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October
27

Add Value to Your Home with These Upgrades

Home Renovations That Offer the Best ROI for Resale

The following is a guest post by GUSTAVO GONZALEZ, Senior Manager of Content and Multimedia at Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC

Looking to make some upgrades and wondering which will have the biggest payoff? If you guessed kitchen and bathrooms, you're spot on. Another good one is landscaping. Whether they're big or small, a few upgrades can pay big dividends when it's time to sell your home. Follow these tips to prioritize and put more money in your pocket when you're ready to sell.

Before you do anything, make sure you consider the value of your house, the neighborhood, the housing market where you live, and how soon you will sell after you make the improvements. If you live in a neighborhood where properties are selling for $300,000, doing a $150,000 renovation may not add as much to your property value as you might think.

Kitchens and Baths
One thing to keep in mind is that just because a remodel is expensive doesn't necessarily mean it will give you the best return on investment. Even minor updates can yield a big return. Consider painting, refinishing surfaces, and upgrading appliances, which can lead to a big payout.

Sticking to a budget is always important, and keep in mind that an average, medium-sized kitchen remodel can cost between $20,000 – $50,000, while the average bathroom remodel is $10,000. In most cases, homeowners see a return of 100% or more with a kitchen or bath remodel, so it's definitely worth the investment. Plus, you get to live in a beautiful new space.

A Finished Basement
If finishing your basement is something you've been putting off, now might be the perfect time. According to cost versus value surveys conducted annually by Remodeling magazine, "The average return on investment for a basement project is around 75 cents on the dollar. Besides the financial gains, refinishing a basement will add new functionality to your home: more bedrooms, more efficient storage, and more space for entertaining." Seems like a sure-fire win, win.

Add Curb Appeal
When buyers see that the outside of the property is taken care of, they'll be more excited to see the inside. Remember, first impressions make lasting impressions. According to Anji, "Curb appeal can increase your home value by 7%. Buyers are increasingly prioritizing outdoor living spaces and an attractive lawn has the biggest ROI at 256%. Trees can add $1,000 to $10,000 to your home value and simple landscape maintenance tasks usually pay for themselves."

Whether you're in the market to sell your home or just want to make some budget-friendly renovations that you and your family can enjoy, making the right upgrades can help enhance your quality of life and add a few more dollars to your bank account down the road.

October
17

Your Checklist for Fall Home Maintenance

It's Time to Get Ready for Fall

Delta Media Group

Fall is the perfect time of the year to do seasonal maintenance to keep your home running smoothly. Checking these items off your must-do list now will save you money and frustration later.

  1. Seal the leaks.
    Check around windows and doors for cracks that leak air. According to the U.S. Department of Energy Research, leaks can increase your heating bill by up to 10 percent. Seal the leaks with caulk or weather stripping as needed.

  2. Schedule heating equipment inspections.
    Call an HVAC professional to give your furnace an annual cleaning and tune-up. Doing this can increase the efficiency and safety of your furnace.

  3. Test the generator.
    Instead of waiting for the winter's first power outage, take your emergency generator for a test run now. Make sure you have extra fuel stored away.

  4. Inspect your home's exterior.
    A damaged exterior lets in water and pests. Check your siding for cracks, curling, dents, looseness, bowing, and decay. Make sure your masonry veneer isn't cracking or flaking, and your stucco is free from cracks.

  5. Clean the gutters.
    Although it's among the most common home maintenance tips, this one has greater benefits than you might imagine. Blocked gutters can cause leaks on your roof and in your basement as well as damage your exterior. Scoop leaves, dirt, and other debris from the gutters then spray them clean. As you clean, check for leaks and rust. Make sure your downspouts are directed away from your home.

  6. Check your roof.
    Damage to your roof puts your home at risk for leaks. Use binoculars or climb onto the roof to inspect for missing, damaged, curled, or loose shingles. Look the ridge shingles over for wind damage. The metal flashing in the roof valleys and around protrusions such as vents should be free from curling and damage.

  7. Inspect your walkways.
    Damaged driveways, sidewalks, and steps worsen when exposed to freezing temperatures and pose a hazard in icy conditions. Repair cracks wider than 1/8th inch, smooth uneven areas, and tighten loose railings.

