Why So Many Americans Are Either Upsizing or Downsizing

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Real Estate

Originally appeared on Windermere Blog, written by Shelley Rossi.


According to two recent surveys that took industry watchers by surprise, many family homeowners are putting frugality aside and upsizing to new houses that average as large as 2,480 square feet (an increase of as much as 13 percent from the year before), and sometimes exceed 3,500 square feet in size.

Meanwhile, millions of baby boomer homeowners are rushing to downsize—with some 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 saying they’re planning to make a move within the next five years.

It’s a tale of two very different segments of the population making dramatic shifts in their living accommodations to find the housing solutions that best suit their needs: one upsizing while the other downsizes.

With so many baby boomers now nearing retirement age (8,000 Americans turn 65 every day), it should come as no surprise that the number of prospective “downsizers” exceed the number of “upsizers” by three to one. With their children gone, these aging homeowners are interested in reducing the amount of house they need to care for, and are eager to bulk up their retirement savings with any home-sale profits.

As for why many families are choosing to upsize so substantially after years of downsizing or staying put, experts point to the extremely low interest rates and discounted home prices available today, and theorize that many families now feel confident enough about the economy to move out of homes they outgrew years ago.

If you’re considering upsizing or downsizing, here are some facts to consider:


How such a move can impact your life

The most common benefits of downsizing:

  • Lower mortgage payments
  • Lower tax bills
  • Lower utility bills
  • Less maintenance (and lower maintenance expenses)
  • More time/money for travel, hobbies, etc.
  • More money to put toward retirement, debts, etc. (the profits from selling your current home)


The most common benefits of upsizing

  • More living space
  • More storage space
  • More yard/garden space
  • More room for entertaining/hosting friends and family


Negative impacts:

  • Upsizing will likely increase your living expenses, so it’s important to factor into any financial forecasts
  • Downsizing will require that you make some hard choices about what belongings will need to be stored or sold


Other impacts to consider:

  • The loss of good neighbors
  • Lifestyle changes (walking, neighborhood shopping, etc.)
  • The effect on your work commute
  • Public transit options


Buy first, or sell first?

Homeowners considering this transition almost always have the same initial question: “Should I buy the new home now, or wait and sell my current place first?” The answer is dependent on your personal circumstances. However, experts generally recommend selling first.

Selling your current home before buying a new one could mean you have to move to temporary quarters for some period of time—or rush to buy a new home. That could prove stressful and upsetting. However, if you instead buy first, you could be stuck with two mortgages, plus double property tax and insurance payments, which could quickly add up to lasting financial troubles.

If you need to sell in order to qualify for a loan, there’s no choice: You’ll have to sell first.


Another option:

You could make the purchase of the new house contingent on selling your current home. However, this approach can put you in a weak bargaining position with the seller (if you can even find a seller willing to seriously consider a contingency offer). Plus, you may be forced to accept a low-ball offer for your current house in order to sell it in time to meet the contingency agreement timing.

The truth is, most home sales tend to take longer than the owners imagine, so it’s almost always best to finalize the sale, and do whatever is necessary to reap the biggest profit, before embarking on the purchase of your new home.


When to make the transition

Ideally, when you’re selling your home, you want to wait until the demand from potential buyers is high (to maximize your selling price). But in this case, because you’re also buying, you’ll also want to take advantage of any discounted interest rates and reduced home prices (both of which will fade away as the demand for homes grows).

How will you know when the timing is right to both sell and buy? Ask an industry expert: your real estate agent. As someone who has their finger on the pulse of the housing market every day, they can help you evaluate the current market and try to predict what changes could be coming in the near future.

Even if you’ve been through it before, the act of upsizing or downsizing can be complex. For tips, as well as answers to any questions, contact a Windermere agent any time.

Photo Credit: midascode | Pixabay

Open Houses: August 20th & 21st

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Real Estate

water-sports-585708_1920If you are looking to escape the excessive heat warning (with temperatures in the high-80s to mid-90s) that is being put into effect over the next few days, Long Beach is hosting the Washington State International Kite Festival. With weather still anticipated in the high-70s and mid-80s, the weather is still going to be hot, but with a warm ocean breeze coming in over northwest waters.

Having started on the Monday, August 15th, the festival is going into full swing until Sunday, August 21st. With various like staging areas and places for you to bury kite anchors, there will be plenty of fun and exciting events and activities for the whole family; such as observation and event participation, an activities tent, as well as a covered portable kite museum and learning center, a beer garden and food pavilion. And don’t forget about all of the other local attractions, including Go Karts & Bumper Cars, the Elks Lodge, Mini Golf, Laser Tag, Arcade, local parks and bicycles and moped rentals – as well as lots of local shops to look through for treasure and special finds!

