Tips for Selecting A Real Estate Agent for the Busy Spring Season

Choosing a real estate agent is a momentous decision that typically follows tons of interviews and weighing the pros and cons of each candidate. What should you do to prepare for the meeting? What kind of questions should you ask? What should you look for in their proposal?

That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this segment: steps you can take to prepare for your upcoming interviews with real estate agents; attributes you should be looking for in your candidates and how you can discretely attain that information; questions you should be asking and clarifying during the interview process; and possible red flags to keep an eye out for.

You may start with by talking with family and friends who’ve been through the process and see if they can refer you to a great agent they’ve previously worked with. Find out their name and contact information but also do your own digging to ensure they’ll work with your needs and criteria – after all, not everybody’s needs are identical. After you’ve compiled an initial list, you can call to set up a time for an initial meeting.

What should you do to prepare for your meeting with a potential candidate?

Sometimes, people think “doing your homework” should be done after the interview, but that isn’t the case at all. Both you and your potential agents should be preparing for the meeting – only in slightly different ways.

This basic list goes over some of the things you should be doing before the meeting. Throughout the process, you’ll need to trust your agent and one way trust happens, is by getting to know someone.

  • Review each candidate’s online presence. Reviewing their website, social media pages, and online reviews are great ways to get to know the agent, without actually meeting the agent. How do things like an outdated website or blank social media pages affect your decision?
  • Research their prior listings and sales and check out their marketing on current listings and marketing remarks. Do they work in your price range? How do you connect with their strategy?
  • Look up the licensing. Do a little background check to ensure you’re working with by-the-books agent. This won’t catch everything, but it may help you weed out an agent or two.
  • Compile a list of things that are important to you. Deal breakers and makers that will help you navigate through the meeting and settle with an agent that best suits your needs and wants. You can’t get where you’re going without the map or vision to get you there.
  • Research recent closed sales in your neighborhood to help decipher an estimated home value. “But, shouldn’t the agent be doing that?” Yes, the agent will, but you’ll want to know how realistic that number is. Some people may inflate the number, to seem more attractive to a potential client. You can do this through sites like Trulia and Zillow.

Doing your research before the meeting can help you set up the right list of questions to ask or may incite additional questions (other than the one’s below). You may even consider doing this step before you initiate contact, but before the meeting is also an opportune time.

If you’re completely unfamiliar with the industry, consider talking with a friend or relative that has been through the process of selling their home.

What should you look for in your candidate’s proposal?

When searching for the real estate agent, there are tons of things you should consider, and many of them won’t be directly gone over in the interview, such as honesty, communication, negotiating skills and experience, and knowledge of your immediate area.

  • A pricing proposal that reflects the current market and recent sales in your neighborhood – a pricing range is even better. No agent can predict exactly what your home will sell for, but they can use the current market climate to give an estimate.
  • A marketing plan that reflects a mixture of online portals, open houses, and print marketing. A diverse marketing plan can help market to a broader audience, grabbing the eye of potential buyers. How creative are their marketing strategies? How do their strategies suit the needs of your property? Do their strategies work with you?
  • Excellent communication from beginning to end. Many agents have their spiel for each home and practice before they go into a proposal, so candid communication in the interview may be limited to your questions. You should consider the phone, email, text, etc. communication from prior to the meeting and directly afterwards. As a vital component of the process, you’ll need a communicator that jives.
  • As direct questions, such as “tell me of a time you’ve succeeded in a negotiation” or “have you ever had a client that was unhappy with you, and what went wrong?” These can help you decide if this person is the right for you, by how they respond to each question.

Oftentimes, it’s up to you to bring up these essential questions to ensure you’re the right fix. Ask insightful questions to gather the information you’re looking for. You’re looking for someone with a passion for the industry and a dedication to you and your property.

Questions you should ask your potential real estate agent?

Asking questions, and the agent’s subsequent answers, get everyone on the same page and will help weed out agents you don’t think will provide the kind of service you’re looking for. If your preferred method of contact is face-to-face, but they’re too busy in their business or with other clients to accommodate 100%, they may not be the best fit for your situation.

