My Listings

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nearly 1 in 3 first-quarter home sales a foreclosure: report

By Julie Haviv Julie Haviv – Wed Jun 30, 8:40 am ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nearly one out of every three U.S. home sales in the first quarter was a foreclosure property as steep price discounts boosted demand for distressed real estate, RealtyTrac said in a new report on Wednesday.

Foreclosure homes accounted for 31 percent of all residential sales in the first quarter of 2010, with the average sales price of properties that sold while in some stage of foreclosure nearly 27 percent below homes that were not in the process, Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac said.

"In a normal market, only 1 to 2 percent of home sales are foreclosures, so this is certainly a significant level," Rick Sharga, senior vice president at RealtyTrac, said in an interview.

Total U.S. foreclosure sales in 2009 were up more than 1,100 percent from 2006 and more than 2,500 percent from 2005. Foreclosure sales accounted for 29 percent of all sales in 2009, up from 23 percent in 2008 and a mere 6 percent in 2007, the real estate data company said.

Foreclosure activity in the first quarter, however, ebbed from the previous quarter as well as year-over-year.

A total of 232,959 U.S. properties in some stage of foreclosure -- including mortgage default notices, scheduled for auction or bank-owned (REO) -- were sold to third parties in the first quarter, a decrease of 14 percent from the previous quarter and down 33 percent from the peak during the first quarter of 2009, when sales of foreclosure homes accounted for 37 percent of all residential sales.

"The drop from the previous quarter can probably be attribute to seasonality, and while the year-over-year drop is significant, it should be noted that it was down from the peak," Sharga said.

"A combination of an enormous inventory of distressed properties and an unprecedented interest by homebuyers to buy these properties boosted sales," he said.

The average sales prices on properties in some stage of foreclosure decreased 23 percent from 2006-09, while the average discounts on foreclosure purchases increased from 21 percent in 2006 to 27 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

The discounts on REOs are larger than those on pre-foreclosures, although discounts on pre-foreclosures appear to be trending higher as short sales become more common, the company said.

"First time homebuyers and investors continue to buy foreclosure properties in large numbers, and at substantial discounts," James Saccacio, Chief Executive Officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.

"As lenders have begun repossessing homes at record levels over the first half of 2010, it will be interesting to watch how they will manage the inventory levels of distressed properties on the market in order to prevent more dramatic price deterioration," he said.

Meanwhile, the Sun Belt continued to lead foreclosures nationally, with Nevada, California and Arizona posting the highest percentage of foreclosure sales in the first quarter.

Foreclosure sales accounted for 64 percent of all sales in Nevada in the first quarter -- the highest percentage of any state. The state's percentage was down from 65 percent of all sales in the previous quarter and 75 percent of overall sales in the first quarter of 2009.

California posted the second highest percentage for U.S. states, with foreclosure sales accounting for 51 percent of all sales there in the first quarter -- up from 50 percent in the previous quarter, but down from 70 percent of all sales in the first quarter of 2009.

Other states where foreclosure sales accounted for at least one-third of total sales were Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho and Oregon.

Foreclosures are by far one of the biggest threats to the U.S. housing market. Improvement in the housing market bodes well for the national economy, as it points to better demand in the sector where the first signs of the latest recession took root.

Lenders Use Deeds-in-Lieu to Clear Out Inventory

Thanks to new federal programs that offer cash incentives, some lenders are turning to deeds-in-lieu as the best solution for underwater borrowers, who are willing to turn over their properties.

It’s cheaper for lenders to do deeds-in-lieu because it gives them overnight control of the property. With mortgage rates at less than 5 percent, lenders believe that they can resell a property faster and on more favorable terms than they would going through a short sale.

Matt Vernon, an expert in short sales and deed-in-lieu deals for Bank of America, says his company is offering cash incentives that range from $3,000 to $15,000 to persuade trouble borrowers to sign on.

