Apr 22

8 Earnest-Money Deposit Mistakes Home Buyers Live to Regret

Once a buyer settles on a home, they often show their commitment with an earnest-money deposit. But if they’re not careful, they could lose thousands of dollars.


When home buyers find a home they love, they declare their commitment to the seller with a sizable chunk of change known as an earnest-money deposit. Yes, it sounds so sincere and serious because it is—and if you get it wrong, you could lose thousands of dollars. To scare you straight, here are eight mistakes with earnest-money deposits that home buyers can make.

Failing to understand exactly what an earnest-money deposit is

Earnest Money is proof that a buyer is committed to completing the sale. Earnest money is used as credit toward the down payment and closing costs. It’s often a negotiable amount between the buyer and seller and usually about 1 percent to 2 percent of the purchase price, although it could be much higher. This money is generally held by the seller’s broker or the escrow company, to be used as a credit toward the down payment and closing costs.

Not offering up enough

When a market is competitive, offering more earnest money may be one way to get your offer to stand out. Real estate agents frequently can advise clients to offer an earnest-money deposit that will get attention. For example, on a $500,000 home, in a competitive market, it can be recommended that the buyer offer up $20,000 to $25,000, or up to 5 percent, depending on the competing offers.

Bottom line for buyers: Weigh losing the earnest money against the possibility of losing the home.

If a high earnest-money deposit scares you, remember you’ll have to come up with the down payment 30 to 45 days after making an offer, anyway. The EMD is just a way for a buyer to pay part of the down payment upfront. On a $500,000 mortgage, a 15% down payment is $75,000, so a $25,000 EMD shouldn’t be a hard pill to swallow.

Removing contract contingencies

Sometimes buyers agree to remove a loan contingency and then if their loan falls through, they could lose their earnest money. Never give up your right to cancel your purchase until you are 100 percent certain that you’re going to be able to close… be sure you are pre-approved by your lender’s underwriting department. Watch for giving up other contingencies, like waiving inspection issues, appraisal issues, or problematic title searches.

Not abiding by contract timelines

Buyers must stay on the schedule dictated by a contract, or they can unwittingly breach their sale contract and lose their earnest-money deposit. Trust your Realtor to guide you through this… it’s her job.

Buying ‘as is’ and not knowing the risks

“As Is” properties typically will have the sellers stipulate that the earnest money deposit is nonrefundable. As a buyer, protect yourself by doing your due diligence before making an offer on such a property, because if you don’t, you’ll have to kiss your EMD goodbye if you decide to bail. The same is true in a multiple offer situation where, to strengthen a buyer’s offer, all contingencies are waived. It’s always ‘Buyer Beware.’

Impulsively purchasing a home that’s not a good fit

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get swept away by a home’s cool features when you first see it. A buyer may put in an offer only to realize days later that the soaking tub may be fabulous, but the kitchen isn’t functional. So make sure that you’re 100% serious about buying a home before making an offer with an EMD.

If you get cold feet and back out, it’s more likely that you won’t get your money back.

Check out two more

Feb 19

FEBRUARY 2017 STATS… Eastside Update by Zip

Double click 1) on image, and then 2) on subsequent image to increase size. Don’t see your zip code here? Just email me and I’ll send it out to you!

BELLEVUE 98004 Market Update

BELLEVUE 98005 Market Update

BELLEVUE 98006   Market Update    

 BELLEVUE  98007  Market Update    

BELLEVUE 98008  Market Update   

REDMOND 98052 Market Update  

SAMMAMISH  98075 Market Update     

WOODINVILLE  98077 Market Update    


Click for FEBRUARY 2017 pdfs:  98004, 98005, 98006, 98007, 98008,98027, 9802998052, 9805398075, 98077


Feb 13

Seattle slowest home price gains in three years

Seattle home prices grow at slowest pace in three years

But with Seattle condo prices and Eastside home costs still surging, the region remains among the hottest housing markets in the country.
Home prices usually cool off in the winter, but this time the change is more pronounced. The median cost for a single-family house in the county was $525,000 in January, the cheapest it’s been in 11 months, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service data shows.


The slowdown hit Seattle especially hard. Single-family home prices in the city ticked up only 2.7 percent compared to a year prior, way down from 24 percent annual growth last winter. It’s the slowest home price growth in Seattle in nearly three years.
Seattle’s median house price of $635,000 is down about $31,000 from the record heights reached last summer.

Low inventory persists

However, the pickings are slimmer than ever: Fewer than 1,600 houses in the county were on the market at the end of the month, breaking a record-low set just a month before. Few people are selling their homes, and those houses that do hit the market are snatched up faster than in any city in the country.
homeking Numb Sales Jan2017
As a result, the region has the 2nd-lowest level of homes per sale in the country, and brokers say sellers are still fully in control of the market. Sales were up 20 percent across the county.

Seattle prices rising fastest in country

Seattle-area home prices are still rising faster than in any other major region in the country, according to the Case-Shiller home price index.
And other segments of the market are still on fire. Condo prices in Seattle surged 23 percent from a year ago, and the median now stands at $440,000.

Continue reading at The Seattle Times

Feb 04

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw Better Super Bowl Parties!

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw Better Super Bowl Parties! 

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw Better Super Bowl Parties! [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM


  • Watching the Big Game at home with your friends & family offers many advantages.
  • There’s more room to entertain a large crowd, and you don’t have to worry about complaints to your landlord if you cheer too loudly!
  • The kitchen is big enough to make as many appetizers as you want, and if some of your guests are only there to watch the commercials, they can do so on a different TV in another room!


Honda Super Bowl Ad:  Schooling their younger selves!

Tina Fey yearbook photo

As part of its “Power of Dreams” campaign, Honda’s new Super Bowl LI ad brings celebrity yearbook shots to life. In the one-minute spot, stars including Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Amy Adams, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Steve Carrell, Missy Elliott, Stan Lee, Jimmy Kimmel and Viola Davis sound off with some words of encouragement for their younger selves.

Best Super Bowl Parties in Bellevue

Jan 20

Median Home Sales Prices for 98007, 98008, 98006

BELLEVUE ZIP 98006 Median Sales Prices

BELLEVUE ZIP 98007 Median Sales Prices

 BELLEVUE ZIP 98008 Median Sales Prices


Dec 10

10 Reasons to Sell your House this Holiday

…your house probably looks wonderful all decorated for the holidays! Watch the video for nine more reasons.

Dec 07

Winter ‘To-Do’ List for Homeowners

Now that Winter is nearly here – December 21st is the first day of Winter – it is time to get ready for Winter Home Maintenance

Here are the items to put on your winter to-do list:

Interior Grout Lines and Caulk Joints
  • Check all grout lines at countertops and tub and shower surrounds to make sure they are sealed and are not cracked.  Re-grout where necessary.  It is very common for new construction builders to not apply grout sealer over grout lines, a recipe for cracked grout lines and water intrusion down the road.
  • Re-caulk any caulk joints that have opened up or just where the caulk is worn, growing mold, etc…
GFCI Outlets
  • Use the test and re-set button to test your GFCI outlets.  Better yet, for usually less than $10 you can buy a GFCI tester and make sure all GFCI’s in your home, including those that do not have test and re-set buttons, work properly. Any outlets that do not re-set should be replaced.  You are supposed to trip and re-set all GFCI’s monthly.
 Interior Sinks
  •  Run the sinks with the sink stoppers seated so the sink fills.  Let it go until it is flowing water through the overflow drain.  Open the sink cabinet and turn on a flashlight to check for leaks.  Then let the stopper come up and watch for leaks and for proper whirlpool action as the water drains.  If leaks are found, repair them.  If the sink will not drain properly, use liquid drain cleaner to open them.
  • Check bathtub for whirlpool drain action.  If the tub will not drain properly, use liquid drain cleaner to open the drain.  Periodically remove the drain strainer and remove the hair that builds up below it in the mouth of the drain line.
  • Run all shower heads and look for leaks at the shower head threads.  If there are any, unscrew the shower head and put plumber’s tape on it and put the shower head on again securely. 
  • Check your furnace filters.  Your furnace will run a lot more this time of year.  The more it runs, the more air that gets filtered, resulting in filters that need cleaned or replaced more often.
    • If you have permanent filters, made of metal, flush them out at an outside hose bib or in the shower.  Then let them dry thoroughly before reinstalling them.
    • If you have disposable filters, just write down the three numbers on the filter frame, then take those numbers to the hardware store.  The number stand for the length, width, and depth of the filter.  For example: 24 x 12 x ½”. 
Outside Hose Bibs
  • If you didn’t drain your outside hose bibs, make sure to buy covers for them.  Hose bibs that have water present can freeze during very cold nights if they aren’t covered, resulting in burst pipes and VERY expensive repairs.

Information compliments of:


Licensed Home Inspectors: Bill Easter #400, Chip Lusk #401, and Dan Urquhart #1434
Move Smart Home Inspections | 253-631-4019 | www.movesmart.net

Dec 06

Median home prices finally pass housing boom levels, hit all-time high

house case

National home prices hit a new all-time high surpassing the pre-recession peak

Home prices hit a new all-time high, finally surpassing the pre-recession peak, according to the Q3 2016 U.S. Home Sales Report from ATTOM Data Solutions, a source for comprehensive housing data and the new parent company of RealtyTrac.

In fact, the median home price increased 6% monthly to $230,000 in the third quarter, and is up 10% from last year. This is 1% above the pre-recession peak of $227,000 in 2005 and an all-time high in home prices.

Some appreciation slowing

The average seller home price gain since purchase start to wane in some of the highest-priced markets where appreciation is beginning to cool, indicating those markets are past their prime as sellers’ markets.

Distressed home sales drop to 9-year low

Although home prices are up, borrowers are not having problems making their mortgage payments, with distressed sales down in the third quarter. Distressed sales now sit at the lowest level in nine years, according to the report.

Distressed sales dropped to 12.9% for all single family home and condo sales in the third quarter, down from 15% last quarter and 15.9% last year, the report stated. This marks the lowest share since the third quarter of 2007.

Distressed inventory for sale is virtually non-existent in many of the nation’s hottest housing markets, and when a distressed property is listed for sale in those markets it often sells quickly and at little or no discount.

Good news for home sellers, who nationwide realized the biggest home price gains in 9-years

The scarcity of discounted distressed inventory is chasing away cash buyers and other bargain hunters, but it’s certainly good news for home sellers, who nationwide realized the biggest home price gains since purchase in nine years.

Cash sales decreased

Cash sales also decreased in the third quarter, falling to 27.4% of market sales. This is down from 29.2% last year and the lowest level of cash sales since the third quarter of 2007’s 24.3%.

Dec 03

10 Reasons to Sell Your House This Holiday

Image result for picture house christmas


Click through for the video showing 10 Reasons to Sell Your Home Now… Winter is a good time!

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