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Resources for Buyers

When we work with you, we represent your interests and no one else’s. We take the time to discover your personal requirements and wishes for a home, for schools, and for the best neighborhood. We also help you sort out your financial resources in order to realistically find you the best home that you can afford. We’ll get you pre-approved for a loan so you don’t risk losing your dream-home on a technicality.

Once we know what you’re looking for and what you can afford, we search our database of thousands of homes for sale to match you with an assortment of properties to go see. We don’t want to overwhelm you with choices, so we make sure you feel comfortable with the properties we have in mind before we take you out to visit them. We understand that this can be hard work with a lot of details to remember, so we provide you with documentation on all the properties we visit and remain available for all your questions and concerns throughout the process.

Once your offer has been accepted, there will be a few milestones to think about before you can call your new place home.


Step 1. Structural Inspection

A structural inspection will need to be set up. We’ll take care of this for you once you have chosen an inspector. Following are some inspectors we recommend. Depending on the size of the property, costs will range from $300-$450.

Absolute Inspection Services: Gerri Snow – 206-767-5770
The Home Report: Don Lawn – 206-285-7227
Sage Inspections: Eileen Cagney – 206-706-3096
Peacock Home Inspections: Terry Peacock – 206-367-6566


Step 2. Homeowners Insurance

You’ll need to arrange for this. We recommend Insurance broker Bob Abolofia, at 425-641-7682. You can also call the person or company that handles your automobile insurance.


Step 3. Escrow documents

You will receive papers to review and sign from both the title company and the escrow company. We’ll help you to understand these documents.


Step 4. Utilities

You need to transfer the utilities to your name and account.

Electric Service: Seattle City Light – 206-684-3000

Telephone service: Qwest – 1-800-339-3929

Gas service: Puget Sound Energy – 1-888-225-5773

Seattle Water, Sewer, Garbage, Yard Waste & Recycling: City of Seattle Combined Utilities – 206-684-3000

(To establish a new water account, you must first read the meter after your transaction closes and then call in the reading. You can also find out your collection information and set up yard waste pick up.)

Cable: Comcast – 1-877-824-2288

Oil Service: If you have oil heat, you can purchase the oil from any company you like.

(Normally, the name of the company that has been supplying the oil will have a sticker on the furnace, or we will ask the seller who their supplier was. Most people simply continue with the same company. Whoever you choose, you should also set up a yearly maintenance agreement for the annual service of your furnace. The tank is normally filled once or twice a year depending on usage and size of the tank. Price of oil is about the same with most companies. Note: In Seattle, there is automatic insurance on oil tanks that are in use through the Pollution Liability Assistance Act of up to $65,000 in the event the tank fails and leaks.)

Outside of Seattle: We will supply you with the needed utility company phone numbers by either phone or email. The companies can vary according to where the house is located. Shoreline, for instance, has more then one number depending on whether you live east or west of the freeway.


Step 5. Appraisal

The appraisal will be done on your property. We meet with the appraiser and will inform you of the time and the outcome of the appraisal. Normally, the lender will mail you a copy of the appraisal. If you don’t get one, request it from your lender.


Step 6. The Lender

The lender may call with questions, or they may need further documentation. It is very important to respond to them immediately in order for the transaction to close on time.


Step 7. The Closing Process

You will be contacted by the escrow company to set up a time to sign your documents. They will instruct you to bring a cashier’s check with you for the balance of funds you’ll need to close the transaction. The cashier’s check is made out to the escrow company. Johnine usually goes to the signing with you.


Step 8. The Keys

We will get you the keys to your new home sometime prior to your occupancy date, dependent upon when the listing agent or seller makes them available to us.

We are often asked to explain the difference between a banker and a mortgage broker. A bank originator of mortgages can only offer a borrower their loan programs, their interest rates, and their underwriting. But a mortgage broker has more options. Their job is to get the best loan at the best rate for each borrower. Brokers survive and prosper by finding mortgages for the most people in the most circumstances. Having the ability to go to literally any bank or mortgage company allows brokers to chose to work only with companies who offer the most competitive rates and give the best service.

