“The Seattle Times” Real Estate Article: “It’s a Good Time…to be a First Time Home Buyer” and MY First-time Homebuyers

The Seattle Times Real Estate Article: "It's a good time...to be a first-time homebuyer"

The Seattle Times Real Estate Article: "It's a good time...to be a first-time homebuyer"

Sunday mornings and it’s The Seattle Times, and a cup of coffee…ahhh….

So, this morning when I got to the Seattle Real Estate section, the first thing that caught my eye was the photo….I showed THAT house to my first-time home buyers last September!  It was for the article “It’s a good time to be a  first-time homebuyer

While that home did not suit my clients, together we eventually found a great deal last fall, on a wonderful new construction, 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in Beacon Hill over looking Columbia City, I am glad that the buyer in the article, with the help of her Seattle real estate agent,  found what she was looking for. 

The article did a good job of pointing out why for many first-time home buyers it is a good time to buy:

  • Lot’s of inventory – this is how my clients wound up with such a great deal, the builder needed to sell some of his inventory and was willing to take a much lower price than what the house was originally listed for.
  • Lower prices on homes – the downward pressure of lots of inventory beause of potential home buyers watching and waiting.
  • Low interest rates –  my lender, Christi, updates me on how the rates are and they are very good.
  •  Up to $8,000 tax credit– available for first time home buyers who qualify, and who buy between Jan. 1st 2009 and Dec. 1st 2009.

Anyway, it was funny to see that house again in the newspaper, good thing I had already swallowed my coffee, or my photo would be of a coffee stained article…LoL!

Winter in Seattle is not quite over yet…. We are Waking up to Snow this Morning!

March 15th, 2009 Categories: Weather in Seattle

This is what Seattle woke up to this morning…HUGE snowflakes falling!  Even though Spring officially begins this coming Friday (just 5 days away) the Seattle area is being dusted with more snow.


Here is what I saw on my patio this morning…snowfalling, so HUGE you can hear it land!

Alki Walk: Clear and Cold with the Moon Rising!

March 10th, 2009 Categories: Alki
Seattle and the Space Needle from Alki walk on March 10, 2009

Seattle and the Space Needle from Alki walk on March 10, 2009

This evening’s walk on Alki was clear and COLD.  Since last Sunday was “Spring Forward” one hour we also had sunshine…Yay! 

The walk also had a few funny surprises this evening:  we saw a woman walking her skate boarding dog,  and a man holding his indoor cat in his arms because he told us the cat enjoys being outside occassionally for fresh air! 

On the way back the sun had set, it was even colder, and as we were rounding the curve of the point, we were surprised by the HUGE rising full moon coming up over the SafeCo Field….it was Awesome!

Moon rising over Seattle after Alki walk                           March 10, 2009 ....Just Awesome!

Moon rising over Seattle after Alki walk March 10, 2009 ....Just Awesome!





The moon rising…  





First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square – March 2009

March 6th, 2009 Categories: Art, Art Galleries, Art Walks, Artists, Pioneer Square
Artforte Gallery in Pioneer Square

Artforte Gallery in Pioneer Square

It’s a new month and here it is again, First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square and it was a fine evening to be out enjoying the Art in the Galleries with a couple of friends.  I met a friend at her office and we to Pioneer Square and met up with another friend in one of the Galleries. 

So, every month I allow myself to pick which artists’ whose work catches my eye and appeals to my “would I want to see that artwork in my home” criteria and this month I found my favorite Artists for the evening in this order at Artforte, Linda Hodges and Marni Muir Galleries. 

Flora S. Bowley beside her paintings at Artforte Gallery in Seattle's Pioneer Square

Flora S. Bowley beside her paintings at Artforte Gallery in Seattle's Pioneer Square

My favorite artist for the evening was Flora S. Bowley at Artfort Gallery.  I noticed her paintings last spring and was happy to see more of her gorgeous surreal/abstract landscapes.  These color drenched, organic natural abstracted shapes are beguiling….  Yes, I think Flora’s paintings are candy yummy and would love to see them in my home or yours! 

Linda Hodges Gallery was showing mixed media collage and oil paintings by Patrick LoCiero .  These paintings quietly draw you in as you begin to notice the details of the background collage (which almost begin to tell a story) and realize the paintings are not a flat as they first appear.  The paintings have almost quilted, rich burnished surface from the collage and set against that surface are the painted (and collaged) floral subjects.  At first glance the paintings are quiet, then as you look deeper, you are drawn into seeing stories in the images of the collage backgrounds. 

Marni Muir Gallery was showing the dreamlike, surreal  paintings of Scott Goodwillie .  Technically amazing paintings in oil with dream-like  images (and dreams often have disturbing imagery) that first catch your eye, then as you settle your gaze on the subject you realize *oh* and wonder at what you are seeing, you are perhaps a little unsettled at that point.  The painting that appealed to me in the show was a large painting of a life-sized woman surrounded by writhing ferrets that reminded me of a few favorite Frieda Kahlo self portrait paintings.

It was an engaging evening of Art!


Update:  Flora S. Bowley emailed me April 3rd, to let me know that she has been asked to make, “5 or more really large paintings to go in the lobby and restaurant of the new Escala condo building up in Seattle.”
Congratulations Flora!  I will check them out.

White Center For The Arts Building and Open Studio Tour (plus a tiny bit of Seattle real estate!)

February 26th, 2009 Categories: Art, Artists, Georgetown, White Center
White Center For The Arts Studio Tours Feb. 21, 2009

White Center For The Arts Studio Tours Feb. 21, 2009

Last week, I was invited by Kim McCarthy to the launching of White Center For The Arts Building with their first Open Studio Art Tour in White Center (fondly nicknamed Rat City ) on Saturday, Feb. 21.  I came with a friend (after showing houses for sale until it was too dark to see) to tour the studios.  

The White Center For The Arts Building is on the main street of White Center and it actually has a skate rink in the building where the Rat City Roller Girls first started skating.  The building is now in the process of becoming a focal point for the White Center Art community as artists’ have been priced out of other Seattle neighborhoods. 
Kim McCarthy in her studio for the White Center Open Studio Tour

Kim McCarthy in her studio for the White Center Open Studio Tour

The progression for urban neighborhood renewal is for artists to begin to move into an affordable, usually a bit rundown, neighborhood close in to the city.  The artists’ support the local restaurants, cafes and bars, and a buzz begins to build.  This brings hip/edgy younger people who start hanging out, then buying the affordable housing and fixing them up.  The builders now come building condos helping to further transform the neighborhood, causing prices to move up and pricing out the younger artists who then seek out another affordable neighborhood and the cycle begins again.

Ken Torres in his studio at the White Center For The Arts Open Studio Tour

Ken Torres in his studio at the White Center For The Arts Open Studio Tour

Close by Georgetown has recently undergone this transformation and the housing in Georgetown  has priced out many first time home buyers.  Currently White Center has 11 homes for sale on the market median price $299,950, and Georgetown has 13 homes for sale at a median price of $350,000.

My friend and I were there to say “Hi” to Kim McCarthy and Ken Torres (both work at DANIEL SMITH Artists’ Materials – fyi, I write the blog for DANIEL SMITH) and it was fun to see their artwork.  Kim is a very active artist, and I am always running into her at various art venues!

NAR Announces who their new Social Media Manager is: Todd Carpenter, and my teeny, tiny roll in it!

February 25th, 2009 Categories: NAR, Web 2.0
My copy of "The New Influencers" by Paul Gillin

My copy of "The New Influencers" by Paul Gillin

Today NAR announced who their Social Media Manager is, Todd Carpenter .  Congratulations to both Todd and NAR!

This is a huge step in the right direction for NAR  (National Association of Realtors) in joining in on the Web 2.0 conversation with home buying and home selling consumers, and the real estate industry.  Being in the conversation is the first step to, hopefully help NAR to gain more credibility.  Of course just joining is not enough, NAR will need to become more aware of the changes happening and be willing not only to listen, but to take positive action in response to what is being said.
Okay, now I am going to pat myself (nice job Deb!) on the back for my teeny, tiny part in nudging NAR, by sending you to Jay Thompsons’ NAR Wisdom blog “Why the NAR Needs a Social Media Director ” and this guest post “I Completed My Homework ” by NAR CEO Dale Stinton thanking me (Deborah Burns, Seattle Real Estate Agent!)  for recommending the book “The New Influencers ” by Paul Gillin.
If you want to see my outline of how this happened, see my previous post below….”Outlining the Wonderful, Weird Way Web 2.0 Works
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Outlining the Wonderful, Weird Way Web 2.0 Works….

February 25th, 2009 Categories: NAR, Web 2.0
The copy of "The New Influencers" by Paul Gillin that I won from Hubspot

The copy of "The New Influencers" by Paul Gillin that I won from Hubspot

Outling the wonderful, weird way Web 2.0 works….

So today NAR announced who their new Social Media Manager is (Todd Carpenter ) and I played a teeny, tiny part with  NAR taking action to join the web 2.0 conversation (see the following post).  Since the blogosphere is all about conversation, sharing information, and helping to influence, here is an outline of the wonderful, weird way web 2.0 works…………..
  1. Last February (2008)  I was reading a post on NAR Wisdom  by Jay Thompson
  2. That I learned of from reading a post by Lola Audu, I left comments on both posts.  
  3. Jay’s post on “Why the NAR Needs a Social Media Director ” prompted me to leave a comment for Dale Stinton (CEO of NAR) recomending a book by Paul Gillin, “The New Influencers “. 
  4. That book I won when I was a listener on a Hubspot Webinar interview with Paul Gillin about his new book .
  5. I learned of Hubspot through their Free WebsiteGrader .
  6. I learned about WebsiteGrader from ActiveRain.
  7. I learned about ActiveRain   from ARDELL.
  8. I found ARDELL on Rain City Guide.
  9. I found Rain City Guide because I was dissatisfied with what I was learning at the Seattle real estate brokerage (to remain nameless!) I had started at as a new Seattle real estate agent.
There you have it….why web 2.0 is effective!
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A “Moving” Idea for Seattle Seniors Downsizing: Consultants for Moving into a Smaller Home

February 24th, 2009 Categories: Moving, Seattle Times misc. articles
The Seattle Times article: "Movers aim to unpack warm feelings of home"  Feb. 22, 2009

The Seattle Times article: "Movers aim to unpack warm feelings of home" Feb. 22, 2009

I read in last Sunday’s edition of “The Seattle Times “, in the Job Market section (and no, I was not job hunting, I read Daneen Skube’s weekly column “Interpersonal Edge “) and there I found an interesting article on a growing niche moving service.  This moving service specializes in working with Seniors who need to down size, moving from their homes filled with a lifetime of possessions, to smaller, more manageable homes.

In the article by Thomas Heath: “Movers aim to unpack warm feeling of home ” Heath writes that these movers are specializing in helping Seniors to minimize the sad reality of moving from their home, with all it’s familiar furnishings and memories, to a smaller place that simply cannot accommodate all their treasures. 
These movers known as “Move Management Consultants“, help not only with the physical move, but can also help with determining what to keep and more.  Everyone knows how stressful packing up and moving can be, then when you add the stress of downsizing from 2400sf (or more) to a 900sf (or less) condo or apt. and experiencing the sense of loss that comes from having to get rid of many familiar and beloved things, it becomes overwhelming. 
The article is very interesting with all the services that the Move Management Consultants offer their aging clients, it looks to be a very good, and much needed service to help a growing segment of the population.  Unfortunately after Googling “Move Management Consultant” for the Seattle area, I found no local businesses.  That is too bad, the article said there were about 500 businesses offering these types of services, but apparently none in Seattle to help Seniors to move.  The company who the article was written about, “Transitional Assistance and Design “, is based in Maryland. 
So entrepreneurs  in Seattle, here is a great idea for an opportunity to help Seniors with their downsizing move !
Update:  Christy Urdel from NextStep Transitions stopped by and left a comment to let me know about her Seattle Specialty Moving Company and 8 others, so check out the comments for more.  Thank you Christy!

First Time Home Buyers $8,000 Housing Tax Credit for 2009: Great Article in “The Seattle Times”

February 24th, 2009 Categories: Seattle Times RE articles
The Seattle Times Real Estate article: "Good Look at New Housing Credit" from Feb. 22, 2009

The Seattle Times Real Estate article: "Good Look at New Housing Credit" from Feb. 22, 2009

Last Sunday “The Seattle Times ” had a good article “Good Look at New Housing Credit ” by columnist Kenneth R. Harney, explaining the $8,000 Housing Tax Credit for 2009.

Briefly, the $8,000 Housing Tax Credit that was passed for 2009 improves on the $7,500 Tax Credit for 2008 by making it a true credit, and not an interest free loan.  To qualify, you must be a “first time home buyer” (as defined in the plan) and earn less than $75,000 (single income) or $150,000 (joint-filing couples).  The article goes into more details concerning eligibility, other beneficial aspects of the plan and is worth reading.
It’s unfortunate that the main change to improve the Tax Credit by making it a true credit, and not an interest free government loan, is not retro-active for first time home buyers who bought a home last fall.

Seattle Real Estate Values for 3rd Quarter 2008 Released by Zillow

Yesterday Zillow released its’ Seattle Real Estate Trends for the third quarter (July, August, September) of 2008 and posted that Seattle home values decreased -7.53% compared to the third quarter of 2007.  As a point of comparison, Zillow reported that home values Nationally decreased -9.7% for the same quarter.
I clicked through the links: Seattle Real Estate Trends, to Click for Seattle values and, on the left under Seattle, the Excel icon  , I found 5 tabs at the bottom of the page. There was a “Summary”, “Metro Area & County”, “City”, “Neighborhood”, and “Glossary”.  I found the information shown under City and Neighborhood to be the most interesting as the values data that Zillow has compiled is broken down to what most Seattle home buyers and Seattle home sellers will find the most interesting; their particular neighborhood or city. 
These numbers are “Year over Year” of the “% change for the Zillow Home Value Index or “Zindex” over the last year (12 months)”.  In other words, Zillows “Zestimate“, the median value for homes for in that area, and the percent less value compared to last years’ Zestimate median value.
Now, these Zillow numbers are not just the actual sales based numbers like the numbers calculated by the NWMLS, although actual sales data is used by Zillow as a part of calculating Zestimates, so they are a model for comparing value.  This makes the numbers a good tool for understanding value and comparing value, but are not the only way to measure an individual homes’ value.
A snapshot of Year over Year % for a few areas/neighborhoods of current interest to me (as well as current and recent clients) are:        
Beacon Hill     -8.0%
Clyde Hill     -4.4%
Columbia City     -12.7%
Magnolia     -8.3%  (Magnolia is shown twice)
Magnolia     -6.5%
Mercer Island     -6.3%
Montlake     -7.0%
Normandy Park     -5.8%
Queen Anne     -4.7%
West Seattle     -7.4%
Just follow through the links to find the City or neighborhood that interests you, and check out the numbers…they are very interesting!

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