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Terry Lipe
REALTOR®, CRS, ABR, CLHMS, SFR, CNHS, RCC
(509) 999-7916
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October
3

Boost Your Curb Appeal this Fall

Curb Appeal Tips for Fall

Delta Media Group

First impressions are everything when it comes to selling your house.  When a potential home buyer drives by your home, what will they see?  The outside of your home should serve as a preview for the inside of your home.

"WOW" home buyers from the curb with these tips perfect for the fall. 

  1. Spruce up your lawn
    Brilliant fall foliage can automatically "sell" your home for showings, but that doesn't mean you should forget about raking the leaves and mowing.  Keep those leaves raked and give your lawn the TLC it needs to look great. Patch any brown spots, and water the lawn as long as possible to keep it green and vibrant.

  2. Plant fall flowers
    Once lawn maintenance is handled, add a splash of color to your landscape by planting fall flowers.  Some of the best fall flowers include vibrant mums, yellow marigolds, sedum, or goldenrod.  You can also place fall flowers in pots near your front door along with a few pumpkins as accents.

  3. Highlight the front door
    Calling attention to your front door is a good selling tactic no matter what season when you're selling your house.  Your front door is like an invitation to your home. Hang a fall wreath for added color and a festive touch.  A fresh coat of paint in a vivid color can make your entrance stand out.

  4. Tidy up the exterior
    During the fall, your home becomes more exposed making its exterior appearance even more important.  Before listing your home for sale, pressure wash your siding, sidewalks, and walkways.  Clean the windows.  Apply a fresh coat of paint as needed.

  5. Clear out the gutters
    Being diligent about home maintenance tells buyers you care about your home's upkeep.  Keeping your gutters and downspouts clear from leaves and debris protects your home from water damage and ups the ante for curb appeal.

  6. Invest in outdoor lighting
    Days get shorter during the fall.  Exterior light adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to your landscape and improves safety. Illuminate your walkways, front door, and important landscaping elements so the home shines no matter when people drive by.

  7. Keep outdoor decorations simple
    A simple fall wreath on the door and seasonal flowers make your home look inviting to potential homebuyers.  However, scarecrows and spooky Halloween decorations may "scare off" homebuyers and distract them from the gorgeous exterior you've worked so hard to otherwise create.

July
15

Coldwell Banker Scores Another Win in Recent Survey

Coldwell Banker Scores First in Agent Satisfaction. Again.

Confucius said, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." 

The real estate professionals across the Coldwell Banker brand are passionate about their industry – and about their brand. For the third time, Coldwell Banker Real Estate ranked #1 in agent satisfaction in the annual "Agent Priorities" report conducted by Quester.

Designed to keep what's important to agents top of mind, the report zeroes in on topics such as work/life balance, brand image, support, tools, and culture. Knowing what makes an agent more likely to stay with a company is a key component in what brokerages can do to foster positive work environments and grow their agents' businesses.

On a local level, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson combines the strength of the national tools with additional services designed to help our Realtors® list, sell, and learn.

Full-time managing brokers are in place to provide immediate assistance. Offices are staffed with Agent Services Experts (ASEs) to help with marketing, paperwork, and training. A company-wide marketing team is in place to create campaigns that support current market trends, listing types, and services.

With continuing education an important aspect of any business, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson offers in-house classes, regular lunch 'n' learn trainings, continuing education at no cost, and national certifications and classes.

To read the results of the report, visit the Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog.

March
16

Reflections & Predictions with Coldwell Banker President & CEO Ryan Gorman

What will 2022 Bring?

Recently, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Realtors®, managers, and staff were honored with a visit from the President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, Ryan Gorman. Responsible for the operations that support our network of 94,000 real estate professionals in 3,000 offices in 43 countries across the globe, he made the trip from CB's New Jersey headquarters to speak with us about the wild ride that was 2021 and share his predictions about the state of our industry moving through 2022.

Though he foresees a continuation of a seller's market, he believes it won't be "the crazy, crazy" atmosphere we saw in 2021.  "Interest rates are ticking up which will slow things a bit," he said, but "inbound migration will continue to be strong, so it will be a long time before the market shifts."

When asked if he was surprised by the activity during the pandemic, he told us that though he did not predict the "nearly 10 years of appreciation in 18 months" in our area, Ryan said he wasn't surprised to see the market remain strong. Despite the economic downturn, "we had the most equity in homes that we had literally ever had (not on a percentage basis, but on an absolute basis), and we had tighter underwriting for almost 15 years by that point than we had almost ever had, so people had good opportunities."

Contributing to the history-making market, he noted, was that for the past five or so years our area has been named to list after list of best places to live, work, and raise a family, so as people were able to work, not only remotely, but more independently, they began to make good on the question if you could live anywhere, why not live somewhere great?  

In discussing the issue of low inventory, he is quick to point out that even buyers who have been in their homes two or three months may have equity that could propel them to look at selling to purchase something that better fits their dreams and goals and encouraged agents to inform their previous buyers what their homes are worth today. Buyers, he said, can leverage their equity to move more affordably to another neighborhood or city.

Recently named a "Real Estate Newsmaker" for 2021 and "Influencer" for 2022 by RisMedia, a highly respected real estate news and information service, Ryan says is most proud of Coldwell Banker's integrity. "Integrity is first. That's an easy answer. Coldwell Banker was founded on honesty and integrity, and that has lasted."

To learn more about Ryan's strategies for Coldwell Banker in 2022, check out his interview with Jordan Grice of RisMedia.

Search for your new home at cbspokane.com.

January
21

Doers of Good: Featuring Abbey Parsons of Coldwell Banker Tomlinson

IT GIVES US GREAT PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE ABBEY PARSONS, REALTOR® AND SUPPORTER OF JUNIOR LEAGUE OF SPOKANE.

Abbey Parsons, attended her first Junior League of Spokane (JLS) social meet in her first year of real estate in 2013. It was recommended to her from her "office mom" at the time, who had been previously involved with JLS for years. She thought it might be something Abbey would be interested in, and after one meeting, she's been involved with the non-profit organization ever since.

The Junior League of Spokane is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

Since their founding in 1925, JLS has been at the forefront of social reform, identifying problems and finding solutions in the surrounding area – whose purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. Over the years, their community involvement has included dozens of projects, ranging from the creation of a public radio station to the prevention of child abuse. Their current focus is on promoting childhood literacy skills in the Spokane community, particularly among low-income kids.

JLS welcomes all women who are committed to voluntarism and who hope to develop their potential to change their communities through volunteer training. While there are structured member expectations, involvement can vary from year to year.

"That is what I love about the JLS, you can be REALLY involved one year and then when things change (like having a baby) you can step back and just be on a small committee," Abbey said. "I know that when I want to get more engaged they will have a space for me!"

This year, Abbey is currently on the  committee that is planning a statewide event called Northwest Exchange, an event for Junior Leagues across the region to come together to network and share knowledge. The theme for this year's conference is Creating Connections: Bridging Our Past to Our Future.

The Junior League of Spokane is part of the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI), which is comprised of 293 leagues across the US, Canada, the UK and Mexico.  Membership in AJLI grants access to resources and training opportunities, as well as the ability for members to transfer between leagues if they move.

For more information about Junior League of Spokane, visit jlspokane.org.


Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we will spotlight over the next several months.

October
29

Should You Renovate or Move?

The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021. The survey reveals the following:

  • 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
  • 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
  • 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
  • 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
  • 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space

If you're a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire. The decision you make could be determined by factors like:

  1. A possible desire to relocate
  2. The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
  3. Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)

In either case, you'll need access to capital: the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

Home Equity Is Skyrocketing

The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners' equity. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, quantifies the amount of equity homeowners gained recently:

"Remember U.S. households own nearly $35 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $11 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$24 trillion in equity. In inflation adjusted terms, homeowners in Q2 had an average of $280,000 in equity- a historic high."