Recommended Mortgage Brokers:

ACCEPTANCE – terms of an offer are agreed upon by either party, it is considered acceptance. There may be several When stages of acceptance while an offer is being negotiated if there are counter-offers. When all terms of a contract have been agreed upon by both parties, it is considered mutual acceptance.

ACRE – 43,650 square feet. The average lot size in Seattle is anywhere between 3,500 and 7,500 sq. ft.

ACTUAL AGE VS. EFFECTIVE AGE BUILT – Actual age is self-explanatory, but when a home is completely renovated from the ground up, it is then given an effective year built to reflect the total renovation.

AGENCY – A relationship of trust created when one person, known as the principal, delegates to an agent the right to represent them in dealing with third parties. The Law of Real Estate Agency pamphlet should be given to any buyer or seller prior to entering into any agreement. It clearly describes the law of agency relationships, such as buyer’s agent, listing agent, and dual agent.

AMENITIES – The intangible benefits of owning a particular property, such as being near a great shopping center, having a wonderful view, accessible buses nearby, or having an award-winning school in the neighborhood.

AIR RIGHTS – Sometimes an issue in Seattle because of views, this is the right to undisturbed use and control of airspace over a parcel of land. Air rights may be transferred separately from the land.

APR – ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATIO – The actual finance charge for a loan, including the stated interest, rate points and fees.

APPRAISAL – Also called valuation, this is an expert opinion of a property’s value at a particular time. Generally, an appraisal is ordered by the bank or mortgage company and is paid for by the buyer as part of closing costs. This is not the same as a market analysis.

APPRAISER – A trained and educated professional who estimates the value of real or personal property.

ASSESSED VALUE – The county places a value on a property for the purpose of determining the annual property taxes. In King County, you will find significant differences between a property’s assessed value and sales price.

ASSIGN – To transfer a right, title, or interest of a property to another party.

BUY DOWN – When discount points are paid to a lender to reduce (buy down) the interest rate charged to the borrower, especially when a seller pays discount points to help the buyer qualify for the loan.

CASH FLOW – The money left over after expenses and debt service are subtracted from gross income. This term is used in considering income property as an investment.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT – Any improvement that is designed to become a permanent part of the property and will have the effect of improving the life of the property. Items such as a new roof, new furnace, new electrical panel would all be considered capital improvements.

CC&R’S – A declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions. They’re recorded by developers to place restrictions on use of lots within a subdivision, or condominium complexes.

CLOSING – The final stage in a real estate transaction when the title to the property is transferred, the buyer receives the deed to the property, and the seller receives the proceeds of the sale. The buyers and sellers sign documents with escrow a few days in advance of the closing date.

CLOSING DATE – This occurs when all terms of a purchase and sale agreement must be met or the contract is terminated.

COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS – A comparison of homes on the market or recently sold, used to determine the correct pricing for a seller’s property. Current market conditions and amenities are also taken into account.

CONTINGENCY – A condition in the contract that must be met in order for the contract to be binding.

DEED – A legal document, which when properly executed and delivered, transfers ownership of property from seller to buyer.

DISCOUNT POINT – A percentage of the loan amount, paid as an additional yield to the lender for a particular interest rate.

EARNEST MONEY – A deposit or down payment made by the buyer as a show of good faith in completing a real estate transaction. In Seattle, the buyer can expect to put down 3% of the purchase price.

EARNEST MONEY AGREEMENT – A deposit or down payment made by the buyer as a show of good faith in completing a real estate transaction. In Seattle, the buyer can expect to put down an average of 3% of the purchase price.

ESCROW – An independent third party that oversees the transaction until all conditions are met.

FIXTURE – A permanently attached item, such as a medicine chest or a light fixture, that belongs to the property when it is sold.

HAZARD OR HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE – Insurance issued on a property to compensate for damage caused by hazards, such as fire, wind, water, etc.

INSURANCE BINDER – An instrument providing immediate insurance coverage until the regular policy is issued.

MARKET VALUE – The value of a property based on market conditions, comparable values of similar properties, and location.

MORTGAGE – A temporary, conditional pledge of property to a creditor as security for performance of an obligation or repayment of a debt.

MUTUAL TERMS  All parties to a transaction agree on the terms.

NWMLS – NORTHWEST MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE – A Puget Sound region service that provides real estate agents with detailed information of listed properties.

ORIGINATION FEE – The application fee banks or mortgage companies charge for a loan.

PITI – Principle, interest, taxes, and insurance. This is the break down for most mortgage payments.

POINTS – A “point” is one percent of the loan amount, paid to the lender at the time the loan is made. This is additional yield for the lender above the interest rate.

POSSESSION – Possession is the date and time the buyer may take full use of a property. In Seattle, possession is usually three days following the closing date, though possession is sometimes given to the buyer ON closing.

PRELIMINARY TITLE REPORT – A title report that is issued early in the transaction for the purpose of revealing all matters that presently have an effect on the title. Such as liens or judgments on the property, or easements and covenants.

TITLE REPORT – A report disclosing the condition of the title to a specific property.

TITLE INSURANCE – This is required when purchasing a property with a mortgage loan. The seller purchases the buyer’s title policy, and the buyer purchases a title policy for the mortgage.

It’s hard to find reliable contractor referrals. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of tried-and-true professionals.

We’re always looking to add new contractors to our list, so please let us know about anyone you’ve had a great experience with. At the same time, if you’ve had a negative experience with any of the names here, please let us know that too. We want every one of our referrals to be highly qualified and courteous.

Appliance Repair:

  • All Tech Appliance 206-524-9512
  • Harris Appliance   206-325-0441
  • Appliance Express 206-283-7803


  • Ron Bartel   206-542-0294

Asbestos Abatement:

  • IRS Enviornmental 206-932-0944

Blind Cleaning:

  • Thorougbred Carpet & Blind Cleaning   206-782-4784
  • Alpine Carpet & Blind Cleaning   206-527-2711

Building Inspectors:

  • Terry Peacock – Peacock Home Inspections   206-367-6566
  • Mark Mitman Inspections 425-451-0174

Carpet cleaning:

  • Andre’s   206-369-6534
  • Pro Tech Carpet Cleaning   206-762-3547
  • Alpine Carpet Cleaning   206-527-2711

Carpet – New Purchase & Area Rugs:

  • Environmental Home Center   206-682-7332
  • Major Brands   206-623-3550

Contractor:  Remodeling, small to mid-size jobs

  • Paul Ferlito 425-953-3787 small to midsize jobs
  • Richard Tesh 206-782-7621 small to midsize remodels
  • James Desarno 206-660-0607 small to midsize remodels
  • Kenny Johns 206-714-3699 small to midsize remodels
  • Bill Sils 206-949-0363 handyman- small jobs West Seattle
  • Greg Martin 406-9219 handyman- small jobs
  • Alan Murray 679-5339 handyman- small jobs
  • Karl Ward 253-226-3100 handyman- small jobs south & Seattle
  • Robert   206-605-6807 handyman – small jobs

Chimney work:

  • Abes Chimney Service 206-763-8154  -Mark
  • Bill Parsons Masonry 206-521-3281
  • Emerald City Chimney 206-522-0290
  • Ed’s Chimney Service 206-362-2996

Chimney Sweeps:

  • Emerald City Chimney 206-522-0290
  • Mad Hatter 1-800-609-7980

Concrete work: Sidewalks, driveways, retaining walls, etc.

  • Greg’s concrete – Greg Goyen 206-352-7310

Drainage problems: wet basements, etc.

