Windermere Foundation Quarterly Report Q1 2015

Windermere Foundation Quarterly Report

Q1 2015

 

Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, the Windermere Foundation was able to provide over $410,000 dollars in support during the first quarter of this year to organizations that help low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S.

Programs benefitting children and youth continue to receive a significant portion of Windermere Foundation funds. These funds are made possible by your ongoing support. Programs like Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Patient Assistance Fund, which provides food, a change of clothes, transportation, and other essentials that make a big difference for more than 2,000 families a year during a difficult moment in their lives. This fund is supported entirely by donors and an endowment.

Here is a thank you message we received from Seattle Children’s Hospital:

You helped families in their darkest hour…

A patient arrived at Seattle Children’s Emergency Department by helicopter, alone and unconscious. As the Emergency Department team worked to resuscitate the boy who had nearly drowned, his parents drove several hours in stunned silence to the hospital, hoping their son would be alive when they got there. After receiving the good news that he would ultimately recover from the accident, they realized that they’d left their cell phone charger at home and had no way to contact family and friends. Social worker Lynne Hakim says the basic necessities you generously helped purchase, like a simple cell phone charger, enabled this family to cope with all the uncertainty and intensity of an unplanned hospital stay. “If you’ve ever had an emergency where someone came to your aid, then you know the flood of relief that our families feel,” explains Roosevelt Travis, director of Social Work at Seattle Children’s. “I hope everyone who contributed to Operation Family Care knows that the gift cards and groceries they purchased were really rays of hope for many of our families in crisis.”

Thank you for providing a safety net. We estimate that one-third of our families spend every dollar they make on living expenses. There’s no safety net if one or both parents have to miss a paycheck to be with a sick or injured child. For this group of parents and caregivers, the cost of meeting their own basic needs — especially buying food — is probably the biggest financial strain during their child’s hospital stay. “You shouldn’t have to worry about going hungry because your child is in a hospital bed,” Carpentier says. “If we can eliminate just that one stressor for even a few days, it greatly improves parents’ ability to be present for their child — and families are always so appreciative.”

Above is just one example of how Windermere Foundation funds assist those in need. If you’d like to help, click on the Donate button to make a donation.

Thank you for supporting the Windermere Foundation. Your generosity is truly making a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities.

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation

Oregon and Southwest Washington Real Estate Market Update

 

Windermere Real Estate is proud to partner with Gardner Economics on this analysis of the Oregon and Southwest Washington real estate market. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions.

 

Economic overview

From an economic perspective, I am pleased to see that employment continues to trend higher in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Additionally, there’s a considerable reduction in the number of long-term unemployed, and the number of layoffs is also dropping. We’re starting to see a growth in wages which will also help with the state’s overall economic growth.

 

Home sales activity

  • First quarter had 10,269 home sales, which is an annual increase of 16.9%.
  • Polk County saw the steepest increase in sales at almost 60%; however, the absolute increase was just 61 units.
  • All but two counties in the region experienced double-digit percentage increases.
  • Three counties saw a decline in home sales, but these are very small areas and the total loss was only 15 units.

 

Home prices

  • Year over year, the average home price in the region rose by 3.6% to $284,833.
  • When compared to Q1 2014, Klickitat County had the strongest price growth of over 73%. This is attributable to the size of the market, which allows for substantial swings in price.
  • All but three counties saw an annual gain in prices, with eight showing double-digit percentage gains.
  • Prices fell in just three counties, but these are counties where relatively few  transactions take place, so they are prone to extreme swings.

 

Days on market

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the region dropped by 11 days when compared to the first quarter of 2014.
  • On average, it took 122 days to sell a home in the region.
  • There were a few markets where the length of time it takes to sell a home did rise, but the increases were still fairly modest and no cause for concern.
  • With inventory levels as low as they are, the time it takes to sell a home will likely continue to fall.

