...the west coast!
According to a new report from PwC consulting firm, Seattle is the city with the most promising real estate market in 2018! Other west coast cities including LA, San Jose & Portland top the charts, as well. Whether you are looking for a profitable investment property or you are ready to buy in 2018, look no further than the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Seattle topped charts for its climbing population growth and ease of livability. Like Portland, it has one of the best microbrew scenes in the nation, not to mention our outstanding coffee and culinary scene. In fact, this market is projected to gain 29,000 new residents per year over the next five years.
Seattle's job growth over the past decade has been steady with Amazon & Microsoft making their homes here. With Microsoft's expansion of their headquarters in Redmond, there is a promise of even more job growth on the horizon.
Other boons that make the Seattle market increasingly attractive are the high density of talent, high numbers of well-paying jobs, quality of outdoor activities/living, and prominent global market.
The Seattle/PNW market is not without it's challenges, however. Housing affordability is easily one of the greatest challenges here and for other markets in the Pacific region including San Francisco, San Jose & Honolulu. A lack of affordable housing could have a negative impact on future growth. Additionally, infrastructure is an challenge in Seattle. In order to support current growth, infrastructure enhancements are necessary.
If you are considering establishing roots or looking for investment opportunities in the great Pacific Northwest, now is the time to take action!
The holidays are here and to celebrate, we've compiled a list of our favorite happenings in and around Seattle! All of these events are open through December for your enjoyment!
Issaquah Reindeer Festival
This is the 30th year of the Reindeer Festival at Cougar Mountain Zoo! Activities include photos with Santa, visiting with reindeer, feeding Santa's animals and enjoying hot chocolate. Don't miss the opportunity to see some of the most beloved holiday animals at the zoo.
Winterfest is a 5 week long festival at the Seattle Center. It features ice staking, live performances, various free & affordable actives and the Train Village. Open everyday, there are plenty of festive things to do around the Center!
This is the 25th Annual Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle! The theme for this year is a tribute to the city titled 25 Years of Cheer: A Celebration of Seattle. Teams of architects, builders and culinary masters team up to create gingerbread masterpieces that celebrate the city's historic past. The village is free to the public and accepting donations to benefit the JDRF Northwest Chapter.
Snowflake Lake is a nightly parade, festival and dance party in downtown Bellevue! Best of all, there is a beautiful show of falling snow during the parade!
Woodland Park Zoo hosts Wildlights with more than 60,000 lights creating wild animals in 3D! Other activities include Santa Photos, carousel rides and snowball fights! There are also special opportunities to view nocturnal animals, even though the rest of the zoo animals are tucked in bed for the night.
First Night Tacoma
To top it all off, on December 31st, join us at the 25th Annual First Night Tacoma celebration. This family-friendly festival is our favorite way to ring in the New Year! There are fun activities, live performances and food vendors galore. Enjoy this years theme: the Year of the Dog!
We spent the afternoon with Cindy Kourkos at an exquisite Browns Point townhouse she currently has listed…
Cindy, what a stunning property, what do you love most about it?
It’s a lovely, private location with sweeping views of Commencement Bay, Tacoma and the evening lights! The open floor plan is ideal for maximizing views while maintaining an ease of entertaining. It’s a perfect place to live worry free. There is already a great group of homeowners that you can be as involved with as you wish.
The view certainly is captivating, but overall, what would you say makes this property so unique?
The three levels of luxury living with views on every level and an oversized three car garage. Additionally, this end unit offers a courtyard with private walkway leading around to back of the property. You could even have a mother-in-law in this unit!
What can you tell us about waterfront in this area and Browns Point in general?
Commencement Bay features infinitely interesting yacht and shipping traffic that comes in and out of the Port of Tacoma. The public beach is just a half mile away with a community club and boat launch. You can join and take part in their fun activities year round that include an Easter Egg hunt, fishing derby and a great salmon bake every other year. On July 4th you have a front row seat for the Tacoma fireworks! The Browns Point community has restaurants, a dry cleaner, hair salon and a convenience grocery store all within walking distance of the AnchoRidge townhouse.
If one had a day off here is beautiful Browns Point, what might they fill it with?
One might visit the Brown Point Light House which offers community waterfront access and tour the Historic Center. During the summer, sunbathers and picnickers can enjoy the beach; relax and watch the sailboats, walk on the beach, fish from the shore and enjoy the magnificent sunsets!
Speaking of this particular townhouse, what is your favorite feature?
Definitely its one-of-a-kind floorplan, upper level utility room, kitchenette and wine cellar on the lower level, a 5-piece Master suite plus a junior suite on upper level. The high end finishes throughout really give the home a feeling of luxury.
What advice would you give to a client looking to list a home in the area?
Check out our tips in our blog on how to prepare your home to list. If you have a view home, I would suggest maximizing the views.
