Local Happenings: Social Distancing Edition (March & April)

With the cancellation of major local events and a statewide shelter in place order, now is a great time to find alternative ways to stay entertained and support the community while still keeping a safe distance.

Intentionalist recently shared a helpful roundup of 10 ways to support local small business owners and employees. Here are a few ways to stay productive while hunkering down.

Support Comic Con Creators

The postponement of Emerald City Comic Con left many artists, writers, cartoonists and creators who depend on income generated by convention sales in the lurch. To help mitigate the unexpected expense of covering travel costs, unsold merchandise, and lost sales, creators are holding flash sales and fundraisers. Local businesses have also put together pop-up shopping events and virtual shopping networks to help out. Check out this Geekwire roundup and pay a visit to some of the shops to support these independent artists, and considering supporting the Seattle arts community at large through donations or online shopping. This GoFundMe is a good place to start.

Order Takeout from Local Restaurants

Support the local food scene by ordering in. Delivery services like Postmates and Grubhub are elevating the experience with no-contact delivery options. While these apps are convenient, they can be an added expense for restaurants so, if you can, consider ordering takeout directly from the restaurant and picking it up yourself. (In light of the recent closure mandate, many restaurants are offering drive-thru or curbside pickup options, so you don’t even need to enter the restaurant.)

Donate to a Food Bank

Seattle-area food banks have been hit hard recently, particularly since many items commonly donated by local grocers have been consistently sold out. Food banks serve our most vulnerable populations, which is more important now with kids out of school and parents potentially out of work. You can donate food and bags as well as your time — volunteers are needed to help pack food bags and make home deliveries to those who can’t leave their homes. The South Seattle Emerald has published a list of ways to get involved HERE and you can use this MAP to find local food banks.

Donate Blood

Did you know it takes 1,000 donations per day to keep our blood supply stable? Bloodworks Northwest has declared a local blood supply emergency. Mobile blood drives make up almost 60% of our region’s supply, but many have been canceled due to the coronavirus. If you are healthy and able, you can donate blood directly at any of Bloodworks Northwest’s donor centers.

Join a Virtual Book Club

Connect with others and converse over a good book, all from the comfort of your home. The Stranger is hosting a coronavirus book club called The Quarantine Club. You can get all the details and read about the first book selection HERE. If this club isn’t the right fit, consider starting a book club of your own! Share your favorite selections with friends and foster conversation over social platforms.

Take a Hike

There’s no shortage of scenic hikes surrounding Seattle. From stunning parks with sweeping views right here in the city to breathtaking mountain peaks, there are plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Hiking is explicitly allowed with the new shelter in place order, as long as PROPER SOCIAL-DISTANCE is kept in the process. With that said, staying closer to home and going to urban parks on off hours to avoid crowds is advised. “Nature’s not closed, but staying closer to home is the best choice,” says Kindra Ramos, director of communications at the Washington Trails Association. Read more HERE

Catch a Concert Online

As the coronavirus outbreak takes its toll on the arts community, many venues are getting creative and streaming their services online. The Seattle Symphony is now streaming previous performances as well as new soloist performances on Facebook and YouTube. While many are turning to YouTube, there are other streaming services where you can catch a variety of live performances. Checkout The Verve for a handful of options. You can also take this opportunity to explore museums around the world from the comfort of your couch, thanks to these virtual tours.

 


This post is an edited version of the original that appears on GettheWReport.com

Posted on March 25, 2020 at 11:22 pm
Heidi Renee | Category: Local Community, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Protecting Your Home’s Air Quality

Image Source: Canva

 

Most of us tend to think of air pollution as something that occurs outdoors where car exhaust and factory fumes proliferate, but there’s such a thing as indoor air pollution, too. Since the 1950s, the number of synthetic chemicals used in home products have increased drastically, while homes have become much tighter and better insulated. As a result, the EPA estimates that Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. 

 

Luckily, there are many ways to reduce indoor air pollution. We all know that buying organic and natural home materials and cleaning supplies can improve the air quality in our homes, but there are several other measures you can take as well. 

 

How pollutants get into our homes 

 

Potentially toxic ingredients are found in many materials throughout the home, and they leach out into the air as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. If you open a can of paint, you can probably smell those VOCs. Mold is a VOC that can build up in the dampest parts of your home like the laundry room or crawl spaces. Another example is the “new car smell” that seems to dissipate after a while, but VOCs can “off-gas” for a long time, even after a noticeable smell is gone. 

 

Many materials used to build a home contain chemicals like formaldehydetoluene, xylene, ethanol, and acetone, and even lead. VOCs can also be in the form of pet dander or dust. Fortunately, VOCs from building materials dissipate over time. For that reason, the highest levels of VOCs are usually found in new homes or remodels. If you are concerned about VOCs, there are several products you can buy that are either low- or no-VOC. You can also have your home professionally tested. 

 

How to reduce VOCs in your home 

 

Choose your building materials wisely  

 

  • – Use tile or solid wood for flooring—hardwood, bamboo, or cork
  • – Choose solid wood or outdoor-quality plywood that uses a less toxic form of formaldehyde. 
  • – Choose low-VOC or VOC-free paints and finishes 

 

Purify the air  

 

  • – Make sure your rooms have adequate ventilation, air out newly renovated areas for at least a week 
  • – Clean ductwork and furnace filters regularly 
  • – Install air cleaners if needed 
  • – Use only environmentally responsible cleaning chemicals 
  • – Plants are a natural solution to help clean the air 
  • – Air out freshly dry-cleaned clothes or choose a “green” cleaner 

Pick the right carpet 

 

  • – Choose “Green Label” carpeting or a natural fiber such as wool or sisal
  • – Use nails instead of glue to secure carpet 
  • – Install carpet LAST after completing painting projects or wall coverings
  • – Air out newly carpeted areas before using  
  • – Use a HEPA vacuum or a central vac system that vents outdoors
  •  

Prevent mold  

 

  • – Clean up water leaks fast 
  • – Keep humidity below 60 percent, using dehumidifiers if necessary 
  • – Refrain from carpeting rooms that stay damp 
  • – Insulate pipes, crawl spaces, and windows to eliminate condensation 
  • – Use one-half cup of bleach per gallon of water to kill mold in its early stages 

If you would like to learn more about VOCs and indoor air quality, please visit http://www.epa.gov/iaq/ 

 


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

Posted on March 25, 2020 at 11:14 pm
Heidi Renee | Category: For Your Home, Local Community | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Matthew Gardner – Will There Be A Recession in 2020?

Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, answers the most pressing question on everyone’s minds: Will there be a recession in 2020? Here’s what he expects to see.


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

Posted on January 29, 2020 at 7:54 am
Heidi Renee | Category: Buying a Home, Gardner Report, Housing Market, Selling your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Windermere’s Winter Drive Collects Nearly 6,000 Items for Mary’s Place

 

It’s another fall season and the fourth year of Windermere’s #TackleHomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks. As a part of this campaign, Windermere hosts an annual “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive. This year, 33 Windermere offices in in the greater Seattle area* participated in the drive, collecting new hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, socks, and other warm winter items for Mary’s Place.

 

Mary’s Place is a non-profit that provides safe, inclusive shelter and services to support women, children and families on their journey out of homelessness. Since 1999, Mary’s Place has helped hundreds of women and families move out of homelessness into more stable situations. But shelter capacity is limited and there are still hundreds of families sleeping outside in cars and tents each night, so Windermere collected items to help them stay warm this winter.

 

During the four-week drive, our offices collected donations from agents, staff, and the community, which included over 630 hats, 680 pairs of gloves, over 200 scarves, over 2,000 pairs of socks, and an assortment of coats, jackets, sweaters, blankets, toiletries and other items, bringing our grand total to nearly 6,000 items collected for Mary’s Place.

 

One office made the drive extra special by partnering with a local knitting group. The Windermere Mercer Island office partnered once again with the Mercer Island Tuesday Knitters, to make cozy hats and scarves. This year the knitting group contributed 67 hand-knitted hats and scarves to the winter drive.

 

The staff at the Mary’s Place donation center in South Seattle were grateful to receive the bins full of donated items that were delivered by Gentle Giant Moving Company. “We are so incredibly grateful to our Windermere family for all that they do for our families!” said Marty Hartman, Mary’s Place Executive Director. “These gifts of warm winter gear will keep our kids and families warm and loved this winter!”

 

Windermere is also grateful to partner with Gentle Giant Moving Company on our winter drive. For the past four years, they have generously given their time, muscle, and trucks to pick up and deliver all of the donations.

 

And this drive would not be possible each year 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 fourth annual winter drive a success and for supporting families experiencing homelessness in the greater Seattle area!

 

*Participating Windermere offices:

BellevueBellevue CommonsBellevue WestFederal WayFederal Way-West CampusKentKirklandKirkland Yarrow BayLynnwoodMercer IslandMill CreekProperty Management – BellevueProperty Management – EdmondsProperty Management-EverettProperty Management – Seattle NorthProperty Management – SouthRedmondSeattle-EastlakeSeattle-Green LakeSeattle-GreenwoodSeattle-LakeviewSeattle-Madison ParkSeattle-Mount BakerSeattle-NorthgateSeattle-NorthwestSeattle-Pike/PineSeattle-Queen AnneSeattle-Sand PointSeattle-Wall StreetSeattle-West SeattleServices CompanyShorelineSnohomish

 


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

Posted on December 4, 2019 at 11:47 pm
Heidi Renee | Category: Giving Back, Local Community | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

A Star is Reborn: Iconic Seattle Macy’s Star to Return in Time for the Holidays


It looks like the iconic downtown Seattle holiday star will be back this year for at least one more time. Sources say a local sign company has been hired to repair and restore the 62-year-old holiday decoration that has graced the old Bon Marche (or, more recently, Macy’s) department store at the corner of 4th Avenue and Pine Street since the 1950s. Workers have been visible on the roof of the building since earlier this week.

When Macy’s announced in September that the store would close in early 2020, it was also revealed that the old star was in disrepair and would not be installed this year. A Macy’s spokesperson said that new owners of the building would display a “reimagined” star next year.

Multiple KIRO Radio listeners had contacted the station when news first broke hoping to learn more about the condition of the star and the feasibility of it being repaired in time for this year’s holiday season. In the past several weeks, Wendy James, daughter of late star designer Bob James, launched a Facebook page and began a campaign to bring the star back.

No details have been confirmed, but it looks like the old star — repaired and refurbished — will be part of the traditional tree-lighting and holiday parade scheduled to take place at Westlake Park on Friday, Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving.

 


This was originally posted on mynorthwest.com by Feliks Banel, and on the GettheWReport.com

Posted on November 25, 2019 at 6:45 am
Heidi Renee | Category: Local Community | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A Gold Thanksgiving

Image Source: Shutterstock


We’re in the thick of autumn now, with Thanksgiving just days away. That means it’s time to start considering how to best showcase your home before the guests arrive.

One of the cheeriest bits of fall is the shifting colors that bring a canopy of rustic hues to a walk through the neighborhood. You can bring that cozy feeling inside yourself with some golden-dipped creativity.

 

Gilded Pears – Use real or fake pears, whichever you prefer, spray paint gold, and allow them to dry completely. You can add little flags to the top if you’re really feeling crafty.

 

Magnolia Wreath – Collect some Magnolia branches and use a wreath frame as a base. Spray paint the green side of each leaf with gold and then assemble using wire. It’s not as complicated as it looks!

 

Dipped Pinecones  – First, you’ll want to make sure your cones are clean and dry. Apply gold leaf adhesive using a foam brush; deciding how much you add will determine how much of the cone is covered in gold. After they dry, consider gold leafing the cone’s scales. Wrap it around the cone and use a clean foam brush to rub it into the adhesive. Then give it a light spray with sealant and allow them to dry.

 

Gold Acorns – Hand pick your acorns, clean, and oven-dry them to make sure they are pest free. Paint them gold and then add a layer of clear shellac for a shiny look. Lastly, you’ll want to use a hot glue gun to attach the caps since they naturally fall off after the acorns dry. You can use these as filler in a glass vase or simply scatter them on a tabletop.

 

Shimmering Maple Garland – All you’ll need is a bag of artificial leaves, bought at any craft store, some Elmer’s glue, glitter, and string. Use a paintbrush to apply glue to each leaf and sprinkle lots of glitter over them. Let the glue set, then shake off the excess glitter, punch a hole at the top and attach a ribbon. Tie them all to a large strand and voilà, a perfect garland for the holidays.

 

Petite Pumpkins – If you are still head over heels for pumpkins, then using small ones for place cards will add some spice to your table. Tape each pumpkin halfway with painters tape, choose a design with horizontal, diagonal, or however you want! Next paint the bottom portion with gold craft paint (may require multiple layers) and with the last layer still wet, generously sprinkle gold glitter over the painted half. After your pumpkin is dry and you’ve shaken off the excess glitter, wrap beading foil tightly around the stem. Leave a little extra at the end for you to bend for your place card.

 

Find these and more decor ideas on Windermere’s Pinterest Board, “A Gold Thanksgiving.”


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

Posted on November 21, 2019 at 9:27 pm
Heidi Renee | Category: For Your Home | Tagged , , , , ,

Local Market Update – November 2019

A steady influx of buyers continued to strain already tight inventory throughout the area in October. Home sales were up, as were prices in much of the region. With our thriving economy and highly desirable quality of life drawing ever more people here, the supply of homes isn’t close to meeting demand. Homeowners thinking about putting their property on the market can expect strong buyer interest.

EASTSIDE

As the Eastside continues to rack up “best places” awards, it’s no surprise that the area is booming. Development is on the rise, fueled primarily by the tech sector. The appeal of the Eastside has kept home prices here the highest of any segment of King County. The median single-family home price in October was stable as compared to the same time last year, rising 1% to $900,000.

VIEW FULL EASTSIDE REPORT

KING COUNTY

King County’s 1.74 months of available inventory is far below the national average of four months. Despite the slim selection, demand in October was strong. The number of closed sales was up 5% and the number of pending sales (offers accepted but not yet closed) was up 11%. The median price of a single-family home was down 2% over a year ago to $660,000. However, some areas around the more reasonably-priced south end of the county saw double-digit price increases.

VIEW FULL KING COUNTY REPORT

SEATTLE

Seattle home prices took their largest year-over-year jump in 12 months. The median price of a single-family home sold in October was up 3% from a year ago to $775,000, a $25,000 increase from September of this year.  Seattle was recently named the third fastest-growing city in America.  Real estate investment is surging. A growing population and booming economy continue to keep demand for housing –and home prices—strong.

VIEW FULL SEATTLE REPORT

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

Both the number of home sales and home prices were on the rise in Snohomish County in October. Overall homes sales increased 7%, and the median price of a single-family home rose 5% over a year ago to $495,000.  Supply remains very low, with just six weeks of available inventory.

VIEW FULL SNOHOMISH COUNTY REPORT


This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com

Posted on November 18, 2019 at 9:30 pm
Heidi Renee | Category: Housing Market, Local Market Updates | Tagged , , , , , , ,

SEATTLE’S MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME TOPS $93K

The median income in Seattle reached more than $93,000 in 2018, jumping by close to $7,000 from the previous year, according to data released this week.

The data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed the median household income in Seattle was $93,481. Still, thousands of individuals in Seattle were making far less — with many earning amounts making it nearly impossible to afford the cost of living in the city.

The data showed of the 338,002 households analyzed, more than 19,000 were making less than $10,000. Another 27,621 households were making between $10,000 and $24,999 a year. About 20% of households in Seattle were making $34,999 or less per year.

On the other end, close to 100,000 households were making between $100,000 and $199,999 with more than 60,000 households making$200,000 or more a year.

The data found the median income in Seattle was far above the national median income, which was at $61,937 in 2018. Nationally, between 2017 and 2018, the median income increased by less than 1%. The median income in Washington was just more than $74,000. The poverty rate in Washington also declined slightly to 10.3% between 2017 and 2018, according to the data.

Among black households in Seattle, the median income was just $42,527 — far less than the median income among all households in the city. About 17% of the nearly 20,000 black households tracked made below $10,000 in 2018, according to the data. About 45% of black households made less than $34,999. About 20% of black households made $100,000 or more.

Of the more than 641,000 individuals over the age of 16, 470,517 were in the labor force, according to the report, and 17,000 were counted as unemployed. More than 170,000 were not in the work force.

The census data shows a wide range of incomes, representing individuals living in poverty and those making far above the median income.

A report released last month also showed Seattle ranks near the top for most expensive cities in the country.

According to a study released late last month, Seattle was ranked the seventh most expensive U.S. city to live in. A cost of living study published by The Council for Community and Economic Research on the second quarter of 2019, found Seattle ranked below cities including New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The city had previously ranked fifth in the index. The study uses research on the cost of “housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.”

Seattle and King County have recently been trying to address issues of housing and affordability, putting forth various solutions and proposing new affordable housing units. Officials have also grappled with how to provide housing and services for the more than 11,000 homeless individuals living in King County.

This was originally posted on seattle pi by Becca Savransky. And on the GettheWReport.com Blog

Posted on November 5, 2019 at 4:27 am
Heidi Renee | Category: Local Community, Local Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Deal Breakers That Can Blindside Home Buyers

 

Purchasing a home can be a complex endeavor for even the most well-prepared home buyer.  You’ve diligently saved for your down payment, followed the market, researched agents and now you are ready to make an offer on your dream home.  Don’t let these 5 “Deal Breakers” come between you and your new home.

 

    1. Big Purchases on Credit. It is tempting to buy the furniture for your new home or a new car for the garage before the sale closes. Take care if you are making these purchases on credit. Large purchases on credit can have a major impact on your credit profile which effects your mortgage application. It’s a better plan to wait until after closing or pay cash for these transactions or you may be putting that furniture in a different living room than you originally picked them out for.

 

    1. Overpaying. Before your bank will approve your mortgage they will appraise the home you are purchasing.  If they feel you are overpaying they are likely to decline your mortgage application. If you find yourself in this situation consult with your agent on renegotiating your offer to be more in line with the bank’s appraised value.

 

    1. Purchasing too close to Foreclosure. If you are making an offer on a house that is facing foreclosure be sure to have a closing date set before the foreclosure date. Have your agent work with the lender to structure closing before the house goes back to the bank and into foreclosure.

 

    1. IRS liens. You’ve heard the old saying “Death and Taxes”.  Back taxes and liens can derail your attempts to get financing for a mortgage so be sure to have your books in order before filing your loan application.

 

    1. Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). CLUE is a database of insurance claims for both people and property.  Your home insurance rates are determined by the information about you and the property you plan to purchase which is contained in this report. Past claims for water damage, falling trees and even dog bites from present and past owners can multiply your insurance rates. Consult your agent about the CLUE report for your future home as soon as possible once your home purchase offer is accepted.

 

    When purchasing a home there will be challenges which you can plan for and the unexpected hurdles.  By educating yourself as a consumer and choosing a well trained real estate agent you can avoid many of the pitfalls of 21st-century home ownership.

     

    What about you? Tell me in the comments if you have had any “deal breaker” experiences.

     

    This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

    Posted on October 25, 2019 at 10:44 pm
    Heidi Renee | Category: Buying a Home, Tips for Buying a Home, Windermere | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    The Impact of Staging Your Home

    For more than 20 years, the benefits of staging a home have been well documented. Numerous studies show that staging helps sell a home faster and for a higher price. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 88 percent of home buyers start their search online, forming impressions within three seconds of viewing a listing. When a home is well staged, it photographs well and makes the kind of the first impression that encourages buyers to take the next step.

    Studies also indicate that buyers decide if they’re interested within the first 30 seconds of entering a home. Not only does home staging help to remove potential red flags that can turn buyers off, but it also helps them begin to imagine living there. Homes that are professionally staged look more “move-in ready” and that makes them far more appealing to potential buyers.

    According to the Village Voice, staged homes sell in one-third less time than non-staged homes. Staged homes can also command higher prices than non-staged homes. Data compiled by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development indicate that staged homes sell for approximately 17 percent more than non-staged homes.

    A measurable difference in time and money

    In a study conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association in 2007, a group of vacant homes that had remained unsold for an average of 131 days were taken off the market, staged, and relisted. The newly staged properties sold, on average, in just 42 days, – which is approximately 68 percent less time on the market.

    The study was repeated in 2011, in a more challenging market, and the numbers were even more dramatic. Vacant homes that were previously on the market for an average of 156 days as unstaged properties, when listed again as staged properties, sold after an average of 42 days—an average of 73 percent less time on the market.

    Small investments, big potential returns

    Staging is a powerful advantage when selling your home, but that’s not the only reason to do it. Staging uncovers problems that need to be addressed, repairs that need to be made, and upgrades that should be undertaken. For a relatively small investment of time and money, you can reap big returns. Staged properties are more inviting, and that inspires the kind of peace-of-mind that gets buyers to sign on the dotted line. In the age of social media, a well-staged home is a home that stands out, gets shared, and sticks in people’s minds.

    What’s more, the investment in staging can bring a higher price. According to the National Association of REALTORS, the average staging investment is between one percent and three percent of the home’s asking price, and typically generates a return of eight to ten percent.

    In short, less time on the market and higher selling prices make the small cost of staging your home a wise investment.

     

    Interested in learning more? Contact me for information about the value of staging and referrals for professional home stagers!

     

    (206) 940-6828

    heidirenee@windermere.com

     

     

    This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

    0 Comments

    Comment
    Posted on October 25, 2019 at 7:00 am
    Heidi Renee | Category: Selling your Home, Tips for Selling your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,