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Articles Tagged "Moving Tips"

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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! 

April
20

Tech Spam: Best Practices

 

Spam 101

From Our Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

Technology scams are running rampant right now, whether they come by email, phone call, and now text messaging. We have had several customers reach out about texts that look to be from their bank asking to "verify information." Be vigilant when dealing with any communications via phone call, email, or text that regard any exchange of money or "verifying" any account information with a link or number to call.   

Our recommendations are as follows:

You can use your cell phone carriers' built-in number blocking on your phone to stop unwanted calls or texts from specific numbers; you can also block offending email addresses in your email account. But with any sort of fraud, scammers often use hundreds of thousands of phone numbers and emails and move very quickly onto the next.  This makes permanent blocking hard.  

To really have an impact, we recommend reporting the offending communication to the FTC.  This can be done online at: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

A few rules of thumb for spam calls, texts, and emails:

  1. Do not engage spammers.  When you answer or respond, you are showing the scammer, spammer, or robo-system that your phone number or email is "live". It is then put on a live numbers list that is sold over and over and the calls/texts/emails will continue infinitely.
  2. Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize. This one is hard for agents, but if it is important or a legitimate call, they will leave a voicemail or text you. 
  3. Do not answer texts from numbers you do not recognize
  4. Get into the habit of regularly entering and labeling known clients, colleagues, friends, family, etc. as contacts in your phone and email.
  5. Do not answer unsolicited or out-of-the-ordinary texts from numbers you do recognize.  The number could be spoofed to fool you. Instead, call the number you have in your contacts (not from the text or email) for the person texting you and verify via phone call that they sent the text.
  6. Do not click on links in texts or emails that you are not expecting from anyone that you do or do not recognize unless you have verified with the actual sender via phone call or in person.
  7. Do not open emails, download any attachments, or click on links in emails from senders you do not recognize.
  8. Do not download any attachments or click on links in unsolicited or suspicious emails or texts from senders you do recognize. Their email may have been hacked or their number spoofed.
  9. TRUST YOUR INTUITION.  Slightest question of authenticity?  Feeling of distrust? Major red flag? Do not ignore these feelings.
  10. COMMUNICATION IS KEY. If a text or email seems weird, out of character, just a slight bit off? We recommend that you call the person/company/bank to verify the contents of an email or text, or ask a trusted professional.

If you have any questions about a suspicious email, call, or text, feel free to contact our office via phone 208.288.4345 or email info@integrityidaho.com.

March
16

Reflections & Predictions with Coldwell Banker President & CEO Ryan Gorman

What will 2022 Bring?

Recently, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Realtors®, managers, and staff were honored with a visit from the President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, Ryan Gorman. Responsible for the operations that support our network of 94,000 real estate professionals in 3,000 offices in 43 countries across the globe, he made the trip from CB's New Jersey headquarters to speak with us about the wild ride that was 2021 and share his predictions about the state of our industry moving through 2022.

Though he foresees a continuation of a seller's market, he believes it won't be "the crazy, crazy" atmosphere we saw in 2021.  "Interest rates are ticking up which will slow things a bit," he said, but "inbound migration will continue to be strong, so it will be a long time before the market shifts."

When asked if he was surprised by the activity during the pandemic, he told us that though he did not predict the "nearly 10 years of appreciation in 18 months" in our area, Ryan said he wasn't surprised to see the market remain strong. Despite the economic downturn, "we had the most equity in homes that we had literally ever had (not on a percentage basis, but on an absolute basis), and we had tighter underwriting for almost 15 years by that point than we had almost ever had, so people had good opportunities."

Contributing to the history-making market, he noted, was that for the past five or so years our area has been named to list after list of best places to live, work, and raise a family, so as people were able to work, not only remotely, but more independently, they began to make good on the question if you could live anywhere, why not live somewhere great?  

In discussing the issue of low inventory, he is quick to point out that even buyers who have been in their homes two or three months may have equity that could propel them to look at selling to purchase something that better fits their dreams and goals and encouraged agents to inform their previous buyers what their homes are worth today. Buyers, he said, can leverage their equity to move more affordably to another neighborhood or city.

Recently named a "Real Estate Newsmaker" for 2021 and "Influencer" for 2022 by RisMedia, a highly respected real estate news and information service, Ryan says is most proud of Coldwell Banker's integrity. "Integrity is first. That's an easy answer. Coldwell Banker was founded on honesty and integrity, and that has lasted."

To learn more about Ryan's strategies for Coldwell Banker in 2022, check out his interview with Jordan Grice of RisMedia.

Search for your new home at cbspokane.com.

November
8

Staging Tips for the Holiday Season

Holiday Home Staging

Does selling your home during the holidays mean that you're doomed to spend the season with no decorations?

Fortunately, our real estate agents know that the answer is "no." Holiday decorations are encouraged when you're selling your home, but it's important to treat them as part of your home's staging. Here's what you need to know about staging your home during the holiday season. 

  • You Need to Declutter Before Reaching for Your Decorations
    Before you start decorating, spend time thoroughly decluttering your home. Pack up collections, old paperwork, and toys. Remove items that feel overly personal, like photographs and sentimental displays. These items make it hard for a buyer to envision themselves living in your home. 
  • Be Stingy with Your Holiday Decor
    Your decluttering mindset should also apply to your holiday decor. Less is more this year. You don't want your decorations to overwhelm your home or detract from your home's best features. Decorative displays with a lot of components, like a Christmas village or nutcracker collection, add too much clutter to your home. Avoid large outside decorations that take up a lot of room in your yard and potentially obscure your home. It's okay to put up lights on your home's exterior, but don't go overboard. Decorate your home's frame instead of every possible surface of your home's exterior. Illuminate a lovely tree or bush instead of decorating multiple components of your landscaping. 
  • Set the Stage with Seasonal Decor
    When you add your home to the list of Spokane homes for sale, you don't know who your potential buyers will be. Holiday items that have universal appeal include wreaths, garlands, poinsettias, and other holiday plants, and classic seasonal figures (like reindeer, snowmen, and nutcrackers). Do put up a Christmas tree. A Christmas tree enhances the appeal of practically any living space. Check that your ornaments aren't overly personalized and have universal appeal. The round Christmas bauble ornaments are always a great choice. 
  • See That Your Decor Matches the Rest of Your Home
    Your holiday decor should complement the colors and style throughout your home. For example, if your living room uses bright jewel tones, use decor that incorporates similar hues. If your home is decorated in a rustic style, ultra-modern decor that consists of geometric shapes and flashy colors will look out of place. 
  • Use Holiday Decor to Highlight Your Home's Best Features
    Holiday decor is a valuable tool for showcasing your home's most desirable traits. Have a large dining area perfect for hosting lots of family and friends? Stage the space with place settings and a holiday centerpiece. Does your home have a fantastic window? Hang a wreath to make sure it draws the attention of your buyers. If your home has arches or cool architectural features, hang small bows or mistletoe to help show them off. 
  • Watch Out for Holiday Scent Overload
    With holiday candles, baking, and your Christmas tree, it's easy to fill your home with festive scents. While a little bit of scent is fine (and even preferred), make sure your scents are complimentary and don't overwhelm the space. Stick with smells that tend to have universal appeal, like fresh cookies, evergreen, and holiday spices. 

Ready to list your home this holiday season? Contact us today!

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!

September
20

9 Tips for Buying and Selling Your Home at the Same Time

Selling your home while shopping for a new one can feel daunting to even the most seasoned homeowner––especially when the competition for housing is so high. That doesn't mean, though, that you should just throw up your hands and give up on moving altogether. In fact, as a current homeowner, you could be in a better position than most to capitalize on a seller's market and make a smooth transition from your old home to a new one.

We can help you prepare for the road ahead. Here are some of the most frequent concerns we hear from clients who are trying to buy and sell at the same time.

"What will I do if I sell my house before I can buy a new one?"

While it may be an inconvenience, this is a common scenario that can usually be handled with a little creativity and compromise. Here are some options to consider:

1: Flex your muscles as a seller.

In some cases, a buyer may agree to a rent-back clause that allows the seller to continue living in the home after closing for a set period of time and negotiated fee. We can discuss the benefits and risks involved and whether it's a good option for you.

2: Open your mind to short-term housing options.

If you're lucky enough to have family or friends who offer to take you in, that may be ideal. If not, check out furnished apartments, vacation rentals and month-to-month leases. If space is an issue, consider putting some of your furniture and possessions in storage.

3: Embrace the idea of selling now and buying later.

With cash on hand from the sale of your current home, you'll be in a better position to budget for and buy your next home. And by focusing on one step at a time, you can alleviate some of the pressure and uncertainty involved.

