Home Inspection: a Reality Check from a Pro


Posted in Buying by Tara Sharp 


For many people, a home inspection is a hurdle that has to be overcome during the process of buying or selling a home. But, in fact, it can be a useful tool for buyers, sellers or anyone who plans to get the greatest possible value from their home.

Find out if the house you are selling has “issues”

When you’re selling a house, a pre-sale inspection can be particularly useful. By uncovering any potential problems your house may have, an inspection can give you an opportunity to address them before your first prospective buyer arrives.

According to Bill Richardson, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), “More and more, sellers are obtaining pre-sale inspections. This simple step can allow for better planning and lower expenses in making repairs, add value to the home, and help speed up the process and likelihood of an offer.”

In any market, a pre-sale inspection can give your home a competitive edge. Potential buyers are likely to find the kind of detailed information an inspection provides reassuring—and are encouraged to give your home a closer look.

Get to know a house before you buy it

A home is a major investment and, for many people, the greatest financial asset they have. With so much at stake, it makes sense to do what you can to protect your financial interest. Getting an inspection is a smart, simple way to do just that.

When you make a written offer on a home, insist that the offer provide that your contract is contingent on a home inspection conducted by a qualified inspector. You’ll have to pay for the inspection yourself, but an investment of a few hundred dollars could save you thousands of dollars and years of headaches. If you’re satisfied with the results of the inspection and are assured that the home you’re purchasing is in good shape, you can proceed with your transaction, confident that you are making a smart purchase.

When does a home inspection make sense?

In addition to routine maintenance and pre-sale inspections, there are a number of circumstances in which a home inspection could greatly benefit a homeowner. If you are not sure, here are a few simple questions to ask yourself:

· Was your home inspected when you bought it? If not, an inspection would be beneficial even if your home was a new construction at sale.

· Are you an older homeowner who plans to stay in your home? If so, it makes sense to hire a professional who can inspect difficult-to-reach areas and point out maintenance of safety issues.

· Do you have a baby on the way or small children? An inspection can alert you to any potential safety issues that could possibly affect a growing family, such as mold, lead or structural problems. If mold or lead is present, be sure to rely on technicians or labs with specialized training in dealing with these conditions.

· Are you buying a home that’s under construction? You may want to hire an inspector early on and schedule phased inspections to protect your interest and ensure that the quality of construction meets your expectations.

What doesn’t your home inspection cover?

For a variety of reasons, some homes will require specialty inspections that are not covered by a typical home inspection. A specialty inspection might include such items as your home’s sewer scope, septic system, geotechnical conditions (for homes perched on steep sloes or where there are concerns regarding soil stability) or underground oil storage tank. If you have any questions about whether or not your home needs a specialty inspection, talk to your real estate agent.

Hire a professional

If you decide to hire a home inspector, be sure they’re licensed in your state. They should be able to provide you with their license number, which you can use to verify their status with the appropriate government agency. It’s also helpful to ask for recommendations from friends and family members. Even among licensed and qualified home inspectors, there can be a difference in knowledge, performance and communication skills, so learn what you can before your hire a home inspector to ensure that you get the detailed inspection that you want.

What to ask your home inspector

Ask the right questions to make sure you are hiring the right professional for the job.

What does your inspection cover?

Insist that you get this information in writing. Then make sure that it’s in compliance with state requirements and includes the items you want inspected.

How long have you been in the business?

Ask for referrals, especially with newer inspectors.

Are you experienced in residential inspections?

Residential inspection in a unique discipline with specific challenges, so it’s important to make sure the inspector is experienced in this area.

Do you make repairs or make improvements based on inspection?

Some states and/or professional associations allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in an inspection. If you’re considering engaging your inspector to do repairs, be sure to get referrals.

How long will the inspection take?

A typical single-family dwelling takes two to three hours.

How much will it cost?

Costs can vary depending upon a variety of things, such as the square footage, age, and foundation of the house.

What type of report will you provide and when will I get it?

Ask to see samples to make sure you understand his or her reporting style. Also make sure the timeline works for you.

Can I be there for the inspection?

This could be a valuable learning opportunity. If your inspector refuses, this should raise a red flag.

Are you a member of a professional home inspector association? What other credentials do you hold?

Ask to see their membership ID; it provides some assurance.

Do you keep your skills up to date through continuing education?

An inspector’s interest in continuing education shows a genuine commitment to performing at the highest level. It’s especially important with older homes or homes with unique elements.

If you have questions about finding a home inspector, or are looking for an agent in your area we have professionals that can help you. Contact us here.


Posted on July 18, 2013 at 11:18 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Posted in Real Estate, Uncategorized |

Should I Move or Remodel?

Posted inSelling by Tara Sharp
Windermere Blog

There are a number of things that can trigger the decision to remodel or move to a new home. Perhaps you have outgrown your current space, you might be tired of struggling with ancient plumbing or wiring systems, or maybe your home just feels out of date. The question is: Should you stay or should you go? Choosing whether to remodel or move involves looking at a number of factors. Here are some things to consider when making your decision.


Five reasons to move:

1. Your current location just isn’t working.

Unruly neighbors, a miserable commute, or a less-than-desirable school district—these are factors you cannot change. If your current location is detracting from your overall quality of life, it’s time to consider moving. If you’re just ready for a change, that’s a good reason, too. Some people are simply tired of their old homes and want to move on.

