Category Archives: chelan

July 4th Celebrations: Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Lake Chelan

By: Rebecca Darley, AMS Inspection: Home Inspections in Wenatchee & Leavenworth

Wenatchee July 4th Celebration

Even though the water levels are extremely high along the river banks between Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, the July 4th fireworks and celebration will still go on at Walla Walla Point Park.  The Chelan PUD-owned park will have food and craft tents open at 12 p.m.  Live music starts at 4 p.m. and the fireworks finale starts around 10:15 p.m.

For more information about the high rivers read this article from the Wenatchee World.

Leavenworth Kinderfest

The July 4th Festival celebrates children and their families with snacks and old-fashioned games from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Front Street, downtown Leavenworth; free (509-548-5807 or www.leavenworth.org).

Lake Chelan July 4th Celebration at Manson Bay

Live music from Lake Boys 7-10 pm on July 4th.  Fireworks start at 10:15 pm, Manson Bay, Lake Chelan.  Bring a lawn chair, blanket or sit our your deck or boat (free, http://www.lakechelan.com).

Homeowner Tax Guide: Get All Your Deductions!

In a time where buyers are cautious and are really weighing out all the benefits of home ownership here are some considerations for tax season. Several tax deductions and credits are providing relief to homeowners and making them very proud of their investment decision. Deducting mortgage interest, home equity debt, capital gains on home sales and taking advantage of energy conservation credits are just a few of the tax season benefits that homeowners can cash in on. Do you have a home office? There’s another one. Most of our monthly home loan payment is interest and you can deduct every bit of it. Only those folks with a loan of $1,000,000+ receive a cap on this deduction.

Stephanie Singer, a Realtors.org contributor wrote about this topic in Tax Time Less Taxing for Home Owners. She said that, “ninety-one percent of homeowners who claim the mortgage interest deduction earn less than $200,000 a year, and the ability to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage can mean significant savings at tax time. For example, a family who bought a home in 2010 with a $200,000, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, assuming an interest rate of 4.5 percent, could save nearly $3,500 in federal taxes when they file this year.”

We found a great resource from Kiplinger.com. They have listed all the deductions for homeowners at “What’s Deductible? – A to Z.” Check it out to make sure that you’re getting the most deductions as a homeowner. We use a skilled accountant in Wenatchee to guide us through our own tax deductions. We suggest that you hire a recommended accounting professional to point out these important opportunities for you.

Home Show in Wenatchee: Feb. 11-13th

Home Show Wenatchee Town Toyota CenterEvery year the NCHBA or North Central Home Builders Association produces a spectacular home show in Wenatchee, Washington.  There’s a little something for everyone whether you are interested in remodeling, decorating, building, buying or selling a home…they’ve got all the experts there for your questions!  Here’s some info from their website.  Download this COUPON for $1 off admission:

This year, we have a lot of new things going on and are very excited to “get the Show on the road”! The Kid’s Zone by Lowe’s is going to be fantastic this year. Not only will the kids be able to build their own project with a professional from Lowe’s, they can go on a scavenger hunt with their parents or enjoy FREE ice skating on Friday and Saturday. So, if you have kids that are 12 and under, make sure to take them to the Kids Zone by Lowe’s, located in the Crunch-Pak Hospitality Room on the the main floor of the Town Toyota Center!  Workshops and How-to’s that you WON’T want to miss! Come and see what the Master Gardeners have to demonstrate on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the show!   Be one of the first 250 attendees on Saturday and Sunday and receive a special Home Show Entrance Bag! These bags will be filled with small gifts, specials and discount coupons from participating sponsors and vendors! These bags will also come in very handy when you need a place to stow away other information and items you gather!  There will be additional event parking available for attendees across the street at Walla Walla Point Park, both parking lots, as well as at Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. Many thanks to Lowe’s for generously allowing our Home Show attendees to use half of their parking lot for our event!

Hot Water Heaters Expansion Tanks, what do they really do?

Thermal expansion of water in a closed plumbing system can create a number of annoying and potentially dangerous problems. These include: unusually high pressure in a system, pressure surges, and the chronic or continuous dripping of a temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve. In addition, dripping faucets and leaking toilet tank ball cock fill valves are also symptomatic of thermal expansion.   More serious problems can also occur due to thermal expansion. When dangerous pressures are built up in a water heater, internal parts may fail such as the internal flues, fittings or water connections. If a flue way collapses it can lead to the potential release of toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide into living spaces.

Virtually, every modern plumbing code requires the installation of an expansion tank on hot water heater installations. The reason is simple. Water expands when heated. This extra volume of water needs to go somewhere. Before the widespread usage of backflow preventers, check valves and pressure reducing valves, this expanded water simply pushed the cold water back into the city water main. Now with these devices required in new construction and most permitted remodels we have successfully closed this system.

Where does the pressure to go?

Expansion tanks are really simple devices. They contain compressed air and a special rubber bladder. When your hot water heater turns on, the water within your piping system begins to expand. This expanding water slowly enters the expansion tank as the water is brought to temperature. Eventually, hot water is drawn from the system thru a faucet and the expansion tank releases the extra water into the piping system.

The installation of an expansion tank is a simple upgrade for any hot water systems.  There are some things you need to know before running out and purchasing your unit such as existing water pressures, capacity of the hot water tank, and ensuring the unit you purchase is for potable water systems.   I always recommend working with a licensed plumbing contractor.

Home For the Holidays: Thanksgiving Safety Tips

thanksgiving safety tips for home

Photo from bhg.com

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Thanksgiving Day receives the most reports for home-cooking fires, which is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries.  I compiled a list of reminders to make sure your family has a safe and fun holiday.

Watch the stove.  Unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires.  Turn off appliances when no one is in the kitchen and set loud timers.

Stay alert! Medicine, sleep depravation and alcohol consumption can all make you drowsy and less able to concentrate on safety.

Remain tidy.  Keep oven mitts, potholders, utensils, food packaging, bags, towels, etc. away from your stovetop and ovens.

Keep a lid on it.  Use a lid to smother small grease fires.  Never use water.

No Falls!  Shovel and de-ice the driveway and walkways to make sure your guests don’t slip on their way into your house.  Shovel out additional areas for parking so your guests aren’t blocking roads.

Don’t overload circuits!  With crock pots, blenders and all the small appliances needed to make the feast you can easily overload the breaker.  Only plug in 2 appliances at a time into a standard duplex outlet.  Using an extension cord to multiple usage will increase the risk of overload.

Know where your fire extinguisher is located.

From our home to yours…Happy Holidays!

Unique Central Washington Resorts

Wenatchee Home Inspection

Resort at the Gorge

Can you think of anything better than 300 days of sunshine just a couple of hours drive from Seattle?  How about sitting waterfront with the beautiful night sky clear of any city lights, traffic or smog?  Here are a few places popping up in Central Washington that could become your major escape destination.  Bear Mountain Ranch in Lake Chelan boasts a premier golf course ranked by PGA Touring Professionals in the top 6 new resorts of America.  Bear Mountain has bare lots for your future dream home or custom “Bandera” homes constructed from 10 different floor plans up 3,800 square feet.  The Ranch plans call for an orchard, vineyard, equine center and inn with a spa.  The gated community overlooks the beautiful Lake Chelan and is just a few minutes drive from downtown.  Traveling east from Wenatchee The Resort At The Gorge is just getting underway and they’ve got big plans including: a RV park, a water park, bungalows and a 120-unit hotel.  Just minutes from the popular Gorge Amphitheater and eyeing the 300,000 patrons that it brings seasonally, the Resort At The Gorge should have no problem stirring up interest.  Suitably appointed cliff-side bungalows start at $189,000 for 1,000 square feet.  RV Park lots start at $75,000.  Other attractions include wineries, climbing, the Columbia River and 850 acres of beautiful canyon land. 

Yakima Home Inspection

Zillah Lakes

Finally, Zillah Lakes is located just south of Yakima in the heart of Washington wine country.  Developers started construction this month on the golf course at the center of this new residential community.  The Zillah Lakes plan includes homes and townhomes constructed along the man-made lakes, a tournament golf course, commercial spaces for a bistro, wine-tasting room, convenience store, coffee shop, bed & breakfast, boutique retailers and live-work office spaces.  The Town Center may also include a preschool, motel and brewery.  It appears that Central Washington has a lot to offer the weekend traveler.  Sunshine, wine and waterfront seem to be the common attractions.  Maybe I’ll get lucky soon…I’d love to add golf clubs or a wakeboard to my home inspection tool bag. Give me a call to inspect these properties so I can make a memorable weekend out of it!

