Safe Holiday Events Around Seattle

Safe Around the Sound: Socially Distant Holiday Happenings


Have some holiday cheer, 2020 style!  While traditional gatherings may be off the table, you can still make the most of the season with a new take on these favorite local events.  Safety is foremost with virtual platforms or a combo of social distancing & mask protocols. Just be sure to reserve your tickets early as attendance is limited this year. Scroll down for the details…

 

WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo

5500 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98103
www.zoo.org/wildlanterns
click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open Tues-Sun, 11/13/20 – 1/17/21  |  4:00 – 8:30 pm
  • Cost: $23.95 – $28.95 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • COVID Protocols: Masks covering the mouth and nostrils are required for everyone age 5 and up, and encouraged for ages 3-5 as well. Mesh/lace/exhaust valve style masks are not accepted. Limited admission during purchased time slot only. Social distancing.
  • Promotions: Zoo members get 20% off tickets.
  • Parking: $4 parking is available in all zoo lots
  • Food: Outdoor and grab-&-go refreshments are available at the pizza trailer on the North Meadow, and at Gather and Graze (with covered seating provided). You are also welcome to bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Event map
  • Closures: November 26, December 24 & 25

 

Virtual Winterfest at Seattle Center

305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109
www.seattlecenter.com/winterfest


 

A Christmas Carol by ACT Theatre

Radio-style audio play streamed on-demand at your convenience
https://acttheatre.org/a-christmas-carol-2020
click here to get your ticket

  • Dates/Times: Streaming on-demand 11/27/20 – 12/27/20
  • Cost: $20-$45 per household
  • Promotions: For households purchasing tickets at the $45 level, get your name and a special message added to the ACT website as a memento of the play

 

Reimagined Snowflake Lane at the Bellevue Collection

Bellevue Way & NE 8th Street, Bellevue WA 98004
http://snowflakelane.com/

Snowflake Lane

Image courtesy of snowflakelane.com


 

Westlake Center Virtual Tree Lighting & Holiday Activities

400 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101 (Westlake Park)
https://downtownseattle.org/events/holidays/

Westlake Tree Lighting


 

Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

5400 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407
www.pdza.org/event/zoolights
click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/27/2020 – 1/3/2021  |  5 – 9 pm
  • Cost: $10-$14 (free for kids 2 & under)
  • COVID Protocols: Masks covering the mouth and nostrils are required for everyone age 5 and up, and encouraged for ages 3-5 as well. There are special dates/times for those with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering. Limited admission during purchased time slot only. Social distancing.
  • Promotions: Discounted tickets for zoo members; BECU members save $1
  • Parking: Free parking in zoo lots
  • Food: Grab to-go dinner, drinks or snacks from the Plaza Cafe & food stands
  • Holiday Closures: December 24th & 25th
https://www.pdza.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Hero-zoolights-1440x500.jpg

Image courtesy of https://www.pdza.org


 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2019. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.


Posted on November 20, 2020 at 10:36 am
Windermere MI | Posted in Community, Homeowner Tips and Happenings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Payback times for energy-efficient home upgrades

 

Thinking of going green?  Today’s technology offers a whole host of ways to boost your home’s efficiency, reduce your carbon footprint and lower your energy bills.  Some upgrades can pay for themselves in a relatively short amount of time, while others with large price tags might take decades to start paying back.  The good news is that several studies have shown buyers are willing to pay a premium for green features—as much as 30% more for retrofitted green homes that become Energy Star or LEED-certified.  This means that even if those fancy new features don’t pay you back right away in energy savings, you might still be able to recoup part of the cost when you sell your home.  Below are the average payback times for some common items…just keep in mind that the actual payback time will depend on your initial costs and the amount of energy you typically use each month.

 

Solar Panels: 10 Years

 

According to EnergySage.com, the average cost for adding solar panels to your home in King County is about $13,850 for a typical 5kW system (a net cost of $10,249 after the 26% Federal Investment Tax Credit for 2020).  Based on the amount of energy they generate in our area, they usually pay for themselves in about 10.16 years.  Furthermore, a study commissioned by the Department of Energy found that home buyers across multiple states and home types were willing to pay more for homes with solar panels (about $15,000 for homes with a 3.6kW system).  This may help offset your costs should you need to sell your home before the payback period.


 

Tankless Hot Water: 12-20 Years

 

In addition to giving you endless hot water, tankless water heaters are also about 20% more energy efficient than traditional storage tanks and last about 10 years longer.  However, their additional equipment and installation cost means it can take quite a while for your energy savings to cover that difference—12-20 years for electric models and 22.5-27.5 years for gas models.  Their longer lifespan may ultimately help them pay off in the long run.


 

LED Bulbs: 5 Months

 

Looking for an easy investment with quick bang for your buck?  LED bulbs may cost more, but the amount of electricity they save more than covers the cost.  A 100W equivalent LED bulb costs about $6 to buy but uses only 13% the amount of energy of its incandescent counterpart.  Used 4 hours a day, it also reduces CO2 emissions by a whopping 262.93 pounds per year.  Depending on the number of bulbs you have and the frequency of their use, the dollar and carbon savings could really add up over time.


 

 

Our Seattle area’s temperate climate makes it a prime candidate for heat pump heating/cooling systems.  Your actual savings and payback time will depend on the type of system you choose and the amount of energy you use.  According to the US Department of Energy, an air source heat pump can reduce your electricity use for heating by about 50%, while the reduction range for a geothermal heat pump is anywhere from 30%-60%.  If you’re also replacing an A/C unit, the savings will add up even faster.  The average installed cost in 2020 is about $5,613 nationally but can vary quite a bit; it pays to do your research and make sure you’re choosing the right unit for your needs.  Boosting your home’s overall efficiency first can also increase your savings by allowing you to choose a smaller, more affordable unit.


 

Smart Thermostat: 2 Years

 

A feature of most modern green homes, smart thermostats save energy by automatically turning off the heating and A/C when you leave and learning your schedule to comfortably boost efficiency.  Nest estimates an average yearly energy savings of 10-15% or $131-$145 with its Learning Thermostat, which means it would pay back its $200-$250 price tag in under 2 years.  The ecobee4 is pricier at $300-$400 but claims to save 23% on heating and cooling (or more if you use their free eco+ upgrade).  With heating and cooling making up a large chunk of your household energy use, smart thermostats could potentially take a nice chunk out of your carbon footprint as well.

 


 

Find a Home with Windermere Real Estate

 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446

mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2020, Windermere Real Estate / Mercer Island


Posted on June 8, 2020 at 7:00 am
Jennifer Craven | Posted in Homeowner Tips and Happenings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What you need to know about the Washington State Seller Property Disclosure – Form 17

 

Washington State requires sellers of residential real property to thoroughly disclose material facts on a form called the Residential Real Property Disclosure Statement (often referred to as Form 17). Unless the buyer has expressly waived their rights, the seller must deliver this completed disclosure with 5 days after mutual acceptance.  The buyer then has a window of time to walk away with their earnest money at their discretion.

While sellers have always been required to disclose material facts, the Form 17 has been required by law (RCW 64.06.020) since January 1, 1995. It has undergone ten revisions since its inception, the last of which will go into effect in January. In addition to the residential disclosure, the state added an unimproved property (land) disclosure in 2007 (RCW 64.06.015) and a commercial property disclosure in 2012 (RCW 64.06.013). The current form is 6 pages long and includes most of the typical property issues requiring disclosure with a catchall question for anything left out.

 

Is every seller required to complete this form? Are there exemptions?

The statute allows very limited exceptions RCW (64.06.010) to completing the disclosure statement. They include transfers…

  • by foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure
  • that are gifts to a parent, spouse, domestic partner, or child
  • related to marital dissolution or dissolution of a state registered domestic partnership
  • to buyers who had a prior ownership interest in the property in the last two years
  • of an interest that is less than fee simple
  • made by the personal representative of the estate or by a trustee in bankruptcy
  • in which the buyer has expressly waived the receipt of the seller disclosure statement

However, if the answer to any of the questions in the section entitled “Environmental” would be “yes,” the buyer may not waive the receipt of the “Environmental” section of the seller disclosure statement.

 

What happens after delivery of the disclosure statement?

The buyer has three business days from receipt of the disclosure statement to cancel the agreement for the purchase of the property (unless they waived their rights to do so in writing).

This right to rescind is statutory, and the decision to revoke the offer may be made by the buyer at the buyer’s sole discretion. If the buyer elects to rescind the agreement, the buyer must deliver written notice of rescission to the seller within the three-business-day period.

Upon delivery of the written rescission notice the buyer is entitled to immediate return of all earnest money deposits and the agreement for purchase becomes void.

If the buyer does not deliver notice the disclosure statement is deemed approved and accepted by the buyer. The full provisions of this right are found in RCW (64.06.030).

 

What happens if the seller doesn’t deliver a completed disclosure?

If the seller fails or refuses to provide a disclosure statement to buyer within 5 days, the prospective buyer’s right of rescission extends until the earlier of three business days after receipt of the disclosure statement or the date the transfer has closed (unless the buyer has otherwise waived the right of rescission in writing). After closing, per RCW 64.06.040 (3) the seller’s obligation to deliver the disclosure statement and the buyer’s rights and remedies related to it terminate.

 

Some sellers are more forthcoming than others…

When sellers claim there are no issues to explain, you should be wary…very wary. In 34 years of practice, I have yet to see a perfect house. Whether a 10-million-dollar estate, a newly constructed home, or a $300,000 starter home, every house has a story and every buyer has a right to know about it so they can knowledgeably complete their due diligence.

Making full disclosure actually benefits the seller, too. By disclosing a condition, the seller shifts the burden of investigation to the buyer under Washington law. By remaining silent, a seller risks the appearance of concealment and a lawsuit.  Think of it this way: disclose an issue and if the buyer accepts it you move forward with no worries since they are barred from seeking compensation later; fail to disclose it and you could be looking over your shoulder for years.

I like to see issues disclosed on a disclosure statement. It makes me feel like the seller has been honest and transparent. When I see a “perfect” disclosure, I know the seller is either in total denial or has decided not to disclosure the little (or big) issues they know about. Most buyers expect far more disclosure from the seller than the law requires. While sellers don’t have a duty to inspect their home or look for defects, they do have a duty to disclose defects that affect the value, physical condition, or title to the property. Sellers should consider disclosure to be a form of insurance.

Instead of minimizing disclosures, a prudent seller will try to consider the property from the perspective of a buyer and then disclose what a buyer would want to know. Many of the conditions that lead to lawsuits would have been acceptable to the buyer if they had been disclosed in advance. Other conditions simply are not important enough to the buyer to fully investigate before purchasing a property. To maximize the benefit of disclosure law, sellers may want to make full disclosure of the property and neighborhood even if they have no legal duty to do so. It is usually better to be over-insured than not insured at all.

 

Buyers have duties, too…

In addition to a thorough inspection, investigating issues raised in the seller disclosure statement is one of the most important parts of due diligence in a real estate transaction. Buyers have a duty of thoroughness and inspection that should not be taken lightly.

The buyer should evaluate each disclosed item, and (especially) those items not disclosed, but easily discovered during a walk-through and inspection. If there are many items identified and not disclosed, a buyer should be concerned about other unseen issues that might also not be disclosed. A savvy buyer will investigate a home with limited disclosure more thoroughly and/or make the decision not to purchase form a seller who is seemingly not transparent with the truth.

It is also important to note that sellers typically have no duty to disclose neighborhood conditions or past events at the property, even though these may be issues of concern to the buyer. For instance, sellers usually have no legal duty to disclose the following conditions either at the property or in the neighborhood:

  • Death, murders, suicides, rapes or other crimes
  • Ongoing criminal or gang activity in the neighborhood
  • Registered sex offenders in the neighborhood (RCW 64.06.021)
  • Future development in the area
  • Political or religious activities in the area

If these or similar matters are of concern, buyer should conduct their due diligence prior to submitting an offer or include an inspection and “Neighborhood Review” contingency in the offer to allow them time to complete it as part of their purchase agreement.

 

What is the seller’s responsibility after delivery of disclosure statement?

The disclosure statute (64.06.040) states that if after delivering a completed disclosure statement, the seller learns from a source other than the buyer or others acting on the buyer’s behalf such as an inspector of additional information or an adverse change which makes any of the disclosures made inaccurate, the seller shall amend the real property transfer disclosure statement, and deliver the amendment to the buyer. The buyer then has the right to rescind the purchase agreement within three business days after receiving the amended disclosure statement.

No amendment is required if the seller takes whatever corrective action is necessary so that the accuracy of the disclosure is restored, or the adverse change is corrected, at least three business days prior to the closing date.

 

The seller disclosure statement is not a warranty

RCW 64.06.050 says the seller shall not be liable for any error, inaccuracy, or omission in the disclosure statement if the seller had no actual knowledge of the error, inaccuracy, or omission. This includes disclosures based on information provided by public agencies, or by other persons providing information within the scope of their professional license or expertise, including, but not limited to, a report or opinion delivered by a land surveyor, title company, title insurance company, structural inspector, pest inspector, licensed engineer, or contractor. This applies to the seller’s real estate broker as well.

This should give a conscientious seller the assurance that the statute provides for property disclosure only and is not a warranty of current or ongoing condition. Provided a seller discloses everything they know, or that a reasonable seller should have known, about their property, a seller should feel good in knowing they are not held liable for its condition.

 

Here are a few great online resources to add to your knowledge base:

Current local Form 17 Real Property Transfer Disclosure Statement: https://windermeremicom/files/2019/08/17_SellerDisclosureForm.pdf

The complete text of the Washington State Real Property Transfer Act: https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=64.06&full=true

NOLO Article: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/residential-home-sellers-washington-what-the-law-requires-you-disclose.html

 

Of course, nothing tops having an experienced pro to guide you through the process. They’ve seen hundreds upon hundreds of homes and can help you identify the solid finds from the duds with gorgeous looking veneer.

Choosing the right broker can save you thousands on your home purchase. Whether through local market knowledge and pricing analysis allowing you to make a smarter offer, recommendations and resources to thoroughly conduct your due diligence and avoid costly mistakes, or savvy contract negotiation to help you get the terms you need, having a Windermere broker on your side is an advantage you can’t afford to sacrifice.

 


 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2019. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.


Posted on May 11, 2020 at 1:33 pm
Windermere MI | Posted in Buyer Tips, Homeowner Tips and Happenings, Seller Tips | Tagged , , , , ,

2020 Home Trends

2020 Interior Design Trends: 5 Takeaways to Refresh Your Home

 

With 2020 now in full swing, we’re seeing some clear shifts in how homes are being designed and decorated.  Most notable for our area is the Modern Farmhouse trend with its juxtapositions of old & new, light & dark, and clean & rustic.  Softer grey and lagom neutrals are here to stay, but are now being contrasted with deep hues and warm metals.  Organic materials such as natural wood and potted plants are also gaining prominence.  Here are some key trends to consider as you refresh or renovate…

 

#1: High Contrast Hues


Deep blue is the “it” color in home decor, with Pantone’s “Classic Blue” and Sherwin-Williams’ “Naval” each taking color of the year honors.  Navy accent walls are gaining popularity in smaller spaces such as foyers, dining rooms and powder rooms.  Black is also back as an accent set against white in kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms.  High-contrast graphics are making an appearance on wallpaper and bathroom tile.


 

#2: Vintage Meets Modern


Whether it’s antique artwork, floral wallpaper or vintage tile, old world charm is making a comeback…with a twist.  This time around we’re seeing vintage framed art, patterns, woods and statement pieces being incorporated into modern spaces with clean lines.  The Modern Farmhouse epitomizes this trend with its clean new take on the old.


 

#3: The Non-White Kitchen


The all-white kitchen is making room for grey and painted cabinets to take the stage.  For the daring, “color pop” cabinets in deep blue, black or even red have been cropping up in the modern kitchen.  Kitchens that do have white cabinets are being spiced up with decorative tile floors and backsplashes, along with darker wood shelving and contrasting light fixtures.


 

#4: Comfy and Cozy


Soft shearling, rustic leathers and fluffy textured mohairs are gradually replacing the luxe velvet we saw in years past.  High performance outdoor-style fabrics have also gotten an upgrade and are appearing indoors on upholstered dining room chairs and couches.  Cushy wing-backed dining benches and chairs are another notable trend, part of an emphasis on making dining rooms less formal and more comfortable.  Another fun trend?  Curved sofas for the dining room and kitchen.


 

#5: Warm & Earthy Accents


Matte brass continues its popularity in fixtures and frames, often mixed with silver metals.  We’re seeing an infusion of aged wood accents, patina, rustic leathers and earthenware softening the clean lines of today’s minimalism.  Potted plants are also popping up on shelves and in windows with olive trees usurping fig trees as a favorite statement piece.


 

Need an instant home update?  Try adding throw pillows, blankets or artwork in hues from Pantone’s Spring/Summer 2020 color palette.

 


 

Find a Home with Windermere Real Estate

 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446

mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2020, Windermere Real Estate / Mercer Island


Posted on March 4, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Jennifer Craven | Posted in Buyer Tips, Homeowner Tips and Happenings | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Remodeling Cost vs. Value

Will Remodeling Pay Off?

 

Every year, Remodeling Magazine evaluates which projects bring the most return at resale in different markets around the country in their “Cost vs. Value” report.  While returns have dipped nationwide due to growing costs and consumer anxiety, Seattle still saw better pay-off on remodeling than the national average. The chart below shows cost vs. value on the most common remodeling projects…

 

Cost vs. Value for Common Remodeling Projects

 

When looking at the full list of projects, curb appeal projects seem to bring the most bang for your buck.

According to Remodeling Magazine, these are the six top projects in our region that currently have the best return on your investment when it comes time to sell. To see the full report, click here.

 

Manufactured Stone Veneer

As long as the new stone veneer is consistent with your neighborhood’s overall look, this siding accent was rated the most profitable project in the Seattle area.

Stone veneer can replace your home’s existing siding, adding a fresh, modern look that conjures a cozy vibe all the way from the street, before buyers ever step foot inside. In Seattle it can recoup 118.5 percent of the cost when you sell.

 

Garage Door Replacement

In the Seattle area, replacing your garage door will cost an average $3,882, but will increase your resale value by $4,136, recouping 106.6 percent of what you paid for it.

Due to its size, a garage door can have a big impact on a home’s curb appeal. But adding to your home’s aesthetic is only one advantage; the warranty that comes with the new garage door is also a selling point for potential buyers who can trust that they likely won’t have to deal with any maintenance issues in the near term.

 

Wood Deck Addition

While building a deck might seem like a big undertaking, it’s actually a pretty cost-effective way to add to your enjoyment and positively impact your home’s resale value. Seattle-area homeowners can expect to pay about $19,000, but they’ll recoup 95.1 percent of that when they sell.

Adding a deck extends the living space of your home and provides even more area for entertaining, relaxing, and enjoying the outdoors. Whether you choose a natural wood deck or a low-maintenance composite deck, you can pick from a variety of styles based on the lay of your land and the areas of your backyard you wish to highlight.


Siding Replacement

Depending on the size of your home, replacing the siding can be an expensive undertaking. However, it’s a project that comes with high returns. For the Seattle area, sellers can expect 94.9 percent of the costs recouped.

Not only is siding one of the first things a buyer sees, but it also serves as an indicator of the overall health of the home. Broken or damaged siding could mean that there are other problems with the home, such as pests and rot. Replacing old siding is a cost-effective way to boost your home’s curb appeal and ensure buyers are going to walk through your front door.

 

New Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows can add an instant update in both appearance and energy efficiency.  The average cost to replace 10 windows is about $19,501 but you’ll recoup 89.5 percent of that cost when it’s time to sell.  If any of your windows are fogged from broken seals then replacement will probably be a must before it’s time to sell.

 

Minor Kitchen Remodel

No need to move walls or appliances around, a minor kitchen remodel will do the trick to recoup 89.1 percent of the cost in our area.

An outdated kitchen can go from drab to fab and become a focal point with a fresh palette. Replace the cabinet doors with new shaker-style wood panels and metal or metal-looking hardware. Switch out the old counter tops with a cost-efficient option that matches the new look. Think about adding a resilient flooring option, then finish the project with a fresh coat of paint to the walls, trim, and ceiling.

 


 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2020.

Adapted from an article originally posted on Windermere.com. Remodeling data © 2020 Hanley Wood Media Inc. Complete data from the Remodeling 2020 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com.


Posted on February 3, 2020 at 9:58 am
Windermere MI | Posted in Homeowner Tips and Happenings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Planning for the Life Expectancy of Your Home

Planning Ahead: The Life Expectancy of Your Home's Components

 

Nothing in life lasts forever – and the same can be said for your home. From the roof to the furnace, every component of your home has a lifespan, so it’s a good idea to know approximately how many years of service you can expect from them. This information can help when buying or selling your home, budgeting for improvements, and deciding between repairing or replacing when problems arise.

 

According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) study, the average life expectancy of some home components has decreased over the past few decades.  (This might explain why you’re on your third washing machine while Grandma still has the same indestructible model you remember from childhood.) But the good news is the lifespan of many other items has actually increased in recent years.

 

Here’s a look at the average life spans of some common home components (courtesy of NAHB).

 

APPLIANCES. Of all home components, appliances have the widest variation in life spans. These are averages for all brands and models and may represent the point which replacing is more cost-effective than repairing. Among major appliances, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy, at about 15 years. Electric ranges, standard-size refrigerators, and clothes dryers last about 13 years, while garbage disposals grind away for about 10 years. Dishwashers, microwave ovens, and mini-refrigerators can all be expected to last about nine years. For furnaces, expect a lifespan of about 15 years for electric, 18 for gas, and 20 for oil-burning models. Central air-conditioning systems generally beat the heat for 10 to 15 years.

 

KITCHEN & BATH. Countertops of wood, tile, and natural stone will last a lifetime, while cultured marble will last about 20 years. The lifespan of laminate countertops depends greatly on the use and can be 20 years or longer. Kitchen faucets generally last about 15 years.  An enamel-coated steel sink will last five to 10 years; stainless will last at least 30 years; and slate, granite, soapstone, and copper should endure 100 years or longer. Toilets, on average, can serve at least 50 years (parts such as the wax ring, flush assembly, and seat will likely need replacing), and bathroom faucets tend to last about 20 years.

 

FLOORING. Natural flooring materials provide longevity as well as beauty: Wood, marble, slate, and granite should all last 100 years or longer, and tile, 74 to 100 years. Laminate products will survive 15 to 25 years, linoleum about 25 years, and vinyl should endure for about 50 years. Carpet will last eight to 10 years on average, depending on use and maintenance.

 

SIDING, ROOFING, WINDOWS & DECKS. Brick siding normally lasts 100 years or longer, aluminum siding about 80 years, and stucco about 25 years. The lifespan of wood siding varies dramatically – anywhere from 10 to 100 years – depending on the climate and level of maintenance. For roofs, slate or tile will last about 50 years, wood shingles can endure 25 to 30 years, the metal will last about 25 years, and asphalts got you covered for about 20 years. Unclad wood windows will last 30 years or longer, aluminum will last 15 to 20 years, and vinyl windows should keep their seals for 15 to 20 years. Cedar decks average 15-25 years if properly cleaned and treated, while high quality composite decks should easily last 30 years with minimal maintenance.

 

Of course, none of these averages matter if you have a roof that was improperly installed or a dishwasher that was a lemon right off the assembly line. In these cases, early replacement may be the best choice. Conversely, many household components will last longer than you need them to, as we often replace fully functional items for cosmetic reasons, out of a desire for more modern features, or as a part of a quest to be more energy efficient.

 

Are extended warranties warranted?

Extended warranties, also known as service contracts or service agreements, are sold for all types of household items, from appliances to electronics. They cover service calls and repairs for a specified time beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranty. Essentially, warranty providers (manufacturers, retailers, and outside companies) are betting that a product will be problem-free in the first years of operation, while the consumer who purchases a warranty is betting against reliability.

 

Warranty providers make a lot of money on extended warranties, and Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, advises against purchasing them.  You will have to consider whether the cost is worth it to you; for some, it brings a much-needed peace of mind when making such a large purchase. Also, consider if it the cost outweighs the value of the item; in some cases, it may be less expensive to just replace a broken appliance than pay for insurance or a warranty.

 


 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2019. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.


Posted on August 30, 2019 at 2:59 pm
Windermere MI | Posted in Buyer Tips, Homeowner Tips and Happenings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) Rate (eff. 1/1/20)

We Want YOU...to Know About the Excise Tax Change

 

Now that Washington State Senate Bill 5998 has been signed into law, our local real estate excise tax—the tax paid when you sell a property—will be getting a facelift in 2020.  The flat rate of the past will make way for a new tiered system which gives owners a tax cut on the first $500,000 of home value, keeps the current tax rate on the next $1 million of value, and then increases it sharply after $1.5 million.

 

The good news is that taxes will go down for the vast majority (~93%) of sellers in King County.  Sellers of luxury homes that fetch more than $1.56m, however, will be paying more—much, much more in the case of multi-million dollar home sales.

 

Wondering how the changes might impact your bottom line when it comes time to sell?  Scroll down or check out our quick reference worksheet

 

2020 CHnages to King County Excise Taxes

 

DETAILS & BACKGROUND

 

The previous flat state REET tax of 1.28% (1.78% after the 0.5% local portion is added) will be replaced on January 1, 2020, by the following rates (total REET after King County local portion is shown in parenthesis):

 

1.1% (1.6%) – Portion of selling price less than or equal to $500,000

1.28% (1.78%) – Portion of selling price greater than $500,000 and equal to or less than $1.5 million

2.75% (3.25%) – Portion of selling price greater than $1.5 million and equal to or less than $3 million

3.0% (3.5%) – Portion of selling price greater than $3 million


These thresholds may be adjusted again in 2022 and every four years after that using a formula for calculating value trends.


The current state real estate excise tax rate has been the same since July 1, 1989 while the local portion of the rate has been managed by each jurisdiction individually. You can find the full details in this Real Estate Excise Tax historical rates chart provided by the Department of Revenue.


The state provides a summary of the history and use of the real estate excise tax in Washington State detailing changes over the years. Currently, the bulk of the estate tax (92.3%) goes to the General Fund. Beginning January 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2023, revenue distributions must be as follows: 1.7 percent must be deposited in the Public Works Assistance Account; 1.4 percent must be deposited in the City-County Assistance Account; 79.4 percent must be deposited in the general fund; and the remaining amount must be deposited in the Education Legacy Trust Account. Beginning July 1, 2023, and thereafter, revenue distributions to the Public Works Assistance Account increases to 5.2 percent. You can find the full law and definitions in Chapter 458-61A WAC (Washington Administrative Code).

 

SO WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?

 

If you sell for $1,561,258 or less in King County, you will pay the same or less (up $900 less) in REET after 1/1/20. This is great news for most property owners in King County and across the state. Because the rate states the same on the portion of the selling price greater than $500,000 and equal to or less than $1.5 million as it currently is, all the savings comes in the portion below $500,000. This begins to whittle away as you creep above $1.5 million and into the higher tax rate of 2.75% (3.25%).


If you sell for more than that amount, you’ll be paying more–often much more. You can see from the quick reference chart below that the seller of a $2.5 million property will pay an additional $13,800, while a $5 million sale will cost an extra $55,550 and a $10 million sale a whopping $141,550 more.


Everyone will have a different take on the new tax rate, but if you have a valuable property and contributing more to the state’s coffers isn’t part of your charitable giving strategy, selling in 2019 might offer significant savings. On the other hand, selling in 2020 and beyond funds education and public works at greater levels than ever before, and that benefits everyone.

EXCISE TAX QUICK REFERENCE WORKSHEET


 

 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2019. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.


Posted on May 31, 2019 at 4:28 pm
Windermere MI | Posted in Homeowner Tips and Happenings | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Preparing Your Garage for an Electric Car

Electrify Your Home: How to Prep for an Electric Vehicle

 

Electric cars help lower emissions and fuel costs, improve fuel economy, and bolster energy security. And considering the volatility of gas prices—and their general skyward trajectory—electric fuel shows promise as an economic alternative.

But switching to an electric vehicle entails more than new driving habits and a conversation piece with strangers. It’s also a lifestyle update.

From setting up a charging station in the garage to maintaining optimal temperatures therein, check out these useful garage preparation tips to assure your electric vehicle battery is in tip-top shape.

 

Selecting a Charger: Level 1 vs. Level 2

Unfortunately, charging an electric vehicle might be a tad more involved than charging your smartphone. And unless you own a Tesla Model X, which can travel upwards of 300 miles on one charge, your electric plug-in vehicle could benefit greatly from a home station charger. That said, make sure you familiarize yourself with the two main levels of electric vehicle chargers supplied by home-based charging equipment and most public charging stations.

 

Level 1 vs. Level 2 Chargers

 

Level 1 Chargers

A Level 1 cord set charger delivers a standard household current of 110 or 120 volts and comes with most plug-in vehicles upon purchase. It’s outfitted with a three-pronged, household plug at one end that’s connected to a control box by a short cord. A longer 15-to-20-foot cord running from the other side of the box connects directly to the vehicle itself.

  • If time is not of the essence, a Level 1 could be the way to go. But be forewarned: What you get is, more or less, a trickle charge that affords roughly three to five miles per charging hour. For instance, the Nissan Leaf takes around 24 hours to fully charge on a standard 120-volt household outlet.
  • The upside is, Level 1 equipment doesn’t entail an elaborate setup of high-power circuit breakers or dedicated electrical lines, which are required by major appliances and Level 2 chargers.
  • Because cord sets are portable, plug-in vehicles can be charged virtually anywhere there’s a standard outlet, provided it isn’t a household outlet that’s patched into the same circuit as other demanding appliances—in which case the excess amperage could trip a circuit breaker.

 

 

Level 2 Chargers

If time is of the essence, consider installing a Level 2 charger, which delivers 240 volts and replenishes pure electric vehicles in about three hours—which is about seven to eight times faster than Level 1 equipment. Unlike the simplicity of Level 1 setups, though, Level 2 chargers will warrant the services of a professional due to the rigmarole of electrical codes, equipment setup, and necessary inspections.

  • Level 2 chargers cost anywhere between under $300 to over $1500, the price ultimately depending on cord length and amperage.
  • Level 2 outputs typically range between 16 to 30 amps, but professionals often recommend around 30- to 40-amp systems—an adequate overnight charge for most plug-in electric cars.

 

 

Installing a Charging Station

It’s worth mentioning that the “charger” you’re installing is technically referred to as Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE). This is the wall-mounted box with cord and plug that delivers electricity and functions as a communication and safety unit for the actual charger situated inside the vehicle itself.  The EVSE ensures the battery doesn’t overheat and shuts the charging session down if there’s a short circuit, power surge, or any other type of faulty hardware.

If you’ve opted for a Level 2 ESVE, you’ll likely need to reach out to a professional electrician to wire up equipment and determine where the ESVE should be situated in regards to where your vehicle is parked. Notwithstanding factors like outdated wiring, meters, and breaker panels, updating the garage for your electric ride should actually be pretty straightforward.

In rare instances, old wiring may need to be replaced. But by and large, the process is fairly easy and uncomplicated. What’s more, the plug itself isn’t any more difficult to install than a standard dryer outlet. For electric vehicle owners, installing a Level 2 ESVE is definitely the way to go.

 

Cost of Installation

The installation cost generally hinges on the work involved—such as the amount of wire that needs to be run, whether additional or replacement breaker panels are necessary, and the cost of labor in your area. This could vary between just a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand. However, you may be able to snag special rates from your utility company for installing an EVSE, so make sure you inquire.

 

Maintain Optimal Charging Temperatures

Even in the Seattle area, temps regularly drop below freezing in the winter.  Recent studies suggest that charging time increases significantly as the weather goes down.  If your garage is currently unheated and you want to keep charging time to a minimum, consider these tips from Family Handyman on the best ways to add a heating system.

 

 


 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2019. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.


Posted on March 5, 2019 at 11:55 pm
Windermere MI | Posted in Buyer Tips, Homeowner Tips and Happenings | Tagged , , , , , ,

Should I Move or Remodel?

Remodel or Move?

 

There are a number of things that can trigger the decision to remodel or move to a new home. Perhaps you have outgrown your current space, you might be tired of struggling with ancient plumbing or wiring systems, or maybe your home just feels out of date. The question is: Should you stay or should you go? Choosing whether to remodel or move involves looking at a number of factors. Cost vs. value is a big consideration—check out the chart below or click here to view Remodeling Magazine’s full 2019 Cost vs. Value Report showing the cost and resale value of 21 projects in the Seattle area. 

 

Cost vs. Value Chart for Common Remodeling Projects

 

Here are some things to consider when making your decision…

FIVE REASONS TO MOVE:

1. Your current location just isn’t working.

Unruly neighbors, a miserable commute, or a less-than-desirable school district—these are factors you cannot change. If your current location is detracting from your overall quality of life, it’s time to consider moving. If you’re just ready for a change, that’s a good reason, too. Some people are simply tired of their old homes and want to move on.

2. Your home is already one of the nicest in the neighborhood.

Regardless of the improvements you might make, location largely limits the amount of money you can get for your home when you sell. A general rule of thumb for remodeling is to make sure that you don’t over-improve your home for the neighborhood. If your property is already the most valuable house on the block, additional upgrades usually won’t pay off in return on investment at selling time.

3. There is a good chance you will move soon anyway.

If your likelihood of moving in the next two years is high, remodeling probably isn’t your best choice. There’s no reason to go through the hassle and expense of remodeling and not be able to enjoy it. It may be better to move now to get the house you want.

4. You need to make too many improvements to meet your needs.

This is particularly an issue with growing families. What was cozy for a young couple may be totally inadequate when you add small children. Increasing the space to make your home workable may cost more than moving to another house. In addition, lot size, building codes, and neighborhood covenants may restrict what you can do. Once you’ve outlined the remodeling upgrades that you’d like, a real estate agent can help you determine what kind of home you could buy for the same investment.

5. You don’t like remodeling.

Remodeling is disruptive. It may be the inconvenience of loosing the use of a bathroom for a week, or it can mean moving out altogether for a couple of months. Remodeling also requires making a lot of decisions. You have to be able to visualize new walls and floor plans, decide how large you want windows to be, and where to situate doors. Then there is choosing from hundreds of flooring, countertop, and fixture options. Some people love this. If you’re not one of them, it is probably easier to buy a house that has the features you want already in place.

FIVE REASONS TO REMODEL:

1. You love your neighborhood.

You can walk to the park, you have lots of close friends nearby, and the guy at the espresso stand knows you by name. There are features of a neighborhood, whether it’s tree-lined streets or annual community celebrations, that you just can’t re-create somewhere else. If you love where you live, that’s a good reason to stay.

2. You like your current home’s floor plan.

The general layout of your home either works for you or it doesn’t. If you enjoy the configuration and overall feeling of your current home, there’s a good chance it can be turned into a dream home. The combination of special features you really value, such as morning sun or a special view, may be hard to replicate in a new home.

3. You’ve got a great yard.

Yards in older neighborhoods often have features you cannot find in newer developments, including large lots, mature trees, and established landscaping. Even if you find a new home with a large lot, it takes considerable time and expense to create a fully landscaped yard.

4. You can get exactly the home you want.

Remodeling allows you to create a home tailored exactly to your lifestyle. You have control over the look and feel of everything, from the color of the walls to the finish on the cabinets. Consider also that most people who buy a new home spend up to 30 percent of the value of their new house fixing it up the way they want.

5. It may make better financial sense.

In some cases, remodeling might be cheaper than selling. A contractor can give you an estimate of what it would cost to make the improvements you’re considering. A real estate agent can give you prices of comparable homes with those same features. But remember that while remodeling projects add to the value of your home, most don’t fully recover their costs when you sell.

 


 

Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research

Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 | (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com

© Copyright 2019. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.


Posted on February 6, 2019 at 5:57 pm
Windermere MI | Posted in Buyer Tips, Homeowner Tips and Happenings | Tagged , , , , , , , ,