Deeds-in-lieu don’t harm a borrower's credit rating as much as a foreclosure or a bankruptcy, but because they are treated as debts that are “not paid as agreed,” they do leave a mark.

Source: Washington Post, Ken Harney (06/26/2010)

Sammamish Real Estate

Sammamish - 24023 SE 22nd Place - $495,000.00
Main Photo
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Parking Spaces: 2
Year Built: 2003
Subdivision: Laurels
Lot Size: 4,432 sq. ft.
Garage Size: 2
School District: Issaquah
Square Footage: 2340
Agent Name: Matt Jensen
Broker: The Cascade Team
MLS #: 95650
Price: $495,000.00
24023 SE 22nd Place
Sammamish, WA 98075
  • Sink Disposal
  • Fireplace
  • Hardwood Floors
  • Kitchen Island
  • Vaulted Ceilings
  • Patio
  • Fenced Yard
  • Grass Lawn
Picture perfect Craftsman home in the popular Laurels neighborhood! Great room with river rock fireplace. Chef's kitchen with granite counters, center island, hardwood floors, eating area and abundant storage and work space. Main floor den ideally located just inside the entry. Upper level features 3 bedrooms plus spacious loft. Upstairs laundry room. King sized master suite with luxurious 5 piece bath and walk-in closet. Fully fenced backyard with patio.

For more information, contact Matt Jensen at 206-909-8200.
The Cascade Team
Powered by Equal Housing OpportunityVFLYER ID: 3426272
All information in this site is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and is subject to change

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

3 Reasons Why Home Buyers Who Missed $8,000 Tax Credit May Come Out Ahead

Home shoppers who missed the April 30 deadline for a housing tax credit might have the last laugh. For a variety of reasons, they could end up saving more than the $8,000 they could have received from the tax refund.

In some neighborhoods and price ranges, sellers are dropping their prices because buyers are harder to find now that the credit has expired. Builders and real estate companies began offering promotions after the tax credit ended that, in many cases, are worth more than the credit.

Interest rates have dropped enough since the credit deadline that, over the life of a loan, a homeowner could easily save more than the value of the credit. “I think some folks possibly could have benefited from waiting until after the tax credit,” said Joe Jackson, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Partners. “It would depend on the price point they were buying in and the market they were looking in.”

Home sales leapt in March and April during the waning weeks of the credit, especially for homes priced at less than $200,000, which appealed to first-time home buyers. Since the credit expired, home contracts and building permits have tapered off, leaving sellers with fewer buyers and, in some cases, little choice but to cut their price.

Three reasons not to worry about missing the tax credit deadline:

1) According to real estate website, which tracks price reductions, 30% of Seattle area homes for sale on May 1 had reduced their asking price—more than in April or March. Buyers hope they can take advantage.

2) Those shopping for new homes are finding a different kind of bargain as some builders roll out incentives to keep traffic moving. Seattle area builders such as CamWest, Buchan, Quadrent Homes, Murray Franklin and more all have incentives including free upgrades, special interest rates and more that in many case are worth more than the $8,000 tax credit.

3) Finally, interest rates have dropped nearly half a point since the end of April, saving buyers thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. Buyers of a $180,000 home who borrowed $173,700 in mid-April at an interest rate of 5.125% would have paid $377,442 over the next 30 years—$15,000 more than they would pay if they borrowed last week at an interest rate of 4.75%.

“I know it’s not money in your pocket right away,” said Frank Hinkley, of Guild mortgage, “but the value of the interest rate today is really better than the tax credit.”

