Windermere and the Seahawks are Back for Another Season to #TackleHomelessness!

All of us at Windermere are very excited to kick off our second season as the Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks!

Once again, our #tacklehomelessness campaign is front-and-center, with the Windermere Foundation donating $100 for every Seahawks home-game tackle during the 2017 season to YouthCare, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that has been providing services and support to homeless youth for more than 40 years. Last year, the Seahawks helped us raise $35,000 through our #tacklehomelessness campaign, and this year we are looking forward to raising even more money – and awareness – for this important cause.

Our partnership with the Seahawks and YouthCare fits perfectly with the mission of the Windermere Foundation which is to support low-income and homeless families in the communities where we have offices. Through the #tacklehomelessness campaign, we hope to be able to do even more.

A “score card” will be posted after each home game that shows how much was raised during that game. You can follow our progress throughout the Seahawks season on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/WindermereRealEstate.

 

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 

Windermere Hosts Third-Annual Washington Waterfront Home Tour

When you picture your best life, does it include entertaining shore-side? Launching a boat from your back steps? Or fishing in your pajamas? If you dream of a waterfront life then you’re in luck! That’s because  on June 24-25 we are hosting the third-annual Washington Waterfront Home Tour. More than 80 homes from the San Juan Islands to Lake Sammamish are available to tour by boat, bike, or car. Properties are priced from $595,000 to $20 million. While you might think a waterfront home is out of your budget, there are actually properties that fit a wide variety of needs, styles, and budgets.

Here are a few examples of what you can expect to see this weekend on the tour:

Oak Harbor Charmer:content_OakHarborhttps://www.windermere.com/listing/54079653

Spectacular in Seward Park:    

SewardParkhttps://www.windermere.com/listing/54556875

Enchanted Estate in Friday Harbor:content_Friday_Harborhttps://www.windermere.com/listing/54552772

A map of the homes and their open house hours can be found on the Washington Waterfront Home Tour website. Most will be held open from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. on June 24 and 25. The listing details will note the availability; for those listed as “by appointment only”, you can contact the agent for a private tour.

Follow the fun on the Windermere Real Estate Facebook page, and share your own photos while you tour these beautiful homes by tagging your pictures on Instagram and Twitter with #WAWaterfront.

In addition to Windermere, the Washington Waterfront Home Tour is being sponsored by Penrith Home Loans.

 

Originally posted on the Windermere Blog by Tara Sharp

 

Windermere Luxury Breakfast March 2017

This week, more than 100 Windermere brokers from all over the Puget Sound area came together to discuss the local luxury real estate market, premier their newest luxury listings, and hear from featured speaker, Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate.

Matthew Gardner gave a lively and engaging presentation on the regional economy and housing market, and how they compare nationally. He spoke of the impact that the technology sector is having on Seattle area housing, as well as King County’s population, which has grown by more than 50,000 since 2011. He said that more and more Silicon Valley-based tech companies are looking at Seattle in order to keep their employees happy, including Apple, Facebook, Google, and others. For some, the lifestyle and relative affordability is seen as a much better choice than cities like San Francisco where even the highest paid employees simply cannot afford to buy a home.

Matthew also discussed the Millennials who he says are incorrectly described as being the “renter generation”.  Instead, he said that many of them are delaying their home purchases because of student debt and lack of choice in the current market. But 2016 saw a significant increase in the number of Millennial buyers in Seattle, and he expects to see even more in 2017.

In terms of what to expect in the luxury housing market in the coming year, Matthew says it will generally parallel what we’re seeing in the rest of the market. Competition from Seattle’s growing wealthy population is causing homes to sell quickly and driving up prices. Furthermore, interest rates for jumbo loans remain historically low, making it more accessible for buyers to access large sums of money to purchase higher end homes.

 

 

What Buyers Want Today

The National Association of REALTORS® recently released their 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Here are a few items about buyers that we thought you’d find interesting.

If you’re looking to buy or sell your home, reach out to a Windermere Real Estate broker to help you successfully navigate the Seattle housing market.

