Housewarming Gifts for Seattleites

In a scene from Frank Capra’s 1946 film, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Mary And George Bailey (Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart) welcome the Martini family to their new home with three symbolic gifts and a brief, heartfelt speech. “Bread, that this house may never know hunger,” they say. “Salt, that life may always have flavor. And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever.” It’s just a tiny scene, but it captures a universal moment. Giving a gift to new neighbors or close friends who have moved is a custom that spans centuries and cultures.

When the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth, Wampanoag Indians brought them much-needed deer meat and beaver skins. In the case of new neighbors, gift giving is a simple way to establish good relations. And for friends who have moved, a housewarming gift is an important show of support during what can be a stressful time.

To update the traditional housewarming present and make it a little more personal, we have created a list of Seattle “must-haves” that are sure to impress and make their new Seattle home feel very warm.

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Loaf of bread from Grand Central Bakery

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Sugar from Old Salt Merchants

 

San Juan Salt Co

Salt from San Juan Salt Company

 

Queen anne olive oil

Incredible olive oil from Queen Anne Olive Oil

 

Flour sack towels with French lettering7

A charming flour sack towel from City People’s Mercantile

 

 

 

Seven Trends That Will Define the Home of the Future

As sophisticated as homes are today, experts predict they’ll be far more so in the not-too-distant future— especially when it comes to their use of technology. Included are seven evolutionary trends that many expect to define the home of the future.

 

#1: Faster home-construction

Today, it takes somewhere between 18 months and two years to design and build your custom dream home. In the foreseeable future, experts predict that timeline will be slashed to six to nine months.

Architects will use immersion technology to not only develop plans faster, but also enable you to “walk” through a three-dimensional representation of the house and experience what it will be like to live there. Changes to the layout could be incorporated with a few clicks of the keyboard and mouse.

And, instead of delivering raw materials to the construction site and having workers cut and assemble them to match the plans, about 70 percent of the cutting and assembling work will take place in a precision-controlled factory environment. Once the foundation is ready, the pre-constructed walls, floors and roof will be delivered in “folded” sections, complete with windows, doors, fixtures, and even appliances, already installed.

 

#2: Alternative building materials and techniques

One of the big breakthroughs in home construction coming in the near future will be the use of steel framing in place of lumber.

Steel is not only stronger (able to withstand a 100-pound snow load, 110 mile per hour winds and significant earthquakes), it’s also far more eco-friendly than most people think (manufactured from up to 77 percent recycled materials) and much less wasteful (typical lumber framing generates 20 percent waste, while steel framing generates just two percent).

Other innovative home-building materials moving towards the mainstream include:

  • Wall insulation made of mushroom roots (it grows inside the air cavity, forming an air-tight seal).
  • Panels made of hemp and lime.
  • Windows made from recycled wood fiber and glass.
  • Recycled-glass floor and counter tiles.
  • Reclaimed wood (beams and flooring re-milled and repurposed).

 

#3: Smaller homes with inventive layouts

The optimum home size for many Americans has been shrinking, and experts predict it will shrink more in the future. But it will feel bigger than it is because the layout will be so practical.

The driving forces behind the small-house movement (millennials purchasing their first home and baby boomers looking to downsize) aren’t interested in formal dining rooms, home offices, guest quarters and other spaces that have only one use and are only occasionally occupied. And they certainly aren’t interested in formal entries, high ceilings and three-car garages. They want an informal house layout, with flexible, adaptable spaces that can be used every day in one way or another.

Many of these homes will also feature a second master bedroom, so parents, children and grandparents can all comfortably live under one roof.

 

#4: Walkable neighborhoods

Even today, homebuyers are willing to give up some of their wants for a new house in order to get a location that’s within walking distance to stores, restaurants and other amenities. In the future, that trend is expected to only grow stronger.

 

#5: The net-zero house

For some time now, homeowners and homebuilders have both been striving to make the structures where we live more energy-efficient (green housing projects accounted for 20% of all newly built homes in 2012). But in the future, the new goal with be a net-zero home: A home that uses between 60 to 70 percent less energy than a conventional home, with the balance of its energy needs supplied by renewable technologies (solar, wind, etc.).

Essentially, these are homes that sustain themselves. While they do consume energy produced by the local utility, they also produce energy of their own, which can be sold back to the utility through a “net metering” program, offsetting the energy purchased.

 

#6 High-tech features

The technology revolution that’s transformed our phones, computers and TVs is going to push further into our homes in the not-too-distant future.

Examples include:

  • Compact robots (similar to the Roomba vacuum) that will clean windows and more.
  • Video feeds inside the oven that will allow you to use your phone to check on what’s cooking.
  • Faucet sensors that detect bacteria in food.
  • Blinds that will automatically open and close depending on the time of day, your habits and the amount of sun streaming through the windows.
  • Refrigerators that will monitor quantities, track expiration dates, provide recipes, display family photos, access the Web, play music, and more.
  • Washers and dryers that can be operated remotely.
  • Appliances that will recognize your spoken commands.
  • Heating and cooling systems that automatically adapt to your movements and can predict your wants.

 

#7: A higher level of security

In the future, home will continue to be a place where we want to feel safe and secure. To accomplish that, you can expect:

  • Sensors that can alert you to water and gas leaks.
  • Facial recognition technology that can automatically determine whether someone on your property is a friend or foe.
  • A smart recognition system that will open the garage door, turn off the security system, unlock the doors and turn on the interior lights when it senses your car approaching.
  • The capability to create the illusion that you’re home and moving about the property when you’re actually someplace else.

 

This is no pipe dream

Many of these products, processes and strategies are already in use. Some are still being tested. And others are only in the incubator stage. But in the not-too-distant future, experts believe they’ll all be available to homeowners across the country.

 

Originally posted on the Windermere Blag by Tara Sharp.

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.

Wow

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

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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.

 

Inspired by Love

Red home décor accents are not just for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is here, the color red is seemingly everywhere, and you may have considered introducing red accents into your home décor to get into the spirit. The good news is that red isn’t just for holidays. In fact, the color red can actually add more energy to your interior regardless of the time of year. Here are eight ways that you can use red to spice up different living spaces.

Red bar stools look great in almost any color environment; from a vivid purple dining room, to a cool white-on-white kitchen.

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Make your living room really stand out by adding an accent chair in a passionate shade of red. Pair it with neutral colors and make it the star of the room along with cool items, such as a black and white accent pieces.

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In a black and white home, add a pop of red by choosing a Persian carpet in this wonderful color. The deep color grounds the living space and the intricate pattern masks spills.

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There is nothing more fabulous than a dining area with a dreamy chandelier, but if you really want to make this room the star of your home, add a fancy red table.

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This simple red cabinet becomes a statement piece by sticking to a monochromatic theme. A few white and off-color items on the shelves keeps monochromatic from becoming monotonous.

red-cabinet

Where better than the bedroom to add the romantic color of red? Go modern with bold, textured pillows mixed with softer colors.

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A glam red kitchen will bring romance into your home. This flirtatious and sweet kitchen will make you want to cook more with your loved one.

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Red is the perfect color for your bathtub if you want to make your bathroom feel more romantic. Highlight it by using minimalist lighting fixtures and gorgeous vintage wallpaper.

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