Q1 2019 Seattle Metro Quarterly Report

SEATTLE METRO: Months of inventory was reduced as we finished out the first quarter of 2019. Months of inventory is the amount of months it would take to sell out of homes if no new listings came to market. This illustrates the balance between supply and demand. We peaked at 2.5 months in November of 2018 and found ourselves at 1.2 month this March.

The first quarter of 2019 saw 2,456 new listings and 1,892 pending sales – demand tracked quite well with supply! It remains a seller’s market (0-3 months of inventory), but not as constricted of a market as last year, which saw an average of 0.7 months in the first quarter compared to 1.5 months this year. As we head into spring, we should see continued growth in new listings and demand will be strong, fueled by low interest rates and positive jobs reports.

 

The second half of 2018 had a large influx of homes that came to market, and an interest rate jump which created a gap between supply and demand. Buyers enjoyed some negotiations and credits in the fall and winter due to more selection, but as interest rates reduced in the first quarter, we saw demand increase. This is helping to absorb inventory and reduce the average days on market it takes to sell a home. Median price is up 5% complete year-over-year, which is still higher than the 4% norm, but much less than the unsustainable 16% gains from 2017 to 2018. This balancing out in the market has been a positive phenomenon as affordability has been a challenge for many. Both sellers and buyers are finding great opportunities in the current market.

 

This is only a snapshot of the trends in the Seattle Metro area; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 


Posted on April 11, 2019 at 10:58 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Quarterly Reports, Statistical Information |

Planning for the Life Expectancy of Your Home

How long should you expect things to last….

Nothing in life lasts forever – and the same can be said for your home. From the roof to the furnace, every component of your home has a lifespan, so it’s a good idea to know approximately how many years of service you can expect from them. This information can help when buying or selling your home, budgeting for improvements, and deciding between repairing or replacing when problems arise.

According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) study, the average life expectancy of some home components has decreased over the past few decades.  (This might explain why you’re on your third washing machine while Grandma still has the same indestructible model you remember from childhood.) But the good news is the lifespan of many other items has actually increased in recent years.

Here’s a look at the average life spans of some common home components (courtesy of NAHB).

Appliances. Of all home components, appliances have the widest variation in life spans. These are averages for all brands and models and may represent the point which replacing is more cost-effective than repairing. Among major appliances, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy, at about 15 years. Electric ranges, standard-size refrigerators, and clothes dryers last about 13 years, while garbage disposals grind away for about 10 years. Dishwashers, microwave ovens, and mini-refrigerators can all be expected to last about nine years. For furnaces, expect a lifespan of about 15 years for electric, 18 for gas, and 20 for oil-burning models. Central air-conditioning systems generally beat the heat for 10 to 15 years.

Kitchen & Bath. Countertops of wood, tile, and natural stone will last a lifetime, while cultured marble will last about 20 years. The lifespan of laminate countertops depends greatly on the use and can be 20 years or longer. Kitchen faucets generally last about 15 years.  An enamel-coated steel sink will last five to 10 years; stainless will last at least 30 years; and slate, granite, soapstone, and copper should endure 100 years or longer. Toilets, on average, can serve at least 50 years (parts such as the flush assembly and seat will likely need replacing), and bathroom faucets tend to last about 20 years.

Flooring. Natural flooring materials provide longevity as well as beauty: Wood, marble, slate, and granite should all last 100 years or longer, and tile, 74 to 100 years. Laminate products will survive 15 to 25 years, linoleum about 25 years, and vinyl should endure for about 50 years. Carpet will last eight to 10 years on average, depending on use and maintenance.

Siding, Roofing, Windows. Brick siding normally lasts 100 years or longer, aluminum siding about 80 years, and stucco about 25 years. The lifespan of wood siding varies dramatically – anywhere from 10 to 100 years – depending on the climate and level of maintenance. For roofs, slate or tile will last about 50 years, wood shingles can endure 25 to 30 years, the metal will last about 25 years, and asphalts got you covered for about 20 years. Unclad wood windows will last 30 years or longer, aluminum will last 15 to 20 years, and vinyl windows should keep their seals for 15 to 20 years.

Of course, none of these averages matter if you have a roof that was improperly installed or a dishwasher that was a lemon right off the assembly line. In these cases, early replacement may be the best choice. Conversely, many household components will last longer than you need them to, as we often replace fully functional items for cosmetic reasons, out of a desire for more modern features, or as a part of a quest to be more energy efficient.

