Yard Sale Success

Yard sale season has arrived! Many people shy away from the idea of having a yard sale, but do you truly need that broken down accordion or the 80’s styled prom dress? A yard sale is a great way to get out with the old and make room for the new. Here are some tips to help make your yard sale a success …

1. If you haven’t used it in more than a year you most likely won’t use it in the next year. Sell it.

 2. Get the community involved. Contact your neighbors and coordinate having one large neighborhood sale on the same day. This will give consumers a greater incentive to come.

    • Helpful Hint: Have each participating household pitch in a few bucks for directional signs or an advertisement in the local paper.

 3. Get your whole family involved. Set up a lemonade stand or have a small bake sale for your kids to run.

 4. Promote yourself through your favorite social networking site … for free.

    •  Create a facebook event page and invite all your friends
    •  Tweet about it. Create a fun Twitter hashtag and offer a prize to those who Tweet about your sale.

5. Offer an incentive. Give away a free grab-bag to your tenth customer.

6. Price slightly higher than you’re willing to sell that way, there is room for negotiation.

7. After your sale is over, do not, I repeat, DO NOT put the leftovers back in your house, garage, or storage. Immediately donate them to your local thrift store, so there is no chance of procrastination or keeping things you do not need.

We would love to hear your tips when it comes to yard sale success!

For more information on Windermere Evergreen please contact us here.

Posted on May 16, 2018 at 9:33 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Buying & Selling | Tagged , , , ,

5 Deal Breakers that can blindside home buyers

 

Purchasing a home can be a complex endeavor for even the most well-prepared home buyer.  You’ve diligently saved for your down payment, followed the market, researched agents and now you are ready to make an offer on your dream home.  Don’t let these 5 “Deal Breakers” come between you and your new home.

    1. Big Purchases on Credit. It is tempting to buy the furniture for your new home or a new car for the garage before the sale closes. Take care if you are making these purchases on credit. Large purchases on credit can have a major impact on your credit profile which effects your mortgage application. It’s a better plan to wait until after closing or pay cash for these transactions or you may be putting that furniture in a different living room than you originally picked them out for.
    1. Overpaying. Before your bank will approve your mortgage they will appraise the home you are purchasing.  If they feel you are overpaying they are likely to decline your mortgage application. If you find yourself in this situation consult with your agent on renegotiating your offer to be more in line with the bank’s appraised value.
    1. Purchasing too close to Foreclosure. If you are making an offer on a house which is facing foreclosure be sure to have a closing date set before the foreclosure date. Have your agent work with the lender to structure closing before the house goes back to the bank and into foreclosure.
    1. IRS liens. You’ve heard the old saying “Death and Taxes”.  Back taxes and liens can derail your attempts to get financing for a mortgage so be sure to have your books in order before filing your loan application.
    1. Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). CLUE is a database of insurance claims for both people and property.  Your home insurance rates are determined by the information about you and the property you plan to purchase which is contained in this report. Past claims for water damage, falling trees and even dog bites from present and past owners can multiply your insurance rates. Consult your agent about the CLUE report for your future home as soon as possible once your home purchase offer is accepted.

When purchasing a home there will be challenges which you can plan for and the unexpected hurdles.  By educating yourself as a consumer and choosing a well trained real estate agent you can avoid many of the pitfalls of 21st century home ownership.

What about you? Tell us if you have had any “deal breaker” experiences.

Posted on April 30, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Buying & Selling, Conifer Real Estate, Evergreen Real Estate, Kittredge Real Estate, Money | Tagged , , , ,

Gardening Trends For 2018

Outdoor living during the spring and summer months is extremely popular. Months of cold, wet winters are followed by glorious spring colors and warm summer days of vivid blue skies. In this post, we thought that now would be the best time to share some pretty garden trends for 2018.

