Preparing Your Home For Fall

Summer has come to a close and the crisp, fall air is here in full swing. Even though you may be ready for pumpkins, sweater weather, and raindrops – your home may not be. Fall and winter often bring harsher weather, and it’s best to take care of things prior to them becoming emergencies. Not to mention, many of these tips will help in keeping heating costs down. Following are some tips and tricks to ready your home for the colder, wetter months ahead.

  • Clean out your gutters.

All kinds of gunk and debris get stuck in your gutters throughout the year. Now is a great time to get out your ladder and clean them out, before the rain sets in for good. Good drainage through properly functioning gutters and downspouts will lengthen the life of your roof and direct water away from the foundation of your home.

  • Take care of drafty windows and doors.

It’s easy to forget about that drafty spot during the summer when air circulation is king. Check out the spaces around your doors and windows to find any drafts and seal them up before the cold sets in. Oftentimes you can apply an adhesive foam around the edges of doors and windows to take care of those pesky drafts. Taking care of this now will keep you cozier, not to mention your heating bill will be a little easier on the pocketbook.

  • Speaking of heating – have your chimney serviced!

If you have a wood burning fireplace it is important to make sure to have a professional chimney sweep come service it. This service is essential as it maintains the health and safety of your fireplace to ensure you can enjoy it – safely – for years to come.

  • Replace air filters.

Now is a good time to swap out those air filters in your heating system. A nice fresh filter encourages efficient heating as well as maintaining the air quality for you and your family. Even better, hire a professional to come out and check your entire system for maximum efficiency prior to your needing it on a daily basis.

  • Cover your spigots.

If you’re in a place where it freezes, it’s important to cover your outside spigots with Styrofoam covers. These are very inexpensive and will ensure that you don’t end up with a burst pipe. As the water freezes and expands as we reach progressively colder temperatures this is a risk not worth taking. Those freezing temps sneak up on us fast!

  • Inspect the exterior of the house.

Now is a great time to get out there and make sure your siding and roof are looking a-ok. It’s definitely easier to fix when the rain isn’t pouring down, and you’ll want to make sure that any roof issues are dealt with prior to discovering you’ve got a new indoor waterfall.

  • Trim your trees.

Go outside and take a look at your trees. Take careful note of any branches that look unhealthy as well as anything that looks odd about the root system as that can signal a shallow and weak tree. You can’t always prevent a branch breaking or tree falling and damaging your home, but a little preventative maintenance goes a long way in preventing this sort of problem. If you suspect that there are issues make sure you call a certified arborist. Arborists are best prepared to do maintenance on trees large and small to encourage proper and strong growth.

While this list definitely isn’t everything you need to tackle in the fall to get your home ready for the months ahead, it’s a great starting point. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way and worry-free as the holiday season starts creeping up on us. Happy fall, and happy home prepping!

Misty's Photo.JPGMisty Speers, REALTOR®
253-209-8544
mistyspeers@cbbain.com
mistyspeers.coldwellbankerbain.com

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The 5 Basic Key Land Questions

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Selling land is something a lot of real estate agents avoid with a passion.  This seems a bit strange to me since under every house is land.  In fact, the first words of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics are “Under all is the land…”  This makes sense to me because before there was ever a house built on a piece of property there was vacant land and someone who had the vision to build something on it.  When dealing with vacant land a Broker needs to be more intentional when marketing it.  Depending on the size and the location of the land, the listing agent may also need to take a more proactive approach to finding buyers.

For me, it’s all about the enjoyment of being part of something from the dirt up.  I enjoy helping people see the many possibilities that can happen with this clean slate.  It is amazing how many people can’t see anything but empty space when looking at land.  When I see vacant land I see a pallet of possibility and imagination. When it comes to the challenges that come with vacant land I see a puzzle that needs to be solved and answers that need to be found. For me, these challenges are often more enjoyable than the ones that come with working with residential property.

