The JayMarc Blog

Blog Category - Home How To’s

4 Tips When Buying Your Dream Home Property

Categories: Home How To's | Posted: June 7, 2018

You want to build your dream home, but don’t have the property to do so. Here are four tips when buying your dream home lot.

Gary Upper JayMarc Homes


Written by: Gary Upper, JayMarc’s Development & Permit Coordinator. Gary has been in the new home construction industry for 39 years.



1. Oil Tanks and Asbestos.

Chances are you will be purchasing a lot with an old house on it that needs to be torn down. Even though you will not care about the condition of the old home there are a couple of things to look for:

First, many older homes have old oil tanks either above ground or more likely buried underground. Some converted to gas years ago, but the tanks are still there. Assume that oil tanks eventually leak and that there may be leaked oil in the ground that will need to be cleaned up. This can be a serious issue costing tens of thousands of dollars to clean up during construction. There are services available that can test for the existence of a tank and contamination as part of your due diligence on the lot. It is highly recommended to do so.

Oil Tank Removal

Second, before a home can be demolished, any friable asbestos must be removed by a licensed contractor. There are contractors who test for the location of asbestos and others who do the removal. Typically, this is a $2,000 to $10,000 process. We often use NVL Labs for our asbestos report.

2. Review the Title Report.

The first thing to do is obtain your preliminary title commitment to see everything that has legally and officially been recorded against the lot. This will include any easements that you may not be aware of, neighborhood covenants that may pose some restrictions on what you can build and any underlying debt instruments that the current owner will need to pay off at closing.

3. Survey the Property.

This is a must! A topographic survey is required as part of your building permit application and also is critical in planning how your new home will fit on the lot. Typically, an architect will require a topo before starting the design of your new house. We often use Terrane for our land surveys.

Topographic Survey Example

Example of a Topographic Survey

4. Get to Know the Rules.

Visit the local jurisdiction and determine the zoning and utility rules that you will need to follow to design and build your home. These things vary from city to city, so it is important to find out what will apply to your specific lot. Most cities are helpful in this way and will be glad to talk to you about your specific lot. These days there are regulations that pertain to allowable building size, building height, lot coverage and tree removal that can all have an impact on your design.

Here are good places to start for cities we build in most often:

Bellevue, WA

Clyde Hill, WA

Mercer Island, WA


If you have any more questions about purchasing property, please email our team at

The Ultimate Guide to Custom Home Construction Loans

Categories: Home How To's | Posted: April 26, 2018

Information provided by Umpqua Bank, JayMarc’s preferred custom home construction lenderUmpqua Bank Logo

You’ve been dreaming, planning, designing — and now you’re ready to build your dream home. Umpqua Bank’s all-in-one custom construction loan will provide the financing you need in one easy step. And when your project is complete, the loan will automatically convert to permanent financing.

The Best Parts: Anytime throughout this process, your loan officer will be available to meet with you and your builder, to answer questions and explain the process. In addition, our custom construction team is available to you as a specialized resource.

  • Construction and permanent financing with a single closing
  • Adjustable rate loan for conforming and non-conforming loan limits
  • Borrow up to $3,000,000 (loan limit varies by State and County)
  • Up to 18 month construction period
  • Primary residence and secondary home financing available
  • Financing also available on new manufactured homes
  • Your land equity and pre-paid costs can be credited toward cash to close

Document Checklist: Here is a handy list of items that will be needed from your builder to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that there is no delay in getting started.

Document ChecklistBuilder Acceptance Information

  • Completed Builder’s Resume
  • Completed W-9 Form
  • Acknowledgment of insurance requirements
  • Copy of general liability insurance with a minimum $500,000 per occurrence. Umpqua Bank will be added as certificate holder prior to your first draw.
  • Copy of worker’s compensation insurance (if applicable)

Project Approval Documentation

  • Complete set of working plans, signed and dated by you and the builder to include the following: foundation plan, framing plan, site plan (plot plan), floor plan, all four elevations and well and/or septic, if applicable.
  • Construction contract, signed and dated by you and the builder to include the following: fixed price, scheduled dates for commencement and completion (event dates are acceptable), all change orders will be in writing and bank will be notified prior to any change implementation, payment method compatible with Umpqua Bank’s line-item disbursement method and subject property numerical street address or full legal description.
  • A detailed description of materials, signed and dated by you and the builder
  • Line item budget signed and dated by you and the builder
  • Subcontractor and supplier list for the project
  • Land purchase and sale agreement (if applicable)



For more information about the lending process, review the Custom Construction Loan FAQ HERE.

