Commute vs. Home Price Trade-Off: How Far Are You Willing To Drive?

Would you be willing to swap a longer commute time for a lower monthly mortgage payment? With prices of homes near city centers skyrocketing, many buyers are rethinking their priorities and choosing to “keep driving until they can afford it.”

Housing Search Trade-Off: Price vs. Commute Time

We examined active listing on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service and their drive-time proximity to downtown Seattle. Looking at homes within a 30-minute radius from downtown, the median home price was $1,612,500. Homes located within a 31 to 60-minute commute from downtown had a median price of $890,000–that’s 45 percent less. This means if you are willing to commute over an hour, the price of the average home in the area would be $1 million less than if you lived close to the city.

Search for Homes by Commute Time on Windermere.com

The Drive Time Search function on Windermere.com and our Windermere brokers’ websites allows you to customize the search criteria with your work address, time of day that you commute, and maximum amount of time you want to spend driving to and from work. The results will exclusively show homes for sale within your preferred drive time. 
Search By Drive Time
Are you ready to look for a home?
One of our qualified Windermere brokers can help you choose the right area, narrow down your criteria, and create a strategy for getting you the home you want at a price you can afford.

 

Preparing Your Home for Summer

The calendar may claim summer begins on June 21st, but for most of us, it’s already fully in gear. Kids are getting out of school, families are making summer vacation plans, and backyard barbecues are on everyone’s minds. This is also a great time of the year to get your house in order and ready for the summer season. The following are a handful of ideas and tips to help you with this process.

Outdoor Spaces

GardeningGardening– It’s not too late to start your garden!  If you’re thinking of getting your green thumb engaged, just make sure you use starts because many summer harvest vegetables won’t start from seed this late in the season.

Outdoor living– My home has an outdoor space that, like many, suffers in the grey of winter and the rainy spring. To get it properly in the summer spirit I need to get it prepped for hosting. This includes finding outdoor lighting options, updating the seating and cleaning up the barbeque.

BBQ- Make sure your grill is ready to go this season by making sure everything is clean and in working order before you fire it up. In the northwest that includes making sure the fuel lines are spider-web-free. Also, make sure you have propane or charcoal on hand for impromptu dinners.

Clean Windows- Now is a great time to clean your windows, inside and out. Sun shows more dirt and smudges.

Lawn care- Prepare your lawn for the months ahead. Depending on where you live this means different things. Check your sprinkler system to make sure it wasn’t damaged over the winter; upgrade your lawn care to ensure fuller greens, check for and remove moss to prevent dead patches and start your weeding regimen.

Pool prep- If you have an outdoor pool get this ready for a summer season of fun in the sun, (unless you are lucky enough to enjoy your pool year-round). Same goes for hot-tubs. Make sure your equipment has been serviced, chemicals are available and your pool is clean and ready to use. OR, head to the local hardware store and buy your kiddie pool now before they run out!

Summerize- Check or replace AC filters, window screens, and household fans to make sure these are all functioning and will help provide maximum circulation in your house. Consider installing an attic fan or vent to help pull heat out of your home all winter long. Pack away excess cold weather items such as heavy blankets, jackets, and other items so they aren’t in your way. Same goes for any sundry items you only use during fall and winter.

Inside Spaces

Lighten the Space- Though I likely won’t spend much time inside once the mercury rises, I want to keep the house as light and cool as possible. I have found that replacing the curtains with a lighter shade lets the light in, but also keeps the rooms from overheating from sun exposure. Summer always makes me want to lighten up with the accessories- lighter colors, more whites, bright accents and less clutter.

Rearrange – Freshen up spaces by rearranging some of your wall art. If you don’t have enough wall pieces to rearrange regularly it may be time to add to your collection. You can find inexpensive original art online at stores such as Etsy or in person at local galleries. You can always play with other items like framed images from books, vintage posters or record albums. Here are some terrific ideas for using what you have to add interest to a room.

SpringCleanupAir it out- Open all the windows, shake out the rugs and update home fragrances to fit summer moods (citrus, freesia, clean linen, coconut, melon, fruits and tropical, etc.). You can create your own diffuser with essential oils to distribute fragrance. This may be more symbolic than practical but it always makes me feel ready for summer.

Paint- If you have a room you really want to refresh, a three-day weekend is a good time to take on a project of scale, so you have plenty of time to prep, paint, dry, and clean up. Painting is one of the least expensive ways to really transform how a room feels. Need help picking colors and paint type? Here is some good advice.

Garage or Basement- Tackle a big space that makes a big difference. Our garages and basements often become year-long dumping grounds for seasonal decorations and clothing, items that don’t fit in cabinets, memorabilia and maintenance tools. Go through your items and sort by keep, throw out and donate/sell and then group your keeps by function. Make sure your tools are accessible for easy gardening and entertaining by making sure your tools are accounted for, ready to go, and easy to reach. Here is a useful video on garage organization.

Yard/Garage Sale- If you have overflow at your house, plan a yard/garage sale to get rid of items you no longer need or want. Just make sure to pack everything up and donate it at the end of the sale otherwise you are just letting the clutter back in!

Plan a party- Once your space is all cleaned up and redecorated you will want to show it off! Plan a summer BBQ, dinner party, pool party, picnic or any other gathering.

This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog. 

February Home Maintenance Checklist

It’s February – winter’s not over yet, but spring is right around the corner. If you have cabin fever from being inside, cleaning and freshening up your house can help you get through this last month of winter and be ready to get outside when spring arrives.

Once you check these items off your to-do list, you’ll be able to relax by the fire with a good book and enjoy the last few weeks of winter.

  • Mop entryway floors. Clean your floors regularly to prevent damage from road salt and melting snow. Place a basket of old towels near the door to wipe up water and salt as soon as it is tracked inside.
  • Rotate or flip your mattress. Extend the life and comfort of your mattress by flipping or rotating it. At the same time, vacuum box springs and the mattress to eliminate allergy causing dust- mites.
  • Organize your laundry room. Scrape dried-on laundry detergent from the ridges in your washer. Throw away laundry products you never use and replace damaged sorting bins.
  • Clean out your spice cabinet. Throw away expired spices and other seasonings, which may not only lose their taste, but could harbor mold and bacteria.
  • Sanitize hand-held devices. Prevent germs that cause the spread of colds and the flu by disinfecting your phone, remote controls, tablets, as well as your door and cabinet knobs.
  • Dust blinds, ceiling fans and fixtures. Wipe down or use a feather duster to remove the dirt that builds up on blinds, ceiling fans, light fixtures other small electronics.
  • Add color to your table. Treat yourself to some fresh flowers to add cheer to your kitchen table while waiting for spring blooms to make their first appearance.
  • Plan your summer vacation. Reserve your vacation home now to get the best selection of available properties. Start your planning today at Long & Foster’s Vacation Rentals website.

 

This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

8 DIY Fire Pits to Get Your Yard Ready for Summer

It might not be exactly tropical in your neighborhood yet. But for many of us, it’s finally warm enough to start daydreaming about summer. And that means thinking about getting the yard ready for cookouts, ball games, and gatherings under the stars.

If you’re thinking about the changing seasons, think about making your own fire pit. This popular backyard feature is surprisingly easy to construct, and will bring your outdoor living to the next level. Make a quick trip to the hardware store, grab the kids to help out, and you can have one of these gorgeous backyard features by this weekend!

1. Stone-Topped Fire Pit

DIY Network - firepit

DIY Network

 

2. Upcycled Lantern Fire Pit

House & Fig - diy fire pit

House & Fig

3. Concrete Bowl Fire Pit

ManMade DIY - fire pits

ManMade DIY

4. In-Ground Organic Fire Pit

Laura Catherine - firepit

Laura Catherine

5. Glass and Metal Mini Fire Pit

The Art of Doing Stuff - DIY mini fire pit

The Art of Doing Stuff

6. Raised Brick Paver Fire Pit

Bridgman - firepit

Bridgman

7. Mini No-Wood Fire Bowl

ehow - firepit

ehow

8. Fire Pit Patio (With Bench!)

Instructables - firepit and bench

Instructables

Are you thinking of adding a fire pit to your yard this year? Is it warm enough in your town yet to even think about spending the evening making s’mores?

This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog. Reposted with permission from Porch.com.

Written by Jacqui Adams

  Porch.com is the free home network that connects homeowners and renters with the right home service professionals.

Play Chess… Not Checkers

Checkers is a simple game with a simple objective; eliminate the other player’s pieces. Even the process of doing so is simple, jump the other player’s pieces and start a collection. There is very little thought as to a defensive strategy and it is often more reactive than strategic.

Even though the objective of chess is simply laid out — obtain the other player’s King — the process in which to obtain this goal is much more strategic. Chess requires a greater understanding of the ability of each of the 9 different pieces on the board and a risk assessment that takes longer than a simple scan of the board.

“It’s a game in which the winning strategy is dynamic and requires complex thought across many turns, both for the player and their opponent’s turns. Chess requires a player to understand the context behind the moves on the board rather than just the risks offered by each individual turn.” – Play Chess Not Checkers by Zach West

You may have heard the saying, “Play Chess, Not Checkers” before, but how does this apply to real estate?

Read more from the full article on Keeping Current Matters.