Open Houses this Weekend: September 24th & 25th

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Real Estate

dsc00491-npld-editAre you looking for something outdoorsy and free this weekend? On September 24th various mountainous national parks, state parks and museums are free for entry.

There are many National Parks across the state that are holding a free entry event on September 24th to celebrate National Public Lands Day, which is a great opportunity to visit a new place, or show someone your favorite location! Check out all of the national parks that participate in the celebration will a fee-free day here!

State Parks are also fee-free on this day! Imagine a picnic and play with the children with a little family fun! Check out the fee-free state parks here!

With weather on the incline (at least until early next week) there will so a lot going on this weekend, before the Northwestern rain comes again! Windermere Mercer Island agents will be joining in on the weekend fun, hosting open houses all over Seattle, Mercer Island, Eastside, Clinton and Bainbridge Island areas.

Bainbridge Island

$837,000 ♦ 975597 ♦ 7838 Northeast Koura Farm Drive, Bainbridge Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ Joanie Random & Molly Neary ♦ Sunday, September 25th 1pm-4pm

Bellevue

$560,000 ♦ 1027313 ♦ 14423 Southeast 37th Street, Bellevue ♦ Video Tour ♦ Doug McKiernan ♦ Friday, September 23rd 10am-12pm (Hosted by Erin Ewing); Saturday, September 24th 12pm-3pm (Hosted by Joe Liu); Sunday, September 25th 1pm-4pm (Hosted by Richard Singer)

Clinton

$529,000 ♦ 1031416 ♦ 4653 Elsica Drive, Clinton ♦ Video Tour ♦ Marianne Parks & Steve Strehlau ♦ Saturday, September 24th 11am-2pm

Mercer Island

$700,000 ♦ 1031979 ♦ 9316 Southeast 36th Street, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ Erin Ewing ♦ Sunday, September 25th 1pm-4pm

$1,268,000 ♦ 1010582 ♦ 9355 Mercerwood Drive, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ Nancy LaVallee ♦ Saturday, September 24th 11am-1pm (Hosted by Sandy Yin); Sunday, September 25th 11am-2pm (Hosted by Kathryn Lerner)

$1,650,000 ♦ 1024199 ♦ 2414 63rd Avenue Southeast, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ R2 (Robyn Kimura-Hsu & Rachel Schindler) ♦ Saturday, September 24th 2pm-4pm

$2,485,000 ♦ 1032751 ♦ 6829 Southeast 32nd Street, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ R2 (Rachel Schindler & Robyn Kimura-Hsu) ♦ Saturday, September 24th & Sunday, September 25th 1pm-4pm

Seattle (West Seattle)

$699,000 ♦ 1031975 ♦ 3813 48th Avenue Southwest, Seattle ♦ Video Tour ♦ R2 (Rachel Shindler & Robym Kimura-Hsu) ♦ Friday, September 23rd 5pm-7pm (Hosted by Tom Fine); Saturday, September 24th & Sunday, September 25th 1pm-4pm (Hosted by Tom Fine)

Woodinville

$985,000 ♦ 1031214 ♦ 16432 Northeast Woodinville-Duvall Road, Woodinville ♦ Video Tour ♦ R2 (Rachel Schindler & Robyn Kimura-Hsu) ♦ Saturday, September 24th 1pm-4pm (Hosted by Caleb Jessup)

There are 25 open homes on Mercer Island this weekend! Enjoy the sunshine and get out to tour one of these beautiful spaces, before the game of course!

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Windermere Real Estate & The Seattle Seahawks #Tacklehomelessness: SEA vs SF on 9/25

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#tacklehomelessness

tacklehomelessness_image-for-social-mediaWindermere Real Estate has embarked on a fantastic partnership with the Seattle Seahawks. As the official real estate company of the Seattle Seahawks, we are working with them to provide services and support to homeless youth in the Seattle area via the #tacklehomelessness campaign. For each home game the Seahawks play, the Windermere Foundation will donate $100 per Seahawks tackle to YouthCare.

At the season opener against the Miami Dolphins, the Seahawks had 31 tackles. This resulted in a $3,100 donation to YouthCare, which will ensure more homeless youth are able to stay warm, dry, and have access to basic necessities.

