Seattle Real Estate News

1. What does my credit score need to be for me to buy a house? We preferred if you have at least 720 to obtain optimum rates. However, a minimum score of at least 620 is required by most banks. We offer FHA insured loans with imperfect credit score with as low as 550 with 10% down. Please consult with me if you have lower than 620 for special options available for you.

2. How much do I need for a down payment? We preferred if you have 20% to avoid paying for mortgage insurance. However, you can put down as little as 1% to 3.5% of the sales price for either conventional or FHA financing. We also have 100% financing options with VA and USDA home financing that you may qualify for.

3. What are closing costs, and how much are they? Closing cost are the cost incurred to close a loan and consist of bank charges, third party fees such as escrow, title and prepaid items such as property insurance and property taxes. In general, on a $200,000 house - the rule of thumb is between 2-3% of the sales price depending on the variables.

4. I want my monthly mortgage payment to be $X per month... how much house can I afford? Excellent question. Ideally, your Debt-To-Income (DTI) ratio should be at 45%. Since each property is taxed at a different rate - please consult with me for details. Live within your means and do not over leveraged yourself.

5. Should I pay off my car and installment loans so that I can qualify for more? Please consult with me for free consultation before paying any debts off or doing anything that will affect your FICO score.

6. I don't have enough cash for closing costs AND a down payment... Can I still buy a house? Closing Cost can be paid by the seller, in addition taking a premium rate the lender can credit back some closing cost help as well. USDA and VA loans do not require any down payment.

7. What type of loan product is best for me? It depends on several factors, such as your down payment, credit score, and DTI ratio. If these factors are not a concern - then a 15-year loan will save money due to lower rates and lower maturity/duration than 30-year loans.

8. Rent Vs. Buy - Analytical tools to assist you in evaluating both options.

9. Be patient during underwriting. Don't charge up your credit cards and don't apply for new credit while the mortgage is going through the underwriting process. Lender will soft-pull your credit shortly before closing to survey your credit again. If there is a substantial change, the lender might have to delay your mortgage closing.

Please consult with me to evaluate your options. It's free and you don't even have to sacrifice your hectic schedules. You can email, text me at 408-605-5927 or swing by my office in Green Lake at your convenience.

Posted in:Home Financing and tagged: Home Financing
Posted by Sam Kader on January 24th, 2023 10:50 AM

Winter is an excellent time for making improvements to your home. Temperatures might be cooler but contractors' schedules are lighter. The season is perfect for making changes to your home that improve your comfort as well as your resale value.  Here are six ways to bring more comfort to your home and give you better chances to sell during the homebuying and selling season. 

Updated Wood Floors - Wood floors provide a timeless, classy look to any home. Plus, they're built to last. A well-cared-for wood floor can be a beautiful part of your home for more than 100 years. These floors also collect less dust and debris than carpets which is good news for allergy sufferers. If you are planning to have a professional do the installation, you should plan on investing about $6,000 to $12,000 per 1,000 square feet. 

Updated New Appliances - A relatively inexpensive upgrade would involve replacing your kitchen appliances. Not only will you enjoy the streamlines look of matching and more energy-efficient appliances, but you can also see about a 3% to 7% increase in home valyue. This upgrade usually costs roughly $3,000 to $8,000 depending on  how many pieces you replace, what brands you choose and whether you DIY or have them professionally installed. 

Upgraded HVAC system - New requirements have emerged for air conditioners so newer models are more efficient than previous ones. While new HVAC unit can run anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 - Money Magazine reports you can get between 5% to 10% ROI on your home value. 

Finished Basements. Finishing your basements can give your home the extra space you need such as adding bedrooms or playroom while increasing  your home value. According to HGTV, you can get about a 70% ROI for your basement remodeling costs (assuming your budget is between 5% to 10% of your house's current value). 

Posted in:Home Maintenance and tagged: Home Maintenance
Posted by Sam Kader on January 8th, 2023 7:58 PM
These tips will help you keep your garage organized for good: 

1. Think like an organizer.  Go through your belongings  and decide what you want and need to keep. Be homes with yourself and ruthlessly pare down what you don't need. De-cluttering is a liberating process and freeing up some space in your garage. 

2. Prioritizing by size.  The biggest stuff should receive the most consideration. Freezer, secondary refrigerator and lawn mower/tractor take up the most space and are hardest to move. Determine where the big stuff foes and work around it from there. 