2. Your home is already one of the nicest in the neighborhood.

Regardless of the improvements you might make, location largely limits the amount of money you can get for your home when you sell. A general rule of thumb for remodeling is to make sure that you don’t over-improve your home for the neighborhood. If your property is already the most valuable house on the block, additional upgrades usually won’t pay off in return on investment at selling time.

3. There is a good chance you will move soon anyway.

If your likelihood of moving in the next two years is high, remodeling probably isn’t your best choice. There’s no reason to go through the hassle and expense of remodeling and not be able to enjoy it. It may be better to move now to get the house you want.

4. You need to make too many improvements to meet your needs.

This is particularly an issue with growing families. What was cozy for a young couple may be totally inadequate when you add small children. Increasing the space to make your home workable may cost more than moving to another house. In addition, lot size, building codes, and neighborhood covenants may restrict what you can do. Once you’ve outlined the remodeling upgrades that you’d like, a real estate agent can help you determine what kind of home you could buy for the same investment.

5. You don’t like remodeling.

Remodeling is disruptive. It may be the inconvenience of loosing the use of a bathroom for a week, or it can mean moving out altogether for a couple of months. Remodeling also requires making a lot of decisions. You have to be able to visualize new walls and floor plans, decide how large you want windows to be, and where to situate doors. Then there is choosing from hundreds of flooring, countertop, and fixture options. Some people love this. If you’re not one of them, it is probably easier to buy a house that has the features you want already in place.


Five reasons to remodel:

1. You love your neighborhood.

You can walk to the park, you have lots of close friends nearby, and the guy at the espresso stand knows you by name. There are features of a neighborhood, whether it’s tree-lined streets or annual community celebrations, that you just can’t re-create somewhere else. If you love where you live, that’s a good reason to stay.

2. You like your current home’s floor plan.

The general layout of your home either works for you or it doesn’t. If you enjoy the configuration and overall feeling of your current home, there’s a good chance it can be turned into a dream home. The combination of special features you really value, such as morning sun or a special view, may be hard to replicate in a new home.

3. You’ve got a great yard.

Yards in older neighborhoods often have features you cannot find in newer developments, including large lots, mature trees, and established landscaping. Even if you find a new home with a large lot, it takes considerable time and expense to create a fully landscaped yard.

4. You can get exactly the home you want.

Remodeling allows you to create a home tailored exactly to your lifestyle. You have control over the look and feel of everything, from the color of the walls to the finish on the cabinets. Consider also that most people who buy a new home spend up to 30 percent of the value of their new house fixing it up the way they want.

5. It may make better financial sense.

In some cases, remodeling might be cheaper than selling. A contractor can give you an estimate of what it would cost to make the improvements you’re considering. A real estate agent can give you prices of comparable homes with those same features. But remember that while remodeling projects add to the value of your home, most don’t fully recover their costs when you sell.


Remodel or move checklist:

Here are some questions to ask when deciding whether to move or remodel.

1. How much money can you afford to spend?

2. How long do you plan to live in your current home?

3. How do you feel about your current location?

4. Do you like the general floor plan of your current house?

5. Will the remodeling you’re considering offer a good return on investment?

6. Can you get more house for the money in another location that you like?

7. Are you willing to live in your house during a remodeling project?

8. If not, do you have the resources to live elsewhere while you’re remodeling?


Posted on July 16, 2013 at 10:48 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Posted in Economics, Home Finances, Homeowner News, Real Estate, Uncategorized |

2013 Local Summer Concerts


Published: Friday, July 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m. in The Herald

Arlington Music in the Park: Free performances, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, Aug. 1 through 22, Terrace Park, 809 Fifth St., Arlington; 360-403-3448, www.arlingtonwa.gov/recreation.Aug. 1: Knut Bell and the Blue Collars

  • Aug. 8: Darrel Mansfield
  • Aug. 15: The Ride
  • Aug. 22: Arlington's Blues Playground
  • The concerts will conclude from 1:30 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, with Ali Marcus, a Seattle based song writer, at the Arlington Farmers Market at Legion Park.

Bothell Music in the Park: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Fridays, July 5 through Aug. 23 at North Creek sports field No. 3, 11905 North Creek Parkway; www.ci.bothell.wa.us.

  • July 5: Mach One Jazz Orchestra
  • July 12: Cherry Cherry
  • July 19: Spazmatics
  • July 26: Chance McKinney
  • Aug. 2: Danny Vernon as Elvis
  • Aug. 9: DoctorFunk
  • Aug. 16: Creme Tangerine
  • Aug. 23: Blues Power Revue (Blues Brothers tribute)

Bumbershoot: End-of-summer arts and music showcase, Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St.; details at www.bumbershoot.org.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Summer Concert Series: Outdoor concerts, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, 14111 NE 145th St., Woodinville. Tickets at wine shop or through Ticketmaster, 800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com. 7 p.m. showtimes unless otherwise noted. Details at www.ste-michelle. com.

