When Things Go Bump in the Night

It’s almost Halloween; the time of year when people decorate their homes with haunting embellishments and spooky décor. Bats, spiders, and rodents are all good and fun when they’re made of plastic, but when you have the real thing taking up residence in your home, it’s no treat. Here are some tips for making sure these frightening critters don’t make your house their permanent home.

 

Blood Suckers

While they may not turn into vampires in real life, preventing a bat infestation is actually good for your health. That’s because bats are a known carrier of rabies and an accumulation of their droppings can cause lung problems in humans. Bats can enter your home through holes less than an inch wide, and when they do, they often find the attic to be very accommodating to their needs. So, how do you keep them from settling in? Start by checking your roof and siding for any gaps. Check your attic for any signs of infestation, including: brown stains around any openings in your siding or roof (from oil on their skin), droppings, or strange sounds coming from the attic. Ghosts aren’t the only ones who like it up there.

 

To prevent or rid your home of bats follow these tips:

  • Get rid of the bats now, so they can find alternative shelter before hibernation season in the winter.
  • Check with local pest control companies; in some states it is illegal to exterminate bats.
  • Locate the point of entry.
  • Hire a professional to evacuate the bats.
    • As mentioned above, bats can cause health problems; hire a professional who has experience and the right equipment. There are humane options available.
  • Prevent re-entry by sealing any openings.
  • Use mothballs to prevent re-nesting. Bats have a tendency to return to previous nesting sites, so this may need to be repeated.

 

Creepy Crawlies

In lists of common phobias, more than thirty percent of adults report fearing spiders, right behind public speaking and death. Most spiders that you find in your home are perfectly harmless; however, that doesn’t mean you want to share your space with them. To be on the safe side, there are some measures you can take to protect yourself from our little eight legged friends. Even a bite from a harmless spider can cause infections with itchy, red skin. In most cases, it can be treated by washing it with cool, soapy water, elevation, and an ice pack. Of course, if it shows signs of getting worse, your next step should be calling your doctor. Spider varieties that you should avoid include: Hobo spiders, Black Widows, Brown Recluses, and the Yellow Sac spider. These spiders are poisonous and can cause a number of symptoms from vomit to necrotic lesions. According to experts, spiders very rarely cause death in humans; however, if you are bit by a venomous spider you should seek immediate medical attention (and bring the spider remains with you, if possible).

 

Here are some tips to reduce spiders in your home:

  • Kill spiders on sight.
  • Place non-poisonous spider traps with non-toxic attractants and glue in areas where spiders are commonly found and in corners.
  • Be careful with common insect repellent and spider sprays, these can be toxic and harmful to children and pets.
  • Spiders can be deterred with essential oils: lavender, chestnut, clover leaf, and coconut.
  • Use ultrasonic devises.

 

Rodents:

The most effective way to prevent mice and rat infestation is to keep them out of your home in the first place. Mice can get through a gap as small as a quarter of an inch, so thoroughly inspecting the foundation and interior of your home for entrance points and sealing any cracks or holes is a great way to start. Rodents are also excellent at tracking food sources. Keep all food, including pet food and pantry items in secure bins and jars.

If you have found evidence of mice or rats (generally droppings or urine) take caution. Rodent secretions can be hazardous, and can spread salmonella or hanta virus. There are multiple methods for removing rodents from your home, including traps, poison bates, electronic and sonic devises and, a house cat, or professional exterminator.

