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Date Archives: August 2021

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August
23

Rainy Day DIYDepending on your point of view, rainy days can be either the best or the worst. It's frustrating being stuck in the house with nothing to do. But with a little creativity, there are all kinds of activities you can participate in while waiting for the weather to clear - especially for new homeowners who are working to make their new house their own. Here are a few DIY projects that can help you pass the time and feel productive on a rainy day.

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August
17

wire fraud awarenessThere has been widely-reported criminal fraud within the banking industry specific to technology hacks sent to customers via email, text, Facebook messenger, etc, after obtaining access to trusted friends' accounts. By all appearances you think a friend or business vendor with whom you have a relationship has sent you a link that ends up being corrupt, and this has resulted in people sharing personal financial information and losing a lot of money.

When buying a home, we're hearing increasingly troubling stories of how criminals have become more and more sophisticated, with some buyers losing hundreds of thousands of dollars during a home purchase transaction when transferring earnest money or funds to close the sale via wire. The most recent example being a loan officer calling a home buyer directly, impersonating bank representative with a major national bank.

One thing is clear – while the internet offers us convenience and efficiencies, and has become a trusted resource, criminals are watching our every move, especially via email. Then, armed with a lot of specific information on a home transaction, they strike – appearing credible in every way. Any entity in the chain (bank, title company, escrow company, etc.) can be effectively impersonated.

There are several ways you can protect yourself, most of which harken back to the "olden days" – when we did everything in person, by phone call, or with a cashier's check. Here's a list of what buyers should consider before making a wire transfer:

 

  1. At the beginning of a transaction, buyers can be provided with instructions by their real estate broker on exactly how to transfer money, exactly who is involved, and their exact contact information including phone numbers. If at any point you receive a change to these details, CALL YOUR REAL ESTATE BROKER immediately to confirm. Be suspicious of any changes to wire instructions, especially at the last minute.
  2. Never provide personal or financial information to anyone via email or text. Provide this information in person.
  3. Always call your real estate broker at a known phone number, and call the title/escrow company together before wiring money, orally confirming and cross-checking bank routing number, account number, and other details.
  4. Consider delivering a cashier's check for your earnest money and funds to close in person, rather than via wire.
  5. Secure your email account with a strong password.
  6. Often buyers' and sellers' real estate transactions occur during travel so plan for access to non-public secure WIFI networks.

 

By knowing what to watch out for, we can help you identify fraud events before they happen and ensure your dream home becomes your reality.

August
16

In this crazed housing market (up almost 45% from last year!1) it can be a real struggle not only to find a home you love but also to ensure your bid gets the attention it deserves.

How can you prove to the seller that you're their best bet for a no-fuss seller experience with a reliable, on-time close?

You choose your lender wisely.

The lender's interest rate is important, but all lenders are different, and you may run into problems if you aren't considering other factors as well.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when researching lenders that can help you get your bid noticed:

 

  • Is your lender looking out for you and your future? Do they ask about your short and long-term goals? Do they take the time to listen and then carefully walk you through programs and various options? Do they answer your questions in a way that you can understand and feel empowered to make a smart choice?

 

  • Are they a local lender? Is the lender tapped into your market and able to provide expert advice on area properties and amenities? Do they have a strong network of reliable real estate agents that can help you shop smart?

 

  • Would this lender advocate on your behalf? Do they give you the feeling that they're invested in your success, or do you feel like a number? Would this lender go above and beyond in communicating with both the seller and buyer real estate agents? Are they willing to do more than their basic job description to help you win an offer? How responsive would they be to all your questions?

 

  • Does this lender understand the importance of getting pre-approved in advance? Is this lender willing to do the financial verification work on the front end so your bid is strong and reliable?

 

  • Do they offer underwriting approval with a solid guarantee? This can be a game-changer for sellers. Does the lender have an approval program that guarantees your loan will not fail due to financing issues? Some lenders do have this type of program, but remember, in order for the guarantee to remain in place, you need to maintain your financial status and choose an acceptable property.

 

At Axia Home Loans, we recognize that the stakes are especially high, and buying a home may be the biggest financial decision you will make. We take your financial future seriously. We'll sit down with you one-on-one for a free mortgage consultation, give you tips on the local market, and get to know your real estate agent.