Are extended warranties warranted?

Extended warranties, also known as service contracts or service agreements, are sold for all types of household items, from appliances to electronics. They cover service calls and repairs for a specified time beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranty. Essentially, warranty providers (manufacturers, retailers, and outside companies) are betting that a product will be problem-free in the first years of operation, while the consumer who purchases a warranty is betting against reliability.

Warranty providers make a lot of money on extended warranties, and Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, advises against purchasing them.  You will have to consider whether the cost is worth it to you; for some, it brings a much-needed peace of mind when making such a large purchase. Also, consider if it the cost outweighs the value of the item; in some cases, it may be less expensive to just replace a broken appliance than pay for insurance or a warranty.

Posted in Living by Kenady Swan – Windermere


Posted on April 6, 2019 at 9:18 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Helpful Information |

When to Plant Your Veggies in the PNW

Growing your own vegetables is both fun and rewarding. It might seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but once you get started, you’ll discover that it isn’t very hard. Gardening is a learning experience, though. You’ll find that some things work better than others, and every planting season gives you another opportunity to make some tweaks and try again.

The first thing you need to decide is where to plant. For most veggies, this should be the sunniest spot you have. And of course the second big question is what to plant. Go for the things you love to eat, as well as plants that will thrive in the amount of sun you have.

Our climate in the Pacific Northwest requires some crops to be started indoors in the winter and transplanted outside in the spring. But it’s not too late to get started. There are lots of plants that you can sow directly into the garden in early spring. This graphic shows a few:

There are also many crops that can be planted in the summer for a fall harvest. Click here for a complete timeline of planting vegetables in the Seattle area.


Posted on March 25, 2019 at 6:43 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Just for Fun |

2019 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Here’s your guide to the  2019 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival!


Posted on March 24, 2019 at 8:36 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Just for Fun, Local News |

Should I Move or Remodel? Now That is a Good Question!

 

There are a number of things that can trigger the decision to remodel or move to a new home. Perhaps you have outgrown your current space, you might be tired of struggling with ancient plumbing or wiring systems, or maybe your home just feels out of date. The question is: Should you stay or should you go? Choosing whether to remodel or move involves looking at a number of factors. Here are some things to consider when making your decision.

Five reasons to move:

1. Your current location just isn’t working.

Unruly neighbors, a miserable commute, or a less-than-desirable school district—these are factors you cannot change. If your current location is detracting from your overall quality of life, it’s time to consider moving. If you’re just ready for a change, that’s a good reason, too. Some people are simply tired of their old homes and want to move on.

2. Your home is already one of the nicest in the neighborhood.

Regardless of the improvements you might make, location largely limits the amount of money you can get for your home when you sell. A general rule of thumb for remodeling is to make sure that you don’t over-improve your home for the neighborhood. If your property is already the most valuable house on the block, additional upgrades usually won’t pay off in return on investment at selling time.

3. There is a good chance you will move soon anyway.

If your likelihood of moving in the next two years is high, remodeling probably isn’t your best choice. There’s no reason to go through the hassle and expense of remodeling and not be able to enjoy it. It may be better to move now to get the house you want.

4. You need to make too many improvements to meet your needs.

This is particularly an issue with growing families. What was cozy for a young couple may be totally inadequate when you add small children. Increasing the space to make your home workable may cost more than moving to another house. In addition, lot size, building codes, and neighborhood covenants may restrict what you can do. Once you’ve outlined the remodeling upgrades that you’d like, a real estate agent can help you determine what kind of home you could buy for the same investment.

5. You don’t like remodeling.

Remodeling is disruptive. It may be the inconvenience of loosing the use of a bathroom for a week, or it can mean moving out altogether for a couple of months. Remodeling also requires making a lot of decisions. You have to be able to visualize new walls and floor plans, decide how large you want windows to be, and where to situate doors. Then there is choosing from hundreds of flooring, countertop, and fixture options. Some people love this. If you’re not one of them, it is probably easier to buy a house that has the features you want already in place.