"What if I get stuck with two mortgages at the same time?"

If you can't afford to carry both mortgages, then selling before you buy may be best. (See Tip #3.) But if you have flexibility in your budget for some overlap, it is possible to manage a home sale and purchase simultaneously. Here are some steps to help streamline the process:

4: As you get ready to sell, simplify.

You can condense your sales timeline if you only focus on the renovations and tasks that matter most. We can advise you on the repairs and upgrades that are worth your time and investment.

5: Prep your paperwork.

If you'll need a mortgage for your next home purchase, get pre-approved in advance. And start pulling together relevant records for your current home, such as appliance warranties and renovation permits. That way, you'll be ready to provide quick answers to buyers' questions should they arise.

6: Ask about other contingencies that can be included in your contracts.

For example, it's possible to add a clause to your purchase offer that lets you cancel the contract if you haven't sold your previous home. This tactic could backfire, though, if you're competing with other buyers. We can discuss the pros and cons of contingencies and what's realistic given current market dynamics.

"What if I mess up my timing or burn out from all the stress?"

To make sure you're in the right headspace, take the time to slow down, breathe and delegate as much as possible. In addition:

7: Relax and accept that compromise is inevitable.

Rather than worry about getting every detail right with your housing search and home sale, trust that things will work out eventually––even if it doesn't look like your Plan A or even your Plan B or Plan C. Luckily, if you've got a good team of professionals, you can relax knowing that others have your back and are monitoring the details behind the scenes.

8: Don't worry too much if your path is straying from convention.

Remember that rules-of-thumb and home-buying trends are just that: they are estimates, not facts. So if your home search or sale isn't going exactly like your neighbor's, it doesn't mean that you are doomed to fail.

9: Enlist help early.

Which leads us to our final tip: If possible, call us early in the process. We'll not only provide you with key guidance on what you should do to prep your current property for sale, we'll also help you narrow down the parameters for your next one. That way, you'll be prepared to act quickly and confidently when it comes time to list your home and make an offer on a new one.

Call today for tailored advice that works for you

Buying and selling a home at the same time is challenging. But it doesn't have to be a nightmare, and it can even be fun. Click here for a free consultation so that we can help you review your options and decide the best way forward - or visit our site for listing of homes for sale.

August
30

House Care Calendar: A Seasonal Guide to Maintaining Your Home

From summer vacations to winter holidays, it seems each season offers the perfect excuse to put off our to-do list. But be careful, homeowners: neglecting your home's maintenance could put your personal safety—and one of your largest financial investments—at serious risk.

In no time at all, small problems can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. And even if you avoid a catastrophe, those minor issues can still have a big impact. Spokane Homes for Sale that are not well maintained can lose 10 percent (or more) of their appraised value.

The good news is, by dedicating a few hours each season to properly maintaining your home, you can ensure a safe living environment for you and your family ... and actually increase the value of your home by one percent annually!

While this checklist should not be considered a complete list of your home's maintenance needs, it can serve as a general seasonal guide to maintaining your property throughout the year.

SPRING

After a long, cold winter, many of us look forward to a fresh start in the spring. Wash away the winter grime, open the windows, and prepare your home for warmer weather and backyard barbecues.

INSIDE

  • Conduct Annual Spring Cleaning
  • Shut Down Heating System
  • Tune Up A/C
  • Check Plumbing
  • Inspect Smoke Alarm & Batteries
  • Check Carbon Monoxide Detector
  • Check Water Filters & Replace as needed
  • Clean out Sink & Shower Drains

OUTSIDE

  • Inspect Perimeter of Home & Deck
  • Clean Home's Exterior
  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts
  • Seed or Sod Lawn & Fertilize
  • Apply a Pre-Emergent Herbicide
  • Plant Flowers & Mulch Beds
  • Tune Up Lawn Mower
  • Inspect Sprinkler System

SUMMER

Summer is generally the time to relax and enjoy your home, but a little time devoted to maintenance will help ensure it looks great and runs efficiently throughout the season.

INSIDE

  • Adjust Ceiling Fans
  • Clean A/C Filters
  • Clear Dryer Vent
  • Check Weather Stripping

OUTSIDE

  • Mow Lawn Regularly
  • Water Early in the Morning
  • Weed Weekly
  • Exterminate Pests

FALL

Fall ushers in another busy season of home maintenance as you prepare your home for the winter weather ahead.

INSIDE

  • Have Heater Serviced
  • Shut Down A/C for the Winter
  • Inspect Chimney
  • Seal Windows and Doors
  • Check Smoke Alarm & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

OUTSIDE

  • Plant Fall Flowers, Grass and Shrubs
  • Rake or Mow Leaves
  • Apply Fall Fertilizer
  • Inspect Gutters and Roof
  • Shut Down Sprinkler System
  • Close Pool

WINTER

While it can be tempting to ignore home maintenance issues in the winter, snow and freezing temperatures can do major damage if left untreated. Follow these steps to ensure your house survives the winter months.

INSIDE

  • Maintain Heating System
  • Tune Up Generator
  • Prevent Frozen Pipes
  • Adjust Ceiling Fans

.

OUTSIDE

  • Drain and Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
  • Remove Window Screens
  • Service Snowblower
  • Stock Up on Ice Melt
  • Watch Out for Ice Dams
  • Check for Snow Buildup on Trees

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR HELP

...with home maintenance or repairs? We have an extensive network of trusted contractors and service providers and are happy to provide referrals! Call or email us, and we can connect you with one of our preferred vendors. Contact us

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.

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.

November
9

7 Things Pet Owners Need to Do Before a Showing

Pet Owners Spokane

Even though your pets are part of your family, potential buyers are likely to be less than thrilled about your four-legged family members. When it's time to show your home, here are a few things pet owners should do to ensure their home looks its best when compared to other Spokane homes for sale

  1. Stow Your Pet Supplies
    Have a plan in place to move all of your pet supplies so that they're out of sight during your showing. You might keep a plastic tote on hand that you can quickly store your pet supplies in and transport to your garage or car. See that you also remove pet supplies when taking photos for your online listing or to advertise your open house. If you have any pet supplies that you simply can't relocate, like a fish tank, check that it's sparkling clean for your showing. 
  1. Eradicate Any Odors from Your Home
    Make sure that your home smells fresh for potential buyers by eliminating pet odors from your home. Don't try to hide the odor with candles and air fresheners. Buyers can detect when sellers are trying to hide bad odors. Instead, use enzyme cleaners and professional cleaning services to remove the source of these odors. A professional steam cleaner can work wonders when it comes to removing odor-causing pet stains from upholstery and carpets. A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air purifier is an excellent addition that will remove odor-causing particles from the air in your home. Not sure if your home still smells like a wet dog? Have an unbiased friend or family member stop by and give their honest opinion. 
  1. Get Rid of Any Stained Items
    If your cleaning attempts don't remove pet stains, it's best to dispose of these stained items and replace them. Not only do stained items show poorly with prospective buyers, but they can even impact the final selling price of your home.
  1. Make a Plan for Items with Significant Pet Damage
    Some homes have areas with many pet damage, like scratched wooden floors that need refinishing or carpet that needs to be replaced throughout the whole house. Determine if it makes sense financially to replace these damaged items. Even if you're on a tight budget, it may be better to spend the money to fix these issues so that you can command a better selling price for your home. In other cases, you might opt to offer your buyer a credit to remedy these issues. 
  1. Meticulously Clean Your Home Each Day
    Commit to vacuuming or sweeping your carpets and hard floors every single day, so that pet hair doesn't have a chance to build back up after your deep cleaning session. You should also vacuum your furniture daily. By cleaning a little every day, your home will remain ready and fur-free for impromptu home showings.
  1. Remove Your Pets
    Unfortunately, many buyers are deterred by the sight of pets during a showing. Whenever possible, your pets need to leave your home during the showing. Have your leashes and kennels ready so that you can quickly pack up. 
  1. Remove Evidence of Your Pets from Your Outside Areas
    Don't forget to tidy up your home's outdoor spaces! Scoop any pet droppings, and remove any pet toys or water bowls that you use during the day. 

Looking for a home with more space for your furry family members? Get in touch today to get started!

September
28

5 Things You Need to do After Buying a Home

Buying a Home Spokane

After buying a home, you may feel as if you've completed a marathon and are due for a little downtime to settle in and rest. But don't sit too long; there's still plenty to do.

We recommend prioritizing the many must-dos that will ensure your safety and comfort in your new Spokane home. Here are five things to get started on.

