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Terry Lipe
REALTOR®, CRS, ABR, CLHMS, SFR, CNHS, RCC
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Articles Tagged "Spring"

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May
9

Spring in Spokane: Gardens to Visit

Spokane Gardens

Our real estate agents are always excited to welcome spring back to the Spokane area. This season offers a chance to reconnect with nature and to be reminded of all the amazing green spaces our city has to offer. 

This spring, we recommend taking that appreciation a step further by exploring some of Spokane's most amazing gardens. With spring flowers blooming, there's no better time to experience these spectacular Spokane gardens. 

  • Lilac Garden - W Shoshone Pl, Spokane, WA 99203
    Spokane has been nicknamed the Lilac City, and it's not hard to see why. The Lilac Garden in Manito Park contains over 100 cultivars from at least 23 unique species of lilac trees and bushes. The best time to see them in full bloom is from late May into early June, and the annual Lilac Festival has been a fixture of Spokane's spring calendar since the 1930s. 
  • Duncan Garden - S Park Dr, Spokane, WA 99203
    One of several gardens that are located with the city's beautiful 90-acre Manito Park, Duncan Garden is unique among Spokane's public gardens. It's a classic Renaissance garden with three acres of manicured lawns adorned with sculpted shrubs and vast beds of flowering annuals. This garden is best explored at a slow pace from spring into early summer. Duncan Garden is also a popular wedding venue, located just minutes from these Spokane homes for sale.

  • Rose Hill Garden - Rose Garden Path, Spokane, WA 99203
    Often ranked among the best rose gardens in the nation, Rose Hill Garden is another splendid component of Manito Park. The rose garden was established in 1938 and has grown to include more than 150 rose varieties in a dazzling spectrum of colors. Rose Hill Garden is a great picnic spot and features a collection of old-fashioned roses and miniature roses along with grandiflora, floribunda, and hybrid tea roses.

  • Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden - 2025 S Bernard St, Spokane, WA 99203
    There may be no better place in Spokane to feel the balance, tranquility, and beauty of nature come together. Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden was built between 1970 and 1974 to symbolize the friendship between Spokane and its sister city, Nishinomiya, Japan. Two Japanese architects, Shosuke Nagai and Hirohiko Kawai designed and oversaw the construction of the garden, which remains a magnificent symbol of peace and harmony. 

  • Gaiser Conservatory - 4 W 21st Ave, Spokane, WA 99203
    Located in Gaiser Park just east of Rose Hill, the Gaiser Conservatory features a series of greenhouses in which plants from temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical regions from around the world are grown. The greenhouses are open every day of the week except Wednesdays, and visitors can experience a wide range of different plants in bloom, depending on the season. The Geiser Conservatory also hosts a brilliant holiday lights display every winter.

  • Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens - 525 W 7th Ave, Spokane, WA 99204
    The Victorian-influenced design of Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens is unique in Spokane. These gardens, which span an incredible 120 acres, were originally constructed between 1889 and 1932 under the supervision of Frank Rockwood Moore on the grounds of what was then his own private home. Later purchased by the city and opened to the public, this historic property includes a pond, tea house, rose garden, and perennial garden. Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Contact us today to learn more about life in Spokane. When you're ready to start looking for your dream home in Spokane and the surrounding areas, our real estate agents are here to help every step of the way. 

April
7

Spring Events: Bloomsday and the Spokane Lilac Festival

Spokane Festival

There's always something fun happening near Spokane homes for sale. Join family and friends in celebrating at the Spokane Lilac Festival and the Bloomsday Run, two of the city's favorite seasonal traditions. 

Spokane Lilac Festival

After a two-year hiatus, the Spokane Lilac Festival made an early return in November 2021 to usher in the holidays. This May, the traditional festival is back to delight people of all ages. "The Lilac City" has been home to the festival since 1938, when it began as a way to honor the community as well as members of the military. Over the years, the festival has grown to become the largest event in the Inland Northwest region.

This year's festival revolves around the nostalgic theme of "Our Town." Mark your calendars for these highlight events:

  • Don't miss the main attraction, the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. Local school bands, dancers, gymnasts, floats, and military units will make their way through the streets of downtown Spokane.

  • Meet the Festival Queen and her Royal Court at a luncheon in the Grand Ballroom at the DoubleTree by Hilton. The luncheon takes place on Friday, May 20, from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., and tickets are $50 per person.

  • Later that evening, the DoubleTree will host the official President's Gala from 6:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Dine on a gourmet meal before dancing the night away. Tickets are $100 per person.

  • The creativity of local artists will be on display at the Lilac Art Show, held at Nectar Catering & Events. Competition is open to a wide range of media, including oil, watercolor, mixed media, and pen and ink. Doors open at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 16.

  • Take part in the debut of an exciting new event with the inaugural Lilac Festival BrewFest. Enjoy tastings of signature brews from 16 of the area's top breweries, including Black Label, Whistlepunk, and YaYa. The $35 admission includes ten tasting tokens and a special edition glass. An additional $10 gets you VIP status, with early entry and reserved seating for the Torchlight Parade. Raise your glass on Saturday, May 21, from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. on Wall St. between Spokane Falls Blvd. and Main St.

Check out the full event information here.

Bloomsday Run

Coldwell Banker Tomlinson is proud to be one of the major sponsors of Spokane's iconic Bloomsday Run, which has an impressive pedigree. Founder Don Kardong is a local runner who was inspired by his experience in the 1976 Olympic marathon, along with many other national class races. Winners of the first two runs in 1977 and 1978 were Olympic gold medalist Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers, another famous Olympian who is known for his multiple victories in the Boston and New York City Marathons. 

The 12K course starts off on Riverside Drive, roughly following alongside the Spokane River until it crosses at T.J. Meenach Bridge. Next comes the aptly-named Doomsday Hill, which leads into the last leg of the race. Participants can also choose the virtual option, which allows them to complete a 7.46-mile course of their choosing between April 28 and May 8.

Bloomsday's live run takes place on Sunday, May 1. An early registration fee of $35 runs until April 29, when it goes to full price of $50. Registration for the virtual run is $35 plus shipping for the race bib.

Please join us at the Bloomsday Trade Show on Friday and Saturday before the race to meet our wonderful real estate agents and win some CBT swag!

For information and to sign up, visit this website.

Ready to plant your roots in Spokane and watch your own family bloom? Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson to get started.

April
4

Easy Homemade Cleaning Products

DIY Products for Spring Cleaning

Sometimes it seems there is no end to house cleaning, and while there is no clear-cut answer for how to keep your home perfectly clean at all times, it might be surprising just how much you can do with a little baking soda and white vinegar.

Spot Cleaner for Carpet

  • After cleaning up any excess spill, sprinkle the carpet with baking soda or cornstarch. Let stand for 10 minutes and then vacuum.
  • Mix one tablespoon clear dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon white vinegar with two cups of warm water.
  • Using a white cloth, blot the stain with the vinegar solution.
  • Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Oven Cleaner

  • Make a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Coat the oven (or just the dirty parts) with the paste and let stand overnight. Be sure to avoid the heating elements and bare metal.
  • Use a plastic spatula to remove the paste. (Wear rubber gloves.)
  • Wipe away any residue with a clean, wet sponge.

Grout Cleaners

  • Fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of white vinegar and water and generously spray the tile/grout. Let sit about five minutes.
  • Scrub area with a grout brush, or even a toothbrush.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • If stains are more stubborn, mix a paste of baking soda and water and using your grout brush, work it into the grout.
  • Immediately follow with the vinegar spray. This should cause the baking soda paste to bubble.
  • Use your brush to finish cleaning.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • For mold or mildewed grout, hydrogen peroxide is a gem. Spray it on the stain, let sit for a few minutes, and then scrub with your grout brush. You can even mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste for a stronger clean. Apply the paste to the grout lines, wait a few minutes, scrub and then rinse with water.
  • NOTE: Do not apply vinegar to grout that has not been properly sealed.

