Monthly Archives: November 2011

Joyce’s Voice…Free Christmas Events in Seattle

Seattle Free Christmas Events

Celtic Christmas at Town Hall

Saturday, Dec 10 7:30p Town Hall Theater, Seattle Experience the joyous sounds of traditional Celtic choral music for the Christmas season, as well as new music by composers from Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Northern Lights Holiday Bazaar

Thursday, Dec 8 2:00p Swedish Cultural Center, Seattle Come and join us at the Northern Lights Holiday Bazaar in Queen Anne for a day and night of one stop holiday shopping and fun.

Light in the Darkness

Saturday, Dec 17 7:30p Seattle First Baptist Church, Seattle Light up your Christmas season with a free concert at the Seattle First Baptist Church on Saturday, December 17th at 7:30 p.

Christmas Oratorio

Sunday, Dec 18 3:00p First Free Methodist Church, Seattle OSSCS invites Baroque specialist Hans-Juergen Schnoor for a return engagement, following his powerful performance of the St Matthew Passion with the ensembles last April.

Cookies, Crafts & Carols

Saturday, Dec 10 12:00p Great Hall, South Lake Union Park, Seattle Come to Seattle’s Lake Union Park Saturday, December 10th for Cookies, Crafts & Carols, sponsored by the Center for Wooden Boats, The Steamer Virginia V Foundation, Northwest Seaport, Maritime Folknet, and Soun

Holiday Cookie Class

Monday, Dec 5 5:30p Urban Enoteca Wine Bar, Seattle Holiday Cookie Class at Urban ENOTECA Three Cookie Chicks will help you prepare fo r the holidays with this fun and easy class at Urban Enoteca.

Holiday Cookie Classes

Tuesday, Nov 29 6:00p Whole Foods Roosevelt Square, Seattle Holiday Cookie CLASS Three Cookie Chicks will help you prepare for the season with this fun and easy class at  Whole Foods Market in their Eat Well Kitchen.
Songs \& Scenes of the Season

Songs \& Scenes of the Season

Saturday, Dec 17 2:00p Philadelphia Church, Seattle Come hear and sing Holiday Songs and Christmas Carols on Saturday afternoon, December 17, 2 p.m., when the Seattle SeaChordsmen Barbershop Chorus and their special guests, The Seattle Shores Chorus of the Sweet

12K’s of Christmas Holiday Run

Sunday, Dec 18 9:30a Marina Park, Kirkland Holiday themed 12K run/walk and 5K run/walk that starts and finishes at Marina Park in Kirkland. Includes a free kids dash, a costume contest and a post-race celebration with 25+ booths.

Musica Sacra Dec. 10th Christmas Concert

Saturday, Dec 10 7:30p Bastyr University, Kenmore The Bastyr University Chapel is the perfect opening venue for the \<b\>Musica Sacra\</b\> Chamber Chorale’s 2011 Christmas concert series.

Joyce’s Voice…TEDxSF – Louie Schwartzberg – Gratitude

TEDxSF – Louie Schwartzberg – Gratitude  Please take 10 minutes to watch this video, I hope you are blessed by it as I have been. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Joyce’s Voice…Washington jobless rate falls to 9 percent

Good News! Just wanted to share:

Washington jobless rate falls to 9 percent

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington’s jobless rate has dropped to 9 percent — the lowest since March 2009, according to figures released Thursday by the state Employment Security Department.
The October rate compares with a revised figure of 9.2 percent for September and 9.4 percent in October of last year in the state.