Asking the below questions may help you better decide the ideal agent for you:

  • How long have you been selling real estate, and how familiar are you with my particular neighborhood? Or ask questions about other listing in the area or the area in general and see how they respond.
  • What geographic areas and property types do you specialize in?
  • Are you part of a team? What support do you offer?
  • What is your preferred method of communication? Could you accommodate my preferred method? How often do you typically touch base after a home has hit the market?
  • What do you think it’ll cost me to sell this property?
  • What suggests do you have for optimizing curb appeal?
  • Can you provide three references?

Potential red flags in a potential real estate agent:

  • Suggesting an exorbitant price, way above any other proposal.
  • An agent unfamiliar with the current real estate climate and the real estate landscape in your neighborhood.
  • Your agent has little to no experience in your price range.

We’re all inclined to go with the one that suggests the most amount of money, but that shouldn’t be the reason you choose an agent. If you’re candidates are taking the market and area into consideration, those figures should largely be the same – or at least in the same ballpark. And if there are outliers, that may be a red flag.

Think of this interview like you’d be creating a partnership in a business. You’ll want to fully understand how that person works and thinks, and what they bring to the table – or sale of your home.

Each facet of the home selling process is about communication, dedication, and skillful negotiation and these questions and key points are vital for helping you decide upon the ideal agent for you!


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. 

15+ 10-Minute House Cleaning Tasks You Can Accomplish This Week

15+ 10-Minute House Cleaning Tasks You Can Accomplish This Week

Refreshing our homes is a weekly chore but there are tons of things we can do on the day-to-day to keep our homes in tip-top functioning order; and if you’re anything like me, you usually pick a day and binge-clean until your home is sparkling. But, that doesn’t have to be your entire day-off. If you’re struggling against a messy home, you might consider a different approach to your daily habits if you’re looking to redistribute your time to focus more on yourself in the new year.

By implementing 10-minute tasks, you can keep your home clean throughout the week and keep your weekends for yourself. Choose three to five quick tasks per day and focus on those, and you might find yourself with more time on the weekends and more motivation once you started.

10-minute tasks are designed to break larger cleaning chores into bite-size, manageable tasks that both work towards the larger task and make your days more filled and intentional. Don’t have an entire weekend to detail your home? No problem. Add a few minutes a day to get it done one check-marked-box at a time.

  • Wipe the kitchen counters to get the daily grime off from cooking and cutting vegetables for dinners and lunches. This should take less than five minutes.
  • Empty or repack your dishwasher to stay on top of your dirty versus clean dishes and keep your sink empty and functional.
  • Dust a different room every day – or a least a few days a week. Why not during commercials? Or while you’re waiting for your tea to steep?
  • Scrub the shower while you’re in there. You may plan on using GREEN cleaning methods, but it makes for an easy task while you’re waiting for the conditioner to work its magic.
  • Waiting for water to boil? Clean the microwave. A lemon and a sponge or towel should do the trick. Easy and quick but make a difference in your kitchen!
  • Take out all the trash & recycle and put it in their respective containers.
  • Sweep and/or vacuum the floors in your home. Though it may seem small, it can make a world of difference.
  • Start a load of laundry or grab one from the dryer and put it away. When we get down to it, putting away a singular load of laundry takes minutes, usually less than 10, so why not do it as soon as the load is done?
  • Wash your dishes as you go and put them in the washer.
  • Clean out your refrigerator and/or freezer. I feel like we sometimes get in the set-it-and-forget-it mentality where we put something somewhere and then completely forget about it. Like those leftovers from two weekends ago that you never got back around to finishing. Take a few minutes and throw out old or expired foods from your shelves.
  • Go through that stack of mail. Shred and recycle junk mail, stack or pay your bills, and create an organizational habit that ritualizes your mailing tasks.
  • Scrub and clean your floor in sections. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of your home, start by scrubbing your tile floors – and to make it even easier, create section of floors. By the end of the week, your entire floor will be scrubbed clean and it won’t feel like you’ve just spend ten hours doing it.
  • Clean out your car. Did you forget to bring in those bags from beach last weekend? Or maybe you forgot to replace your reusable bags in the backseat. Either way, refreshing your car on a monthly basis can make it feel like a comfy extension to your home, versus just a tool you basically live in for fifteen hours a week.
  • Clean your interior windows – and if you’re feeling mighty motivated, clean the outside one’s, too!
  • Do a swift vinegar clean.
  • Update your weekly and/or monthly calendar and to-do list. We all have things that popup or move throughout the month. Why not update your calendar as you go? Or at least when you can settle enough.
  • Clean your drip pans, toaster, convection oven, or any other small appliances. Small tasks, building to larger tasks. By now, you’ve cleaned the surfaces, floors, small appliances, and done a load of dishes. Your kitchen is basically cleaned by now.
  • Plan a quick bedroom pick me up! There’s something to be said about going to sleep and waking up in a refreshed room, and it can set the mood up for the rest of your day! Plan a little tidying project every few days, like picking up your clothes, emptying the garbage, and wiping down the surfaces can make the week a little brighter.

