Taxes: What documents to Keep and For How Long?






With Tax Season in full swing and all that paper everywhere do you even feel like just throwing it all up, away or into the fire? Boy I know I do but, we have to keep some important docs and I hope this list is a good reminder.

Tax returns- 7 Years– Keep tax returns and all supporting tax docs, including W-2’s, 1099 forms, property tax info, bank statements, mortgage interest statements, cancelled checks, receipts, home purchase and  home improvement info.

Paycheck stubs– 1 Year

thHome Ownership

  1. Mortgage docs 10 years- After property has sold 7 years.
  2. Mortgage statement’s 7 years-  After property has sold 10 years
  3. Repair bills/contracts 10 years


  1. Home 5 Years
  2. Life of policy +3 years
  3. Medical 5 years

Investment/Retirement Accounts

  1.  IRA contribution’s permanently
  2. 401K annual summaries-keep until you close the account
  3. Investment statements 7 years after last account is sold.

thCAAFBPQHPermanently Never Shred

  1. Adoption/Guardianship Papers
  2. Birth Certificates
  3. Citizen/Naturalization
  4. Health Immunization
  5. Lawsuits
  6. Marriage/Divorce Decree
  7. Pension Plan Docs
  8. Veteran Papers

Do’s and Don’ts when applying for a mortgage.


Saving Mortgage



  • Keep originals or be able to access on your employer/bank sites all pay-stubs, bank statements and other important financial documents.
  • Provide your Earnest Money Deposit from your own personal bank account or acceptable gift funds. Please talk to your loan officer or loan coordinator for additional clarification. This will present a very difficult problem if not managed properly in the beginning.
  • Provide all documentation for the sale of your current home, including sales contract, closing statement, employer relocation/buy-out program if applicable.
  • Notify your Loan Consultant if you plan to receive gift funds for closing. Gift funds are acceptable only if certain criteria are met. Advances from credit cards for down payment/closing costs are never acceptable.
  • Notify your Loan Consultant of any employment changes such as recent raise, promotion, transfer, change of pay status, for example, salary to commission.
  • Be aware that a new credit report could be pulled just prior to closing.


  • Close or open any asset accounts or transfer funds between accounts without asking your Loan Consultant about the proper documentation required for your loan. For example, before transferring all funds from your savings to your checking, check with your Loan Consultant.
  • Deposit any monies outside of your automated payroll deposits, particularly cash or sale of personal property, without notifying your Loan Consultant. Many guidelines require substantial documentation as to the source of these deposits.
  • Change jobs/employer without inquiring about the impact this change might have on your loan.
  • Make major purchases prior or during to closing such as new car, furniture, appliances, etc. as this may impact your qualifying amount.
  • Open or increase any liabilities, including credit cards, student loans or other lines of credit during the loan process as it may impact your qualifying amount.

I am not a mortgage lender but I work very closely with some great ones and if you want more information let me know they would be happy to assist with any questions or in the process.

Bank Owned in Bothell!

Our Bank Owned Home of the week is definitely worth a tour. Just trying to find anything under 300k in Bothell is incredibly rare this one is perfect for the first time home buyer. Hurry!!

$280,000 for this 3bd rambler has NEW carpet, NEW paint, and a NEW roof in 2013! Large .38 acre lot is fully fenced. Storage shed and plenty of parking for your RV or toys. Also offers large covered patio, great for entertaining. Northshore school district. Great location for your commute! Bring Offers!

Call or email me for your personal tour.

Bothell Bothell1 Bothell2 Bothell3 Bothell4 Bothell5

Spring Real Estate market “not waiting for tulips”

Spring market “not waiting for tulips” but limited inventory frustrates homebuyers

KIRKLAND, Washington (Feb. 5, 2015) – Home sales this super bowl season outpaced a year ago as sidelined buyers emerged to compete for limited inventory, according to brokers who commented on January activity.

New figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service show year-over-year increases in pending sales, closed sales, and prices, while inventory fell by double digits.

“The current inventory of homes available for sale has never been lower in my 22 years as a real estate broker,” lamented MLS director George Moorhead, designated broker and owner at Bentley Properties.

The number of active listings of single family homes and condominiums fell from the year-ago figure of 19,195 to 17,082 at the end of January, a decline of 11 percent. Twelve of the 23 counties in the MLS system reported double-digit drops. For the four-county Puget Sound region, the selection was down 12 percent.

When measured by months of supply (the ratio of sales to listings), Northwest MLS figures show it has dipped below four months. In King County, there is only about two months of supply. In general, brokers say four to six months is considered to be healthy balance between supply and demand.

Blame brisk sales, as the number of pending sales, at 7,658, surpassed the number of new listings, which totaled 6,989. A comparison of figures for the four-county region for the past 15 years indicate January’s pending sales exceeded any of the prior years (see chart).

“We saw sales at a higher pace this super bowl season than last year,” remarked J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.

Closed sales increased more than 3.7 percent compared to a year ago, rising from 4,306 completed transactions area-wide to last month’s total of 4,467.

Scott said multiple offers of most new listings are common. “We are entering February with a severe shortage of homes for sale in the neighborhoods close to the job centers, and we expect that shortage to continue throughout the spring market,” he stated. Buyers need to be “buyer ready” so they can react quickly. Brokers recommend getting preapproved for a mortgage, which can give potential buyers an edge in a fast-moving market.

Home prices for single family homes and condos are also tracking ahead of the year-ago pace. The median price on last month’s closed sales was $279,000 system-wide, up about 9.4 percent from the year-ago price of $255,055. King County reported the highest median price at $390,000, up 6.9 percent from twelve months ago.

For the 3,880 single family home sales than closed last month, the median price was $288,000, about 8.7 percent higher than a year ago when the price was $264,995. Scott said a 4 percent increase is the historical norm.

Condo prices spiked more than 13 percent, rising from $194,000 area-wide to $219,900. In King County, which accounted for nearly six of every 10 condo sales, prices rose 6 percent, from $225,000 to $238,500.

Moorhead believes inventory shortages are due in part to hesitant sellers. “Sellers who would like to enter the market are holding off for two main reasons,” he suggested, adding, “Either they cannot find the next home to move up/down to, or they purchased between 2005 and 2007 and may still be underwater.” Sellers who were foreclosed or completed a short sale during the Great Recession are becoming eligible to purchase a home again, Moorhead noted. “This will bring an altogether new segment of buyers who are more savvy and cautious” so they won’t repeat past mistakes.

Moorhead also credits new loan programs, revised loan programs, and a general easing of guidelines for buyers with making home buying more attainable. “The only holdback is inventory or credit scores,” he suggested.

Northwest MLS director Frank Wilson echoed that notion. “It’s almost the perfect storm: low interest rates, low inventory, pent up demand, and a pipeline of sidelines buyers who could not buy because of a past short sale or foreclosure.” Their two year to three year waiting period is up and they are looking again, he reported.

Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo, said the spring market is not waiting for the tulips this year – “spring has already sprung. We are seeing an increase in traffic at our open houses with more buyers out looking at our limited inventory.”

Wilson also said brokers in Kitsap County are starting to hear murmurs of the second home market. “We have buyers looking for second homes along Hood Canal, and we fit the parameters of many Puget Sounders not wanting to drive more than three hours to reach their getaway house.”

In Snohomish County, where closed sales jumped 11.5 percent from a year ago and prices surged more than 17 percent, broker Diedre Haines reported, “We have buyers in all price ranges out looking and anxious to buy.”  She credits low interest rates, strong employment and economic conditions and “reasonable as opposed to exorbitant” appreciation with spurring activity.

Despite all the favorable indicators, pending sales in Snohomish County rose only 3.5 percent compared to a year ago, noted Haines, principal managing broker in South Snohomish County at Coldwell Banker Bain. “Why?” she asked rhetorically. “Simple answer: We need more inventory.”

“The Seattle housing market is going gangbusters, but we’re still starving for inventory,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “If open house traffic is any indication, there are LOTS of buyers out there looking for homes, so my message to would-be sellers is: If you’re on the fence, it’s time to jump off. The market conditions are so much in your favor right now.”

Haines agreed. “Potential sellers should talk to their real estate broker and find out if now is the right time for them to sell,” she suggested.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

Monday’s Real Estate Update


LOCAL news 

The historic residences in Seattle’s Discovery Park that will soon be on the market have mountain and water views. I loved this place when I was a kid and will definitely be touring these homes.

Soon you’ll be able to buy one of the historic homes in Discovery Park

Snapshot of Snohomish and King County

In order below: County, New listings, total active, pending sales, closed sales, Average Price, Median Price. month of inventory and same time last year inventory. Read the full information from the NWMLS.

Snohomish 1,083 1,918 1,237 686 $341,735 $315,000 2.80 3.50
King 2,518 3,536 2,788 1,688 $487,745 $390,000 2.09 2.46


 How to buy a home when you can’t afford one

There are down payment assistance programs in our state too. Just ask me and I can direct you to many that may help. Remember however there are guidelines and income requirements.


Paul McCartney’s childhood home up for auction [VIDEO]

Home automation comes of age. Yes were heading towards the “Jetsons” age.


Meeting the World’s first luxury tiny house. I am not sure about these they look like a trailer to me. Thoughts?