Showerhead Cleaner

  • Carefully mix 1/3 cup baking soda with 1 cup white vinegar in a plastic bag.
  • Place the bag over the showerhead, submerging the head in the mixture; secure bag with rubber band or twist-tie.
  • Let soak for at least 3 hours.
  • Wipe clean.

 Window Cleaner

  • Mix together in a spray bottle: ¼ cup vinegar, ½ tsp natural liquid soap, and 2 cups water. Shake to blend.
  • Spray on windows and use newspaper to rub dry & clean, avoiding the window frames (newspaper can leave dark marks on the frames).

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.

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
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.

April
26

Items You Should Toss While Spring Cleaning

Spokane Cleaning Tips

Spring cleaning is the perfect way to start the decluttering process before showing your house for sale or to start packing for a move. But if you've been in your home for a long time, the volume of junk you've been stashing may seem overwhelming. Our real estate agents will tell you eliminating clutter is an important key to maintaining a beautiful home. Breaking the job into manageable chunks can be very helpful. Make sure to toss out these items while doing your spring cleaning this year. 

  1. Outdated electronics
    How many cables do you actually need? You may have a drawer full of them. But don't stop there. In this day and age, technology far outstrips our ability to keep up with it. From old phones to speakers, you probably have a number of electronic devices you will never use again. Open that box and fill it with all of that outdated equipment and take it straight to the thrift store. Be careful to strip all personal information before donating.
     
  2. Clothes that don't fit
    From outgrown children's clothing to slacks from many pounds ago, these things have to go. Shelters can make good use of donated clothes for children and adults. They will serve a much greater purpose there than they will taking up space in your closet. Be sure to go through clothes in your closet and in your drawers. 

  3. Plasticware
    Time to toss those mismatched lids, plastic movie cups, and stained food containers. You'll be so surprised as to how much real estate they take in your kitchen. Besides being unsightly and messy, older plasticware can be dangerous to your health. As it breaks down with age, chemicals can get into your food. It's also difficult to ensure that no food particles are stuck on the surface.
      
  4. Expired food and medications
    We know to dispose of expired prescriptions but seldom think about over-the-counter medications. Every time we catch a cold, we buy new medications anyway, so why keep the old ones? Toss it when your illness passes or, if you did hang on to it, get rid of it now. Pantries and refrigerators should be purged on a regular basis according to shelf life. Check expiration dates then to make sure everything on the shelf is safe to consume. Condiments in the refrigerator are often used infrequently and can reach expiration dates long before they are empty. 

  5. Expired makeup and toiletries
    We all hesitate to dispose of makeup because it is so expensive. When we find the perfect product, we often cling to it. But makeup and skincare products generally expire in three to six months after they're opened. Using it after that date is asking for breakouts, rashes, and eye infections. Even the prettiest eyeshadow isn't worth that cost. Nail polish may not cause infections, but it does tend to get clumpy and not settle as well as it should. Avoid the frustration by tossing it and getting it out of the way.  

Now that your spring cleaning is complete, are you ready to list your home? If you're looking at Spokane homes for sale, or are thinking about putting your house on the market, contact us today. 

April
12

How to Celebrate Earth Day in Spokane

Spokane Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrated on Thursday, April 22, so why not get out and enjoy Spokane's natural beauty? Whether you want to hike to see a waterfall or browse in a market filled with fresh local produce, there's plenty to do and see locally on Earth Day.
Check out the following five places to celebrate Earth Day in Spokane:

  1. Liberty Creek Hiking Trail - Liberty Lake Regional Park - 3707 S. Zephr Rd., Liberty Lake, WA 99019
    Get out and about to enjoy Spokane's natural beauty on the Liberty Creek Hiking Trail, which is almost four miles long from point to point and located near Liberty Lake homes for sale. It's rated as intermediate/difficult and offers a picturesque view of a waterfall along the way, creating the perfect spot to stop for a rest and a snack. You'll end up crossing Liberty Creek twice via footbridges on your way to a cool, damp cedar grove before climbing to a view of Liberty Lake.

