Big Dog Blog

Aug. 21, 2017

"The Great American Solar Eclipse"

I am sure you have heard about what people are calling the “Great American Eclipse” that traveled from Oregon to South Carolina this morning the visibility stretched across a 70-mile wide path from around 9-11am. Though many fled South taking the day off to visit viewing spots in Oregon, the eclipse was still very visible for those that only had a few minutes to step out of work this Monday morning. Approximately 88% of the sun was covered at the peak of the eclipse around 10:21 am in Whatcom County.

If you had a chance to stare up at the sun this morning we hope you had some sort of protective glasses on! If not you may experience “eclipse blindness” or retinal burns throughout the next week or possibly forever. “This exposure to the light can cause damage or even destroy cells in the retina (the back of the eye) that transmit what you see to the brain,” said “This damage can be temporary or permanent and occurs with no pain. It can take a few hours to a few days after viewing the solar eclipse to realize the damage that has occurred.”



Ferndale hosted about 1600 people for a “Great American Eclipse” viewing with folks from the Whatcom County Library System and the Ferndale School District along with astronaut Wendy Lawrence and NASA scientist Cathy Watson this morning. 

This was a once in a lifetime event for a lot of people in Whatcom County, how cool that something so far away can bring us all together? And what a great excuse to take the morning or the whole day off; in the name of science of course!

Aug. 11, 2017

Interest Rates

Interest rates are still sitting below 4% even for a 30 year loan with 0% down.

Now is the time to buy! Call Rob today at (360)319-1938 and begin your home search with the Whatcom House Hunters team.

Posted in Buyers Blog
July 26, 2017

Market Report

From the Fed:

In a widely expected move, the FOMC left rates unchanged, citing relatively low levels of inflation and even noting that ex-food and energy, prices have actually declined on a 12-month basis. Household spending and business investment were also highlighted as a bright spot, as was the labor market. The Committee also noted that the long-awaited normalization of the balance sheet will begin “soon,” leaving plenty of flexibility to that implementation.  

Rates and Market:

  • Fed Funds Target: unchanged at 1 to 1.25%
  • Policy Bias: remains accommodative
  • Market Reaction: rates fell 2-3bp immediately following the announcement

The FOMC announced the following actions and analysis:

  • 9 – 0 vote
  • Economic expansion expected to continue at a moderate pace
  • Inflation is below the 2% objective and expected to remain so for the near term
  • Risks to economic outlook are roughly balanced
  • Balance sheet normalization to begin relatively soon

The Statement:

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising moderately so far this year. Job gains have been solid, on average, since the beginning of the year, and the unemployment rate has declined. Household spending and business fixed investment have continued to expand. On a 12-month basis, overall inflation and the measure excluding food and energy prices have declined and are running below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further. Inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term but to stabilize around the Committee's 2 percent objective over the medium term. Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced, but the Committee is monitoring inflation developments closely.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1-1/4 percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.

In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. The Committee will carefully monitor actual and expected inflation developments relative to its symmetric inflation goal. The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.

For the time being, the Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. The Committee expects to begin implementing its balance sheet normalization program relatively soon, provided that the economy evolves broadly as anticipated; this program is described in the June 2017 Addendum to the Committee's Policy Normalization Principles and Plans.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Charles L. Evans; Stanley Fischer; Patrick Harker; Robert S. Kaplan; Neel Kashkari; and Jerome H. Powell.


Best regards, 


Steve Brown

President & CEO


t: (888) 399-1930

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Posted in Buyers Blog
July 21, 2017

Real Estate Statistics

The real estate statistics for June of 2017 are in!

According to Reastats June’s recordings fell behind the last two years with increased values. Inventory mostly favors the seller camp, but it appears to be increasing. Builders and investors are buying lots and some land but the Whatcom County well moratorium is preventing building in some areas. With the strong stock market, people have money to buy, build and remodel. While markets to both the north (Canada) and south (Puget Sound) are very strong, Whatcom is holding its own in a more sedate manner. Real estate will sell well through late fall. 



If you are looking to sell now is the time!

Call Rob today to find out what your real estate could be worth in today's market..