 

If you are getting rid of the critters on your own you will want to follow these steps:

  • Identify their food source(s), entry points, and common routes around and through your home.
  • Remove food source with secure packaging that cannot be chewed through, such as glass containers.
  • Seal all entry points with wire mesh.
  • Place sonic devises, traps, poison, or other deterrents in the pathway of the rodents.
  • Use caution, make sure poison or exposed traps are not accessible to children or pets.
  • If you find urine, droppings, or a dead mouse you will want to spray the surface and mouse with a bleach/water solution. Using gloves and a face mask, remove the rodent and wipe all surfaces.
  • If you have identified a large quantity of rodents, contact a professional for removal and clean up.
  • You may need to take extra measures to ensure the removal is permanent by changing components of your back yard, replacing siding, or upgrading building materials to prevent outdoor nesting and re-infestation.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Help Us Keep Homeless Youth Warm Again This Winter

 

All of us at Windermere are very excited to be in the midst of the second season of our partnership with the Seattle Seahawks, and continuing our campaign to help #tacklehomelessness. For every home game tackle made by the Seahawks, the Windermere Foundation is donating $100 to YouthCare, a non-profit that provides critical services to homeless youth throughout the Puget Sound area.

 

As proud as we are of our #tacklehomelessness campaign and the money we’re raising, we know we can do more. That’s why we’re hosting another Windermere “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive to benefit YouthCare. Each night in the greater Seattle area, nearly 1,000 young people are homeless. And with the winter months quickly approaching, YouthCare is in dire need of survival supplies to keep homeless youth warm and dry during the long, wet winter.

 

Here’s what we are collecting:

  • Warm socks
  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Gloves/mittens

*New items only please

 

From October 16 through November 10, you can drop off donations to participating Windermere offices in King and Snohomish Counties**. Our friends at Gentle Giant Moving Company are generously donating their time and trucks to pick up all of the donations from our offices. Donations can also be dropped off directly to YouthCare, Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm, at 2500 NE 54th St, Seattle, WA 98105.

 

We hope you will consider making a donation to our “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive. Feel free to contact your Windermere agent or local office for more information, or email justask@windermere.com.

 

       

 

**Windermere Winter Drive Drop-Off Locations

Bellevue

Bellevue Commons

Bellevue South

Bellevue West

Burien

Chelan

Issaquah

Kirkland Central

Kirkland Yarrow Bay

Lynnwood

Mercer Island

Monroe

Property Management - Bellevue

Property Management - South

Redmond

Seattle-Ballard

Seattle-Eastlake

Seattle-Green Lake

Seattle-Greenwood

Seattle-Lakeview

Seattle-Madison Park

Seattle-Magnolia

Seattle-Mount Baker

Seattle-Northgate

Seattle-Northwest

Seattle-Queen Anne

Seattle-Sand Point

Seattle-Wall Street

Seattle-Wedgwood

Seattle-West Seattle

Services-Marketing

Snohomish

Woodinville

Find a New Home in Four Steps

 

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a current owner looking for a bigger home, the ideas below will help you better navigate that all-important first step: Finding a property that you like (and can afford).

 

The search for a new home always starts out with a lot of excitement. But if you haven’t prepared, frustration can soon set in, especially in a competitive real estate market. The biggest mistake is jumping into a search unfocused, just hoping to “see what’s available.” Instead, we recommend you first take some time to work through the four steps below.

 

Step 1: Talk to your agent

Even if you’re just thinking about buying or selling a house, start by consulting your real estate agent. An agent can give you an up-to-the-minute summary of the current real estate market, as well as mortgage industry trends. And can also put you in touch with all the best resources and educate you about the next best steps. Plus much more.

 

Step 2: Decide how much home you can afford

It may sound like a drag to start your home search with a boring financial review, but when all is said and done, you’ll be glad you did. With so few homes on the market now in many areas, and so many people competing to buy what is available, it’s far more efficient to focus your search on only the properties you can afford. A meeting or two with a reputable mortgage agent should tell you everything you need to know.

 

Step 3: Envision your future

Typically, it takes at least five years for a home purchase to start paying off financially, which means, the better your new home suits you, the longer you’ll most likely remain living there.

Will you be having children in the next five or six years? Where do you see your career heading? Are you interested in working from home, or making extra money by renting a portion of your home to others? Do you anticipate a relative coming to live with you? Share this information with your real estate agent, who can then help you evaluate school districts, work commutes, rental opportunities, and more as you search for homes together.

 

Step 4: Document your ideal home

When it comes to this step, be realistic. It’s easy to get carried away dreaming about all the home features you want. Try listing everything on a piece of paper, then choose the five “must-haves,” and the five “really-wants.”

For more tips, as well as advice geared specifically to your situation, contact an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent by clicking here.

6 Dramatic Exterior Makeovers to Inspire Your Own

Upgrading your home’s exterior has many benefits, not the least of which is a nice welcome home every day. Whether you freshen up your finishes, add a new garage door or redo your landscape, there are many ways to elevate your home’s curb appeal. These six before-and-after projects offer a sample of what can be done. See the exteriors, then take a look at the rest of each home.

 

Exterior 1: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

 

1. Decatur, Georgia

BEFORE: When the homeowners bought the property in Decatur, Georgia, the brick exterior was buried beneath a layer of stucco. The columns, pediment and bay window felt as though they’d been imposed on the structure, which didn’t have the scale to carry off such details, designer and builder Ili Hidalgo-Nilsson says.

 

Exterior 2: Terracotta Design Build, original photo on Houzz

 

AFTER: The design-build team simplified the exterior detailing and replaced the bay window with French doors and French balconies. They updated the electrical and plumbing, replaced the windows, and added insulation throughout.

 

Exterior 3: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

 

2. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

BEFORE: For this 1939 Colonial Revival house in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the front yard’s previous circular driveway was removed and replaced with a grass lawn to create a more natural curb appeal.

 

Exterior 4: TY Larkins Interiors, original photo on Houzz

 

AFTER: The custom shade of white paint selected for the home’s exterior was inspired by the shade of white often found on buildings in Paris. “It has this antique, earthy quality to it that’s timeless,” designer Ty Larkins says. The home’s front windows also received functioning shutters that helped bring it back to its Colonial Revival roots.

 

Exterior 5: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

 

3. Chevy Chase, Maryland

BEFORE: Homeowners Di Bruning and David Owen felt that the exterior of the 1968 house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, had a somewhat oppressive look. However, the lot, which slopes up from the street, afforded a spacious two-level floor plan, with the garage, family room and a bedroom built into the hillside on the first level, and the kitchen, dining room, living room and four bedrooms upstairs.

 

Exterior 6: Balodemas Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

AFTER: Architect Lou Balodemas updated the home’s curb appeal by installing a new entry door and sidelights; new windows, including an enlarged opening for the second-floor living room; new fiber cement siding for the upper level; and a new garage door. “The original entry door was a bit recessed,” Balodemas says, “so we popped it out to give the foyer a few more feet of space.” He also added a new front walkway to create a grander approach to the house.

Related: Stylish New House Numbers to Bump Up Your Curb Appeal

 

Exterior 7: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

 

4. Berkeley, California

BEFORE: Here’s a look at the overgrown landscaping at the front of Geoff Lomax and Sabina Aurilio’s home in Berkeley, California. The wooden retaining walls were starting to fail, and the foundation was showing signs of sinking.

 

Exterior 8: Mediterranean Exterior, original photo on Houzz

 

AFTER: The yard was dug out and the landscaping replaced with new drought-tolerant plantings. The foundation was ripped out and replaced. The stucco was redone and repainted, and new lightweight shingles that fit with the Mediterranean style of the home were added.

 

Exterior 9: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

 

5. Palm Springs, California

BEFORE: Though the exterior of the 1958 home in Palm Springs, California, was in OK shape, parts of the ceiling were caving in, most of the windows were broken, and the home hadn’t been cleaned in years.

 

Exterior 10: H3K Design, original photo on Houzz

 

AFTER: Kevin Kemper and Howard Hawkes of H3K Design preserved the facade, including the “sun flap,” a common element used in the 1960s to keep sunshine from hitting inside the house and heating it up too much.

They took the rest down to the studs, then added new stucco, plumbing, electrical work, insulation and a new roof. “It was a big preservation effort on our part,” Kemper says. “There was some unusual architecture, and we were afraid someone would tear it down or alter it and you wouldn’t be able to recognize the home.”

 

Exterior 11: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

 

6. St. Paul, Minnesota

BEFORE: The home had a 22-by-7-foot enclosed porch across the front that created an uninviting entrance. Fake brick asphalt shingles covered one portion of the home. “Close up, the fake brick asphalt was pretty nasty,” architect David Strand says. “The house was very true to what it was, but it was dirty and it went beyond what the owner was able to do with it.”

 

Exterior 12: Strand Design, original photo on Houzz

 

AFTER: Strand removed the enclosed front porch and added an open porch with three columns that hold up the extended white roof. “It’s nice to be able to sit on an open porch and have that neighborhood feel,” Strand says. “This returns the house to the original concept, which was important.”

He also eliminated the fake brick asphalt shingles. A trim band breaks up the house, creating a two-tone look with warm white on top and a gray with green tones on bottom. “I love dark houses,” Strand says. “It was nice to have a white urban farmhouse but also have a bit of a modern feel.”

 

By Bryan Anthony, Houzz

Renting vs. Buying in Today’s Market

 

The debate about whether it makes more financial sense to rent or buy has been raging for decades. Advocates of buying say: When you rent, you’re essentially paying someone else’s mortgage. Buying, on the other hand, is an investment—one that can significantly increase in value every year you continue living in the home.

Fans of renting say: The extra costs associated with owning a home (interest payments on the loan, property taxes, homeowner dues, improvement/repair costs, etc.) add up. And there’s no guarantee that those expenses will be recouped when the house is sold. Instead of investing in a home, you may be better off investing your savings in stocks, bonds, and other financial securities.

 

Who’s right?

According to Jed Kolko, one of the country’s most respected real estate economists, “Mortgage rates are still near long-term lows. Because prices fell so much after the housing bubble burst, and remain low relative to rents even after recent price increases, buying is still much cheaper than renting.“

But that’s a blanket statement. The right option for you depends on your personal circumstances, and your answers to the following questions:

 

What’s the real estate situation in your city?

Industry groups put out reports every quarter stating the average national sales price for a home, and the average monthly payment for a U.S. rental. But what really matters is what the numbers show when you dig into them on a local level.

The reports are almost always based on average for all the cities in the country. Delve into the details, and you’ll see there are some cities that fall well below that average, and some that rise far above it. The learning: When comparing housing costs, be sure to base your evaluation on what’s happening in your city and neighborhood, not the nationwide averages.

 

How long do you expect to live there?

If five years is the longest you can envision yourself living in one place right now, renting is probably your best bet financially. But if you think you’re ready to put down roots for as long as 10 years, chances are very good that any home you purchase will appreciate during that time even if the economy runs into some bumps along the way.

 

What’s the mortgage rate?

One of the other key factors to consider is the cost of your loan (the interest you’ll pay the lender). Fortunately, you now have access to some of the lowest mortgage interest rates in history, even if they increase a bit over the coming year, as many expect. According to a recent article in Forbes, “Compared to decades past, today’s rates are unprecedentedly—and artificially—low. They’re the direct result of a Federal Reserve-funded fiscal stimulus plan, better known as the third round of quantitative easing of QE3, aimed at hastening the recovery in housing and the economy as a whole.”

 

Can you pay a bit more?

If you can afford to pay a little extra towards your mortgage bill each month, it makes even more sense to buy. Paying $300 more per month (on a 30-year, $300,000 loan) will knock eight years off the life of the loan and reduce your final bill by more than $63,000 (that’s savings you would never see if you rented).

 

Will you need to make repairs or improvements?

Buying a fixer-upper may seem like a great way to get a deal on a house, but if the money you spend on the repairs is too great, your profit could be slashed when it comes time to sell. The same is true for remodeling and improvement projects. If you can only afford a home that demands major improvements, and you don’t have the skills to do much of the work yourself, it’s probably better to rent.

 

Do you have other ways to invest?

Many see a home purchase as an easy way to invest—a place where they can generate savings through home equity. But others say you can make more money renting an apartment and investing your savings in stocks, bonds, and other financial securities.

According to two professors studying the issue, it is possible to make more money investing in securities, however, you need to invest ALL the money you would have put towards the house (something most people can’t/won’t/don’t do). Plus, do you have the knowledge, resources and liquid cash necessary?

“We find that if people don’t invest the money, actually about 90% of the time, you’re better off buying,” says professor Eli Beracha, a co-author of the study.

 

Can you rent part of the house?

Here’s a twist: If you buy a house that includes a rental (space bedroom, mother-in-law unit, etc.), you could BE the landlord instead of paying the landlord. With that rental income, you could pay off the mortgage faster and contribute more to your savings. But, of course, you need to be willing to share your home with a tenant and take on the responsibilities of being a landlord.

 

Making your decision

To make your decision about whether to rent or buy easier, input the key financial facts regarding your situation into this Realtor.com Rent vs. Buy Calculator: https://www.realtor.com/mortgage/tools/rent-or-buy-calculator/. For help making sense of the results and analyzing other factors, contact an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent by clicking here.

Perk Up Your Home’s Exterior With a Splash of Green

If our recent profile of homes with bold blue accents wasn’t your speed, this week we take a look at houses that sport a splash of green. Whether you choose a softer, more neutral green that picks up hues in your landscape or you go for a bright hue, first consider the following examples of how to work in a green accent to the exterior, along with paint color palettes to try out on your own home.

Related: Pick the Perfect Shades of Green for the Exterior

 

Green Exterior 1: Jason Snyder, original photo on Houzz

 

This dazzling tropical green would be a bit much for the entire house, but when it’s used in smaller bits and paired with a couple of milder neutrals, it’s fun and vibrant without going overboard.

For a similar palette, try: Storm Cloud with trim in Ice Cube and an accent of Leapfrog, all from Sherwin-Williams.

 

Green Exterior 2: Peter Zimmerman Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

If it’s a softer green you’re after, look at shades that have a good bit of gray or brown in them, which helps neutralize them. The herbaceous green used for the shutters here is a nice accent color. It doesn’t fight with the architecture or landscaping, but rather ties everything together.

For a similar palette, try: Belvedere Cream with trim in Swan Wing and an accent of Athenian Green, all from Behr.

 

Green Exterior 3: Design Living Studio, original photo on Houzz

 

Lovers of vivid color may want to give amped-up lime green a go. Nobody will miss your front door if it’s painted this zesty hue. The chunk of dark blue-gray and expanse of clean white perfectly balance the bit of bold at the door.

For a similar palette, try: White Diamond with accents of Westcott Navy and Electric Slide, all from Benjamin Moore.

 

Green Exterior 4: Brandon Construction Co Inc, original photo on Houzz

 

Salute the summer sun by painting your home a happy yellow. White trim adds crispness and doesn’t distract your attention from the fun olive green accent color.

For a similar palette, try: Chapel Wall with trim in Cloud White and an accent of Thai Basil, all from Kelly-Moore.

 

Green Exterior 5: Trapolin-Peer Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

If you’re struggling with selecting a color palette for the exterior, take a look at the hardscape elements on or around your home, such as stone pavers, and pull some colors you like from them.

A soft tan or taupe is a popular, tried-and-true exterior color that happens to make a terrific background hue to a more unusual accent color, such as this deep, elegant green.

For a similar palette, try: Whiskers with trim in Gray Palomino and an accent of Smoky Emerald, all from PPG Pittsburgh Paints.

Related: Not Sure About Taupe? Try Beige Instead

 

Green Exterior 6: Johnston Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

Bold, contemporary architecture deserves an equally bold and contemporary color palette. Take it to the limit with an extra-vibrant green. The small sliver of black trim is striking against the gray and green, and it helps define the different elements on the home’s exterior.

For a similar palette, try: Vessel Gray with trim in Very Black and an accent of Mountain Botanical, all from Valspar.

 

By Jennifer Ott, Houzz

Getting Organized Is Good for Your Home and Your Health

 

For the last nine years, the HomeGain National Home Improvement Survey has been asking real estate professionals across the country the same question: What are the top 10 things a homeowner can do to get their home ready to sell?

 

And every year, the number one answer is: clean and de-clutter. In the latest survey, 99 percent of the real estate professionals queried ranked this task the most important. What’s more, they estimated that, for every dollar spent on the task, the homeowner would receive a whopping 403 percent return on their investment.

 

De-cluttering delivers big benefits to those who are not selling their homes, too. Studies show that living in a cluttered house is mentally stressful for the occupants and often leads to weight gain and other health problems.

 

So why do so many of us put off this important task? It’s hard work. It takes time. It’s physical. It’s emotional. And there are lots of decisions to make about what goes where, what gets tossed, and more. Worst of all, thinking about it makes it seem like an even bigger project than it really is—which is why experts say the best way to get started is to simply jump in.

 

The easy way to get started

The toughest part of getting organized is getting started. It’s too easy to say, “I’ll go through that closet later.” “I’ll get rid of those boxes later.” “I’ll donate those clothes later.”

 

Instead, replace “later” with “now.”

 

Grab a couple cardboard boxes and spend 90 minutes right now organizing one part of one room (a desk in your study, for example). Once you see that it’s not nearly as tough as you imagine, and actually feels satisfying and freeing, you’ll become energized and ready to take on even bigger organizing tasks tomorrow.

 

Here are some tips to keep you on track:

 

  • Tackle one room at a time.

 

  • Start with the easy stuff. Rounding up the things you know you want to toss, recycle, sell, or store.

 

  • Finish the task you start. Don’t pull everything out of a closet, for example, and then stop for the day, leaving the mess for later. Finish organizing the closet.

 

  • Get the whole family involved (these are important life lessons to pass along to your children).

 

  • Let phone calls and other disruptions wait until you’re done for the day.

 

Deciding what to keep

Once you make your way through the things you know you don’t want any more (broken appliances, unused gifts, outdated electronics, store returns, etc.), then it’s time to focus on the items that are useful, but don’t get used very often. Experts suggest two strategies. Choose the one that works best for you, or try using them in combination:

 

  • The 12-month test – If you haven’t used the item in the last year, get rid of it.

 

  • The cardboard box drill – Put items you’re not sure about in a cardboard box and set it aside. Whatever gets pulled out and used over the next two months can stay. The things that don’t get rescued should be sent packing.

 

How to handle keepsakes

Now for the toughest decision of all: What to do with those trophies, mementos, greeting cards, photos, kids’ art projects—and all the other things that trigger strong memories and emotional reactions.

 

First, go through these things and make sure they’re still things you want to keep. Some items may now remind you of a time—or a person—you want to forget.

 

Spend no more than 30 seconds reviewing each item. If you allow yourself to start wandering down memory lane, your organizing work will come to a screeching halt.

 

Take photos of items that are bulky or hard to store—especially the kids’ artwork, which tends to fall apart over time, anyway. Once you’ve captured the item in a photo, let the original go.

 

If there are keepsakes you inherited from your parents or relatives that hold no sentimental value for you, it’s time to say goodbye.

 

Stop saving so many things for your children. No matter what they say now, your kids will most likely only be interested in a few key mementos when they’re older. Designate a single memento box for each child.

 

Other people’s belongings

You should not be storing anything that doesn’t belong to you and/or the other current members of your household. Give back things you’ve borrowed. Get rid of the belongings of ex-spouses, ex-boyfriends, and ex-roommates. Get tough with your adult children; your days of providing a roof for their belongings are over.

 

Working with a professional

A professional organizer can teach you the tricks of the trade, help you make tough decisions about what to keep and what to let go, and consult with you about the best storage systems. Hiring a professional is also a good idea if you’re having trouble getting started or sticking with it. Expect to pay around $50 to $90 per hour for this kind of help.

 

Some final words of advice

While you’re getting organized, do not allow yourself to buy any non-necessities. Groceries, yes. But say no to clothes, toys, electronics, sporting goods, and other feel-good purchases.

 

When you’re done organizing, a good rule of thumb is that for every new item brought into the house, an old one has to leave.

6 Foyers That Invite in Style

With a side entrance to your home, you can be a little more forgiving when it comes to messes. But with a front-door entry, through which you and your guests get a first impression of your home, you’ve got to be a little more on top of your style and storage game. The following are some of the most popular front-entry photos recently, as measured by the number of people who saved them to their Houzz ideabooks from January through March. Let us know which will inspire your next project.

 

Entryway 1: Jackson and LeRoy, original photo on Houzz

 

6. A classic wooden bench offers a spot to take off and put on shoes in this farmhouse-style entryway in Utah.

Related: Wipe Your Shoes on a Durable Outdoor Rug

 

Entryway 2: Nicole Benveniste Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

 

5. Benjamin Moore’s Plaster of Paris paint on the walls sets the soothing tone for this spacious San Francisco entry. A large painting featuring pale swaths of color hangs over a few well-chosen accessories atop a weathered wood table, starting this home off on the right foot.

 

Entryway 3: Brian Paquette Interiors, original photo on Houzz

 

4. Here, a burl-wood-type table and vibrant abstract art create movement and excitement.

Related: Flower Vases for the Entryway

 

Entryway 4: Tim Barber Ltd Architecture, original photo on Houzz

 

3. A rich wood built-in helps organize this Los Angeles entry. A frosted, ribbed glass window obscures the view into the living room. 

 

Entryway 5: NEST Interior Design Group, original photo on Houzz

 

2. An eclectic mix of art and accessories beckons guests into this Houston home. A table offers a spot for keys and wallets, while wire baskets below can handle shoes and bags.

 

Entryway 6: Fluidesign Studio, original photo on Houzz

 

1. Creamy shiplap walls, rich wood floors and a wood console table establish a refreshing air in this Minneapolis home. 

 

By Mitchell Parker, Houzz

New Home Construction

Developers are not building enough single family homes to keep up with demand. The reason why? Cost. Windermere's Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner explains why new construction is so cost prohibitive and how to shift the trend.

 

 

I’m Ready To Downsize But How Do I Start?

By June Griffiths

 

Are you thinking about downsizing but don’t know how to make the tricky transition work? How do you buy a new place before you sell your current home?

 

You are not alone as many home owners have the same concerns. They want to embrace a new lifestyle, take advantage of our ever-increasing values, and lock in a smaller home or condo in an area that they covet.

 

Below are some creative solutions that may help you make your dreams come true too. Keep in mind that everyone’s financial profile is different. One option might not work for you while another one will. It might even be a combination of a few of these.

 

Here are a few ideas:

HELOC – Home Equity Line of Credit. If you have enough equity in your current home, you may be able to get a HELOC to get a down payment for a conventional loan or to buy the new property outright.

 

Bridge Loan – These loans can bridge the gap between buying and selling. You can typically borrow up to 65% of the equity in your home with a maximum loan of $500,000.

 

Margin Loan – most individuals can borrow up to 50% of the balance in their liquid investment accounts (retirement accounts cannot be used). These loans are generally cheaper than a bridge loan and have no major tax implications.

 

IRA Rollover – Most retirement funds allow a 60 day rollover of funds. It’s very important to know that these funds must be replaced into the retirement account within 60 days or you may incur significant penalties and taxes.

 

Making a move, whether you are buying a larger home or downsizing out of your now empty nest, is a big decision. You’ll want the best professionals to help you. Ask your real estate agent to put you in touch with a lender who will help evaluate your financial situation and customize the best options for you.

 

June Griffiths is a Managing Broker in the Windermere Issaquah office and has worked in real estate since 1989. She can be contacted at june@windermere.com.