Welcome to the New Windermere Living Experience

If you regularly receive Windermere Living magazine, you might notice something a little different about this issue. That’s because we’ve given the magazine a total redesign to better reflect Windermere’s passion for community, connection, and inspired living.

Fall Cover - Windermere Living 2017

Within the pages of this magazine you will find carefully curated editorial which we hope will give our readers an element of surprise and delight. Our goal is to write about people and places that bring a community to life.

In this issue, we celebrate the magic of Sun Valley, Idaho. A longtime favorite of Hollywood’s A-list and outdoor mavericks, the town of Ketchum and its community of inspired locals make this alpine escape a winter must. Additionally, we’ll take you behind the scenes with celebrity designer Jonathan Adler, who reveals his picks for cozy, chic living spaces. And don’t miss our new Destination GPS, which spotlights Windermere’s vibrant markets throughout the West.

And of course, the homes. Pages upon pages of beautiful homes in all shapes, sizes, prices, and neighborhoods all over the West Coast.

You need not be in the market for a home to enjoy Windermere Living; you just need an appreciation for real estate and elevated living. We hope you like it.

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Posted in Perspectives by Jill Jacobi Wood, OB Jacobi & Geoff Wood 

June Perspectives

content_TheKids_crop_4x6Many years ago we realized that we have a responsibility that goes way beyond helping people buy and sell homes. We too are home owners. We too have kids. We too want safe, vibrant and livable neighborhoods. Because of that we have committed to helping create and maintain communities that are thriving and interesting places to be. One way we do this is through our annual Community Service Day.

For the past 31 years, Windermere offices have closed their doors for one day to give back to the communities that have given so much to us. The types of projects our offices take on vary from cleaning up parks and community centers to feeding the hungry. For example, one of our Bellevue area offices spends every Community Service Day at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, an organization that provides equine therapy to children and adults with disabilities. Like many non-profits, Little Bit is short staffed and heavily reliant upon volunteers to help care for their 18 acre property. So last Friday, our team was there washing fences, weeding, and clearing out paddocks to help keep Little Bit’s facility in prime condition for its patients.

On that same day, you could find a team of Windermere volunteers at Mary’s Place, an organization that provides food, shelter, and resources to homeless families. For the second year in a row, this group spent the day prepping meals, sorting through donations, and deep cleaning the shelter. Mary’s Place tells us that having the Windermere team there makes the families who use this facility feel loved and valued.

If you live in the area, you’ve probably heard of Camp Korey. It’s an amazing organization that provides recreational programs for children with serious medical conditions. For several years, a team of Windermere volunteers have spent Community Service Day cleaning the grounds, painting, gardening, and prepping for incoming campers. The group loves knowing that they’re making a positive impact on the brave children who visit Camp Korey.

We’re so proud of our team and the selfless role they play in their communities. We might be the leadership of this company, but it’s our agents who are the true leaders, proving time and time again that service to others is not something you do, it is who you are.

Jill Jacobi Wood, OB Jacobi & Geoff Wood

February Perspectives

content_JacobiKidsCouchIf you’re in the market to buy or sell a home, or you’re just a real estate junkie at heart, you may have heard the term “months supply” used by real estate agents or the media when discussing the housing market. For example, right now there’s about a 1.4 month supply of homes for sale in King County, and less than a month’s supply in a lot of Seattle neighborhoods. But what does that mean and why does it matter? Believe it or not, the months supply of homes is probably one of the best indicators of what’s going on in the market. But before we get into that, we’ll start by explaining what it is.

The months supply is the measure of how many months it would take for all the homes that are on the market to sell given the current pace of home sales. So, if there are 50 homes on the market, and 10 homes are selling every month, then there is a five month supply of homes. The general rule is that if there is less than a three month supply, it’s a seller’s market; a three-to-six month supply is considered a balanced market; a six-plus month supply shifts into a buyer’s market. It’s all about supply and demand.

It’s no secret that Seattle is in the midst of a seller’s market and competition between buyers is fierce. This often results in bidding wars and homes selling for well over asking price. Last year this helped push prices up by more than 10% in the Seattle area. We all like to see our homes go up in value, but market extremes over the long term can lead to a boom/bust cycle like we saw back in 2006 and 2007. That’s why we’re happy that appreciation this year is expected to slow a little to around 4-6%. Months supply is also supposed to rise, leading us towards a healthier, more balanced housing market.

