VA Loan Limits Increased in Skagit County

We have some absolutely wonderful news that we would like to share with you! VA loan limits have increased in Skagit County from $453,100 to $484,350. This increase not only benefits buyers, but sellers as well. Since there are now larger VA loans with zero down available helping sellers sell their homes.

Plus, there are some fabulous low interest rates still available, depending on the loan product and the borrower’s credit and income. Interest rates are presumed to go up in 2019, so now is a great time to purchase a home, why wait? This is an excellent time to contact a lender and start shopping for a home!

If you need help finding a lender or would like to see what you can afford please contact either Jean Groesbeck or Eileen Hebert at (360) 899-5027. We would love to help you with your home purchase or sale! Also, please enjoy this video which contains more valuable information regarding this increase.

Fall Gardening Tips

Siberian Squill

Fall garden planning is key to a fabulous garden come the spring season. this is the perfect the time to clean up beds, manage soils and plant spring-blooming bulbs. Here are some tips for prepping your garden during the fall:

Water all your plants thoroughly, in particular, your trees. Their roots need an abundance of precipitation to endure the approaching months.

Shop for Bulbs
Browse catalogs or frequent garden shops early for the perfect assortment.

BONUS TIP: If deer, rabbits, or other wildlife are a nuisance to your garden, you can choose pest-resistant bulbs like Siberian squill, fritillaria, and daffodils.

Clear Debris Away from Roses
Decaying rose foliage provides disease a haven over winter and can cause complications in your garden next year.

Plant Evergreens and Shrubs
Prompt planting in fall provides young plants ample time to establish their roots by winter.

Amend Your Soil
Prepare the ground so it is primed for next year’s beds and fall bulbs by tilling the soil and adding compost.

Plant Fall Annuals
Flower Bulbs
Increase color in your garden by planting fall annuals, for example pansies, mums, and ornamental kale.

Lower Your Lawn Mower Height
Grass grows slower in fall, but it will still need to be trimmed to make ready for winter. A shorter cut assists the soil in drying out more briskly in spring.

Feed the Birds
Keep in mind your feathered friends; their food supply becomes meager in fall.

Cut Back and Separate Perennials
At the same time that you’re digging them up to separate them, rearrange plants that haven’t been doing well in their existing location.

BONUS TIP: Delay separating chrysanthemums, asters, and other fall-blooming perennials. It’s better to separate them in spring.

Forced BulbsDig Up Summer Bulbs
Do you love how your esteemed summer bulbs bloomed this year? Put them aside for a repeat next year! Dig up and store cannas, callas, dahlias, caladiums, and other delicate bulbs in peat moss or sand. Put them in a cool, frost-free spot for the winter.

BONUS TIP: If you reside in a region where your bulbs are hardy, you can go ahead and leave them alone. Digging up and storing summer bulbs is only crucial if they can’t handle the winter cold that your region encounters.

Rake and Mulch
If left neglected, fallen leaves may smother your yard. Shred them and utilize them as mulch.

Get Bulbs in the Ground
Now is the time to plant your best-loved bulbs.

BONUS TIP: You can pull off procrastinating on planting bulbs until the soil freezes hard enough that you can’t get a shovel into it.

Force Bulbs for Winter Color
Get a head start on spring by planting bulbs indoors in January or February. Bulbs such as hyacinth and narcissus will do exceptionally well if you plant them in fall and keep them cool until you’re set to delight in the colored blooms.

Feed Your Yard
Don’t allow your grass to start winter without the essential nutrients it needs to combat the winter weather.

Bring Sensitive Container Plants Inside
Remove any deceased foliage and break apart any hard soil before transporting your treasured tropical plants inside for the winter.

BONUS TIP: Be on the lookout for pests. Before escorting plants indoors, spray them to keep harmful insects out of your home.

Garden HoseEmpty Hoses, Fountains, and Drip-Irrigation Systems
Confirm that all standing water is drained from your watering apparatuses and store these items in a dry place.

Clean Up the Vegetable Garden
Pull any weeds
and remove any debris so pests are discouraged from making your vegetable garden their winter home.

