Archive for March 2009

Homes for sale in Renton

Here is a list of open houses this sunday. 03-29-09.
You can see the photos and map the homes.

If you have any questions or would like more info just let me know.

Home List

I Pull Out All The Stops To Sell Your Home

Lonnie Snyder
Keller Williams Realty Southeast Sound
Phone: 206-406-2710
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.

Reverse Mortgages Serve as Lifeline for Seniors

In the midst of the current credit crunch, we tend to overlook the financial needs of senior homeowners, especially those who own their homes free and clear or are pretty close to being debt free. However, these homeowners often experience their own credit crisis - having loads of equity locked up in their homes and not being able to get at it. President Obama’s plan is not designed to bail them out, and many don’t qualify for refinancing to cash out some or all of their equity.
Fortunately, homeowners 62 years and older can often bail themselves out of financial trouble with a reverse mortgage.
With a reverse mortgage, homeowners have no monthly mortgage payment. Instead, the “lender” makes payments to the homeowner out of the equity in the home.

The payment plan can be in any of the following forms:
Tenure: Equal monthly payments as long as at least one borrower lives and continues to occupy the property as a principle residence.
Term: Equal monthly payments for a fixed number of months specified by the borrower.
Line of Credit: Borrowers draw payments against a pre-established line of credit until the line of credit is exhausted.
Modified Tenure: Combination of line of credit with monthly payments for as long as at least one borrower continues to occupy the property as a principle residence.
Modified Term: Combination of line of credit plus monthly payments for a fixed number of months specified by the borrower.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Federal Housing Administration (FHA) created one of the first reverse mortgage programs, called the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). With HUD’s HECM, homeowners don’t have to repay the “loan” as long as one or more of the borrowers continues to live in the home and is able to keep the property taxes and homeowner insurance current. The initial loan is calculated based on life expectancy tables known as actuarial tables. Even if the homeowner outlives the statistical estimate, they will not have a mortgage payment.
According to HUD, the lender cannot take the home if the borrower outlives the loan.
“You do not need to repay the loan as long as you or one of the borrowers continues to live in the house and keeps the taxes and insurance current. You can never owe more than the value of your home at the time you or your heirs sell the home.
“When you sell your home, you or your estate will repay the cash you received from the reverse mortgage plus interest and other fees, to the lender. The remaining equity in your home, if any, belongs to you or to your heirs.”

To qualify for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, the homeowner/borrower must…
-Be 62 years of age or older
-Own a residential property - single-family home or 1-4 unit home in which you live in one of the units (HUD-approved condominiums and manufactured homes that meet FHA requirements are also eligible.)
-Own your home outright or have a low mortgage balance that can be paid off at closing with proceeds from the reverse loan
-Live in the home and use it as the principle residence
Encourage seniors who have plenty of equity in their home and are having trouble keeping up with monthly expenses to find out more about the reverse mortgage option. They can obtain an HECM through an FHA lender, so advise against paying a third-party service for a reference.

CautionIf you know homeowners in your market who are 62 years or older, are having trouble making ends meet, and have plenty of equity in their homes, encourage them to explore the reverse mortgage option, but stop short of recommending it.

It is not the best option for everyone. Homeowners should consider the following:
-Up-front fees, which can be very steep; for example, up to $12,000 on a $275,000 home
-How long they plan on owning and residing in the home - if they plan on keeping the home for only a few years, the up-front costs may not be justified
-The fact that they will be drawing equity from the property
-What their plans are for passing the property to their heirs
-Whether other, less costly, options are available for obtaining the cash they need
Prior to signing for a reverse mortgage, homeowners should know the costs and what it will mean for them one, five, ten, and perhaps even twenty years down the road.
During these tough economic times, homeowners must be aware of all the options and programs available for keeping their homes and making them more affordable. For homeowners 62 years and older who have a substantial amount of equity in their homes, cashing out that equity over time with a reverse mortgage may provide them with the supplemental income they need to cover their living expenses, catch up on unexpected bills, finance essential home repairs, and keep their home.

I am a licensed loan officer and I specialize in Reverse Mortgages programs. Please feel free to contact me at 253-486-8790 or if you have any questions
Thank you
Kim McLaughlin
Axia Financial

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Explained

My name is Kim McLaughlin with Axia Financial. Do you know that A tax credit of up to $8,000 is now avaiable if you are a qualified first-time home buyer and purchase a home before December 01 2009?

Here are some highlights of this program;

1)The tax credit is for first-time home buyers only.
2)The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
3)The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.
4)The credit is available for homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.
5)Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit.