  • June 15: Live Broadcast: A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, 2:45 p.m., $50 to $85
  • June 29: Steve Miller Band, $60 to $110
  • July 7: "Girls Night Out!" with Pat Benatar, $55 to $85
  • July 13: Chris Botti, $50 to $80
  • July 15: Counting Crows with The Wallflowers, 6:30 p.m., $70 to $110
  • July 18: David Byrne and St. Vincent, $70 to $95
  • July 27: Chateau Ste. Michelle Festival of Jazz Sax, 4 p.m., $50 to $80
  • July 28: Gipsy Kings, $50 to $90
  • Aug. 2: Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, $60 to $100
  • Aug. 8: Gladys Knight and The O'Jays: Family Reunion, $60 to $100
  • Aug. 9 and 10: Harry Connick, Jr., 7:30 p.m., $70 to $120
  • Aug. 24: Chris Isaak, $55 to $90, VIP available
  • Aug. 25: 1964 The Tribute (Beatles), see website for details.

Darrington, 13th annual Summer Meltdown Festival: Multiday festival Aug. 9 to 11 at Whitehorse Mountain Amphitheater, 42501 Highway 530, Darrington; Festival admission and camping details at www.summermeltdown.com.

Darrington Bluegrass Festival: 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 19 to 21. Darrington Music Park, three miles west of town on Highway 530. Weekend admission $45 before July 1, $50 after plus $25 camping fee per RV or tent. Daily admission is $15 Friday and Sunday, $20 Saturday; ages 12 and younger free with adult; 360-436-1006; www.darringtonbluegrass.com.

Edmonds Summer Concerts in the Park: 3 to 4 p.m. Sundays, July 14 through Aug. 25 at City Park, Third Avenue S. and Pine Street; free; 425-771-0228; www.edmondsartscommission.org. Concerts canceled at 2:30 p.m. in the event of rain.

  • July 14: The Spyrographs, hits of the 60's
  • July 21: Seattle Shakespeare Co./Wooden O, "The Tempest" (1 hour, 45 minute performance)
  • July 28: Gypsy Soul, Americana/pop music
  • Aug. 4: Around the Sound Community Band, instrumental favorites
  • Aug. 11: New Age Flamenco, world fusion music
  • Aug. 18: Smilin' Scandinavians, polka
  • Aug. 25: The Weavils, bluegrass

Edmonds Hazel Miller Plaza concerts: noon to 1 p.m. for Tuesday shows and 5 to 6 p.m. for Thursday shows; Fifth Avenue S. and Maple Street; free.

  • July 11: The Whateverly Brothers, vocal folk trio
  • July 23: Folk Voice Band, international folk songs
  • July 25: Terry Holder Duo, Americana/folk rock
  • July 30: Roberto the Magnificent, comedy/juggling stunt show
  • Aug. 1: Bill Anschell, Brent Jensen & Chris Symer, jazz
  • Aug. 6: Ali Marcus, singer/songwriter
  • Aug. 8: Thornton Creek, indie rock
  • Aug. 13: Rick Huddle, pirate songs and stories
  • Aug. 20: Jeff Evans, magic
  • Aug. 22: Scott Lindenmuth, classical guitar
  • Aug. 27: Toy Box Trio, classical music with a carnival flair
  • Aug. 29: Alma y Azucar, diverse Latin standards

Everett Children's Concert Series: Free outdoor shows, 10 to 11 a.m. Thursdays, July 11 through Aug. 22, Thornton A. Sullivan Park, 11405 Silver Lake Road; enjoyeverett.org.

  • July 11: Not-Its! danceable hits
  • July 18: Tim Noah, Emmy-winning northwest favorite
  • July 25: Caspar Babypants, toe-tapping tunes
  • Aug. 1: Eric Herman & the Thunder Puppies, cool tunes for kids
  • Aug. 8: Recess Monkey, kid pop rock
  • Aug. 15: Rolie Polie Guacamole, indie tunes for kids
  • Aug. 22: The Brian Waite Band, rock 'n' roll

Everett Pacific Chamber Orchestra Summer Concert: 3 p.m. June 9 at First Presbyterian Church, 2936 Rockefeller Ave.; 425-743-0255; www. pacificachamberorchestra.org.

Everett Thursday night waterfront series: Free outdoor concerts, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, June 27 through Aug. 29, Port Gardner Landing, 1700 W. Marine View Drive; enjoyeverett.org.

  • June 27: The Wild Snohomians, original Americana/roots rock
  • July 11: LeRoy Bell and His Only Friends, X-Factor finalist, rock'n soul
  • July 18: Dusty 45s, honky tonk, blues and swing
  • July 25: Eldridge Gravy and Court Supreme, funk and soul
  • Aug. 1: Massy Ferguson, rock with a twang
  • Aug. 8: Ayron Jones & the Way, blues rock trio
  • Aug. 15: The Randy Oxford Band, trombone blues
  • Aug. 22: Sirsy, indie rock duo
  • Aug. 29: Carlos Cascante y su Tumbao, salsa and jazz

Everett Port Gardner Landing Saturday evening waterfront concerts: Free outdoor concerts, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, June 30 through Aug. 25, Port Gardner Landing, 1700 W. Marine View Drive; enjoyeverett.org.

