Category Archives: seattle

Pre-listing home inspections are worth every dollar and more!

Pre-listing home inspections from Seattle to Wenatchee, Leavenworth and Lake Chelan.

Ready to sell your house?  Give yourself an edge in this tough market with a pre-listing inspection. 

Sell your home faster! Put your best foot forward from the beginning and let buyers know that you have nothing to hide.

Receive better offers when you have disclosed the true condition of the property with a pre-listing inspection report. Avoid “low ball offers.”

Eliminate price negotiations based on the buyer’s inspection. If you’ve priced the home based on the pre-listing inspection’s findings then you’ve decreased the reasons for price negotiations after mutual acceptance.

Avoid walk-away buyers by removing surprises. Frustrated buyers will often walk away from a deal when the inspection report exposes concealed repairs.

The price is right! Resolve all issues before the house goes on the market and price it accordingly. Don’t want to fix it? Reflect the current condition in the listing price.

Increase profits when you have completed the repairs yourself. Even minor findings in the buyer’s inspection can result in profit losses. The buyer will frequently provide the higher contractor bid while you would have chosen the best value bid.

HERE’S A COUPON FOR YOUR PRE-LISTING INSPECTION!

home inspection coupon wenatchee seattlepre-listing home inspection coupon

July 4th Celebrations in the Greater Seattle Area

By: Rebecca Darley, AMS Inspection:  Home Inspections in Seattle and surrounding areas.

Seattle:  Family Fourth at Lake Union

July 4: Gas Works Park.  Games 12-8 p.m. Food vendors, beer garden, personal picnics OK, no BBQ or alcohol allowed. Fireworks at dusk. (www.family4th.org).

Bellevue Family 4th

July 4: Celebration with live music, kids activities and food 4-10:30 p.m. Fireworks at 10:05 p.m. Bellevue Downtown Park (www.bellevuedowntown.org/events/familyfourth).

Kirkland:  Celebrate Kirkland

July 4:  Kid parade, hat making and face painting at 10 a.m.  Main parade at 12 p.m.  Food vendors 1-5 p.m..  Bouncy Toys 2 p.m.  Heritage Park live music in the evening.  Fireworks at 10:15 p.m. Marina Park (www.celebratekirkland.org).

Sammamish:  4th on the Plateau

July 4: Live music, food, playground.  Fireworks at 10:15 p.m.  Sammamish Commons Park (www.ci.sammamish.wa.us/events/4thJuly.aspx).

Carnation: Fourth of July

July 4: Craft vendors, Hot Rods and Harleys, 5K Run/Walk, music, food, pony rides and bouncy toys.  Kid Parade at 10:30 a.m.  Grand parade 11 a.m.  Fireworks at dusk..  Tolt Commons Park (www.carnation4th.org).

Renton: Fabulous 4th of July

July 4:  Free kids activities, food vendors, face painting, 12-8 p.m. Stage entertainment 1:30-9:30 p.m. Fireworks at 10 p.m. Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park (rentonwa.gov).

An Edmonds Kind of Fourth

July 4:  Fun run at 10 a.m.  Children’s parade at 11:30 a.m. and main parade at 12 p.m.  Firefighter waterball competition at 3 p.m.  Entertainment at 7:30 p.m.  Fireworks at 10 p.m. Civic Stadium (www.edmondswa.com/events/fourth-of-july.html).

Bothell Freedom Festival

July 4:  Free pancake breakfast at 8:30-10:30 a.m.  Kids parade at 11:15 a.m. Main parade at 12 p.m. (www.ci.bothell.wa.us).

Everett’s Colors of Freedom

July 4: Parade at 11 a.m.  Kids activities, food fair, live music and fireworks over Port Gardner Bay, 1-11 p.m.. Legion Memorial Park (www.enjoyeverett.org).

For a more complete list Puget Sound July 4th Celebrations read the Seattle Times article that was sourced.

Windermere Forms New Entity To Tackle Web Solutions

Photo credit: mobilemarketingwatch.com

Windermere is one of the biggest real estate companies in the Pacific Northwest. We work with their Wenatchee and Seattle area offices all the time. In a time when social media, phone apps and web solutions are the best way to reach your clients Windermere is jump starting it’s techy side to keep up with the competition. Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, Estately and other web-based real estate solution providers are making pretty big waves in the way that real estate professionals advertise their services and stay connected in the industry. Brett Eddy formed Windermere Solutions in January to boost the company’s digital connections. With 50 employees working in Pioneer Square, Eddy (the CTO) plans to reinvent Windermere’s online identity by integrating design, navigation, social media and functionality with mobile platforms.

In our business it’s very important to utilize web and mobile applications. We use palm pilots, smart phone apps and social media to conduct daily home inspection business. We have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Trulia, Zillow, Blogspot, WordPress, MerchantCircle, Yelp and others to help advertise our business, stay connected with clients and industry vendors and get involved in our community. Geekwire.com conducted an interview with Brett Eddy about his new endeavor with Windermere and he stated that the company’s web properties currently attract “1.2 million visitors per month.” Read more about the new Windermere Solutions in this Geekwire.com article.

Seasonal Showers & Your Crawl Space Or Basement

flooded yard

Wenatchee Home Yard Flooded

April showers bring May flowers….or flooded crawl spaces and basements!  Seasonal water damage isn’t as obvious as you may think.  It doesn’t take a severe flood to do water damage to your home just increased saturation.  For most of the Wenatchee, Leavenworth and Seattle areas we’ve experienced an increase in precipitation and strong winds over the last week.  Now is the time to pay close attention to your crawl space, basements and drainage in your yard.

Right now is a good time to take a trip down to your crawl space.  Prolonged moisture in the crawl space can attribute to mold, mildew, sill rot, joist rot, soil settlement, contamination of insulation and insect attraction.  Monitor the walls in your basement for signs of moisture as well.

Follow these tips to keep the water out of your home.  Clear gutters and downspouts of debris ensuring that water will be pulled from the roof and away from your home.  Remember, a downspout doesn’t do any good if it deposits the water next to house!  If your home’s yard frequently floods like the picture then you have problems resulting from a negative grade to the property.  In other words your home should built up so that water slopes away from the home’s foundation.  Finally, clear the storm water drains on the streets by your home frequently.  This will avoid blockage and buildup of water causing dangerous street and property flooding.  Should the property become a bigger problem than you can manage call the municipality.  Of course, we are happy to perform a maintenance inspection on your home to determine any damages resulting from seasonal floods or moisture intrusion.

“Think Local First” in Leavenworth

Leavenworth, Washington, is a great little town of about 2,000 full time residents, but draws just over one million visitors every year.  The Bavarian theme town has a healthy economy, a thriving downtown and abundant recreational and tourist attractions.  Last week Rebecca attended a reception for local independent business owners called “Think Local First.”  While our home inspection company advertises service from Seattle to Wenatchee our office is based out of Leavenworth for the wonderful reasons listed above.

The mission of Think Local First in Leavenworth & the Upper Wenatchee Valley is “to build a sustainable economy by increasing awareness about the personal, community and economic benefits of choosing local, independently-owned businesses first.”  After seeing many familiar faces and sipping on donated local wine in the Barn Beach Reserve River Haus we watched a Bellingham based short docu-film highlighting the processes and successes of supporting locally owned businesses by purchasing their goods and services.  The room was packed!

Next, the group was introduced to the board of advisers that were behind the night’s event.  We were encouraged to “Think Local First” with each purchase.  The idea is that money stays where you spend it.  According a handout from the evening, a consulting firm (Civic Economics) found that “when West Michigan consumers choose a locally owned business over a non-local alternative, $68 of every $100 spent stays in the community.”  It went on to describe that only $43 stays in the community if spent non-locally and $0 remains when choosing to spend online.  Of course, the bottom line here is growth:  in activity, jobs, income and community.

The Call To Action!  Everyone was encouraged to sign a “10% Shift” pledge by the end of the evening.  If you could pledge to spend 10% more of your normal purchases locally then signing the dotted line was not too hard.  Living in a small town you’ll find that you can’t get everything in your neighborhood.  I happen to know that you can’t process film or purchase a car in Leavenworth, but daily tasks and common services are very easy to manage.  The aforementioned handout referenced the same 2008 Kent County, Michigan, study when discussing the power of the 10% shift.  Their study estimated that the “10% shift would result in $140 million in new economic activity; 1,600 new jobs, and $50 millions in new wages.”  In Chelan County that would mean “$16.8 million in new economic activity; 192 new jobs; and $6 million in new wages.”

I’m up for the challenge!  We’re going to make the 10% Shift.  I know that whatever we can’t find from local business owners in Leavenworth we can certainly find within Chelan County in Wenatchee.  How about you?  Can you make the pledge in your town?

Closing Costs Calculator for the Washington Home Buyer

We perform home inspections in about 10 counties throughout Washington from Seattle to Wenatchee.  Occasionally our clients call to book an inspection and are still a little confused about the inspection cost– who pays it, how much it is, etc.  We did a little internet search and found a few closing cost calculators that may help the potential home buyer.  The calculator we are sharing seems to have the most descriptions of the costs, but will only give you a rough idea since the costs are only estimations.  For example, they estimate the cost of an inspection at $175, but our inspections start at $275…this is standard for a single family home.  Condos may be less.  Also, the appraisal fee usually starts around $300.  A loan application fee will be added to the credit report for a combined fee of $75-$300.  With all this in mind you can use the calculator to get an idea of the added costs associated with buying a home.  If you have a good agent to walk you through the buying process then you won’t be blindsided with these costs.  They can also help you negotiate fees that may be shared with the seller.

Closing Costs Calculator from Mortgage-Investments.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.