Cindy, is there anything else that you would like us to ask you or to add?
This property features a fully furnished clubhouse with fireplace, kitchen, space for parties and meetings, bathrooms have showers and a there is a dry sauna. The solar heated pool has chaise lounges, tables, chairs and umbrellas. It is perfect for water aerobics, exercising, lounging and meeting friends! You can even use the space to host parties. Also, the AchorRidge HOA is AMAZING! They cover all the common areas with professional landscaping, painting and maintenance of the exterior of the units. The HOA covers insurance, basic cable, water, sewer, garbage and recycling. Finally, pest control service inspections are 4 times yearly.
Don't miss this incredible listing!
Most of us have our special ways of celebrating the holidays that we've done for years and years. We've picked up traditions from our parents and we pass them down to the next generation. But, maybe this is the year to add something to your Thanksgiving holiday that you hadn't considered before! We have some ideas intended to deepen, heighten, and extend the meaning of the day.
1. Start the day off with a long, indulgent breakfast. Tanya & her family keep it casual and relaxed on Thanksgiving morning by having breakfast bites, mimosas, and watch the parade and football all morning! The celebration is open to friends, family and neighbors and is a low-key day of hanging out with no formalities or expectations. Keep it simple with a build-your-own-waffle buffet station!
2. Write down what you are thankful for. Cultivating gratitude is actually good for you and it can be especially powerful when you share what you are thankful for with others. A steal-worthy Thanksgiving tradition that we found is writing down your thanks on a butcher paper tablecloth. This allows others to share in your joy and at the end of the day, you can tear off and save particularly meaningful memories.
3. Take time to honor the loved ones who have passed. The holiday season can be bittersweet when beloved family members and friends are missing from the gathering. To remember these important people, one family we heard of joins together in a Circle of Love and says a prayer or some meaningful words about them.
4. Involve the kids! After dinner when parents are tired from serving, cleaning and kiddo "referee" let the kids take control of dessert. Put them in charge of taking orders, scooping ice cream and delivering plates. Not only will this give them a chance to burn off some of the pent-up energy of the day, but they will look forward to the sense of ownership year after year!
5. Celebrate off site. There is a lot of pressure on the Thanksgiving host to ready their home for guests before the holiday. The cleaning, guest room prep, readying servingware and the shopping that needs to be done can be so stressful Why not give the host a break and meet off site this year? A few fun options would be renting a cabin, a historic hotel or have it catered in a private room at your favorite restaurant. Before you go, make sure the kitchen is fully outfitted and able to accommodate a full Thanksgiving meal!
Hopefully these ideas spark some interest and you are able to incorporate them into your holiday this year! Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Sound Properties!
The historic Browns Point Lighthouse is located on the eastern entrance to Commencement Bay on the way to the Port of Tacoma from the Puget Sound. This lighthouse has been a special focal point in the community for more than a century.
The history of the lighthouse is fascinating and unique. The original fixed white lens lantern was placed on a simple white post on December 12th, 1887, just two years before Washington became a state. At that time, Browns Point and the hills surrounding it were covered in timber. The point was part of the Puyallup Indian Reservation and owned by an Indian named Joe Douette. By 1901, the US Government deemed the simple lantern insufficient to assist ships entering Commencement Bay and the Government bought the Lighthouse for $3,000 from the Puyallup Tribe.
In 1903, the first Lighthouse was erected with a large fog bell and the first keepers of the Lighthouse were Oscar Brown and his wife Annie. Every evening at sundown Oscar would light the lamp in the attic and at sunrise, he would put it out again. Browns Point is known as the point on Puget Sound with the longest periods of dense fog. When the fog was settled around the lighthouse, Keeper Brown would wind the fog bell every 45 minutes to keep it striking every 20 seconds. Keeper Brown was a diligent keeper and always willing to help anyone in need.
The current 34 ft structure was built in 1933 in art-deco design. The other structures on the property are a Keeper’s Cottage, boathouse, crew’s quarters, oil house and pump house. The recent restoration of the outbuildings really brings to life how the 20th century light keepers lived.
Keeper Brown retired in 1939, after 36 years at Brown Point. In fact, the lighthouse had only three more keepers until it was automated in 1963. The next year, in 1964, Brown’s Point was converted into a public park and is still open for picnics and playtime toady! Currently, the keepers dwelling is available to be rented on a weekly basis. It is furnished with period pieces and if you rent out the cottage, you get to play lighthouse keeper! Your duties as a modern day lighthouse keeper include conducting tours, raising & lowering the flag and logging weather data.
For more information or to secure your post as keeper for a week, click here!
Smart Home technology is ever evolving! There are many ways you can incorporate smart technology into your everyday living. Most of these devices can be controlled from your smart phone, no matter where you are. In fact, much of the devices can be voice controlled! Whatever your comfort level is with technology, we have ideas for you.
The most important thing to remember when setting up any technology in your home is to manage all devices on a secure home wifi network. This will ensure that your information stays private.
First, start small to see if smart technology fits your lifestyle. Some ideas are light bulbs that you can control with your smart phone or smart plugs that can be set with a timer. Smart lights are a great idea because they are all LED's, so they use less electricity than other light bulbs. Smart plugs can do everything from turning on and off lights to starting your coffee machine for you every morning!
Another easy smart home technology to adopt is the smart thermostat. There are many wonderful options on the market, just make sure to choose one that melds seamlessly with the existing technology in your life. Smart thermostats can help save you money on your energy bill and can be controlled remotely.
For smart home novices, try a voice control device such as the Google Home or Amazon Echo. Not only can these devices control your smart lights, but they can play music, help you shop online or review your schedule for the day! Additionally, security devices such as cameras or video doorbells can really add a lot of peace of mind. These cameras can be mounted outside or inside the home and monitored from your tv, phone, or computer. Smart locks are also becoming more and more popular. You can lock or unlock your doors from your phone and grant one-time access to pet sitters or delivery people.
If you are looking to completely immerse yourself in all the most state of the art smart home technology, start with a smart home hub that can control all your devices and helps devices communicate with each other. Consider smart smoke detectors, smart appliances and universal remotes that are controlled from your phone!
There are so many interesting products on the market that it is hard to know what to do first! But hopefully these suggestions give you somewhere to start, if you are starting from scratch. Before you buy, read user reviews and make sure you get devices that are "friendly" with one another!
The holiday season is undeniably the busiest time of year for e-commerce sites and package delivery services. Also, it is no secret that package theft is becoming more and more of issue. From downtown apartment buildings to suburban neighborhoods, it seems like there are no safe places to have packages delivered!
Right now, there are a few services that people can use if they are trying to avoid package theft. Some examples are PO boxes, Amazon Lockers at various locations and pick up services at some large retailers. However, all of these solutions require the customer to still pick up their packages and who has time for another chore?
On Nov. 8th, local e-commerce giant, Amazon, came out with a solution for their customers; Amazon Key. The goal of this service is to give customers peace of mind and convenience. Amazon Key gives Amazon deliverers the ability to unlock a customer's front door, drop off a package inside the home, and lock the door behind them. The customer would be able to live stream the entire transaction via the Cloud Cam on their mobile device. This service is only available to Prime members and Amazon believes that it is going to change the landscape of home deliveries. The delivery system is managed by various smart locks & the cloud cam service. It is accessed via a mobile device app by the homeowner and delivery person. Importantly, the delivery person never touches the lock and is never given a key or code.
In order to maintain excellent customer service, this is only provided by Amazon Logistics deliverers and is not available with FedEx, UPS or USPS deliveries. All Amazon Logistics drivers have been throughly vetted and background-checked. The driver always knocks on the front door before requesting access to the home via the app. Furthermore, the customer (homeowner) always has control of the situation from their mobile device. For example, they can block access to the driver if they so choose.
This system can also be designed to grant one-time access to family/friends, dog walking services and the Merry Maids!
With the threat of package theft higher than ever, is this a service you would consider using to ensure safe delivery of your items? For more information or to sign up, follow this link to the Amazon Key website!
At Sound Properties, we believe that preparation is a key to success. We are in a very competitive real estate market and home buyers have more demands than ever. Therefore, it is critical that when you are selling your property, it needs to be memorable for all the right reasons. To ensure that your home is in the best possible condition for showing, here are a few of our must-dos!
This step is so simple that it should go without saying, but I'm sure we've all toured homes that the seller has neglected to clean. Regardless of how nice the neighborhood is or well-rated the schools are, a messy home will leave buyers with a negative impression of the property. To declutter, go into every room and get rid of extra furniture, wall hangings, stacks of paper, clothing and anything else but the bare necessities. Not only will this give you a head start on packing, but its also an opportunity to purge and simplify your belongings. Along with decluttering comes a thorough deep clean. Spend the time or money to have your home cleaned before going on the market. Essentially, you want to present your house as a model home to potential buyers.
Fresh paint sells houses! Having your house's interior painted in neutral colors prior to listing will make a world of difference in how the house shows. A neutral palate is more accessible to potential buyers and allows them to better envision their personal style in the home. Try to pick lighter neutral colors to brighten up the home and give the impression of more space. Additionally, depending on how long it's been since the exterior of your home has been painting, it might be worthwhile to invest in a new exterior patina.
If you have older carpeting or wood floors that have seen better days, invest in getting new carpeting put in or refinishing those floors. At the very least, have your carpets and rugs cleaned by a professional so that they look their best. Well-maintained flooring will also be key to leaving a good impression on buyers! It is just one less thing that a buyer would need to do before moving in to their new home.
Give the exterior of your home a tune up with some fresh landscaping and seasonal flowers. The landscape is the buyers first impression on the home, so make it a good one!
Bringing in professional staging is an excellent way to give your home that extra "wow factor". Professional staging designers will emphasize the best flow and layout of your floor plan! This investment will help your home put it's best face forward and will go far in enticing potential buyers.
Before listing your home, focus your time and energy on these key areas to make the most out of the sale!
At Sound Properties, we not only help our clients buy and sell real estate, but we go above and beyond to help them in any way possible.
One of the unique services we offer is Estate Sales. To share a bit more about this unique offering, we invited the team at 47 Degrees North Marketing to one of our heirloom estates sales in Enatai, Bellevue.
47: Well Tanya, we drove up to a pretty busting sale, with neighbors and others enjoying a lovely latte and we see they are already browsing some gorgeous treasures. You’ve got to tell us a bit about what you are doing here on this sunny fall day…
Tanya: Well, today we are here to help make sure that our client’s Estate Sale runs smoothly. We’ve practiced this many times! The goal is to find new homes for these treasures, while keeping everything organized, safe, and fun!
47: How do you help your clients navigate this phase of their real estate lives?
Tanya: Any home sale can be an emotional time, but it is particularly emotional when it involves the seller leaving their long time home of 40, 50 or even 70+ plus years. This could be due to downsizing, illnesses or the passing of the last surviving owner. Many times these people have stashed away decades worth of belongings, some of which are collectibles that the family does not want. We work with Estate Sale companies such as this one to ensure that the personal items are sold with respect and for the highest available dollar, which will go back to the estate.
47: That does sound like a stressful time to say the least. With your calm demeanors, you and your team do seem like the perfect party to lean on. Beyond that, what are the actual steps you take to help your clients alleviate stress?
Tanya: Most families have multiple other things that they need to tend to during this time of transition, we take the home and contents sale off of their check list of “To Dos”. We will streamline the process for the family and can arrange the cleaning, packing, staging, presentation of the home to get ready for market. We are very good about communicating to all parties of the transaction, including any attorney’s and multiple family members.
47: What is your favorite item inside this particular sale?
Tanya: There is an Antique sofa I just love and set of Depression Glass Stemware which I think is just too cool.
47: Why is this added service level so important to Sound Properties?
Tanya: We are in the business of Customer Service. It goes beyond just “selling a house”, it is about the client and providing a smooth, simple and streamlined process. We already have great connections within this community and have vetted out the companies that are trustworthy, honest, and professional. Why wouldn’t we offer this to our clients.
This just shows how this team goes above and beyond to provide the utmost care and commitment to each of their clients. Whether you simply have a real estate question, want to know the value of your home or want more information about estate sales contact any of the sound properties team members, they would LOVE to help you.
It may seem that Summer was just yesterday, but it’s officially November! Before life gets more hectic with the coming holidays, there are a few outdoor Fall home tips that are essential to tackle. Let’s face it, despite great intentions, most of us tend to lapse a bit on home care between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Plus, what a nice way to enjoy a few sunny Fall days. Your home will thank you for it!
Lawn: Aerate and fertilize your lawn (use a winterizer fertilizer). Once you’ve done this, over-seed it. The cooler temperatures outside create the perfect environment for grass seed germination. Experts suggest this is the most important lawn treatment of the year, and bonus, this lawn treatment will ensure that beautiful lush green grass that we all love so much during the Spring (especially if you’re planning to list your home!)
Garden Areas: To keep your garden beds looking their best next Spring remove dead annuals and prune back plants that have flowered in the Fall. Deadhead any plants that have spent flowers. Another critical step is to rake up fallen leaves as they can change the chemical balance of a flower garden (no one wants blue hydrangeas when they’ve planned for pink!). Get those bulbs planted! This will give them an early start and ensure they get the longest underground “freeze” that they need.
General Exterior Maintenance: Fix any cracks in fences, remove and store hoses, Install a “weather” cover over outdoor spigots to mitigate freezing. Clean gutters to ensure they don’t overflow when the rainy season begins. Drain pools, ponds, and other water features; as these are also prone to freezing and thus could be damaged.
Check Outdoor Lighting: Shorter days mean it’s probably dark when you get home from work, make sure you have pathways and driveways adequately illuminated. Not only is safer, but we always tell our clients that excellent lighting adds great curb appeal!
Be sure to store and cover outdoor furniture too!
These simple tips will help avoid problems and ensure that your home is ready and raring to go come glorious Spring. And if Winter gets you down, keep in mind that a lush green lawn and beautifully emerging plants are just a few months away!
If you are looking for any referrals to help you to get some of this essential work done, please do feel welcome to contact your experts at Sound-Properties!