 

Five reasons to remodel:

1. You love your neighborhood.

You can walk to the park, you have lots of close friends nearby, and the guy at the espresso stand knows you by name. There are features of a neighborhood, whether it’s tree-lined streets or annual community celebrations, that you just can’t re-create somewhere else. If you love where you live, that’s a good reason to stay.

2. You like your current home’s floor plan.

The general layout of your home either works for you or it doesn’t. If you enjoy the configuration and overall feeling of your current home, there’s a good chance it can be turned into a dream home. The combination of special features you really value, such as morning sun or a special view, may be hard to replicate in a new home.

3. You’ve got a great yard.

Yards in older neighborhoods often have features you cannot find in newer developments, including large lots, mature trees, and established landscaping. Even if you find a new home with a large lot, it takes considerable time and expense to create a fully landscaped yard.

4. You can get exactly the home you want.

Remodeling allows you to create a home tailored exactly to your lifestyle. You have control over the look and feel of everything, from the color of the walls to the finish on the cabinets. Consider also that most people who buy a new home spend up to 30 percent of the value of their new house fixing it up the way they want.

5. It may make better financial sense.

In some cases, remodeling might be cheaper than selling. A contractor can give you an estimate of what it would cost to make the improvements you’re considering. A real estate agent can give you prices of comparable homes with those same features. But remember that while remodeling projects add to the value of your home, most don’t fully recover their costs when you sell.

 

Remodel or move checklist:

Here are some questions to ask when deciding whether to move or remodel.

1.      How much money can you afford to spend?

2.      How long do you plan to live in your current home?

3.      How do you feel about your current location?

4.      Do you like the general floor plan of your current house?

5.      Will the remodeling you’re considering offer a good return on investment?

6.      Can you get more house for the money in another location that you like?

7.      Are you willing to live in your house during a remodeling project?

8.      If not, do you have the resources to live elsewhere while you’re remodeling?

If you have questions about whether remodeling or selling is a wise investment, we can help you.  Feel free to contact us.


Posted on March 14, 2019 at 6:16 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Helpful Information, Strategy |

Rent vs. Own? What’s the Best Investment?

The current break-even horizon* in the Seattle Metro area is 1.69 years!

 

*The amount of time you need to own your home in order for owning to be a superior financial decision.

With expensive rental rates, historically low interest rates, and home prices softening, there are advantages to buying versus renting.

In fact, the Seattle Metro area has seen some of the sharpest rent hikes in the country over the last few years! There are several factors to consider that will lead you to make the best decision for your lifestyle and your financial bottom line. Zillow Research® has determined the break-even point for renting versus buying in our metro area. In other words, the amount of time you need to own your home in order for owning to be a superior financial decision. Currently in Seattle, the break-even point is 1.69 years – that is quick! What is so great about every month that ticks away thereafter, is that your nest egg is building in value.

I am happy to help you or someone you know assess your options; please contact me anytime.

These assumptions are based on a home buyer purchasing a home with a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage and a 20 percent down payment; and a renter earning five percent annually on investments in the stock market.

Read the full article on the Zillow Research website here


Posted on March 14, 2019 at 5:33 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Statistical Information, Strategy |

Recent Decrease in Interest Rates Spurs Opportunity

 

Most recently, we have experienced an uptick in market activity. In fact, in King and Snohomish counties we saw a 53% increase in pending sales from December to January. While it is seasonally normal to see activity increase at the first of the year, it was 16% higher than the previous January. This increase is being driven by multiple factors, such as our thriving economy and job market, price acceleration softening, and the recent decrease in interest rates.

Currently, rates are as low as 4.5% for a 30-year fixed conventional mortgage – 0.75 points down from the fourth quarter of 2018. In fact, the interest rate in November was the highest we’ve seen in five years!  The current rate level is the lowest we have seen in a year. This is meaningful because the rule of thumb is that for every one-point increase in interest rate, a buyer loses ten percent in purchase power. For example, if a buyer is shopping for a $500,000 home and the rate increases by a point during their search, in order to keep the same monthly payment, the buyer would need to decrease their purchase price to $450,000. Conversely, for every decrease in interest rate, a buyer can increase their purchase price and keep the same monthly mortgage payment.