Wabi-Sabi

Leisure time should be just that: relaxing and rejuvenating. So why labor relentlessly to create and maintain a perfect landscape? Wabi-sabi, is the Japanese art of accepting transience and imperfect beauty. Relax and appreciate nature as it is, with humble imperfections, weeds and all. Recognize (and tell others) that dandelions and clover in untreated lawns are not blights. They are status symbols for ecological horticulture. Consider natural grasses and groundcovers as low-maintenance substitutes for sod. Opt for perennials instead of annuals, let flowers go to seed and give nature license to evolve on her own.

Reclaiming Small Outside Spaces

For many of us these days, space is at a premium and with house prices continually on the rise, more and more people are living in apartment blocks or tiny lots. Garden designers are determined to make even the smallest of spaces useful and attractive, and manufacturers have taken notice. Look for a better choice in planters that slot onto balcony rails. New models will have coverings for protecting plants from cold temperatures so that you can even grow seeds and vegetables on your balcony alongside your flowers.

Self-watering wall planter systems have been improved for 2018 and the hanging macramé plant holder is having a bit of a revival. Add a small patio heater and you have an outside space you can enjoy all year round with minimal effort.

Purple Passion

Pantone’s Ultra Violet is the color of the year. Maybe that’s why you find purple flowers in this year’s plant varieties and garden design. It’s easy to incorporate this color in the garden as there are many flowers and shrubs with this beautiful color. However, there are also several edible purple plants that you can grow. Purple vegetables are not only interesting and pretty, their unique color denote anthocyanins which are very beneficial to your health.

Re-Wilding

This is a style that keeps popping up time and again. However, 2018 has taken the re-wilding trend up another notch. It is still all about working with nature, growing wildflowers and supporting our pollinating insects. Re-wilding means adjusting plant selections to better support local wildlife and growing both seed-producing and berry-bearing plants. However, now it is also about using ‘green’ gardening products, natural solutions to bug and slug killers instead of chemicals and insecticides and using peat-free products.

Alfresco Living

Outdoor entertaining and kitchen areas are tipped to be a key trend for Spring/Summer 2018. We are not talking about a little nook corner just off the kitchen. Alfresco dining spaces are being pushed out into the garden itself and made into a major feature. These dedicated outdoor dining areas are surrounded by in-ground and container plants for that lush feeling. Special flooring, comfy furniture and mood lighting turn it into a little haven. Complete the trend with a sunken fire pit, barbecue or pizza oven and you might never want to leave.

Lighting The Way

Adding lighting to your garden is not a new thing. However, in this age of renewable energy, garden lighting companies are turning away from the more traditional lighting solutions we have seen in the past. The advances in solar energy capture, means that we can light up our gardens in a variety of fun, affordable and better ways. No more changing batteries or wiring up the garden with electricity.

The wide range of lighting methods allows you to create whatever ambience you want. Simple stand-alone lights can mark pathways, either discreetly embedded into the path edges or standing loud and proud along the side. Multi-colored fairy lights can be tangled among the overhead branches of a tree creating dazzling shapes and textures. Solar Mason jars can be hung from above or used as table lighting. Festoon lights can create an ambient glow around any outdoor space creating romantic nooks.

Posted on April 9, 2018 at 7:33 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Living | Tagged , , , , , , ,

6 Foyers That Invite in Style

With a side entrance to your home, you can be a little more forgiving when it comes to messes. But with a front-door entry, through which you and your guests get a first impression of your home, you’ve got to be a little more on top of your style and storage game. The following are some of the most popular front-entry photos recently, as measured by the number of people who saved them to their Houzz ideabooks from January through March. Let us know which will inspire your next project.

Entryway 1Jackson and LeRoy, original photo on Houzz

6. A classic wooden bench offers a spot to take off and put on shoes in this farmhouse-style entryway in Utah.

Related: Wipe Your Shoes on a Durable Outdoor Rug

Entryway 2Nicole Benveniste Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

5. Benjamin Moore’s Plaster of Paris paint on the walls sets the soothing tone for this spacious San Francisco entry. A large painting featuring pale swaths of color hangs over a few well-chosen accessories atop a weathered wood table, starting this home off on the right foot.

