As I end the third week at with my kids and begin to live with what appears to be the new normal for a while — I can finally wrap my head around what we’re up against — okay not totally — however, I can tell where we are today! This week we entered a new realm — a new state of the Real Estate market that I’m not sure has ever been experienced before ( at least not in the 10 years that’s I’ve been working in this industry). Up until this week things had been seemingly “normal” — We could at least take our clients too homes, and proceed with the marketing plans for our listings (including pre-inspections, photos, staging) — now we are no longer able to conduct business as usual.
With so much information flying around regarding our current state of affairs, I thought it might be helpful for you to know what’s happening on the real estate scene. We continue to receive many questions regarding whether or not it’s a good time to buy or sell, and quite frankly there is neither a right or wrong answer.
For many, transacting real estate is a voluntary action. But for others, the need to buy or sell isn’t so optional. Relocations, changes in life circumstance, and a host of other reasons may or may not influence this.
Regardless of which situation you happen to find yourself in, I will continue to provide insight on what to do — over the next few weeks as things begin to unfold I will provide a weekly updates in my Facebook Live’s. You can like my page at https://www.facebook.com/deniseperkinshomes/ to see these weekly updates.
I will provide weekly updates and offer tips and tricks of how to get through this wild ride that we are on. Buyers Tips, Sellers Tips, discussion regarding whether or not we should be remodeling or selling.
To Your Health!
Happy New Year! Hope you all had a relaxing holiday!
To start 2020 I am super excited about this January organization calendar I found a few years back. There are different calendars for each month, pinterest has lots of options, but I thought I would share this one. It has a task each day to help clean out, organize, and declutter your house (and life). I feel like the tasks are less intimidating and super easy to fit in each day, maybe 15 to 20 minutes, and I bet you could get your kids or to help too! Each week is focused on a different room, thought that was pretty cool too. Even if you do every other day, it will still feel really good!
I also found lots of great home organization ideas at easyorganizedhome.com – check it out.
It’s that time of year when Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, dusts off his crystal ball and peers into the future to give us his predictions for the 2020 economy and housing market.
Parentmap has a great Family Fun Calendar, I love this resource! Check out a few events below that I think look really fun and while you are at it check out the amazing Family Fun Calendar that Parentmap provides… it will be your Complete Guide to Events this Season and beyond!
Presented by Evergreen Health & KING 5
Nov 29, 2019 thru Jan 5, 2020*
Make this a holiday tradition, visit Redmond Town Center’s annual Winter Wonderland holiday festival. Shop, dine and enjoy a myriad of magical activities and events. The whole family will enjoy spirited rides on the polar express train and horse carousel. Take a twirl on the synthetic skating rink. Visit Santa’s workshop for photos. Take the younger ones to princess story time. Delight in the magical sounds of the season with talented performances on the STAR 101.5 Community Stage. Spread holiday joy with help from over 125 premier stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. Guests enjoy free parking all season.
Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater cordially invites you to our annual holiday wreath-making event! A hand-made wreath is a unique holiday gift for friends and family, or to add festive décor this season to your own home. It’s also a fun way to express your personal creativity. Bring creative holiday spirit into your home this winter! Learn how to craft holiday wreaths at Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater and Family Park’s Holiday Wreath Making Workshop! For more details check out this article on Parentmap.com
December 4th to January 20th
This 23-year old holiday tradition, a signature event of the Bellevue Magic Season, features the region’s largest seasonal ice skating experience, with more than 9,000 square feet of real ice.
The ice surface is covered for all-weather skating, and the rink also treats guests to a heated viewing area, on-site concessions, and a series of special events throughout the holiday season.
The Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink is located at the Downtown Park. Just south of Bellevue Square, it’s a short walk to Downtown Bellevue’s outstanding dining options, premier shopping, and other Bellevue Magic Season events, including Snowflake Lane presented by the Bellevue Collection.
For more information about the event, including admission information and holiday hours, visit the event’s website at www.bellevueicerink.com.
Places to take out of town guests.
When out of town friends and family come to visit you, chances are, they want to see downtown Seattle. And there is no good reason that you should not show them the sights. Things like Pike Market, Post Alley, the Space Needle, and the downtown waterfront are absolutely essential to a Seattle area visit, but they’re not the only things worth seeing. Here are five of my favorites.
This place kind of has a little bit of everything going on. From off-leash dog parks to climbing walls, you’ll find wooded trails, open fields, playgrounds and, in the right season, even the Cirque de Soleil. You’ll find a summer concert series and outdoor concerts, soccer, tee-ball and a plethora of other activities depending on the season. Your out of town guests will enjoy the splendor and size of the park, located in such a large metropolitan area. This park really is a gem and makes a great place to spend a day with guests.
