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Supplement to the Federal Way Mirror, Auburn Reporter, Covington Maple Valley Reporter and Kent Reporter



Winter 2015

Interest Rates are projected to go up in 2015… What You Need to Know about getting pre-approved for a Mortgage Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will tell you up front what you can afford when shopping for your next home. This will save you a lot of time and stress. A pre-approval letter also helps let your real estate agent know that you are a credible buyer, and you’re able to act quickly when you find your dream house. Here’s what you need to know to get pre-approved. Know what documents are needed: proof of income (W-2 statements from the past two years, recent pay stubs, proof of any additional income, two most recent years of tax returns, etc.), proof of assets, employment verification and additional documentation such as your driver’s license and social security number. • Get your credit score in check. If your score is more than 740, you may be able to get a lower interest rate, because most lenders reserve the lowest interest rates for buyers who have the best credit scores. Most buyers need a credit score of at least 620 to get approved for a home loan.

• Know what to expect from your mortgage lender, and what they should expect from you. The best lenders are more collaborative and explain all options available to you. When they check your credit report, they should be able to give you sound advice on how to improve your credit profile, if it’s needed. • A good lender should also be able to give you info. on how to handle your money between your loan application and closing day. Lenders need you to be prepared with documents they request, and they also need you to be honest about your finances. Even if it doesn’t seem important to you, you still need to comply with their requests in order for them to be able to help you the best. Not sure where to get started? Ask your real estate agent (me?!) for referrals to experienced, reputable lenders in the area, including mortgage lenders for specific banks or institutions as well as mortgage brokers who represent multiple lenders. Good luck and happy house hunting!

How late can you paint your home’s exterior? Homes are painted all year long, especially since many paints have been formulated to be applied at temperatures as low as 35 degrees. Ideally, your home will be painted by mid-October. By then, days are shorter, rain is more likely and temperatures are lower with higher humidity, all of which affect the hours during which you can paint and the dry time for the paint. If you have any bare wood on the exterior of your home, you’re going to want it primed before painting. As we get late into the year, it’s more difficult for bare wood to dry sufficiently for painting. It may need

to be covered if rain is in the forecast. As always, if you have questions, please let us know. We’re happy to offer advice on your next painting project!

Your front door is your home’s focal point The front door of your home is like the centerpiece on your holiday table – it is the focal point. Sure, there are other appealing features to look at, but your front door is what welcomes family and friends to your home. That’s why, when repainting the exterior of your home, you want to be sure that your entry way reflects your home’s character. When painting your home, the front door warrants extra attention. This is one of the things people see most often and close up. Does it need any repairs: nicks, scratches, splits? How does it close? Is it in need of adjustment? How about the doorknob? Now is a great time to purchase a new one, especially if the old one isn’t going to do your new paint any justice.

Say “no” to plastic dropcloths


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Today’s HOME

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Plastic dropcloths are popular with do- sheets, double them up for better absorpit-yourself home painters because they are tion. This simple substitution can make easy to find, inexpensive, lightweight and an interior painting job so much cleaner disposable. However, they are also messy and easier. Keep in mind no floor covering is spillto use and often cause painters more problems than they solve. Why? A couple proof, so neat and clean painting is still reasons. They don’t stay in place very well. important. Simply put, the tools you use Plastic dropcloths move around more than when painting your home, inside or out, cloth dropcloths, giving opportunity for make a big difference. paint to end up where it doesn’t belong. Also, when paint falls on a plastic dropcloth, the paint stays there – wet – just waiting for a foot to step in it, so it Home of the can then be tracked around other areas of your home. I advise against using We’re experts at painting in color. plastic dropcloths. Canvas dropcloths are a bit more costly, but a good investment. Another option is old bed sheets (I buy them Call Jeff at 206-229-6539 at the thrift store – on sale of course). If you use bed Lic.# JEFFHHP885MW


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Today’s Home


Welcome to Tile Lines… What project are you working on?

We’re a family-owned retail tile and stone showroom located in Kent, Washington. We provide a wide range of quality products to homeowners, designers, and contractors from Seattle, Tacoma, Kent, Renton, Auburn, Federal Way, and the greater King County area. We have a great selection of porcelain tiles, granite and marble tile for floors and countertops, travertine tiles for showers, floors, and backsplash projects. We can help you order solid surface countertops in granite, marble, and quartz. We have many decorative glass, metal, and stone tile and mosaic options on display. In-store designers can assist with ideas and product selection and answer many installation-related questions. We stock many installation supplies, including thinset mortar and grout, as well as shower waterproofing kits such as Wedi and Schluter Kerdi. Unlike the big box home improvement stores, we deal exclusively with tile and tile products; so we have consistently better selection, better information, and better customer service. Stop by today and see what’s in store!

Over 1OO,OOO tile options, and we’ll help you find the perfect one. Our new retail showroom is open to homeowners, designers, and contractors.

We offer complimentary in-store design assistance and professional installation advice.

Stop by to see thousands of products: from durable floor tiles to sleek shower tiles, from decorative accents for kitchen backsplashes to beautiful granite, marble, and quartz for your countertops...

Whether you plan to install your new shower, floor, or backsplash yourself or if you’re just supervising, we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through your project!

S Kent Des Moines Rd Willis St


Open Mon–Fri 7–6:30, Sat 9–5

HWY 167

1531 Central Ave S Kent, WA 98032

Tile Lines

S 277th St


Central Ave S / E Valley Hwy / 83rd Ave S

Downtown Kent 1225923


Start your Project & Get Inspired! Allow us to guide you through your next tile or countertop project! Whether you need a kitchen countertop with a coordinating backsplash or are replacing your bathtub with a walk-in shower, we can provide installation advice, design assistance, and one of the biggest selections of tile and stone in the Northwest. We offer complementary design assistance! Our talented staff can help you choose the right tiles, countertops, and decorative pieces to fit your style and your home. We also have numerous in-store design boards, product samples, and idea books that can help with the design process. Frequently Asked Questions about our Products: Why can’t I buy any products on your website? Tile and stone can look extremely different on a computer screen than they do in real life. We strongly recommend you see the color and feel the texture of a tile in person before buying. Choosing a product that you’ll live with for 10+ years without seeing it in person is like buying a new car without taking it for a test drive! We may, in the future, sell non-design items such as thinset and tools on our website and have them available for delivery or in-store pick-up. Subscribe to our quarterly email newsletter, to keep up to date on our latest website and product developments. I found a tile/stone at another store. Can you order it for me? More often than not, yes! We work with over 30 different tile distributors, hundreds of tile manufacturers, and can order over 100,000 tile and stone products. Contact us with the name of the product and when and where you saw it, and we’ll be able to tell you if we can get it and how much it would cost.  However, if a man-made product has been discontinued, is exclusive to another retailer (such as a Home Depot or Lowe’s), or is unavailable in our region, we might not be able to order it. When looking for natural stone products from several different sources; so even if Company A stopped carrying a product, Company B might still have it.  We always recommend seeing a sample of the current batch of any natural stone material in person, due to the high variation inherent in the product. The stone sample you saw three months ago might look very different from a current sample from the exact same company or quarry. I have a tile I’m trying to match, can you help? We’ll certainly try! At least once a week, a homeowner comes to us with a broken piece of tile from a damaged shower or an old floor and asks if we can order it or something like it. Occasionally, we can track down the manufacturer and order more of the exact same tile. But if the tile is out of production or completely unavailable, we’ll let you know up front and recommend alternatives. Submitted by Darrell Helbling, owner of Tile Lines, website

