This weekend, there is no shortage of family fun to be had - Seattle is literally bursting with Irish Pride! Not to mention, the weather should be agreeable!
Seattle Center Parade & Festival
Seattle’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival and parade is fun for the whole family. The parade starts at 4th and Jefferson at 12:30pm on the 17th and is led by the Parade Grand Marshal! The Irish Festival takes place on March 17-18th at the Seattle Center Armory. There, you can experience the cultural roots & influences of Ireland. There will be live performances, art, activities, food, games & more! Find out more info at irishclub.org.
At Magnuson Community Center on Saturday, you can hunt for special gold coins! Kids win treats & prizes for their hunting skills. Make sure to dress up in your most festive gear
Annual Bellingham St. Patrick's Day Parade
Looking to head out of town for a day? Bellingham hosts it's own parade with pipes, dancers, floats and marching bands that starts at the corner of Cornwall & Ohio St. The parade celebrates sustainability and hopes to inspire the city to be cleaner, greener and safer!
St. Patrick’s Day Dash
In the morning of the 17th, you can participate in an annual St. Patricks Day dash! the cities of Seattle, Kirkland and Tacoma all host their own fun runs!
The run is about 4 miles long and you can set your own pace. It is a fun run with most participants dressing up in costumes. You’ll be running or walking the streets of Seattle alongside leprechauns! In Seattle, kids 10 and under can participate in the Leprechaun Lap, which is a 1K. If you dress up, you're eligible to be entered as the "Best Young Leprechaun" and could win an award!
St. Patrick's Day at the Zoo
Take the family to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on March 17th to see amazing animals and feed them "lucky" treats to celebrate the holiday! The zoo's schedule on Saturday is full of St. Patrick's Day surprises. Don't forget to look out for green-colored animals!
Mortgage rates have risen about .5% in 6 months, so what does that mean if you're trying to buy a home? First of all - don't worry! If you are trying to buy a home, the mortgage rate is important but shouldn't be your main focus. Don't let mortgage rates scare you into making a hasty decision about a home.
Mortgage rates don't have a huge impact on the monthly payment, but the cost can add up over time. For example, on a 30-year loan for $200,000, the monthly payment would be about $60 less at 4% vs. 4.5% interest. However, over 30 years, that adds up to just over $21,000!
When mortgage rates are rising but you are ready to buy a house, here are some things you can do to secure a good rate:
1. Lock your mortgage interest rate.
Your lender commits to an agreed upon combination of interest rates and points with you in a mortgage rate lock. If you are able to close the loan by the predetermined date, the rate can't rise. Occasionally, a lender will offer a one time float down option that allows you to get a lower rate if the rates are going down.
2. Purchase points to reduce the interest rate.
If you have additional cash on hand, you can purchase discount points. This is essentially pre-paying some of the interest in order to secure a lower mortgage rate. One point is equivalent to 1% of the loan amount. As a general rule of thumb, one point often gives a rate cut of 1/4 of a percentage point. However, this varies as mortgage rates fluctuate.
3. Look at homes in a different price range.
Before you begin your home search, it is wise to determine a range of interest rates that will allow you to afford the type of home you want. If rates are continuing to rise, you may need to adjust your price rage downward to stay within your budget. There are many loan affordability calculators available online that can help you determine a good range!
In honor of International Woman's Day, we wanted to highlight a beautiful Seattle home designed by a woman - way back in 1928!
Katherine H.K. Wolf won a home design contest put on by the Seattle Times (formerly the Seattle Daily Times) that was sponsored by developer J. L. Grandey. The goal of the design contest was a feature a woman's design for home building that showed how building materials in the Northwest were as good as products from elsewhere. The Tudor-style home Wolf designed was built using local materials and is located at 836 W. Etruria Street in Queen Anne. It is unclear if Wolf designed any other homes, but her prize winner still stands today and is currently on the market!
The rules for the contest were as follows - it must be a six-room house with one or two floors, a basement was optional and the garage could be attached, detached or in the basement. Also, the price limit on the design contest plan was $8,500. They received over 300 entries and the first prize winner got $100 in gold. At the time, the homes in Queen Anne cost $5,600 and up!