Entryway 3Brian Paquette Interiors, original photo on Houzz

4. Here, a burl-wood-type table and vibrant abstract art create movement and excitement.

Related: Flower Vases for the Entryway

Entryway 4Tim Barber Ltd Architecture, original photo on Houzz

3. A rich wood built-in helps organize this Los Angeles entry. A frosted, ribbed glass window obscures the view into the living room.

Entryway 5NEST Interior Design Group, original photo on Houzz

2. An eclectic mix of art and accessories beckons guests into this Houston home. A table offers a spot for keys and wallets, while wire baskets below can handle shoes and bags.

Entryway 6Fluidesign Studio, original photo on Houzz

1. Creamy shiplap walls, rich wood floors and a wood console table establish a refreshing air in this Minneapolis home.

By Mitchell Parker, Houzz

Posted on April 6, 2018 at 11:31 am
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Living | Tagged , , , ,

Creating Comfort Through Interior Design

Just because the Christmas decor is put away and the festive mood of the holidays is over doesn’t mean we have to stop creating a snug and cozy home. It’s a good time to embrace winter Hygge! If you aren’t familiar with Hygge, it’s a Danish word for feeling content and cozy.

Here are seven ways to bring Hygge style comfort to your home, even during the dreariest winter month of the year!

LAYERED LIGHTS

Even if you feel like you’re lacking in the cozy department, simply addressing your lighting will make a huge difference. Layers of lighting make every room feel more welcoming. In the daytime, natural light is ideal. But for evenings, it’s nice to add a cozy glow. A good rule of thumb is to try to have a least three light sources in every room. Use a mix of table lamps, floor lamps, task lamps, and overhead lighting. Consider using warmer lightbulbs for the coziest ambience.

COMFORTING MOMENTS

Your home will offer a sense of comfort when you incorporate some favorite photos of loved ones, treasured hand-me-downs, antiques or flea-market finds, eye-catching conversation starters, art that inspires you, special mementos, or simply things that make you smile.

AN INVITING AROMA

What aroma feels ‘cozy’ to you? Set the tone for your home by filling it up with winter scents that inspire you.

TOUCHABLE TEXTURES

The coziest homes contain a variety different textures that delight the eye. Incorporate different touch-worthy materials through pillows, drapery, throw blankets, rugs, lamps, and furniture. The fabric possibilities are endless: velvet, woven, knit, embroidered, grain sack, faux fur, tweed, etc. You can also consider creating contrast with varying materials like metal, wood, glass, rattan, mirrored, painted, and more.

A PLACE TO CURL UP

Make yourself a special cozy place to relax. A reading chair will be extra cozy with some good books nearby in a basket, a lamp, a footstool, a side table to set a cup of tea, and a soft blanket you can curl up in.

A BIT OF WARMTH

Every home can benefit from warmth. No matter what your color scheme, you can add warmth through natural tones like wood, leather, jute, warm metals, etc.

SOMETHING LIVING

A room comes to life when an organic element is incorporated into the decor. Every room can benefit from having at least one plant, bouquet of flowers, or even a sprig of greenery like eucalyptus to remind us that spring is on its way.

For more information on Windermere Real Estate, please contact us here.

Posted on April 2, 2018 at 4:58 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Windermere and Zillow Economists Come Together To Discuss Housing

Earlier this week, nearly 200 Windermere brokers came together at Windermere’s monthly luxury breakfast at Overlake Golf Club in Medina, WA. The featured speakers were Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, and Zillow Senior Economist, Skylar Olsen. Matthew interviewed Skylar on a number of topics related to the housing market and economy, including interest rates, inventory levels, Millennials, and where they predict Amazon will open their second headquarters (they both are betting on Austin, TX).

The two economists discussed the overall health of the housing market. Both predict sales to soften a little this year, but still remain strong overall. When asked about interest rates, Skylar stated that she believes they will land just below 5 percent by the end of 2018 and rise to around 6 percent by early 2019. They noted that luxury home prices have slowed a little in certain cities, with the exception of places like Seattle and San Francisco, where the economies and job growth are very strong.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Matthew and Skylar addressed first time buyers – and more specifically – Millennial home buyers. Both say this generation will play an increasingly important role in the health of the housing market, but their biggest obstacle is saving enough money for a down payment. Skylar stated that more than 25 percent of first time buyers end up borrowing from the “bank of Mom and Dad” in order to be able to afford a home. With rapidly rising prices in many cities across the US, both agree that there probably isn’t much relief in sight in the near term for these buyers.

