Mortgage Rates Hold Steady

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Mortgage rates were in a holding pattern this week, even after the Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to hike its benchmark interest rate.

“As widely expected, the Fed increased the federal funds target rate this week for the third time in 2017,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist. “The market had already priced in the rate hike, so long-term interest rates—including mortgage rates—hardly moved. Mortgage rates held relatively flat across the board, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate inching down 1 basis point to 3.93 percent in this week’s survey. Mortgage rates have been in a holding pattern for the fourth quarter, remaining within a 10 basis point range since October.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Dec. 14:
•30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.93 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.94 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.16 percent.
•15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.36 percent, with an average 0.5 point, the same as last week. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.37 percent.
•5-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages: averaged 3.36 percent, with an average 0.3 point, rising from last week’s 3.35 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.19 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Recognizing Clutter for What It Is

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When real estate pros talk to clients about decluttering their homes, they might not realize what they’re getting into. In fact, getting rid of stuff can be painful, even for those who aren’t hoarders or recent widows. It’s the normal, everyday resistance to purging our belongings that attracts Christy Diane Farr to the world of self-help writing and life coaching.
In Is Home Your Happy Place: The Unruly Woman’s Approach to Space Healing (Paper Angel Press), Farr explains that society reinforces the idea that hanging onto stuff is normal, and that she wants to help otherwise healthy people downsize in a balanced way. “The whole off-site storage industry popped up to reinforce that it’s not just normal but often necessary to possess more than our space will hold,” she writes. “I’m more of a normative chaos kind of guide, if there is such a thing. I want to work with people whose lives are stuck; people who are reasonably functional but who are not living the dream.”

Early in the book, Farr identifies six types of things that people hold onto that stand in the way of living that dream. I think this list is especially helpful for Book Scan readers because if real estate pros can understand the reasons behind why their clients are holding onto stuff, it might help them more skillfully ease through this transition. And if nothing else, you might consider lending them Farr’s book, which is filled with funny asides and assignments created to help people “release” the stuff that’s holding them back.

1. Stuff that makes you feel crazy. Farr uses the example of food storage containers, which I find maddeningly familiar (who hasn’t yelled exasperatedly at the cupboard containing the tupperware at least once in their life?). She encourages readers to balance the functionality of any given item with the space that’s claimed by it. “The madness of trying to manage them far outweighs anything even remotely resembling the convenience that would be using them.”
2. Stuff that’s broken. I’m totally guilty of keeping things around with the intention of repair, but without actually doing anything about it. “If you’re not going to fix it, let it go. It’s either worth the time, money, and energy it takes to make it work, or it just isn’t. Free it, and free yourself.”
3. Stuff that makes you hang onto an unpleasant past. Farr deals with this a lot throughout the book, because she clearly recognizes the pain that comes with decluttering. “The stuff is locked into the feelings and the feelings are locked into the stuff. It doesn’t matter from which side we break the lock. What matters is that we break it,” she writes. “It works because dealing with our clutter is simply a willingness to, at long last, deal with ourselves.”
4. Stuff that’s expired. Here Farr is talking both about old food and meds, but also stuff that has a less obvious expiration date. “The idea behind the expiration date challenge can be applied to all aspects of your life. Since my kids are going to college soon, my maternity clothes are expired. Books I’ve read and have no intention of reading again are expired,” she writes. “If our relationship with this stuff was intended to be eternal, caskets would be bigger. Once something expires, we can let it go.”
5. Stuff that sucks. I love this one! Farr mentions as examples cleaning products that don’t work as they say they will and clothes that don’t look good on. “Ultimately, the goal here is to own only those things that we use or truly love. We want to be surrounded by things that feel good to us.”
6. Stuff that used to be a good idea. This one is especially pertinent for the crafters out there. I like Farr’s challenge to gather all the supplies for projects left undone, and force the issue: “I put them all in this box and labeled it with an expiration date one month from today. This will keep the ‘I meant to…,’ from going on forever. Otherwise, it will. I know this because I’ve met me before. If I want a different outcome, I’ve got to do something different.”
article by: Meg White, managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving from our real estate office to you.
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28th Annual Fall Lynden Craft and Antique Show

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Lynden’s annual craft show started yesterday and will run through, Saturday October 21. A great mix of handcrafts, holiday and home décor, gourmet foods, unique gifts, vintage and re-purposed treasures. With over 100 vendors you will be inspired by all the creativity. It’s a great place to shop for gifts – you won’t be disappointed! For more details on this event please click on the following: Lynden Craft & Antique Show

LYNDEN~OPOLY BOARD GAME!