Whether it’s just you, or a minivan packed with family, this place is waiting with fun events, activities, shops and local eats! Please feel free to check out the website for additional information about the vendors,  a contest poster,  a festival map, and so much more!

If you plan on staying in the area this weekend, make sure to load up on water and pay extra attention to your needs as our warm, summer days get hotter! Check out this King County page about staying cool & safe in the summer heat! Join us this weekend as Windermere Mercer Island agents hold open houses in the Bainbridge Island, Seattle and Mercer Island areas. We look forward to seeing you there!

Bainbridge Island

$882,000 ♦ 975597 ♦ 7838 Northeast Koura Farm Drive, Bainbridge Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ Joanie Ransom & Molly Neary ♦ Sunday, August 21st 1pm-4pm

Mercer Island

$898,000 ♦ 1013702 ♦ 2257 72nd Avenue Southeast, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ Larry Williams ♦ Friday, August 19th 4pm-6pm; Saturday, August 20th 1pm-4pm; Sunday, August 21st, 1pm-4pm (Hosted by Brian Rosso)

$2,149,000 ♦ 971419 ♦ 5830 West Mercer Way, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ R2 (Robyn Kimura-Hsu & Rachel Schindler) ♦ Sunday, August 21st 11am-3pm (Hosted by Brian Wilson)

$2,495,000 ♦ 976275 ♦ 6825 Southeast 32nd Street, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ R2 (Robyn Kimura-Hsu & Rachel Schindler) ♦ Saturday, August 20th 3pm-5pm (Hosted by Denny Liao)

Seattle (West Seattle)

$385,000 ♦ 1014893 ♦ 4725 Cottage Place Southeast #B, Seattle ♦ Chad Dierickx ♦ Saturday, August 20th 1pm-4pm (Hosted by Lis Brown); Sunday, August 21st 1pm-4pm

There are 28 homes open on Mercer Island this weekend that are available for tour! Check out the full list below for more information including price, time and location.

Open House List

Need timely Seattle Region information? Windermere Mercer Island Is Here To Help!

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Real Estate / WRE/Mercer Island Blogs

seattle-1114705_960_720Windermere Mercer Island publishes a variety of resources to help you keep a pulse on our local real estate market.  Check out the details below to get the scoop on all the rich Seattle Region information that is readily available for your perusal!

Here on Mercer Island Pulse, we share timely real estate news, community information, company events, design trends, and home tips. You can subscribe to have each new article delivered to your inbox by clicking the Follow button in the lower right hand corner of the homepage.

You can keep track of the housing market in your favorite neighborhoods on The Market Talks, which offers weekly, monthly, and quarterly statistics for our region’s neighborhoods. If you subscribe to The Market Talks, each week you’ll receive informative market updates emailed to you as they are posted.

If you are interested in waterfront properties and lux trends, head on over to The Waterfront Report. Subscribe to receive quarterly reviews covering Seattle, Mercer Island, The Eastside, and Lake Sammamish, along with up-to-date luxury news and trends delivered to your inbox.

Are you eager to learn more about the bigger picture regarding our housing market and local economy? We have a YouTube playlist on our office channel with all the Housing 101 videos filmed by Windermere Real Estate’s chief economist, Matthew Gardner.  Click here to access the playlist. We add to it each time Mr. Gardner releases a new Housing 101 video.

If you are looking to relocate to the Seattle Region, or you already live here but want to find a neighborhood that is a better compliment to your needs and lifestyle, make sure and check out Live On Guides. You can research neighborhoods, school districts, and look at maps, all in one place.

Photo credit: Y Yoncee • Pixabay

Happy 9th Birthday Mercer Island Farmers Market!

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Mercer Island Farmers Market

Oh man, this post did not publish as I planned. Did you attend the Mercer Island’s Farmer Market on Sunday and help celebrate their 9th birthday? Did you take any photos of the party? If you did, please share in the comment section.  Cheers to MIFM’s 9th year of operation.  Really looking forward to their 10th birthday in 2017!!

Mercer Island Farmers Market We offer a hearty “Happy Birthday!” to Mercer Island Farmers Market! On Sunday, August 14th, come to MIFM and celebrate its 9th season of operation. There will be a special tasting of peaches from Harvesting Autumn, Martin Family Orchard, and Collins Family Orchards. Sample different varieties of peaches and pick some up to enjoy at home!