Document Checklist – download HERE


If you have any further questions about the custom construction lending process and would like to start a conversation, contact Billie Jo Cusack or Kevin J. Knudson from Umpqua Bank in Bellevue.

Billie Jo Cusack | NMLS 208640 | 425-732-4756 | |

Kevin J. Knudson | NMLS 924939 | 425-732-4755 | |

7 Landscaping Tips to Kick Your Spring Garden into High Gear

Categories: Home How To's | Posted: April 12, 2018

Spring has clearly sprung and foliage is starting to wake up from its winter nap. Now is the time to start prepping and planning out your gardening goals. Here are 7 landscaping tips so you have the Best in Show garden in your neighborhood.

Tips provided by: Classic Nursery & Landscape Company (Woodinville, WA)

Dust off the lawn mower.

It is better to start early in the season with the mower set high than to tackle wet thick grass. Leave the clippings on the ground to break down and provide some free nitrogen for the soil. Don’t forget to fertilize, de-thatch and aerate! Classic Nursery & Landscape Company recommends 18# Gardner & Bloome Organic Lawn Fertilizer.

Clean out spent window boxes.

Spring is the perfect time to brighten your window boxes with colorful, hardy annuals and early blooming perennials. While cleaning out the boxes, check for plants that did not survive the winter. Also, check for rootballs for overcrowding or girdling.


Keep your plants safe from these vegetarian lovers by using Sluggo (not harmful to pets or birds). Take care of them before they attack your garden and hard work!

Wise with water.

Even though it is still raining a lot in the Seattle area, it is still a good idea to get back into water gardening habits! To efficiently use water consider mulch, water deeply and less frequently, water early in the day, use soaker hoses or drip irrigation system and don’t set sprinklers so high that they give off a mist (the mist is useless and just evaporates away).

Painting the roses red – be on the lookout for black spot and powdery mildew.

Take a walk through your entire rose garden and analyze for black spot and powdery mildew. If you spot any, it’s good to catch it before it sets! Classic Nursery & Landscape Company recommends Green Light Rose Defense. If you see any black spot or powdery mildew, remove the diseased leaves and discard them in the trash bin to decrease the chance of it spreading.

Resist the urge to cut down.

Foilage like tulips and daffodils should not be cut down or tied up after they have finished blooming. The bulbs extract and store the nutrients from the leaves for next year’s growth and bloom, so by cutting back too soon you risk next year’s flowers and by tying them up you decrease their ability to photosynthesize and create the food they need to store.

Time to come out of hiding.

Cut fuchsias and geraniums back (down to the rim of the container, if in a hanging basket). Lift them out of the container and repot with fresh soil, no need to change containers as long as the plant isn’t root-bound. Feed with an organic, slow-release fertilizer.


For more monthly gardening tips, visit Classic Nursery’s website at


Classic Nursery & Landscape Company was founded in 1985 and is family owned. Classic Nursery offers creative and flexible, budget-based solutions specifically tailored to fit your site. The staff is a team of professional horticulturalists with a passion for plants.  Think of their 10 acre Woodinville garden center as your local horticultural resource center.

For more information on landscape design and installation, contact Alan Burke at Mention you read this article and receive a free on-site consultation with a continuing nursery discount after your project completion!

Classic Nursery and Landscape Company: 16215 140th PL NE Woodinville, WA 98072

Phone: (425) 885-5678 |

Interest Rates on the Rise – What Does This Mean For You?

