“Curb Appeal” Seminar by Julie – this Saturday at noon at Molbak’s!

Whether you’re preparing to put your house on the market or spruce it up for spring and perhaps a big outdoor celebration, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn about How to Increase your Home’s Curb Appeal. Julie will share quick, easy, and economical tips to give your house a “spring” lift at a free seminar presented at Molbak’s this Saturday, March 30, from noon to 1pm.

She will share do-it-yourself ideas for how to make the most of your home’s appearance, and will help you look at it with a fresh eye and offer pointers for turning your “spruce up” ideas into reality. Learn how to play up your home exterior’s best features, and where to invest your time and money to make the biggest impact.

Julie will be joined by Landscape Designer Julie Allyne, owner of PlantWorks Unlimited, who will show how to give your yard and garden a fresh, new look this spring. At the end of the Julie “duo” presentation, a name will be drawn from all those who “Like” the Julie Billett Realtor facebook page, to receive a gift from Molbak’s.

Spring has arrived!


Posted on March 28, 2013 at 7:07 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Home Features | Tagged ,

Commute Time Makes a Difference

Next to school ranking, one of the biggest factors people bring up to me when they’re looking to buy a home is their commute time to work – understandably so. Time is precious to us all, and nobody likes to sit in traffic.

As OB Jacobi, President of Windermere, explains in his recent blog at Windermere.com, “73 percent consider commute times a key factor when deciding where to live.” That’s why Windermere has just added a feature on its website that answers the question “How long will it take me to drive to and from work?” OB says, “You don’t have to guess at the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, year built, or school district, so why should your drive time be any different? It was this approach that led us to integrating actual drive time technology into Windermere.com.”

Called the INRIX Drive Time™ tool, this helpful resource goes beyond what you can learn from Google Maps or sites that simply provide distance to work in miles or travel times based on traveling the speed limit. Windermere’s new tool gives drive times based on real-traffic information sourced from actual drivers. OB explains, “It takes into account every traffic factor, including traffic congestion, road construction, accidents, holidays, weather, events, police activity, and historical traffic patterns. This information is updated every minute, then analyzed and compiled into a historical database that is updated every 90 days, ensuring home buyers have access to the most complete traffic data available.”

You really have to try it to see its accuracy. Go to Windermere.com, select a home you’d like to buy, and then find a picture of a little car in the box that says, “What’s the Drive Time to This Home?” on the house’s property detail page. Type in your work address, click the “Calculate” button, and immediately a graph showing drive times comes up, as well as a map that shows the route from which it was calculated.

Technology really does help make the home buying process easier.  A big thanks to Windermere for this new resource!


Posted on March 26, 2013 at 7:10 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Selling Homes | Tagged ,

Tax Savings Opportunities

Tax rules can be complicated for homeowners, and some of them have changed quite recently.  Are you up to date on the ones that affect your 2012 return?

I shared news about easy-to-miss homeowner tax savings in My Home Expert newsletter that I email monthly. It went out last week. If you didn’t receive it and would like to get next month’s issue, let me know at JulieBillett@windermere.com or on my Realtor business facebook page. I’d love to include you and the people you recommend.

The article shares information and helpful links about everything from reinstatement of the mortgage insurance premium deduction, to the latest details landlords need to know about handling rental property expenses.

Mortgage interest on a second home is another topic that’s had its share of changes. You might be aware that you can deduct mortgage interest on a second home in addition to your primary residence, but did you know that the definition of a second home is extremely broad?

There's quite a list of new tax rules for homeowners. I wish you the best in understanding them and maximizing your return, as we countdown to April 15. While I refer you to a tax expert for additional information on this subject, I welcome hearing from you to discuss your real estate needs, and how you can benefit from our exciting spring market.


Posted on March 21, 2013 at 11:26 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Selling Homes | Tagged ,

Stage to Sell with New Spring Colors

“Happy hues” explains the trend for this year’s home decorating colors, which are fun to look at as we officially welcome spring this week to our rather grey and soggy Northwest. Color is one of the factors in the emotional appeal of home, and why its consideration in staging a home for sale can make all the difference. A happy color palette, as shown in the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing portfolio, creates the magic in the marketplace that leads to sales!

I enjoyed learning more about the many things that influence today’s homebuyers, earning CLHMS (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist) designation last week.  My experience in the local luxury home and estate market opened the door for me to achieve this goal, which allows me to better serve buyers and sellers in evaluating the true value of a property, with an emphasis on quality and craftsmanship, and presenting it to sell expediently for top dollar in today’s market.