Seattle Rental - Belltown area

Seattle - 2717 Western Ave #4016 - $1,250.00 per month
Main Photo
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Square Footage: 721
Parking Spaces: 1
Year Built: 2001
School District: Seattle
Agent Name: Diego Vitelli
Broker: The Cascade Team
Rent: $1,250.00 per month
Available Date: Mon Jun 28, 2010
Deposit: First, Last, $250 Security Deposit, $250 Non-Refundable Cleaning Fee
Minimum Lease: 12 Months
Included Utilities: Garbage, HO Dues, Sewer, Water
Open 1 bedroom loft has lots of light with southwesterly views of Elliott Bay and city lights! Close to everything, including Pike Place Market, Downtown & New Sculpture Park. Well maintained with updated finishes. Great location for the professional.
Seattle, WA 98121
Open 1 bedroom loft has lots of light with southwesterly views of Elliott Bay and city lights! Close to everything, including Pike Place Market, Downtown & New Sculpture Park. Well maintained with updated finishes. Great location for the professional. For more information contact Diego Vitelli at 206-529-7728.
Diego Vitelli
Powered by Equal Housing OpportunityVFLYER ID: 3420671
All information in this site is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and is subject to change

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

For sale - village with pub, 40 people

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Stressed-out city executives looking to get away from it all have the chance to buy their own rural village in New Zealand, complete with a pub and population of 40.

Otira, a hamlet on the rainy west coast of New Zealand's South Island, is on the market for $NZ1 million ($715,000).

Current owners Bill and Christine Hennah bought the rundown village in 1998 after passing through and "feeling sorry for it," Christchurch-based newspaper The Press reported on Friday.

They paid $NZ80,000 ($56,000) for the hotel or pub, school, railway station, town hall and 18 houses making up the village near the Arthur's Pass National Park that dates back to 1923.

The village developed when the Otira railway tunnel was opened, and during its heyday was home to about 600 workers and their families.

But the couple, now aged in their 60s, say they no longer have the energy to run the hotel. They are asking $NZ350,000 for the hotel or $NZ1 million for the whole lot.

"We need someone to build it up again. There is a lot of potential and opportunity," Christine Hennah told The Press.

(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Dean Goodman)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Assessed Home Values Are Not The Same As Fair Market Value

One of the biggest myths in Real Estate is a homes assessed value having a correlation to it’s present market value.

Unfortunately it is easy to see why the general public is often times confused about this because a number of Real Estate agents fail to educate their clients that there is a big difference. Trust me looking at assessed values is no better than using to figure out what a home is worth!

When the assessed value from the town is higher than what a property is on the market for you will often see Agents writing advertising that says something like the following “Come see this bargain home that is priced $75,000 less than the assessed value”. What this immediately tells me is the Agent either does not know anything about property valuation or they think there will be someone foolish enough to believe the home really is a steal. Someone that knows better is going to be thinking the property has been over assessed by the town and the seller has been paying too much taxes!

Of course on the other side of the coin you will see home buyers who see a home listed higher than the assessed value and if they have not been educated properly by their buyers agent, will improperly use this as part of their negotiations when making an offer. If more people were better informed they would know that assessed values are a worthless piece of information when evaluating what a property is worth.

Most people realize that market values of homes in many parts of the Seattle area have dropped quite a bit over the last five years. As values were dropping there were many that believed their taxes would also be coming down too. When people misconstrue that assessed values and fair market values are the same they will automatically come to this conclusion.

In theory this should be the case but assessed values are nothing more than a yard stick for a municipality to collect an appropriate amount of taxes to sufficiently cover the state and local appropriations chargeable to the city or town.

The assessed value of a property often lags the market because the valuations are not re-calculated until the beginning of the next calender year. So if the market values of homes are dropping it is not unusual to see the assessed value being higher. Likewise if values are going up it could be just the opposite.

Over the years I have seen some of the strangest things when it comes to assessed home values. Believe it or not I have seen some homes that are as much as a couple hundred thousand over or under assessed in comparison to their sales price.
I have seen two homes built by the same builder side by side where home “A” was larger and had a bigger lot than home “B” yet home “B” was charged more in taxes due to a higher assessed value. Kind of mind boggling don’t you think?

What I have also observed is that a home that has re-sold more recently will usually have a more accurate correlation of its market value compared to its assessed value than a home that has not sold in a long time. For example, a home that sold three years ago more times than not would seem to have a more accurate correlation than a home that has not sold in ten years.