Categories: Home How To's, In the News | Posted: March 16, 2017

If you have never heard of The Skimm, let me enlighten you. It’s a daily email sent to your inbox that compiles important world news stories and parses them down into bite sized chunks. I love The Skimm, and was happy to see a snippet today about something that is relevant to the Real Estate industry.

Yesterday, The Fed increased interest rates again. Since the financial crisis in 2008, the economy has been slowly but surely rebuilding itself, and the announcement yesterday shows that our economy is continuing along a predictable path. Though some may see rising interest rates as a sign that it will become more difficult to make big investments, what it really means is our economy is thriving and the market is responding positively to those changes.

Now, don’t panic. Even with the recent quarter-point increase, interest rates are still historically very low.  This means it’s still a great time to borrow money from the government for smart purchases, (like a JayMarc Home!)

Image result for home buildingInvesting in real estate and home ownership is a wise decision because it’s what is called an appreciating asset. Over time, your home and the land it is built on will increase in value, meaning when you are ready to sell, you will get more money for it than you originally paid. Cars, for example are depreciating assets, because as you drive them and put miles on them, they lose a lot of their value.

Some expected The Fed to respond to market changes with a more aggressive rate increase, so the fact that they are increasing rates slowly and steadily shows that market economics are reacting in a predictable manner, which is good for everyone.

JayMarc opts to build homes in neighborhoods that we know will appreciate over the years. We build in districts with the best schools, great walkability, and lowest crime rates so we know our homeowners will want to live there for years. Now is a great time to buy because The Fed is planning on raising interest rates two more times in 2017.

If you are interested in learning about how you can take advantage of this great time to invest in real estate, JayMarc is hosting a Custom Home Seminar on Saturday March 25th where we will talk about finding land, the process of building a home, and custom construction loans. Please RSVP to We hope to see you there!

5 Fall Landscaping Maintenance Tips

Categories: Home How To's | Posted: September 12, 2016

5 Fall Landscaping Maintenance Tips

The fall season brings many lovely and comforting things like pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween, sweaters & boots, gorgeous outdoor colors like deep reds, oranges & yellows and beautiful, crisp sunny days. While we are distracted by the many guilty pleasures we have missed during the summer, we may forget to take care of a few house maintenance items, especially those outside. Here are 5 maintenance tips to consider so when springtime rolls around again your home is full of smiles and not unexpected headaches!


Regularly mow and water your lawn. For established lawns, these are the recommendation dates for fertilization:

Early September: Summer fertilizer or quick release fertilizer.

Mid November: Fall fertilizer, with moss control if needed.

Clean out summer gunk from your yard drains and gutters. The beautiful leaves are about to change color and get blown down. You don’t want your drains to get clogged so water starts overflowing or gets backed up causing other issues.

Add new bark or mulch to planting areas to help your beautiful plants and flowers last longer. This also will benefit any new bulbs you plant for the spring so they pop up healthy and glowing.

Don’t forget to winterize your sprinkler system and hose bibs. A pipe burst expense in something you do not want to experience. Start by making sure the hose is disconnected from the outside faucet. Allowing water to be able to drain out of the faucet is very important. Another useful tip is to never let your house temperature get below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Any yard tools that you use often throughout the spring and summer should be cleaned off and safely stored so they do not rust or break.


8 Budget-Friendly Ways to ‘Fun Up’ Your Patio

Categories: Home How To's, Home Trends, Things We Love | Posted: April 20, 2016

The warm, sunny Spring weather has us itching for Summer! To prepare for some fun in the sun, here are 8 budget-friendly ways to spruce up your patio! provided by Houzz





Spring Reminders for Landscape Maintenance

Categories: Home How To's | Posted: February 24, 2016


Spring is just around the corner (March 20th to be exact). Pretty soon you will hear the chirping of the birds and see dozens of pretty, delicate flowers start to bloom, just like a scene out of Bambi! With all the soon-to-be spectacular Spring scenery around us, don’t you want your home and yard looking beautiful too? Here are some tips and reminders for a stress-free, yard and home spruce up!


