DIY Home Projects

Image Source: Shutterstock

 

In recent months, homes have taken on additional roles as offices, schools, and places of entertainment as staying at home has become the norm. With the extra time spent inside and the additional wear and tear on your home, this is a perfect time for those Do-It-Yourself projects you’ve been wanting to get done.

 

Before getting out the power tools, take time to consider the projects you have in mind. Assess your budget to see if certain projects should be prioritized over others, or if you have the financial capacity for only one or two projects at this time. If you’re questioning how the renovations will affect resale value, please feel free to reachout to me!

 

Here are a few ideas:

 

Landscaping and garden projects: the steppingstones of your home’s DIY outdoor makeover.

 

  • A great first step is to start with your front yard—it’s the first thing people see when approaching your home and upgrades to it will improve the curb appeal.
  • Start with the hardscaping projects—driveways, decks, fencing, walkways—before installing plants.
  • When it comes time to plant, add organic material to your soil such as peat moss, mushroom compost, or leaf mold for added health.
  • Add in different shapes and textures of plants to give your landscaping a varied, vibrant look.

 

Repainting a room: follow these steps to give any room a fresh look and feel.

 

  • The repainting process begins by moving all furniture out of the room. If you want to pile everything in the center and work around it, be sure to lay your drop cloths on the floor before doing so and cover your furniture to prevent damage.
  • Repair any damage to the walls and fill in cracks with putty. This is a good time to remove all electrical outlets and switch covers to get the walls completely flat.
  • Choose the appropriate brush or paint roller depending on the size of the surface area.
  • Once the walls are painted, remove your painter’s tape and paint the trim.

 

Flooring projects: how to repair or add flooring that will have you walking through your house comfortably.

 

  • Wood floor damage: To remove surface scratches from wood floors, use steel wool or fine grit sandpaper and finish with a top coat of polyurethane. For deep scratches, use wood filler that closely matches your flooring in color, and apply a wood finish layer on top.
  • Vinyl floor damage: If your vinyl flooring has ripped up, apply a vinyl flooring adhesive and lay the ripped piece into place. For sections that are completely torn off, use a utility knife to cut a new piece of flooring and apply adhesive when matching the piece back into the floor.
  • New tile flooring: Before you start tiling, wash the floor with a commercial detergent to remove dirt and stains. If you are laying new tile over old tile, make sure the original layer is secure. Begin by laying out the pattern before making your tile cuts. Then you are ready to apply the mastic or mortar, and finally lay the tiles. Let the tile sit for at least a day before grouting the joints.

 

With so many people staying at home, DIY projects are at an all-time high. Doing projects like these yourself may not be easy, but it gives a greater sense of ownership, and can often save you money by not outsourcing the work. For additional help on these projects and to find new ones, check out YouTube’s vast DIY resources.

 


This post originally appeared on Windermere.com

Posted on July 3, 2020 at 7:07 am
Karen Prins | Category: For Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Reopening Real Estate, the Right Way.

 

As King County enters Phase 2 of reopening, residential real estate services providers must follow a strict set of rules. These control how brokers may conduct business inside and outside their offices and homes for sale (listings).

Windermere has developed protocols for reopening that meet or exceed all of the state requirements. From the beginning of the shutdown, we have lived by the mantra “Go slow, do no harm.” This philosophy remains firmly in place during the current reopening phase.

Staying Safe: Inside a Listing

Pete Richmond, owner of Windermere’s Greenwood office, discussed how brokers and their vendors must follow strict guidelines when inside a listed home. “For safety reasons, we can’t allow more than three people – including ourselves – inside a listing at once,” Richmond said. He noted that all visitors must observe social distancing guidelines and that all activities inside a listing must take place by appointment only. “So we can’t host open houses, other than by virtual means like live-streaming,” he added.

During Phase 2, brokers and their vendors must wear face coverings at all times when inside a listing. Richmond pointed out that Windermere brokers are encouraged to provide masks, gloves, booties and hand sanitizer to each vendor or client entering a listing.

“Normally we’re required to leave a business card in every home we preview,” Richmond said, explaining that this obligation has been suspended during COVID-19. “We’re also no longer traveling in the same car as clients or colleagues,” he added.

Staying Safe: In the Office

Windermere offices in King County have moved to reopen and are operating under a strict set of guidelines that brokers and staff must follow.

Deanne Wilson, co-owner of Windermere East Inc., and Laura Smith, co-owner of Windermere Co., used the state’s Safe Start guide to establish a reopening plan for their 12 offices. “We’re doing everything possible to keep everyone safe by following the protocols established by the state,” Wilson said.

Windermere’s reopened offices have implemented numerous rules, including restrictions on the amount of people allowed inside at any one time. While staff are permitted in the office to perform essential functions, employees rotate between being onsite and working from home. Total occupancy may not exceed 50% during Phase 2. Visitors must have appointments to enter the office and must limit visits to 30 minutes.

Brokers and staff must observe social distancing at all times. They also must wear face coverings when entering and leaving the office, while in common areas, and whenever not working alone. Windermere kitchens are closed, office entry is required through the primary entrance only, and smaller conference rooms where social distancing is not possible have been closed.