These tasks are designed to help you stay on top of your weekly chores and help better manage your home in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world. With just small, subtle change to your daily routine, by mixing it up, you’ll find yourself with more things that are done and checked off. These tasks are small, but mighty.


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. 

Mercer Island Sees 17+% Median Sales Price Increase Over 2016 Annual Report – What about Seattle and the Greater Eastside?

Mercer Island Sees 17+% Median Sales Price Increase Over 2016 Annual Report – What about Seattle and the Greater Eastside?

Article written by Julie Barrows, owner of Windermere Real Estate / Mercer Island.


YIR_SeattleSeattle area real estate paid off big yet again in 2017 with a 14.1% median price increase to $708,000.  In fact, over the past five years, prices are up 58.7%.  A Seattle house that was $446,000 in 2013 would sell for a whopping $708,000 today, or $262,000 more.

Grappling with gridlock and buyer push-back over steeply escalating prices, Seattle saw the strongest price growth in neighborhoods further from the downtown core—namely South Seattle, Shoreline, and West Seattle. These more affordable regions offered home buyers more for their money than many of the core in-city hoods…although the quaint, inviting homes with signature “Seattle Charm” are pretty hard to pass up.

YIR

The median sale price on Mercer Island increased 17.1% (to $1,546,000) over 2016. Lack of available housing was the biggest contributor in driving prices up in this often-coveted island community nestled in the heart of the metro region between Seattle and Bellevue.

New residential development regulations implemented in November impacted the size and placement of new construction and remodeled homes. Given the current buyer demand in the Mercer Island market, the new restrictions generally only affected values where total building size was significantly diminished.

YIR_Eastside

Median price appreciation on the Eastside fared even better than Seattle with year-over-year prices up 15.2% to $868,000.  Over the past five years, prices are up 54.8%.

The entire Eastside—comprised primarily of the cities of Bellevue, Medina, Clyde Hill, Yarrow Point, Hunts Point, Kirkland, Issaquah, Redmond, Sammamish, Woodinville, Carnation and Duvall—grew at a frenzied pace as buyers competed for fewer and fewer homes in Seattle’s newer and more spacious neighboring Eastside region. Those communities closest to the metro core and I-90/520 arterials fared best but homeowners in more remote Eastside neighborhoods are hardly complaining.

Waterfront-ReportChallenged by increasing building and shoreline restrictions, aging housing stock, and an extreme scheduling backlog for quality contractors, waterfront buyers found fewer modern turn-key homes, in ideal settings, to capture their interest. Waterfront that ‘checked all the boxes’ was in high demand—commanding top prices in 2017—while those requiring considerable renovation/rebuild sat stagnant on the market or sold at well below prior market prices. Don’t expect this to turn around until builders and remodelers become more readily available.

Condo-ReportIn desperately short supply, condos have become a favorite, or the only option, for buyers looking for walkability, convenience, and affordability in one nifty little package. Experiencing one of their best years in decades, condo prices flourished in 2017 and will likely see similar gains in 2018. Well-run buildings with reasonable monthly dues, those with all the bells and whistles, and good proximity to essential services are especially popular right now.

Seattle area real estate paid off big yet again in 2017 with a 14.1% median price increase to $708,000. The Eastside fared even better—up 15.2% to $868,000. In fact, over the past five years, prices are up 58.7% and 54.8% respectively. A Seattle house that was $446,000 in 2013 would sell for a whopping $708,000 today, or $262,000 more.