  8. Prevent frozen pipes.
    Adding insulation to pipes in unheated areas is one of those simple home maintenance tips that can save you a lot of trouble and expense. Outdoors, put your garden hoses in storage and, if your outdoor faucets aren't frost-free, turn off your outdoor water supply and drain the faucets. Drain your irrigation system to prevent burst pipes and damaged sprinkler heads.

  9. Measure your foundation drainage.
    The ground around your foundation should slope away from your home at an angle of 6 inches down over 10 feet. This protects your foundation from water damage.

  10. Get the lawn and garden ready.
    If you spot any tree limbs that could fall or hit power lines during a windstorm, cut them back. Also, trim shrubbery and perennials as recommended for the species. Rake up leaves and either compost them or use them as mulch. Alternatively, check if your city offers a removal service.

October
3

Boost Your Curb Appeal this Fall

Curb Appeal Tips for Fall

Delta Media Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July
5

Patio Upgrades to Consider this Summer

Ideas for Upgrading Your Patio

Delta Media Group

Maybe you've been pondering all those cool ideas seen on TV and the web about redoing your drab slab of a concrete patio so that it's a standout feature of your indoor/outdoor entertainment area. Here's the deal. We are all in love with the idea of extending our living and entertainment area into the outdoors. And why not? There are dozens of relatively inexpensive and yet innovative hacks that will make your outdoors as inviting as the indoors, so let's start working from the ground up by renovating that boring, cracked, or scuffed-up concrete patio and see how dazzling it can be.

  1. Paint it.
    For basic painting, you will need concrete binding primer; concrete paint; painter's tape, a roller tray with liners (for fast cleanup), a paint roller, nap roller covers, and paintbrushes.

    Pressure wash the patio and let it dry. Cover up with painter's tape everything you don't want to be painted. Apply concrete binding primer, allowing it to dry one to four hours prior to painting. Apply two coats of paint, allowing the first coat to dry overnight. Wait 72 hours before you move furniture back onto the patio.

  2. Stain it.
    Apply a stain over the patio, then seal it. 

  3. Paint a pattern.
    Using a circular saw, score a concrete slab with a diamond pattern, then paint it with two shades of gray concrete paint. You can also use a stencil to create interesting patterns like a carpet design.  

  4. Lay decking on top of the concrete.
    Not a fan of concrete? You can lay decking on top of the concrete and attach white fascia boards along the sides.

  5. Create a stamped concrete patio.
    Stamped concrete is wildly popular these days. A bit cheaper than pavers, it comes in a variety of patterns and colors. Installers will try to delay cracking (be advised, it will crack someday) by installing control joints. Obviously, you will have to pour concrete and stamp the new concrete before it hardens. So if you've already got a concrete slab there, you'll have to figure out how to get rid of it. 

  6. Fake a stone look.
    Another redo that involves pouring new concrete is to fake the look of brick or stone with a patterned rubber roller. You'll need a concrete roller to create indentations that look like brick or stone, and those rollers can be costly. Concrete stamping mats are a more affordable option. These flexible pieces of rubber have embossed patterns. Stamp them on wet concrete and apply pressure. Lift the mat and repeat the process. 

  7. Resurface with pavers.
    How about resurfacing your patio with clay pavers? These bricks are hard-fired in a kiln, so they are extra-strong and can stand up to the harsh sun and inclement weather. Less expensive than stone, clay pavers cost more than concrete pavers. 

Although all these projects are relatively inexpensive, you can obviously spend more on some than others. So if cost is a factor, then you may want to go with simple painting or staining.

Once you're done with your new floor, it's time to think about decorating. You might start with a weather-resistant outdoor rug, perhaps in the dining area. Decorate with flower boxes or containers of flowers that can change with the season and move indoors when it's cold. Hang up strands of lights. Add a water feature, which could be a fountain with plumbing or a self-contained model that runs on electricity and recirculates the water.

Let your creativity and inner interior decorator run wild as you think up ways to jazz up that formerly dull space and make it shine.

