|Real Estate Ruminations...

Shopping for Sunny Residences

In the winter months, a little glimpse of sunshine is so cherished by us here in Seattle.  It really defines which properties you want to spend time in, those south-facing kitchens where you look upon a busy garden, and the south-facing nooks in the home that make you want to curl up with a good book and sit for a while.  The summer here is divine, but between the storms that roll through during the winter months, we crave our Sun and it seems to me that this really has an impact on which properties show the best in the winter months.  If you have it, southern and western exposure, your home will sell easily any time of the year.  If you are more in a lower lying area, or on the east side of a hill, waiting a few months for the sun to shift higher into the sky will likely make your home more appealing to a larger group of buyers.  The little things that make us “fall in love” with a property are so subliminal but always meaningful.  From the scent of a candle, to the sun streaming in the window, the perky fresh posies by the front door, and the music playing in the background, all of it leaves an immediate impression on guests and potential buyers.  Don’t overlook those sunshine breaks, they represent the best time to see open houses.

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Liz’s 2018 Predictions

As we wrap up 2017, I thought I might as well share some of my real estate predictions for the new year!  It’s been years in the making, but I think it’s safe to say that these 8 ideas may very well come true in 2018. My top three predictions are (1) Greenwood will become the next Ballard, (2) Abandoned rental bicycles will clutter our streets and sidewalks as the city grows, (3) Home buyers getting traditional loans will continue to be frustrated at the Seattle market.  I’ve felt Greenwood has been maturing and growing for the past three years and while I adore Ballard, especially historic Ballard Avenue, there is some energy that’s quite similar in this often forgotten neighborhood.  Check it out.  The bicycle fiasco, we continue to need ways to get from here to there, but I think we’re still in the old Research & Development stage of figuring out the rental bicycle thing and soon there will be piles of them on many corners.  Finally the financing worries – it is so frustrating to find a great home, write a great offer, and watch the buyer with all cash snatch it up.  I don’t think we’re done with this segment of growth in our area as many newcomers bring big money to Seattle and also financially secure home owners have decided to diversify and purchase investment real estate – likely that darling cute home that just hit the market, for all cash.  Prediction (4) is that the interest rates will increase this year to 5% – could be all wrong here but this is what I’m predicting will happen.  Prediction (5) is the condo market will surge as builders continue to build large apartment buildings and stay away from building new condos to avoid any potential construction defect litigation – in a growing city having a steady flow of new inventory keeps things in balance and we aren’t seeing much in the way of new condos being built.  Prediction (6) you’ll be upset about how long it takes to get across town every single week as our growing pains in the city translate to much longer travel times.  Prediction (7) is you’ll be astonished to find out what your neighbors are renting their mother-in-law apartment out for, and you might even consider jumping into the landlord game yourself.  And my final prediction is that the average home price in our area will be north of $800,000 by the end of the year.   As you reflect on what 2018 may bring your way, I hope you enjoy the beautiful gifts that Seattle offers us as custodians of the city.  The photo below, from one of my favorite locations – Green Lake – shows that the lake can be just as enticing in the middle of winter as on a pleasant Summer day.  Enjoy the journey!

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Do Dining Rooms matter?

Do Dining Rooms matter?  A common question when you’re touring potential new homes to buy.  So when asked about the need to have a proper dining room, I believe that if you can find a place to set up dinner for four, you’ve got all you need.  Many older traditional homes feature a dining room off the kitchen,  and in the day when our lives were more structured that made perfect sense.  All of us came together for dinner at about the same time and sat down to a prepared meal in the dining room.  Today’s lives are far more flexible and having a table in the kitchen or in a great room area, or next to a window in the living room may fit in better with the spaces available and the life you are living.  The important thing to think about is if you have friends or family over, is there a comfortable spot to sit around and share your meal and fun conversations.  Once you have that identified, you will enjoy making memories over home cooked meals.  If you’re working with rearranging your spaces and want any help walking through your plans, please feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to see if I can shed any light on new ways to enjoy your home.

 

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Favorite days of Summer

The best days of Summer are upon us, and it makes me remember the importance of slowing down and enjoying them.  Six months from now we’ll be bundled up in sweaters & coats, so take the time to walk on the beach, enjoy a short hike, or crack open a good mystery book.  When you’re in the middle of a stretch of hot sunny days, it’s a great time to reflect on how very fortunate we are to be living in Seattle.  The blooming gardens and shade covered backyards are a delight to enjoy, so grab an hour over the weekend or after work for a bit of “me time” while we have it.  My favorite annual event is coming up this weekend, Art in the Park, at the Pea Patch over on 25th Avenue NW and NW 86th – you’ll enjoy the combination of walking through a working garden, hearing live music and also being able to meet artists, photographers, and more who are selling their goods at this annual pop up event.  It’s an easy one to drop in on, it’s free, and food trucks fill the parking lot next door so you can enjoy lunch or a snack while you’re at it.  Have a great summer!