It was an honor to have two such well-respected economists on hand to provide their insights into the housing market. For more information about Matthew Gardner, and to read his analysis of regional markets throughout the Western. U.S., please visit: https://www.windermere.com/economics.

For more information on Windermere Evergreen and our agents, please contact us here.

Posted on March 16, 2018 at 4:18 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Evergreen Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Spring in your step: smart ways to get rid of the clutter and update your décor

DaffodilsOur bulbs went full bloom at my house a few weeks ago, which prompted the awakening of spring fever: mostly the urge to air out the house and get rid of clutter (again, didn’t we just do this?). In my desire to purge, I have been trying to find the best ways to get rid of things; ­to sell some items in order to reinvest in updated accessories, to support local charities, and just get rid of the junk in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. I am not as methodical as I’d like to be, but I am already seeing a difference with the reduced clutter. Here are some of my tips and favorite resources:

Office

Are you a piler or a stasher? We create stacks in our household, which we have to go through weekly, then move to our respective offices, where they wait (indeterminate lengths of time) to get filed. One of my first steps in clearing out the junk was to deal with the piles of paper. I shredded anything that should be shredded and recycled and filed the rest. If you are supremely organized, I suggest taking this time to note what bills you actually get paper invoices for, and move towards electronic billing.  Also, if you haven’t already, take a moment to stop your junk mail, saving yourself a step in the filing process and reducing some paper use.

I finally went through the stack of magazines piling up next to the bed, tearing out any recipes, articles and ideas I wanted to reference later, and throwing the rest away.  If you are looking for an electronic alternative to the magazine clutter, read your magazines online and save your favorite articles with a social bookmarking tool such as delicious.com to easily search your saved files with your own key words.

If there is a bookcase in our house, it will be filled so, instead of investing in ANOTHER bookshelf, I decided to make space for all the books I will likely buy this year by getting rid of books I probably won’t read. We will be reselling some books to amazon.com while others will either go to the local used bookstore for store credit or be donated to a local charity.

You can also gain a lot of space by going through your media. If you still have DVDs and CDs, inventory them and decide if you can move to a digital archive. It may take some time, but downloading and backing up your media could make you more organized in the long run and eliminate unnecessary clutter. Get rid of the disks once these have been backed up, reclaiming that shelf space.

As more and more of our lives are kept in digital files, it is important to take precautions to protect our files as well as the hardware that stores them. If you store important documents, family photos, media, or other items on your hard drive, make sure you have a backup plan. Learn more about digital storage options so if anything happens to your hardware you don’t lose everything.

Garage/ Basement

Whenever I go to the hardware store, I must suffer from temporary memory loss; what else would explain the multiples we acquire? This year we are doing an audit. If we have enough stuff to justify it, we will do a garage sale, but most likely we will sell what we can on craigslist or eBay and give away the rest on freecycle.org. These are all great options for ridding yourself of unwanted, outdated and duplicate items. We also have a pile of electronics to get rid of: an old microwave, tv, toaster oven, printers, juicer, etc. We don’t want to dump these if they can be recycled. We are looking into e-cycle options in our area, including local Windermere offices holding e-cycle events regularly, which also benefit the Foundation.

The same rules apply to our excess storage.

As you de-clutter and reorganize, make updates to your home inventory list. Spring is a great time to make sure your list of household items is up-to-date for insurance purposes. It is also a good time to check on your major appliances to determine if your furnace/water tank/septic or other major systems need to be serviced.

Closets

As the seasons change, it is a good idea to go through your clothes in order to renew and refresh your wardrobe. If you have items that can be updated with a few alterations, make a plan to spend some time with your tailor. Otherwise, look critically at the clothes you have. If you didn’t wear it in the last year and it cannot be altered to work with the rest of your wardrobe, consider donating it to Goodwill or your preferred charity. Throw any soiled or damaged clothes away.  Spring is also a great time to get rid of any old linens and towels that have seen better days.

