Off The Press

November 3, 2009

The market is ripe for a real estate education

Could my wife and I have chosen a worse time to tire of our current living conditions?
Last year, we decided the condo life was no longer in our best interests. We were ready to upgrade to an actual home, with no shared walls with neighbors and a nice yard for the pugs to run around in.

We made improvements in our home, watched the HGTV network for staging tips and put the condo up for sale. We even enlisted the aid of an über-Realtor, who was friends with my wife’s family, to help us sell.

Boy, did reality hit us smack dab in the face. The housing marking chose late last year to tank, right about the exact time we went to market.

We learned some hard lessons about house shopping that I’d like to share as a sort of “buyer beware.”

Lesson one, no matter what you’re buying now, always — and I can’t emphasize this enough — keep resale in mind. Chances are, this won’t be the last place you’ll ever live, so picture how enticing a property is for the next owner.

We thought our condo on the second floor was ideal. Nope. Most people prefer the first floor — for security and access reasons — or top floor — vaulted ceilings and no neighbor noise from above.

That really hurt our efforts to sell, no matter how nice we made the inside. Other considerations for resell include one-car garage versus two car, split level versus two story and move-in ready versus a lot of TLC needed. Read more

Highlands, Issaquah real estate agent on HGTV tonight

April 23, 2009

NEW — 9 a.m. April 23, 2009

On the heels of Earth Day, a local real estate agent will be featured on HGTV’s “House Hunters” tonight, helping a couple search for a $1 million eco-friendly home in the Issaquah Highlands.

Broker Scott Gibbons, of Plateau Real Estate, will appear in an episode of the HGTV series set to air 9 p.m. The show will be rebroadcast at 1 a.m. Friday.

The episode features Bill Pedersen and Patricia Hovda, a couple planning to move in together. They have a $1 million budget, and three criteria for their dream home: it must be “green,” it must have a view and it must be about 4,000 square feet, according to the HGTV episode synopsis.

Read more

Working with what you have can create a beautiful atmosphere

April 13, 2009

Whether your motive is to save money or save the earth, recycling, reusing and refurbishing what you already own are all affordable and creative ways to beautify your home and feel good doing it. Read more

Should you do it yourself or call in a contractor?

April 13, 2009

In terms of both the challenge and saving money, home improvement projects can be a temptation to many homeowners. But when should the do-it-yourselfer call a professional?

Read more

Local designer to be on television show ‘Designer’s Challenge’

January 3, 2009

NEW — 5 a.m. Jan. 3, 2009

Fans of the HGTV series “Designer’s Challenge” can tune in Monday to spot a familiar face.

Cathy O’Neill filmed an episode three and a half years ago that is finally being aired at 3 p.m. on channel 68 on local Comcast stations. Read more