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We did it Pacific Northwest!  For Halloween, children and adults enjoy common festivities including dressing up, office parties, and of course, trick or treating.  This is the only time of year when people can become the professionals they idolize, or the characters that heavily influence them, or a profession that they aspire to be, or just anything that is NOT THEM!  From elementary school to colleges to retirement homes, everyone celebrates Halloween in their own special way!

However, it is sad to say that trick or treating has taken quite a dip in terms of community involvement over the past few years.  With the many dangerous things that are present in our current community, it is getting more and more common for parents to not take their children trick or treating. 

Although this is something that should be taken very seriously, there is one thing that we in the Pacific Northwest can be very proud of.  The cities of Seattle and Portland ranked #8 and #10 in the United States regarding the best placed for trick or treating!

With the overwhelming friendly nature the Pacific Northwest has to offer, along with the unique culture that each city provides, parents can trust that their children will have a great time while being in a safe environment.

According to research conducted by Zillow, Seattle and Portland reached these excellent rankings with parameters set by Zillow’s home value index, population density, walk score, and local crime data of that neighborhood!

When in Seattle, the best neighborhoods to trick or treat at include: Phinney Ridge, Loyal Heights, Wallingford, Queen Anne, and Roosevelt!

In Portland, the best neighborhoods to go to include: Alameda, Laurelhurst, Irvington, Mount Tabor, and Eastmoreland!

Most importantly, we at Creekside Mortgage want to ensure that each and every one of you have a safe Halloween!  With everything that is out there, it truly is better to be safe than sorry.  We would love for you to share with us your Halloween costume on Facebook and Twitter!  (Who knows what mysterious treats we will give away to those who share the most…) 

Go to http://www.zillow.com/blog/trick-or-treat/ for more city information!

In January, 2014, Theodore and Jessica were looking to purchase a house to raise their two year old son.  They were tired of living in a small apartment, having aspirations to live in the perfect neighborhood.  Being a sports enthusiast, Theodore was looking for a house near a park so he can teach his boy how to play catch.  Jessica, a stay at home mom, was looking for a house located in a relatively small town, with stores walking distance away.  With these dreams, the young couple went about in search for their new home. 

However, the couple seemed to not be in a rush at all when searching for a new home.  Although knowing what they wanted for a house and the many options out there that meets their criteria, the couple was very unaggressive in their search.  They searched for houses only a couple times per month, and rarely attended open houses or virtual walkthroughs.  Because they always vented to their friends and family about how passionate they were about buying a new house, one would wonder what is holding them back from buying a house today!  Is there a specific strategy that Theodore and Jessica portraying?  Hmmmmmm…..

Flash forward to present day, October 20, 2014! All of sudden, Theodore and Jessica get a jolt of aggression!  Friends find them every day searching for houses and taking tours.  Friends and family said they visited over twenty houses in one week!  WOW!  What sparked this changed mindset?  What stimulated this out of nowhere aggression?

One thing that has yet to be mentioned is what Theodore does for a living.  Theodore is an economics professor at the University of Portland, and has done multiple studies on real estate economics.  Having this background, it appears that Theodore and Jessica were playing us all along, being fully aware of the actions they were taking in terms of their house buying decision.

They did it!  Found their dream house and locked in their mortgage rate successfully!  This rose many eyebrows to Theodore and Jessica’s friends and family.  More shockingly, friends and family were amazed when they found out that Theodore and Jessica’s interest rate was MUCH LOWER than theirs.  I guess being an economist has its perks huh Theodore?

With interest rates being the lowest it’s been since May of 2013, house buying season is the PRESENT!  “Why are rates dropping?” ignorantly asks Theodore’s and Jessica’s friends and family. 

Economist Theodore attributed that their many reasons why mortgage interest rates decline.  For his particular home, however, he mentioned two specific reasons: stock markets and the Ebola virus.

Wall Street recently experienced a sharp sell-off, making rates drop by about 450 points.  This meant that banks were starting to struggle, forcing the interest rates to decrease in an attempt to stay afloat.

In addition, the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus has airline rates declining at an astonishing level, effecting the global economy negatively but making decreasing mortgage interest rates its only silver lighting.

“Now is the time to buy houses!” preached Theodore.  “Although the rates are currently low, they will increase again really soon, so take advantage of the services offered by your local mortgage broker today!”

When purchasing a home, there a lot of decisions that buyers are constantly plagued with.  They would have to consider what type of loan they would want, figure out how much they qualify for, and figure out what broker and realtor to use.  However, if there is one group that benefits the most from buying homes, it is veterans.  

One big thing that all veterans have is the VA and VA loan programs.  These programs, in fact, are BENEFITS to our veterans.  Serving our country is something that we can always thank them for and said benefit packages are entities that they have earned.  With these VA loan programs set in place, veterans have a resource to buy or refinance their homes!  

So what are a few benefits associated with this benefit?

First, VA loan programs offer 100% financing.  Unlike other mortgage programs, VA loans do not require a down payment.  To make things less technical sounding, you do not have to dent your wallet immediately after the purchase!

Secondly, with most loans, you would have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).  PMIs in a sense protects all mortgage lenders against any loss if the worst case scenario occurs, the borrower defaults!  Although a relatively small payment, borrowers pay a percentage until the lender builds a trust with said borrower.  Obviously, these PMIs can be very costly over an extended period of time.  The beauty about VA loan programs is that no PMI is required.  One word that all veterans can abide to is TRUST!

An additional benefit with using VA to purchase homes is that the veterans get safe, sound, and sanitary appraisals.  Not only do want veterans to own their own homes, but we want these homes to meet a high standard of living!

The last key benefit with using a VA loan is guidance through customer retention.  Let’s say that a veteran loses his income source and becomes temporarily unemployed…In this scenario, VA will work with you in altering your payment plan so you do not lose your dream home!