Safety Preparedness

911, what’s your emergency? A voice that is there to help! What a relief, but what if there wasn’t someone available to answer your call? What if there was a larger disaster in your area that would not allow emergency services to assist you and your family in a time of need. What would you do? Where would you go? Where would you get food and water? How would you be able to help yourself and your family in a disaster? Over the last several months we’ve witnessed various disasters across our country. Each has varied in level of devastation. Disasters are commonly unexpected with little or no warning and may cause Emergency Services to be overwhelmed.

Maybe you are in a new neighborhood; maybe you haven’t met your neighbors; maybe you aren’t even sure where the local Fire or Police station is located?  These are simple tasks that will benefit you when a disaster strikes.  Often times, our neighbors are nurses, doctors or have experience in the emergency services field. As a Realtor, I feel it’s important to talk with my clients to remind them how important it is to take the time to walk your neighborhood and introduce yourself to your neighbors.  Take a drive or Google the location of your nearest Fire and Police station. It only takes a few minutes and by knowing where these services are located, in the event of an emergency, this knowledge could be lifesaving.

We often sit through the evening news and recognize that a disaster can happen in any area. We tend to have busy schedules and sometimes safety becomes an afterthought. October is Fire Safety Month and a great time to remind everyone of some of the things you can do to prepare for emergencies in and around your home. First thing, replace the battery in your smoke alarms. Not only will you not wake up to the horrible chirping at 3:00am when the battery is about to die, but in the event of a fire, this one task may save your family. Second, take time to sit down with your family and create a plan. Establish a safe place outside your home that your family can meet a school, church or neighbors home. It’s important to establish a location where everyone can check in. Third, decide on a friend or family member that everyone can call that is out of the area. This is another great way for you to all check in to make sure your family is safe.  Last, don’t forget to prepare a “go” bag for each member of the family and don’t forget one for your family pet! Be sure to include at least three days’ worth of water and food. These precautions may help you become self-sustainable in the event of a disaster.

Another simple reminder for residents here in the Northwest would be to include walking the perimeter of your home to look for trees that may be nearby. Remove any branches that may be hanging over head or near your house or outbuildings. Fall tends to bring windstorms and this easy way to protect your new home and property may also save you time and money.

These tasks may seem overwhelming, but it is easy to break them down into a manageable to do list. Creating a Ten Tasks in Ten Days List will help. Quickly jot down ten tasks that relate to safety in your home or on your property and commit to doing one a day for ten days. Your new neighbor may just be the perfect accountability partner to help you complete the list.

If you have questions about disaster preparedness or are in need of ideas to create your plan or a go bag, please visit the websites below for more information.

Want to learn how to sign up for Pierce County Alert, Make a plan, build a Go Kit or help others? Visit: http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/945/Emergency-Preparedness

The Great Shakeout is coming October 19, 2017 at 10:19am. Learn more about preparing for earthquakes and the proper way to drop, cover and hold. https://www.shakeout.org/washington

Looking for ways to meet and assist your neighbors? Visit: http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/2297/Pierce-County-Neighborhood-Emergency-Tea

Today is a great day to make one change to help better prepare your family and your home for an emergency.

jennifer-davidsonJennifer Davidson, REALTOR®
253.315.9315
jenniferdavidson@cbbain.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

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

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.