Dredging Work Continues on Snohomish River

Work should be done by Feb. 15; sediment will be disposed in Port Gardner

Michael O'Leary / The Herald


EVERETT — Another phase of dredging in the Snohomish River began Monday and is expected to be finished by Feb. 15.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is paying $1.25 million to American Construction of Tacoma to do the work.

The federal agency has regularly dredged the channel six miles upriver from Port Gardner since 1910 to keep it safe for ships, spokesman William Dowell said. The Port of Everett has done other work on its own.

The work will be done with a clamshell-style shovel to scoop up and lift out material in various spots in the river to level them off, Dowell said.

In the fall, hydraulic machinery was used to suck out sediment in strategic locations in the river, including south of the I-5 bridge next to the Langus Riverfront Trail.

In December, hydraulic dredging also was done in an area between the Port of Everett Marina and Jetty Island, just south of the 10th Street Boat Launch, Dowell said.

Portable Hydraulic Dredging Inc., of Eagle Creek, Ore., was paid $1.5 million for that work.

Of the dredged soil, 100,000 cubic yards was provided to the city of Everett for fill projects and 79,000 cubic yards was used to reinforce two areas on Jetty Island.

Soil in areas targeting for dredging is tested, Dowell said. Clean soil from the next round of dredging will be deposited in Port Gardner in accordance with federal environmental procedures, he said.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.

Posted on February 9, 2013 at 12:41 am
Shelia Simmons | Posted in Uncategorized |

Peaks and Valleys of House Hunting Online


In general, the most popular times of year for online home searches are at the start of the year and in the summer, according to the Trulia Real Estate Search Report released Wednesday.

However, Trulia reveals some fluctuation across the country with a major tendency for online searches to peak when the weather is warm and dry.

“Local weather patterns have a big impact on when people search for homes online,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia.

“Search activity in warm-winter states, like Florida and Hawaii, peaks in January and February. But for most of the country, search traffic is highest in March or April, especially in regions where summer brings rain,” Kolko explained.

Nationally, online real estate searches pick up at the start of the year, peak in March or April, and then reach a lull in May.

Searches peak again in June and July and then taper off toward the end of the year.

Overall, December is the slowest state for online searches, according to Trulia’s data.

To zero in on statewide trends across the country, Trulia reviewed search patterns from 2007 to 2012, removing the upward trend to observe whether search activity in a particular month is above or below the annual average for each state.

In January, search activity in Hawaii and Florida is 10 percent higher than the annual average for each state.

Several states reach their search peaks in either March or April—32 states between the two months.

Southern states generally experience their busiest search months in the July. Mississippi is the only state to peak in June.

Montana and Oregon have the latest search peak months—August for both.

No states peak between September and December. In fact, according to Trulia, all states are at least 10 percent below their annual search average in the month of December.

Understanding these statewide trends can benefit both buyers and sellers, according to Kolko.

“Buyers and sellers can use these ups and downs to their advantage,” Kolko said. “Sellers looking for the most buyers should list when real estate search traffic peaks.”

On the other hand, buyers, however, should think about searching off-season, when there is less competition from other searches,” .



Posted on February 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm
Shelia Simmons | Posted in Uncategorized |

IRS Offers Top 10 Tax-Time Tips

The income tax filing season has begun and important tax documents should be arriving in your mailbox. Even though your return is not due until April, you can make tax time easier on yourself with an early start. Here are the Internal Revenue Service’s top 10 tips to ensure a smooth tax-filing process.

1. Gather your records Round up any documents you’ll need when filing your taxes: receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you’re claiming on your return.

2. Be on the lookout W-2s and 1099s will be coming soon; you’ll need these to file your tax return.

3. Have a question? Use the Interactive Tax Assistant available on the IRS website to find answers to your tax questions about credits, deductions, general filing questions and more.

4. Use Free File Let Free File do the hard work for you with brand-name tax software or online fillable forms. It's available exclusively at www.irs.gov. Everyone can find an option to prepare their tax return and e-file it for free. If you made $57,000 or less, you qualify to use free tax software offered through a private-public partnership with manufacturers. If you made more or are comfortable preparing your own tax return, there's Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic versions of IRS paper forms. Visit www.irs.gov/freefile to review your options.