Yet another example is the home owner who feels they are being over assessed by the town and decides to challenge and wins an abatement. Their assessed value is now reset to the lower value. Does every other home owner who has a similar property get a notice in the mail saying their homes assessed value will also be coming down courtesy of the research done by Mr. Jones next door. Fat chance amigos!! This is the case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

So what are you supposed do if you think your assessed value is out of line with other like homes in your neighborhood or town?

You should head to your local Assessor’s office and file for a tax abatement! All the information necessary regarding the application process and the deadlines for filing should be made available to you.

Applications for abatement’s are due on or before the due date for payment of the first actual bill. The town’s assessor typically has up to three months in to act upon an abatement request.

If you are denied your abatement request and do not feel that the assessor made the proper ruling you have the right to appeal to the State Appellate Tax Board.

In summary an assessed value is the valuation placed on a property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation. Fair Market Value on the other hand is the agreed upon price between a willing and informed buyer and seller under usual and ordinary circumstances. It is the highest price which the property will bring when exposed for sale on the open market to a buyer who is purchasing with full knowledge of the properties highest and best use.

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The Issaquah Highlands Real Estate

Issaquah - 1672 25th Place NE #201 - $260,000
Main Photo
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Parking Spaces: 1
Year Built: 2004
Subdivision: Issaquah Highlands
Located on Floor #: 2
Floors in Bldg: 3
School District: Issaquah
Square Footage: 1128
Agent Name: Matt Jensen 206-909-8200
Broker: The Cascade Team
MLS #: 93632
Price: $260,000
1672 25th Pl NE
Issaquah, WA 98029
  • Range/Oven
  • Full Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Sink Disposal
  • Microwave
Delightful home in the Enclave at Issaquah Highlands with 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms! Open floorplan with large windows is bathed in natural light. Chef's kitchen offers tiled counters, stainless appliances and breakfast bar. Ideal end unit location with windows on 3 sides. Home is located directly across the street from a neighborhood park and backs to greenbelt offering exceptional privacy.

For more information or a private showing, contact Matt Jensen at 206-909-8200.
The Cascade Team
Powered by Equal Housing OpportunityVFLYER ID: 3417374
All information in this site is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and is subject to change

Friday, June 25, 2010

Snoqualmie Ridge Real Estate

Snoqualmie - 7206 Douglas Ave SE - $440,000.00
Main Photo
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2.5
Parking Spaces: 2
Year Built: 1999
Subdivision: Snoqualmie Ridge
Lot Size: 3811
Garage Size: 2
School District: SVS
Square Footage: 2470
Agent Name: Doug Young or Cary Porter
Broker: The Cascade Team
MLS #: 93950
Price: $440,000.00
7206 Douglas Ave SE
Snoqualmie, WA 98065
Impeccable Conner resale centrally located within Snoqualmie Ridge, close to schools and shopping. Inside you'll find refinished hardwood floors, custom paint, gas fireplace and 9' ceilings on the main. The open and airy kitchen has tile counters and oak cabinets. Upstairs you'll find a large master suite and attached bath with tile floors. Home has just been painted on the exterior and comes with Free 1 Yr Home Warranty for added peace of mind. For more information contact Doug Young at 425-533-7028 or Cary Porter at 425-891-7447.

The Cascade Team
Powered by Equal Housing OpportunityVFLYER ID: 3417195
All information in this site is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and is subject to change

Fannie Mae Strikes Against Strategic Defaults

You may have heard or read recently about strategic defaults as this topic is all over the news. A strategic default is when a home owner walks away from their mortgage when they are still able to make the payments.

The reason why a home owner would consider a strategic default and just walk away is because the value of their home has dropped substantially below what they owe on their mortgage.

The general feeling amongst those that are using a strategic default is that it will take years for their homes market value to recover. They basically walk away from the property and start fresh.

