Brooks & Heinze Seattle Real Estate Team – July 2021 Newsletter

July 12, 2021

Seattle Market Update

Properties still in high demand but we are seeing some cooling. We have seen more homes hit the market, finally increasing the supply of homes for sale. At the same time, homebuying demand has decreased, leaving the market feeling a few degrees cooler. Despite these changes, it is still very much a seller’s market but the share of homes sold above list price has flatlined in most urban areas. However, most first-time homebuyers in the suburbs looking for more affordable homes still face fierce competition.

NWMLS figures show the median price on last month’s completed transactions was $779,919 in King County (Snohomish County, $675,000; Pierce County $507,375).

Pandemic Mortgage Forbearance

Millions have avoided financial disaster during the pandemic thanks to government-mandated mortgage forbearance, which allows homeowners to skip payments or make reduced payments. As of March 2021, about 2.2 million homeowners remained in forbearance, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

If you are one of those homeowners, currently on a forbearance payment plan, communicating with your loan servicer prior to the end of your payment forbearance is crucial to avoid damage to your credit and/or foreclosure. Mortgage servicers continue to process millions of forbearances and under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rules, effective Aug. 31, 2021, homeowners can continue to request a forbearance through the year-end. If you are not able to resume payments at the time your forbearance ends, you still may be able to enter into a loan modification with your mortgage servicer, but you should start those discussions before your forbearance period ends.

Our Listings

North Greenlake Rambler – 3 Bds / 1.5 Bths, $725,000 – Pending/Under Contract.

Congratulations to our clients

Congratulations to Michaelle and Randy on the sale of their Lynnwood Mid-Century, $650,000 – Sold.

We’d love to hear from you

Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time.

Thank you,

Kerstin & Krisanne

Brooks & Heinze Team

at Skyline Properties, Inc.

Kerstin Brooks: 206.276.5827

Krisanne Heinze: 206.920.2541



HUD Pre-Foreclosure Sales Program – Great Program for those who Qualify

January 24, 2011

The HUD Pre-Foreclosure Sales Program was established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help homeowners with an FHA loan (a loan insured against default by the Federal Housing Administration) who are facing foreclosure or who have a hard time paying their mortgage due to a hardship.

This HUD pre-foreclosure sales program designed to prevent foreclosure is only available to borrowers with an FHA loan (certain other restrictions apply).

Some hardships that may apply to you are divorce, illness, job loss, income cuts, etc.

This program can be the answer for someone with an FHA loan where they are no longer able to make payments on their loan and who are interested in participating in a short sale.

You can request a free consultation by calling Krisanne at 206.920.2541 or calling Kerstin at 206.276.5827 or sending email to

Or contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-877-622-8525.

If you decide to work with us on a HUD Pre-Foreclosure Sale, there are no upfront fees charged by us.

Not sure if you have an FHA loan? Contact us and we can find out or call your lender and ask them.

Brooks & Heinze Team
Skyline Properties, Inc.

*We are not attorneys and always suggest you consult with an attorney before deciding the best course of action for you and if this program is the best fit for you.


Refinance, Short Sale and Loan Modification

October 8, 2010

What to do if you are struggling with loan payments or if you want to reduce your payments. What is “Home Loan Assistance”?

Home Loan Assistance can come in different forms such as refinance, short sale and loan modification. Depending on your situation, you may qualify for one or more of these programs.

Traditional Refinance

If you’re current on payments and have equity in your home, a refinance could help you take advantage of today’s low interest rates.

A refinance could help you:

  • Lower your interest rate
  • Save on monthly payments
  • Change the term of the loan
  • Switch from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate
  • Consolidate debt
  • Refinancing fees apply.

Making Home Affordable Refinance (Federal program)

If you can’t take advantage of a traditional refinance, you could qualify for refinancing through the federal government’s Making Home Affordable Program.

You could qualify for a Making Home Affordable refinance if:

  • You have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage loan on your primary residence, second home, or investment property. Please contact Fannie Mae at 1-800-7FANNIE or Freddie Mac at 1-800-FREDDIE if you are unsure.
  • You owe no more on your first mortgage than 105% of your home’s current value. (Example: you owe $105,000 on a home with a current market value of $100,000.).
  • You are current on your existing mortgage.
  • You are interested in a new fixed or adjustable loan at current low rates. Refinancing fees apply.

You can learn more about the federal government’s Making Home Affordable Programs at

Making Home Affordable Modification (Federal Program)

If you are behind on payments, or are having difficulty making your payments, you could qualify for a free loan modification through the federal government’s Making Home Affordable program.