3. Maximize wall spaceHang trimmers, extension cords, long-handled tools and even bikes on simple hooks to free floor space and assign each item a dedicated place. Mount a peg board on the wall to neatly store tools. 

4. Raise the roof.  Use overhead storage to make the most of otherwise wasted space. Many garages have built-in attics that lend themselves perfectly to skyward storage. Many off-the-shelf storage solutions can stash your entire family's bicycle collection, camping gear or holiday decorations all above your parking space. 

5. Spring for shelves. Deep shelves are a must whether they are custom-built cabinets or a simple stand-alone rack. Ideally garage shelves should be at least 24 inches deep and strong enough to hold the weight of your stored belongings and more. Keep the items you use infrequently in the back and the tools and equipment you use most frequently in the front for easy access.

6. Put safety first. Store hazardous items like engine oil, paints and household cleaners safely and out of reach of little hands. Dispose of them property and check with your local municipality regarding rules for potentially toxic waste. 


Posted in:Remodeling, Garage and tagged: RemodelingGarage
Posted by Sam Kader on January 8th, 2023 7:39 PM

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a new rules recently against robocallers which let phone companies crack down on these spoofed numbers. Here are some additional steps on what you can do now: 

  1. Do not answer the phone if you don't recognize the number. I know this is hard especially if they are calling our business phone lines. 
  2. Should you pick up the phone and detect robocalls/unwanted calls - hang up immediately.
  3. Do not engage or talk to them or press any buttons because they may flag you as someone who's responsive and inundate you with more calls.
  4. Block the numbers after the call. I used Nomorobo to block all unwarranted calls.
  5. Turn the tables and have fun with it with Jolly Roger Telephone Co. This program allows customer to put the phone on mute and patch telemarketing calls to a robot. 
  6. What what you say. One recent scheme involves getting customers to say "Yes" and later sing a recording of the response to allow unauthoried charges on the person's credit card account. Best answer when the callers asks "Can you hear me?" is to answer with "I can hear you". 
  7. Do not give callers personal information like bank account or Social Security Numbers.

Here are some additional tips on how to protect ourselves online.

Posted in:Advertising and tagged: Advertising
Posted by Sam Kader on January 8th, 2023 7:38 PM
Ring video doorbells, Nest Hello and other connected security cameras are the fastest-growing home improvement gadgets since garage door openers. These cameras alert your phone when someone is at your door and save footage online.  Here are some tips from lawyers and city officials to make an ethical field guide for people who want technology to help us stay safe.  

  1. Don't point your camera at neighbors. If your doorbell is located in an awkward place, you can try to use wedges to angle the camera toward your door. Some cameras let you mark zones to limit recording only to action that's important for your home. Also let people know that they're on camera and put up a sign to flag that you're filming might also deter a burglar. 
  2. Share footage sparingly. Some people love posting clips of "suspicious/looking characters" on social network app. But are you actually an expert in what counts as "suspicious"? Sharing on these sites can help fight crime but also perpetuate racial profiling of actual crimes. 
  3. When police get involved, it should be voluntary. Police should only access to your footage on a voluntary basis. Law enforcement doesn't have  aright to the footage without a court order. 
  4. Delete old footage. The more you have the more vulnerable you are. You should only keep your footage for two months. You can always download and save the ones you want to keep. 
  5. Keeping hackers out is a serious responsibility. Make sure that you update software, using unique passwords and taking other security protections. 
  6. Facial recognition is not a product feature, it's a super power. The ability to keep tabs on a person's whereabouts by reading their face is a super power that we don't have yet the legal or ethical framework to handle. Initially, our cameras will offer to flag family members faces. Next, they'll link to a few public databases such as a terrorist watch list, missing kinds and sexual offenders The real question is who gets to make those lists and how accurate are the systems flagging people? 
Posted by Sam Kader on January 8th, 2023 7:38 PM
While most people are happy with the results of their first home-purchase experience, there are some homeowners that have a few regrets and lessons learned. 

Here are some of them: 
  • The No.1 regret across all generations was buying a property that was too small. 
  • The second most common mistake was not saving enough money before buying their first home. Most buyers anticipate the money the'll need for their mortgage, homeowner's insurance and taxes but they don't always budget for home maintenance and repairs. As a general rule of thumb, most financial experts suggest saving at least 1 percent of the home value annually for repairs. 
  • Homeowners spent the most money on new appliances (16%) during their first year followed by replacing the roof (13%), replacing a furnace or air conditioner (11%), landscaping (10%) and replacing flooring (9%). 
  • Nearly half said they spent more than their budget during the first year of home-ownership. 
Posted by Sam Kader on January 8th, 2023 7:37 PM
The Spring home buying is typically when real estate season starts. However, according to research, there are certain months and even specific dates that offer the biggest premiums above market value for sellers. 

The top five dates to sell are still between May and June. Best dates for home sellers are: 

  • May 24: Commanding 10.5% seller premium.
  • May 31: Commanding 10.7% seller premium.
  • June 20: Commanding 10.6% seller premium.
  • June 28: Commanding 10.8% seller premium. 
Weather has a lot to do with the home buying season with summer being the most popular because the kids are out of school and there's more time to shop for a house It's no surprise that the worst dates for sellers happen in the colder months closer to the holidays - October and December.  However, ski towns sell more in winter. 

Advise for thrifty home buyers is to keep a close eye on the market and watch for houses that aren't selling. During the busy holiday season while people are shopping for the holidays, serious house hunters should be looking for houses. Look for houses that linger on the market. If the house has gone on and off the market, you can potentially get it when it's not listed.  The downside is that waiting could also mean someone else gets your dream house and must choose from less desirable properties in terms of condition and location. 

How to prepare your house during peak selling times: 

  • Experts agree that a fresh coat of paint is essential. Choose a color that is neutral so that it appeals to a wide variety of buyers. A property must look as neutral as possible. 
  • Deep cleaning and de-cluttering. Most home sellers leave too many personal belongings out. Some personal photos are O.K. but no more than 10. 
  • Changing light bulb to bright, white bulbs and make sure blinds are clean or replace. Strategically place fresh flowers and house plants. 
Posted by Sam Kader on January 8th, 2023 7:37 PM
Perform a midwinter checkup to ensure your home stays in good shape for the remaining cold weeks and the spring to follow. This checkup can help determine your home-improvement priorities for the year to come. 


Walk through your house and study it as if you are seeing if for the first time. Perform a room-by-room sweep and write down the condition of major elements such as windows, doors, trim and molding. Take note of potential problem areas, especially things that have fallen victim to wear and tear that you might overlook every day. 

Check your HVAC filter and change it if necessary. Examine your windows and doors and feel for air drafts. See if your windows open and close smoothly and keep a tight seal afterwards. Winter weather and excess moisture can give wood windows a serious beating. 

Check all the weather stripping and caulk you set up earlier in the season. Wear and tear can catch up to them very quickly. 


Walk around your home and inspect to see if pieces have become loose, damaged or pulled away. Loose siding can allow water to enter the space behind it, causing water damage and mold growth. Check your foundation for mold, cracks and water damage.  Check your gutters and verify that they are clear of winter gunk and debris. If necessary, hire a gutter cleaner to clear them out.  

Check bushes and trees or dead limbs or branches. Trim away damaged portions as quickly as you can. Dead branches pose a hazard and you'll get the best results if you trim them before they begin spring growth. 

Posted in:Home Maintenance and tagged: Home Maintenance
Posted by Sam Kader on January 8th, 2023 7:36 PM

1. Starting without a plan of attack. Start cleaning upstairs and make your way down or start on one side of the house if your home is a single story then move room to room tackling one room at a time. 

2. Cleaning a room from floor to ceiling.. Start at the top and work your way down. In other words begin by removing cobwebs and dust on the ceiling then clean off clutter, dust furniture, wipe down walls, switches and doors before cleaning the floor. 

3. Using weak cleaning products for touch grime. Using a spray bottle with a simple mixture of 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup grease cutting dish soap will clean most surfaces well. Some chores may require sanitizing cleaners like a bleach-based product. 

4. Using only one rag to clean. Keep a stack of 100% cotton cloths or microfiber cloths to change out when they are dirty. They can be washed and reused the next time you clean. 

5. Drying surfaces with paper towels. Cotton or microfiber cloths are more efficient for drying surfaces than paper towels and they won't leave lint behind. Another reason to stop using paper towels: Many have a rough surface that can scratch or damage delicate furniture and TV screen. 

6. Not opening windows to let your house air out. Ventilation is crucial whenever you are using cleaning products. The simple act of opening windows can counteract the indoor air pollution from cleaning products and make it easier for you to breathe. Cranking up you air conditioning won't solve the problem because more home heating and cooling systems don't mechanically bring fresh air into the house from outdoors. 

