Seattle Real Estate News

August 11th, 2019 9:12 AM
Here are some staging secrets for a successful sale: 

1. Research. One of the biggest mistakes home sellers make is underestimating their competition. Ask yourself. "Who will buy this house?" From here, it is important to present your home in its best possible light. Once a property is placed on the market, it is no longer your home but a product that will be compared with others on the market. 

2. Paint. If you do nothing else to your home to prepare it for sale, be sure to paint. From painting walls a neutral color to covering up marks and scuffs, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way. 

3. Repair. From re-caulking a bathroom to repairing a broken railing or step even small repairs are important. Not fixing your home's flaws can trigger a potential buyer to believe that it is in poor condition. 

4. Purge. The first step in preparing a property for sale should be to to the removal of all excess, from furniture to clothing. Now is the time to make your home feel as spacious as possible. 

5. A seller may need their real estate agent's help creating a basic marketing plan. The foal is to decide who your target buyer is as in some cases this may influence the staging process. 

6. De-personalize. When a potential buyer walks into a property, it is important for them to feel that it could be their home. Everything from personal photos to religious references should be removed. 

7. Neutralize. Even something as simple as repainting or replacing carpeting can be a deterrent for potential buyers if it's the wrong color. Taupes and grays are ideal colors to create a neutral soothing color palette. 

8. Back to its roots. Return all rooms to their intended uses. For example, a bedroom that's being used as a hoe office must be staged and styled as a bedroom. 

9. Create timeline. When you place your property on the market can be critical in capturing the most amount of potential buyers. Earlier in the selling season is the best. 

10. Hire a pro. You may prefer to pass the staying of your home along to a professional. The Real Estate Stagers Association is a great place. 

11. Don't forget to beautify the exterior too. Replacing the front door and your garage doors and adding stone veneer to the exterior have the highest return on investment. A fresh coat of paint, freshening up the landscaping including adding greenery and flowers. 

Posted by Sam Kader on August 11th, 2019 9:12 AMLeave a Comment

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1. Starting without a plan of attack. Start cleaning upstairs and make your way down or start on one side of the house if your home is a single story then move room to room tackling one room at a time. 

2. Cleaning a room from floor to ceiling.. Start at the top and work your way down. In other words begin by removing cobwebs and dust on the ceiling then clean off clutter, dust furniture, wipe down walls, switches and doors before cleaning the floor. 

3. Using weak cleaning products for touch grime. Using a spray bottle with a simple mixture of 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup grease cutting dish soap will clean most surfaces well. Some chores may require sanitizing cleaners like a bleach-based product. 

4. Using only one rag to clean. Keep a stack of 100% cotton cloths or microfiber cloths to change out when they are dirty. They can be washed and reused the next time you clean. 

5. Drying surfaces with paper towels. Cotton or microfiber cloths are more efficient for drying surfaces than paper towels and they won't leave lint behind. Another reason to stop using paper towels: Many have a rough surface that can scratch or damage delicate furniture and TV screen. 

6. Not opening windows to let your house air out. Ventilation is crucial whenever you are using cleaning products. The simple act of opening windows can counteract the indoor air pollution from cleaning products and make it easier for you to breathe. Cranking up you air conditioning won't solve the problem because more home heating and cooling systems don't mechanically bring fresh air into the house from outdoors. 

7. Mixing chemicals from different products. Combining chemicals from different cleaning products can create harmful fumes. Bleach and vinegar for example are a deadly combo. Together they produce chlorine gas and exposure to chlorine even at low levels can cause coughing and breathing problems as well as burning and watery eyes. Very high levels can cause death. 

8. Washing the windows on a sunny day. Though sunlight can help illuminate how dirty your windows are you are better off washing them on a dry cloudy day because strong heat from the sun will dry cleaning fluid more quickly which could leave hard-to-remove streaks or stains. 

Spring time is also an excellent time to declutter your house. The trick of decluttering is having fewer possessions and regularly keeping stock of what you actually need in your home. Just set aside a fixed amount of time say two hours to declutter a room in your home. 

First take everything out of drawers then clean and put back half of what was there before, keeping only the things you truly value. 

a) Display objects that hold meanings or make you happy. 
b) Aggregate the rest in i) Discard ii) Organize iii) Store. 

You can donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army or consignment shops around Seattle. Organize with similar items elsewhere and store it out of sight for later use. Organize first then store together. 

Decluttering at least once a year is ideal and springtime is the perfect time for it. 

Posted in:Spring Cleaning and tagged: SpringCleaning
Posted by Sam Kader on April 27th, 2019 7:57 PMLeave a Comment

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April 2nd, 2019 5:24 PM
Ring video doorbells, Nest Hello and other connected security cameras are the fastest-growing home improvement gadgets since garage door openers. These cameras alert your phone when someone is at your door and save footage online.  Here are some tips from lawyers and city officials to make an ethical field guide for people who want technology to help us stay safe.  