Woodinville, just outside of the Eastside, is a hot spot for Washington wineries. With the evergreen state gaining in popularity in the wine world, if your guests love wine even just a little bit, Woodinville is a place you should absolutely take them. While you’ll find many wineries and even tasting tours that showcase the best of them, I absolutely must insist on a visit to Chateau St. Michelle. The grounds are brilliantly stunning, and the tasting room is open daily. This vineyard may just be the most well known in Washington on a national level, so there’s a good chance that your guests have had this wine before, creating a nice familiarity for the experience. With outdoor concerts in the summer and other events year round, this is a great place to take your guests any time of year.
I mention the gardens often. They are just so stunning every month of the year and make a great place to walk and talk with those you don’t get to see often. While each season offers something stunning, I specifically love the gardens during the holiday season when they come to life with holiday lights. It always surprises me how many locals don’t take in the gardens, and I’d encourage you to get out there with your guests and enjoy the beautiful plant life.
Pretty much everyone has heard of Microsoft. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t personally used a Microsoft product. That’s why, for so many, a visit to the Microsoft campus is a must while on the Eastside. The Visitor’s center offers a look into the history and future of the company that reshaped how we all live. Check out the Microsoft store while you’re on campus to get some epic once-in-a-lifetime photos!
Located on the scenic Kirkland waterfront, plan on taking your guests on an Argosy cruise. You can sail around Lake Washington year round. This offers scenic views of multi-million dollar homes, the Seattle and the Bellevue skylines, and the longest floating bridge in the world (That’s the 520 if you didn’t know.) Before or after your cruise, check out the shops and restaurants that line the scenic waterfront.
What are your must see or must do items for your out of town guests? What have I missed? Let’s hear it, Eastside! Share your thoughts and best kept secrets with me on social media, just don’t forget to tag me!
Interest rates are at a two year low. Who knew!
There have been so many predictions over the past several years that rates were headed higher and higher and while they have fluctuated a bit – today it’s like free money! Our economy as well as the real estate market is unpredictable. But one thing is for certain, if you are or were on the fence about buying – either for the first time, selling and getting a bigger house or even ready to downsize and get into your retirement home – now could be a great time to make that happen. Most markets in our area are still great for sellers if the home is marketed and priced accordingly – and inventory is up (24.5% as of May) which means more for buyers to choose from.
Multiple offers are still the story again in some markets – but with more to choose from it’s doesn’t seem as frenetic. So why does all this hub-bub matter when it comes to interest rates – well it really can effect what you can buy. BUYING POWER is the answer – and with low interest rates you can afford more. And in our area – that makes a big difference. Which brings me to the information seen here – it’s a great depiction of what waiting, or what a changing interest rate can mean to you and your bottom line.
So when you’re ready to talk about finding your next community – let’s chat – I can help!
I know…tax season is over (hopefully you got yours done already!!) But this question about CAPTIAL GAINS TAX is a question I get on a regular basis from my clients — about what it is and does it apply to me? This was an article I recently sent out in my monthly ‘paper’ newsletter (I know so old school) to my mailing list. It was super helpful for me to understand what it actually is and how it works — I hope you find it as informative.
What is capital gains tax? This is a prime question that might creep up when you sell your home for more than you paid for it. That’s good news for you, but the downside is, you may have to pay taxes on those profits in the form of capital gains tax. Yep, just as you pay income tax and sales tax, home sale profits are subject to taxation, too.
Complicating matters is the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is changing the rules. So if there’s ever a time to brush up on all things capital gains, it’s right now. Here’s what you need to know.
What is capital gains tax—and who pays it?
In a nutshell, capital gains tax is a duty levied on property and possessions you’ve held onto for more than a year that you sell for a profit—including your home.
The IRS gives each person, no matter how much the person earns, a $250,000 tax-free exemption for a primary residence.
“So if you and your spouse buy your home for $100,000, and years later sell for up to $600,000, you won’t owe any capital gains tax,” says New York attorney Anthony S. Park. However, you do have to meet specific requirements to claim this exclusion:
- The home must be your primary residence.
- You must have owned the home for at least two years.
- You must have lived in the home for at least two of the past five years.
If you don’t meet all these requirements, you may be able to take a partial exclusion for capital gains tax. For more information, consult a tax adviser or IRS Publication 523.
How much capital gains tax will you have to pay?
