30th Annual Windermere Cup

13116516_1095706277138343_2093108356460123234_o

 

Windermere Real Estate and the University of Washington are excited to host crews from Russia, Stanford University, Cambridge University, and the University of San Diego as the challengers for the 30th annual Windermere Cup Regatta. The regatta is held as part of Seattle’s Opening Day of Boating Season and is followed by the Seattle Yacht Club’s Opening Day Boat Parade. This year’s regatta will include 21 races featuring athletes ages 14-70. More than 800 rowers earn a spot to compete in this prestigious event, which culminates with the women’s and men’s Windermere Cup races.

Following the regatta, fans are invited to stick around for one of the largest boat parades in the world with more than 300 boats in 23 classes. The theme of this year’s parade is “The Great Escape”.

Admission to the event is free. You can watch the regatta from the shores of the Montlake Cut or by boat, with moorage available on a log boom anchored in Lake Washington on either side of the race course. Reserve moorage by submitting a Moorage Form.

Social Media for Realtors

Wisdom from Guy Kawasaki

In that spirit, he recommends these seven rules of thumb for social success:

1. Think locally.

“The densest markets for social media are also the densest markets for real estate,” according to the ULI. “So even though social media enables you to reach hundreds of millions of people around the planet, what really matters are the people in a 50-mile radius,” says Kawasaki.

With that in mind, tailor your content to your local readership. Be sure to post and tweet not just info about national trends, but also about local trends. Tag and mention local followers, “likers” and friends to involve them in the discussion. Tweet and post while attending local events.

2. Make yourself useful.

“Value comes in the form of information and assistance,” says Kawasaki. “You want to establish a position where people see — through your social media efforts — that you know what you’re doing and are helpful.”

That means posting content like this:

Nolo.com lists tax benefits for homeowners.

“Real Simple” explains how to winterize a home.

Lifehacker explains how to deodorize a refrigerator.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company puts out an article about the best time to do laundry.

“Popular Mechanics” releases an article about how to install a home electric car charger.

“U.S. News and World Report” publishes its rankings for public colleges.

“The point is to make yourself useful and valuable,” Kawasaki continues. “To build credibility; to build trust; so much so that you earn the right to post a link to a new listing every week or so. And when people think about listing their home, they’ll consider you.”

3. When you can’t create, curate.

Don’t feel bad if the thought of crafting a 1,200-word blog post makes you want to cower in the corner. You’re a born agent, not a born writer. Although blogging is a fantastic way to establish yourself as a thought leader in an industry, if you don’t have the time or the resources to do it, concentrate your efforts elsewhere. “Curation is easier,” says Kawasaki. “All it takes is an active, curious mind. Just find stuff that a seller or buyer would be interested in.” (Need ideas? See the second point, above.)

4. Schedule it in.

There’s no need to hire a full-time social media manager, says Kawasaki. “You can do this yourself. It will take 30 minutes per day.”

5. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Choose one or two types of social media and concentrate your time and attention on those platforms. “The most important social media tools for most agents are probably Facebook and Instagram,” says Kawasaki. “Just post good stuff on Facebook and great pictures of your listings and interesting properties through Instagram.”

6. Don’t try to buy your friends.

“There are only two kinds of people on social media: those that want more followers and those that are lying,” says Kawasaki. “The more followers, the better, assuming these are organic, earned followers. Never, ever buy followers. That’s cheating.” Plus, you can always spot a friend-faker when their engagement isn’t nearly as robust as their follower tally.

7. Set content goals and stick to them.

“Agents should post one to two times per day to start,” Kawasaki suggests. “See how that feels. Give it two months. All this will cost you is 30 minutes per day.”

Sabra Morris is the senior copywriter for RUHM Luxury Marketing.

GRATITUDE

90bf4f91-a32b-4287-85d8-da2685d33d7c.png

Thank You!

Because of YOU, the Windermere Foundation has given more than $30 million to fund services for low-income and homeless families in communities throughout the Western U.S. This video is just one way for us to express our gratitude for all that you do to give back.

 

Possibly the Best IKEA Hack Ever.

12049110_1649263288687739_2883898329737877914_n-2Spokane has a hot new business that’s sure to be one of the best “ikeas” around.

 

IKEA is a multinational group of companies that designs and primarily sells ready-to-assemble furniture (such as beds, chairs and desks), appliances and home accessories. It is the world’s largest furniture retailer with a cult like following, and no, we don’t have one here. Many have been known to make the pilgrimage to the west side of the state for an IKEA run as the deliver charges are crazy high and many items are only available for pick up. Not to mention putting together ready-to-assemble furniture doesn’t come easily for many and is almost impossible for others.