 

Conclusions

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates, and larger economic factors. As you can see, we are still very clearly in the midst of a seller’s market and, unless we see a significant increase in listings, it will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

The shortage of inventory, and subsequent competition for homes, has driven prices higher, but the rate of appreciation has slowed somewhat.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, and we expect that this will continue to be the case through 2015, which further favors conditions for home sellers. That said, obtaining a mortgage remains more difficult than it should be due to the ongoing implementation of the “qualified mortgage” rule which reduces access to financing to certain buyer segments.

To conclude, the region is in need of inventory and I hope that we will see a modest increase in listings as we move further into the late spring/early summer. Some are talking about the potential for another housing “bubble” given the lack of homes for sale and the bullishness of buyers in bidding up properties; however, I believe that there are sufficient safeguards in place so that we will not see this happen.

 

About Matthew Gardner

Mr. Gardner is a land use economist and principal with Gardner Economics, considered by many to be the foremost real estate analysts in the Pacific Northwest. Over the past 25 years he has served on many industry-related panels and has been cited regularly in local and national media.

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

 

Economic overview

From an economic perspective, employment in Western Washington continued to grow during the first three months of the year, and unemployment rates, although moving slightly higher in some counties, are still generally trending lower. In general, the region continues to perform well when compared to the United States as a whole.

Home sales activity

  • 13,112 home sales were reported during the first quarter of 2015, up by 10.2% when compared to the first quarter of 2014.
  • Between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of this year, total sales were 22% lower, but this can be attributed to a drop in listings.
  • The rise in sales was most pronounced in Cowlitz and Jefferson Counties, but there were double-digit increases in a majority of the counties included in this report.
  • Sales slowed in Grays Harbor County but the drop of just 16 units was minimal.

 

Home prices

  • Prices in the region rose by an average of 4.9% year-over-year, but are 3% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2014.
  • When compared to Q1 2014, San Juan rose to the top with price growth of almost 23%. Double-digit gains were also seen in Cowlitz, Clallam, and Snohomish Counties.
  • Island County was the only county that saw year-over-year sales prices fall.
  • Price growth should continue through 2015 thanks to low levels of inventory and significantly more buyers than sellers.

 

Days on market

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by three when compared to the first quarter of 2014.
  • It took an average of 102 days to sell a home in the first quarter of this year.
  • There were a few markets where the length of time it took to sell a home did rise, but this was likely influenced by the time of year and not a bigger cause for concern.
  • With inventory levels as low as they are, the time it takes to sell a home will likely continue to decrease.

 

Conclusions

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates, and larger economic factors. As you can see, we are still very clearly in the midst of a seller’s market, and unless we see a significant increase in listings, it will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Price growth remains at healthy levels as inventory constraints persist. Interest rates are still at historic lows, and we expect that this will continue to be the case through 2015, which further favors conditions for home sellers. That said, obtaining a mortgage remains more difficult than it should be due to the ongoing implementation of the “qualified mortgage” rule which reduces access to financing to certain buyer segments.

To conclude, the region is in need of inventory and I hope that we will see a modest increase in listings as we move further into the late spring/early summer. Some are talking about the potential for another housing “bubble” given the lack of homes for sale and the bullishness of buyers in bidding up properties; however, I believe that there are sufficient safeguards in place so that we will not see this happen.

 

About Matthew Gardner

Mr. Gardner is a land use economist and principal with Gardner Economics, considered by many to be the foremost real estate analysts in the Pacific Northwest. Over the past 25 years he has served on many industry-related panels and has been cited regularly in local and national media.

Join us Saturday, May 2nd for the 29th Annual Windermere Cup

This Saturday, May 2 marks the 29th anniversary of an event that is a touchstone for our company, our family of offices and agents, and the University of Washington. The Windermere Cup, held annually on the first day of boating season, is both an international sporting event and an opening day party, followed by the world’s largest boat parade. But more than that, it’s a celebration of camaraderie, teamwork, and a commitment to excellence.

The camaraderie is everywhere you look: on the banks of the Montlake Cut, where Seattle residents welcome visitors from around the world to the beautiful University of Washington campus; on the water, where great athletes join together to do what none of them could do individually. Thousands of people coming together for a common cause. That, in and of itself, is powerful stuff.

