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.

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.

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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

What Should I Look For When I Buy A House?

What should I look for when I buy a house? Everyone including a realtor has an opinion. The age old adage is "location, location, location!" For you however maybe this may not be the primary criteria.

For a family with a dog it maybe be a pet friendly yard. For a family with children it may be a room for each child or all bedrooms on one floor. For a nature lover it might be a great garden area. If you're a biker maybe it's a great bike to work path. The desires and needs are endless.

To begin, start with a list. Make columns for items that are must haves, needs or wants , or just plain Oh I would love to have that in my house. Some items that you might not consider at first would be the size of the closets. Will they hold all your clothes? Another might be what is the neighborhood like on the evenings and weekends? How does it feel, will I like living here? Maybe even things like cosmetic appeal both inside and outside? Are the major systems like plumbing, sewer and furnace up to date or will I need to make improvements sooner than later? How is the commute? Is there public transportation available?

You can always solicit ideas from friends and family but in the end, you will be living in the house so choose a home that you can see yourself living in and remember, that you  will make compromises and maybe even be willing to compromise on details that you didn't think were flexible. Let your realtor show you homes that she may think are a good fit for you and don't make judgements before you even get in the home. You may be surprised.

Friday, September 30, 2016

How Should I Decorate My House?

Whenever I sell and stage a home or think about making changes in my own home, I wonder what kind of furnishings I should use. It's sometimes hard to know just what to use, what will look good or if I'm really confident that I'm making a good choice. I think I've just discovered a solution that can help me or help my clients. There is a new design service available that will let you "try on" furniture before you buy it. Modsy was created after Shanna Tellerman and her husband moved into a new home three years ago. She found many ideas on Pinterest of things she liked and rooms she like but was uncertain how to go about creating the rooms and the feelings that she liked. So she created Modsy. It's a virtual design service that provides 3D visualizations of a fully decorated room in your home that is created according to your taste. Each furniture piece and decor item has been sourced from several hundred retailers and is scaled to your room. You just take a style quiz and upload a photo of your room and several days later you get two virtually styled versions of your room You have options to change furnishings or decor and then make your purchase knowing what it's going to look like in your room.

This is such an interesting idea and I'd love to try it out or talk with folks who have used it and learn what they think. If you want to read more about it and see examples of how it works, you can read more about it here. Decorating with Modsy

Friday, September 23, 2016

Seattle Real Estate Market Update

The Seattle real estate market has been in the news for the past year. Prices have been escalating and we've had bidding wars that have been reported in the media for their sheer volume. It's not unusual to hear tales of homes selling for more than $100,000 over their listed price. Finally we're starting to see a bit of a change in the pace. Homes are still selling quickly if they are priced right but we are not seeing as many multiple offers on homes. Now there are only one or two offers instead of 10 or 12 or even more. I talked to one agent who had over 30 offers on a starter home priced in the high $300's.

Every month Windermere summarizes these trends and provides them for us to use in an easy to share format. Here is what they say about the month of August for both the residential and the condominium market.

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home and would like more information, please feel free to contact me.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Art Installation and Ice Cubes

Art can take all forms and shapes and what we consider art can certainly be a personal preference.

I've just read about a new art installation of a giant ice cube! Did you know that the shape of an ice cube can impact how quickly it melts?

"ICE CUBE is a 10-ton sculpture designed by Seattle architecture firm Olson Kundig and assembled from 64 smaller blocks of ice delivered to the park.

It's time to go to Occidental Park and watch ice melt. Ice Cube Melting In Occidental Park

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mood Ring House

                                          photo credit - Suzanne De Vita

I remember having a mood ring. How I loved the fact that it changed color with the temperature of my hands. That part wasn't in the notes however, it simply said that the color reflected your mood.

Well now the mood ring feature has progressed to a mood ring house. This a pretty cool idea. The house has been fitted with LED lamps that represent the owners disposition at night.

This particular home in Fayetteville, Ark.  was conceived by SILO AR+D as an “exploration of how architecture can have different day and night presences with distinct experiential and spatial qualities.”

At night the colors are determined by the temperature of the house as well as what the owners choose. It also sounds like this is not the only color changing house on the block. 

What do you think? Would you like to live in a color changing "mood ring" house?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Honey for my honey

As a child I loved it when my mother served us honey. As an adult I'm learning more about honey and like what I see and really appreciate the fact that you increase many vitamins and minerals when you add honey to your diet. According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, one tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrates, plus trace amounts of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, iron, zinc and selenium. It's also a benefit to the plants because the bees pollinate the plants when they collect nectar from the flowers.

