Open House Sunday!

Sunday I will be hosting open houses at three of my listings.  Please stop by and see what is currently available.  Looking forward to seeing you!

716 E 6th

716 E 6th Street
MLS #300240
Time: 11:30-12:30
Great home on safe dead-end street close to parks, playfield, YMCA and pool. This solid two story, 4 bedroom, 2 bath + den/bedroom has newly refinished wood flooring, new carpet, new paint and a brand new roof.  Situated on two lots, the side yard is perfect for playing catch, playing fetch with the dog, or organizing backyard get-togethers.  Both the formal living room and large family room have stone fireplaces.  A detached garage makes for the perfect workshop.
Directions: From First or Front Street, south on Race, west on 6th to sign at 716 on south side of street.

2435 Samara
2435 Samara Drive
MLS #29230
Time: 1pm-2pm
Be the first to live in this beautiful sustainably built home. Granite tile kitchen counters, custom solid wood cabinets with under cabinet lights. Vaulted tongue & groove ceilings. Living room plus family room/media room. Gorgeous hard wood & tile floors. Heated tile floor in master bath. Internal vacuum system. In-floor radiant heat plus 2 heat pumps. Premium climate control fresh air exchange system.
Directions: From west on Front Street becomes Marine Drive, left on Hill Street, right on 4th Street, becomes N Street, right on 14th Street, right on Samara Drive to 2435 on the right.

1710 W 6th1710 W 6th Street
MLS #301008
Time: 2:30p-3:30p
Well cared for home in a great west-side neighborhood with partial views of the strait.  This 4-bedroom, 2 bath classic split level home has lots of space, and a convenient floor plan.  The generously sized living room has a wood
burning fireplace. The lower level has a family room with a wet bar. The two-car detached garage is accessed from the alley. Two storage sheds for all your belongings.
Directions: Front St to Marine Dr, Turn left onto Hill St, Turn left onto S L St, Turn left onto W 6th St. Home will be on the right.



Tuning up Your Home Finances

Take time to review your monthly expenses and look for ways to tune up your finances. No matter your financial situation, it’s always a good idea to take a look at your mortgage and other monthly payments to see where you could do some tweaking.

Here are three tips to do just that:

Pay down your mortgage. Rather than taking on a larger mortgage payment every moth, make your normal mortgage payment plus the principal of the next month’s payment. This gives you savings in interest paid and the ability to pay down the principal when your budget allows.

Talk to a lender. When you initially bought your home, your mortgage broker was a key partner in that transaction. But, even now if you’ve lived in your home for a period of time, it could still be beneficial to talk with a mortgage representative. Assess your financial situation and offer options which may benefit your pocket book. From adjusting your mortgage loan terms, lower your rate and monthly payment or take advantage of equity in your home for another financial goal.

Look into balance transfers. If you have debt on a high interest rate credit card, consider doing a balance transfer to a new credit card with 0% APR. Many new cards offer 0% APR for several months. This savings on interest allows you to pay down your entire balance transfer, saving money on interest. Just be sure to be aware of any balance transfer fees!

Good luck tuning up your monthly spending!

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

1. Spend big money later if needed, Do the things that take effort first

You can always buy new appliances, get new windows or a new roof, but why not wait and see if your one buyer actually requires it, or will negotiate for it.  Don’t go out and buy a new oven for your buyer since they may prefer a different one or something else to be done instead.  Why not ask them to offer more to get the exact things you now know they want.  With that said, don’t ignore putting in the low-cost updates, like a new light fixture and steam cleaning your carpets. These things improve the look of your home drastically. Simply do the work that requires a little elbow grease or is low-cost. I often tell my clients that doing these types of “effort things”, before listing and showing, can make you money. Your property should look as good as it can, but not brand-new.

2. The $99,999 Rule

Your house is not a gas station, so don’t price it like one. Sellers think that they are fooling the buyers by listing their home for, let’s say, $199,900 instead of $200,000, but all they are doing is hurting themselves. I know 199,900 sounds softer than $200,000, but you want the people searching from $200k-$300k to see your home also.

3. Open House Once Listed

A new property generates the most buzz when it is first listed, which is why as soon as you list your property, you should have an open house scheduled.  Open houses put all of your buyers in one place, at one time, and makes buyers see that others are looking at the property which, in turn, creates competition on your listing. It lets buyers know that their offer may not be the only one, as others may be interested.

4. First Impression is Key, Don’t Rush to Market

It is okay to wait a few days, or even an extra week to make your property look the best it can before showing it to buyers. Selling a property can be one of the biggest transactions in your life, so do not feel pressured to put your listing out there as soon as you possibly can. The hot market will not go away when you wait an extra week to show your house. Instead, take advantage of the first wave of people who are seeing your home at its best.

5. An Accepted Offer Right Away is Not Always the Best One

An immediately accepted offer can mean that you undervalued your property and you are leaving money on the table. Unless you are in  an urgent situation, being on the market a little bit longer can get you more for your property. There have been times when my sellers decide not to review offers until their house is on the market for three days or after the first open house. This can result in multiple offers, where you can ask buyers to give their highest and best by your deadline.


Home Buying in Years Past…


Recently, the Seattle Times published a piece about a home on Capital Hill in Seattle.  This home, like most in the neighborhood is beautifully well kept, and has stood the test of time.  Although originally built as a single family residence, it has since been renovated to hold 11 apartments.  What makes this property unique though, is that it was ordered from a catalog! Sears Catalog Homes were just that.  You could browse floor plans in the catalog, decide which you liked, and they’d ship all of the materials to you so that you could build the home yourself! Pretty wild!

To read the Seattle Times piece, click here.

**photo taken from previous Zillow rental advertisement.

The New Dungeness Lighthouse


At the end of the Dungeness Spit between Sequim and Port Angeles is a lighthouse that has been operational for over 150 years.  Accessible only by foot during low tide, the five mile hike into the lighthouse is surely a memorable one, and the buildings once you arrive are well worth the effort it took to get there.  If you find yourself wanting to stay, or if you want to skip the hike and take a boat ride instead, check out the New Dungeness Lighthouse Keeper’s Program.  You can rent the facility (single rooms or the entire guest house) for a week at a time at a very reasonable price.  In return you do a few chores around the facility.  Such a neat opportunity! Learn more here.

Home Improvements that Pay Off

Here’s a look at this year’s trends for popular remodeling projects and how those projects retain resale value in the Pacific region of the country for mid-range homes.

Entry Door Replacement (steel) – Job cost: $1,366 Resale value: $1,683, Cost recouped. 123.0%

Deck Addition (wood) – Job cost: $11,685 Resale value: $11,828, Cost recouped. 101.2%

Garage Door Replacement – Job cost: $1,756 Resale value: $1,929, Cost recouped. 110.0%

Attic Bedroom – Job cost: $60,675 Resale value: $55.646, Cost recouped. 91.7%

Bathroom Remodel – Job cost: $19,436 Resale value: $16.681, Cost recouped. 85.8%

Window Replacement (wood) – Job cost: $12,489 Resale value: $11.911, Cost recouped. 95.4%

Two-Story Addition – Job cost: $183,801 Resale value: $136,524, Cost recouped. 74.3%

Deck Addition (composite) – Job cost: $17,484 Resale value: $13,995, Cost recouped. 80.0%

Sunroom Addition – Job cost: $83,694 Resale value: $47,488, Cost recouped. 56.7%

Bathroom Addition – Job cost: $45,635 Resale value: $33,715, Cost recouped. 73.9%

Window Replacement (vinyl) – Job cost: $11,465 Resale value: $10,372, Cost recouped. 90.5%

Source: Morderno Real Estate

Getting the Garden You Want

If you are like most homeowners, spring is that time of year when you finally get into your yard, take a look around, and immediately feel overwhelmed. A yard can be a great place to feel productive and actually learn new skills, but it can also be a slow-going and expensive project. Fall and winter weather can create a messy, overgrown yard. You might have erosion issues, weeds, fallen branches, dead plants, and empty containers to contend with. You might even have repairs that need fixing, like a broken fence, wiggly stair railing, or drainage issues. Here are some great tips to help you make the most out of your yard work this season and help lay a good foundation for your garden.

1. Take care of what’s broken first

Before you launch into planting new flower beds, be sure you repair any structures on your property that are broken or in need of repair. The deck, stairs, fencing, gutters or any concrete work that poses danger to people or could lead to more property damage should be addressed first. If you are unable to do the work yourself, hire a contractor. You’ll also want to make sure your lawn and yard equipment is in good shape. Sharpen your tools so that they work properly, lubricate and clean off the mower, and make sure everything is in working condition and safe to use. You’ll want to assess your trees, shrubs and plants and see what is dead or damaged. Winter can be particularly harsh on even the hardiest of plants, and dead branches can pose a real danger in the yard.  Having a safe and functional yard is the first step towards a healthy and beautiful garden that everyone can enjoy.

2. Get inspiration from your neighborhood

Sometimes the best sources of inspiration are right around you. Your neighbors have the same climate, soil conditions and rainfall that you do, so see what plants are working in their yard how they have designed their garden space. This is an excellent way to get familiar with the types of plant species that are successful in your region and get inspiration for landscaping and curb appeal. Keep in mind that if you see an enviable yard, that person has most likely spent many years cultivating it. So although you may not be able to immediately replicate the landscape of your favorite home, you can certainly learn from their choices and use that as a guide for your own yard.

3. Get expert advice from a master gardener

A master gardener is a person who has gone through a formal training in the field of gardening. Local universities and extension programs provide classes, testing and educational programs for people interested in taking their gardening knowledge to the next level. Master gardeners not only know their local flora and fauna, they are trained in sustainable gardening practices, have studied the environmental impact of gardening including water conservation, are knowledgeable of invasive species of plants, and are interested in educating the public about successful gardening techniques. Many nurseries host free master gardener sessions where you can ask specific questions about your yard like how to design a perineal garden, natural pest control methods and general plant selection. This is a great way to get professional-level advice for your own garden.

4. Know your soil

Before you run out and purchase soil amendments, plant nutrients or fertilizer, test your soil to see what nutrients it is actually lacking. Soil kit testers are inexpensive and can be an excellent way to understand why certain plants aren’t growing well in your yard. Plants need a particular pH level for optimal growth and health; soil that is too acidic (with a low pH) or too alkaline (with a high pH) may not support your favorite flowers, for example.  In addition to testing the pH levels, you should also have a good understanding of your soil composition. Is your garden sandy, rocky or mostly clay? You may need to amend your soil with good-quality top soil to build a better base for your plants. Or, if this proves to be too expensive, look for plants that adapt well to your type of soil.

5. Start composting

Compost is the result of decomposed organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or plant nutrient. In other words, compost is like a vitamin pill for your plants, and can contribute to healthy soil conditions, moisture retention, weed control, and general good yard condition. Compost can be created a number of different ways: you can add food scraps to a compost bin where it will decompose, place yard waste scraps in an open compost area, or place worms in a compost container (called vermicomposting) which will produce manure for the yard. All of this “black gold” created from these various compost methods can be added to your soil, on your lawn, or in a produce garden to help create robust and healthy plants. The benefits of composting go beyond the garden. Composting can help reduce waste in our landfill and can be a great way to get rid of your eggshells, coffee grounds, grass clippings or dead leaves. Buying compost is expensive, so try it at home for a low-cost method.

6. Save those plant tags

The tags that come with your new plants may not have tons of detailed information, but they may prove useful in the future. Knowing the species name of the plant is important, especially if you want to learn best practices for pruning, fertilizing, watering, spacing, or any other pieces of information that can affect the health of the plant. You can keep these tags in a garden notebook for quick reference, or write the species name of the plant on a plant tag and affix it to the plant. This is a great way to become more of a plant expert and be able to identify plants at the nursery as well.

7. Be mindful of watering

Planning your garden and landscape usually means focusing on plants, colors or design, but how you intend to water everything should also be top of mind during the planning and planting stages. Planting a beautiful flower bed that is too far out of reach of your sprinkler system, or adding plants that require lots of water, will actually become problematic to your budget: dead plants waste money, and too much watering means a higher water bill. Experts agree that water conservation should always be part of your landscape conversation, no matter what region you live in. A great way to plan for watering is to plant by water need, grouping similar water-need plants together to make irrigation more efficient. If you have a sprinkler system, you should have the sprinkler heads checked annually to make sure they aren’t wasting water. Additionally, having a good layer of mulch around your plants is an excellent way to ensure that moisture is being retained and can help prevent water run-off.

8. Create focal points for an expert look

The best landscapes and backyards use a little design trick that works no matter what size your space is: have a focal point. This could be as simple as a bird bath, water feature, tree, a park bench, or a large container filled with flowers. The idea is that this focal point creates a sense of perspective and depth in the yard and grabs the eye’s attention, making your brain think that something interesting is going on. Large yards can have several focal points that lead the eye across the yard or down, let’s say, a path to a bench. Small yards can look larger with clever uses of structure like an arbor, or something directional like a pathway. It doesn’t matter that this pathway leads to anything, it’s the illusion that there is direction and momentum that makes for an interesting and engaging space. If you don’t know where to begin, start by organizing things you already have like a small sitting area, or a large container or two, and try grouping them in the garden. You can use this a base in which to landscape or garden around, adding plants, flowers or features slowly over time.

9. Use native plants

Native plants are plants that are naturally found in your region or climate conditions. These are “local” plants that should adapt easily to your soil, altitude, temperature and overall climate. Ideally these plants are somewhat low maintenance and won’t need a multitude of expensive soil amendments, toxic fertilizers, or excessive watering. Experts feel that native plants are a more sustainable way to plan your garden, and won’t cause strain on the environment like a non-native plant can. Native plants are also thought to coexist more successfully with native insects, birds and animal life, and can create a better environment for living creatures who may rely upon these plants for food or shelter. Most nurseries should have a native plant section or be able to help you find the plants you are looking for. You may even already have these plants in your yard and can possibly help propagate them or encourage their growth.

10. Know when to hire a professional

Even the greenest of thumbs needs professional landscaping help from time to time. There may be a larger project that needs to be done with professional-grade equipment, labor intensive jobs that require many hands, or structural elements that may be beyond your skill level. You might also want to hire someone to design and create the right type of “foundation” for your yard or simply clean up and clear a huge mess. If you are considering hiring a professional landscaping company, it’s a good idea to know your budget and the ideal scope of the project. Have them visit your yard in person so that they can assess the space, take a look at the overall landscape and point out any issues or work that may affect the budget (like erosion control, permitting, or drainage issues). If you have any must-have elements like specific plants or colors, be sure you have that information for your meeting.