Chelan Home Inspection

Bear Mountain Ranch

 

Paragliding Competition in Lake Chelan

Our lead home inspector and owner, Aaron, is a paragliding enthusiast.  He took a day off of work this week to volunteer at the nationally sanctioned Chelan XC Open where about 100 pilots take off of Chelan Butte for several days performing “tasks” in a timely fashion.  Aerial Paragliding, a Cashmere-based paragliding school, produces the event with the help of numerous sponsors and volunteers.  If you were in the area this week you probably noticed 100 small colored dots clustered in the sky.  Those were pilots receiving coordinates to complete tasks to their destination.  The competitors use SPOT, a messenger tracking device that retrieves coordinates.  Once landed the pilots use the device to alert all “followers” that they are safely down and then a volunteer driver picks them up at the given location.  Results are in!  If you are interested click on the links below.  Chelan also hosts the N. America’s Paragliding World Cup next week, so check it out if you’re in the area.

Chelan XC Open Results
Chelan XC Open Details
Aerial Paragliding
Paragliding World Cup in Chelan

2010 Real Estate Outlook

I just attended the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 Real Estate Outlook breakfast panel discussion on April 22nd. This event provided valuable information and discussed the indicators of the health and direction of the economy…and in effect- the real estate market. The panel included an appraiser, a construction company owner, a mortgage broker, realtor, commercial property manager.

The panel was split on their feelings about the direction of 2010. It was about a 50-50 positive- negative outlook. I’m “the glass is half full” kind of guy so the positive notes inspired me and were really appreciated. Everyone was in agreement that slow growth in the real estate market would be equally healthy and almost inevitable. The big boom from a few years ago isn’t happening again any time soon and for several good reasons. A bubble will always burst. Here’s what I learned from the Wenatchee Valley experts:

The real estate services professional, commented on the slow commercial leasing market. Rents have reduced from $22 per square foot to $12-14 per square foot. Down payments have increased from 25-40%. East Wenatchee is becoming a popular location with several vacancies showing up downtown.

The appraiser indicated that there is a 2-year supply of 500k+ homes and a healthier 1-year supply of 100-200k homes. He agreed that rents are being lowered in order to keep filled. It appears that an occupied space is better than a vacant one, even if it’s not getting its full value.

The contractor remained positive and boasted profits even though he performed below “boom time.” His company modified their target consumer. Now they get more contracts for folks moving into town or retiring and downsizing. They see far less First Time Home Buyers and have yet to sell a home to anyone taking advantage of the 8k home buyer’s credit. I was really surprised to hear this because so many of my realtor friends have been able to help their clients with this credit. This contractor is seeing more buyers paying with cash or financing with great credit and their company offers financing. A true concern for their company is supply costs. With plants closing there is (as Jay explains) an “artificial shortage” that increase the supply costs dramatically, but he also says that if you “provide custom quality at spec house prices, they’ll buy!”

The mortgage expert provided some cold, hard facts to keep us on our toes. Yes, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are pulling the purse strings with tighter requirements. There was a small increase in foreclosures in Chelan County this year but we’ve remained above the state or country average. He suspected that the government policing will decrease growth and concluded that the market is 15% above the long term trend. I asked him for clarification on this. The long term trend is calculated by taking housing appreciation and adding 3% per year. After keying the calculator, in his opinion the market will still decline 15%. Food for thought…Approach with caution or take advantage while you can?

The realtor added more positive spin on the morning. Her introduction: “realtors look forward and appraisers look backward.” With 21 counties in the Northwest Multiple Listings she has seen a 51% increase in pending sales. The March 2010 pending sales were up 35% from March 2009. This is great news! The hottest price range in Chelan County is $250-300k which is also comforting because the Appraiser said there is a 2-year supply of these homes. We need to put them to work! The realtor concluded that she has worked harder than she ever has since her start in 1993. Consumers are making responsible decisions but require a lot of education, hands-on attention, negotiating, meetings and counseling. It’s not coming easy anymore but it is comforting to know that our consumers are making wiser choices.

Well, this was a well-rounded discussion of where the real estate market has come from and where 2010 may take us. I think it’s safe to say that we’ll all approach with caution. We’ve got to get creative in this industry and maybe change tactics a bit, but our consumers are strong and aware. As a home inspector we want our clients to be very active in the services that we provide. Being present on inspections and asking questions is strongly encouraged. It appears that consumers are taking their time to make wise decisions and planning quality investments. That’s good news to me.