Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Resolutions for 2017

Resolutions for the 2017.

This article from Houzz did make me think about new year resolutions. Some of these ideas are things that I might incorporate in my life.

As an artist as well as a realtor, art is a big part of my life. I do love art on the walls and about the house so this is an easy one for me.

New pillowcases are always nice. I'll have to evaluate that because crisp clean bedding is always good.

Now flowers and other items to put in my vases. This is  a good one too. In the pacific northwest there are always interesting things growing that can add interest to any room.

Twinkle lights can really add some cheer to gloomy winter days and this is a nice idea as well. We can all use a bit of mood lighting.

I'm inspired by buildings, people and everyday objects. How about you. What inspires you in this new year?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Getting Organized

Getting organized always seems like a great goal for the beginning of the year. Sometimes it's a challenge however, to know where to begin. This year I'm starting with a new goal of cleaning off the desk and keeping it clear. Here are a few of the tools that I've decided to use.

Of course the standard pencil holder is good and then they are all contained.
 A paper planner. I do use my phone but like the visual reminder of a paper planner.
The third thing is file folders. With many transaction, personal documents and art related documents, there is always paper around. Files are good. And well labeled files so I don't have to search very far.
How about you, what are your organizing goals for 2017?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Thinking of Spring

Even though the first day of winter has not even arrived, I'm starting to dream of spring. I'm thinking of green grass, flowers and of course sunshine and warm weather.

One of the interesting ideas that I just came across was to paint a faux floor rug on your deck. Oh, this one has me thinking.What ideas are you dreaming about for srping?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Anti- Burglary Tips

At all times of the year we're concerned about theft and burglary from our homes but during the holiday season this seems to be even more of a concern. There are some specific things that you can do however. 

1. Maintain your property. This is especially true during the winter when it's easy to ignore the overgrown yard and maintenance that you might do when the weather is nicer. You want your home to look like it's occupied so pick up the fallen branches and sweep the walk.

2. Get to know your neighbors. This is especially true if you're going to put your home on the market or have guests, or will be going out of town during the holidays. You will want your neighbors to know if there should be people in and around your home.

3. Use Technology to make your home look occupied. Use timers or smart technology to have the lights go on and off and music playing. 

4. Remember to lock your doors. Although this seems like a standard practice it's always surprising to me how many people think they live in a safe neighborhood and don't need to lock the doors.

5. Check your homes vulnerability. Walk around the outside and think about what you would do to get in if you were locked out. Is there a window lock that needs to be fixed? Or a door that doesn't shut all the way?

6. Don't forget about lighting. You want to have good outdoor lighting as well as indoor lights. A criminal doesn't want to be seen so make your doors and windows are visible with good lighting. 

7. Mark your valuables and keep records of the details. You can use a sharpie, invisible pen or engravers to mark your belongs and remember to take pictures of the them. 

So be aware and be thoughtful about your safety and the safety of your home and you will be have less vulnerability for a residential burglary. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Newcomers in King County

According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, the population in King County now compromises more out of town residents than native Washingtonians. Am I surprised? Well no I don't think so. We have seen a large influx of people moving to Seattle and the outlaying areas because they have landed jobs in the tech industry. I recently read that tech jobs here pay approximately $10 more per hour than in other areas. While this has been great for the local economy it has also had an impact on those of us who live here. The biggest impact has been in affordable housing. People are moving farther out into the suburbs and even leaving the city and the state. Although this movement has not been going on long enough to call it a trend, we do expect that it will continue as Seattle continues to grow and the tech industry remains strong. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Should I Sell or Rent My Home?

I just read an article about girlfriends although this could apply to boyfriends as well. You've got one but then you spot another one that's better and you want to move on. Well owning a home is like that. You're fine living in one and then you see a new one in your neighborhood, or spot an open house and fall in love with the location, the house, the neighborhood and more. So now what do you do? You've made an offer on the new one and it's been accepted so now you need to decide what to do with the one you're currently living in. Well there are five things that you should consider when you're making your decision.
1. Will this property generate positive cash flow?  When it's rented out and you deduct all the expenses such as mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, vacancy, repairs etc. will the property produce a monthly profit or will there be a loss?
2. What about ROI or return on investment? How much profit would you make if you sold this home today. If it's not much it might be better to hold on to it for a period of time. Especially if there is a positive cash flow. If you would make a profit by selling and could make $100,000 in profit and your making only $1000.00 per year in cash flow that's a 1% return on your investment. Could you take that $100,000 and invest it some place else for a higher return?
3. And then lets talk about taxes. Usually when you sell a  home for a profit you will need to pay capital gains tax on the sale of potentially up to 20% depending on your tax bracket. However, the IRS allows homeowners to exclude the sale of up to $250,000 (or $500,000 if married filing jointly) of a primary residence if you lived in the home for at least two of the last five years. So when you sell the home in the future you may have to pay capital gains taxes but if you sell now, you will be able to save the profit. There are no guarantees however as to what the home will be worth in five or ten years. You will want to check with your CPA for financial advice.
4. What does the future look like? What will your neighborhood look like in the future. Is there  potential growth? Are there services coming into the area and is the current trend leaning toward growth?
5. Don't forget the tenants. Can you handle tenants? Some tenants are easy to work with but don't forget the party animals, the hoarders and more. You can manage the property yourself or you can hire a management firm but there will be a fee involved. 

So should you buy or sell? This is your own personal decision after weighing all the options. You will have t0 decide if renting or owning is in your financial future. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Art in Seattle

Art in Seattle is an ongoing adventure. I am fortunate to live in a city that values all kinds of art and has many art venues. This month I'm interested in an exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum of a collection of  clothing by the designer Yves Saint Laurent. This exhibit runs from October 11th - January 8th and will highlight this iconic fashion designers 44 year career.