Open Houses this Weekend: March 25th & 26th

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Community Happening / Our Open Houses / Real Estate

Pike Place Market has been a staple on Seattle since the turn of the century – and in June 2017 opens up with the fancy new upgrades. In its early days, Pike Place Market saw farmers bring their vegetables, fruit, dairy, eggs, and meat to sell as Settle grew into a thriving metropolis. On its original, grand opening day, the market ran out of produce within minutes – and that is how Pike Place Market skyrocketed into a international attraction.

Today, Pike Place Market remains a hub of local farmersartisan foods, homemade crafts, the arts, shopping and so much more. This weekend, “Pike Place” is hosting one of its many events: Arcade Lights – a local spectacle of articsan food, craft beer, cider, tastings, and over 70 of Seattle tip-top vendors! What’s even better? Arcade Lights beenfits seniors and families in “the Market”.

Though not free, and 21+, this event will make a fun evening. Hosted between 7pm and 10pm, on the eve of March 24, this event will gift you with fun times and a full tummy – all in the name of preserving our community! Curious about buying tickets? Click here!

By day, Windermere Mercer Island agents will be hosting open houses across the Seattle-Eastside region. Are you looking for a new home? Or, even, looking to sell, but don’t know much about the current market? Check out these open houses, or contact one of our agents!

Mercer Island

$330,000 ♦ 1092721 ♦ 2760 76th Avenue Southeast #106, Mercer Island ♦ Nancy LaVallee ♦ Saturday, March 25th 1pm-3pm (Hosted by Katy Crouch); Sunday, March 26th 1pm-4pm (Hosted by Kathryn Lerner)

$1,500,000 ♦ 1078687 & 1081761 ♦ 3308 81st Place Southeast, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ Denise Coe ♦ Sunday, March 26th 12pm-2pm

$1,725,000 ♦ 1094263 ♦ 2426 70th Avenue Southeast, Mercer Island ♦ Nancy LaVallee ♦ Saturday, March 25th 10am-4pm; Sunday, March 26th 11am-4pm

$2,149,950 ♦ 1092061 ♦ 6825 Southeast 32nd Street, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ R2 (Rachel Schindler & Robyn Kimura-Hsu) ♦ Sunday, March 26th 1pm-4pm (Hosted by Sammie Mull)

$1,193,500 ♦ 943296 ♦ 7436 West Mercer Way, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ Terry Donovan & Daphne Donovan ♦ Sunday, March 26th 1pm-4pm

$2,315,000 ♦ 1068307 ♦ 6829 Southeast 32nd Street, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ R2 (Rachel Schindler & Robyn Kimura-Hsu) ♦ Sunday, March 26th 1pm-4pm (Hosted by Sammie Mull)


$187,000 ♦ 1092392 ♦ 1900 Northeast 48th Street #F101, Renton ♦ Jay Agoado ♦ Friday, March 24th 11am-1pm; Saturday, March 25th 10am-1pm


$600,000 ♦ 1079365 ♦ 2827 South Charles Street, Seattle ♦ Video Tour ♦ Doug McKiernan ♦  Saturday, March 25th 11am-2pm (Hosted by Brian Rosso); Sunday, March 26th 1pm-4pm (Hosted by Julie Baker)

There are 29 homes open and available to tour this weekend on Mercer Island! Check out the full list below for all the details!



Two special Mercer Island properties available for the 1st time in almost 100 years

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Mercer Island News / Spirit of Mercer Island

Penned by Kelly Weisfield, the broker representing  two lovely, multi-acre properties, the article below shares a bit of history regarding both pieces of property, and the family who called them home. 



For the first time in nearly 100 years, two special pieces of property on Mercer Island are for sale. On 6610 East Mercer Way sits a 4 bedroom, mid-century modern rambler on more than an acre of flat land with 173’ of low bank waterfront. The adjoining parcel behind, 6614 East Mercer Way, is a largely untouched nearly 3 acres of land with natural woodlands rising behind a storybook cottage and level clearing.

The two properties are the best remaining pieces of the multi-acre parcel initially purchased in 1925 by the Engstrom family as a summer retreat. Oscar and Hilda Engstrom lived on Queen Anne where Oscar was in the millwork business and worked on the original Olympic hotel. The Engstrom daughter, Margaret, grew up vacationing with her family on the Island and recalled when she would ride horseback over an “old, rickety bridge” to get the horse shoed in Bellevue and walked to the Roanoke dock to meet her father commuting from Seattle. The original summer cottage near the waterfront was moved to the back parcel where it has since been updated and is currently the 1200 sq foot home for sale at 6614 East Mercer Way. In 1955, the family built the existing rambler on the waterfront as their year-round residence.