Stack that up against nearly any other investment—oh, and don’t forget that gain is based on the value of the entire asset and not just what you invested in it (i.e. down payment and closing costs). If you purchased said home in 2013 for $446,000, putting 20% ($89,200) down and financing the remainder with about $10,000 in loan fees, you would have invested about $100,000 for a gain of $262,000. A 262% return in five years assuming no major improvements were made.

While 2018 should be another good year for real estate, it might not see the hefty appreciation gains of 2017. Expect to see some slowing and a build-up of inventory in the luxury sector while the tight supply of entry-level homes steals the attention (and dollars) of would-be buyers. Other big winners will be highly coveted one-level homes that allow boomers to age in place, and communities with high walkability or those adjacent to highly-reliable rapid transit.

Seattle’s higher cost of living (and traffic) may push telecommuters and retirees alike further from the Seattle-Bellevue metro region as they cash-in their blooming equity for a lower-cost lifestyle in the burbs and beyond—leaving the costlier in-city abodes to high-income earners who want the hip urban life despite the cost.


Jan18Email_01Jan18Email_02


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. 

Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, Weighs in on the 2018 Housing Market

As we move into the new year, the housing market reflects on 2018 and looks forward into 2018 and its forthcoming prime season. Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, forecasts that 2018 will bring higher inventory levels, balancing the current rift between seller and buyer.

Interest rates are forecasted to continually rise, but at comparably modest rates to historic averages. Home prices are also expected to raise at lower rates in 2018, theoretically prophesized by increased inventory levels and buyer frustration in the current Seattle market.

Where do you think 2018 will take the local market? Will we continue as a seller’s market, or will level help balance the market? Check out the entire report here!


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. 

5 Luxury Home Trends to Look for in 2018

5 Luxury Home Trends to Look for in 2018

The new year has come and gone – but what trends are staying, and which are we leaving behind? 2018 will prove a year of infinite possibilities, both in life, business, and personal passions. So, what here to stay?

MIXED METALS offer texture, tone, dimension, and the subtle sheen of light refraction. Why are mixed metals totally hot? They can offer a warm or cooling effect, and keep you home sleek, modern, and ultra-trendy.

BOLD COLORS on doors, gates, and kitchen cabinets can add an extra layer of flair. Add drama or brighten and cheer up your home with statement colors – and don’t stop there. Some designers are suggesting

NATURAL WOOD is still in! Which we’re glad to hear, of course. Natural, woodland beauty opens spaces, adding light and texture to what may otherwise be a dull or cold area. Designers suggest adding layers of wood tones, starting with a warm, light wood, with medium-tone or darker-toned accents to refresh and add depth.

SMART UPGRADES will continue to thrive, especially with technology like Amazon and Nest products continuing to make waves in the industry. Other areas of ultra-advanced areas include kitchen appliances, hands-free faucets, and outdoorsy auto-maintenance.

GO GREEN and become obsessed with indoor plants – even easy-to-keep ones, like succulents, can add an extra and natural layer to your home décor. Multi-colored and textured plants can bring colors into your home, and even add to the room’s existing color palette – and there are many directions you can go in!

We can definitely say that luxury trends will continue to thrive in the new year, including things like spa-inspired bathrooms and designer accents, but that isn’t all. An old, Japanese tradition, known as wabi-sabi, will growth right alongside.

The Japanese worldview that celebrates imperfection is expected to be hot in the home décor space in the coming year.

Wabi-sabi is an elegant, yet sparse design emphasizing each home’s imperfections. This ideal emphasized keeping your home real, authentic, and recognizing it doesn’t always have to be “showroom-ready.”

So, what trends are we leaving behind? Well, we don’t like to dwell on the negative, so we’ll leave a link below about trends staying in the previous year.

A new year inevitably ushers in new styles in interior design, and that means that we’re leaving certain trends in the past. To keep your home looking timeless in the new year, we’re sharing our predictions for the interior design trends that are “out” in 2018. Check out the entire article here.


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. 

The Early Bird Gets the Worm – in Real Estate, too!