As a homeowner, the money you need to purchase the perfect home or renovate your current house may be right at your fingertips. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.

If you decide to renovate, you'll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you'll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home.

Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you'll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you're one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you're one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.

First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home

If you're ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you'll need two things:

  1. The current mortgage balance on your home
  2. The current value of your home

You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To find the current market value of your house, you can pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate professional who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report.

Bottom Line

If the past 18 months have refocused your thoughts on what you want from your house, now may be the time to either renovate or make a move to the perfect home. Contact us today to help guide you through the process and help determine what makes the most sense for you!

September
20

9 Tips for Buying and Selling Your Home at the Same Time

Selling your home while shopping for a new one can feel daunting to even the most seasoned homeowner––especially when the competition for housing is so high. That doesn't mean, though, that you should just throw up your hands and give up on moving altogether. In fact, as a current homeowner, you could be in a better position than most to capitalize on a seller's market and make a smooth transition from your old home to a new one.

We can help you prepare for the road ahead. Here are some of the most frequent concerns we hear from clients who are trying to buy and sell at the same time.

"What will I do if I sell my house before I can buy a new one?"

While it may be an inconvenience, this is a common scenario that can usually be handled with a little creativity and compromise. Here are some options to consider:

1: Flex your muscles as a seller.

In some cases, a buyer may agree to a rent-back clause that allows the seller to continue living in the home after closing for a set period of time and negotiated fee. We can discuss the benefits and risks involved and whether it's a good option for you.

2: Open your mind to short-term housing options.

If you're lucky enough to have family or friends who offer to take you in, that may be ideal. If not, check out furnished apartments, vacation rentals and month-to-month leases. If space is an issue, consider putting some of your furniture and possessions in storage.

3: Embrace the idea of selling now and buying later.

With cash on hand from the sale of your current home, you'll be in a better position to budget for and buy your next home. And by focusing on one step at a time, you can alleviate some of the pressure and uncertainty involved.

"What if I get stuck with two mortgages at the same time?"

If you can't afford to carry both mortgages, then selling before you buy may be best. (See Tip #3.) But if you have flexibility in your budget for some overlap, it is possible to manage a home sale and purchase simultaneously. Here are some steps to help streamline the process:

4: As you get ready to sell, simplify.

You can condense your sales timeline if you only focus on the renovations and tasks that matter most. We can advise you on the repairs and upgrades that are worth your time and investment.

5: Prep your paperwork.

If you'll need a mortgage for your next home purchase, get pre-approved in advance. And start pulling together relevant records for your current home, such as appliance warranties and renovation permits. That way, you'll be ready to provide quick answers to buyers' questions should they arise.

6: Ask about other contingencies that can be included in your contracts.

For example, it's possible to add a clause to your purchase offer that lets you cancel the contract if you haven't sold your previous home. This tactic could backfire, though, if you're competing with other buyers. We can discuss the pros and cons of contingencies and what's realistic given current market dynamics.

"What if I mess up my timing or burn out from all the stress?"

To make sure you're in the right headspace, take the time to slow down, breathe and delegate as much as possible. In addition:

7: Relax and accept that compromise is inevitable.

Rather than worry about getting every detail right with your housing search and home sale, trust that things will work out eventually––even if it doesn't look like your Plan A or even your Plan B or Plan C. Luckily, if you've got a good team of professionals, you can relax knowing that others have your back and are monitoring the details behind the scenes.

8: Don't worry too much if your path is straying from convention.

Remember that rules-of-thumb and home-buying trends are just that: they are estimates, not facts. So if your home search or sale isn't going exactly like your neighbor's, it doesn't mean that you are doomed to fail.

9: Enlist help early.

Which leads us to our final tip: If possible, call us early in the process. We'll not only provide you with key guidance on what you should do to prep your current property for sale, we'll also help you narrow down the parameters for your next one. That way, you'll be prepared to act quickly and confidently when it comes time to list your home and make an offer on a new one.

Call today for tailored advice that works for you

Buying and selling a home at the same time is challenging. But it doesn't have to be a nightmare, and it can even be fun. Click here for a free consultation so that we can help you review your options and decide the best way forward - or visit our site for listing of homes for sale.

September
13

How to Prioritize Home Improvement Projects

Spokane Home Improvement

When looking at Spokane homes for sale, buyers often plan how they might fix up a home or make it their own. The right home improvements can go a long way towards making a home more livable and increasing its value. But as your list of home improvement projects grows, how do you decide which ones to tackle first? Here are some tips to help you prioritize your to-do list.

  • Improve Function Before Looks
    Most home improvement projects can be placed into one of two categories. Either the project is aimed at improving the function of the home, or it's aimed at improving the appearance of the home. Painting your walls a different color, for example, is an appearance-based home improvement. Replacing a leaking window is a function-based improvement.

    Tackling functional improvements before looks-based ones will help keep your home safe, secure, and resistant to additional damage.

  • Do Small Projects First
    If your long to-do list is starting to intimidate you, sometimes the best approach is to tackle the smallest, least-demanding projects first. This allows you to start crossing things off your list, which can jump-start your motivation and give you the drive to keep going. 

    Also, consider breaking your big projects down into smaller projects. This helps make them more approachable. For example, instead of writing down "paint all rooms," you could write down, separately, "paint the bedroom," "paint the kitchen," and "paint the bathroom."

  • Consider ROI
    ROI stands for "return on investment." This is something that real estate agents think about a lot when talking about home improvements with clients. 

    If you are considering moving any time soon, you want to tackle the projects with the largest ROI first. This will help you earn more when you sell your home. For instance, replacing leaky windows generally comes with a great ROI, whereas adding shelves to the laundry room may not.

  • Do What Fits Your Budget
    There may be some projects you would love to tackle but can't afford to right now. There are likely other improvements that are in your budget.

    Rather than continuing to put off projects until you've saved more money, do what you can afford to do right now. Then, as your income increases or your financial situation otherwise changes, you can move on to more expensive projects.

  • Ask What Makes the Most Impact
    Another way to prioritize your home improvement projects is to ask yourself which ones have the most overall impact on your life.

    If you cook every day and your old kitchen is really bothering you, for example, renovating the kitchen may be a priority task. If the paint is peeling in the spare bathroom, but you only use that room once a month, that project can probably wait.

  • Prioritize the Preventative
    If there are any home improvements that will prevent problems in the future, tackle those first. This will reduce your workload and costs overall.

    For instance, if your gutters are old and leaky, you need to replace them to prevent damage to your foundation and landscaping. This is more important than painting a bedroom.

By using one, some, or all of the strategies above, you can better prioritize your home improvement tasks. If you're thinking of moving to a new home or selling your current one. Click here to learn more about our services.

August
30

House Care Calendar: A Seasonal Guide to Maintaining Your Home

From summer vacations to winter holidays, it seems each season offers the perfect excuse to put off our to-do list. But be careful, homeowners: neglecting your home's maintenance could put your personal safety—and one of your largest financial investments—at serious risk.

In no time at all, small problems can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. And even if you avoid a catastrophe, those minor issues can still have a big impact. Spokane Homes for Sale that are not well maintained can lose 10 percent (or more) of their appraised value.

The good news is, by dedicating a few hours each season to properly maintaining your home, you can ensure a safe living environment for you and your family ... and actually increase the value of your home by one percent annually!

While this checklist should not be considered a complete list of your home's maintenance needs, it can serve as a general seasonal guide to maintaining your property throughout the year.

SPRING

After a long, cold winter, many of us look forward to a fresh start in the spring. Wash away the winter grime, open the windows, and prepare your home for warmer weather and backyard barbecues.

