Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Remodelers' Weatherization Programs Help Homeowners Prepare for Winter

Remodelers' Weatherization Programs Help Homeowners Prepare for Winter

RELATED LINKSHouse Wrap Helps Protect Homes Against Weather
Des Plaines, Illinois, October 6, 2009—Winter is right around the corner and in honor of Energy Awareness Month, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) recommends making energy-efficient upgrades as a way for homeowners to prepare for the season. Many remodelers are offering weatherization programs to help them reduce energy costs.
Mark of Excellence Remodeling is one such remodeling company that recently introduced a weatherization program. "The programs are funded by both state and federal governments, and the purpose is to raise consumer awareness of the types of upgrades that are needed to make homes more energy efficient," says Neil Parsons, vice president of sales and marketing for Mark of Excellence Remodeling, West Long Branch, N.J.
Weatherization is a term to describe various improvements made to buildings and homes to optimize energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), on average, weatherization reduces heating bills by 32% and overall energy bills by about $350 per year at current prices.
Through an evaluation known as an energy audit, homeowners are given a detailed report identifying problem areas in the home. Typical energy improvements include air sealing, insulation, ventilation systems or installation of green appliances approved by Energy Star.
"As consumers become aware that our energy resources are depleting and costs are rising with each year, energy efficiency is becoming a relevant topic in home improvement projects," says William E. Carter, president of NARI.
Even though each state provides slightly different programs with a variation of incentives, all of them provide the same benefits to homeowners.
"Homeowners notice their return on investment instantly after making energy upgrades in their utility bills. The other benefits are the rebates, the increase in home value from making the improvements, increased performance and durability and helping out the planet by conserving energy for future generations," Parsons says.
It's important to make upgrades now because soon most of the country will be entering the time of year when most of a home's energy consumption occurs. The DOE estimates that 56% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home comes from heating and cooling, making it the largest energy expense for most homes.
"Most believe that remodelers are busiest during the summer, but in actuality, the busiest time is during the fall when temperatures drop and homeowners start to feel drafts in their homes and are worried about heating costs," Parson says.
Another time factor is the program deadlines. Many state programs last until the end of the year, and energy-efficient improvements must be made within the specified time period to be eligible for rebates. To learn more about your state weatherization programs, visit
However, Parsons doesn't think any of the weatherization programs will be going away for good. "Most likely, programs will be extended or modified after deadlines as the government continues to put a high premium on increasing energy efficiency," he says.
If you are considering an energy upgrade, there is no better time than now. "Homeowners who are considering this should seek out a certified contractor that you can trust to give you sound advice about making your home more efficient," Parson says.
This includes advice about making upgrades that fit within your budget. "There's no law that says you need to make all of the improvements at once. Make improvements you can afford now and continue the rest in a couple years," he says.
If you are planning a home remodel, NARI Remodelers can help homeowners find contractors who will take care of the entire remodeling process. Log on to to find a remodeler in your area. For green remodeling information, please visit

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Green Building Technology

These products were all recently featured at the 2009 International Builders Show. Click the picture for more info and more products...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mortgage Insurance is Available on 2nd Homes with only 10% Down Again!

Mortgage Insurance is now available on 2nd/vacation homes with the following terms:

Purchase or rate/term refinance

Up to 90% loan-to-value

At least 720 credit score

41% or lower debt ratio

The Time to Buy is NOW!

For more info, please contact:

Carol Warfield
VP Real Estate Loan Representative
Central Region
300 E Market Street PO Box 1826 Aberdeen, WA 98520
P: 360.537.4044 C: 360.580.0187 F: 360.533.0489
Visit our website at

Jeff Daniel
Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Ocean Beach Properties
Cell Phone: 360.581.9020
749 Point Brown Ave NW
PMB 1568, Ocean Shores, WA 98569
360.289.3111 (fax)

Monday, July 13, 2009

To Buy or to Build, is that the only Question?

On many occasions while showing new houses out on the beach, some buyers take the approach that they would rather get a loan to buy a vacant lot, then hire a local builder to build them their beach getaway. There are several differences when it comes to the financing options between purchasing an existing home or buying a lot and having a home built on it. I recently sat down and talked to Carol Warfield, loan officer with the Bank of the Pacific about some of the differences.


