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Archive for January, 2010

Where’s Winter!?
January 22, 2010 · Written by Brock Dunda · Filed under General

It seems Jack Frost forgot us this year. The Seattle-area northwest is the warmest it’s been for quite some time. With all this warm weather, it give us time to not only enjoy the relative warmth, but also to go out and look at houses or spruce up the yard for those that are selling!

If You’re Selling

Pick up those sticks and sweep/pressure wash that walkway! Yes, it’s not spring yet but all this warm weather means potential buyers are out looking. So here are some things you can do to get your home looking its best, before spring arrives!

  • Prune The Trees – Without all the leaves and feathered branches in the way, pruning becomes easier. Pruning and shaping your plants will keep the place looking uniform and less unkempt.
  • Pick Up Leaves – This includes not only leaves from trees but also any flowering plants whose leaves wilt and die during the winter.
  • Pressure Wash/Sweep the walkways – Over the winter, rain causes muck and grime to build up on your walkways. The best way to remedy this is to pressure wash the area clean making it look new. The alternative is to sweep off winter debris.
  • Start Spring Cleaning Early – Grumble grumble… yes it’s “technically” still winter, but why wait for Spring when we’re given such lovely weather! (I bet in week we’ll get -20 below weather… knock on wood). Safely throw away or recycle unnecessary documents, tools, or anything that no longer is needed.
  • Enjoy The Day! – It’s great weather, go out and have some fun.

If You’re Buying

The weather at the moment provides a great time to go out and start looking. But keep in mind, it’s still winter so the trees won’t be in bloom and the plant-life is still waiting for April. However, the lack of foliage can give you a good idea of what kinds of plants and landscaping you may like to have, how you would want it to look. This is a great time to see the homes and landscaping in their silent form. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy the weather and sight see!

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January 18, 2010 · Written by Becki French · Filed under General

Dear friends,

We encourage you to participate in STAND WITH HAITI. Please donate now to help Partners In Health’s efforts in Haiti:

We appreciate your support!

SLU Development Team

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Microsoft to Forgoe Plans For South Lake Union Move
January 14, 2010 · Written by Brock Dunda · Filed under News, Real Estate

Microsoft announced that its interest in expanding its operations is now on hold due to the deteriorating economy. This move puts further strain on an already struggling city economy. For months, Microsoft had been in negotiations to lease all 300,000 square feet of office space located at 2201 Westlake. However, due to the degrading national economic situation and changing market conditions, Microsoft has decided not to pursue those negotiations.

Microsoft’s decision to not continue leasing negotiations is indicative of CEO Steve Ballmer’s statements at the company shareholder meeting. Ballmer stated that the company would have “much, much slower growth” pertaining to the size of its work force for this year and the year after. This is evidenced by the hiring disparity between October and November where the company went from hiring 1,000 new employees, to 380 in November.

Microsoft has also mentioned that its recent expansion and new campus buildings aren’t necessarily being used for new workers, but more to consolidate their employed workforce. Rather than having teams in different buildings, Microsoft is redistributing where teams for different endeavors are being located.

The impact this will have on Seattle is a loss of a small economic boon to the city that would have opened up a number of opportunities for local businesses. For example, gym memberships, restaurants, and any myriad of different businesses would have benefited greatly from the move.

Until the market stabilizes, it seems Seattle will have to wait before company expansion into the city will be considered again.

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Fannie Mae Looking To Move REO Inventory Quickly
January 11, 2010 · Written by Brock Dunda · Filed under Real Estate

Fannie Mae is stuck with a growing number of REO (real estate owned) houses. However, in a recent new policy announcement, the lending giant has made plans to expedite the process of buying an REO home. Fannie will now be accepting purchase offers immediately after the home is listed. Under Fannie Mae’s previous policy, they gave lenders fifteen days to find a better purchase offer for new REO houses they sent to the company following a foreclosure.

The old policy affected repossessions where Fannie Mae required the loan file on the house. This tended to expose errors in underwriting or servicing, and required reimbursement for losses by the lender. Because of this policy, it gummed up the works and REO sales were slow, even if willing and able buyers were available.

To combat the slowness of REO sales, Fannie Mae has simply proposed to make the sales process and acceptance of offers earlier. There will be no more fifteen day period of inactivity for lenders whose REO property has been selected for loan file reviews. As soon as a property is listed, it will be fair game to home buyers. If any loss is incurred, the lender will be stuck with the loss.

This new policy may offer some new opportunities for buyers and agents who are looking for some good deals.

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Adjustable Rate Mortgage Reset – Be Prepared
January 11, 2010 · Written by Brock Dunda · Filed under General

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARMs) – Mortgages which can go up or down as interest rates change.

There could be trouble. In the next several years, many adjustable rate mortgage loans will be scheduled to reset and will most likely have the monthly payment increase. This is not good news for those who are already starting to struggle with the current economic situation. Many subprime adjustable rate mortgages (borrowers who borrowed with a sub-par credit score), have already been removed from the market. Some may have been able to sell their home, many of which they may have been unable to refinance as many home owners now owe more on their home than they’re home is worth. This spells disaster in the form of foreclosure.

Forclosure notice

However, the alarming part is that the adjustable rate mortgages are about as low as they’ve been for many years. The worry is that another round of misfortune and stagnation in the housing market may occur when these mortgages reset and start increasing. Prime borrowers won’t be affected as quickly as those with subprime loans in the next year, but several years down the road, as the market regains it’s footing, the mortgage rates will rise and we may go through another round of foreclosures.

Usually, if interest rates adjusted as an increase, borrowers would be able to refinance their homes to reduce their monthly payment. However, in combination with a housing market that is extremely depressed. Home values for many of these borrowers are less then what they owe, preventing them from refinancing their home. In further addition to the economic woes of the housing market, the job market has seen very little job creation in the last decade. This means that families who have lost some of their income are having extreme hardship trying to pay their loans. The result is people walking away from their homes.

Borrowers seem to be getting the message now that adjustable loans can have devastating consequences. Applications for adjustable rate loans peaked at 36 percent at the climax of the 2005 housing boom, according to the Mortgage Bankeres Association. Now, applications are down to 6 percent.

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“Off The Grid” art show by Igor Kashinskiy
January 3, 2010 · Written by Becki French · Filed under Local Events

Don’t miss out on the incredible art show Off The Grid by Igor Kashinskiy! The exhibition features abstract art and highlights the career of Igor Kashinskiy, a brilliant modern artist in Seattle. The exhibition will take place at Patricia Cameron Gallery from January 6th to February 6th, 2010. The Gallery will host an artist’s reception on January 6th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. During the reception, visitors will get the chance to meet with the artist while enjoying wine, music, and conversation.

For more information about the art show, please visit

For additional information about Igor Kashinsky, please visit

Show dates: January 6th to February 6th, 2010

Artist reception: Wednesday, January 6th 5:30-8:30pm

234 Dexter Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109-5104

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