Paul's Bellingham Blog

My thoughts on Bellingham, the Real Estate market, and more

Why You Should List Your Home Priced Right, Move-In Ready

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Many sellers I meet with often want to list at a price slightly above market value, to leave negotiating room and see if they can make more money on there home sale. Other sellers have a hard time spending money on repairs and updates hoping to sell “as is”. This is not always a bad strategy, but the numbers provided by the NW Multiple Listing Service and recent research, indicate that the odds are against you if you list your home in below average condition, and/or overpriced.

For listings taken from January 1st, 2013 to February 28th, 2014 in NW Washington:

Homes Sold in first 30 days: 42%.  Sold in 31-60 days, 14%, Sold in 61-90 days:  7%, Sold in 91-120 days 5%.

You can see that if you do not get your home sold in the first 30 days on the market, your odds of getting an offer drop off significantly. That is a good reason to list your home priced competitively from the beginning.

For sellers who do not want to put money in to the home, research indicates the best return is ALWAYS getting the home in good condition prior to listing.

A recent survey by the PulteGroup revealed that 65% of home buyers prefer spending more money on a home that is move-in ready, compared to doing renovations. In addition, homes that are “staged” also have been shown to sell for as much as 8% higher then non-staged homes.

So getting your home in good condition and priced right pays off.  And you don’t need to do everything on your own. For sellers in Whatcom and North Skagit county, we have great resources to help you coordinate repairs/landscaping/cleaning/staging to prepare your home for sale.

We help you position the price right, but also help get it show ready to help you get top dollar. We know what repairs will give you a maximum return and what updates are not worth doing prior to listing.  Contact me today for more information.

(below is a staged home listed and sold in 2014 in Burlington)

2 listings on available now

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If you have ever visited, it can be a little confusing. They have homes with “starting bid” prices advertised that seem amazingly low, and these starting prices appear (and often times are) too good to be true. With that said, there is an opportunity with many of the listings to put in a reasonable bid and get your offer accepted before the auction date…and often times at a price well below market value. Typically in this situation, you can still finance the property, and you can still use your Realtor to help you through the process.

I have two listings now available on auction. A 4 bedroom, 2.75 bath home in Bow, WA (in town of Edison) on waterfront for 284,900.

Also a 2 bedroom condo in Birch Bay with partial bay views for $154,900.

Both of these have starting bids that are very and both of these will probably sell for a price substantially lower than the asking prices. These are both excellent values, and this gives you a unique opportunity to get a great deal through the auction and still have time to finance the property. In many cases on auction day, it is cash offers only.

You do want to do your homework first. These properties are being sold “as is” with no inspection contingency, so you want to be comfortable with the condition of the property first. You do have the opportunity to finance the property if they accept your bid, but you are required to have as much as 5% deposit paid up front in the form of a cashiers check if your bid is approved.

For more details and terms, be sure to visit or contact me for more information.

Fannie Mae Foreclosed Homes Not Yet Listed

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I have created a page on my website, to give buyers/investors, and buyers agents a heads up on new foreclosed listings I have coming on the market in the next month or so. This will be Fannie Mae foreclosed homes in Whatcom and North Skagit County.

Often these are great deals, and after they foreclose it can take some time to get them listed. I will be updating it weekly, so bookmark this page! Click here, or on the picture below to go to my “Coming Soon” page.

New Listing at 5144 Marshall Hill Rd, Deming, WA, Priced at $204,000

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This is really beautiful home and property. Deming is located about 20 minutes east of Bellingham, WA off of the Mt. Baker Hwy. You feel like your in your own private Oasis on this big private lot, with a stream and waterfall. Every window of the house looks out to trees, and the home has been maintained in excellent condition. This is also a great home for someone looking for shop space, since there is an over sized  detached 2 car garage, PLUS a separate workshop in the basement. The home list as only having 2 bedrooms, but has a huge basement that could easily be separated to create a 3rd bedroom and rec room. There is also storage space galore. Just overrall an incredible deal at this price, and unique property.

This is subject to shortsale. On my website, you can learn more about shortsales here. You can also email me direct with any questions about it Here is a video I made showing the creek and much of the homes features..

