August 11, 2020


1.  Know about exclusions to coverage.  For example, most insurance policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage as a standard item.  These types of coverage must be purchased separately.

2.  Know about dollar limitations on claims.  Even if you are covered for a risk, there may be a limit on how much the insurer will pay.  For example, many policies limit the amount paid for stolen jewelry unless items are insured separately.

3.  Know the replacement cost.  If your home is destroyed you will receive money to replace it only to the maximum of your coverage, so be sure your insurance is sufficient.  This means that if your home is insured for $350,000 and it costs $$390,000 to replace it, you will only receive $350,000.

4.  Know the actual cash value.  If you chose not to replace your home when it is destroyed, you will receive replacement cost, less depreciation.  This is called the actual case value.

5.  Know the liability.  Generally your homeowner’s insurance covers you for accidents that happen to other people on your property, including medical care, court costs and awards by the court.  However, there is usually an upper limit to the amount of coverage provided.  Be sure that it is sufficient if you have significant assets.

Change in the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET)

SB 6424 and HB 3179, which would expand uses of local real estate excise tax, could be voted on in either the House or Senate as soon as today. Please contact your legislator IMMEDIATELY and ask them to vote NO. Senate members will be voting on SB 6424, House members will be voting on HB 3179.Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
Your Representative (if you live in Washington)
Your State Senator (if you live in Washington)

Below is the sample letter:
Subject: Preserve Infrastructure – Vote NO on SB 6424 and HB 3179

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

Please oppose SB 6424 and HB 3179. These bills would expand the allowed uses of the local second .25% real estate excise tax.

This additional tax on home sales was adopted with the commitment that it would be dedicated to provide infrastructure necessary to implement the Growth Management Act. Now, local governments are seeking to divert this funding for operating expenses or for public buildings that can be funded through bond authority or other mechanisms. The real estate excise tax is a volatile revenue stream that is ill-suited for operating expenses, and other funding options exist that are not being utilized by local governments.

Diverting local REET revenue from basic infrastructure means fewer construction projects that create jobs and tax revenue, and undermines the ability of local governments to accommodate growth as required by the Growth Management Act. Please vote NO on SB 6424 and HB 3179.


Here are some improvement projects that will boost the value of your home when it is time to sell.  Remodeling magazine indicates that we in the Pacific Northwest do put a higher return on the investment value on these projects than do other parts of the country.

  • Replacing siding with fiber-cement or foam-backed vinyl – you will get back an average of 84% or 79% of the cost, respectively.
  • Replacing windows with vinyl or wood ones returns 89% or 86% of the money spent.
  • Full bathroom or kitchen remodel brings back 77% to 85% of the cost, again, respectively.
  • Adding a deck returns 92% of the cost if the deck is made of wood or 82% if it is constructed of more expensive composite materials.
  • Remodeling and finishing a previously unfinished basement can return up to 92% of the cost of the project . . . and provide you with the use enjoyment until it is time to sell.


The short sale of a home can be done faster under new Treasury Department rules.  People whose principal residence is worth less than the mortgage on it may be eligible if:
1.  they are delinquent on payments or default seems likely
2.  the loan was made before Janaury 1, 2009
3.  the loan is for less than $729,750
4.  their monthly mortgage payment is more than 31% of their gross income.

Caution:  Mortgage companies do not have to start using these criteria until April 5thWhat to do:  Talk to the bank holding your mortgage to find out whether you qualify under the new rules.

2010 New Appliance Credits . . .