MIFM is teaming up with sponsor Covenant Shores to feature a live chef demo with their resident chef, Jerry Phipps. Homemade cookies will be on the menu for shoppers to enjoy! Over at the Info Booth, volunteers will be giving out the 2016 MIFM shopping bags, so stop by to pick one up.

Live music will be provided by Joe Ross & The Birdwatchers. Their lively honky-tonk/swing music will keep your toes tapping while you cruise around the market. With musical influences including Louis Prima, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and the Rolling Stones, Joe Ross & The Birdwatchers will play the perfect party music for a festive birthday celebration.

Over at the Children’s Table the kids will enjoy painting with blackberry ink. The kids will enjoy learning how to use these yummy berries to create beautiful artwork.

The birthday vendor of the week is Collins Family Orchards. They have been a terrific addition to the market over many seasons. A 4th generation family farm located in Selah, WA, Collins Family Orchards is managed by the father-son team of Calvin and Brian Collins.

A big huge THANK YOU to everyone who works so diligently to make Mercer Island Farmers Market the success it has become. It’s a cherished annual tradition on Mercer Island!!

Mercer Island Rocks!

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Community Happening / Spirit of Mercer Island

Mercer Island Rocks Yesterday, there was a fun surprise on the steps of the Windermere Building. Someone had placed this rock in an inconspicuous place, so it could be discovered and shared. When I spied the rock, it  put a smile on my face. But, when I picked up the rock and saw the delightful sail boat on the other side, finding this gem made my day.

I followed the directions on the rock and found the Facebook group Mercer Island Rocks! The mission of the group is described in the pinned post located at the top of their Facebook page, “The idea is to spread little gems of happiness around the island; to create and share creations celebrating our wonderful community. And maybe even get folks hunting for objects that don’t require an app to be seen (though we love Pokemon Go as much as the next family!).”

It turns out the idea was an inspiration from another group, Whidbey Island Rocks. The Whidbey Island group, in turn, were inspired by Port Angeles Rocks. It’s a fun activity that generates a sense of delight and goodwill out in your community. I’m excited to see which city is inspired by Mercer Island and joins the fun!

If you’d like to join the group, click here to request to join. The pinned post also includes rock painting and hiding guidelines, for those who would like to contribute. If you find rocks out in the Mercer Island community, and would like to share a photo, please join the group so you can share your discovery.

Have fun rock hunting!

Houzz Story: Stacked Stone Veneer Inside the Home

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Among the top projects in the Seattle area for estimated return on investment, stone veneer currently comes in second. Stone veneer takes a classic look and makes it more affordable for a wider range of remodeling budgets. It comes in so many different looks and textures, there is something for every architectural style and interior design outlook!

This Houzz story slideshow shows varying applications for stacked stone veneer, both inside and out. Included in the slideshow are two rooms from a Lake Washington home using stacked stone veneer for texture, drama and warmth. The first image features a living area fireplace surround, and the second is dual vanity bathroom. The look of the chosen stone veneer fits the home’s modern design, the veneer coloring is coordinated with other features both rooms, and it looks stunning in our regional natural light.

Pan through the slideshow to see other ways stacked stone can be utilized in a home remodel.

Mercer Island Farmers Market: July 31, 2016

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Mercer Island Farmers Market

Mercer Island Farmers Market Today will be all about beverages available at Mercer Island Farmers Market. You can quench your thirst with Kombucha, tea soda, ginger beer, juices, and smoothies. Shen Zen Tea‘s lemongrass kombucha is refreshing, Timber City‘s signature ginger beer is a spicy treat, while Juice Harbor’s selection of cold-pressed juices are especially appealing to the younger crowd. If you are a hard cider fan, FinnRiver Farm & Cidery brings their their ciders and brandy wine to MIFM. Other vendors who have booths in the alcoholic section near Bicentennial Park are Stomani Cellars, Four Horsemen Brewery, and Lowercase Brewing.

Live music will be provided today by Ronnda Cadle, with guest percussionist Rikki Evans. Ronnda plays original compositions on her guitar and perfected her music while listening to female guitarists, her greatest mentors – Nancy Wilson of Heart, Caroline Aiken, and Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls. From Ronnda’s website, “I wouldn’t be the player I am today if it were not for these strong and amazing women. I hope to bring my own voice to the generations of women musicians to follow.”

