Summer in Whatcom County

Rain in July?! Sure this is a good thing for the plants and crops, but we’re ready for the sun to come back. Summers here in Whatcom County are full of events and celebrations bringing the community together with parades, fairs, good food, and even better company. Here are just a few of the annual happenings going on in the area!

Image courtesy of Mount Baker Experience

Downtown Sounds: Wednesday, July 10-August 7th, 5:30PM-9:00PM

Bellingham’s favorite music festival is celebrating its 15th Anniversary Make it a priority to attend at least one of the free outdoor concerts this year going on Downtown Bellingham every Wednesday evening this summer until the beginning of August. There will be entertainment from popular bands, food vendors, local beer and wine garden, and the family friendly game zone featuring spike ball, corn hole, giant Jenga, and more. Find more info on the 2019 lineup at their Facebook events page or visit www.downtownbellingham.com/events.

Image courtesy of My Ferndale News

Picnic at Pioneer Park: Friday, July 26-28th

Also known as Old Settlers Weekend, this Picnic is a celebration of the rich local history that has become another summer highlight for many residents. The annual event takes place at Pioneer Park in Ferndale featuring live music, the Grand Parade, a Classic Car Show, local food and craft vendors, and even a softball tournament! Come by and admire the history of early settlers and a great sense of community!

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Northwest Washington Fair: Monday, August 12-17th, 9:00am-10:00pm

Carnival rides, music, animals, rodeo, demo derby, and fair food! What more could you ask for in the best 6 days of summer here in Whatcom County? The Northwest Washington Fair has highlighted the agriculture of the Whatcom County area for over 100 years featuring dairy and beef cattle, horses, and other livestock. Besides the annual Demo Derby and Lynden Rodeo, this year’s grandstand entertainment includes Larry the Cable Guy, Mark Chesnutt, and Cheap Trick. Head to www.nwwafair.com to purchase tickets to an event or to find deals on admission and carnival wristbands!

Celebrate the 4th of July on Front Street!

Happy Independence Day!

The 4th of July Truck Show and Block Party is going on this Thursday right here on Front Street in Lynden. Celebrate the holiday with friends and family while enjoying the variety of events going on starting at 11 in the morning!

To kick things off, the annual Truck Show will go from 11-2 and spectators can vote for their favorite truck. There will be a People’s Choice and a Young-People’s Choice award presented after the show.

During the truck show, there will be a Beer Garden outside of Overflow Taps, live music with J.P. Falcon Band and DJ Sean Taylor, delicious BBQ by JT’s Smokin BBQ, and fun for the kids including face painting and an ice cream truck.

We’ll see you there!

The #1 Reason Summer is the Best Time to Put Your Home on the Market

I don’t know about you, but we’ve been enjoying the recent beautiful weather here in Whatcom County! Historic trends have proven that in most areas of the country, early summer months can be the best time to list your home for sale.

An recent article written in Forbes claims, “The single best day of the year to sell a home, according to a new ATTOM Data Solutions analysis, is June 28, which sees an average seller premium of 9.1%. The other top days to sell a home are February 15, May 31, May 29, and June 21, with premiums ranging from 9% to 8.1%.”

What is it about this season that makes it so popular to sell? There are many factors that play into it, but ultimately it’s because buyers are HOT and motivated more than any other time of year!

  1. Foot traffic rises with temperature! The weather is getting warmer, therefore prospective buyers are more inclined to go out and explore potential areas and neighborhoods they’d like to move to.
  2. School’s out for summer! This can mean that family schedules have freed up from school drop offs and extracurricular activities allowing for house hunting to take priority. On top of that, many buyers may be eager to buy now in order to move in and get settled in time before school starts up again in the fall.

At the end of the day, the best time to sell is when it works for YOU. There are personal factors that play a major role in a decision to sell a home such as job changes, a growing family, or relocating. Making sure everyone involved is emotionally prepared and on the same page is vital before moving forward with the sale.

If you’re curious if this is the right time for you to put your home on the market, we are here to offer clarity! Enjoy your summer and always feel free to give our office a call if you’d like to explore the Whatcom County housing market.

Whatcom County Snapshot

With summer just weeks away, this is what the current market conditions are looking like in Whatcom County. Although we’re seeing sales prices continue to rise from April’s average of $444,650, the pace is much slower than what we saw throughout 2018. In the second quarter last year, home prices were climbing 6.8% and they are now rising at just under 5% rate.