  2. Riverside State Park - 9711 W. Charles Rd., Nine Mile Falls, WA 99026
    Although you'll be surrounded by nature at Riverside State Park, it's located only about nine miles from Spokane. The park has plenty of activities to keep you busy and active, no matter what you like to do. You'll be able to choose from 55 miles of trails and go mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, or hiking. If you'd like to enjoy the water, you can try paddle sports at the Little Spokane River.

  3. Main Market - 44 W. Main Ave., Spokane, WA 99201
    Choose delicious, wholesome local foods at Main Market, Spokane's only cooperative grocery store, located just around the corner from Spokane homes for sale. You'll find a large selection of products, including local eggs, fruits, veggies, and more. And in the bulk foods section, you'll be able to find products such as dried fruit, teas, spices, and more that you can buy in the exact quantity you need. You can grab breakfast or a meal from the hot or salad bar. Cooked-from-scratch community dinners are available every Thursday for $3 and include a meat option as well as a vegan one.

  4. Emerson-Garfield Farmers' Market - 2310 North Monroe, Spokane, WA 99205
    Emerson-Garfield Farmers' Market is a seasonally weekly marketplace that features a large variety of local products. You'll find organic fruits and vegetables, breads, pastries, pasture-raised meats, farm-fresh eggs, artisanal soaps, and more as you browse the market and take in the sights. It also serves as a community hub, bringing people together for musical entertainment, cooking demos, craft fairs, and more fun local events.

  5. Lima Greenhouses - 2100 S. Inland Empire Way, Spokane, WA 99224
    Planning on planting on Earth Day? Lima Greenhouses is a locally owned nursery that provides quality wholesale plants to eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Here you'll be able to find plant products that have been grown and cared for by experts. You can find almost anything you need to make your landscaping beautiful, including annuals, perennials, shrubs, herbs, and fruit and vegetable plants as well as gardening supplies and decor.

When you live in a place with so much natural beauty Earth Day is extra special! Contact us to learn more about Spokane living.

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.

March
22

What to do Before Listing Your Home

List home for sale

Whether you have lived in your home for several years or several decades, there may come a time when you decide to put your home up for sale. To tackle the challenge, our real estate agents will guide you through the process to make sure your home makes a big impression on potential buyers looking for Spokane homes for sale.

Putting your home on the market can be a stressful event, but you can eliminate stress by knowing what to do before listing your home. Prepare you home for the busy spring market by following these tips. 

  1. Make a Good First Impression
    You only have one chance to make a good impression on potential buyers. Your home may be spectacular on the inside, but buyers won't see that if they don't get through the front door. Your home's curb appeal is a key factor to get potential buyers inside. Outdoor lighting, fresh exterior paint, trimmed trees and shrubs, and colorful flower beds go a long way towards making a good first impression.

  2. Take the Home Out of Your House
    Your home's interior likely reflects your personal design style and interests, but buyers may have different style and interests. When selling your home, it's important to de-personalize it so buyers can see themselves living there. Before putting your home on the market, get rid of personal items like excessive family photos, memorabilia, and keepsakes that represent your lifestyle.

  3. Focus on the Kitchen
    Most buyers consider the kitchen the most important room in the house. If your kitchen needs an upgrade, do it. A remodeled kitchen with fresh paint, new flooring, new cabinets and countertops, and upgraded appliances can give you an 85% return on your remodeling costs. If you can't afford to do everything, fresh paint, new cabinet hardware, good lighting, and one high-end appliance may be enough.