By now, we all know the Seattle real estate market is in a spiral of frustration and multiple offers – which is good for sellers. Not so much for buyers. And Seattle buyers from last year saw repeated frustration time and time again.

Even if you decided to take a break over the holidays, starting the year off with your continued home search – or jumping back on the house hunting wagon – may be your best bet for snagging a home. Though the market is forecasted to take a breather in 2018, versus the rampage of 2017, we’re still going to see steady appreciation and more and more buyers coming into the home buying fold.

YOUR AGENT IS EAGER TO START THE YEAR. Your agent is eager to start the new year with you and offer any insight they can. Since not everyone is looking to start their 2018 home search so early – I mean, winter’s barely begun and it’s still chilly outside – they may have more time to dedicate to your search.

IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, AND RAINY. While I wouldn’t call this the “off season” – and this may deter other home buyers from their search. This may mean fewer showings, which correlates to fewer offers, especially depending on location.

THE POSSIBILITY OF LOWER PRICES FOR EARLY BIRDS. When searching for a new home, statistics are proving that money is king (or at least queen) in most scenarios – especially for first time home buyers. Things like purchase price are certainly proving above other things like designer accents and household amenities.

Think of it like this. Would you rather look when thousands of others are looking? Or hundreds? Starting early may mean you make a move on a home, when others are just settling into the new year, and while you’ll probably still pay asking, you might stay below the average 4% above listing we’ve been seeing with multiple-offer scenarios.

If you consider what TheMarketTalks.com reports, the “Median Sale Price in North Seattle is $798,000” – 4% on top of that averages to a $32,000 premium for searching during the typical week when “there are far more buyers than sellers”.

THE BREAKDOWN. Depending on your schedule, it may be a good time to start your home search, but, like everything else, it entirely depends. One shouldn’t start their search before their ready and before the time they deem as comfortable.


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. 

Mercer Island’s January City Calendar

Mercer Island’s January City Calendar

What’s Mercer Island been up to? Ton’s of new projects for the upcoming year, including the Island Crest Park improvements and transportation upgrades.

The Island Crest Park Sportsfield Improvements project is underway and will be completed in November or December 2017.  the cost of the entire project will be $2.3 million.  Grants and community donations have totaled over $700,000.  The City offers sincere thanks to the many community contributors for their significant donations to this project.  Along with the grant dollars secured by Parks and Recreation staff, this successful public-private funding model made this project feasible.

It looks like Mercer Island made their donation goal! Find out other information here.


JANUARY EVENTS

City Council Regular Meeting
WHEN Tuesday, January 9th, 2018
WHERE City Hall Council Chambers
TIME 07:00PM

Arts Council Regular Meeting
WHEN Wednesday, January 10th, 2018
WHERE Mercer Island Community & Event Center
TIME 06:30PM-07:30PM

Design Commission Regular Meeting
WHEN Wednesday, January 10th, 2018
WHERE City Hall Council Chambers
TIME 07:00PM-09:00PM

Utility Board Meeting
WHEN Thursday, January 11th, 2018
WHERE City Hall Council Chambers
TIME 07:00PM-09:00PM

Planning Commission Regular Meeting
WHEN Wednesday, January 17th, 2018
WHERE City Hall Council Chambers
TIME 06:00PM-09:00PM

Senior Lunch
WHEN Thursday, January 18th, 2018
WHERE Mercer Island Community & Event Center
TIME 12:00PM-01:00PM

Open Space Conservancy Trust Board Meeting
WHEN Thursday, January 18th, 2018
WHERE City Hall Council Chambers
TIME 06:00PM-08:00PM

Mercer Island Library Board Regular Meeting
WHEN Monday, January 22nd, 2018
WHERE Mercer Island Library
TIME 06:00PM-07:30PM

City Council Regular Meeting
WHEN Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018
WHERE City Hall Council Chambers
TIME 07:00PM

Design Commission Regular Meeting
WHEN Wednesday, January 24th,  2017
WHERE City Hall Council Chambers
TIME 07:00PM-09:00PM

 


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. 

Renting Versus Owning: The Quintessential Question

Renting Versus Owning: The Quintessential Question

The ultimate debate. The question of where you’re going to live. To rent… Or to buy.