This is good news for BOTH sellers and buyers, because sellers are still seeing increased value in their properties, but the slowed price growth makes home more accessible to buyers creating a balanced market!

With the housing market balancing, there are signs of a strong economy overall as April unemployment fell to 3.6%, its lowest levels in 50 years! Job and wage growth mixed with high consumer confidence makes for strong housing market activity.

If you’ve been hovering on fence, now is the time to jump. We have the expertise to make sure you enter the market prepared and with the right expectations; let’s talk!

The Million Dollar Question for Graduates

Image courtesy of nypost.com

Congratulations to all the Whatcom County high school students that will be graduating within the next week or two! This is such an exciting time to fly the nest and find new passions in life. A popular question that many graduates get asked during this time is, “What is your five year plan?”. According to a recent report conducted by Bank of America, a majority of Gen Z homebuyers between the ages of 18 and 23 are interested in buying property within the next five years, and 52% are already saving up!

It may seem to soon to start thinking about that type of investment, and that’s okay too. Whatever end of the spectrum you find yourself, it is worth getting educated on what it takes to become a first-time homebuyer and how to successfully plan accordingly. We hear many people comment on how they wish they at least had the knowledge of how and where to start the buying process at a younger age, so here’s a good place to begin!

  1. Take a homeownership class! Do some research on where and when they are offered in your area. Check out www.wshfc.org to find a class near you.
  2. Meet with a few different lenders to find the best fit for you. Not all lenders offer the same financing options, so it’s up to you to find one that provides the perfect terms for your situation! We always refer our first time homebuyers to Casey Porter at Caliber Home Loans. Casey works right here in our office, and has helped numerous of our clients get into new homes!
  3. Narrow down where it is you want to buy and find an agent that knows the area! Consider what type of features you’d value in a home such as a two-car garage, fenced yard, # of bedrooms, as well as the ideal location and proximity to nearby attractions. If Whatcom County is your focus, I’ve been in the real estate business for almost 40 years now and am very familiar with the local neighborhoods.
  4. Consider the possibility of house hacking! House hacking is when you own a home as your primary residence, but rent out bedrooms to help offset the cost of a mortgage payment. If covering the monthly cost of owning a home is a barrier to buying, this may be the answer.

Whether you’re just graduating and starting a five year plan, or have been renting all your life and ready to take that next step, we have the knowledge and resources to make it happen. Give me a call today, and we’ll make a plan!

Wire Fraud Could Happen to YOU. Here’s How To Protect Yourself!

In a recent article published in Forbes, It was found that Americans lost nearly $150 million to real estate scams in 2018.

As agents in the real estate business, we advice clients through the process of buying property as they make potentially one of the largest purchases they’ve ever made. Often times, buyers are required to wire large amounts of funds prior to closing, and this situation unfortunately opens a door to potentially dangerous scammers. Wire-fraud is becoming increasingly problematic as attacks are becoming more sophisticated and targeted to vulnerable parties.

Image courtesy of Fairway Mortgage

Although as agents, we are not involved in the transfer of funds between buyer and escrow company, we feel that it is our duty to ensure our clients are AWARE of the fraud schemes and have the knowledge to protect themselves.

3 Quick Ways to Protect Yourself:

  1. Study the email carefully! Verify the spelling of the sender’s email to ensure it is in fact from the person it says it’s from. Scammers will oftentimes add in or change just 1 or 2 characters that generally would go unnoticed.
  2. Voice verify! Although it might seem cumbersome in an already long home-buying process, following up emails with a call to verify is very smart. This step is especially important if the email involves e-signing, using a new website, or supplying funds or any kind of financial information.
  3. Be vigilant and on guard. Regard any email asking you to take action with suspicion, especially when communicating with title companies, attorneys, lawyers, or realtors. These are the type of situations that hackers are targeting, so better to be safe than sorry!

We are proud to work with the most reputable title companies in the area that provide a secure, encrypted environment that protects client information and documents. We recommend our clients stay in close contact with the escrow officer handling the closing of a transaction as this is the best way to avoid any issues!