Have you made some updates to your outdoor living space? Show us some pictures in the comments! 

June
25

Lemony Recipes for Summer

Sweet-Tart: Refreshing & Lemony Recipes for Summer

Summer is here, and it's time to celebrate all things lemony! These refreshing treats are sure to please at your next get-together.

 

Frozen Raspberry Yogurt Lemonade Pops

  • 1 can (12 oz.) frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 c. plain yogurt
  • 10 ice pop molds

In a saucepan, heat lemonade concentrate & water over medium heat just until the concentrate is thawed. Remove from heat & cool. In a blender, place 3/4 c. of the cooled mixture, 1/2 c. of the raspberries, & 1/4 c. of the yogurt. Blend on medium until smooth. If you don't like the seeds, press this mixture through a small strainer to remove them. Divide the mixture among ice pop molds & freeze slightly.

Distribute the remaining raspberries in molds. Combine the remaining lemonade mixture & yogurt and spoon evenly into molds. Return to freezer until firm, about 4 hours.

 

Perfect Lemonade

  • 1/3 c. sugar or 2/3 c. agave
  • 1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 c. water

Mix well. Serve over ice with a lemon wedge garnish.

 

Lemon-Lime Spritzer

  • 1 liter lemon-lime soda
  • 4 limes, cut into wedges
  • frozen cherries
  • fresh mint leaves

Mix ice, soda & sliced limes. Add cherries & garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

 

Adult Lemonade

  • 1 shot El Patron Tequila
  • 1/4 shot Grand Marnier
  • 4 oz. beer
  • 4 oz. lemonade
  • ice
  • strawberries for garnish

Mix together and serve immediately

 

Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Pie

  • 1 9" graham cracker pie crust
  • 2/3 c. frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. strawberries
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. water

 In a blender or food processor, blend strawberries, honey, & water until pureed. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix lemonade concentrate with sweetened condensed milk until combined. Set that aside, too.

With a mixer, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar & whip until it stiffens. Gently fold into lemonade mixture. (The pureed mixture is still kept separate.)

Pour half the strawberry puree on the bottom of the crust. Top with lemonade filling, smoothing evenly. Spoon on the remaining puree in evenly spaced dollops and swirl with a toothpick or knife. Freeze at least 6 hours before serving. Store leftovers in the freezer.

What's your favorite summertime recipe? Tell us in the comments! 

October
29

Should You Renovate or Move?

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

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

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

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

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

Home Equity Is Skyrocketing

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

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

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

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

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

First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home

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

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

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

Bottom Line

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

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. 

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
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
9

Plant a Flower Day: What to Plant in Spokane

Spokane Flowers

Planting the right flowers in your yard can truly give your landscaping a boost! That's just one of the great reasons to participate in National Plant a Flower Day on Friday, March 12. Our real estate agents share some helpful information about planting a garden in Spokane to get you started. 

Get in the "Zone"

To help gardeners determine what plants are suitable for their geographic area, the USDA developed their Hardiness Zones. There are 10 zones total throughout North America, each differing by plus or minus 10°F from adjacent zones. 

As the base of the scale, Zone 1 has the coolest weather patterns, which become increasingly warmer as numbers get higher. Spokane is in Zone 6, defined as average winter lows of -10°F. Optimal growth season generally extends from mid-March to late fall. 

What to Plant in Spokane

Fortunately, Zone 6 conditions support a relatively wide assortment of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Here's a look at some of the top plants that thrive around Spokane.

  • Rhododendron is the state flower of Washington, which by itself is reason enough for this colorful flower to be a popular choice. The plant is also deer-resistant, which is an important factor in the abundance of wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Summer in Eastern Washington tends to be hot and dry. Yarrow, English lavender, and black-eyed Susan are drought-resistant plants that grow well in areas with less moisture. As a bonus, these flowers are generally easy to grow and attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

  • Rock gardens are low-maintenance, natural-looking, and durable enough to withstand extreme weather conditions. They can also boost your home's value by hiding problem areas in the yard. Calamint, yellow sundrops, coral bells, bitterroot, and sunrose are good inclusions in a Spokane rock garden.