But what we find most remarkable about this sport, and what sets the Windermere Cup apart from most other major sporting events, is the teamwork. Though it may look easy from the sidelines, rowing is a physically demanding full-body sport. Rowers practice long hours, starting before dawn and ending after sunset, both on the water and in the gym. A crew boat can only race if all eight members plus the coxswain show up, and they can only perform as well as the weakest among them. There are no superstars in crew. It’s one for all, and all for one. So they leave their personal issues at home and push themselves to the limit, every time, for the love of the team.

It’s that commitment to excellence, seen on the face of every rower in every shell at the Windermere Cup, that makes us proud to sponsor this community event each year. It reminds us of our own guiding principles at Windermere: strong relationships built on trust, goodwill, and mutual respect; a spirit of teamwork that makes us more successful as a whole than we are individually; and a ceaseless commitment to excellence and unparalleled service. It’s truly a great tradition to be a part of.

This year, we invite you to join us as the Husky men’s varsity eights race down the Montlake Cut against Columbia University and current world champs, New Zealand Rowing Team, while the UW women will face off against the University of Virginia. In addition to the competition, the Windermere Cup is a family-friendly community event that will include food vendors, booths to purchase Washington apparel and Windermere Cup commemorative gear, as well as a bouncy house.

To learn more about the Windermere Cup, visiting teams, and event schedule, go to www.windermerecup.com and follow us at www.facebook.com/WindermereCup and @WindermereCup.

Shaping the Future, One Stroke at a Time: Annual Windermere Cup #KidsCrew

The upcoming Windermere Cup regatta on May 2 is – without a doubt – our biggest event of the year. Teams from across the country, and around the world, come to compete in this incredible rowing competition. But one of our favorite parts of Windermere Cup has nothing to do with the race itself. Every year, a few days before big event, we invite a gaggle of kids to spend time with rowers from the University of Washington and visiting crew teams, for our annual Windermere Cup community outreach event. This year, 56 fifth-grade students from Martin Luther King Elementary came to spend some time at the University of Washington for a fun-filled day like no other.

 

 

 

 

As soon as they arrived, the kids were taken on a small tour, which started with a visit to the Alaska Airlines Arena to see the Husky Hall of Fame. I don’t think we’ve ever heard “this is so cool!” so many times as we did at that moment. They were in awe; taking pictures, pointing at the trophies, soaking it all in. After that, the real fun began as we let them all loose inside the UW football stadium. What next? Lunch, of course. We all had to refuel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then came the rotations which allowed for some up-close time with the New Zealand World Champion and UW National Champion rowing teams. The kids rotated from racing each other on the rowing machines, to stretching and exercising, to a Q&A session about nutrition, to actually getting in a shell on the water – all led and taught by the athletes. And although it was raining, it hardly seemed to affect anyone; there was nothing that could put a damper on the excitement. 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least, the kids were able to grab a 2015 Windermere Cup poster and get all of the New Zealand and UW rowers to sign it. It's something they can keep forever and hang on their walls as a reminder of such an incredible day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The significance of an experience like this might be lost on some of us, but for these kids, it can be life changing. A day like this allows their dreams to grow; dreams they can one day achieve. Whether it’s rowing at UW, becoming a doctor, or just attending college, days like this remind these kids that it’s all possible. These children represent our future; it’s crucial to help them build one we can all be proud of together.

 

 

Bravo Star, Fredrik Eklund Wows Windermere Agents

Last Friday we had none other than Bravo TV star Fredrik Eklund stop by our Premier Luncheon to talk to 200 Windermere agents and clients about his book, The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone. Although he’s sold over $1.5 billion in real estate, it’s not the money that excites him; his true driving force has always been something entirely different. Intrigued? Read on to learn more about what motivates the number one real estate agent in New York City.  

For Fredrik, it was a bit risky to write a book like this, but he wanted to be 100% honest regardless. He told us that, “people can sense authenticity, people can smell fake.” He believes that the more honestly you share yourself with the world, the more successful you’ll become. In the book he writes, “Success takes hard work, research, knowledge, and commitment, but the real victory comes through honesty, transparency and being true to your word. That’s what makes a truly successful person.” It turns out the difference between cocky and confident leaves no room for grey area.

