Q: I have five years left until I pay off my 30-year mortgage. I received an offer to refinance, which certainly is tempting, but I'm getting pretty close to retirement. Should I lighten my burden now or try to hold on for five more years?
Date: 05/19/2013 | Business
It is said "first impressions are lasting impressions." And when selling a home, curb appeal can make the difference between a quick sale and a passing glimpse. More importantly, when all of the homes in a neighborhood look great all their values increase. Whether you are...
Date: 05/16/2013 | Home and Garden
LAKEWOOD -- A small city is coming.Shops on the ground floor, apartments above. It's the way the downtown areas of major American cities used to be built, and now it's a popular design feature of many new developments across the country.
Date: 05/14/2013 | Local News
STANWOOD -- When you think of electrical panel and control systems manufacturing, you probably wouldn't put Stanwood very high on a list of likely contenders. But the city is home to Washington's largest such business, Process Solutions.Why Stanwood? It doesn't...
Date: 05/13/2013 | Business
BOSTON -- Prices for single-family homes increased in 89 percent of U.S. cities in the first quarter as the housing market extends a recovery from a five-year slump.
Date: 05/12/2013 | Business
WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. mortgage rates rose last week but remained near historic lows. Cheaper mortgages have encouraged more home buying and refinancing.
Date: 05/12/2013 | Business
EVERETT -- It's 2007 all over again for the county real estate market as antsy buyers rush to buy what's available in a tight supply of homes for sale.
Date: 05/07/2013 | Business
WASHINGTON -- A survey shows U.S. home prices rose 10.5 percent in March compared with a year ago, the biggest gain since March 2006.
Date: 05/07/2013 | Business
Michele and Russell Poland's credit was shot, but they managed to buy their suburban dream home anyway.After a business bankruptcy and a home foreclosure, they turned to a rare option in this era of tightfisted banking -- a subprime loan.
Date: 05/02/2013 | Business
Owner of former nursing home working with potential buyer
Date: 04/25/2013 | Local News
SEATTLE -- The feds are going after former leaders of a failed community bank in a case that's noteworthy for the alleged hubris of the defendants.The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which oversees banks on behalf of consumers and insures...
Date: 04/24/2013 | Business
EVERETT -- If all goes as planned, Everett should have its own indoor, year-round farmers market as early as summer 2014.Products at the farmers market are likely to include fruits and vegetables, meats and fish, milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream, as well as fresh-cut and...
Date: 04/22/2013 | Business
WASHINGTON -- A strengthening housing recovery and robust auto sales contributed to moderate economic growth across the United States in late February and March, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday.
Date: 04/17/2013 | Business
As mortgage rates hover near historic lows, Americans are saving big on monthly mortgage payments. In the fourth quarter of 2012, homeowners spent almost 37 percent less on the payments than they did in the years before the housing bubble, according to real estate tracking firm Zillow.
Date: 04/12/2013 | Business
Everything in 'Inspiration House' in Snohomish is for sale
Date: 04/11/2013 | Home and Garden
WASHINGTON -- The nation's largest banks will begin sending payments this week to millions of Americans who may have been wrongfully foreclosed on during the housing crisis.
Date: 04/09/2013 | Business
Online brokerage services can help home buyers save money
Date: 04/07/2013 | Business
EVERETT -- A developer is expected to offer a first glimpse tonight of plans for reviving the stalled Riverfront project on former industrial land east of I-5.The briefing with homebuilder P
Date: 04/03/2013 | Local News
WASHINGTON -- Fannie Mae earned $17.2 billion last year, the biggest annual profit in the U.S. mortgage giant's history, helped by a record fourth quarter. The 2012 gain was driven by the housing recovery, which has reduced delinquencies and lifted home prices six years after the bubble burst.
Date: 04/02/2013 | Business
With improvements in housing market banks are lending
Date: 03/31/2013 | Business
Seattle Business magazine has a feature story in the current issue about Snohomish County's economy, focusing on familiar engines like aerospace, Paine Field, Naval Station Everett, Bothell's...
Date: 03/28/2013 | Bizblog
WASHINGTON -- Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in February, but the level stayed near a three-year high, and analysts believe sales of previously occupied homes will keep rising in the coming months.
Date: 03/27/2013 | Business
Question: I am in the process of refinancing my home. I owned the house before I recently remarried and I wish to keep the title in my name only rather than adding my wife to the title of the property. I have seen you discuss this before in your column. How do I do this?
Date: 03/24/2013 | Business
Fewer borrowers nationwide owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, providing a boost to the housing recovery, according to a new report.Roughly 200,000 borrowers escaped their "negative equity" positions during the final three months of last year, real estate...
Date: 03/24/2013 | Business
WASHINGTON -- U.S. sales of previously occupied homes rose in February to their fastest pace in more than three years, and more people put their homes on the market. The increases suggest a growing number of Americans believe the housing recovery will strengthen.
Date: 03/21/2013 | Business
Jackson High School grad has always had a knack for sales
Date: 03/18/2013 | Business
Question: We just bought a house and are currently moving out of our apartment. We had a problem getting our damage deposit back at an earlier apartment because of a moisture problem they wanted us to repair. We fought them and I eventually got our deposit back.
Date: 03/17/2013 | Business
WASHINGTON -- The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week to its highest level in seven months but remains near historic lows. Low mortgage rates have helped support the gradually recovering housing market.
Date: 03/14/2013 | Business
This modern cabin, Plan HMAFAPW1724 from Homeplans.com, has everything you need in a compact size that's just right for getaway weekends. The retreat features 456 square feet of finished living space.
Date: 03/14/2013 | Home and Garden
LOS ANGELES -- While the nation's foreclosure woes persist, new data show they're easing amid a resurgent housing market, rising home prices and efforts by some states to buy homeowners more time to avoid losing their homes.
Date: 03/13/2013 | Business
Q: We are about to make an offer on a brand-new house. One of our friends said we should hire a professional building inspector to check it out just like we were buying an old house. That doesn't make any sense to me. The house is new; what could be wrong with it? Do...
Date: 03/10/2013 | Business
WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages were little changed this week, hovering near historic lows. Cheap mortgages have helped spur a recovery in the housing market.
Date: 03/08/2013 | Business
WASHINGTON -- It took 5½ years.Surging stock prices and steady home-price increases have finally allowed Americans to regain the $16 trillion in wealth they lost to the Great Recession. The gains are helping support the economy and could lead to further spending and growth.
Date: 03/07/2013 | Business
A wide front porch welcomes you home to this versatile three-bedroom design, Plan HMAFAPW1723 from Homeplans.com. The plan includes 1,866 square feet of finished living space, with the option to double the size by completing the unfinished...
Date: 03/07/2013 | Home and Garden
EVERETT -- Shrinking home inventory once again drove a double-digit increase in year-over-year median home and condominium sales prices in Snohomish County."In my 37 years working in the real estate industry, I have never seen inventory this low," Diedre Haines, regional...
Date: 03/05/2013 | Business
Question: We are thinking about buying a vacation home next spring. We want to rent it out part of the time to help cover the expenses. What are the tax rules affecting renting out a summer home?Answer: Your purchase decision should be based primarily on your anticipated...
Date: 03/03/2013 | Business
Q: How do you get your name off a mortgage that you had once shared with an old flame but now have no communication with? The goal is no money needed in return, and not to have to pay a sizable fee or cause havoc with the old flame.
Date: 02/21/2013 | Business
Prices for single-family homes climbed in almost 88 percent of U.S. cities in the fourth quarter as the housing recovery broadened.
Date: 02/11/2013 | Business
Q: A while back, you wrote about a book that is very helpful to landlords had come out in a new edition. You mentioned that it had lease agreements for our state. I am about to have our rental empty, so would like to use an updated lease when I get it rented again. I don't know where else I can get...