Raw honey can contain pollen which may not be good for folks with pollen allergies but when honey is processed a team of researchers from Utah found that in the processing, nutrients were not removed from the honey but it actually increased the mineral content and the antioxidant qualities of the honey. 

Now honey can have a regional flavor and that flavor will depend on the flowers that have been used for the nectar collection. It never occurred to me however that honey is an animal product and is not considered vegan. 

I think I'm going to buy some different types of honey the next time I venture out to the local farmers market. I wonder which one will be my favorite kind? If you have a favorite, let me know and I'll try to find it also. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Seattle Real Estate

Seattle has a very "hot" real estate market right now. In fact, one of the current trends is buying older homes, tearing them down and building new larger homes. For some this is a good thing. New inventory and expensive houses that are current and up to date. For many however this is a problem. The older homes are usually more affordable and in a city where the prices are increasing monthly this is a huge concern. Where are all the smaller starter homes going? It's been reported that developers are tearing down a house a day.  What are the people with new jobs and young families going to do if they want to live in a house but not move to the suburbs. City living is getting to be an unattainable goal for these people. Many are left with few choices and have to more farther away from jobs so the commute is longer. I certainly have mixed feelings and always try to help my clients find the best possible value for the money they can spend. There is no easy solution.
And then developers are doing this.. would you want this home built in front of you?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Have You Used Houzz?

With the internet accessibility increasing every day and the popularity of smart phones and tablets it's no wonder that we're seeing more more websites offering advice and services, DIY information, sales, home deliveries of food and drink, dating services and more at the click of a finger. One of the websites that has become more popular in the past several years is a website called Houzz, They have many design ideas for a home owner. Once you've created your account you will have an opportunity to save ideas to an idea book. You can search for vendors, photos, search by rooms, and even looks for stories and advice. For homeowners or renters or just interested parties this is a great place to collect ideas and information for your home resource. Do you collect ideas and save them in the cloud? Do you use Pinterest and Instagram for your search? Houzz might be another website to consider.  Houzz

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Latest Statistics From the Northwest Multiple Listing Service

All of us who live in the Greater Seattle area have been aware of the very "hot" real estate market and the number of offers sellers are receiving on their listed homes. This also means that any buyer that is making an offer on a property has had fierce competition. For a fraction of buyers this has been a success as they have purchased a property but for many buyers it's been discouraging at best as they make offer after offer and are beat out of a successful transaction for any number of reasons. Finally it looks like we're starting to see a correction in the market. There are more properties on the market and there are fewer multiple offer situations. The prices still are increasing but not at the pace they have been in previous months. For now we watch and wait and see but this is still a great time to buy or sell a home because the interest rates are low and we continue to have the demand for homes.

NWMLS Market Update

Friday, August 5, 2016

Community Art Installations

                                          Photo credit: Ian Terry/The Herald

As a community, we're getting more accustomed to public art displays.  I've just learned about a new installation in Edmonds called “Luminous Forest.” This involves 177 LED solar lights that have been installed on 4th Ave N from Main Street to the Edmonds Center For The Arts. Created by  Iole Alessandrini who has training in lighting and architecture. This art installation you can drive over and it can also be triggered by interaction with people. The lights start to come on at 20 minutes after sunset and it takes 7 minutes for the entire street to be activated.

I think I might be driving to Edmonds this weekend to check out the lighted art. How about you, have you been to see this community art?

Lighted Art In Edmonds 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Gardner Report

Windermere has it's own Real Estate Chief Economist and his name is Matthew Gardner. Each quarter he publishes a quarterly report and the second quarter report for 2016 has just been made available.

From this report he comments that we continue to see strong employment that's outpacing the national rate for job gains. There is confidence that this will continue throughout the year.

He then addresses a topic that we keep hearing about in the news. The continued number of home sales and the lack of inventory. We're still seeing more demand than inventory. This also includes nine counties in the state where the annual price growth exceeded 10%. Snohomish County is now also a market where it usually takes less than one month to sell a home.

If you would like to read the report in it's entirety, here is a link. The Gardner Report

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Design Trends To Stay Away From

Every month there is a magazine that talks about a new design trend. Some of these are good and some are, lets say, have lost their appeal. Interior design trends follow fashion trends. The trick is to determine which ones will stay and be "classic" and which ones will go.

Some of the trends that are no longer popular are:

1. Carpeting in the master bathroom - hard to keep clean
2. Plantation shutters - just too dark
3. Curtains over closets - what are you hiding and what didn't you finish?
4. Word are - too personal and distracting to a buyer
5. Accent walls - a focal point that can limit a rooms use and colors
6. Wallpaper - hard to remove and change the look of a room
7. Faux - faux is just that, fake

What is your favorite design trend and do you think it will stand the test of time?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Selling A Home is an Emotional Journey!