Windermere offices are providing masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to brokers, staff, and the limited number of guests who enter. Many offices have installed sneeze guards to protect front office personnel. They have also installed sanitizing stations at entry points and in common areas. “We’ve even rearranged furniture to encourage social distancing,” Wilson said.

 


This post originally appeared on the GettheWReport.com Blog

Posted on July 1, 2020 at 12:37 am
Karen Prins | Category: Local Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.

 

A MESSAGE FROM MATTHEW GARDNER

Needless to say, any discussion about the U.S. economy, state economy, or housing markets in the first quarter of this year is almost meaningless given events surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

Although you will see below data regarding housing activity in the region, many markets came close to halting transactions in March and many remain in some level of paralysis. As such, drawing conclusions from the data is almost a futile effort. I would say, though, it is my belief that the national and state housing markets were in good shape before the virus hit and will be in good shape again, once we come out on the other side. In a similar fashion, I anticipate the national and regional economies will start to thaw, and that many of the jobs lost will return with relative speed. Of course, all of these statements are wholly dependent on the country seeing a peak in new infections in the relatively near future. I stand by my contention that the housing market will survive the current economic crisis and it is likely we will resume a more normalized pattern of home sales in the second half of the year.

 

HOME SALES

  • There were 13,378 home sales during the first quarter of 2020, a drop of only 0.2% from the same period in 2019, but 27% lower than in the final quarter of 2019.
  • The number of homes for sale was 32% lower than a year ago and was also 32% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • When compared to the first quarter of 2019 sales rose in eight counties and dropped in seven. The greatest growth was in Cowlitz and Lewis counties. The largest declines were in Island and Snohomish counties.
  • Pending sales — a good gauge of future closings — rose 0.7% compared to the final quarter of 2019. We can be assured that closed sales in the second quarter of this year will be lower due to COVID-19.

 

 

 

HOME PRICES

  • Home-price growth in Western Washington rose compared to a year ago, with average prices up 8.7%. The average sale price in Western Washington was $524,392, and prices were 0.4% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • Home prices were higher in every county except San Juan, which is prone to significant swings in average sale prices because of its size.
  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Clallam County, where home prices were up 21.7%. Double-digit price increases were also seen in Kitsap, Skagit, Mason, Thurston, and Snohomish counties.
  • Affordability issues remain and, even given the current uncertain environment, I believe it is highly unlikely we will see any form of downward price pressures once the region reopens.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the first quarter of this year dropped seven days compared to the first quarter of 2019.
  • Pierce County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 29 days to sell. All but two counties — San Juan and Clallam — saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop compared to the same period a year ago.
  • Across the entire region, it took an average of 54 days to sell a home in the first quarter of the year — up 8 days compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • Market time remains below the long-term average across the region. This is likely to change, albeit temporarily, in the second quarter due to COVID-19.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

Given the current economic environment, I have decided to freeze the needle in place until we see a restart in the economy. Once we have resumed “normal” economic activity, there will be a period of adjustment with regard to housing. Therefore, it is appropriate to wait until later in the year to offer my opinions about any quantitative impact the pandemic will have on the housing market.

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

 


This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog

Posted on April 23, 2020 at 8:08 pm
Karen Prins | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Local Market Update – April 2020

 

Windermere is focused on keeping our clients and our community safe and connected. We’re all in this together. Since the early days of COVID-19, our philosophy has been “Go slow and do no harm.” While real estate has been deemed an “essential” business, we have adopted guidelines that prioritize everyone’s safety and wellness.

Like everything else in our world, real estate is not business as usual. While market statistics certainly aren’t our focus at this time, we’ve opted to include our usual monthly report for those who may be interested. A few key points:

  • The monthly statistics are based on closed sales. Since closing generally takes 30 days, the statistics for March are mostly reflective of contracts signed in February, a time period largely untouched by COVID-19. The market is different today.
  • We expect that inventory and sales will decline in April and May as a result of the governor’s Stay Home order.
  • Despite the effects of COVID-19, the market in March was hot through mid-month. It remains to be seen if that indicates the strong market will return once the Stay Home order is lifted, or if economic changes will soften demand.

Every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.

Stay healthy and be safe. We’ll get through this together.

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This post originally appeared on GetTheWReport.com

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 10:52 pm
Karen Prins | Category: Buying a Home, Local Market Update, Selling a Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Local Happenings: Social Distancing Edition (March & April)

With the cancellation of major local events and a statewide shelter in place order, now is a great time to find alternative ways to stay entertained and support the community while still keeping a safe distance.

Intentionalist recently shared a helpful roundup of 10 ways to support local small business owners and employees. Here are a few ways to stay productive while hunkering down.

Support Comic Con Creators

The postponement of Emerald City Comic Con left many artists, writers, cartoonists and creators who depend on income generated by convention sales in the lurch. To help mitigate the unexpected expense of covering travel costs, unsold merchandise, and lost sales, creators are holding flash sales and fundraisers. Local businesses have also put together pop-up shopping events and virtual shopping networks to help out. Check out this Geekwire roundup and pay a visit to some of the shops to support these independent artists, and considering supporting the Seattle arts community at large through donations or online shopping. This GoFundMe is a good place to start.