Date: 02/10/2013 | Business
Q: If you have 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with 20 years left and refinance, will it go back up to 30 years or stay at 20?A: It depends what kind of loan program you choose when you refinance.If you refinance with a new...
Date: 02/03/2013 | Business
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Post is considering selling its 63-year-old downtown headquarters.
Date: 02/01/2013 | Business
We just posted a lengthy story about seven internal investigations conducted at the Lake Stevens Police Department regarding two officers since 2009. (Read it.)
Date: 02/01/2013 | Sirens
Reminiscent of a turreted castle, Plan HMAFAPW1721 from Homeplans.com offers a contemporary open layout and spiral stairway inside, and multiple porches, a lanai and a breezeway outside.
Date: 01/31/2013 | Home and Garden
WASHINGTON -- U.S. home prices accelerated in November compared with a year ago, pushed higher by rising sales and a tighter supply of available homes.
Date: 01/29/2013 | Business
Q: We are having trouble paying our bills and are concerned about losing our home. I've heard something about homesteading your property so that nobody can take it away through a lawsuit, or something like that. How does that work?A: When you mention the word "homestead,"...
Date: 01/27/2013 | Business
WASHINGTON -- Sales of new U.S. homes cooled off in December compared with November but for the entire year were the best since 2009.
Date: 01/25/2013 | Business
WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose this week but remained near record lows, keeping home buying more affordable.
Date: 01/24/2013 | Business
EVERETT -- Snohomish County's real estate market validated the law of supply and demand in 2012, with weak inventory and willing buyers adding up to higher prices for sellers.
Date: 01/21/2013 | Business
It pays to be single -- that is, when it comes to high earners' tax bills.U.S. taxpayers with income of more than $200,000 a year will see federal tax rates rise this year on wages and investments. Tax increases will pinch married couples faster than individuals, especially...
Date: 01/20/2013 | Nation & World
Question: I have a question about an inherited condo.My father-in-law passed away. His will states that proceeds from the sale of his condo will be distributed between his surviving children (my wife and her sister and brother). Can...
Date: 01/20/2013 | Business
One of the most pernicious effects of the housing bust was the huge number of borrowers stuck in homes worth far less than those properties could be sold for.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace in 4 ½ years and finished 2012 as their best year for residential construction since the early stages of the housing crisis.
WASHINGTON -- The government's consumer lending watchdog finalized new rules Thursday aimed at protecting homeowners from shoddy service and unexpected fees charged by companies that collect their monthly mortgage payments.
If you're looking for an open, highly functional one-story layout, take a look at plan HMAFAPW1720 from Homeplans.com.
Date: 01/17/2013 | Home and Garden
LOS ANGELES -- Confidence among U.S. homebuilders held steady in January at the highest level in nearly seven years, but builders are feeling slightly less optimistic about their prospects for sales over the next six months.
LOS ANGELES -- Lenders took possession of fewer U.S. homes in 2012 than a year earlier, as the pace of new homes entering the path to foreclosure slowed and banks increasingly opted to allow troubled borrowers to sell their homes for less than what they owed on their mortgage.
The number of short sales in Snohomish County jumped to 19 percent of all sales in 2012 from 14 percent in 2011, according to a new report released Tuesday by Washington Property Solutions, a short-sale negotiating firm.
Q: I am sole owner of a property. My husband signed a quit claim deed when I purchased this place. I am no longer on speaking terms with my husband and will be filing for divorce soon. My question is, can I refinance on my own? Does my husband have to sign the quitclaim deed again? I am sure he...
Date: 01/13/2013 | Business
Snohomish County home sellers benefitted from continued strong demand for housing and a shrinking supply of listings that drove up year-to-date median sales prices by 13.4 percent in December.
Date: 01/11/2013 | Business
The wraparound porch is the defining feature of this Victorian-style design, Plan HMAFAPW00822 from Homeplans.com. Head inside and you'll be greeted by a bright and comfortable floor plan.
