2011 Whatcom County Home & Garden Show

Biawc

This weekend (March 4, 5, and 6) is the 32nd annual 2011 Whatcom County Home & Garden Show­. It’s the largest home show north of Seattle, with over 225 vendors.  If your home or garden is in need of some updating, head up to Lynden and check out the variety of displays of home and garden products.

Updating your home can be a great way of adding value.  Check out my blog post Remodeling for Maximum Value for a look at some of the most valuable home improvements you can do.  And of course, curb appeal is always great! Continue Reading

A new house!

I’m taking a break from general Bellingham-oriented posts for a personal update.  Those of you who are regular readers have surely noticed that my postings have slowed to a trickle of what they were before the new year (so much for my resolutions).

Long story short- my boyfriend and I bought a house!  As a local Bellingham Realtor®, I am so excited to own my first home.  We have been looking at houses for sale in the Bellingham area since last summer, and finally during the holidays the ‘perfect’ house came on the market!

We made an offer on the house at the beginning of December, and closed on it mid-January.  And as these things go, we had a vacation (planned long ago) then guests from out-of-town immediately after we closed on the house!  So January was a whirlwind of moving, traveling, and hosting activity that is just now settling down.

We are so excited to have our very own home in Bellingham.  Acting as our own Realtor® was a fun experience, albeit a teensy bit more stressful emotionally than working for others!  We are enjoying our space and adding the personal touches that make a house into a home.

Now that I’m more settled in (but not completely) you can expect this blog to pick back up.  I may be throwing in some more personal posts, as I adapt to being a homeowner.  Thanks for sticking around during my transition!

Bellingham sunset

The sunset from my new place. Needless to say, I am pumped!

Real Estate- Remodeling for Maximum Value

Remodel tools

Itching for a remodel project? Consider the cost to value. Flickr photo by Andrew Fogg.

In today’s tough economy and real estate market, more homeowners are thinking of their remodeling projects in terms of maximum resale value.  In addition to enjoying the renovation while you live in a house, it is nice to recoup some of the cost when you go to sell your house.

Remodeling doesn’t yield the value it did a couple of years ago, but some home improvements are still a better bet than others.

The top 5 ‘moderate’ (not a major overhaul) projects ranked in cost to value perspective, returning 72.2% or more of their cost are:

  1. Entry door replacement
  2. Garage door replacement
  3. Minor kitchen remodel
  4. Deck addition
  5. Window replacement

As a Realtor®, I wouldn’t recommend remodeling solely for resale value at the moment, but if you are thinking about doing some updating anyway, you might consider these five things.  And if the current real estate market is preventing you from moving to another house, you might want to make your current house more to your liking.

This data comes from Remodeling Magazine, which breaks it down by region of the country as well.

DIY Home Energy Audit in 6 Easy Steps

Old House

This house needs more than an energy audit. Flickr photo by Jeffrey Pott.

With all the blustery weather Bellingham has had lately, it’s seeming like fall is here to stay, and winter’s not far behind.  If your house is seeming chilly, or your energy bill is higher than expected, you might be losing energy through the walls and roof.

Save money and keep warm this year with an easy home energy audit.  These tips from the National Association of Realtors will help you track down and seal up drafts.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

5 Simple Steps to Staging Your House For A Quick Sale

Peggy's Zen living room makeover, Seattle, Washington, USA

A nicely staged living room vignette. Photo by Flickr user Wonderlane.

Are you thinking of selling your home?  Is it already on the market but not selling as quickly as you would like?  Your ‘stuff’ might be overwhelming buyers from seeing the house itself.  As a real estate agent, I am sometimes surprised how people present their house to the market.  It doesn’t need to be that way!  With a few cheap and easy steps, you can transform your home into a house buyers can see themselves (and their stuff) in.

1. Clear out clutter. If it looks like you can’t fit all your stuff inside your house, then potential buyers will think they can’t either.  Rent a storage unit if you have to for things you don’t use all the time (books, out-of-season clothing, spare dishes and linens).  Or put stuff in the garage.  Think of it this way- you’ll already be partially packed to move!

Continue Reading

Psychology of Real Estate: Renting vs. Owning

Do you own your home or rent?  What led you to this place?  Are you happy with your current living situation?  While you might think “it’s just the way it worked out”, I’d argue that there’s some psychology in place that cause it to work out this way.

Owning a home is a statement.  It says, “This is where I’ve chosen to live, and I’ll probably be here a while.”  There’s no point to buying a home if you’re planning to move soon.  (Unless you’re an investor, but that’s another topic for another day.)  Home-ownership makes you a bit more involved in the community, simply by owning a sliver of it.  It’s in your best interest to improve your community, for your quality of life and the value of your home.

Renting a home is also a statement.  It says, “I have the flexibility to pick up and move at pretty much any time.”  Sometimes, you plan to exercise that flexibility (ie, most college students).  Maybe you just like to keep your options open.  Or maybe you prefer someone else to take care of maintenance, property taxes, and possibly some utility bills.  Renting is a more carefree lifestyle choice.

Do you rent or own?  What are the pros and cons as you see it?