Live Washington: Valentines Day Getaway

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This week in the “Live Washington” series, we are getting into the spirit of love in honor of the beloved consumer holiday, Valentines Day.  Whether or not you are single or coupled up, these mini getaways are a great alternative to the traditional activities, as well as another perfect excuse to see what Washington has to offer it’s residents.

I hope your week is full of love and am so grateful for all of the amazing people that make up this incredible community I get the privilege of living in.  

The Heron Inn & Day Spa
117 Maple Ave.
La Conner, WA 98257
(360) 399-1074
www.theheroninn.com
Located in the artist town of La Conner, The Heron Inn & Day Spa is near both the small town art galleries and Fir Island. La Conner is a small town, filled with wonderful restaurants and art galleries. It sits on the Swinomish Channel, across from Hope Island. The channel is home to otters, great blue heron and other wildlife. The galleries feature local Pacific Northwest artists of all disciplines. The Next Chapter Bookstore & Coffee House has some of the best coffee in town, and great selections of books. The La Conner Pub & Eatery has wonderful fish and chips, burgers and other food. In the other direction, Fir Island is the wintering grounds for 40,000 to 60,000 snow geese. The birds feed in the wintering farm fields along Fir Island Road and other areas throughout the island. A stay at this inn will fulfill your wildlife fix with your loved one.

Crystal Mountain Ski Resort
33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd.
Crystal Mountain, WA 98022
(360) 663-2265
www.crystalmountainresort.com
If I had to choose, this would be my perfect getaway….Crystal Mountain Ski Resort is located about two hours from Seattle. It is situated off Highway 410 and near Mount Rainier. The resort offers runs for beginners through advanced skiers. Equipment is available for rental or purchase at the Mountain Shop (base area) and the RDL Test Center (top of the gondola). They both offer opportunities to test out the latest equipment and will take the rental fee off of the purchase price. The resort also offers guided snowshoe tours. Lodging is available in the area and is listed on the website.

A Tree House Retreat

A Tree House Retreat is a romantic getaway in the trees. The Tree House has views of the forest and Puget Sound (looking west). A continental breakfast is included, and guests can make an appointment with Whidbey Wellness in the Woods for a rejuvenating massage. The beach is a 1/8-mile walk, with views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sounds. Other areas to visit in the area are Fort Casey State Park, South Whidbey Island State Park and Fort Ebby State Park. The area is home to deer, raccoons, eagles and more. Reservations are required.

Salish Lodge & Spa
6501 Railroad Ave. S.E.
Snoqualmie, WA 98065
(425) 888-2556
www.salishlodge.com
The Salish Lodge & Spa is located at the scenic 270-foot Snoqualmie Falls near North Bend on I-90. The lodge is the perfect place for a pampered getaway for any couple. The spa facilities are first class, offering a variety of services for both men and women. The four-star restaurant is one of the best in Western Washington, and looks out over the falls. In North Bend, the avid shopper can explore the North Bend Premium Outlet Mall, which includes stores like Reebok, Eddie Bauer Outlet, Wilsons Leather, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and more. For those who love the outdoors, the lodge is next to Snoqualmie Falls Park, which has two observation decks overlooking the falls.

Argosy Cruise
1101 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 622-8687
www.argosycruises.com
The Locks Cruise is 2.5 hours of seeing Seattle and Ballard from the water. It starts at Pier 56 on the Seattle waterfront and ends at Lake Union. Visitors are brought back to the pier via motor coach, which takes about 15 minutes. The tour starts in Elliott Bay, goes around Magnolia, through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, and finishes in Lake Union. Local history and current sites are shared throughout the trip. Tours are discounted if booked more than one month in advance. The company offers several other tour options that cover the Seattle waterfront, Tillicum Village, Lake Union and Lake Washington areas.

Home is where the heart is; Creëer jouw lievelingshuis - Blog - ShowHome.nl

And remember, YOUR referrals are the HEARTBEAT of my business. Thank you all, love and blessings to you and your families.

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Market Mondays: Kirkland

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Happy Monday everyone! The Holidays are over, football season has ended and the post Super Bowl depression has started to lift…that means people are getting back into thinking about real estate!

This week, we are taking a quick look at the current market in Kirkland, Washington.  If you want to see what is happening in your immediate neighborhood, download my app at http://jlsapp.com/rachelwagner , this will show you all the active listings in your area as well as pending and sold! It’s a great resource to have at your fingertips and I use it personally daily and clients also love it! If you want more information on a property, you can request it on the spot and I will get back to you immediately.

