Our 11 Favorite Things To Do in Mukilteo, WA

These are tried and true fun things to do in Muk. We have lived in this town for over 20 years!

Eleven things to do in Mukilteo

  1. Visit the Light House. Visiting hours are 12pm-5pm weekends & holidays April-September. It right on the beach so take a stroll afterwards. Best of all though, tours are FREE! http://mukilteohistorical.org/visit.html
  2. Ride the Ferry! Its $4.65 for adults, $3.75 for kids and just $2.30 for seniors. Walk on and go for just the rid and the beach on the other side or drive (just $7.85 for car & driver) and explore Whidbey island (including Fort Casey). http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark=fort%20casey http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/vesselwatch/TerminalDetail.aspx?terminalid=14
  3. Hit the Diamond Knot. Great food, better beer. Free peanuts and you get to just throw the shells on the floor, it’s very satisfying. http://www.diamondknot.com/restaurants/brewery-and-alehouse/
  4. Hike Japanese Gulch. Head East on 5th St from the Mukilteo Speedway (just north of the ferry landing) just past Prospect Ave there is a parking lot on the right. The trail is a total of 14 miles but just do as much as you like. Its very pretty back there. http://www.japanesegulch.org/
  5. See some Airplanes (technically in Everett, but still very close!). There are three places you can go. The Boeing Plant in Everett.  http://www.futureofflight.org/fof_Boeing.html  Future of Flight Museum. http://www.futureofflight.org/fof_Visit.html or The Flying Heritage Collection Adults $12, Senior/Military $10, Youth $8, 5 and under free. This is Paul Allen’s personal collection, consisting of mainly combat aircraft from WWII. These planes are flown during the summer and are very fun to watch. http://www.flyingheritage.com/TemplateMain.aspx?contentId=32
  6. Hit Henry’s Donuts. Open 24/7 days a week. Best donuts in town! 10924 Mukilteo Spdwy. Most donuts are under $1.
  7. Visit Traxx. Traxx is an indoor (and outdoor) raceway featuring extra fast go-karts, Ages 11 and up can do a standard race for $20 or you can climb the rock wall, visit the bouncy basketball house, stick with the Velcro wall and more! Great place to go on a rainy day!   http://www.traxxracing.com/
  8. Cruise the homes for Sale. The Mukilteo Real Estate market is one of the best in the state and has some of the most beautiful homes in the area. Our favorite! We like to look around and see whats for sale (and of course, for how MUCH). If you do it on a Sunday from 1-4 there are bound to be some open houses with beautiful view and some fabulous features. Try Old Town (next to the ferry doc) and Harbour Point (turn West down Harbour Pointe Blvd). Call us if you would like more info in Real Estate here: 425-870-3749
  9. Go to the Rose Hill community Center and see whats going on for the day. They have dance classes, painting classes, workouts and more! https://activenet008.active.com/cityofmukilteorec/
  10. Go to a wine tasting. Free Wine tastings at QFC on the Speedway from 3-6pm Fridays. Or pop by Wine 101, they have amazing food and even better wine (beer too). http://www.wine101-thegatheringplace.com/ Pizzas Wine bar (next to QFC also affers a wide variety of wines and cuisine (with recommended pairings of course). http://www.piazzaswinebar.com/
  11. Go Golfing! Award winning course at Harbour Pointe Golf Club. It is a picturesque, beautifully designed course with Mountain and Sound views. Prices range from $15-45 depending upon day and time and golf carts and just $15 a day. http://www.harbourpointegolf.com/

Mukilteo is one of the most affluent suburbs of Seattle. Based on per capita income, Mukilteo ranks 29th of 522 areas in the state of Washington. The city is also home to one of the most expensive high schools ever built in America, Kamiak High School. In 2009, Mukilteo was ranked as number 10 of Money Magazine’stop 100 small towns of America to live in. In 2011, Mukilteo rose one rank to number 9.


The Market is BACK!

Believe me.  It’s back.  I’ve been through a lot since 1986, I was there when the Seattle market went through the roof.  Greg and I were selling houses in the greater Seattle market as fast as we could.  It was really hard for a buyer to get a house, we wrote 11 offers for one buyer alone before they finally got one.  The buyers were scrambling to secure a house before they were priced out of the market.  It was not uncommon to see a 2-3% appreciation from the time the offer was made till the time of closing.