2565 Finkbonner Rd, Bellingham, WA, For Sale for $209,950

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Apologize if this is being cliche, but this beautiful home is definitely a one-of-a-kind! 

2565 Finkbonner road Bellingham, WA, is a home located in the Gooseberry Point community, which is about 20 minutes to Bellingham, and about 10 minutes to Ferndale. It has a Bellingham address, but is in the Ferndale School district.

The home was originally built in 1954, and then in 1993, completely gutted and remodeled, and a 2nd floor was added at this time as well. The 2nd floor was designed to take in the bay and Island views, and has a beautiful master suite, and an office space, with a neat built-in for a bed (perfect for guests).

So it now effectively offers 3 beds, plus a loft (office and guest bed) and 2 full baths (one up, one down). The foundation, wiring, siding, roof, and most components of the home were re-done to make this effectively a 1993 year built home. Then in more recent years, the current owners updated the home with fresh interior paint, a remodeled kitchen, new fixtures, and also added a gas fireplace.

So what you have now, is an updated home, with all of the modern features (stainless appliances, solid surface counters, master bath, new fixtures, double pane windows) but lots of charm and character through out.

The house also has great outdoor space to entertain, garden, and barbeque. There is a front deck that looks out to the bay, and then a back deck that is more private and goes out to the fenced backyard. There is handi-cap access from the rear deck as well.

The best part of the home, has to be the bay views and the beach. Gooseberry Point has a beautiful sandy beach, and in the summer, it is hard to beat. You will find many  clam digging or kayaking, or just walking the  beach, and soaking in the view. All of the homes in Gooseberry Point have private waterfront rights to this beach.

Here is a short video clip I made, showing the beach, and the short distance from the beach to the house..The video quality is not great, since this was shot on my cell phone.

You are also just steps to the Lummi Island Ferry, which you can walk on for the 10 minute ride across. Lummi Island offers restaraunts, biking, and much more. It’s just a very neat island to be able to take advantage of.

In this price range, there is always trade-offs. In this case, the trade-off would livingoutside of town and having a 10-25 minute commute.

But if your someone who avoids the “cookie-cutter”, and is looking for value in this price range, or just wants to live by the bay, it is absolutely worth your consideration.

To ask questions, or setup a personal tour, please contact me at 360.920.5901 or

2320 Pine dr, Home For Sale in Ferndale, WA


Today, I listed a nice home at 2320 Pine dr in Ferndale for $199,500. Perfect timing for the first time buyers looking to find something before the $8,000 tax credit expires at the end of April.

Typically, when buyers are searching for something under $200,000 in Ferndale, they have major trade-offs to consider. They find a lot of homes that are 3 bedrooms, and a little bigger than the subject home, but these homes usually need a lot of work and/or are in below average neighborhoods.  This is really a lifestyle choice. Do you want to deal with working on your house all day? Do you want to have sketchy neighbors? This is the trade-off sometimes to finding a home with a little extra square footage in this price range in Bellingham and Ferndale Washington. 

Sometimes when you do find them that fit all of your criteria around $200k, the good deals are often times short sales… which can take 3 to 7 months on average, and sometimes never close at all.

So the other end of this trade-off, is a home like this at 2320 Pine dr in Ferndale.  It is NOT a shortsale, and is in great condition, and is in a great neighborhood, (all positives) but the trade-off is it being just 2 bedrooms and less squre footage than much of the competition, around 900 square feet of living space plus a 1 car garage.

This home really is move-in ready. The owners kept the siding caulked and painted, they installed new carpet last year, and overrall it’s just a clean, nice house. (front picture below)




The home sits on a corner lot in a great neighborhood. It is in a neighborhood where the surround homes for sale average around $250,000 to $300,000. The lot has a gravel space to the side for RV or boat parking, and the backyard has privacy fences so you don’t stare at your neighbors backyard.

If your concerned about having only 900 square feet, you’ll be surprised to find the space in this home really comfortable. You will THINK it is 1,000+ square feet after seeing it. The living room and dining room are both spacious areas, and it’s really an open floor plan that lives much bigger than it looks. The home also has natural gas forced air heat, and the sellers had the windows tinted to make the home more energy efficient.


