Archive for December 2008

How To Get A Great Deal On A Foreclosed Property In 2009

If you've been priced out of the housing market, now is the time to consider buying a foreclosed property. But don't wait; the best-value foreclosed homes--what we call "real estate owned" (REO)--are selling as soon as they come on the market.
Although buyers can also find bargain prices on pre-foreclosure sales or homes sold at foreclosure auctions, most buyers find it easier and less risky to purchase REOs from the lending institutions and government authorities that repossess these homes. (Note: REOs also can refer to properties purchased by corporations from their transferring employees. This article focuses on REOs resulting from foreclosure proceedings.)
Finding a high-value property and negotiating a low-cost contract are the keys to success in the months ahead. Here is the critical information REO buyers need to know:
Why Buy An REO?
REO homes are most attractive to buyers looking for bargains. They know lenders and government organizations don't really want to own homes and would rather move their "non-performing assets" off the books as quickly as possible.
Still, being responsible to stockholders or taxpayers means institutional owners will try to recover as much of their investment in a foreclosed home as possible. Negotiating is key to getting a true bargain price on an REO!
REO foreclosures offer some distinct advantages to buyers:
+ Opportunity for professional inspection. Being able to thoroughly inspect an REO can help ensure against unexpected problems and expensive repairs. Inspections are often not an option at earlier stages of foreclosure, especially at auction, when properties are frequently sold "as is."
+ Easier financing. The lender or government agency may offer an attractive financing package, perhaps including a lower interest rate or smaller down payment requirement than might be available on the open market. Chances are also better that outside lenders will consider financing an REO, since their appraisers get a chance to look at these properties. REO buyers can also negotiate for a financing contingency in their contract with the seller.
+ No eviction problems. By the time institutional owners put their properties on the market as REOs, former owners or tenants typically have already moved out. Again, this may not be the case with pre-foreclosure and auction sales.
+ Better condition. Homes in default and sold at auction may not be in great shape, either due to neglect by their cash-strapped former owners or damage caused by disgruntled residents or vandals. Lenders and government organizations selling REOs, however, sometimes make repairs, returning properties to livable condition--or discount the prices to sell more quickly.
+ Listings with brokers. Most REOs are listed for sale with a real estate broker/REALTOR® who is bound by law and ethics to represent the property truthfully. (In some states, however, lenders are exempt from some disclosure rules.)
Call On Me -- Your Neighborhood Expert
Remember: All real estate is local. That's why it's more important than ever in 2009 to work with a top-notch local real estate professional--after all, you're not buying a home across the country, you're buying a foreclosed property right here.I can help! As experienced neighborhood specialists, I make it my business to represent buyers of foreclosed properties. Contact me to learn how I do it. There's no cost for this information--and absolutely no obligation to you!
Lonnie Snyder
Keller Williams Realty Southeast Sound
Phone: 206-406-2710
E-Mail :
Lonnie Snyder is a full time real estate agent and REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty specializing in Residential Real Estate for buyers and sellers in Washington’s Kent, Renton, Newcastle and South Bellevue.

The Process Of Foreclosure

The term "foreclosure" can be confusing; it really refers to a three-stage process:

  1. Pre-foreclosure--initial stage when homeowner misses payments (becoming "delinquent"), then defaults on mortgage, and lender begins foreclosure proceedings with "notice of default."
  2. Auction (also "trustee's sale" or "step sale")--the stage at which the property is put up for auction by lender; proceeds repay lender (and homeowner, if any money is left over).
  3. Post-foreclosure-- when properties that didn't sell at auction are repossessed, becoming REO "real estate owned" by a lender or government agency such as the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or Veterans Affairs (VA).

Lonnie Snyder


Keller Williams Realty Southeast Sound

Phone: 206-406-2710

E-Mail :



Lonnie Snyder is a full time real estate agent and REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty specializing in Residential Real Estate for buyers and sellers in Washington’s Kent, Renton, Newcastle and South Bellevue.