Margaret would go on to live or spend summers on this special Mercer Island estate for over 90 years. She and her husband, Kenneth Quarles, left an incredible legacy to their community. In 2006, they donated 7 acres of their pristine land adjacent to Pioneer Park to the city, preserving it for parks and recreation. They were honored as Citizens of the Year. The Quarles had also previously transferred 1.57 acres in the 6500 block of East Mercer Way to the city in 2002. The combined 8.57 acres is now officially named the “Engstrom Open Space” honoring Margaret’s father. Today, this valuable property provides Islanders with hiking trails and opportunity to appreciate the forest habitat, eagle perches and Lake Washington views. When asked about their generous gift of preserving the scarce and valuable open space for future generations of Mercer Islanders, the Quarles stated, “We’re just happy to see it under the city’s care so the people can enjoy it. We’ve had such a wonderful life on Mercer Island.”



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Top 2017 Cost VS Value Report project for the Pacific Region: Engineered Stone Veneer

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Homeowner Tips / Houzz / Real Estate

Including stone on your home’s exterior adds texture and interest to your house. And with today’s engineered stone veneer options, the installation is not as expensive or invasive as it used to be. In fact, this particular task placed in the top 3 projects listed in the Cost VS Value report for the Pacific Region, with 106.7% of the project cost recouped!

Houzz Contributor, Bud Dietrich, authored a Story about the potential stone has for improving the appearance of your home. He features a variety of architectural styles where stone has been added to the exterior to enhance its aesthetic. Stone can be used to add color, for emphasis, used as a decorative. Engineered stone veneer is so versatile, it’s even come indoors for use in kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms!

Top 2017 Cost VS Value Report project for the Pacific Region: Upscale Garage Doors

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Homeowner Tips / Houzz / Real Estate

Adding upscale garage doors to your home can definitely give your home an instant facelift, increasing its curb appeal immensely. In fact, upscale garage doors are the second highest project in the Cost VS Value Report for the Pacific Region. The return on investment for adding garage doors tops out at 110.8% recouped!

Houzz Contributor, Laura Gaskill, compiled this helpful Story with the need-to-know facts about replacing your garage doors. Weather should not be too much of a factor, as long as it’s not freezing out and you are not painting. This is a job that can be tackled by a professional installer in the matter of a few hours. Included in this helpful guide is information on door materials, types of doors, project length including order time for custom doors, and projected costs.

Top 2017 Cost VS Value Report project for the Pacific Region: Attic Insulation

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Homeowner Tips / Houzz / Real Estate

Attic insulation topped the 2017 Cost VS Value report for the Pacific Region. The return on investment for this project is 122.8% of the price recouped!

Houzz Contributor, Mariana Pickering, put together an informative Story covering insulation basics. She discusses how heat moves through a home, what materials can best help retain heat within our homes, and ways to make sure your insulation is being effective.

Also covered is the R-value of thermal insulation, what it means, and how the U.S. measurement of R-value differs from other countries.

2017 Cost VS Value Report

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Homeowner Tips / Real Estate

webheadercostvsvalue-2017The 2017 Cost VS Value Report compiled by Remodeling Magazine is celebrating a milestone anniversary, with its 30th year of publication!

The Cost VS Value report is so popular because it not only shows detailed analysis of best projects for the return on your investment when you sell your home, but the report is also broken down by region. Within this year’s report there were 3 noteworthy take-aways:

  1.  Exterior “curb appeal” improvements generally pack a bigger payback than interior projects
  2.  Inexpensive improvements are easier to recoup than pricier remodeling projects
  3. Replacement projects usually net more than remodeling/expansion projects—which may explain the relatively low returns on kitchen and bath remodels/additions


feb17wreHere in the Pacific Region, three projects rose to the top – attic insulation, upscale garage doors, and adding engineered stone veneer. All 3 projects recouped over 100% of their project costs. Conversely, the three least profitable projects – an outdoor living room, bathroom addition, and upscale composite deck – recouped between 60% to 65% of their costs.

This week on Mercer Island Pulse we’ll be exploring the top three remodeling projects, via Houzz Stories, that produce the best returns in our region. Stay tuned for the first post discussing attic insulation.

If you would like to explore the full Pacific Region report covering a total of 29 projects, including project descriptions and scope, click here!

Mercer Island Spotlight: New Seasons Market Talk N’ Shop

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Mercer Island Spotlight / Spirit of Mercer Island

20161109_095717-01New Seasons Market has been such a nice addition to Mercer Island Town Center. They offer a great shopping experience, a handy place to grab lunch, and they have already been partnering with local non-profits.

