Remodeling 101 – Things to consider before you start any renovation

Remodeling 101 Things to Consider Before You Start Any Renovation
Remodeling 101 Things to Consider Before You Start Any Renovation

Remodeling 101- Things to Consider Before You Start Any Renovation

Remodeling your home can be a great idea—if you take the time to plan properly with your unique needs in mind at all times. Before you jump in and start ripping up flooring and gutting electrical lets take a minute and consider what your goal even is, how the process works and how it’s going to affect your life—

  • The Goal. Why are we undertaking a renovation? Are you looking for more functionality or is this a matter of aesthetics? Start looking around the internet at home improvement websites and save photos that represent what you’re looking for. Go to your local home improvement stores and collect paint samples and browse materials and start getting an idea of prices.

o Once you get your mind in remodeling mode, start making a list and prioritize what is most important for you to get out of this renovation. Never lose site of this list—keeping it in mind as you go through the process can help to assure that the finished product will be all you were hoping it would be.

  • Now that you have your scope of work established it’s time to consider what kind of resources you’re willing to put toward it. In other words, how much time, money and energy are you willing to spend? Be brutally honest—can you handle this project on your own or do you need to bring in a professional? Don’t overestimate your abilities or underestimate how much a mistake in the final product will bother you in the long run or how much stress a prolonged renovation will put on you and your family.

o A word on budgets—decide right away how much you can spend on your project and then subtract at least 20% and maybe as high as 30%. Set that percentage away to be used for contingencies such as unforeseen structural issues, labor and material cost, etc.

  •  If you’re doing the labor yourself, sketch out the area and layout your cabinets and fixtures before you get started. I suggest you use graph paper so that you can sketch the room to scale. Then it’s a simple matter of getting out the tape measure and making accurate measurements—and remember, always measure at least twice!
  • Consider things which you cannot see upon first glance. Materials such as flooring underlayment, subflooring, cement board, plumbing and electrical may all be exposed during a renovation and there’s no better time to replace them if needed. A nice new carpet laid over musty, pet-stained underlayment is just a waste of your money. This is where that contingency money comes in handy.
  • Decrease the impact of the remodel on your daily life. Consider how the renovation will affect how you use your home and try minimizing it. For instance, if you are renovating multiple bathrooms consider doing them one at a time so that you will have one fully functional bathroom available at all times. If you’re painting a bedroom think about doing it in the morning to give it plenty of time to dry before bedtime.

 

Once your renovation is complete, give us a call to get a Comparative Market Analysis and we can tell you exactly how much your work has added to your home’s value. Good luck with your renovation from the Selling Snohomish Team!  – Michael Larson

 

 

Tax Relief for Short Sellers

Tax Relief for Short Sellers
Tax Relief for Short Sellers

 

Tax Relief For Short Sellers

 

Great news if you’re thinking about a short sale on your home—Congress has just extended the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act for another year.  The act has its roots in 2007, enacted to help those whose mortgages had suddenly outpaced the actual market value of their homes.  In the simplest terms, the act protects the seller from having to claim the amount of debt forgiven by their lender on a short sale as taxable income for that calendar year.  For the last couple of years the act has required renewal by Congress and actually didn’t exist for the year 2015 until it was just recently renewed retroactively.  What this means is if you’re thinking of a short sale, now is the time to act—the process takes longer than a conventional sale and the tax relief act is only guaranteed to be at your disposal for 2016, there’s no guarantee that it will be available beyond that.

 

The actual Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act is a bit dense and full of financial jargon, so lets break it down to what’s important to you, the seller-

 

  • Normally when a home is sold for less than what is owed on its mortgage the amount of debt forgiven is considered taxable income by the IRS.

 

  • The Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act protects the seller from having to claim the forgiven debt as taxable income as long as a few criteria are met-
    • The amount of forgiven debt is below two million dollars
    • The home has been the seller’s principal place of residence for two of the last five years
    • The debt was for buying, building or making improvements on the home

 

  • The act has only been extended to cover the 2016 calendar year. Considering that the amount of time it takes to complete a short sale can far exceed a conventional real estate transaction it is definitely in your best interest to contact your real estate agent and begin the process as soon as possible.