Order Takeout from Local Restaurants

Support the local food scene by ordering in. Delivery services like Postmates and Grubhub are elevating the experience with no-contact delivery options. While these apps are convenient, they can be an added expense for restaurants so, if you can, consider ordering takeout directly from the restaurant and picking it up yourself. (In light of the recent closure mandate, many restaurants are offering drive-thru or curbside pickup options, so you don’t even need to enter the restaurant.)

Donate to a Food Bank

Seattle-area food banks have been hit hard recently, particularly since many items commonly donated by local grocers have been consistently sold out. Food banks serve our most vulnerable populations, which is more important now with kids out of school and parents potentially out of work. You can donate food and bags as well as your time — volunteers are needed to help pack food bags and make home deliveries to those who can’t leave their homes. The South Seattle Emerald has published a list of ways to get involved HERE and you can use this MAP to find local food banks.

Donate Blood

Did you know it takes 1,000 donations per day to keep our blood supply stable? Bloodworks Northwest has declared a local blood supply emergency. Mobile blood drives make up almost 60% of our region’s supply, but many have been canceled due to the coronavirus. If you are healthy and able, you can donate blood directly at any of Bloodworks Northwest’s donor centers.

Join a Virtual Book Club

Connect with others and converse over a good book, all from the comfort of your home. The Stranger is hosting a coronavirus book club called The Quarantine Club. You can get all the details and read about the first book selection HERE. If this club isn’t the right fit, consider starting a book club of your own! Share your favorite selections with friends and foster conversation over social platforms.

Take a Hike

There’s no shortage of scenic hikes surrounding Seattle. From stunning parks with sweeping views right here in the city to breathtaking mountain peaks, there are plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Hiking is explicitly allowed with the new shelter in place order, as long as PROPER SOCIAL-DISTANCE is kept in the process. With that said, staying closer to home and going to urban parks on off hours to avoid crowds is advised. “Nature’s not closed, but staying closer to home is the best choice,” says Kindra Ramos, director of communications at the Washington Trails Association. Read more HERE

Catch a Concert Online

As the coronavirus outbreak takes its toll on the arts community, many venues are getting creative and streaming their services online. The Seattle Symphony is now streaming previous performances as well as new soloist performances on Facebook and YouTube. While many are turning to YouTube, there are other streaming services where you can catch a variety of live performances. Checkout The Verve for a handful of options. You can also take this opportunity to explore museums around the world from the comfort of your couch, thanks to these virtual tours.

 


This post is an edited version of the original that appears on GettheWReport.com

Posted on March 25, 2020 at 9:25 pm
Karen Prins | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Home Improvement Projects to Tackle if You’re Stuck at Home Social Distancing

Spring has sprung in Seattle — and so has the coronavirus (the cause of the illness called COVID-19). If working from home and practicing social distancing has left you feeling stuck and uninspired, consider rolling up your sleeves and tackling a home improvement project or two.

From the simplest updates to sensational additions, these projects can keep you busy, enhance your curb appeal, and give you more ways to enjoy your home when warmer weather arrives.

1. Install a new mailbox

The simplest and easiest update of all, installing a new (or updating an old) mailbox can add a pop of personality and amp up your curb appeal, where first impressions really count!

Consider painting your mailbox a new color, planting flowers around the base, or installing a smart mailbox to protect your deliveries.

2. Update your address display

Another quick and easy project, updating your address can add flair to your front door. This article from realtor.com offers plenty of crafty and creative ways to display your house numbers.

If you have an HOA, it’s a good idea to check with them first to know what (if any) limitations you might have.

3. Add a new railing to your porch

If your front porch is looking a little ho-hum or drab, a new railing can make a world of difference. For a natural feel, consider a classic wood-tone railing for a natural feel, or add a pop of visual interest with a colored railing. If you’re looking for more, check out the Chippendale railing (it’s currently a hot trend on HGTV).

4. Stain your deck

if your deck is looking a little shabby, one easy improvement is to stain it—to either change the color or just accentuate the wood grain. Staining is also good for your deck, and many builders recommend staining or sealing once a year.

If you don’t yet have a deck, building one could be a great new project to tackle before summer arrives. Plus, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, a new wooden deck will net you a 69% return on investment when you decide to sell.

5. Build a fire pit

Backyard fire pits are perfect for adding a cozy ambiance to your yard, and are certain to be a highlight of a weekend gathering (especially when you bust out those marshmallows).

This guide from realtor.com is a great resource if you want to DIY your new fire pit.

6. Upgrade your garden

Now’s the time to start planning your planting! Consider skipping the typical tulips or daisies, and investigate other greenery. Adding edible plants is a smart way to save money and indulge in the farm-to-table dining trend. Or you can build a butterfly garden, which is good for the environment. (Plus, what’s more beautiful than seeing butterflies flit around your yard?)

 


This article was first published on realtor.com by Jillian Pretzel.

And at GettheWReport.com

Posted on March 19, 2020 at 11:53 pm
Karen Prins | Category: For Your Home, Local Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , ,