The Goodwill Glitter Sale!

November 14th, 2008 Categories: Shopping

 This weekend is the 25th Glitter Sale at the Seattle Goodwill
All year, the creme de la creme of donations made to the Goodwill, is skimmed and set aside for this special event and it’s a fabulous and fun fashion frenzy! 
If you can wear it and it’s sparkly, gold, silver, designer, retro, vintage, original, feathered, sequined, beaded, bejeweled, brocaded, silk, leather, lacy, leopard, zebra, and it excites your inner dress-up girl, well this is the event for you!
There will be dresses, skirts, slacks, blouses, jackets, coats, suits, robes, scarves, hats, shoes, belts, boots, handbags, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, and more.  Oh, and for you men, well, the “good stuff” is here for you too.
A few years ago, I went with some very fashionista friends from Idaho (you laugh, but fashion knows no state boundaries!) and had a blast with all the flurry of fashion flying around the few hours we were there.  I am hoping to go again this year with an old friend and perhaps some new friends (former clients of mine who just bought their first home) and have some fashion fun!
This year will also see the First Annual Glitter Gala Event that took place yesterday evening in the Metropolitan Ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel with proceeds going to help support Goodwill programs.  While the Glitter Sale is a wonderful event everyone attending, there is a purpose to all that Glitters…helping people through Goodwill’s job training and education programs.
To find out more about all the fashion fun (photos too!) check out the Goodwill Glitter Blog for some very helpful shopping tips and photos of some of the cool stuff that will be at the Glitter Sale!  I hope to have some photos tomorrow to post of THE BEFORE the frenzy, and I will certainly have some from Saturday!
*** Blog updated Nov. 14th, with the Pre-view photos at the top of the page.  Many thanks to Betsy McFeely, PR Director at the Seattle Goodwill, for her wonderful Pre-view tour of all the hardwork the Goodwill Staff has done getting all the gorgeous “loot” ready for shoppers this weekend!

Art Walk in Seattle’s Pioneer Square for July’s First Thursday

July 18th, 2008 Categories: Art, Art Galleries, Art Walks, Artists, Pioneer Square

This month’s First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square in Downtown Seattle was on a gorgeous evening and many people were out enjoying themselves while looking at Art , listening to live music and taking in the general atmosphere.  It’s a great way to spend an evening and perhaps purchase some original art to add to your home.

This time I was going with a friend who wanted to see an Artist customer of hers, Fred Lisaius, (she is the manager of the Daniel Smith Artists’ Materials Store in Bellevue) who was showing at the Linda Hodges Gallery.  It was really cool to meet Fred Lisaius, and see his beautiful paintings in person, of course I checked out his website before hand! We also met up with two others and took our Art Walk around Pioneer Square

Fred Lisaius at Linda Hodges GalleryDeborah Butterfield at Greg Kucera GalleryMy Favorite Deborah Butterfield Sculpture at Greg Kucera GalleryJoy Gonyea-Roberts’ Art Booth “Jewelry by Joy”Ariel Bradys’ StudioKerrie Carbary’s Studio and “The Horse”

We started at Occidental Park to visit the Art Booths, and I bought a beautiful necklace from Joy Gonyea-Robertson (Jewelry by Joy ) and I wore it the rest of the evening!  We also stopped by to talk with Kim McCarthy at her booth (who works at Daniel Smith ) and see her work.  The Art Booths have lots of very affordable art pieces…great place for gifts too!

Some of the Galleries we went to were: Grover/Thurston Gallery (Julie Paschkis’ art was beautiful), and both Davidson Galleries.  At the Davidson Contemporary I was looking forward to seeing an artist, Francesca Sundsten , whose paintings I had enjoyed seeing at a Madrona Broker’s Open House in May, but she was not part of the July group show after all.  A wonderful surprise for me was to discover a favorite artist/sculptor of mine at the Greg Kucera GalleryDeborah Butterfield !  Being in the presence of Deborah’s huge, graceful horses was a wonderful experience.

We also went to see Artist Studios at theTashiro Kaplan Building. Some artists’ there who caught my eye were:  Ariel Brady [ Foo 5 (Japan, 1942) ], Michael Brady, and Kerrie Carbary ( “The Horse” )

It was a fun evening and there was lots of great art out on display.  Seattle has a very vibrant Art Community , and it’s important to support our local artists…how much more wonderful would your home be with some original art?

Is Now a Good Time to Sell My Seattle Home?

An acquaintance who knows I am a Seattle Real Estate Agent, asked me this question the other day because she was thinking about selling her Seattle home.

My BRIO For Sale sign

Well…it depends.

It depends on the individual situation.  For some, selling now is the right course of action.  For others, waiting a few years might be the right course of action for them.

If you are relocating far away, if you no longer want to be a landlord, if you can no longer afford your mortgage, if you are experiencing some tragic life changes (job loss, illness, divorce or death), if you are experiencing joyous life changes (growing family, another new home, career advancement) or some other motivating reason to sell now.  Then, yes, selling your Seattle area home is (maybe) the right course of action for you.  People’s situations are very unique, so their answer is very unique.

If one of the above reasons in not one of yours, and you are just thinking of making a change to something new, downsizing to something smaller (without a pressing need), want to move closer to work,  want to test the market to see if you can get a particular price, and if you are not motivated to do what it takes to sell your house in a buyers market, then this is not the market for you.  You may want to wait (if you can) for a few years.  The Seattle area inventory is high right now and you may not get the best price for your house.  Of course, no one can say how the market will be in a few years, either up or down.

Here is a snapshot of the Seattle area real estate market for June 2008 compared to June 2007: 

ACTIVE listings (houses & condos) for the month of June, 2008, King County had 15,831 active listings, June 2007 was 12,282, UP 28.9%,  that means more houses competing for buyers this year. 

PENDING listings (houses & condos) for the month of June, 2008, King County had 2,549  pending listings, June 2007 was 3,766, DOWN 32.32%, that means a third fewer buyers making accepted offers on houses this year. 

SOLD listings (houses & condos) for the month of June, 2008, King County had 2,148 sold listings, June 2007 was 3,634, DOWN 40.89%, that means more than a third fewer buyers are buying homes.  

The absorption rate for June 2008 is 7.3 months of inventory to sell at the current rate of sales, and for June 2007, it was 3.3 months of iinventory.  A big change in the Seattle real estate market.  Those absorption numbers are just a snapshot for June 2008 and 2007, and they do not show how sales are trending.

0 to 3 months is a sellers market

4 to 6 months is a balanced market 

7 plus months is a buyers market 

The absorption rate can be very different depending on the city, or neighborhood.  That’s why “location, location, location” is an important consideration when buying and selling your Seattle area homeAbsorption rate can also be analyzed by criteria such as price range, or type.  

My answer to the person who asked me the question was “no”.  It is not a good time for her to sell her home since she was only thinking about making a change for change sake, and was not  a motivated seller.  I suggested that since she was looking for change, that she update the kitchen and/or baths.  She will get to enjoy the changes, and the updates will put her home in better shape to sell in a few years or so. 

So there really is no short, easy answer to the question:  Is Now a Good Time to Sell My Seattle Home?  The answer for you should be based on your unique situation.

It’s Time to Take a Walk on Seattle’s Wilder Side at the 13th Annual Georgetown Art & Garden Walk!

Georgetown Art & Garden Walk 2008 poster

This Sunday, July 13th, is the 13th annual Georgetown Art & Garden Walk .  Just 5 minuets south of SeattleGeorgetown  is welcoming one and all to see their gardens, art studios and have some fun! 

I went to Georgetown earlier in the week to get a photo of the poster, I can usually get really interesting photos of a poster nailed to a telephone pole, but not this year.  I finally found one in the window of Fruit Cocktail Collectibles where I took the above photos.  Fruit Cocktail Collectibles even has it’s own little garden area!  Be sure to take a peek inside when you are in the Georgetown neighborhood they have some cool mid-century (and more!) collectibles.

Fruit Cocktail Collectibles in Georgetown - Seattle Washington

Okay, back to the Georgetown Art & Garden Walk….

The Georgetown Neighborhood website says this about the Georgetown Art & Garden Walk:

“So much to see! Colorful gardens, artist studios, food and drink, plus tours of the Georgetown Powerplant Museum and the Museum of Communication. Free and no registration required. Maps available on the day of the walk at the Bank of America parking lot, 1112 South Bailey Street.”

Last year I was working with some clients showing a house, and afterwards,  I had an open house scheduled at my Montlake listing so I missed the Georgetown Art & Garden Walk.  But I have happy memories of my 2006 visit and here are some photos….

Orange retreat at the Georgetown Art & Garden Walk 2006

Art House at the Georgetown Art & Garden Walk 2006

Rustic archway to a garden at the Georgetown Art & Garden Walk 2006

Cool retreat at the Georgetown Art & Garden Walk 2006

Back yard get-away at the Georgetown Art & Garden Walk 2006


It’s Summer Solstice Today in Seattle and The Fremont Solstice Parade Celebrates by Marching to it’s Own Beat!

Pink Flamingo Nude Cyclists at the 2007 Fremont Solstice ParadeSeattle is home to the “Center of the Universe” in Fremont, a free-spirited, funky neighborhood just north of Downtown Seattle.  To celebrate the longest day of the year, Fremont harnesses it’s creative free thinkers into a fun parade, The Fremont Solstice Parade

The parade is a fun mix of humour, creative expression and oddly enough, community individualism.  There is a real spirit of joy and celebration….even if the Sun fails to make an entrance for it’s own celebration…afterall this is Seattle!  The Parade celebrates it’s 20th year today and fun reigns as the Nude Cyclists herald the Parade’s beginning and the creativity ensues. 

I was unable to go this year, but I enjoyed it last year with a few friends so check out my Fremont Solstice Parade post from last year on my original Seattle’s Urban Villages Blog…have fun!

Big Change in Washington Real Estate Law this Week on June 12th with HB 2791: The Distressed Homeowner Law

June 8th, 2008 Categories: Real Estate Issues

This Thursday, June 12th, 2008, there will be some big changes to Washington State Real Estate Law with House Bill: HB 2791 that will effect Seattle Real Estate.

The new law was made to help protect Distressed Homeowners from being taken advantage of by buyers who might prey on those homeowners, and essentially swindle them out of their equity (equity skimming) by appearing to “save” the homeowners from losing their home.

Unfortunately, the new law also has some “bugs” in it and is causing a lot of confusion, concern and has extra liabilities for real estate brokers, their agents and potentially, oddly enough, ordinary home buyers like you.

The oddity of the new law is that under some circumstances, you as the buyer, could end up as a fiduciary to the Distressed Homeowner.  This means that you would have to act in the Best Interests of the Distressed Homeowner.  Instead of acting in your own best interests to buy the home, you would have to instead, put the Distressed Homeowners’ interests above your own! 

Now, this is not very likely to happen since the homes most buyers will make offers on are being sold because the homeowner is selling for regular reasons.  Those reasons include buying another house, moving out of town, or state, sad reasons from divorce, death, or illness, or even joyful reasons because two homeowners are marrying and they are selling the extra home. 

But there is a small (very small) possibility this could happen with buyers who are buying pre-foreclosure, foreclosure, and short-sale homes if extra care is not taken.  However, that status may or may not be known to the buyer or their agent, only if it is a material fact must it be disclosed to buyers and their agents.  If it is not a material fact, then it is possible get into a contract with a Distressed Homeowner, and not know until there is a 20 day notice of a foreclosure sale.  Once the buyer is notified of this situation, they automatically become Distressed Home Consultants and a fiduciary to the Distressed Homeowner

There is a provision in the new NWMLS forms so that the buyer will have the ability to get out of the contract for a certain time period following that notice.  To help prevent this from happening in the first place, there is a new form to be included with the Purchase and Sales Agreement…”The form provides a warranty from the seller that the closing date does not fall within 20 days of a foreclosure sale.”  

There is a lot more to the law than what I have written in this post, and if you are interested you can read it here .   I am not a lawyer, and I am not reading HB 2791 directly to make an interpretation and understand all its’ complexities.  However, I have read Legal Bulletin 179 that the Northwest Multiple Listing Service has provided to it’s members on their site to help explain the new law.  While I have read Legal Bulletin 179 several times, there are still questions that come to mind about the changes and how I can best help my clients. 

This new law is causing a lot of uncertainty for real estate brokers and their agents because there will be extra liabilities ($$$) that may cause them to choose to not work with Distressed Homeowners, and this is a bad thing…these homeowners need help selling their homes. 

Not only may some of these Distressed Homeowners have difficulty with listing their homes with agents because of potential extra liabilities, but there is a new buyers agreement that informs the buyer that the agent will not show homes known to be the homes of Distressed Homeowners…remember you as the buyer could end up as a fiduciary to the Distressed Homeowner.  Your agent also could inadvertently also become a Distressed Homeowner Consultant to the seller, and now would have to put the sellers’ best interests before your best interests!  How can limiting the number of potential buyers be good for Distressed Homeowners?

Of course right now all this is untested and there are many questions through out the Seattle real estate community still to be answered.   If you are a buyer, be sure you are talking to your agent about this.  If you are a homeowner with your home listed on the NWMLS, your agent should be talking to you now about the new documents you need to sign.  I have already talked with the one client with whom I currently have a listing contract with (the new one) and in his case (NOT a Distressed Homeowner) I have determined that there may actually be advantages for him with this new law, because some of his homes’ competition may be avoided by agents and buyers.

While the new law was made to help Distressed Homeowners, because of the concerns and extra liabilities for real estate brokers and their agents, it may actually hinder or prevent some Distressed Homeowners from being able to sell their homes, and end up in foreclosure instead.  I think that this is a very sad thing to add to Distressed Homeowners, well…distress.

Normandy Park Real Estate and My Chat with Another Real Estate Agent About Current Market Conditions….

May 24th, 2008 Categories: Market Conditions, Normandy Park

Sold Normandy Park listingYesterday while I was working on my computer, I received a call from a Normandy Park real estate agent. He called me to ask questions about a listing I had for a Normandy Park home that recently sold.

He has a listing with a similar home in the same neighborhood of Normandy Park that was listed about the same time as mine, and was asking about the selling price of my clients home. Last fall, with the Subprime Meltdown, the Normandy Park housing market really froze up and there were very few sales last fall. The market still has not loosened up much for the traditional heavier spring market, and prices are coming down since inventory is still high. The agent was trying to help his seller clients understand that they were going to need to lower their listing price to be competitive in todays current market conditions.

The agent and I discussed the current market conditions for Normandy Park real estate, the homes for sale in Normandy Park, and their listing prices. While we were talking I pulled up one of my mls searches for Normandy Park so I could verify the numbers we were talking about. I personally think that the home prices peaked in Normandy Park last May (2007), and that the prices are now adjusting downward a bit. While this is not good news for Normandy Park sellers, it is good news for buyers interested in buying a Normandy Park home. I am very happy that my sellers’ home sold, it was an unusual transaction, but it did sell during a challenging time.

Searching for the Perfect Sound View Home for my Client…

Three Tree Point looking towards Normandy Park in the distanceEarlier this week I was previewing 3 recently listed Sound View Homes for Sale on Three Tree Point and Normandy Park just 10 and 15 minuets south of Downtown Seattle. There have finally been more Sound View Homes coming on the market for this late spring Seattle real estate market to send to my client.

The first home for sale was on Three Tree point was the best of the group, and right across the street from the best candidate we have seen so far. The views are good, although you do see some “wires” going to the waterfront home below, and I could even hear the waves lapping on the shore below. The house has a very well remodeled kitchen and great master bath (just what today’s’ buyers are looking for: slab granite, stainless steel, spa master bath etc!) and all the rooms, except the 3 baths have Sound Views. There were couple of other good matches for things my client is looking for, unfortunately there is no real potential for a wine cellar, and no formal dining room….

The other two homes for sale were in Normandy Park and while they will make great homes for other buyers, they were not good matches for my client. The last one did have beautiful Sound Views across a lush, private backyard, but it is still very vintage 1950’s and my client is looking for move-in ready…but it does have some very good potential for someone.


Normandy Park Real Estate* Market Snapshot as of today for May 2008

ACTIVE – 56 Normandy Park Homes for Sale

120 Average Days on Market (DOM) $439,000 to $4,250,000

STI – 0 Subject to Inspection Normandy Park Homes

0 Average Days on Market (DOM)

CONTINGENT – 1 Contingent Normandy Park Home

44 Average Days on Market (DOM) $599,900

PENDING – 2 Pending Normandy park Homes

84 Average Days on Market (DOM) $464,950 to $499,950

SOLD – 1 Sold Normandy Park Home

335 Average Days on Market (DOM) $1,030,000

*Single Family Homes


Three Tree Point Real Estate* Market Snapshot as of today for May 2008

ACTIVE – 13 Three Tree Point Homes for Sale

254 Average Days on Market (DOM) $545,000 to $3,350,000STI – 0 Subject to Inspection Three Tree Point Homes

0 Average Days on Market (DOM) CONTINGENT – 0 Contingent Three Tree Point Homes

0 Average Days on Market (DOM)

PENDING – 1 Pending Three Tree Point Home

38 Average Days on Market (DOM) $475,000SOLD – 0 Sold Three Tree Point Homes

0 Average Days on Market (DOM)

* Single Family Homes


Special note on Three Tree Point (Sound View Homes only) Days on Market numbers. There has been one waterfront home that has been on the market for 839 days, and a very unique huge home has been on the market for 551 days, both really make an impact on such a small number of listings.

