Seattle Real Estate News

January 14th, 2018 1:36 PM
The first 12 months of home-ownership set the tone for your journey. With a few smart decisions, you can help yourself to avoid some of common pitfalls. 

1. Start an emergency fund. An emergency savings fund provides a financial safety net.  You no longer have your landlord to call when something breaks. Ideally, your emergency fund should cover several months of expenses but it's O.K. to start small. Have a budget and set aside a portion of of every paycheck with the goal of saving $500 as quickly as possible and then contribute as much as you can going forward with a goal of $5,000 seat aside. This should be enough to handle most sudden major expenses such as HVAC replacement.  

2. Review your homeowners insurance.  Home-ownership insurance is not one-size fits all. There are unique coverage options and exclusions that homeowners need to be aware of. For example, does your policy cover the full cost of your jewelry/other valuables, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or if your dog bites the new postal worker. 

3. Get an energy-efficient audit.  Getting an energy audit using door tests and infrared cameras, energy audits ensure air leaks and detect air infiltration or missing insulation. Audits are usually performed by utility companies, city governments and some contractors.  An energy audit not only will save you money in the long run but also will make your house more comfortable. 

4. Consider a home warranty.  It is also called a home-service contracts with annual agreements that offset the repair of replacement cost of major home 
components and appliances. 

5. Create a disaster kit with a home warranty.  A home inventory can be as simple as snapping pictures of big-ticket items in your home, record items, brands, original prices, ages and condition in a spreadsheet (you can find an app to do it). It is the best way to make sure you have enough insurance coverage to replace your valuables. Store the inventory along with copies of your personal identification, credit-card information and other important documents in a fireproof safe or another place that's easily access if you have to evacuate. 

6. Make a plan to build equity. Equity is a fancy word for how much of your house is paid off. Home equity can be used to pay off major renovations or pay off your student loans. You can build equity slowly just by making your monthly mortgage payments or you can find ways to speed up the process by switching to biweekly payments to get equity rich even faster. 


January 3rd, 2017 7:57 PM
There are many factors to consider when selecting a new roof.
  • What type of roofing is allowed by local building codes?
  • What kind of material can I put on my roof with its slope? How long will it last?
  • How will it look and will it complement the style of the house?
  • What kind of maintenance will be required and how much does it cost?
Here are some of the most popular types of roofing materials we use in the Puget Sound region.

1. Asphalt shingles. Approximately for out of every five residential homes have a n asphalt single roof. Residential asphalt roofing shingles are now being manufactured to look like natural roofing materials such as tile, wood, cedar, shakes and slate. The single products being made today are usually guaranteed for up to 50 years, asking them an excellent value and the most popular type of roofing.

2. Cedar shakes. It is hard to beat the appearance of a natural wood rood. It you are re-roofing a traditional older house, cedar roofing is probably the historically appropriate choice. Cedar shares come in different thickness and can be treated for protection from fungal decay that will extend the lie of cedar shake. One downfall of a cedar roof is that it is a high-maintenance material where the woods need to breath and so the roof must be kept clear of leaves and debris. Cedar roofing typically is on a cost comparison with the higher-end premium asphalt shingles.

3. Standing seam metal. Metal roofing is one of the fastest growing products in the residential roofing market and can be installed on very low sloped-type roofs. Longevity is one of the most prominent reasons homeowners select metal roofing. The metal panels come in different thicknesses, widths, styles and color choices. Metal roofing can reflect much of the solar radiation that is usually absorbed by asphalt roofing which can result in lower energy costs. Also if you are thinking of installing solar panels on your roof - standing seam metals works great. The solar panels will clip directly to the ribs eliminating the need for roof penetrations. Metal-roofing costs are higher in comparison to cedar or asphalt roofing.

4. Composite roofing and metal tiles. These types of roofs can look like tile, slate or cedar shakes and can be environmentally friendly. Composite roofing materials are manufactured using rubber and plastics technology. These types typically will cost at least three times as much as asphalt shingles.

5. PVC or TPO Thermoplastic membranes. They are the most popular and cost-effective types of roofing material to install on flat or low-slope roofs and come in a variety f colors and thicknesses. Roofing is a process you may not be familiar with until it becomes time to replace the one on your home and even then, there is a lot to learn about which products to use and what procedures best meet your individual roofing contractor for your job.

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends getting your roof inspected every spring and fall to identify potential problems. A roof damage can create expensive problems in a hurry. Water intrusion or obvious gaps in the attic are a major warning sign. Ask your inspector these specific questions: 

1. How long will the current roof last? 
2. How long will the flashing and other components last? 
3. What signs of deterioration are you seeing?
4. How likely are additional leaks? 
5. How will the repairs match the existing roof? 

The most important element int he roofing decision is a trustworthy roofer. Make sure your roofer is licensed, bonded and insured and has a physical location in your area. Ask for references and check them. The standard industry guarantees is between 5 and 10 years.  Please contact me if you need a referral on a roofer.


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