Date: 01/10/2013 | Home and Garden
If you love relaxed country style, check out Plan HMAFAPW01240 from Homeplans.com.The 1,298-square-foot rambler features a lovely exterior, which displays an expansive porch and windows camouflaging the side-entry garage.
Date: 01/03/2013 | Home and Garden
Housing allowances paid to about 1 million service members living off base in the United States will rise by an average of 3.8 percent Jan. 1, nearly double the average 2 percent increase of last year.
Date: 12/31/2012 | Business
Question: I read your article on lease-options a couple months ago and was wondering if you could answer a question. We are in a lease-option now. We have recently discovered problems with the house that we will want repaired before we buy it but we have already put money down (earnest...
Date: 12/30/2012 | Business
WASHINGTON -- A measure of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes increased last month to its highest level in two and a half years, the latest sign of improvement in the once-battered housing market.
Date: 12/28/2012 | Business
Question: We were gifted a house valued at $250,000, with no mortgage. The home we live in is valued at $300,000 with $145,000 on the mortgage. We are thinking about selling the home that we live in and remodeling and moving into the gifted house, which would be mortgage-free.
Date: 12/23/2012 | Business
WASHINGTON -- Average rates on U.S. fixed mortgages rose this week but remained near record lows, a trend that is leading more Americans to buy homes or refinance their loans.
Date: 12/21/2012 | Business
WASHINGTON -- U.S. sales of previously occupied homes jumped to their highest level in three years last month, bolstered by steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates. The report was the latest sign of a sustained recovery in the housing market.
Date: 12/20/2012 | Business
This country-influenced ranch home, Plan HMAFAPW01394 from Homeplans.com, offers outdoor living on both front and back porches.
Date: 12/20/2012 | Home and Garden
WASHINGTON -- U.S. builders broke ground on fewer homes in November after starting work in October at the fastest pace in four years. Superstorm Sandy likely slowed starts in the Northeast.
Date: 12/19/2012 | Business
WASHINGTON -- At 70, Frank White isn't a typical first-time home buyer. But a key reason he ditched his Altadena, Calif., apartment and bought a three-bedroom house in nearby Pasadena, Calif., has been common for decades: He wanted the tax break.
Date: 12/16/2012 | Business
Question: I am a first time home buyer. Before I agreed to buy my home I requested that several repairs be done, including fixing a broken fireplace.
Date: 12/16/2012 | Business
WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week near record lows, providing more incentive for Americans to buy homes and refinance.
Date: 12/13/2012 | Business
LOS ANGELES -- U.S. home repossessions rose to a nine-month high in November, even as the number of homes starting on the path to foreclosure declined to the lowest level in six years.
Date: 12/13/2012 | Business
Ideal as a cozy empty nest or starter home, Plan HMAFAPW1718 from Homeplans.com gets all the details right.
Date: 12/13/2012 | Home and Garden
Every year about this time I write my annual housing market review and projection for the coming year. First, let's take a look back at what I predicted for the 2012 housing market in my column published on Jan. 1, 2012:
Date: 12/09/2012 | Business
WASHINGTON -- Household wealth in the U.S. climbed in the third quarter, reflecting increases in stock values and home prices that are helping boost consumer confidence.
Date: 12/06/2012 | Business
Country living is the focus of this charming design, Plan HMAFAPW00637 from Homeplans.com. The design features 1,835 square feet of living space on one level. A full basement allows for future expansion that will double the space.
Date: 12/06/2012 | Home and Garden
The number of homes sold last month in Snohomish County was on par with November 2011, but prices were up. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service indicated in a report Wednesday that a total of 806 single-family homes and condos sold in the county last month.
Date: 12/05/2012 | Business
Majestic Glove's new building includes space for tenants. Some of it already is leased.
