14 Small Towns Near Seattle That You Need To Visit Right Now

Looking for one last weekend away before school starts and fall gets into full swing? Here are 14 great small towns just a short drive away from Seattle! ‪#‎seattlesummer‬ ‪#‎smalltownusa‬
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14 small towns near Seattle you need to visit right now – Curbed Seattle

There’s so much to see and do in Seattle but we understand. Sometimes you just need to get away. It’s a good thing there are so many great small towns and getaways nestled within driving distance of the city. That makes it pretty eay to plan a day trip or simple overnight without needing to book a plane ticket.

Looking for some really, really good bread? Head to Edison. Want to be wowed by Victorian architecture? Definitely make a trip over to Port Townsend. Want to take a trip back in time? Try Scandinavian Poulsbo or Bavarian Leavenworth. No matter where you choose to visit, these small towns all offer much to see, eat, and do.

1 Carnation

Fun fact. The town was originally known as Tolt but changed itself to Carnation to honor the Carnation Milk Products Company. Kinda weird. But Carnation today is a great place to go when you want to go berry picking in the summer or pumkpin picking in the fall. Seek out Camlann Medieval Village, a living history museum of a medieval English village, as well.

4621 Tolt Ave
Carnation, WA 98014

2 Coupeville

Right in the middle of Whidbey Island, Coupeville satisfies two sides to your day-tripping needs. Because it’s on the skinny neck of the island, the town itself touches both east and west coasts. The east drops you into a delightful main street with authentic Victorian buildings and Penn Cove mussels. The west takes you to Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, a beautiful green mixture of farmland and forest.

4 Front St NW
Coupeville, WA 98239

3 Edison

One word: Breadfarm. Okay, that’s two words made into one word, but this isn’t about semantics. It’s about other-worldly bread (and graham crackers), That’s a good enough reason along to visit but this old timber town has been remade by artists and artisans and is now stocked with places to eat and shop that make for a great respite between Bellingham and Seattle. There’s even a folk song about the town because of course.

5766 Cains Ct
Bow, WA 98232

4 La Conner

This waterfront village on the Swinomish Channel is a good place to visit in the summer or fall when you’re looking for a walkable destination full of specialty shops,historic buildings and restaurants. It’s a great place to visit in the spring since you’ll have to make your way through the tuilp fields to get there from the highway. It’s a prime stopping spot during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

402 Morris St
La Conner, WA 98257

5 Langley

Near the southern end of Whidbey Island, you’ll find Langley tucked away in one of the corners. Once there, the quaint town is a loop of coffee shops, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. Some top picks include Useless Bay Coffee Company or The Braeburn for breakfast/lunch as well as Prima Bistro for dinner. Keep an eye out for passing whales by the Boy and Dog statue and then ring the brass bell at Seawall Park if you see one.

121 Second Street
Langley, WA 98260

6 Leavenworth

You might think Leavenworth is only for the winter but it’s much more of a year-round tourist destination, This small town is nestled in the Cascade Mountains and although it was once a logging town, it’s been remade into a Bavarian village. We don’t know what it’s like in Bavaria but this sounds like as good of an approximation as you’re going to get. Old world charm, German cuisine, and festivals like Maifest mean there’s always something to try here. Or you could just head to the mountains for hiking, skiing, or anything else one does in the mountains.

940 US-2
Leavenworth, WA 98826

7 North Bend

Twin Peaks completists will want to take a trip here. Stop by Twede’s Café for a “damn good cup of coffee” and some cherry pie. Take your picture with the Giant Log from the opening credits. Try to find the spot in front of Mount Si from the opening as well. You can also do non-Twin Peaks things here, like climb Mount Si or visit the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum.

137 W North Bend Way
North Bend, WA 98045

8 Port Townsend

You can drive here in a day, no problem, though you’ll probably want to take the ferry via Whdibey Island for a more enjoyable trip. The main drag is lined with historic buildings from the 19th century and early 20th. Take a side trip up the hill and peruse some of the classic Victorian homes still standing. If you’ve got time, consider catching a movie in the Rose Theatre’s Starlight Room, complete with comfy couches and food service.

235 Taylor St
Port Townsend, WA 98368

9 Poulsbo

With many Scandinavian immigrants making up the early founders of the city, downtown Poulsbo has become a tourist attraction thanks to a Scandinavian theme that includes buildings and shop offerings. If you’re gonna go to Poulsbo, you have to try the Poulsbo Bread. Located on Liberty Bay, many visitors love to travel by boat coming or going. There’s three marinas to choose from.

200 Moe St NE
Poulsbo, WA 98370

10 Sequim

The “Lavender Capital of North America” is said to rivaled by only France in terms of production, so we hope you like lavender. If not, there’s still lots to offer here. The Dungeness crab is plentiful and you can explore for yourself on the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, home to over 250 species of animals. Keep an eye out for the Roosevelt elk who roam nearby as well.

1192 E Washington St
Sequim, WA 98382

11 Snohomish

Antiques fans look no further. Snohomish is referred to as the “Antique Capital of the Northwest” and the entire Snohomish Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. So it’s like an antique place full of antique shops full of antiques. Mind blown.

1301 1st St
Snohomish, WA 98290

12 Snoqualmie

Obviously, people flock to Snoqualmie to see Snoqualmie Falls, made famous for it’s inclusion in Twin Peaks (though it was still plenty famous on its own). However if you stick around and check out the Historic District, you’ll find a nice area to spend the day full of shops, restaurants and the Northwest Railway Museum.

