Kim Thompson, Broker
Windermere Real Estate

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Library Ladder

Library ladders are everywhere in my dream home file.

Last fall, I spotted one that shows its age with many layers of peeling paint right up in my alley in my neighbor's garage sale and I couldn't pass it up. So here I am with a ladder without a library. Finally I got it home. Can you guess what I'm doing with it?  I am all about reuse, reduce, recycle. :) I will post the picture tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bellingham Bank owned property

I'd like to talk about Bellingham bank owned property today.

Bank owned property is also called Real estate owned, REO, or foreclosure and  it is a kind of property owned by a lender usually a bank, Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae after foreclosure process.

People have the perception that bellingham bank owned properties are always a good deal. It often times is true but not always, so make sure to have a real estate professionals run comps as usual. One thing that is different about purchasing a bank owned property though is that bank doesn't have emotions about the property and they can let go of it more easily at a lower price but it needs to make sense in numbers following their rules. One rule seems to be that bank would not negotiating much right after they reduce the price. I had a client made an offer on a condo for $93,000 cash one day after bank lowered the price to $99,000. Bank rejected it then lowered the price to $89,000 just a couple of weeks later.

Another rule is to sell it 'AS-IS' and it sounds scarier than it is. What it means is that bank doesn't want to do any repairs on the house. Often times going through foreclosure means 'distressed' property and Bank never lived in the property and in fact they might be thousands miles away from the property. That's why more than ever you need a qualified inspector who can throughly find all the defects of the house. Make sure to write the contract with inspection contingency to give you an exit without sacrificing your earnest money if you don't like what you find through inspection. Since bank doesn't often negotiate the price you need to take it into account when you make an offer too.

In a multiple offer situation, bank likes to ask all the offerers to submit their 'highest and best' offer rather than countering one by one. They might prefer cash offer even if it is a lower offer. How to make your offer more attractive to the bank is for another post.

In Bellingham, we don't have as many bank owned properties as other part of the country but there are some deals to have for sure. But make sure you do your due diligence and hire a real estate agent you can trust.

Please contact me if you'd like a list of Bellingham Bank owned properties.

So... whatcha think?

It was time for a little change. I hope you like the new look of my blog.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Whatcom Young Professionals

I joined Whatcom Young Professionals (WYPs) and went to the first social. Hubby met a couple of really nice people at work who are involved with the group and suggested that I should participate. I obliged as a good wife should and I'm glad I did. :)
It was loads of fun and what a great opportunity to learn and network with people who are so ambitious and motivated to do great things. They have a social event every month and small gatherings at Woods coffee in the early morning every week called weekly buzz which I want to try next Tuesday at Flatiron location on Prospect. Anyone wants to join?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ski to Sea

Ski to Sea call for Volunteers!

This year's Ski to Sea is extra special because it is celebrating its 100th anniversary. If you don't know what it is here is Wikipedia's explanation:

The Ski to Sea Race (S2S), widely known as the Ski to Sea, is a seven-legged, 100-mile (160 km) long, multi-event competition held on Memorial Day in Whatcom County. The race starts on the ski slopes of Mount Baker, a 10,800-foot (3,300 m) volcano, and extends all the way to Bellingham Bay where the finish line is on the shores of Marine Park in Fairhaven. The seven legs of the race are; cross country skiing, downhill skiing, running, bicycling, canoeing, mountain biking, and finally kayaking. The Ski to Sea Race is managed by Whatcom Events, with a race committee that includes a race director, a race coordinator, and one or two chairmen to oversee each event along with hundreds of volunteers and student interns.

If you would like to be a part of this amazing celebration, join a team or be a volunteer! And please stop in at the Windermere booth at the finish line to visit with me. Oh yes, I will be there!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WCEL 7th annual fund raising event on the 26th

Whatcome Center for Early Learning (WCEL) is a Bellingham's non-profit organization that provide "comprehensive, family-centered early intervention services to children ages birth to three with special needs and their families since 1973". It's a place I do a bit of volunteer work for and I donate a part of my income to.

Our 7th Annual fundraising event is quickly approaching and I wanted to get a word out to any of my friends who want to support this great cause. It is a lot of fun to network with people while supporting the great agency. If you are interested in going with me, please let me know. If you can not go, don't worry. You have a way to support as well. We have an amazing group of Live/Silent auction items that you can bid on. I will post the items as soon as I have them.

WCEL's 7th Annual Fundraising Event:

"Celebrating Children...

