Seattle Real Estate

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Improving Your Credit October 25, 2009

credit-score-chartIf you are thinking of purchasing a new home or refinancing soon, your credit score will play a large role in not only whether or not you qualify but also how high your payments will be. Credit awareness is your first step.

To review your credit report, visit If you find any errors, work to fix them as soon as you can.

Your credit score is determined by several factors: Do you pay on time? Do you owe money on your credit cards? Have you used credit recently? Are you applying for numerous new cards? What kinds of credit have you used?

Essentially, lenders are looking for a consistent pattern of on-time payments. If you don’t already pay all your bills on time, now is the time to start.

Your score is also affected by your debt to income ratio. So you can work to raise your income or you can work to decrease your debt. Whichever path you choose, paying down maxed out cards is a good place to start.

Overall stability helps boost your credit score as well. Changing residences or jobs frequently can put a ding in your score.

If you are planning to apply for a home loan in the near future, avoid other big purchases like cars or boats.

If you’d like more tips on improving your credit, please let me know. I can put you in touch with a consultant who can work with you to help improve your credit score.

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The Move-up effect!



Open House: 506 South 222nd St., #10 Des Moines, WA 98198 October 24, 2009

Filed under: open house — Rolland @ 7:34 pm
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506 S. 222nd St Des Moines, WA  98198


Hire the agent that best suits your needs

Frequently Asked Questions

Buying and/or Selling a Home

When you work as our agent, how do you get paid?

Typically in Residential Real Estate, the brokerage fee is paid by the Seller. A seller agrees to pay a commission at the time they list their home for sale. Part of that commission is paid to the broker/agent who helps the buyer purchase the seller’s home.

Can I only buy homes with John L. Scott signs on them?

No, to some this may sound like a funny question, bit it’s not.  Almost every real estate sign from every real estate broker has the word “Exclusive” on it.  That merely means the seller has agreed to pay a commission to the broker who has listed it, regardless of who brings the buyer who purchases it.

I can show and help you buy any home listed by any real estate company.

Likewise, when I list your home for sale or another seller’s home for sale, I welcome the agents from all the other companies to show those listed homes to their buyers and hope that they will present us with winning offers.

Sometimes there may be an occasion when the home that is just right for you is not listed, but is “FOR SALE BY OWNER”.  In most cases I can help you preview and purchase such a home as well.  It will require that I contact the seller and reach an agreement that they agree to pay a real estate commission.

Earnest Money

What is Earnest Money?

Earnest Money is a deposit you make to provide evidence to the seller of your good faith intent to complete the transaction.  You provide this deposit when your offer to purchase (Purchase and Sale Agreement) is prepared for presentation to the seller.

The Earnest Money check must be deposited within 3 days of Mutual Acceptance or if agreed after completion of the home inspection and everything has been accepted.

What is needed for Earnest Money?

Earnest Money should ordinarily be between 1 and 2% of the purchase price.  The larger your earnest money, the greater confidence the seller will have in your offer. If your loan program is one providing for a lower down payment, a smaller earnest money deposit is sometimes acceptable.

It should be in the form of a check made payable to the Escrow Company doing the closing.

What happens to my Earnest Money?

It will be deposited and put in the setup Escrow Account.  The amount will be applied to the total amount of money you will need at closing towards the purchase price and closing costs of your new home.

If your agreement is contingent on you getting financing for a home purchase loan, and through no fault on your part, you are unable to acquire a home purchase loan; your earnest money would be returned in full to you.

*** If the Buyer elects not to purchase after waiving a satisfactory inspection and after being approved for a loan for the home, then the earnest money is forfeited to the seller as compensation for their loss of opportunity to sell to another buyer.***

Home Inspections

What is a Home Inspection and should I plan to have one?

With very few exceptions, a buyer will always want to have the home they are buying inspected by a professional inspector who is independent of any other contractors and who is fully trained and qualified to identify the condition of the structure and systems in a home.

The buyer pays for the inspection and needs to be present during at least part of the inspection period so that the general condition and common maintenance issues and questions can be pointed out and explained by the inspector.  If there are items needing correction, those will be addressed as well.   A thorough home inspection will result in the buyer knowing that much more about their next home.

What will an inspection cost and when do I pay it?

Typically an inspection will cost between $400 – $500 depending on the square footage and the year it was built.  If the home is 40 years old they will add an additional $50 and if it is 41+ years old they will add another $50.

The fee is paid directly to the inspector at the time of the inspection.

How do I find and schedule an inspector?

As your agent, I will provide to you a list of inspectors who have reliably done work for my clients in the past.  You may call any of them and schedule an inspection appointment that will fit both of our schedules.  I say both of our schedules, because it is a mandatory NWMLS rule that the buyers agent be at the inspection the entire time.


What is Escrow?

Escrow is a service provided to buyers and sellers of real estate.  Escrow is done by escrow companies. Some escrow businesses are associated with title insurance companies, others are independent.

