Carkeek Park Restoration Class June 9, 2013

5th Carkeek Forest Restoration Class

5th Carkeek Forest Restoration Class

Starting on August 24th 2013

The Carkeek Forest Restoration Class is a program of 12 Saturday mornings between August 2013 and March 2014, focusing on what you need to know to become involved in volunteer forest work in Carkeek Park (or any other park in the City).  Previous classes were held in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011.  This program resorts under the Carkeek Park Advisory Council.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Species knowledge
  • Removal of invasive species
  • Planting of trees and shrubs, knowing what to plant where, and why
  • Maintenance/monitoring of plantings
  • A personal assignment

When: Saturday August 24, September 14, September 28 , etc. with ± 2 weeks interval; twelfth class is on February 22, 2014

Roster: Saturday morning, from 8.30 – 12.00; inside work from 8.30 – 10; outside fieldwork from 10 – 12.

Docents: Lex Voorhoeve, retired forest botanist, volunteer at Carkeek Park; Brian Gay, Seattle Parks & Recreation Naturalist; Loren McElvain, Carkeek Park Forest Steward.


–   be able-bodied; working in the forest can be strenuous;

–   be willing to become a volunteer in Carkeek Park or any other park in the City.


Loren McElvain at, 206 782 7617;

Brian Gay at, 206 615 0697;

Lex Voorhoeve at, 206 706 1009

Home for Sale June 8, 2013

Quality Lozier Home :: Open Sunday 1PM – 4PM



3626 159th Place SE, Bothell WA 98012

Located on one of the premier streets in all of The Seasons at Mill Creek, this pristine two story home boasts an open floor plan, idyllic cul-de-sac lot location, tasteful upgrades and low maintenance landscaping. Features include large great room with fireplace, enormous kitchen with island, master bedroom with en suite and fireplace, deck with glass rails and greenbelt back yard. Superb street appeal with brick accents. Convenient location with reowned schools, major routes and shopping.

Online at:!/mlsnum:499166

Proudly Presented by
Steve Hill
Windermere Real Estate/FN


Buy or Rent? June 5, 2013

Buy or Rent: Which Makes More Sense Financially?

rent buyEvery potential home buyer has to stop for at least a moment and consider this question. Today, we want to look at one of the many financial reasons to buy instead of rent: the housing expense moving forward.

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors, the median sales price of a home in the U.S. is $184,300. The mortgage payment (principal & interest) on that purchase would be $661.89 assuming a 20% down payment and a 3.5% mortgage interest rate. Currently, the median asking rent in the U.S. according to the Census Bureau is $717 a month.

We realize that the two payments do not necessarily reflect the housing cost on a similar residence. However, that is not the point of the post. All we are saying is that the monthly housing expense on a median price home is $661.89 and the median rent is $717. We now want to discuss what will happen to these costs over time.

The principal and interest portion of the mortgage payment is locked in for the next 30 years. We know real estate taxes may be included in the payment and will increase to some degree over that time. We also acknowledge that the homeowner will have occasion to spend money on repairs. They also receive many tax advantages as a homeowner.

However, the actual monthly housing expense remains the same for the next 30 years.

Now, let’s look at what happens to a rent payment. The best thing to do to predict the future is to study the past. Here is a graph of the median asking rent since 1988 based on Census Bureau data:


We believe rents will follow their historically pattern and increase dramatically over the next 30 years. Buyers have a choice: either lock in your housing expense or deal with the uncertainty of rental increases.

Home Purchase June 4, 2013

Now Is The Time To BUY!

Considering A Home Purchase?
Let our experience save you time and money!

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Windermere Real Estate Seattle Northwest

Economy, Housing and Real Estate May 23, 2013

Consumers’ pent-up demand promises economic boost

Economy, Housing and Real Estate

Paul Davidson, USA TODAY

American consumers have denied themselves so much for so long — putting off buying homes, cars and other purchases — that their pent-up demand is poised to kick-start a sluggish economy.

Four years into the recovery, stronger job growth, some loosening in bank lending and more stable household finances are finally paving the way for many Americans to move into their own homes, fill them with furniture and trade in creaky 10-year-old cars.

Last week, a measure of consumer sentiment showed buying attitudes toward appliances and other durable goods at the highest level since mid-2007. And the government reported that April retail sales solidly beat estimates despite huge federal spending cuts — a development that UBS economist Maury Harris partly attributed to an unleashing of pent-up demand.

Harris estimates that over the next five years, Americans' catch-up consumption will boost annual consumer spending growth by a percentage point and increase economic growth by half a point to more than 3% from about 2%.

"People have put things off," says IHS economist Chris Christopher. Now, he says, they're "feeling a little better."

After sharing a cramped one-bedroom Manhattan apartment the past five years, Justine and Matt Schwartz recently decided to move to a three-bedroom house in Greenwich, Conn. It will cost them hundreds of dollars a month in additional rent, as well as a new car lease and new furniture. Both Justine, a website editor, and Matt, a consultant, were promoted early this year.

After getting a raise, "I realized I don't have much to show" for it, Justine, 28, says. "We're feeling financially secure."

In the aftermath of the housing crash and recession, annual household formation was halved to 500,000 in 2008 and 2009 as Americans moved in with relatives and friends. Young adults aged 18 to 34 accounted for most of the drop, many of whom were unemployed, according to the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank.

As a result, there were 2.3 million fewer households last year than there should have been based on population growth, Harris estimates. He expects those deferred households to sprout over the next five years — based on the recovery from the early 1980s recession — increasing household formation by 465,000 annually.

Housing starts, in turn, are expected to rise from 780,000 in 2012 to 990,000 this year and 1.2 million in 2014, Standard & Poor's predicts.

Other types of pent-up demand that should bust out:

Vehicle sales: The average age of cars and light trucks on the road is 11.2 years, up from 9.6 years in 2003, according to research firm Polk. Each new household leads to an average 1.3 new car purchases, UBS estimates. In the first quarter, 15.3 million new vehicles were sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up from 9.4 million in early 2009.

Marriages: From 2005 to 2011, the marriage rate fell from 7.7 to 6.7 per 1,000 Americans, according to the Census Bureau. The rate should rise as young people move out on their own, juicing household spending, Harris says.

Births: Annual births fell by 7% to 4 million from 2007 to 2010. A family spends $226,920 on a child from birth through age 17, the Agriculture Department estimates.

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Windermere Real Estate Seattle Northwest

Mortgage, Rates, Payment, Interest May 23, 2013

Total Increase a Buyer May Pay if They Wait

Earlier in the week, we explained that experts have projected that U.S. home prices will appreciate by approximately 5% in 2013. We also revealed the Mortgage Bankers AssociationFannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors have all projected that the 30-year mortgage rate will be at least 4% by the end of 2013. If we assume that prices and interest rates will rise as projected, here is the monthly difference a buyer may pay if they wait a year.

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Windermere Real Estate Seattle Northwest

Mortgage, Rate, Interest, Home Buyer, May 22, 2013

Mortgage Rates Projected to Increase

The Mortgage Bankers AssociationFannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors have all projected that the 30-year mortgage rate will be at least 4% by the end of 2013. If we assume that rates will still be at 4% in twelve months, here is the difference a buyer will pay if they wait.

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner, Windermere Real Estate Seattle-Northwest 206-769-9577

Shoreline Home for Sale May 12, 2013

Two Homes – One Price! Open Sunday 12PM-3PM

15254 Dayton Ave N
Shoreline, WA 98133

This close-in Shoreline property offers two homes on one lot. The two bedroom, one bath front house has 1940's charm throughout. It has separate parking and its own laundry, making this an ideal rental home.

The back home, built in 1980 boasts a large great-room style room with the kitchen, dining and living rooms all open to each other. This upstairs features a large master suite with full bath, walk-in closet and a private sunny covered deck to enjoy the views of the gorgeous yard.

Online at

For a private showing of this home, contact:

Steve Hill and Sandra Brennerr
Windermere Real Estate Seattle – Northwest

Seattle Home for Sale May 12, 2013

Seattle Single Level Home – Open Sunday 12PM-3PM

305 NW 127th Street
Seattle WA 98133

Beautifully maintained Broadview rambler welcomes you with a plethora of features throughout. In superb condition, this captivating home boasts a convenient circular floor plan with new interior paint, elegant light fixtures, rich hardwood floors, slate entry and halls.

Room warming fireplaces in the living and family room. Park like setting, efficient gas heat, oversized driveway, delightful street appeal, the list goes on and on. Single level homes of this size and location are hard to find.

On line at

For more information or a private tour of this home, contact:

Steve Hill and Sandra Brenner
Windermere Real Estate Seattle – Northwest
Home Remodeling May 11, 2013

10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today!

10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today!

We update our wardrobes to reflect the changing and emerging styles, so naturally we should update our homes. In the long-run, a well maintained and updated home is necessary if you plan on putting your house on the market. Whether this is your first or second home, you are likely to, at some point, move on. By staying current with the styles you will have less work to do to your home should you decide that you do want to put it on the market. (I am avoiding the word trends here on purpose as style has staying power whereas trends are fleeting, and do not.) Home design styles do have staying power, so any money that you spend should be looked at as an investment, much in the way you look at your house.

updates 10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today! Share on Facebook  Tweet Comment

A well maintained and updated house will need less work in long run, when it is time to sell. A well maintained and updated house will attract more buyers and will sell faster than one that needs work. Perhaps you are not planning on selling any time in the near or distant future. Perhaps this is your dream home and you plan on spending the next 30 or 50 years there. Regardless of whether you want to sell your home or not, consider this: Except for the classic and timeless pieces, you wouldn’t wear something that was in your closet 10 or 20 years ago, so why would you want your home to do so?

At the moment your home needs some serious updating. Perhaps you’ve been there for a long while or perhaps you purchased an older home at a great price because it desperately needed updating. By making a few necessary changes you will greatly increase the value of your home. And without question, you will enjoy it much more. Why wait until you plan on selling to make these changes? Why let someone else enjoy your hard work?

updates bathroom 10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today! Share on Facebook  Tweet Comment

1. Colored fixtures

Get rid of any colored tile that was popular when our parents and grandparents were children! Get a sledgehammer and take down all that pink and yellow and mauve tile. Replace it with a clean and timeless white or neutral tile. Get rid of the baby blue bathtubs and toilets. White bathroom fixtures will stay in style much longer. If you need to add color opt to paint the walls or bring color in with framed artwork, rugs and towels.

updates kitchens 10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today! Share on Facebook  Tweet Comment

2. Toss the avocado and mustard

Mustard and avocados belong in your salad, and not on your kitchen appliances! If you happen to have a really old kitchen and you can actually use colors like avocado and mustard to describe it, then you really have a lot of work ahead of you! Stainless steel and white appliances will have staying power in this room. A fresh coat of paint can also transform tired walls and cabinets.

updates remove panneling 10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today! Share on Facebook  Tweet Comment

3. Remove all wood paneling

Wood paneling is dark and heavy and really make any room look dated. By removing the wood paneling and adding a coat of fresh paint to the walls, you’ve managed to liven up your space and give your room a whole new look. You will be amazed by just how powerful this simple transformation is. If you feel the walls are too plain, you can always add mouldings or wainscotting.

 10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today! Share on Facebook  Tweet Comment

4. Remove all faux finishes

Faux paint was extremely popular in the 1980s. The faux finish was found in nearly every 80s home either in paint or wallpaper form. It might have worked for Ralph Lauren 30 years ago, but in this case what’s old is not new. It is dated and tired and desperately needs to be removed from your home! In my last home I moved into a living room that was covered in faux finishes, both on the walls and on the fireplace hearth. Upon close inspection of the hearth we learned that the faux marble was actually covering real marble! We still, to this day, wonder why on earth someone would do this. Naturally, the faux marble was immediately removed to reveal the gorgeous real marble beneath. (And the faux walls were immediately painted over as well.)

updates freshly painted rooms 10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today! Share on Facebook  Tweet Comment

5. Save the red carpet for Hollywood!

It has no right to be in anyone’s home. Rip up any and all old carpeting. Carpeting immediately dates your home. If you happen to have hardwood floors, leave them entirely or partially exposed. This instantly freshens up your home. If you don’t have hardwood floors you might want to consider having them installed. If this is not at all possible, then select a durable rug that can stand up to traffic and spills, and please select your rug in a neutral color!

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6. Replace your countertops

Old, aged, dingy countertops should be replaced. A countertop will instantly change the overall feel and appearance of  your room. You need not spend a fortune to bring your counters up to date. There are many wonderfully affordable, handsome options out there that will not cost an arm and a leg.

updates hardware 10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today! Share on Facebook  Tweet Comment

7. Accessorize

These accessories may be small but they are both powerful and impactful. Remove and replace your old drawer pulls and cabinet handles. Brushed metals and chrome have staying power and brass is making a comeback as well. Look for clean lines and refined shapes. Stay away from items that appear too trendy. Kitchen and bathroom faucets and handles should be replaced and updated as well if they are showing signs of age, wear and tear.

updates wall paper borders 10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today! Share on Facebook  Tweet Comment

8. Take down wallpaper borders

Again widely popular in the 1980s was wallpaper borders. Not only are they dated, but they simply look silly in most rooms with the exception of children’s play areas and bedrooms. There’s not much more to add about these other than remove them immediately!

updates light fixtures 10 Things you Must Fix in Your Home Today! Share on Facebook  Tweet Comment

9. Replace old light fixtures

Whether sconces, or hanging from the ceiling, replace dated light fixtures to add a fresh and modern look. Any interior decorator will tell you that lighting is crucial to your space. The amount of light your home has sets the mood and tone. It can create both a productive as well as a relaxing atmosphere. Many older light fixtures use odd sized bulbs when you replace these with newer models you will be able to replace your incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones. This will save energy and lower your electric bill.

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10. Paint

This may be the easiest and yet the hardest task of all. Walls should be repainted every few years. Nothing makes a home look old and dingy like tired walls. Many will tell you to stick with a neutral color, but if you prefer bright or pastel walls, then by all means repaint them in a color that best reflects your style and personality. Placement of color is crucial. A bright pink may be more suited to a child’s room than one in a main living area. If you tend to prefer louder, bolder colors, when it does come time to sell, your Realtor may indeed advise you to repaint using a softer, more neutral color.

For the most part these fairly small fixes will make a huge impact in the overall appearance of your home!