The Key to Greater Health and Happiness

Thought for today.
Gratitude: The Key to Greater Health and Happiness.
A popular French proverb reminds us that gratitude is the heart's memory. When we genuinely appreciate the many blessings and gifts in our lives, the feeling resonates in our hearts as joy. Age-old spiritual wisdom has taught that a grateful heart is key to happiness and health. Several studies have shown that people who adopt an attitude of gratitude-that is, they regularly appreciate the good things in life-are happier and more resilient. In one study, people who counted their blessings weekly for ten weeks noticed that they had fewer physical complaints, spent more time exercising and experienced improved quality of sleep.
These studies reinforce the benefit of shifting our focus to the good and positive things in life. Gratitude is a choice to focus on the good instead of the negative in our lives. It is also a choice to be present in the here and now, instead of in the past or future. When we are truly grateful, we are satisfied with where we are in the present moment. Unfortunately, in a high-pressure, results-driven society that tells us we should want it all and want more, being satisfied is often mistakenly perceived as settling for less. But we can have goals and look forward to a future of bigger and better things while savoring and celebrating the blessings of today.
Life is a wonderful gift: family and friends, lessons and challenges, the wonder of the extraordinary and the familiarity of the everyday, the abundance and convenience of food we enjoy, our health, homes, jobs and businesses, the light of the sun, the magnificence of nature. There is already so much for us to be thankful for.
Here are few ways to build your gratitude practice:. Say a prayer of thanks each morning. Keep a gratitude journal. Light a candle. Reflect on three good things that happened at the end of each day. Send a thank you note
Denise Eider
Account Manager

Waste Free Holiday Options

Happy Holidays! Are you one of the few who has finished their shopping list ahead of schedule? If you aren't one of those few overachievers, then be sure to check out Retailers and Waste Management Companies have teamed up to try and cut down on the enormous amounts of waste thrown out during this time every year. This website offers shoppers huge discounts on "experiences", like tickets and gift certificates, throughout King, Pierce, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties. In the spirit of being green, and living in the beautiful Northwest, it is worth a look. You can be earth-friendly and a thoughtful giver at the same time.
Warmest Holiday Wishes,
Denise Eider
Account Manager

We're Saving the Planet... One Drip at a Time!

Protect our precious resources AND save money with these handy water-saving tips:
+ Install ultra low-flow toilets that requires only 1.6 gallons (6 liters) per flush rather than the old style which consume up to 7 gallons per flush. Consider pressurized models for a better flush.
+ Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving. This can save up to 5 gallons per day.
+ Take a shower instead of a bath and save an average of 20 gallons of water.
+ Install a water-efficient showerhead with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute.
+ Call Maple Valley Plumbing to install a tankless water heater. These systems are vastly superior to traditional water heaters in both effectiveness (virtually endless hot water!) and energy efficiency.See our tankless showroom for details!
+ Sprinklers should water your lawn, not your sidewalk. Adjust them appropriately to limit waste. As hard as you might try, cement will not grow with watering:)
+ When cleaning off your driveway, use a broom instead of the hose. This saves water AND money, and often takes less time to get the job done.
+ Check for outdoor leaks on your hose bibs, sprinklers and hoses. If you own a pool or spa and use an auto filler, check periodically for leaks by turning off the auto filler and seeing if the water level remains constant.
+ Grab a wrench (or call us) and fix that dripping faucet. This can save up to 300 gallons per month!
+ Teach your children to turn off the sink faucets tightly.
+ Remind your children to turn off the sprinkler, slip-n-slide or other outdoor, continuous-use water toys when they come into the house to drip water everywhere.
+ Remember to check your sprinkler system valves for leaks and keep the sprinkler heads in good shape.
+ If your toilet flapper doesn’t close after flushing, have a licensed plumber replace it. We're just a phone call away!
+ Always drop your tissues, Q-tips and Barbie Dolls in the trash instead of flushing down the toilet. This saves water and potentially costly repairs from clogs. (Yes, we have rescued Barbie from the briny depths of the toilet, compliments of a three-year-old taking Barbie swimming in her new pool:)
+ Never, ever flush paper towels.
+ When washing your car, use a nozzle on your hose. You’ll save over one hundred gallons each time!
+ If your toilet was installed prior to 1992, consider having Maple Valley Plumbing replace it with a more efficient toilet. As a temporary measure, consider inserting a displacement device in the tank.

Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes

Why pipe freezing is a problem
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Pipe freezing is a particular problem in warmer climates where pipes often run through uninsulated or underinsulated attics or crawl spaces.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

  1. Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  2. Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  3. Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located and are in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just as a cold water supply line can freeze if the water is not running through the pipe and the water temperature in the pipe is cold.
  4. Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Many products are available at your local building supplies retailer. Pipes should be carefully wrapped, with ends butted tightly and joints wrapped with tape. Follow manufacturer's recommendations for installing and using these products. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes - even ¼" of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

During Cold Weather, Take Preventive Action

  1. Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  2. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  3. When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing.
  4. Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  5. If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.

To Thaw Frozen Pipes
If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe. Likely places include pipes running against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

  1. Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt more ice in the pipe.
  2. Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, and electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device. A blowtorch can make water in a frozen pipe boil and cause the pipe to explode. All open flames in homes present a serious fire danger, as well as a severe risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.
  3. Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  4. Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Future Protection

  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing. Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
  • Add insulation added to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
    For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.

For more information on disaster safety, check out:
Or contact your local American Red Cross Chapter.
Many people have asked the Red Cross for information and suggestions about how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do freeze. The following information is provided to address those questions.
PDF File

How to Keep Your Home Safe This Holiday Season

Happy holidays! The end of the year seems to be one celebration after another; starting with Thanksgiving and ending with New Years. These holidays are associated with family gatherings, lots of food and tons of decorations. With the additional decorations, homeowners should be aware of the dangers certain decorations may have. We offers these four tips to make your holiday season as safe as possible.
1) Be Extra Careful Where You Put CandlesHaving an open flame in your home always increases the risk of an accident. If you have children or pets, make sure your candles aren’t easily tipped over by a wagging tale or errant toddler. And, as commonsense as this is, don’t use real candles to decorate your Christmas tree; it could lead to a fire.
2) Keep Your Lights SafeDo your neighbor’s lights dim when you turn on Rudolph’s nose? While you might be warning low flying aircraft of their ground proximity, having too much power going to your decorations could be dangerous. When untangling your mass of light strands, look to make sure the cords are in good shape. If the cords look worn, you should replace that light strand. If you are putting lights up on your house, use staples or clips to hang the lights instead of nails; this will keep you from puncturing the wires.
3) Purchase Safe DecorationsAn elf wearing felt clothes holding a candle may be the perfect holiday decoration, but is it safe? If you are buying a decoration that uses electricity, make sure you buy one that was tested by an independent lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). And never leave any electric decoration unattended—unplug them when you leave the home or go to sleep.
4) Don’t Burn Dinner!When trying to entertain a large group, it’s easy to become distracted with all the conversations going on and trying to spend time with everyone. Not only will your guests appreciate an un-burned meal (we all know how Christmas dinner turned out in “A Christmas Story”) but unattended cooking could lead to a fire.
With New Years just around the corner, it’s a good time to check your homeowners insurance policy. While we all plan to have a great holiday season, nobody plans on losing their home in a fire; which is why it is important to check your homeowners insurance policy at least once a year. If you’re looking for a new policy, compare homeowners insurance quotes using Once again, happy holidays.