Today’s Home


Is Your Gas Fireplace Safe? The vast majority of today’s gas fireplaces, gas fireplace inserts and freestanding gas stoves are designed as a sealed system known as “direct vent”. Direct vent fireplaces bring 100% of the air needed for the fire from outside the home and exhaust all of the combustion by-products outside the home as well. The result is a balanced system that increases efficiency, provides optimal heat, conserves energy and ensures a clean healthy indoor air quality. A direct vent gas fireplace, fireplace insert or freestanding stove has a sealed piece of tempered or ceramic glass on the face of the fireplace. As a result of normal operation of these fireplace products, the glass front will become very hot. It is not unusual for the glass to reach sustained temperatures of over 475° Fahrenheit. These high temperatures on the glass will cause severe burns if touched. While it may be evident that the glass is hot when the appliance is on, the unforeseen danger is when it is off. It’s easy for someone to enter a room when the appliance is off not knowing it was recently burning. This is especially true if it is controlled by a thermostat. The glass can remain dangerously hot for up to an hour after the gas appliance has been turned off. As a result, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) has revised the standards to which these products are manufactured requiring that they be equipped with a safety barrier to keep consumers from coming in contact with the glass. All direct vent gas fireplaces, fireplace inserts and freestanding gas stoves with a glass temperature exceeding 172° Fahrenheit manufactured on

or after January 1st 2015 must comply with these revised standards. That’s great for the future but what about the one in your home now? One manufacturer has been providing safety screens their direct vent products since 2003 and others have started providing safety screens as an option. If your appliance came equipped with a safety barrier screen, don’t take it off. If it didn’t, there are some options available that can help. One choice is to purchase a standing screen to place in front of your fireplace, insert or stove. These screens come in a variety of styles and sizes and are available at most retail hearth stores. Another option is to place a barrier in front of your fireplace, insert or stove. These are products that are like a fence or gate and are usually made of hinged steel frames so they stand on their own in front of

the fireplace, insert or stove. Standing screens and barriers can help but because of their portable nature they can be moved away from the glass and there goes your safety. The best protection remains a factory installed barrier. That’s why it has now been made mandatory. While anyone can inadvertently come in contact with a hot glass front, children and the elderly are most susceptible. Educate everyone in your home about the danger of hot glass and never leave a child unattended in a room with an unprotected appliance. Besides the safety that factory equipped barrier screens provide there are other benefits as well. For instance, barrier screens help to cut the reflective glare from the glass and actually enhance the beauty of the flame. It also adds realism to a gas fireplace. Most burn systems in gas fireplaces, inserts and stoves are designed and engineered to imitate a wood burning fire as closely as possible. If you think about it, all wood burning fireplaces have some sort of screen on the front to protect from popping sparks and embers. The barrier screen on a gas fireplace, insert or freestanding stove simply adds to the realism. Be sure to keep the factory installed barrier screen attached on your gas fireplace, insert or freestanding stove and if it didn’t come with one, contact its manufacturer to see if one is available. Jim Rau Fireside Home Solutions 1-800-732-1569

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Today’s Home



Why Customers Choose ProTect Painters? We are ProTect Painters, a full-service, interior and exterior painting company. We believe in helping others fully realize the pride and joy of home ownership. We, not only treat our customers like family, ProTect Painters treats your home like it was our own, by finding the right color that represents you and your space. We’re professional painters that never cut corners in delivering unparalleled quality - YOUR home is our showcase. What makes ProTect Painters different? We always do what we say we are going to do! We’re proud of the Top 5 reasons why customers choose ProTect Painters:

1. Gift of Time: ProTect Painters manages the entire project from beginning to end. 2. Upfront Pricing: A detailed plan. No hidden costs. 3. Color Consult: Our painting professionals provide the right color for your surroundings. 4. Flexible and Reliable: Experienced in working with your schedule. 5. Communication: Always knowing what’s happening and when.

Terry & Jeanette Koubele

ProTect Painters of Federal Way & NE Tacoma 253-561-8493

Chuck Reger

ProTect Painters of Covington 253-200-3272

Exterior Painting Preparation Tips for Home Owners Prep and Painting You can make prep work go quickly and smoothly by doing some prep of your own. The following is a helpful checklist to follow to ensure your home’s exterior is ready prior to the ProTect Painters professionals arriving at your home.