  1. Don't point your camera at neighbors. If your doorbell is located in an awkward place, you can try to use wedges to angle the camera toward your door. Some cameras let you mark zones to limit recording only to action that's important for your home. Also let people know that they're on camera and put up a sign to flag that you're filming might also deter a burglar. 
  2. Share footage sparingly. Some people love posting clips of "suspicious/looking characters" on social network app. But are you actually an expert in what counts as "suspicious"? Sharing on these sites can help fight crime but also perpetuate racial profiling of actual crimes. 
  3. When police get involved, it should be voluntary. Police should only access to your footage on a voluntary basis. Law enforcement doesn't have  aright to the footage without a court order. 
  4. Delete old footage. The more you have the more vulnerable you are. You should only keep your footage for two months. You can always download and save the ones you want to keep. 
  5. Keeping hackers out is a serious responsibility. Make sure that you update software, using unique passwords and taking other security protections. 
  6. Facial recognition is not a product feature, it's a super power. The ability to keep tabs on a person's whereabouts by reading their face is a super power that we don't have yet the legal or ethical framework to handle. Initially, our cameras will offer to flag family members faces. Next, they'll link to a few public databases such as a terrorist watch list, missing kinds and sexual offenders The real question is who gets to make those lists and how accurate are the systems flagging people? 

February 18th, 2019 9:20 AM
Perform a midwinter checkup to ensure your home stays in good shape for the remaining cold weeks and the spring to follow. This checkup can help determine your home-improvement priorities for the year to come. 


Walk through your house and study it as if you are seeing if for the first time. Perform a room-by-room sweep and write down the condition of major elements such as windows, doors, trim and molding. Take note of potential problem areas, especially things that have fallen victim to wear and tear that you might overlook every day. 

Check your HVAC filter and change it if necessary. Examine your windows and doors and feel for air drafts. See if your windows open and close smoothly and keep a tight seal afterwards. Winter weather and excess moisture can give wood windows a serious beating. 

Check all the weather stripping and caulk you set up earlier in the season. Wear and tear can catch up to them very quickly. 


Walk around your home and inspect to see if pieces have become loose, damaged or pulled away. Loose siding can allow water to enter the space behind it, causing water damage and mold growth. Check your foundation for mold, cracks and water damage.  Check your gutters and verify that they are clear of winter gunk and debris. If necessary, hire a gutter cleaner to clear them out.  

Check bushes and trees or dead limbs or branches. Trim away damaged portions as quickly as you can. Dead branches pose a hazard and you'll get the best results if you trim them before they begin spring growth. 

Posted in:Home Maintenance and tagged: Home Maintenance
Posted by Sam Kader on February 18th, 2019 9:20 AMLeave a Comment

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January 23rd, 2019 7:46 PM
While most people are happy with the results of their first home-purchase experience, there are some homeowners that have a few regrets and lessons learned. 

Here are some of them: 
  • The No.1 regret across all generations was buying a property that was too small. 
  • The second most common mistake was not saving enough money before buying their first home. Most buyers anticipate the money the'll need for their mortgage, homeowner's insurance and taxes but they don't always budget for home maintenance and repairs. As a general rule of thumb, most financial experts suggest saving at least 1 percent of the home value annually for repairs. 
  • Homeowners spent the most money on new appliances (16%) during their first year followed by replacing the roof (13%), replacing a furnace or air conditioner (11%), landscaping (10%) and replacing flooring (9%). 
  • Nearly half said they spent more than their budget during the first year of home-ownership. 

Posted by Sam Kader on January 23rd, 2019 7:46 PMLeave a Comment

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July 21st, 2018 2:54 PM
Painting walls a new and exciting color is a quick and affordable way to update a space and give it a fresh look. Here are some secrets to help you with the process: 

1. Do not pick your color in the paint store. Finding the right color is all about context: the shape of the room, the amount and quality of the light and how it all plays with other objects in the room. Always test a color in the space you are painting. 

2. Do not look at the color sample at an arbitrary angle. Color is all about how the light hits it. If you are painting walls, hold the sample vertically; if its the ceiling hold it up above your head. This will give you a more accurate indication of what the color will really look like in the end. 

3. Test against a white background. Because colors influence one another it is best to test the new color against a white background. Simply use a large piece of white paper to blank out the old color. 

4. Do not rely on small paint sample. A large sample will reveal the true undertones of the color to test against the undertones of other elements in the room. 

5. Do not paint your sample on the wall. If you cannot get a large color sample, get a sample of the actual paint and paint it on a poster board NOT directly on your wall. This way you will be able to text your colors on different walls and even in different rooms. 

