Here’s how much they’re asking for new condos in Seattle

May 14, 2015, 7:20am PDT Updated: May 14, 2015, 7:26am PDT
Luma exterior section

Asking prices for the 168 condos in the Luma tower on First Hill, were released this week. They start at around $375,000 and go up to nearly $1.38 million, according to the project website. Prices for penthouses were not disclosed, but based on the asking per-square-foot price, they would list for between around $1.6 million and $1.7 million. Luma is under construction and is scheduled to be done in a little over a year.
Construction of Luma, a 24-story condo tower in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, started in November. Now the market knows the asking prices for most of the 168 residences.

Luma developer Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group this week posted prices on the project website. They show that you can buy a one-bedroom on the second floor for nearly $375,000. The list price for a two-bedroom on floor 22 is nearly $1.38 million.

Prices for the four penthouses weren’t disclosed, though Luma representatives said the per-square foot price is around $1,000, meaning the units would be listed between $1.6 million and $1.7 million.

Now the question is how much Lowe will actually get for the residences. That will help other developers decide whether to build condo projects, which have been few and far between in recent years, or keep building apartments.

Only one other large condo project, the two-tower Insignia, is going up downtown.

The first closings at Insignia are expected this summer. Sales are Luma are expected to start closing in the spring of next year, and the project is projected to be done in June 2016.

The rule of thumb for downtown condos is you need to sell units for at least $750 a square foot to make a project worth your while, though that also hinges on “your land costs and assumptions on construction costs,” said Suzi Morris, a senior vice president with Lowe Enterprises.

A Swedish pension fund called Alecta owns the quarter block at 1321 Seneca St. where Luma is rising, and Alecta got a good deal when it bought the property for $4 million in late 2010. Three years prior, a different developer had paid $11.5 million for the same site, and lender ended up taking the property back.

At Luma, the asking prices range from around $525 to $600 a foot for units on the lower floors to the $1,000-plus for the penthouses. Asking prices for units on the upper floors are between $800 to $900 a foot.

Seattle residential marketing sales company Red Propeller and McAvoy Real Estate are co-listing the Luma units for sale. They opened the sales center at 907 E. Pike St., late last month and will begin accepting offers June 1, Red Propeller Partner Stephen Fina said Wednesday.

Luma is one of the first new condo towers in Seattle since the market tanked at the start of the Great Recession, and it’s the first condo high-rise on First Hill since 2002, according to Lowe.

Seattle architecture firm Weber Thompson designed the project, whose rooftop deck will have a fire pit and hot soaking pool along with a club room and private dining room.Lease Crutcher Lewis is the general contractor.

NEW I-405 Express Toll Lanes – Rates

Up to $10! That’s crazy!

What are dynamic toll rates?

The toll rate varies between 75 cents and $10 based on how many drivers choose to use express toll lanes. Rates increase as more drivers choose the lanes to manage lane volume and keep traffic moving at 45 miles an hour or faster. Tolls are lowered when traffic is lighter to encourage drivers to move from regular lanes to express lanes.

On the average day, peak period tolls are forecasted to vary between 75 cents to $4 per trip depending on time and distance traveled.

How much will I pay?

Example I-405 toll signYou will see up to three toll rates on a sign prior to entering the express toll lane. You pay the price you see upon entering the lane for your destination, even if you see a higher toll rate for your destination further down the road. If you are exiting the express toll lane anywhere up to or at the destination, you will pay the price for that destination.

How are toll rates set?

The Washington State Transportation Commission sets toll rate maximum and minimums for I-405 express toll lanes.

What’s the difference between express toll lanes and bridge tolls?

SR 520 and Tacoma Narrows bridge tolls go toward paying for bridge construction. I-405 express toll lanes help manage traffic on the corridor. They allow you to buy into express toll lanes when you need to get to your destination faster, which then frees up space in the regular lanes for other drivers.

Where will toll revenue go?

Revenue collected on I-405 will first be used to maintain and operate I-405 express toll lanes. Additional revenue will be used for future I-405/SR 167 corridor improvements.

Are express toll lanes fair to drivers of all incomes?

Today on I-405, everyone is stuck in traffic during peak periods. Express toll lanes are there when you need them. Research on existing express toll lanes in Washington and across the country shows that people of all income levels choose to pay a toll when they need a faster and more reliable trip.

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.
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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