7. Mixing chemicals from different products. Combining chemicals from different cleaning products can create harmful fumes. Bleach and vinegar for example are a deadly combo. Together they produce chlorine gas and exposure to chlorine even at low levels can cause coughing and breathing problems as well as burning and watery eyes. Very high levels can cause death. 

8. Washing the windows on a sunny day. Though sunlight can help illuminate how dirty your windows are you are better off washing them on a dry cloudy day because strong heat from the sun will dry cleaning fluid more quickly which could leave hard-to-remove streaks or stains. 

Spring time is also an excellent time to declutter your house. The trick of decluttering is having fewer possessions and regularly keeping stock of what you actually need in your home. Just set aside a fixed amount of time say two hours to declutter a room in your home. 

First take everything out of drawers then clean and put back half of what was there before, keeping only the things you truly value. 

a) Display objects that hold meanings or make you happy. 
b) Aggregate the rest in i) Discard ii) Organize iii) Store. 

You can donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army or consignment shops around Seattle. Organize with similar items elsewhere and store it out of sight for later use. Organize first then store together. 

Decluttering at least once a year is ideal and springtime is the perfect time for it. 

Posted in:Spring Cleaning and tagged: SpringCleaning
Posted by Sam Kader on January 8th, 2023 7:36 PM
Here are some staging secrets for a successful sale: 

1. Research. One of the biggest mistakes home sellers make is underestimating their competition. Ask yourself. "Who will buy this house?" From here, it is important to present your home in its best possible light. Once a property is placed on the market, it is no longer your home but a product that will be compared with others on the market. 

2. Paint. If you do nothing else to your home to prepare it for sale, be sure to paint. From painting walls a neutral color to covering up marks and scuffs, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way. 

3. Repair. From re-caulking a bathroom to repairing a broken railing or step even small repairs are important. Not fixing your home's flaws can trigger a potential buyer to believe that it is in poor condition. 

4. Purge. The first step in preparing a property for sale should be to to the removal of all excess, from furniture to clothing. Now is the time to make your home feel as spacious as possible. De-cluttering is another simple way to get buyers  to focus on the bones of the house. Clearing kitchen and bathroom counter-top. Pack them in boxes and neatly stack them in corner of the garage. Anything extra should go in a small storage unit.

5. A seller may need their real estate agent's help creating a basic marketing plan. The foal is to decide who your target buyer is as in some cases this may influence the staging process. 

6. De-personalize. When a potential buyer walks into a property, it is important for them to feel that it could be their home. Packing away your personal stuff such as pictures, sports memorabilia and even religious items if one the easiest things you can to stage your house. You want to depersonalize your home because you want buyers to view it as their potential home.

7. Neutralize. Even something as simple as repainting or replacing carpeting can be a deterrent for potential buyers if it's the wrong color. Taupes and grays are ideal colors to create a neutral soothing color palette. 

8. Back to its roots. Return all rooms to their intended uses. For example, a bedroom that's being used as a hoe office must be staged and styled as a bedroom. 

9. Create timeline. When you place your property on the market can be critical in capturing the most amount of potential buyers. Earlier in the selling season is the best. 

10. Hire a pro. You may prefer to pass the staying of your home along to a professional. The Real Estate Stagers Association is a great place. 

11. Don't forget to beautify the exterior too. Replacing the front door and your garage doors and adding stone veneer to the exterior have the highest return on investment. A fresh coat of paint, freshening up the landscaping including adding greenery and flowers.

12. Rearrange rooms and give them purpose. Rearrange the rooms in your home and make sure each room has a distinct purpose. Tour model homes to see how the rooms are furnished.

13. Scrub and deodorize. No one wants to visit a dirty house especially prospective buyers so make sure your house is squeaky clean. Have the house professionally cleaned so that everything is spotless, windows, sliding glass door tracks, garage, basement, ceiling fans etc. You can base cookies in the over, bringing cinnamon sticks to a slow boil in a port of water or using air freshener before each showing.

14. Enhance curb appeal. Curb appeal is just as important as cleaning the inside of your house. Mow the lawn, make sure the sidewalk and driveway are free of clutter and debris and make sure the house number is easy to see. Pressure-clean your driveway and sidewalk.

Posted by Sam Kader on January 8th, 2023 7:35 PM

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NWMLS # 91980

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