My Other Blog…Art…and…Real Estate!

May 23rd, 2008 Categories: Art, Kirkland

Camano Island Studio Tour May 10th 2008One of the reasons I moved to Seattle was that there seemed to be a very active Art Community in Seattle and the Puget Sound. Unfortunately I was too busy with my earlier career and later getting established in Seattle real estate which has taken a lot of time, dedication and energy, to make time for Art. I studied Art (BS) and Painting (MA) at S.D.S.U. and always planned to get back to my Painting.

Recently I have been writing a blog for a friend of mine’s business, Daniel Smith Art Supplies , at , and it’s been helping me get back into the Art Community…a wonderful benefit!

Two weekends ago (Mother’s Day weekend) I went on the Camano Island Studio Tour with my friend and some others from Daniel Smith for an all day tour of some amazing art studios and saw some great art. I bought a beautiful raku vase by Roger Cocke and a print by Betty Dorotik on the tour, and a few others also helped to support the Artists with their purchases. I had never been to Camano Island before, it is a stunning place, and some of the studios had glorious views of the Puget Sound. Of course the real estate agent in me was constantly noticing the real estate “For Sale” signs alongside the roads!

The next day, Mother’s Day, I went on the 5th Annual Kirkland Artist Studio Tour in Kirkland with my friend which was both interesting and fun. I got to meet a few of the artists at their studios, see some of their work in progress and finished art before fatigue from the Camano Island Studio Tour the day before set in and we decided to shorten our planned tour. ,

While I have not yet started Painting again, I have been thinking more and more about Painting since I have been blogging about it. Just yesterday while previewing homes at some Madrona Broker’s Open Houses I enjoyed seeing original paintings hanging at one of the houses I toured. I talked with the Open House agent (who was also the homeowner) about one of the paintings and he showed me another more recent small painting by the same artist, Francesca Sundsten. He told me that she will be showing at Davidson Contemporary Gallery this July. I will have to be sure to go there for the First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square in July, and then blog all about it.

Funny how my other Blog, Art and Real Estate are converging!

Madrona Homes for Sale and Brokers’ Open Houses

May 23rd, 2008 Categories: Brokers Open Houses, Madrona

View of Downtown Bellevue from Madrona ParkYesterday I went to some Broker Open Houses in Madrona and stopped by one in Leschi on the way back to my office. The homes for sale in Madrona were listed from the $900,000 range to under $1,500,000. Two of them had been recently and extensively remodeled, and are ready for new owners who are looking to buy a Madrona home.

Unfortunately the weather was unseasonably cold and gray for the end of May, and the homes that had views of Lake Washington were not able to show off their views like they would have in sunshine. I stopped to take the above photo of Madrona Park looking acrosss a cold, gray Lake Washington to Downtown Bellevue, and it looks as cold as it was! However, seeing the Madrona homes listed for sale on a cold day really makes you appreciate their remodeling all the more, since they seem extra “snug” and warm!

One of the Madrona homes was a large craftsman that had the main floor beautifully opened up, solid white mill work, very high ceilings and high-end appliances and finishes so it felt light-filled and airy even on a gray Seattle day.

Another beautifully remodeled craftsman cottage had some nice surprises like an outdoor shower, of course it also had 3 fabulous indoor showers and baths as well! One of the nice touches for this home was the original art hanging on the walls, good art always enhances how a home shows. I have to admit though, that one of the paintings (by artist Francesca Sundsten) caught my eye so much that I missed seeing where the stairs were to the finished (very well finished) basement and had to ask where the stairs were “hiding”!


Madrona Real Estate Market* snapshot as of today for May 2008

ACTIVE41 Madrona homes for sale, average of 80 days on market, $449,000 to $1,995,000.

STI2 Subject to Inspection, average of 109 days on market $420,000 to $599,000.

PENDING 2 Madrona homes Pending, average of 25 days on market, $925,000 to $1,430,000.

SOLD4 Madrona homes Sold, average of 62 days on market, $310,00 to 780,000.

*These numbers are for single family homes only

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