The first is the required down payment

On a conventional construction loan, you must invest 20% of the cost of the entire project, which would include land purchase and prep, cost of plans, plan review, building permit, well and septic design & permits if applicable, cost of construction including builders overhead, sales tax, etc. All closing costs on a construction loan are in addition to the 20% investment in the project itself, and generally run more than closing costs for a purchase loan.

With a construction loan, you can almost always count on two things - it will take longer and cost more than you expect. Another thing to watch is change orders. Once your construction loan is in place, 100% of the cost of change orders comes out of your pocket. 

On a purchase loan you know up-front what your costs will be. You will pay the required down payment, plus closing costs. There are many types of loan programs available for purchase loans - Conventional, FHA and USDA are among the most popular.


The second difference is interest rate

Single-close construction loan interest rates typically run about 1/2% higher than purchase loans interest rates. With either type of loan, you lock in an interest rate prior to closing the loan. On a construction loan, you pay interest monthly on the amount you’ve drawn during construction, and then the loan converts to a 15 or 30 year fixed rate loan, with principal and interest payments once construction is complete. You pay the same interest rate during construction and during the long-term loan. Because the interest rate is “locked in” prior to the home being built, the investor takes some risk by guaranteeing you that interest rate once construction is complete, so they tend to price them a little higher. The other potential hazard is that if you don’t complete construction in the allotted time-frame, you would either lose your interest rate lock, and get whatever the going rate is at the time construction is complete, or pay a fee to extend the interest rate lock.

On a purchase loan, the rate lock period is generally 30-45 days, just enough time to close the loan, so investors are more likely to price at current market rates. Once you’ve closed your purchase loan, there is no risk of losing your rate lock.


Another difference is the risk and hassle factor

A purchase loan is a pretty easy loan to process and close. All required documentation is gathered up front, generally two years income verification (tax returns and/or W-2s), two months recent paystubs, and two months recent asset statements. If you have non-wage income, you may be asked to supply verification of that information also, such as lease agreements on rental properties, trust agreements, child support, annuity or investment income, etc. Once your credit report is pulled, it is not a common practice to need an updated report before the loan closes. 

On a construction loan, all the same documentation is required up front, plus all the construction-project paperwork. Once construction is complete, some investors are requiring updated credit report and income documentation. I’ve seen instances where credit has deteriorated and income was reduced, causing the loan to no longer fit the program for which it was originally approved, sometimes making the loan ineligible for secondary market purchase. Then the loan would revert to a portfolio loan at a higher interest rate.


If you have any questions regarding new construction, new homes or builders in the Ocean Shores/North Beach area, please contact Jeff Daniel/Associate Broker with Coldwell Banker Ocean Beach Properties at 360.581.9020.

Whether you’re looking a home loan, construction loan or refinancing, please contact Carol Warfield at 360.537.4044.

Carol started with Bank of the Pacific in 1997 as a branch manager and has been originating home loans since 2004. Carol has over 20 years of banking experience which includes helping customers buy, refinance, and build their dream homes. With her vast experience and dedication to each customer, Carol ensures your transaction will go smoothly.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Current Scenario for New Construction in Ocean Shores

New construction sales in Grays Harbor County are certainly not immune to our economy. In fact, it's pretty obvious here that not only are sales down, but selling prices are also down as well. What's this mean? In means what we already know, buyers are scared to pull the trigger on writing offers because buyers are scared that they're going to lose their job or the ecomony will totally collapse, etc. It's what they're fed by the media so of course they believe it.

What I believe it means is that now is the time to buy as builders are now flexible with their pricing in order to get the inventory of their homes sold and so they can get on with building more as we all wait for the next boom to happen. Here are some numbers from the NWMLS:

Year to date New Home Sales

1/1/09 - 6/15/09 - Grays Harbor County

Pacific Beach, 1 Sale 

Ocean Shores, 13 Sales

Ocean City, 1 Sale

McCleary, 6 Sales

Westport, 1 Sale

Current Pendings

Pacific Beach, 1

Ocean Shores, 5

Aberdeen, 1

McCleary, 1

Breaking down the pending homes in Ocean Shores....

1  little cabin is pending at $137K

2 little 2/2 cabins at $155K average

1 Canal 2/2/2 at $121K

1 Interior 3/2/2, 1500 sq ft at $178,500

Breaking down the Solds in Ocean Shores....

4 little 2/1 cabins have sold for an average price of $149,875

1 little 2/1 cabin with a garage sold for $169,000.

2 little 2/2 cabins have sold for an average price of $150,500 (one bad resale/firesale)

1 2/2/1 little cabin for $172K

2 3/2/2 interior ramblers for an average of $181,700

2 2/2/2 small lake chalets for an average of $225K.

The numbers are Pretty dreary.... I know of two more sales that are coming in today (1 small lake chalet 2/2/2 for $230K and one smal 2/2/2 interior for $165K). It's hard to predict where the action is going to be this summer. It seems that all areas of new construction are getting action, the hope is that once July hits, all areas will continue to get it. 

Current inventory of New Construction: IT'S TOO HIGH!

47 New Homes on the market.

12 of those are Presales

35 are either completed or under construction

Out of the 35 New Homes

9 are 2/1 Little Cabins

1 Little 3/1

5 are 2/2 Little Cabins

3 are 2/2/2 Little Cabins

2 are 2/2/2 Interior Homes

7 are 3/2/2 Interior Homes

2 are 2/2/2 Freshwater Homes

2 3/2/2 Freshwater Homes

1 4/3/2 Interior

1 2/2.50/2 Small Lake Home

1 3/2/2 Bayfront

1 3/2/2 Ocean Front

2008 Comparison Numbers

Year to date New Home Sales 1/1/08 - 6/15/08 - OCEAN SHORES

27 New Homes sold in 2008 for an average price of $212,207/Average $/SqFt; $160.25, Average SqFt: 1,311, Average CDOM: 194 Days

2009 Comparison Numbers

Year to date New Homes Sales 1/1/09-6/15/09

13 New Homes sold in 2009 for an average price of $192,535/Average $/SqFt, $159.37, Average SqFt 1,097, Average CDOM: 142 Days

Conclusion: Inventory is too high. Builders need to keep building to earn a living. A high inventory will keep prices down. Best case is for a super summer with lots of sales. This certainly wouldn't be surprising since nearly 35% of all real estate sales out here on the beach take place during July & August.

Builder Caution Reflects Fragile Housing Market in June

Builder Caution Reflects Fragile Housing Market in June

WASHINGTON, June 15 - Indicating that single-family home builders remain cautious and concerned about the fragile state of today's economy and housing market, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) declined one point to 15 in June.

"The outlook for home sales has improved somewhat in recent months, due largely to implementation of the first-time home buyer tax credit and gains in housing affordability," said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a home builder from Tulsa, Okla. "However, looking forward, home builders are facing a few headwinds, including expiration of the tax credit at the end of November; a recent upturn in interest rates; and especially the continuing lack of credit for housing production loans."

"As expected, the housing market continues to bump along trying to find a bottom," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Meanwhile, builders are taking their cue from consumers, who remain uncertain about the economy and their own situation. Builders are also finding it difficult to complete a sale because customers cannot sell their existing homes."

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 20 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

Two out of three of the HMI's component indexes were unchanged in June, including the index gauging current home sales, which held at 14, and the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers, which held at 13. Meanwhile, the index gauging expectations for the next six months declined a single point, to 26.

Regionally, the decline was entirely focused in the South, which is the nation's largest housing market. There, the HMI declined 3 points to 15, while the rest of the regions posted gains. The Northeast had a one-point gain to 20, the Midwest, a one-point gain to 15, and the West, a two-point gain to 14.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be accessed online at: More information on housing statistics is also available at: 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

NKBA's Top 10 Design Trends for 2009

Click HERE to see all the new trends for 2009!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Americans are moving on up to smaller, smarter homes

USA Today ran a story about a new trend in American home buying. Click "HERE" to see the entire article.

Brand New Beach Homes

Hi and Welcome to the beach! If you're looking for Brand New Beach House in Ocean Shores or the North Coast area of Washington State, you've come to the right place. We can connect you with numerous outstanding builders who've been building homes in Ocean Shores for years. We represent buyers wishing to purchase new construction at the beach. Whether it's an existing new home, a spec home under construction, a presale or having a builder build your beachy dream home, we can help.