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.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Kitchen Cabinets

If you think you'd like to do a kitchen upgrade that's really noticeable and fresh looking, consider making a change to your cabinets. There are several things that you can do for an updated look.

Paint - You can change the color of the cabinets so that  it creates the illusion of new cabinets. A lighter color will make the entire kitchen look brighter and more spacious.

Refinish or re-laminate - If you like the natural look, you can sand and varnish the cabinets to make the kitchen look warm and inviting. If the cabinets are laminated, they can be covered with wood or vinyl veneers.

Create open shelving - Remove the cabinet doors and create open shelving. It will create space and allow your dishes to become part of your decorating scheme.

New hardware - This is one of the easiest things that you can do yourself. New drawer pulls or handles on doors can provide an instant upgrade. There is a wide variety of styles and materials available.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Have You Thought About Your Ceiling?

We all love to see a well designed home and a home with some character. Usually I think about the wall color and the furniture as well as the knick knacks etc. What I don't usually think about is what has been done to the ceilings. We've all see the jokes about mirrors on the bedroom ceilings but there are other ways to use ceilings as well.You can use paint, wall paper or even tile. You can be a budding Michelangelo and paint scenes on the ceiling or just designs. This article from Houzz shows some other innovative ways that you can decorate your ceilings and make them a highlight and a featured part of your home that will keep people talking about your innovation and style. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Should I Use a Realtor to Sell My Home?

We've been hearing that selling your home in today's market is easy. All you have to do is put up a sign and the buyers will line up at the door and there will be a bidding war so you'll make lots of money. And then you think, I want as much as I can get so I'm going to do it my self.
some things to consider however..

1. Can I just put it on Craigslist and sell it myself? Sure, you can do that but who is going to weed out the strange folks, the lookie lous and the buyers who are not really qualified or want to get a bargain at your expense. A Realtor knows how to negotiate, do the marketing and how to attract the right kind of buyer.

2. You know best what your home is worth. Zillow told you how much it's worth, and you know how much money you've spent, but can you be objective about the value? Owners tend to overprice their home because of the emotional attachment. Your agent will know your neighborhood and has many resources to help establish the best price for your home.

3. I can sell my home just the way it is because it's perfect! Again, your realtor knows what today's buyers are looking for. You may be overlooking some changes that could boost your profits and she can guide you to work that has the best return on  your investment.

4. I want to sell in the spring because that's the best time to sell a home. Again,the reality is that homes sell at all times of the year. Fall and winter can be a slower market but because there may be fewer homes on the market this may be to your advantage. People move and buy and sell all year around.

The bottom line is that a Realtor is an expert in the home buying and selling market. Take advantage of their knowledge and expertise and you will get the highest return on your home investment. You can contact me to find out more. I would love to chat with you and let you know what my experience in today's' market is and how that will benefit you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Getting My Home Ready For Winter

Fall has arrived here in Seattle and winter will be here before you know it. There is time however to do that home maintenance that you've been putting off and get your home ready for fall and winter.

Some of the items on your list should include:

1. Have your furnace inspected. Experts say that as many as 75% of calls they receive from homeowners without heat are a result of not having the furnace serviced and cleaned.

2. Painting: Apply paint to areas that are showing signs of age and exposure and protect that siding with some fresh paint.

3. Inspect your roof. Check for shingles that are cracked or missing. Is there caulking that should be replaced? Is there moss that should be removed?

4. Replace weatherstripping on doors. These gaps can be replaced with items you can find at your local hardware store. If you need help YouTube is a great resource for installation techniques.

5. Make sure the safety detectors are working. Both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should have fresh batteries. Remember to use the test button to determine that they do work.

6. Gutters and Downspouts: Clean debris out of the gutters and make sure the downspouts are draining properly. This will help to prevent roof leaks.

Enjoy all the sights and sounds of fall and winter and feel confident that you're planning ahead