Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why Great Photography and Videography Matters

First impression is no longer driving up to your house and taking in the curb appeal (although this does matter), it is seeing your listing online, and ultimately wanting to see the inside.  With so many listings to choose from, having professional photography and investing in the work upfront makes all of the difference in the world.

Semi-Professional -vs- Actual Professional

What is the difference?  One might cost $250 where you get acceptable photography and you will either get lost in the shuffle online or blend in, and the other might cost $500 or more.  Real professionals have multiple cameras, using different lenses for certain kinds of space and angles in your house.  Every home is different, and every property has challenges when capturing certain angles.  Another important difference in actual professional photography is lighting.  My photographer for example brings his own lighting which helps make those photos really pop.  

Lastly, editing is the final key ingredient to pulling it all together.  Those little touches like adding pretty blue skies during the rainy dark season, or featuring a warm and cozy fire in the that beautiful fireplace, and adding a Seattle skyline on the television will only invite buyers to your home when they are doing their online shopping. 

The Need For Drones 

Love them or hate them, aerial photography captures a level of visual intrigue that is hard to match, and it is something I provide for my clients.  Drones offer a perspective of the entire house, roof line & condition of the roof, and what the drive home or walk to the school bus might look like.  Let's face it, Google Maps simply is not good enough, and online buyers are wanting to know more than ever "what else is surrounding the home?"  

The best part about drones is that they can shoot in still or video, and the drones my videographer uses films in 4K, which is the highest quality video you want going out to the public.    

Videography

My favorite topic these days as video has become the new norm.  Just look up a few local doctors, lawyers, or even therapists, and you will find that video is not the way of the future, it is here, and it is here to stay.  

There isn't enough appealing marketing content or gorgeous photography in the world to ever touch what a video can offer.  It is more work and it does cost more money, but it is well worth it as it will bring in that many more buyers to your house, and ultimately you will make more money on your most precious asset.  Emotional marketing is everything!

Lastly, the icing on the cake for video and what sets me apart from my competition is that I offer lifestyle videos.  After realizing there is a gap between buyers wanting to know more about what is going on outside of the house (neighborhood & community), I have made it a personal mission to offer as many lifestyle videos as I can to my clients.  This is especially important in the Puget Sound region as we have people moving here from all over the country and the world.  

A few examples of my work: Pacific Northwest Lifestyle (sold in 4 days)
Brand New Listing:  Suncadia Resort Living

Monday, August 28, 2017

Housing Bubble or Not?

Housing Bubble or Not?

Lately, when I read comments on social media I am noticing the fear from many locals who continue to claim that we are in a housing bubble.  Is it true?  Are we in fact in a housing bubble?  Hopefully this blog will help ease any fears you may have about some of the chatter that exists from the general public.  


Our Local Market

For starters, we are not in a housing bubble, but we are going through a local "boom."  Our micro economy is thriving, the Puget Sound is a gorgeous place to live, and housing is unfortunately limited.  The Puget Sound Regional Council estimates around 236 people are moving to the Seattle area each day, which is well over 1,000 people per week.  Even if new construction were to build houses at a faster pace, we could never keep up with this demand.     


What is a Real Bubble?


Secondly, when the country was actually in a real estate bubble back in the early 2000's, the writing was on the wall, and it was well covered in the media.  No income, and no down payment loans which were well rooted in greed, and zero lending regulations, lead us to the peak of a downward snowball affect. That is what a "bubble" actually looks like. This approach was not sustainable, and it really showed in the end.  


In order to purchase a home today, one needs cash, excellent credit, and underwriters sift through your entire life and portfolio.  Just take out a mortgage, and you will quickly feel the heat by these mortgage companies.  

The Real Crisis


Lastly, the real crisis that is happening in our local market and many other real estate markets is affordability.  The gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" continues to grow, and the middle class continues to shrink.  When one pays up to 40% of their income in rent, and banks require a down payment to buy a house, how can one afford to save?  A new survey just released by Career Builder states that 80% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.   


In my professional opinion, I think this is the real crisis, and will continue to challenge everyday working people.  



Friday, June 30, 2017

Best Fourth of July Fireworks Shows

Top Fireworks Shows

The summer is officially here, and what better way to celebrate our independence than a good old fashion BBQ or spending the day at a community event, followed by an awesome fireworks show! 