The national jobless rate also is 9 percent.
With 4,600 jobs added in October in Washington, the department says the state has added jobs in 12 of the last 13 months.
A loss of 18,000 jobs reported in September was revised to a loss of 10,700 jobs.
“The October numbers showing slow, steady improvement are more consistent with what we’ve seen for more than a year,” said Dave Wallace, a department economist. “It looks more likely that the September numbers were an anomaly.”
Jobs were added in October in government, wholesale trade, education and health services and manufacturing.
Jobs were lost in professional and business services, transportation, warehousing and utilities, and retail trade.
Altogether, an estimated 314,700 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in October out of a workforce of 3.5 million, the department reported.
Of the jobless, 176,400 received $255 million in unemployment benefits. As of Nov. 5, about 65,000 workers in Washington had run out of all unemployment benefits.
Over the past year, nearly 32,000 jobs have been added in Washington. Manufacturing added 14,900 jobs and the aerospace industry accounted for 8,100 of those, according to the monthly employment report.
Education and health services added 7,100 jobs in the past 12 months, wholesale trade 6,800 jobs and leisure and hospitality 6,500 jobs.
An estimated 8,800 public sector jobs were lost in the past year, more than half at the state level. Local government is down 3,800 jobs.
An estimated 2,500 jobs have been lost in the past year in financial sector, including banks.

by Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 17 at 10:58 AM

Joyce’s Voice…Surprise! Good economic news popping up in Seattle region

 This is such good information I thought it was worth sharing! We need all the good news possible.

In a tough 2011, the Puget Sound region continues to make gains that bode well for several industries in the future. The most dramatic developments involve Boeing. Emirates, the airline headquartered in Dubai, placed an order for 50 777s built in Everett, with an option to purchase 20 more. The entire deal would be worth $26 billion, although such large transactions usually involve discounts.

Days later, Indonesia’s Lion Air said it would buy 230 narrowbody 737s for a list price of $21.7 billion. At least for now, these jets are made in Renton and state leaders are working hard to persuade Boeing to build its next-generation 737 in Washington state.

The Amazon.com campus in South Lake Union continues to rise, with the company hiring while most large corporations are just sitting on their cash. CEO Jeff Bezos is willing to incur the fury of short-term Wall Street to build for the long-run.

Despite grim barriers for consumer spending, Nordstrom increased its third-quarter profit by 7 percent, thanks in part to affluent shoppers. It used to be that department stores were hammered during downturns and slow times, but not now.

Costco, which never slowed during the Great Recession, is doing beautifully and is fresh off an election victory to privatize state liquor sales. Comeback star Starbucks is basking in deserved adulation (Howard Schultz is Fortune magazine‘s Businessperson of the Year). It sports plenty of cash to invest, such as in expanding its Kent roasting and packaging plant.

Meanwhile, the worst fears for Seattle real estate during the recession haven’t materialized. While single-family residential struggles in many parts of the metro area, apartment construction is booming, underscored by the recent announcement by a California developer that it intends to break ground on a 31-story First Hill project in the spring of 2012.

The Urban Land Institute‘s influential Emerging Trends in Real Estate report ranked Seattle sixth nationwide among 51 markets for investment in multifamily and commercial projects next year.

Construction jobs, hard hit by the crash, gained an additional cushion by major public infrastructure that received the final go-ahead in recent months: The deep-bore tunnel in downtown Seattle and the light-rail route through Bellevue.

If common themes emerge, they include that the metropolitan area continues to leverage its corporate, industry cluster and trade touchstones. It keeps attracting talent. And for all the successful reinvention and diversification of recent decades, Boeing still leaves a giant footprint.

Even so, innovation powers Seattle like never before. We ranked No. 5 this year in the Americas and 25th globally in the Innovation Cities Index compiled by the Australian company 2ThinkNow. The survey ranks 331 cities based on a variety of economic and competitiveness measures.

The metro areas ranked ahead — Boston, the Bay Area, New York and Toronto — are much more populous. Seattle is among this elite: “A Nexus city, is a top innovation destination for innovation in multiple sectors of the urban economy,” the report reads. “Nexus cities have a high probability from a cluster of preconditions to create innovation not just in science, but in areas such as product, process, business, service, policy and other types of innovation.”

Also, Boeing and Microsoft ranked among the world’s 100 most innovative companies in a new Thomson Reuters analysis.

I’m not trying to feed you Astro-green shoots. These strengths are present even as statewide unemployment remains at 9 percent, thousands are hurting and continued government cutbacks drag on recovery.

Digging out of the unemployment crisis could take years. It’s a tale of two economies, two trajectories, but in the same place.