You could qualify for a Making Home Affordable loan modification if:

  • You own and occupy your home as your primary residence.
  • You are either current, at risk of imminent default, or behind in your mortgage payments, or are in foreclosure or bankruptcy.
  • The unpaid principal balance of the first mortgage on your primary residence is $729,750 or less (loan limits are higher on owner-occupied multi-unit properties).
  • You have verifiable source(s) of income to put towards a mortgage payment each month, even if that income has recently been reduced.
  • You can provide copies of your most recent tax returns and will sign an affidavit of financial hardship.
  • You have not previously modified your mortgage under the Making Home Affordable program.
  • Mortgages on second homes, vacant homes, and investment properties are not eligible for modification under this program.

You can learn more about the federal government’s Making Home Affordable programs at

Assistance through other programs (such as repayment plans, short sales and modifications)

Repayment Plan

A repayment plan allows you to make a regular payment plus a portion of the amount past due each month over a period of months. This option is based on financial information you provide and you may be required to make a deposit toward the amount past due.

Loan Modification (through your current lender)

This option is commonly used when there has been a temporary reduction in income or an increase in expenses. An effective loan modification could lower your monthly mortgage payment and cure any delinquencies on the account. Contact your mortgage company for details.

Short Sale

Some homeowners having difficulty making their mortgage payments decide their best option is to sell their home. If you decide to sell your home and the market value of your home is less than what you owe on your loan, a short sale could be an option for you.

In a short sale situation, your lender may agree to accept less than the total amount due on the loan to avoid foreclosure.

Things to think about with a short sale:

  • You could be asked to make a contribution to help reduce the total loss.
  • You must list the property for sale at fair market value with a real estate agent who must forward any offers to your lender for consideration.
  • Acceptance of any offer will be subject to bank approval.
  • Your agent’s commission may be limited by your lender.

Deed In Lieu Of Foreclosure (DIL)

If you’ve tried all available options and you’re still unable to sell your house, you may be able to sign the property over to your bank. To do so, you must have clear title to your home with the exception of your first lien.

Beware! Protect yourself against home rescue scams

Loan modifications are free; there’s no charge to you. Therefore, we urge you to beware of foreclosure rescue scams that charge a fee. Learn more about these scams at .

For valuable information about avoiding unnecessary foreclosures, the options available to you to help you keep your home, and how to avoiding scams, contact the FDIC at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342) or go to .

Some of these programs may have legal and tax implications. Consult with an attorney or CPA for more information. Your trusted real estate agent will be able to refer you.

Please feel free to contact the Brooks and Heinze Real Estate Team in Seattle, WA for further information.

Kerstin G. Brooks
Brooks & Heinze Team

Struggling to make your mortgage payments?

April 15, 2010

The Obama Administration’s Making Home Affordable Program includes opportunities to modify or refinance your mortgage to make your monthly payments more affordable.

If you are struggling to make your mortgage payments you should watch this video:

After watching the video, contact your lender to see if a mortgage refinance or modification is right for you and will allow you to adjust your payments in a way that make them more manageable and allow you to keep your home and avoid foreclosure.

Kerstin G. Brooks
Brooks & Heinze Team
Skyline Properties, Inc

Under water? Can’t afford your mortgage payments anymore? Short Sale as Foreclosure Avoidance Tool best for some Homeowners

February 28, 2010

According to yesterday’s issue of the Puget Sound Business Journal, about 16 percent of all residential properties with mortgages were in negative equity at the end of the year in Washington State.

Negative equity means the homeowner owes more on the home than the home is worth.  This  can occur because of a decline in real estate value and/or  an increase in mortgage debt.

In Washington state, there were 3,288 foreclosure filings  in November of 2009, with one in every 835 housing units receiving a foreclosure notice — a 15 percent increase from November 2008.

Today, the Seattle PI reported more bad news about the Labor Market.  According to the PI, it was the second straight week that claims rose unexpectedly.  High unemployment remains one of the biggest obstacles to a sustained economic recovery.

In short, the economy is still shaky and more and more homeowners are struggling to make their mortgage payments and feel stuck because they know they cannot sell their home at a price that will cover their mortgage.  Depressed, scared and uninformed about their options, many wait until the bank forecloses and evicts them from their home.

For some homeowners, a short sale may be the option they are looking for. A real estate agent may be able to sell their home in a short sale which means the bank allows them to sell their home at market value and forgives some of their mortgage debt to make the sale possible.

Each situation is different and there are no guarantees. If anyone says they can guarantee a successful short sale or charges you upfront, nonrefundable fees to negotiate a short sale for you — run!

Generally, a short sale is better for a homeowner than a foreclosure. The ramifications of a short sale on your credit history are much less severe than with a foreclosure. If you are looking to apply for an apartment and you have a foreclosure and bank eviction on your history, you may have a hard time finding a rental. Bad credit will also affect your insurance rates, employment opportunities, etc.

Your eligibility for a new home loan will be affected more gravely with a foreclosure on your record. Underwriting and qualifying guidelines for mortgages change all the time but with a short sale on your record you may qualify for a new loan in a couple of years, whereas a foreclosure may keep you from buying a new home for 6-7+ years.

If you are in the Greater Seattle Area and want to talk to an agent about selling your home as a Short Sale, please contact the Brooks & Heinze Team for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Kerstin G. Brooks
Brooks & Heinze Team
Skyline Properties, Inc.
Ph: 206.276.5827

Houses for Pennies on the Dollar? Really?

February 19, 2010

 Many buyers have heard that Seattle real estate is more affordable than ever. Yes, prices have dropped quite substantially but when I hear people saying or I read articles about “Houses for Pennies on the Dollar” I get a little perturbed.

 We have had a few people contact us with unrealistic expectations about what they can buy. We have had buyers asking us to find them large, updated homes with water views in nice neighborhoods like Greenlake, Richmond Beach, Queen Anne, etc. under $200,000. You’d be hard pressed to find a tiny tear down for that price in these neighborhoods. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are bargains to be had but one must be realistic. Foreclosures and Short Sales can be a good value but they often require work and patience.

Buyers want to look at bank foreclosures, but they don’t want to do any work if it needs repair. They expect all homes should sell at the bank foreclosure prices regardless of whether they need work or not.

The homes that need a lot of work are the ones that sell for bargain prices. So, if you want a steal be prepared to have to do some work.

Many buyers feel the foreclosures set the prices in the neighborhood even though they may be missing a bathroom, have a structural issue and need tens of thousands of dollars in updates. Buyers are quite often dissatisfied with the condition of the distressed properties, but they don’t want to look at a regular home that is all fixed up because it is not a perceived bargain (when they can be).

You could take two similar homes next door to each other, one being a foreclosure and needing $35,000 in repairs and another being a normal sale and in excellent condition. The bank foreclosure might be priced $35,000 below the normal home, but when the buyer sees it they’re turned off.  But then they’re also turned off by the price of the normal home because they feel it should be priced the same as the foreclosure fixer.

In short, there are bargains but be realistic. Either buy an updated home in good condition and get a fair price or get a fabulous bargain for a home that needs a lot of help and needs to be nursed back to health. Buying at a 20-30% discount compared to just a few years ago is a great deal and realistic. Homes for pennies to the dollar? Not in Seattle.

There are some great loan programs available for buying distressed and foreclosed homes that need repairs, such as the 203k FHA rehab loans & conventional construction loans.

For more information on these loan programs contact Michele Catoire at the Legacy Group in Bellevue, WA by email  at or by phone at (425) 818-5885.

 Michele Catoire

Happy bargain hunting!

Kerstin G. Brooks
Brooks & Heinze Team
Skyline Properties, Inc.
Cell:  206.276.5827

Facing Foreclosure? Don’t know what to do?

March 7, 2008

With mortgage delinquencies rising, many homeowners find themselves faced with the threat of foreclosure. Many homeowners do not know what their options are and where to turn.

The questions for many then is what the homeowner can do if anything to protect against the bank and losing their home.

What the homeowner needs is knowledgable support from professionals who know what to do when foreclosure is knocking on the door:
– a real estate agent can provide a property analysis to find out the current market value of the property
– a mortgage broker can determine if a refinance is available
– a lawyer who specializes in foreclosures can advocate on the homeowner’s behalf with the lender and provide guidance in understanding legal options and impacts

What not to do as a homeowner:
– do not ignore the reality of delinquency and foreclose; procrastination and denial may limit your options to stave off the bank; swift action on the other hand may save your home and credit

What needs to be done:
– in some cases, a quick sale may the best option
– in some cases, negotiating for modified terms and payoff concessions with the lender may be the best option
– and in some cases, surrendering the home through foreclosure or deeding the property to the bank may be the best solution

What’s the right solution for you if you are faced with foreclosure?
– every situation is different and there is no straightforward answer without knowing all the facts (worth of you property, loan balance, income, market situation in your area, etc.).

You may be able to keep your home if you take the proper action but sometimes, it may be best to sell.

Working with individuals who know the industry can help ease the stress and confusion. The right professionals with experience and compassion can help you make the right decision for your situation.

Kerstin G. Brooks, ABR, Realtor
Brooks & Heinze Team
Remax NW Realtors
Phone: 206.276.5827

%d bloggers like this: