A Bellingham Gem – The Mt. Baker Theatre

Although Bellingham is a relatively small town, we are blessed with a wonderful array of artistic expression from art galleries to on-stage theater.  One such treasure not to be missed is the Mt Baker Theatre.  Opened originally in 1927, the theatre continues to host a variety of venues throughout the year that the entire family can enjoy.  Being the largest performing arts facility north of Seattle, art enthusiasts can find a wide selection of drama, dance and music choices offered monthly.  This link will take to you to the 2014-2015 season events: http://www.mountbakertheatre.com/events/season-brochure.

And this weekend the theatre is presenting the whitty production The Underpants at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are still available ranging starting at $25. Give them a call at 360-734-6080 or buy tickets on line at http://www.mountbakertheatre.com/events/2015/mbt-presents-jekyll-hyde.  Enjoy your weekend and maybe I'll see you there!

Posted on February 20, 2015 at 6:26 pm
Leslie Hobkirk | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Bellingham/Whatcom County Real Estate Market Update – Is It Time To Make A Move??

As I officially welcome in the new year and set about creating a plan for a successful 2015, I think it is key to look back over the last year and see where the real estate market is trending.  The general feeling within our industry is one of optimism.  And with reviewing the progress made from December 2014 to December 2015, I can understand why.  Let me share this with you.

There are a number of key factors showing growth in our markets here in Whatcom County.  When comparing this December with last December, the number of homes pending are up by 31% and the number of homes closed are up by 18.2%.  During this same time frame, we have also seen a rise in price per square foot for homes sold – from $148 to $155.  Then we are witnessing the decrease in our current inventory this year, from 5.7 months of inventory to only 4.6 months today.  The graph below shows monthly inventory and monthly solds.  All of these factors combined with historically low interest rates (30 year at 3.875%) help to create a great opportunity for sellers.

 

Buyers can also benefit from the current market by taking advantage of the low interest rates.  Within the past few months,  banks have loosened their “death” grip on the money they have to lend.  As well, the Federal government has declared a substantial decrease in private mortgage insurance (required by all lenders for borrowers with less than 20% down) which gives you more buying power.  Wonderful programs such as USDA & VA zero down loans and FHA 3.5% down loans are now available to qualified borrower.

Buying and selling real estate is a process.  An educated buyer or seller is definitely a more satisfied client.  Let my 23+ years of working with people just like you to find the perfect fit become your wealth of information.  Call me to begin formulating your plan for success – 360-961-8052 or leslie@lesliehobkirk.com .

Posted on February 20, 2015 at 6:21 pm
Leslie Hobkirk | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Come Enjoy the Christmas Events of Whatcom County – December 5-7, 2014

Not only are we blessed with a beautiful place to live, but one that really envelops the spirit of the Christmas season with many things to see and do.  Below is a brief list of events over the weekend of December 5th-7th that you and your family might enjoy taking part in.  A full description of each event can be found at http://www.bellingham.org/insider-blogs/holiday-events-in-whatcom-county/ thanks to Annette Bagley of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism .

Dec 5th – Downtown Bellingham Tree-lighting and Art Walk starting at 5:30

Dec 5-7th – Holiday Port Celebrations – times vary; more at http://portofbellingham.com/141/Holiday-Port/

Dec 6thLynden Lighted Christmas Parade starting at 6:00 – more at http://lynden.org/

Dec 6, 13 & 20thFree Horse Drawn Carriage Rides and Santa in Fairhaven  – noon to 3; more at http://www.fairhavenvillageinn.com/

Fairhaven-Holiday-Festival1-300x200

Dec 5-7thOld Fashioned Christmas in Ferndale – times vary; more at http://ferndaleheritagesociety.com/events.php#oldFashionedChristmas

Dec 5-7thHoliday Harbor Lights in Blaine – times vary; more at http://blaineholidayharborlights.com/

Dec 13 – Jingle Bell Run/Walk for arthritis – pre-registration and day of event information at http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1111851

Posted on December 4, 2014 at 12:48 am
Leslie Hobkirk | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

A Delicious Summer Past Time Is Extended – NW Washington Crabbing

One of the great highlights of our family's summer is heading out on Bellingham Bay in our boat.  There are so many wonderful sights to see from the beautifully undisturbed scenery to the active marine life – dolphins, jellyfish, seabirds and jumping fish.  But the best sight of all is that of the creature that dwells at the depths of the Bay – the NW Dungeness crab!  We anxiously wait for the opening day of crabbing on July 1st and reluctantly say goodbye on September 30th.  But not this year!  After checking with the www.wdfw.wa.gov  website, I see that Dungeness crab harvesting has been extended until the end of the year – December 31st – and is now seven days a week!

The crabbing ritual is quite a production.  The first thing is to make sure that the weather, wind and waves are going to cooperate.  I check the Bellingham Bay cam and weather station information on the internet multiple time while getting ready.  As we have found out the hard way, Bellingham Bay can be very unpredictable and downright scary at times.  While the husband is busy getting the boat and gear ready for our excursion, I am responsible for snacks (everyone's favorites must be on board), layers (make sure everyone has a jacket even if it is 80 degrees outside because you never know…), crab bait (do they want turkey legs this time or salmon chum) and crab transportation devices (what will we carry our bounty home in?).  There is one last stop on our way to the marina launch – yes, there must be enough gas to get us to the hunting grounds and back.  We stop at our favorite gas station to fill up. Now we're ready to go!

Time to launch.  This can be a bit tense at times.  I've mastered the backup technique by now, but still have a difficult time reading the minds of those also launching or coming back in.  Patience is the key.  Once in the water, it's time to head out to our favorite spot – Eliza Island.  During the 17 minute ride out to the island, I am busy stuffing the bait boxes in the crab traps (got to make it irresistible) so that we are ready for action the minute we arrive.  Upon arrival we drop the pots and pray for success.

What keeps our focus is the amazing taste of a fresh Dungeness crab that you yourself have caught that very day. Catch it at noon and dinner is served.  Yummy!  All summer long there is an on-going competition between ourselves and the commercial fisherman.  Have they already harvested all of the crab?  Can we max out on the daily quota?  Seems like only the small ones are left… (Did you know that it takes 11 years for a Dungeness crab to reach it's adult harvesting size – we have more respect for these creatures now that we know this.)   One more drop will surely put us over the top.  If not, it's because the commercials have taken all of our beloved crab…  Oh well.  We'll still enjoy our day's spoils tonight.

The last day of crabbing, September 30,  is always a sad day for us.  It marks the end of summer and the end of our fun-filled excursions out onto the Bay.  But not this year – we have more time.  We aren't sure how many more times we will make it out for the remainder of this season, but it is great to know that if the day is a wonderful weather day we can head out and catch one of our beloved crabs for dinner which is really only earmarked for summer. Enjoy!

Posted on October 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm
Leslie Hobkirk | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,