Homeownership is a lifestyle choice. Therefore, choosing homeownership isn’t a decision made overnight. The decision often takes careful planning for how the purchase of a home will fit into your life now and in the future. Additionally, the decision will take financial planning for how to pay for the home of your dreams. How will you know if you are ready? Follow along as we explain the fundamentals of preparing for homeownership so that you know when the time is right for you.
When renting, you usually don’t have to worry about maintaining the property, making repairs, or remodeling the home. Are you ready to take on those responsibilities as a homeowner? If so, are you ready to be tied down to one place? Renting offers a bit of flexibility because leases are renewed on a regular basis allowing you ease of relocation. As a homeowner you’ll need to spend time and money selling or renting out your home before relocating.
As a renter you never gain any long term savings in the form of home equity. As a homeowner, the longer you are in the home the more equity you can expect to gain. You can get a better idea of why by the explanation in our article, Is It Better to Buy a Home or to Rent One?.
A couple of good questions to ask yourself if you are considering becoming a homeowner are:
If you needed to move in a couple years, would you feel comfortable renting out your home or selling it?
Could it potentially bring in a cash flow?
As a homeowner you are ultimately responsible for paying the mortgage. Are you financially stable enough to not default on your loan?
Most importantly, becoming a homeowner means putting down roots. Are you and your household emotionally ready to make that change and commitment?
If you answered yes to the above questions, you are on your way to homeownership. Let’s dig a little deeper to see if you are financially ready to take the leap:
Do you know how much home you can afford?
There are a lot of factors that play into knowing how much home you can afford. Of course, there is the price of the home, but you must also consider interest rates as they play a significant role in your monthly mortgage payment. For a good demonstration of the effect of interest rates on your monthly mortgage payments check out this article, Rising Mortgage Rates. Furthermore, what many first-time home buyers forget to consider in addition to the down payment and monthly mortgage payments are closing costs, moving expenses, inspection fees, property taxes, and homeowners’ insurance just to name a few. A great agent will connect you with a lender that will walk you through how these will affect your payment and if they pertain to your loan. Don’t have an agent? Connect with us here to get paired with the perfect agent for you. Identifying how much you can afford is not a task to do alone. You must connect with a lender. They will look at your financial position and get you pre-approved for a home.
Are you working to reduce your debt-to-income ratio?
Lenders know that it is not realistic to have no debt. Therefore, lenders are looking to see that you are making progress towards paying down your debt. Demonstrate your plan to get your debt paid off. Your lender can help you determine the best course of action so connect with them sooner rather than later.
Are you prepared for a downpayment?
Lenders recognize 20% down payments as a demonstration of financial stability. 20% down payments decrease the initial risk to the lender and benefits the buyer by not having to pay PMI when they put 20% down. You can read more about those benefits here. However, we know not everyone can afford 20% down, but everyone needs a place to live. Therefore, there are different programs and flexible options that make owning a home attainable even when you do not have funds for a 20% down payment. It is important to talk to your lender to determine which fits your unique needs.
Maybe you already got a pre-approval letter, but you aren’t satisfied with the limits. You have several options. Provide your agent and lender with a clear expectation of your wants and needs. If you aren’t exactly sure what you want, try reading 6 Reasons to Attend Open Houses to solidify your desires. You can use this form to help identify your wants and needs to share with your agent and lender. Once you have a clear list your lender can help create a financial plan to reach your desired goal. Your agent can simultaneously watch the market for homes meeting your criteria and help you understand the dynamics of the local market. Knowing the market can help you understand your purchasing power. Your agent can help you understand the difference between a buyers’ and sellers’ market and help you understand what to expect and how to leverage the market to your advantage.
If you are ready to buy or still unsure, you should begin talking to an agent. If you don’t already have an agent, you are in luck! We have incredible agents and connections with lenders who can guide you through your unique situation and help you know when you are ready to purchase a home. Connect with us here.
