Gallup: The American Dream is Alive

I always enjoy sharing positive and encouraging news about real estate. A leading expert in the field, Steve Harney, authors a popular monthly report called Keeping Current Matters, and just published this interesting data on homeownership. You hear so much about how good of a seller's market we have right now, it's good to see this view on buying!

Give me a call if you're motivated to move!


Posted on May 7, 2013 at 7:16 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Real Estate Stats | Tagged , ,

A Barrel of Fun!

As I was driving through Woodinville last weekend, it struck me how many cars had filled up wine tasting room parking lots, and how many people were milling about having a good time on the outside patios. Spring has arrived in our amazing Wine Country! I was on my way to a client’s house and thinking about how to best prepare and stage it to sell, and couldn’t help but notice how beautiful wine barrels are when they’re potted with bright and cheery flowers. The wineries reminded me of a great way to add some Northwest character and color to your porch or patio!

Since a variety of barrels are for sale at different times at different wineries, I suggest doing your research online – or ask when you’re tasting!  Then it’s super easy to turn a barrel into a planter. It’srecommended that you set it on bricks, to help with drainage, and remember to place it where you want it to stay before filling it up with soil, or it may be too heavy to move. Choose a sunny or shady spot, depending on what you like to grow.

Wine barrels also make good planters when you’re short on growing space, and are perfect as raised garden beds if you have rabbits or other small critters that like to eat from your garden too. I like how the master gardener in this article about barrel gardening puts it – “So the next time you’re in a barrel over what to do with your yard, why not try barrel gardening?”

It’s a great time to plant!


Posted on May 3, 2013 at 7:16 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Home Features | Tagged ,

A Ring Hill Rare Find: 21919 NE 161st St, Woodinville

This home has it all! Impeccably remodeled Northwest style home with 4 bedrooms and 2.75 baths, built on a .95 acre lot is a rare find. Nothing has been left untouched! Gorgeous vertical grain clear fir trim and doors with built-in cabinetry visually impress. Amazing kitchen boasts slab granite, Acorn cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, task desk and breakfast nook. A bay window frames the spacious eating area that steps out to the entertainment-sized deck, making it the heart of the home!

All baths have been tastefully updated: Master Bath includes a jetted tub and dual sink granite vanity. The family room’s custom shelving and cabinetry are perfect for all media equipment, games, books, you name it. It’s a great place to hang out, chat with friends & watch movies. Wired for audio, too. Beautiful French doors provide easy access to the spacious deck and backyard for additional fun around the fire pit or on the sport court.

The attached garage is spacious and spotless with storage galore. All shelving and cabinetry stay. The 'slot-wall' is perfect for all kinds of hanging storage. Epoxy floors are a definite bonus, plus newer furnace and electrical panel.

A surprise beyond spectacular is the 24×30 finished and heated SHOP (room for 2 cars) adjacent to the rolling lawn and raised beds — the dream come true for the person with many hobbies. Woodworking, electronics, cars, body building, a myriad of possibilities. A perfect exercise facility or game room for pool and ping pong. Separate area for woodworking includes built-in bench, cabinets and peg board. On the back of the shop with separate door is an attached storage area for garden equipment. A large fenced area around shop provides a great protected space for animals. It even has a separate driveway access.

True Northwest living close to shopping, recreation, and in the stellar Northshore School District. A short walk to award-winning Eastridge Elementary. Come see this amazing home and you will fall in love with it!

 

 

http://juliebillett.com/listing/WA/Woodinville/21919-NE-161st-St-98077/18155225


Posted on April 28, 2013 at 11:00 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Listings | Tagged , , ,

Trade Secrets of Power Washing

There’s power in a power wash, now that spring is here. It’s one of the first tips I give home sellers, as it’s an easy, relatively inexpensive way to make a home exterior sparkle and boost its curb appeal.  A power wash is like giving your home’s “outside” walls, plus its deck, patio, walkways and driveway, a shower to wash away the grime and dirt that collected on it over the winter.

A power washer attaches to an outside hose, causing the hose water to spray further and much more powerfully because it’s assisted by an electric or gas powered motor. It starts with selecting the right spray tip, and then carefully moving the power washer’s spray from left to right in a consistent manner.  You can rent this wonderful cleaning machine, or buy one at a garden store like Home Depot or McLendons. Costco also sells power washers. I’d be happy to give you the name of a professional power washer too.

