Winter is Coming – Winterize Your Seattle Home

With snow in the forecast for the mountains and with the potential of hitting the lowlands on Friday, people in the Puget Sound area are getting ready for winter. With this list, Seattle residents can easily winterize their homes. Here are some tips:

  1. Clean the gutters – This easy step can prevent water from backing up and seeping into your house. Plus, it gives you a chance to check for leaks and on your pipes.
  2. Find and seal obvious leaks – Find the leaks by walking inside the Seattle house with incense, especially in the standard drafty areas. . Make sure to buy door sweeps and caulk leaks and drafty spots. If you have brick, use a masonry sealer.
  3. Check your insulation – Look for any loose insulation in your house and try to look where you can add additional insulation.
  4. Check the furnace – It helps to have an HVAC professional come out to clean the ducts and inspect your furnace, something that should be done annually. Make sure to stock up on furnace filters, as well.
  5. Put up storm windows – Installing storm windows can have a major impact on how warm your house is. If it’s too expensive, you can also opt to buy a window insulator kit or have curtains. Any additional layer helps.
  6. Reverse the fan – By turning the fan blades so it spins counter-clockwise, it ensures that heat is directed downward to you.
  7. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – Daylight Savings is a good time to make sure your detectors work. Also, make sure a carbon monoxide detector is near your furnace.
  8. Prepare for any snow in your house by purchasing the right supplies – Make sure you have a snow shovel, road salt, and chains on hand for when and if it snows.
  9. Prepare your landscaping – Trim tree branches that hang close to your home or to electrical wires. Also, protect the plants that are sensitive to heat.
  10. Prevent plumbing from freezing – Know what the water main in, if you need to do an emergency shut off. Drain your garden hoses and don’t forget to insulate your exposed pipes. Styrofoam cups are great for that.

Downtown Seattle Condo Market Heating Up!

The downtown Seattle condo real estate market is heating up. Recently, downtown Seattle’s tallest condominium tower, Olive 8, reported that it is now 2/3rds sold. Also, the Escala finally reached the 50% sold milestone, giving the condo approval to qualify for Fannie Mae. This opens up the supply of buyers who can receive financing to live in the Escala.

The downtown Seattle condo real estate market has improved in the past few years. The current trend is the stabilization of prices, due to fewer listings and more sales. This, combined with record low rates have made buyers more confident, especially in the downtown Seattle condo market. Condos, like the Olive 8 and the Escala, are especially  attractive to buyers, as they provide a lot of value, in terms of amenities. Olive 8 condo owners can enjoy access to the Hyatt’s services, while Escala residents have access to a private elevator vestibule. These value-adding amenities combined with the strong market are causing the units to sell quick.

With the condo buildings filling up, I can only expect the retail commercial spaces to do the same. Here’s an vacant retail/warehouse space near the Olive 8 condos. There’s a few other Seattle properties for lease here as well.

Seattle Real Estate: Happiness is Just Around the Corner

In the most recent “Emerging Trends on Real Estate” report, Seattle is the fifth best market for real estate investing. It ranks as a top “buy” market for retail and offices, ranking as the best market for buying retail and industrial property and the 2nd best market for investing in office space.

When people think of real estate investing, places like Los Angeles and San Francisco come to mind. However, the quiet neighbor up north should not be forgotten, especially if you’re interested in snagging a good deal. Seattle became one of the top-tier real estate markets about ten years ago. I’m not surprised Seattle ranks high in real estate investing, due to a few main reasons. First, Seattle has diverse industries. It has the new-age, tech giants of Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook (who just moved to South Lake Union). Then, it has the strong employers that are Boeing, Costco, and Nordstrom. Second, it truly is an international city, serving as a gateway city through its international airport or active ports. Third, it is desirable for its residents. Any true Seattleite knows that the rain here really isn’t that bad (Have you been in Boston rain?) and the city’s skyline reflects the naturally beautiful environment, from the Olympic Mountains to Elliott Bay to Mt. Rainier in the Cascades. It also has a low crime rate, an active arts and sports culture, world-class food, and educated people.

So, where is the best place to invest in real estate in the Seattle area? Based on the report, there are strong office and apartment markets in or near downtown Seattle. (Here’s a cute brick building in the up-and-coming Georgetown neighborhood). I would strongly advise staying in the city limits, as the suburbs won’t be filling up until the city does first.

Investors are already buying up properties in Seattle properties. However, potential buyers are waiting until prices truly bottom out. With falling home prices and low interest rates creating record highs of home affordability, they won’t have to wait for long.