How a Mom Turns a House Into a Home

How do you define a home? According to Merriam-Webster it is “a place of residence” but for
most the definition goes beyond that. It is where you are loved, accepted, and welcomed with
open arms and a smile no matter what time of day or how tired the occupants are. As corny as it
sounds, home is where the heart is.

To me the true definition of a home is not a physical location, but a feeling you get when you
walk in the door. And to me, one of the true tests to know if a house is a home, is if your mom is
there. A mother’s job, well one of them, is to make the house a home for her family. If you ask
some a mother could be defined as the heart of the home. The one person to make sure you
are comfortable, well fed, have something to drink, or a cookie to snack on. The one who keeps
the home thriving and moving together as a family.

For some home is the smell of your mom’s cooking when you walk in the door. Or it is the scent
she always used in the home. It’s the family albums she always displayed. It’s knowing she’ll be
in her chair in the corner of the living room sewing a quilt before you even walk in the door
because that’s where she is everyday at that time. It’s never leaving the house hungry, even if
she had to get up at 6AM to make you breakfast and knowing dinner will be ready for you at
5PM on the dot.

To be a mother is not an easy task and what roles you decide to play is different for everybody.
A mother can choose to stay home and devote her time to nurturing her children and taking care
of her home. A mother can be a single mom working two jobs to help give her kids a better life.
A mother can be a woman who never had children, but opened her home and heart to those in
need. Like home, there is no one definition of mother but without one, the other just isn’t the
same.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Lewis County Market Stats

As we begin heading into 2017, I’d like to share some informational stats about what the market is doing in our area.

house-with-moving-up-arrow

Let’s first take a look at the market stats in Lewis County as a whole in Residential sales as things continue to look up.

In the past year, both the average price and the number of homes sold have increased! All good news for sellers in our area. However, as the number of days on the market has seen a decrease this is a sign of the tight supply of homes for purchase, making it harder for buyers to find a home to purchase.

 

December 2015 vs. December 2016
Average Sales Price ~ $154,500 vs $172,000
# of days on market ~64 vs 49
Total# of sales ~ 1,058 vs 1,101

*Information provided by NWMLS

As you can see, the sales price of properties in Chehalis  has continued to grow over the last three years:

All in all, the market conditions and the projections for continuing real estate recovery in our area are strong.

View more market stats on our Local Market Stats page.


Janet Simons | Real Estate Broker | Chehalis Valley RealtyWant more information about the Market in your area? Contact me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to learn more.
Janet Simons | Real Estate Broker | Chehalis Valley Realty


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Fall is the new “Peak Season” to sell your home

leaves-in-fall-janet-simonsOctober is quickly becoming the most popular month for weddings, are these Autumn-loving newlyweds on to something?

Spring months have notoriously been the best time for buying real estate (as well as have a weddings), Fall is now becoming the “New” season to buy a home.

Let’s take a look at a few reasons this change is taking place:

There is less competition

Fall is a time many people consider to be the “Off-Season” in real estate so competition drops off. It provides buyers with new inventory and repositioned old inventory that didn’t sell during the summer months.

Qualified home buyers are in a great positon to negotiate aggressively. Many sellers are highly motivated to sell prior to the holidays. When possible, buyers can let sellers know they close before Thanksgiving or before the winter break is over.

Sellers are worn-down

Sellers who had their homes on the market during the prime selling season of Spring and Summer may have listed their homes above market price, resulting in an expired listing. After months of no action, these sellers are often ready to make a deal. Sellers who placed unrealistic prices on their homes earlier in the year may now be more willing to reduce the price come Fall. There are fewer buyers, fewer showings causing sellers to become frustrated and eager to sell. They are tired of maintaining a home in “Show Condition” and don’t want to wait another six months before selling their home.

Take advantage of those Tax breaks

Property tax and Mortgage interest are both deductions you can claim for the entire years’ worth of income, even if you close on your purchase in December. You can’t escape paying income tax, this can make a big difference in the amount you owe the government. This may amount to a significant savings, especially for “First time Homeowners”.

Fall is a safer

Did you know that July and August are the peak months for burglars? Waiting until Fall gives you the advantage to learn about your new home and neighborhood. You can get settled in your home and take precautions like installing a home security system.

Be the “Center of Attention”

Real estate agents are typically swamped during the Spring and Summer season. You might not get the attention from your agent that you deserve. Many other service providers that are related to the real estate industry such as Lenders and title companies also feel the heat during the summer.  Falls allows agents and related professionals the time to dedicate to their clients making YOU their priority.

The probability of experiencing delays and service issues from moving companies goes way down after the summer peak season too.

