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Four Holiday Decor Trends We’re Excited About This Winter

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The holiday season is here and for many of us, that means it’s time to deck the halls. If you’re looking for some inspiration and a place to start, here are some ideas that are certain to get everyone in the spirit. A Tree of a Different Color Photo Credit: Left – Lushome, Center – HGTV, Right – Christmas365 For many, there’s nothing more quintessential during the holidays than a Christmas tree decked out in ornaments. But acquiring a tree can be challenging and expensive. Moreover, housing a tree consumes time and space. That’s why we love the idea of an alternative tree. There are plenty of options you can buy online or create yourself using things you probably already have around the house. And if you miss the smell of a real tree, try a scented candle or essential oils. The Season of Lights Photo Credit: Amara There’s something perpetually charming about twinkling lights. Whether you’re wrapping them around your front porch or adorning your fireplace mantle, extra lights deliver a warm glow during the holiday season. Getting creative and adding light to otherwise unexpected places, including bookcases, around headboards, or even in glassware, is a great way to keep everything looking merry and bright.         Act Natural Photo Credit: Better Homes & Gardens Not all holiday climates are built alike. If you’re expecting a white Christmas, you’re probably used to pine trees and winter brush, but for those of you located in regions where the mercury doesn’t drop, sprinkling in natural elements can transform your home into a wintery oasis. Holly and pine needles add a traditional touch, or consider a wreath of olive branches with some sleigh bells interspersed. Bring it All Home at Dinner Photo Credit: Amara When decorating for the holidays, don’t forget the table! A sprig of holly adds a festive touch to your place settings. And instead of the traditional centerpiece, try placing candles in glass vases or mason jars to give your tablescape that added touch of holiday pizzazz.

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Seattle-area home prices drop again — down 11 percent in last six months

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  After six brutal years for buyers, everything is moving in their direction: prices are down, inventory is up, there’s less competition and even interest rates have started to tick back down again.   The cool-down in King County’s real-estate market has now reached six months, and the drop in home prices over that span is among the largest on record. King County’s median single-family home price fell to $644,000 in November, all the way from $726,000 in the spring, according to new figures released Thursday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Prices have been falling faster here than anywhere else in the country. The price drop equals 11.3 percent over six months, more than any May-to-November stretch since such data has been tracked. The biggest six-month decline for any time of year happened after the housing bubble popped last decade and prices plunged 14 percent. Of course the difference is that home values continued to plummet for years in the last bubble, while there are few early signs of such a prolonged downturn this time. Regardless, the market continues to shift in buyers’ favor. Read to full article at the Seattle Times   

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Windermere for Kids 2018

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Waking up early is easy when it’s for Windermere for Kids! This Saturday marked another year of this special event in which hundreds of Windermere brokers and staff gather at Target to help over 100 deserving kids in our community play Santa for their families. Each broker was paired with a “little shopper” and, powered by the holiday spirit and a $250 gift card, they shopped their way through the children’s Christmas gift lists. As an added treat, brokers surprised their little shoppers with gifts to keep. The festivities continued after shopping. Kids enjoyed breakfast, crafts, and pictures with Santa while they waited for their presents to be wrapped by Windermere brokers and staff, making it a full morning of joyful celebrations. We love this feel-good tradition. It’s a wonderful reminder of the warmth and generosity of our community, especially of our little shoppers. And we love seeing our Windermere family come together to make this time of year brighter for them. Thank you to everyone who participated – we’re already looking forward to next time!   Find out about more ways we’re giving back with the Windermere Foundation and how you can help by donating here.

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Where Are Home Prices Headed?

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Home price increases in the Puget Sound area have started to moderate. While down from the unsustainable highs of this spring, prices continue to be up compared to a year ago. So, where are home prices headed next? The Home Price Expectation Survey checks in with over 100 national real estate experts every quarter, including Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. Here’s where they think prices will go: Gardner predicts our local market will fare better than the nation overall. “As I look to 2019, I believe home prices in King County will increase 7.8% over the current year.” – Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner “The local economy will continue to grow and that will drive demand for ownership housing,” according to Gardner. “Supply will slow during the holiday season before we see a new influx of listings in the spring. With more supply, I believe that home price growth will continue to slow, but values will still increase.”

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Helping Homeless Youth Stay Warm From Head To Toe!