As we grow, we typically dream of owning a home, decorating to your hearts content, and creating a cozy and warm atmosphere for family and friends to gather. But, some thing we don’t always realize, is that we can create that same sensation while renting.

Today, we’re going to go over some of the benefits and drawbacks of each and allow you to make the decision of what’s best for you and your family. While many believe owning a home is a necessary step in (a) the American Dream or (b) “adulting”, others disagree and believe their money and efforts are better spent elsewhere.

Before you purchase, it’s best to consider each side separately from each other and decide from there what best fits your situation. As is the ebb and flow of life, both options are perfect for many – but what’s perfect for you?

Owning Your Own Home

Making your home your own. Do you want to add a wall-window, or take one away? Replace the refrigerator or enjoy an ultra-modernized kitchen? Or perhaps you just want to hang family photos and not worry about patching any holes. All of these things, and more, can be done when you own. Not to say y won’t be able to hang photos or paint a wall, but the process will be worry-free. Complete freedom to decorate, remodel, and personalize are major benefits to purchasing your own home.

A sense of community. When you by a house, you’re typically looking to stay in the neighborhood for a few years. Your children, or yourself, may create lasting friendships out of your neighbors further instilling that sense of community.

Though a lease can instill the same concepts, either party can usually eliminate the lease with enough notice. Not so much when you own your home, unless you neglect to pay your mortgage. This offers security in the homestead and allows you to make plans, such as long vacations or invite people over for long periods of time, without the consent of your landlord. Planning on your elderly parents moving in? Or staying for six months? In a rental, it may require permission from the landlord or signed consent to have more parties than outlined in the lease. Definitely a perk of owning in our book!

Equity and appreciation are two words homeowners throw around all the time, and for good reason. Historically, real estate has offered long-term sustainable growth across the nation, between 1972 and 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS©. In the last year alone, Seattle has seen appreciation in the double digits with the booming, local real estate market. It’s like a ready-made savings plans.

Most upgrades and renovations increase the value of your home, or at least the curb appeal, and, as an owner, this is a fabulous thing. This can directly correlate to your financial security and put leverage in your pocket if the need arises.  And remember, that’s all yours. Not your landlords. Not the investors. Yours.

While all that sounds amazing, another thing to consider is the predictability of owning your home. You know what your monthly mortgage payment will be – and it shouldn’t really change all too much. It will go up and down, depending on new tax levies and changing rates, but you shouldn’t see hundreds of dollars of difference every year – which can be the case in some rental instances. Keep in mind, federal tax benefits may be changing given the 2017 Tax reform bill, otherwise known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

The short breakdown:

  1. Complete freedom to personalize and decorate.
  2. Remodel and renovate to your hearts content.
  3. Community and neighborly relationships.
  4. Ownership and domicile security. You don’t need permission.
  5. Monthly payment goes towards ownership and fiscal growth.
  6. Upgrades, renovations, and appreciation increase your home value and leverage.
  7. Create your own maintenance schedule.
  8. Consistency and predictability in payments.

Drawbacks to owning:

  1. Hefty downpayment, means saving prior to purchasing and after closing.
  2. The ball (and maintenance) is entirely in your court. All maintenance must to scheduled and paid for by the homeowner.
  3. Damages could mean last-minute costs.
  4. Less flexibility, regarding where you live, unless you’re willing to sell your home.

Renting Your Home

Renting your home is also the preference of millions of people, world-wide. Whether you’re investing in other areas of your life or just renting to foster saving, renting proves an excellent option for many.

The maintenance-free life is a great one. As a renter, you don’t have to worry if anything stops working or malfunctions. It’s a simple call to the landlord or property manager and they’ll handle the fix and let you know when to expect the contractor to stop by.

Depending on your circumstances, you may enjoy the flexibility renting offers. If you plan on travelling a lot, moving for work, or just settling down outside of your immediate area, renting is probably the best option. If you plan on moving within a few years or your job requires that you move every few years, the upfront cost of purchasing could net you a negative figure when you go to sell your home.

Cost of the purchase price aside, you may drown in home repairs, updates and general maintenance. Not only are things like tree trimming, lawn mowing and gutter cleaning timely, but if you don’t want to do it, it could cost you a pretty penny per year to have these things done for you. Tack that on to your monthly mortgage, and you may reconsider purchasing.