INSIDE

  • Conduct Annual Spring Cleaning
  • Shut Down Heating System
  • Tune Up A/C
  • Check Plumbing
  • Inspect Smoke Alarm & Batteries
  • Check Carbon Monoxide Detector
  • Check Water Filters & Replace as needed
  • Clean out Sink & Shower Drains

OUTSIDE

  • Inspect Perimeter of Home & Deck
  • Clean Home's Exterior
  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts
  • Seed or Sod Lawn & Fertilize
  • Apply a Pre-Emergent Herbicide
  • Plant Flowers & Mulch Beds
  • Tune Up Lawn Mower
  • Inspect Sprinkler System

SUMMER

Summer is generally the time to relax and enjoy your home, but a little time devoted to maintenance will help ensure it looks great and runs efficiently throughout the season.

INSIDE

  • Adjust Ceiling Fans
  • Clean A/C Filters
  • Clear Dryer Vent
  • Check Weather Stripping

OUTSIDE

  • Mow Lawn Regularly
  • Water Early in the Morning
  • Weed Weekly
  • Exterminate Pests

FALL

Fall ushers in another busy season of home maintenance as you prepare your home for the winter weather ahead.

INSIDE

  • Have Heater Serviced
  • Shut Down A/C for the Winter
  • Inspect Chimney
  • Seal Windows and Doors
  • Check Smoke Alarm & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

OUTSIDE

  • Plant Fall Flowers, Grass and Shrubs
  • Rake or Mow Leaves
  • Apply Fall Fertilizer
  • Inspect Gutters and Roof
  • Shut Down Sprinkler System
  • Close Pool

WINTER

While it can be tempting to ignore home maintenance issues in the winter, snow and freezing temperatures can do major damage if left untreated. Follow these steps to ensure your house survives the winter months.

INSIDE

  • Maintain Heating System
  • Tune Up Generator
  • Prevent Frozen Pipes
  • Adjust Ceiling Fans

.

OUTSIDE

  • Drain and Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
  • Remove Window Screens
  • Service Snowblower
  • Stock Up on Ice Melt
  • Watch Out for Ice Dams
  • Check for Snow Buildup on Trees

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR HELP

...with home maintenance or repairs? We have an extensive network of trusted contractors and service providers and are happy to provide referrals! Call or email us, and we can connect you with one of our preferred vendors. Contact us

August
23

4 Things to Know When Your Neighbor Lists Their Home

Neighbor List

There's a lot you can learn from homes selling in your neighborhood, especially if that home is right next to yours. If you spotted a sign in your neighbor's yard, you might want to do some investigating.

Keeping tabs on the outcome of your neighbor's home sale can prove extremely beneficial when it comes time to list your own property. Details about your neighbor's home and the transaction can provide key information about your local real estate market. Luckily, it's fairly easy to find out important pieces of information. Below are four things we encourage consumers to watch out for when a neighbor puts their home on the market:

  1. The Open House
    Attending your neighbor's open house can provide you with several useful pieces of information. For one, you can get real-time feedback on how visitors perceive the property. Pay attention to what other visitors comment on and note what they like or dislike. The open house also allows you to see how your neighbor staged the home and their decor, which can help inspire some ideas of your own.

  2. How Long It Sits On The Market
    The length of time it takes your neighbor's home to sell can tell you a lot about the state of the market as well as how homes are valued in your neighborhood. If your home is similar in size, price, and quality to other nearby Spokane homes for sale, you might assume your home could sell in a similar amount of time.

  3. The Final Sale Price
    Knowing the final sale price of your neighbor's home can be very helpful when it comes time to sell your own. It can serve as an indication of what buyers are willing to pay for a home in your neighborhood. If the sale price was over the asking price, it might mean homes in your area are in high demand. If your home is comparable to another home in your area that recently sold, it's probably safe to use the sale price as a ballpark figure when determining your listing price. When you're in the process of listing your home, your real estate agent should be able to help provide this information.

  4. Your New Neighbors
    Paying attention to who is moving in and out of your neighborhood can help you better understand emerging trends in your area. Are your new neighbors first-time homebuyers or empty-nesters? Are they commuting a long distance to work? Did they move here from out of state? By understanding who is moving into your neighborhood, you can be better prepared to market your home to the right target audience when it comes time to sell.

Having a good knowledge of the local real estate market is an important part of the selling process. Luckily, your neighbor's real estate transaction details can help you get valuable information. 

August
16

Interior Design Trends: Cottagecore Home Decor

When you buy a new home, you want it to be a reflection of you and your style. As you consider various trends, you may come across a popular new one called cottagecore. But what is it, exactly, and will it work for your interior design needs? Essentially, cottagecore home decor is a nostalgic journey to a simpler time and place. If sipping tea in a garden, breathing in the delicate scent of roses and honeysuckle strikes your fancy, this could very well be the interior design style you are seeking. If the homes you are asking to be shown are reminiscent of country living, you may want to consider these key elements:

  • Nostalgia
    From the garden to the living room, the house should speak of bygone days. This may look different to each person. If your cherished memories include crocheted Afghans and ruffled curtains, by all means, include them. If they lean more toward the brown leather overstuffed couch and the roll-top desk you might find in an 1890's ranch house, then go that direction. It's even possible to blend styles a bit in this very unscripted decor. If you have antiques or just books and knick-knacks that have been in the family for a long time, cottagecore provides a perfect setting to display them.
  • Simplicity
    Although many of us work in the world of technology, we don't all want to live there. When incorporating cottagecore interior design trends, necessary technology will often be hidden inside wooden cabinetry or disguised in other clever ways. The lifestyle celebrates minimalism, including handcrafting, home cooking, and creativity over video games. Rather than the cold, sleek surfaces you will find in industrial decor, you will find the warmth of wood, the natural textures of organic materials, and the cozy atmosphere they bring. Shining wooden floors with simple rugs and a wooden coffee table that reflect the same color as the floor. You might find the same wood theme repeated in bathrooms and bedrooms. 
  • Nature
    Embracing nature is critical to the cottagecore style. This doesn't mean that you must raise your own chickens and livestock in order to enjoy the designs. But the interior of the home should blend with the environment surrounding the exterior. This can be accomplished with muted colors, natural materials, house plants, and fresh or dried flowers. Imagine a little girl collecting wildflowers and displaying them in a milk bottle. The romantic ideal of rural living can be reflected in prints and paintings without the less pleasant realities of farm life. An indoor herb garden is just the right touch to a cozy kitchen, while the fresh herbs bring your recipes to life. 
  • Vintage
    Antiques are certainly great additions to cottagecore home decor, but you can obtain the vintage feel without an extensive collection. Simple lines, wooden frames, and natural textures will help balance the design. Wooden chairs next to pristine white wainscotting in the dining room are reminiscent of homes of a hundred years ago, even if they were just purchased recently. The elegance of a colorful quilt can carry the sleeper back to Grandma's house. Overstuffed chairs reupholstered with soft, nubby fabrics or floral designs are both frugal and practical, echoing the lifestyle of the past as much as the appearance. 
  • Do-it-yourself
    To truly embrace the cottagecore lifestyle, you should bring in your own creations. Have you learned to embroider? Frame an original piece and hang it on the wall. Did you grow your own fruits and vegetables? Proudly store them in wire baskets on the kitchen counter. Craftspeople know that you can't create anything worthwhile without making a little mess. You can embrace the clutter a bit without letting it take over. A basket of colorful yarn complete with knitting needles will actually enhance the decor of the den. A loom in the corner will make a fascinating conversation piece. You may even discover common interests with friends you didn't know existed. 

If you've been waiting for some of the vintage things you love to come back in style, the time has come. Our real estate professionals will be happy to help you find your new home. Contact us when you're ready to make the change. 