To give your home a competitive edge when it's time to sell, make sure it is in good physical condition.
This not only makes your home more attractive and desirable, it also simplifies the negotiation process when the time comes for the Buyer's pre-purchase inspection.
Over the years, The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), has identified a list of common problems that typically appear on buyers' home inspection reports. Early correction of these problems can increase a home's appeal and its selling price. It also sets the stage for a favorable home inspection report for the buyer, and thereby helps to expedite the sale.
The following checklist can help you achieve these marketing goals.
After size, style, and location, a home buyer's primary concern is the condition of the home's basic structure and major mechanical systems. Most buyers do not want to invest a great deal of money correcting problems in such critical areas.
A pre-listing home inspection of the visible and accessible home components can reveal most of these problems, and include recommended repairs, if needed, on the following major items:
- roof structure and covering
- foundation, basement, and/or crawl space
- central heating and air conditioning systems
- electrical system
- plumbing system
A number of maintenance improvements are relatively easy and inexpensive to make, yet they can substantially improve a home's appearance, efficiency, and comfort.
- clean gutters of debris and leaves; repair or replace cracked or broken gutters, downspouts, and extensions to ensure proper drainage;
- replace bathroom caulk or grouting where necessary to prevent seepage and improve appearance;
- have the heating and air conditioning systems professionally serviced;
- have chimneys professionally cleaned, and install chimney hoods or caps as needed.
Fixing even minor items can go a long way toward improving that important first impression of your home. Here are some typical improvements which might be suggested by the home inspector's findings:
- repair leaky faucets;
- tighten loose doorknobs;
- replace damaged screens;
- secure loose railings;
- patch holes or cracks in walls and ceilings, then repaint;
- repair peeling wallpaper.
Home inspectors also pay attention to items relating to protecting the home and its occupants from danger. They can alert you to important safety precautions which home buyers will appreciate, such as:
- installing smoke detectors on each level;
- installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI's) in "wet" areas, such as kitchen counter tops, bathrooms, and exterior outlets;
- keeping flammable products away from heaters, water heaters, and fireplaces.
An attractive, clean, and neat home will appeal to a buyer's emotions. In addition to making repairs such as those listed above, remember to
- keep the lawn mowed and the house neat;
- clean the exterior walls and trim; repaint if necessary;
- open windows shades and curtains to create a bright, inviting atmosphere; - keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean, since buyers scrutinize these areas.
It's a good idea to assemble in advance various house records that can be used to answer questions from buyers and home inspectors. Specifically, you should have on hand:
- appliance receipts, service records, and warranties;
- information on the age of major components, such as the heater, air conditioner and roof;
- major component warranties (e.g. carpeting, siding, roof shingles);
- heating, water, and electric bills from the previous year.
In addition, keep areas clear to give buyers and home inspectors access to the garage, heating system, and electricalequipment.
Lonnie Snyder
Keller Williams Realty Southeast Sound
Phone: 206-406-2710
E-Mail :
Lonnie Snyder is a full time real estate agent and REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty specializing in Residential Real Estate for buyers and sellers in Washington’s Kent, Renton, Newcastle and South Bellevue.

Holiday Season Opportunity Home Sellers

If you're getting ready to sell your home, doing so this season offers some real advantages. Although spring is the traditional high season for home listings and sales, it isn't necessarily a better time to sell. By waiting until spring to list your home, you could face more competition from other sellers. In addition, interest rates could be higher by then, discouraging some would-be buyers.Here are more great reasons to consider listing your home now:
Motivated buyers. With fewer buyers in the marketplace during fall and winter, home shoppers tend to be more serious about purchasing. Consider that many corporate moves are made during December and January. Transferees need to find new homes fast--perhaps in your neighborhood!
Fast start for kids. Some experts advise parents that the transition to a new home can be smoother for some kids when they are moved during the school year--rather than spending the summer "friend free." Starting at a new school immediately upon arrival in the area helps kids establish routines more quickly.
Seasonal charm. Selling your home during cooler weather or over the holidays heightens its "warm" appeal. Keep your home bright by turning on lights and opening curtains and shades.

Lonnie Snyder
Keller Williams Realty Southeast Sound
Phone: 206-406-2710
E-Mail :
Lonnie Snyder is a full time real estate agent and REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty specializing in Residential Real Estate for buyers and sellers in Washington’s Kent, Renton, Newcastle and South Bellevue.

Welcome New Neighbors

Your Renton neighbors decided to sell their home and move to another larger Renton home.
The moving trucks are coming in two weeks, and new neighbors will be coming soon to Renton. How do you share in your friend’s joy and welcome the new neighbors? Why not send them a unique gift basket for their new Renton home?
Everyone enjoys presents and a gift basket is easy and fun. Before you order your gift basket think about the obvious, like do your new neighbors have kids or maybe dogs. Here are a few ideas of a creative gift basket:
 If they have kids get them a gift basket with an inflatable beach ball, maybe a beach towel and some snacks for that sunny beach day they will be having soon.
 Maybe it's just a couple moving in with no kids, how about a cocktail party basket! Then they can invite all their new neighbors over for some drinks, it's a great conversation starter and a great way to make some new friends.
 An ice cream basket - a couple of spoons, an ice cream scoop, some bowls, sprinkles and just about anything you need to make a great ice cream sundae.
Just remember, we all know what it is like to move somewhere new. Let's help others feel welcome!
Lonnie Snyder
Keller Williams Realty Southeast Sound
Phone: 206-406-2710
E-Mail :
Lonnie Snyder is a full time real estate agent and REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty specializing in Residential Real Estate for buyers and sellers in Washington’s Kent, Renton, Newcastle and South Bellevue.