Selling a home is an emotional journey!. First you're excited about the possibilities.  All of a sudden you're worried, will anyone want to buy our home? Did we price it right? And then on to feelings like "our house looks really good and I can't believe that a buyer only thinks it's worth that much!"

From there of course there is the elation at accepting an offer, signing closing documents and feeling sad that you're leaving all these memories.

And then there is the joy of moving into that new home!.  What a journey but one that I love to help my clients with every day. Cheers.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Little Weekend DIY

A little weekend DIY project is something I think about often. I found an article on a blog recently that made me look at some home improvement projects differently. One idea was to take an old entertainment center and add a "refrigerator and stove"  door and make it into a childs dream kitchen.
Of course there are tried and true ideas like adding a flower bed or painting your front door. These kinds of projects can be done in a day. You can take old corks and glue them onto a picture frame to create a bulletin board. You can make a chalkboard using an old cupboard door or a piece of plywood and chalkboard paint. What kinds of projects are you thinking about this weekend?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Night In A Treehouse?

Summer vacation time is upon us and I'm always exploring new places to go or things to see. Did you know that AirBNB has treehouse rentals? That's one I'm not sure I'm up for but it is an intriguing idea. And my kids would love the novelty of it. From a traditional treehouse in a Dogulas Fir tree in Kingston to an African style treehouse in Auburn. It looks like there is something for everyone. There's even one that is walking distance to light rail in Seattle. Hmm... maybe a place for those overnight guests?
5 Washington Treehouses - Curbed Seattle

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

More Appeal

Curb appeal is one of the first things your realtor will talk about when you sell your home. First impressions really do count! In fact, the first impression can actually increase a home's value.

There are a number of things that you can do to create more curb appeal.

1. Wash everything.  You can wash the windows, front door, porch and even the garage. a bucket and a sponge can work or you can even rent a power washer if you need to.

2. At the entrance you can paint the front door and update the door knobs.  Don't forget about the house numbers too.

3. Replace and update the exterior light fixtures.

4. Sweep the driveway and clean up any stains and/or cracks.

5. Trim the landscaping and overgrown shrubs. Remove weeds and tidy up the gardens.

6. Add some outdoor lighting for ambiance and safety.

7. Check the roof for shingles that need to be replaced and gutters that need to be cleaned.

8. Inspect any fences latches and gates.

Now add some seasonal color and you'll be good to go.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Thinking About Retirement

I believe all of us think about retirement. Time to do creative endeavors, travel or just have a more relaxed schedule. The next question of course is where do I want to retire to? Am I happy here in the Seattle area or wherever I'm living or do I want to be a snowbird with a winter and summer home? Maybe I just want to move to another place all together.

As with most of these questions there has been a survey created or statistics gathered. The latest one that I have seen is from Market Watch who looked at where retirees are actually moving. From that list, here are the destinations. Are you thinking about moving? Have you picked a location?

10. Delaware
9.   Tennessee
8.    Nevada
7.    Oregon
6.    Texas
5.    North Carolina
4.    Georgia
3.    South Carolina
2.    Arizona
1.    Florida

Read More About These Destinations

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

If you live in Seattle you have heard all about the crazy real estate market. There is a shortage of home and this means in most cases there are bidding wars on the homes that are available. 75% of homes get multiple offers. More than 53% of homes sell over the asking price. Are you looking for a home or thinking about selling? A good time for sellers but certainly a tough time for buyers.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Places on the Internet

The internet is full of fascinating places and interesting information. In fact it can be a bit overwhelming at times. This is one site that I just came across however, Sperling's Best Places to Live. You can put in a zip code or a city and learn all sorts of information about that place. Some of those items include, cost of living, crime rate and schools. I've spent some time here today looking at the Seattle statistics and also the surrounding areas. This is a good place to start if you're thinking about moving.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

This photo is by Matt Roth for the New York Times.

Saturday, February 27, 2016, there was a fabulous article about continuing care communities. We have several options here in the Seattle area. I've toured some, I know others more because I have friends who moved into them.

read the article here:

New York Times Article

Friday, February 26, 2016

Dog gone, cat stay

What to do when you live with pets, when your home is for sale? Boarding, taking a little vacation, or telling people not to let the pets out? All these and more are tactics I'm seeing in this market. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Quarterly Report on Real Estate

Forth Quarter Report, Seattle Metro

Go here to see the stats for the forth Quarter of 2015...Seattle Real Estate is HOT.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Art to Heal

Artists for Life is the artist partner program for First Aid Arts . They bring hope and healing to trauma survivors.

I learned about this program through a buyer of a home I had listed last year. It's a great program. We know that being in the creative part of the brain is healing.