On this week’s episode of “Mondays with Matthew”, Matthew Gardner discusses the most recent economic and real estate news, including retail sales, consumer sentiment, and the housing market index which is published by the National Association of Home Builders.
As the “Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks,” all of us at Windermere are proud to kick off our fifth season of partnering with the Seahawks to #TackleHomelessness. For every defensive tackle made at a Seahawks home game this season, Windermere will donate $100 to Mary’s Place in support of their mission to provide safe, inclusive shelter and services that support women, children, and families on their journey out of homelessness. Mary’s Place has provided resources, housing and employment services to the homeless in the greater Seattle area since 1999.
Thanks to the Seahawks’ defensive efforts last year, we were able to donate $30,000 to Mary’s Place, bringing our grand total to $128,200 raised over the past four seasons. We look forward to raising even more this year!
Our partnership with Mary’s Place is in harmony with the mission of the Windermere Foundation—to support low-income and homeless families in the communities where Windermere operates.
Image Source: Getty Images
As wildfires rage throughout the West Coast, many homeowners are being evacuated from their homes, while others stand by for information as the spread continues. The following tips are meant to inform your household’s wildfire evacuation protocol, whatever your evacuation timeline may be.
Evacuation orders come from local law enforcement agencies, but if you have not received an official evacuation notice and feel threatened by wildfires in your area, do not hesitate to leave. Take only essential vehicles on the road, this will minimize traffic and reduce the chance of gridlock when evacuating the area. Keep the windows rolled up to avoid inhaling smoke and tune into local radio for updates as you head toward safer ground. And remember your masks!
The Six P’s
- People and pets
- Phones and personal computer
- Chargers, any additional computer hardware
- Papers and important documents
- Birth certificates, passports, insurance, legal documents
- Medication, eyeglasses, contacts
- Pictures and irreplaceable keepsakes
- Payment (credit & debit cards, bank cards, cash)
- Face masks or coverings
- Extra clothing
- First aid kit
- Sanitation supplies
- Copies of important documents
- Three-day supply of food and water
- Create a “defensible space”
- Clear your home’s surroundings of brush and vegetation
- Turn off sprinklers and main gas lines
- Clean out roof and gutters
- Move furniture away from windows toward the center of the room
- Remove flammable household items
- Prepare your emergency kit
- Include useful items listed above in “Go bag”
For additional information on protecting yourself from smoke while addressing COVID-19 health concerns, Click Here. Be sure to check your local news and emergency alert radio stations and social media profiles for the most up-to-date information and helpful resources.
Wildfires are unpredictable. Knowing what to do both in preparation for and during an emergency evacuation will have your household prepared in the event that a wildfire spreads to your area, neighborhood, or home.
On this week’s episode of “Mondays with Matthew,” Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner revisits mortgage forbearance, bringing you the latest in light of some recent headlines.
Image source: Canva
On Windermere’s “Ask An Agent” Instagram Live series, radio personality and Windermere client Carla Marie talks with our agents about all things real estate, answering audience questions to simplify the complexities of home ownership.
Episode 1: Jessica James – Watch it here
The agent-client duo of Jessica James and Carla Marie kicked off Our Ask An Agent Instagram Live series on August 4, 2020. Jessica worked with Carla Marie last year to buy her first home. Recounting their experience working together, Carla Marie addressed her concerns heading into her home purchase and touched on the balance of knowing what you want in a home but staying openminded. They also talked through the common misconception that a down payment must be 20% of the home’s price and how talking through options with your lender can lead you to a monthly payment you’re comfortable with.
Episode 2: Ashley Abolafia – Watch it here
On the second episode of Ask An Agent, our own Ashley Abolafia brought both her real estate expertise and financial background to the table. Their conversation began with a common homebuying inquiry—If I want to buy a home, where do I start? “Pre-approval, pre-approval, pre-approval. A house can go from a blessing to a curse really fast if you don’t honor the financial constraints that work for you,” said Abolafia. A timely discussion followed about how changes to employment and credit scores during the COVID-19 pandemic play into homebuying strategies.
