Cindy Huaracha, Real Estate Broker

We are pleased to announce that a new real estate broker has joined our firm. Cindy Huaracha, has teamed with Daisy Valladares. Drop by the office and meet with Cindy! Hablo Espanol

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Whatcom County Home & Garden Show

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The Northwest Washington Fairgrounds, will be hosting the Whatcom County Home & Garden Show this weekend, March 2 – 4, 2018.
It’s the 39th show presented by the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County.
Five thousand dollars in prizes will be given away throughout the event. A variety of food vendors as well as beer & wine tasting will be at the show. Friday evening is date night, and on Saturday there will be live music in the indoor garden area.
More than 160 exhibitors will be present at the show. Experts on home repairs, building, gardening, landscaping, garage doors, painting, closet systems, handyman services, flooring cabinets, appliances & more will be present.
If you have any Spring projects you’ll want to visit the Home Show for a myriad of ideas, newest products and advice.
Hours are Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Washington State – Water – Hirst Victory


The Washington State House and Senate reached a deal and passed SB 6091 on January 18, 2018, which fixes the 2016 Washington State Supreme Court ruling known as the Hirst decision. Governor Inslee signed the Hirst fix legislation at 12:25 p.m. on January 19, 2018.

Whatcom County will now be accepting permit applications for wells!

SB 6091 includes:
•Local governments can once again rely on Ecology as the state’s resource manager.
•3,000 gallons per day per connection for domestic wells in certain basins with existing watershed planning.
•In certain basins without watershed planning, household wells could withdraw 950 gallons per day per connection. This would change to 350 gallons per day for indoor use only in drought conditions. However, outdoor use would be permitted for fire buffers. Water enhancement and restoration committees will also be created for these local basins. These committees will invest $300 million dollars into improving the state’s water resource.

The Hirst fix signed into law provides a solid solution for families, businesses and rural communities in Washington.

The new law impacts only new domestic uses. Existing homeowners and water users are not affected by the new law, which went into effect on January 19, 2018.

Existing wells are exempt from the provisions of the new law. The Legislature wrote the new law so that wells constructed in the Hirst-affected basins before the effective date of the act would serve as proof of an adequate water supply for a building permit. Wells constructed in these basins in compliance with chapter 18.104 RCW are not subject to the new restrictions, limitations, and fees. This is regardless of whether the well was put to beneficial use prior to January 19, 2018.

Awards & Installations

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The Whatcom County Assocation of Realtors®, held its 110th Awards and Installations on, January 12, 2018, and it was a sold out event! All proceeds from raffle ticket sales were donated to, Lydia Place in Bellingham. There are many outstanding individuals in the real estate industry and it was a night of special recognition and honorable mention. Our office was honored that our managing broker and owner, Jerry Blankers, was nominated for a community service award. Jerry, has given 40+ years of service to our wonderful community. Special congratulations to, Troy Muljat, managing broker and owner of the Bellingham office. Troy, was the recipient of the Realtor® Life-Time Achievement Award. Congratulations, Troy, what an honor! Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners! Here are some video excerpts from the evening:

Aid to Help End Homelessness for Bellingham Families

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From left) Troy Muljat, Misha Collins, Emily O’Connor and Vicki Vantoch pose for a picture outside Lydia Place’s Bell Tower Community Center. (Courtesy of Sarah Deeder | Lydia Place)

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Filed on 03. Jan, 2018 in Contents, Features, News

By Emily Hamann
The Bellingham Business Journal

Local families experiencing homelessness are getting a roof over their heads this winter, with some help from a nonprofit, a property manager and one of Bellingham’s most famous residents.

In November, actor and Bellingham resident Misha Collins sent out a message over his social media channels, urging his almost 3 million followers to buy T-shirts and other items, with the proceeds going to Bellingham nonprofit Lydia Place.

His goal is to get a home for every homeless parent with children in Bellingham.

“I moved to Bellingham from Los Angeles, where the problem of homelessness and homeless kids and homeless families, it almost seems disheartening to think about,” Collins said. In Bellingham, however, the 2017 homelessness survey found that there’s fewer than a hundred families without homes.

“Finding housing for that group of people feels achievable,” Collins said. “It’s a stretch, but it feels really possible.”

Collins, who stars in the popular TV show “Supernatural,” has been working toward this goal since summer, and he’s enlisted some help from the nonprofit and private sector.

Collins and his wife, author Vicki Vantoch, have supported Lydia Place for a while. They first got connected while participating in their Adopt a Family program over Christmas one year.

As Collins worked more with Lydia Place, he learned more about the struggles they have finding housing for their clients.

“They were having difficulty placing families into housing because the housing market is so tight,” he said. “Landlords have so many applicants for each vacancy, there’s always a better-qualified applicant who has perfect credit and landlord history.”

Collins and Vantoch own a rental property, and Vantoch reached out to their property manager, Troy Muljat, owner of Landmark Real Estate Management and The Muljat Group real estate company.

They wanted to open up some of their units to Lydia Place’s clients. Muljat loved the idea, and ran with it. By December, they had found housing for 12 families total.

They wanted to expand the program further, but Lydia Place’s resources were maxed out.

“That’s when I did this little T-shirt fundraiser,” Collins said.

The goal was to raise $100,000. They exceeded it. Beginning in January, Collins and Lydia Place are launching a local fundraising campaign, to continue funding the partnership. Random Acts, the charitable foundation Collins co-founded, plans to match up to $64,000 in donations made by the local community.

“We are trying to put Bellingham families into housing,” Collins said. “This community I think is the right place to help on that.”

A housing crisis, made worse

Lydia Place has been helping Bellingham’s homeless population get shelter and services since 1989. Its goal is to disrupt the cycle of homelessness, focusing on getting children and families into housing, and on the path to success.

In January 2017, the annual homeless census found 742 people were homeless living in Whatcom County. Before they lost their housing, more than two-thirds of them lived in the county. The census also counted 94 homeless families with children. Of those, 74 were single-parent families.

People coming off the street are directed to Lydia Place by the Opportunity Council.

“The primary thing they’re going to get right off the bat would be really intensive case management,” Emily O’Connor, executive director of Lydia Place, said.

They get set up with a case manager, who helps them get their paperwork in order, apply for any assistance, connect them with care and education for their children and connect them with mental health care if they need it.

Lydia Place also helps find them housing, and sometimes helps them pay rent.

Recently, its job has become more difficult.

“It has gotten harder and harder to find property management companies who are willing to rent to us,” O’Connor said.

Part of the problem is getting vouchers for subsidized housing in the Bellingham rental market.

The federal government decides what it considers a fair market rent for the area, and it won’t subsidize housing for low-income people above that level.

However, as the rental market gets tighter in Bellingham, landlords are able to charge more for rent, often above what the federal government designates as fair market value.

So often, it’s difficult for Lydia Place to even find a unit that’s cheap enough to qualify for government subsidy. Even then, there’s no guarantee that the landlord will decide to accept the government vouchers.

That was the existing challenge. Then in spring of 2017, news broke that the Trump administration planned to cut $6 billion from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the organization that pays for the Section 8 vouchers, the commonly-used subsidized housing program.

The Whatcom County Housing Authority estimates those cuts could eventually lead to 200 fewer vouchers available to people in Whatcom County.

“As other resources dwindle, we need our community to step up,” O’Connor said.

The private sector steps up

In fall of 2017, the apartment vacancy rate in the county was .6 percent. That’s according to the University of Washington’s Runstad Center for Real Studies.

With a market that tight, it’s difficult for a person with a stable income to find an apartment, let alone someone facing the additional challenges of poverty, and needing a subsidy to pay rent.

“With the rental market very strong, rental owners, they can sometimes be very selective on their tenants,” Muljat said. Many property owners often don’t even accept Section 8 vouchers.

“There’s a lot of stereotypes in the community on homelessness,” Muljat said.

One of the things he’s working to do is end those stereotypes.

After Collins and Vantoch opened up some of their units, Muljat wanted to encourage his other property owners to do the same.

“We’ve made it rewarding and fun,” he said.

He set up some incentives to encourage property owners to lower the rents on some of their units and allow Lydia Place’s families to move in.

If the property owners agree to the program, Landmark doesn’t charge them any management fees on those units. It also pays for extra insurance, so there’s little risk to the property owner.

Kimberly Huizenga, director of property management at Landmark, said that Lydia Place being involved makes it easier to convince property owners to sign on.

“Lydia Place is really involved with its residents,” Huizenga said. Once Lydia Place helps place a family, it keeps it contact with them, continuing to offer services and help them.

Property owners get an extra guarantee with Lydia Place involved.

“They will make a payment plan, or have even stepped up and helped pay the rent,” Huizenga said. “It’s in essence like having a co-signer on the lease.”

She said Landmark’s goal for 2018 is to expand the partnership, and house 24 families.

“I would like to see the private sector solve the problem, period,” Muljat said.

A template to follow

Homelessness is an issue that’s close to Collins’ heart.

“I was raised by a single mom who was on welfare at times and we were homeless for some stretches of my childhood,” Collins said, “and it’s just an issue that has a lot of personal resonance for me.”

He regularly walks by the drop-in shelter on Holly Street.

“I make a point when I’m going by to drop by and say hi to folks,” he said.

“Also having young kids myself, I just think about the prospect of being a homeless parent with small children,” he said. “Because I am a parent I feel like I have a little more of an empathetic understanding of what that might be like and it seems really hard.”

Then, he watched as the federal government threatened cuts to HUD, the subsidized housing program his family relied on when he was a child.

“We were in subsidized housing for several years when I was a kid as well, and I know that had a profound beneficial impact on my family,” he said. “And I’m very disappointed to see our federal government cutting that.”

That means the burden falls to local communities.

“It’s property owners. It’s individuals in the community. It’s whomever can help,” he said. “I feel like times like that are all hands on deck.”

Muljat also feels called to do his part.

“I think, yes, we are obligated to help,” Muljat said. “We’re called as business leaders to give back.”

His hope is that this idea spreads to his competition.

“I would challenge other property owners, landlords, property management companies to do the same,” Muljat said.

Collins has hope, however, that this partnership has the potential to spread, even beyond Bellingham.

“I also love the idea of the way that Bellingham tackles its housing problem and it’s homelessness problem could someday be a template that other towns and cities try to follow,” he said.

Jan. 3: This story has been updated to reflect that Random Acts will be matching up to $64,000 in community donations.

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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Annual Spring Craft & Antique Show

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Lynden Craft Show
The first day of Spring is next week Monday! We are so excited as we were hit with a ton of snow and rain this winter. The snow was beautiful but it lingered on and on. I know that I’m ready for some sunshine, how about you?
If you are anticipating Spring you may want to check out Lynden’s 31’st Annual Spring Craft & Antique Show. It starts today at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in the Expo Building. Meet local artisans and be inspired by all the creativity. Enjoy all the fabulous booths featuring handcrafted wares, home and holiday décor, gourmet food, re-purposed and up-cycled vintage treasures. It truly is one of the largest shows of its kind in the Northwest. Meet over 100+ artisans who will inspire you with their creativity. Do you enjoy handcrafts, antiques and original art? Looking for home décor to spruce up your home? Well, please visit the Craft and Antique Show ~ you won’t be disappointed! For more information click the following: Lynden Craft and Antique Show
Thursday & Friday Hours: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday hours: 10:00am-5:00pm
Admission: Adults $6.00 | Senior (60+) $5.00 | Children 12 and under are free | free parking & return privileges

Whatcom County Home & Garden Show

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The 38th Home & Garden Show is happening this weekend at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds – Henry Jansen Ag Building.
It’s scheduled to run from Friday, March 3 through Sunday, March 5.
Approximately 150 vendors will be present, says the sponsoring Building Industry Association of Whatcom County.
It’s a great place to talk to local experts on home design, gardening & home building.
Popular gardening expert, Ciscoe Morris, will be speaking at noon on Sunday.
Date night is Friday and Saturday will bring live comedy and music.
So if you have a free weekend, why not check out the Home & Garden Show in downtown, Lynden!