Seafair Summer 4th

Why not make an entire day out of your Fourth of July?  You can bring the entire family down to Gas Works Park and enjoy many of the Seafair's festivities.  There are endless food vendors, fun exhibits, and great music that happens right on the park's main stage.

For the fireworks display, you can watch the show for free and sit wherever you score a seat, or you can pay for reserved seating.  This epic show is right on Lake Union, and one you will not want to miss!

Tacoma Freedom Fair on the Ruston Waterfront

This event is bound to bring entertainment as there is quite a sight to see with a historical and memorable air show, and is known to be one of the best aviation acts in the country.  There are classic cars, a variety of food vendors, and plenty of entertainment to go around.  


The fireworks display is right on the Ruston Waterfront in front of Katie Downs.  This show will not disappoint as it has been happening for forty years, and there are no bad viewing spots in this spectacular location.  

Lake Sammamish Fireworks Show

As a board member of the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, and as someone who enjoys a good fireworks show, this one is my favorite.  The event raises money each year to support this wonderful organization, and in 2017 they have a goal to raise $30,000 to fully fund our Summer Lunch Program.  You can donate to the Summer Lunch Program here:  Online

One of the best locations for viewing would be by boat, North of the sunken forest area of South Lake Sammamish.  You can also have great views at Lake Sammamish State Park and Vasa Park.  Both of these sites will have food drop off stations.  What can be better than enjoying an amazing fireworks performance all while raising money for a good cause?  

Celebrate Kirkland

Start your day off with a celebratory parade called "With Liberty and Justice For ALL."  There is the Children's Parade and the Community Parade, which means Kirkland likes to have fun and celebrate!  The Children's Parade begins at 10:00am, and the Community Parade starts at noon.  

There are festivities happening all day, ending with an amazing fireworks display over Marina Park starting at 10:15pm.  Bring a blanket, invite some friends, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

4 Up and Coming Cities


Many home buyers are either feeling priced out of the market, or they are feeling discouraged from losing several homes as a result of a competitive bidding war.  I have one creative solution that could help your cause in this booming real estate market.  


Why not broaden your horizons by looking into cities that are up and coming?  


Here are my top four choices.


1.  Lake Stevens


The chase to get a deal is headed North and is spreading all the way to Lake Stevens.  With an average sale price of $352,800, who can blame those who are paying a high premium for rent in King County to take advantage of lowering their monthly housing costs.   People who move to this area commute to Everett, Lynnwood, Mt. Lake Terrace, and yes even all the way to Seattle.

If you find yourself looking in Lake Stevens, notice the new construction developments going up all over the city.  Builders are taking advantage of the demand, and buyers are scooping up these beautiful brand new homes, all while not having to deal with steep competitive offers.

2.  Gig Harbor

A historically sleepy town is waking up to the high demand of home buyers looking for that combination of rural and coastal living.  Tacoma's micro economy is booming, and the city is going through major change and growth.  This is driving people to appreciate and enjoy the quiet of Gig Harbor.  Not to mention the views!

The average sale price in Gig Harbor is $392,719!  Where are you going to find that option in King County?  The downtown area is quaint and beautiful with a seaside feeling.

3.  North Bend

North Bend is simply off of the charts in terms of growth, when it comes to a rural city that is further out in location.  Once you cross Issaquah on I-90 East, it is smooth sailing the rest of the way.  

What is attracting people to this location is all of the surrounding hiking and climbing, house prices, and the fact that it is a charming little town.  The downtown area is being completely redone, and North Bend is only at the beginning of what it will become.  

The average sales price in North Bend is $472,800, which is quite a deal given it is still in King County!  



4.  Maple Valley

A surprising amount of of people are moving to Maple Valley.  It's been steadily growing over the past few years, but this year we can officially say it is "booming!"  With an average sale price of $397,500, home buyers are appreciating all that this fantastic city has to offer, all while getting a great deal on a house.  


The school district in Maple Valley is one of its best kept secrets.  People move to this location from all around the country for work and for the good school ratings.  

A few things people enjoy about Maple Valley is how peaceful it is, outside of all of the congestion.  It is also in close proximity to many popular hiking trails, and parks.



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring Inspiration & Motivation

This winter has been long, and we are at the homestretch of the rainy season.  During this time of year I like to find things that inspire me and get me excited for the beautiful summer ahead.  

While it is easy to feel stuck in what seems like the perpetual gloom of the rainy Pacific Northwest, I find that having a beautiful and inspiring environment inside my home can make all of the difference.  