  1. Secure your home.
    Your family's safety is paramount, so take steps right away to change locks and garage codes. You have no way of knowing how many people have keys or codes, so before you move in, make the change. Ask the seller for any instruction manuals for electronic security systems, including cameras, alarms, and locks. If your home comes with an alarm system, you will need to find a new provider or reconnect service. 

  2. Do a walk-through.
    The best time for a walk-through is when it's empty. So take a look around, and make sure all requested/agreed-upon repairs were made; that all appliances and other agreed-upon items included in the sale are present; and that everything works, including plumbing, outlets, switches, fixtures, appliances, and the HVAC system. If you find issues that should have been covered in your contract, contact your real estate agent. If the issues aren't covered, plan for repairs or replacements. 

    Did you get a home warranty? These are commonly purchased by the seller to cover costs for appliances or major systems. Review the details so you'll know what to do if you have to file a claim. If you didn't get one with the sale of your home, you can still buy one after the closing.

  3. Find out where essential valves, fuse boxes, and the like are located.
    It's surprising how many homeowners don't know how to turn off the water at the street, how to turn off the power to the various parts of the home in an emergency, or how to shut off the water to an overflowing toilet at the base. Before you move in, how about doing a walk-through where you specifically identify valves, breaker boxes, and other features, so you'll know where they are in an emergency? Say your dishwasher has an electronic fire in its door (yes, this can happen), you probably can't just switch off the appliance but must go to the breaker box and turn off the power. Make sure all the breakers are clearly labeled as to what part of the home they operate. 

  4. Connect utilities before moving in.
    You will probably need to call all your utilities -- gas, electric, and water -- to start a new service and to apprise them that you're the new owner of your home and have no connection to whoever had service at the home prior. You will likely also want to contract for your phone and internet service, as well as TV (cable or satellite) and a security company. 

  5. Change your address.
    Contact the post office and fill out a change-of-address form so that all your mail will be sent to your new address. It's wise to also make a list of essential persons, companies, and government services that you deal with, so you can let them know your new address.

Whether you're shopping for Spokane homes for sale or moving into your new home, we can answer your questions. Get in touch today. 

August
24

7 Ways to Teach Your Kids How to Declutter

How to Declutter

If you have kids, you probably struggle with keeping their toys neat and well organized. Toys, puzzles, games, books, and the like seem to multiply and scatter on an almost daily basis, and after special occasions like Christmas and birthdays, the situation becomes even worse with a major influx of new toys.
  
To help you win the battle against the clutter, our real estate agents suggest these 7 ways to teach your kids how to declutter.

  1. Start by Purging Broken and Unused Toys  
    Your kids have likely accumulated broken toys that are still taking up space, as well as those that are missing parts or have stopped working. Start by tossing these out, and then move on to toys your kids no longer play with but are still in good shape. These can be donated to a non-profit organization, sold online on a site like eBay, or given to friends.

  2. Group Toys Together With Like Items  
    When you've decided what items to keep, sort them, so you have like items with like items. For example, you'll want all the building blocks together, all books together, etc. As you and your kids gather and sort, let them take another look to see if they want to purge any more items. After they see how many board games they have, for example, they may decide there are a few that they don't play with any longer or have outgrown.
      
  3. Storage Bins
    Use storage bins to store like toys together, putting just one type of toy in each bin. Make them easy for your kids to access, and label them with the category of toy that's inside. For pre-readers, you can put a picture instead of words on the label. This way, kids can easily see where to find a particular toy as well as where to put it away when they're done playing with it.

  4. Establish a Cleanup Routine  
    Make it part of your kids' daily routine to put away their toys before bedtime. It's often easier if each child is in charge of several categories of toys, and they work together to get the job done. Otherwise, one day's clutter will spill over into the next, and you'll soon have an explosion of toys lying around.

  5. Keep the Number of Toys Under Control  
    Once you have everything organized, avoid the issue of new toys coming into your home but nothing going out. Continue to purge toys once every six months or so, with an additional big push before birthdays and other gift-giving holidays.

  6. Model the Same Behavior  
    Show your kids that you follow many of the same steps when decluttering your own items. You're setting a good example if, for example, purging your own items regularly to get rid of what's broken or what you don't use.

  7. Give the Family a Reward  
    After a major cleanup, give the kids a reward after they're done.  Let your kids have a say in the reward so they'll be more excited about helping.

Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson to see Spokane homes for sale, whether you're looking for a home with plenty of room for kids (and their toys!) or you're ready to downsize.