5 Power Washing Trade Secrets, written by the pros, sums up how to do the most effective wash while avoiding plants and other house features that could be damaged by the powerful spray.  It’s all about the angle, as the article describes. I’ve also learned that it’s just like any other home improvement project – the better I prep, the better job I do. You want to clear obstacles next to the house and furniture and pots on your deck or patio, and maybe even cover bushes and plants with plastic sheeting. It’s also best to cover attic and basement vents, exterior electrical outlets, and definitely make sure all your windows are closed!

As Power Washing for Dummies reminds us, “The jet of water spraying from a power-washer can be lethal. Exercise good judgment when using a power-washer, and most important, never use it around other people or pets. If you're on a ladder, keep one hand on the ladder and be prepared for the considerable kick that occurs when you pull or release the trigger.”

It’s amazing how a good power wash can make a house and especially its porch, deck and patio look like new. Now that the sun is out for a few days, it’s the perfect time to pull out the power washer!

 


Posted on April 25, 2013 at 7:21 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Home Features | Tagged , ,

Just Listed… Elegance on Hollywood Hill

This gorgeous William Buchan home has a territorial view of Wine Country, three levels of living space, and is walking distance to Hollywood Hill Elementary in the award-winning Northshore School District – a rare find. Located in Belmont Park, a boutique enclave of 16 homes perched atop a lovely knoll with westerly views, its near shopping and just a short commute to Microsoft and other Eastside business centers.

Traditional and timeless, the home has 4+ bedrooms, stylishly updated bathrooms, and a chef’s kitchen with granite, glass tile and stainless steel appliances that opens to a view deck and patio super for entertaining. The lower level is a Guest Wing – with a separate 5th bedroom, full bath and rec room, it’s perfect for extended family, guest or nanny quarters. French doors open to a view deck that overlooks the sprawling lawn and lighted sport court.

The casual elegance of hardwood, granite, and custom molding flows throughout. Three gas fireplaces, vintage-like chandeliers, new paint, new carpet, and detailed woodwork make it authentic yet new, a ready-to-move-in Hollywood Hill luxury home.

View a complete photo gallery at juliebillett.com, and call 206-819-0685 for a showing. See the beauty of Woodinville Wine Country from every room on all three floors across the west side of the house! It’s amazing!

 


Posted on April 23, 2013 at 7:01 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Listings | Tagged , , ,

21 Acres in the Heart of Woodinville

The welcome mat is always out at 21 Acres, and this weekend a special invitation is given to come and celebrate Earth Day. Family activities begin at noon and end with a potluck dinner at 5:30pm, designed to encourage everyone to talk about doing something good for the Earth and make a plan to do it.

 21 Acres is one more Woodinville feature that attracts visitors, and makes our area such a great place to live. Located in the heart of town at 13701 NE 171st Street, 21 Acres reflects the agricultural heart of Woodinville. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people learn how to grow food, and eat and live sustainably. A farm, a school, and a market, 21 Acres is appropriately set up in an award-winning green building that even has a garden roof.

You’re welcome to stop by and see all the fare it offers, and purchase seasonal produce if you like. Their spring calendar is just ramping up, so check 21Acres.org or find them on Facebook and Twitter@21acres to see a daily schedule.

You’ll also see a list of cooking classes that are offered, taught by leading chefs renowned for their expertise, with the focus on cooking seasonally with sustainable ingredients sourced from local farms. Upcoming class topics include Veggie Chop Knife Skills, and Make Your Own Ricotta, Mozzarella and Butter.

Gardening classes also are offered at 21 Acres. Successful Beekeeping Series for Backyards in the Puget Sound and Joy of Chickens: Intro to Chicken Rearing were recently held, and Cooperative Growing in Your Neighborhood is set for Saturday, April 27.

Stop by 21 Acres and see how lucky we are to have this resource so close to home!


Posted on April 18, 2013 at 7:24 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Community Event | Tagged , ,

Ready to Move?

Now the housing market has turned the corner, many people are asking if it’s the right time to move to a larger home that will better accommodate their growing family. There’s also a large population of empty nesters who’ve been hanging on, waiting for the right time to downsize. Wait no longer – our current market is begging for homes to go up for sale, and yours could be someone’s best find.

Since most people need to sell their current home before buying a new one, the first question that typically comes up is "Can I sell my house?" Our current low inventory of homes for sale definitely gives a nod to that question. The odds are high that your home will sell in a reasonable amount of time, provided it is fairly priced and well maintained.