5. Try IRS e-file IRS e-file is the safe, easy and most common way to file a tax return. Last year, 79 percent of taxpayers – 106 million people – used IRS e-file. Many tax preparers are now required to use e-file. If you owe taxes, you have payment options to file immediately and pay by the tax deadline. Best of all, the IRS issues refunds to 98 percent of electronic filers by direct deposit within 14 days, if there are no problems, and some may be issued in as few as 10 days.

6. Consider other filing options There are many options for filing your tax return. You can prepare it yourself or go to a tax preparer. You may be eligible for free face-to-face help at a volunteer site. Give yourself time to weigh all the options and find the one that best suits your needs.

7. Consider direct deposit If you elect to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, you’ll receive it faster than a paper check in the mail.

8. Visit the official IRS website often The IRS website at www.irs.gov is a great place to find everything you need to file your tax return: forms, publications, tips, answers to frequently asked questions and updates on tax law changes.

9. Remember this number: 17 Check out IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, on the IRS website. It’s a comprehensive resource for taxpayers, highlighting everything you’ll need to know when filing your return.

10. Review! Review! Review! Don’t rush. We all make mistakes when we rush. Mistakes slow down the processing of your return. Be sure to double check all the Social Security numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors. Don’t panic! If you run into a problem, remember the IRS is here to help. Start with www.irs.gov.


Posted on January 30, 2013 at 11:53 pm
Shelia Simmons | Posted in Uncategorized |

Local Home Prices on the Rise

Strong demand, tighter inventory drove the increase in sales prices.


Posted on January 14, 2013 at 11:45 pm
Shelia Simmons | Posted in Uncategorized |

2013: Another Good Year for Housing

Posted January 9 2013, 11:45 AM PST by Matthew Gardner
Posted in Market News by Matthew Gardner

Well, the time has come again to polish up the old crystal ball, gaze into it, and see what's in store for the housing market in 2013.

Having spent long hours staring into the mists, it appears as if this year will be about as easy to predict as last year. Not because of any fundamental change in the housing market itself – although I so see plenty of adjustments afoot – rather the future is clouded because of the prevailing fractured political environment.

That said, here is what I am looking for this year.

1. Interest rates are likely to stay at close to historic lows at least through the middle of this year. Inasmuch as there are some mumblings from members of the Federal Reserve relative to a slowing down in Qualitative Easing (which is basically the printing of money which is then added to the economy in order to stimulate growth) before the end of the year, I do not see this as putting rapid upward pressure on interest rates in the near-term. That said, I do think that they will start to come off their current lows, so now may well be a good time to lock in.

2. Housing prices have bottomed out and we will continue to see appreciation in values across the board in 2013. The caveat here is that we are unlikely to see the kind of upward pressure in values that was seen in 2012. Unless we see a rapid increase in inventory levels, look for more modest price increases – but increases we will certainly see.

3. In 2012, many were heralding the veritable tsunami of foreclosed homes that were certain to come to market and cause a rapid reversal in price gains. This, of course, did not happen. Many may remember the huge numbers that were being bandied around as to the number of foreclosed homes that were supposedly heading our way. I personally heard numbers as high as five million units. Now that the smoke has cleared somewhat, the numbers are becoming a little clearer.

With a shadow inventory of around 2.3 million units of pending supply, I am actually not too worried at all. We need to get these homes to market and sold, and we will. It's just a matter of how long it will take. With over half of these homes delinquent, but not yet subject to foreclosure proceedings, I believe there will continue to be a shadow well into 2014.

That said, demand from the investment community, as well as from buyers who are not finding sufficient choice in the non-distressed market, should continue to reduce the number of distressed properties.

4. Household formations should start to increase but this will not be enough to get the homebuilding industry back into full swing. Many builders are still uncertain, and while they see a supply/demand imbalance in the market, they have not yet pulled the trigger and gotten back to full production. This is likely to remain the case in 2013.

5. There are several buyer groups that are expected to make an entry into the market in 2013.

Entry level buyers – First-time homebuyers have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for a sign that we’re at the bottom. As they hear about price increases in their desired neighborhood(s) they are likely to rush to become homeowners.

