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How To Get the Best Mortgage Rate

09/21/2017

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We all know that buying a home is one of the most expensive financial commitments that a person will ever have to make in their lifetime. But the stress doesn’t get any easier once you start factoring in mortgage payments. Looking to get the best possible deal on your mortgage? Here are a few tips that will help you navigate this process:

  • Check Your Credit: A high credit score can play a huge role in making sure the house of your dreams is secured. Making sure your credit is in good shape and that you’re eliminating late payments will put you in a better position when you apply for a mortgage. Print out and carefully review your credit report before you apply for a home loan to double check that you’re in good standing credit-wise.

  • Compare: Don’t just take the first mortgage option you’re presented with. Like many other things in this world, you have options. Compare multiple options along with multiple criteria so that you’re not jumping head first into something you either don’t understand or don’t know the ramifications of quite yet.

  • Home Equity: Normally, a standard down payment on a house is considered to be 20%. It’s better to avoid higher mortgage payments and raised interest rates by putting down as much money upfront towards your home. The interest rate payments might not seem like a lot now, but trust me, they can really add up after a while. Assess your financial situation carefully so you avoid falling into any of these traps.

  • Conclusion: The best piece of advice for people going through this process is to dedicate the time and due diligence to ensure that every step of the process is comprehended and properly planned for. It’s understandable that things can sometimes happen very quickly during the purchase of a home, but you need to stay attentive throughout the entire process if you’re going to wind up on top at the end.

 
 

Seattle Seahawks: Week 2 Victory Over the 49ers!

09/19/2017

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The 12th Man was out in full force on Sunday for the Hawks first home game of the season against our division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. Although the game ended in a victory for our Hawks, it wasn’t exactly pretty. They were able to move the ball pretty well down the field on offense, but they’re still having a bit of trouble getting touchdowns in the red zone.

However, we did score our first touchdown of the season in the 4th quarter on an improvised pass to Paul Richardson. This play, and the entire rest of the game, just further proves how critical and important Russell Wilson is to this Seattle Seahawks football team.

Even though our offensive line is still showing signs of uninspired protection in both the run and pass games, Russell Wilson is able to make things happen in the offense despite the lack of help. He uses his legs to not only extend plays but to create more opportunities for his receivers. Most importantly, Russell didn’t turn the ball over at all throughout the entire game. While there’s still work to be done, it looks like the Hawks’ offense is making steady (albeit quite slow) progress.

The defense again lived up to its reputation, only allowing 9 points on field goals without any touchdowns. It’s pretty much widely accepted that the defense is the true star of this team, and it appears they’ll continue to pick up the load when the offense is struggling. While their ability to stop teams is undeniable, fatigue and stamina wear on the best of athletes. If the Hawks want to find success in later games of the season (and into the playoffs), they’ll need their offense to pick up the slack.

Next week’s game is on the road in Tennessee as the Seahawks square up against the Titans at 1:05 PM PDT. Don’t forget to wear that blue all week and support our Hawks!

How to Know if it’s Time to Move or Relocate

09/14/2017

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We’ve all had those moments in our life where we feel caught up in the repetition of our daily or weekly routine. Maybe it’s personal, maybe it’s financial, or maybe it’s just boredom, but there comes a time in a lot of people’s lives where they think about making a big change. For a lot of people, that change can mean relocating all together. But how do you assess whether or not it’s the right time to move? Here are a few points that may help you reach a decision:

  • Work: The most common reason that people relocate these days is that of their job. Sometimes an offer will come to your table that’s really good but requires you to move to another place. In situations like this, it’s in your best interest to take some time to reflect on the pros and cons of the job and where it is you’ll be relocated. While the job could be very appealing, maybe the city you’d be moving to wouldn’t be nearly as impressive. Weighing the duties of the job versus your personal beliefs and dreams will ultimately put you in a better place to decide whether or not to take a job in another city.

  • Retirement: As far as life transitions go, retirement is a big one. While you may have just gotten used to the idea of not working anymore, it’s possible you haven’t thought as much about where to go from here. Retirement is a great opportunity for a fresh start. Oftentimes, that means relocating. Maybe you want to move somewhere warmer, maybe you want to move closer to family, but whatever the reasons are, remember that retirement doesn’t mean you have to be complacent.

  • Financial: Money. It doesn’t grow on trees but it’d be nice if it did. The cost of living in certain big cities and other areas of the country can be quite overwhelming for someone who’s having trouble keeping up monetarily. If you’re tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck and looking to save some more money, consider moving somewhere with a lower cost of living.

  • Personal Life: Sometimes it’s not the job or retirement that’s calling us somewhere else, but rather something deep inside us that’s just ready for a change. Whether it’s relationships, family, or any other personal reason, it’s completely natural to want a new change of scenery. So if you’ve lived in the same area for a really long time, maybe it’s just time for you to hang your hat somewhere else.

Seattle Seahawks: The Season Has Begun!

09/12/2017

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Well, it’s finally here. The Seattle Seahawks season has officially begun! The Fall brings the return of many people’s favorite things. Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the changing color of the leaves on the trees…But none of these compare to the excitement of Seattle Seahawks football. Cheer on your Seahawks every week as we compete for a chance to get back to the Super Bowl!