For capital gains over that $250,000-per-person exemption, just how much of a bite will Uncle Sam take out of your real estate sale? In the past, that depended on your tax bracket. Under the new tax law, capital gains rates are now based on your income, explains Park. Let’s break it down.
Married Filing Jointly
|Head of Household||Capitol Gains Tax Percentage|
|Earning Less Than||$39,375||$78,750||$52,750||0%|
|Earning Between||$39,376 – $434,550||$78,751 – $488,850||$52,751 – $461,700||15%|
|Earning More Than||$434,550+||$488,850+||$461,700+||20%|
Don’t forget, your state may have its own capital gains tax. And very high earners may owe an additional 3.8% net investment income tax.
Do home improvements reduce capital gains tax?
How much capital gains tax you’ll pay may also be reduced because of home
improvements you’ve made. The money you spent on any home improvements—such as replacing the roof, building a deck, replacing the flooring, or
finishing a basement—can be added to the initial price of your home to give you the adjusted cost basis of your home.
For example, if you purchased your home for $200,000 in 1990 and sold it for $550,000, but over the past 29 years have spent $100,000 on home improvements, that $100,000 would be subtracted from the sales price of your home this year. Instead of owing capital gains taxes on the $350,000 profit from the sale, you would owe taxes on $250,000. In that case, you’d meet the requirements for a capital gains tax exclusion and owe nothing.
Make sure to save receipts of any renovations and repairs, since they can save you big-time come tax filing season.
How capital gains tax works on inherited homes
What if you’re selling a home you’ve inherited from family members who’ve passed away? The IRS also gives a “free step-up in basis” when you inherit a family house. But what does that mean?
Let’s say Mom and Dad bought the family home years ago for $100,000, and it’s worth $1 million when they die and leave it to you. When you sell, your purchase price (or “basis”) is not the $100,000 your folks paid, but instead the $1 million it’s worth on their date of death.
How to avoid capital gains tax as a real estate investor
If the home you’re selling is a second home (i.e., vacation home) rather than your primary residence, avoiding capital gains tax is a bit more complicated. But it’s still possible. The best way to
avoid a capital gains tax if you’re an investor is by doing a 1031
exchange. This allows you to sell your property and buy another one without recognizing any potential gain.
“In essence, you’re swapping one investment asset for another,” White says. He cautions, however, that there are very strict rules regarding timelines and guidelines with this transaction, so be sure to check them with an accountant.
If you’re opting out of the rental property investment business and putting your money in another venture, then you’ll owe the capital gains taxes on the profit.
New Year New You?
Tell me, how’s that going?
If you’re like most people, you resolved to get in shape and lose weight in 2019.
If you’re like most people, by February you’ve already given up.
Well, my friends, this is the year we change that. Let’s get back in the saddle, back on the horse, and back on course! To spice it up, I did a LOT of digging to find some new, exciting exercise options for you around the Eastside. No more dreadmills and forget about those “lose 100 pounds in a month at our Bootcamp challenge!” places. Here’s how to break a sweat and have a fun time doing it.
Cycling is always a hot class to take. It might not be the most original thing out there, but it certainly has a cult following. Offering high energy classes that focus on big time cardio, lots of people see fat melting away in no time when combined with a low-calorie diet plan. Cyclebar has just one Eastside location in Redmond. Before heading out, check with your local Facebook Community group. Someone is always giving away free class passes.
Want a dancer’s body? Then you gotta dance! If you haven’t tried Barre method yet, I think you really should give it a try. Pure Barre has locations around the Eastside and focuses on core stability and strength to create a tone, lean look. There are music and community at each class, creating a fan base of women who report classes leading to awesome friendships. That means a built-in accountability buddy! This is not your traditional tutu ballet class, but you will be using the traditional bar. You’re in and out in about 50 minutes though, so it’s great for busy people!
Remember when Zumba was all the rage? I mean, I guess it still kind of is, but it’s far from unique these days. Now you can take an exciting and totally unique dance exercise class in Bellevue with a dance theme, but it’s not Latin at all. The focus is on Bollywood. That’s Indian music and movement. Its crazy fast-paced and utilizes every inch of your body from the tips of your fingers to the point of your toes. You’re moving fast and having a blast, too. You’re in and out in about an hour.
Now here is a unique class! Let inhibitions go and try your hand at pole dancing. Let’s get this out of the way early on. Yes. I am talking about a “stripper-pole.” You have to be a bit brave to walk in for that first class. But really? It’s a great workout that is physically challenging in a way few classes can be. You’re focused on your own abilities, not noticing those around you. (That means that they’re not noticing you, either.) You’ll feel triumphant highs as you master new skills and gain great strength. It’s a fun, supportive environment and unlike anything you’ve ever tried before!