Every parcel of land needs to have these 5 questions answered before you move forward.  1) What is the zoning of the land?  Without knowing whether the zoning fits your needs you don’t have a starting point.  2) What is the potential usage of the land?  Zoning dictates the usage of the vacant land being considered.  Knowing the zoning of the property tells you whether the desired usage is possible.  3) What is the yield of the land?  Zoning not only dictates the usage of the land but it also the yield.  For example, the number of homes, apartments, duplexes or whatever can be built on that parcel.  Environmental sensitive area can also affect the yield of the property.  4) Is there legal in and out access to a road for this land?  And, it is important to understand the ingress and egress needs will differ for a single-family home compared to a 40-unit apartment complex.  5) What are the services needed for the proposed use and how are they going to be installed?  If your parcel is on sewer you need to know where the sewer line is and if the property can connect to it.  If sewer isn’t available then you need to know if the property will support a septic system.

There are other service issues need to be addressed as well.  How will power be provided to the property?  Does the property have access to water or does it need a well?  By remembering these keys to working with land, zoning, usage, yield, access, and services you can avoid many of the common challenges that are part of a vacant land transaction.  Give me a call if I can be of assistance with any of your land questions.

Gregory Reich Rockstar 2016.jpgGregory Reich, REALTOR®
253-677-9283
gregoryreich@cbbain.com
gregoryreich.coldwellbankerbain.com

Thinking Of Buying A Home When School Starts?

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Back to School is just around the corner! Parents are jumping for joy as they ready their kids to return to school. (Who can blame them?) As the hot summer eventually cools down and turns to fall, parents are not the only ones who should be excited.  If you are looking for a good deal on a home, now is the time to find your perfect place. With the kids focused on school, it might just be the time to get your focus on finding your home.
Get started now, you’ve procrastinated long enough.

Waiting until August or September can have its pay offs.  Traditionally there are fewer buyer’s shopping. Which means for you less competition for that perfect mid-century ranch, a little cottage, or Tudor that you have been dreaming about.  No matter how hot the market is you will see price reductions and homes staying on the market longer from September through December. And schools within each market tend to drive the prices on single family homes. The pressure on property prices in these areas eases as July turns to August. With fewer buyers competing, it makes getting your offer accepted just a little higher and save some cash too. This really applies to single family homes in the suburbs. Those downtown lofts and condos, they will stay at the more consistent higher prices. So, no real deals there.
Stay Flexible

 After school starts sellers tend to be more inclined to negotiate to help seal the deal.  More sellers may contribute to closing costs. Which is helpful to buyers who have a good steady income, good credit, but not a lot of cash on hand. Interest rates are staying low, so buyers are feeling motivated to buy because interest will not stay low forever. A home buyers warranty, carpet allowance, are a couple of items you can ask for if sellers won’t budge on price. Price is not always the main negotiating factor involved. Flexibility to shorten or extend closings in the fall buying season can make both buyers and sellers happy.
Take Time

Home buyers have increasingly had to deal with bidding wars, unbelievable cash offers, homes on the market for 1 or 2 days. The results are, buyers buying to buy because that was the only home that they sort of liked. Waiting until the kids are in school means taking your time, and finding the home that is right for you. You will be happy with no buyer’s remorse, financial regrets and things that they did not notice about the house in the rush to buy.
Be Ready with the Right Offer

In the fall research, the area and be ready to make the right offer on the right home.  Sellers tend to want to get their property sold prior to the holidays. This gives buyers the opportunity to research the comps and know what to offer at just below asking or at asking. Versus the Spring /Summer over asking price, shelling out extra cash to get the home they want.  Contrary to what many believe, August and September are good for buying homes and finding the right home at the right price for your budget. So, do your research, find your REALTOR® and get house hunting.
Mary Klein Photo 2016Mary Klein, REALTOR®
253-590-7140
maryklein@cbbain.com

 

Broker Spotlight: Elisha Scott

I chose Coldwell Banker Bain because of their attention to detail, training and their ability to provide their clients with the best services around. And being a proud resident of the Puget Sound area for over 25 years, it is only natural that I choose a local company like Coldwell Banker Bain.

I have been a REALTOR® since April 2017, but have experience buying/purchasing real estate for the last 10 years. Before going into real estate, I was a stay at home mom, who homeschooled. Before that, I was an air traffic controller in the FAA and served in the navy. I chose to become a REALTOR® because I want to help educate home buyers so that they can purchase a home that will make them happy for years to come.

I enjoy taking my three daughters to the 3 local zoos, Pt Defiance, NW Trek and Woodland Zoo. I also like to hike and travel to new places.

