden Valley pending ratio was 61%

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

Christmas Lighting Tips to Keep Your Home Safe

Can you believe that Christmas is less than 10 days away? My how the time around the holidays flies by. If you are like many than you plan on decorating your home for the holidays. While decorating your home it’s important to take safety and not just “looks” into consideration. Hundreds of homes are damaged by holiday decoration electrical mishaps every year.

-Avoid using the larger seven-volt light bulbs. Sure, they are bigger and brighter, but they also burn much hotter than mini Christmas lights. One of the most common causes of holiday-time house fires results from these bulbs being too close to gutters filled with dried out leaves.

– Make sure that the strings of lights you are using outside have built-in fuses on the lines. Sometimes, these fuses are located in the actual plug.

– Make sure to use Christmas lights that are designated for outdoor use only. If you use indoor-rated lights, they may not be able to withstand the weather conditions which will cause them to break down much faster.

– You should only use Christmas lights and electric equipment that has been tested and verified by a reliable testing laboratory. Two reputable laboratories are UL and ETL. Any equipment or lights that have been tested safe will have one of their logos on the packaging. If it doesn’t have it, don’t use it!

– If you have a string of lights with a blown bulb, be sure to replace it with a bulb of the exact same wattage.

– Never tap into your home’s feeder line to power your outdoor Christmas lights or hang decorations on the line.

– Avoid using nails, tacks or metal staples to secure your outdoor Christmas lights. Use insulated hooks instead, and be sure your lights are strung tightly to avoid damage from the wind.

– Use only outdoor rated extension cords. Plus, avoid connecting more than three strings of lights to a single extension cord.

– All plugs should be plugged into a GFCI protected outlet when used outside.

– When it comes time to take your Christmas decorations and lights, never remove the strings of lights by pulling on the wires. This causes the wires to break free from the sockets and the bulbs to break.

Source: DoItyourself.com

Are You a Veteran Wanting to Buy a Home?

Veterans Home

Veteran’s Day week is here and it’s time to honor our the Veterans around us.

As a Veteran you understand making big life decisions and you should have a real estate agent who understands the same.  Buying a home is likely to be one of the biggest purchases of your life and a trusted and experienced real estate agent to walk you through the process is crucial.  This is especially true if you are a Veteran and plan to use a VA loan for your purchase.

Johnson Team Real Estate, located in Bellingham, Washington is proud to have two Veterans on our real estate Team, Rich Johnson and Mike Bredeson. As former Marine’s and Veterans, both Rich and Mike are here for you to offer their first hand expertise on navigating the home buying process using a VA loan.

Meet and learn more about Johnson Team Real Estate’s Veteran Agents today!

Having the ability to use a VA mortgage comes with many benefits, but sometimes they can be a bit hard to understand as well. Johnson Team Real Estate is here to offer our experience to help guide you through purchasing a home or property using a VA Home Loan.

Established in 1944, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made buying a home more accessible via the VA Home loan program. As a Veteran, you and your family deserve the American dream of owning a home, and deserve to be able to do so with ease.

VA Home Loans Offer Many Benefits including:

  • No down payment requirement
  • Lower than average interest rates
  • Low Closing Costs
  • Less stringent Credit Requirements

Curious if you are eligible for a VA Home Loan?

Typically, Veterans and active-duty service members are eligible for a VA home loan if they have met one of the following:

  • 90 consecutive days on active duty during wartime
  • 181 consecutive days on active duty during peacetime
  • 6 or more years in the National Guard or Reserves

Some spouses of military members who died in the line of duty or of a service-related disability may also be eligible for a VA loan. There are many factors that affect the terms of Veteran’s VA qualifications so speaking with a qualified VA Home Loan Specialist for a personalized qualification is crucial. Call Johnson Team Real Estate at 1-888-713-3056 to learn more today.

Veterans Flag House

The Johnson Team’s Veteran Real Estate Agents are passionate about helping those who have served and are excited to help serve you in finding you a home or property.

Whether you are a retired Veteran or currently serving in the US Military we understand that life is busy.  The Bellingham and Whatcom County real estate market is very active and inventory is moving quickly.  Johnson Team Real Estate offers a “Homes by Email” service to instantly email you when a home or property that fits you criteria comes on the market.  Click the image below to learn more and sign up today!

New Bellingham Real Estate Listings

If you or your family are new to the area or possibly being transferred to Bellingham or Whatcom County our website has a wealth of relocation information to include neighborhood information, education information and generMap Searchal community information to make your move easier!

You may also search for real estate using our interactive map search to help you better understand areas geographical layout while exploring our real estate options.

Feel free to visit our relocation page on our website to call 1-888-713-3056. Johnson Team Real Estate thanks you for your service to our great country and we would be honored to help serve you and help you with your real estate needs!

Zillow REviewsTo see what our clients have to say about us visit our Zillow Reviews to learn more about the level of service and knowledge you will experience working with Johnson Team Real Estate!

Non-Profit Moving 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!

The Whatcom Humane Society believes that all animals, as sentient beings, have value beyond economic measurements and are entitled to legal, moral, and ethical consideration and protection.

The Whatcom Humane society advocates for  animals, educates the community to promote humane treatment and respect as well as well as provide for abandoned, injured, abused or neglected animals.

For over 110 years, Whatcom Humane  Society has been sheltering abandoned  animals, fighting animal cruelty and  neglect and working to build a caring, compassionate and humane community.

Our work is made possible by the generosity of people like you

Your real estate  referrals fund our truck and help us all  make a difference!

The Current 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 Thursday, November 2nd.

 

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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