Liven Up Your Kitchen With Full Circle + Easy Updates For Your Home


First things first, Happy Hump Day! I want to start off by offering all of my readers an opportunity to win one month of organic produce delivered by Full Circle! How do you enter? If you aren’t already, follow my blog! Not only will you get the latest real estate news and useful home ‘how-to’s’, but you will automatically be entered to win the Full Circle drawing. Already a follower or not interested in the long term commitment? Shoot me an email with your name/phone number/address and I will enter you.  All I ask is that you be a Washington resident when the winner is announced on Monday, September 1st.

What is Full Circle?

“Each week we handpick fresh, certified organic fruits and vegetables to create your personalized order. We build relationships with growers using sustainable farming practices and source our produce as locally as the season allows. We also source from organic growers in warmer climates for increased variety throughout the year. It’s like having the farmers market come to you—all year long!”  What’s not to love about that?

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Easy Updates For Your Home

Enhance the entry

First impressions matter. Invest in a new front door or paint your old one, it can dramatically change the look of your home and enhance curb appeal. Try other easy DIY fixes like repainting the exterior trim, replacing the house numbers or installing new outdoor lighting.

Build a Headboard

Headboards can be made out of anything – find something you’re passionate about and turn it into a headboard. Use old skis or skateboards; or make a collage by decoupaging magazines or attach family photos to an old headboard. Also, think about using salvaged materials such as fencing, old doors etc.  There are literally thousands of examples on Pinterest and is a great weekend project!

Illuminating Ideas

New kitchen lighting or a new fixture over the dining table is sure to brighten up any meal. Try one of these projects: Make a fabric-covered drum shade to match your decor. Install a dimmer switch to make your current lighting more versatile. Use a few cans of spray paint to give an old chandelier new life. Replace or paint the blades on a ceiling fan. Also, if you’re thinking about selling your house, remember that light creates an atmosphere that people either want to be in or not.  Think about creating a warm, inviting space with as much natural light as possible!

Paint Cabinet inside cabinet

Cabinet Facelift

If your cabinets need more than new hardware, paint them. It can be a time-consuming project, but if done right, your kitchen will look brand new and add value to your home.

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Market Monday’s: Kirkland Condos

I’ve been watching what’s happening in the Kirkland condo market closely as of late, it’s fascinating that such a desirable location can have A LOT of affordable condos still on the market for people looking to make a great investment in their future, or get into their first home. Not only that, the rental market is creeping up in the area making it challenging to find an affordable place to live, which makes buying a condo even more appealing.  So, what’s happening? As of August 18th, 2014 there are 65 active condo listings ranging between $105,000 to over $6 million! The median list price is $315,000 while the average list price is $525,000, it’s pretty clear that the big listing prices are skewing the data.  There were 127 condos sold in the past 90 days in Kirkland, with the sale price being 98% percent of the list price.  This means that people are paying the list price, and in some cases more depending on the property and demand for that location.  

The graph below demonstrates the for sale/sold/pending condos through July 2014:

As of August 18th, 2014 the Kirkland condo market is at 1.54 months of inventory based on closed sales.  This is down slightly from 1.8 months of inventory in July of this year.  Interest rates dropped slightly last week, making buying a home even more appealing as well as affordable.  

The list/sale price ratio has been fairly consistent since last year, being close to 100%.  Again, this data is skewed slightly due to the million dollar + condo listings that aren’t seeing that kind of ratio (the million + residential home market, however, is seeing a 100% + list/sale ratio).

Months of inventory was up slightly in July to 1.8 months, although August is currently looking at 1.54 months of inventory.  This is definitely a hot market, with no signs of it slowing down anytime soon.  It is a great time to get into a condo either as a  first time home buyer or as an investment property.  The listing below is one of the many great condos available in Kirkland…

 

 

 

Open House (1)

 

Stay tuned for a post on financing and a big announcement this week! I have partnered with Full Circle organic produce delivery for an opportunity to give my followers! So, if you haven’t already…follow my blog via email for a chance to win some awesome, organic produce delivered to your door! Have a great week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Market Mondays: Edmonds

Edmonds is one of Washingtons most picturesque cities, with views of the Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains and Cascade Range.  One can see why it has become one of the Seattle area’s most desired locations to live. Come visit me this weekend at A Taste of Edmonds! A Taste of Edmonds is August 8th, 9th and 10th as well as Washington’s 3rd largest 3 day festival.  There will be arts and crafts, 35 food vendors, entertainment, beer/wine gardens as well as myself with John L Scott Real Estate if you are interested in getting to know me and the area a little more or know someone who is!