On Sunday, the Hawks had their first regular season game of the seasons against the Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately, they suffered a frustrating loss with a final score of 9-17. While the enthusiasm and intensity on the field were high, the Hawks just couldn’t gain any momentum on offense and it ultimately cost them the game.

Sunday afternoon’s game showed that the Hawks still have a glaring offensive line problem, as Russell Wilson was left running for his life on just about every play. They couldn’t gather any momentum to move down the field and punter Jon Ryan was forced to punt a total of six times. No touchdowns were scored by the Hawks, but new kicker Blair Walsh was perfect from field goal range, making all three of his attempts.

While a Week 1 loss is a tough one to swallow for Hawks fans, we’ll be back and ready to compete next week when we face the San Francisco 49ers in our first home game of the season! Tune in to the game at 1:25pm PDT on Fox this Sunday and cheer so loud they hear you all the way at Centurylink Field!

Go Hawks!

Featured Image via Sports Interaction Blog

Upsizing vs. Downsizing: Which One Is For You?

09/07/2017

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A big part of any move is deciding what kind of home you want to relocate to. For retirees, that means figuring out whether to upsize or downsize. There are many reasons why you’d want to go with either option. Traditionally, older homeowners have leaned more towards downsizing, but recent studies have shown that people are actually upsizing more. Here are a few things to consider when deciding which is the right choice for you:

  • Why Upsize? After an entire career of working hard, many people feel that it’s time to treat themselves to something bigger so they can live comfortably. First and foremost, this is only really an option if you can afford it in the first place. If you’re planning on entertaining guests with social gatherings or having your family members stay with you for reunions and extended stays, upsizing may be in your best interest. In fact, surveys have shown that a contributing factor to upsizing home deals with many college graduates moving back home after graduating while they try to find work. The last thing to consider, especially if you’re a senior, is mobility. You want to make sure you’re buying a house where you can easily go up and down the stairs without causing too much stress to your body.

  • Why Downsize? Downsizing for your next home is still a reasonable option. Especially when you consider how high mortgage bills, utility bills, and property taxes have gotten over the years. Again, if you have medical reasons for needing a one-floor house, that’s something you’ll always want to take into consideration when shopping around. Plus, saving money on the actual purchasing of the house can free up your bank account to purchase other accessories for your new home! Or you could always use it to travel the world. It’s entirely up to you!

Top Reasons Why Fall is the Best Time for Home Buying

09/05/2017

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Up until recently, it was pretty much the consensus that Spring was the ideal time to buy a house. Now, that’s starting to change. Recent trends in the real estate market have shown that the Fall is just about as good a time to buy as any other season, if not better. Here are some of the top reasons why you may want to start looking at houses for sale this coming Fall:

  • Less Competition: Since it’s not typically seen as busier than Spring, there are usually fewer buyers. That ultimately means less competition if you were to come across something you like. Fall is also a time where sellers will reposition homes that had previously been for sale. This means as a buyer, this is a great time for you to lowball and prepare for more aggressive negotiations.

  • Seller’s Fatigue: A listing that’s been up for months can really start to weigh on a seller. Looking for homes that have been on sale since Spring may give you an opportunity to capitalize. It’s important to track the pricing of properties like this and see how many times the seller has lowered the price.

  • Center of Attention: Again, fewer buyers means you get more attention. If you feel the Spring housing market is too intense and crowded, you might find the Fall season easier to navigate. Use this as an opportunity to really gauge your interest by asking the seller all the questions you need to be answered.

  • Pair with Year-End Sales: Many department and furniture stores feature year-end sales. Since the fall season continues right up until the beginning of these sales, it might be in your best interest (from a monetary perspective) to coordinate the purchase of your home before these sales take place. That way you’ll be able to have a full grasp on the type of furniture and accessories you’ll need to match your new home.

Tips for Hosting a Summer Party

08/31/2017

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Here in the Northwest, we’ve been lucky to have so many sunny days this summer. While a summer with lots of sun means more time to spend outside exploring new areas, it also means that it’s the prime season for social gatherings! If you’re looking to host a party at your home this summer, here are a few tips you’ll want to consider:

  • Get the Word Out: Whether it be by social media, group text, or email, make sure that you get the word out as early as possible to ensure more people attend. You’ll want to to provide all the important details; Directions, parking, what to bring, what time the food is being grilled, etc. Facebook events are usually your best bet as you can easily post updates about the party as it gets closer.

  • Prepare, Prepare, Prepare: As with anything in life, the more you prepare beforehand, the better. Make sure you have all your bases covered. This means an alternative plan if the weather turns bad, enough food to accommodate a few last minute guests, and any other things that may come up. If enough preparation is done beforehand, you’ll be able to spend less time stressing during the party and more time just enjoying yourself.

  • Seats: Make sure you have enough chairs for everyone to sit down. This may mean purchasing a few extra patio chairs if need be, but you don’t want to have to resort to bringing living room/dining room chairs outside just because there aren’t enough places to sit.