  • Ground cover can play a valuable role in your overall landscaping by reducing lawn maintenance, which is expensive and often hard on the environment. Consider choices such as creeping thyme, creeping phlox, silver-edged horehound, and creeping Oregon grape, which are visually attractive and grow quickly.

  • While they require a bit more TLC than flowers, experts from Washington State University say many vegetables grow well in Spokane because the soil pH tends to be neutral, meaning it's neither acidic nor basic. For early planting, they recommend starting cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons indoors. Asparagus, onions, and root vegetables can be planted directly outdoors.

Top Nurseries in Spokane

Head to these nurseries near Spokane homes for sale for seeds, starter plants, supplies, and advice.

  • Blue Moon Garden & Nursery - 1732 S. Inland Empire Way, Spokane, WA 99224
    Their motto is, "Nice plants, nice people," and you'll find both at Blue Moon Garden & Nursery. The business dates back to the 1920s when it was known as Nissen Greenhouses, and it's evolved to the state-of-the-art facility you'll find today. Blue Moon loves dogs, so bring Fido along when you visit. Hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday, March 20 until October 31.

  • Ritters Garden & Gift - 10120 N. Division St., Spokane, WA 99218
    Family-owned Ritters Garden & Gift began as a floral shop and expanded to become a full-service gardening and landscaping resource. By the way, if you bring your own kids along, be forewarned: Ritters has a colorful and irresistible candy emporium. Ritters is open 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Ready to put down roots in Spokane? Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson for dedicated help with all your real estate needs.

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.

November
23

Where to Order Holiday Poinsettias in Spokane

Spokane Poinsettias

It's almost time for Spokane homes for sale to come alive with beautiful decorations for the holidays. This holiday season promises to be a welcome time of joy and giving in the midst of a challenging year.  We know many people, buyers, and sellers alike, who are looking forward to it.

One traditional aspect of the holidays many people embrace is the poinsettia. 

They stand for good cheer and success and bring mirth and celebration where they are seen.

Fresh poinsettias can be tough to find in many parts of the country, but you're in luck if you're looking for them here in Spokane. Florists make it a "point" to stock these lovely flowers for the holidays. You have your choice of many places to pick them up.

Let's look at some popular spots to buy holiday poinsettias in Spokane:

  1. The Greenery at Spokane Community College - 1810 North Greene Street, Spokane, WA 99217
    The Greenery at Spokane Community College is unique: A student-run flower shop and nursery right on the Spokane CC campus. Its operations include three greenhouses filled with all sorts of annuals, perennials, trees, and bushes. Fresh flower arrangements are available all year long.
  2. Sunset Florist & Greenhouse - 1606 South Assembly Road, Spokane, WA 99224
    Sunset Florist & Greenhouse is a local florist welcoming Spokane customers since all the way back in 1945. Combining superb quality and affordable prices, it offers you the opportunity to have a special holiday flower arrangement handcrafted by true experts.
  3. Liberty Park Florist & Greenhouse - 1401 East Newark Avenue, Spokane, WA 99202
    Liberty Park Florist & Greenhouse is a family-owned florist that's been a Spokane staple since 1928. It may be best known for its expansive garden center and indoor plants. It also enlivens events, such as weddings, with remarkable flower arrangements that both look and smell great.
  4. Four Seasons Flower and Plant Shop - West 603 Indiana Avenue, Spokane, WA 99205
    Four Seasons Flower and Plant Shop is a favorite when it comes to holiday floral arrangements. Open since 1981, it provides all kinds of options for size, color, and budget. Deliveries can be performed worldwide. You'll truly find lovely selections here in all four seasons.
  5. Evergreen Florist - 1602 North Monroe Street, Spokane, WA 99205
    Evergreen Florist pairs its poinsettias with a stylish green bushel pot. With friendly and prompt service chosen by thousands of customers, it is led by local floral designer Song Korfhage, who brings 30 years of expertise to every bouquet. Tropical plants and even European dish gardens are also available.

Any time of year, local businesses like these florists help give Spokane its unique color and character. There are plenty of other reasons to love this vibrant community waiting for you to discover. Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson for the freshest real estate opportunities around Spokane.