The home is practically designed to meet the needs of an average 1920's family. It is elegant and complete with two stories and a turret. The first floor features a few common areas with a separate kitchen and eating nook. Bay windows allow natural light to flood the home's main sitting area and formal dining rooms. Some of the home's historic details have been preserved, like the vaulted ceilings and leaded glass windows with diamond patterns.
Since 1928, the home has had several upgrades. The basement is now finished with a second kitchen, bathroom, additional bedroom and private entry - perfect for a rental or mother-in-law apartment.
Click here for a photo tour of the home!
There are some undeniable elements in a home that increase it's value and some that are not so obvious. According to Zillow's research, there were some surprising things that can affect the price that someone is willing to pay for a home!
1. Proximity to a Starbucks
Homes within a quarter mile of a Starbucks increased faster than all other homes in the U.S. Zillow reported that between 1997 & 2014, the value of these homes increased by 96% while other homes further away from a Starbucks increased by only 65%. In addition, homes near a Dunkin' Donuts also increased faster than average, at 80% over the same 17 year period.
2. Blue Kitchen & Bathrooms
The color that you paint your kitchen also counts a lot! Homes with blue kitchens sold for over a $1,000 premium, compared to homes with white kitchens. The same study showed that homes with blue painted bathrooms sold for a whopping $5,400 more!
3. Trendy Design Features
Home listing that provide details to on-trend features sell homes faster and for a premium. Keywords including "farmhouse sink" and "barn door" are a couple current favorites. The effect of the keyword only works if the feature is popular at the time. Use those listing descriptions and photos to highlight on-trend designs in your home!
4. Proximity to a City
The average urban home is now worth 35% more than the average suburban home. If you own a home in or near a major city, you are living in a rapidly appreciating asset. Don't discount the location of your home if you are close to a city!
Come to our open house this weekend Saturday and Sunday 1pm-4pm. You won't want to miss this exceptional home with expansive Puget Sound views from almost every room.
We were lucky enough to interview the homeowners, here's what they had to say:
This home is lush with history and A bit of history about 1412 Beach Dr – was originally built in 1929 by Mr. Stimson of the Stimson Lumber Company as his summer cabin. At this time, Dash Point neighborhood association owned a ferry that would bring passengers from Tacoma to Dash Point Pier (being there were no roads at the time). This property was a summer cabin for his family.
In 1983 Mr. Thompson built a modern structure next to the cabin. I purchased the property in 2004 and spent a year renovating and updating both sides (no structural changes). The property can function as one house or as a duplex. When I purchased the home, the county classified it as a single-family residence. The room layout however, did not flow well between the two and my wife and I did not need to live in a 5900 sq ft home. I blocked off two doors that adjoined the two sides. They still exist and can be opened with little work. The property can be easily converted back into a single-family residence. The water and septic are on one system, and electrical, heating and propane are on separate meters.
Benefits of Residing in Dash Point
Metro Tacoma park is 3 doors away with a fishing pier, sandy beaches (which is one of the few in the South Sound), park benches at waters edge, playground and a covered picnic area.
Lots of wild life in the area – Golden Eagles, Osprey, Heron, Seals, Seagulls and Crows. It is a real treat to watch the Herons, Osprey and Eagles fish.
The Lobster Shop is being remodeled by Gino Rivera and will be named “Gino’s at the Point”. Perfect location for us as it is only 5 doors down – very convenient.
Wonderful stable and dependable neighbors who have lived on this street for years.
Views of The Sound includes shipping traffic, fireworks on the 4th of July, and Seattle, Vashon and Des Moines are all visible.
Amenities of 1412 Beach Dr
Unit A Features
Upper Level 3
Master Suite is over 650 sq ft with fireplace (propane insert) vaulted ceilings and huge skylights. Attached bath includes 7’ jetted tub, shower and double vanities. Lots of closet space (his and hers). Large deck overlooking the sound features an out-door wood burning fireplace. On the back side of the home is a ‘Juliette balcony’ off of the master bedroom.
Office Space, with custom built in desks for 2 plus 4 filing cabinets, is like a bird’s nest sitting between levels 2 and levels 3 of the home. It has a fantastic view of the Sound while overlooking the dining room and living rooms too.
Main Level 2
Living Room features large stone fireplace (propane inserts), deck overlooking the Sound, large enough for 2 sofas, coffee table, two easy chairs and a Baby Grand Piano! The corner nook is a wonderful place for morning coffee and watch the activity on the Sound.
