Monday, July 24, 2017 / by Christine Robertson
For a few Vashon mortgage applicants, next week may see a one-time favorable change in how
they are viewed by home loan lending institutions. It’s a technical change that could amount to a
significant difference in the results they get when they apply for Vashon home loans.
The first evidence of what the Washington Post calls “a surprise boost” will be triggered on
Saturday, which marks the July 1 beginning of a changeover in the information gathered by the three
national credit bureaus. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion have been working with a number of states to
handle an awkward technical problem: many states have outmoded computer reporting systems that result
in “troubling error rates” in official public records.
Translation: they’re frequently outdated, scrambled, missing identity information—just plain
The data in question—tax liens and monetary damages from civil court judgments—has too often
Thursday, July 06, 2017 / by Christine Robertson
When Melinda Powers came to Vashon Island more than 14 years ago with the vision of opening a restaurant, she could never have predicted that her business would become the heart of the community.
The Hardware Store Restaurant on beautiful Vashon Island is the core of Main Street and the heart of the island itself. I recently had the privilege of interviewing the owner: Melinda Powers.
She wanted to share her take on the restaurant, the island, and what is behind it. During our interview, Melinda began by telling me that she never anticipated she would be in the position she is today.
Back in 2003 when The Hardware Store went on the market before becoming what it is today, everyone was wondering what would happen to this big building. The island didn’t really have many restaurants at the time, so the idea to open one had always been in the back of Melinda’s mind.
After owning an interior design firm in Arizona for 25 years, Melinda had only recentl ...
Monday, June 19, 2017 / by Christine Robertson
All of a sudden last month Vashon readers might have come across a number of new articles
dealing with the same topic: the problem young first time home buyers are encountering due to
outstanding student loans. The target group is the millennials—everyone born between the early 1980s
and 2000s. If you are one of them, you are frequently reminded that there are millions and millions of you
out there. And millions who also share the same student loan problem.
There are conflicting accounts of the precise size of the issue, but it seems that the average college
graduate now carries somewhere between $30,000 - $50,000 in debt upon graduation. The Federal
Reserve says that the amount of student debt has more than doubled since 2007, to something like $1.3
trillion, at this point!
Nobody would deny that this appears to be a roadblock to young adults contemplating applying for
their first Vashon mortgage. Dealing with banks or any lending institutions for the first tim ...
Thursday, April 13, 2017 / by Christine Robertson
From time to time it can be fun to scour the latest “Top Ten” lists of cost-conscious ways to
increase the value of Vashon house value.
Some make more sense than others. Upgrading bathroom vanity cabinets appears on some of the
house value lists, for instance—but those lists were probably thrown together in a hurry since the return
on investment is admitted to be 66%. When an investment returns two-thirds of its cost, it’s hardly
competitive. For Vashon homeowners preparing to sell, vanity cabinets don’t belong on the action list.
The best idea lists are the ones which show ROI: the return on investment. Here’s a new
compilation, offered purely as food for thought (since the “return” number for any individual case can’t
actually be verified)—
1. Yard improvement, AKA Landscaping. Return on investment registers at a hefty 303%
according to the NAR® (and even 400%, per This Old House). And it’s ...
Thursday, February 16, 2017 / by Christine Robertson
In the Terminator movies, a robot from the future (Arnold Schwarzenegger) hunts down the human
heroine in order to change the future by altering the past. Although that’s actually the present. It’s
Although generally considered science fiction, the same thing is happening right now in the realm
of Vashon home appraisals! Now, before any Vashon readers panic, there’s no immediate danger to the
community. The authorities have the situation well in hand; in fact, the robot in question has already been
hauled into court. There’s certainly nothing that could affect any individual Vashon homeowner...that is,
unless your own house is about to be entered into the Vashon listings.
First, about the robot: this is not the Terminator (Arnold) himself. In real life, if you saw him in the
supermarket or walking down the street, there would be nothing to fear at all. In real life, he is an
actor/Governor who is actually an American/Austrian who i ...