The first step in buying a home

Are you thinking about buying a home? Wondering about how to get started with the whole process?

The first thing you should do is talk to an experienced, trustworthy lender (aka loan officer) to get an accurate assessment of your credit status and financial fitness. A loan officer will help you determine the amount of money you can qualify to borrow, i.e. how much house you can afford.

How and where do you find a trustworthy lender? I recommend you devote a little time to this task because your choice can either save or cost you a lot of money when buying a home!

If you don’t already have a lender you trust, ask friends and family for recommendations. Real estate agents are also a great source for referrals as we work with lenders all the time and can easily identify and recommend several loan officers who have a good track record for helping our clients successfully buy a home.

Next, spend a little more time interviewing two or three lenders until you find one who fills you with confidence in his/her skills and ethics.

Here are 10 Questions to Ask when interviewing a loan officer.

  1. What are the most popular mortgage loans you offer?
  2. Which type of mortgage plan do you think would be best for us? Why?
  3. Are your rates, terms, fees, and closing costs negotiable? How do you get paid?
  4. Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so how much will it cost and how long will it be required? NOTE: Private mortgage insurance usually is required if you make less than a 20 percent downpayment, but most lenders will let you discontinue the policy when you’ve acquired a certain amount of equity by paying down the loan.
  5. Who will service the loan? Your bank or another company?
  6. What escrow requirements do you have?
  7. How long is your loan lock-in period (the time that the quoted interest rate will be honored)? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if they drop during this period?
  8. How long will the loan approval process take?
  9. How long will it take to close the loan?
  10. Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying the loan?

Used with permission from Real Estate Checklists & Systems (http://www.realestatechecklists.com)

In my next post, I will discuss step 2 in the home buying process. If you can’t wait, give me a call for a personal consultation. 206-708-9800

2012 Westwood Village Street Fair

As I said in a previous post, summer in Seattle brings a bouquet of street festivals, and West Seattle certainly has its share.

The first one (that I know of), Westwood Village Street Fair, is slated for Saturday, June 16th from 10A-7P at Westwood Village on SW Barton between 29th Ave SW and 29th Ave SW.

The locally infamous and multi-talented, Cynthia Reid, is doing a fantastic job of organizing the event, having lined up some great entertainment, vendor booths and family activities.

So mark your calendar now and plan to attend this fun and funky local festival.

Westwood Village Street Fair

Morgan Junction Community Festival: “the little festival that could”

During the summertime in Seattle you can find a festival on one street corner or another nearly every weekend. One of the smaller festivals is the Morgan Junction Community Festival, this year on Saturday, June 23rd from 10:30A-7P.

This is the 4th year in a row that I will have a booth at the festival with information about my group, Savvy Seattle Women: A Network for Homeowners and Aspiring Homeowners. I love the friendly, low-key atmosphere and the manageable crowd size. The center point for the Morgan Junction Community Festival is actually the intersection of California Ave SW and Fauntleroy Way. But you don’t need to avoid driving through the Junction during the festival — the powers-that-be don’t even shut down the intersection during the event! Cars, bicycles and people all co-exist harmoniously as we celebrate the neighborhood.

Vendor booths (also quite low-key) are located in the parking lot behind Zeeks, Feedback Lounge and Washington Federal. Activities for the kids are hosted in the Washington Federal parking lot and Morgan Junction Park. Live music provides a sound track from the Beveridge Place Pub Parking Lot. Then there is the progressive treat known as “Bite of Morgan” hosted at various eating establishments throughout the Junction. Just pick up your booklet full of coupons to get your free bites.

Mark your calendar now and make a note to come visit me at the festival. I’m sure to be giving away something good 🙂

More info at www.MorganJunction.org

Morgan Junction Community Festival

Westwood Neighborhood floral display

One of the big pleasures of my day is walking with my dog, Tess, around our under-appreciated Westwood Village neighborhood. This time of year is especially enjoyable because of all the flowering trees and shrubs.

I took my camera with me this morning and captured these colorful shots from my West Seattle neighbors’ yards. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.