This dual reality is reflected in the Puget Sound Business Barometer, a survey of 1,700 businesses by the Greater Seattle Chamber and its economic-development partners.

It indicated that several sectors expect to hire: Energy, aerospace and manufacturing, life sciences, information technology and interactive media. Still, government, education and transportation are likely to cut jobs. Small-business owners are the most likely to hire (but, I would add, many also face trouble getting loans).

The report indicates that many companies are stabilizing after the downturn and even growing. The businesses reporting layoffs fell 4 percent compared with 2010. Yet, “employers’ perceptions of the overall economy are weak. Of the sectors expecting growth, only some say they will hire. Many others expect higher sales or new contracts but won’t hire proportionately.”

The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce survey of 700 businesses found that 58 percent expect to add workers in 2012 and 34 percent plan to keep employment at current levels.

Plenty can still go sideways, from Europe’s troubles to Boeing moving the next generation 737 production elsewhere. But the year is turning out better for Seattle than many other American metropolitan areas.

By:Jon Talton

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Joyce’s Voice… What is going on in the Federal Way market place

Joyce's Voice... What is going on in the Federal Way market place

Average price per square foot for Federal Way WA was $116, a decrease of 13.4% compared to the same period last year. The median sales price for homes in Federal Way WA for Aug 11 to Oct 11 was $172,510 based on 274 home sales. Compared to the same period one year ago, the median home sales price decreased 20.7%, or $45,160, and the number of home sales decreased 6.8%. There are currently 484 resale and new homes in Federal Way on Trulia, including 1 open house, as well as 398 homes in the pre-foreclosure, auction, or bank-owned stages of the foreclosure process. The average listing price for homes for sale in Federal Way WA was $254,156 for the week ending Nov 09, which represents an increase of 0.6%, or $1,431, compared to the prior week.

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Joyce’s Voice…BANKRUPTCY AND SHORT SALES DON’T MIX WELL!

Joyce's Voice...BANKRUPTCY AND SHORT SALES DON'T MIX WELL!

This is an area that a seller can get into trouble. Bankruptcies and short sales don’t mix well. A Bankruptcy BEFORE a short sale will work. A Bankruptcy AFTER a short sale works great. If a seller files DURING short sales negotiations, well it’s a dead deal typically and the opportunity for a short sale is generally out the window.

Sellers if you are considering a short sale then please don’t do anything concerning filing Bankruptcy until after the short sale is complete and closed.

When I do short sales I always have you meet with an attorney prior to starting the short sale. The attorney will advise you on all of your options. Once you are understanding the process and feel confident to move forward then you can give me a call and I will list the property. I handle the negotiations between you and the buyer. The attorney will handle the negotiations with the bank. Working together we get the job done=SOLD

Joyce’s Voice….Truths and Myths about Short Sales

MYTH
L
ENDERS ARE BOUND BY THE PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT Short sale lenders couldn’t care less about matters, provisions and conditions that are included in your Purchase and Sale Agreement. There’s a belief in offices that certain “magic language” added to the Purchase and Sale Agreement will cause the seller to be relieved of liability from their short sale’s lender.
This is far from the truth.  The seller’s short sale lender is not bound by the
terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement as they are not parties to that
agreement.