March
30

6 Ways to Make Moving Less Stressful for Your Pet

Moving with Pets

If you've been exploring Spokane homes for sale, you're likely very excited to find the perfect one and start your new life. However, before you can do that, you'll have to deal with the not-so-fun part -- packing and moving. While this is always at least a little bit stressful for us, it can confuse and upset your pets. 

Our REALTORS® have collected the best advice from pet owners over the years and are happy to share these tips with you. 

  1. Manage Pre-Move Anxiety
    Your pets are going to know something is off as soon as you start thinking about moving. After all, you'll be packing up boxes, getting rid of junk, and deep cleaning. If you're selling your home, there are also likely to be strangers coming in and out. It's important to remember that your pets won't understand what's going on, and this will likely stress them out. To help manage this, do your best to keep things as normal as possible for them. Make sure you feed and walk them at the same time each day, play with them often, and keep them away from the moving chaos.
  1. Keep Your Pets Safe
    If possible, it's best to have your pets stay somewhere else on moving day. This will help avoid the stress and anxiety of watching strangers pack up all of your belongings and take them out of the home. It also reduces the chances that they can get underfoot and be injured or escape while everyone is distracted. When it's time to get your pets, make sure to keep them with you at all times. Crate them for safety if their size allows. Otherwise, keep them on a leash. Make sure that they all have microchips and collars with ID tags. 
  1. Pack Necessities
    Just as you'll pack yourself a box or bag with all the things you'll need during your first couple of days, you'll want to do the same for your pet. Make sure to bring their food, treats, dishes, beds, and a few favorite toys. Don't buy new things right away as having familiar scents in the new home will help them settle in. 
  1. Get Back to Normal
    As soon as you're in the home, do your best to help your pets get back into their normal routine. Re-establish a feeding and walking schedule and start reinforcing the same "ground rules" you had before. While you'll want to be a bit lenient with your pets, they crave consistency and will appreciate knowing what they should and shouldn't do in the new home. 
  1. Avoid Added Stressors
    Try not to make things worse for your pets by adding extra stressors. Hold off at least a few weeks on having a housewarming party and avoid vet visits, grooming, or anything else that's likely to cause them additional anxiety. 
  1. Be Patient
    Remember your pets are likely to feel confused and unsettled. Be patient and give them time to adjust. During this time, they may be a bit more "needy." Help them feel comfortable by making time to play with them, cuddle, and give reassurance. 

Are you still looking for the perfect pet-friendly home in Spokane? We can help! Contact us today. We'll help you find your dream home and have you (and your pets!) ready to move! 

February
17

Staging and Selling with Kids: 5 Helpful Tips for Parents

Staging with Kids

Are you thinking about adding your house to the list of Spokane homes for sale? If so, you've probably done some research and heard how important it is to make your home look as perfect as possible before your photoshoot and showings.

However, if you have children living in your home, you also know that it's virtually impossible to keep your house sparkling clean and clutter-free for more than an hour or two. So how can parents successfully stage and sell their homes without losing their minds? Start with these five tips!  

  1. Tame Toy Clutter
    When our real estate agents talk to sellers with kids, the first thing they recommend is taking control of their massive toy collections. Start by allowing each child to choose a few "must-have" toys that will remain in the home until it's sold. Then, clear out the rest. Pack up the ones they still play with and put them in storage, and give the rest away. Before showings, place the remaining toys in a bin that you can store out of sight in the closet.
  1. Use Bins and Baskets
    Even after the toys have been handled, you'll still have plenty of little things to deal with. This might include broken crayons, small toys, and other trinkets. Instead of throwing everything away and risking a meltdown, use storage bins and baskets to corral them. This makes clean-up easy and allows you to stash them neatly away before potential buyers arrive. 
  1. Lay Some Ground Rules
    To save yourself the hassle of continually chasing behind your kids and cleaning up messes, use this opportunity to lay down some ground rules. For example, make sure the kids make their beds each morning, pick up their dirty clothes, flush toilets, put down the toilet seats, and straighten out towels before they leave the bathroom. Enforcing these rules will make it easy to keep the house presentable!  
  1. Look to the Pros
    You have enough to deal with without trying to take on major DIY projects. Instead, hire the professional help you need. This includes a cleaning crew to do your deep-cleaning, a staging professional, and a great real estate agent. You'll find that the value these people bring will far outweigh the cost. Not only will you sell your home faster, but you'll also have a better chance of keeping your sanity. 
  1. A Final Sweep
    Even if you've followed all the tips above, don't make the mistake of thinking your house will be good to go any time a showing is scheduled. Once the kids are out the door, head back inside and give the house one final look. Double-check the bathrooms and bedrooms, clean up any scuffs that might have appeared, and check that countertops, cabinet handles, doorknobs haven't been soiled by sticky hands when you weren't looking. This should only take a minute or two but can go a long way towards maximizing your home's appeal. 

