My Listings

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The death of Santa

Friday, December 17, 2010

Better than NEW & NOT A SHORT SALE at Snoqualmie Ridge!

Priced at $525,000
34803 SE Leitz Street
Snoqulamie, WA 98065
Desirable Deer Park in Snoqualmie Ridge

Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 2.75
Home Size: 3,190 sq.ft. Garage: 3
Lot Size: 5,308 sq.ft.
Community: Snoqualmie Ridge
Year Built: 2006
MLS Number: 162939

Better than NEW & NOT A SHORT SALE. With too many upgrades to mention, this tastefully decorated Meadow floor plan comes with 4 beds, large bonus room, den and backs to a green belt. Highly desirable location in Deer Park. The gourmet kitchen is appointed with slab granite counters and SS appliances, adjacent is a cozy family room with gas fireplace. Upstairs you have a large master suite, with attached bath and large walk in closet. Outside you'll find a custom built gazebo with lights, water and gas for grilling. For added peace of mind, home comes with 1 year Fidelity Home Warranty.

Features List

• FREE Home Warranty • $25,000 Gazebo • Numerous Upgrades
• Extended Hardwoods • Granite Counters • Custom Built Ins

Website with additional pictures and information HERE

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Top Home Remodeling Investments

Click Here to see the Top Options for Seattle Area Remodels or click the map below to search by national region. Unfortunately, unlike in some area of the country, remodeling cost compared to return are still taking a downward turn in western Washington.

Owners Recoup More with Exterior Home Projects

As part of the 2010-11 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORSÒ recently rated exterior replacement projects among the most cost-effective home improvement projects, demonstrating that curb appeal remains one of the most important aspects of a home at resale time.

“This year’s Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report highlights the importance of exterior projects, which not only provide the most value, but also are among the least expensive improvements for a home,” said NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSÒ President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Since resale value can vary by region, it’s smart for home owners to work with a REALTORÒ through the remodeling and improvement process; they can provide insight into projects in their neighborhoods that will recoup the most when the owners are ready to sell.”

Nine of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects. The steel entry door replacement remained the project that returned the most money, with an estimated 102.1 percent of cost recouped upon resale; it is also the only project in this year’s report that is expected to return more than the cost. The midrange garage door replacement, a new addition to the report this year, is expected to recoup 83.9 percent of costs. Both projects are small investments that cost little more than $1,200 each, on average. REALTORSÒ identified these two replacements as projects that can significantly improve a home’s curb appeal.

“Curb appeal remains king – it’s the first thing potential buyers notice when looking for a home, and it also demonstrates pride of ownership,” said Phipps.

The 2010-11 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 80 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the 13th consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood, LLC, was completed in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine.

Realtors® provided their insight into local markets and buyer home preferences within those markets. Overall, Realtors® estimated that home owners would recoup an average of 60 percent of their investment in 35 different improvement projects, down from an average of 63.8 percent last year. Remodeling projects, particularly higher cost upscale projects, have been losing resale value in recent years because of weak economic conditions.

According to the report, replacement projects usually outperform remodel and addition projects in resale value because they are among the least expensive and contribute to curb appeal. Various types of siding and window replacement projects were expected to return more than 70 percent of costs. Upscale fiber-cement siding replacement was judged by Realtors® the most cost effective among siding projects, recouping 80 percent of costs. Among the window replacement projects covered, upscale vinyl window replacements were expected to recoup the most, 72.6 percent upon resale. Another exterior project, a wood deck addition, tied with a minor kitchen remodel for the fourth most profitable project recouping an estimated 72.8 percent of costs.

The top interior projects for resale value included an attic bedroom and a basement remodel. Both add living space without extending the footprint of the house. An attic bedroom addition costs more than $51,000 and recoups an estimated 72.2 percent nationally upon resale; a basement remodel costs more than $64,000 and recoups an estimated 70 percent. Improvement projects that are expected to return the least are a midrange home office remodel, recouping an estimated 45.8 percent; a backup power generator, recouping 48.5 percent; and a sunroom addition, recouping 48.6 percent of costs.

Although most regions followed the national trends, the regions that consistently were estimated to return a higher percentage of remodeling costs upon resale were the Pacific region of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington; the West South Central region of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas; the East South Central region of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee; and the South Atlantic region of the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The regions where Realtors® generally reported the lowest percentage of costs recouped were New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin), West North Central (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota), and Middle Atlantic (New York and Pennsylvania).