Over at the Children’s Table the kids will be able to paint the colors of the market. Kids, stop by and explore all the colors of the rainbow that you can see at MIFM from the veggies, fruits, flowers, herbs, and art offered by local farmers and artisans.

This week’s featured vendor is well within the thirsty theme of today’s market. Check out the MIFM home page to read the interview with Julie Petrocelli, owner of Juice Harbor. She sells a wide variety of cold pressed juices, smoothies and elixirs (wellness shots), using predominantly local and organic ingredients to make them.

Have a wonderful day exploring the market!

Kicks For Kids 2016: Back-to-school shoe drive

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Community Happening / Kicks For Kids


Windermere Mercer Island will be participating in the 3rd annual Kicks For Kids shoe drive starting on Monday, August 1st. We are extremely proud to coordinate this annual drive! And the response from you — our community of clients, friends, family and neighbors — has been so huge each year. Kicks For Kids wouldn’t be the success it has been without your help.

If you would like to support a local child in need, to start back-to-school with a pair of shoes that fit, please bring (or ship) your donation of a pair of children’s shoes, or a $20 Payless Shoe Source gift card, to our office located at 2737 77th Avenue S.E., STE 100, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

Below are the FAQs regarding the shoe drive:

WHAT: A back-to-school sneaker drive for low-income youth, distributed through Mary’s Place

WHY: Kids from struggling families are in need of back-to-school shoes that fit. When kids feel good about their appearance, it improves both their self-esteem and their performance in school.

WHEN: Formal shoe collection will take place from August 1st – August 15, 2016

WHERE: Windermere Mercer Island is the collection point where you can drop off new athletic shoes or sneakers (youth sizes 1-6 and adult sizes 7-9) or $20 Payless Shoe Source gift cards from now through August 18th.

WHO: Sponsored by Windermere Mercer Island in partnership with Mary’s Place of Seattle

Kicks For Kids 2016

Seattle Seahawks and Windermere Real Estate Announce New Partnership

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Windermere Real Estate Partners With Seattle Seahawks


We are so excited to share this news with you!!

Originally posted on Windermere Blog by Shelley Rossi

To say that Windermere has a lot of Seahawks fans would be an understatement. That’s why we are so excited to announce today that we are now the “Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks”!

At the center of this partnership with the Seahawks is a new #tacklehomelessness campaign in which the Windermere Foundation will donate $100 for every Seahawks tackle at home during the 2016 season. On the receiving end of these donations is YouthCare, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that has been providing services and support to homeless youth from across Puget Sound for more than 40 years. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has donated over $30 million to non-profits that support low-income and homeless families, so partnering with YouthCare and the Seahawks on the #tacklehomelessness campaign is a perfect fit for us.

“We are proud to partner with Windermere, an iconic and locally-based company with a deep commitment to this community,” said Seahawks Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Amy Sprangers. “Windermere’s brand and values align perfectly with our commitment to this region. It is wonderful that this partnership will make a positive impact on homeless youth throughout the Seattle area.”

If you’re not already excited about the upcoming Seahawks season, this video should do it.

Now say it with us . . . Go Hawks!

Mercer Island Farmers Market: July 24, 2016

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Mercer Island Farmers Market

Mercer Island Farmers MarketThis week at Mercer Island Farmer’s Market (MIFM), they are celebrating summer veggies. Shoppers will be able to spot ears of corn, snap peas, cucumbers, peppers, a variety of summer greens, summer squash, tomatoes and more. Unlike the conventional grocery shopping experience, farmers market shoppers are able to find veggie varieties, and colors, that are usually not available at grocery stores. Stop by Lyall Farms, Alvarez Farms, Hedlin Farms, Kittatas Valley Greenhouse, True Her Gardens, Moua Gardens and Bao Gardens to see what veggies they have today!

Today’s live music at the market will be provided by Micheal Biller and Friends, one of MIFM’s favorite jazz ensembles. You’ll appreciate the classic jazz standards they will be playing along with more current selections.

Over at the Children’s Table, the kids can discover the sweet smells of summer. These lovely aromas come from herbs, flowers, and summer fruits and veggies.

The featured vendor of the week is Gourmini’s, one of the market’s newest food trucks to offer lunch. Gournami’s goal is to serve healthy food with big flavor to the people of the PNW. They make mini-sandwiches on Macrina Bakery baguettes accented by their house-made spreads, and a rotating menu of salads. Shoppers can mix-and-match selections to create the meal that will satisfy those hunger pains with healthy food. Head on over to the MIFM website to read their interview with Gourmini’s.

It is going to be a lovely day to visit MIFM. Enjoy!