Examining the motivators and preferences of today’s consumer helps me know what to focus on in preparing a home to go on the market, and developing its plan to go “live.” For example, while trending colors appeal to some, others may appreciate the practicality of colors that have staying power. The home with a steadying influence may be preferred in unsteady times. Perhaps that’s why the bright, happy colors of spring are joined by colors with cool, soft hues. You are certain to impress, no matter what color you choose.

If you’re ready to prepare your home for sale, or a spring lift, please call. My full service includes complimentary color and staging expertise! I’d also love to meet you at a special presentation I’m giving at Molbak’s the Saturday before Easter, March 30, at noon. Come hear about “Increasing the Curb Appeal of your Home,” and put your name in a drawing to win a gift from Molbak’s if you “Like” my Julie Billett Realtor facebook page. I'm excited to welcome in spring!


Posted on March 19, 2013 at 11:17 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Community Event | Tagged , ,

Molbak’s Seminar by Julie – Saturday, March 30!

Whether you’re preparing for a big outdoor celebration or to sell your house, curb appeal describes just what you need, and Julie knows how to get. She will share quick, easy, and economical tips to give your house and yard a “spring” lift at a free seminar presented at Molbak’s on Saturday, March 30, from noon to 1pm.

Your home’s curb appeal is the first impression that it makes when someone drives by or stops for a visit. Is it welcoming? Julie will share do-it-yourself ideas for how to make the most of your home’s appearance. She will help you look at it with a fresh eye and offer pointers for turning your “spruce up” ideas into reality. Learn how to play up your home exterior’s best features, and where to invest your time and money to make the biggest impact.

Julie will be joined by Landscape Designer Julie Allyne, owner of PlantWorks Unlimited, who will show how to give your yard and garden a fresh, new look for spring. At the end of the Julie “duo” presentation, a name will be drawn from all those who “Like” the Julie Billett Realtor facebook page, to receive a gift from Molbak’s!

Mark your calendar now to learn about how everything from simple upgrades to landscaping projects can enhance your home’s curb appeal. You’ll appreciate each improvement you make every time you pull in your driveway!

 

 


Posted on March 14, 2013 at 7:20 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Community Event | Tagged , ,

MLS Forecasts “A Spring to Remember”

In the Multiple Listing Service report released last week, an industry veteran forecast that Western Washington is set up for “a spring market to remember.” Before the daffodils even began to pop up, our February numbers show that closed sales were up 9% from a year ago and median home prices increased 13%. Housing continues on its road to recovery.

These early spring numbers reflect the positive side of our current real estate market. OB Jacobi, president of Windermere, explains that while anxious buyers seeking to take advantage of low interest rates drove this activity, many were left empty handed. There are simply not enough “for sale” signs up to meet market demand. “The supply of homes for sale is at its lowest level since May 2005, during the peak of the housing boom,” OB explains. “The impact of low inventory levels is stiff competition among buyers, often resulting in homes selling for well over asking price.”

Now is the time to research your options, if you’ve been waiting for the right time to sell. This MLS report has the latest, helpful information about our area, plus I’d be happy to do a complimentary market analysis of your home and property. Current and accurate information is key to benefiting from this market, and perhaps making it a spring to remember at your house!


Posted on March 12, 2013 at 6:57 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Real Estate Market | Tagged , ,

Take the Stress out of Moving

Research tells us that moving is the third most stressful event in life, following death and divorce — but it doesn’t have to be. One of my biggest goals in serving clients is to take the stress out of buying and selling a house. Clear communication, keeping the best interest of my clients first, and handling details in a professional and efficient manner significantly keep us from falling into this “stress” statistic.

One more way to take the stress out of moving is to connect with a resource called “Moving Link,” Windermere’s preferred moving consultant. Moving Link provides moving consultation and solutions – at no cost. It is a free service that pre-qualifies moving service providers, takes an inventory of your items, builds your moving plan, and gets competing estimates for you. They do all the research, so all you have to do is pick the moving company.

This service can be used for moving out of state, out of the country, or across the street. It’s proven incredibly useful to seniors, and to their kids who have their hands full helping with the move, perhaps from afar. Moving Link services also include figuring out any storage needs you have, whether or not they are precipitated by a move. The spring season may find you boxing up items, perhaps planning ahead for a move, and in need of economical storage space. Ask Moving Link!

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that about 36.5 million people moved last year, and that individuals move 11.7 times in their lifetime. We really can offer tips to help each other. Another moving fact is that 38,421 people moved from California to Washington last year, the ninth most common interstate move. Almost 60,000 people moved from New York to Florida, ranking it as the most common interstate move.

