Category Archives: Seasonal

4 Reasons to Sell Your Home This Fall

Just like the fall leaves, the real estate market is changing. Here are 4 reasons to consider selling your home this fall.

4 Reasons to Sell Your Home This Fall

Buyer demand still outpaces the supply of homes for sale, so buyers are competing for the few homes that are on the market now. If you list now, before the cold weather sets in, you are likely to get multiple offers on your home, so you can choose the right buyer for your home.

Not sure if this is the right time, based on your specific circumstances? We can help. Call Team Marti today for  a 206-391-0388 for a no-obligation assessment.

3 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall

3 Reasons to Buy a Home This FallBuying a home can be a difficult decision, particularly in a hot real estate market, but research shows that buying a home is a great investment — and is more financially advantageous than renting. Here are three reasons to consider buying a home this fall:

  1. Prices will keep going up. According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, homes have appreciated by 6.7 percent in the last 12 months. They are expected to increase another 5 percent over the next year, so the home you are looking at buying today will be 5 percent more this time next year.
  2. Mortgage rates will also go up. Mortgage and banking experts project that interest rates for 30-year mortgages will go up, which means your monthly mortgage payment will also go up. Buy now and lock in an interest around 4 percent.
  3. You’re paying someone’s mortgage; it might as well be yours. Even if you are renting, you are paying your landlord’s mortgage. Why not take that same amount of money to buy your own home.

If you aren’t sure if this is the right time for YOU to buy, let us know. We’d be happy to meet with you to discuss your circumstances.

Team Marti’s Fall Maintenance Tips

Team Marti's Fall Maintenance TipsMake sure your home is ready for the changing seasons with this handy fall home maintenance checklist from Team Marti:

Inside:

  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change batteries.
  • Replace furnace filters.
  • Seal cracks and gaps around windows and doors.
  • Install storm doors and windows.
  • Check weather stripping around your garage door.
  • Clean your humidifiers.
  • Reverse direction of ceiling fans.

Outside:

  • Clean and repair gutters and downspouts.
  • Drain outside faucets and hoses.
  • Make repairs or repaint peeling or blistering paint.
  • Have your roof inspected and schedule repairs.
  • Clean and store lawn furniture.
  • Prepare your lawn and gardens for winter.
  • Check your driveway, sidewalk and patio for cracks.

 

 

5 Reasons to Sell Your Home This Fall

5 Reasons to Sell Your Home This FallThis summer was a great time to list your Kent, Covington, Maple Valley, Auburn or Black Diamond home, but if you missed your window, don’t despair. Fall is in the air, and in our current market, it is still a good time to sell. In fact, here are five reasons to consider selling your home this fall.

  1. Demand remains strong. According to the National Association of Realtors, buyer demand is strong across most of the country. In our area, home inventory is low, so buyers are competing for homes on the market, so sellers often get multiple offers once they list.
  2. There is less competition now. While inventory is low, experts anticipate that a new wave of homes on the market is coming. Why? The average number of years a homeowner would stay in their home was six, but it is now now, so homeowners who bought in 2008-2010 will have accumulated equity, giving them the freedom to put their homes on the market. If you wait until that happens, demand will drop, and so will prices.
  3. The selling process is quicker than normal. Because the housing market is competitive right now, buyers are doing their part to stand out from the crowd, so sellers will choose them. This includes getting pre-approved for a mortgage, so when they are ready to buy, they’ve already got a tentative commitment from their mortgage lender. This speeds up the process for closing.
  4. Now is the time to move up! According to CoreLogic, prices are expected to appreciate by 5.2 percent over the next year. That means if you want to upgrade to a larger home or purchase a luxury home, you will get a better price on that home now than you will a year from now. The longer you wait, the higher that luxury home will cost.
  5. It’s time to move to the next stage of your life. Right now buying a home makes more sense than renting one, so selling your home to purchase another one with appreciating value makes sense. Is your family growing? Did you just get married? Are you downsizing because you’re now an empty nester? These are all good reasons to sell your current home and to buy one that better suits your changing lifestyle.

If you have questions or would like to discuss whether or not this is the right time for you to sell your South King County home, let us know. Team Marti would love to help you understand your options!

 

4 Reasons to Buy a Home This Spring

For me, spring is a time for hope and renewal — with the flowers blooming, trees budding and birds chirping. This includes buying a home. After all, what better way to look at the year ahead than with a new (or new-to-you) home!

Here are four more reasons to buy a home this spring.

  1. Prices will keep going up. According to CoreLogic, home prices went up 7.2 percent between December 2015 and December 2016. They predict that home prices will increase another 4.7 percent by December 2017. If you buy your dream home now, you can prevent that price increase while watching your new home appreciate in value.
  2. Mortgage rates will also continue to increase. Over the last few months, mortgage rates have slowly crept up, hovering around 4 percent. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors anticipate that, over the next year, interest rates will climb another 0.05 percent. While that may not seem like much, even a slight increase in interest rate will affect how much your monthly mortgage payment will be.
  3. Whether you buy or rent, you are paying a mortgage payment. Yes, you read that right. If you are a renter, you are making your landlord’s mortgage payment. If you are buying your own home, you are also paying a mortgage. The big difference is that one will increase your assets and appreciate in value over time.
  4. There is more inventory available. In the spring, homeowners are more likely to list their homes, meaning that there may be more inventory available to choose from. Right now homes for sale are at an all-time low, but an increase in springtime inventory can make this an attractive time to buy.

Plan Ahead for Winter Storms with this Disaster Supply Kit

Basic Emergency KitWe don’t get a lot of snow in the low lying areas of Puget Sound, but once in a while, we get a big snow or ice storm. Prepare yourself and your family by having a basic disaster supply kit on hand. Here’s what Ready.gov recommends for your basic emergency kit.

  • Water for drinking and sanitation: 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days
  • Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Manual can opener for food (e.g., tuna, soup, etc.)
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Cell phone with chargers, including portable chargers
  • First aid kit: latex or sterile gloves, sterile dressings, cleansing agent like soap or antibiotic towelettes, antibiotic ointment, adhesive bandages in different sizes, eye wash solution, thermometer, prescription medications, prescribed medical supplies, scissors, tweezers, petroleum jelly or other lubricant, aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid and laxative
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Local maps

Download this handy Emergency Supply Checklist for easy preparation of your Disaster Kit.

 

11 Holiday and Winter Fire Safety Tips

Team Marti: 11 Holiday and Winter Fire Safety TipsThe holidays are a wonderful time of year to spend time with friends and family, decorate our homes for the season, and gather around a toasty warm fireplace. Unfortunately, some of these activities bring inherent dangers with them. Here are 11 holiday and winter fire safety tips from Pillar to Post to help keep your family and safe this holiday season.

  1. Before hanging holiday lights indoors or out, check for frayed or broken wires and plugs. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when connecting strings of lights together to prevent overload.
  2. Only turn on your holiday lights when someone is home, and be sure to turn them off before you go to bed each night.
  3. Candles are a beautiful way to decorate for the holidays, but they need to be used with caution. If you are using real candles, be sure they are in stable holders and located away from drapes, pets, children and other potential hazards. Never leave candles burning unattended.
  4. If you are using a live Christmas tree this year, be sure it is properly hydrated and placed in a proper stand. Be sure to check the water level daily, and use nonflammable decorations. Also, when the tree becomes dried out after the holiday, dispose of it as soon as possible. Some cities and scout troops collect the trees to use for mulch, so recycle it if you can.
  5. Check lamps, appliances and electronics regularly for frayed cords, loose or broken plugs, and exposed wiring. If any of those items are damaged, do not use that electrical item, and never run electrical wires or extension cords under carpets or rugs.
  6. Have your fireplace serviced every year, including cleaning and masonry repair.
  7. If you plan to use a space heater to heat your home, keep it away from beds, bedding, curtains, papers or anything else flammable. Keep it away from children and pets, and never leave it unattended. Turn space heaters off before going to bed at night.
  8. Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and change their batteries to keep them fresh. Home safety experts recommend changing the batteries when the time changes each spring and fall.
  9. Keep matches, lighters and candles away from children. Also, be sure to store flammable materials like gasoline, kerosene and propane outside and away from your home.
  10. When doing your holiday cooking and baking, be particularly careful in the kitchen. Grease fires and other kitchen fires and burns can be prevented with good cleaning and by taking great care while cooking. Have a fire extinguisher created to handle grease and fuel fires handy (pantry, under the sink, etc.).
  11. Make sure your family has and knows its emergency escape plan. Visit Ready.gov for information on creating a plan, and make sure all family members – including small children – know to dial 9-1-1 in case of a fire.

Thanks again to Pillar and Post for these great tips. We at Team Marti hope you and your family have a wonderful, safe holiday season!

7 Tips for Selling Your House in the Fall

Kent Realtor Marti Reeder: 7 Tips for Selling Your House in the FallThough the real estate market slows down a bit in the fall, it is still a good time to sell your home, especially in the greater Seattle area where home inventory and interest rates are both low. Here are some tips to help you prepare your home for sale.

 1. Clean up the exterior of your home. This means keeping your lawn, trees and shrubs neatly groomed, clearing out any flowers and plants that didn’t survive the summer, and keeping the leaves raked. It is also a good time to wash exterior windows, power wash the outside of your home, your front porch and deck.

2. Make the front of your home inviting. Don’t underestimate the value of curb appeal. You want the exterior of your home to be neat and clean, but you also want it to be inviting. This might mean putting flowers or plants (pumpkins even!) on your front porch, adding a seasonal wreath to your front door, giving your mailbox or front door a fresh coat of paint or replacing the old faded address numbers with something more attractive.

3. Clean your home’s interior, top to bottom. We always hear about spring cleaning, but fall cleaning is just as important. Give your home a thorough cleaning, including windows, blinds, ceiling fans, baseboards, floors, walls, if needed, etc. If you don’t have time, ask your Realtor® to refer you to a professional house cleaner in your area. It is well worth the money.

4. Declutter, depersonalize and organize your home, garage and any outbuildings. By doing so, potential buyers can more easily envision themselves in your home.

5. Prepare your home for fall weather. Take out or store window or portable air conditioners, replace screens with storm windows if your home has them, clean out your gutters, store your patio furniture, and consider having your furnace serviced.

6. Do minor repairs. This goes hand in hand with preparing your home for fall weather. Do the windows need caulking? Do any of the screens need repairing or replacing? Are any of your light fixtures broken or in need of an updated look?

7. Add seasonal touches to your home’s interior. This could mean a fall floral arrangement in your entryway, cozy autumn-colored throws in the family room, or a bowl of fall fruits on your kitchen counter. You could also take advantage of fall scents with candles or air fresheners – apple, cinnamon, pumpkin, etc.

During the initial walk-through of your home, your Realtor® can make additional suggestions for improving and staging your home to put the focus on its very best features. Happy selling!

 

14 Garage Sale Tips for Home Sellers

14 Garage Sale Tips for Home Sellers

Thinking about selling your home? One of the first steps to preparing your home for sale is organizing your home’s contents, decluttering and depersonalizing, so prospective homebuyers can imagine themselves in your home. A great way to get rid of stuff quickly – and make a little money – is to host a garage sale or yard sale.

Here are 14 garage sale success secrets to help you get started:

  1. Clean out your closets to find clothes, shoes and accessories that you never wear anymore. If they’re in decent condition, set them aside for the garage sale. If they are in poor condition, toss them. It will save you from packing them later.
  2. Declutter your kitchen cabinets to find unused appliances, extra vases, kitchen décor, baking pan duplicates and other items that you don’t really need.
  3. Go through one room at a time, selecting items that you no longer want, need or use, and price as you go. This will make it so much easier when it is time to set up.
  4. Get your kids and their friends to help. Whether your kids are 5 or 15, they can be useful. Younger ones can help put price stickers on items for sale, while older ones can help promote your garage sale online.
  5. “Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs1.” Everybody loves a good garage sale, so make sure you post signs in and around your neighborhood to list your garage sale, including days, hours and locations. The bigger and brighter the better. If you have an HOA though, make sure you follow any signage guidelines.
  6. Put larger price tags on bigger items like furniture, sporting equipment, etc., so prospective buyers won’t have to hunt for the price.
  7. Keep track of what you’ve sold and for how much. Consider lowering prices as the day comes to a close, so you can get rid of as much stuff as possible. Remember, whatever doesn’t sell has to be disposed of or packed up!
  8. Have lots of change on hand – small bills and coins – so cashing out customers is convenient and easy.
  9. More is better. Consider partnering with your neighborhoods to host your garage sales on the same days and times. This will draw more potential customers to your garage sale.
  10. Be flexible with your pricing. Sure, you paid $1,500 for that dining room set 15 years ago, but it has depreciated over time. Think about what you’d be willing to pay for an item in similar condition and scout other garage sale ads or Craigslist to see what similar items go for.
  11. Offer bulk pricing where appropriate. For example, you might price books at $0.25 each or the whole box for $3.00.
  12. Have a FREE box for smaller items that you want to get rid of. Happy Meal toys come to mind.
  13. Display your items as attractively as possible, on tables where possible, and in groupings of like items (e.g., books, record albums, shoes, etc.)
  14. Have a Plan B for items that don’t sell. Is there a local nonprofit where you could donate clothes and household goods too – maybe a local women’s shelter or Goodwill store? After the sale is over, pack it all up and haul it over. Don’t take it back into your house or garage. That just means more work later.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

1“Signs, signs, everywhere a sign” (“Signs,” song and lyrics by Tesla)

 

16 Ways to Beat the Summer Heat Without Air Conditioning

16 Ways to Beat the Summer Heat, Even Without Air ConditioningAccording to the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), only 20% of Northwest Washington homeowners have air conditioning, with 42% cooling their homes through a heat pump in 2012. Compare this to Eastern Washington homes where 65% have air conditioning with 52% of those having central air, or Southwest Washington where 40% of homes had air conditioning via heat pump.

Wow – only 20% have air conditioning! Until a few years ago, we only had high summer temps a few weeks every summer, but in the last three or four years, we have many more hot days than we used to. In fact, in April, the Seattle area broke high-temperature records by hitting 89 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Now that’s hot!

Even if you love the heat, it can make daily life less pleasant at times. For the 80% of homeowners in Northwest Washington without air conditioning, we offer 16 ways for staying cool this summer.

  1. Keep blinds and curtains closed to block out the sun. You’ll stay cooler and save on energy costs.
  2. Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise and at a higher speed during the summer.
  3. Close off rooms that get sun during the hottest part of the day, and allow those rooms to cool at night.
  4. On cooler summer evenings, open your windows to let the breeze in.
  5. Create a cross-breeze inside your home by strategically placing your fans.
  6. Replace your heavy winter and fall sheets with lightweight cotton sheets to keep your bed cooler.
  7. Make your own air conditioner by putting a shallow bowl with ice in front of a fan to create a cool mist.
  8. Turn off and unplug personal electronics and small appliances, which can radiate heat, when not in use. Every little bit helps!
  9. Don’t use your stove or oven for cooking. Instead, make meals that don’t require heat (sandwiches, salads, etc.), or that you can microwave indoors or grill outside instead.
  10. Staying hydrated with ice water will help keep your body temperature cool.
  11. Keep frozen treats on hand – popsicles, slushies, smoothies, etc.
  12. Make space in your refrigerator and/or freezer for wet washcloths, sheets and other little luxuries you can grab to cool off when the heat gets unbearable.
  13. Cool or cold showers, if you can stand them, can also help bring down your body’s temperature before bed time.
  14. Take a dip in the pool, run through a lawn sprinkler, visit a water park or wade in a local lake.
  15. Swap out incandescent light bulbs, which give off heat, and replace them with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which are cooler and more environmentally friendly. Learn how to choose the best CFLs at Energy Star.
  16. Make improvements that will help keep your home cooler in the long-term, such as planting shade trees strategically or adding awnings or outdoor shades to shield your home from the sun.

If these tips aren’t enough to help you beat the worst days of the heat, go to an air conditioned restaurant for dinner, hang out at the library or movie theater when the heat is at its worst, or offer to bring takeover to your friends who have air conditioning!

Sources: NEEA, MyNorthwest.com, Huffington Post, Greatist, Lifehacker