I’m a millennial and I just bought a Seattle condo. Here’s why that is becoming a trend

As rents continue to rise and Millennials age, the housing market will get even more crowded.
 House For Sale

I’m a pretty typical millennial. I dye my hair purple. I have a Harry Potter tattoo. I drive a Prius. But in one way, I’m atypical for my generation: I just bought a home.

Just a year ago, data showed the median age of people buying houses was on the rise, and likely to continue going up.

In Seattle, though, things will be different. Rents are rising and scores of people are moving to the city. That’s driving rents up, which will encourage millennials like me to buy homes.

Many in my generation are burdened with student loan debt and even as rents rise, will be unable to afford to buy a home. When you ask housing experts why millennials don’t buy homes, student loan debt is the most common reason they give.

A growing number of Seattle millennials are working for the tech industry, however, which tends to pay well and could help mitigate the issue of debt.

I’m 24 years old, smack dab in the middle of the millennial generation, and today I’m signing final papers on my first condo.

More millennials will join me. As my generation ages and rents continue to skyrocket, Seattle’s already-crowded housing market is about to get seriously intense.

Yes, I was attracted by the historically low interest rates and the freedom of getting to tear down and paint my walls.

But the single biggest thing that convinced me it was the right time to buy was the jump in rent prices. The rent on my one-bedroom apartment in Fremont went up nearly 9 percent in the last month, and that’s happening across the city.

Data from Seattle online real estate company Zillow (Nasdaq: Z) shows rents in Seattleincreased nearly 8 percent in the last year to a median price of $2,210 per month. For many millennials, that’s downright unaffordable.

I began my home search online, scouring Zillow and Redfin listings. Then I realized I had no idea what I was doing so I enlisted a knowledgeable real estate agent to take me through the (many) twists and turns of buying a home.

Buying a home in the Puget Sound region right now is a dog-eat-dog environment. If you’re not first or willing to pay well over the asking price, you’re not buying a house.

The numbers paint the picture — only 10,505 sellers in King County listed their homes in March and 11,408 sales were pending, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

And it’s true. I put an offer on a condo in Ballard and lost it to a bidder who offered $40,000 over the asking price. Every condo I walked into had huge stacks of real estate agents’ cards strewn over the coffee table, even if it had come on the market only a day before.

I finally succeeded in getting a seller to accept my offer by showing up at a condo at 8 a.m.after it came on the market at 9 p.m. the night before.

I’m not the only person of my age jumping into homeownership — the rate at which homes are flying off the market in King County suggests that other millennials are getting in on the action.

The two biggest reasons people decide to buy homes are when they get married and have children, and millennials are just getting to the age when they hit those milestones.

Contrary to widespread belief, Seattle-area wedding industry experts say millennials do indeed get married. We’re just doing it later in life than earlier generations.

But as the rents continue to rise, and our generation hits some big milestones, Seattle millennials will buy homes in herds

Moving – Update your new address! Here’s how…

A checklist of who to notify when you change addresses

List of who to notify after change of address

The act of moving is, appropriately enough, a symphony of moving parts. The inventory process (which we streamline), the packing, the disruption of daily habits, the new neighborhood, city, or sometimes even state, country or continent… all in all, there’s a lot to deal with. For the unindoctrinated, it may seem like a simple online change of address form filed with the post office is enough to get your mail forwarded, but alas, it’s not. So, we’ve put together a helpful checklist of places you should notify when you change addresses to keep those paper bills, checks, magazines and birthday cards coming like clockwork.

Here’s the list:

  • Your place of employment
  • Your financial institution
  • Your credit card companies
  • Your utilities, cable, phone and internet providers
  • Your doctor, dentist, optometrist and other medical professionals you see regularly
  • Your health insurance company
  • Your life insurance company
  • Your vision/dental/catastrophic insurance company
  • Your car insurance company
  • Your rental or home insurance company
  • Your child’s school
  • Your child’s doctor, babysitter, music instructor, and others who provide paid services
  • Your pet’s veterinarian and kennel
  • Your alma mater
  • Circulation departments of magazines, newspapers and catalogues you subscribe to
  • Anyone who may need to send you final bills or info about their professional services in your new area
  • Friends & family, particularly those who go through the trouble to send holiday cards and paper invitations

Although these are less important in the grand scheme of things, you may wish to change the ZIP code or city you’ve programmed into web-based services you subscribe to, like weather reports, local news reports, coupon services like Groupon and Living Social, city-themed lifestyle hubs like Daily Candy and so on. Because who doesn’t love a little local customization in their lives?