Furniture

You will likely be surprised by how light your load is once you have really gotten into the de-cluttering process. If you have furniture you don’t use or that doesn’t fit with your décor, consider your options. You may be able to repurpose your furniturefor more efficient use, such as a console table as a landing strip next to the door, an armoire for playroom storage, or even old doors as a headboard. Or you may breathe new life into your furniture by painting or re-staining. If you can’t repurpose, why not recycle? You can donate your furniture, sell it on craigslist or give it away on freecycle.org. Getting rid of excess furniture can revitalize a room almost as much as buying new furniture.

Spring Forward

Once you have cleared the clutter and made way for a fresh perspective, figure out what will help keep the clutter at bay, and add design elements that inspire you. Decorative baskets keep magazines in order; decorative vases with flowers add natural elements help keep the indoors fresh; and new lighting or a new paint color can brighten up a room in an instant. Subtle updates in your rooms can make all the difference once the clutter is gone.

What are your tips for preparing for spring? What are your favorite spring rituals, once the cleaning is done?

For more information on Windermere Evergreen, please contact us here.

Posted on March 12, 2018 at 9:42 am
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Living | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

8 Laundry Room Updates to Fit Any Budget

Laundry 1Sharon Barrett Interiors, original photo on Houzz

Hoping to transform your tired laundry room into a sparkling clean, efficiently working space, but without the major costs of a full remodel? By not changing the layout or adding square feet, you can bring costs down while still making meaningful changes to your space. Use this guide to help you decide what to prioritize and what to put on the back burner, and give your laundry room an update that works with your space — whether your budget is $100 or $10,000.

If your budget is about $100: Clean, declutter and upgrade laundry baskets that have seen better days. It’s worth spending a little more for hampers that can stand up to heavy use.

Also think about which features would be most helpful to have, such as hampers on wheels, triple-sorter bins or stackable baskets that can tuck out of the way when you’re not using them.

If your budget is about $300: Clean up, get hampers and then give the walls a fresh coat of paint. A cheerful color can make your laundry room feel brand-new without breaking the budget — especially if you’re willing to DIY.

If your budget is about $500: Get hampers, fresh paint and then a soft new rug. You’ll appreciate the dose of color as much as the softness underfoot. If moisture is a concern (for example, if your laundry room is in the basement), you may want to choose a sturdy indoor-outdoor rug.

If your budget is about $700: Get hampers, fresh paint and a new rug, and then swap out the lighting.

Ample lighting is important when you’re trying to check laundry for stains and read labels, so pay attention to the recommended wattage of any light fixture you are considering — anything less than 75 watts may not shed enough light (especially if it’s the sole light source in the room).

If your budget is about $1,200: Tackle all the above, and then treat your space to some bonus storage and extras, like an ironing station, a drying rack or open shelves. If your laundry room is small, look for space-saving designs like folding drying racks, retractable clotheslines and wall-mounted ironing boards.

If your budget is about $3,500: What’s next? New appliances! A new washer and dryer can work more efficiently than older models, operate more quietly and get your clothes cleaner.

If you’re going from top-loading to front-loading machines, consider adding a countertop above to hold supplies and act as a surface for folding. Not in the market for a new set? Give your old machines a thorough cleaning to keep them running well (and smelling fresh).

If your budget is about $5,000: If you have more room in the budget, think about replacing the laundry room sink and faucet. If you’re hoping to avoid additional installation costs, choose a new model that is the same size as the old one. If you don’t already have a sink in the laundry room, adding one will require more extensive help from a plumber, and costs will be significantly more.

If your budget is about $10,000: So you have the hampers, paint, rug, lighting, storage, appliances and sink. If you still have room in the budget, think about tackling a bigger project like installing a new tile floor or a pet-washing station. Your furry friend may not thank you but sure will look cute sitting in that tub.

For more information on Windermere Evergreen, please contact us here.

Posted on February 17, 2018 at 9:48 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Living | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Decorating Your Home in Ultra Violet: Pantone Color of The Year 2018

Each year, design pros eagerly await the Color of the Year announcement from the experts at Pantone®. No matter what the hue, it’s always sure to make a splash—and home goods are no exception. From appliances and décor to tile and paint, manufacturers will start rolling out options to match (and complement) the Pantone Color of the Year.

Pantone® Ultra Violet is the pick for 2018. This is no shrinking violet: It’s a deep blue-purple that isn’t for the shy. No wonder that the Pantone announcement referenced icons known for showmanship like David Bowie, Prince and Jimi Hendrix.

Embracing a color this bold into your home might seem like a giant leap, but it could make a big mood difference in your home during the long, grey days of Seattle winters. We have assembled a few ways to incorporate Ultra Violet into your home – some large and some small.

Make an Entrance

Painting your front door adds instant curb appeal. Red’s a classic hue and teal is an up-and-comer, but this entry’s regal purple is a real knockout.

Set the Scene

Funny thing about purple: Though we tend to think of it as a scene-stealer, cooler shades in the blue-gray range can work almost like neutrals. Here, purple walls marry an eclectic mix of midcentury-inspired décor.

Look Around

You’ve seen the accent wall. How about the accent ceiling? A rich grape hue adds an unexpected twist to this bedroom’s gray walls and white trim. It gets extra punch from the peek of red seen through the doorway.

Consider Texture and Sheen

One secret to pulling off a jewel tone like these royal purple walls: Choose a matte finish. Shine plus color can be hard to pull off, but a flatter finish is, well, flattering.

Add Statement Furniture

If you’re planning on using Ultra Violet in a bedroom or living area, consider incorporating it in a piece of statement furniture. In this case, the piece will act as the focal point of the room, since it will undoubtedly capture plenty of attention. With that in mind, bed frames, ottomans and reading chairs are excellent options to fill this role.

Opt for Accessories

For those who are a bit nervous about jumping into a design full of intense shades, keep in mind that you can always incorporate Ultra Violet into your accessories. These are a great starting point because they generally include lower-cost items that can easily be replaced when your tastes change or if you decide you’re not a big fan of the look.

For more information on Windermere Evergreen, please contact us here.

Posted on February 13, 2018 at 9:41 am
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Living | Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Harsh Realities of Renovation

A brief update on our progress thus far and a few reflections on buying a Seattle fixer:

Lows:

The amount of Ibuprofen.  The reality is renovations take a lot of hard, back-breaking work.  Our home was built in the early 1940s and the walls are mostly plaster which is pretty difficult to work with (demo, drill, repair, etc.)  We are saving a lot of money by doing the work ourselves but it makes sense why people sometimes choose to hire this work out.

Time runs out quickly.  Every day we have a plan for the renovations and we complete about 70% of those goals.  You see the progress you’re making but you battle the feeling that you’re not getting anywhere.

Dirty all the time.  We are caked in caulk and grout.  Our house is dusty and disorganized (and we haven’t even moved in!)

Nothing is free.  It cost $120 to get rid of the 2,000lbs of house debris and lawn gnomes. Plaster is heavy.  Gnomes are heavier.

Highs:

Getting exactly what we want.  From fixtures to grout color, this bathroom is 100% what we envisioned.  It’s also a small step up from the linoleum, orange formica countertop and stained glass bear window. (#savethebear)

Quality of output.  My father and I hand-polished every single hexagon tile on our floor after we spread the grout last night.  When it’s your home and you’re the one putting in the work, you take the time to do it right.

Bonding with the people you’re working alongside.  I learned that my dad was drafted into the Vietnam war while he was dating my mom but the request was recalled as the war dwindled.  I watched my wife balance our baby on her hip while putting her whole weight into every piece of laid tile.  The four of us have spent at least 40 hours together in that tiny bathroom and we’re closer because of it.

For more information on our Windermere Evergreen team please contact us here.

Posted on January 31, 2018 at 11:55 am
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Living | Tagged , , , , ,