Save some $ with end of year sales

According to consumer reports, September offers sales on carpet & paint while October may be the best time to purchase lawn equipment. November brings sales on appliances and cookware. Fall home purchases coordinates well with sale items you may need for your new home. Often appliances are not included in the sale of a home or there are improvements you’ll want to make.

Not only does Fall bring a change in the season, it may bring you a change of homes. Please let me know how I can help you this Fall.  


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Huge Price Drop on Beautiful Home

Owner says “Lets get this place SOLD by winter”, so we’ve reduced the price by $10,000. Call me for more information or contact your favorite Real Estate professional.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival 

Friday September 30th thru Sunday October 2nd 2016

Schedule of Events: Friday

10 am- 5pm ~ Quilt Show at Heavenly Quilts on Carlise Ave.

7pm ~ Roxy Players “The Scoundrel of Dagger Gulch”  –    Onalaska Middle School Gym

 

Schedule of Events: Saturday

All Day ~ Self-Guided Interpretive Trail- Carlisle Lake

7:30am ~ 5K Apple Fun Run/2 mile walk registration (Carlisle Lake Parking Lot)

8-10 am ~ Pancake Breakfast- Presbyterian Church

8am ~ Kids 1mile Apple Fun Run/Walk – Carlisle Lake

10-11am ~ Parade Staging- Onalaska High School

11am ~ Parade

10am-4pm ~ Welcome Booth- Festival Information Carlisle Park

10am-4pm ~ Farm & Market Craft Vendors-  Carlisle Ave.

10am-5pm ~ Quilt Show- Heavenly Quilts on Carlisle Ave.

10am-12pm ~ Apple Pie Contest- Corner of Carlisle & 4th

10:30-3pm ~ Harvest Festival Food Court – Carlisle Ave.

2pm~ Canoe & Kayak Races – Carlisle Lake

12-4pm ~ Carlisle Mansion Historical Display

12-4pm ~ Kidventure- Onalaska Elementary School Gym

12-4pm ~ Health & Disaster Preparation – Fire Dist. #1

12-4 ~ Apple Cider Pressing – Community Youth Center

12:30-5pm ~ Live Local Music – Main Stage on Carlisle Ave.

1-3 pm ~ Royal Court Bingo- Onalaska Presbyterian Church

3pm ~ Apple Pie Eating Contest- Carlisle & 4th

7pm ~ MASON JAR MAIN EVENT- IN CONCERT “STRAIGHT SHOT”

 

Schedule of Events: Sunday

10:30am ~ All Community Church Service to be held at the Middle School Gym

12 Noon ~ Community Potluck – Elementary Gym


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


VA Financing Basics – Part 2 of my series on What Buyer & Sellers need to know about Financing

VA FinancingThis week I’m going to focus on what VA appraisers look for and the key elements to be considered. Every VA loan requires properties to undergo a VA appraisal & meet Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs).

This is to ensure the structural integrity, safety & soundness of properties being purchased.

If you’re considering purchasing a home using VA financing or as a Seller you want your property to be considered as a viable option to VA buyers, you’ll want to consider these major MPRs.

  1. VA Financed properties must be Residential: If any portion of the home is designed for non-residential purposes such as a home based business (hair salon, dog grooming, auto shop), that part cannot exceed 25% of the total floor area.
  2. Operating systems must be safe and have a reasonable useful life expectancy. Be sure there are GCIF outlets in the kitchen and bath, all electrical and plumbing systems are good operating condition.
  3. All properties must have adequate living areas that provide suitable living, sleeping, cooking and sanitary areas.
  4. Heating systems must be adequate and safe. In our area many homes rely on woodburning stoves as their primary source of heat, for VA they must also have a conventional heating system that can maintain a temperature of 50 degrees Farenheit. Also unvented methods of heating, such as a space heater must be inspected by a heating professional, have an oxygen sensor and meet all building codes.
  5. A domestic water supply that provides safe drinking water & safe way of sewage disposal. You must have domestic HOT water as well.
  6. Roof conditions cannot be defective or have more than 3 layers of shingles, if this is discovered all old shingles must be removed prior to replacement. Roofing must be adequate and provide reasonable useful life expectancy.
  7. Adequate access to the crawlspace along with adequate venting is required. Remove all debri , be sure a properly installed vapor barrier is in place. Standing water or excessive dampness must be corrected. Leaky basements and faulty foundations are expensive to repair often leading to a deal breaker.
  8. Independent Utility services for each living unit (multifamily properties), unless there are separate shutoffs for each unit.
  9. Safe Access from the street either a permanent recorded easement or private driveway.
  10. Health & Safety are top concerns when dealing with VA financing. All properties must be free of any hazard that adversely affect the property or it’s occupants.
  11. Safety, Structural or Sanitation. Appraisers watch for  defective construction, decay/wood rot,  defective craftsmanship and repairs, leaks, and  excessive dampness.
  12. Water must have proper drainage and be graded to ensure water flows away from the home. All down spouts must have drain pans, poor drainage can lead to foundation problems.
  13. Properties must be free of fungal growths (Mold), dry rot and wood destroying insects. Pest inspections are commonly required in our area, if termites are discovered property must be treated and re-evaluated to gain VA approval.
  14. Properties built prior to 1978 may contain lead based paint which has been determined to be a health hazard. Any surfaces with chipped or peeling paint must be scraped and repainted, covered with drywall, or totally removed.
  15. Smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide detectors must be properly installed per manufacturers recommendations.