Scroll down the page for a snapshot of how home sales and prices have trended in Edmonds over the past  fifteen months. You’ll see sales and inventory levels, $ per square foot values, and inventory levels expressed in months of supply. I use $ per square foot averages as an indicator of how the overall market is trending. Bear in mind the percentages will differ within specific price ranges. It’s interesting to follow the “Pending” sales trend lines which is an indicator of which direction the market is heading. Note that June sales are down 10% from 2013, while Pending are up over 40%. That’s huge!

As of August 4th, the last 30 days have seen an increase in pending sales from 28 to 34 pending sales and a jump from 24 sold in June to 41 sold in July! August will be another big month of closed sales! 

Market Monday’s: Kirkland

Home sellers in Kirkland can do almost no wrong right now,  The real estate downturn that started 7 years ago is a distant memory as the Kirkland market has become an inventory crunched, pent up demand market of hungry home buyers.  

As I was narrowing down which market to talk about for my first “Market Monday”, it only made sense to discuss the neighborhood I feel closest to and the one I call home.  What is important to know is that sale-to-list price ratios in many areas have been above 100% since January of this year.  Almost every home that comes on the market, and is reasonably priced, is selling right away. Multiple offers and bidding wars are the norm.  

As of the end of June, the median sale price in Kirkland was $719,000, which is a 16% increase in sale price from the year before.  Double digit appreciation isn’t expected to continue long term, however, long term projections show a steady growth in the coming years.  

Within the city of Kirkland, the YTD (year to date) median sale price is slightly lower at $677,000, which is a 17% increase from 2013.  Although the median sale prices of homes in Kirkland are high, there are affordable homes in the $400,000 range and single family condos as low as $200,000.  

As you can see, it’s a great time to sell your home in Kirkland….but, what if you’re looking to buy a home in Kirkland? According to the Seattle Bubble, as of the beginning of the 2nd quarter, one in four pending sales were failing to show up in the closed sales numbers. This is great news for buyers, since many of the homes that quickly go pending have a 25% chance of going back on the market, leaving buyers a second chance. 

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about buying/selling a home in your area. Feel free to email me at rachelwagner@johnlscott.com or join me for a run through some of your favorite Kirkland neighborhoods! Also, stay tuned for a special announcement and opportunity to win one month of Organic local produce delivered to your door from Full Circle

 

Buzzwords explained: “green home”

 

 

With phrases like global warming, greenhouse effect and sustainable management being tossed around in everyday headlines, more people are focusing on the effects of their actions. It’s not just about what manufacturing companies are doing to help or hurt the environment; it’s also about what people do in their everyday activities.

How many of you have noticed the term “green home” weaving its way into your life? “Green” is a big trend in homes right now, but you’re forgiven if you’re not sure exactly what that means.  In fact, I wasn’t completely sure what it meant until I did some research of my own.  When I think “green home” I think of energy conserving, water miser Energy Star appliances, composting toilet and a home with solar panels.  But what about a home with traditional heating and electrical systems that also has low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) drapes, paint and carpet? Or, can it be as simple as making our environmental impact as small as possible, given the tools we already have?

What I found is that any of the aforementioned are steps in the right direction.  Going green can be anything from where you buy a home, how you build a home and the ways in which you cut water and energy waste.

It is possible to be a little bit green. Everything helps, even if you simply choose a floor of sustainable cork instead of Brazilian rain-forest cherry or a kitchen counter top of recycled glass tiles rather than granite. Not only will you help the planet, but doing so often helps your own bottom line through lower energy bills and your home’s potentially higher resale value.

So, how can you make improvements without breaking the bank?

  • Use certified (sustainably harvested) wood products
  • Buy products made of recycled materials
  • Cut energy use with insulation and a highly efficient furnace and appliances
  • Install renewable energy sources like a wind generator or solar panels
  • Reduce light pollution
  • Maximize open space on your land

You’ll be happy to know that some of the best investments are also the easiest to implement. These four will give you the most return for the money spent:

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. They last seven or eight years and use less energy, saving about $100 per year in electricity. Cost: $2+.
  • Install a timer on your lights and heating-and-cooling system so you can program your home to consume less energy when you’re gone or sleeping. Cost: roughly $30.
  • Put aerators on faucets to dramatically reduce water use. Find them at hardware stores for about $3 each.
  • Caulk and weather-strip air leaks around windows, doors and other places where the wall is penetrated. Cost: Roughly $5 for a 10-ounce tube.

Yes, there is some extra effort involved in going “green”, however, the lower monthly utility bills might just be worth the up front work.  Not to mention, according to the National Association of Home Builders, 85% said they were more satisfied with their green homes then with previous, traditional houses.  I know that I will be making some changes in my own home, what about you?