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  The final count on donations are in, and WOW, you are all so incredible! During the four-week winter drive for YouthCare, our Eastside offices collected donations from agents, staff, and the community, which included over 524 hats, gloves, scarves, socks, and an assortment of other accessories and cash donations. A huge thank you to all who donated to the homeless youth in our community!   With the onset of winter, Windermere offices throughout the greater Seattle area came together this month to host another “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive for YouthCare, a nonprofit that provides critical services to homeless youth. This drive is a part of Windermere’s #TackleHomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks which aims to raise money, donations, and awareness for the homeless youth crisis. This winter, YouthCare predicts that over 1,500 young people in Seattle will call the streets home during the coldest time of the year, challenging local businesses to help however they can. So, for the third year in a row, over 30 Windermere offices came together to answer the call by collecting new hats, scarves, gloves, and warm socks. The staff at YouthCare were grateful to receive the delivery of the bins full of donated items. According to Nicole Phaysith, Communications Specialist at YouthCare, “As the rain endures and the temperature drops, it becomes that much harder for young people to focus on the day ahead. We are so grateful for the generous donation of cold weather essentials from Windermere and the community. We’re able to offer young people respite from the cold—and one less thing to worry about on their road to stability and independence. Thank you for keeping homeless youth warm and dry so that they can plan for their future.” We are grateful to be able to partner with Gentle Giant Moving Company again this year, who generously donated their time, muscle, and trucks to pick up and deliver all of the donated items to YouthCare. This drive would not be possible without the support of the Seattle Seahawks, our offices, and all those who donated. From all of us at Windermere, thank you for making our Winter Drive a success and helping to support homeless youth in the greater Seattle area!     *Participating Windermere offices: Bellevue, Bellevue Commons, Bellevue South, Bellevue West, Burien, Kirkland, Kirkland Yarrow Bay, Lynnwood, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Mill Creek, Property Management – Bellevue, Property Management – Edmonds, Property Management – Seattle North, Property Management – South, Redmond, Seattle-Ballard, Seattle-Eastlake, Seattle-Greenwood, Seattle-Madison Park, Seattle-Magnolia, Seattle-Mount Baker, Seattle-Northgate, Seattle-Northwest, Seattle-Queen Anne, Seattle-Sand Point, Seattle-Wall Street, Seattle-Wedgwood, Seattle-West […]

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5 Home Improvements That Will Boost Your Property Value

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Photo courtesy of Julia and Mark Krill | MLS 1345624 A home is the largest investment most people will make in their lifetime, so when it comes time to sell, homeowners often wonder what they can do to get the most return on their investment. Many have the misconception that remodeling is the way to go, but that isn’t always the case. Rather than going all-in on upgrading your home, you should know which home improvements are worth it, and which ones aren’t. We’ve sifted through the research and come up with a quick list of five home improvements that’ll help buyers fall in love with your home when it comes time to sell. 1. Add a little curb appeal  Curb appeal is critical. As the name suggests, it’s the first thing buyers see when pulling up to the front of any home so it needs to be in nearly pristine condition. Start with the garage door for the most immediate return. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report and Money.com, the cost of updating your worn builder-grade garage door with an upscale steel model is about $3,470, and it’ll boost your home’s value by 98.3 percent of the installation price, which means you’ll lose about $60 when it’s all said and done. Landscaping can also go along way for a minimal upfront investment. Six rounds of fertilizer and weed control will set you back about $330, but when it comes time to sell, you’ll see an ROI of about $1,000 according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors. Other improvements you can easily make to your curb appeal include: Pressure wash the exterior Liven up your front door with a fresh coat of paint Replace hardware such as doorknobs and knockers Install updated house numbers Make your walkways pop with new greenery or flowers Plant a succulent garden Update your porch lights Add a little charm with window flower boxes Stage your porch 2. Install hardwood floors  Installing or upgrading hardwood floors is pretty failsafe as most buyers love it. Ninety-nine percent of real estate agents agree that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell, and 90 percent of agents say that they sell for a higher sale price, according to the National Wood Flooring Association. Similarly, research from the National Association of Realtors shows that 54 percent of homebuyers are willing to shell out extra cash for homes with […]

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Local Market Update – November 2018