Why is this important to pay attention to? Affordability! If you take the scenario I just described and apply it to the link above, you can see that the folks who choose to jump into the market this year will enjoy an interest cost savings when securing their mortgage. This lasts the entire life of the loan and can have a huge impact on the monthly cash flow of a household. This cost savings is also coupled with a slow-down in home-price appreciation. Complete year-over-year, prices are up around 8% in both King and Snohomish counties, but note that from 2017 to 2018 we saw a 14% increase. Price appreciation is adjusting to more normal levels and is predicted to increase 4-6% in 2019 over 2018.

As we head into spring market, the time of year we see the most inventory become available, the interest rates will have a positive influence on both buyers and sellers. Naturally, buyers will enjoy the cost savings, but sellers will enjoy a larger buyer pool looking at their homes due to the demand the lower rates are creating. Further, would-be sellers who are also buyers that secured a rate as low as 3.75% via a purchase or re-finance in 2015-2017, will consider giving up that lower rate for the right move-up house now that rates are not as big of a jump up as they were during the second half of 2018.

This recent decrease in rate is making the move-up market come alive. What is great about this, is that it opens up inventory for the first-time buyer and helps complete the market cycle. First-time buyers are abundant right now as the Millennial generation is gaining in age and making big life transitions such as buying real estate. According to Nerd Wallet, 49% of all Millennials have a home purchase in their 5-year plan.

Will these rates last forever? Simply put, no! According to Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist, rates should increase into the 5’s in 2019. While still staying well below the 30-year average of 6.85%, increases are increases, and securing today’s rate could be hugely beneficial from a cost-saving perspective. Just like the 1980’s when folks were securing mortgages at 18%, the people that lock down on a rate from today will be telling these stories to their grandchildren. Note the 30-year average – it is reasonable to think that rates closer to that must be in our future at some point.

So what does this mean for you? If you have considered making a move, or even your first purchase, today’s rates are a huge plus in helping make that transition more affordable. If you are a seller, bear in mind that today’s interest rate market is creating strong buyer demand, providing a healthy buyer pool for your home. As a homeowner who has no intention to make a move, now might be the time to consider a refinance. What is so exciting about these refinances, is that it is not only possible to reduce your monthly payment, but also your term, depending on which rate you would be coming down from.

If you would like additional information on how today’s interest rates pertain to your housing goals, please contact me. I would be happy to educate you on homes that are available, do a market analysis on your current home, and/or put you in touch with a reputable mortgage professional to help you crunch numbers. Real estate success is rooted in being accurately informed, and it is my goal to help empower you to make sound decisions for you and your family.


Posted on February 22, 2019 at 2:02 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Statistical Information, Strategy |

Washington in Bloom

Washington in Bloom: 12 Spring Hikes for Wildflowers

~Published by the Washington Trail Association – See their website for more information:  https://www.wta.org/go-outside/seasonal-hikes/spring-destinations/spring-wildflower-hikes

With their bright pops of color tucked into our green forests or scattered across our central scablands, wildflowers herald a warmer, sunnier hiking season. From marshy yellow skunk cabbage to unlikely glacier lilies, you can find early spring wildflowers all over the state this time of year.

In Washington, we have a wildflower season that lasts from March through August. With so many unique ecosystems right in our backyard, many incredible flowers have found their niche.

The rich variety of flora could have you hiking for decades and still finding new wonders on the forest floor. Early spring is the perfect time to stride out on trail to see big, showy balsamroot, delicate calypso orchids or bright salmonberry bushes in bloom.

Tips for wildflower hiking:

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SUGARLOAF

Location: Puget Sound & Islands – Bellingham area
Length:
 2.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 890 ft.

Sugarloaf by hikingwithlittledogs..jpeg

Wildflowers dot the hills of Sugarloaf. Photo by hikingwithlittledogs.

The network of trails on the Anacortes Community Forest Lands is extensive enough that you can spend all day hiking and exploring here. Keep your eyes peeled for camas and delicate avalanche lilies dotting the hillsides. Don’t forget to look up from your wildflower hunt every now and then to take in the views of the sound, too!

>> Read more about Sugarloaf in WTA’s Hiking Guide

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FIDALGO HEAD LOOP TRAIL

Location: Puget Sound & Islands – Bellingham area
Length: 4.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 300 ft.

Fidalgo Head Loop Trail by blueshirtBob.jpeg

Fidalgo Head Loop Trail. Photo by blueshirtBob.