July
2

How to Bridge the Appraisal Gap in Today's Real Estate Market

If you're searching for drama, don't limit yourself to Netflix. Instead, tune in to the real estate market, where the competition among buyers has never been fiercer. And with homes selling for record highs, the appraisal process is receiving more attention than ever. That's because, in a rapidly appreciating market, a property is more likely to appraise below the sales price—which can lead to major repercussions for both buyers and sellers.

It's never been more important to understand the appraisal process and the risks involved. It's also crucial to work with a skilled real estate agent who can guide you to a successful closing without overpaying (if you're a buyer) or overcompensating (if you're a seller). Find out how appraisals work—and in some cases, don't work—in today's unique real estate environment.

APPRAISAL REQUIREMENTS

An appraisal is an objective assessment of a property's market value performed by an independent authorized appraiser. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to lower their risk of loss in the event a buyer defaults on their loan.

In most cases, a licensed appraiser will analyze the property's condition and review the value of comparable properties that have recently sold. Appraisal requirements can vary by lender and loan type, and in today's market, in-person appraisal waivers have become much more common. If you're applying for a mortgage, be sure to ask your lender about their specific terms.

APPRAISALS IN A RAPIDLY SHIFTING MARKET

An appraisal contingency is a standard inclusion in a home offer. It enables the buyer to make the closing of the transaction dependent on a satisfactory appraisal wherein the value of the property is at or near the purchase price. This helps to reassure the buyer (and their lender) that they are paying fair market value for the home and allows them to cancel the contract if the appraisal is lower than expected.

Low appraisals are not common, but they are more likely to happen in a rapidly appreciating market, like the one we're experiencing now. That's because appraisers must use comparable sales (commonly referred to as comps) to determine a property's value. This could include homes that went under contract weeks or even months ago. With home prices rising so quickly, today's comps may be lagging behind the market's current reality. Thus, the appraiser could be basing their assessment on stale data, resulting in a low valuation.

HOW ARE BUYERS AND SELLERS IMPACTED BY A LOW APPRAISAL?

When a property appraises for less than the contract price, you end up with an appraisal gap. In a more balanced market, that could be cause for a renegotiation. In today's market, however, sellers often hold the upper hand.

That's why some buyers are using the potential for an appraisal gap as a way to strengthen their bids. They're proposing to take on some or all of the risk of a low appraisal by adding gap coverage or a contingency waiver to their offer.

Appraisal Gap Coverage

Buyers with some extra cash on hand may opt to add an appraisal gap coverage clause to their offer. It provides an added level of reassurance to the sellers that, in the event of a low appraisal, the buyer is willing and able to cover the gap up to a certain amount.

For example, let's say a home is listed for $200,000 and the buyers offer $220,000 with $10,000 in appraisal gap coverage. Now, let's say the property appraises for $205,000. The new purchase price would be $215,000. The buyers would be responsible for paying $10,000 of that in cash directly to the seller because, in most cases, mortgage companies won't include appraisal gap coverage in a home loan.

Waiving The Appraisal Contingency

Some buyers with a higher risk tolerance—and the financial means—may be willing to waive the appraisal contingency altogether. However, this strategy isn't for everyone and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

It's important to remember that waiving an appraisal contingency can leave a buyer vulnerable if the appraisal comes back much lower than the contract price. Without an appraisal contingency, a buyer will be obligated to cover the difference or be forced to walk away from the transaction and relinquish their earnest money deposit to the sellers.

It's vital that both buyers and sellers understand the benefits and risks involved with these and other competitive tactics that are becoming more commonplace in today's market. We can help you chart the best course of action given your individual circumstances.

DON'T WAIVE YOUR RIGHT TO THE BEST REPRESENTATION

You need a master negotiator on your side who has the skills, instincts, and experience to get the deal done...no matter what surprises may pop up along the way. If you're a buyer, we can help you compete in this unprecedented market—without getting steamrolled. And if you're a seller, we know how to get top dollar for your home while minimizing hassle and stress. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

June
8

Take Advantage of Your Home Equity: A Homeowner's Guide

Homeownership offers many advantages over renting, including a stable living environment, predictable monthly payments, and the freedom to make modifications. But one of the biggest benefits it offers is the opportunity to build wealth over time. Researchers at the Urban Institute found that homeownership is financially beneficial for most families, and studies have shown that the median net worth of homeowners can be up to 80 times greater than that of renters in some areas.

So how does purchasing a home help you build wealth? And what steps should you take to maximize the potential of your investment? Find out how to harness the power of home equity for a secure financial future.

WHAT IS HOME EQUITY?

Home equity is the difference between what your home is worth and the amount you owe on your mortgage. So, for example, if your home would currently sell for $250,000 and the remaining balance on your mortgage is $200,000, then you have $50,000 in home equity.

The equity in your home is considered a non-liquid asset. It's your money; but rather than sitting in a bank account, it's providing you with a place to live. And when you factor in the potential of appreciation, an investment in real estate will likely offer a better return than any savings account available today.

HOW DOES HOME EQUITY BUILD WEALTH?

A mortgage payment is a type of "forced savings" for home buyers. When you make a mortgage payment each month, a portion of it goes towards interest on your loan, and the remaining part goes towards paying off your principal, or loan balance. As your loan balance goes down, your home equity goes up.

Additionally, the value of your home generally increases, or appreciates, over time. And when you sell it, even if you've only paid off a small portion of your mortgage, you get to keep 100% of your property's appreciated value. That's the wealth-building power of real estate.

WHAT CAN I DO TO GROW MY HOME'S EQUITY FASTER?

There are two basic ways to increase the equity in your home:

  1. Pay down your mortgage. Some homeowners do this by adding a little extra to their monthly payment, making one additional payment per year, or making a lump-sum payment when extra money becomes available. Another option is to decrease your amortization period. For example, if you can afford the higher monthly payment, consider refinancing from a 30-year or 25-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage

  2. Raise your home's market value. Many homeowners enjoy do-it-yourself projects that add value at a relatively low cost. Others choose to invest in larger, strategic renovations. Keep in mind, you won't necessarily get back every dollar you spend on upgrades, so consult a professional before making any major investments.

A word of caution: neglecting routine maintenance could decrease your home's value (and equity), so be sure to stay on top of recommended upkeep and repairs.

HOW DO I ACCESS MY HOME EQUITY IF I NEED IT?

What if you want to tap into your home's equity while you're still living in it? There are several ways to borrow against your home equity, depending on your needs and qualifications:

  1. A Second Mortgage (or Home Equity Loan) enables you to borrow a lump sum, which you are responsible for paying back—with interest—over a set period of time. Most second mortgages have a fixed interest rate and provide the borrower with a predictable monthly payment.

  2. With a Cash-Out Refinance , you refinance your mortgage for a higher amount than you currently owe. Then you pay off your original mortgage and keep the difference as cash. This option may be preferable if you have a high interest rate on your current mortgage or prefer to make just one payment per month.

  3. A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC ) is a revolving line of credit, similar to a credit card. It allows you to draw out money as you need it. The interest rate on a HELOC is variable, so your payment each month could change depending on how much you borrow and how interest rates fluctuate.

  4. A Reverse Mortgage enables qualifying seniors to borrow against the equity in their home to supplement their retirement income. In most cases, the loan (plus interest) doesn't need to be repaid until the homeowners sell, move, or are deceased.

It's important to note that borrowing against your home's equity isn't always the best option, and it carries the risk of foreclosure if you default. Please ask for a referral to a lender or financial adviser to find out if a home equity loan is right for you.

ALWAYS HERE TO HELP

If you're ready to begin building equity with a new home purchase, grow the value of your current home, or access your equity through a home sale or loan—help is here.  Schedule a complimentary consultation!

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

May
21

Finding a New Home for Your Next Stage of Life

Finding a New Home for Your Next Stage of Life

For most of us, our housing needs are cyclical. A newly independent adult can find freedom and flexibility in even a tiny apartment. That same space, to a growing family, would feel stifling. For empty nesters, a large home with several unused bedrooms can become impractical. It's no surprise that life transitions often trigger a home purchase.

While your home-buying journey may not look like your neighbor's or friend's, broad trends can help you understand what to keep in mind as you house hunt. After all, taking the time now to think about exactly what you need can save a lot of heartache later.

THE NEWLY MARRIED OR PARTNERED COUPLE

The financial and legal commitment of marriage has provided a springboard to homeownership for centuries, though these days more couples are buying homes without exchanging rings. But no matter your status, there are some key factors you should consider as you enter into your first home purchase together.

  • Affordability: While many buyers are holding out for their dream home, embracing the concept of a starter home can open a lot of doors. If you focus on buying a home you can afford now with strong potential for appreciation, you can build equity alongside your savings, positioning you to trade up to a larger home in the future if your needs change.
  • Mortgage rates: Mortgage rates are at historic lows, but they still require solid credit. If one partner's score is keeping you from getting a mortgage, consider taking out a loan in only the other partner's name. The downside is that applying for a mortgage with a single income will reduce your qualification amount. And if you take that route, make sure you understand the legal and financial implications for both parties should the relationship end.
  • Location: A successful relationship takes compromise, so it's important to consider both of your commutes and interests when choosing a neighborhood. Need some help identifying the ideal location that fits within your budget? We can match you with some great communities that offer the perfect mix of amenities and affordability.

THE GROWING FAMILY

Having kids changes everything. Whether you've just had your first child or are getting to the point where your kids can't comfortably share a bedroom any longer, there's plenty to consider when you're ready to size up to a home that will fit your growing family.

  • Schools: 53% of buyers with children under 18 say that school districts are a major factor in their home buying decision.But when you're moving to a new community, it can be tough to figure out what the schools are actually like. That's why talking to a local real estate agent can be a gamechanger.
  • Lifestyle: How will the home you purchase affect your family's lifestyle? Features like a pool, a finished basement, or an open floor plan can help you enjoy time together.
  • Functionality: Consider your day-to-day needs. Will a walk-in pantry or a well-designed laundry room make life easier? Chances are, you won't find every nice-to-have in one home. But we can help you assess your options and give you a sense of what is realistic within your budget.

THE EMPTY NESTERS

When we talk about empty nesters, we usually think about downsizing. With kids out of the house, extra rooms can quickly become more trouble than they're worth. But there's plenty for empty nesters to think about besides square footage.

  • Maintenance: Ready to relax or travel now that the kids are gone? Keep in mind that newer homes tend to require fewer repairs, and smaller homes have less space to clean. And if you don't love yard work, a condo or townhouse might be preferable to a single-family home.

  • Lifestyle: If you're retired (or nearing it), consider how you'd like to spend your days. For some, that might mean living near a golf course or a beach. For others, being able to walk downtown for a nice dinner out is the priority. And with more time to spend as you wish, proximity to a supportive community of friends and family is priceless.

  • Ability to age in place: We can't escape aging, so it's wise to think ahead. This may mean choosing a single-story home with a walk-in tub or shower. Location matters, too—if your family will be providing support, are they close by? Can you easily reach necessities like grocery stores and healthcare? A few careful considerations now can make staying in your home long-term much more feasible.

FINDING THE RIGHT HOME FOR RIGHT NOW

Whatever stage you're embarking on next, insight into local neighborhoods, prices, and housing stock will help you hone in on exactly where you want to live and what kind of home is right for you. Buying a home—whether it's your first or your fifth—is a big decision, but we're here to support you every step of the way.

We support the Fair Housing Act and equal opportunity housing.

March
25

Crazy Prices: What's Really Driving Up the Cost of New Homes

From the March 2021 issue of @Home with Coldwell Banker Tomlinson.  Written by Chris Canning, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Realtor®

As both a licensed REALTOR® and home builder, I often scroll through my Facebook feed and see homes advertised by our area homebuilders and fellow real estate agents. I often see such remarks as: "They want how much for that house? They're crazy!" or "Why can't builders build more affordable homes?" The general public is not aware of the obstacles faced by members of the industry tasked with meeting the demand for housing. Chief among these obstacles are: 1. A lack of affordable land. 2. Dramatic increases in the cost of materials. 3. The scarcity of qualified tradespeople.

  1. Land

    The first line item on any builder's ledger is lot cost. At present, Spokane is faced with issues in obtaining, developing, and delivering reasonably priced lots to builders. Briefly stated, Spokane's Comprehensive Plan dictates when, where, and how development and construction can take place. Its purpose is to prioritize use of existing infrastructure and improvements before venturing into areas that would require expanding infrastructure. Unfortunately, the land within the boundaries of our "Comp Plan" that was easiest and most cost-effective to develop is gone, leaving only very complicated, expensive, steep, rocky, pieces of property to develop. Consequently, developers and builders are forced to confront more expensive and complicated properties and projects. Many consumers who are able are paying these increases, while others have simply been forced out of the market. Let's assume a builder can build a home for $200.00/sq/ft and obtain a fair profit. If the builder is able to obtain a building lot for $60,000, and builds a 1,500 sq/ft rancher – he would need to charge $360,000 for this home. If, due to scarcity, the cost of the lot rises to $80,000, the result is an increase in the finished cost of the home of about $22,000. Otherwise, the builder sees his/her margin of profit slip, which would make it more difficult to obtain financing. Ultimately, the consumer bears the brunt of the cost increase, while the only party to benefit is the original landowner.
     
  2. Materials

    You may have heard in the news recently that lumber prices have nearly doubled in our area and elsewhere across the nation. However, it's not just lumber that has seen extensive price increases due to scarcity. Across the board (no pun intended), shortages in roofing, wiring, flooring and other materials, have significantly increased the cost of building a new home today.
     
  3. Skilled Labor

    Ask any home builder in town why homes are costing more, and be prepared for a lecture on the shortage of labor in the building trades. As a millennial, I was pushed hard to pursue a career requiring a college degree. I wish I had known then how much demand Spokane would have for skilled labor in the building trades in 2021! Talking to the many friends and family I have working as skilled tradespeople, I find that every one of them is inundated with work, to the extent that they can choose whom they work for and what they should be paid. As a result, while today's new homes are not framed any straighter or plumbed more reliably than those built five years ago, they are a lot more expensive to build, and, thus, to buy.

Lurking behind every one of these factors in the increasing cost of new homes is the Demon of Demand. As long as Spokane remains the wonderful place to live it is and always has been, we can expect to see increases in the cost of housing, though perhaps less steep than we are coping with now, extending into the future.

February
15

Coldwell Banker Recognized by the Women's Choice Award

Design Trends

Women's Choice Award® recipients have earned the 2021 award for being recommended by 9 out of 10 customers.

by Athena Snow, Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

MADISON, N.J. (January 25, 2021)  In a national survey conducted by the Women's Choice Award, over 85% of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC's female customers who have had experience with the brand say they would recommend Coldwell Banker Real Estate to their friends and family. For the fourth year in a row, The Women's Choice Award has recognized Coldwell Banker for its exceptional customer recommendation rating, earning the brand the coveted 2021 Women's Choice Award®

The exclusive set of products and services that earn the award have the honor of touting the Women's Choice Award designation, honoring their achievement as having 9 out of 10 of their female customers highly recommend them. As recommendation ratings are the pinnacle for determining true brand loyalty and love, the Women's Choice Award is a powerful indicator of a brand's commitment to their customers. The Women's Choice Award seal also represents Coldwell Banker's commitment to empowering women to make the best consumer choices for themselves and their families.