On Sunday, September 25th, the Seahawks will be playing at home once again, against the San Francisco 49ers. Kickoff is 1:05pm PST.  Whether you are at Century Link, or watching the game at home, cheer loudly every time the Seahawks tackle a 49er – it will be another $100 donated to #tacklehomelessness!

Be watching our Facebook page facebook.com/windermeremi, or Instagram profile @windemere_mi, on Monday, 9/26, for the final donation tally.

Windermere Living Magazine: Fall 2016

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Windermere Living

The articles in the Fall 2016 issue are global in nature, and include an interesting variety of topics. Don’t miss the terrific photo of the Windermere Mercer Island brokers who attended the Lake Washington Argosy cruise to preview homes on the 2016 Waterfront Tour. The photo is on page 7, in the Faces & Places section. Pictured left to right are Julie Wilson, Kelly Weisfield, Marianne Parks, Julie Barrows, and Cynthia Schoonmaker. If you’d like to see the Windermere Mercer Island agent features in this issue, they run from pages 27-33. Enjoy!

Mercer Island Farmers Market: Sunday September 4, 2016

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Mercer Island Farmers Market

Mercer Island Farmers Market Can you believe we have already entered the month of September?! We can certainly feel the Fall chill that has descended on the Seattle region the last couple of days. Stop by the Mercer Island Farmers Market this weekend to pick up the early varieties of Autumn produce, and the last of the summer crops. There are free recipes at the MIFM Info Booth to kick your gourmet creativity into high gear!

The Joe Blue Blues Band will provide live music at this Sunday’s MIFM. The trio will be kicking out some tasty blues rhythms for you to enjoy as you shop.

Did you know MIFM has some new dinosaur friends? Over at the Children’s Table, the kids will learn more about these dinosaurs, and be able to explore and create gardens with plants similar to ones from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. So fun!

Have a wonderful Labor Day holiday weekend!

Houzz Story – The Polite House: On Dinner Party Gifts, Wine and Leftovers

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Houzz

Emily Post Institute spokesperson, Lizzie Post, responds to reader questions in her reoccuring Houzz story, The Polite House. This particular story addresses dinner parties, and how to handle the situation when your guests bring something to contribute to the meal, or give you a hostess gift. Lizzie offers helpful tips on how to respond to your guests’ generosity. Enjoy!

Help for Buying a Home Now

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Uncategorized

Great information regarding programs offering reduced down payment amounts. Especially helpful for first-time home buyers!

Windermere Eastside

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Think you can’t afford to buy a house? There are a number of programs that can help make the dream of buying a home a reality.

  • You don’t need to put 20% down. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have down payment requirements as low as 3%. If you’re a vet or active military, a VA loan requires no down payment.
  • Your family can help with your down payment. Fannie Mae’s HomeReady Mortgage allows a down payment of just 3%, and income from grandparents, parents, relatives, and working children can be used to help qualify for the loan.
  • You don’t need perfect credit. To qualify for an FHA loan, your credit score needs to be just 500 or higher. FHA loans allow a down payment as low as 3.5%, and that payment can come entirely from “gift funds.”
  • BIG PLUS: There are a number of down payment assistance programs in…

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Mercer Island Farmers Market: Sunday August 28, 2016

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Mercer Island Farmers Market

Mercer Island Farmers Market Guess who will be at the Mercer Island Farmers Market this upcoming Sunday – Caspar Babypants! A prolific artist, he’s has released 11 albums to date under the Caspar Babypants moniker, as well as all the albums he recorded under his own name, Chris Ballew, as lead singer of the Presidents of the United States of America (PUSA). The free show begins at 10:30am.

This Sunday’s market is quite special, as there will be a second live musical performance by Chava Mirel. Chava’s affinity to uplifting themes carries through nicely in the Jewish songs she sings. Her rich vocals blend with the “deep pocket rhythms” she offers in her music.

Nibbles is the featured vendor of the week, and JayMarc Homes is the featured sponsor. Check out the MIFM website for all the great details about both companies.

Have a wonderful Sunday at the market!

How the American Home has Evolved

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Real Estate

This blog post originally appeared on Windermere Blog, written by Shelley Rossi.

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Owning a home has been an American tradition from the start. But the home itself has changed dramatically over the years.

For example, you may be surprised to learn how much the size of the average American home has increased since the turn of the 20th century—especially when you compare it to the size of the average family during the same time period.