Fannie Mae the government backed lending giant is putting into place simple measures that will discourage home owners from considering a strategic default. What does Fannie Mae plan to do?

They will begin “locking out” borrowers from getting new mortgages for seven years! They will also go after strategic defaulters for the money they owe in states where they are allowed to do so.

Those home owners who walk-away and had the ability to pay the mortgage or did not complete a workout alternative in good faith will be ineligible for a new Fannie Mae-backed mortgage loan for a period of seven years from the date of foreclosure.

Fannie Mae stressed that borrowers who make a good faith effort to work with their lender in order to resolve their situation will be eligible for Fannie Mae loans much quicker than those who just walk away.

Obviously the more homes in neighborhoods around the country that become abandoned due to strategic defaults puts further pressure on depressing Real Estate prices. Foreclosures and bank owned homes tend to bring down values of surrounding properties. Traditional home owners end up competing with these bank owned homes when selling their properties.

Some people that are using strategic defaults are doing so because they have become so exasperated at their lenders for not doing more to help them such as a loan modification. Anyone who has ever tried to get a loan modification would probably be the 1st to admit that lenders do not make it easy for a borrower to get one. Often times borrowers can’t get responses from banks to their questions and are repeatedly told to send in the same documents over and over again.

We have come across a number of properties where the owner just picked up and left. Often times I wonder why they did not take the necessary steps to try to avoid foreclosure.

It seems there are a lot of people that do not realize there are better alternatives that just bailing on their loan.

Short Sale vs Strategic Default

A short Sale can be a good alternative. The owner of the property benefits in this situation because they get out of a financially difficult situation without going to foreclosure which can seriously damage your credit.

Most of the time when your home is foreclosed on you will not be able to get a loan to buy another home for five to six years. With a short sale in most cases you will be able to buy another property in two to three years. In either event your credit scores are going to take a hit but a short sale is generally the lesser of two evils.

Some of the statistics that have been bandied about are pretty scary and unfortunately are an indicator that Real Estate values are more than likely not going to be headed up for quite a while.

By the end of 2011, approximately 48 percent of the 50 million mortgage loans nationwide are predicted to be underwater or valued less than the money owed on them. There are also published estimates that more than 11 million American homeowners are underwater and predictions are that the number could more than double in the next 18 months!

It begs the question on whether or not holding a buyer out of obtaining a Real Estate loan for seven years would help the housing markets around the country?

One of the driving forces for a Real Estate recovery is going to boil down to simple economics of supply and demand. Home ownership needs to be more affordable to more people. We will not see a full fledged recovery without the buyers to support it.

Given the fact that Fannie Mae is going to seriously crack down on strategic foreclosures, looking at short selling your home could be a more logical solution.

The only conundrum when looking at a strategic default vs a short sale is whether or not the lender will let you complete one. In many situations lenders will not let you short sale your home unless you have a financial hardship. In my experience, I have seen quite a few lenders that are not enforcing the hardship qualifications aspect of a short sale as you would expect. Is it harder to get a short sale done without a hardship? It certainly is but not impossible.

Welcome to The Cascade Team Yuri Lin

I would like to welcome Yuri Lin to The Cascade Team Real Estate. Yuri lives in the Issaquah area and is fluent in Japanese. Yuri is a new agent and is looking forward to a career in real estate. Laura Flodin will be her Mentor/Manager.

Yuri Lin's Contact information is:

Welcome to The Cascade Team!