Dining Room located two steps above the living room is large enough for 8-10 person table, china cabinet and side serving cabinet. It also features a sliding door to the back deck.
Kitchen on the same level as dining room offers a eating bar, room for a small table, 2 sliding doors to large back deck.
Lower Level 1
Lower level offers a extra finished room that can be whatever fits your lifestyle. It is wired for projector screening / TV. Attached to this room is the second bedroom with a custom wall bed (Murphy style). Also included on the lower level are the washer and dryer (which stay with the home) and a ¾ bathroom.
2 Car Garage is accessed from the lower level and has a new garage door and opener
Covered Storage / Breezeway is found along side of the home.
Unit B Features
- Large living room with fireplace (propane insert) and Huge window looking out at large deck and views.
- Dining Room expansive enough to handle a 14 person table – wall windows brings in natural light to this room.
- Kitchen with granite tile counters, opens to laundry room, pantry and outside access.
- Powder Room and large Office or Bedroom (your choice) complete the main level.
- Oversized 1 Car Garage boasts shelving, new garage door and opener.
2 Bedrooms with walk-in closets and built-in drawers plus a full guest bath are located upstairs.
Additional Items of Interest
- Garages are accessed from Whitman St at rear of property.
- Plenty of parking for guests – both in front of the home and rear.
- Fenced and gated yard including driveway (at rear of property).
- Block wall 30” deep along west side of backyard with Rhizome barrier preventing neighbors’ bamboo from entering yard.
How do you use your attic? Is it finished or unfinished? If you are dreaming of a more grown-up attic space and expanding your home's usable square footage, check out our ideas below!
Although attics often have funny nooks & crannies and oddly angled walls, these unique features can be embraced!
1. Quiet work space
Even if you have lower ceilings in your attic, you can still build a desk into the wall or a padded seating area for reading.
2. Craft Oasis
Attics are the perfect place for a crafting/sewing room. Craft supplies can be hard to organize to begin with, but the unique nooks in an attic can be utilized for craft storage. Try using Ikea organizing cube units and customize them to your space!
3. Master Suite
An attic can be a wonderfully private place for a dreamy master suite. This can be a bright, airy retreat with a couple of added skylights!
You can let your kids imaginations run wild in decorating and designing the attic playroom. Don't be afraid to use a fun mix of colors and patterns! Create built-ins, secret spaces and hidden doors for endless hours of imagination.
5. Extra Living Room
If you are tight on space in your main living area, try expanding up! An upper-level attic can be a retreat for older kids or teens to hang out friends. You can mount a tv on a flat or even an angled wall! The possibilities are endless.
These days, pet owners will go to just about any length for their fur babies and home customization is not out of the question.
60 million US households have a dog and dog ownership rose 29% within the last decade. We are in an era of pets! The millennial generation leads the pack in dog ownership and they spoil their pets. Read on to see how some home owners and designers are customizing living spaces to make sure dogs & their owners feel at home.
1. Buyers are keeping their dogs in mind when house hunting. Typical pet friendly improvements in the home that dog owners look for include fences, dog doors & laminate flooring. 81% of respondents to a National Association of Realtors survey say that they would take their pets needs into account when choosing their next living situation. One very practical addition that is attracting buyers with dogs is a mudroom equipped with doggie washing station. This can be used for children, pets & muddy boots alike and can even save your floors from extra mess!
2. Some new construction communities in California and Florida have created design options for dogs that buyers can add to their properties such as dog runs, feeding stations & built-in dog beds. One family added an outdoor pet-washing station and a fenced excursive area with synthetic turf and a concrete walkway!
3. You can even get an elevator installed in your house for a dog! Some breeds, like the basset hound, have spines that are sensitive to climbing and descending stairs. So, the cost to accommodate a doggie lift is $30,000!
4. Around the US, there are planned communities that are literally designed around dog-owners. Features of these communities include popular doggie salons, a pet concierge, dog parks and agility courses. In face, one community in Kentucky has a higher population of dogs to people!
We all love our pets and will go to great lengths to ensure that they are comfortable and happy in our homes. Have you done anything to customize your pet's living space in your home??
It's the time of year when the coziness of the holidays is over but it's not quite nice enough to spend your days outside. If you need a pick me up, we have just the thing! Tacoma is already one of the most artistic cities in Washington and they are upping their game! Tacoma's art scene is hotter than ever and there are some fantastic exhibits open right now. On this list, there is something for everyone.