If you aren’t a real estate broker you probably don’t know that September doesn’t just initiate back to school for our kids but as an industry, this is the beginning of conference season! This just means that Fall and Winter tend to be slower seasons and provide the best time for busy brokers to grab a block of hours or even a block of days to spend sharpening their skills. Great brokers are committed to being lifelong learners. They keep up with the ever-changing market, lending options, negotiating tactics, marketing techniques for properties, and the list goes on.
If you are a broker…
You may be looking for some great opportunities that are coming up in the next few months. We have collected a few that we think will be really worth your time. Take a peek and please let us know if we missed one of your favorites because we would love to add it to our list.
New Forms are coming SOON! Please take advantage of educational opportunities to study and familiarize yourself with the changes.
Ninja Installation Tacoma Dec 5-8 (Brokerage pays for 1st timers)! $1,100 Thinking about joining our team? Connect with us.
In addition to these great learning opportunities our brokerage brings in an expert speaker 2-3 times on topics from septic systems to negotiation tactics, from topics as unique as forestry management to ones that are pretty applicable on an island like shoreline processes and bluff stabilization. If you’d like to attend one of these trainings let us know! We’d love for you to be our guest in learning because the better we can serve our clients in this industry the better!
It is a rare broker whose love language is creating and sharing information that is valuable to clients but can also be hard to find. Some brokers feel they need to guard their valuable local insights as if it is a finite and precious gift. What they don’t see is that every time you put valuable knowledge out there for people to use and find, A) it just represents the tip of the iceberg on what you actually know, and B) it tells people you are the person to go to for more goods on the topic. So, if your topic happens to be something like moving to Tacoma we have the site for you!
Marguerite Martin created Move to Tacoma almost a decade ago. Each year Marguerite builds upon her content and continues to push the limits producing extraordinary content for her community. In addition, she launched a powerful podcast for the area by the same name where you can listen to fascinating interviews on various topics. Over time Marguerite morphed into a full-time match-maker. Now, instead of spending all her time helping buyers purchase a home, she helps match buyers with the perfect broker in the Tacoma area and creates content usable for all. Marguerite is an innovator and a thought leader. She challenges us all in the industry to do things better. Check all the incredible information she has created on the Move to Tacoma website, and don’t hesitate to reach out to her!
Some of the other neighborhood guides that inspire us and we know you would find valuable if you were moving to these areas are linked below.
We have a couple of favorites…
Our very own Whidbey Island Guide https://windermerewhidbeyisland.com/the-whidbey-island-guide
Team Diva’s Neighborhood Guide https://teamdivarealestate.com/seattle-neighborhoods/
Get Happy At Home Neighborhood Guide https://www.gethappyathome.com/neighborhoods/
All of South Puget Sound:
Windermere Professional Partners Guide https://www.windermerepc.com/neighborhoods
Other Parts of the US:
New Orleans https://beneworleans.com/
After dealing with all the challenges of the past year, many people are anticipating attending services at churches in Oak Harbor to celebrate Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Likewise, churches are looking forward to celebrating these events with people in person and online.
To find out where to go and when, check out the list below for Easter and Holy week service information. Have questions about any specific church? You can contact Don Jaques, the creator of oakharborchurches.com, with specific questions about any church in Oak Harbor. Or you can contact the specific church with questions about their particular Easter services in Oak Harbor. Is your church info missing? Contact Don Jaques to get it added.
Easter Sunday, April 4 @ 10am
In-person and on Facebook Live. Childcare provided.
Good Friday, April 2 @ 6pm (in person only)
Easter Sunday, April 4 @ 9am and 10:30am (In-person and on Facebook Live)
Childcare is available. No pre-registration required, sign in as you arrive.
Good Friday, April 2 @ 6pm – in person and online
Easter Sunday, April 4 @ 8:30, 10:00 and 11:30am – in person and online. Kids church available at 10:00 and 11:30 services.
Registration is required for attendance due to COVID restrictions. Sign-ups will become available on Sunday, March 28th at https://oakharborfamilybible.org
Palm Sunday, March 28 @ 1-3pm Palm Parade in church parking lot. This is a come-and-go event for all ages with a few interactive stations to drive through. Two stations will invite people to give flowers for the Easter cross or financial donations for their church camp, “Camp Indianola”.