So maybe you only need 2 bedrooms now, but you’d like the chance to expand in the future? The space is here to do it. You could easily convert the garage into a huge bonus room. There is also a roof overhang behind the master bedroom. This space would be ideal to add a 2nd/master bath.

Call me at 360.920.5901 if you’d like to take a look. The home qualifies for Zero Down USDA financing, and it really is a nice value. You can also go to my website to see the virtual tour.

View from the back of the property

5070 Samish Way, Home For Sale in Bellingham, WA

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I recently re-listed 5070 Samish Way in Bellingham, and I wanted to share some of my favorite things about this property. It is located about half way between Lake Samish and Lake Padden, and an easy bike ride to either.  Lake Padden has a beautiful trail that goes around the lake, along with a huge park, and access to Galbraith Mountain, which is a favorite for mountain bikers. It located on the south end of Bellingham, with what many consider the most desirable schools in Bellingham, including the new Wade King Elementary. I is also less than a minute from the I-5 exit. This lets you live in a rural setting, but stay within 5-10 minutes of town, and helps commuters working South of Bellingham.

Front of Property

The property is a shy 2 acres. The home sits just far enough of the road to avoid any note-able road noise, and then suprises in back, with a HUGE covered back deck and bigbackyard. The 410 square feet of covered back deck is the feature that really sets this home apart. In the Northwest, you usually get maybe 4-5 months a year to enjoy the outdoors. With this much outdoor covered space, you can add a space heater and spend time outdoors year round! And the views from the back deck are awesome! It has nice privacy and westerly moutain and treed views.

Covered Back Deck

The next feature is the 24 by 36 Shop.  Someone like me might just use this garage to park my car and for storage, but for the guy or girl who loves shops, this will not dissappoint. It is is in excellent condition and even has a fireplace. It has 110/220 amp power, and is on it’s own power meter. So the car mechanic or business owner who wants to track their power bill seperately here can do it. It also makes it easier to RENT the shop, or even rent part of the shop to someone looking to park a boat for residual income. Shop

The home itself is a classic 50’s rambler, with 3 bedrooms and 1 bath in the home, and then an additional detached finished bonus room space, with a 1/2 bath that was recently renovated. The home has a cozy feel, but a nice sized living room, and big kitchen with the modern appliances and plenty of cabinet/counter space. The home has been updated throughout, but retains a northwest cabin style feel to it. The wood burning stove and oil forced air furnace  make it extremely efficient to heat as well.  What size of the main home is modest, but you more than make up for it with the use of the detached bonus room, covered back deck, and Detached Shop. In short, there is plenty of space for the single guy, the couple, or the family.

Spacious Kitchen

The most important and biggest added value to this home, is the pride of ownership that you get to move-into. Usually when your buying a re-sale home on acreage, your worried about maintenance, repairs, and things you need to buy to keep the place up. In this case, everything is set-up for you to move right in, and we estimated about $17,000 in added value in this.  The home includes all of the lawn equipment, including a riding lawn mower, and all of the appliances, including a newer washer/dryer and deep freezer. The shop is setup with all of the cabinets and built-ins as well. The seller has also already had the home and septic system pre-inspected. All inspection requests have been complete, and a $9,000 new drain field was just installed out back.

So setup your appointment to see this home today! Asking $344,500.

View of Backyard from Deck

Bank Foreclosures in Bellingham in 2010

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I track all bank repo’s that go on the market, and in many cases, I find out about some of the best deals weeks before they are listed. Many of these are fixers that need a lot of work, and therefore don’t work out to be a great deal…But since I’ve been tracking these, I’ve seen many screaming deals listed in the last year. More and more, I am seeing newer homes, and others that just needed cosmetic repair. Many banks are listing 10-20% below market value, just to get these homes sold and off their books.  Expectations are that bank repo’s will continue to flood the market in to 2010.  

If you are considering buying Real Estate in 2010, the smart move is to start tracking these properties, so you can see what they are listing for, what is selling, and get familiar with the repossessed inventory.  I can add you to my email list to receive weekly or daily updates. Just fill out the form at this New Listing Notifier form.  Or you can search for Foreclosures in Bellingham and Whatcom County on my website.