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Monday, July 24, 2017   /   by Christine Robertson

A July Surprise for Vashon Home Loan Applicants

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Translation: they’re frequently outdated, scrambled, missing identity information—just plain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
b ...

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Thursday, July 6, 2017   /   by Christine Robertson

The Hardware Store Restaurant Is More Than Just a Place to Eat

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 ...

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  vashon island, vashon

Thursday, June 22, 2017   /   by Christine Robertson

Don’t Trust Zillow When It Comes to Home Value

Zillow’s Zestimates are absolute trash, and now there is a lawsuit in Illinois to prove it.
If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that Zestimates are just below trash when it comes to finding the value of your home. However, there is an interesting lawsuit that you ought to know about.
This Illinois homeowner is suing Zillow for undervaluing her home. Zillow says that the Zestimate is just a tool, not an official appraisal. However, according to Illinois state law, since the Zestimate is used by buyers to generate a value for a home, the Zestimate could be considered an appraisal.
You can learn more details about the lawsuit from Barbara Corcoran here.
Basically, this woman bought her townhouse for $626,000 in 2009, and Zillow said her home was only worth $562,000. Now, you and I know that the Zestimate is trash, but the prospective buyers walking through her home insisted that it was only worth what the Zestimate said. ...

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Monday, June 19, 2017   /   by Christine Robertson

Vashon Mortgage Strategy Includes Student Loan Burden

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 ...

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  vashon, vashon island

Tuesday, June 6, 2017   /   by Christine Robertson

The Pros and Cons of Investing in Airbnb

Should you invest in Airbnb? I’ve laid out some pros and cons in my latest video.

Today I’m out on the water on my commute back from Vashon, enjoying one of the only 90 days of sun we get in the Seattle area. Today’s topic is about investing in Airbnb. What does it take to “Airbnb” your house? Should you look into purchasing a condo specifically for Airbnb?
If you’re doing this with a condo in Seattle, you need to be careful because very few condos actually allow short-term rentals. They don’t want to run a hotel and the people living there don’t want to live in a hotel so their bylaws exclude anything less than a 30-day rental.
If you’re buying a place, you want to know what the rules are regarding short-term rentals. Most single family residences in Seattle allow for short-term rentals. Almost no neighborhoods have zoning laws that would restrict that type of rental, so if you own or are planning to purchase ...

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