Here are a few suggestions of things you can do to your house to perk things up!

1.  Fresh Flowers

There is nothing like adding a beautiful array of colors to your home. I recommend going to Pike's Place Market or even just Trader Joe's and purchasing a bundle of fresh cut flowers.  You can easily split up the bunch, cut them short and place them in small mason jars.  Placing these colorful flowers in the rooms where you spend the most time in will make all the difference in your mood.  You can even take a bouquet to your office and place them on your desk.  This is a gift everyone should give to themselves.

2.  Light Up Your World

Take a close look around your house to see where it might be darker than you would like.  How does the living room feel?  Placing stylish looking lamps strategically around your house can offer not only a fresh look, but it can also bring brightness into a dark and weary room.  Of course the best place to get maximum lighting is going for a walk outside.  Embrace the rain, bundle up, and go for a brisk walk.  This will really boost your mood during these last couple of months!  When you come back to your well lit home, the outside refreshment will follow you right inside. 

3.  Refresh Your Playlist


Playing some of your favorite music in the kitchen while cooking dinner, or while you are making breakfast to start the day is a great way to keep up your spirits.  In fact your playlist should be your sidekick in life, and it does not stop at music.  What about finding intriguing podcasts for your daily commute, or books on tape?  Anything that is positive and offers inspiration will always do the trick!

4.  Spring Cleaning

There is something refreshing about going through your closet and dresser and pulling out all of the clothes you do not wear and will never wear.  I highly recommend this ritual once a year during the Spring season.  You don't have to go crazy when it comes to your house, however, I do recommend deep cleaning and organizing your bathroom and kitchen drawers.  This one task alone will make you feel great!  

Oh and don't forget weekly fresh flowers!  

Happy Spring!



Friday, March 3, 2017

Low Maintenance Gardening

Spring is right around the corner, and if you look around you can see that things are already starting to bloom.  We all have busy lives and you should strive to make your garden low maintenance.  

Here are some tips to surround yourself with beauty, all while keeping down the workload.  

Have a Good Design

Having a well thought out realistic plan is key when it comes to any kind of gardening.  Take on one project at a time so you are not overwhelming yourself.  To test your green thumb, I suggest starting with a planter or a small raised bed.  Make sure whatever you choose to do is close to your kitchen so that it is easily accessible, and I always recommend www.pinterest.com for amazing design plans.  

Choose Plants Wisely

Have fun with your garden, and indulge in what you and your family love to eat.  Keep in mind that there are low and high maintenance fruits and vegetables, and so you will want to choose short term guests like lettuces, and kale.  In fact, kale is one of the best vegetables to grow in the Puget Sound region because it is hearty, easy, and you can grow it all year round.  If you get bored of kale, you can get creative and make kale chips!  

Maybe You Prefer Flowers

Some easy flowers to start with are marigolds, nasturtiums, and cosmos, and if you feel ambitious you can always work your way up to growing harder ones like peonies, dahlias, or roses.  Adding flowers to your yard in the winter really adds color and happiness during those dark winter months.  

Mulch, Mulch, and Mulch

This one is a must!  For the lazy gardener who especially does not want to spend time pulling weeds, I highly recommend using mulch wherever you can.  In fact, if you do this you will spend less time, water, weeding, and fertilizing.  Mulching also prevents soil erosion, and it adds organic matter to your garden.  You can only go right with mulching!  

I hope these tips have helped give you some ideas for ways to be more productive and love your garden.



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Valentine's Day Eats in the Puget Sound

While there is nothing more romantic than spending a cozy evening with your love in your very home, this Valentine's Day, you may be considering options to dine out. If you're wondering what to do this Valentine's Day, let me share some of my favorite restaurants in the Puget Sound area with you.  

Indulge in French Cuisine & Wine


Maximilien: One of my favorite restaurants and known for its charming ambience, Maximilien is in the heart of Pike's Place Market.  Enjoy a stunning view of the Puget Sound, all while enjoying some of the finest French cuisine, paired with a wine to compliment your dinner.  I recommend booking your reservation ahead of time on OpenTable.com. You cannot go wrong with this excellent choice!