Pressure Washing

• Trim back landscaping to allow painters close access to siding and trim • Move items, such as potted plants and/or lawn furniture, to allow close access to siding and trim • Make sure water spigots are in good working order for pressure washing • Close your windows on pressure washing days • Check window sills for water after pressure washing is completed

Transform your home with a new coat of paint!

e When you hir ou rs, y ProTect Painte wing can relax kno ing be your home is able li cared for by re ls! professiona

• Have paint colors selected approximately one week prior to scheduled painting • Move items, such as potted plants and/or lawn furniture, to allow close access to siding and trim • Ensure that the painters will have access to electrical outlets • Designate a safe area where the crew can leave their ladders and miscellaneous equipment • Coordinate your painting plans with other potential tradespeople working on your project • Reschedule lawn service and turn off sprinklers while your house is being painted • Unlock windows on the days they are painted – it is necessary to open and shut • Ensure access to doors that will need to be painted, as they may need to be open for several hours on the day they are painted Call TODAY for your free estimate!


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1-888-497-2468 Today’s Home


Looking for a reliable heating and cooling company with fast service? Call Complete Heating and A/C in Renton Washington Serving Renton Washington  and the surrounding communities of  Kent,  Maple Valley, Covington, Auburn,  Federal Way, Des Moines,  SeaTac,  Tukwila,  Burien  an d beyond for over 20 years, Complete Heating and A/C, Inc. provides installation, repair and maintenance of  heating and cooling equipment to area homeowners and businesses.   From upgrading your old furnace to a high efficiency furnace to installing a heat pump to routine maintenance, our experienced technicians can take care of all your heating and cooling needs. We offer quick service at affordable prices so call today to schedule your appointment for a free estimate on installs, repair for HVAC equipment or your furnace tune-up. Furnace Tune-up Special Furnace tune-up and check for $89.95

Furnace tune-up and check with a/c or heat pump $149.95 Discounts for water heater installation $35.00 off storage-style gas or electric water heater $200.00 off tankless water heater Senior citizens discount on all services for those over 55 Complete Heating and A/C, Inc. has been making homes in Renton, Maple Valley, Kent, Covington and Auburn area more comfortable and energy efficient for over 20 years. Whether you are looking for an energy efficient furnace or need an A/C installed or repaired, our technicians can do the job! Start thinking about preparing for the hot summer months now by preordering your A/C unit today. Call now for a FREE estimate.

Should You Sell or RENT Your Home? We have provided homeowners an alternative to selling for over 10 years. It is not always the “right” time to sell. For example, if the stock market dropped in September, would you sell your stock or wait for a recovery? Our business model is to offer both management and selling services, which allow you to decide what the best option is given today’s market. Our services include: • Finding you the most qualified and carefully screened tenant as possible. • Collecting rent and transferring funds directly to your bank account. • Inspecting the property on a regular basis. • Giving you peace of mind. We employee over 50 property managers across Western Washington; so, we are able to assign a local property manager to service your account. That means a property manager who knows your market and neighborhood. Your property manager will help you determine the best rental range and market your property in a variety of ways to find the best group of renters possible. Once

you have an interested potential tenant, your manager will have them carefully screened. We look at their credit and criminal history. We also verify their employment and Byron Hiller rental history. Next, a lease is prepared and signed. A careful inspection of the property is completed to document the condition. A good property manager will stay in touch with both the tenant and owner on a frequent basis to make sure everything is taken care of with the property. Good communication is the basis for a great relationship. Our managers drive by the property each month to check on landscaping and other items. Once every six months we inspect the interior of the unit and prepare a report. A “no obligation” meeting with our manager is the first step in making the best decision for your property. Now is the time for a complimentary consultation for your property. Call Byron Hiller at 206-212-2244 and he will assess your needs and assign a manager to meet with you We look forward to working with you!

Who Can You Trust For Your Family’s Comfort? • Installation of furnaces, heat pumps and A/C units • Service and Repair All Makes & Models • Furnace Inspection • Residential Specialist FREE ESTIMATES • Duct Testing & Sealing Preferred Contractor for Puget Sound Energy

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33313 1st Way S., Federal Way, WA 98063 •

Today’s Home


Julie Siegler 253-653-8540

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Bob Almeda 253-377-5600

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EAST HILL CHESTNUT RIDGE ............ $409,950 Pristine 4 Bed, 3 Bath home in fantastic location w/granite, breakfast nook, skylights and immaculately designed landscaping. 253-946-4000 #20684241

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AUBURN ...............................................$379,500 LIKE NEW! Open concept 4BD/2.75BA home w/spacious kit w/granite, Stainless Steel appl., media center, 3 car garage. Don’t miss this one! 253-854-9400 AD#154

FEDERAL WAY THE RIDGE ................. $499,800 Quiet cul-de-sac, spacious and gracious 4 Bed, 2.5 Bath, 2-Story with sweeping staircase and high-quality detailing throughout. 253-946-4000 #20689883

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Ron Niemeyer 253-332-3838

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Today’s Home


Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate Kick off Meeting at Museum of Flight On January 20, 2015, 400 agents will meet at the Museum of flight by Boeing Field to start the new year with energy and enthusiasm. After a catered breakfast they will transition to the theater room for the kick off meeting. The company will be celebrating a successful first year of being part of the new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices real estate franchise after over 20 years of affiliating with Prudential Real Estate franchise. They were invited to join Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices by HSF Affiliates, the company that operates the Prudential real estate and the Real Living Real Estate franchises. The change from Prudential to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was official on November 5, 2013 and they haven’t looked back. “The new franchise exceeded our wildest dreams, “said Mike Gain, President and CEO, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate’s eight local offices. “The name and the services cannot be beat. Our managers and our agents have been overwhelmed with the warm reception that we have received from our clients and customers “ Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate will be welcoming special guest, Gino Blefari, the new Chief Executive Officer of HSF Affiliates as well as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate.

Blefari joined HSF Affiliates in June 2014 and succeeds Earl Lee, who retired Dec. 31. “I’m honored by the opportunity to lead HSF affiliates and its brands,” Blefari said. “I look forward to helping our affiliates and agents grow their businesses and to solidifying the reputation of our brokerage networks as the finest and most respected in real estate.” Blefari began his real estate career more than 25 years ago and held executive leadership positions at Century 21 Seville Contempo and NRT before founding Silicon Valley, Ca- based Intero Real Estate Services in 2002. Intero was the number 12 real estate company for 2013 sales volume on REAL Trends 2014 Study of the 500 largest brokers in the US. “The future of HSF affiliates couldn’t be brighter, “said Lee. “Gino understands the real estate business from all perspectives and is keenly aware of the opportunities and challenges faced every day in brokerage offices. He will help network affiliates take their businesses to new levels.”

Lee will now serve the organization as a senior advisor, focusing on the international expansion of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Stephen Phillips, chief operating officer of HSF affiliates and President of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; and Bob McAdams, president of Real Living Real Estate; will continue in their executive leadership roles, reporting to Blefari.

Prudential Contact Corporation, REALTORS joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Real Estate Brokerage Network. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, part of the HSF affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks, today announced that Prudential Contact Corporation, REALTORS has joined the network and is operating as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate. The full-service brokerage, founded in 1982, was recently acquired by the Seattle-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate. The company adds to Northwest Real Estate’s growing presence in the region. “We are proud to welcome Contact Corporation, REALTORS to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate, “said Berkeshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate CEO Mike Gain. “Contact Corporation, REALTORS has exhibited tremendous results and we are truly excited for this partnership.” “This is a monumental moment for our business and a very exciting time for our company and our agents, “added Doug McCollum, founder of Prudential Contact Corporation, REALTORS. “We have always based our business on the principles of trust, integrity, outstanding services and community involvement. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was founded on similar values and principles, which will make this a smooth transition.” Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has grown quickly since it’s launch in September 2013. The network now counts 34,548 agents and 1075 offices in 47 states. Already, the network was named 2014 “Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year” by consumers in the 26th annual Harris poll Equitrend study and “Startup of the Year “among all US industries at the 2014 American Business Awards.


With their transition, Prudential Contact Corporation, REALTORS agents gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ Global Network Platform – a suite of online tools, applications and services – plus ongoing business consultation, professional education and marketing support. Resources include powerful lead generation and other tools fueled by the most accurate real estate data available. Dottie Traudt, former co-owner of Prudential Contact Corporation, REALTORS who is now Managing Broker of Northwest Real Estate reporting to Gain, said real estate consumers should expect the same great service they’ve received from our company in the past “Our agents are among the finest in the area, and now they will have the capabilities to deliver even better service to consumers,” she said. “From the brand’s notoriety and credibility to its technology platform, we couldn’t have picked a better alliance for the future. “

Today’s HOME

Gino Blefari, HSF Affiliates CEO, welcomed the brokerage. “We are delighted that Doug, Dottie and their team are going forward with Northwest Real Estate and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,” he said. About Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate Puyallup office,, formerly Contact Corporation, REALTORS, is the preeminent real estate brokerage in the Puyallup area dedicated to providing clients with the finest customer service available. Its top-notch team of brokerage and agents has the expertise home buyers and sellers can rely on. Visit About Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, based in Irvine, California, is a real estate brokerage network built for a new era in residential real estate. The network, among the few organizations entrusted to use the world renowned Berkshire Hathaway name, brings to the real estate market a definitive mark of trust, integrity, stability and longevity. Berkshire Hathaway HomeSevices in early 2014 was named “Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year” by consumers in the 26th annual Harris Poll EquiTrend study of the largest real estate networks. Irvine, California based HSF Affiliates LLC operates the Berkeshire Hathaway HomeServices, Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate franchise networks. The company is a joint venture of which HomeServices of America Inc., the nation second largest, full-service residential brokerage firm, is a majority owner. HomeServices of America is an affiliate of world renowned Berkshire Hathaway Inc.


Selecting the Right Lender – Choose Local Experience You Can Trust! Selecting a mortgage lender is one of the most important steps in the process of buying a home and an experienced lender can make the process much more comfortable. While you might focus initially on the interest rate of your loan, it can make a difference if the lender has local knowledge and presence. When you get a loan from a local company, you’ll benefit from the flexibility which comes with local decision-making. In other words, you won’t have some committee halfway across the country deciding whether or not your loan is approved. Another advantage of borrowing locally is the lender is likely to be familiar with the town or neighborhood you’re considering. This local knowledge is especially helpful if you’re looking at unique property. Of course, when you take out a mortgage with a local company, your loan helps to stimulate the local economy. In addition to the interest rate on the loan, you should also take a close look at the fees your lender will be assessing. These fees are often referred to as “closing costs” and can include various combinations of the following: • Origination fee • Discount fee • Underwriting fee • Processing fee


rate). This document will disclose your interest rate, as well as all of the loan and lender fees. When reviewing, be sure to look at the APR which discloses the combination of the interest rate and the fees. The closer APR is to the interest rate, the lower the upfront cost of the loan. For example, if the quoted interest rate is 5.5% and the APR is 6.625%, then you know you are paying upfront costs to obtain the interest rate of 5.5%.

Scott Leingang Mortgage Loan Consultant NMLS ID:284305 Allenmore Office 360.671.0839

Debbie Jumper Mortgage Loan Officer NMLS ID:708083 Canyon Road Office 253.864.3405

• Administrative fee • Loan Review fee When talking to your prospective lenders, ask them to provide you with a written estimate of your Rate/Fees and all Closing Costs that includes the APR (annual percentage

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There are many factors that can affect your loan, interest rate and fees. These include: • Your credit score • Amount of down payment relative to total cost – also known as Loan to Value Ratio • Income vs. monthly debt – also known as Debt to Income Ratio • Property type – single family, duplex, condominium • Occupancy plans – owner occupied or rental Together, you and your lender will determine the best loan for you based on such factors as credit score, down payment, how long you plan to remain in the home, etc. Choosing a lender comes down to trust and education. Find someone you can communicate with, who asks you questions, honestly answers your questions and provides you with knowledgeable service. After all, a mortgage loan is more than likely to be the biggest financial obligation in your life.


Clearer And More Efficient To Boot By Tresa Erickson It’s going to be expensive, but it’s got to be done. You need new windows and you need them installed before the first snowflake falls. Choosing the right ones for your home will take some work. These are some of the areas you need to think about when making your decision.

exposed to extreme heat and cold, allowing air to seep in and making them hard to open and close. • Wood. Popular among homeowners, wood doesn’t conduct cold or heat and permits little condensation. However, it does shrink and swell, requires paint or stain, and will warp and rot over time unless protected.