Dig Up Annuals
Exhausted and deceased, your summer annuals can now cultivate and nourish your compost pile.

Protect Cold-Sensitive Plants
Roses, perennials, and shrubs that might capitulate to cold weather should be sheltered with mulch or another cladding.

Contact us for more tips on how to¬†optimize your garden and enhance your home’s curb appeal for the real estate market! If you are looking to buy in Anacortes or elsewhere in Skagit County, we can guide you to finding a great home in this beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest.

Community Profile: San Juan Islands

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The San Juan Islands are a chain of 172 islands scattered in the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the northwest tip of Washington State.  Although easily accessible from Seattle, the San Juan Islands enjoy a far different weather pattern with sunny weather and low rainfall created by the Olympic Mountain rain shadow.

Fidalgo Island (Anacortes, WA) and Whidbey Island (Oak Harbor and home of Whidbey NAS) are the most populated islands. Whidbey Island is connected by Fidalgo Island by the Deception Pass Bridge, as well as being serviced from the southern end by the Washington State Ferry. In addition to being connected to Whidbey Island, Fidalgo Island is connected to the mainland by two other Bridges. Because these two islands are so easily accessed by car, they are often not considered part of the San Juan Islands although geologically they are part of the island chain.

Most of the other San Juan Islands are sparsely populated by humans, but fish, whales, eagles, and other wildlife are abundant. The most accessible islands are San Juan Island, Shaw Island, Lopez Island, and Orcas Island – the islands serviced by the Washington State Ferry system. The ferry system carries both foot passengers and cars and the main ferry terminal is in Anacortes, WA which is just 80 miles north of Seattle.

The most populated Island not connected by bridge is San Juan Island with the town of Friday Harbor. The options for transportation to the island include scheduled land planes out of Seattle, Bellingham or Anacortes, WA. State Ferry service out of Sidney B.C. or Anacortes, WA; float planes out of Seattle, WA, charter planes, tour boats, water taxi, private boats, charter boats, private planes, private boats, or catch a ride with a friend. You can take your car, motorcycle, or bicycle aboard the ferry. If you walk on board you can rent a car, bicycle, moped, or take a bus or taxi once you reach San Juan Island.

Each San Juan Island has a very different culture and lifestyle. For example, Blakely Island is a private island which has a paved airstrip, water taxi service, a marina, a small seasonal store, and fuel, and has only a few year round residents. The smallest ferry served island is Shaw with only about 200 permanent residents. Portions of Decateur Island are serviced by a boat owned by residents; however there is also water taxi and an air field. Guemes Island and Lummi Island are service by a Skagit County Ferry.

Almost all of the islands inhabited have an air strip, some paved and some a little on the rustic side. The less populated the island the slower the lifestyle and island time takes on a new meaning from island to island.

At Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC we often have clients that want a vacation home or are looking for a place to live a slower lifestyle but they do not know which island that they want, and since each island boasts to be the best the options can be confusing. Our full time professional REALTORS¬ģ have been very successful in helping our clients chose the island with the lifestyle that is the best match. We have sold waterfront and water view estates from Hood Canal to San Juan Island, and would love to help you through the decision making process of finding your dream vacation home or next destination.

We can be reached daily at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com or at (360) 941-3734.

Property of the Week! 2208 Highland Drive, Anacortes, WA

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Expansive panoramic views are available from almost every room in this open-concept home located in the Skyline neighborhood located in Anacortes, WA. Located at 2208 Highland Drive, this beautifully remodeled 2,902 square-foot home offers wonderful indoor and outdoor living space.

With two decks perfect for both entertaining and relaxation, you will never be bored in this home. Upon entering, you will be greeted with a welcoming living space housing a cozy fireplace and entrance to the deck that runs the length of the house. Complete with vaulted ceilings, there is no shortage of ways you can make this home your own. 967090_04_Hvlkhv8x

The beautifully done kitchen features stainless steel appliances, and two vast skylights that provide excellent natural lighting. The entire family can be included for meals with the spacious dining area.967090_08_s8v48Ne3

Guests will be kept comfortable as well, as the home offers two master suites; one on the lower level, one on the main floor. The main-level master suite offers a spa-like master bathroom with captivating views of the marina. The lower-level suite is not short on class, however, offering both privacy and gorgeous views. For beautiful views and comfortable living in Anacortes, Washington, look no further!