6. Move it around. With your large sample boards, you can put some poster putty on the back and stick them on your walls to get an idea of how colors will look and to see how the light affects the color at different times of the day. 

7. Find the bossy fixture. If you are working with existing finishes, find the one that is the most prominent in the room; it might be the carpet, the counter top or even a a large piece of furniture. The undertone of that fixture will influence what colors work best for the room.  

Using color, we can create a home that relaxes, energizes and focuses us where and when we need it most. Depending on which parts of the house: 

For the bedroom, it's best to choose peaceful, relaxing colors that will help you get a good night's sleep. The color blue evokes a sense of calm, relaxing and said to bring down blood pressure, respiration rate and anxiety levels. Light greens are said to make people feel serene, comforted and refreshed. 

The kitchen is a place for happiness and community. Choose a color that will inspire you to cook for and spend quality time with loved ones. Yellow kitchens tend to make people feel happy optimistic and inspired. Yellow is said to activate the metabolism and make people hungry. Browns which emulate the color of the earth which can be associated with the fresh food we eat. Crisps whites will help your kitchen a clean airy feel. 

Your bathroom is a place for self-care and self-love. Go with colors that make you feel relaxed, refreshed and confident. The calming effect of light green and blue make them great choices for the bedroom as well as the bathroom. 

The office is meant to make you feel productive and undistracted. Gray tones are
detached and steady which may help you feel less distracted and more organized. Green is considered to be a color of concentration as well as one of the bet colors to look at over a long period of time. Green also represents tranquility. 

Paint Vs. Primer. 
Primers are designed to to adhere to to surfaces and form a binding layer that is better prepared to receive the paint. Paint in turn is the colored substance that is spread over a surface that is spread over a surface to dry and leave a thin decorative and protective coating. Paint primer products don't do either of those things well and they tend to thicken more quickly and dry much too fast for a smooth overall appearance. Primer and paints should be used separately as they we meant to be applied. 

Oil or Latex/Acrylics. 
Oil-based paints dry to form an inflexible coating that blocks moisture and they tend to become brittle and yellow over tie. Oils paints are great for metal and steel and are used as primer to cover very heavy stained areas. Oil paints also tend to get rancid and attract mold easier and need turpentine or paint thinner to clean up, fewer color choices than latex and more expensive to buy. 
Latex paint is water based product based on vinyl and acrylics and can be cleaned up with water, Latex paint is also more elastic and allows water vapor generated inside the house to pass through the paint film and latex offers more colors and is cheaper to buy. Oil is solvent-based while latex is water-based and contains low or no VOC material.  

Spray Vs. Brush Exteriors. 
Spraying is a fast-application process that can achieve single-coat coverage, offers a smooth finish that is free of brush and roller marks and can get hard-to-reach areas. Spraying requires more technical skill as well as longer prep and cleanup times. It produces uneven coverage unless you back-roll it used more paint overall and is not conducive to windy day application. 

Brushing you have excellent control, very good adhesion, uniform coverage and get into nooks and crannies better, The downside is that brushing is slow and laborious and can require two or more coats and can leave brush marks and obstructions on surfaces making for difficult applications. 

Make rooms pop with these off-the-wall color combos. 
Turquoise and Orange. It may sound like an off pairing, but the color combination can be quite inviting especially for those looking to create a modern decor. The blend of turquoise often viewed as a warm-season color and a more traditional orange can appear timeless and modern. 

Black, White and Red. It is one of the most popular color combination in both fashion and home decor. Add a pop of red, and you have the recipe for color success. Fun, crisp and clean, this color combination can be used in living spaces or in a kitchen. 

Yellow and charcoal. Whether it is mustard, lemon or chartreuse, yellow is an innovative, modern and creatively dynamic color when paired with a cool color such as gray, whether it is a light gray or a deeper shade such as a charcoal. 

Dark blue and charcoal. This is an instance when the two cool colors work well together. With the shade of blue, don't be afraid to go with rich and bright tones as these shades will create an inviting contract when paired with gray.

Dark blue and black. This color combination works well in fashion and home decor.  

Gray is a sneaky color but it is a favorite for painting interiors. Grays have
undertones of blue, purple or green and yo want to make sure the undertones are compatible with surrounding tile, furnishing and fabrics. For a real smack-in-the-middle gray - try Repose Gray. It goes great with pink and creates a neutral background.  Amazing Gray has a greener undertone, while Passive is cooler with more blue. 

Steer clear of Gray with purple undertones and stick with true warms and true
cools and the middle ground Gray often referred to as French

Some of Benjamin's Moore's popular grays are: 
Gray Owl  Balboa Mist 
Coventry Gray  Stonington Gray 
Revere Pewter with gray cast warm and liveable  


Posted in:Remodeling, Paint and tagged: RemodelingPaint
Posted by Sam Kader on July 21st, 2018 2:54 PMLeave a Comment

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July 2nd, 2018 10:44 AM
The federal government recently classifies a family of four earning up to $117,400 as low-income in three counties around the Bay Area in California. It's used to determine eligibility for federal and local housing-assistance programs, but it's different from the federal poverty guidelines. To generate the number, officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) factor in the median income and average housing costs in an area.  In the Seattle-Bellevue area, $80,250 classifies a family of four as low-income. As tech industry has drawn legions of highly paid workers to the area, the prices of homes isn't the only thing that has gone up - transportation, utilities, and food are also costly.  Many residents who have been forced to move farther inland now face grueling commutes to their jobs. The "low-income" designation allows people to qualify for affordable housing and a variety of government programs such as those for first-time home buyers.  

What it means in the area is that teachers, first responders, people who grew-up here of average income are being forced out by the high prices. The very success of the place undermines the viability of life for at least the lower half of the population. Those are the people who get the forgotten in the narrative of the glamour of tech changing the world. 

What makes cities such as Seattle great is its diversity, its creative and innovative economy and its free spirit. But the harder it is to house our artists, teachers, restaurant workers, health-care providers, the more we put the great spirit and the strong economy at risk. 

Every home has its flaws. We can try to hide them but the truth eventually comes out. Hiding the truth from a buyer can at the very least results in the termination of a contract. Most industry professionals agree that absolute honest is the best policy. When in doubt, disclose. According to property disclosures laws in most jurisdictions, flaws in a home that unquestionably should be disclosed are referred to as latent or material defects that pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the purchase or an occupant of the property. These include but are not limited to toxic conditions such as mold, radon lead, carbon dioxide or asbestos, previous fires, structural issues, faulty electrical wiring and water intrusion. 

Always ask client's property for a copy of insurance company Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report to review any claims on the property in the last 5  - 7 years snapshot. 

June 16th, 2018 10:35 PM
These tips will help you keep your garage organized for good: 

1. Think like an organizer.  Go through your belongings  and decide what you want and need to keep. Be homes with yourself and ruthlessly pare down what you don't need. De-cluttering is a liberating process and freeing up some space in your garage. 

2. Prioritizing by size.  The biggest stuff should receive the most consideration. Freezer, secondary refrigerator and lawn mower/tractor take up the most space and are hardest to move. Determine where the big stuff foes and work around it from there. 

3. Maximize wall space
Hang trimmers, extension cords, long-handled tools and even bikes on simple hooks to free floor space and assign each item a dedicated place. Mount a peg board on the wall to neatly store tools. 

4. Raise the roof.  Use overhead storage to make the most of otherwise wasted space. Many garages have built-in attics that lend themselves perfectly to skyward storage. Many off-the-shelf storage solutions can stash your entire family's bicycle collection, camping gear or holiday decorations all above your parking space. 

5. Spring for shelves. Deep shelves are a must whether they are custom-built cabinets or a simple stand-alone rack. Ideally garage shelves should be at least 24 inches deep and strong enough to hold the weight of your stored belongings and more. Keep the items you use infrequently in the back and the tools and equipment you use most frequently in the front for easy access.

6. Put safety first. Store hazardous items like engine oil, paints and household cleaners safely and out of reach of little hands. Dispose of them property and check with your local municipality regarding rules for potentially toxic waste. 



Posted in:Remodeling, Garage and tagged: RemodelingGarage
Posted by Sam Kader on June 16th, 2018 10:35 PMLeave a Comment

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Why are home prices in Seattle so high so quickly?  The answer is simply - supply and demand.  There are just not enough inventory for sale. In King County last month, 2,000 homes were for sale last month (on average for the last two decades, the region had more than 7,800 homes for sale.)  On average, today's homeowner who sells has owned the home for about 10 years and makes about 64% return on investment (4th highest in the nation). The problem is people who are staying in the area would have to turn around and buy in the same crazy market. Thus, only people who are moving to a cheaper area or downsizing have real financial incentive to sell reducing the number of home sellers. Seattle homeowners also wait longer to sell than anywhere else in the country.   

In addition to not having enough inventory for sale, the demand side is not helping either. King County's population has grown 26% and job growth of 28% which translates that people who are moving here  are financially well off to buy a house. It all adds up to people making a lot more money fighting over a lot fewer houses. Historically, the county had 1 home for sale for every 230 people. Now, there's one home available for every 1,060 people creating bidding war beyond what a home should be worth. 

Are we setting ourselves for another real estate market bubble? Most critics agree that there are not clear signs of another crash because the elements causing previous housing collapse i.e. rampant subprime lending and home owners over extending themselves with  a "liar (stated income) loan"  are not presence this time around. Lenders now are lending to people with good credit and full income and asset documentation. 

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