The Women's Choice Award is a significant and meaningful accomplishment in real estate because women are at the heart of most transactions. Women make or influence 91% of home-buying decisions and make up two-thirds of all real estate agents. Coldwell Banker has incorporated many diversity and inclusion programs committed to the advancement of women leadership efforts, including the CB Women initiative and What Moves Her campaign, that are dedicated to making sure women are provided with opportunities for career growth.

"At Coldwell Banker, we value women in real estate. I am beyond proud to work for a brand that empowers women to take on leadership roles and strives to make the industry better. Through our work with our Inclusive Ownership program and What Moves Her initiative, we are continuously exploring new ways to support leadership development, promote shared values, and provide resources for enhancing leadership tools and capabilities for women in the industry."
 Liz Gehringer, chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate

 "Today's marketplace is more cluttered than ever, yet women have less time than ever to sift through the saturated online options and store shelves. And with women on a constant hunt to identify the best brands for herself and her family, the Women's Choice Award serves as a trusted endorsement and visual beacon of empowerment, simplifying her choices. When consumers see that other women recommend a brand, through the Women's Choice Award seal, it provides an unparalleled level of trust and validation, putting her mind at ease- and that's priceless."
 Delia Passi, founder and CEO of the Women's Choice Award

January
25

Is This The Year You Should Upgrade Your Kitchen?

Kitchen Upgrade Tips

Many people call the kitchen the heart of the home, and it's easy to see why. It's used by multiple family members throughout the day and becomes a gathering spot for family and friends. And as people spend more time at home, this year is the perfect time to make your kitchen more appealing to yourself and your family as well as to prospective buyers if you're selling your home.

If your kitchen is outdated, an upgrade can improve its appearance and make it easier for you to complete your food preparation tasks. Our real estate agents suggest the following ways to upgrade your kitchen this year:

  • Appliances that feature germ-control  
    Several manufacturers – including LG Electronics and Whirlpool – are set to roll out products that remove germs and allergens. LG, for example, has a refrigerator that uses ultraviolet lights to sterilize. And Beko Electrical Appliances Co. has a fridge that has a disinfection drawer.

  • Lower-maintenance faucets, fixtures, and more 
    COVID-19 has also made homeowners prioritize cleanable kitchen finishes, and in some cases, microbial. Look for coated finishes like smudge-resistant stainless steel and countertops that are non-porous and stain-resistant. In some cases, countertops and other frequently touched surfaces can be antimicrobial.

  • Large kitchen islands   
    With more people staying at home, having room to prep for a meal is more important than ever. That's why homeowners want to add a kitchen island or improve the one they already have. If you choose to upgrade your kitchen with an island, make sure it features storage in the form of shelving, cabinets, or pull-out drawers.

  • Updated hardware  
    You probably don't pay much attention to your kitchen hardware. But if your knobs, pulls, and faucets are outdated, you can easily – and inexpensively – replace them to have a big effect on your kitchen's appearance. New hardware can give your kitchen a more modern, attractive look that creates an instant update.

  • A fresh paint job   
    Painting your kitchen yourself or paying someone to do the job can make your kitchen look newer as it provides an instant refresh. Especially if you don't have much natural light in the room, using a lighter or brighter color can instantly give your kitchen a boost. If you're selling your home, it's best to stick to a relatively neutral color.

  • Upgraded cabinets  
    Cabinets are workhorses in the kitchen, so if something about them has left you less-than-satisfied in their appearance or performance, now's the time to upgrade. Your cabinets don't need to be completely redone to achieve these results – often, a refreshed paint job will be enough to improve their appearance. You can also fix issues such as squeaky doors, chipped paint, and loose handles to help restore your kitchen into a point of pride.

  • New backsplash   
    Installing a new backsplash is a relatively simple and inexpensive task that can have a big impact. Metal tiles, glass, and other materials can be used to make your home's backsplash look sleek and attractive.

  • Modernized lighting   
    Many kitchens have outdated lighting, which negatively impacts the entire appearance and functionality. Choosing upgrades such as pendant lights or interior cabinet lighting can instantly make your kitchen brighter and focus light exactly where you need it.

Contact us if you're interested in listing your home among Spokane homes for sale. Our experienced, knowledgeable agents can suggest upgrades that will make your kitchen and home more attractive to prospective buyers while providing a good return on your investment.

November
9

7 Things Pet Owners Need to Do Before a Showing

Pet Owners Spokane

Even though your pets are part of your family, potential buyers are likely to be less than thrilled about your four-legged family members. When it's time to show your home, here are a few things pet owners should do to ensure their home looks its best when compared to other Spokane homes for sale

  1. Stow Your Pet Supplies
    Have a plan in place to move all of your pet supplies so that they're out of sight during your showing. You might keep a plastic tote on hand that you can quickly store your pet supplies in and transport to your garage or car. See that you also remove pet supplies when taking photos for your online listing or to advertise your open house. If you have any pet supplies that you simply can't relocate, like a fish tank, check that it's sparkling clean for your showing. 
  1. Eradicate Any Odors from Your Home
    Make sure that your home smells fresh for potential buyers by eliminating pet odors from your home. Don't try to hide the odor with candles and air fresheners. Buyers can detect when sellers are trying to hide bad odors. Instead, use enzyme cleaners and professional cleaning services to remove the source of these odors. A professional steam cleaner can work wonders when it comes to removing odor-causing pet stains from upholstery and carpets. A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air purifier is an excellent addition that will remove odor-causing particles from the air in your home. Not sure if your home still smells like a wet dog? Have an unbiased friend or family member stop by and give their honest opinion. 
  1. Get Rid of Any Stained Items
    If your cleaning attempts don't remove pet stains, it's best to dispose of these stained items and replace them. Not only do stained items show poorly with prospective buyers, but they can even impact the final selling price of your home.
  1. Make a Plan for Items with Significant Pet Damage
    Some homes have areas with many pet damage, like scratched wooden floors that need refinishing or carpet that needs to be replaced throughout the whole house. Determine if it makes sense financially to replace these damaged items. Even if you're on a tight budget, it may be better to spend the money to fix these issues so that you can command a better selling price for your home. In other cases, you might opt to offer your buyer a credit to remedy these issues. 
  1. Meticulously Clean Your Home Each Day
    Commit to vacuuming or sweeping your carpets and hard floors every single day, so that pet hair doesn't have a chance to build back up after your deep cleaning session. You should also vacuum your furniture daily. By cleaning a little every day, your home will remain ready and fur-free for impromptu home showings.
  1. Remove Your Pets
    Unfortunately, many buyers are deterred by the sight of pets during a showing. Whenever possible, your pets need to leave your home during the showing. Have your leashes and kennels ready so that you can quickly pack up. 
  1. Remove Evidence of Your Pets from Your Outside Areas
    Don't forget to tidy up your home's outdoor spaces! Scoop any pet droppings, and remove any pet toys or water bowls that you use during the day. 

Looking for a home with more space for your furry family members? Get in touch today to get started!

October
26

7 Timeless Looking Kitchen Updates

timeless Kitchen

When revamping your kitchen, you might be tempted to go with the most recent design or that trendy color of the year. Just because it's trending doesn't mean you should go for it.

We can tell you that kitchen design trends come and go, but certain classic looks have stood the test of time. These designs are simple, beautiful, and appeal to a wide audience. And because the kitchen is one of the most expensive areas to renovate, it's smart to stick with what's tried and true. Here are the top 7 timeless kitchen trends that have been loved for decades.

  1. Neutral Paint Colors
    The classic white-on-white kitchen will never go out of style. And while it's sometimes critiqued for being boring, it provides a sophisticated look, can blend into any style, and appeals to the masses. You can easily swap out accessories to get that kiss of color. Also, a neutral-color kitchen creates the illusion of space. It can be a blank canvas for your creativity and for buyers interested in buying your home.

