Category Archives: washington

2011 Tour of Homes : Wenatchee, Chelan, Malaga & Peshastin

The North Central Home Builders Association’s annual Tour Of Homes is coming up on Sept. 22-25th.  Most homes are in the Wenatchee area but you’ll find one in Lake Chelan, Malaga and Peshastin.  For complete details about the tour, directions, coupons and more visit their website.  As members of NCHBA we are proud to be a part of this great event!  In Leavenworth pick up coupons at Marson & Marson Lumber or Dan’s Food Market.

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Closing Costs Calculator for the Washington Home Buyer

We perform home inspections in about 10 counties throughout Washington from Seattle to Wenatchee.  Occasionally our clients call to book an inspection and are still a little confused about the inspection cost– who pays it, how much it is, etc.  We did a little internet search and found a few closing cost calculators that may help the potential home buyer.  The calculator we are sharing seems to have the most descriptions of the costs, but will only give you a rough idea since the costs are only estimations.  For example, they estimate the cost of an inspection at $175, but our inspections start at $275…this is standard for a single family home.  Condos may be less.  Also, the appraisal fee usually starts around $300.  A loan application fee will be added to the credit report for a combined fee of $75-$300.  With all this in mind you can use the calculator to get an idea of the added costs associated with buying a home.  If you have a good agent to walk you through the buying process then you won’t be blindsided with these costs.  They can also help you negotiate fees that may be shared with the seller.

Closing Costs Calculator from Mortgage-Investments.com

Homeowner Tax Guide: Get All Your Deductions!

In a time where buyers are cautious and are really weighing out all the benefits of home ownership here are some considerations for tax season. Several tax deductions and credits are providing relief to homeowners and making them very proud of their investment decision. Deducting mortgage interest, home equity debt, capital gains on home sales and taking advantage of energy conservation credits are just a few of the tax season benefits that homeowners can cash in on. Do you have a home office? There’s another one. Most of our monthly home loan payment is interest and you can deduct every bit of it. Only those folks with a loan of $1,000,000+ receive a cap on this deduction.

Stephanie Singer, a Realtors.org contributor wrote about this topic in Tax Time Less Taxing for Home Owners. She said that, “ninety-one percent of homeowners who claim the mortgage interest deduction earn less than $200,000 a year, and the ability to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage can mean significant savings at tax time. For example, a family who bought a home in 2010 with a $200,000, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, assuming an interest rate of 4.5 percent, could save nearly $3,500 in federal taxes when they file this year.”

We found a great resource from Kiplinger.com. They have listed all the deductions for homeowners at “What’s Deductible? – A to Z.” Check it out to make sure that you’re getting the most deductions as a homeowner. We use a skilled accountant in Wenatchee to guide us through our own tax deductions. We suggest that you hire a recommended accounting professional to point out these important opportunities for you.

Wenatchee Fire Chief Applies For Smoke Detector Grants

This week I attended a North Central Home Builders Association dinner in Wenatchee, Washington.  One of the speakers was Mark Yaple, the Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Wenatchee.  He talked about the number one problem that causes a total loss in a house fire– a faulty or absent smoke detector.  Since 1995 building code has required homes to have hardwired smoke detector alarms with battery backup.  Yaple is concerned about the homes built before 1995.  He has taken it upon himself to provide smoke detectors to any home in the city of Wenatchee that needs one.

State Farm Insurance gave him a $5,000 grant to purchase battery operated smoke detectors.  With the help of a Red Cross volunteer and driving his fire truck he went door to door inspecting smoke detectors and installing  new ones where needed.  He advertised his free service to the public and received many calls from elderly people that were not able to deal with the problem themselves.  His goal is to receive more money and continue his good work.  He has applied for more grants from State Farm and the Federal Government and hopes to receive up to $27,000  to purchase detectors.  Obviously, new construction homes are not entitled to his program because they would not meet the code adopted in 1995.  If you would like to volunteer with Yaple to install smoke detectors contact him at the City of Wenatchee.  He could use our help!

Wenatchee Area Builder Association Talks About Code

 A couple of weeks ago we posted information about Washington State’s new HVAC requirement.   We are members of the local North Central Home Builders Association and along with the BIAW they are frustrated with the adoption of this new code and fear that it will cost contractors time and money to meet the new requirements.  Read the summary below written by NCHBA.

“On February 7th, Judge Robert Bryan of the Federal District Court in Tacoma denied BIAW’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Granted the State Building Code Council’s Motion for Summary Judgment. The Judge issued a lengthy opinion, finding that Chapter 9 of Washington’s Energy Code was not preempted by Federal Law, even though it concerns the use of components that exceed federal standards…The Federal law states that credits under state energy codes must be on a one-to-one ratio to energy savings. In other words, a one point credit for installing a high efficiency furnace under Chapter 9 must equal the same amount of energy savings as the one point credit for building a house under 1,500 square feet…BIAW is appealing the ruling.”

WA State Energy Code’s New HVAC Requirement

This week one of our staff went to a WSU Extension Energy Program training in Wenatchee with a focus on duct sealing and testing requirements for the 2009 Washington State Energy Code for HVAC: 503.10.3 Sealing. We have two Energy Star Performance Technicians on staff so this class was more of a refresher course on duct testing but we did benefit from understanding more about the changes to the new HVAC requirements. Basically, the code is in a trial period. Contractors must test the HVAC now but do not have to meet the target rate of allowable leakage during this 120-day testing period. In April 2011 a judicial committee will listen to arguments from all sides and make a decision about the 503.10.3 Sealing WA State Energy Code.

We performed a HVAC leakage test on a home in South Wenatchee. The new construction home performed well. It would have passed the new requirements. It was interesting to note the small leakages that could be easily fixed by mastic. The equipment used for testing the HVAC includes a duct blaster, manometer and blower door which could add up to $5,000. This is a new expense to contractors. There is also discussion about requiring third party testing due to conflict of interest. Should HVAC contractors be able to test their own work?

 Here are a few interesting facts we learned in class this week. Did you know that 40% of a home’s fresh air comes from the crawl space or garage? Thinking about cleaning those spaces right now…aren’t you!? This is also a good time to remind you to open your garage door any time the car is on. A family of four can emit up to 3 gallons of water into a home daily from sweating, showering, cooking, etc. Where do the 12 gallons of water go? Be sure to use your oven and bathroom exhaust fans regularly!

Seattle Home Show: Feb. 19-27th

Seattle Home Show

credit: Seattle Home Show

Spring is just around the corner and it’s beginning to look a lot like Home Show Season!  Wenatchee’s Home Show was a huge success last weekend, now we look forward to the Seattle Home Show starting on Saturday and open for 9 days.  Your online ticket purchase includes a full year subscription to “Better Homes & Gardens” and free parking.  Check out this info from their website:

The Seattle Home Show opens its doors for its 67th annual home products extravaganza on February 19, 2011 for a nine-day run through February 27.   This much-anticipated show of nearly 500 exhibits includes everything for the home and landscape, highlighted by Idea Street™ – a community of furnished and landscaped model homes. Idea Street is a showcase for home design, interior style and the latest appliances and fixtures.  Show attendees enjoy the variety and scope of the exhibition which includes green living displays, kitchens and baths, home decorating, arts and crafts, garden displays, and Meet the Expert Seminars featuring home improvement topics presented by industry professionals. America’s Biggest Open House™ – the Seattle Home Show – takes place in downtown Seattle at the Qwest Field Event Center. Details at www.SeattleHomeShow.com.