 

Dan Barden and Brad Flora are two entrepreneurial-minded-men in their mid-twenties that came up with a solution for our IKEA-less region. The plan to open Urban Creek Delivery came to them as they were working a side job assembling IKEA products for an apartment complex. They had been hunting for an business idea to pursue and in this case the start-up was right at their finger tips.

 

Urban Creek Delivery is a service that allows consumers to place IKEA orders and have them delivered to Spokane. Rather than ordering directly through IKEA, though, customers place their orders with Urban Creek Delivery, which then buys and assembles your items before delivery them to their home or business. The idea isn’t completely original and similar businesses exist. Barden and Flora take comfort in the fact as this idea is working elsewhere and plan to exceed expectations in regards to customer service to be the clear choice for those IKEA-less regions wanting the Swedish brand of decor.

Braden reports that the response has been overwhelmingly supportive. Within the first 30 days, they went from nothing to strong Spokane media coverage and receiving order inquiries from all over Eastern Washington including as far away as Missoula, Montana. Urban Creek Delivery have orders coming in the door just in time for the holiday season and the new year. In addition, they have started building business relationships with local interior designers. The strong demand for their service has prompted the quick start having this business going from zero to sixty in record time.

For more information or to place an order go to urbancreekdelivery.com

By Laurie L Ross, Windermere City Group Realtor, Spokane, WA.

As published Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine.

 

6 Ways to Incorporate the Color of the Year in Your Home

Posted in Living by Tiana Baur 

The Pantone Color of the Year was announced a couple of months ago and we can’t express how awesome these colors are apart, let alone together. For the first time Pantone introduces two shades as the Color of the Year 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity are a fusion of warm and cool; promoting not only a non-traditional color match, but also gender equality. Here are six different ways to integrate these heavenly colors into your home.

The Bedroom

The easiest way to stay up to date with the latest design styles is through your bedding. Start with a neutral comforter, then pick Rose Quartz or Serenity colored sheets. Every time you get into bed you’ll get a little reminder of what these colors represent: an antidote to modern day stresses. Whether you choose the warm embracing tone of Rose Quartz or the cool tranquil Serenity blue, you’re ensured a soothing sense of order and peace. This is the perfect way to relax at night and make sure you wake up on the right side of the bed.

The Kitchen8654727749_aaf53634ba_b

A SMEG fridge is about the cutest way we can think of to jazz up your kitchen. These adorable fridges will add a pop of color
and a retro feel to your home. Think of it as an ode to 2016 and the amazing year you are going to create for yourself. If you don’t want to commit to the Color of the Year in the form of an appliance, add some towels or kitchen decor.

The Bathroom

If you’re thinking of remodeling your bathroom, go bold and opt for Rose Quartz or Serenity colored tiles. If tile is a little too permanent, opt for a new rug and towels in one of these lovely colors. Perhaps you should get new towels to go with the newly improved room because who doesn’t love a reason to get brand new fluff?

The Dining Room

This one is easy. It’s all about the tablecloth and napkins in Serenity with a touch of Rose Quartz – or visa versa. You can easily accent your table with fresh flowers in this year’s colors too (we’re thinking pink peonies). If you’re really serious about color, invest in some dinnerware or serving pieces as well.

Photo 3The Office

Offices are often the forgotten room in a house where function overshadows form. Why not spruce up your office by painting the walls (or at least one wall) Rose Quartz or Serenity? You can also add a touch of color with desk accessories and an accent pillow on your chair.

The Closet

This is essentially its own room right? It’s beginning to look a lot like spring and we think you should celebrate the end of winter with a little shopping. Here’s some inspiration for how to add this year’s colors into your wardrobe in a seriously sleek and classy style.

For more ideas and color pairings, check out the Color of the Year site.

This article originally appeared on WindermereSeattle.com 

The Tax Benefits Every Homeowner Should Know About

Posted in Living by Chad Basinger 

This article originally appeared in Times of San Diego 

The housing market on the West Coast is predominantly very strong and more and more people are becoming homeowners. While there are many intangible benefits to owning a home, such as pride of ownership and setting down roots in the neighborhood, the tangible benefits are just as great. In addition to benefitting from possible appreciation, there are many tax deductions available that help reduce your annual income taxes.

Tax breaks are available for any type of home — single-family residence, town house, mobile home, or condominium. However, to take full tax advantage of owning a home, property owners need to understand the expenses they can deduct, and learn some tips to get the most tax advantages out of home ownership.

Mortgage Interest

A house payment is comprised of two parts: principal and interest. The principal goes toward reducing the amount you owe on your loan and is not deductible. However, the interest you pay is deductible as an itemized expense on your tax return. You can generally deduct interest on the first $1 million of your mortgage. You can also deduct interest on the first $100,000 of a home equity loan.

Property Taxes

Another big part of most monthly loan payments is taxes, which go into an escrow account for payment when the taxes are due. This amount should be included on the annual statement homeowners get from their lenders, along with their loan interest information. These taxes will be an annual deduction as long as the home is owned.

Home Improvements

If using a home equity loan or other loan secured by a home to finance home improvements, these loans will qualify for the same mortgage interest deductions as the main mortgage. Only the interest associated with the first $100,000 is deductible.Making improvements on a home can help you reduce your taxes in two possible ways:

  • Tracking home improvements can help when the time comes to sell. If a home sells for more than it was purchased for, that extra money is considered taxable income. You are allowed to add capital improvements to the cost/tax basis of your home. If a home sells for more than it was purchased for plus any capital improvements, that extra money is considered taxable income. Keep in mind that most taxpayers are exempted from paying taxes on the first $250,000 (for single filers) and $500,000 (for joint filers) of gains.

Home Office Deduction

If a homeowner works from home, they can take a deduction for the room or space used as an office. This includes working from a garage, as well as a typical office space.

This deduction can include expenses like mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, and repairs, and is calculated based on “the percentage of your home devoted to your business activities,” according to the IRS.

Home Energy Tax Credits

For homeowners looking to make their home a little greener, the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit can help offset the cost of energy efficiency improvements.  People who install solar panels most commonly take advantage of this credit. Homeowners can save up to 30 percent of the total cost of installing certain renewable energy sources in their home. Even better, this is a credit, which means it directly lowers a homeowner’s tax bill.

Of course, every homeowner’s financial situation is different, so please consult with a tax professional regarding your individual tax liability.

Chad Basinger is a real estate agent in San Diego with Windermere Homes & Estates. He has held his CPA license since 1994, has his CFP Certificate, and has been a licensed Realtor since 2007.

Windermere Foundation 2015 Infographic

Posted in Windermere Foundation by Marilou Ubungen  

If you’ve bought or sold a home through Windermere Real Estate, you’re a part of the Windermere Foundation, and you’ve helped make a positive difference in the lives of your neighbors in need. The following infographic shows the types of services funded by the Windermere Foundation, and illustrates how even a small amount can make a big difference for low-income and homeless children and their families.

The Windermere Foundation had a goal to reach $30 million in total donations by the end of 2015. Thanks to the generosity of Windermere owners, agents, staff, and our community partners, we reached that goal three months early! Because of this we were able to fulfill 636 grants and help 409 organizations that provide goods and services to those in need in our communities.

 

If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click the Donate button.

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.

 

 

Inlander Restaurant Week Comes to Spokane Again

Inlander Restaurant Week

If you love local food, one of the highlights of every year in Spokane is Inlander Restaurant Week. Every year local restaurants will band together to provide visitors a tasty tour of the local food scene. Restaurants around Spokane and northern Idaho will have special menus available to offer food lover a chance to get to know what they have to offer. You know that place that you’ve been thinking about visiting for a long time, and just haven’t made it over for a visit? Inlander Restaurant Week makes a great opportunity to try those “wish list” places out.

How It Works

If there is one thing that is key during Restaurant Week, it is to make sure that you have a plan. With so many amazing restaurants around the area, you have to get your schedule lined up before hand to make sure that you are able to take advantage of the great menus available during the week.

The Inlander Restaurant Week website has all of the information about the restaurants that are participating, as well as the specific menus that are available for the week. Once you decide on the places that you want to visit, it’s always best to make a reservation. Each restaurant is featuring a three course meal, with different options available for each course. The prices range from $18-28 per person, which is a great price for the variety that you get over the three courses.

In addition to the featured menu, many restaurants are also featuring specials from local wineries and breweries, so you can drink local as well as eating local.

Want to Make a Night of it?

Since you already have the makings of a great date night going, you might as well just make a night of it, right? There are a number of entertainment options that coincide with Inlander Restaurant Week, so you can just keep the party going after dinner. Check out the website for some of the goings on that are going on in addition to the food-based fun.

What If We Need Some Place to Stay?

If you are coming in from out of town, or if you just don’t want to drive home after your night on the town, there are some great specials on lodging around town. Some of them even include some more food and/or beverages.

A Wonderful Week of Food

There are over 90 restaurants of all styles that are participating in Inlander Restaurant Week, and the fun lasts from February 20th through March 1st, 2015. N matter what part of town you are in, you should be able to find a place that is serving up some special culinary delights. Get out and enjoy the best of Inland Northwest food!

A Valentine to My House

valentines day

Dear House,

Happy Valentine’s Day! I know that it has been a while since I have expressed my feelings to you. It can be so easy to get caught up in all of the hustle and bustle of life and forget to communicate with each other. I will try to be better about sharing my appreciation, but for now I will just take the opportunity of this holiday to jot down a few of the things that come to mind when I think about you.

curb appeal

It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was just playing the field, looking all over for “the one.” It seemed like it took forever, but then I met you. I’m not going to lie; the first thing that attracted me to you was your curb appeal. I know, I know – call me shallow, but I just could help but admire your simple and well maintained lawn and the quaint porch with that cute flowerbed beside it. I won’t say that it was love at first sight (I had been fooled before, so we’ll just say that I was, “intrigued.”) As I got to know you a little better, I found that I was gradually falling in love. You had just the right number of rooms for us, and even had a great back yard for the dog. By the time I left, I knew that you were the home for us.

nurseryWe’ve had a lot of good times since that wonderful day when all the papers were signed and I could finally say that you were ours. We’ve hosted dinner parties with friends and birthday parties for the kids. You were there for the birth of our youngest. Remember when we redecorated the guest bedroom to be the nursery, or when we redecorated again when Sally said that she wanted a “big girl room?” Those were good times. Oh, and all of those snow days when we just stayed inside and played board games and read books. Don’t even get me started talking about all of the projects that I started (and occasionally finished) in the garage. I must have spent a thousand hours working away in there.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our struggles as well. Like that time the pipe in the basement burst and we had to call in the plumber. I thought we would never get everything cleaned up after that happened. It wasn’t always big stuff either. Sometimes I would get so frustrating with the little things that would go wrong with you. Broken showerheads, scratched paint, cracked sidewalks…, yeah, we’ve had our highs and we’ve had our lows. All in all, our life together had been pretty great though.

We’ve been through a lot together over the years. If I could go back in time to the day that we first met, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Okay, except for that burst pipe thing…, I would definitely change that.

Love,

Your Owner

Saranac Commons Brings New Small Businesses Downtown

We’ve written a few times about the continuing development of Spokane’s downtown, but it seems that every time that you turn around there is a new restaurant or cool local shop opening up somewhere around the city’s hub. One of the projects that has been generating excitement since it was first announced is the Saranac Commons building.

Saranac Commons is located at 19 W. Main, and is the home of several new local businesses. The building used to house the comic book and game shop, Merlyn’s Fantasy Sci-Fi and Games. The building was acquired by Jim Sheehan in a trade with John Waite, who owns Merlyn’s, for the building next door. The building is serving as something of an incubator for several small businesses, primarily revolving around food and beverages. A couple of the businesses have already opened, and more are coming shortly. We thought that we would take some time to profile the businesses that will be in the space, starting with the ones that have already opened.

common crumb bakery

Common Crumb

This new bakery from Sante restaurant’s Kate and Jeremy Hansen will service both wholesale and retail customers, expanding their wonderful food offerings to a larger selection of baked goods. The bakery will be preparing all of the baked goods for Sante’s menu, and will also offer a selection of French pastries, artisan breads, chocolates, and other items.

black label brewingBlack Label Brewing Company

The pairing of Saranac Commons and Spokane’s newest brewery seems like a perfect match. The mission of the building is very much local-centric, and the owners of Black Label Brewing Company seem to fit that mold perfectly. Dan Dvorak and Steve Wells are longtime friends who started home brewing some time ago, and finally decided to make the leap to open a brewery. They grow their own hops and several other ingredients in their beer, making them about as local as it gets.

Mediterrano

When you survey the food offerings around Spokane, there is a conspicuous lack of Mediterranean restaurants in town. Mediterrano is looking to fill that void, offering a wide range of Mediterranean fare, as well as offering Spokane residents another great option for weekend brunch. Mediterrano is coming soon.

Caffe Affogato

If there are two things that you need in any community retail center, it is a place to grab a beer (see above) and a great coffee place. The owners of Mediterrano will also be launching a specialty coffee shop in the Commons that will satisfy the caffeine needs of the community.

sun people

Sun People

For those who have been missing Sun People Dry Goods since the closing of the Spokane Public Market, owner Juliet Sinisterra will also be opening a similar shop in Saranac Commons. The store will focus on hypo-allergenic and regionally-made products for the health conscious consumer .