First, you need to consider the window type. Several options are available. Fixed windows cannot be opened or closed, but provide great architectural interest and allow light to flood in. Popular styles include circles, half circles, octagons, eyebrows and corner windows. Operable windows can be opened and closed, allowing for plenty of ventilation, as well as great views and sunlight. Styles include: • Horizontal sliders. These consist of two side-by-side panels and can be opened and closed by sliding one or both panels. • Single-hung. These contain an upper panel and a lower panel and can be opened and closed by moving the lower panel. • Double-hung. These resemble single-hung windows with an upper and a lower panel but can be opened and closed by moving either panel. • Awning. These consist of a single panel and can be opened and closed by tilting out the top or bottom with a crank or lever. • Casement. These contain one or two panels and can be opened and closed with a crank or lever. • Bay and bow windows. These consist of stationary, double-hung or casement windows and can be opened and closed accordingly. In addition to the window type, you need to consider the window frame material. Window frames come in a variety of materials, each with its pros and cons. Window frame materials include: • Aluminum. Highly durable, aluminum windows are thin, light and easy to handle. They do not need to be painted but are prone to rust in areas with salty air and will permit condensation and heat loss unless insulated with a thermal break. • Clad-wood. With vinyl or aluminum on the outside and wood on the inside, clad-wood windows are tough and keep windows virtually maintenance-free. They will not rust or rot and do not need to be painted. • Vinyl. Made of rigid, impact-resistant polyvinyl chloride, vinyl windows do not conduct heat or cold easily, are resistant to condensation and never need to be painted. However, some inexpensive models tend to distort when

After you’ve considered the window type and frame material, you can concentrate on the glass. Most windows are made with insulating glass, which consists of two panes of glass separated by an insulating air space. Sometimes this space is filled with an inert gas, like argon, to increase the window’s efficiency. Insulating glass saves on heating and cooling bills and reduces condensation and outside noise. Other common glass types include:


• Impact-resistant. Consisting of two panes laminated together with a polymer interlayer, impact-resistant glass is great for windows in homes subject to hurricanes and tor-

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nados. It also reduces outside noise and blocks out harmful ultraviolet rays, which can fade furniture and carpeting. • Low-emissivity or low-e. Coated with a layer of film on the surface or suspended between the panes, low-e glass keeps cold air in and hot air out during the summer and hot air in and cold air out during the winter. It also reduces condensation and blocks out ultraviolet rays. • Obscure. Unable to be seen through, obscure glass lets in plenty of light but prevents outsiders from looking in. It is ideal for bathrooms and other rooms where privacy is needed. • Safety. Tempered, laminated or wire-reinforced, safety glass is a good choice for windows requiring extra strength. When broken, it shatters into small pieces without sharp edges. • Tinted. Similar to low-e glass, tinted glass keeps out ultraviolet rays, reduces glare and cuts down on heat gain during the summer. When buying windows, you should also check the R-value and the overall U-value. The R-value measures the window’s resistance to heat transfer. The higher the rating, the better. The U-value measures the window’s overall energy-efficiency, or the rate at which heat flows through the entire window. The lower the U-value, the better. As you choose windows, keep the style of your home and the climate where you live in mind. If you live in a ‘70s split-level in an area with mild winters, aluminum horizontal sliders with insulated glass may work fine, whereas if you live in a 100-year-old Victorian in an area with harsh winters, wooden double-hung windows with insulated, low-e glass might be the better choice. The location of the window should also factor into your decision. If you only have a couple of windows that face the sun, you may opt for low-e or tinted glass on them and regular insulated glass on your other windows. To ensure your choice suits your home, climate and window location, consult your window specialist. Once you’ve taken all of these areas in consideration and have chosen windows that suit your needs, you can either pay to have them installed or do it yourself. Most experts agree that if you have any doubts about your handiness, you should pay to have your windows installed. That way, you’re guaranteed to have a clearer and more efficient view for years to come. With careful consideration, you can select windows that will improve the appearance and the efficiency of your home. When that first snowflake falls, you’ll be ready.



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Today's Home - Winter 2015  


Today's Home - Winter 2015