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.

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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!

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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.

Market Mondays: Kirkland/Bridle

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Happy Monday! Can you believe it’s already December 1st? I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is ready to finish out 2014 strong! It has been an exciting year in the real estate market and this week we are looking at what’s happening with single family homes in the Kirkland/Bridle area.

As of December 1st, 2014 there are 90 active listings (115 when pending sales are included) ranging from $285,000- $3.7 million with a median listing price of $939,000.  When we look at sold homes, there have been 166 sales in the past 90 days, ranging from $225,000- $7.75 million with a median sale price of $830,000. The graph below demonstrates the average days on market as well as the sale price to list price ratio.

When you compare October 2013 to October 2014 (the most recent up to date data), we see a slight decrease in the sale price to the original list price and a huge increase in inventory.  What this graph fails to show is that the average sale price has gone up 57%, from an average sale price of $667,000 in October 2013 to an an AVERAGE sale price of $1.5 million in October 2014.

As of today, there is 2.09 months supply of inventory when pending sales are included and 1.63 months supply of inventory when only active listings are included.  The market is seeing a shortage of inventory and there is still a backlog of buyers ready to jump at their perfect home.  If you are thinking of selling, now is a great time!

If you or someone you know has an interest in a specific area or market, please feel free to contact me at rachelwagner@johnlscott.com or call/text 425.324.0302. I am happy to answer any of your questions, as they relate to real estate! Have a great week!