Category Archives: Relocation

Pacific Northwest Home Buyers Use The First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit

Pacific Northwest home buyers-if you are searching the Pacific Northwest MLS for your dream home right now, you will want to try to find it before the end of April 2010, so you can take advantage of the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit. The tax credit has already been extended twice, and so far I have heard no news about extending it for a third time, so this may be the last chance you have to get the credit.

While you shouldn’t rush out to buy a home just because of the tax credit, if you happen to be already in the process of looking, or feel ready to make a purchase now, then it would be a shame to miss the benefit of the tax credit by only a few days.

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The credit does not have to be repaid unless the home is sold or ceases to be used as the buyer’s principal residence within three years after the initial purchase and offers a great way to save some money.

Are you not sure you can take advantage of the tax credit? Though the tax credit is for first time home buyers only, which the IRS defines  as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase, there are some other restrictions so be sure to contact me to learn all the details.

Pacific Northwest Real Estate For Sale

What is also great? The tax credit can be taken for THIS YEAR, but simply submitting and amendment to your 2009 taxes, so you should get your tax credit before the end of the summer. The tax credit is for 10% of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000 on homes priced at $800,000 or less. That is quite a nice sum of money to put towards your house, decorating your house, or even saving for a rainy day or a new roof down the road.

For homes purchased on or before April 30, 2010, single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit. Additionally, so long as a binding contract is signed by April 30, 2010, the IRS will also grant the tax credit, so long as you close by June 30, 2010, so if you are already to start the Pacific Northwest home buying journey now, then you still have plenty of time.

Relocate to The Pacific Northwest

So while I don’t want you to feel pressured or rushed into buying Pacific Northwest homes for sale, if you have been searching for your perfect dream home, or feel ready to buy now, then it would be great to squeeze in on the tax credit deadline.

Contact Your Pacific Northwest Realtor

If you have questions, or want to put your Pacific Northwest MLS home search into high gear, simply contact me, Susan Stecher, your trusted Pacific Northwest real estate agent, to learn more about Pacific Northwest home buying and make sure you can get the Federal Housing Tax Credit.

Until next time,


Attn: All FOREIGN NATIONALS wanting to own property and Live In The Pacific Northwest!


Photo Credit: Skyler Jokian

Now that the Canadian dollar is improving again, I have many foreign real estate clients asking if they can finance purchases of US homes in the Pacific Northwest. Yes, they can!

Finance Programs Available for Foreign Purchasers

Here are some of the programs from one of my favorite Mortgage Brokers, Tom Mercadante, Sr. Loan Officer with Security First Mortgage, Inc., right here in Bellingham, WA . . .

Right now Tom has programs that require a 25% down payment for Second Homes at approximately 5.75% for a 30-year fixed rate loan, and programs that require 35% down payment for Non-owner occupied homes at approximately 6% for a 30-year fixed rate loan.

Of course, full documentation of income and assets is required.

Am I eligible?

Are you eligible for these kind of loans? Ask Tom. He will pull US and Canadian credit scores, and ask you to provide:

  1. 2 years of your T-1’s and T-4’s;
  2. 2 months of assets reports (including all pages of the documents) for all financial accounts;
  3. One month of paystubs;
  4. Your most recent RSP statements; and
  5. Two forms of ID (e.g., your Passport and Driver’s License).

Note: These loans have a 1% hard pre-payment fee for payoff sooner than 3 years of lending history.

If you are NOT a Canadian, Tom will need a $100,000 down payment and 50% loan to value, whichever is more. Seller secondary financing is permitted as long as the combined loan-to-value is less than 50%.

How to contact Tom:

Tom Mercadante can be contacted at:tom

Security First Mortgage
2900 Meridian Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 734-5768 Office
(360) 483-9077 Cell

Give him a call and tell him “Susan Stecher said I should talk to you about foreign purchaser financing for buying a Pacific Northwest home!”

Moving to the Pacific Northwest with Children

kid in car
Moving, even when for joyful reasons, can be very difficult on kids- especially if they are of school age, with friends, favorite teachers, and class activities.
Making your Pacific Northwest relocation with children smooth can be essential to helping the entire family settle quickly.

Though the move may be hard for your family in general, the part most parents dread is the drive to your new home. Unless you are staying in the same city, or an area close by, you will probably end up with more than a few hours of driving to reach your new home and city. And the whole time you might have a grumpy child in the backseat.

Pacific Northwest Relocation Tips

What are parents to do? Never fear, I have a few tricks I have learned over the years as an expert Pacific Northwest real estate agent:

  • Brush up on your traditional car games. Even the alphabet game and licence plate game can be modified for younger children. Travel size board games, like battle ship, can be fantastic ways to pass the time.
  • Have a basket of entertainment at easy reach. For younger children, keep the basket full of their favorite toys, books, and snacks. Hand out one item at a time, so younger children will get some good entertainment out of each one before they get bored. For older children, perhaps take them to a books store to buy a book they would enjoy reading, let them pick out an age appropriate magazine. Highlights, Zoo Books and American Girl are great for the tween years.
  • Have snacks on hand. Even the grumpiest child will cheer up when given his favorite snacks. If the move is particularly hard on your child, perhaps splurge and get some items he or she has always wanted -like those double stuff Oreos-but you never deemed as appropriate lunch food.
  • Get the addresses of all your children’s best friends and let your children pick out their own stationary so they can write their friends about the trip to your new home. If your children are upset about losing friends, this can be a great opportunity to help them work on writing skills. There are lots of great car travel trays you can find at Walmart, Target and other such stores, that will provide a great flat surface for your children to write on. This also provides a great way for your children to realize they can still stay in touch with their friends. Even if you children are older and in the texting/twitter/facebook way of communicating with all their friends, they may still enjoy the novelty of writing a letter to pass the time.
  • If your drive will be more than 6-8 hours, it might be a good idea to invest in a portable DVD play for the car. As much as I, myself, dislike entertaining children with the TV for hours at a time, on a very long drive, a short movie or cartoon might be just the trick to help ease squirmy passengers and give you parents some downtime from entertaining.

Pacific Northwest  Relocation Specialists

Would you like to learn more tips for relocating to our area or find the Pacific Northwest area information you need? Feel free to contact me, Susan Stecher, your Pacific Northwest expert Realtor. Be sure read up on our home buying tips, they will help you have a smooth real estate journey.

You can also find all the local things to do, learn about Whatcomb County, Skagit County , or the Bellingham real estate area and search Pacific Northwest homes for sale.  Need more? Don’t worry,  I have the answers-and if I don’t, I will find them for you.

Until next time,