Creating Futures"

When: Saturday, March 26, 2011 5:30pm
3729 Meridian Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
Whatcom Center for Early Learning, located at 2001 H Street in Bellingham, serves 100 Whatcom County eligible children and their families each month. Services are provided on site in the “Big Blue House,” in family homes and in other community settings at no cost to eligible families.
 Please call (360)671-3660

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What makes a great place to retire?

A lot of people move to where jobs are. After retirement though, you are no longer tied to the place where your job is. You are finally free! But are you really? For one reason I'm not sure if people are really free to go anywhere they want is, you have now limited nest egg that needs to go extra mileage.

Bellingham has been known as a great place to retire. It got me thinking why that is. Here are a few reasons I gathered.
  1. Educational opportunities, heightened cultural environment - Western Washington University (WWU) and Whatcom community college, Bellingham Technical College provide continued education that is easily accessible.
  2. Recreation activities - Bellingham and its surrounding areas have abundant golf courses, lakes for fishing, outdoor trails and parks that retirees can enjoy. 
  3. Great medical care - St. Joseph Medical Center is a nationally recognized hospital. Thanks to Bellingham's highly desirable living environment, it attracts high quality medical staff.
  4. Access to metropolitan area - Bellingham is located just south of Vancouver, BC and just north of Seattle. Bellingham International Airport offers easy breezy flight experience with cheap direct flights to Hawaii, Las Vegas, Phoenix,  Palm Springs, San Diego, Long Beach etc.
  5. No state income tax - it contributes to the low cost living that retirees need.
  6. Mild 4 seasons - you can enjoy so many outdoor activities all seasons.
  7. Pet friendliness - Bellingham is chosen to be top 10 pet friendly cities in the U.S. by Dog Fancy magazine.
Here are a few of MANY media attention to Bellingham being a great place retire:

Today's show

CNN Money
Bellingham fifth-best place to retire
AARP magazine
"The 15 Best Places to Reinvent Your Life"
AARP magazine
2nd Best "Dream Town" for boomers looking to retire
Modern Maturity
1 of 50 Most Alive and Clean Places to Retire In America

Where to Retire Magazine
Bellingham one of the best places for active seniors to live
If you looking to move to Bellingham to retire, please let me help you with your real estate needs. Call me at 360-296-3431

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Going to BC Real Estate Convention tomorrow

I'm going to BC Real Estate Convention tomorrow. I heard my company, Windermere is the only US Real Estate firm to have a booth there. Whatcom county's natural beauty and its closeness to Canada fits perfectly for canadian's vacation home. It has been helping holding up our property value immensely.

I can't wait to advertise my listings and to network with British Columbia Realtors, developers, Chinese and Koreans seeking investment immigration (EB-5) opportunities, or anyone who's interested in US real estates. I heard median price in Vancouver went over 1 million dollars last year. I'm sure our price here will impress them. Here is my flyer for the event. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Whatcom Nature Calendar

I found an awesome Whatcome Nature Calendar from Bellingham Herald. Here is for March.
I can't wait to see ladybugs again.

✦ Ladybugs come out of hibernation.
✦ The fragrance of budding black cottonwood fills the air with a sweet balsam scent.
✦ If you walk close to a pond early in the month, you might hear a low murmuring sound. It’s male red-egged frogs calling beneath the water for mates.
✦ Red-flowering currant blooms.
✦ Silver-spotted tiger moth caterpillars, which hatch in the fall and spend the winter huddled together in douglas fir trees, begin to spread out.
✦ Crustaceans, fish, mollusks and other sea creatures release thousands of tiny larvae into the plankton through March and April.
✦ Brant geese that winter in Mexico stop at Padilla Bay in Skagit County.
✦ Great blue herons move to colonies.
✦ Mid-month, violetgreen swallows and rufous hummingbirds arrive.
✦ Amphibian egg masses appear in ponds.
✦ Trillium blooms.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Silver Beach water front home that I loved

Do you remember this house in Silver Beach that I fell in love with that I blogged about here? I wished my client bought it so I could visit the house once in a while. However, he was not ready and that's why I was able to blog about it.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw that the house was sold. I joked that I should make friends with the new owner and I met the new owners last week! I swear I wasn't stalking. It just happened. Thankfully, I really liked them and here is a chance to visit the house again :)

I'm really enjoying my business as I have so much more opportunities to meet and connect with people in this wonderful community.

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