According to a recent article in Money Magazine, there are three more questions to ask when considering a move. It’s also important to ask if the house you want to buy is for sale. Pick your favorite neighborhood, and I’d be happy to keep you posted of developments there. Homes are quickly moving in today’s market, so it’s important to have a daily, and sometimes hourly, check.

A third factor to look at when considering a move is how much renovation your home needs to sell. The looming fear around this typically involves hidden costs, and the possibility of going over budget. I am happy to provide resources to expedite the process, and complete the agreed upon project within the negotiated time frame, and price range.

The last question covered in the article is “What does your gut say?” As the saying goes, I do believe that home is where the heart is. I want every single client to feel right and excited about a move. One of the favorite parts of my work in real estate is seeing my clients’ face and sharing in their excitement when they get the keys to their new home. So if you are ready for a move and feel like now is the right time, it would be my privilege to answer all your questions and help you benefit from the extraordinary market we currently have!

 


Posted on April 16, 2013 at 7:05 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Real Estate Market | Tagged ,

Increase your Property Value with Lawn Care

Have you noticed how your lawn has started growing like crazy? It’s one of the first things that people see when they drive by a house, which is why we talked about it as a “curb appeal” factor at the seminar I gave with Julie Allyne a couple weeks ago at Molbak’s. Even if a home is perfect inside, a poorly maintained lawn can give a bad first impression, and make it the only impression, as the saying goes.

I like the way lawn care is described in a Home Depot blog just published. It said to think about it in the same way as caring for a small child. After waking up from its long winter nap, your lawn is hungry. It needs attention. And if it’s neglected too long, your lawn will get unruly and eventually go to seed.

That’s why spring is the best time to fertilize lawns, especially since our wet winters can alter soil pH, compact the soil, and create conditions friendly to weeds and disease. Lawns need the extra nutrients from fertilizer to assure their healthy growth as they wake up. Experts say it’s a good idea to use a fertilizer mixture that also contains weed killer, to prevent crabgrass and other pesky grass weeds from also benefiting from the fertilizer and taking over.

American homeowners take a great deal of pride in their yards, which is why, the Professional Lawn Care Association reports, we spend about $6.4 billion a year on lawn care. We love the sound of a humming lawn mower, green carpet to play in with bare feet, as well as at least a 5 percent property value increase that results from a great looking lawn, as various realtors report!


Posted on April 11, 2013 at 7:17 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Home Features | Tagged , ,

How to Stand Out in a Crowd

As multiple offers become the “norm” in today’s low inventory housing market, it’s more important than ever to be the “most attractive homebuyer,” as a recent article in Fox Business News explains. Plan ahead, do your homework, and know that cash is king. Putting 20 percent or more down will make a difference, especially if there are issues with the mortgage process or a lower-than-expected appraisal. If a buyer can contribute more cash to cover the difference between the appraisal and the offer price, he most likely will be the new homeowner.

Getting prequalified by your lender will also make you a more attractive homebuyer. With a preapproval letter in hand, you are in the same ballpark to compete with an all cash buyer. This market also favors buyers who come to the table with fewer contingencies. An offer contingent on selling your house will definitely make you a less appealing homebuyer, so let’s get your house sold first and then you’ll be ready to buy!

The critical lack of home inventory right now is making it a seller’s market. If you’ve been considering a move, now is a great time to do it. I’d be happy to provide you with information to help you benefit from our current situation, and stand out as the most attractive homebuyer.


Posted on April 9, 2013 at 7:17 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Real Estate Market | Tagged , ,

One Week till Shredding Event!

There’s still a week to round up confidential records that you’d like shredded and disposed of – for free! My Windermere office is hosting our 6th annual Shredding Event next Saturday, April 13, from 10am to 2pm in our office parking lot, located between Azteca and Olive Garden restaurants in Totem Lake: 11411 NE 124th Street, Kirkland.

Drop your boxes off and join us for a hot dog lunch. I’d love to see you and serve you and your family up a hot dog! PC Recycle will also be at the event, collecting old computers, TVs, and small appliances for recycling.

As part of our Windermere office’s commitment to help children in need, we’re also hosting a food collection for Totes-to-Go, a wonderful organization that fills backpacks with weekend food for kids in our area who don’t have enough at home. CANNED MILK, CANNED FRUIT, and PEANUT BUTTER are specifically requested on this collection day. Thanks in advance for joining us in helping feed local kids.

Good luck spring cleaning out your files to be shredded!


Posted on April 4, 2013 at 7:08 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Community Event | Tagged , ,