This has been a year of real estate contrasts: While many consumers have taken advantage of historic buying opportunities and the market has seen a gradual stabilization of sales and prices, other challenges facing the nation have led some to question the value of home ownership for families, communities, and the country.

People are passionate about the American dream of home ownership, and this passion underscores how important home ownership is to our nation,” says National Association of REALTORS President Ron Phipps. “Owning a home has long-standing government support in this country because home ownership benefits individuals and families, strengthens our communities, and is integral to our economy. As we begin a new year, REALTORS® remain…

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Seattle area home prices were down 7.2 percent in October from a year earlier, putting the area 39th out of 45 areas nationwide, according to a new report.

Nationwide, prices were down 3.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index.

"We are continuing to see the weakness in home prices without artificial government support in the form of tax credits," CoreLogic Chief Economist Mark Fleming said in a news release. "The stubborn unemployment levels and seasonality are also coming into play. When you combine these factors with high shadow and visible inventories, the prospect for a housing recovery in early 2011 is fading."

The decline in King and Snohomish counties was larger than the 5.4 percent drop in September and…

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Have you ever asked yourself, who is the holder of my mortgage note? Do you ever wonder what the life of your mortgage looks like? Just because you make your checks payable to Citibank or Bank of America doesn’t mean they own your loan. The fact is, they probably don’t even know who actually owns the note. Dan Edison with DTC-Systems performs securitization audits. He wanted to know the history of his own mortgage. He spent a year putting the diagram below together tracking the history of his own mortgage. Dan does this for a living and wanted to know the history of his loan and where it had been and the path taken to get their. He discovered that it had not taken the correct path.

What does all this mean for the average borrower? Unfortunately, not a…

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Foreclosure actions against homeowners in Washington fell sharply in November compared to the month before, a national foreclosure tracking group said Thursday.

RealtyTrac, a California based company, said the numbers dropped 36 percent in Washington state. Nationally, such actions - processes ranging from an initial notice of default to actual repossession - were down 21 percent, which RealtyTrac said reflected a seasonal trend but also delays stemming from questions about the legality of some proposed foreclosures.

RealtyTrac said 4,067 properties in Washington had some sort of foreclosure action against them in November of 2010.  The national rate for November was one in every 492 properties, a 21 percent decline from October and a 14.4 percent fall…

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Many contracts today utilize homeowner review periods as a contingency for the buyer.  Many times they are used as outs for a contract, but there appears to be little a home seller can do to keep a buyer committed if they want out.  As a seller what are some things you can do, and what should you be aware of with regards to homeowner's associations and real estate contracts.  (Of course not all properties are members of and subject to a Homeowner’s Association, so this may not apply to your purchase or sale).

As a buyer, if the property you have made an offer on is part of a structured community or condo association, with mutually agreed rules and regulations, you will have some paperwork to…

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 sos_designation_425 Simply Outrageous Service   Our 2010 S.O.S. Award winners are: 1) Bridget Franklin 2) Diego Vitelli 3) Melissa Hughes Wilson 4) Erica Kahler 5) Tonya Eliason 6) Danielle Koval 7) Matt Jensen 8) Stan Hartmann   The S.O.S. designation is the highest honor a member of The Cascade Team Real Estate can earn. S.O.S. encompasses not only the strive and achievement of being among the top producing agents in sales, but also the commitment to the communities we serve and work in.   The S.O.S designation is awarded to agents and brokers who ranked in the top 10% for sales company wide, “And” who also demonstrated exceptional commitment to community. Holders of the s.o.s. designation are the corner stone’s of The Cascade Team…

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bankofamerica200_200  By JANNA HERRON, AP Real Estate Writer Janna Herron, Ap Real Estate Writer – Thu Dec 9, 5:22 pm ET

NEW YORK – Homeowners who delayed locking in super-low mortgage rates — think close to 4 percent for a 30-year fixed — may have waited too long.

Rates are creeping back up, in part because of the tax-cut deal in Washington. Now those in the market to buy or refinance have to decide whether to take what's available or wait — and run the risk that rates will keep rising.

Freddie Mac, the government-backed company that buys and sells mortgages, said Thursday that average rates on 15- and 30-year fixed loans increased sharply from last week. It was the fourth straight weekly rise. Fixed rates had been the lowest in decades.

"People thought for a…

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Congratulations to Bridget Franklin of The Cascade Team Real Estate. Bridget is a 2010 winner of the Prestigious 5 Star Award for Real Estate Professionals for the greater Seattle area representing the Snoqualmie Valley. Below are the qualifications Bridget had to meet for this award.

FIVE STAR Real Estate Agents scored highest in overall satisfaction

The FIVE STAR Real Estate Agent Program is designed to identify and showcase real estate agents in a local market that score highest in overall satisfaction.

As part of an in-depth research process real estate agents are evaluated by their customers and real estate industry professionals based on customer service, integrity, market knowledge, communication and negotiation skills, closing preparation, helping…

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Mortgage rates hit 4.61 pct

The time to buy is now! Home prices have dropped by nearly 30% to at or near 2003 levels and rates are still historically low..... BUT CLIMBING!

By JANNA HERRON, AP Real Estate Writer Janna Herron, Ap Real Estate Writer –

NEW YORK – Rates on fixed mortgages rose for the fourth straight week this week. The surge could slow refinancings and further hamper the housing market.

Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rates on 15- and 30-year fixed loans increased sharply from last week. Mortgage rates tend to track the yields on 10-year Treasury bonds. Those yields have been rising as investors anticipate Congress will extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years and long-term unemployment benefits for 13 months.

The 30-year…

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KIRKLAND, Wash. (Dec. 6, 2010) – Northwest Multiple Listing Service members recorded a few pleasant surprises last month. Pending sales during November outgained the same month a year ago, marking the first year-over-year increase since April, when the tax credits expired.

Also noted as encouraging were an upswing in relocation sales, shrinkage in the number of new listings added to inventory, and a year-to-date volume of closed sales that is outpacing 2009.

Northwest MLS director OB Jacobi described last month’s gain in the number of transactions written as “surprising.” “That’s surprising, since November is typically one of the slowest sales months of the year, and this year we essentially lost a week to poor weather conditions.” Jacobi, the general…

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