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.

Spruce Up Home Value: Low Cost Bathroom Updates!

Over the past few decades, the kitchen was the average home buyers focal point when buying a home.  That is not the case anymore, in 2014 bathrooms are more important to buyers than kitchens.  That being said, an additional bathroom, even a half bathroom, adds significant value to your home.  Growing up with a real estate Appraiser as a father, I heard horror stories about homeowners irate over the news that their special remodel project added ZERO value to the resale of their home.  Many times, it’s hard to differentiate between what we think is value based on our emotional involvement vs. what the market wants, the difference is sometimes surprising!

For starters, A half bath may add up to 10.5 percent to a home’s value, while a full bath can tack on an additional 20 percent. Of course, the amount of additional value you will receive varies according to the home’s other features.

Tip: If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford a bathroom addition, give the existing bathrooms a little TLC with a few of the following suggestions.

Install a Dose of Tile

Install a dose of tile! Give your bathroom sink an upgrade with some intentional detailing. Rather than tiling a whole tub surround or wall, add just a border of tile above the sink vanity. Here, elegant blue, white, and brown tiles introduce color and pattern into the bathroom. The small mosaic tiles make the vanity area look luxurious and rich.

Update Cabinet Hardware

Cabinetry’s handles, hinges, and doorknobs are the final touches and style setters for any vanity. Luckily, they’re simple to replace whenever you want a fresh look — and cabinetry hardware is available at any price point. Give your cabinet doors and drawers a good cleaning before installing new hardware. Or freshen them with paint or stain to best display the new accents.

Install Wainscoting

Give bathroom walls interest by adding wainscoting. Crisp white-painted wainscoting provides contrast to the sunny yellow hue used on the upper portion of these walls. For humid rooms such as the bathroom, look for paints treated with mildewcide to eliminate worries about mildew.

Update Light Fixtures

Refresh a tired bath by replacing outdated light fixtures with modern versions. Online you’ll find hundreds of sconces that cost less than $100. For an even thriftier change, look for replacement shades to update the fixtures you have. If you like the style of what you have but the metal finish doesn’t work with your decor, tape off the surrounding areas and give the fixtures a fresh coat of metallic spray paint!

Replace Fixtures

Swap outdated light fixtures, medicine cabinets and faucets for up-to-the-minute versions. Fashion-forward fixtures will make your bath feel fresh and fabulous, and they can draw attention away from less-desirable areas of the bath.

There are so many inexpensive ways to update your bathroom, a fresh coat of neutral colored paint goes a long way and don’t forget to check the fan! That’s a simple update that can add functional value to your bathroom, skimping on quality can hurt in the long run.

Feng Shui Basics: How your space affects your mood

 

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How often have you walked into a room in your own home or someone else’s and thought things just didn’t “feel” right? Or, perhaps there are certain rooms that also feel exceptionally inviting and open.  It’s easy to forget how important the spaces we live in are to our health and well-being.  The Following are some insights into home decoration and how it can make you more peaceful, productive and happy.

Color:

Colors can alter your mood. It’s important to play around with colors to find the right balance for you. Here’s a quick color to mood chart for reference:

Red: Passion, power, stimulation, and high energy. (Suggestions: dining room, bedroom, or upholstery)

Orange: Creativity, happiness, enthusiasm, and communication. (Suggestions: accenting, throw-overs, or pillows)

Yellow: Cheerfulness, light-heartedness, and mental stimulation. (Suggestions: kitchens, not bedrooms)

Green: Growth, harmony, nature, safety, peace, and healing (Suggestions: bedroom, bathroom, or office)

Blue: Trust, loyalty, confidence, faith (Suggestions: accents around the house and in bedroom)

Purple: Romance, luxury, nobility, wealth, spirituality, and motivation (Suggestions: bedroom)

Black: Power, independence (Suggestions: picture frames)

Brown: Stability, humility (Suggestions: living room)

White: Cleanliness, vibrancy (Use sparingly; too much white can feel cold)

Use this as a general reference and then play around. Look at a color, its various tones, and notice your mood. Have fun and mix and match.

Furniture and Decor:

Many people simply put everything against the wall when it comes to furniture placement. I have been guilty of doing this after moving, leaving artwork to sit against the wall and allowing our busy lives to prevent us from taking care of one of our most important spaces. What I didn’t realize fully was that this creates negative energy and dead space.

Energy must always have flow, so you don’t necessarily need to make everything symmetrical at all times. Balance is more important than symmetry. The rule of thumb is to think outside the box and to decorate in a way that may not necessarily be the most obvious. Mix furniture and decor with a wide range of variety, vintages, and textures.

When it comes to the decor and furniture, if you want a strong and independent look, you may consider incorporating circular, oval, and arched shapes along with granite, marble, and flagstone. Artwork and decor with metal, stone, brass, iron, copper, or gold is integral as well.

For leadership and creating a healthy emotional interaction between people, it is suggested to use artwork that involves sunshine or any form of natural illumination along with pyramids, cones, natural sunlight, feathers, silk, or wool.

For more order and sensuality, use furniture with squares, rectangles, ceramic, tile, and brick.

For creativity, intuition, and flexibility, integrate more wood, floral upholstery, wall coverings, drapes, pillars, and columns.

For a more relaxed and spiritual environment, integrate anything with water, crystals, glass, or mirrors.

It’s important not to overdo too much of any element. Use variety and balance. HAVE FUN!

Using Scent to Uplift your Home Environment:

One of the greatest senses we have is smell. Smell is like touching or tasting something from a distance. It’s a subtle thing that can have a huge impact on our mood.

I am a huge fan of candles and notice that I am drawn to different scents at different times and seasons. Start lighting more candles, incense, and oils to produce pleasing smells throughout the day. You can also add more flowers like jasmine, violets, and gardenias throughout your home.

What’s wonderful about creating a pleasing home environment is that it’s not necessary to spend a fortune to make your space inviting and clear. Less is more. Just start experimenting with what feels good to you!

It’s time to take a look at your space so that you can remove anything that brings negative energy, add things that bring you positive energy, and that makes your family feel comfortable and happy around the house.

Remember, your home is your sanctuary.

 

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?