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Staging creates the Strongest Emotional Appeal

Having listed & sold homes for many years, I’ve always been a big proponent of making a strong first impression on buyers, and nothing can create that emotional appeal as readily as good staging.  This handsome Loyal Heights home sold a while ago, in a week with multiple offers,  and the staging had a lot to do with raising the bar and the way you felt when you entered the home.  Terrific color choices in the oak floor refinishing and strong contrasts from the calming green Living Room into the bright white accents in the Kitchen were dynamic, but setting a theme or style really brought this to another level to enjoy.  Remember when you’re getting ready to sell your home to think about 1) how does it look, 2) how does it feel, 3) how does it smell, 4) are there calming & relaxing elements like Eucalyptus scent and soft jazz music playing, and 5) when you walk in the door, do you feel like you’d want to stay there all day?  You’ll notice some agents and buyers seem to speed up when they tour open houses, and then certain homes seem to catch them in a trance and they really don’t want to leave.  When you’ve got the best elements working together, with the right staging, pricing and presentation, buyers become more relaxed, more in tune with the home, and more likely to want to make it theirs.  It’s all about making the magic happen and creating happy buyers & sellers.

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Healthy Eating Tips from a Pro

I followed through on a New Year’s resolution and met with Lauren yesterday to talk about food.  I’ve been wondering about what choices to make and having a chance to get advice from a nutritionist seemed like the best place to go.  If you’re interested in this, get in touch with me and I’ll share Lauren’s contact info with you.  Mostly it’s nice to have a plan so I can make better choices in the new year.

Worried about your metabolism slowing down?

The easy answer here is “exercise” because the best way to be fit is to build muscle, rather than worry about what you’re eating and if your metabolism is slowing down.  That goes for people in many age groups.

Concerned you’ve been drinking too much coffee?

The amount of coffee you drink is fine so long as you are matching it with water.  Keep a balance going and you should be fine.

What’s the best focal point on my dinner plate?

Let’s make vegetables the start of your main course and have meat & protein be the extra topping.  If you don’t focus on meats as the main part of the meal, you’ll have a healthier dinner.  Boost your vegetables, for example have Spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, or other veggies as the main part of your dinner plate, then add protein as an extra.  Remember Fish is a great protein so keep eating your fish.

How can I make vegetables yummy?

A little flavoring can turn them around.  Roasted Brussel Sprouts with just a bit of maple syrup, salt & pepper and a touch of basalmic vinegar is great.  You can add a little roasted red peppers and corn to your sliced cabbage and it comes to life.  Dark green veggies are super good for you, but Kale can be bitter so add lemon juice and really mix it in so it’s coated – it won’t get soggy and can last in the fridge for a few days.  Add Spinach and other veggies to as many meals as possible.

Should I buy Organic produce & organic dairy?

Yes.  Especially important on fruits like strawberries, apples, etc.  If you can afford Organic, buy it.

What about cutting out Carbs to get thin?

Don’t cut out carbs, you need carbs to get energy and so they shouldn’t  be eliminated.  But if you want to stay full longer between meals be sure to add some fat to your meals so that you stay full and be aware of food labels on anything processed – that is where there can be some bad choices with the amount of sugar & calories in foods.

What are some good lunch options?

Cheeses that I like are Feta Cheese & Parmesan Cheese for flavoring.

Turkey Chicken and Vegetarian Tempe are great proteins

Fruit as a side item on your plate is ideal at lunch

You can enjoy grain based options like Barley, Quinwa and Farro with some roasted veggies on top.

If you plan to work out or go for a walk after lunch, eat a banana or apple for a boost first.

Avoid those high sugar Cliff  Bars unless you’re training for a marathon or something like that.

Some food options we forget about that are easy and good for you as snacks include:

Hummus with cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, snap peas.  You can have apple slices with cheese or nut butters.

 

That’s my take-away from my first session with Lauren.  I’ll have other nutrition tips from her posted on my site from time to time.

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Let your “New Home” be a Perfect Match

Let your “New Home” Be a Perfect Match

By Liz Talley, Windermere Managing Broker, Greenwood Branch

The subliminal messages you get touring Seattle homes has a huge impact on how you select which one you want to buy. Have you noticed that some homes seem to say “sit down and stay awhile” while you’re looking them over? They feature spots to sit and read, or to enjoy a conversation, or to reenergize, be it on a cushioned window-seat or an inviting Adirondack chair near the entry. Other homes seem to feel utilitarian and rush you through them because they feel bland and not very special.  I always gravitate towards the ones that are so emotionally inviting that buyers, agents, even the neighbors seem to want to linger.

As a buyer when you tour homes, ask yourself if you’d enjoy opening the door everyday and living there.  Does it seem to fill your needs and are you comfortable with the energy in the home, the other properties around it, and how the light filters in the windows. Can you find a place to stash your Kayak or stroller?  Is there a nice park nearby you could walk to or a bus stop that would get you to work if you chose to ride?  All of these elements play a role in which home best fits your needs.

What is the secret to making some homes more inviting?

It’s actually how it looks, feels and smells that creates an overall inviting haven. Sometimes that fresh smell of hyacinths in the kitchen, or seeing a favorite cookbook sitting on the kitchen counter makes a connection and you can see yourself enjoying the place.  The colors inside can always be changed but how the flow is in a home impacts how comfortable you are when you walk through it.  If you are a tall person you might find yourself drawn to new construction, big boxy 1960’s homes and also possibly turn of the century Farmhouses with their high ceilings.  If you love cozy nooks and window seats, the old world charm of a Brick Tudor or Craftsman Bungalow may be the home that speaks to you.  How it is laid out and feels when you walk through it will send you a message and might suggest to you that this is your new abode.  When it’s a match, you know it almost like a gut instinct.  It just feels right, and that is something that can’t be determined seeing homes on-line.  You must walk through the door to sense if the place is “home” for you, and it just takes a few minutes to know once you arrive.

Getting the house keys into your hands.

Once you’ve found the right place, how can you compete to buy it in this fast paced real estate market?  Well first off, take the advice of your professional real estate agent who can help you craft a strong offer for the seller.  If you’re able to be flexible and can allow the seller to pick the dates for closing and possession that is generally helpful.  Having a solid earnest money check, in excess of 3%, is another way to show you’re serious about buying the home.  Finally working with a local trusted lender that other agents have had a good experience with may give you an edge.  We’ve all heard about submitting love letters to the sellers with offers, but they’re only credible if they are sincere so be thoughtful if you write one and have it focus on the seller and what they’ve created in their home, rather than the same letter you use on every offer you write which goes on and on about you.

If you’d like to learn how to improve the energy and feel in your new home I’d recommend doing a little reading on Feng Shui and the art of feeling relaxed in a home.  Your favorite interior colors will make your furniture look perfect and sometimes installing new lighting and putting on a fresh coat of paint can lighten and brighten a home.  If you’re picking one room to target for DIY projects, I’d recommend the kitchen since you’ll be creating meals there each day and it’s a great room to improve in terms of return on investment. Creating that special something is what I try to do with each listing before it hits the market, and I hope that these ideas and suggestions will help the right home find it’s way to you.

Green Lake Arts & Crafts Home

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ABC’s of selling your condo . . .

We’re getting ready to list a really nice condo and like many condo owners you may wonder what do you need to do before it hits the market.  Here are some of the things on our list.  First impressions make a difference so wash the front door, refresh any pots near the outdoor entry with attractive living plants, sweep the entry area and add a new door mat by your front door.  Your windows are your view to the outdoors so if you can, have the windows professionally washed right before you list your condo.  We recommend putting window screens into storage, wiping the interior window & sliding door tracks so they’re clean, and opening up all drapes and blinds for showings.  The vibe inside needs to be bright and inviting, so check and change out any blue-tint or dim light bulbs, remove clutter behind doors and in closets and make sure that the condo smells fresh – we like citrus so try a citrus cleaner as you wipe everything down.  On the day you hit the market consider having a bouquet of fresh flowers on your kitchen counter, nice relaxing music playing, and lamps turns on so all your potential buyers and brokers feel welcome and inspired by your condo.  On surfaces, three is our favorite number so if you have more than three items on coffee tables, dressers or other furniture, edit and pack them up.  Fewer items create a crisp look, and after all, most everything needs to be packed anyway if you are moving.  These tips will help create an inviting and attractive impression on your buying audience and we hope the combination of light real estate inventory, affordable interest rates and great presentation helps you get your condo sold promptly.

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A Vintage Farmhouse

In busy Seattle where homes are scraped for new construction faster than you can believe it, we have listed a vintage farmhouse that really is calling out to be saved & restored.  Located in the heart of Crown Hill this little home, 8519 12th Ave NW, is affordable at $439,900 and offers a quiet reprieve from all the hustle & bustle of the city.  It sits on a big level lot, oversized by city standards, and has a spacious detached garage.  The upstairs is a finished attic that could easily house a third bedroom and the unfinished basement while rough has a ton of space.  If you know someone who has wanted to roll up their shirtsleeves and take on a project, this home boasts many of the old world charm features of old Seattle homes.  MLS #1048830 for more info, open today until 3:30 and Sunday 1:30 to 3:30.  Offers reviewed Thursday Nov. 10th.

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Our Weekend Open House

What a busy weekend it will be, yet I believe I will be swamped at our open houses over in Blue Ridge on Saturday 1:00 – 3:00 and Sunday 1:30 to 4:00.  Between picking up groceries, getting kids to sports activities, and running errands, it only takes a couple of minutes to swing through an Open House and when you walk in the door you get an immediate feeling about the place.  Just doesn’t happen with photos on-line.  What I love at 2048 NW Blue Ridge Drive, listed at $1,250,000 is the open layout, big 1950’s style rooms with picture windows, nothing but garden between you and the water, watching George the Heron land in a nearby tree, and feeling like you can breathe.  While Ballard is hot, there’s something to be said about having a little more room around you, and this home is on a lot over 8,000 sq. ft. so you just feel relaxed when you’re there.  Built to enjoy, with view covenants, this home is an easy one to love – come see it Saturday or Sunday.  MLS # 1032484

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