 

While a short sale is never anybody’s idea of a perfect situation, the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act does help ease the financial burden on the seller.  To make sure you qualify for forgiveness through the act consult a trusted real estate professional.  The inner workings of taxes and real estate can be complicated and teaming up with someone who deals with them everyday and has a network of financial and legal professionals at their disposal is your best bet for coming out of this in the best shape possible.  –  – ——-Michael Larson

 

Home Buying 101 – Preparation

GIFT VOUCHER

Home Buying 101—Preparation

 

As the New Year moves on more and more people are turning their attention to buying a home whether it be their first or their next. As the weather warms the market will only get busier and competition for the most desirable homes will only increase, so it really does pay to be prepared to make an offer on that home of your dreams. If you wait until you find that perfect house to start the home buying process chances are you’ll miss out to those that are prepared to make an offer.

However, if you follow the tips we have laid out here you’ll be ready to put your best foot forward when the time comes to purchase-

 

  • Find a real estate agent who is well established in your area with a great If you live in Snohomish County an agent from Seattle won’t know the area nearly as well as a local agent would and of course the closer the agent is to the area you’re considering the faster response time will be when you want to take a look at a home. Once you have an agent they can help walk you through the following steps. Remember, they work for you and it’s in their best interest for you to find a home that you love.

 

  • Get your credit in the best shape The vast majority of homebuyers utilize some type of financing when they purchase and whomever you choose for financing will determine whether you qualify for a loan and at what rate you will be charged interest by your credit score. So, the first step is for you to find out what your credit score actually is. You can either pay for your credit report or you are entitled to one free credit report a year through Annualcreditreport.com. Once you get your report you can look for  damaging errors as well as deal with negative marks to raise your score.

 

  • Consult a mortgage lender and get pre-approved. Do this as early as A lending professional can help you work through your current financial status and credit history and determine how much home your can afford and qualify for. Once this is established you can target homes within your price range with confidence. Quick tip- most mortgage lenders can provide a copy of your credit report if you need help on that step.

 

  • Consider your needs before you start looking at Sit down and make a list of features your new home absolutely must have as well as those that would make it unlivable. Knowing these things will save you a ton of time and frustration and you can present them to your agent to avoid any confusion. The process should also include a discussion on budget—your lender can help you get specific monthly payment information for a given home price.

 

  • Consider the investment potential of the Did you know that the average homeowner changes homes after nine years? Of course the most important thing to judge your potential home on is how it fits your unique needs but it also doesn’t hurt to think about what it will be worth when it comes time to move on to your next home. This is another area in which a well-established local real estate agent can help. With their knowledge of the specific market and it’s history they should be able to provide you with the information needed to make a well informed decision.

 

If you’re ready to take that first step toward finding the home of your dreams, feel free to contact us here at Selling Snohomish—we’d love to help you!   – Michael Larson

 

Elegant Country Home for Sale in Snohomish, WA

Search current inventory of Homes Sale in Snohomish, WA

Listing Details

Elegant Country Home for Sale in Snohomish, WA

16132 107th Street Southeast, Snohomish WA, 98290
Price: $600,000
MLS number: 888708
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2.5
Square Footage: 2657

Call Joe Platz & The Selling Snohomish Team today, 206-686-9345 to see if this property is still available and arrange a showing.

You Will Love this Elegant Country Home

Your dreams just came true! Step inside and experience a 4 bed, 2.5 bathroom home with finished & heated 4 car garage all situated on 1.6 manicured acres. Built for entertaining inside & out. New & stunning custom kitchen w white cabinets, quartz counters, gas range & stainless appliances. Master suite with fireplace, double vanity, walk in shower & soaking tub. Enormous patio, expansive lawn & oversized driveway. Sunset view of the Olympics. Fresh paint & carpet. Sprinkler system. Commercial AC/ forced air with purifier. Snohomish schools! A short commute to Monroe, Duvall, Everett, Woodinville & the East Side.

