Metal – Metal roofs can last up to 70 years depending on the materials. Debris should be removed on a regular basis and inspected every few years to make sure no repairs are required.
Slate – Depending on where the slate was quarried, a slate roof can last up to 200 years! As the slate naturally flakes, the roof deteriorates. Slate roofs should be inspected every few years or after heavy weather both on the outside as well as the inside for water leakage, and individual slate pieces which have deteriorated should be replaced.
Tile – Tile has been the roofing material of choice for Asia, Europe, and South America for hundreds of years and with regular maintenance, can last several hundred years. Inspect regularly, looking for chipped or cracked tiles and replace. Have a professional wash or brush once a year depending on where you live. Seal the roof every few years as recommended by your roof repair company.
|September Activity for the City of Seattle|
- September’s volume of new listings increased nearly 17 percent compared to a year ago, pushing the total number of active listings slightly ahead of 12 months ago (up 2.1 percent). However, of the 21 counties the MLS serves, 11 reported having fewer listings than a year ago.
- Pending sales (mutually accepted offers) rose 4.6 percent area-wide; 14 counties had double-digit gains, while three counties reported declines.
- Closed sales for September increased 21.2 percent year-over-year, rising from 5,536 to 6,711.
- While selling prices area-wide are up 8.7 percent from a year ago, prices were below year-ago figures in five counties. Conversely, seven counties notched double-digit gains. The area-wide median price for last month’s closed sales was $278,000, up 8.7 percent from the year-ago figure of $255,745, but $5,000 less (down about 1.8 percent) from August.
- Prices on closed sales of single family homes (excluding condos) rose 8.2 percent, while condo prices surged 12.3 percent.
“As is typical at this time of year, September’s pace slows a bit compared to August as families focus on back to school and all the activities that go along with that,” observed Frank Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo.
|City of Seattle, Median Home Prices|
|Do the curtains stay?|
Whether you are a buyer or seller, there may come a time when you are either touring a home or about to sell one when you look around and wonder if that amenity should come with the house or not. For example, it may seem logical that items such as curtains which were specially made for the room and match the carpet, chandeliers, certain appliances, or even barstools that were custom made should stay with the house. However, it all comes down to what the buyer and seller specify in the purchase and sale agreement.
Listing agents need to point all of the ambiguous items out during the tour with the seller and determine which the seller is willing to part with or include in the listing. If a seller is willing to include all the high-end chandeliers, that can become a strong selling point – if the buyer wants them.
If a buyer doesn’t want certain items that the sellers intended to leave behind (such as outside play equipment, hot tubs, freezers, etc), then it is important to include in the contract that those items are to be removed by the seller – or else the buyer may be surprised at the walk-through if they thought they would travel with the seller.
However, fixtures that are attached, such as fountains that are cemented in, doors, etc are generally thought of as part of the home. But, if you see a stained glass window that is inset to a standard window, it is best to specify whether it is staying or going.
The key is to include everything in the contract – that the seller intends to leave and what the buyer wants. Negotiation can happen from there. Never assume that something is staying…or going.
For those of us who live in Seattle, it’s the first day of school today. My son is now a high school sophomore, but as in years past, I reminisce today about that first day of kindergarten. We had bought our house six months earlier, so that we would be in the area of one of the best schools in the city. The school bus would pick Sam up just a couple blocks from our house – I remember meeting the bus “pros” at the bus stop, parents who had been doing this year after year. I remember the excitement I felt picking him up at school that first day, waiting to hear about all the wonderful things he learned at school and about all his new friends.
Jump forward to 10th grade. Sam drove to school today for the first time. No more school buses or Metro. He left the house 20 minutes earlier than he needed to, he was so excited to get to school, to get his schedule, to see his friends. I’m feeling similar excitement to that kindergarten day, wanting to know about his classes, his teachers, his friends.
Schools are one aspect of neighborhood and community. For those with children, it’s a critical component. As you choose a neighborhood to live in, many people are concerned about the schools. Is it a “good school?” How will my child get there? Are there after school activities or child care?
Today I’d like to answer the question, “is it a good school.” There are many different definitions of a good school. For many, they look at test scores or classroom size. Others look at on-line rankings such as those provided by Great Schools. But there are other factors to consider. Teacher retention rates? Principal longevity? Involved parent group? Welcoming atmosphere whenever you enter the building? Ability to work with students with different learning styles? Necessary support services or after school care?
As I’ve learned over the past years, there is no formula to determine a good school. If I had to pick the most important factor, I’d say community – the parent group, the welcoming atmosphere, the support services. Test scores are numbers, people make up community. Relationships with fellow parents, with teachers, and with administration is critical. Feeling welcome and respected is critical.
From our experience, the school with the best test scores was not the best fit for Sam. The best schools are the ones who create a community.
As my tagline says, “Building Community. One Home at a Time.” Let me help you find that right community.
As Labor Day approaches, the kids are headed back to school. In some school districts, classes may have already started. In others, including Seattle, the first day of school is Wednesday, September 4th. Here’s my annual list of Back to School Tips and Resources. (All area codes are 206.)
I have an almost 16 year old son, who has his learner’s permit to drive. He wants to practice drive all the time, so this summer we have been going on adventures. He also loves photography and nature, so we’ve been getting out of the city, exploring places we’ve either never been or haven’t been to in a long time, and have created some photo journals of our excursions.
These adventures have reminded me why I love Seattle and the Puget Sound. Trees, flowers, water, mountains, sand, boats – we’ve got it all. This summer has been gorgeous with lots of sun and fantastic warm days. We’ve been to Mt. Rainier, Camano Island, and the Hood Canal, as well as all over Seattle.
So this blog post is a photo montage from our day trips. Enjoy the Pacific Northwest.
|Juniper Beach on Camano Island|
|Camano Island, west side|
|Ferry on it’s way into Seattle|
|Hood Canal, facing the Olympic Mountains|
|Mount Ranier, while on the ferry from Kingston to Edmonds|
|Puget Sound, with Olympic Mountains in the back|
|Sunset from Sunset Hill in Seattle|
|Myrtle Edwards Park on the Seattle waterfront|
|The gondola at Crystal Mountain|
|Mount Ranier from an Ansel Adams perspective|
|Mt. Adams from Crystal Mountain Resort|
Interest rates are on the increase – in the last month they’ve jumped somewhere around a quarter to half a percent. That may not sound like much, but it affects your buying power. With prices on rise and multiple offers the norm, that $500,000 budget you may have may instead now be $475,000.
Let me explain. You have $100,000 for a down payment. Your lender has approved you for up to a $500,000 home ($400,000 mortgage) at 3.75% interest, with a monthly payment of around $1,850 in principal and interest.
Interest rates are now 4.25%, a half percent increase. Your lender only approves you for the $1,850/month payment. You can now only afford a $475,000 (with the same $100,000 down payment). Your buying power has decreased $25,000 or 5%.
For every half a percent that interest rates increase, your buying power decreases by 5%. Your $800,000 buying power becomes $760,000. If interest rates continues on an upward trend, your buying power will continue to decrease.
I just heard a story of buyers who found their dream home. They planned to make an offer above asking price, knowing there would be multiple offers, but this put them at the top of their price range. They asked their lender for a new pre-approval letter with the higher price but the lender said no. Interest rates had increased since the last pre-approval, and they could no longer afford that amount.
Prices aren’t going down, they’re going up. Interest rates aren’t going down either, they’re going up too. Don’t wait any longer, the time to buy is NOW! Contact me today to discuss your buying needs.
Hot. Sizzling. Stupendous. Pick your adjective to describe the month of May (as well as months before). In Seattle and King County, like many parts of the country now, it is a sellers’ market, with limited inventory and endless numbers of buyers driving prices up.
For example – average sales price in Seattle for May 2013 was $555,000, up nearly 8% from April and 21% from May 2012.
The best news from May, for both buyers and sellers, is that inventory is slowing creeping up. However, inventory continues to hover at just over a one month supply of homes. We’d like to see closer to five to six months for a more stable market.
Check out my May Seattle report here. Let me know if you’d like me to run a report for your neighborhood or city.