Particularly for friends and family, a quick Facebook message or email blast can let those close to you know you’ve arrived in your new place and are ready to receive mail there. For the traditional at heart, a postcard or notecard with your new return address can make the announcement for you in a charming, old-fashioned way, but let’s be real: even a quick digital message is more than most people take the time for anymore. A moment of thoughtfulness now can save others time (and money for extra postage!) later on down the road.

And if you just don’t have time for all of this, try an online service like Updater, which does pretty much all of the above for you (and even eliminates your junk mail!) for a small fee.

Oh Internet, how we love thee.

Check out more post-move tips and moving checklists from Moveline, a radically easier way to move.

Tips from the pros to get top dollar for your house

An eight-week timeline for putting your house on the market

Published: February 25, 2015 05:30 PM

The spring home selling season is nearly here, so if you’re thinking about entering the market, now’s the time to get your house in order. A home can be ready to list in as little as a month, especially if it’s in good shape and you’re working with a competent real estate agent. But it’s often better to give yourself a little more cushion. Here’s a rough timeline, including advice gleaned from a recent survey of 303 real estate professionals conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Two months out (or more)

Find a real estate agent. This is arguably the most important decision you’ll make in the whole home-selling process. You want to find an agent who is credible and trustworthy and with whom you have good rapport. It pays to speak with a few professionals, ideally using word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family. For good measure, check the references from at least three recent clients. Before signing the contract, be clear on the agent’s commission. In our survey, 63 percent of pros said they negotiate their fees at least half the time, and the average commission was 4 percent—not the 6 percent that’s often considered the industry standard. Check out these other real estate agent secrets.

Six weeks out

Handle any large repairs or upgrades. Pay close attention to the kitchen and bathrooms, which are the two rooms that most sell a house. Our report found that spending about $2,200 on new suite of appliances—the dishwasher, range, and refrigerator—could fetch you an extra $6,000. In the bathroom, consider replacing corroded fixtures as well as the vanity countertop, which can be fairly inexpensive given its small size. Applying a fresh coat of paint in high-traffic parts of the home, including the front door, is also a good use of time and money

One month out

Get rid of the clutter. Nothing turns away buyers faster than a messy house. You want them to be able to imagine themselves in your home, which will be impossible if your stuff is piled everywhere. Storage is a big selling point, so free up the closets and kitchen cabinets. This is also the time to pack up family photos, which can be another distraction for would-be buyers. These measures can add about 5 percent to a home’s asking price, which works out to $10,000 on the average property.

Two weeks out

Photograph your home. In the era of online real estate, this step is crucial. If you’re working with a top-quality real estate agent, they’ll hopefully pony up for professional photographer—and maybe even a stager too. If they try to tell you their smart phone camera can do the job, don’t believe them. An advanced digital camera is essential, because its large sensor will take clear pictures even in low-light interiors. Be sure to photograph every room in the home, as well as the exterior and yard. Here are some tips from the pros at Consumer Reports.

One week out

Do a deep clean. Ahead of the first open house, you need to thoroughly wipe down every surface in the home, as well as vacuum and dust every corner. Do your best to air out the property by opening windows. And avoid cooking any smelly dishes in the final days leading up to the open house.

One to two days out

List your home online. Traffic to real estate websites tends to spike just before the weekend. For example, on the real estate broker Redfin, traffic is 29 percent higher on Fridays than Sundays. So aim to post your listing on Thursday or Friday. And make sure you have the pieces in place before posting, especially the visuals. Some sellers debut their listing without the photos, thinking they can upload them later. But by that time, much of the traffic will have moved on.

—Daniel DiClerico (@dandiclerico on Twitter)   

Housing Market Update – February 2015 Findings

The real estate market in February acted more like spring. Open houses were crowded with buyers competing for a shrinking number of homes. Lack of inventory continues to cause concern, while rising prices raise hopes that more homeowners will take the leap and put their homes on the market.

Read the full Local Market Update, including statistics for the Eastside, Seattle and King County.



If you’d like information on your specific neighborhood, give me a call and I’ll be happy to send you a report.
See more amazing homes on our Pinterest board!
IN THE KNOW a few things I think you’ll like:



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Details on carpet stain removal

Carpet stain removal can be a daunting task. It should also be done with much care and precaution to prevent damage on the carpet. While using the vacuum cleaner will do fine, it will only remove the dirt. Stains are different, thus, they should be treated differently.

Regardless of the approach employed in removing the stains, it is best to act immediately and quickly. If you wait in doing the cleaning, you risk ruining your carpet for good. Whether oil, wax, solid or liquid substances are spilled on the carpet, you need to grab a clean cloth to remove the solid substances or what can be removed from the stain.

Then you have to blot out as much of the stain as possible. If a liquid substance spilled the carpet, there might occur wicking. Wicking means that the liquid substances have pooled at the bottom of your carpet. Hence, it will weaken the fiber of your carpet, causing the stain to spread and resurface; and eventually, serious damage is done on your carpet.

To prevent wicking, you need to cover the area with a thick dry cloth, and weigh it down with thick books or something that is heavy. Leave it overnight and remove the stain as normal in the following day.

In the morning, when you are certain that no more liquid or staining material will come out, blot out the stain using a dampen cloth or sponge. Avoid scrubbing the carpet as it would weaken the fiber and cause the stain to spread to other areas.

Blotting the stain gently will remove the stain without causing further damage to the carpet. If the stain remains after blotting it with water, you may want to squirt mild dish washing liquid onto it to clean. Blot the stain gently and let it sit for an hour before you blot again with a cool damp sponge or cloth until the stain is totally removed.

There are many carpet stain removal products available in the market in case you do not like to use dishwashing liquid detergent. Commercial products designed for removing stains vary based on what types of stains on your carpet.

For them to be effective, you need to figure out what type of stains your carpet has. If it is greasy like oils for cooking, body, automotive or moisturizing, use grease-based stain removal products.

If the stains are acid-based like coffee or urine, your choices are oil-based or acid-based products. In oil-based, the stains are dissolved, while in acid-based, the chemical quality of the spots are changed in order to make them easy to remove.

If you are not certain on the type of stain your carpet has, choose the all-purpose type of carpet stain removal product.

In all your undertakings, it is best to test the carpet stain removal product in a corner of the carpet or in any out-of-the-way area of the carpet, lest, you may risk creating a faded spot that may look more hideous than the stain itself.

by Rudy Silva


56 new residential buildings in downtown Seattle

There are 56 new residential buildings in downtown Seattle, and that’s just the beginning

Feb 25, 2015, 1:57pm PST UPDATED: Feb 25, 2015, 2:44pm PST
Downtown Seattle Skyline

Enlarge Photo
Business Journal | Steve Wilhelm

Overall job growth in downtown Seattle is twice that of the region as a whole: 243,995 Seattleites work downtown.

Nearly 65,000 people live in downtown Seattle. Almost a quarter-of-a-million people work downtown every day. Fifteen million square feet of office space is under development.

Simply put, downtown Seattle is booming.

The Downtown Seattle Association presented its 2015 State of Downtown report Wednesday at an event heavily attended by public officials and business executives.

DSA President and CEO Jon Scholeshighlighted the association’s focus on public safety and residential development.

Scholes has a lot to live up to as the new head of the DSA after business favorite Kate Joncas departed to become deputy mayor last summer. Scholes’ plans to make downtown a safer, more accessible place to live and work received several rounds of applause Wednesday.

“Downtown has added approximately 25 new jobs each day,” he said.

The DSA considers “downtown” to be all neighborhoods from the waterfront to Capitol Hill and from Sodo to lower Queen Anne.

The report shows – no surprise – that commercial real estate construction is booming. Amazon alone has plans to occupy 10 million square feet.

One of the most telling numbers from Wednesday’s presentation was downtown’s residential population increase.

Downtown’s permanent population has increased 8 percent since 2010 to 65,000 people. That number is expected to increase 10 percent more in five years. About 2,700 of those residents are children, a good sign that the population will continue increasing in the neighborhood.

The number of occupied apartments and condos has shot up even faster — there are now 12,000 condos and 33,000 apartment units in the neighborhood.

But not for long. More than 3,000 units are under construction this year, and about 2,650 more are planned for 2016.

Fifty-six new residential buildings are either planned, under construction or recently completed, Scholes said.

The organization is partnering with the city to increase public safety and tackle the homelessness issue that pervades downtown.

Here are five other key things to know from the 2015 State of Downtown Economic Report.

1. Downtown retail sales have increased 22 percent since 2009. “We know how fragile downtown retail is,” Scholes said. “You can lose your retail in a few years and it can take a few decades to get it back. We are determined that this will not happen here.”

2. Restaurant sales are up 31 percent over the last five years and the number of restaurants and bars have increased 20 percent. “All this gluttony is just fine as the number of gyms have doubled in the last five years,” Scholes joked.

3. Sixty-nine percent of downtown employees commute using public transit and other methods besides driving, up from 50 percent in 2000.

4. “Seattle is a city full of great designers and architects,” Scholes said. “You wouldn’t know that by peering outside at our sidewalks and parks at times.” The DSA is pushing initiatives to improve and update public spaces.

5. The overall job growth in downtown is twice that of the region as a whole: 243,995 Seattleites work downtown.

Why Are We Still Making Buildings Without a 13th Floor?

Because we’re chicken—check these numbers

8:09 AM PST February 13, 2015

Manhattan Skyline

The midtown Manhattan skyline

Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

If you got on a plane this morning, or traded a stock, or drove your car through an intersection, congratulations. You’re too logical for medieval superstitions.

And if you’re reading this from under the covers after e-mailing the office “WFH/Friday the 13th”?

Congratulations again—you’re in the good company of New York’s boldest real estate developers. Twelve centuries after the Omens of Charlemagne’s Death, they are still labeling the floor that comes after 12 as 14.

Less than 10 percent of Manhattan condominiums with 13 or more stories actually label a floor with the dreaded number, said Gabby Warshawer, director of research at data and listings company CityRealty. That’s an estimate based on 650 mid- and high-rise buildings that have filed condo declarations with New York City since 2003, including luxury towers going up right now, such as 53W53 and 225 W. 57th Street.

A spokesman for Otis International, the elevator maker, once estimated that 85 percent of U.S. buildings with more than 13 floors skipped the unlucky number. Otis’s current press office couldn’t confirm that stat.

And builders seem to be getting more superstitious, not less. Newer buildings seem even likelier to skip 13 than older ones, Warshawer said.

Moreover, bad luck seems like a bigger deal at the higher end of the Manhattan market, confounding expectations that a person who spends $10 million for a couple of thousand square feet of midair real estate should be a data-driven rationalist.

Warshawer cautioned that her data set of 650 condos may be too varied for firm conclusions. “You can’t make too much sense out of an irrational superstition,” she said rationally.

Well, let’s try. Just why are the titans who borrow scary sums to erect towers that defy gravity and wind currents afraid to number the 13th floor?

“Marketing people want to appeal to the largest audience,” said Jacqueline Urgo, president of the Marketing Directors, a New York real estate consultancy that helps developers make these kinds of decisions. Most people don’t mind living on the 13th floor, just like most people don’t mind sitting in the 13th row of an airplane. But there’s nothing gained by shrinking the potential market, Urgo said.

For the record, some airlines jump from row 12 to row 14.

Here’s another theory for the mystical leanings of the master builders. Pulling a number out of the floor plan serves to make a building seem taller. Prices for 13th-floor apartments, the handful of them that exist, don’t sell at a discount, according to Jonathan Miller, chief executive of appraisal firm Miller Samuel. (He’s also a contributor to Bloomberg View.) But apartments on higher floor numbers command higher prices.

“From a marketing standpoint, it’s pretty powerful,” he said. “The taller you get, the thinner the competition is. If you’re on the 90th floor, there are only a handful units.”

Patrick Kwan, a 33-year-old Chinese American who lives in a new apartment complex in Midtown, thought it was funny that his modern digs, where tenants can request concierge services by iPhone app, doesn’t have a 13th floor. Then again, he wasn’t willing to live on the fourth or 14th floor, because those numbers are bad luck in Chinese culture.

“Even if I were OK with being on the fourth or 14th floor, I’m sure I would have a lot to deal with from my mom,” he said.