Move-up buyers – The price appreciation that has occurred in the last year has already lifted over one million underwater homeowners above water, with future price appreciation to lift them even more. Look to see many of them considering trading up.

Move-down buyers – Empty nesters and retirees, who still have equity in their existing home, will think about buying a home that is more suitable to their current lifestyle. This may, or may not, include adult children as well as their aging parents.

Investors – Investors and, yes, even flippers, will continue to grow in numbers as they realize housing is the best risk-adjusted return on their money.

The recovery in the housing market has been a very long time coming, but I believe that it is here to stay, and all things being equal, I expect 2013 to be another good year.

Have a fantastic year!

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm
Shelia Simmons | Posted in Uncategorized |

Important to Know…

This week, Congress passed the "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012" which extends the income tax exemption on forgiven mortgage debt for one year. This means that homeowners who short-sell their principal residence and are forgiven the obligation to repay some or all of the unpaid balance may exclude the qualified cancelled debt from their taxable income. This should serve to promote short sales in the coming year as it will enable homeowners to continue seeking forgiveness of mortgage debt in a short sale without being taxed for it. The exemption also applies to any qualified debt forgiveness in a loan modification, refinance, or foreclosure.

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm
Shelia Simmons | Posted in Uncategorized |

Housing: Year End Reports Reveal Market Coming Back

by The KCM Crew on January 2, 2013

Every year-end housing report revealed that the real estate market is recovering quite nicely. Here is a quick synopsis of each:

Existing Home Sales Report

  • Total existing-home sales rose 5.9 percent in November over last month
  • Sales are 14.5 percent higher than November 2011
  • Sales are at the highest level since November 2009
  • The national median existing-home price was $180,600 in November, up 10.1 percent from November 2011
  • Total housing inventory at the end of November fell to a 4.8-month supply; it was 5.3 months in October, and is the lowest housing supply since September of 2005 when it was 4.6 months

Pending Sales Report

  • Pending home sales increased in November for the third straight month and reached the highest level in two-and-a-half years
  • The index is at the highest level since April 2010 when buyers were rushing to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit
  • With the exception of several months affected by tax stimulus, the last time there was a higher reading was in February 2007
  • On a year-over-year basis, pending home sales have risen for 19 consecutive months

New Home Sales Report

  • Sales of new homes rose 4.4% in November to a two-and-a-half-year high
  • This is the highest level since April 2010, when a temporary tax credit boosted demand.
  • Sales are now 15.3% higher compared to one year ago

Case Shiller Home Price Index

  • Home prices rose 4.3% in the 12 months ending in October
  • In nineteen of the 20 cities covered, annual returns in October were higher than September


Posted on January 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm
Shelia Simmons | Posted in Uncategorized |


Congratulations Carleton and Lori on the sale of your home. It was great working with you, thank you for choosing me for your real estate needs!

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm
Shelia Simmons | Posted in Uncategorized |

House Prices: Where Are They Headed This Winter?

by The KCM Crew on December 10, 2012 ·

In a blog post last month, we projected that home values might actually begin to soften on a month-over-month basis throughout the winter. There are other expert analysts that are also notifying their readership of this possibility. Calculated Risk, in a post last week explained:

“The monthly Case-Shiller house price indexes will show month-to-month declines soon, probably starting with the October report to be released in late December. The CoreLogic Index has already started to decline on a month-to-month basis.”

Fiserv, another company that analyzes home prices, came to the same conclusion:

“We project a small, short-term price decline for many markets that recently experienced double-digit appreciation.”

This may seem counter to the headlines you have seen claiming home prices are on the rise. However, we must realize that there is seasonality to home price movements. Over the last few years, prices have increased in the spring through the early fall. They then soften throughout the winter. As Calculated Risk reveals:

“This is not a sign of impending doom or another collapse in house prices – it is just the normal seasonal pattern.”

If you are thinking of selling your home in the next 6-8 months, you should realize that waiting may not ensure a higher price and perhaps may even result in a slightly lower sales price.




Posted on January 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm
Shelia Simmons | Posted in Uncategorized |

Holiday Lights

If you are looking for some fun neighborhood light displays to view, click on the link below for a fun guide!

Seattle Times Holiday Lights 2012

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm
Shelia Simmons | Posted in Uncategorized |