  2. Subway Tile
    Subway tiling is one of the most popular kitchen trends, and for a good reason. It's easy to install, it's relatively inexpensive, and has stood the test of time. It has a pleasant pattern and can be arranged in so many ways to get a custom look that complements your personality. It can work with many different décor styles without competing for visual attention.

  3. Single-Level Island
    A single-level island provides a clean, classic, and seamless look. It's a practical feature that allows you to prep meals, help kids with the homework, eat breakfast and gather with loved ones. When keeping an open layout, a kitchen island serves as a focal point and allows light to stream through the space. 

  4. Shaker-Style Cabinets
    Trends among cabinet fronts are always changing, but Shaker cabinetry is a trend that has been around for more than 100 years. With recessed panel doors, Shaker cabinets are known for their functionality, durability, and a simple, clean, and timeless look. This style works well with both farmhouse and modern designs. 

  5. Quartz Countertops
    Quartz-surfacing countertops will continue to be a popular option for a long time. Made by mixing crushed quartz stone with resin, quartz is one of the strongest countertop materials. It is resistant to burns, chips, and scratches and doesn't stain from acidic substances. It offers a timeless appeal and requires less upkeep than many other countertop materials. 

  6. Deep Sink
    A deep and wide sink is just plain practical and a clean kitchen's best bet. Deep sinks contain splashes and properly accommodate large pans, pots, and other items that require hand washing. A large, deep sink can also be a statement when it comes to décor. Choose a sink with a metallic, marble, or porcelain finish and pair it with a stylish faucet. 

  7. Hardwood Floors
    The classic hardwood floor never goes out of style. It lends warmth and natural beauty that can make a kitchen feel more inviting, cozy, and comfortable. Hardwood adapts to any style and can stand up to spills and stains. If you have hardwood floors in other parts of your home, putting them in your kitchen can help create a seamless look by pulling together your interior design. While hardwood floors last for years, you can stain, refinish, or paint your floor to get a fresh new look.

Design a kitchen that buyers looking for Spokane homes for sale will love no matter the decade. Reach out today for more information.

September
28

5 Things You Need to do After Buying a Home

Buying a Home Spokane

After buying a home, you may feel as if you've completed a marathon and are due for a little downtime to settle in and rest. But don't sit too long; there's still plenty to do.

We recommend prioritizing the many must-dos that will ensure your safety and comfort in your new Spokane home. Here are five things to get started on.

  1. Secure your home.
    Your family's safety is paramount, so take steps right away to change locks and garage codes. You have no way of knowing how many people have keys or codes, so before you move in, make the change. Ask the seller for any instruction manuals for electronic security systems, including cameras, alarms, and locks. If your home comes with an alarm system, you will need to find a new provider or reconnect service. 

  2. Do a walk-through.
    The best time for a walk-through is when it's empty. So take a look around, and make sure all requested/agreed-upon repairs were made; that all appliances and other agreed-upon items included in the sale are present; and that everything works, including plumbing, outlets, switches, fixtures, appliances, and the HVAC system. If you find issues that should have been covered in your contract, contact your real estate agent. If the issues aren't covered, plan for repairs or replacements. 

    Did you get a home warranty? These are commonly purchased by the seller to cover costs for appliances or major systems. Review the details so you'll know what to do if you have to file a claim. If you didn't get one with the sale of your home, you can still buy one after the closing.

  3. Find out where essential valves, fuse boxes, and the like are located.
    It's surprising how many homeowners don't know how to turn off the water at the street, how to turn off the power to the various parts of the home in an emergency, or how to shut off the water to an overflowing toilet at the base. Before you move in, how about doing a walk-through where you specifically identify valves, breaker boxes, and other features, so you'll know where they are in an emergency? Say your dishwasher has an electronic fire in its door (yes, this can happen), you probably can't just switch off the appliance but must go to the breaker box and turn off the power. Make sure all the breakers are clearly labeled as to what part of the home they operate. 

  4. Connect utilities before moving in.
    You will probably need to call all your utilities -- gas, electric, and water -- to start a new service and to apprise them that you're the new owner of your home and have no connection to whoever had service at the home prior. You will likely also want to contract for your phone and internet service, as well as TV (cable or satellite) and a security company. 

  5. Change your address.
    Contact the post office and fill out a change-of-address form so that all your mail will be sent to your new address. It's wise to also make a list of essential persons, companies, and government services that you deal with, so you can let them know your new address.

Whether you're shopping for Spokane homes for sale or moving into your new home, we can answer your questions. Get in touch today. 

July
27

6 Things to Know Before You Remodel Your Kitchen

Kitchen Remodeling

No other room in the house is as exciting or as daunting to remodel as the kitchen. When reimagining an existing kitchen, you want to preserve or improve its functionality, while pulling it all together with a fresh new look. 

In addition to hiring an expert, there are several things you can do to ensure the success of your remodel. When you're done, you'll have an outstanding kitchen you'll love to work in and that you can enjoy for years. What's more, when the time comes, it'll make your home a star among other Spokane homes for sale.

  1. Be Realistic About the Cost
    As you imagine your dream kitchen, you'll probably envision lots of moving about: moving walls, moving appliances, moving cabinetry, and rerouting the stove's ventilation system. Be realistic about what you can do within your budget. Can you move that load-bearing wall? Well, yes, if you're willing to pay the price to transfer the load to other structures. Same with the appliances. Yes, you can move the refrigerator, stove, and sink, although it will be expensive to do so. 

  2. Think About Function
    Make an inventory of everything you want stored in your kitchen, including pots and pans, spices, gadgets, serving platters, baking equipment, cutting boards, knives and utensils, trays. Think about where all this equipment will be stored for the best access for a good workflow. Where should appliances go? Where should your trashcan be? Then, think about drawers (deep drawers, please!) and cabinetry.

  3. Plan For Good Lighting
    You don't want a dark kitchen or one where you're having to work in shadows, which is a hazard of installing recessed lighting in the wrong place. Plan on ambient light to illuminate the room and lighting for tasks, so you don't cut yourself when slicing onions. 

  4. Don't Fall For Trends
    You'll be living with this design for a while. While following the latest trends might be tempting, think about whether you'll really love these trends five years from now. Also, if you see your family moving in a couple of years, make sure your kitchen offers a more timeless look that buyers will love whenever you do decide to move. 

  5. Hire the Right Contractor
    Avoid hiring the wrong contractor by asking for references from persons the builder has completed kitchens for. Look at the finished work. Ask how satisfied the homeowner was with the job, whether it was completed on time and within budget. Ask the contractor about insurance, how he would handle unexpected issues, and timeline. Get at least three bids and don't necessarily go with the low bidder.

  6. Organize a Timeline For Your Remodel
    A kitchen remodel is a lot like orchestrating a piece of music: all the various elements must come together at just the right time when the final piece is played. Order your new cabinets, plumbing fixtures, appliances, and materials ahead so you will have it all at hand. This will help the builder make exact measurements for installation. Confer with the contractor about scheduling the various technicians, including electricians, plumber, ventilation installer, and others in advance. 

Our real estate agents have other good advice for similar projects for your Spokane home. Contact us today. 

May
26

Home Improvement Projects You Should Let a Professional Handle

Home Improvement Tasks for the Professionals

DIY home improvement projects on Spokane homes for sale can be satisfying and productive, but our real estate agents know the dangers of biting off more than you can chew. Here's a list of home improvements that are better left to the professionals.

  1. Foundation Repairs
    Filling a crack in the foundation with cement may seem like a simple job, but it has greater implications. The structural integrity of your home rests on the strength and stability of its foundation. However simple it looks on its face, a crack could be an indication of a more serious problem. Stay on the safe side and have a professional do a thorough inspection.