To keep track of what’s going on with home sales in your neighborhood, contact a Windermere Real Estate agent and ask them to sign you up for our monthly Neighborhood News e-newsletter.

Jill Jacobi Wood, OB Jacobi & Geoff Wood

The OB Update Jan. 14

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The man, the myth, the legend himself, OB Jacobi, is going to start giving us all a better idea of what is really going on in the real estate market in Seatown. Here’s what our president has to say starting off the year:

It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2015 – what a year in real estate we had last year. The Seattle housing market was great for some and not so great for others. I had first-hand experience with this, so I’d like to start by telling you my story.

Right after the 2013 holiday season, my kids and I decided that it was time to move. It had been 11 years in our house and we just felt like it was time for a change. So, being completely optimistic about buying a home, we did what most people would do: we started packing. As someone who works in real estate, I should’ve known better. This was only the start of a very long road.

The hunt for the perfect home was on. We searched and searched, and couldn’t quite locate anything that fit. Not only was there low inventory, but all the good homes were snapped up quickly. Man the market was fast. While we were on a 10-day family vacation, a home I’ve always loved both listed and sold before I even had a chance to see it. So frustrating. The months passed with no success, but in November, we finally found a house. In total, it took us 11 long months. But in a way, I’m happy that I had this experience so I could better understand what my agents and their clients are dealing with out there.

Let’s face it; if you were a buyer last year, the real estate market was tough. The number of homes for sale was at its lowest in history. The competition was fierce and there were multiple offers on most properties. The perfect house wasn’t necessarily “perfect”; it was one that you felt good about buying. For some buyers, that added up to a very frustrating experience that I can sympathize with. If you were a seller, you probably did quite well. The Seattle market appreciated by around 9% last year and the number of days it took to sell a home went way down.

So what can we look forward to in 2015? Prices will continue to appreciate, albeit at a slightly slower pace than last year – probably around 4% – 6%. Unfortunately, inventory is still at an all-time low. There’s less than 0.8 months of supply in some neighborhoods. What that means is that if no more homes were listed, and people continued to buy at the current pace, there would be nothing left for sale in less than a month. To further put that into perspective, a healthy, balanced market should have 3-6 months of inventory.

There are still a lot of eager buyers out there, so for now it looks like we are in the same situation as last year. We’re heading into the time of year when the market starts to ramp up again, so we should see growth in the number of homes for sale. Although if the Seahawks continue on their current winning streak and make it to the Super Bowl, this may delay things a little, which – let’s face it – is almost guaranteed to happen.

OB Jacobi

President, Windermere Real Estate

December Perspectives

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A few weeks ago, we heard a term that was new to us: “emerging adulthood.” It was defined as the life stage where young adults in their 20s take time to find themselves. Otherwise known as the time when kids graduate from college and move home because they don’t know what the heck they want to do with their lives. We have a student like that graduating this spring, so this topic is definitely of interest to our family.

It got us thinking about the millennial generation and first-time home buyers. A lot has been written about this generation’s barrier to home ownership due to school debt, high unemployment, and tight lending standards. But times they are a changing. For one, the recent loosening of credit conditions is making it easier for first-time buyers to secure a mortgage.  Secondly, economists say that all of the jobs that were lost locally during the Great Recession have now returned. In fact, Seattle’s unemployment rate is now at levels we haven’t seen since before the 2008 financial crash.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about kids graduating from college with absolutely no job prospects, but in some cities, like Seattle, things appear to be getting a lot better. In fact, the National Association of REALTORS® recently published the top five most affordable cities for millennial home buyers based upon home prices, unemployment rates, and income growth. Seattle was number four. In part, we can thank the growth spurts of local companies like Amazon for this, as well as several Silicon Valley-based behemoths that have taken up residence in Seattle. All of this is helping create a solid job market.

First-time home buyers are critical to the health of the overall market; they’re the vital first link in the all-important housing chain. So it’s encouraging to see that lending standards are loosening, and Seattle’s employment outlook is sunny. It makes us optimistic that the dream of homeownership won’t die with the millennial generation. And that the housing market will continue to strengthen. It also gives us hope that, someday, our soon-to-be college graduate will find somewhere other than our basement to call home.

Jill Jacobi Wood, OB Jacobi & Geoff Wood