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To visit this home, call, text, or email us to schedule a private showing.

For even more details and to view the full photo gallery, just click here! No registration required.

 

Home of the Week! 4122 San Juan Blvd Anacortes, WA

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This custom-built, 4,446 square-foot home is located at 4133 San Juan Blvd in Anacortes, WA and offers some of the best views one can find on Fidalgo Island. Not only does it bast great entertaining opportunities with the large living and dining areas, it also includes a beautifully landscaped patio in the back and a small indoor pool that can be enjoyed for leisure or exercise.

The home offers a vast entryway that opens directly to a welcoming open-concept layout that features the living and dining room, as well as the kitchen. The office just off the front door houses beautiful wood built-ins and high windows to the front yard.971873_10_Yxr1qGp2

The kitchen features a gas range, ample storage space, double ovens, and even more beautiful views. You will certainly not tire of spending time in this dream kitchen!

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With three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, each space offers views one would fight for. The spacious master suite is complete with private balcony doors, fireplace, and immaculate double-vanity bathroom. You will not want to miss the chance to pamper yourself in this spa-like suite and take advantage of the immense walk-in closet!

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The lower-level of the home houses the second and third bedrooms, additional family room, and kitchenette- if you are looking for the perfect home in Anacortes to entertain family and friends, we’ve found it! To visit this property, call, text, or email us any time to schedule a private showing.¬†971873_17_Wk9J7itg

You may also click here for further details of this San Juan Blvd home, and view the full photo gallery. No registration required!

A Must See Luxury View Home in Mt. Vernon

Private & gated custom luxury home in Mt Vernon

Are you thinking of¬†buying a new home? Our newest listing in Mt. Vernon, WA ¬†is like nothing you’ve seen before.¬†It is a magnificent home with stunning views, custom design, exquisite details, spectacular light and beautiful views! If you are looking for a home with privacy and acreage, look no further! We have the home for you in the quiet Cascade Ridge neighborhood with a private gate shared with only 1 neighbor!

View

The views from this 4+ acre estate are breathtaking, you are able to enjoy expansive views of the San Juan Islands, the majestic Olympics, and Skagit Valley! Sunsets are a sight to see here at this luxury home! As you pull into the gated circular driveway you will notice plenty of parking space, including TWO, 2 car garage, shop, and RV parking. The beautifully landscaped yard includes lush gardens and a koi pond! The covered patio makes it easy to entertain while enjoying the gorgeous views.

Koi Pond

Inside this luxury home you will find a brilliant floor plan with stunning architectural details. Spacious formal and causal entertaining areas feature 9-11′ coved ceilings with elegant lighting and are divided by french doors. As you enter every bedroom, you are able to see the many different views of the great Pacific Northwest! This home features 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. The master suite includes a huge walk-in closet that is cedar lined and a built-in alcove dresser. In the master bath there are his and her vanities, a soaking tub with a large window above, and much..much more..you must see for yourself!

Family Room

Throughout this magnificent home you will see that it’s all in the details and a MUST see.

Please click here Contact us for more information on this luxury view home in Mt. Vernon!

You can call Jean Groesbeck for a private showing 360-941-3734 or email her at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com

If you would like to see more pictures, pricing, and details on this home Click Here to view the full listing.

809 7th Street Anacortes, WA 98221

Pending Home Sales Exceed Expectations!

Pending homes sales are up according to the National Association of REALTORS as home buyers take advantage of great home values. May statistics for home sales were up higher than anticipated.

You can view home sales statistics on our website for Skagit County, La Conner, Oak Harbor, Guemes Island, Samish Island, and even Seattle on our website.http://www.cbislandliving.com/index.cfm/page/57494/Real_Estate_Market_Trends.html

WA State Ferry Rates Increase May 1 on Anacortes/San Juan Islands Run

Anacortes Ferry Dock

The peak for WA State Ferry season begins Sunday, May 1.  The  Anacortes / San Juan Islands run will have an additional 35 percent surcharge applied to full fare vehicle/driver tickets.