Buyers were doing everything possible to buy and it paid off.  Years later we listed and sold homes for triple what they paid for them.  IT WAS CRAZY!!

It’s a bit different now, but not much.  Aside from the fact that buyers go through the ringer to get a loan, there are still many, many qualified buyers making offers and go forward to closing.  It’s paying off for them now, too.  Just like the 80’s but not quite the same.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that the real estate market here is fast, competitive, and frantic.  I can’t say that the appreciation will be as rapid, but it’s happening none the less.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for a seller to get on the market on now.  The competition for them (homes on the market) is so low, that if the home condition is good, the price is right, and it’s marketed correctly, it will sell.  A far cry from just 18 months ago.

If you want to buy, don’t wait.  Get into the market and get going. Secure a home (if that’s what you want) now.  With the interest rates, it’s definitely money ahead to buy.  Why pay $1200/month or so in rent when the same $1200 can pay YOUR mortgage, plus get the biggest tax deduction most of us can have.

These are just my thoughts, experienced thoughts….

Obama administration expands foreclosure prevention program

By Les Christie @CNNMoneyJanuary 27, 2012: 7:56 PM ET

HAMP program

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The Obama administration is taking another swing at improving its main foreclosure prevention program.

The administration said it was expanding eligibility for its Home Affordable Modification Program, known as HAMP, to borrowers with higher debt loads and tripling the incentives it pays banks that reduce principal on loans.

The administration also said it would offer incentives to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce principal on loans. Previously, the government had only offered incentives to private lenders and banks. The program was also extended to December 2013. It was initially set to expire at the end of this year.

The changes were announced in a joint press conference held by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Assistant Treasury Secretary Tim Massad, and White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling on Friday afternoon.

Originally designed to help some 4 million mortgage borrowers when it was first introduced in February, 2009, HAMP has helped fewer than 1 million homeowners.

Has Obama’s housing policy failed?

With these changes, HAMP is turning into an “all of the above strategy to help responsible homeowners lower their costs and stay in their homes,” said Gene Sperling, the Director of the National Economic Council, who also took part in the press conference.

Here’s a rundown of the new changes:

  • Expansion of eligibility: HAMP was designed to bring the debt ratio of mortgage borrowers down to 31% of their incomes. Those whose mortgage payments were already below that level had been ineligible for a modification. They may qualify now. The new guidelines will allow for a more flexible approach that takes other debt into account when calculating debt-to-income ratios.
  • Extension of eligibility to owners of rentals properties: The old HAMP rules applied solely to owner-occupied homes but now those who own rental properties may also qualify for a HAMP modification.
  • Triple balance-reduction incentives: The new HAMP will pay between 18 cents and 63 cents for every dollar that lenders take off the mortgage principal, up from between 6 cents and 21 cents.
  • Pay Fannie and Freddie the same incentives: Currently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not offer principal reduction plans as part of their HAMP modifications. To encourage this assistance, Treasury said it will pay the same principal reduction incentives to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac if they allow servicers to forgive principal in conjunction with a HAMP modification.

While the new changes could greatly expand the number of homeowners that receive help from HAMP, it could invite controversy. Subsidizing real estate investors with taxpayer money in a time of rising rents doesn’t makes much sense to Anthony Sanders, a real estate professor at George Mason University, for example.

Yet, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said that it doesn’t matter whether the house next door to you is occupied by a tenant or an owner.

“If the house goes vacant, the value of your house goes down $5,000 or $10,000 that day,” he said. “These are major problems for homeowners.”

Following the press conference, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, issued a statement that said it would consider the changes to the HAMP program.

However, it noted that an analysis it recently conducted found “that principal forgiveness did not provide benefits that were greater than principal forbearance,” signaling that the housing authority may not support reducing the principal on loans as a way to help homeowners.

No new funds need be allocated for HAMP’s expansion. Since less than $10 billion of the $29 billion set aside for the program has been spent so far, said Timothy Massad, Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability at the Treasury Department. The administration would not hazard a guess at how many more borrowers the expanded program would help.