How many towns have their own monopoly board game? Well, our beautiful town does! This is the 2nd time around as the Lynden-opoly game made its initial debut in the 1980s. Many of you still may have that original game. The newest version just came out and is available for purchase from the Lynden Chamber of Commerce or any of the 3 WOODS COFFEE locations in Lynden. They are selling fast! Many of the local businesses around Lynden have a square on the board. You’ll love the game pieces which are so appropriate for Lynden; Windmill, WOODS COFFEE mug, strawberry, wooden shoe, cow and tractor. The game cards are of course, Sold By Muljat Group North! Perfect gift for all or especially a new neighbor unfamiliar with Lynden!
Lynden Monopoly

2017 Northwest Washington Fair

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Five days until the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden. You don’t want to miss out on any of the fun! Carnival rides, great food fair, awesome grandstand entertainers, demolition derby, rodeo, animal exhibits, quilts, canning, arts, photography, 4H and FFA exhibits. For over 100 years the Northwest Washington Fair has highlighted the agriculture of the Whatcom County area. Dairy and beef cattle, horses, and many other species of livestock are shown by 4H, FFA and Open Class exhibitors. There are hundreds of exhibits featuring baked goods, canning, flowers and fresh produce grown locally.

The Fair is located at 1775 Front Street, Lynden.
The gates open at 9 a.m. each day and close at 10 p.m.. Carnival hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Demo Derby is on Monday, August 14, with shows happening at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Lynden PRCA Rodeo is happening August 15 & August 16. The top cowboys in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association will compete in the 13th annual rodeo. The event includes bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping and barrel racing. Children 10 and younger will be admitted for FREE to the performances, which start at 7:30 p.m., both nights. Tickets are on sale now – get them while they last!

Grandstand entertainers this year include the rock band, Night Ranger, which performs 80-100 live shows annually and they continue to release new music even though the band is 35 years old. Night Ranger will be rocking the stage on August 17. Musical country star and ‘American Idol’ winner of 2011, Scotty McCreery will be performing on August 18. “Fluffy” Gabriel Iglesias, first time comedian to headline a fair grandstand show on Saturday, evening August 19.

Ride free to the Fair and everywhere! WTA is community driven and ride the buses free during August 13-19. Also, watch out for the many parking lots around town that offer free bus rides to and from the fair!

Our real estate booth will be set up in the commercial exhibit building – please drop by and say hello! Hope to see you at the Northwest Washington Fair!

19th Annual Curt Maberry Memorial Classic 3-On-3

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The Curt Maberry 3-On-3 literally took over Lynden last weekend. Our office presents and organizes this community event every year and next year will be the 20th year. We welcomed over 200 teams to Lynden with athletes from kindergarten to men’s competitive.
The 3-On-3 is held in conjunction with the Northwest Raspberry Festival with fun-filled activities on Friday and Saturday.
Live music, a classic car & truck show, street market, kid’s zone, a food court, and street vendors were just a few of the highlights that were held downtown.
The $2 icecream icecream from Darigold topped with local raspberries from Maberry Farms is always a delight and favorite dessert.
If you missed the 2017 Northwest Raspberry Festival or the Curt Maberry Memorial 3-on-3 mark your calendars for the 3rd weekend of July, 2018! See you next year!

Northwest Raspberry Festival

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The Northwest Raspberry Festival is this weekend, July 14-15, 2017, in downtown, Lynden. Don’t miss out on all the fun events happening in “Berry Beautiful Lynden”
The Muljat Group North Real Estate office will be presenting the 19th Annual Curt Maberry Memorial Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament on Friday & Saturday. This is a huge event that draws 200+ teams from multiple counties and Canada. Teams play right smack in downtown on Front Street with thousands of people cheering on their favorite 3-on-3 basketball team.
The $2 icecream with raspberries is supplied locally by Edaleen Dairy and Curt Maberry Farms. This dessert is so popular that it has ran out in previous years. So get in line for this refreshing treat.
On Saturday the 3-on-3 basketball games continue to be played! The Razz and Shine Classic car and truck cruise in is happening on Saturday with classics parked along tree-lined Front Street. The weather will be beautiful this weekend in the eighties. Perfect weather to stroll around the polished classics of yesteryear!
A street stage will be set up on 6th Street on Friday, July 14, and will feature, Scot Ranney from 3:00pm-5:00pm and The Anissa Quartet, from 5:30pm-8:00pm. On Saturday the Street Stage will host at 11:00am-12:00pm, the Bellingham Youth Jazz Band; 12:30pm-2:30pm Out of The Ashes; 3:00pm-5:00pm Clearbrook Dixieland.
A variety of family fun events for all! Check them out right here or contact the Lynden Chamber of Commerce for more details. The Lynden Chamber of Commerce telephone number is 360-354-5995. We look forward to seeing you this weekend at the RAZZ!
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Berry Picking Season Has Arrived!

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It’s U-pick strawberry time in Whatcom County! Don’t hesitate as the strawberry picking season is short. Typically the strawberry harvest starts after school begins summer break. Absolutely, nothing compares to a freshly picked strawberry right off the vine. Gather up your buckets and children and head out to some of the local berry farms:

Barbie’s Berries U-pick is open! They are located at 7655 Melody Lane, Ferndale. They offer a wide variety of berries through out the summer growing season. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are hand picked daily. Frozen berries are available all year. If you can’t make it to their field they have stands at Fairway Shopping Center, 1750 Front Street, Lynden. They also have another stand located at Raspberry Ridge Golf Course, 6827 Hannegan Road, Everson. Contact Barbie’s Berries at 360-384-1260.

Curt Maberry Farm strawberries have been a part of the Maberry farming tradition since the beginning. They are currently growing Hood, Puget Reliance, Puget Summer, and Totem Strawberry varieties. The fourth generation of Maberry’s are now farming and harvesting nearly 1,000 acres of delicious strawberries, red raspberries, and blueberries. They are located at 697 Loomis Trail Road, Lynden. Call them at 360-354-4504.

Boxx Berry Farm has a market store and is located at 6211 Northwest Road, Ferndale. The strawberry U-pick is open right now. Boxx Berry Farm sells an array of vegetables, flowers and tree bearing fruit. Check them out! They have containers for you to pick in and boxes to transport your berries home. Call them first if it has been raining. They have an annual strawberry festival with wagon rides, kid train rides, free strawberry sundaes, raffle prizes, and of course lots of strawberries! They offer Puget Reliance, Tillamook, and Shuksan strawberries.

The Northwest Raspberry Festival will be held in downtown, Lynden, on July 14 and July 15. You don’t want to miss this annual festival. It is held in conjunction with the Curt Maberry 3on3 Memorial Classic Basketball Tournament. If you are interested in registering a basketball team call our office 360-354-4242. This is a fun event that draws thousands of visitors to Lynden.

Escalation Clause With Competing Offers


It’s a hot real estate market! The brokers at the office are dealing with competing offers and some buyer’s are willing to pay more that what the seller is asking. With multiple-offer situations, we see escalator clauses being more widely used. Adding an escalation clause to your offer is strategy you can use when competing with another bidder. It is designed to keep your offer competitive and there is no guarantee that the seller will accept your offer, even if it is the highest bid. A seller is free to accept the offer they choose to work with. In some instances, a seller sees a lower cash offer being better than a higher financed offer. Buyers should write an escalation that retains an appraisal contingency, so that the actual price will conform to the lender’s appraisal.
Check out the graph depicted showing the median amount of days that homes are on the Market – Whatcom County being the green line and the red line being homes in Lynden. What a difference from 2015 to 2017!
Call our office 360.354.4242 and we will set you up with a licensed Realtor that knows the Whatcom County real estate market. It’s a seller’s market out there – don’t hesitate!