If you’re in the situations where other investments or priorities top homeownership, renting is the next best thing. It allows the comforts of home, without the hefty initial price tag. You’ll have the upfront cost of moving and deposit/security, but that usually in the 10’s or 100’s of thousands.

The short breakdown:

  1. Simple decorations with less housework.
  2. Maintenance free.
  3. Call your landlord or property management company with any domicile issues.
  4. No long-term commitment to the home or area, allowing complete flexibility.
  5. Fluid savings with liquid dollars for alternative investments.

Drawbacks to renting:

  1. No leverage or appreciation of home, though you may make this up in other monetary investments.
  2. Variable costs and revolting rental increases.
  3. Limited ability to personalize your living quarters.
  4. No tax incentives.

All decisions come with drawbacks, such as rentals offer no appreciation or leverage for the tenant and owning means you’re in charge of everything, including damages and liability, but do the drawbacks overcome the benefits? There isn’t any right or wrong answer; just the answer that’s right for you. To lease, or to own? What’s your preference?


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2017. 

6 Easy Ways You Can Boost Productivity During Your Lengthy Seattle Commute

6 Easy Ways You Can Boost Productivity During Your Lengthy Seattle Commute

Commuting can be the dread of the morning, and sometimes the reason we need that third cup of coffee before noon, but have you realized you could be using those precious moments to enlighten your day!

According to an October 2017, GeekWire article, Seattle has the sixth longest average commute time, at 54.22 minutes – and, believe it or not, that number has actually reduced from an earlier February figure from King5. Though we’re still behind cities like Washington, CD, San Francisco, CA and New York, NY, the figure in minutes is only about a 6-minute difference. According to that same article, however, Seattle falls to number 17 in commute-related stress.

Read the article at LiveOnGuides.com (click here for a quick link).

We’ve compiled a list to boost your morning and increase productivity throughout the day.

Plan your day. You might think your day is already planned, or that you don’t have any control, but whether it’s job-related or not, you can always plan ahead to use yoru future time for efficiently. Using a physical or digital planner can also help you get your thoughts in order (but, remember not to use while driving!)

Listen to a podcast, new update, or audiobook. This proves a great use of time, in lieu of simply turning the dial to a local music station (or maybe that’s your thing!) And apps like Google Play, Audible, Soundcloud and iTunes make these just a click away. You can catch up on your to-be-read list or learn something new during your 54-minute (average) commute. This also goes for things like webinars, teleconferences, etc.

Read a book, newspaper, or magazine. Take public transportation and don’t have to pay attention to the street? This is a great time to catch up on your to-be-read list (see above). After a long day of work, we sometimes don’t want to come home and read – we just want to go to sleep – so, fitting it in here gets “your read on” and makes this semi-work time not so work-y! You can also catch up on your extensive bookmark list!

Create your daily to-do list and get caught up on your email. If you don’t have to worry about other drivers, you have two free hands to get your day in order from the get. Tons of apps, like TRELLO, enable you to create teams, projects, boards, and checklists to optimize your time. This is another great way to keep your goals in the forefront.

Make is a social morning. Catching up on social media may not be for everyone, but if you’re one who enjoys staying up to date in your friends and family’s lives, then this drive-free commute time is the way to do it! You can also take this time to connect with your friends, family and children!

Get your daily workout in. Don’t live too far? Try walking or biking to increase your morning productivity levels. Not only will you be getting in your daily steps and exercise, but studies have proven that the faster you get outside and in the sun (umm… Seattle?) the more energy you feel throughout the day.

These six ideas should definitely get you started on a more prolific track! Have any other ideas? Add them in the comments!

Windermere Living – the Winter Edition 2017

Windermere Living – the Winter Edition 2017

Beautiful & breathtaking, the Winter edition of the premier Windermere Living Magazine is hot off the press! Read about the latest in luxury home trends, fabulous destination hubs, and darling homes across the Western Region!

Do you have more fabulous places you enjoy visiting? Bali or Croatia, perhaps? Let us know your favorite, any-place-in-the-world destinations in the comments below!