  • Rite Way Waterproofing   206-784-8330
  • Aces Four   425-672-4811
  • Wu Construction   206-526-8886
  • Bodine Construction 425-778-2557


  • Firewire Electric – Tim O’Neill 206-790-0948
  • Mirsky Electric   206-230-8293
  • A & A Electric 206-715-3661
  • Eagle Electric 206-246-7123  (West Seattle)

Foundation Repair:

  • Dochnahl Construction, Inc 425-255-7416
  • Bodine Construction 425-888-2577
  • Ken Royal 206-660-7897

Furnace Repair and Replacement:

  • Comfort Tech – Kimy Guerrero 206-730-9405 (highly recommend for service or new furnaces)
  • Greenwood Heating and Air Conditioning 784-1818
  • Gas Appliance Service   206-632-5000


  • Robin Dunn (north, south, West Seattle)   206-696-2449 (not lawn maintenance)
  • NW Botanical 206-932-1850 Design & full yard maintenance or just garden
  • Lawn maintenance – clean up, mowing, hauling   Kov 423-0052
  • Lawn Mowing & Maintenance (south end) Wilsons 725-8156

Geo Inspections:

  • Shannon & Wilson   206-632-8020

Hardwood and Fir Floor Refinishing & Installation:

  • Budget Hardwoods   206-723-8877 or  Jung cell #235-9060
  • Swift Hardwood Floors  206-323-4511  Bill Swift
  • Anthonie’s Hardwoods   206-242-7252
  • Apex Hardwoods  206-229-4631  Tommy Tran


  • We Haul Not U   206-418-0711
  • Mr. Junk B. Gone  206-722-4285

Home Insurance:

  • Bob Abolofia – broker for Pemco & Safeco   425-641-7682
  • Allstate Insurance – Jeff Talbot   206-542-6341
  • Farmer’s Insurance – Roman Udycz 425-742-0808

Landscape Design:

  • Barbara Libbey   206-363-0233
  • NW Botanicals   206-932-1850

Landscape Maintenance & Clean-up:

  • Kov   206-423-0052 (anywhere) will do hauling too
  • Wilsons  206-725-8156 (South end)


  • Ravenna Locksmith   206-525-8379
  • Bills Lock & Key  206-795-1095


  • Aaron Glide Movers 206-328-5424
  • Adams Moving 206-251-1725
  • Reliable Movers  206-443-0210

Oil Tank Decommissioning:

  • Tanks by Dallas   206-365-0291
  • Filco   206-547-8347


  • Step up painting 206-406-8960
  • Best Deal Painting– John Keahey 206-790-7332
  • London Pacific Painting 206-852-9251
  • Phinney Ridge Painting 206-371-1441
  • Farid Samini   206-795-1404

Pest Exterminator:

  • Classic Pest control 360-424-8190 (they work Seattle and I use them for my house)
  • Able Pest Control 206-575-9877
  • Adept Pest Control 206-407-3268


  • Wright Brothers   206-782-5051
  • Mr Simmons 206-293-4732
  • Prima Plumbing 206-706-0300
  • Everlast Plumbing 206-255-1536
  • Pioneer Plumbing  206-789-8029 (small or large jobs)
  • Brian’s Plumbing West Seattle – 206-718-3945

Roofing Contractors:

  • Roberg Roofing   425-774-6062
  • R & K Roofing- Dirk Krech  206-409-7541
  • Northwest Roofing 206-764-4790
  • A Better Roofing   206-362-3278

Sewer Drain Cleaning:

  • FritzÕs Drain Service (N. Seattle only)   206-782-3230
  • Rapid Rooter   206-783-5222

Sewer or Water Line Replacement:

  • Aces Four   425-672-4811
  • Wu Construction   206-526-8886


  • Bill Fox   206-433-1738 cell 949-7529
  • Continental Engineering   206-783-7177

Water Heater:

  • Benla Services 206-283-7676

Window Washer:

  • Christian Bennett  206-992-7005
  • Crystal Panes 206-284-5183 or 324-0956
  • Fresh Breeze Mita 206-760-9542 (south end)

Window Installation:

  • Eurocraft Windows by Evans Glass- Linda Wright 206-551-3053 (Very highly rated windows)
  • Cascade Glass 206-284-1100
  • Randy R&L Windows 206-255-8662
  • Waynes Panes 206-409-8910

Window – Repair & Restoration – Double Hung Windows:

  • Annapurna Glass – Traditional and contemporary Designs & repair of leaded glass 206-525-0777
  • Martin Muller 206-525-5575