Episode 3: Gervon Simon – Watch it here
The most recent Ask An Agent episode saw Carla Marie in conversation with Gervon Simon, whose interest in real estate began during his Junior year at West Point Academy, and whose first days as an agent were when he was still on active duty in the Army. Although his real estate knowledge is far-ranging, Gervon specializes in educating his clients on the use of VA loans. “Not only are the VA loan rates lower than conventional mortgage rates, but there is zero down payment on the purchase price and there is no PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance),” Simon explained. The dialogue shifted to questions about when to get in touch with a lender during the home buying process. Carla Marie expanded on this by discussing the benefits of working with an agent and lender who know and trust each other.
The second half of the Ask An Agent series will be back this fall with new Windermere agents, new questions, and new discoveries about all things home ownership. Follow our Instagram page (@Windermere) for updates on future episodes and follow Carla Marie (@thecarlamarie) to watch any episodes you may have missed.
Image source: Shutterstock
When it comes time to sell your home, determining its exact value can be a challenge. Naturally, homeowners want to get the most value for their home. However, if it hits the market at too high a price, it could cause serious complications in the selling process.
Attracting the wrong buyers
An overpriced home creates a kind of seller’s limbo that draws the attention of the wrong buyers, which is a surefire way to start your selling process off on the wrong foot.
A vast majority of homebuyers begin their home search online, especially during these days of social distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. If your home is overpriced in comparison to other listings in your area, it won’t appear in their search results. In this way, an overpriced home is blind to its intended buyers and actually drives traffic to nearby listings that are more accurately priced.
An overpriced home can’t compete with listings in a more expensive bracket. Buyers know what they want, and they know what to expect in their price range. When they notice a home is missing the square footage, features, and amenities typically found in others at the same price, they will quickly lose interest.
Fewer showings / virtual tours
Showings—both physical and virtual—play a significant role in the sale of your home. They give buyers a first-hand look and provide them the opportunity to ask questions and gather more information. Selling your home is a numbers game. The more showings scheduled at your listing, the more potential buyers you have. The more potential buyers, the greater chance of an offer.
Your agent knows that showings are critical to capturing buyer interest. But if the home is overpriced, they will have difficulty attracting attention to your home. This can slow the entire home selling process, leaving both the seller and agent feeling frustrated.
Expired shelf life
Think of the home you’re selling as a fresh tomato. Off the vine (newly listed), it is fresh and attractive, appealing to everyone in the market and standing out amongst the other tomatoes. As time goes on, no one buys the tomato and it begins to overripen and wither, losing its appeal. This is what happens to an overpriced home in the minds of buyers.
New listings attract the most attention—that’s when buyer interest is highest. The longer your home is on the market, the less appealing it becomes. At a certain point, sellers are forced to lower the price. However, this lowered price won’t have the same impact as hitting the market correctly priced the first time. Once price drops begin, they can continue, which creates the risk of selling the home for less than what it is worth.
Lastly, the longer your home is on the market, the more expenses you incur. Mortgage payments, utilities costs and seller’s fees will continue to pile up, making it harder to recover from these costs when your home does eventually sell.
Let’s say you do find a buyer at the overpriced cost. During closing, the lender will order an appraisal of your home, and if the appraiser finds that the market value of the home is less than the selling price, they could potentially deny financing.
Talk to your Windermere agent about how to price your home correctly to avoid these pitfalls of overpricing. Knowing your home’s worth will set you up for success when it comes time to hit the market.
Image source: Shutterstock
Many homeowners have taken this extra time at home as an opportunity to retreat to their backyards and patios, turning their space into their own personal oasis. Here are some ways you can upgrade your outdoor space to make the most of the remaining days of summer.
Add decorative throw pillows to your outdoor furniture to complement your garden’s color palette and bring some added comfort for you and your guests. Brightly colored patio umbrellas make a statement while protecting you from the sun and other outdoor elements.
In addition to having colorful flowers in your garden, another great way to add a little pizzazz to your backyard is through colored pots and planting boxes that enhance the surrounding decor.
Outdoor lighting can transform your outdoor space and set the perfect mood for those late summer nights.
LED lights are a very popular option for patio lighting, using up to ninety percent less energy than incandescent varieties. Strings of twinkle lights bring a magical nighttime quality to your backyard, creating the perfect ambience for those summer evenings under the stars. Installing light fixtures around eating areas and your landscaping will give these spaces new life during evenings outdoors.