A service New Seasons Market offers that you might not be familiar with is access to a store nutritionist. Tran Hoang is the nutritionist on staff at the Mercer Island store. She works full-time at the island location, as it is still the only New Seasons in King County . The shoppers here can benefit from Tran’s expertise full-time! In the Portland area, the store nutritionists share their time between locations.

The New Seasons nutritionists teach classes, provide their store picks each quarter, and host free Talk N’ Taste events. They also will meet with shoppers for one-on-one Talk N’ Shop appointments, where you can explore the store together to learn about what foods might be beneficial for a health concern you may have.

tran2I recently met with Tran for a Talk N’ Shop experience. This service is provided by New Seasons Market for free – you just need to make a reservation with Tran via their online calendar. You can select a preferred topic for your appointment from a drop down menu – I chose an anti-inflammatory diet. After I made my reservation, I received an email confirmation with a 3-day diet journal that I could complete and email to Tran prior to our meeting. The process was very easy!

On my Talk N’ Shop day, I met Tran at the Solutions Counter in the front of the store. We went over to the store’s seating area to talk about my diet, and any concerns I had. Tran shared a bit about her background. She grew up on the East coast and came to the Portland area to attend graduate school. Her nutritionist degree work consisted of 80% of her time in the classroom, and 20% of her time in the kitchen learning ways to prepare food. She shared that if food is healthy but does not taste good, it is hard to get excited about it. Food is meant to be experienced and enjoyed – it’s an important part of life. Tran loves to share her excitement about eating healthy, delicious food and it showed during our time together.

20170118_130718 20170118_130820After asking me some questions about my current diet, Tran explained different aspects of an anti-inflammatory diet that might be beneficial for my health. She had this nifty folder prepared with recipes, shopping lists, pamphlets, rack cards, and a few samples.  She discussed how avoiding foods from the nightshade family – tomatoes, potatoes, chilies (which I eat a lot!) – may help me feel some relief from joint aches I get when my allergies flare up. We covered healthy fats that could be added to my diet, and even discussed ways I could change up my weekly Taco Tuesday meal to avoid using both tomatoes and corn, another food that may cause inflammation.

After the talk portion of our appointment, Tran took me on a tour of the store. She made sure to show me the tortillas New Seasons Market carries that have no corn or wheat in them. I took home the coconut and cassava tortillas to try – and they are delicious! She answered all my questions about the store sections and the products we looked at – and if she did not have an answer available, like the one I asked about the bone broth they carry in the refrigerated section next to the meat counter, she said she could look into it and get back to me. Which she did the next day by email!

If you haven’t had a chance to meet Tran yet, she hosts a Talk N’ Taste at the Mercer Island store each Thursday. She is also teaching a series on Saturdays called January Jumpstart. Stop by and say hello. She is friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. And definitely take advantage of the Talk N’ Shop experience if you have a dietary concern or want to make some lifestyle changes. There is a comprehensive range of topics available to discuss, even eating on a budget and maternal health.  And if the nutrition topic you would like to cover is not on the list, you can choose other and explain what you’d like to discuss.

This is such a cool service New Seasons Market offers its shoppers. The topic of nutrition, and how it applies to our health, is a complex subject. It is so nice know we can stop by to ask Tran a question, or take advantage of a plethora of resources to increase our knowledge in this area. It’s one more reason to be excited to have one of New Seasons’ store locations right here on Mercer Island!


13 Tips to Jump-Start the New Year!

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Homeowner Tips / Real Estate

So, it’s January (almost February). What now? It’s the beginning of a fresh and exciting year, but we all want to start off productive right? A new year for new goals to make and accomplishments to achieve. The big question is: where do you start?

Well, the answer is vast. We are all so different, with different goals, quirks, and ideas of where we want to be a year from now, going into 2017. So, down below, in the spirit of including everyone, I have included a few different categories and some Winter-early-Spring tips!

Home Maintenance:

  • If you have a monthly, seasonal, or quarterly maintenance calendar, check it out! if you don’t have one, consider creating one for your household.
  • Consider updating your insurance. If you have made any big purchases, upgrades, or additions this last year, consider talking with your home-insurance agent to see if there are options for covering your new toys!
  • Check for storm damage, and consider fixes! Especially with the roller-coaster of a season we’ve been having, taking a walk around the outside of your home and property can’t be a bad thing! Who knows, maybe you’ll find something before it becomes and issue!
  • Clean out your rain gutters! I don’t know about you, but my home is surrounded by trees – meaning they always get filled with debris after a big storm! That’s why I clean out my gutters (at least) four times per year. Now, that may seem a bit overboard, but it may extend the life of the gutters, and reduce risks to both my house and the Underground French Drain system.