The peak season surcharge does not affect foot passenger fares or frequent user  fares.  Peak seasonferry fares will be in effect Sunday, May 1 through Friday, Sept. 30. Summer parking rates at Anacortes will also be in effect May 1 through Sept. 30 Рpeak ferry season.

The following is from the WA State Ferry Website:

You can travel three ways:
Come Aboard On foot is easy, quick and avoids auto lines. Passengers are charged for round trip travel on most routes, and pay at passenger toll booths. Board an overhead ramp for loading, or wait for instructions to walk on the car deck. Walk-on passengers must be on board five minutes before departure. Most terminals do not have lockers available or luggage handling facilities, so plan to carry whatever you bring to the terminal. Many ferries are met by public transportation.

By car requires planning ahead. Sunny summer weekends and commuter hours from 6 to 9 a.m. eastbound and 4 to 7 p.m. westbound are busy. Travel at other times if possible. Arrive at the ferry terminal early and plan at least 30 to 40 minutes of wait time. San Juan Island waits may be 2 to 4 hours during peak season, depending on the route.

Pay your way at the toll booth for car/drivers and passengers. Vehicle fares are one-way – except on the Vashon and San Juan Islands routes. Follow directions to the loading area, and remember to be in your car and ready to go 20 minutes before departure time. Cars load in order of arrival with the exception of carpools, vehicles with a special priority, or vehicles to destinations different from yours.

Space on the ferry is limited. It is measured in terms of length, height and width of the load. Vehicles exceeding a “box” size of 7’6″ high by 20 feet long by 8’6″ wide will be subject to surcharges. RVs, bikes on top of the car, and long vehicles pulling trailers or boats are subject to these charges.

By bike (including motorcycles), you can load before cars if you are there 20 minutes before departure time. Otherwise, bikes load at the discretion of the crew – if you are really late, you could load and unload last. Bikes should be secured at the side of the boat. Canoes, kayaks, and other sporting equipment can be accommodated at the direction of the crew. Passenger-only ferries have limited space for bikes.

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If the ferry line is too long, spend the night in Anacortes!  Anacortes is on Fidalgo Island, and is part of San Juan Islands.  Fidalgo Island is Connected to the mainland by two bridges and is also connected to Whidbey Island by the Deception Pass Bridge.

WA State Spring Ferry Schedule

The 2011 spring sailing schedule for Washington State Ferries begins March 27th and is current through June 18th.  The spring schedule will include the addition of popular routes and the international route between Anacortesand Sidney, B.C. will start again.  Explore the beautiful island of Anacortes and discover your dream home with the help of our fantastic agents.  Ferry service increases include weekend inter-island vessel in the San Juan Islands.  Eight hours of afternoon service Monday through Thursday between Anacortes and the San Juan Islands.  Adjusted sailing times to improve schedule reliability in the San Juan Islands.  Three-boat service on weekends on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route.  The third boat will operate eight hours a day on Saturday and Sunday.

U.S. extends Fannie, Freddie conforming loan limits

Higher maximum conforming mortgage loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be extended through September 2011, the housing finance entities’ regulator said on Friday.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said the maximum for the conforming loans ‚Äď generally $417,000 for a single-family home but up to $729,750 in certain high cost areas — will remain unchanged in the first nine months of next year compared with 2010 levels.

The conforming, 30-year fixed loans must meet certain underwriting standards for loan-to-value and borrower credit scores and are put into Fannie’s and Freddie’s pools of guaranteed mortgage-backed securities.

The extension was dictated by a recently enacted Congressional resolution. The limits for high cost areas, generally on the east and west coasts, had been increased in a housing recovery bill passed in July 2008.      WASHINGTON (Reuters)

To search for homes for sale in Anacortes, La Conner, or Oak Harbor, Please call us @ (360)-293-4511.  
We would love to help you with your real estate needs whether you are looking to buy or sell your home.