 

Virtual Tour

  

Click here to see additional images and property description of this elegant country home in Snohomish

Check out the Great Rooms and Amazing Kitchen

Relax and experience a great room on main that allow you to feel surrounded by elegance with every warm step you take. Well laid out floor plan and neutral wall colors and has an exquisite finishes. Do you need a room for all your culinary needs?  This amazing and stunning kitchen has a vast of space perfect for bringing family and friends together, not only that this custom kitchen with white cabinets, quartz counters, gas range & stainless appliances make the kitchen come together.

Enormous Patio and Expansive Lawn

An event ready backyard! This one of a kind oasis promise tranquility and relaxing environment, take time out and unwind outside on your patio. An enormous space to gather family and friends, have a great time and create wonderful memories. This dream yard is a paradise.

 

This is not just a property, this is the home for you,  let us take you there. Call The Selling Snohomish Team today for private showing, (206) 686-9345.

Find Similar Homes in the Area

The Joe Platz Team

 

Giving Spirit

Christmas GivingThe Christmas Spirit is a Giving Spirit

When I was a kid, if you would have asked me what Christmas was all about I probably would have given you two answers—number one would be TOYS and number two would be MORE TOYS! I don’t know where things changed for me but nowadays I’m much more content giving those toys than receiving any myself. It’s not that I’m some saint—it just makes me feel good to see the look on someone’s face when they get that perfect present. The way their eyes light up as they examine every inch of the present and they search for that perfect thank you to gift back to me. I almost feel guilty for enjoying it so much. I think this is a pretty universal part of becoming and adult. As we mature we start taking more pleasure in those little moments rather than material possessions. Lets not forget that all those people out there hustling and bustling and clogging up the mall parking lots are buying presents for others.

As you may already know from previous blog posts, the Selling Snohomish Team considers giving back to the community we operate in one of our most important duties and we’re always looking for new ways to serve. This Christmas we have established a Giving Tree in our office with the goal of providing a special Christmas for three families in our area who could really use the help. If you would like to donate a gift or service just contact us for more information—we’ll also be holding a silent auction to raise money for presents.

There are so many opportunities to feel that Christmas Spirit of Giving in Snohomish County. It can be something as easy as picking up a few extra items while you’re shopping and donating them at a drop box to something more hands on like volunteering your time and services at a local shelter. I’ve picked out a few opportunities to get your mind moving—

Christmas House- For 35 years, Christmas House has been providing gifts for local low-income parents to give to their children. Last year they provided almost 9,000 gifts for over 3,000 families! Headquartered in the Everett Boys & Girls Club gymnasium, Christmas House is a great place to donate gifts, time or skills.

Arlington Kids Kloset- A great service for kids in need on the north end of Snohomish County, Arlington Kids Kloset provides school wardrobes for those in the Darrington, Lakewood and Arlington school districts. They accept both new and lightly used clothing plus monetary donations.

YWCA Adopt a Family- The YWCA has a well-organized program in which you can either give a lump sum donation to the program or actually “adopt” a family by buying gifts or gift cards the family based on details provided. This one is a great way to get your whole family or office involved.

The Everett Herald has a great article here that’s basically a list of every charitable organization in the area that could use our help during the holiday season.

In addition to the resources listed above I would encourage you to contact your local food bank or church to see what programs they may need your help with. There are still a few organizations out there that may not have an internet presence but would surely appreciate any help and Christmas Spirit you can provide.  – Michael Larson

Christmas Tree Tips

 

Selecting a Christmas Tree

Can you believe it’s already time to think about buying a Christmas tree?  Everybody has their own traditions, but in our house my wife insists that we get the tree up and decorated the weekend right after Thanksgiving.  This may seem a bit early, but with the right care a Christmas tree can easily last from Black Friday to well past New Years Day.  Here are some tips to keep your tree green and healthy throughout the holiday season-

 

  • Use a tree stand that actually fits your tree. If you have to whittle down the tree’s trunk, the stand doesn’t fit- and those outer layers of trunk are the best at absorbing water.  Also, the stand should hold enough water to provide one quart of water per inch of trunk circumference.
  • Once you get the tree home, cut off a ½” thick disk from the bottom to provide a fresh cut for better absorption and get the tree into water as soon as possible. Keep the cut as straight and perpendicular to the trunk as possible in order to provide a firm base.
  • Use lights that produce as little heat as possible—the new generation of LED lights are great for this. This is both a safety/fire issue and will help with the overall health and appearance of your tree.  Also, inspect the light string for any breaks or exposed wire before installing them on your tree.
  • Keep the tree away from any heat sources—fireplaces, woodstoves and both baseboard and forced air heaters. Once again, this is both a fire hazard issue and for the health of the tree.
  • Monitor the tree’s health and the water level DAILY. Keep the water topped up and make sure the tree’s needles aren’t drying out.  Remove the tree from your home at the first appearance of any drying.

 

Now that we’ve discussed general care and maintenance, here are some local resources that can help you find the perfect tree-

 

  • Stocker Farms, Snohomish- centrally located in the Snohomish Valley, Stocker Farms offers both pre-cut and U-cut options and four different types of fir trees. Open on November 27th.
  • Lochsloy Acres, Lake Stevens- a newer player in the Christmas tree game, Lochsloy started planting trees in 2003. They only seem to offer U-cut trees, but they do have wreathes and swags for sale also.  Open on November 27th.
  • Puget Sound Christmas Tree Association– As the name suggests, they’re an organization of local Christmas tree growers. Their site has an interactive map to find the nearest Christmas tree farm and some great information on tree types so you can narrow down your choices before you trek out into the winter weather.

 

Finally, a word on disposing of your tree responsibly-

  • There are several options available, with the most straightforward one being curbside pickup. Check with your garbage collector to see what their policy is…some require that the tree be cut up and put in your yard waste bin while others allow you to just leave the whole tree next too your garbage cans on collection day.
  • Another possibility is your local Boy Scout troop. Some offer pickup service while others set up locations for drop off.  The service is usually free but donations are definitely appreciated.
  • Lastly, your local big box hardware store may offer a recycling service for a limited time. Just call or check their website for availability.  – Michael Larson

Winter Selling Wonderland

Winter Selling Wonderland

Posted on November 6, 2014 by Keller Williams Realty International —
Provided by The Selling Snohomish Team of Keller Williams Western Realty
With the cooler weather usually comes cooler home sales as well. However, for the savvy seller, fall and winter could prove to be a very successful home selling season. In the winter, there is less competition on the market and winter buyers may be more motivated to buy as their need to move is more pressing.

winter selling

Motivated to sell this winter? Here are some tips for winter selling:
1. Take photos of the house on sunny days before the clouds take over and the leaves fall from the trees. Sellers want to be sure to show the full potential and beauty of the home. Reach out to clients now and suggest they get photos taken of their home in preparation for cold weather selling.
2. Create a virtual video tour of the home. In areas where the weather can get be especially stormy, offering potential buyers the opportunity to first see the home from the comfort of their own computer is helpful.
3. When hosting an open house, be sure to keep walkways and driveways clear. You don’t want any potential buyers to slip and fall on their way inside the home.
4. Keep the house warm. A warmer inside temperature will keep potential buyers inside longer. If someone will be in the home for a while, consider lighting a small fire in the fireplace to further warm the home and create an inviting space away from the cold.
5. Keep window curtains and blinds open to let in as much light as possible.
6. Create an atmosphere. In cooler months, you have the option to invite buyers to stay a little longer and enjoy a warm beverage and winter foods. Take this as an opportunity to really make them feel at home, and hopefully soon, they will be.
Another advantage of selling homes in the winter is the warmth and cheer of the holiday season. The holidays are a time for family, friends and gatherings. Create an environment that conveys the joy that has been shared in the home so buyers will be eager to move in and make their own memories. Avoid listing homes the week of Thanksgiving or the week of Christmas as buyers take that time off to enjoy the holidays. So, as the weather cools down, remember to use these tips and heat up your listing presentations.

Trick or Treat?!

Events and Activities for the Family during the Halloween Season
Events and Activities for the Family during the Halloween Season

Trick or Treat –  Do you have plans….

October is upon us and if you have children I’m sure they’re already daydreaming about what they’re going to do for Halloween—what costume they’re going to wear and of course how much candy they’re going to get!  This year is a bit unique because Halloween falls on a Saturday so it really could become a day long celebration if you wish—take a look at our earlier post on Fall Family Fun if you’re looking for something to do during the day.  Once the sun sets though it’s time to trick or treat.  Traditionally this meant waiting for dusk and then a trip through the neighborhood.  But what if I told you that you didn’t have to wait for sunset anymore?  What if I told you that there are alternatives to traditional trick or treating that still allow the kids to have fun but also make everything as convenient and easy as possible for parents?

While traditional trick or treating can be a ton of fun it does have some inherent disadvantage—start time is variable, the weather is a wildcard and tromping through a neighborhood can be tough on the little ones’ tiny legs.  Luckily, your friends and neighbors in Snohomish County have come up with a myriad of alternatives, all you have to do is pick the one that fits your particular needs.  There are trunk or treats where cars park in a well lit parking lot, usually a church or community center, and the kids can still enjoy the trick or treat tradition without walking mile upon mile.  Or perhaps something temperature controlled would peak your interest—most local malls now host some sort of trick or treating activity.  Just take a look around and you’re bound to find something convenient and fun but here’s a list to get you started-

 

Downtown Snohomish Trick or Treat, October 31st, 3:00-5:00pm- Snohomish’s annual trick or treat along historic First Avenue.  Lots of candy for the kids and great shopping and dining opportunities for the whole family.

 

Everett Mall Family Trick or Treat sponsored by 94.1 KMPS, October 31st, 3:00-5:00pm- Free trick or treating for kids 12 and under.  Bring along non-perishable items to donate to local food banks.  The best part about this one—the weather never changes inside the mall!

 

Treats on Main Street, Mill Creek, October 31st, 4:30-6:30pm- The merchants that make up the Mill Creek Town Center will be handing out treats for all.  This one’s perfect for dinner afterward—there are a ton of high quality dining options covering a wide range of tastes. Find out more here.

 

Mill Creek Trunk or Treat, October 31st, 6:30-8:00pm- Sponsored by Mill Creek Parks & Recreation and Canyon Creek Church, this is the classic trunk or treat where the kids can go car to car collecting their treats.  The perfect alternative for the younger trick or treaters whose little legs can tire out quickly.  The event will be held in the parking lot of the Mill Creek City Hall Annex.  Find out more here.

 

These are just a few of the larger, well advertised events.  Local churches seem to be the main purveyors of the trunk or treat and usually are more than happy to host their neighbors so I would suggest giving them a call for more information.  Stay safe and Happy Halloween from your Selling Snohomish Team  – Michael Larson

 

Market Update- What This Means To You

Snohomish County Real Estate Market Update

Market Update - What this means for you
Market Update – What this means for you

Hi there everybody, here’s a little update on the state of the real estate market in Snohomish County and what it all means to you.

In August there were 10,603 transactions in progress versus 9,921 new listings in the area. This makes the fifth month this year that sales are outpacing new inventory hitting the market.

What this means to you– The market is moving fast and desirable homes aren’t staying on the market very long.  Multiple offers are common.  So, if you’re looking to buy it’s important to have your ducks in a row before you find that perfect home as time is of the essence.  The number one thing you can do to prepare yourself is to contact your realtor now.  They can help you get in touch with a qualified lender and get ready to make an offer as soon as you find the home that fits your needs.