In the year 1900, the average American family was relatively large with 4.6 members, but the average home featured just 1,000 square feet of usable floor space. By 1979, family size had shrunk to 3.11 members, but the floor space they shared had expanded to 1,660 square feet. And by 2007, the average family size was even smaller still—just 2.6 members—while the average home size had increased by the largest amount yet—this time to 2,521 square feet.

To accommodate those larger homes, property lots have also had to expand in size. In the 1930s and ‘40s, Bungalow homes were usually built on lots measuring 60 by 100 feet (for a total of 6,000 square feet). However, by 1976, the average size of a single-family property lot had expanded to more than 10,000 square feet. In 1990, it expanded again (to 14,680 square feet). Today, the average property lot in America is a staggering 17,590 square feet.

Exterior building materials

Until the 1960s, the building materials used on the exterior of most homes were limited to brick, wood, or wood shingles. However, by the early 1960s, many Americans chose to cover their homes with a more affordable material that was also maintenance-free: aluminum and vinyl siding. Today, many homeowners are using low-maintenance siding materials made of cement fiber.

Interior building materials

The primary building material for interior ceilings and walls for much of the 20th century was plaster applied over wood lathe. Modern day sheetrock didn’t become popular until the 1950s. In the 1960s, wood paneling and textured walls became prevalent, largely for their quick and easy application. In the 1970s and ‘80s, “popcorn ceilings” became a common way to hide imperfections in ceilings. Today’s style again favors smooth walls and ceilings, which can result in a lot of work removing paneling and textures in older homes.

Throughout the early 1900s, the floors throughout most homes were almost always bare wood. Linoleum tile became a popular choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms in the 1940s. However, by the 1960s and 1970s, wall-to-wall carpeting was all the rage—even in bathrooms and some kitchens. Homes today feature a wide array of flooring materials, depending on both the region and the room’s function. For example, tiles are a more popular choice in warm regions than cold ones because they tend to stay cool; wall-to-wall carpeting is still popular in rooms like bedrooms and family rooms, where people like to feel most comfortable, while durable and easy-to-clean hardwoods, tiles and linoleum are more favorable in kitchens and high-traffic areas.

The Kitchen

At the turn of the 20th century, the kitchen was a place where the woman of the house did all the cooking. Kitchens were typically small, closed off from the rest of the house by solid walls, and far more functional than fashionable. Dining took place in the dining room.

Throughout the 1920s and ‘30s, kitchens remained stark workplaces with very few appliances. Food was kept chilled with an icebox (a non-electric, insulated box about the same size as a modern refrigerator that used a block of ice to keep everything cold). However, by 1944, 85 percent of American households had switched from an icebox to a refrigerator.

In the mid 1950s, the kitchen changed dramatically. It not only became larger, it also transformed into the heart of the home, where the whole family gathered to help prepare and even eat meals.

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The 1950s also brought a host of kitchen innovations, from the stainless steel sink to electric ovens and stovetops. But the most exciting of all was the dishwasher. The 1970s marked the introduction of the microwave.

Today, the kitchen is still a place where everyone gathers. So it’s not surprising that may people favor open-concept kitchens, with no walls separating them from the dining or family room.

Appliance and amenities

The 1940s census was the first to ask homeowners about some of the amenities in their homes. The results are startling (though perhaps less so when you consider that this was during the depression): Less than 50 percent of homes had hot water, an indoor toilet or a bath tub; about one in five didn’t have a home phone.

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By the 1950s, however, things had changed dramatically for the better. That’s when many Americans got a refrigerator, an electric stove, a dishwasher, and, ah yes, air conditioning. Until then, most homes were cooled with nothing more than a ceiling fan at best.

Thanks to the larger, Ranch-style homes being constructing in the 1950s, walk-in closets also made their introduction. The fabulous ‘50s also ushered in the two-car attached garage.

And let’s not forget the television; it exploded onto the scene in the early 1950s and by 1955, half of all U.S. households had sets. Today, the average home has little less than three TVs.

What hasn’t changed

Despite all these changes, one thing has remained the same: The number one reason why Americans chose to buy a home. According to Dan McCue, research manager at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, “It’s always been seen as the best way to build net worth and equity.”

Why So Many Americans Are Either Upsizing or Downsizing

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Real Estate

Originally appeared on Windermere Blog, written by Shelley Rossi.

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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

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