You've done your spring cleaning and purged your closets but now you have piles of old clothes and no idea what to do with them! Nowadays, there are plenty of options on getting a little return when it comes to donating or selling used clothing. We've done the research and here are our recommendations:
Many retailers have started to offer cash or product discounts in exchange for your used clothing items. And often times, it's not limited to their own brands!
Check out these options:
- Bring in gently-worn Eileen Fisher items to one of their stores and receive a $5 rewards card for each piece.
- Levi's will give you a store voucher for 20% off one regular priced item if you bring in clothing or shoes (from any brand) to recycle. This offer is available in-store only.
- H&M, as well as their sister brand & Other Stories, offer a unique discount as well on any brand or condition of unwanted clothing. They partner with I:CO, which is a recycling company, who collect and donate old clothes. H&M will exchange your donation for a 15% off coupon and & Other Stories will provide a 10% coupon.
- Madewell is an excellent place to drop off your old denim of any brand. They sell your donated jeans to Blue JeansGo Green who recycle used denim back into housing insulation. Receive $20 off a new pair of Madewell jeans for your donation!
- If you have well-maintained Patagonia gear that you no longer use, you can trade in those garments at any of their retail locations in exchange for up to $100 of Worn Wear Merchandise Credit.
- The North Face has a program called "Clothes The Loop" that you can contribute to by bringing in clothing or footwear from any brand that is in good condition. You'll receive $10 off your purchase of $100 or more.
There are also online resale platforms that are a good option for those who want more control over the return they get on their clothing. Some of these apps are self-managed and others are managed for you. You aren't guaranteed money back with these apps, but if you have the time, they may be worth the effort!
Here's a quick rundown of some larger online resale platforms:
Poshmark - manage your own online storefront of clothing & acessories
Mercari - manage your own online storefront & sell any kinds of goods
DePop - buy or sell unique clothing items & manage your own online storefront
TheRealReal - only accepts luxury clothing & accessories and they consign on your behalf
ThreadUp - accepts less than 40% of donated items and they consign on your behalf
Household incomes have been on the rise in the United States for a while! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American household income is $57,617 a year. In some metros, more than half of the households earn more than $70,000 per year! The median household income in a city is made up of a number of factors - number of citizens with higher education, a healthy job market and a large concentration of industries that pay higher wages.
The wealthiest metros tend be geographically concentrated. The are located primarily along the East and West Coasts - this includes cities in Alaska and Hawaii.
24/7 Wall Street reviewed income levels in 382 major metropolitans across the U.S. to find the 25 richest cities in America. In the wealthiest cities, median household incomes range from $71,700 to over $100,000 annually. A large number of the wealthiest cities in the US are on the West Coast, and nearly all in California.
The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area of Washington state comes in at #9 in the nation. Here, the median household income is $78,612 and 11% of households earn $200,000 or more per year. In this part of the country, we have a high concentration of adults holding at least a bachelors degree at 42%. Fortunately, we are in close proximity to many high-ranking schools! Jobs in the tech industry tend to pay well and the greater Seattle area is home to some of the largest tech companies in the world. This also factors in to the median household income for the area. Finally, in March, the unemployment rate in our area was 3.9%.
The greater Seattle area is a tech & academic hub, which are two huge factors in determining median household income. We can expect to see these trends continue and hopefully increase the quality of life in our area.
A company in New Jersey called Irene started earlier this year with the goal of enabling seniors to stay in their homes for the rest of their lives by giving them access to their home equity. The idea of freeing up equity for a cash-poor senior homeowner to live off of may be a new idea in the US, but the practice has been around for a long time in Europe. While in countries like Italy & France the transaction is done on a peer to peer basis, Irene is seeking to institutionalize this strategy in the US.
First, Irene employees meet with the senior-aged homeowner who are considering selling their home to the company. The homeowner is then provided with an offer, a home inspection and if they agree, the contract is signed and a closing date is chosen. At closing, Irene pays the homeowner cash in the amount of the original down payment and the company takes the title to the home. Irene also takes over mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance costs and home insurance costs. All the while, the seller agrees to continue to live in the home until they pass away. Depending on the outstanding mortgage balance, the senior either gets to live in it rent-free or for a small rental cost (paid to Irene). Upon the homeowner passing away, Irene will inherit the home.
With rising maintenance costs, insurance and taxes, it is hard for seniors who have a fixed income to continue to afford the monthly cost of homeownership. This new company is poised to provide unique solutions to allow their clients a safe and secure retirement in their own home.
Irene is currently raising capital from real estate investment companies. They chose to start in New Jersey due to the high property tax rates. Next, Irene will be rolling out into Florida, California and Washington state.
Seattle has an incredible food scene where you can find anything your heart desires and some of our best restaurants also come with the best views in the city.
When it comes to scenery, we have it all - mountains, skyline, & water! Here is a collection of some of our favorite restaurants and the views they boast:
Ray's Boathouse, located in Ballard, is a fresh seafood restaurant where you can watch the sun set behind the beautiful Olympic Mountain Range.
In Wallingford, check out Westward on Northlake Way and watch boats passing by on Lake Union. Their menu includes Mediterranean seafood and snacks.
You can't talk about food and views in Seattle without mentioning Canlis. This iconic restaurant seems to float above Queen Anne Hill - you won't be disappointed.
Dining at Mbar is a unique experiences that emphasizes their awesome rooftop view. From the glass-walled restaurant you can see everything - the Space Needle, Lake Union, Queen Anne & Capitol Hill.
For the best view of Elliott Bay, look no further than Aqua by El Gaucho on Alaskan Way. Every seat inside or outside has a view and the menu itself is loaded with exception steak & seafood offerings.
Down in South Seattle, the former Rainier Beach service station as been transformed into the Stone House Cafe. Enjoy views of Lake Washington while you feast on their all-day breakfast menu!
A special fusion of Korean/Hawaiian cuisine lives at Marination Ma Kai on Alki Beach. The restaurant is accessible by water taxi and has a grand view of the Seattle skyline.
Finally, a bar perched on top of the historic Smith Tower downtown comes with a 360 degree view of the city and it's surrounding landscape. The Smith Tower Observatory Bar has retained much of the original charm and served barrel aged cocktails, oysters & classic drinks.
What are your favorite views in the city? Are there any restaurants you'd add to this list?
Craftsman-style! Is it your favorite, too?? Study suggests that whether or not you prefer it may have something to do with your age.
A recent poll commissioned by Trulia revealed that 43% of respondents picked craftsman as their favorite style of home. Runner-ups include ranch at 41% and colonial-style at 36%. (Note that respondents were able to pick more than one style.)
An interesting aspect of this poll is how age factored into responses. The craftsman-style home is favored by 54% of millennials, but only 28% of baby boomers. Conversely, 52% of boomers preferred the single-story ranch home while just 36% of millennials agreed. Colonial style homes aren't quite as divisive. Roughly one third of all age groups preferred colonials.
Not surprisingly, the average price of a craftsman home accurately reflects it's popularity and demand. According to data from Trulia, they are, on average, $209,300 more expensive than the median US home at about $416,900! A ranch style home brings more bang for your buck, at a median cost of $201,000.
The least favored styles include Georgian, mid-century and Greek Revival!
The real estate market in King County continues to sizzle! Last month, there were more new listings, more active listings and higher prices than we were seeing from one year ago. Homes are flying off the market, with the average listing time being only 48 days. In addition, the average price increased by about 7%. There is still an issue of low inventory across the nation, but Seattle & Bellevue saw an encouraging increase of about 20% in new listings last month. Last month, we also saw a record high for the median closing price of residential listings, at $415,000. This is still a tough time for buyers and experts agree that we are a ways off from a balanced market. But the majority of residents agree that the quality of life in the region is positive!
This home on Trout lake is truly one of a kind! Experience lake front living at its best. A few of our favorite home features are the Great Room Basalt Stone gas fireplace flanked by walls of windows to showcase the outstanding views! Other unique features include the Master bedroom on the main floor, A full kitchen on the lower level, mature landscaping and a super quaint guest cottage.
The home sits on 88’ of Trout Lake waterfront, imagine your morning coffee on the large deck overlooking the lake, with enough space to entertain your entire family! The home is sprinkled with custom materials throughout. This is a must see! We look forward to seeing you at our open houses this weekend.
37242 42nd Ave S, Auburn 98001
Thursday 5/10 4:00PM-6:30PM
Saturday/Sunday 5/12 and 5/13 12:00PM-3:00PM
Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make, so we want to help you be in the know before entering into this big financial commitment!
Start by determining how much home you actually need. If you have a good credit score and income, banks are willing to lend you more money. However, you may qualify for a house that is bigger than you actually need. While it may be tempting to purchase the best house in the best neighborhood that you can afford, keep in mind that other costs of homeownership scale with the price of home you're buying. Stay focused on what you actually need to help keep costs in check.
Next, you need to accumulate cash for a down payment. The larger the down payment, the better terms you'll get on your mortgage. A general rule of thumb suggests to put down 20% of the cost of the home to secure the best rates. However, you may be able to still get a mortgage, even with a smaller down payment.
Make key decisions on what kind of terms you are looking for in the mortgage. You'll get to decide the length and rate type of the loan. For instance, the most common length is 30 years and then 15 years, but there are other lengths available. In general, the shorter length of loan, the lower interest rate you'll pay. There are two different types of rates for mortgages -- fixed and adjustable.
Before qualifying for a mortgage, lenders will need to know that you are good risk before offering you money. Make sure you are in good credit standing and check your credit report. Around 20% of credit reports have errors in them due to things like clerical errors in data entry and occasionally identity theft. Should you find any errors in your report, correct them before applying for your mortgage to improve your chances of getting good terms.
Take charge of any debt that you may have outstanding and pay off whatever you can and get current on the rest. To ensure that you are not over extending yourself by taking on a mortgage, lenders will calculate your debt to income ratio. Generally speaking, banks want to see that you are putting less than 36% of your income towards debt before they approve you for a mortgage and once the mortgage is factored in, the ratio should be below 43% of your income. Also, it is important to not take on any new debt within 90 days of applying for a mortgage. Even small hits to your credit can knock you into a higher risk tier.
You will need to show proof of income, so make sure it is documented along with the source of your down payment. You can provide proof of income using a W-2 or 1099 from previous years, as well as recent pay stubs. Proof of down payment cash can be in the form of checking or savings account statements. If you have any large recent deposits, make sure to provide documentation as to where it came from -- whether it is a gift or a loan...etc.
Check around and research a select group of lenders that you would want to do business with before filling out a mortgage application. By doing research in advance, you can avoid filling out multiple applications and getting hits to your credit.
Buying a home is a big commitment, so it's important to plan ahead for it! You'll want to have a great team behind you through the whole process, so give us a call when you are ready to buy!
Every summer, Regal Entertainment hosts their special $1 Summer Movie Express promotion! Starting on June 26th, enjoy 14 weeks of super cheap and fun entertainment that will keep the whole family happy! Every week on Tuesday & Wednesday at 10am, enjoy a movie at your local Regal Cinema.
Note that depending on location, the schedule may change slightly so be sure to check out what is playing at your local theater!
Week 1: Hop
Week 2: The Iron Giant
Week 3: Despicable Me
Ice Age: Collision Course
Week 4: Storks
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Week 5: Despicable Me 2
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Week 6: The Lego Movie
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Week 7: Sing
The Peanuts Movie
Week 8: The LEGO Ninjago Movie
Week 9: The Secret Life of Pets
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Week 10: The Lego Batman Movie
Week 11: Minions
The Boss Baby
Week 12: Paddington 2
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Week 13: Despicable Me 3
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Week 14: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
Kung Fu Panda 3