“We’re all selling ourselves all the time.” When you go on a date you’re selling yourself. When you go to a job interview you’re selling yourself. We typically don’t view these situations from this perspective, and yet, it’s the reality of every single one. Changing your mindset during these scenarios could have a lasting effect leading to positive outcomes.

“We fail an equal amount of times. The difference is how fast you pick yourself up.” You’ve probably heard this from countless successful people, but why is the “fast” part so crucial in real estate? Fredrik answered that for us: "Time is all we have as real estate agents." 

When asked about his team’s dynamic Fredrik told us, “I'm not the kind of boss or leader that would tell them what to do. I send an email the day they start working for me saying I know at one point they are going to leave me and I congratulate them, but it's always about friendship first. I think it brings and keeps certain energy.”

"Social media investment is becoming a necessity, not a luxury. Traditional forms of selling, marketing, and prospecting are becoming a secondary to social media tactics. The results speak for themselves." Fredrik is big on social media, so big there’s an entire chapter in his book dedicated to it. He says, "In the future the seller of a home will pick the real estate agent with the most followers. If people follow you, they trust you. If you have followers who love you, it's a measure of credibility." 

“It doesn't matter what I do. I am my product. I am my service.” Fredrik isn’t just in the real estate business; he’s in the business of marketing Fredrik. Fun fact: He doesn’t have a business card. And yet he’s the most personable real estate agent out there. He says that he’s not afraid to be himself and he doesn’t have different personalities he puts on depending on who he is talking to; he’s just himself.   

In the end, he not only gave our agents great real estate advice, he gave all of us advice in which we can live our lives by. If you haven’t read The Sell yet, we can assure you it is worth your time and you’ll close the book feeling smarter and motivated. We’re so glad he was able to come and see us; we wish you all the best Fredrik!

What’s That Smell?! What to do When Your Home Stinks

Smells are a funny thing. A particular smell or scent is so closely tied to our memory bank, and can instantly conjure up memories and images. We all strive to have a nice-smelling home, especially when we’re placing our home on the market or hosting a party. The problem with smells is that a person can actually become “blind” to a scent, unable to actually smell their home the way other people do. If you are concerned that your home has a certain odor, consider following these tips.

Smells: the worst offenders

You can probably guess the most offensive smells in the home: cigarette or cigar smoke, pet urine or general pet odors, mold and mildew, unappetizing foods, and bacterial types of smells like body odor. Unfortunately, many of the smells can permeate every corner of the home like the carpeting, drapery and furniture, making it difficult and laborious to remove. Getting rid of these strong odors is important, as they could indicate unhealthy or toxic things in the home. Mold and mildew smells, for example, not only indicate a potential water problem in the home, the spores can lead to a toxic environment for people and pets inside the home (read more about this here). Smoke from an accidental fire is another terrible and pervasive smell and can be difficult to remove. Usually homeowners contact a professional rebuilding and restoration services company – this is not only to rebuild and fix damaged areas but also to replace smoke-filled components within the home.

Masking the smell can make it worse

Often we reach for the air freshener or scented candle to mask strong odors and smells in our home. While this can work for small odors (like chopped onions or stinky shoes) or for short periods of time, it’s nearly impossible to completely mask large odors. Keep in mind that some room sprays and air fresheners contain toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are hazardous to your health. You can make your own air freshers quite easily with non-toxic ingredients (try these here) but remember that really strong and foul home odors will come back after your air freshener fades.

How to get rid of the smells

When you’ve found the source of your worst smells you’ll need to remove them with deep cleaning or removal. It’s usually easiest to focus on one room at a time, as well as one feature at a time (like carpeting). This will make your cleaning time more efficient and thorough.  Unfortunately, most of the worst odors will probably permeate the whole home as air ducts and heating systems can spread the scent into every room. Here are some common smell “traps” and how to tackle them.

Carpeting and area rugs: Hiring a professional carpet cleaning service is usually more effective than a do-it-yourself steam cleaning. This is because the industrial machines can heat up the water much higher and suck up more water. The pros might also have more experience with your particular stains and smells and can give expert advice as to what their machine will remove or not remove. Serious pet urine, for example, may have been soaking into the carpet pad and sub-flooring – this smell source will be impossible to remove in the carpet layer. It may be necessary for you to replace particular sections of your carpeting to ensure a clean underlayment. Area rugs can generally be cleaned as well, either at home or at an off-site cleaning facility.

  • Upholstery and furniture: Cigarette smoke and food smells easily cling to fabric and textiles. Drapery can be sent to the dry cleaners or look for a company that can remove drapery, clean it, and hang it up again. Many carpet cleaning companies will also clean upholstery like dining chairs and sofas. Like your carpeting, you’ll want to assess how deep the smell is: is it in the top layer of the upholstery or within the cushion? Mattresses can also harbor bad smells. Consider replacing it and make sure you purchase good quality mattress pads and protectors.
  • Closets and drawers: Wood and plastic furniture, as well as closets, can generally be cleaned and disinfected but first you’ll want to empty the contents. Sort through your closets and drawers, remove the objects that might be causing bad smells and clean them separately. Even if the source of the smell was from one object, it may have affected your other items. Once the closet or drawers is empty, start at the top and clean down to the bottom. While cleaning, inspect this storage area for water damage, mold, mildew or any other potential sources of the smell. You may need to make repairs, repaint or replace to ensure you’re starting with a clean slate. Cedar planks can be added to closets and drawers – they inherently smell amazing, absorb moisture, and can protect your valuables. To remove “musty” or mothball smells from wood storage pieces, you can place a bowl of baking soda inside each drawer, which will absorb smells. A bowl of vinegar will also work. You can often do a light cleaning using a mixture of diluted vinegar and water (I like to add several drops of lemon essential oil as well) to gently wipe down interior surfaces. Just be sure to test out an area first as water may damage your wood surfaces.
  • Basements and attics: Entire rooms like the basement or attic should be treated like other rooms in the home. If either of these rooms have become major storage areas this might take you awhile to empty them out and find the source of the smell. The reason these two places are extra important is that bad smells could be an indication of a more serious problem like a leaking roof, leaking foundation, leaking plumbing or a pest infestation. Not only can these issues ruin your belongings, they can ruin the structural integrity of your home.
  • Appliances, sinks, toilets: Appliances and fixtures can quickly turn smelly if not properly maintained or regularly cleaned. Fortunately, most of these can be cleaned pretty easily and the smell will dissipate. Kitchen sinks with in-sink garbage disposals can give off foul food smells. You can eliminate food odors by sprinkling baking soda down the drain and flushing it with water. A few small lemon or orange peels thrown in the disposal can also give a fresh scent. Be sure you always run the water when using the garbage disposal and don’t use your disposal as a garbage can. Appliances that use a lot of water, like dishwashers and washing machines, can have odors due to mold or food. Baking soda can also be sprinkled in both, just use a little at a time. After using these machines try wiping them clean with an all-purpose spray or plain vinegar. Toilets can become smelly for obvious reasons. Regular cleaning will help immensely, so will using your toilet properly and keeping it maintained. To read more cleaning tips, click here.
  • Garbage cans: The best way to keep the smell of garbage from filling up your home is to use a garbage can liner and empty it regularly. When you remove the smelly items, the smell usually goes away. If garbage has leaked inside the can you’ll want to clean it out thoroughly (it’s easiest if you take the cans outside and wash with soap and water). Compost bins inside the home can also smell so be sure to empty them on a regular basis and keep them clean as well.

When you can’t find the source of the smell

Some smells are obvious, some are not. It might be due to nose “blindness” or possibly just an odd combination of too many smells that make it difficult to determine. You might actually want a person living outside of your home help you out with this. They may be able to pick up on where the smell is coming from easier than you can. But if that’s not an option, you can actually hire professional cleaning services that provide deep cleaning services. They will probably recommend cleaning the basics like kitchens and bathrooms and carpeting, but might also recommend air duct cleaning or cleaning behind and underneath appliances. A dead pest can also be difficult to track down as they sometimes perish between walls or underneath the house. A pest control professional will be able to make an expert assessment and help figure out next steps. Always get an in-home consultation from a professional who will walk through the entire home and give recommendations for service as well as an accurate estimate. Find a cleaning professional on Porch.

This article originally appeared on Porch.com

Written by Anne Reagan

 

 

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

Outdoor Living Inspiration

Can you believe that it’s already the middle of April? Summer is just around the corner and there is no better way to prepare than indulging in some exciting backyard inspiration. This year, turn your backyard or patio into the ultimate hangout. We’re talkin’ friends-never-want-to-leave kind of spot. Here are some ways to make that happen:

Sunken Hot Tub

We know what you’re thinking; hot tubs are so 80s. Not anymore! Consider adding a sunken hot tub to your backyard with a deck of natural stone, tall grasses, and outdoor curtains for privacy. Include pillar candles and some twinkling lights for added ambiance.-

Outdoor Kitchen

If you entertain a lot, an outdoor kitchen is the ideal space for summer entertaining. Bring out your inner Tom Douglas with a cooking station that includes a high-end grill, refrigerator, wine chiller, and elegant washbasin. Round this all out with a concrete counter, bluestone tile floor, and stainless steel.

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Outdoor Theater

Nothing says summer like outdoor movies, so why not create your own personal drive-in? All you need is a projector to watch your favorite movies, some dangling lights in the trees, blankets, and pillows. You could also watch it from a hanging bench or a floating bed. Get über creative and buy an inflatable flat screen for your pool area and turn it into a full-fledged theater, inflatable lounge chairs and all. This way you’ll never have to choose between movies and precious pool time.

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Tiki Bar 

Before you say no, say yes. Tiki Bars are entirely underrated; we think they’re the quintessential piece to any stay-cation. If you’re going for a tropical retreat feel, this is the place to start. Just don’t forget the hanging lanterns, bamboo, and ice-cold margaritas.

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Fire Pit

Is your ideal summer situated by a campfire? Then add a fire pit and enjoy s’mores in the comfort of your own backyard. It’s easy to make your own. Use an old wine barrel, bricks, stones, or a concrete bowl. A lowered fire pit is great if you want to use sand for a beachy atmosphere. On a chilly summer night a campfire sets just the right mood for outdoor fun.

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To enhance your space with little to no cost, add dangling vines or twinkling lights. And a splash of color here and there immediately changes the vibe. Choose one or all of the ideas above and start planning your debut party!

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For more outdoor living ideas, follow our Pinterest board.

Windermere Foundation Infographic

If you've bought or sold a home through Windermere Real Estate, you're a part of the Windermere Foundation, and you've helped make a positive difference in the lives of your neighbors in need. The following infographic shows the types of services funded by the Windermere Foundation, and illustrates how even a small amount can make a big difference for low-income children and their families.

The Windermere Foundation’s goal is to reach $30 million in total donations by the end of 2015 – and we’re well on our way. Thanks to the generosity of Windermere owners, agents, staff, and our community partners, last year we passed the $28 million mark. Less than $2 million to go!

http://www.windermere.com/uploads/ckeditor_assets/2/pictures/2305/content_Donate.jpgVisit http://www.windermere.com/foundation to learn more about the Windermere Foundation. And if you’d like to help us reach our goal, please click the Donate button.

 

Windermere Foundation Infographic

If you've bought or sold a home through Windermere Real Estate, you're a part of the Windermere Foundation, and you've helped make a positive difference in the lives of your neighbors in need. The following infographic shows the types of services funded by the Windermere Foundation, and illustrates how even a small amount can make a big difference for low-income children and their families.

The Windermere Foundation’s goal is to reach $30 million in total donations by the end of 2015 – and we’re well on our way. Thanks to the generosity of Windermere owners, agents, staff, and our community partners, last year we passed the $28 million mark. Less than $2 million to go!

http://www.windermere.com/uploads/ckeditor_assets/2/pictures/2305/content_Donate.jpgVisit http://www.windermere.com/foundation to learn more about the Windermere Foundation. And if you’d like to help us reach our goal, please click the Donate button.