Posted in Sellers Blog
June 27, 2017

Senior Emma Bruntil of Mt Baker High Wrestles for Gold

Emma Bruntil, senior at Mount Baker High School won a gold medal in the 130 pound category at the 2017 Junior Pan American Championships all the way in Lima, Peru this past weekend June 9, 10 and 11. Bruntil was unbeaten in four matches and won the Golden Boot, an award presented to the tournament's outstanding wrestler. She told USA wrestling in a post-tournament interview, "I had a lot of confidence going in, so I felt pretty good with everything I did.." Last year, Bruntil won a national title at the USA Wresting Girl's Junior Folkstyle National Championships. She plans to head to Idaho for the Western Regionals later this month, then to North Dakota for the Junior National Championships in july. This Mount Baker Mountaineer is quite the stud!

June 6, 2017

Interest Rates

Current interest rates are hovering in the low 4% range... What a great time to buy!!



If you are currently looking for a local, reliable lender Bank of the Pacific is a great choice. Call Rob today and ask about taking the first step in buying real estate: getting in touch with a lender!



Posted in Buyers Blog
June 5, 2017

Mount Baker Ski Area

During the winter months, if I’m not in the office you will most likely find me, and many others in the community, up at the Mt. Baker Ski Area. This past year was the first year that I have had a seasons pass and boy what a year we had.

Anyone who lives in this area or is looking to live here should definitely take a drive up there; no matter the season the views are outstanding and the snow is to die for. The conditions up at Baker really couldn’t get any better, the ski area averages the most annual snowfall, 641 inches, in the continent and holds the record for most snowfall in a single season, 1,140 inches. Crazy right? 

Look at all of that powder! 

Another thing that I have noticed about Baker is the people, no matter the day or how the conditions are the people never change. They are most always friendly outgoing folks. Plenty of times I have gotten on a chair lift with a stranger and gotten off the same chair with a friend. People watch out for one another and help those in need. That is a community that I am proud to be a part of...

The facilities and staff up at the mountain are great too. Each lodge has it's own unique flair. My favorite lodge, though it has no parking lot and is often a bit crowded, is the Raven's Hut Lodge. It is cozy and inviting after a few hours in the cold.

I don't know how I could ever move away from this powder gold-mine!


 Photos by: Jasper Newton, Anne Cleary, Grant Gunderson and Emilia Zottoli

Posted in Destinations
June 2, 2017

Drone Photography


Tucker is here today to tell you about Whatcom House Hunters newest feature: Drone Photography!

Jillian, the head of our aerial department, is getting the hang of flying our newest marketing tool; the DJI Phantom 4 Drone. This high tech device takes outstanding photos from up to 300 feet in the air with a 3 mile flight range! We are able to take residential, commercial and vacant land drone photos that leave a lasting impression on buyers.

Tucker says, "The sound of the drone scared me at first, it sounds like a giant bee! I got stung by a bee one time and it hurt really bad. I can't imagine being stung by a drone sized bee."

Here are the drone photos we took a few weeks ago at our listing in Glenhaven, 452 Rainbow Dr:

Here are some more from our new home on acreage listing, 9920 Stardust Ln:

Aside from taking awesome residential photos the drone takes awesome landscape photos, check these out:

Professional photographers in Bellingham are currently charging a minimum of $125 for 10-15 photos but we are including this when you list with us at no extra charge to you! 

Contact us today to find out more about listing your real estate with Whatcom House Hunters!


Posted in Sellers Blog
May 5, 2017

Private Property Rights Week

Come learn about current events and important topics in Whatcom County Real Estate at Pioneer Pavilion this coming week Monday through Thursday from 7-8:30pm. Topics like the Water Moratorium and Development are important to home and land owners alike. Don't miss out on the opportunity to learn more about your community and your rights.


May 1, 2017

Introduction, Jill Carlson - Assistant

Hello my name is Jillian!  I have been given the pleasure of working with Rob Merhaut and his team at RE/MAX Whatcom County Inc. for almost a year now. In the time that I have worked with Rob I have learned so much, everything from CC&Rs- Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions to Creedence Clearwater Revival. I came into the real estate world with no previous knowledge, I had lived with my parents in the house my dad had built for almost my entire life and things like capitalization rate and disclosures seemed like a foreign language. But I have quickly learned so much about this new world that is real estate and am looking forward to becoming a licensed broker myself.

A day at the office for me has evolved over time but it usually involves lots of marketing, transaction coordinating, posting on our social media sites, reaching out to potential sellers, searching for homes for buyers, watching youtube videos that Rob insists are funny, and lots of random tasks. No two days ever look the same and I really do learn something new every time I work with Rob. I am very fortunate to work with such a great broker at such a supportive and welcoming brokerage.


Jill and Earl

Posted in Introduction Blog