Have You Heard of EnviroHouse?

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We’ve heard of the ENVIROHOUSE through the news media and mailings from utility districts but may not be aware of what an incredible resource it is for homeowners. Located in Tacoma, it is funded by Tacoma’s 5 Utilities and is open to all Pierce County Residents. EnviroHouse and surrounding landscape are environmentally and sustainably designed and explained by signage and handouts.

In the 1990’s, EnviroHouse began as a Pierce County environmental display building called the Green House (a 2-piece modular building) at the Puyallup Fair twice a year, you may have visited it there! In 2004, it was gutted and permanently installed at what is now called Tacoma’s Recovery and Transfer Station – we used to call these operations “Dumps” because they were.  EnviroHouse opened to the public in 2006 to provide information to get people to reduce waste.

On site is an abundance of information on building green and living sustainability including energy and water efficiency, sourcing (how far away is a product, how much energy & pollution & cost does it take to transport it to the job site?) Did you know counter tops made of paper are manufactured on Tacoma’s tide flats? Yes, since the 1940’s – there is info about it, other counter tops plus other building materials in EnviroHouse’s Resource Books. The resource notebooks contain detailed information to help you create a healthy home and landscape.

You can learn from the displays on the landscape: the Green roof, a rain garden, rain barrels, permeable pavers, low waters plants, a 5 section turf display, irrigation info and raised food gardens.

Janda Volkmer, Coordinator of EnviroHouse, oversees all and is a great resource too. She welcomes walk-in visitors and answers their questions sharing information about the eco-friendly installations in the house and landscape. She leads prearranged tours; the lecture is geared to the group’s interests. To schedule a tour, call the number listed below.

Free workshops on the site cover a variety of topics including yard waste and worm bin composting, solar power, water-smart landscaping, green roofs, backyard chickens. I attended a workshop on ductless heating and cooling systems and as a result had one installed in my home. Advance registration is required for the workshops. For a list of workshops, check the website.

How to do it videos on recycling ( Enviro Shorts) are available on the website. More are on YouTube, search for EnviroHouse How-To.

I hope you will visit the EnviroHouse after entering Tacoma Recovery and Transfer Station.  Look for EnviroHouse sign on your left and turn into the parking area, otherwise, you will be at the Hazardous Waste Station, as I was, but you can loop back.

Tacoma’s Recovery and Transfer Station
3510 S Mullen, Tacoma 98409
Open W-F 10am-5pm; S Su 11am-5pm
email: EHouse@cityoftacoma.org
website:
www.cityoftacoma.org/Envirohouse
www.cityoftacoma.org/workshops
www.cityoftacoma.org/enviroshorts

Carol Goforth, REALTOR®Capture
253-376-3628 (mobile)
carolgoforth@cbbain.com
carolgoforth.coldwellbankerbain.com

 

The Art of Decluttering

THE ART OF DECLUTTERING OR HOW TO “LET IT GO”

Awe the retirement years! You are finally free from the things that tie you down and are ready to embrace a new adventure. But, where do you begin? You have lived in your home for many years and are surrounded by the “things” that house your memories. As you look around your home, you see the wedding gift you received from Aunt Sally.  It has been sitting in your china hutch for 40 years – never used. You never really liked the gift, but you love Aunt Sally.  Then there are the five boxes of your children’s artwork dating back to Kindergarten. These are all fond memories. So, where do you begin with deciding what to keep and what to eliminate?

A good rule of thumb is: “Either you love something or you need something. If it doesn’t answer either of those things, it doesn’t stay,” says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers. Another question that will help you decide is: Are these objects in my life going to help me move forward or are they blocking me?

Items in the “Love it” column might include things that remind you of loved ones, big life events or milestones, precious pieces of artwork or craftwork, heirlooms or anything that you cherish. In the “Need It” column, you would keep anything that you use on a regular basis. For example, you might use a coffee pot daily, but when was the last time you used your fondue set? Don’t get caught in the trap of keeping things out of fear that you might use it sometime in the future. Also, just because an item might have value for someone, if it is not something you use, let it go. Another good principle to follow when evaluating what you really “need” is the six-month rule. If you have not used the item in six months, it is probably not worth keeping. Consider donating items that could be of value to someone else and let it go.