“It’s important to remember that the resale value of a particular improvement project depends on several factors,” said Phipps. “Things such as the home’s overall condition, availability and condition of surrounding properties, location and the regional economic climate contribute to an estimated resale value. That’s why it is imperative to work with a REALTORÒ who can provide insight and guidance into local market conditions whether you’re buying, selling or improving a home.”

Results of the report are summarized in the January issue of REALTOR® Magazine. To read the full project descriptions, access national and regional project data, and download a free PDF containing data for any of the 80 cities covered by the report, visit

Source: NAR

Congratulations Krista Mehr for passing the Managing Broker's Exam!

We are very happy to announce that Krista Mehr has passed the Managing Broker Exam for Washington State.

Krista has over seven years real estate experence and will become the new Managing Broker for The Cascade Team's Seattle office. I will keep most things to myself for now, but we have big plans for the Seattle market in 2011 and Krista is going to be leading that charge.

If you had a chance to meet her at the Holiday party on Tuesday that is great. If not, we will be planning a Grand Opening for the new main office in Gillman Village in Issaquah on Friday January 7th (Time to be announced) and you should get a chance to get to know her better there.

Congratulations Krista! We are very happy to have you on the Team!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2010 SOS Award Winners

Simply Outrageous Service

Our 2010 S.O.S. Award winners are:

1) Bridget Franklin
2) Diego Vitelli
3) Melissa Hughes Wilson
4) Erica Kahler
5) Tonya Eliason
6) Danielle Koval
7) Matt Jensen
8) Stan Hartman

The S.O.S. designation is the highest honor a member of The Cascade Team Real Estate can earn. S.O.S. encompasses not only the strive and achievement of being among the top producing agents in sales, but also the commitment to the communities we serve and work in.

The S.O.S designation is awarded to agents and brokers who ranked in the top 10% for sales company wide, “And” who also demonstrated exceptional commitment to community. Holders of the s.o.s. designation are the corner stone’s of The Cascade Team Real Estate. They continually give back through community programs like project crayon drive to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Seattle, during the free holiday sleigh rides events, and within their local schools, charities, and coaching local youth team sports.

By giving more than just the time it takes to be a top sales person and performer these fine agents and brokers have also reached deep to find the time to give more of themselves to the community as a whole…. We proudly call it!

Simply outrageous service!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bridget Franklin 5 Star Real Estate Agent Award - Snoquamlie

Congratulations to Bridget Franklin of The Cascade Team Real Estate. Bridget is a 2010 winner of the Prestigious 5 Star Award for Real Estate Professionals for the greater Seattle area representing the Snoqualmie Valley. Below are the qualifications Bridget had to meet for this award.

FIVE STAR Real Estate Agents scored highest in overall satisfaction

The FIVE STAR Real Estate Agent Program is designed to identify and showcase real estate agents in a local market that score highest in overall satisfaction.

As part of an in-depth research process real estate agents are evaluated by their customers and real estate industry professionals based on customer service, integrity, market knowledge, communication and negotiation skills, closing preparation, helping you find the right home, marketing the home being sold, and overall satisfaction.

10,000 to 50,000 recent homebuyers (all area residents who purchased a home over $100,000 - $200,000 within a 12-36 month period depending on the market size), readers of the area magazine, and 250 mortgage and title companies are asked to name and evaluate real estate agents with whom they have had direct/personal experience with. Recent homebuyers and subscribers can evaluate up to two agents, while mortgage and title companies can evaluate up to three agents. Both positive and negative responses regarding each agent are accepted. In addition to the survey results, other criteria such as acceptable disciplinary action and review by a panel of local industry experts are incorporated into the overall evaluation process.

The final list of FIVE STAR Real Estate Agents includes the real estate agents, of those evaluated, in the local market that scored highest in overall satisfaction; representing less than 7% of the real estate agents in the local market. See the Research Methodology Summary for more information on the research process.

Bridget is also a winner of The Cascade Team Real Estate's Highest Designation. The SOS (Simply Outrageous Service) award.

Snoqualmie Ridge Home for Sale

Offered at $515,000

Beautiful five bedroom home in the heart of Snoqualmie Ridge! Gorgeous slate entryway leads to the office, formal living and dining rooms. The kitchen is remodeled with an extended slab granite island, stainless steel appliances, tile backsplash, eat-in nook, and opens up to the family room with new hardwood floors. Upstairs you will find a large bonus room and the bedrooms, all with new carpet. The Master Suite is large with a remodeled bathroom that is top notch! This home is meticulously maintained and has a professionally landscaped, fully fenced in corner-lot yard. The garage has three full bays, with room for storage and additional attic storage that will please any home owner. Buyers will love the easy location, just miinutes away from the retail center and parks!

Danielle Koval
Melissa Hughs Wilson

Office: 425.396.4569
Mobile: 206.999.0890


Friday, December 10, 2010

5 Predictions for 2011

Freddie Mac analysts point to five features that they believe will likely characterize the 2011 housing and mortgage markets:

1. Low mortgage rates. With Fed observers expecting the central bank to keep the federal funds rate at its current target range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent for most (or all) of 2011, relatively low mortgage rates will be a feature of the 2011 mortgage market. Thirty-year fixed-rate loans are likely to remain below 5 percent throughout the year, and initial rates of 5/1 hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages will likely remain below 4 percent in 2011.

2. Prices have hit bottom. House prices are likely to begin a gradual, but sustained recovery in the second half of 2011.

3. Housing will remain affordable. With affordability high, many first-time buyers will be attracted to the housing market in the New Year, likely translating into more home sales in 2011 than in 2010.

4. Refinances will dwindle. Many eligible borrowers have already refinanced and the federal Making Home Affordable refinance program is expiring on June 30. While fixed-rate loans are likely to remain low, they will move up gradually, making it even less likely that refinances will be attractive to most home owners.

5. Delinquency rates will decline. Based on the last several business cycles, the share of loans that are 90 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure proceedings — known as the "seriously delinquent rate" — generally crests within a year of the start of the recovery in payroll employment, and this economic recovery appears to fit within that pattern. Payrolls began to rise last January, and by the spring the seriously delinquent rate had begun to fall.

Source: Freddie Mac (12/09/2010)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mortgage rates hit 4.61 pct

The time to buy is now! Home prices have dropped by nearly 30% to at or near 2003 levels and rates are still historically low..... BUT CLIMBING!

By JANNA HERRON, AP Real Estate Writer Janna Herron, Ap Real Estate Writer –

NEW YORK – Rates on fixed mortgages rose for the fourth straight week this week. The surge could slow refinancings and further hamper the housing market.

Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rates on 15- and 30-year fixed loans increased sharply from last week. Mortgage rates tend to track the yields on 10-year Treasury bonds. Those yields have been rising as investors anticipate Congress will extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years and long-term unemployment benefits for 13 months.

The 30-year rate rose to 4.61 percent from 4.46 percent last week. That is well above the 4.17 percent rate hit a month ago — the lowest level on records dating back to 1971.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed loan, a popular refinance option, rose to 3.96 percent. Rates hit 3.57 percent last month — the lowest level since 1991.

Rates are rising after plummeting for seven months. Investors are selling Treasury bonds in anticipation of the tax deal President Barack Obama and Republicans forged that could boost the economy next year if passed. A stronger economy would make the stock market a more attractive place to invest money. That's a big reason why many investors are selling their safer Treasurys bonds.

The sell-off is adding more Treasury bonds to market, which depresses prices and raises yields. Prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Rising mortgage rates are chilling the market for refinancing, especially among those who were seeing rates fall a few weeks ago and thought they might get a better deal. Refinance activity fell for the fourth straight week last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

"Our business has been cut by 30 percent in four weeks," said Michael Moskowitz, president of Equity Now, a direct mortgage lender in New York.

Low mortgage rates did little to boost the struggling housing market. However, the increase in rates may have convinced some homebuyers who were waffling to go ahead and make a move. Applications for home purchases rose for the third consecutive week and are at their highest point since the beginning of May. Mortgage brokers and real estate agents agree that a sustained rise in mortgage rates eventually will sideline potential buyers who started to think of historically low rates as a given.

"It's all about negative psychology," said Julie Longtin, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Cityside in Providence, R.I. "Already my buyers are thinking about withdrawing until rates dip again."

That would weigh on home prices, which have started to fall again. The ranks of homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth would grow and more won't be able to refinance to shore up their finances. Americans, feeling less wealthy, could hunker down again and curb their spending. That would slow economic growth.

"If rates stay south of 5 percent, I don't think we go back into a tailspin," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "Above 5 percent, it gets dicey for housing and the economy."

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day.

Rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.60 percent, up from 3.49 percent. The five-year hit 3.25 percent last month, the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.

Rates on one-year adjustable-rate home loans slipped to 3.27 percent from 3.25 percent.

The rates do not include add-on fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.

The average fee for 30-year and 15-year mortgages in Freddie Mac's survey was 0.7 point. It was 0.6 point for five-year and one-year mortgages.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Richmond Beach Rambler

Offered at $475,000

Richmond Beach daylight rambler. Kitchen with stainless Jenn-aire cooktop and double oven, granite and butcher block countertops. Dining room, living room with fireplace. Master, 2 bedrooms and full bath on main floor, 4th bedroom and full bath on lower level. Den/office, access to backyard and entrance from garage on lower level.

A Positive Surprise for Wa Home Sales!

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Dec. 6, 2010) – Northwest Multiple Listing Service members recorded a few pleasant surprises last month. Pending sales during November outgained the same month a year ago, marking the first year-over-year increase since April, when the tax credits expired.

Also noted as encouraging were an upswing in relocation sales, shrinkage in the number of new listings added to inventory, and a year-to-date volume of closed sales that is outpacing 2009.

Northwest MLS director OB Jacobi described last month’s gain in the number of transactions written as “surprising.” “That’s surprising, since November is typically one of the slowest sales months of the year, and this year we essentially lost a week to poor weather conditions.” Jacobi, the general manager at Windermere Real Estate Company, also reported increased activity at open houses last month.
Jacobi suggested the increase in sales was due in part to an uptick in interest rates that motivated some buyers to move forward, combined with a desire for people to be in their new homes before the holidays.

Members of NWMLS, which covers 21 counties in Washington, reported 4,987 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums during November. That volume of mutually accepted offers was up about 2 percent from twelve months ago, when brokers logged 4,888 pending sales.

In the four-county Puget Sound region, pending sales rose more than 2.8 percent, from 3,829 a year ago to last month’s total of 3,938. That’s the highest November volume since 2006.

“We're seeing an upswing in relocation sales after a long lull, which indicates a positive sign in terms of local hiring,” Jacobi remarked, adding, “Employers traditionally want new hires in place by the first of the year, so sales are happening now.”

House-hunters have ample choices in most price ranges, with inventory currently priced from $15,000 for a manufactured home in Shelton (Mason County) to a $28.8 million home on Mercer Island.

Inventory is up slightly (1.6 percent) from twelve months ago, but fewer new listings were added during November compared to a year ago. At month end, NWMLS tallied 36,835 active listings of single family homes and condominiums in its database, which compares to the year-ago total of 36,266 listings.

Members reported 6,340 new listings during November, about 6.8 percent fewer than a year ago when they added 6,801 residential properties. Last month’s additions included 5,401 single family homes and 939 condominiums.

The shrinkage in new listings coming onto the market is lowering the month’s supply of inventory in those areas, noted J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. Area-wide, there is about a 7.3 month supply at the current sales pace. King County has about a 5.7 month supply. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported a 10.5 month supply at the end of October. (A market with a supply of approximately six months is considered balanced, favoring neither buyers nor sellers.)

With inventory plentiful, brokers say buyers are taking their time before making any decisions.

“Move-up buyers are moving into the market,” Jacobi said, but noted, “They know value and have the luxury of time. Buyers are willing to wait for the right home at the right price, and then they jump on it. A few years ago, the hares were driving the market. Now it's the tortoises. Today's buyer's motto seems to be: Slow and steady wins the race.”

Commenting on move-up buyers, Lennox Scott noted an increase in home sales last month in the mid-price ranges in both Seattle and the Eastside.

Prices on sales that closed last month dipped below year-ago totals. The median price area-wide for November’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums was $250,000, down about 5.7 percent from the year-ago figure of $265,000.

In King County, prices edged up slightly, from $337,000 to $340,000. Clallam, Grant, Jefferson, Okanogan, San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties also reported year-over-year price gains.

Condominium prices continue to slump. The median price for last month’s closed sales was $204,500, down more than 11 percent from twelve months ago when the median price was $229,950.

Through eleven months, the volume of closed sales for 2010 is slightly ahead of 2009 (up 1.2 percent).

Tight credit continues to worry brokers, despite favorable affordability conditions.
“Everyone is wondering how long interest rates are going to remain low, but that's impossible to predict with certainty,” observed Lennox Scott. “At the moment at least, they're at near-historic lows, but every one percent increase in interest rates reduces buying power by 10 percent. And this can have a significant impact on a person's ability to buy a home,” he stated.

NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, expects the recent sales pattern to continue. In remarks accompanying NAR’s latest report on the housing market, he described it as experiencing an uneven recovery. The temporary foreclosure stoppage in some states is likely to have held back a number of completed sales, he noted. “Still,” he said, “Sales activity is clearly off the bottom and is attempting to settle into normal sustainable levels.”

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 24,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Tale of Two Houses

House #1
A 20 room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house, all heated by gas. In one month this residence consumes more energy than the average American household does in a year. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2400 per month. In natural gas alone, this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not situated in a Northern or Midwestern 'snow belt' area. It's in the South.

House #2
Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university. This house incorporates every 'green' feature current home construction can provide. The house is 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on a high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat-pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground.

The water (usually 67 degrees F) heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas and it consumes one-quarter electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Surrounding flowers and shrubs native to the area enable the property to blend into the surrounding rural landscape.

HOUSE #1 is outside of Nashville , Tennessee ; it is the home of the 'Environmentalist' Al Gore.

HOUSE #2 is on a ranch near Crawford , Texas ; it is the residence of the ex-President of the United States , George W. Bush.

Now THAT is the definition of an "inconvenient truth"!!

Verify at:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Federal Fair Housing "Bad" word list

The Federal Fair Housing Act describes these words as discriminatory. In addition there are often State, County, and City ordinances that further expand on this list. As a rule when marketing homes however......


Able Bodied
Board Approval
Empty Nesters
Executive (such as "large executive house"
Golden Age
Grandmas House
Handicap ("not suitable for")
Independent Living
Job References
Marital Status
Membership Approval
No Children
No Play Area
Older Person
One Person
Perfect for Two
Physically Fit (ideal for)
Private Community ("private community"-No; "private drive"-OK)
Public Assistance
Puerto Rican
Religious Landmarks(like near St. Mark's)
Seasonal Worker
Section 8
Social Security
Two People
Walking (As in "Walking distance to school" This is discriminatory to handucapped individuals)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fed Releases Updated Appraisal Guidelines

The Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration jointly on Thursday released the latest and what is expected to be final version of property appraisal guidelines.

The new guidelines set a standard for appraisal independence. Lenders can exchange information with appraisers, but they cannot "directly or indirectly coerce, influence, or otherwise encourage an appraiser or a person who performs an evaluation to misstate or misrepresent the value of the property."

Among other rules:

· Banks cannot tell the appraiser of any expected or qualifying estimate of value.
· Banks cannot specify a minimum value requirement for the property that is needed to approve the loan or as a condition of ordering the valuation.
· Banks cannot tie an appraiser's compensation to loan approval.
· Banks can’t blacklist an appraiser if his valuations fail to meet expected thresholds.

The agencies also clarified that broker price opinions (BPOs) don’t comply with the minimum appraisal standards.

Source: Housing Wire, Jon Prior (12/02/2010)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Green homes: Truth and Fiction

Mary Ellen Podmolik
Local Scene

The idea of putting green features into a home sounds well and good, but, like other investments, homeowners want to know they're getting at least some of their investment back at resale, and buyers want to know exactly what they're getting.

Both continue to be a tricky issues when it comes to marketing a green home and placing a value on it, particularly at a time when the nearest comparable sale may be a foreclosure down the street.

"Greenwashing" has landed in the housing market, and it's proving to be a pesky nuisance that requires housing market professionals to become sleuths, as evidenced by complaints from real estate agents and builders from throughout the country who attended Greenbuild, a national conference on sustainable building practices held last month in Chicago.

Here's just one inkling of the fact versus fiction: Real estate agents have seen evidence of firms offering fake Energy Star plaques that people can affix to their homes' exterior, said Al Medina, a Chicago real estate agent and director of the National Association of Realtors' green designation.

The National Association of Realtors likes the idea of highlighting a home's environmentally friendly features in its listing but wants to ensure everything's on the up and up.

In a national survey, 240 of 629 multiple listing services said they have implemented or are in the process of inserting some green fields into their listing forms. But making sure those fields are filled out accurately is largely a matter of self-policing.

More than 70 percent of the listings in Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc., for instance, have at least one green field checked, but what does green mean? "A ceiling fan qualifies as a green feature, and in Arizona there isn't a home that doesn't have a fan," said Chief Executive Bob Bemis.

More than a year ago, the multiple listing service for the Chicago area, Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, added a green disclosure by the seller as one of the options in its listing.

Why are some in the field pushing for green listings? Because they pay off. In Portland, Ore., the price premium for a certified green home was 18 percent in 2009-2010. In Atlanta, certified green homes this year are selling 14 days faster than conventional homes.

Valuing those homes at appraisal continues to be an issue as well.

While the number of appraisers trained in placing a monetary value on green improvements continues to grow, experts say it falls on homeowners and real estate agents to ensure they've got the right appraiser for the job. The key is to be an active participant in the appraisal process from the get-go, rather than fight the results after the fact.

Homeowners are recommended to keep a running file at their home, defining every project undertaken to make the home more green. When it comes time to have a property appraised, homeowners should ask the appraiser if he or she has green training. If not, request a different appraiser.

Then show the appraiser all the documentation on the home and its environmental attributes, including its home energy rating and inspection documentation. For new construction, include the building plans, specifications and the cost breakdown between a house built to standard code and a house built to certified green specifications, said Sandra Adomatis, a Punta Gorda, Fla.-based appraiser.

"We can't (just) say it's a better-built home," Adomatis said. "The lender says 'Why?' You can argue with the appraiser all day long, but you can't argue with the facts."

Sarah Coulter, head of @Properties' green division, said she finds herself talking up green features of a home to appraisers, with the documentation to prove her words, and most of the time they welcome her assistance. But it doesn't always translate into immediate dollars and cents.

"I think it is increasing value but not by a specific calculation," Coulter said. "It's adding to the marketability. More and more consumers are interested in hearing more about what features are in the home to get them on that (green) path."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Home for Sale Preston, WA

Offered at $325,000

Location, Location, Location! Rare rambler by Preston Park Fields. Well maintained, move in ready 1800sf home on 1/3 acre in exceptional, convenient location. Kitchen w/WIP, conv oven, d/w, range & fridge. Bath off master, hardwoods under carpet, fireplace, bonus rms & metal roof. Large, level dbl lot. Huge detached garage/shop + shed. Hm warranty. Priced based on recent appraisal. Walk to Preston Trail or Preston Park. 1 mile to I-90, less than 20 miles to Seattle! Use Issaquah, 98027 for GPS

Tonya Eliason

Office: 425.396.4569
Mobile: 425.831.5721


Protect Home Ownership. Defend MID

The Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) is vital to both home ownership and our economy.

I'm disappointed that anyone in Congress — or on a Presidential Commission — would even suggest limits to the Mortgage Interest Deduction. Mortgage interest has been deductible for nearly 100 years, and the proposed changes will affect all 75 million home owners in the United States. We must act now to make sure the MID is not changed.

Ever since the Deficit Commission announced its conclusions, the news media have been buzzing about the report. And what do they emphasize? Proposals to limit or even eliminate the Mortgage Interest Deduction. I'm concerned because all this does is scare the public — and potential buyers — away from the housing market. The last thing the housing industry needs right now (and for the foreseeable future) is another bucket of ice water to be thrown on the market. People who hear these news reports don't differentiate between a proposal and a done deal. They just know that a tax provision they actually understand and rely on is under siege.

This is just unacceptable.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Home for Sale - Issaquah Highlands

Offered at $440,000

Beautiful Burnstead home ideally located on a quiet cul-de-sac backing to lush greenbelt! Chef's kitchen with tiled counters, breakfast bar, gas cooktop and high quality stainless appliances. Spacious family room with gas fireplace. Master retreat with sitting area and sumptuous 5 piece bath with tile floor and walk-in closet. Gleaming hardwoods, white millwork and coffered ceilings. Upstairs laundry. Private yard with patio.

Matt Jensen

Office: 206.909.8200
Mobile: 206.909.8200