Foreclosures: America’s hardest hit neighborhoods

The changes in HAMP do not take effect until the end of April, but a Treasury spokeswoman said any struggling homeowners should reach out and seek foreclosure prevention counseling immediately. That way, they can learn their options, which could include trying to hold on until the new HAMP is ready. To top of page

FHA Waives Anti-Flipping Rule Through Year-End to Speed REO Sales


By:Carrie Bay

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is extending the temporary waiver of its property anti-flipping rule through the end of 2012.

FHA rules typically prohibit insuring a mortgage on a home owned by the seller for less than 90 days. In 2010, however, the agency waived this regulation, and later extended the waiver through 2011.

The new extension announced late last week will permit buyers to continue to use FHA-insured financing to purchase HUD-owned and bank-owned properties, no matter how long the homeowner has held the title, through December 31, 2012.

FHA says the waiver will allow homes to resell as quickly as possible, helping to stabilize real estate prices and revitalize communities experiencing high foreclosure activity.

“This extension is intended to accelerate the resale of foreclosed properties in neighborhoods struggling to overcome the possible effects of abandonment and blight,” said Carol Galante, FHA’s Acting Commissioner. “FHA remains a critical source of mortgage financing and

stability and we must make every effort that to promote recovery in every responsible way we can.”

According to FHA, the waiver contains strict conditions and guidelines to prevent the predatory practice of property flipping, in which properties are quickly resold at inflated prices to unsuspecting borrowers.

Among these conditions, all transactions must be arms-length, with no link between the buying and selling parties.

In addition, in cases in which the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller’s acquisition cost, the waiver will apply only if the lender meets specific conditions, and documents the justification for the increase in value.

FHA’s property-flipping waiver is limited to forward mortgages, and does not apply to the agency’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for purchase program.

Since the original waiver went into effect on February 1, 2010, FHA has insured nearly 42,000 mortgages worth more than $7 billion on properties resold within 90 days of acquisition.

The agency says its own research has found that in today’s market, acquiring, rehabilitating, and reselling foreclosed properties to prospective homeowners often takes less than 90 days.

As a result, FHA says prohibiting the use of its mortgage insurance for a subsequent resale within 90 days would adversely impact the willingness of sellers to consider offers from potential FHA buyers, namely because they would be required to cover holding costs and the risk of vandalism that comes with allowing a property to sit vacant over a 90-day period of time.

Study Finds 38% of Homes Purchased in 2011 Bought with Cash


By: Carrie Bay

Despite record low mortgage rates, 2011 has seen a surprisingly high level of cash home purchases, according to the real estate research firm Hanley Wood Market Intelligence.

Jonathan Dienhart and Ken Lee, two analysts with the company, say between tight lending standards and a desperate search for yield by investors, cash purchases of homes – particularly for distressed properties – became even more common in 2011 than last year.

Dienhart and Lee analyzed data collected through Hanley Wood’s Housing IntelligencePro, and shared their findings in a blog post.

The two discovered that 38 percent of homes purchased in 2011 were bought with all cash. That’s up from 34 percent in 2010, and double the 19 percent rate in 2006.

According to Dienhart and Lee, this trend is likely to continue in the near term. They note that cash-paying investors are responsible for an increasing share of home purchases nowadays as prior homeowners abandon the ownership market and head back to rentals.

Impact of New Conforming Loan Limits on Home Buyers

On October 19, 2011, in Did You Know, by Ken Fears, Manager, Regional Economics


  • Many consumers have recently faced higher rates or have been forced to put down larger downpayments due to a change to the way loans are classified.
  • The maximum size of a loan that can be financed by the FHA  was reduced forcing some borrowers to make larger downpayments.
  • The minimum size for jumbo loans (i.e., loans not eligible for FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac financing) may also have been lowered, forcing many prospective buyers to increase their downpayments and/or pay higher mortgage rates.
  • Nearly 50% of all respondents with a buyer-client indicated that their buyer-client was negatively impacted by the change to the FHA and GSE loan limits.
  • In addition, respondents noted that as a result of the change, buyers switched to USDA or VA financing, borrowed money from relatives, asked the seller to make concessions, or rushed to buy ahead of the deadline.
  • To read the complete new “Impact of New Conforming Loan Limits” survey, click here >

Ken Fears, Manager, Regional Economics

Ken Fears is the Manager of Regional Economics. He focuses on regional and local market trends found in the Local Market Reports and the Market Watch Reports . He also writes on developments in the mortgage industry and foreclosures.

Top 6 Reasons Mortgage Applications are Rejected

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Monday, October 10, 2011.

Inman News™

Half of refinance applications are abandoned or rejected, as are 30 percent of purchase mortgage applications, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. All told, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) says that well over 2 million mortgage applications were rejected last year.

Want to avoid falling into that number? It’s tough — especially in light of the fact that mortgage lenders have become increasingly restrictive in terms of their lending guidelines since the housing market crash.<img title="zentilia/Shutterstock" src="http://www.inman.com/files/imagecache/article-photo/files/imagefield/shutterstock_30331438_REJECTED_STAMP.jpg&quot; alt="zentilia/Shutterstock” />

Here, as a cautionary tale and primer on what to expect, are the top six reasons mortgage lenders reject applications.

1. Income issues.Most failed applications falling into this category have income too low for the mortgage amount they are seeking; often, a spouse’s credit issues can create this problem, too, as the income the spouse plans to actually chip in toward the mortgage cannot be considered by a lender.

But increasingly, the recent vagaries of the job market are also causing this issue, as people who have changed their line of work or have changed from salaried employee to freelancer over the last couple of years can also have their home loan applications rejected based on income.

2. Muddled money matters. If the mortgage for which you’re applying plus your monthly payments on credit card, car and student loan debts will comprise more than 45 percent of your total income, you could have problems qualifying for a home loan. You might also run into problems if you rely too heavily on bonuses, overtime, cash wages or rental income — all of these can be difficult or impossible to get a mortgage bank to consider, and if they do, they might not take all of it into account.

3. Credit issues. Today, the mortgage-qualifying FICO score cutoff falls somewhere between 620 and 660, depending on which lender and which loan type you seek. More than one-third of Americans, by some numbers, have credit scores too low to qualify for a home loan. Even if your credit score is high enough to qualify, if you have any late mortgage payments, a short sale, a foreclosure or a bankruptcy in the last two years, loan qualifying could be difficult to impossible.

4. Property didn’t appraise. Since the whole industry had its hand (among other things) smacked for allowing home values to skyrocket in a very short time, appraisal guidelines have tightened up — some would say, even more than overall mortgage guidelines. So, it is increasingly common to have the property appraise for a price lower than the sale price negotiated between the buyer and seller.

This is especially common in the refinance realm, as well over a quarter of U.S. homes are now upside-down, meaning the mortgage balance owed is greater than the value of the home. (If you’re trying to refinance an upside-down mortgage, consider the FHA Short Refi program — contact your lender or get referrals to any mortgage broker who makes FHA details to apply.)

5. Condition problems. With all the distressed properties on the market, and with most nondistressed sellers barely breaking even, more home-sale transactions than ever are falling apart due to condition problems with the property. Many lenders will not extend financing on homes where the appraiser points out problems like cracked or broken windows, missing kitchen appliances, electrical problems, or wood rot.

And in the world of condos and other units that belong to a homeowners association, if more than 25 percent of units are rented (rather than owner-occupied) or more than 15 percent are delinquent on their HOA dues, new applications for refinance or purchase mortgages on units in the development are likely to be rejected.

6. Technical difficulties with application. The days when lenders just took your word for it are long, long gone. Applications with incomplete or unverifiable information are doomed.

If any of these mortgage loan application glitches arise in your homebuying or refinancing process, it’s critical that you connect with your mortgage professional, be it your banker or mortgage broker, to determine what course of action to take.

In some cases, it might be as simple as buying a stove you find at Craigslist and installing it before escrow closes; but with income issues your mortgage pro will need to help you determine whether it makes sense to pay some bills down, get a co-signer, or even wait six months so your income documentation will qualify.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of “The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook” and “Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions.” Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, www.rethinkrealestate.com.