 

This blog originally posted on Windermere Eastside Blog

Maximizing Your Curb Appeal

Never underestimate the importance of a pretty face.

When it comes to buying or selling a home, first impressions count. While major renovations or additions can affect your home’s value, you don’t need to add a new pool to improve your home’s desirability. In fact, improving your home’s curb appeal through relatively low-cost, but simple, changes, can significantly improve its standing in the market. A curbside “face lift” is always money well-spent, whether prepping to sell your house, increasing its equity-value, or just for your own benefit.

House numbers

Updated house numbers: Adding new, elegant numbering to your home’s address signage can create a flattering statement. Choose larger numbers in simple, unfettered designs for maximum appeal.

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Keep it neat: The first glance at your home should reveal a neat, clutter-free exterior. Remove any standing objects, trash, or items in disrepair, and keep the exterior area as tidy as possible.

Front door

Try a new door: Though a new door is a costlier investment than, say, house numbers, it can spruce up your home’s exterior, and even help your home look newer. The cheapest option is to repaint it, and people are getting more adventurous with color choices for doors. Contrast is good, and some homes benefit from brightly colored doors. At minimum, keep your existing door clean and in tip-top condition by replacing knobs, hinges and doorbells if they’re in disrepair.

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Lighting: Good lighting can give your home’s exterior a cheap makeover and make first impressions more positive. Try path-side lighting in your entryway, or selective lighting to accentuate particularly beautiful landscaping, such as blooming flowers.

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Landscaping matters: Landscaping may be the single most important component of a home’s curb appeal. First things first: Plants in poor condition immediately detract from your home’s appearance, as do weeds. Commit to maintaining whatever landscaping you choose in prime condition. If your budget allows, you might consider a professional landscaping service. Homes with more “sophisticated” landscaped exteriors can be perceived as having a larger market value.

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Check Your Mailbox: In many neighborhoods, another first curb-appeal object is literally at the curb: the mailbox. It’s often not seen for what it is: an eyesore. You can spend a pile of money for a pile of bricks to dress up your mailbox, but a recent trend is less costly: unique and artsy mailboxes and posts. Visit an arts and crafts show and you may find hand-crafted mailboxes for a reasonable price.

North Town

Know your neighborhood: We don’t want to encourage you to worry about the proverbial Jones’, but knowing the context of your neighborhood is important to creating curb appeal. Create an exterior that complements the neighborhood and nearby houses.

New Features vs. Character

We are often asked, “Which is the better buy, a newer or older home?” Our answer: It all depends on your needs and personal preferences. We decided to put together a list of the six biggest differences between newer and older homes:

The neighborhood

Surprisingly, one of the biggest factors in choosing a new home isn’t the property itself, but rather the surrounding neighborhood. While new homes occasionally spring up in established communities, most are built in new developments. The settings are quite different, each with their own unique benefits.

Older neighborhoods often feature tree-lined streets; larger property lots; a wide array of architectural styles; easy walking access to mass transportation, restaurants and local shops; and more established relationships among neighbors.

New developments are better known for wider streets and quiet cul-de-sacs; controlled development; fewer aboveground utilities; more parks; and often newer public facilities (schools, libraries, pools, etc.). There are typically more children in newer communities, as well.

Consider your daily work commute, too. While not always true, older neighborhoods tend to be closer to major employment centers, mass transportation and multiple car routes (neighborhood arterials, highways and freeways).

Design and layout

If you like Victorian, Craftsman or Cape Cod style homes, it used to be that you would have to buy an older home from the appropriate era. But with new-home builders now offering modern takes on those classic designs, that’s no longer the case. There are even modern log homes available.

Have you given much thought to your floor plans? If you have your heart set on a family room, an entertainment kitchen, a home office and walk-in closets, you’ll likely want to buy a newer home—or plan to do some heavy remodeling of an older home. Unless they’ve already been remodeled, most older homes feature more basic layouts.

If you have a specific home-décor style in mind, you’ll want to take that into consideration, as well. Professional designers say it’s best if the style and era of your furnishings match the style and era of your house. But if you are willing to adapt, then the options are wide open.