 MYTH
IF THE PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT SAYS
UTILITIES MUST BE PAID BY SELLER, THE SHORT SALE LENDER IS REQUIRED TO PICK UP THOSE FEES
Short sale lenders are not required to even entertain a short sale.  Their agreement
to do so is based upon a business decision that they believe a short sale is in
their best economic interest. Just because you include certain provisions within
your Purchase and Sale Agreement, the lenders are not in any fashion bound to
accept those provisions.  All terms associated with a short sale are
negotiable.  Many times we are negotiating terms of an agreement agreed to by
the seller and buyer, but not by the seller’s bank!
We commonly negotiate utilities, homeowner’s association dues, septic inspections,
water well inspections, closing costs, taxes, fees as well as commissions.
Everything can be on the table in a short sale.  That’s why it is important that
we “negotiate” and not just “coordinate.”
MYTH
LENDERS ARE BOUND BY THE DEADLINES CONTAINED
IN THE PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT
Many Realtors get very upset when deadline dates contained in the Purchase and Sale
Agreement are ignored by seller’s short sale lender.  This is nothing new.  They
are not bound by the timelines contracted between the buyer and seller.  You
see, the short sale lender isn’t a party to the Purchase and Sale Agreement.  We
say that time and time again.  The short sale lender operates on its own
deadlines and not those of the seller or buyer.
 ONCE AN APPROVAL BY LENDER IS PROVIDED, THEY
ARE BOUND TO HONOR THAT LETTER OF APPROVAL
We are all excited to receive the approval letter.  That is what the negotiations
are all about.  However, many agents believe that the short sale lender is bound
to close the deal exactly according to the terms of that approval letter. In
fact, in most instances the lender makes their ultimate approval subject to a
final approval of the closing papers.  This is why we as short sale negotiators
continue to work the short sale transaction all the way through the closing of
escrow.  Escrow closing is an integral part of negotiations for us.
Hiring the right short sale real estate agent who work hand in hand with a good short sale negotiator is a very important part of getting your house sold. This can be a long process so you will need to be patient. It is very important that you provide everything requested before the package and offer are turned over to the bank for consideration. Always remember with the bank it is their bottom line that matters!
Call Joyce Lowe ABR,CRS,GRI,CNS,Broker 206-790-4696 today for more information on how she can help you through this process.
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Joyce’s Voice….Cozy Up With a Gas Fireplace, Sounds Wonderful!

Cozy Up With a Gas Fireplace, Sounds Wonderful!

Here is some information on gasfire places that you may want to consider before adding one to your home.
For centuries, homeowners have gathered around a fire to keep warm, chat and cook their meals. Today, most American homes have central heating, but the allure of a fire hasn’t diminished — whether it’s a wood-burning fireplace, a free-standing gas stove or, in a pinch, even the image of a burning log on a midnight television screen!

While there’s something to be said for the sounds and smell of a wood-burning fireplace, a lot of homeowners are opting for the ease of a gas insert. Today’s gas fireplaces look realistic, need minimal maintenance and can heat an entire room.

There are three kinds of gas fireplaces.

Gas inserts: This is gas fireplace that can be fitted into an existing wood burning fireplace.

Built-ins: A fireplace that can be installed into the wall where there wasn’t one previously

Log sets: Gas burners that sit in existing fireplaces and are more for aesthetics than heat

Gas Fireplace Cost: $2,000 to $5,000 for the fireplace and installation. This is not a DIY project and should be handled by someone who can verify that the fireplace is vented properly.

Ventilation:

Although a gas fireplace doesn’t emit the smoke or leave ashes like a traditional wood-burning fireplace, they do emit carbon monoxide and other chemicals. Many gas fireplaces and inserts are vented versions that recycle air 
and exhaust directly through an exterior opening.

However, a vent-free gas fireplace can be installed anywhere because they don’t require access to an exterior wall opening. They are required to be cleaner burning and have an oxygen-depletion sensor that will shut off the fireplace if the level of oxygen is too low in the room. Vent-free gas fireplaces are not allowed in California, New York City and a few other places.

Pros of Going Gas:

A gas fireplace can be built nearly anywhere in your home and provides a clean, low-maintenance look of a fireplace. You can control the temperature of the fire with a built-in thermostat and can start the fire with a switch or button. Unlike wood-burning fires, gas fireplaces are efficient and return as much as “75 to 99 percent of a fuel’s energy back as heat,” according to “This Old House.” Some gas fireplaces have built-in fans which can heat an entire room quickly.

Cons of Going Gas:

For most people, the cost of installation and the gas or propane to run it is a big enough turn-off due to cost. Additionally, there are some environmental concerns with gas fireplaces, specifically vent-free versions due to carbon monoxide output.

Joyce’s Voice…Don’t just sit on the fence, now is the time to buy real estate!

This is one of the best times I have ever seen for buyers to purchase homes. It is the best time I have seen since I first started selling real estate in 1987.