Currently, there are 105 active listings in Kirkland, ranging from $234,000-3.4 million with a median list price of $900,000.  In the last 90 days, there have been 116 residential/condominium sales ranging from $220,000-3.12 million, with the median sale price of $860,000.  The graph below shows months of inventory based on closed sales.  Currently, we are in what is considered a “sellers market” with 1.8 months supply of inventory, up slightly from the end of December and similar to the numbers seen in January.  As we move into the Spring months, this may fluctuate slightly with the increase of inventory.  With historically low interest rates, however, it’s a great time to purchase a home in any area…Kirkland being one of the hottest markets in the greater Seattle area.

The home below is listed for $489,500 on 112th st in Kirkland, Washington and is a perfect home for first time home buyers on a large lot, beautifully updated and located near the Kirkland Corridor trail, elementary school, gym and within walking distance from Juanita beach park and shopping.  Call/text 425.324.0302 if you are interested in more information.

Market Mondays: First Time Home-Buyers + West Seattle

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The market predictions for 2015 are all about buyers – especially young home buyers – having their best shot in years at finding a home.

First-time buyers who stayed out of the market – either for demographic reasons or because they just couldn’t find the right entry-level home – will have a breakthrough year in 2015..

These predictions are based on housing data that shows rents continuing to skyrocket while the for-sale market levels off. That economic reality, increased inventory, and millennial s getting married and having children after delaying those choices, will give buyers more negotiating power.

In fact, it is predicted the millennial generation will overtake Generation X as the biggest group of home buyers in 2015.

This week I’m excited to look at the market in West Seattle., from the beach culture at Alki and tide pools of Lincoln Park to “city” living at The Junction (SW Alaska Street and California Avenue SW) and its proximity to the multicultural up-and-comer White Center, West Seattle is diverse and full of opportunity.  It is becoming an increasingly popular destination for young families and with it’s affordable housing opportunities, I am beginning to see why.  For those who are concerned about the commute, through some qualitative research (asking West Seattle friends about their commute), the average commute time to downtown Seattle is approximately 30 minutes, which isn’t too bad considering the lifestyle and community that West Seattle offers its residents.

Micro ’hood to watch: Arbor Heights. While it’s not a destination, Arbor Heights, full of modest homes built for Boeing workers in the 1940s, is on the rise. Sadly, it ranks 98th of 100 Seattle neighborhoods on Walkscore.com, which means you may have to drive to get a latte, a cupcake and a library book, but people love it because the backyards are huge, the views are expansive, and the kids can walk safely to the school right down the street.

Don’t miss: Primo shopping at The Junction, including a growing assortment of consignment boutiques; the fried chicken at Ma‘ono; anything from Bakery Nouveau; and a delicious, kid-friendly breakfast at Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant (technically in White Center).

Go-to for out-of-town guests: Lincoln Park for the view.

Famous for: Current resident Eddie Vedder and former residents Frances Farmer and Ivar Haglund.

So, what’s happening in the housing market? Well, as of January 26th, 2015 there are 148 active listings which include both single family homes and condominiums.  The price range is between $143,100- $2.85 million with the median list price being $469,500.  In the past 90 days, there have been 368 homes sold, ranging from $113,500-$2 million with the median sale price being $399,000.  This puts months of inventory based on closed sales at 1.21 months, down slightly from December that was at 1.7 months inventory.  This indicates a really hot market, which is understandable based on historiclly low interest rates and a great place for young famlies who are first time home-buyers to move.

Months of inventory through Devember 2014. January 2015 is almost down to record low months supply of inventory.

Average price for sale vs. actual sale price through December 2014.

What does $400,000 get you in West Seattle? After doing some research, I have become quite the fan of West Seattle myself and below are a few pictures of what $400,000 will get you in West Seattle.

New Construction Town homes minutes from Alki + the city

If you are thinking of purchasing a home, please contact me at rachelwagner@johnlscott.com, shoot me an email and I can send you a buyer’s packet outlining the process.  It’s a great time to buy, and the more questions you ask up front the better prepared you will be when you decide to take the purchasing plunge.  Happy Monday everyone!

Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

The neighborhood you choose can have a big impact on your lifestyle—safety, available
amenities, and convenience all play their part.  While the home itself is the icing on the cake of the home buying process, the neighborhood your home is in can be equally important in the decision.  You are not only buying the home itself, but are also becoming part of the community that home is in.  The following are a few helpful tips in narrowing down your perfect neighborhood.