  • June 29: The Mark DuFresne Band, Americana roots and blues
  • July 6: The Lucas Cates Band, pop, rock, country, punk
  • July 13: LoCura, flamenca with funk and salsa
  • July 20: Yogoman Burning Band, ska, reggae, soul and blues
  • July 27: Chance McKinney, country/folk
  • Aug. 3: Luc & the Lovingtons, world music
  • Aug. 10: Bump Kitchen, blues and funk
  • Aug. 24: Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra, jazz, Latin and Brazilian music
  • Aug. 31: 20 Riverside, rock and hip hop

Everett Port Gardner Landing waterfront Concert: Free outdoor concerts, 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays, June 30 through Aug. 25, Port Gardner Landing, 1700 W. Marine View Drive; enjoyeverett.org.

  • June 30: Eugenie Jones, soulful jazz
  • July 7: Dixie Kings, dixie jazz band
  • July 14: Br'er Rabbit, Americana
  • July 21: Harmonious Wail, Americana Gypsy jazz
  • July 28: Impossible Bird, upbeat alternative-folk
  • Aug. 4: Reilly & Maloney, Northwest folk duo
  • Aug. 11: Victor & Penny, pop
  • Aug. 25: Amir Beso, Balkan flamenco fusion

Everett Sets in the West: An emerging artists series, 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, July 10 to Sept. 11, Wetmore Theater Plaza, 2710 Wetmore Ave., everettmusicinitiative.org, free.

  • July 10: Shelby Earl with Preacher's Wife
  • July 17: Kithkin with Pollens
  • July 24: Hot Bodies in Motion with Panama Gold
  • July 31: Fly Moon Royalty with Radio Raheem
  • Aug. 7: Campfire OK with Horde and the Harem
  • Aug 14.: The Comettes with Candysound
  • Aug. 21: The Grizzled Mighty with Eternal Fair
  • Aug. 28: River Giants with Curtains For You
  • Sept. 9: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band with Learning Team
  • Sept. 11: Head Like a Kite with I Will Keep Your Ghost

Lake Stevens Music on the Lake: Free concerts, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, July 11 through Aug. 15 at North Cove Park, behind City Hall, 1812 Main St.; 425-334-1012; www.ci.lake-stevens.wa.us.

  • July 11: Last Leaf Productions: Shakespeare
  • July 18: Red Desert Ramblers, bluegrass and swing
  • Aug. 1: Camille Bloom, indie artist
  • Aug. 8: U.S. Army Cover Band or TBA
  • Aug. 15: Big Luv Band, classic rock

Langley Concerts in the Park: Free performances, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, July 18 through Aug. 8, Community Park, 5495 Maxwelton Road; concessions available, picnics welcome; 360-221-5484; lineup at www.swparks.org.

Marysville Sounds of Summer Concert Series: 7 p.m. Thursdays, July 11 through Aug. 15 at the Lions Centennial Pavilion in Jennings Memorial Park, 6915 Armar Road; free; 360-363-8400; www.marysvillewa.gov.

  • July 11: Shameless Hussy, rock and roll, blues
  • July 18: The Wild Snohomians, roadhouse/Americana
  • July 25: Kellee Bradley band, singer and songwriter
  • Aug. 1: Big Luv Band, classic rock
  • Aug. 8: Jenny and the Blue Moon Boys, Americana soul
  • Aug. 15: H3O Band, rock and blues

Marymoor Park concerts: Concert series at 6046 W. Lake Sammammish Parkway NE, Redmond. Tickets through 800-745-3000; www.AXS.com; www.marymoorconcerts.com.

  • June 19: Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley and Stephanie Marley, featuring the Ghetto Youths Crew and The Green, 6:30 p.m., $40.50
  • Aug. 4: Pink Martini featuring China Forbes, 6 p.m., $45 to $75
  • Aug. 6: Sublime with Rome, featuring Iration, 6:30 p.m., $39.50
  • Aug. 10: 107.7 The End's Summer Camp, noon
  • Aug. 13: Daryl Hall & John Oates, 6 p.m., $45 to $65
  • Aug. 15: Steely Dan, 6:30 p.m., $55 to $115
  • Aug. 23: Willie Nelson and Family, 7 p.m., $45 to $65
  • Sept. 24: Furthur featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, 6 p.m., $59.50

Mill Creek Summer Concert Series: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays in July and August at The Forum in the Mill Creek Town Center, 15310 Main St.; www.millcreektowncenterbiz.com.

  • July 3: Cherry Cherry (Neil Diamond tribute)
  • July 10: Borrowed Time: The Music of Sty
  • July 17: Ventura Highway, acoustic music of the '70s
  • July 24: Cascadia Big Band, big band jazz
  • July 31: Dynamite Limbo, music of the '50s, '60s and '70s
  • Aug. 7: Just One Look (Linda Ronstadt tribute)
  • Aug. 14: 3 Miles Hig, alternative rock with electric violin
  • Aug. 21: Wings N Things: The Music of Paul McCartney
  • Aug. 28: Sly Mr. Y, rock from the '70s and '80s

Mill Creek Summer Children's Concert Series: Wednesdays, July 24 through Aug. 14 at Library Park, 15429 Bothell-Everett Highway, Mill Creek; free, but non-perishable food items accepted; www.cityofmillcreek.com.