Interest rates are at an all time low, the prices of houses are down and the choices are great. If you are sitting on the fence and thinking that prices are going to go lower they very well may not. Don’t wait!….The problem with waiting is that you can never determine what interest rates will do, once they start to move up they can move quickly and it may be too late.  When interest rates are higher the amount of home you qualify for is less or perhaps you won’t qualify at all with a higher interest rate. You could miss out on a great buying opportunity. I know many purchaser’s are worried about the economy and it is a concern to all of us. However, you have to pay to live somewhere so if you qualify why not purchase a home when the market is at an all time low? People who buy when the market is low will win when the market turns around.!

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Joyce’s Voice…Market Conditions Summary for Federal Way, Washington

Joyce's Voice...Market Conditions Summary for Federal Way, Washington

Housing and Economic Forecast Points to Rising Activity

Home sales are expected to stay on an uptrend through 2012, although the performance will be uneven with mortgage constraints weighing on the market, according to experts at a residential real estate forum today at the REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo here.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said existing-home sales have been underperforming by historical standards and will rise gradually but unevenly. “If we just hold at the first-quarter sales pace of 5.1 million, sales this year would rise 4 percent, but the remainder of the year looks better,” Yun said. “We expect 5.3 million existing-home sales this year, up from 4.9 million in 2010, with additional gains in 2012 to about 5.6 million — that’s a sustainable level given the size of our population.”

Mortgage interest rates should rise gradually to 5.5 percent by the end of the year and average 6.0 percent in 2012 — still relatively affordable by historic standards.

“A huge volume of cash sales, supported by the recovery in the stock market, show that smart money is chasing real estate. This implies that there could be a sizeable pent-up demand if mortgages become more readily accessible for qualified buyers,” Yun said. “The problem isn’t with interest rates, but with the continuation of unnecessarily tight credit standards that are keeping many creditworthy buyers from getting a loan despite extraordinarily low default rates over the past two years.”

Yun said that if credit requirements returned to normal, safe standards, home sales would be 15 to 20 percent higher. He added that some parents are buying homes with cash for their children, and offering them loans which provide better returns than bank accounts or CDs.

Yun projects the Gross Domestic Product to grow 2.5 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2012, adding 1.5 million to 2 million jobs yearly over the next two years. The unemployment rate should decline to 8.8 percent by the end of 2011 and average 8.6 percent next year, returning to a normal level of 6 percent around 2015.

Housing starts are forecast to rise but remain below long-term trends, reaching 603,000 in 2011, up from 595,000 last year, and continue growing to 908,000 in 2012. New-home sales are seen at a record low 320,000 this year, rising to 487,000 in 2012. “A recovery in new homes will be slow because of the extra price discount in the existing home market,” Yun noted. In March, the typical new single-family home cost $53,300 more than an existing home.

Inflation appears to be relatively modest for now, with the Consumer Price Index rising 2.9 percent this year. “We’ll be closely watching the impact of fuel costs on consumer spending and inflation — that would slow economic growth, job creation and home sales,” Yun said.

Apartment rents are trending up, and are likely to rise at faster rates as vacancies decline. Following the correction in home prices, it has now become more affordable to buy in most of the country. “Twice as many renters had enough income to buy a home in 2010 in comparison with 2005, so we have a much larger pool of financially qualified renters,” Yun said. “Rising rents and excellent housing affordability conditions will encourage potential buyers who’ve been on the sidelines.”

Yun expects the median existing-home price to remain near $170,000 over the next two years, which would mark four consecutive years of essentially no meaningful price change.

Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac, holds similar views on the outlook. “Economic activity will accelerate this year — there will be no double dip in the economy,” he said. Nothaft is more optimistic on job growth, expecting 2.0 million to 2.5 million jobs created in 2011 with unemployment dropping to 8.4 percent by the end of the year.

Nothaft expects the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to trend up to 5.25 percent by the end of the year, and for home sales to rise 5 percent. “National home price indices are close to a bottom and prices are likely to bottom sometime this year,” he said.

Refinancing activity in 2011 will be only half of what it was last year. “As a result, banks may become more willing to lend to home buyers,” Nothaft said.

The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.