5 TIPS TO HOME OWNERSHIP IN SEATTLE DURING COVID

 

 

On March 23rd, our world in the State of Washington changed as we know it.  As we all hunkered down into our homes, many of us realized that perhaps it was no longer the “right” home.  With more free time available, and little to do but shop online, we have noticed an uptick of interest among Seattle home buyers.

Prior to the impacts of COVID-19, Seattle’s real estate market was in full force.  We saw a slow down after Gov. Inslee’s Stay at Home Order went into effect, but once real estate was deemed an essential service, we were back in action.  While there are strict guidelines in place on how and when we can show homes, we continue to see multiple offers on homes that are in tip-top shape and priced accordingly.

In other words, there are no great “deals” to be had right now in Seattle.  And now, more than ever, buyers need to be prepared.  Here’s a few tips and tricks for success in Seattle’s real estate market during the time of COVID:

 

  1. KNOW THYSELF:

It’s time to take a deep dive into your home ownership desires and truly understand your wants and needs.  With the current restrictions, gone are the days of open houses and full day tours. In fact, your broker may only be able to show you 2-3 properties in person.  So it’s crucial to be laser focused on what you really want.  Try using a helpful tool like our Buyer Brainstorm to explore all of the characteristics in a home that you might want to consider.  If you have a spouse or partner purchasing with you, have them fill out the Buyer Brainstorm separately, then compare and contrast.

 

  1. GET APPROVED:

At this point, no real estate broker is going to take on the risk of public exposure if you are not fully pre-approved for a loan.  The loan application can almost entirely be processed online and you will receive the knowledge and assurance that you can afford the right home.  Ask your friends, colleagues, family or your real estate broker for lender referrals.  Most importantly, you should be working with seasoned mortgage broker who has experience with lending in challenging times and is willing to answer your call on a Saturday.

 

  1. FIND AN EXPERIENCED REAL ESTATE BROKER:

Now is not the time to work with your cousin’s dog walker who just got into real estate.  More importantly, working with a discount brokerage will more often than not, cause you to lose money in the long run.  Let’s be honest, the market is still active, but it’s challenging . . . very challenging.  You need a full-time professional broker on your side advocating for you every step of the way.  Ask your friends, family and colleagues for a referral.  Then check their online reputation.  How are their reviews on Google or Zillow?  Have they given attention to their website?  If they can’t be bothered with presenting themselves professionally online, how well will they represent you?

 

  1. BE INTENTIONAL:

Because public open houses are not currently permitted, your opportunity to explore options is limited.  While some listings have virtual open houses or 3D tours, you can be proactive by first driving by properties of interest before scheduling showings.  Explore the surrounding neighborhood amenities to ensure it has your list of requirements.  While there, use Google’s Commute tracker to ensure the commute will be livable once we are all back to “normal.”

 

  1. KNOW THE RULES:

As of today, only two people are permitted to view a home at once, one of which is your real estate broker.  You must wear a mask, and will be asked to sanitize hands as you enter. You may also be asked to fill out a survey of your health history and exposure to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.   Each showing is by appointment only, and limited typically between 15-30 minutes.  It is important to remember that we are all under the same restrictions and need to practice extra patience, understanding and flexibility.

 

The good news is that inventory is up and there are several opportunities for Buyers.  With knowledge and patience, you can be successful in this market.  Ready to explore home buying in Seattle?  Download our Buyers Guide outlining our simple 8-Step plan to home ownership and contact us to setup a Zoom intake call.

 

Buy a Home in Seattle

 

Posted on May 18, 2020 at 12:31
Jeremey Johnson | Category: DISCOVER | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 5 Seattle Area Picks to Get Your Pumpkins

 

It’s Fall y’all, therefore it’s time to plan your great pumpkin adventure.  So grab your PSL, check out our Pinterest Board for pumpkin carving ideas, and let’s get to it.  Here are our Top 5 Picks to Get Your Pumpkins:

 

 

1) FOR THE SLACKER PARENTS:

We totally get it – busy lives, kids, soccer and more. Who wouldn’t want to spend the weekend in traffic only to arrive at the farm in a muddy bog while your toddler is screaming because the stem on their pumpkin broke off and the baby needs a diaper change and everyone is STARVING!

We got you!  Head over to the our very own “in-city” Hunter Farms to let the kids frolic in the manageable sized pumpkin parking lot to their heart’s content.  The perfect opportunity to quickly grab your pumpkins and head to your next soccer game in Poulsbo.  Enjoy!

PS: while you’re there, consider purchasing a pumpkin to put in the donation box for children to decorate that are receiving services from Ryther Center.

Hunter Tree Farm Pumpkin Patch

7744 35th Ave NE

Seattle, WA  98115

Hours: Open weekends only through 10/27

Admission: Free

 

                                             

 

TODDLER HAVEN:

Fox Hollow Farm has everything you need to get the toddler wiggles out.  Animal sanctuary and petting zoo, bouncy castles, hay maze, toddler tractor races, scenic hay rides, hot cider and of course pumpkins!  While you’re there, don’t miss the corn bin, a tactile experience that even adults enjoy.

Fox Hollow Farm

12123 Issaquah Hobart Rd SE

Issaquah Wa 98027

Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, opens at 10:00 AM

Admission: $10 (Advance Purchase)

 

 

BARGAIN DEALS:

You’re on a mission – round, orange and cheap.  We’ve got you covered!  Our research team conducted an intensive investigation to find the least expensive jack-o-lantern in Seattle.  Here’s what we uncovered:

Trader Joe’s – $2.99

Walmart – $3.28

Grocery Outlet– $4.99

Safeway – ($0.39 per lb) about $5.50

 

 

FUN FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY:

With one of the best corn mazes west of the mountains, Remlinger Farms has enough to entertain the entire family including hay rides, roller coaster, pony rides, pedal go-carts, animals, climbing wall and canoes.  And, of course loads of pumpkins!

 

Remlinger Farms

32610 N.E. 32nd Street

Carnation, WA 98014

Hours: Weekends only through 10/27, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Admission: $22.75

 

 

ORGANIC LOVERS:

Oxbow Farms offers all shapes and sizes of certified organic pumpkins.  Fall festival activities include hay rides, farm tours, arts and crafts, scavenger hunt and the house of hay.  While you’re there, stock up on their seasonal vegetables grown right there on the farm.

 

Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center

10819 Carnation-Duvall Rd NE

Carnation, WA 98014

Hours: Weekends only through 10/27, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Admission: Free

 

 

PS: Don’t forget to check out our pumpkin carving Pinterest board for some great Pinspiration!

 

 

 

 

Posted on October 11, 2019 at 09:54
Jeremey Johnson | Category: DISCOVER | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TOP 5 PLACES TO SEE FALL LEAVES IN SEATTLE

 

 

Today is officially the first day of Fall.  While letting go of summer in Seattle is indeed challenging, any true Seattleite will be hard pressed to deny how they feel “at home” in Autumn.  Curling up on the couch, watching their favorite sitcom, fire set and the rain pouring down outside – all of the elements that concoct the perfect Fall evening.

This year’s Fall season will officially end on Sunday, December 22nd, therefore the prime time to take advantage of all that Autumn has to offer (and get your family portraits scheduled) is October.  As the leaves turn, so do the days of our lives, and school, and work . . .  and as a result: life gets busy.  For that reason, visit a local jaunt to stop and enjoy the leaves, or consider taking a quick day trip.  Whether you have 60 minutes or 6 hours, October is the time to stop and enjoy our beautiful and lush city.

Here are our favorite Top 5 Places to See Fall Leaves in Seattle:

 

1) BEST LOCAL SPOT:

Japanese Gardens at the Arboretum

1075 Lake Washington Blvd E, Seattle

With plentiful Japanese maples igniting a red, orange and purple pallet, this is a beautiful and easily accessible spot to roam. 

ADMISSION: $8 for adults, $6 for Seattle residents and $4 for youth.  Kids under 5 are free.

PRO TIP: If you are exploring with children, make sure to purchase the food at the ticket booth to feed the Koi.  It is great entertainment for the entire family!

 

2) BEST LOCAL ADVENTURE:

Kubota Garden

9817 55th Avenue S., Seattle

With over 20 acres of foliage, this Japanese/Northwest garden located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood is worth the trek. 

ADMISSION: Free.

 

3) BEST EASTSIDE SPOT:

Bellevue Botanical Gardens

12001 Main Street, Bellevue

While most visit during the holidays with their Garden d’Lights show, consider touring during the day time to see over seven acres of foliage separated into more than 10 different style gardens. 

ADMISSION: Free.

 

4) BEST DAY TRIP:

Mount Rainier National Park

Nisqually Entrance

Fall is a stunning time to visit Mount Rainier. While a scenic drive is worth the trek, consider packing a picnic and hiking through all that this active volcano has to offer. For an easy stroll with little ones try the Trail of the Shadows at Longmire.  For more adventure, consider hiking to Bench & Snow lakes, or one of these 10 Fall Hikes

ADMISSION: $30 per vehicle, $55 for an annual pass. 

PRO TIP: Have a 4th grader?  Get a national park pass for free.

 

5) BEST VIEW FROM THE CAR:

Stevens Pass Scenic Byway

Monroe to Leavenworth

Not in the mood to weather the reain?  The Stevens Pass Scenic Byway is a great way to see the leaves from the comfort of your car.  Start in Monroe heading east on Highway 2.  While there are several roadside burger joints along the way including Vick’s Burger Shack in Sultan, we recommend holding out for lunch in Leavenworth. 

PRO TIP: Great news for Leaf, Tesla and other EV Car owners like us, there are charging stations all along the way.

 

PS: Forgot to schedule your fall family portrait session?  No worries, we’ve got you covered.  Head over to Shannon Garbaccio photography and book your session now!

 

 

 

Posted on September 23, 2019 at 13:23
Jeremey Johnson | Category: DISCOVER | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,