Date: 12/03/2012 | Business
I'm thinking about starting to look for a house after the holidays. My friends tell me I should get "pre-qualified" for a mortgage first. My real estate agent says I should get "pre-approved" for a mortgage first. Is there a difference, and is it important to get the mortgage part taken care of...
Date: 12/02/2012 | Business
This design, Plan HMAFAPW1717 from Homeplans.com, makes extraordinary use of modest square footage.
Date: 11/29/2012 | Home and Garden
WASHINGTON -- Home prices increased in September in most major U.S. cities, more evidence of a housing recovery that is providing a lift to the fragile economy.
Date: 11/27/2012 | Business
EVERETT -- A developer stands to take ownership of city land next month to build a downtown hotel, but it could pay a hefty price if it fails to start construction by next fall under a deal set to close next month.
Date: 11/26/2012 | Local News
Question: I've been hearing a lot about "reverse mortgages" and I would like to know who to contact to find out more information. We live in Arlington and are both retired but want to stay in our home as long as possible without added expenses. Can the money be used for anything? If taken as a lump...
Date: 11/25/2012 | Business
Who says big houses have all the fun? Plan HMAFAPW01298 from Homeplans.com has an open layout that would make a great vacation home or budget-friendly primary residence.
Date: 11/22/2012 | Home and Garden
WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell to fresh record lows this week, a trend that is boosting home sales and aiding the housing recovery.
Date: 11/21/2012 | Business
YAKIMA -- The reddish-orange stain on the boulders lining their long rural driveway reminds Susan and Al Maza just how close they came to losing their home to wildfire.
Date: 11/18/2012 | Northwest
Q: After getting an architect to draw up great remodeling plans and talking to a builder or two, I've come to the conclusion that we'd be better off to tear down our house and start over. One problem is convincing my husband that I haven't lost my marbles. He thinks it's a huge waste. He also...
Date: 11/18/2012 | Business
LAS VEGAS -- The Internal Revenue Service says eight people have been indicted in federal court in Houston in a Las Vegas-based timeshare resale scheme that bilked about 1,000 victims in the U.S. and Canada out of more than $12 million.
Date: 11/16/2012 | Northwest
Simple but smart, Plan HMAFAPW1716 from Homeplans.com offers a great one-story layout with 2,136 square feet of finished living space.
Date: 11/15/2012 | Home and Garden
Q: We know that the tax laws allow homeowners to sell their house and keep the profits tax-free, but what about rental properties? We own a rental house and we want to know if we can sell it and keep some or all of the profits tax-free.
Date: 11/11/2012 | Business
EVERETT -- Frontier Communications, a major provider in Snohomish County of telephone, Internet and television service, has sold its regional headquarters building but is leasing back about half the space.
Date: 11/09/2012 | Business
This home, Plan HMAFAPW00717 from Homeplans.com, is graceful and even a bit grand. The family-friendly design features 1,937 square feet of finished living space, with an additional 1,355 square feet of unfinished space in the basement.
Date: 11/08/2012 | Home and Garden
WASHINGTON -- A measure of U.S. home prices jumped 5 percent in September compared with a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase since July 2006. The gain reported by CoreLogic offered more evidence of a sustainable housing recovery.
Date: 11/06/2012 | Business
Snohomish County's housing market mirrored the rest of Western Washington in October, with listings at their lowest level since February 2006 driving year-over-year sales prices up by double digits for the first time since March 2007.
Date: 11/05/2012 | Business
Question: My partner and I live in a home that still has a mortgage. We would like to complete a quitclaim deed transferring all of our interests in the property to our sister. We will continue to live in the house for now and continue to pay the mortgage and property taxes. Should we be...
Date: 11/04/2012 | Business
Let Gary McMillen be your guide to selling real estate
Date: 11/04/2012 | Life
This graceful country home, Plan HMAFAPW01274 from Homeplans.com, invites the outdoors in with a triple skylight above the great room, a front porch and a roomy rear deck. And who could resist the cupola perched atop the roof?
Date: 11/01/2012 | Home and Garden