North Bend Real Estate

North Bend - 13906 463rd Ave SE - $550,000.00
Main Photo
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Parking Spaces: 3
Year Built: 1994
Subdivision: Wood River
Lot Size: 32758
Garage Size: 3
School District: SVS
Square Footage: 2530
Agent Name: Tonya Eliason
Broker: The Cascade Team
MLS #: 93621
Open House: 6/26/10 1-4
Price: $550,000.00
13906 463rd Ave SE
North Bend, WA 98045
Magnificent home in the stunning Wood River community. Gorgeous Craftsman home nestled in a truly spectacular setting on over 3/4 acre. Rare groundfloor master suite has large Walk In Closet, Master Bath w/soaking tub & french doors to magnificent deck/hot tub. This exquisite home truly has it all: Central air, gourmet kitchen w/granite counters, island & sink, formal dining room, living room, family room, den/office, laundry room, hardwoods, vaulted ceilings, french doors, fireplace, tons of storage, large deck, automated sprinklers (front & back), fenced yard (rear property line ~60 ft beyond second fence), and truly amazing landscaping. 2 bonus rooms are perfect for 2nd office, play area, hobby room or additional bedrooms. Large 1250 sf custom deck features covered hot tub, BBQ area and spectacular firepit seating area - perfect for entertaining. Over 3/4 acre with walking trails & sitting areas in this breathtaking parklike setting. Upgraded 3 car garage has custom cabinetry, workbench & tons of storage. Community trail system circles the neighborhood and overlooks the Snoqualmie River. The perfect balance between privacy & community, yet so convenient to I-90 (less than 1 mile), Seattle, skiing & trails. 1 year Fidelity Home Warranty. Breathtaking fairytale location. Don’t miss this exceptional property! For more information contact Tonya Eliason at 425-831-5721.

Tonya Eliason
Powered by Equal Housing OpportunityVFLYER ID: 3415350
All information in this site is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and is subject to change

Thursday, June 24, 2010

North Bend Real Estate

North Bend - 1015 SE 11th Place - $440,000.00
Main Photo
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Parking Spaces: 2
Year Built: 1998
Subdivision: Si View
Lot Size: 8990
Garage Size: 2
School District: SVS
Square Footage: 2430
Agent Name: Tonya Eliason
Broker: The Cascade Team
MLS #: 93312
Open House: 6/27/10 1-4
Price: $440,000.00
1015 SE 11th Place
North Bend, WA 98045
Exquisite 3BR craftsman home in the wonderful & conveniently located Si View community. Perfectly situated on a spectacular, large Si View lot surrounded by breathtaking mountain views. Gorgeous remodeled gourmet kitchen features granite counters & island, stainless appliances, large walk in custom pantry, granite eating bar & sunny dining nook. The open floor plan is perfect for entertaining. Master suite has large Walk In Closet & Master Bath w/soaking tub & wash closet. The large bonus room offers endless possibilities. This beautiful and immaculately maintained home has it all: Central Air, formal dining room, living room, family room, office/den, laundry room, fireplace, hardwoods, french doors, slab granite & new fixtures in all 3 bathrooms, welcoming covered front porch & attached garage. Spacious and fully fenced back yard features fabulous landscaping, patio, summer vegetable gardens, french drains, walkways, and an additional “hidden” play area. Workshed with workbench, heater, power & lighting. Fantastic location and so convenient to I-90, Seattle, shopping, skiing & trails. Don’t miss this stunning property in the ideal location. For more information contact Tonya Eliason at 425-831-5721.

Tonya Eliason
Powered by Equal Housing OpportunityVFLYER ID: 3415202
All information in this site is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and is subject to change

Mortgage rates sink to lowest level on record

By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Real Estate Writer Alan Zibel, Ap Real Estate Writer –

WASHINGTON – Mortgage rates fell this week to the lowest level on record, giving consumers added incentive to lock in low payments on home purchases and refinancings.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for 30-year fixed loans sank to 4.69 percent, from 4.75 percent last week.

That's the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971. The previous record of 4.71 percent was set in December. Rates for 15-year and five-year mortgages also hit lows.

Mortgage rates have fallen over the past two months. Investors wary of the European debt crisis and the turbulent stock market have shifted money into the safety of Treasury bonds, driving down yields. Mortgage rates tend to track the yields on long-term Treasury debt.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day.

Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages fell to an average of 4.13 percent, the lowest on records dating to September 1991 and down from 4.2 percent a week earlier.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.84 percent, down from 3.89 percent a week earlier. That was also the lowest on Freddie Mac's records, which only date back to January 2005.

Average rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 3.77 percent from 3.82 percent. That was the lowest average since May 2004.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.

The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac's survey averaged 0.7 a point for 30-year, 5-year and 1-year loans. The average fee for 15-year loans was 0.6 of a point.

Landscaping Changes That Wow Buyers

In today's market, sellers have to work harder to persuade buyers that their property is worth the bite.

1. Add splashes of color. With every changing season, a landscape should provide a new display of colors, textures, and fragrances. "It’s best to use one or two and repeat them," Glassman says. Example: white iceberg roses that bloom in spring, summer, and fall as a backdrop; in front, a contrasting punch of purple salvia or lavender that will flower at the same time; and as an accent, a crape myrtle tree that provides changing leaf colors in fall and interesting branches come winter.

2. Size trees and shrubs to scale. These should be planted in the right scale for the house so that they don’t block windows, doors, and other architectural features on the home’s facade. A large two-story house can handle a redwood, Chinese pistache, sycamore, or scarlet oak, but a one-story cottage is better paired with a flowering cherry, crabapple, or eastern redbud. Too many trees cast too much shadow and cause potential buyers to worry about maintenance and costs.

3. Maintain a perfect lawn. A velvety green lawn demonstrates tender loving care, so be sure sellers’ homes don’t have brown spots. Some rocks, pebbles, boulders, drought-tolerant plants, and ornamental grasses will generate more kudos, especially in drought areas.

4. Light up the outside. Good illumination allows buyers to see a home at night and adds drama. Sellers should use low-voltage lamps to highlight branches of specimen trees, a front door, walk, and corners of the house. But less is better. The yard shouldn’t resemble an airport runway.

5. Let them hear the water. The sound of water appeals to buyers, and you shouldn’t just reserve this for your backyard. A small fountain accented with rocks provides a pleasant gurgling sound, blocks street noise, and is affordable.

6. Use decorative architectural elements. A new mailbox, planted window boxes, and a low fence wrapped in potato vines add cachet, particularly during winter months when fewer plants blossom. Colors should complement the landscape and home. Just don’t overdo it: Too much can seem like kitschy lawn ornaments.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Funniest Town Names in America

If you live in Washington State you might think Puyallup or even Fifi are funny names. My family back in the South East think I'm sneezing when I say Sammamish or Snoqualmie, but here is a list to make everyone thankful for where they live. Just imagine growing up in one of these towns! : )

Loveladies, New Jersey (Picture)
Husband, Pennsylvania
Handsome Eddy, New York
Disco, Tennessee
Loafers Glory, North Carolina
Why, Arizona
Whynot, Mississippi
Sweet Lips, Tennessee (Picture)
Hell, Michigan
Cranky Corner
Condemned Bar, California
The Bottle, Alabama
Pie Town, New Mexico (Picture)
Greasy, Oklahoma
Lick Skillet, Tennessee
Happyland, Oklahoma
Boring, Oregon
And Finally.....
Do Stop, Kentucky

Monday, June 21, 2010

Creative Real Estate ads

Creativity is the key to most any advertising campaign, and real Estate is no exception. Sometimes when trying to describe a property agents simply have to be creative and come up with words that will catch the attention of the reader, sometimes it works better than others....

Here are just a few examples that caught my eye! : )

Motivated Seller: I think the best example of this can be found in an ad where the forested hills of California are blazing behind the photograph of a house, with that subtitle

At a loss for words: Not every advertising choice is a great one, sometimes the agent may be at a loss for words and just go with whatever pops into their head. Really, if you have any doubts please ask your broker before using words like PUKE!

You have heard of bank owned.... Here's a twist!

Well; that will certainly get your attention, I guess if it had been owned by an extra-terrestrial that would have really turned some heads!