Materials and craftsmanship

Homes built before material and labor costs spiked in the late 1950s have a reputation for higher-grade lumber and old-world craftsmanship (hardwood floors, old-growth timber supports, ornate siding, artistic molding, etc.).

However, newer homes have the benefit of modern materials and more advanced building codes (copper or polyurethane plumbing, better insulation, double-pane windows, modern electrical wiring, earthquake/ windstorm supports, etc.).

Current condition

The condition of a home for sale is always a top consideration for any buyer. However, age is a factor here, as well. For example, if the exterior of a newer home needs repainting, it’s a relatively easy task to determine the cost.  But if it’s a home built before the 1970s, you have to also consider the fact that the underlying paint is most likely lead0based, and that the wood siding may have rot or other structural issues that need to be addressed before it can be recoated.

On the flip side, the mechanicals in older homes (lights, heating systems, sump pump, etc.) tend to be better built and last longer.

Outdoor space

One of the great things about older homes is that they usually come with mature tress and bushes already in place. Buyers of new homes may have to wait years for ornamental trees, fruit trees, roses, ferns, cacti and other long-term vegetation to fill in a yard, create shade, provide privacy, and develop into an inviting outdoor space. However, maybe you’re one of the many homeowners who prefer the wide-open, low-maintenance benefits of a lightly planted yard.

Car considerations

Like it or not, most of us are extremely dependent on our cars for daily transportation. And here again, you’ll find a big difference between newer and older homes. Newer homes almost always feature ample off-street parking: usually a two-care garage and a wide driveway. An older home, depending on just how old it is, may not offer a garage—and if it does, there’s often only enough space for one car. For people who don’t feel comfortable leaving their car on the street, this alone can be a determining factor.

Finalizing your decision

While the differences between older and newer homes are striking, there’s certainly no right or wrong answer. It is a matter of personal taste, and what is available in your desired area. To quickly determine which direction your taste trends, use the information above to make a list of your most desired features, then categorize those according to the type of house in which they’re most likely to be found. The results can often be telling.

First Sign of Spring: The NW Flower and Garden Show

February 22 – 26 at the Washington State Convention Center

Just when we need it most, the NW Flower and Garden Show arrives each February to provide us with a breath of spring air; providing inspiration, education and motivation for gardeners – new and old. Whether in a backyard, flower box, or rooftop, this is where green lovers go to discover ideas while having fun.

Embracing the upcoming show’s theme, “Taste of Spring”, this year some of the Northwest’s most respected designers will incorporate elements of the theme into big, blooming gardens, as the show celebrates food, trends in organic and urban gardening, sustainability, and a variety of culinary experiences, such as outdoor dining.

In addition to the regular show, which includes grand garden exhibits, seminars, and the very popular Garden Wars, they have added a tasting room in the Marketplace, a container garden contest, and a garden-themed baking competition for local bakeries.

Tasting Corner

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The Tasting Corner will feature samples (and sales) from local merchants that specialize in gourmet food products of the Pacific Northwest, including infused oils and salts, floral elixirs and honey.

Container Wars

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Master Gardeners are tasked with creating three luscious planted containers—each drawing from identical plants—in under one hour. Container gardens are a fabulous addition to any outdoor space, be it a small deck off your condominium or part of the landscape in your backyard.

Bouquet of Cakes

garden-cake

The cakes will feature artistic, unique and celebratory special event cake designs inspired by elements of flowers and gardens.

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Whether you are a new gardener in need of sensible advice or a seasoned pro, you’ll find scores of inspiring seminars and hands-on demonstrations filled with valuable education and entertainment. Dig in and learn how to solve your landscaping challenges, create livable outdoor spaces, and grow edible gardens for year-round enjoyment.

Windermere Monthly Luxury Breakfast

This week, more than 100 Windermere brokers from all over the Puget Sound area met at Broadmoor Golf and Country Club to discuss the local luxury real estate market, premier their newest luxury listings, and hear from the featured speaker, Stephanie Pfeffer Anton, Executive Vice President of Luxury Portfolio International. Stephanie discussed a number of things related to luxury consumer trends, but her insights into the younger generation of luxury homeowners were especially interesting.