Some attorneys specialize in real estate and do escrow.

The terms “Escrow” and “Closing” are often used interchangeable although there are differences.  An Escrow Officer or service is sometimes called a “Closing Agent”.


What happens at Closing?

Closing costs are the expenses incurred in the transfer of real estate in addition to the purchase price of the property.  The closing agent (Escrow Company) will provide you with a complete list of costs, prior to the signing appointment.

The Buyer and Seller share some costs, such as the fee for Escrow services and Title Insurance.

The Buyer pays:

  • Fee for appraising the property.
  • Reimburses the seller for any prepaid taxes, prorated to the date of closing.
  • Lender for discount points, if any.
  • May be required to deposit reserve funds for taxes and insurance on the property.
  • Recording the property transfer

What is Title Insurance?

There are two title policies involved in the purchase of a home.  The seller provides one to you as the buyer.  The buyer provides the second one, with a much smaller premium to their lender as (security for their loan).

Title insurance is a means for the seller to provide the buyer, assurance that they have full ownership of the home.  In the event that another party makes a claim to the rights of the property, the title insurance company will provide legal measures to protect your rights or if necessary, provide financial compensation for rights you might lose.

This seldom happens, but the insurance provides the buyer a peace of mind.

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Forbes: America’s best states for business – October 3, 2009

Filed under: Economy,Good News,Marketing information — Rolland @ 9:13 pm
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Forbes: America’s best states for business – “In the rankings of best states for business, Washington comes in second”



OPEN HOUSE: In Ballard! 1514 NW 67th St 98117


Renovated with the finest details! New copper and ABS plumbing, updated electrical include new 200 amp service, original hardwoods, 9 foot ceilings, media room (wired for 5.1 sound system) or possible 4th bedroom, sep entrance to basement, brand new ss energy star kit appliances, newly remodeled kit includes cabinets, hardwood floor, under cab lighting w/ dampeners, quartz countertops, tile backsplash. Newly remodeled 2nd bathroom, portable 1.5ton AC unit. 3.2 miles from downtown Seattle, jump across the street to the City Pool!


Hope to see you at this great open house.

If you want to check out my facebook page and become a fan you can be notified of these events in the future! Can also be found on Twitter too!


Good information, makes for good decisions! September 26, 2009

Filed under: Short Sale — Rolland @ 3:21 pm
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Are you uncomfortable looking at Bank Short Sale Listings. I would like to offer a few questions your Realtor should ask the Listing Agent before making an offer on a bank short sale listing.

(1) How far behind is the Seller on the mortgage payments? Most mortgage companies will not get serious about an offer unless the seller is atleast 4 months behind in the mortgage and the bank has already started the process for foreclosure proceedings.

(2) Has the Seller submited all the required documents to the Lender? The lender will not even give the Listing Agent a reply with out all the sellers required documents. Some banks want the seller required documents and your offer submitted or all at one time. Just knowing the listing agent has all the documents in their file ready will speed up the process.

(3) What kind of discussions have you had with the Lender ? You should be able to tell if the listing agent is in tune with the file and the bank. If the listing agent is without a direct line to the assigned Loss Mitigation Officer to the file would in most cases result in a longer then normal reply on your offer. This of course is never a good thing.

(4) Does the Seller have a First and a Second Mortgage ? Is the second it with the same Lender? It takes more time to close a bank short sale with two mortgages and is even more difficult.

(5) Does the Seller have PMI ( Private Mortgage Insurance ) on this property? Many times this comes out in the very end of settling the short sale , So ask it up front before making the offer. More often then not, the Investor that bought the insurance, will require a promissory note for the balance on his investment, before accepting to close the deal. Most of the time they will not remove their portion of the debt on the property, if the seller can not come to terms on a cash or a payment plan, the mortgage will not be able to be released from the mortgage regardless of the contract price.

There are some very good deals on homes that are listed as a bank short sales. They normally do not receive multi contract offers like bank owned property.

I suggest, don’t shy away from the bank short sales! Find a Realtor that has experience in purchasing and closing bank short sales. We just need to start these simple discussions with the listing agent. The answers will give a you a better understanding on the direction you should take as the home buyer. The best decisions are made when you have the best most accrete information.

Please feel free to contact me, I will guide you through your real estate experience with care and confidence you can count on.



Home sellers! Staging your home only makes your price RIGHT! September 3, 2009

CRM Home staging.jpeg

How to fight the property tax assessor August 31, 2009

Filed under: Economy,Good News,Making a Difference — Rolland @ 7:14 pm
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How to fight the property tax assessor: “”

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Remember, that not all municipalities are moving with great speed to correct your home assessment. But, it is your right to challenge the assessment and get it reduced. Contact your agent, they can make this process easier.

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First Time Home Buyer Program, The clock is ticking down August 25, 2009