Home Buyers Tax Credit. Current Home Owners Now Can Get A Piece Of The Stimulus Pie

Stimulus PieFirst time home buyers are not the only ones getting a piece of the stimulus pie. Now current home owners who want to buy can qualify for the a tax credit. 

Christmas came early for the first time home buyers who just missed the deadline of November 30th to qualify for the $8000 tax credit. Christmas also came early for home owners who want to take advantage of the low interest rates and amazing deals on real estate. They now can qualify for a tax credit of their own, up to $6500.  You want more details? Check the vid below. 

FAQ regarding the tax credits

Do you want to take advantage of the tax credit?  Well you don’t have a whole lot of time. Start your home search here. 

Search homes for sale in Bellevue, WA and around the Eastside

Search homes for sale in Bellevue, WA and around the Eastside

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Should I sell my home now in Seattle/Bellevue? Jan 2010

Is it a good time to sell now? This is a follow-up posting to my January ’08 post.  The following still applies today

 Well if you are a regular reader of my blog you probably saw the posting “Should I sell my home now?” back in January of ’08. Well, the market has changed since then. The good news is this makes it a great time to sell for certain sellers.  Home values in most of Western WA have dropped since the beginning of the year.  In some areas the drop has hit the double digit percentage. How could it be good to sell when your home may be worth $50,000 less then last year?

  Here’s how… 

For move up sellers. Seller who plan to move up to a more valuable home.

Last year your homes market value was around $500,000. For the ease of calculation I will use 10% in this example. This year your homes market value dropped by 10% ($50,000)  and now is valued at $450,000 . Your plan is to buy a $900,000 home. The home you choose also had a drop of 10%. That $900,000 home last year had a market value of $1 million a difference of $100,000. You would actually save $50,000 by buying up.

  How did I get that #? $100,000 (the drop in value for the home valued at $1 million last year) – $50,000 (the drop in value for the home valued at $500k last year) = $50,000 savings.

  Who shouldn’t sell now?

Freaked out by the market

 Sellers who are freaked out by the market and have no plans to “buy up”, should NOT sell. Think of.. buy low, sell high.

Don’t forget, in order to sell your house the price has to be better than all of the comparable homes. If it’s not, expect the potential buyers to move on to the better priced home. Inventory is up.  Buyers know this and will move on to the next house if the price isn’t right.

 For more info about your homes market value & selling your home please contact me @ 206-465-7257.

To search for homes/real estate in the Seattle & Bellevue areas click here.

Visit www.GregRBenson.com for more info about buying and selling a home or condo

Real Estate Market in Seattle

Seattle, Bellevue and Western King County is still one of the better real estate markets in the country.  (spring 2007)

Plans for Kirkland’s, Juanita Beach Park to get $15 Million facelift.

Kirkland’s, Juanita Beach Park plan for a $15 million upgrade could make the neighborhood of Juanita a great real estate buy. 

  One can still get a single family homes in Juanita for under $400K. Juanita is about 15 mins to Bellevue, Redmond (Microsoft) and Lynnwood and about 25 mins to Seattle making this a still affordable location, close enough to commute to these locations without completely losing your sanity. There are plenty of bus lines and ample Park & Rides.  Ok, Ok, the commute, Park & Rides and bus lines are great, but more important this is a very family friendly area and the North Shore school district is one of the best in the state. Oh by the way, if you can’t tell, I am proud to say I live in Juanita and have since 2000. For more about the Juanita Beach Park upgrade check out the link and the Seattle Times article below



Ninety years ago, construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal caused the water to drop nearly nine feet. While most residents wrestled with gooey black mud that appeared in their back yards, a vast expanse of fine white sand revealed itself on Alicia and Leslie Forbes’ Kirkland waterfront.

And thus a community beach was born.

Knowing economic potential when they saw it, the couple opened a concession stand and then added a dance hall and bath house. For decades, visitors crossed the lake for weekend getaways.

In 1957 the couple sold the site to King County, which gave it its current name, Juanita Beach Park. But in the 1990s the beach languished in disrepair, and a budget shortfall forced the county to transfer ownership to Kirkland in 2002.

After years of discussion, the Kirkland City Council recently approved an extensive master plan for the 30-acre park that could return it to its former glory.

All they need now is $14 million.

“It is one of the jewels in the city,” said Marianna Hanefeld, who is on the board of Juanita Neighborhoods, an association of residents in the area. “We’re thrilled it was approved. The question is when is it going to be built?”

Hanefeld walks to the park nearly every day and has been working to improve it for seven years, including pushing city ownership and sharing ideas for the master plan.

The plan calls for a community plaza with an amphitheater; a waterfront promenade that connects to the existing pedestrian pier; a skate park; more sports fields; boat-rental facilities; picnic shelters; improved water quality; new vegetation and garden areas; and restoration of the Forbes House, which has been nominated for historical designation by the city.

The newly built Juanita Village added apartments, retail shops and restaurants across from the park, creating a community core that will connect with the revitalized park, city officials said.


If the city annexes the Finn Hill and Kingsgate areas north of its current border, as is currently under discussion, the park will be an even more prominent part of the city, neighbors said.

“Once annexation takes place, it will be the dead center of Kirkland,” said Greg Butler, a board member of the Juanita neighborhood association. “Historically, it’s one of the destinations that really make Kirkland what it is.”

Funding options

The city has set aside $1 million from its capital-improvement program and is applying for an additional $1 million in state and federal grants to begin work on the first phase of the $15 million project.

“We’ll do as much as we can based on how much we can pull together,” said Kirkland park-planning manager Michael Cogle, who added that the city is exploring additional grant options.

Other funding options might include a parks bond, neighbors said. Parks officials confirm there have been initial talks about a possible parks bond in the next few years, and Juanita Beach Park could be a part of that.

The first phase will cost about $5 million to $6 million and will include improvements south of Juanita Drive, including improving water quality and building the amphitheater and promenade. Construction is set to start around 2008 and, if fully funded, could be finished within a year to 16 months, Cogle said.

Nearly $2 million of the first-phase funding will go to water restoration. For years the beach has faced seasonal closures due to high levels of bacteria from goose droppings combined with poor water circulation in the swimming area.

The city will also regrade the site to make the lawn less inviting for geese, Cogle said.

It will also improve water circulation in the enclosed swimming area by getting rid of bulkheads along the concrete pier that can create stagnant water.

There are also sediment and pollution problems where Juanita Creek empties into Juanita Bay at the west end of the beach. The city is working to improve water quality upstream to prevent pollution and stabilize the banks of the creek to alleviate sediment buildup.

Wildlife habitats

The East Lake Washington Audubon Society had raised concerns that the plan, which allowed for motorized and nonmotorized boat rentals off the pier, would threaten wildlife.

The bay is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including herons, turtles, Canada geese, salmon and trout. In response, the City Council modified the plan to take into consideration wildlife habitats when boating plans are implemented.

The beach park complements nearby Juanita Bay Park, also owned by the city. Juanita Bay Park is a natural wildlife area, offering walking and bird-watching tours. The beach park is more of an active community and recreation park.

Neighbors say that the beach park has been a gathering place for the community and site of such popular events as the city’s centennial, the Christmas ships parade and the Fourth of July fireworks show.

Kirkland Mayor James Lauinger said the city put a lot of work into improving the park after it took over ownership from the county but there’s a lot more to be done.

“I’m confident I’ll see it [completed] in my lifetime,” said Lauinger, 65.

Lisa Chiu: 206-464-3347 or lchiu@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

 Also see link below for “The Plan” http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/__shared/assets/Juanita_Beach_Park_Master_Plan_74344.pdf

Negotiating tips when buying a home


You have finally found that home that fits you perfectly. Your real estate agent told you this home has been on the market for just under a month. The price seems to be pretty fair but you want to get the best deal you can. These are some of the techniques that have worked for me.

  1. Have your agent call the listing agent and ask lots of questions. IE; What is the motivation of seller? Why are they selling? When do they need to close? Some agents will be very tight lipped about this info but you would be surprised how many agents open the flood gates and tell you way more than they should.
  2. Don’t be afraid to for a better deal. IE; 5K, 10K, 20K or more off the asking price. You also have the option of asking the seller to pay for your closing costs. These may be 2-3% of your sales price. The key to asking for a better price is to not offend the seller. This is where it is imperative that your agent has great soft skills to make your offer sound fair and reasonable. You never know what the sellers will accept.
  3. Make a nice clean offer with out nit picking minor details like closing date and escrow company. Your agent should have found out if the closing date and escrow agent is important to the seller. If not, ask for what you want. Also make sure your time lines on inspection and financing are short and doable.
  4. Ok, your offer is accepted. You negotiations are not over yet. You still have your inspection. During the inspection the inspector points out many items. You will want to make sure you ask for the seller to either repair the items that affect the performance of the home or items in it or take a fair amount off the agreed upon price of the home. A script that I use when asking for items is to say, “It is vital to my buyers that these items get repaired by a licensed professional.”  It is a hassle for most agents and sellers to go through the process of finding a licensed professional, getting bids, & to be there to let in said professional. They would much rather take a few thousand off the price of the home.
  5. There are other items that you can negotiate after the contract has been signed around. Don’t forget about lawn mowers, trimmers, chainsaws, ladders, wheelbarrows, yard tools etc. Many times it’s a hassle for the sellers to move this stuff and you don’t know if they will need any of these at there new home.

There are no guarantees you will get everything you ask for but in my opinion you wont know what you can get unless you ask. I keep surprising myself what sellers are willing to do.  

I would like to hear from other real estate agents. What are some scripts & techniques you use? I would also like to hear your stories of sellers giving away the farm. What was the most you were able to get from the seller? 

Realtor Greg   www.GregRBenson.com

What are your top Real Estate Blog Topics?

This question goes out to Real Estate, loan & mortage professionals, and any other related professions. What has been your most successful/top BLOG TOPICS?