How do I claim the tax credit? Do I need to complete a form or application?

Participating in the tax credit program is easy. You claim the tax credit on your federal income tax return. Specifically, home buyers should complete IRS Form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, and then claim this amount on Line 69 of their 1040 income tax return. No other applications or forms are required, and no pre-approval is necessary. However, you will want to be sure that you qualify for the credit under the income limits and first-time home buyer tests.

What is the definition of a first-time home buyer?

The law defines "first-time home buyer" as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse.
For example, if you have not owned a home in the past three years but your spouse has owned a principal residence, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the first-time home buyer tax credit. However, unmarried joint purchasers may allocate the credit amount to any buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer, such as may occur if a parent jointly purchases a home with a son or daughter. Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a principal residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-time home buyer.

How is this home buyer tax credit different from the tax credit that Congress enacted in July of 2008?

The most significant difference is that this tax credit does not have to be repaid. Because it had to be repaid, the previous "credit" was essentially an interest-free loan. This tax incentive is a true tax credit. However, home buyers must use the residence as a principal residence for at least three years or face recapture of the tax credit amount. Certain exceptions apply.

For more information about this program please visit
If you or someone you know is a first time homebuyer trying to purchase a home, please pass this information on to them.
I am a licensed loan officer and I have several first time homebuyer programs available. Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions
Thank you
Kim McLaughlin
Axia Financial

How to make your home attractive to buyers

With so many homes on the market these days what can you do sell your home? Many people think all they have to do is make sure the inside of their home is clean, but it really goes far beyond that when it comes to making sure your home looks its best so that buyers will take a look. You have to get them into your home in order to sell it. That is why I will give you five essential tips that can help you stay on the right track when preparing your homes for a sale.

1. Curb Appeal
- the better the curb appeal of your home is, the more attractive it is to prospective buyers.
- Trim overgrown bushes, weed beds and add a fresh layer of mulch
- Clean your front door and repaint if needed
- Add a fresh doormat
- Keep grass cut, edged and blown
- Plant some color in the beds to add contrast
2. Cleaning
- for most buyers, dirt equals stress and the last thing most buyers want is more stress in their lives.
- Pressure-wash the driveway and sidewalks.
- Clean windows inside and out
- Pressure wash decks and patios
3. Paint
- the condition and color of the paint can make a huge difference in how buyers react to your home.
Select light neutrals - creamy kakis, pearly grays or soft greens.
4. Replace Worn Carpet
- Dirty carpet is unsanitary and nobody will be able to overlook your worn carpet. Replace the top layer with inexpensive neutral colored carpet and you will always recoup the investment.
5. Stage your home
- Buyers who look at vacant homes only see floors, walls and ceilings. With nothing else to look at, they focus on flaws. Because of this, vacant houses are very vulnerable to low-ball offers and often sell for 15-20 percent below list price.

I Pull Out All The Stops To Sell Your Home
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.

Rental Site Partners with Twitter Giving Renters Something to Tweet About

I enjoyed this artical and wanted to forward it to my readers. It was on RISMEDIA.
Social networking sites are constantly being integrated with the real estate industry, giving prospective home buyers the chance to search the Internet in the manner most comfortable to them when looking for a home.
Twitter has now joined the ranks, giving home buyers one more avenue in which they can search for the place they will call home. recently added a feature that streams Twitter conversations of neighborhoods and allows renters to post specific questions on Twitter.
Via live feeds, Twitter conversations give renters an idea of the local residents, social scene, and reviews of the area, proving that Twitter can be used for more than just answering the question, “What are you doing?”
“Once a place to start conversations, Twitter has quickly evolved into a market research tool, wholesaler of goods, search engine, news site, and even a rental search,” said Eric Wu, co-founder of “The goal of RentWiki is to give people searching for a place to live real advice from renters living in that area. By integrating with Twitter, we are expanding the conversation beyond just our site and into the real-time social Web.”
From the Twitter feeds posted on each wiki, renters can glean the type of people that live in the area, listen-in on the conversation, and interact with locals by asking for advice. Though not all neighborhoods have discussions on Twitter, where there are conversations occurring, the content is very useful.
“I find news, recommendations for restaurants, and even jobs on Twitter,” said Dustin Mitchell, 28 year-old renter in San Francisco. “When I move, using Twitter to find advice about an area just makes sense.”
Users also have the ability to broadcast back to Twitter’s 8+ million users. With one click, renters can ask about the social scene, safety, and walkability of an area. “Our goal is to provide renters with the content and tools to find the right place to live. Right now, Twitter seems to be hosting conversations that may prove to be very relevant to the rental search,” said Wu. is known for its access to neighborhood reviews posted by past and current residents and its ability to enable communities to form between renters. is also integrated with Facebook Connect, Walk Score, social bookmarking sites, and provides the ability for users to upload widgets, videos, and contributed content around a neighborhood.
For more information, visit

The Sky Is Not Falling

There are some great open houses this Sunday March 15th. Most of them are from 1pm - 4pm.