All the benefits of an island hike, without the ferry ride (unless you’re starting on the islands, of course). While this trail is known more for it’s wildlife-watching opportunities, the hillside meadows and trees come into bloom in early spring. On a sunny day, this is a terrific spot for a short hike and a picnic. When it the spring clouds roll in, you’ll still have great views and a little more solitude.

>> Read more about Fidalgo Head in WTA’s Hiking Guide

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FOURTH OF JULY CREEK TO ICICLE RIDGE

Location: Central Cascades – Leavenworth
Length:
 12 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4370 ft.

Icicle Ridge by TreeLady.jpeg

Flowers line the trail on the climb towards Icicle Ridge. Photo by TreeLady.

While there is often still snow on the upper reaches of this trail in spring, this popular destination outside of Leavenworth offers a riot of wildflower offerings. You’ll have a good chance at balsamroot or lupine, but keep your eyes peeled for the rarer delights as well: flowers like Tweedy’s Lewisa or Chocolate Lilies. Come back in a month or two for less snow and summer flowers.

>> Read more about Icicle Ridge in WTA’s Hiking Guide

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CHELAN LAKESHORE TRAIL

Location: Central Cascades — Entiat Mountains/Lake Chelan
Length:
 17 miles, one-way
Elevation Gain: 4030 ft.

Chelan Lakeshore Trail by jar.berg.jpeg

Chelan Lakeshore trail. Photo by jar.berg.

This early-season trail features craggy, snow-capped peaks, a sapphire-blue lake, wildflowers, as well as regular maintenance by WTA volunteers. The 17-mile thru-hike on the Chelan Lakeshore Trail will take you to the delightful and secluded town of Stehekin where you can take a quick tour of the valley via bus or bike or visit the Stehekin Pastry Company—two miles from the ferry dock.

>> Read more about the Chelan Lakeshore trail in WTA’s Hiking Guide

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KLICKITAT RAIL TRAIL – KLICKITAT RIVER

Location: Southwest – Columbia River Gorge
Length:
 10.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 200 ft.

Klickitat Rail Trail by Jarv..jpeg

Fragrant lilac, bouquets of lupine, popcorn flowers, balsamroot,and miner’s lettuce can all be found along a section of trail starting in Lyle. Photo by Jarv.

Hop aboard for an early-season wildflower bloom amid open terrain and open air. At a healthy clip or a slow meander, this rail trail is fun at any speed! The Klickitat Trail runs 31 miles, with multiple access points placed in unique areas, from grass plains and the rugged Swale Canyon along the Wild and Scenic Klickitat River, to oak-filled valleys dropping down to Lyle and the Klickitat’s mouth at the Columbia River.

>> Read more about Kickitat Trail in WTA’s Hiking Guide

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COLUMBIA HILLS STATE PARK

Location: Southwest – Columbia River Gorge
Length:
 12.4 miles (Horsethief Butte)
Elevation Gain: 1870 ft.

Phox and Balsamroot on the Crawfor Oaks trail. Photo by Bob and Barb.jpeg

Phox and balsamroot on the Crawford Oaks trail. Photo by Bob and Barb.

Climb gentle hills exploding with lupine, paintbrush, balsamroot and other wildflowers. Make it multi-day adventure by camping in the state park and hiking Crawford Oaks and The Dalles Mountain. Go prepared for ticks.

>> Read more about Columbia Hills in WTA’s Hiking Guide

>> Get more ideas for Columbia River Gorge spring hikes

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WHISKEY DICK WILDLIFE AREA

Location: Central Washington, near Yakima
Length:
 8.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1750 ft.

Whiskey Dick Ridge by David Hagen.jpeg

Lupines blooming over the Whiskey Dick Ridge. Photo by David Hagen.

Wander among a wide variety of wildflowers—including a rare species of cactus, Simpson’s hedgehog, with its hot pink blossoms—chunks of petrified wood, and panoramic views of the Columbia Basin, under usually sunny, blue skies. Bring your camera and your field guide. For those hikers who prefer vistas or bird-watching to finding flora, there’s plenty of that to go around, too.

>> Read more about Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area in WTA’s Hiking Guide

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SNOW MOUNTAIN RANCH

Location: Central Washington, near Yakima
Length:
 9.2 miles (with shorter options)

Cacti blooming on Selah Butte. Photo by Natasha'n'Boris.jpeg

Cacti blooms at in spring. Photo by Natasha’n’Boris.

Head towards Yakima for some of the best wildflower shows in the state. Spend the day roaming on this former ranch, which in spring is cloaked in wildflowers! Keep your eyes peeled for the delightfully bright hedgehog cacti, bitterroot and more. If you want to make

>> Read more about Snow Mountain Ranch

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FROG LAKE

Location: Central Washington — Potholes Region
Length: 3.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 235 ft.

Frog Lake by David Hagen.jpeg

Flowers line the trail on the approach to Frog Lake. Photo (c) David Hagen

Sitting inside the 30,000 acre Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Frog Lake, and the nearby Crab Creek and Marsh Loop trails provide hours of trail exploration. With basalt views, sagebrush-steppe, rocky cliffs and budding wildflowers you won’t run out of beautiful views to take in—just watch out for ticks!

>> Read more about Frog Lake in WTA’s Hiking Guide

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PUFFER BUTTE

Location: Eastern Washington – Blue Mountains
Distance: 4.4 miles, roundtrip

Puffer Butte by Melanie Harding.jpeg

The spring views from Puffer Butte. Photo by Melanie Harding.

Tucked into the southeast corner of the state, this little trail in Field Spring State Park rewards with big views and solitude. The time to visit for wildflowers is now, when snow melt is feeding the first flush of wildflowers (and before things begin to heat up).

>> Read more about Puffer Butte in WTA’s Hiking Guide

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MIMA MOUNDS

Location: Olympia
Length:
 2.7 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 10 ft.

Mima Mounds by blamecanada.jpeg

Camas in bloom at Mima Mounds. Photo by blamecanada.

While many wildflowers have roots here, but these mysterious hills are best enjoyed when Washington’s native camas blooms blanket the rolling open landscape. This destination is a good one for families looking to just spend the day outside, and has paved trails for strollers or wheelchairs.

>> Read more about Mima Mounds in WTA’s Hiking Guide

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MILLER PENINSULA-THOMPSON SPIT

Location: Olympic Peninsula — Northern Coast
Length:
 5.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 360 ft.

Miller Peninsula-Thompson Spit by LQSeaton.jpg

Spring flowers on the Miller Peninsula-Thompson Trail. Photo by LQSeaton.

This wooded walk enters a lush ravine lined with remnant old-growth and gives way to an isolated beach with views of Protection Island. There are many miles of trails here — whether you do a meandering route around the area or the more direct 4 miles to the water and back. Additionally, it’s possible to create all sorts of loops as well. If you look closely, you may be able to spot a few wildflowers along the edges of the trail.

>> Read more about Miller Peninsula-Thompson Spit in WTA’s Hiking Guide


Posted on February 22, 2019 at 12:34 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Just for Fun |

Freshen Up Your Home for Spring

Whether you hire an outside professional for help, or tackle the project yourself, now is a great time to get a jump on spring cleaning. Many people wait for warmer temps to start cleaning, but I think most everyone can agree that those weekends would be better spent outdoors, soaking up that sun. So, take some inspiration from the list below to get you started now on freshening up your home for spring.

 

It will only take a few hours to check everything off this list, and you’ll feel so much better enjoying the last few weeks of winter, knowing that when the warmer weather finally comes, you can get outside and really enjoy it!

 

Rotate your mattress. Most mattresses need to be rotated regularly in order to even out the overall wear and prolong the lifespan of your bed. However, keep in mind that Sleep Number and Tempur-Pedic mattresses typically should not be rotated. Always check with your manufacturer for their recommendations on your specific mattress. If you own an older mattress with no pillowtop, it should probably be flipped as well as rotated.

 

Clean your mattress. Strip the mattress of all linens and covers. Start by vacuuming the mattress with the upholstery attachment, paying close attention to crevices and seams. Next, sprinkle baking soda (up to a one-pound box) all over the surface of your mattress. Let this sit for at least an hour, but 24 hours is best. Then go back over your mattress with your vacuum’s upholstery attachment again. If you have a steam cleaner, break it out and go over your whole mattress. The steam will reach further into the mattress than your vacuum is able to, and kills dust mites. *It is generally not recommended to clean memory foam with a steam cleaner.

 

Organize & clean the laundry room. Clean the outside of your washer and dryer; scrape any dried detergent from crevices. Next, clean the inside of the washing machine. Most newer models have a self-cleaning cycle. If you have an older machine that does not have a self-cleaning cycle, run a cycle with hot water and a quart of white vinegar. After it is finished, clean the detergent dispensers, using a vinegar and water solution and a scrubber. If you have a front-loader, be sure to clean the rubber seal on the door. This area is prone to mold growth, so use an all-purpose cleaner or maybe even bleach to get under and around the seal.

Next, organize a bit. Throw away products you never use, replace damaged sorting bins, and don’t forget to clean out the dryer vent to prevent a fire.

 Deep clean the fridge. Twice a year (or more), you should give your fridge a front-to-back, top-down scrubbing. Start by taking everything out and throw away anything that has expired. Next, remove all the shelves and drawers. Put them to soak in a solution of two tablespoons baking soda and one-quart hot water. While they are soaking, wipe down the interior of the fridge with the same solution. Then scrub, rinse and dry the shelves and drawers.

Next, dry the drip pan. Remove the base grill, and pull out the drip pan. If it’s full of water, mop it with paper towels and wash the pan with soapy water. If your drop pan is fixed in place, wrap a cloth around the head of a long-handled brush and use to clean the pan.

Don’t forget the coils. In order to keep your refrigerator running efficiently, unplug it, pull it away from the wall, and use a coil brush or your vacuum’s crevice attachment to clean the condenser coils. This should be done at least twice a year, unless you have pets in the home, and then you should do this three to four times a year.

 Clean out spice cabinet. Throw away all expired spices and seasonings. Not only do these lose taste, they actually harbor mold and bacteria.

 Clean out expired medications & vitamins If you have unused medications, please take them to your local pharmacy for proper disposal.

 Vacuum, wash, or steam window curtains

 Wash window blinds

 Add color to your table. Treat yourself to fresh flowers while waiting for the spring blooms outside.

 


Posted on February 20, 2019 at 12:06 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Helpful Information, Just for Fun |

Hill Day in Olympia – January 2019

Over 500 REALTORS® adorned with “Unlock the Door for Affordable Homeownership” scarves converged on Olympia for the Washington REALTORS® Legislative Day event. Over the course of two days, REALTORS® participated in governance meetings, installed our 2019 Leadership, networked and met with legislators to discuss solutions for the acute housing affordability crisis in Washington State.

Our event keynote speaker, Dr. James Young with the Washington Center for Real Estate Research, presented valuable information on real estate trends affecting REALTORS® and consumers alike. The statistics and data he presented highlighted the extreme difficulty for first-time buyers to find affordable housing and for “empty nesters” to trade down, creating a ripple effect in the housing market. Dr. Young also points out that the most efficient means of providing opportunities for first-time home buyers (affordable condominium development) has not taken place in this market due to supply constraints. These supply constraints are having a significant impact on the overall housing market which is why Washington REALTORS® have identified several legislative priorities to address them.

Over the course of over 140 different scheduled meetings with legislators on Thursday, January 24, 2019, REALTORS® received encouraging and positive response to the following Legislative Priorities:

  • Reforming Condominium Liability Laws
  • Increasing Urban & Suburban Housing Supply in Urban Growth Areas
  • Aligning the Short Subdivision Process with Ecology’s SEPA Regulations
  • Supporting the Housing Trust Fund for Homeownership
  • State Funding Support for Housing, Homelessness & Infrastructure
  • Expanding the Multi-family Tax Exemption Program
  • REET & Lodging tax—Local Funding Tools for Housing & Homelessness
  • Read more details about Washington REALTORS®’ Legislative Priorities.

All of our Legislative Priorities are part of the Unlock the Door for Affordable Homeownership initiative. Partnered with other non-profit and for-profit entities, Washington REALTORS® will continue to work with our legislators and lead the way to help create affordable homeownership opportunities for all.

Thank you to all of the REALTORS®, affiliates, and industry professionals who showed up to make Washington REALTORS® Legislative Day a success. Stay tuned throughout the Legislative Session for updates and news!

For more information regarding SCCAR visit their website at: https://www.sccar.org/

Originally posted February 6, 2019 by Snohomish-Camano Association of REALTORS 2019 – all article and photo credit to SCCAR.ORG

 

 


Posted on February 9, 2019 at 8:24 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Local News |