Seattle Real Estate News

Freelancers, the self-employed and those who depend on tips or commissions can have a great-paying month or a bad one which leaves us vulnerable. The best advise is to plan ahead as much as possible. Here are some tips for managing money when paycheck fluctuates:

Step 1 - Build an emergency fund.  First, fortify your finances to make sure you are prepared for a disaster. Even before paying down high-interest credit card debt or chipping away at student loans.  If you have been able to save a little cash over the past year, your emergency fund should be your top priority.  The rule of thumb is we should save nine months's worth of living and health care expenses in an emergency fund. If Covid-19 in 2020 has taught us anything, it's the importance of saving an emergency fund.  It's more than the standard recommendation of three to six months' worth to cover expenses in a month we don't get paid as much.  One program to help jump-start a savings habit is

Step 2 - Tackle high-interest debt. This is not the most glamorous path but it is the one that will offer by far the highest returns.  Consider paying down or off any extra money toward debt with interest of around 6% or higher.  Carrying high-interest debt makes the magic of compound interest work against you. The more money you owe, the more interest you owe.  

Step 3 -  Budget what you spend. Irregular income means that we must live below our means. Because we don't know our income for a given month, we must construct our budget around baseline/necessity spending such as housing, utilities, food, insurance and transportation and a monthly amount for annual bills such as property taxes. As app that tracts spending such as Mint or Personal Capital can help us estimate.

Step 4 - Create a steady paycheck by setting up separate accounts for deposits and spending. Deposit paychecks into one account and pay yourself a "salary" that covers expenses. 

Posted in:Budget and tagged: Budget
Posted by Sam Kader on March 11th, 2021 9:02 PM
Tips for choosing front door colors: 

Yellow to boost the homeowner's goal to boost the mood of anyone who sees the home. Yellow adds a feeling of life to the house's exterior. A yellow door works well with facade colors like gray, light green, beige or white. 
Soft Purple can add whimsy and polish to the exterior of a home when paired with white or cream. 
Orange for cozy feeling when paired with cream and beige. It feels familiar and warm and welcoming. 
Blue to make a subtle statement perfect for bungalows, Craftsman-type homes and cottages paired with green or cobalt blue. 
Green to make modern approach.
Grey for neutral approach and sophisticated appeal. 
Black for that classical approach paired with traditional brick home. It gives a classical vibe and a refined tone for that instant curb appeal. 
Blush for that feminine flair such as blush pink paired with white, yellow or green for an expected playful statement without overdoing it. This color is perfect for summer homes, farm houses and cottages. 

Posted in:Remodeling and tagged: Remodeling
Posted by Sam Kader on December 29th, 2019 11:24 AM
The Spring home buying is typically when real estate season starts. However, according to research, there are certain months and even specific dates that offer the biggest premiums above market value for sellers. 

The top five dates to sell are still between May and June. Best dates for home sellers are: 

  • May 24: Commanding 10.5% seller premium.
  • May 31: Commanding 10.7% seller premium.
  • June 20: Commanding 10.6% seller premium.
  • June 28: Commanding 10.8% seller premium. 
Weather has a lot to do with the home buying season with summer being the most popular because the kids are out of school and there's more time to shop for a house It's no surprise that the worst dates for sellers happen in the colder months closer to the holidays - October and December.  However, ski towns sell more in winter. 

Advise for thrifty home buyers is to keep a close eye on the market and watch for houses that aren't selling. During the busy holiday season while people are shopping for the holidays, serious house hunters should be looking for houses. Look for houses that linger on the market. If the house has gone on and off the market, you can potentially get it when it's not listed.  The downside is that waiting could also mean someone else gets your dream house and must choose from less desirable properties in terms of condition and location. 

How to prepare your house during peak selling times: 

  • Experts agree that a fresh coat of paint is essential. Choose a color that is neutral so that it appeals to a wide variety of buyers. A property must look as neutral as possible. 
  • Deep cleaning and de-cluttering. Most home sellers leave too many personal belongings out. Some personal photos are O.K. but no more than 10. 
  • Changing light bulb to bright, white bulbs and make sure blinds are clean or replace. Strategically place fresh flowers and house plants. 
Posted by Sam Kader on August 22nd, 2019 4:29 PM
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. De-cluttering is another simple way to get buyers  to focus on the bones of the house. Clearing kitchen and bathroom counter-top. Pack them in boxes and neatly stack them in corner of the garage. Anything extra should go in a small storage unit.

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. Packing away your personal stuff such as pictures, sports memorabilia and even religious items if one the easiest things you can to stage your house. You want to depersonalize your home because you want buyers to view it as their potential home.

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.

12. Rearrange rooms and give them purpose. Rearrange the rooms in your home and make sure each room has a distinct purpose. Tour model homes to see how the rooms are furnished.

13. Scrub and deodorize. No one wants to visit a dirty house especially prospective buyers so make sure your house is squeaky clean. Have the house professionally cleaned so that everything is spotless, windows, sliding glass door tracks, garage, basement, ceiling fans etc. You can base cookies in the over, bringing cinnamon sticks to a slow boil in a port of water or using air freshener before each showing.

14. Enhance curb appeal. Curb appeal is just as important as cleaning the inside of your house. Mow the lawn, make sure the sidewalk and driveway are free of clutter and debris and make sure the house number is easy to see. Pressure-clean your driveway and sidewalk.

Posted by Sam Kader on August 11th, 2019 9:12 AM

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 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? 
Posted by Sam Kader on April 2nd, 2019 5:24 PM
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 AM
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 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 PM
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. 

Posted by Sam Kader on July 2nd, 2018 10:44 AM

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