OutlookEmoji-1501887265935_D-1cfe465b1-d0f9-4b72-bb12-dc6c0c772d18Elisha Scott, REALTOR®
360-731-2762 mobile
elishascott@cbbain.com
http://elishascott.coldwellbankerbain.com

 

Broker Spotlight: Lorena McPhail

Purchasing a home is often the single-most expensive investment a person will make in their lifetime.  Buying or selling can be an emotionally-charged process that often comes with unexpected obstacles.  Such an important purchase requires an understanding and knowledgeable professional to help buyers and sellers successfully navigate through the transaction process.  Since being licensed in 1999, I have assisted buyers and sellers in Washington and Colorado, providing them with the necessary knowledge and negotiating skills to close the deal and achieve the best possible outcome.

Partnering with Coldwell Banker Bain in Tacoma was to me the obvious best choice! According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, Coldwell Banker has the largest market share and highest sales volume on the I-5 corridor.   I’m excited to be partnered with a brokerage whose mission is to “Do the right thing”, reinforcing my mission to be a caring Realtor for you, and to convey the professional image needed to attract the highest-quality buyers for your home.  As a home-buyer, you can expect the same quality service while finding your dream home.

Caring for people and being supportive are the most important things I will ever do in my lifetime. Becoming an advocate for families and children with special needs has become one of my passions.  Prior to my real estate career, I taught preschool for 12 years, working with children and families with special needs.  Following the death of my adult son Jordan to schizophrenia and suicide in 2011, I became an advocate in the Washington State Legislature for Mental Healthcare Reform and Suicide Prevention. I currently work with the Steilacoom School district to help children with special needs.

Since moving back from Colorado in 2016, I now live on Anderson Island with my family.  However, most of my childhood memories are of living and going to school in both University Place and North Tacoma where I attended Stadium and Foss High Schools. I frequented Pt. Defiance Park and spent countless summer weekends at my parent’s vacation cabin on Anderson Island.

Lori McPhail PhotoLorena McPhail, Managing Broker, CRS
lorenamcphail@cbbain.com | 253.592.8205
lorimcphail.coldwellbankerbain.com

Beautiful Anderson Island

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@Sean Griffin-Anderson Island Photography

Anderson Island is simply unforgettable. A mere 20- minute ferry ride out of Steilacoom over the calm South Sound aboard the faithful Christine Anderson ferry has delivered many a visitor. From the ferry dock, a well-traveled two- lane road winds through the forest to the other side of the Island. Traffic lights? There are none. Just be sure to yield to the car on your right. If you Follow the main road to Oro Bay, you’ll see the silent strength of Mount Rainier rising regally in the distance with boats huddled in a small marina.
The old Johnson Farm is the heart of the Island and is home to the Anderson Island Historical Society, Museum, Island gift shop, and lush community garden. Here is where Islanders and tourists gather for countless seasonal activities. There is the Anderson Island Historical Society (AIHS) Archival Building, proudly built by volunteers and donors. It houses historical items and provides a large area for Historical Society presentations as well as a music venue, art gallery, and a meeting place for community gatherings. Local artists and photographers sell their one-of-a kind creations in the gift shop and at the island festivals and fairs. In the summer, there is a weekly farmer’s market, music venues, the annual fall Apple Squeeze, annual Fourth of July AIHS Salmon Baker and the annual Memorial Weekend Fair, which is the largest fund raiser for the Anderson Island Community Club (AICC).

In the summer, the Old Swimming Hole on the North side of Lake Florence is where children tirelessly dive and tumble into the water from a 10-foot high floating dock. Fishing is fine. Hunting? It is governed by the Pierce County hunting regulations. Most of the parks are managed by the Riviera Homeowner’s Association and are not open to the public – only residents and their guests. There is a marina on the East side of the Island that is owned & maintained by the Riviera, although guests are eligible to launch with a fee.

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@Sean Griffin-Anderson Island Photography

Scenic trails to hike include the new Jacob’s Point Trail, Andy’s Marine Park, and the Tom White Trail.  Tiny Eagle Island, just a short kayak ride off the North side of the Island is home to only wildlife and is a secluded spot for a romantic proposal.

The one and only Café in the center of the Island is a nice spot for a coffee date or lunch with a friend.  Don’t miss the Burger Nights, and open mic.  The Island store is where “If you can’t find what you want you must not need it.”