  2. Roof Replacement
    Besides the obvious safety issues, replacing a roof has challenges beyond the skills of most amateurs. If the job isn't done with absolute precision, the flaws could lead to flooding and some additional problems. Also, since roof replacement takes place entirely outdoors, it's not the type of job that can be worked on a bit at a time.

  3. Window Installation
    Just like roofs, windows are crucial for climate control and keep the elements from damaging your home. A professional will make sure windows are correctly installed with no gaps or leaks. 

  4. Electrical Work
    As a rule of thumb, anything more complicated than changing a light bulb should be handled by a professional electrician. The dangers of electricity are two-fold. You run the risk of being electrocuted or possibly starting a fire that can grow out of control. A licensed electrician will complete the job safely and efficiently while ensuring there's no costly power drain.

  5. Kitchen Remodels
    Minor fixes and improvements like changing cabinet hardware? Have at it. But if you get the itch to gut your kitchen and redo it from top to bottom, your next step should be getting recommendations for contractors. Your dreams are likely to surpass your skills, and you'll find yourself with a torn-up kitchen and no way out.

  6. Plumbing Repairs
    Remember the classic game Mouse Trap? Just one missing or misplaced piece and the whole thing is useless. Plumbing is a lot like that. With all the pipes and tubes that need to be connected properly, you'll save yourself a lot of potential headaches if you call in a professional plumber.

  7. Home Additions
    No matter how skilled a carpenter you are, a home addition requires a lot of moving pieces. The addition has to be integrated into the whole, so planning must take into consideration how the rest of the home will be affected. There are also permits and legal requirements that could shut you down before you even start if they're not handled correctly. Find an experienced contractor who has a good track record.

  8. Tree Removal
    Gardening, mowing the lawn and other yard work can be relaxing. When it comes to removing trees, what you see is not what you get. Roots extend deep below the surface, and disturbing them could cause a ripple effect threatening other trees and plants or even your home. Due to their size and weight, working with trees is awkward and potentially dangerous.

Want more helpful home improvement tips? Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson.

April
27

8 Tips for Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Appliances

Cleaning Stainless Steel

Do you remember when your stainless steel appliances were delivered to your home? The shine of the fresh new surfaces of your dishwasher, refrigerator, or oven instantly gave your kitchen a modern appearance. Now, you realize regular daily use has your appliances looking a little dull and almost grey. The elaborate shine is missing. The good news, stainless steel appliances are easy to clean and maintain.

Whether you are spring cleaning or preparing your home to sell with our REALTORS®, restoring the shine to your stainless steel appliances is simple. Luckily, the process requires minimal effort, but the results are spectacular.

  1. Use a Soft Cloth
    Never use steel wool or brushes to clean your stainless steel appliances. Use only a soft cloth to prevent scratching the surface. If you scratch the surface, dirt and grime will collect in the small crevices creating a dirty appearance.
  2. Avoid Paper Towels 
    Using paper towels as part of your spring cleaning process is convenient. But paper towels can prevent a shiny finish. A soft cotton cloth or microfiber cloth is your best option for cleaning stainless steel. As you clean, the paper towel absorbs the oil and grime from your appliance's surface. The substances will continue to deposit on your appliances.
  3. Follow the Grain
    When cleaning the surface, always follow the grain. Start by inspecting your appliance carefully to find the flow of the steel. Use your cloth to clean in the direction of the flow. If you do not follow the grain, you can scratch and damage the surface of your appliance.
  4. Stainless Steel Cleaners
    Cleaners sold at the grocery store work well. When buying a cleaner for your stainless steel appliances, read the label carefully. An abrasive cleaner can easily damage your appliance's surface. Cleaners with bleach can cause stains and harm your appliance.
  5. Soap and Water
    Add mild dishwashing soap to warm water. Dip your soft cloth in the mixture, wring out the excess water, and wipe down the surface of your appliance.
  6. Go Green
    If you do not want to use a cleaner or soap, use white vinegar to clean the surface of your stainless steel appliances. Begin by adding the vinegar to warm water, immerse your soft cloth into the solution, wring out any extra water, and gently clean the surface.  
  7. Towel Dry
    Using a second soft cloth, dry your stainless steel appliances to prevent smudging and streaking. Wipe off any excess water or cleaner in the same direction as the grain. The extra step eliminates splotches that can create a dirty appearance on your appliances.
  8. Restore Appearance
    If you are not completely satisfied with your appliances after cleaning, go to your pantry. Use olive oil or mineral oil to restore the shine. Add a small amount to a soft cloth, lightly coat, and gently buff your stainless steel appliance. The simple method provides high-quality results by getting rid of the buildup.   

Spills, excessive fingerprints, and other messy mishaps are a normal part of daily living. Regularly cleaning your stainless steel appliances helps maintain their sophisticated beauty and stand out among other Spokane homes for sale. Contact us if you are looking for a modern kitchen with all stainless steel appliances.   

April
9

Congratulating Our Outstanding REALTORS of 2019

 

Spokane Landscaping Trends

 

Coldwell Banker Tomlinson is very proud to honor our outstanding Realtors® of 2019!  These exceptional agents embody the values of Coldwell Banker Tomlinson in serving their clients and community every day. 

Please join us in congratulating these exceptional people. 

 

Chairman's Circle

Coldwell Banker Tomlinson is a Chairman's Circle company, ranked as the #29th top performing Coldwell Banker company nationwide!

 


 

International Sterling Society

Top 15% of all internationally qualified sales associates (5,159 individuals)
Tawny Hiett (Valley)
John Nielsen (South) his rookie year!!
Shelly Weiland (Valley) her rookie year!!
Dale Smith (Valley)
Cindy Hedin (South)
Johnny Jaynes (North)
Tom Carper (North)
Steve Ranniger (Valley)
Janet Robel (North)

 

 


 

International Diamond Society

Top 10% of all internationally qualified sales associates (4,412 individuals)
Garry Cozza (South)
Julie Kuhlmann (Valley)
Jim Bjorklund (Valley)
Kathleen Moore (Valley)
Peter Enkema (North)
Ron Hansen (North)
Jessica Shaeffer (North)
David Jones (North)
Cody Kerr (South)
Carolyn Harbolt (South)
Barb Christensen (South)
Robin Henspeter (North)
Aaron Lennon (Valley)
Terry Lipe (North)
Greg Schuster (South)

 

 


 

International President's Circle

Top 5% of all internationally qualified sales associates (3,021 individuals)
Doc Williams (South)
Chris Canning (South)
Shane Delaney (South)
Wendy Hughes (South)
Melissa A. Blaine (South)
Cody Irons (South)

 

 


 

International President's Elite

Top 2% of all internationally qualified sales associates (1,033 individuals)
Kathy Bixler (South)
Jonathan Bich (North)
Karen O'Donnell (North)

 

 


 

International President's Premier

Top 1% of all internationally qualified sales associates (350 individuals)
Mollie Sweat (South)

 

 


 

Office Awards

Rookie Of The Year

John Neilsen (South)
Amber Verduzco (North)
Shelly Weiland (Valley)

Most Inspirational

Mollie Sweat (South)
Karen O'Donnell (North)
Kathy Moore (Valley)
Brittany Miller (West Plains)

Best Team Player

Steve Williams (South)
Terry Lipe (North)
Aaron Lennon (Valley)
Nate Juarez (West Plains)

Digital Guru

Cody Irons (South)
Johnny Jaynes (North)
Julie Kuhlmann (Valley)
Katie Lee (West Plains)

 

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 01/29/2023. The listing information on this page last changed on 01/29/2023. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Coeur dAlene MLS (last updated Sun 01/29/2023 10:16:22 AM EST) or Spokane MLS (last updated Sun 01/29/2023 12:00:45 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coldwell Banker Tomlinson may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --



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