Upgrade your BBQ
The barbecue is the focal point of summer cookouts. Any time the grill gets fired up, classic summertime dishes like burgers and ribs come to my mind. However, there are simple upgrades you can make to your barbecue that give you even more options to maximize outdoor meals.
Pizza stones are perfect for making evenly cooked, delicious pizzas on the grill. They also produce a consistent heating surface for baked goods and desserts. Griddles do wonders for barbecues, allowing you to cook foods that would normally fall through the grates, like vegetables and shellfish.
Fire pits are the modern-day conversation pit, providing the perfect spot to gather with friends and family – even during these days of social distancing. Commonly used building materials include brick, landscape blocks, stone, or cinder blocks. Traditional fire pits are best accentuated with circular seating to gather around the fire, while more modern styles like fire troughs best allow for taking in surrounding views. Natural gas fire pits offer a low-maintenance substitute to the wood-burning variety, igniting fires at the flip of a switch with easy control over the flame’s intensity.
Whichever fire pit you choose, be sure to consult local guidelines and regulations, and keep an extinguisher nearby to squash any rogue flames. If fire pits are not allowed in your area, consider safer options like flameless candles.
With more time being spent at home than ever before, there is plenty of opportunity to make the most of the home stretch of summer. We hope we’ve inspired you with some ways you can get creative with your slice of outdoor paradise.
On this week’s episode of “Mondays with Matthew,” Matthew Gardner looks at last week’s real estate and economic news and goes beyond the headlines so that you can not only stay on top of the issues that affect you and your business, but also get more detail than is generally offered by the media.
Image source: Shutterstock
For those whose children will be taking classes online or participating in remote learning this school year, keeping the following tips in mind will help create an at-home learning environment that prioritizes health and learning, while being able to adjust to this year’s unknowns.
A home cannot fully replace all that a formal school classroom has to offer. However, what it lacks in traditional classroom appeal it makes up for in comfort and familiarity. Prepping your home to take on this additional role will help set your child up for success during what will be a unique academic year for many.
Set the tone
One of the best ways to set your children up for success this school year is to get them excited. It is important to communicate that this school year, even with all its unknowns, is an exciting opportunity for new and creative ways to learn and grow. Helping your child understand the unique learning possibilities your home provides will get the school year off to an enthusiastic start.
Create a space
Establishing a designated space for school at home is important for a child’s ability to focus and to associate a space with learning. How you create a classroom environment will depend on your home and your needs. If your child is most comfortable in their room, try incorporating their classroom setup there. Depending on your child’s age, it may help to have toys or familiar room objects nearby. However, if your child is distracted by their own room, it may be better to set up elsewhere to help them focus, such as a nook or office.
Allowing your child the freedom to make the space their own will help stimulate their imagination, which is vital to their learning and enjoyment of school.
Wherever the home classroom is, be sure that area has minimal distractions, maintains a strong internet connection, and is well-stocked with school supplies within reach at all times.
Back to school
To maintain a sense of normalcy, keep your family’s back-to-school traditions intact this year, such as picking out school supplies, back to school clothes shopping, and everyone’s favorite first day of school photo. These ceremonies of preparation for the school year will build excitement while bringing some familiarity to those final days of summer.
Establish a routine
Just as adults have discovered new routines to parallel the shift to remote work, children need a shift in their daily flow to mirror the change to remote learning. The rigor of their school schedule will determine how much flexibility you have in putting together a routine.
Stay active, incorporating movement breaks throughout the day to make up for the lack of physical activity. Plan out times away from their computer screens to differentiate between work and play time. It’s recommended that children move at least 60 minutes a day, so prioritize exercise and movement, going outside when possible. This change of scenery is a helpful intermission for children. It gives their eyes a rest from their screens and returns them to their learning space feeling refreshed and revitalized.
Granted, your ability to facilitate your child/children’s preparedness and monitor their continued learning is based on various factors like your work schedule and what resources your school district is providing for at-home learning. No matter your household’s situation, taking these factors into consideration where possible will help set your student(s) up for success.
Matthew Gardner is back from his vacation and this week on “Mondays with Matthew,” he’s diving into a report that he believes deserves more attention: the U.S. Household Debt & Credit Report.