  4. Brighten Up Your Rooms
    Before you invite buyers into your home, light up your interior with sunshine and new lighting. If you have big windows, clean the windows, take down the draperies, and let the natural light into the room. For rooms with minimal sunlight, add new light fixtures or brighter bulbs to reflect warm, appealing spaces.

  5. Show a Spotless Interior
    Before showing your home, make sure your interior is spotless. Vacuum the carpets and rugs, wax the hardwood floors, wash the walls, clean the draperies and upholstery, and eliminate unnecessary clutter. Buyers want a house that reflects proper care and attention. If you have pets, make sure food bowls and litter boxes are clean. If you're planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.

  6. Empty Your Closets
    Storage is an important feature to any homebuyer. When viewing a potential new home, a buyer will open closets, drawers, cabinets, and storage areas to make sure storage is adequate for their needs. By emptying your closets and cabinets, a buyer can accurately assess storage spaces for their own stuff.

  7. Price It Right
    Before listing your home, check recent sales in your area. While an overpriced home can sit on the market for months, a home that's priced at the current market value for the area can receive multiple bids from buyers, often over the asking price.

If you're interested in selling your home, contact us to guide you through the process and make sure your home gets the attention it deserves.

February
22

Start Your Garden Indoors With These Tips

Spokane Garden Tips

By the time we get to the dark days of midwinter, gardeners all over Washington are itching to get outside and get their hands back in the soil. We understand the struggle. 

Luckily, this is the time of year when you can start taking the first steps toward planting your spring vegetable garden. Our real estate agents are delighted to share these tips for starting your spring garden indoors!

  1. Pick out Your Seeds
    Starting from seed gives you complete control over your garden and the ability to select from a wider range of varieties. Plus, you get to start earlier, which gives you something to do in the late days of winter! You can order seeds online or stop at your local greenhouse. 

  2. Know Your Zone
    USDA Hardiness Zones can be extremely helpful in determining what plants are ideal for your climate and when each type of plant should be started in your specific region. Here in Spokane, WA, we're in zone 6. 

  3. Which Plants to Start Indoors
    Some vegetables transplant better than others. It's important to plan and know which seeds should be started indoors and which should be sowed directly into your garden when the time is right. Vegetables that transplant especially well include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, lettuce, onion, okra, peppers, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Certain other vegetables, including celery, cucumbers, melons, peas, spinach, and squash, can also be started indoors but must be transplanted very carefully. A few vegetables should never be transplanted because doing so often damages the roots. They include beans, beets, carrots, and corn. These crops should be planted directly in your garden after all danger of frost has passed. 

  4. Location, Location, Location
    If you're planning to start seeds indoors, you'll need a suitable location in which to do so. The best way to grow seedlings indoors is with a grow light, which provides constant light from directly above your seeds. But you can certainly get by without a grow light. Choose a spot in your house where a large window provides abundant light. South-facing windows are ideal. Make sure your seedlings don't get too cold—a consistent temperature between 65°F and 75°F is just right—and give your seedlings a quarter-turn every day to keep them from reaching toward the light and developing long, spindly stems. 

  5. Know When to Begin
    Most seeds should be planted indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the date of the last spring frost, though exact timing varies. Here in the Spokane area, the prime time to plant seeds indoors is during the first two weeks of March. Between March 1st and March 15th, plant seeds indoors for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, and tomatoes. Wait until around the beginning of April to start seeds for cucumbers, melons, and squash. By mid-April, you should be able to transplant your seedlings from early March into your garden. Around this same time, you can plant seeds like carrots, beans, beets, and corn directly in your garden.

  6. Keep Your Seed Packets
    When in doubt, refer to your seed packets! They typically have detailed information on how and when the seeds should be planted, so make sure you keep them in case you need a little reminder.

Contact us today to learn more about life in the Spokane area. We live in a great area for gardening, and our team is standing by to help you search Spokane homes for sale.

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 11:00:44 AM 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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