June
22

How to Give Your Patio a Refresh this Summer

Patio Refresh

There's no doubt about it. Summer is right around the corner. And with the amount of time we've all spent in various stages of quarantine and social distancing, our real estate agents are excited to spend some quality time outdoors. 

With that in mind, there's never been a better time to take your patio game to the next level. Plus, in all our years offering Spokane homes for sale, we've learned that a home's exterior is just as important as its interior. So whether you're planning on selling your home, or you just want to have a few friends over for a backyard gathering, consider these simple tips to refresh your patio this summer. 

  1. Improve Your Patio Lighting
    The right lighting can completely transform your patio, especially if you're planning on using it for late-night hangouts. Placing solar lights along walkways and patio edges will create a cozy glow, and LED string lights will transform your patio into a fun and festive party zone. 

  2. Upgrade to Patio Pavers
    An easy and effective upgrade from a traditional poured-concrete patio, pavers are available in a wide range of colors and styles. The design options are endless. Pavers are also relatively affordable, and simple to replace. 

  3. Up Your Grill Game
    If you like to cookout, you need the tools to do it right. That could mean investing in a quality charcoal grill, or it could mean splurging on a full-fledged outdoor kitchen. If you're really serious about it, you can even build a smoker or create your own DIY brick oven. It all depends on your needs and budget.

  4. Unleash Some Vines
    Vines are a great addition to your backyard landscaping. If you have a bare brick wall or boring fence, letting a vine climb its way up its side can completely transform the space. Flowering vines like Clematis and Honeysuckle are also great for planting around a trellis or pergola, which can be a great addition to your patio. 

  5. Keep Furniture Simple
    Too much patio furniture can make your patio feel crowded and visually overwhelming. Choose a few simple, functional pieces that look good together, and provide enough seating and table space without completely crowding the space. Simple wood furniture is great because it has a rustic look, and you can change the throw pillows throughout the year. 

  6. Add a Fireplace
    Is there anything better than sitting around a campfire on a cool summer night? There's no denying that fire feature takes your backyard to the next level. Just be cautious about its location. Make sure your fire pit is not too close to the house, and far from any overhanging structures. 

  7. Start a Container Garden
    If you don't have the time, patience, or space for a full-fledged vegetable garden—and let's be honest, most of us don't—then a patio container garden is a great option. Common vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, peas, beans, and leafy greens can thrive in containers, and they add a fun splash of life to your patio too. 

Contact us today to learn more about how you can get the most out of your home, inside and out. And be sure to talk to our team about buying or selling your next home in the Spokane area. 

May
26

Home Improvement Projects You Should Let a Professional Handle

Home Improvement Tasks for the Professionals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May
11

How to Start a Raised Garden Bed

Raised Garden Bed

It's spring and time for a garden. But not just any garden. In Spokane, many enlightened homeowners are getting maximum yields by planting a raised garden bed. Raised beds not only help plants drain better but in our rocky soil, the layer of rich soil and compost that a raised bed provides makes it easier for plants to stay nourished. Also, raised beds help you control watering and make it harder for pests to get at plants. 

A raised garden bed can be an attractive feature of your property, and a great selling point among Spokane homes for sale, as our experienced real estate professionals, will tell you. Here's how you can get started planting a raised garden bed of your own.

  1. Find a Sunny Spot

    Plants need sun, so it's wishful thinking to locate your garden where it's shady. If possible, orient your bed so it is horizontal to the south so that plants will get even sun. 

  2. Put the Frame Together

    Lots of do-it-yourself kits are available on the market. Yours should be made of wood appropriate for the outdoors, such as cedar or even pine. Cedar also has insect-repelling properties. However, if you're reasonably handy, you can whip up your own frame, with instructions from the Internet, using recycled wood pallets, or other discarded wood.

    Height of the garden bed should be between 11 and 36 inches. How high you go will depend on the soil underneath the bed and what you want to grow. If you have rocky soil and you want to grow carrots, you may need a higher bed. Remember to add cross supports for beds over 18 inches, as the weight of the soil may bow out the frame.