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1. Make a list of the activities—movies, health club, place of worship—you engage in
regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each
neighborhood you’re considering to engaging in your most common activities.
2. Check out the school district. The Department of Education in your state can probably
provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college,
and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, also consider paying a
visit to schools in the neighborhoods you’re considering. Even if you don’t have children,
a house in a good school district will be easier to sell in the future.
3. Find out if the neighborhood is safe. Ask the police department for neighborhood crime
statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type—burglaries, armed
robberies—and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. Also, is crime centered in
only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?
4. Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with your local city
economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood
are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don’t
necessarily diminish value, but they do mean a more transient population. Do you see
vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months?
5. See if you’ll make money. Ask your REALTOR to get information about price
appreciation trends in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of
future results, this information may give you a sense of how good an investment your
home will be. Also, your REALTOR or the government planning agency may be able
to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood—like a
new school or highway—that might affect value. Check out City Data for some
great information by zip code or city.
6. See for yourself. Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go
there, and walk around. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? Pick a
warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside.

Live Washington: 5 “Cozy” Winter Getaways

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This week, we are embracing the sometimes bittersweet rainy season the PNW has come to be known for. As cold weather arrives, anyone looking for a weekend getaway often has “cozy” on the list of criteria. Here are 5 cozy getaways around Western Washington (and it’s a good time to enjoy low-season rates).

1. Coupeville Inn

Winter is the quiet season on Whidbey Island, but Penn Cove mussels are still fresh and salty in local restaurants and a hike at Ebey’s Landing will wake you up when Strait of Juan de Fuca winds blow. Afterward, cozy up in the pink lady of Coupeville, the Italianate Kineth House, part of the Blue Goose Inn, or one of the rustic madrona-log rooms of the Captain Whidbey Inn.

2. Tokeland Hotel

This funky/delightful historic inn at the upper edge of Willapa Bay has a view of old orchard trees and meadow-grazing deer rather than the ocean, but a 5-minute drive puts you on a sandy beach. Wine and Scrabble in front of the fireplace. No TV, no phones. A true winter getaway.

3. Lake Quinault Lodge

Rain, rain and more rain grows record-size trees here, and the rainy season is the right time to get cozy with a chess board and a cocktail from the bar in the lodge’s pleasantly-wood-smoky lobby. Dine in the Roosevelt Room, named for FDR from his 1937 visit where he fell in love with the area. Nine months after his visit, Roosevelt signed a bill creating Olympic National Park. Today, you can enjoy incredible food and drink, as well as panoramic views of the Lake and the mountains beyond.

Quinault Lodge

Quinault Lodge’s Beautiful + Cozy lobby

4. Ashford cabins

When the snow flies at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park, it’s a wintry wanderland for snowshoers and inner-tubers. If braving the cold and staying at Camp Muir isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of rental cabins at the foot of Mt. Rainier, most with fireplaces, many with hot tubs, all just right for snowy getaways!  Try Stormking Cabins(this is definitely our next adventure!). Or check other cabin listingshere.

Three Bears Lodge view of the mountain

Cozy Mt. Rainier Cabin

5. Iron Springs Resort

This historical collection of bluff-top Mocrocks Beach-area cabins in Grays Harbor County underwent a major makeover a couple years back, so the original 1940s look has gotten a freshening up like there was a shipwreck of interior decorators out front. But the sandy Pacific beach is still classic, with razor-clam digs when the season’s right.

Live Washington: Winthrop

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Happy New Year Everyone! Week 2 of the “Live Washington” series will kick off with Winthrop, Washington which is best known for its winter recreation, sunshine, and dry snow!

Winthrop is home to the nation’s largest cross-country ski area and some of the most acclaimed snowmobiling and backcountry skiing around. Ski, snowshoe, sled, shred, or skate, the Methow Valley has it all.

Winthrop has 120 miles of groomed, interconnected trails, surrounded by more than a million acres of wilderness and forest lands, the Methow Valley is a beautiful getaway during the long winter months.

Winthrop also boasts Methow Trails, which operates the nation’s largest cross-country ski area of 120 miles of trails where Kids 17 and under ski free everyday on the cross-country ski trail system.  The Loup Loup Ski Bowl operates another 23 kilometers of Nordic trails which is also located just a hop, skip and a jump from the downhill ski hill.

If you enjoy back country skiing as much as my fiance and I do, Winthrop is just the place for you. Most local back country skiers will head up Highway 20 for ski-from-the-road access, or to the end of the plowed road and snowmobile in from there. The options are endless in the Methow Valley!

The Summer months in Winthrop are equally amazing, with an abundance of road/mountain biking opportunities, climbing, camping, golfing, farmer’s markets and according to Winthrop’s website you can also:

“Soar the skies above in a bright balloon, or experience the country at eye level by foot, hoof and pedal! Or stay close to the turf—play 18 holes on a certified Audobon Course. For the less serious golfer, putt-putt can be found right in downtown Winthrop, right next to Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe. Cool off on by floating the river, or paddling the lake.”

Winthrop is a great option for a vacation home for you and your family.  It’s also a good opportunity to have a rental property like the one displayed below, for an affordable $225,000.  The grounds and exterior maintenance of this 2005 condo are managed by the HOA (which means your driveway will always be plowed).  You can utilize your 3 bed, 2+ bath Methow Valley vacation cabin yourself, as a nightly rental, or both. Stay here on your next trip & check it out! If you are interested in this please email me at rachelwagner@johnlscott.com or call/text 425.324.0302.

Live Washington: Leavenworth

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Leavenworth is where Bavarian charm and the Northwest meet, located on the Eastern cusp of the Cascades 2 1/2 hours from Seattle.  Not only is it a mecca for recreation, with endless opportunities for climbing, camping, mountain biking and golfing in the spring and summer months and skiing, sledding, cross country skiing and ice climbing in the winter, the town is also jam packed with festivals and events in almost every month.  

The Live Washington series will explore some of the best places to visit and invest in vacation homes or rentals that are accessible, family friendly and embody the Pacific Northwest lifestyle that draw us to call this place home.  I am excited to share these places with you, and am inspired by the beauty that is so close to home!

Leavenworth is an affordable and beautiful place if you are looking to purchase a second home.  The median sale price in Leavenworth for the last 90 days is $325,000 with prices ranging from $150,000- $1 million there is something for everyone here.

Beautiful waterfront home with lake and mountain views + close to downtown Leavenworth

cozy open floor plan + perfect setting for family gatherings

Magical Holiday lights in downtown Leavenworth

Hiking + Mountain Biking destinations in Spring/Summer months 

Market Mondays: Kirkland Condos and Holiday Happenings

Happy Monday everyone! Can you believe it’s almost Christmas? It’s been an amazing year and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store personally and professionally. I am grateful to be part of such an exciting and dynamic time in real estate.  Nothing is more fulfilling than walking alongside each and every one of you through this process.  While most people don’t think of the holidays as a good time for house-hunting, that may be just the reason to do it. Less competition with other buyers and more motivated sellers can mean a smoother transaction and more leverage in the negotiation process.

This week we are taking a quick look at the Kirkland/Bridle condo market.  There have been 94 condominiums sold in the last 90 days, ranging from a low of $105,500 – $3.1 million with a median sale price of $350,000.  With 43 active listings ranging from $169,950 – $5.75 million and a median listing price of $375,000 there is about 1.4 months supply of inventory in the market! There is typically a shortage of inventory during the winter months, however, sellers are still seeing 98% percent of their listing price…people are still buying houses! With low interest rates and a healthy market, it is a prime time to buy and sell!

As we move into 2015, where do you see yourself next year? Is buying your first home or perhaps moving into a larger home one of your goals? I have talked to a lot of people who are looking into buying homes in 2015 and I challenge you to write down what that looks like for you! We have a lot of exciting things planned and will be holding a webinar workshop for First Time Home-Buyers in January that will take you step by step through the process as well as allow for any questions you may have….so stay tuned and get your questions ready! 

As a continuation of last week and as I can’t help but marvel at all the beautiful light displays, there is one house that has developed quite the reputation in the Kirkland neighborhood AND shows huge support for our beloved Seahawks.  Dubbed the “Seahawks House” by locals, this home is a sight to behold, it’s one you MUST check out for yourself! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

View image on Twitter

Market Mondays: Issaquah

Happy Monday! This week we are looking at the beautiful community of Issaquah, one of my absolute favorite locations and is becoming a hotbed for growth and development as people see what this community has to offer.  Issaquah is just 17 miles east of Seattle, sitting on the southern border of Lake Sammamish. With its proximity to Seattle, nearby mountains, and perfect summer weather, the town has grown in recent years and attracts enough new blood to be the second fastest growing suburb in the state.

Issaquah is nestled up against the Cascade foothills. Several small mountains make up the so-called Issaquah Alps to the south of Issaquah: Tiger Mountain, Cougar Mountain and Squak Mountain.  This area is also a major attraction for the outdoor lovers, making it a perfect lifestyle fit for those who like the best of both worlds. The Issaquah and Sammamish Plateaus and Lake Sammamish are to the north.

So, what’s happening in Real Estate? Issaquah has seen steady growth and like I mentioned earlier is the second fastest growing suburb in the state of Washington.  Issaquah has seen a 12% increase in home sales when compared to December of 2013 with a median sale price of $700,000.  As of December 15th, 2014 there are 43 single family homes for sale ranging from $358,300-$4.98 million.  In the last 90 days, 70 single family homes have sold, ranging from $272,888-$1.83 million with a median sale price of $700,000 like I mentioned earlier.  The average days on market is 36 days! Who said that December is a bad time to buy or sell a home?!

The graph above displays months of inventory through the end of November, however, as of December 15th 2014 Issaquah is at 1.84 months of inventory based on closed sales which is slightly higher than December of 2013.  What this tells us is that there is a shortage of inventory, more buyers than sellers.  Issaquah is a hotbed for new construction so this will be an interesting market to keep an eye on.

If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell their home, please don’t hesitate to contact me at rachelwagner@johnlscott.com or call/text 324.0302.  Don’t forget to follow my blog for weekly market updates, which you can do by clicking the “follow” button at the top right hand side of the page.

Oh, and here is a lovely display of lights that you might be interested in checking out in Issaquah, in the spirit of the holiday season!  This light show is dressed to impress with hundreds of thousands of lights that the Ginnaty family has been putting on for over a decade.

Ginnaty Christmas Light Show
9325 240th Avenue SE
Issaquah, WA 98027

South of Issaquah on Front Street, take SE 96th Street east to the turn. Turn left on 240th Ave SE. You can’t miss it on the left a few houses up the street. Look for the sandwich boards at the turns to confirm you’re in the right spot.

Market Monday’s: Holiday Edition

Happy Monday Everyone! Alright, so I’m veering off the path a little bit this week in the spirit of the HOLIDAY SEASON! I was inspired to do a Christmas edition post this week after driving through some neighborhoods on our way home from the movies last night and seeing some beautiful light displays! One of my favorite parts of the holiday season are all the lights…on trees, houses, boats, people…the more the better, especially during the time of year with the least daylight.  What better way to find out the personality of your future neighborhood than seeing what people are doing during the Holiday season?! Below are some of the best neighborhoods in the greater Seattle area for Christmas light displays.  Enjoy!

1. Candy Cane Lane in Ravenna (December 15 to New Year’s)
This is by far the best one to drive through in Seattle for charming Christmas light displays. It’s a free light display that you can walk or drive through in a loop put on by the neighbors of Park Road and Ravenna Boulevard. The neighborhood has been putting on this community light show since 1941. (December 15 through New Year’s Day from 4 p.m to 11 p.m.; on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve the lights are on until midnight). Address: Northeast Park Road, off Ravenna Boulevard, Seattle, WA 98105

2. Olympic Manor near Greenwood (Mid-December)
The Olympic Manor neighborhood in Seattle has it in their homeowners association rules that they are encouraged to decorate for Christmas each year. Dozens of homes are decorated and it’s a longtime holiday favorite in Seattle. Don’t be surprised to see limos driving through. Address: Start at Northwest 85th Street and 23rd Avenue Northwest.

3. Kerry Park Viewpoint on Queen Anne Hill (Month of December)
After driving through to see the Christmas displays of the picturesque homes on Queen Anne Hill head to the Kerry Park Viewpoint for the best view in town of the lighted tree a top the Space Needle. It’s free too. Address: 211 W. Highland Dr. Seattle, WA.

4.  Keener’s Christmas light display in Bothell located at 16504 112 Place, Bothell,,WA 98011 boasts an impressive description of:

” Over 100,000 lights,Over 30 retro blow molds,15 ft high arch way with 4000 green and red lights over the drive way, 3 nativity scenes, 20 ft snowman, 75 percent Of the display is LEDs, Christmas Yoda floating in a tree, Santa and his reindeer taking flight, 9 blow ups, Over an acre and half lit up”.  Also, the Keener’s offer this festive experience free of charge, however, they accept donations on behalf of the Ben Towne Foundation, which fights childhood cancer.  More information is available on their website and they are willing to match all donations of up to $3000!

Do you have a favorite neighborhood light display? There’s still plenty of time to feature your own neighborhood so email me at rachelwagner@johnlscott.com with a photo and what you love about your neighborhood this Holiday season.