The Local Event That Brings Everyone to Town

Starting it’s first year with less than 30 teams signed up, the Curt Maberry Memorial Classic 3 on 3 Tournament now hosts over 215 teams and brings thousands of people to downtown Lynden to watch basketball and celebrate the local community at the Lynden Raspberry Festival.

We are now just over 2 months away from the 21st Annual Tournament and so excited to get the ball rolling once again. This year’s event will take place Friday, July 19th through Saturday, July 20th. Participating ages range from Kindergarten all the way to Adult Recreational and Competitive brackets.

Get a group of friends together and enter a team or just come watch the action during a beautiful summer weekend in downtown Lynden, WA. The tournament is a large part of the Northwest Raspberry Festival that celebrates the largest harvest of raspberries in North America. Other festivities include live music, car show, arts & crafts, food vendors, beer garden, and of course delicious local raspberry sundaes.

To fill out a 3 on 3 application and find more information on the tournament, visit www.lynden3on3razz.com or call The Muljat Group North office at 360-354-4242!

UPDATE: Inventory is on the Rise in Whatcom County!

Spring has sprung and along with it is rise in inventory in Whatcom County! Although the number of residential properties newly listed increased 7.5% in April, inventory supply is still hovering around two months according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Typically, a balanced market shows about six months of available inventory, so the currently numbers are indicating Whatcom County will remain a sellers market this spring.

Even though inventory supply is still tight, there is hope for home buyers! The good news is the higher wage growth, slower home price appreciation, and low mortgage rates hovering around 4.375%. Here’s some professional advice to buyers looking to find a home:

  1. Start the pre-approval process as soon as possible. Get your credit score and debt to income ratio checked; there are great low to no down options available out there and we work with a reputable Caliber Home Loans officer that can sit down with you and discuss your options!
  2. Get realistic about what it is you are looking for. Knowing your price range before hand can help narrow this down along with nailing down the absolute necessities along with a wish list of added bonuses.
  3. If you’re in the early stages of discussing home buying, start saving money! This is a large investment and down payment on a mortgage is typically 20%. Planning ahead is key to being prepared when the time comes to move forward.
  4. Do your research on neighborhoods in the area of interest. We are a local company with expert knowledge in the Lynden community and surrounding counties, so don’t hesitate to ask for more information on a new development or specific area of town.
  5. And last but not least, find yourself a realtor you can work with! Your realtor should be knowledgeable of the current market conditions and a strong representative when it comes to making an offer. It’s a hot market, so make sure to find someone you can trust to get you where you want to go!

I have been serving the local market for 40 years now; give me and my team a call if you’re looking to buy property in the Whatcom County area!

Why Do Millennials Move to and Stay a Given Location?

According to the National Association of Realtors, there are a wide range of factors contributing to why millennials will choose to live somewhere. Two of the main reasons being affordability and the area’s job market. A recent study that analyzed the top metro areas with high populations of millennial residents found that employment opportunities and earning potential greatly attributed to an area’s attractiveness. Millennials want to feel secure in their career before making the decision to stay and create a life somewhere.

In the infographic above, notice that Seattle is one of the top 5 most popular areas for millennials likely because unemployment levels are low, income levels are high, and housing conditions are strong. Read the full article for more statistics on popular metro areas and why the younger generations are choosing to live there:
Affordability in the Top 10 Most Popular Markets for Millennials, According to NAR

One of the Most Overlooked Ways to Increase Property Value!

We see many sellers get so wrapped up in making sure the interior of the home is clean and updated that they forget all about the exterior. The first thing a potential buyer sees is the outside of a home, and if curb appeal is lacking; the chances of them wanting to go take a look inside drops drastically!

Curb appeal is the visual attractiveness from the street or sidewalk and can help attract buyers inside, boost property value, and improve neighborhood demand. This concept should be important to all homeowners, not just those looking to sell.

Some simple and effective ways to give your property that WOW factor are:

  • Mow and water the lawn, weed and mulch the flower beds, and sweep the sidewalk and driveways.
  • Clean windows and glass panels, replace exterior light bulbs, and remove dust and cobwebs from outdoor fixtures.
  • Repair anything dull or chipped like the trim, front door, or posts.
  • Power wash the deck or siding of the house for a fresh look

Putting in the extra work can seem like a hassle now, but the value and improved look these tasks can bring to your property will make the efforts all worth it!