  • July 24: Brian Waite Band
  • July 31: Nancy Stewart
  • Aug 7: Buck and Elizabeth
  • Aug 14: Tia Quackertunes

Monroe, Evergreen State Fair: Grandstand entertainment, Aug. 22 through Sept. 2. Evergreen State Fairgrounds, 14405 179th Ave. SE.; www.evergreenfair.org.

  • Aug. 26: The Oak Ridge Boys, 7 p.m. $22 to $32
  • Aug. 27: Brantley Gilbert, 7:30 p.m., $32 to $55
  • Aug. 28: 3 Doors Down, 7:30 p.m., $32 to $55
  • Aug. 29: TBA
  • Aug. 30: Mercyme, 7:30 p.m., $25 to $37

Monroe MusicFest: 6 to 10 p.m., Sept. 7, Lake Tye Park, 14964 Fryelands Blvd, Monroe; $20, kids 12 and younger free; www.monroemusicfest.com.

Monroe Thursday summer concerts: Lake Tye, 14964 Fryelands Blvd, Monroe; free; www.choosemonroe.com.

  • July 18: The Hitmen, classics
  • July 25: Black Vinyl All Stars, rock cover band
  • Aug. 2: Creme Tangerine, Beatles tribute band
  • Aug. 9: Cloverdayle, country duo

Seattle Peace Concerts: Free concerts, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays, various Seattle parks; www.seapeace.org. Food bank donations accepted.

  • June 16: Lower Woodland Park shelter 1, Aurora Avenue N. and N. 59th Street
  • June 30 and Sept. 22: Gas Works Park, 2101 N. Northlake Way
  • July 14, Aug. 11 and Sept. 8: Magnuson Park beach area
  • July 28 and Aug. 25: Volunteer Park, 1247 15th Ave. E.

Tulalip Amphitheatre: Concerts start at 7 p.m., July 6 through Sept. 7; concerts for ages 21 and older; tickets on sale at www.ticketmaster.com or at the Tulalip Resort Casino; www.tulalipcasino.com.

  • July 6: Go-Go's and B-52's, from $25
  • July 21: Gretchen Wilson, from $25
  • July 28: Peter Frampton and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, from $30
  • Aug. 15: Sammy Hagar, from $35
  • Aug. 18: Melissa Etheridge, from $25
  • Aug. 25: Foreigner, from $30
  • Sept. 7: Doobie Brothers and America, from $35

Shoreline Summer Concerts in the Park: 7 p.m. July 10 through Aug. 28 at various locations in Shoreline; free; rain or shine; www.shorelinearts.net.

  • July 10: Shaggy Sweet, pop and rock, at Animal Acres Park
  • July 17: Seattle Shakespeare Company "The Tempest" at Richmond Beach Library Park
  • July 24: Creme Tangerine, a Beatles tribute band at Cromwell Park
  • July 31: Downtown Mountain Boys, bluegrass at Animal Acres Park
  • Aug. 7: Impossible Bird, indie rock, at Richmond Beach Library Park
  • Aug. 13: Shoreline Jazz Camp Student and Faculty Ensembles, part of the North City Jazz Walk
  • Aug. 21: Carrie Clark and The Lonesome Lovers, folk and Americana, at Cromwell Park
  • Aug. 28: Entertainment TBA at Shoreline City Hall Courtyard

The Gorge: Outdoor concerts, Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Road NW, George. Tickets through LiveNation; 800-745-3000; www. livenation.com. These 2013 dates were confirmed at press time:

  • May 24 through 27: Sasquatch Festival, check for ticket availability.
  • June 8: KUBE 93 Summer Jam
  • June 28 and 29: Paradiso Festival
  • July 5 and 6: JamBase Live Festival
  • July 20: John Mayer: Born and Raised Tour 2013
  • July 26 and 27: Phish
  • Aug. 2 through 4: Watershed Festival with Toby Keith, Brad Paisley and other country musicians
  • Aug. 24: Black Sabbath
  • Aug. 30 to Sept. 1: Dave Matthews band
  • Sept. 14: Zac Brown Band
  • Sept. 28: Honda Civic Tour with Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson

White River Amphitheatre: Concerts at various dates and times, 40601 Auburn-Enumclaw Road, Auburn; 877-598-6659; www. livenation.com. These 2013 dates were confirmed at press time:

  • June 15: Vans Warped Tour
  • June 20: Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company: The XL Tour
  • June 29: Last Summer on Earth with Barenaked Ladies, other bands
  • July 3: Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival
  • Aug. 14: Train: Mermaids of Alcatraz Tour

Zoo Tunes at Woodland Park Zoo: June 23 through Aug. 23; tickets at www.zoo.org/zootunes.

  • June 23: John Prine, singer and songwriter, $32.50
  • June 30: Old Crow Medicine Show, Americana string band, $32.50
  • July 7: Huey Lewis and The News, pop, rock, $39.50
  • July 17: John Hiatt and The Combo, singer and songwriter, $28
  • July 24: An Evening with Randy Newman, singer and songwriter, $28
  • July 26: Leann Rimes, country, $32.50
  • July 30 and 31: Indigo Girls, folk-rock duo, $28
  • Aug. 7: Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, jazz, funk, soul and rock, $26
  • Aug. 11: Todd Snider's Traveling Folk Show, $24
  • Aug. 15: Loreena McKennitt, singer and composer,$32.50
  • Aug. 22 and 23: Brandi Carlile, folk, $39.50

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Posted in Everett, Uncategorized |

15 Great Local Family-Friendly Field Trip Ideas

Summer is a great time to get out and explore our great community with your kids!  Click here for some great ideas on where to go to make the most out of your summer free time!