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Increased inventory, slower sales and more price reductions all point to a balancing market—welcome news for price-shocked buyers. Sales prices are up from last October and down from the all-time high reached this spring. Despite the slowdown, it’s important to point out that we’re only moving back toward what a normal market looks like. King and Snohomish counties each have over two months of available inventory. While that is double the inventory of a year ago, it’s far short of the four to six months supply that is considered a balanced market. Sellers looking to list their home now can be sure there remains plenty of interest among home buyers. Eastside >>>Click image to view full report. The median home on the Eastside sold for $890,000 in October, up 5 percent from a year ago and unchanged from the previous month.  While year-over-year price increases were in the single digits for the Eastside overall, several areas, including Kirkland, Woodinville and Mercer Island, experienced double-digit price gains.  Buyers are still having to pay a premium for desirable Eastside properties. However, with more choices and less buyer urgency, sellers need to price their home correctly to maximize their chances of getting the best possible return. King County >>>Click image to view full report. Inventory in King County for all homes, both single-family and condominium, soared 102 percent over last October.  The increase was due to an influx of new listings and the fact that homes are now taking longer to sell than at the peak of the market this spring. While buyers now have more breathing room to make their decisions, the 2.4 months of inventory in King County is still far from a balanced market. The median price of a single-family home in October was $670,999, an increase of 7 percent from the same time last year, and virtually unchanged from August and September.  South King County showed larger increases, with prices rising more than 10 percent from a year ago in Auburn, Kent and Renton. Seattle >>>Click image to view full report. In October, the median price of a single-family home in Seattle was $750,000, up 2 percent from last October and down slightly from last month. While inventory doubled over a year ago, Seattle falls behind most areas of King County in supply with just under two months of inventory available.  Demand is predicted to stay high, with Seattle’s population projected […]

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Helping Students Realize Their Dreams Through Scholarship Programs

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The Windermere Foundation has raised $1,611,802 so far this year, bringing the total amount raised by the Foundation to over $37 million since 1989. Through the third quarter of 2018, $1,214,576 has been donated to local non-profits and charity organizations that provide services to low-income and homeless families. Through donations from Windermere agents, staff, franchise owners, and the community, the Windermere Foundation has been able to donate to local scholarship programs that help students in need realize their dreams of furthering their education. The following are examples of two programs that have benefitted from Windermere Foundation donations this year. Seattle Central College Foundation Scholarship Program Each Windermere office raises its own funds and has a Windermere Foundation account that it can use to make donations to organizations in their local communities. This fall, the Windermere Seattle-Capitol Hill office generously donated to the Seattle Central College Foundation’s scholarship program, which is helping nearly 500 students attend the college this year, relieved of financial stress, and encouraging them to stay committed to their education. Tammara S., the recipient of the Windermere Real Estate/Capitol Hill Scholarship, said, “I am honored to be the recipient of this scholarship… Attending school with an already tight budget was a hard decision to make. This scholarship will ease the stress of extra debt and the fear of having to choose anything over my education. Thank you, I appreciate your confidence in me and willingness to contribute to my future education.” University of Washington Certificate Scholarship Program The Windermere Foundation general fund also made a donation to support the University of Washington Certificate Scholarship program. With the help of UW Certificate Scholarships and the Windermere Foundation, 12 local adults living on low incomes were able to start classes at the University of Washington this fall. These are just a few of the recipients: Loree, who is studying Fundraising Management: A stay-at-home mom and active school volunteer/PTA fundraiser. Sadly, Loree recently lost her husband to cancer and has become her family’s primary provider. The certificate program will help her re-enter the workforce. “The scholarship will provide me the freedom to walk the path of discovery as I redefine who I am in this second phase of my life.” Matthew, who is studying Wetland Science and Management: A single dad of a 6-year-old, Matthew juggles childcare with full-time work supervising Washington Conservation Corps crews in the King Conservation District. Struggling to pay rent in Seattle, his […]

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How Interest Rates Affect Buying Power

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Whether you are thinking about buying or selling a home, interest rate trends are an important factor to consider. Mortgage interest rates have been rising and experts, including Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner, predict that they will continue to increase in 2019. Interest Rates and Buying Power The chart below shows the impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $675,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments at $3,500 a month. Every time interest rates increase by a quarter of a percent, your buying power decreases by about 3 percent. What this means for buyers: With prices moderating and interest rates slated to rise again, now is a good time to buy. If you’re betting on prices falling, you need to consider the strong possibility that an increase in interest rates would offset any potential price savings. What this means for sellers: Listing your home now means you will attract a larger buyer pool before interest rates rise. Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling our brokers can provide you market data that will help you make the best decision for your circumstances. 

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