  • Keep It Cool: While it may be almost September, we haven’t escaped the heat yet. With temperatures still reaching the 80’s and 90’s, it’s critical that you provide your guests with enough shade and enough cool air so that they don’t feel uncomfortable. And while there may be plenty of alcohol and other beverages being consumed, make sure you have water readily available for everyone to stay hydrated while they’re out in the heat.

  • Kids: If friends of yours are bringing kids, they’ll need to have something to do to keep them occupied during the party so all the adults can enjoy themselves. Set up some fun games outside and the kids will be entertained for hours.

Types of Tile Flooring

08/29/2017

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These days, modern home design is leaning more heavily toward tile flooring when it comes to remodels. Not only does it look beautiful and really stand out in a room, but it’s more durable and made to last. Of course, there are types of tile that work better for different rooms. Taking time to sort through the different types to ultimately decide which is best for your home’s design is key. Here’s some info on the popular types of tile flooring that you can use to choose what’s best for you:

  • Stain-Resistant Porcelain: A more popular choice to use in the kitchen due to the fact that it’s extremely resistant to spills. When looking at potential color options, experts say you should go with something darker and a bit more neutral in color so that you compliment the kitchen cabinets and countertop color more accurately.

  • Durable Slate-Look Porcelain: It’s all in the name. This tile is sturdier and stronger than your average tile. This durable porcelain would do well in a laundry room or mudroom given the more frequent vibrations, and the slate-look makes the tile practically indistinguishable from natural stone which makes everything look more casual and rustic.

  • Small Mosaic Tiles: For smaller rooms with less space, you’ll want to go with smaller, more mosaic tiles. Tiles that are one-inch or smaller are easier to install in within the confines of a small room compared to a larger one. This type of tiling is also ideal for bathrooms since they are better at resisting moisture due to more grout lines and traction.

  • Vinyl Tile: If you’re looking to put tile in a basement or rec room, vinyl might be the way to go. It’s got more durability and the ceramic nature of it makes it able to resist more moisture. Many styles look very similar to wood and give the room they’re displayed in a more distinguished, refined look.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Relocating

08/24/2017

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Moving to a completely new area is always stressful. It always comes with some worries and concerns. And while some of these things may just naturally occur and be unavoidable, there is a way to weed out a good portion of that stress. Like most areas of life, spending as much time as possible preparing can save you lots of time later down the road. Before you fully commit to any move, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the cost of living? One of the biggest factors that determine the plausibility of a move. It’s critical to know the financial status of the area across many different categories. Making sure that the cost of living is within the scope of your price range will make all the difference in the world. You wouldn’t want to move all the way to a new area only to find out after that you couldn’t afford it in the first place.

  • Which areas/neighborhoods do I want to live in? You really should take time to know the ins and outs of the neighborhoods within your targeted area. In the case of bigger cities, the neighborhoods can be vastly different from one another. Finding a place where you’re comfortable will do more to ensure your happiness over time.

  • What’s my commute look like? Most people relocate because of a new job opportunity. So when that new job takes you to a new city and you’re looking for a place to live, make sure your commute is something that you can tolerate. After all, you’ll be making this commute twice a day, five times a week, so it’s definitely a point you’ll need to consider.

  • Can I see myself being happy here? Although it’s at the end of this list, this question is probably the most important one you should be asking yourself. At the end of the day, really take the time to figure out if relocating will make you happy. And while happiness in any big life transition is never guaranteed, if you can’t at least picture yourself being happy, then you might need to think long and hard about wanting to relocate at all.

Top Real Estate Scams To Avoid

08/22/2017

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Navigating the real estate market is hard enough without having to worry about being taken advantage of. Unfortunately, people can sometimes be swindled and manipulated throughout this process. The key is to take the time to comprehend and assess every step to make sure everything runs smoothly and doesn’t end up costing you any more money than it should. Here are some of the top real estate scams you should be aware of:

  1. Fake Landlord: Another good reason to always request to see documentation. While all established real estate agencies will always be able to provide you with the MLS and other details of the listing, be cautious of people claiming to be landlords without any credentials or documentation to back it up. Craigslist shoppers can fall victim to this scam because people will post photos of a house they know is open in hopes of getting you to pay a deposit at the very least. Doing research ahead of time can save you down the road.

  2. Money Upfront: One of the oldest scams in the book. Some criminals will show you photos of a beautiful listing and request you pay a deposit or fee before viewing it or seeing documentation. Don’t fall for this. You should never, under any circumstances, pay money for something you have not physically seen and can trace back to the source. Just to be safe, never commit to anything unless you’ve read the proper documents.

  3. Rushed Process: Anyone who’s gone through the process of buying a house knows that the steps can take some time. Scammers will try and move everything along a lot quicker than usual to get you pay them. So beware of impatient and pushy people who are trying to hurry along the process. These people are not on your side.

  4. A Price That’s “Too Good To Be True”: Remember that advertisement that you saw for that dream house that you’ve always wanted at half the price it should cost? Probably not. Because that typically doesn’t happen. If you see a price that’s insanely underpriced, there’s probably a catch. Beware of traps like these that catch prospective buyers who are desperate for a good deal.