If an item has no value to you or to anyone else, then it goes in the “Leave It” column.  Examples include old papers, appliances or lawn equipment that don’t work or that are very outdated, broken items, outdated sporting goods, clothes that you haven’t worn in years, things you purchased on a whim that seemed to be a good idea at the time, and virtually anything that you can let go of without feeling remorse.

Once you have made the decision about what to keep and what to let go, then the awesome job of figuring out how to get rid of the “Leave it” items begins. In my next article, I will define some clear and simple steps that will help you through the process. The key is to get an early start so that you are not pressured for time.

croppedjoyceheadhighresv2 (1)For more information about the downsizing process, consider attending an upcoming event called “The Upside of Downsizing” being held on April 22nd at the Tacoma Dome and find out about the eight steps involved in the downsizing process. For more information on downsizing in general or to register for the April 22nd seminar, please call Joyce Hill at 253-318-2792.

(Information gathered from Renew by Home Health Care)

Upside of Downsizing

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THERE IS AN UPSIDE TO DOWNSIZING

Tacoma will soon host a major conference for the purpose of educating boomers, seniors and their adult children on the process of downsizing.  Conference attendees will get tips on how to sort through personal belongings, when to consider a downsizing move, options on where to consider moving, and a Six Step Checklist to make downsizing successful.

Mary Span, President of “Upside of Downsizing” says, “We want to help our attendees through every step of the downsizing process.  All the way from getting started to finding new housing and making the final move.”  To facilitate this objective, the conference will include valuable services and products specifically tailored to meet the needs of seniors, boomers, and, in many cases, their adult children.

In addition, several top industry professionals will be featured speakers.  Among those will be a family counselor, an estate planning attorney, an interior designer and home stager, and a real estate broker.  These individuals will share their knowledge and expertise, specifically addressing the fears and concerns related to a downsizing move.

Joyce Hill, a real estate Broker with Coldwell Banker Bain, says, “There are many emotions connected with the downsizing process on the part of both the primary individuals who are downsizing as well as their family members.  It is important for the professionals who service this special group to exercise patience, kindness and concern for them.”

The Upside of Downsizing primarily assists seniors and boomers in gaining the freedom that comes with downsizing their homes.  The process may also benefit newly-single individuals who are looking for a fresh start.  Another demographic is that of adult children of seniors and boomers, who often are tasked with helping their parents to make the decision to downsize.

The conference is being held on April 22 at the Tacoma Dome from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Ticket prices are $25 per person through April 8 and $35 per person beginning April 9.  Space is limited so it is suggested that you RSVP early.  Get ready for your new adventure.

For more information on Downsizing, call Joyce Hill 253.318.2792, or email her at joycehill@cbbain.com

Conference registration and information is available at www.UpsideofDownsizing.com  

 

 

The Inside Scoop on Home Buying

So you’re thinking about buying a home? Homeownership is an exciting and smart investment that brings a sense of security and the freedom of having your own space. Here are some important things you’ll want to know before starting the process…  

Buyers Typically Don’t Pay Their Agents

Many first-time homebuyers wonder how to pay their agent and are surprised to find out that they don’t! A homebuyer does not pay their agent. Typically sellers pay both the listing and selling agents commissions.

Know what you can afford

One of the very first steps in the home buying process should be getting pre-approved with a trusted lender. Especially in a competitive market, some sellers won’t even consider an offer that isn’t accompanied by a pre-approval letter. Ask your real estate broker for recommendations on a few lenders they have successfully worked with in the past. Your lender will work closely with you to figure out what you can truly afford. You may even qualify for more than you think! Even in a market that isn’t as competitive, knowing your budget is always a good idea and will give you confidence of knowing if your dream home is within reach.

Don’t be turned off by cosmetic faux pas

A funky paint color or questionable design choice can cause a buyer to overlook a home that’s otherwise a perfect fit. Most cosmetic changes are easy and affordable to do, and you’re probably going to want to personalize your new home when it becomes yours.. Instead of focusing on the pink tile in the bathroom or that outdated light fixture, pay more attention to the floorplan, view, location, natural light, and outdoor space.

It will probably feel like it’s never going to happen.

A typical residential real estate transaction should take anywhere from 30-45 days once an offer is accepted, but it’s probably going to feel like a lifetime. It is important to work with an experienced Realtor who will maintain realistic expectations and keep you updated every step of the way.  Our clients have been pleased with our services and hope you will be too:

“Madison was the best part of our home buying process (other than our dream home of course)! I highly recommend Madison’s services, she was fun and professional during our home search, it felt more like looking at houses with and old friend.”

Brittney is very knowledgeable in real estate matters. She always kept me updated, was easily accessible, provided honest advice at every step of the process, and worked very hard to make sure my loan closed on time. I would highly recommend Brittney to anyone who is looking for honest, hardworking real estate agent!”

Looking to learn more about the process and get all your questions answered?

Join Madison and Brittney and their guest speakers for an informal and FREE Hopeful Homebuyer Happy Hour on Thursday, March 23rd from 5:30-7:30pm.  NYP Bar & Grill, 3702 S Fife St, Tacoma WA 98409. Visit the Facebook event page “Hopeful Homebuyer Happy Hour!” or contact Madison Basham at 831-601-5077 for more information.

 

Broker Spotlight: Grace Elgar-Wood

This week’s spotlight features Grace Elgar-Wood:

I chose Coldwell banker Bain because of Tasha Pasco, Coldwell Banker Bain Tacoma/Puyallup’s Principal Managing Broker, was very persuasive about my joining this company.  She kept in touch with me monthly and showed me that I was important and wanted.  Secondly, their mentoring system and education are amazing.  I love spending time at the sales meeting and the new agent classes.  I am learning a lot and building up to be a Fearless Realtor.

captureWhen I’m not helping my clients, I like to work on my sphere of influences, calling, updating and adding to it.  Contacting them is easy through the great company tools provided by CBBain.  I also like spending time sending out personalized notes, going to events and doing face-to-face time with my clients.
Although I’ve only been in this new and exciting career for only a few months, I know that customer service is essential and my previous career has greatly prepared me in providing an exceptional customer service experience to my clients.  I don’t regret changing careers as now I can live my dreams for myself and for my family.

Grace Elgar-Wood, REALTOR®
253-590-7070
graceelgarwood@cbbain.com
Visit her website at graceelgarwood.coldwellbankerbain.com

A Little Education Goes A Long Way

When it comes to buying (or selling!) a house, knowing what to expect can make the experience much smoother.  Knowing there may be help for the down payment and a variety of financing options to fit your situation—can make the dream of owning your own home a reality.

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission has put together a Homebuyer Class to make homeownership more affordable and the process of buying a home more understandable.  Once a buyer has taken the Free Commission-sponsored 5-hour class, they are certified for the next two years to access special loans and possibly down payment assistance, depending on the location of the home they want to buy.

Classes are lead by a Commission-trained real estate and mortgage professionals who present their expertise in an unbiased way.  Attendees will leave not only with a guide to home loans workbook, but also a starting point for their home-buying project, peace of mind, and answers to many questions they may have.  Additional resources will be available for anything that may come up along the way.

A Lender Representative will cover topics such as how many homes you can afford, how to budget, options to repair your credit if needed, kinds of loans, how to choose the best one for your situation, and options for down payment assistance.

A Real Estate Broker will cover topics like choosing your Real Estate Agent, selecting a home, negotiating a sale, the importance of a home inspection, the loan closing process, and foreclosure prevention.

Homebuyers looking to make the most of their budget by finding a home that qualifies for down-payment assistance may want to check out the culture and convenience of the Lincoln District in Tacoma’s South End.  Also known as the International District, it is home a variety of historic architecture styles and a diverse choice of cafes, specialty markets, and longstanding mom-and-pop stores.  The City of Tacoma recently dedicated funds to rejuvenate the area and to highlight the area, they will be hosting a Homebuyer Class in the heart of the Lincoln District on February 25th from 9 am – 2:30 pm.

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For more information about the Homebuyer Education Seminar or to plan a casual coffee chat about your current estate needs, contact Kristina Loper at 253-778-6255 or www.kristinaloper.com.

 To register visit: http://bit.ly/LincolnHES