Even before you start shopping for a home, we'll work through your pre-approval and have our underwriter review your financial profile so there are no last-minute issues that may jeopardize your ability to close. We'll even create a customized Buyer's Highlight Letter to provide the seller with additional proof that your bid is solid. Axia also has a Certified Homebuyer Guarantee that adds serious strength to your bid.

Contact us to get started with a lender who helps you get the seller's attention and is genuinely interested in helping you achieve homeownership.

 

Sue Hall, Northwest Regional Manager, Axia Home Loans
NMLS# 166446 
https://axiahomeloans.com/SueHall
sue.hall@axiahomeloans.com
(503) 924-7910

 

1 National Association of Realtors, June 2021

August
16

Honey bee gardensOne of the best reasons to buy a home is to have enough land to practice all your hobbies. Gardeners know it's crucial to have enough space for their plants to flourish. By choosing the right plants and nurturing them in the right ways, they make a positive impact that reaches far beyond their own home.

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August
13

charles eckardtWhen Charles Eckardt joined Coldwell Banker Bain of Anacortes in 2017, he was recently retired after 20 years in the U.S. Navy, serving as an aircraft mechanic. Over the course of his military service, he was transferred several times during which he purchased and sold homes.

"I have always just loved houses – and also found the buying and selling process really interesting," he said. "It's funny, but I knew I wanted to go into real estate from early on, way before I was thinking of retiring."

Now, as one of the office's top producers, serving primarily military families relocating to our region, he has obviously chosen the right career path.

Joining the Navy at age 17 right after graduating high school in Connecticut, Charles was first stationed in Brunswick, Maine, where he spent eight years and met his wife Victoria. He was then transferred to Texas where he spent six years, finally moving to the Pacific Northwest for what would be his final Navy stint stationed at NAS Whidbey Island.

Charles and his family liked the area so much, that upon his retirement, they decided to stay. "The beauty and temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest made our choice easy - the harsh winters of our native New England really was the biggest reason why we did not seek to return there," he said.

Through his relocations, not only did Charles really enjoy the transaction process of buying and selling his homes, he also became handy and adept in doing much of his own remodeling work and repairs, another key interest that played a role in deciding to become a broker following his military retirement.

Growing up on the east coast, where Coldwell Banker had strong brand recognition, Charles sought out Coldwell Banker Bain after interviewing with several brokerages.

"The location of the Anacortes office, close to my home, as well as Bain's Home from Service program, which picked up the fees for my first year in business, and the company's support of me going through the relocation program, have been incredible. I am finding that Coldwell Banker Bain is a great fit for me," he said.

Today, Charles gets most of his business via word-of-mouth and referrals, and notes how important video tours have been in facilitating transactions, especially during COVID restrictions. Coldwell Banker Bain's affiliation with Navy Federal Credit Union has also been helpful given his clients are primarily active military.

"Amazingly, about 75% of my sales last year were done with clients' buying a home sight unseen and only using video, and most definitely my understanding of how the financing works for many of these families - who are using VA loans that offer zero down payments - has helped work through the deals," he said. "The biggest challenge is setting realistic expectations given even in this area we're seeing many cash offers, and that can be a difficult issue to work through with these buyers who may not always be able to compete in that way."

In addition to loving the work and being able to help military families purchase a home, Charles finds the flexibility of working as a broker a huge benefit.

"My kids play club soccer, and I'm able to work my schedule around traveling with them for that activity, as well as spend more time with them as they grow up than I would have been able to do otherwise. You can't put a price on that," he said.

August
9

Bookstores Seattle

August 9th is National Book Lovers Day, and our brokers honestly can't think of a better place than Seattle to celebrate this particular holiday. We happen to have some of the greatest independent bookstores in the country, and we're excited to share some of our favorites in honor of National Book Lovers Day!

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August
2

Outdoor Movies

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy an outdoor movie with friends, and there are a wide variety of options available to watch outdoor films in the Portland area. Many local communities make movies available for free in weekly events at popular local parks, and some even offer the classic drive-in movie experience. If you're planning to enjoy an outdoor movie, remember that it's wise to bring your own seating, along with some snacks and drinks. Our brokers have the details on 5 communities in the Portland area showing outdoor movies this summer.

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