  • Inventory will continue to drop as winter approaches. Historically, new listings drop about 50 percent during this time of year.

What this means to you As winter approaches many sellers may decide to wait until spring to list their home.  Coupled with the existing dearth of listings in the area it becomes even more important to realize that there is no waiting out the current lack of inventory if you’re a buyer.

  • Accurate pricing is still important. According to John Deely of Northwest MLS, “the market is reacting quickly to accurately priced listings but overpriced ones are sitting with little activity.”

What this means to you Once again, the service of a reputable realtor is critical whether you’re a seller or a buyer.  Pricing isn’t a guessing game your realtor has access to information and tools to accurately price your property based on market history and comparable properties in the area in order to insure maximization of your profits in a minimal amount of time on the market.  For buyers, your realtor can help you avoid those overpriced properties and get you the most home for your money.

  • Interest rates continue to be low and stable but there are rumors about a rise in the near future.

What this means to you Buyers are and will continue to be motivated.  The current low-interest rates help keep mortgages manageable thereby encouraging purchases.  Rumors of an eventual increase in interest rates in the near future only spur that on.  Not to harp on the matter, but there is just no magic gap in the market to wait for where prices are expected to drop or inventory is expected to explode.  If you are looking to buy there really is no time like the present.

The real estate market is always changing and there’s no reason to attempt to make your way through it by yourself.  Make an appointment today to speak to a Selling Snohomish team member—nobody else can help you navigate the Snohomish County market better than we can.

Sept 2015 Market Stats
Sept 2015 Market Stats

– Michael Larson

 

Fall Family Fun-Snohomish County Style

Fall Family Fun-Snohomish County Style
Fall Family Fun-Snohomish County Style

 

Fall Family Fun- Snohomish County Style

Just because summer is behind us doesn’t mean the fun is too!  Snohomish County has something for everybody whether you want to get out and enjoy our crisp fall weather or retreat to the warmth of an indoor event.  Here are some ideas to get you started-

-Monster Bash, Touch a Tank and Truck Event, October 3rd– The Flying Heritage Collection is hosting their 2nd annual Monster Bash.  You can get your picture taken with a monster truck, get up close and personal with a real Sherman tank, a fire truck and many other exhibits.  Kids under 13 in costume get in free and exhibitors will be handing out treats.  Get more information at flyingheritage.com.

Snohomish Pumpkin Farm
Snohomish Pumpkin Farm

-Snohomish Valley Festival of Pumpkins, September 26th-October 31st– Seven family owned pumpkin farms in the valley have come together to promote all of their fall-centric activities.  Are you wondering where you can find the best corn maze?  Looking for a hayride for that perfect photo op?  Where can your teens go to shoot at zombies with paintballs?  Which pumpkin patch is for me?  Get all your answers at festivalofpumpkins.org.

-The 39th Annual Everett Sausage Festival, October 2nd-4th– It’s and Everett tradition! Everybody will enjoy this Bavarian themed celebration punctuated by great food, carnival style games and rides, a live entertainment stage, bingo and more.  Get a full Bavarian sit down dinner or hit up one of the many food stands and take in the arts and crafts exhibits.  Find out more at everettsausagefest.com.

-Witches Night Out, October 8th For those in the southern part of the county the Country Village in Bothell is holding their annual Witches Night Out event from 6-8pm.  Come in costume and enjoy a witch hunt, refreshments and shopping specials.  See countryvillagebothell.com for more information.

-Seahawks Games at the Historic Everett Theatre, various dates– How amazing would it be to see your Seattle Seahawks on a 25-foot screen?  What if you could watch it for free?  Well you can at the Historic Everett Theatre.  For $12 you can even get a meal included as long as you RSVP.  Check of the schedule of games at historiceveretttheatre.org.

 

Obviously this is just a sampling of things to do around Snohomish County.  We live and work in a vibrant, eclectic and unique place on this earth nestled between a bustling metropolis and the rural farmlands that provide sustenance for us all.  Go explore and let us know what you find!

– blog by Michael Larson-