– Debi

Posted on June 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Posted in Everett, Uncategorized |

Real Estate ‘A Tremendous Buy’: CEO

Published: Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 | 1:15 PM ET
By: | Online Producer CNBC.com

Supply shortages and interest rates will continue to be positive for the real estate market, Colony Capital CEO Tom Barrack said Tuesday.

"Look, it's a tremendous 'buy,' he said. "The good news for the home builders is they start planning profitability five years ago."

On CNBC's "Fast Money," Barrack said that the market was still hot.

"Demand is exponential," he said. "Affordability at the entry level may get hit a little bit, but traditional rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which has been the best investment for Americans, has always been in the 6s for the last 10 or 15 years."

Interest rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage were below 4 percent this week.

Barrack sounded bullish across the real estate spectrum.

"The supply is so dismal in every category, in every category of home building, in every category of rental," he said. "We bought 13,000 houses. We're renting them in 21 days."

Multifamily units were seeing rents higher by 15 percent over the last 12 months, he added.

As the rate of foreclosures on approximately 6 million homes in the United States speeds up, the demand for rentals for 6 million families would also rise, Barrack said.

"Housing today is not a bubble," he added. "There may be a bubble in the Fed, which is necessary to make what's happening happening, a slow, soft increase in jobs and predictability. Housing is the best buy for the average American because they can vote with their feet. You can get a Fannie or Freddie loan, even on a second house, and if you have a FICO score and a $20,000 down payment, you can be in business."








Posted on June 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Posted in Economics, Real Estate, Uncategorized |

Cheap bathroom renovations that help sell a home

By Tom Kraeutler | The Money PitWed, Jun 5, 2013 7:03 PM EDT


A few cheap bathroom renovations can actually help you sell your home. When potential buyers stroll through a home, they're looking for the features and amenities that best match their lifestyle. Every choice you've made impacts a buyer's interest, and you can get closer to the reality of a sale with a simple, one-step bath renovation.

"Bathrooms are one area where home buyers make decisions because it will be one of the most used rooms in the house," says industry expert Nora DePalma of O'Reilly/DePalma. "Make them look bright, absolutely spotless, and loaded with storage options. Your home will sell faster and at a better price."

These bathroom renovations are low-cost, where a little DIY savvy can go a long way toward making your home appeal to a wide range of shoppers. Here are five cheap ways to transform a bath without breaking your pre-sale budget.

1. Introduce a neutral palette: When you're showing a home for sale, one of the main priorities is to present a neutral but appealing space in which potential buyers can envision their own day-to-day lives. So even if you love bold color or a wallpaper print in your bathroom, tone it down for the sake of the sale. Painting walls with a neutral shade or even a pale, soothing blue or green will contribute to the perceived scale and serenity of the space. Freshen the entry door, cabinetry and trim with a crisp white for a clean look and renewed focus on the room's built-in details.

2. Use your WaterSense: If your toilet is more than 15 years old, upgrade in both performance and water efficiency by installing WaterSense-labeled fixtures. Switching in a new water-saving faucet allows you to re-accessorize the room, and reduce water flow by at least 30 percent without a downgrade in performance. Smarter showerheads provide spa-style amenities while using under 2.0 gallons of water per minute. And high-efficiency toilets (HETs) are now the norm in up-to-date, resource-conscious homes, saving the owner over 4,000 gallons of water per year. "Save money in many areas that provide rebates for high-efficiency plumbing products," says Jeannette Long of American Standard, which hosts a rebate locator.

If you make any or all of these green upgrades to your bath, highlight them in home listings and open house collateral so that shoppers know they're looking at lower utility bills as well as new fixtures.

3. Let there be (better) light: Illuminate the best features of a bathroom and add convenience by amping up the lighting scheme. Just replacing a few fixtures with energy efficient, eye-catching styles, you'll transform the space and reduce energy bills. When choosing bathroom lighting, focus on fixtures that provide task lighting at the vanity and over the shower or tub, overhead lighting for general illumination, and accent lighting to define architectural features. Also make the most of any opportunities for natural lighting: Skylights and glass-block windows will let the sunshine in but still provide privacy.

4. Improve ventilation: Prevent moisture buildup and the mold, mildew and finish damage that tend to follow by upgrading your bathroom's ventilation. Depending on the current state of the ventilation system, this project can range from the DIY ease of installing a few components to all-new venting and electrical connections. Whatever the case, adequate ventilation is critical to air quality, structural integrity and overall comfort of a bathroom, and buyers will appreciate this important update.

The ventilation specialists at Broan-NuTone have solutions for any system redo, all with sleek looks, quiet fan operation and optimum efficiency. "We make an upgrade kit for builder-grade-model fans, which will actually quiet the fan down by about 50 percent and increase the performance of it by 20 percent," says Karen Collins of Broan-NuTone. "The kit also includes a new grille, and you can make these changes in under five minutes."