Good Friday, April 2 @ 7pm
Easter Egg Hunt, Saturday April 3 @ 1-2pm in Smith Park (SE 9th and Jensen Streets)
Easter Sunday, April 4 @ 10am
online and limited in-person (with pre-registration)
Palm Sunday, March 28 @ 10am – in-person and live-streamed (with at-home liturgy option).
Maundy Thursday, April 1 @ 6pm – in-person and live-streamed (with at-home liturgy option). (Maundy means “mandate” and it’s the night we re-dramatize the night in the Upper Room. There will be an option for foot-washing, Holy Communion, and then our service ends abruptly as we recall that this is the night that our Lord was betrayed.)
Good Friday, April 2 @7pm – in-person and live-streamed. We are going to do a Tenebrae Good Friday service which is very reflective and contemplative in nature.
Easter Sunday, April 4 @10am – in-person and live-streamed.
Children are welcome to join any of our services! We provide toys or coloring books to keep them occupied if they’re young. We also have a room available for nursing / changing diapers
All services in person and live-streamed. No registration required. Masks and social distancing required.
Good Friday, April 2 @ 7pm – no childcare
Easter Sunday, April 4
*7am – Traditional Service (no kids church)
*9am & 11am – Family Services (Kids Church Available for Birth-1st Grade – sign ups required)
Maundy Thursday – Thursday April 1 at 7pm
Good Friday – Friday April 2 at 7pm
Easter Sunday – April 4 at 8:00am, 10:31 (drive in service), and 12:00pm.
Registration required for all services except drive-in service on Easter Sunday.
Call 360-679-1561 to register, request child-care, or for more information.
Many different options on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter (starting on Saturday evening). See their liturgical calendar for full info.
Services live-streamed on Facebook Live and in-person with no registration required.
Maundy Thursday, April 1 @ 7pm – live stream only
Good Friday, April 2 – see our website for devotional time available all-day
Easter Sunday, April 4 at 10am – live stream only
Is your church missing from this list? Contact Don Jaques us to get it added.
View the original blog by Don Jaques at:
-Why we are better together at Windermere
Many people think of real estate as a cutthroat competitive sales business akin to the dynamics that are portrayed on a TV show like Million Dollar Listing. The world is always pitting competition vs. collaboration against each other as if these two things are completely exclusive from one another.
This is why it is so darn refreshing when you see collaboration amongst “competitors,” and it’s something we see at Windermere all the time.
One of Windermere’s core values is that we are all better together, and we are huge believers in the very different way Windermere real estate agents operate. But what does “better together” really mean? How does this play out in the day-to-day?
Of course, “better together” in part refers to the collaboration aspect in real estate. No one doubts two heads are better than one when it comes to problem-solving, and how about ten heads or a whole brokerage full of knowledgeable professionals to draw from? In our brokerage, a seasoned agent or a total newbie who comes up against something unusual (which happens more often than you would think) can easily pick the brains of agents representing 100’s of years of experience. From in-person conversations to our Facebook group page; we encourage ideas, questions, new information, resources, and sometimes just funny memes. Real estate is about being creative, not taking no for an answer and problem solving like a maniac. Having a support group you can rely on results in miracles for your clients other agents can’t produce.
“Better together” also means we have a lot of pride in the standard Windermere sets in the real estate industry. This translates to holding each other accountable when a colleague is delivering less than their best. For those of us who thoroughly understand the benefits of holding the real estate industry to a high standard, it literally hurts our hearts when we see agents acting in ways that are embarrassing for our profession and even worse, harmful to the client. This is why we believe in continually raising the bar on this industry so others have to stretch themselves just to keep up.
We take the idea of “better together” seriously but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to have fun doing it!
The video below was envisioned, orchestrated, and paid for by the agents. It is a pure collaboration amongst some of the most successful agents at Windermere in Oak Harbor who have intense respect for one another and understand that being better together helps everyone.
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