The best way to purchase or sell a property that qualifies for VA financing is to be well versed in VA’s MPRs.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


What Buyers and Sellers need to know about FHA FINANCING

Over the next several weeks I’ll be doing a series of posts addressing what sellers need to know about both VA and FHA financing in order to make their homes more sell-able.

The first of this series will be FHA Financing which is a fairly popular loan in our area.

FHA financingAccording to the FHA Single Family Housing Policy Handbook, “HUD requires every property to be Safe, Sound, and Secure to be eligible for FHA Insurance.” There are MPR (Minimum Property Requirements) and MPS’s (Minimum Property Standards) that each property must contain in order to comply with HUD.  These basic requirements and standards are the basis for identifying the deficiencies of the property.  FHA appraisers are required to note these deficiencies within their appraisal form and must be addressed by the mortgagee prior to closing.

Examples of some property deficiencies and adverse conditions may include: Evidence of dampness, defective construction,  evidence of settlement, leakage, pests or wood destroying insects, decay/wood rot, peeling paint, environmental hazards, exposed or defective electrical wiring, double strapped water heaters, defective overhead garage door openers, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors or anything that affects the health & safety of the occupants, collateral or structural integrity of the dwelling.

In order to make the property comply with HUD’s MPR the appraiser must require repairs of all noted deficiencies, including an estimated Cost to Cure that has been properly developed and applied within said report.  Cost to Cure is based on the cost of local licensed contractors to complete repairs not the home owner’s cost of completing repairs themselves.

Many cosmetic repairs may be reported by the appraiser and considered when rating the overall condition and valuating the property. Minor or Cosmetic repairs may include minor plumbing leaks such as a dripping faucet as long as it doesn’t show damage, holes in window screens, cracked window glass,  missing handrails that don’t pose a threat to safety, or  defective interior paint surfaces in housing constructed after 1978.

As a guideline to assist my clients in expediting the appraisal process, I recommend the following repairs are completed prior to scheduling an FHA appraisal Inspection:

  • Repair (sand, scrape, fill, prime & paint) all defective paint surfaces
  • Repair all leaks (roof, foundation, HVAC system, & plumbing)
  • Repair all structural/foundation settlement
  • Repair all defective roofing
  • Repair/Secure/Install defective/missing handrails
  • Repair all defective/exposed electrical wiring
  • Install safety items such as Smoke & Carbon Monoxide detectors ,GFCI outlets, H20 safety straps & relief valves.
  • Repair/Replace broken or inoperable windows & doors as well as their locks
  • Repair/Replace inoperable overhead garage door openers (make sure the safety stop functions)
  • Repair/Replace broken stairs or uneven walkways, floors, or driveways.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Bundle Up Blitz 2016

Bundle Up Blitz

As the days get shorter & the season turns to Autumn, the Lewis County Chapter of Washington REALTORS® turn their focus to providing cold weather clothing items, blankets, sleeping bags and tents. Our annual BUNDLE UP BLITZ is an event where our local REALTORS® and Chapter Partners collect these items to donate to a local charity & our local school districts.

Many families with school aged children struggle to meet the needs that are imposed on them as school begins, the financial strain of buying school supplies & clothing can be overwhelming. All of our “school aged” clothing items that are collected are distributed to local school districts. In 2015 numerous items were graciously accepted by the Mossyrock & PeEll school districts.

Homelessness & poverty in our community is a growing concern, many families need shelter & a warm place to sleep. In the past we’ve donated tents, blankets, sleeping bags, adult & infant clothing items to “The Gather” a non-denominational church that serves the needs of the homeless in our area.

If you’d like to participate in this drive and contribute to your community, items can be dropped off at any Lewis County REALTOR® office or participating Lewis County REALTOR® Chapter Partner office. You can also make out a check payable to a local thrift store in our community.

For questions or assistance contact Chelsie Cosser at Realty World Cosser & Associates (360-345-1006) or Janet Simons at Mountain Valley Real Estate (360-880-2356).

Thanks adding a little warmth to someone’s life.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate