As the 2017 Legislature resolves the state budget and McCleary education funding issue, REALTORS® request that critical housing policy issues also be addressed. Both urban and rural areas of Washington are facing a housing crisis that only the Legislature can solve.
In rural areas, the Supreme Court's Hirst water rights decision concluded that the Growth Management Act requires counties to restrict water use in rural areas even if the proposed water use is consistent with the Department of Ecology's rules. The GMA has no such requirements. SB 5239 would enable landowners and local governments to use water that is consistent with Ecology's regulations, restoring the correct relationship between the state and local government on water resource issues. Thousands of landowners will face catastrophic economic consequences unless the Legislature resolves this problem in 2017.
In many of Washington's urban areas, available housing inventory is at an all-time low and prices at all-time highs. These market conditions impact both buyers and renters, and also the homeless. SB 5254 improves the GMA's Buildable Lands Report process to better determine the adequacy of buildable lands inside designated Urban Growth Areas. The bill also extends the $40 document recording surcharge that funds local homeless programs for 10 years, the longest fee extension in the history of the program, and allows use of local Real Estate Excise Tax for construction of homeless housing.
These days, it seems like everyone is looking for ways to save a few dollars while also making those much-needed home improvements. Thanks to YouTube instructional videos and HGTV’s ideas and inspiration, homeowners can now tackle a lot of home improvement projects themselves. And while those DIY projects are fantastic (not to mention impressive!), it’s important for homeowners to know their limits. A new piece by the National Association of REALTORS®’ consumer website, HouseLogic, gives DIY-ers some solid advice for tackling those bigger projects, including the importance of thinking 10 steps ahead, steering clear from automatically choosing the cheapest options, and going DIY only when emergency help is available (NOT on holidays, when plumbers and electricians are often unreachable).