    Some gardeners like to keep the width to 4 feet across so they can reach inside the frame. You can go longer -- but use cross supports every 6 feet.

  3. Prepare the Site

    Double dig the site to a depth of 16 inches so you can turn up roots and rocks that will interfere with your plants' roots.

    Make sure the sides of your frame are level, using a board spanned across the width and length of the bed. Then, add a layer of leaves, straw, wood chips, grass clippings, or any organic matter, and cover with cardboard. This will break down into compost over time. Add garden soil and soil amendments, including compost, peat, or lime. Spread the soil evenly and water, using the finest spray on the nozzle. Rake the bed to even it out.

  4. Start Planting

    Whether it's flowers or vegetables, do your research before you plant. Spokane has a great gardening climate, with a growing season of mid-April to mid-October, but do note appropriate times for planting. For instance, greens can take some chill and will get bitter in the hot sun, so it's better to plant them early. Tomatoes, on the other hand, need some warmth, so get the plants going indoors and wait till it's past the chilly temps before you plant. 

    Your plants from seed will usually do better if you start them indoors and get them going as seedlings. There are exceptions, so read the package instructions, as some seeds need to be sown directly in the soil. 

Looking for more home improvement projects to give your home a boost before listing it for sale? Our team can help. Contact us today. 

March
2

Landscaping Trends for the Spring Months

Spokane Landscaping Trends

Warmer temperatures and longer days are right around the corner. If you're hoping to revamp your outside spaces in preparation for the sunny days ahead, now is the perfect time to begin planning your spring to-do list. Here are a few of the top landscaping trends you'll encounter at a variety of Spokane homes for sale this spring that might be right for your property. 

  1. Container Gardens
    If you live in a home with minimal yard space but yearn for a lush garden, a container garden is an excellent alternative. As the name suggests, you grow your plants and flowers in containers instead of in the ground. These containers give you a lot of flexibility. You can change the positioning of the containers and instantly give your outdoor space an entirely new look. Does sunlight only hit a small portion of your outside space? Move the containers as needed to make sure they get adequate sunlight. You can even bring your plants inside if it looks like a late frost or severe storm is in the forecast.
  2. Gardens with a Water Element
    If you're planning to sell your home, you can help your home stand out by incorporating a water element in your garden. A water element is a universally-loved addition to any lawn or garden. The sound of running water is associated with a peaceful, tranquil atmosphere that practically invites you to spend time outside. Aesthetically, a fountain or small pond complements nearly any style of home decor. Plus these items require minimal upkeep. 
  3. Landscaping That Focuses on Native Vegetation
    Expect a focus on gardens and lawns that incorporate native vegetation. Native vegetation refers to plants, grasses, and flowers that are natural to your home's region. There are a couple of underlying factors driving this shift. Instead of spending hours fertilizing, weeding, and applying insecticide, homeowners want to enjoy their outside spaces. Species that are native to your area are more likely to thrive without a lot of fertilizer, insecticide, or special attention. Native species also have less of an impact on the environment. Since they're indigenous to the area, they require minimal transportation and a low amount of chemicals (like pesticides and insecticides) that can potentially harm the environment and surrounding wildlife.
  4. "Smart" Lawns and Gardens
    Don't let landscaping chores keep you from having the lawn and garden of your dreams. Instead, integrate smart devices into your landscaping to automate some of the work associated with having a gorgeous outside area. While there isn't a device that can weed your gardens (yet!), a smart irrigation system makes it easy for you to make sure your lawn and plants are getting the appropriate amount of water. You can also install smart lights that you can program to turn on and off automatically. Or, for additional ambiance, look for exterior smart lights that enable you to change the color of the lighting or even create unique lighting effects. 

Do you yearn for a home with more lawn and garden space? Let our REALTORS® show you properties that better suit your preferences. Contact us today. 

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 01/30/2023. The listing information on this page last changed on 01/30/2023. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Coeur dAlene MLS (last updated Sun 01/29/2023 10:16:22 AM EST) or Spokane MLS (last updated Sun 01/29/2023 12:55:43 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coldwell Banker Tomlinson may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --



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