  • Clean out yard drains: this item is often forgotten about and if not done early can cause water overflow problems during rainy days.
  • De-thatch lawn: helps remove dead grass laying above the soil so moisture and air can properly keep the grass alive.
  • Crane Fly control: there is nothing more annoying than swarms of Crane Flies circling your yard while you are trying to play with the kiddos.


  • Fertilize lawn, trees and shrubs: lawns should be fertilized every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season (Feb – Nov).
  • Activate sprinkler system: you don’t want all of your hard work to go to waste!
  • De-winterize hose bibbs: check for any leaks that may have resulted from a freezing problem.
  • Insect and disease control as needed: just keep an eye out for any unwanted visitors or plants that may be getting sick.
  • Add bark or mulch to planting beds: your plants and flowers will thank you!


  • Mow weekly: don’t cut more than 1/3rd of the grass length off at a time.
  • Water lawn daily: watering in the morning is best.


Seasonal reminders provided by Ground Effects Landscaping

To Dos: Your February Home Checklist

Categories: Home How To's | Posted: February 15, 2016

Houzz shared a great blog post expressing items you can spruce up and upgrade to get ready for the sunny months! The checklist doesn’t only focus on your home, but also focuses on you!


The Checklist
  1. Purify the air
  2. Do a home safety check
  3. Make a few freezer meals
  4. Tidy up cleaning spaces
  5. Clean walls, floors and interior windows
  6. Change furnace filters
  7. Protect entry floors
  8. Show your home some love
  9. Start prepping for a spring or summer home sale
  10. Keep an eye out for ice dams
  11. Plan a getaway


View the full article here.

To-Do List: Winterizing Your Home

Categories: Home How To's | Posted: December 3, 2015

How To Winterize Your Home

Winter is here and it is time to prepare our homes for the chilly and snowy season. A lot of to-do items can slip our minds during the holidays, but Houzz has released a helpful article reminding us of tasks we may want to consider completing!

  1. Prepare for winter storms.
  2. Keep paths clear of ice and snow.
  3. Boost cheer outdoors!
  4. Seal drafts around windows and doors.
  5. Have the chimney cleaned before its first use.
  6. Check batteries in safety devices.
  7. Get organized for holiday cooking and baking.
  8. Set up a simple gift-wrapping station.
  9. Don’t try to do it all.
  10. Prepare to usher in the new year.
  11. Do a post holiday tidy-up.




A Punch List for Party Decorating

Categories: Home How To's, Things We Love | Posted: November 19, 2015

Houzz recently released a great entertainment story on how to make your home look festive and fantastic for any holiday or party event! Below are a few ideas & suggestions for spicing up your decor. To read the whole article, click here.


Draw attention to the front door.

As guests arrive at the front door, they should feel a sense of occasion – A seasonal wreath or stately topiaries will do the trick!

Polish up the foyer.

The place where you greet your guests deserves to be gussied up a bit at party time. Lit candles or a pretty bowl filled with candy will set the tone.

Set the dining table.

When you are having a dinner party, having the table fully set before guests arrive not only makes things less stressful, but the set table becomes part of the decor. Try covering your table with a festive tablecloth or runner and form a lovely centerpiece!

Create a drinks table.

Another great use of the dining table during nondinner parties is as a bountiful, self-serve bar. Add a bit of sparkle or items much larger than the glassware to create some variety and capture the attention of your guests.

Gussy up the mantel.

If you have a beautiful mirror hanging above your mantel, simple candles may be all you need to make the room feel dressed up for a party. If you are feeling more on the funky side, set moss-covered balls on top of some candleholders.

Style the coffee table.

You will likely be ushering your guests into the living room, so give them something pretty to look at on the coffee table. A good formula is a simple vase with flowers plus a stacks of books with an object on top.

Primp the powder room.

Fresh hand towels and soap are a must. If you have pretty embroidered hand towels, use them! A tiny posy of flowers in a bud vase on the sink is a welcome touch.


We want to hear from you! What are some of your favorite party decorating tips? Share below!