On the shore of serene Lake Josephine sits the Riviera Lakeshore Restaurant. There you might relax on the deck with a glass of wine after a golf tournament and enjoy a tasty menu offering or have a quiet dinner. Avid golfers enjoy intimate tournaments on the lush greens of the Riviera Country Club across the street. Once, sometimes twice a month, the Riviera Lakeshore Restaurant hosts a lively evening of karaoke. Local and visiting musicians and bands play live in the restaurant on occasion.

The volunteer fire department is the only fire department on the island, and is manned by discrete, caring Islanders dedicated to the health and safety of their community. If you see a small flashing green light in the car behind you, it’s a volunteer fire-fighter on the way to a call so be sure to pull over. Each year on Memorial Day weekend, the community hosts a pancake breakfast to raise funds for the fire department.

The Anderson Island school is in a category all its own.  It’s like a step back in time 40 years with caring staff, only 2 small multi-grade classrooms, a cozy library, and a lunchroom with only 5 lunch tables. A vibrant booster club provides extra activities for the school children.  The flow of donations to the school from generous islanders is ongoing, from new shoes to exotic fruits and vegetables for the children to try.  Summer camps are run by Island volunteers. The original Anderson Island historic school house is now converted into a public gym is where teens meet for summer boot camp.

Housing prices on Anderson Island, including luxury waterfront and view homes, are surprisingly affordable. More than half the homes are vacation homes. There are approximately 1,000 residents year-round, increasing to 4,000 residents during the summer months.

If you go to Anderson Island, you may leave rested or you might leave restless.   Getting there is easy— but leaving is hard:  Once you are there you may not want to leave.  You might even want to move there.

Lori McPhail Photo.jpgLorena McPhail, Managing Broker, CRS
lorenamcphail@cbbain.com
253.592.8205

Inspections And Appraisals in this Hot Real Estate Market

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Our local real estate market continues at the hot pace we’ve been on, although there are signs of inventory increasing with homes beginning to come onto the market at a faster pace than they have recently. That is a good sign in that we may see more balance in the market soon.

As I mentioned previously in this space, the intense competition for listings has impacted the role and effects of both home inspections and appraisals.

Typically, once agreement has been reached between buyer and seller, the buyer will have ten days (could be less, depending on the terms) to conduct a thorough home inspection and respond back to the seller.

These inspections are done for the benefit of the buyer, and generally consist of a licensed inspector taking a thorough look at the home, from the crawlspace to the roof, checking plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems, etc. Often, especially with older homes, a sewer scope inspection is also done.

Inspections in any market always constitute a second round of negotiations. Options for the buyer include simply approving the inspection and moving forward to closing, rejecting the inspection and terminating the transaction, or most commonly, asking the seller to make some repairs or concessions. The seller may agree to all repair requests, or agree to some but not all, or to none. Then the ball is back in the buyer’s court. Unless the seller agrees to all requests, the buyer can continue to negotiate, though they have limited time to do so, can agree with the seller, or reject the response and terminate the sale.

Recently we’ve seen some buyers making exorbitant requests to compensate for feeling that they may have overpaid for a home which had lots of competition. This has often caused sales to fail.

Once the parties have agreed on the inspection results, the next step is to order the appraisal.

Appraisals are done primarily for the benefit of the mortgage lender, though they do assure the buyer that the value of the home is appropriate to the sales price. The focus is value, though the appraiser will look for glaring signs of deferred maintenance, such as peeling paint or a bad roof, and may call for those sorts of items to be repaired. These repairs are not negotiable; if the loan is to be approved, the seller MUST do these repairs.

In the case of a home selling at an inflated price, the appraisal value may come in below the agreed upon sales price. In that event, the parties have options. The seller may agree to sell at the reduced price. The buyer may agree to bring additional money to closing, to keep the new loan amount at or below the appraised value. They may dispute the appraisal and ask for a review, or negotiate a compromise. Or the sale may simply fail.

Our current market requires up to date strategies for both buyers and sellers. Develop a plan with your REALTOR®. Be realistic, and you can do well, and have fun in the process!

Feel free to call me to discuss these or any real estate topics or properties.
ED Tropp's PhotoEd Tropp, REALTOR®, GRI
253-988-5763 (cell)
EdTropp@cbbain.com