Washington: My Home
Washington State History Museum
This display is full of accounts of the different ways that people first made their journey to Washington State from the 1840's until 2015. You will likely leave with a newfound appreciate for our state and it's people.
Traversing Parallels by Michael Taylor
Museum of Glass
$12 Students; $15 Adults
Taylor's art has a very scientific feel to it, due to him drawing inspiration from subatomic particles. He tends to favor geometric pieces of art that captures both wonder and an analytical element to his work.
Moon Moan by Raven Juarez & Asia Tail
Moon Moan features work that highlights the moon as the focal point and use it to explore womanhood. The work is intended to be more poetic than literal and Tail says: "We want people to kind of engage in the nonverbal way in a non-art-speak way, but to really sort of empathize and feel the works in the same way that we were feeling as we created them.”
Exotic Seductive Supercars
Le May - America's Car Museum
$15 Students; $18 Adults
Le May Car Museum is featuring some of the most drooled over cars: Porches, a drag racing car and many more of the top sports cars!
The Dynamic American West: Highlights from the Haub Family Collection
Tacoma Art Museum UWT
Free Students w/ID; $15 Adults
This exhibit looks at the forces that shaped the American West and the legends & people that were involved. You'll leave with an insight as to what life was like back when the west was wild!
Millennials have real purchasing power! The millennial generation was the largest share of home buyers in 2017, totaling 34% of purchases. 31 is the median age for a first-time buyer in the US and this age falls right in the middle of that generation (b. 1982 - 2004).
Real estate pros and sellers alike are trying to figure out the best way to market to millennials!
Without a doubt, millennials want to be "wowed" and have differing priorities from their parents & grandparents generations. Research suggests that a “layered” marketing approach is best, which means reaching the buyer with multiple touch points. A strong social media presence is critical, which we will detail shortly.
Millennials are long-term planners. They want to fully understand a property before committing. They will research neighborhood data, appreciation potential, and financing options before stepping foot in the door. It is wise to have as many of these questions answered online as possible. Millennials need to be able to see themselves living at the property, not just a good price per square foot.
Before even attempting a sale to a millennial, the property itself must have specific appealing features,, such as being in a walkable location that is close to restaurants and entertainment. This generation is focused on achieving a comfortable and convenient lifestyle. Inside the home, millennial buyers are attracted to on-trend finishes & materials and a thoughtful use of space. They will prefer a well designed space over extra square footage.
Creating a strong online presence where a buyer can get a virtual walk through and facts about the property is key. Before visiting a home or even driving by it, most millennials will "cyberstalk" a listing to get as much information as possible. Also, be sure photos show off the property in the best way! You can make or break a listing with photos. With a strong online presence, millennials may actually help by selling to their peers. Creating a network of people in this generation can help with selling homes in the future.
Ultimately, the millennial buyer wants to immediately feel “at home” when considering a real estate purchase. Can they see themselves and their families living there? Does it fit in with their lifestyle? It is worthwhile to invest time in getting to know their wants and needs if you want to expand your reach into this large, impactful, generation!
Our homes are full of valuable things, but one area of security that can get overlooked is storing important documents. Consumer Reports Research Center reported that 25% of Americans have lost or forgotten a financial document and only about 40% could locate important documents if necessary! There are some documents that are important to keep close at hand and some that should be locked away in a secure place. Here is a list of the five most common important documents that should be stored securely:
Annual tax returns should be kept forever, but supporting documentation can be shredded after three years. It's ok to toss supporting documents after 3 years because the IRS has only 3 years to perform an audit.
More than likely your original will is kept by your attorney, but you should also have a copy on hand. Keep a copy in a safe deposit box or locked in a safe at home.
Every member of your family has a birth certificate. The originals should be kept in a safe deposit box. Also, it is wise to make copies for your files at home in case you need to reference the information.
Passports should be stored in the home in case of an emergency. Keep it locked up but in a memorable location. Before leaving for vacation, make a couple copies of your passport - one to keep on your person and one to keep at home in case it gets stolen while you are traveling.
Social Security Cards:
Your social security card should also be kept locked up in a safe at home. Do not carry it around with you, as it would be easy to get your identity stolen this way.
For an in-depth guide of keeping important documents safe, check out the infographic below!