Spring-into-Spring Cleaning!

  • Handling holiday cleanup can be messy and time consuming. But when it’s done, you’ll feel a whole lot better! Taking a day, or eve a few hours a week, to clean up and put your home back together can make a world of refreshing difference.
  • Create a list of things you want to clean out this Spring (for Spring cleaning). My list includes making numerous trips to Goodwill, tearing apart my extra closets (where accumulated stuff has been hanging out), and
  • Do a deep-clean declutter! For cleaning-bugs, this one will be a real treat! Take a peek, or a walk, around your home and look for things you either don’t use anymore, have never used, or don’t plan on using in the future. You could sell it on trading or resale websites, or just donate it a cause. Donating helps both you (get rid of it with minimal effort) and helps the other party who may be needing that exact item!

Remember, if you don’t want to do any of this – you don’t have too! Calling in a pro may cost more, but it frees up time for you to do the other things you love!

January Gardening Tips:

  • Recycle an old holiday tree into mulch for your garden! You can also use them as a DIY bird-feeding station.
  • Start sprouting! Sprouting now is a great way to jump-start your harvest season!
  • If you haven’t already, prune your rose and fruit bushes, and consider trimming trees and hedges.
  • Organize your seeds and create a list of seeds you would like to order, or purchase.
  • Consider servicing your tools, such as your lawnmower, weed-wacker, and tree trimmer; and clean your everyday gardening tools, like your shovel, rakes, and held tools.
  • On the warmer days, venture out and pull weeds out of you garden. You may consider spraying for moss, tidying borders, and take steps to ensure healthy and nutritious soil.

So, there you have it! Some tips for staying busy in the new year! While these are great places to start, creating your own list will help you cater to what your home needs. What would you like to accomplish in the upcoming year?

3 Reasons to Sell Your House Now

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Windermere Eastside


Thinking about selling your home? With inventory at historic lows, prices at or near record highs, and multiple offers common, it’s a perfect time to list your home. Here’s why:

1) The market significantly favors sellers.

Last month, 53.6% of homes sold in fewer than 15 days. And 39% of homes sold for over asking price.

2) Experts believe interest rates are on the rise. Higher interest rates decrease the amount buyers can pay for a property- and decrease your profits.

The median price for a home sold on the Eastside is $803,500. At today’s interest rate of 4.2%, that would equal a monthly mortgage payment of $3,929. If interest rates increase just a half a percent to 4.7%, that same monthly payment allows a buyer to purchase a home worth just $757,400. The bottom line: As interest rates increase, your pool of buyers decreases.

3) Historically, February through June…

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First Time Buyers, Millennials, and What to Expect in 2017

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Real Estate

Sold By Windermere
Originally posted on Windermere Blog, author Matthew Gardner

I believe that the big story for the coming year will be first-time home buyers. Since they don’t need to sell before purchasing, their reemergence into the market ensures that sales will continue to increase, even while inventory is limited. Thirty-one percent of buyers currently in the real estate market are first-time buyers, but it would be more ideal if that figure was closer to 40 percent.

Why don’t we have enough first-time buyers in the market? With Baby Boomers working and living longer, we aren’t making much room for Millennials to start their careers. Plus, the major debt that the younger generation owes on student loans ($1.3 trillion today) hugely impacts the housing market. But the bigger issue is lack of down payments. Before the recession, many Millennials could look to their parents for help with down payments; however, these days that is not as much the case.

I would also contend that the notion of Millennials being a “renter generation” is nonsense. In a National Association of Realtors survey, 75 percent of them said that buying a home would be the most astute financial decision they’d ever make; however, 80 percent said they don’t think they could qualify for a mortgage. I do believe that Millennials will eventually buy, but they’re delaying their purchasing decisions by about three years when compared to previous generations, which is about the same amount of time they’re waiting to start families as well.

Mortgage rates have risen rapidly since the election, and unfortunately, I do not see a turnaround in this trend. That said, they will remain cheap when compared to historic averages.  Expect to see the yield on 30-year mortgages rise to around 4.7% by the end of 2017. For those who have grown accustomed to interest rates being at historic lows, this might seem high, but it’s all relative.

If I were to gaze all the way into 2018, my crystal ball takes me to the dreaded “R” word. Like taxes and death, recessions are another one of those unwanted realities that inevitably comes to visit every so often. Irrespective of who was voted into the White House, my view remains the same: prepare to see a business cycle recession by the end of 2018, but, rest assured, it will not be driven by real estate, nor will it resemble the Great Recession in any way.

content_Headshot_-_Matthew_Gardner  Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist at Windermere Real Estate.