If you are ready to plan for a stress-free move, I'd love to help and welcome your call. Today's market has opened up lots of exciting opportunities.


Posted on March 7, 2013 at 6:45 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Selling Homes | Tagged ,

Realities of the Housing Market

At Windermere Real Estate, we’re fortunate to have Matthew Gardner, considered by many to be the foremost real estate analyst in the Pacific Northwest, offer his quarterly analysis of the Western Washington real estate market. His fourth quarter 2012 report just released confirms the positive momentum that we’re seeing in our area, and forecasts that 2013 will be another year in which our regional economy outperforms the nation as a whole. The Puget Sound region and our Eastside locale is the place to live!

This outlook, grounded in the fact that the home price growth rate in King County last year was 20.3%, accounts for the increased activity in our local market when the national budget sequester dominates our news.  Mr. Gardner shows the numbers that prove his statement “Home values have stabilized and a recovery in values is underway. The credit markets have thawed and getting a mortgage is easier now than it has been since the housing ‘bubble’ exploded.”

His report closed with the one caveat that we all know too well right now – there remains a low inventory of homes for sale, and an increase is needed to sustain the housing recovery. Seattle only had 1.9 months worth of homes on the market in January, at the current sales pace, while King County had 2.2 months worth of homes, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. That's down from 4.2 months and 5.2 months, respectively, from a year earlier.

If you would like to learn the current value of your home and how you can benefit from this positive seller’s market, please call. I am committed to ensuring that your investment in your home pays off.


Posted on March 5, 2013 at 6:56 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Real Estate Market | Tagged , ,

Woodinville Heritage Museum Brings History to Life

At the base of Hollywood Hill is a stately colonial house that holds the history of our town, both in memories and posessions. The Woodinville Heritage Museum that opened almost two years ago is located in the historic DeYoung house at 14121 NE 171st St., just up the hill from the Woodinville Urgent Care Center. Its welcome mat is out this Sunday, March 3, from 1 to 4pm, and every Sunday afternoon through Labor  Day. Admission is free, though the Heritage Society will gladly accept donations.

This is an amazing opportunity to tour an historic home that depicts the history of our town, right in our own backyard. The Museum features furnishings of the 1930s and 1940s, highlighted by special exhibits in wood-floored rooms, each with a name and theme. A display of 1920s and 1930s county maps and an early 1900s teacup collection are just a few of the historic items archived in the Museum. There’s even a hands-on children’s table where kids can play with items of bygone days.

Beginning in June, a new exhibit will be unveiled about the early-day Hollywood Farm founded by Frederick Stimson, that later evolved into Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. An exhibit set up last summer will remain a special feature displaying eight general stores that served Woodinville neighborhoods from 1907 through 1960.  Photos, merchandise and information on such landmarks as Homestead Grocery, Hinman's Store, Miller Grocery, Mack's Store, Rongve Grocery and Clara Teegarden's General Store are showcased.

Lucy DeYoung, president of the Woodinville Heritage Society and former mayor, remembers playing as a child in the house where the museum is located. Her grandparents, John and Ellen DeYoung, had the house built in 1931 at NE 175th Street at 135th Avenue NE, where Chase Bank is now located. In 1973 it was moved to its current location, and about five years ago it was donated to the Woodinville Heritage Society to be a museum. 


Posted on March 1, 2013 at 7:18 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Community Event | Tagged ,

Waiting for spring?

Contrary to the belief that spring is the “selling season” in real estate, industry experts say don’t wait – and give five reasons to list your house today. The law of supply and demand and forecast of inching up interest rates have brought an early spring to real estate.

At a recent Windermere event, industry expert Steve Harney further explained. He shared that move up buyers, ages 35 to 44, are itching for a bigger and better home. Forecast to keep housing on its upward track this year, they are anxious to step up from their starter home. They are looking for a larger home with plenty of amenities that are located in good school districts, like our Northshore School District. Real estate experts credit a better economic climate and low interest rates for motivating their buying power. About 36% of all buyers in late 2012 were 35 to 44, up from 30% at the start of 2009.

Harney also noted another group of anxious buyers: People who wanted to sell, or maybe tried to sell over the last five years, who now have the financial means to expand their choices. The trend is to “upsize” rather than downsize. Families grow and need more room as adult children, grandkids, and extended families live under the same roof.

Now, before spring is in full bloom, is a great time to benefit from these buyers who are out and looking. I’d be happy to provide you with an analysis to help you get the most from these market conditions, if you're considering a move.

 


Posted on February 26, 2013 at 7:07 am
Julie Billett | Posted in Real Estate Market | Tagged , ,