If you're in the market for a complete unit replacement, check out Broan-NuTone's selection of super-quiet, Energy Star-qualified ventilation fans. They cost less than a dollar a year in energy to run, and are available with integrated lighting as well as humidity sensors that save you the trouble of switching the fan on when it's needed and off when it's not.

5. Replace flooring: Transform a bath from the ground up by installing a new floor. The small footprint of most bathrooms makes this an affordable improvement, and new flooring options combine moisture resistance with the look of favorite finishes. Lumber Liquidators' line of Tranquility resilient flooring offers a great range of natural wood looks and textures made from a water-resistant, easy-to-clean vinyl material. In a peel-and-stick plank format, it's simple to install over existing flooring and backed by a 25-year warranty. Tranquility flooring is also a sustainable choice for your bathroom upgrade, as it's produced with recycled raw material.

If you're updating a powder room, other flooring options like natural hardwood are possibilities. But for a full bath, stick with materials that will stand up to everyday use and humidity. "Anywhere you have a full shower or tub, you want to avoid a wood, a bamboo or even a laminate, simply because of the moisture," advises Lumber Liquidators' John Jakob.

You don't have to spend a fortune. Take on a few cheap bathroom renovations that will deliver the greatest return on your investment, and sell your home faster.

Posted on June 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Posted in Home Improvement, Homeowner News, Uncategorized |

More homes listed anew; prices up 16 percent


Published: Friday, June 7, 2013

By Kurt Batdorf

EVERETT — Median sales prices on homes and condominiums in Snoho­mish County jumped by $40,000 in May from a year ago, due in no small part to the continuing decline in active listings.

New listings rose from 1,258 in May 2012 to 1,564 this May, an increase of 24 percent, but total active listing volume of 1,777 single-family homes and condos was still down by more than 25 percent year over year, Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released June 5 showed.

“There are still homeowners who want or need a higher equity position in order to sell their home, so they may continue to wait and watch,” said Dan Gunderson, broker with Windermere Everett.

That reluctance helped drive up median prices for homes and condos across the county by more than 16 percent, from $245,000 to $285,000. Median prices in the Bothell-Clearview-Maltby area were the highest in the county at $400,000, up 23 percent from $325,000 last May.

Closed sales rose from 1,000 to 1,310 units, an increase of 13.1 percent.

“We currently have significantly less inventory of bank-owned and short-sale properties,” Gunderson said. “New construction is currently about 15 percent of the inventory and we would like to see it at 20 percent. Supply is certainly a driver of the increased property values. Affordability, low interest rates and the job market in this region are contributing to the increased value as well.”

Ed Wendling, with Wendling Real Estate Services at Windermere Real Estate GH LLC in Edmonds, noted a number of drivers in the continuing price run-up.
Distressed properties, defined as short sales or lender-owned, accounted for 39 percent of closed sales at the end of the first quarter of 2013, down from 48 percent of the total market in 2011, Wendling said.

“Nondistressed sellers have the choice to sell, but many fear with the low inventory they will be unable to find a good replacement home and could be caught in the cold if their home were to sell quickly,” he said.

There is another segment of sellers who are on the cusp of being solvent with their home’s value.

“They are not delinquent and have strong desire to move but would have to bring money to closing in order not to be short,” Wendling said. “This would not allow them the necessary down payment for their next home so they need to sit on the sidelines waiting for home prices to rise.”

Across the rest of the 21-county Northwest MLS service area, inventory showed signs of improving with the addition of 11,445 new listings during May, the highest number since April 2010. May’s total outgained the year-ago figure of 9,861 new listings for a 16 percent improvement.

The increased inventory is “cooling some buyers,” said George Moorhead, managing broker at Bentley Properties in Mill Creek and a member of the MLS board of directors.

“We also have buyers who are stepping back as they are frustrated with current inventory and multiple offers going well above asking price,” he said.

That shows in the county’s MLS numbers of pending sales for May. They fell from 1,579 homes and condos to 1,487, a decrease of 5.8 percent.

“It has been refreshing to see more listings coming on the market, but with overall inventory remaining low, the competition among buyers is still fierce for homes that are priced properly,” said Northwest MLS director Kathy Estey, the managing broker at John L. Scott in downtown Bellevue.

Well-priced homes continue to draw multiple offers and sell at a brisk pace around Western Washington as buyers react to recent upticks in interest rates and asking prices, MLS brokers said.

“The economy has picked up to a level allowing home owners to feel financially secure,” Wendling said. “Together with the lack of inventory, pent-up demand and interest rates at historic lows, still below 4 percent, there are simply more buyers than sellers.”

Moorhead said increased activity is noticeable, with mixed outcomes.

“We are seeing multiple offers at 5 to 12 percent over list price in highly sought after areas,” he said. “But there are other homes on the market that are not selling, with no real reason why.”

Estey said recent interest rate increases are “adding fury to the already frenzied buyers who must finance their purchase.”

Federal officials have downplayed rising interest rates. In a recent interview, Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, addressed the issue.

“While this may slow some of the refinance momentum, rates are nonetheless low and home-buyer affordability high, which should further aid home sales and construction in coming weeks,” he said in a published report. “The rates are also lower today than they were a year ago at this time.”

Kurt Batdorf: 425-339-3102; kbatdorf@heraldnet.com.

Posted on June 10, 2013 at 10:08 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Posted in Economics, Everett, Real Estate, Uncategorized |

A Real Estate Conversation

by THE KCM CREW on MAY 24, 2013

Posted on June 4, 2013 at 5:45 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Posted in Economics, Homeowner News, Real Estate, Uncategorized |

How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family


posted on Freshome Design & Architecture

 How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family

Where we choose to settle down and plant our roots is just as important as the home in which we cultivate our lives. A happy home is often so because of where the home is physically located. As homebuyers it is therefore equally as important to note that not only are you buying a home, but in essence you are buying a part of your neighborhood.

neighborhood houses How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family

Where your home is located is equally as important as your home itself.

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or are relocating to another part of the country, it is essential not only to look at the homes for sale but to take a close look at your potential future town and neighborhood. We tend to have these romanticized, pre-conceived notions of just how our perfect home will be and it is therefore imperative to pay attention to everything that surrounds your dream home.

country neighborhoods surroundings1 How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family

Buy with your head as well as your heart.

I recently spoke with Betty Shepard, a Realtor with Prudential Fox and Roach in Mount Laurel, New Jersey who told me that “buyers tend to be too emotional when they are shopping for their home. It’s important to look at the purchase of a new home from an investment standpoint.” She states the importance of researching various neighborhoods of interest. “Find out what the housing market is like in your particular area or areas of interest,” Shepard suggests. Take note to see whether a particular area is on a financial incline or decline. With the information gathered a home buyer will be able to assess whether their purchase will turn out to be a good financial investment.

fingeli How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family

Take advantage of the internet.

Put aside some time to do some research online. Your realtor’s website could be a valuable source of information about your town and all that it has to offer, as well as information on the schools and their performance and ranking in the state. Also be sure to visit your town’s website if there is one.

Madaket B How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family

Visit your new neighborhood or town.

Take the time to spend some time in the towns of particular interest. Get to know the feel and the lay of the land. This may be harder to do if you are in the midst of a work-related relocation, but if you can, do try to at least walk around the downtown area and drive through the neighborhoods. If you have children with busy weekend schedules, this may be particularly hard to do, but it can also be crucial to finding the areas that offer the best for you and your family. If you can, try out a local restaurant, do some window shopping and talk to the locals to get a sense of what they think makes their town so special.

neighborhoods night How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family

Drive through during different times of the day.

Shepard thinks it is particularly important to drive through neighborhoods of interest at various times of the day. The neighborhood is lovely during the quiet afternoon, but is it still quiet and serene during rush hour or at night? “I was researching potential neighborhoods for a client of mine and I decided to drive back to this one particular neighborhood at night and I was surprised at how many trucks were parked on the streets. I knew at that point that my clients and I would have to re-direct our focus,” she told me.

neighborhood homes How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family

Make a list.

Make a list of what’s important to you. Just as you make a list of what you would like to have in your home, make a list as to what you would like to have in your neighborhood – be sure to note what’s crucial and what you can sacrifice. Do you have a family or do you plan on starting one? Is the school system important to you? If you are a parent you may want to arrange for you child or children to visit the school and to meet with the principal.

Just as neighborhoods differ in personality, no two schools are exactly alike. Will you or your spouse be commuting to work? Do you need to live within a certain proximity to a highway or near a train station? Do you commute to a major city? If you do is there a limit to your travel time? For those of you who will be commuting, whether by car or train, to work, Shepard advises a trial run. Take the time to test out the commute. Will it be doable or will it simply take too long?

neighborhoods lifestyle How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family

Consider your lifestyle.

Another important thing to take into factor is lifestyle. Are you and your family active? Is it important that you are in a neighborhood that is good for walking, running or bike riding? Do you need to be near areas of cultural interest such as museums, universities, restaurants and shopping? How important is it to you that you are near a grocery store, bank and gas station. These might seem like small issues, but to a busy mother of a large family, proximity can be everything.

city neighborhoods How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You and Your Family

Look all around the outside of your home.

Pay attention to your surroundings. “I tell my clients to pay as much attention to the outside of their home as they do to the inside,” says Shepard. “Be sure to ask yourself questions like what is the outside like? What are the neighbor’s properties like? Are the neighbors too close for comfort, or would you like your neighbors to be closer? Pay attention to everything – all the small details.” Often when you are buying a home you are buying into a neighborhood.

If you can, take the time to talk to neighbors. Do they have children? Do you have children? Are these people you can see yourselves getting along with or even becoming friends with? Hopefully, after all the long hours of research and leg-work you will not only find your dream home, but the perfect neighborhood to best suit your interests and your lifestyle.






Posted on May 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Posted in Real Estate, Uncategorized |

Happy Memorial Day!


Memorial Day is a time to remember the men and women who have died while serving in our armed forces.  My thoughts and prayers are with those of you who have lost family and friends in the military keeping our great country safe. 

Wishing you and your family a fun and safe holiday weekend!

Your friend and Realtor,


Posted on May 23, 2013 at 9:44 pm
Debi Bloomquist | Posted in Uncategorized |