Geneva Neighborhood Open House this Sunday from 1pm to 3pm

FOR SALE(1)

Join me this weekend for an open house at 1363 S Parkstone Ct in Bellingham this Sunday from 1pm to 3pm.

Tucked away at the end of a private cul de sac is this gorgeous 4 bedroom home. The minute you enter, you know you are in for a real treat as you experience well-designed spaces, natural light flooding through the windows, gleaming hardwood floors that appear to be brand new, soaring ceilings & high grade finishes used throughout. Whether it’s early morning coffee on the front porch, a thoughtful moment in the gardens or a special celebration on the back deck, this home is built for enjoyment.

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Join us for an open house on Sunday, June 24th from 1pm – 3pm at 1363 S Parkstone Court in Bellingham. Don’t miss out on this turn key home in a great neighborhood.

For more information, visit the virtual tour here.

Are We Feeling the Shockwaves of Seattle’s Market?

The headline on the front page of The Seattle Times this morning is “Home Prices Jump in South Seattle”.  The article goes on to say the City’s median house price is now nearly $820,000. We feel the shock waves of the Seattle market here in Whatcom County as more Seattleites search up & down the I-5 corridor to find an affordable home.

More often than not, one hears “how can local folks afford to buy a home here”? Many times the buyers are people displaced by the high prices of the Seattle market & searching out a place for their family. Terms we are hearing now include “Pressure Cooker Market”, “Surging Prices”, “Instant Response Market” rather than a “Quick Action Market”.  No matter what terms you prefer to use, know that our local real estate market will continue to rise, inventory will be in short supply & while interest rates will continue to rise, it’s doubtful to me that it will do much to slow things down.

Here’s a great visual on the number of homes available overtime:

April 2018 Snap Shot

If you or your friends or family have questions about the market, Mike & I would be more than  happy to help you make some sense out of it.  Give us a call at 360 303 2734.

 

Waterfront Lot For Sale!

Sandy point lot

Looking for an incredible waterfront lot? Just minutes from Ferndale and Bellingham?

4435 Saltspring Drive is currently listed for just $105,000

All the work has been done and this lot is ready to build. SPIC water has been paid and the meter is set, Sewer is on the lot and the power pole is up. Plans included and ready to submit for a building permit. Over 65 feet of waterfront on the Lake at Sandy Point. Enjoy incredible sunsets to the west and the snowcapped hills to the east. Amenities for Sandy Point- pool, golf, boat launch, sports court and fresh air. Some of the best walking in the county.

To learn more, or to schedule a tour of the property visit our website today or call (360) 201-5088.

Spring is Here! Is your lawn ready?

Hand LawnSpring is officially here! Even though the sun is not shining today, warmer and brighter days are ahead.

Now is the time to attend to our lawns and get ahead of the curve to achieve a vibrant and healthy turf! Winter can change soil pH, compact the soil and create hospitable environments for weeds and disease.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

 

1. Give your yard a good raking now. This helps with thatch build up and leaf removal left over from last season. This will remove any dead grass blades and give you a fresh start. Also, if you find any “matted patches” from winter, a light raking will help you to avoid a disease called “snow mold”. It’s best to start this step after all the snow is gone for the season… Watch for uneven areas. Low spots cause poor drainage and high spots can get scalped by the lawn mower. A shovel can help you even out the ground…cut back raised areas and fill in the depressed ones. For very large lawns, you can rent a de-thatcher.

 

2. Check for compaction. Compaction happens when there is high foot traffic. Grass can’t take root when there is compaction and weeds can flourish. Moss can signify compaction (among other things). The remedy is lawn aeration. Aeration is best performed in late Spring, in our area of the country. How do you know if your lawn is compacted? Try this trick: stick a garden fork into the ground. If the tines fail to penetrate 2 inches (5.08 centimeters), your soil is compacted and should be loosened with an aerator designed to remove small plugs of soil from your lawn.

 

3. Moss also signals acidity. Grass likes it neutral, so lime is a good idea to help this situation, although it’s a slow fix. ONLY lime if there is truly an acidity issue, otherwise, you can go backwards as your lawn may become alkaline, which is not helpful either. Consider having your lawn tested to identify its condition. Also, consider an iron application which is usually in spray form. Within days, the turf should respond to the iron applications and turn darker green in color.

 

4. You may need to overseed if you have dog spots, heavy traffic or neglect *(bare, brown spots). A slow release nitrogen fertilizer should be applied while overseeding. Five weeks later, after the grass germinates, apply a quick release nitrogen fertilizer.

 

Special thanks to our friends at Corion Landscape Management for the great article. If you need professional help with getting our lawn ready for spring, Corion Landscape Management is here to help. Corion offers exceptional landscaping installation and maintenance services for Bellingham, Ferndale, Mt. Vernon, Burilington and all of Whatcom, Skagit and Island Counties.

Green Spring Cleaning Solutions

Natural Cleaning Ideas

The sun is shining and Spring is almost here!  With Spring often times comes the feeling to spruce things up around the house. But, don’t rush out and buy all the kitchen and bathroom cleaning chemicals you can find. You might be surprised to learn that you have many ingredients you could use to clean already in your pantry. Below are some green cleaning solution mixtures to help you keep your home sparkling clean.

 Floors: Mix 4 cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate, leaving behind only the scent of the oil.

Glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.

Counter tops and bathroom tile: Mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda with 4 parts water. Apply with a sponge, scour, and wipe away.

Wood furniture: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive and oil. Apply a small amount to a cloth, and rub onto the furniture in long, even strokes.

– Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub away! Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead. Wipe the outside of the toilet clean with straight vinegar.

– Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, 3 cups hot water, and 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use a spray bottle. Wipe clean.

– Mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar.

– Air freshener: Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball, and stash it in a corner of the room. If you have kids, make sure it is out of their reach as essential oils are very strong and could irritate their skin. Lavender is a relaxing scent that is great for bedrooms, and cinnamon, clove, and citrus oils are great for the rest of the house. You can stash a few in the car too—try peppermint, which may help you to stay alert.

Source: Sparkpeople.com- Lisa Barnes

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What Difference Does an Hour Make?

 

Difference an Hour makes

Some Highlights:

  • Don’t forget to set your clocks forward this Sunday, March 11th at 2:00 AM EST in observance of Daylight Saving Time.
  • Unless of course, you are a resident of Arizona or Hawaii!
  • Every hour in the United States: 614 homes are sold, 81 homes regain

Want to make your hours count for your real estate deals? We are here to help! 

Is Now a Good Time to Rent?

Rent pic 1

People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home, but nobody ever asks when it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their 2017 fourth quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

Rent pic 2

As you can see, rents have steadily increased and are showing no signs of slowing down. If you are faced with making the decision of whether or not you should renew your lease, you might be pleasantly surprised at your ability to buy a home of your own instead.
Bottom Line

One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy. The first step is to contact a lender. We have  a great database of experienced local lenders to choose from. Call us today for a lender reference and to get the ball rolling at 1-888-713-3056.

Burrrrrrr! How to Weather The Winter in an Older Home

Thermometer

Burrrrrrrrrr! It’s cold outside today in Bellingham and around Western Washington!

Many Bellingham and Whatcom County were homes built  in the early 1900 and even late 1800’s. Weathering the cold and dark winter months is a challenge for anyone, but can be especially difficult if you live in an older home. Older homes carry a lot of appeal but older homes also come with problems and a lot of them are brought to light in cold winters. These are common issues that should be addressed and corrected so that your focus is on friends, family and holidays, and not with home repairs.

Many older homes come with beautiful glass work but unfortunately, these drafty, single-pane windows allow heat to escape, wasting energy and money. Replacement windows can be expensive but they are often the most effective way to increase energy efficiency and comfort.

Insulation overall can be a problem in older homes, and inadequate insulation should be supplemented with additional insulation, particularly in attics. In order to ascertain how much insulation you need, check with local sources to determine if minimum insulation ratings (R-values) are required in your area for new homes and then meet or exceed those levels in your older home if you can.

Outdated water pipes can cause huge problems if cold temperatures cause them to freeze or burst. Older pipes made of galvanized steel, iron, or lead may need to be replaced if they are not in good condition. Good replacement options include copper or CPVC.
Early sunsets can make the winter seem dreary and long, so simple steps to brighten the interior of your home can go a long way to lifting those winter blues. Add bright color to any room with pillow covers, flowers, or indoor plants. Likewise, giving a small space like a powder or laundry room a fresh coat of paint in a cheerful color can help brighten an indoor space without becoming a major project. If you’ve got a green thumb, you can also take this time to plan out your spring garden, reminding yourself of sunnier, longer days to come.

Thanks you to Jefferson Livingston with Pillar to Post Home Inspections for sharing this great information with us!  Stay warm everyone!

Reindeer Cookies, a Fun Festive Holiday Treat!

Reindeer cookiesChristmas week is here! Are you doing holiday baking?  These fun and festive peanut butter cookies are great to make with kids and taste delicious too! To make the reindeer cookies for your self follow the recipe below.

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Mini Brown M&Ms or chocolate chips
  • 1.2 cup shortening
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Regular sized M&M’s

Combine first four ingredients in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until blended. Lightly beat in egg. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add creamed mixture at low speed. Mix until just blended. Form dough into 1 inch balls. To make reindeer shape pinch the bottom of the ball slightly to form a point and gently flatten with your hand. Space cookies approx 2 inches apart and bake for 7 to 8 min in oven preheated to 375 degrees.

Remove from oven and immediately press two mini chocolate covered pretzels in to the tops of the cookies to form antlers, two mini brown M&M’s for the eyes and one red M&M for the nose. Allow to cool for a few minutes on cookie tray before transferring to wire rack.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

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Rich and Lylene Celebrate 50 Years of Marriage!

Over the weekend on Rich and Lylene celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.   Rich sent this heartfelt message to his clients via email, and it was too good not to share here as well.
Rich Lylene

Dec 16th, holds a special meaning for Lylene & I.  What might not be so obvious from the photo is that it was taken 50 years ago today.  On that day, two very young people pledged themselves to each other.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that, under her breath, Lylene also pledged to work on smoothing over some of the rough edges on the guy standing next to her.  So after 50 years, while, in my opinion, she has me next to being perfect, I am still subject to what we call “Lylene’s Tutorials”.  I can always tell when it’s going to happen because she has a tendency to stand up really straight, tuck her chin down & commence with  the subject at hand.  I used to be able to blame the indiscretion on the kids while they were still at home and then the dog but after she passed I was the only culprit left. I’d like to tell you that for the past 50 years the wind has been to our backs & the path ahead has been nothing but rosy.  Fact is, we have known sadness & happiness, grief & hope, sickness & health, success & failure but that’s “Life” isn’t it. No guarantees but a pledge to work through the ups & downs so as we come out on the other side of 50 years, we do it with a smile on our face, hope for the future & a song in our heart.  Truth be told, if I had a chance to get on the “Merry Go Round called Life” another time, I’d wait for the lady in the photo..

 

From our house to your house, we wish you & yours the happiest of Christmas Seasons!!