Wealthy Millennials have predominantly grown up in affluent homes. They know luxury brands very well and, for the most part, are not enamored by them. For them, money buys more than a luxury home or luxury car: It buys time with friends and family, and having amazing experiences that they can share with each other. This behavior is likely even more commonplace in an area like Seattle where understated affluence is the status quo amongst the area’s wealthiest residents.

The top three priorities of young luxury homeowners are travel, dining, and real estate – in that order. Their desires for a luxury home are somewhat different than their Baby Boomer parents before them.  For instance, in a world of social media, reality television, and constant internet access – and the attention that it brings – their number one priority in a home is privacy. But that’s not all. According to a study by Luxury Portfolio International, these are the top five amenities that younger generations look for in a luxury home:

  1. Privacy
  2. Large Master Suite with amazing bathroom
  3. Energy Efficient/Smart Homes
  4. Sustainable Living (convenience without wastefulness + social good)
  5. High-end kitchen appliances

Windermere is a proud member of Luxury Portfolio International, an exclusive affilition that enables us to market our $1 million+ listings to the largest network of independent real estate firms in the world. For more information about Luxury Portfolio please visit LuxuryPortfolio.com.

 

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Washington State finished the year on a high with jobs continuing to be added across the market. Additionally, we are seeing decent growth in the area’s smaller markets, which have not benefitted from the same robust growth as the larger metropolitan markets.

Unemployment rates throughout the region continue to drop and the levels in the central Puget Sound region suggest that we are at full employment. In the coming year, I anticipate that we will see substantial income growth as companies look to recruit new talent and keep existing employees happy.

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • There were 19,745 home sales during the fourth quarter of 2016—up by a very impressive 13.4% from the same period in 2015, but 18.7% below the total number of sales seen in the third quarter of the year. (This is a function of seasonality and no cause for concern.)
  • Sales in Clallam County grew at the fastest rate over the past 12 months, with home sales up by 47%. There were also impressive sales increases in Grays Harbor and Thurston Counties. Jefferson County had a fairly modest decrease in sales.
  • The number of available listings continues to remain well below historic averages. The total number of homes for sale in the fourth quarter was down by 13.7% compared to the same period a year ago.
  • The key takeaway from this data is that 2017 will continue to be a seller’s market. We should see some improvement in listing activity, but it is highly likely that demand will exceed supply for another year.

16320_wwa_gardnerreportq4_sales

HOME PRICES

  • Demand continued to exceed supply in the final three months of 2016 and this caused home prices to continue to rise. In the fourth quarter, average prices rose by 7.1% but were 0.4% higher than the third quarter of the year. The region’s average sales price is now $414,110.
  • In most parts of the region, home prices are well above historic highs and continue to trend upward.
  • When compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, price growth was most pronounced in Kittitas County. In total, there were eight counties where annual price growth exceeded 10%. We saw a drop in sales prices in the notoriously volatile San Juan County.
  • The aggressive home price growth that we’ve experienced in recent years should start to taper in 2017, but prices will continue to increase at rates that are higher than historic averages.

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DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the fourth quarter dropped by 15 days when compared to the fourth quarter of 2015.
  • King County was the only area where it took less than a month to sell a home, but all markets saw decent improvement in the time it took to sell a home when compared to a year ago.
  • In the final quarter of the year, it took an average of 64 days to sell a home. This is down from the 78 days it took in the third quarter of 2015, but up from the 52 days it took in the third quarter of 2016. (This is due to seasonality and not a cause for concern.)
  • We may experience a modest increase in the time it takes to sell a home in 2017, but only if there is a rapid increase in listings, which is certainly not a given.

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CONCLUSIONS

16320_wwa_gardnerreportq4_speedometer

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the fourth quarter of 2016, I actually moved the needle a little more in favor of buyers, but this is purely a function of the increase in interest rates that was seen after the election. Higher borrowing costs mean that buyers can afford less, which could ultimately put some modest downward pressure on home prices in 2017. That said, the region will still strongly favor sellers in the coming year.