Welcome Cherisa Hoekema!

Exciting news! We have welcomed a new agent to our office! Say hello to Cherisa Hoekema Real Estate Agent at Muljat Group North as she makes her transition in!


CherisaWelcome

20th Anniversary Curt Maberry 3 on 3 Tournament: July 20 & 21

In just a short six weeks, the streets of Lynden will be filled with teams of all ages participating in the Curt Maberry Memorial Classic 3 on 3 Tournament! This tournament is hosted during the annual Northwest Raspberry Festival!

Here are some important details about the tournament that will help you make sure your registration is turned in on time and your team is ready to go by July 20! Take advantage of the early registration special this month.

Dates: Friday July 20- Saturday July 21


Ages Groups: Kindergarten- Adults

       Rookie Razz division K-2nd will ONLY play on Friday July 20

       Adult Division, Rec & Competitive


All Registration Forms are due by July 13th or until the tournament is full.

    Forms accepted by June 30 pay a discounted price for the team

    Checks payable to “Lynden Chamber of Commerce”, Credit Cards only accepted @ the chamber


Bracket/Gear Pickup: July 19th 4:30-6:30


You can pick up a registration form at Muljat Group North 505 Front St. in Lynden or print online HERE


2018 Registration Form


Get your team together, fill out your registration form, and drop off or mail in today!

Memorial Weekend!

This Sunday May 27th is the annual Ski to Sea relay race! “Continue The Legacy” will begin at 7:30am. Follow along with your car or find yourself a spot to sit and watch different legs of the relay pass by! The website has all the information needed as a spectator!  https://skitosea.com/race-guide


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And as a reminder:


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Looks like good weather is forecasted! Have a fun and safe weekend!

Backyard BBQs ahead!

Still looking for the perfect home? Look no further! This beautiful home has so much to offer for your summertime entertaining.

BogaardHouse-Covered wrap-around deck off the dining room

-Covered patio off the family room

-Mountain Views!

-Manicured gardens & sprinkler system!

-Views from almost every room in the house!

-Florida room with tiled floors & cathedral ceilings

BogaardHouse4 BogaardHouse5boogblog2 BoogardHouse21005 E Front Street, #Lynden | MLS# 1268699 | $449,000
Tour Property: http://www.tourfactory.com/1788856

Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step

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In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.” 

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

Start the process today! 

Source: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2017/12/11/why-getting-pre-approved-should-be-your-first-step-2/

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)

by ehamann
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.