“But Denise, you said these were unique fitness ideas…”
You’re right. I did. And give me a chance, here! This is totally unique! I recently met a gal who works at the Redmond 24 hour fitness location. She told me about a class called “Aqua Fitness.” It’s not your grandma’s water aerobics, ladies. Instead, it’s an upbeat, low impact dance class that blends weights, strength, and cardio in a style similar to Zumba. Only, it’s done in the water. Now that is unique!
So, for the next month, I want to post four blogs. We’ll cover dining out on a diet, as well as essential exercise. See you in a week to talk about the best healthy restaurants on the Eastside.
Part of the joy of the holiday season is exploring holiday lights with the kids. They’re bright and festive, and just inspire imagination and awe. Especially in young children, going hunting for lights is a time-honored holiday tradition. Unfortunately, more and more people are not decorating their homes with lights. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still great light displays out there to be found and enjoyed. Here are a few of my favorite holiday lights hot spots.
23620 ne 183RD St. Woodinville, WA 98072
A family oriented display awaits you in Woodinville! Here you’ll find a full acre display of lights set to music and light animations. The display is free to visit, but cash donations are appreciated. The donations benefit a variety of charities. To get the most out of the experience, tune your radio to 101.9 FM.
16504 112th PL NE Bothell, WA 98011
Another home with a ton of lights can be found in Bothell. Keener Christmas is a drive-through experience with no foot traffic allowed. You’ll find more than half a million lights as well as animations and inflatables. This family favorite home has been featured in many newscasts about the best-decorated homes in Western Washington. From time to time you’ll even find Santa on site handing out candy canes! If you’re so moved, you can also donate food to charity at the site!
Bellevue Botanical Gardens
12001 Main St. Bellevue, WA 98005
Get lost as you wander through the fields of flower-themed lights at Bellevue’s annual Garden d’Lites festival. Now in its 24th year, the tradition of nature-themed light shows is a must for many people during the holiday season. You’ll also find a running river made of lights. The Gardens set up a scavenger hunt among the lights to keep young people excited, and there is always espresso and hot cocoa on site, too. There is a small admission fee, but there are also free nights every season as well. Check the website before heading out so that you can plan! Remember – kids ten and under are free!
19525 SE 54th St Issaquah, WA 98027
For something just a little different, head out to Issaquah and the Cougar Mountain Zoo! Here you’ll find a full Christmas themed park, culminating with live reindeer! The 31st annual Reindeer festival keeps limited hours, open only until 4:30 pm, but is nothing short of pure wonder for your children. Since the reindeer are on site, of course, you can expect to see Santa! You can also hear a story from an elf during your visit!
For more homes with amazing lights, check out this interactive map!
If you’re up for a drive, there are plenty of lights in Seattle, too. You can visit the Woodland Park Zoo for their annual Wild Lights show, or check out the Candy Cane Lane neighborhood! Whatever you do, be sure to take lots of photos and share them with me! And, if you know of a hot spot that I’ve missed, I really want to hear about it!
Checklist of 10 Things You Gotta Do Before Winter Sets In
Such as look for roof leaks before the first winter snow. Preventative maintenance is key.
When the last of summer’s heat is a faint memory, and you’re pulling out your hoodies (and puffy coats!!) more than your shorts, it’s time to tackle a few simple chores that’ll make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises next spring.
This fall checklist helps:
#1 Clean and Stow Your Mower
If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, get to know it. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.
Another lawn mower care method is to run your mower dry before stowing it.
1. When the mower is cool, remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole.
2. Pull the starter cord a couple of times to distribute the oil, which keeps pistons lubricated and ensures an easy start come spring.
3. Turn the mower on its side and clean out accumulated grass and gunk from the mower deck.
#2 Remove Garden Hoses From Faucets
Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.
Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.
While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.
#3 Drain Your Sprinkler System
Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.
- Turn off the water to the system at the main valve.
- Shut off the automatic controller.
- Open drain valves to remove water from the system.
- Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.
If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.
#4 Seal Air Leaks
Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.
Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.
#5 De-Gunk Your Gutters
Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.
If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.
Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.
#6 Eyeball Your Roof
If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.
Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.
Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 eval.
A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.
#7 Direct Your Drainage
Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.
Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.
#8 Check Your Furnace
Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup.
An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.
Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.
#9 Prune Plants
Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.
For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.
#10 Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over
To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.
Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500.
You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.