Take a Tour Through Italy


Montalcino:  This is possibly Issaquah's best kept secret.  Montalcino is known for its quaint ambiance and traditional Italian dishes.  There is love, history, and intention that goes into everything this place has to offer.  The owners are wine aficionados as they not only make their own wine, but they truly understand which wine will pair well with the meal you are enjoying.  This is another place I recommend booking way in advance as it is on the smaller side, and books up fast.  If you are looking for the perfect authentic Italian experience, this would be your best choice!  Salute!  


Step Right into Japan


Flo Japanese:  If you love sushi and sake, Flo Japanese will not disappoint.  Fresh and yummy sushi, every kind of sake you can imagine, and a gorgeous ambiance are some of the few things this fine establishment has to offer.  Every dish is like having a piece of art on your plate, and trying new sake can be fun and interesting.  To all of my sushi snobs, you must try this place!  


Fun For the Family

Frelard Pizza Company:  For my fellow parents out there who have had a long day with the kids.  What is better than dropping them off at the play area, while enjoying some time away from the kiddos and having a cold glass of beer. Seriously, this place is cool!  They have local micro brews, made to order pizza, and delicious fresh salads.  Just a little secret...   If you love thin crust pizza, this is your place!  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

5 Reasons to Hire a Realtor

Between the very real threat of interest rate hikes in 2017 and an unknown Trump administration, the Real Estate market is heating up.  Both buyers and sellers are making their move, as waiting for even better interest rates is no longer a likely option.  

Here are five solid reasons to hire a professional Real Estate Broker.  

1.  Protection

An experienced Realtor knows how to protect the best interests of his or her client, and works hard to protect them from being taken advantage of by less friendly parties.  I have always treated my clients in the way that I would want to be treated during a business transaction.  This means only the highest integrity and responsibility should go into any real estate transaction.  My clients are always made aware of what is going on with their purchase or sale, no matter whether it is good or bad news.  My clients know that they can trust me and count on me each day.

2.  Code of Ethics

Professional Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors, and have to abide by NAR's Code of Ethics, a standard of practice often even higher than what is mandated by state laws.  (Read more:  Code of Ethics)  Make sure you ask your Realtor if he or she is a member of the National Association of Realtors.  

3.  Negotiating Skills

This one is my favorite because negotiating is what I love to do!  Top producing Realtors negotiate well because they have the experience of being in the thick of heated debates over price, inspections, contingencies, disclosures, and so many other details that come up in the process of a purchase or sale.  Professional Realtors also stand by your side when the emotional heat increases during negotiation, and they are able to emotionally remove themselves from the transaction.  Imagine the relief you will feel, knowing that when things get tough, your Realtor has your back, and is not swayed by the winds of emotions that so often upset the progress of a tense deal. Which is exactly what you want when selling your most precious asset.  An excellent negotiator stays cool under pressure, presenting her clients in the best light, all while protecting their investment with confidence and confidentiality.  

4.  Information

Even with all of the information that is available to the public via the internet these days, your real estate broker has access to the multiple listing service, which provides endless market data to help you with your purchase or sale.  Information also changes daily, and oftentimes, the data that you see on public websites is misleading or not accurate at all.  A professional realtor can also help you to interpret the data available, beyond simply counting rooms and assessing price.  Your transaction should be treated with care, and your Realtor should be comfortable discussing all aspects of the comparative market analysis.

5.  Advocacy

A good real estate broker will always be a strong voice for you during your transaction.  This means finding out your particular desires, and thoroughly understanding your personal situation.  During the sale of your property, your broker should always work hard to get you the highest and best price, all while reducing your stress.  When purchasing a property, your real estate broker should pull comps to make sure that you are not overpaying for the property, and they should never let you purchase something that would not have the potential to be great to resell later on down the road.  

Lastly, make sure that you interview your broker, and that you feel comfortable working with him or her.  I always say to listen to your instincts.  You will know when it is the right fit!  

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Holiday Considerations For Real Estate

The holidays are a very special time, and it is definitely a time for entertaining and showing off your home decorating skills.  While it is not the busiest time of year for Real Estate, rest assured there are many serious buyers out there looking for their next home.  

Sellers: Cozy Up The Place

For sellers, many say that homes truly look their best during the holidays, so be sure to create a warm and inviting space to awe those interested buyers.  Try to go with a broader winter theme that can speak to a large audience.  Use a plug-in candle that offers a holiday aroma, offer delicious treats, and cozy up the place by playing some classical music.  You want buyers to feel relaxed, and to spend as much time as possible in your luscious space.  