If there is anything I can help you out with or if you would like a private showing please contact me.

Click here for your open house list.

Thank 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.

Get Your Computer Back in the Fast Lane

Does your computer take forever to load programs or change pages when you’re surfing the Internet? Have you ever been in the middle of writing an e-mail and it freezes, forcing you to reboot and lose all your work? There are few things more frustrating than a slow computer, but it doesn’t need to be that way.
Having a professional look at your system can be costly and buying a new computer is often unnecessary. There are some steps that you can follow to keep your system running at its best.
1) Limit open programs and windows. If you have too many Internet windows open or are working with a variety of computer programs at once, your computer might run slowly. Limit open programs and windows to maximize your computer speed.
2) When in doubt, reboot.Sometimes there are things we just can’t explain with computers. If yours is running slow, try rebooting. Often this is all the system needs to begin functioning at a normal pace again. Although many programs have automatic retrieval of work, it’s a smart idea to always save what you are working on before shutting down.
3) Use a registry cleaner.Even if you're extremely careful about how you use your computer and never download questionable material, over time it is inevitable that your system will accumulate unwanted registry entries, errors, clutter and debris.
The most common causes are the installation and removal of software, online games, application crashes and upgrades of software programs. While many errors will go unnoticed, the more errors your computer has, the greater the chance that you'll experience trouble. But there is something proactive you can do to protect your system: install a one-click tool called Advanced Registry Optimizer 5 (ARO 5) that will scan, identify and repair errors.
Advanced Registry Optimizer 5 was awarded 4 stars in May 2007 from CNET's editorial staff: 'Advanced Registry Optimizer will clean your computer's clock and keep it ticking.' Still not convinced? Sammsoft, a Washington State software company, offers free trials of their ARO 5 software people can use to check their systems for errors.
Once the download is complete, just click the 'Run' button to install ARO 5. Once installed, the program will do a complete scan and diagnosis of your computer's registry and tell you how many errors are present. It will then fix the first 20 problems completely free of charge.
There's no catch. The company is confident you'll love the personal version of ARO 5 so much you'll consider purchasing the unlimited commercial system which retails for $29.95.

Structures - Framing - Post and Beam

Post and beam framing is a style of construction often found in rustic type of housing or exotic homes. This style of framing lends itself to large open areas. Posts are the upright timbers used to support the roofing system and form the exterior walls. Beams are horizontal timbers used to tie the structure together and support live loads. Post and beam framing is also often referred to as timber frame construction. This type of dwelling is more complex in design because the joining of each post and beam is a crucial element to the structural stability of the building. Most of the timbers are exposed which will enable your inspector to carefully check many of these areas with his well trained eyes.

The many components of the framing system make up the support system for the floors, ceilings, walls, and roof. Most homes are constructed using timber framing and a small percentage using metal. The buildings basic design and location will dictate the type of framing used. In some parts of the country, buildings must be designed with special resistance to earthquakes, winds, or heavy snow. All structures should be built to reduce the effects of shrinkage, warping, fire, and water damage. The majority or sometimes entire framing system is often hidden by the finished materials on the walls, ceilings and floors. The finished materials are inspected carefully to see if they give clues to defects which may not be readily accessible. There are two basic types of framing systems. Both systems must be inspected very carefully for defects such as poor installation, settling, rot, insect damage, and more.
phone: (206) 901-1549

Mortgage Rates Little Changed This Week

McLean, VA - Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.07 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending February 26, 2009, up from last week when it averaged 5.04 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.24 percent.
The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.68 percent with an average 0.7 point, unchanged from last week when it averaged 4.68 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.72 percent.
Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.06 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.04 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 5.43 percent.
One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 4.81 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.80 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 5.11 percent.

Home Buyer Tax Credit gets an upgrade

In an effort to boost the economy and jumpstart real estate sales, Congress recently enacted a bigger and better tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after Jan. 1, 2009 and before Dec. 1, 2009.

This tax credit is $500 higher than the home buying incentive that was included in the legislation passed last summer and it does not have to be repaid.

To learn more about the tax credit go the National Association of Home Builders Website located here.

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.