34825 SE Douglas St
Snoqualmie, WA 98065

13 Vashon

We’ve listed a lot of Vashon homes on this site and it’s only a 20-minute ferry ride away from Seattle but if you’ve never made it over, you might want to remedy that. Vashon offers a sweet downtown to walk through full of stores, shops, and restaurants. And then explore the island itself (well, both islands, don’t forget about Maury Island) and you’ll find a mix of old farms and new homes, not to mention some nice beaches.

20622 Vashon Hwy SW
Vashon, WA 98070

14 Winthrop

If you head to Leavenworth to feel like you’re in old-world Germany, you head to Winthrop to feel like you’re in the old West. In the heart of Methow Valley, Winthrop offers up shops with Western storefronts and wood boardwalks, but it’s also a great place to experience the outdoors. It has over 120 miles of cross-country skiing trails and access to everything the Cascades has to offer.

134 Riverside Ave
Winthrop, WA 98862

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New on Market – Gorgeous West Seattle Townhome

Beautiful Townhome example

Beautiful 3bd/3.25ba Townhome with Open Floor Plan. Light and Bright Main Floor Featuring Gleaming Hardwoods and Spacious Kitchen with Granite Slab Countertops and Custom Cabinetry. Master Bedroom and Second Bedroom Upstairs Each Have En Suite Baths. Laundry Closet Upstairs as well as Plentiful Storage and Closets throughout the Home. Attached 1 Car Garage. Fully Fenced Backyard and Close to all that the Morgan Junction has to Offer. You’ll love it here!

Offered at $519,800

For more information or to schedule a private showing, please call Gale Burbach at 206.550.7110

Beautiful Townhome

Beautiful Townhome example

Beautiful Townhome example

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Millionaire’s Advice to Millennials

Millionaire to Millennials

Millionaire to Millennials: Buy a Home!!

Last week, CNBC ran an article quoting self-made millionaire David Bach explaining that not purchasing a home is “the single biggest mistake millennials are making” because buying real estate is “an escalator to wealth.”

Bach went on to explain:

“If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none. The average homeowner to this day is 38 times wealthier than a renter.”

In his bestselling book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” Bach does the math:

“As a renter, you can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years ($1,500 a month for 30 years comes to $540,000), and in the end wind up just where you started — owning nothing. Or you can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage, and in the end wind up owning your own home free and clear!”

Who is David Bach?

Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.

He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show appearing more than 100 times, has been a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS, and has been profiled in many major publications, including The New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.

Bottom Line

Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.

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What Are the Experts Saying about Mortgage Rates?

What Are the Experts Saying about Mortgage Rates?

What Are the Experts Saying about Mortgage Rates?

Mortgage interest rates have risen over the last few months and projections are that they will continue their upswing throughout 2017. What impact will this have on the housing market? Here is what the experts are saying:

Laurie Goodman, Co-director of the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center:

“In 1984, 1994, 2000, and 2013, every time we have rate increases, we have increases in nominal home prices. We expect this to be more pronounced, as there is a big demand-and-supply gap at the present time.”

Scott Anderson, Chief Economist for Bank of the West:

“The tightening labor market, rising wage growth, high levels of consumer confidence and a millennial generation with a pent-up demand for housing should allow the housing market to weather the storm of gradually rising interest rates.”

Ivy Zelman in her latest “Z” Report:

“Although we strongly believe that the housing supply-demand imbalance for single-family homes will continue to drive above-average home price appreciation, just as falling mortgage rates aided pricing power on the margin in recent months, we expect the opposite effect to become evident in the coming months. As such, we project year-end home price inflation of 4.8% for 2017 and 4.1% for 2018.”

Bob Walters, President & COO of retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans:

“A modest increase in mortgage rates won’t have much of an effect on home purchases. A buyer may need to slightly re-evaluate which homes they can afford, but it’s not likely to make an impact on qualifying, in most cases.”

First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming:

“Our survey data shows that mortgage rates would have to be significantly higher to have any meaningful impact. The house buying power that borrowers have, even with rates below five percent, still remains historically strong.”

Mortgage Rates Impact on 2017 Home Values

There is no doubt that historically low mortgage interest rates were a major impetus to housing recovery over the last several years. However, many industry experts are showing concern about the possible effect that the rising rates will have moving forward.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are all projecting that mortgage interest rates will move upward in 2017. Increasing interest rates will definitely impact purchasers and may stifle demand.

In a recent study of industry experts, “rising mortgage interest rates, and their impact on mortgage affordability” was named by 56% as the force they think will have the most significant impact on U.S. housing in 2017. If rising rates slow demand for housing, home values will be impacted.

To this point, Pulsenomics, recently surveyed a panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, asking the question “In your opinion, at what level will the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate significantly slow home value appreciation?” The survey revealed the following:

Mortgage Rates Impact on 2017 Home Values | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Most experts believe that rates would need to hit 5% or above to have an impact on home prices.

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Again… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW!

A survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. There are two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

1. Down Payment

The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 40% of consumers think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.

Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO® Scores

The survey also revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

The average conventional loan closed in February had a credit score of 752, while FHA mortgages closed with a score of 686. The average across all loans closed in February was 720. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO® Scores for all loans approved in February.

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, let’s sit down to help you understand your true options.

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