Buyers: Dream Up Your Entertaining Space

For buyers, now is the time to ask yourself what it is that you are truly looking for in your new home.  If you are spending time seeking your new home during this holiday season, you must be very serious.  And if that is the case, do not skimp on your holiday wishes.  Do you entertain during the holidays, or at any other times during the year?  If you are someone who enjoys having company around, what kind of space do you need?  Maybe you would like a big kitchen island where people can connect and enjoy appetizers while you are making the final meal.  Or perhaps, you like to offer a variety of intimate options for your guests to choose from, while adding surround sound to set the tone.  For you introverts, a comfy chair by the fireplace may be all that you seek during this quiet time of year.

Lastly, I have found that both buyers and sellers alike are exceptionally kind and friendly to work with during the holiday season, so do not hesitate to buy or sell during this very special time of year.  It could, in fact, be your best Real Estate experience yet!  

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Real Estate For Commuters

Whenever I meet new clients, I always ask them what is most important to them; and the answer is often "commute times."  Consumers in the Puget Sound region are now looking at how long they are spending in their cars before they even consider what kind of house they want.  I think it is fair to say we are all feeling the massive growth spurt that is happening here.  

Many of my clients for example who work for a certain tech giant on the East side, will only live in two cities surrounding this company, and some will only live in the city of Seattle opting for public transportation.  While everyone can understand wanting a short commute, the question I like to ask is "How does a long commute impact your quality of life,"  and similarly, "how will homeownership impact your quality of life?"

In an ideal world your dream home and a short commute would be easy to attain simultaneously, but in reality these two things do not always go together.  For example, some people want a large yard, or to live close to the mountains, but they work in an urban environment.  A short commute for them may mean giving up their dream home.  

If you do choose your dream home over commute time, it would be wise to take advantage of this time.  Call friends and family to catch up, listen to books on tape, or you can even challenge yourself and learn a new language!  

Real estate considerations for those faced with a long commute will depend on their desires.  For example, you workout enthusiasts, you could consider purchasing a property with room for a home gym, or in close proximity to a local fitness center, or outdoor exercise opportunities.  

Personally, when getting to know my clients, I like to understand the whole picture of their lifestyle. What is important to you, both in your real estate needs, and in your daily life?

The finest compliment I may ever receive is a referral from friends and clients.  Thank you!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Seattle Fall Adventures

Crisp cold air, beautiful leaves falling to the ground, and spooky Halloween are some of my favorite reminders of this wonderful season.  People always ask me how to "get over" the shorter PNW days, and I always say to embrace the season, and to get outside.  

Lately, I have been spending a lot of time outdoors, and feel inspired to offer some of my favorite Seattle Fall adventures. 

1.  Apple Picking

Apples are in season right now, and Washington State is known to have the most delicious apples around.  Apple picking in this area happens between September through the end of October, and many orchards offer other fun and engaging activities for children.  

It is highly recommended to call beforehand to make sure the orchard you want to visit has U-pick options available on that day.  Orchards operate differently, and they do not always offer self pick on everyday of the week.  I also recommend packing boots as the orchards can be a little muddy.  Lastly, while many farmers in the area have not paid the expensive cost of obtaining organic certifications, many of them do have organic growing practices.  When you call ahead, be sure to ask them about this.  

Some of my favorites: 
Bellwood Acres   
The Farm
Lattin's Cider

2.  Pick Your Own Pumpkin

Many pumpkin picking places offer warm cider, corn mazes, petting zoos, and much more.  Don't hesitate to throw on your warm fall layers, get in the car and adventure out to whatever destination is calling you.  

If you are planning on going to one of these farms, I highly recommend calling ahead to see if they are taking reservations as they are very popular.  Many of them also have tickets they sell online so you can purchase in advance.  

Some of my favorites:  
Fox Hollow Farm
Remlinger Farms
Craven Farm

3.  Wine Tasting

There is nothing like an autumn stroll for wine lovers, and Woodinville has some of the best tasting rooms around.  You can have your wine tour organized by a company, where you have your own personal driver who makes recommendations based on what you enjoy.  Or you can drive to Woodinville yourself and explore the different wineries on your own.  

Some of my favorites:  
JM Cellars
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Darby Winery


The finest compliment I may ever receive is a referral from friends and clients.  Thank you!




Why Great Photography and Videography Matters

First impression is no longer driving up to your house and taking in the curb appeal (although this does matter), it is seeing your listin...