When you're ready to sell your home, finding the right real estate professional can make a world of difference. We take the hassle out of selling and are here to show you just how easy it can be. Contact us today to get started. 

December
16

Best Holiday Gifts for First-Time Homebuyers

Gifts for Homebuyers

Give a gift this holiday season that will help the newest homeowner on your list feel more at home in their new place. These fun, unique holiday gifts for homebuyers are sure to be a hit. Get gift inspiration with this list from our REALTORS®:

  1. Tool Kit
    A basic tool kit is indispensable for any homeowner. It doesn't have to be super pricey; a kit that includes a hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, hacksaw, and wrenches, tape measure, and drill is sufficient. Want to throw in a bonus gift? A pack of screws, nails, and a laser level will help your loved ones hang up artwork with ease.

  2. Art
    Speaking of art, nothing says welcome home like a custom-made painting or illustration of your loved one's new house. Pop it into a beautiful frame, and you have a one-of-a-kind gift they'll cherish forever. Vases, sculptures, black-and-white photography, and handmade folk art are also a hit with new homeowners.

  3. Plants
    Plants brighten up a room and add life to any space. If your loved one doesn't have a green thumb, choose hardy plants such as a peace lily, spider plant, or rubber tree. Put a few in decorative planters, tie a bow around them, and voilà, you've got a fun, green housewarming holiday gift.

  4. Throw Blanket
    Who doesn't love curling up on the couch for a weekend of Netflix binging? A warm, soft throw blanket is a cozy and stylish addition to any living room. If you're not sure about the color, choose something neutral, and make sure the fabric is machine washable, so it's easy to clean.

  5. Dish Towels and Potholders
    Make the kitchen look and feel bright with a gift of new dish towels and potholders. Your loved one will surely be trying out their new stove. Having fresh, attractive textiles on hand makes cooking more exciting and doing dishes a little less routine.

  6. Doormat
    An appealing, functional doormat can make a house feel like a home from the moment you walk in the door. There are tons of custom options out there or choose a classic you know will fit your loved one's style.

  7. Key Holder
    Avoid losing your keys with a key holder you can hang right by the door. There are endless shapes and styles to choose from—some even include a small metal basket perfect for holding mail.
      
  8. Spices
    If your loved one does some serious work in the kitchen, a collection of spices can jumpstart their creativity and get their culinary juices flowing. A spice rack will also add flair to the kitchen and keep spices away from the hot stove, where they can easily lose their flavor fast. Choose high-grade spices, which you can find at most major supermarkets, specialty stores, and online.

 Have your eye on Spokane homes for sale this holiday season? Contact us to learn more today.

November
18

Is an HOA Right for You and Your Family?

Spokane HOA Pros and Cons

Homeowner associations, or HOAs, may seem like a relatively recent concept, but the earliest ones were established by land developers back in the mid-19th century. With the growth of common-interest developments (CIDs) such as condominiums and planned single-family home communities, HOAs now govern more than 26 million homes.

Are you considering Spokane homes for sale that are part of an HOA? Make an informed decision using this list of pros and cons.

  • PRO: No Yard Work
    Tired of using your leisure time to mow the lawn or shovel snow? HOAs handle the maintenance of grounds and common areas. For many people, this is the most appealing factor.

  • PRO: Use of Amenities
    HOAs often provide swimming pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, and numerous other amenities for the use of residents. Instead of having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on construction or memberships, all costs are covered.

  • PRO: Interaction with Neighbors
    As members of the HOA, you and your neighbors already have a common ground for interaction. In addition to regular meetings, HOAs may host holiday parties or other social events, promoting a sense of community.

  • PRO: Strong Property Values
    HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) are aimed at ensuring a uniformly streamlined look throughout the community. Meaning you'll no longer have to put up with a neighbor's overgrown lawn.

  • PRO: Conflict-Free Living
    Even a minor disagreement between neighbors can escalate into major unpleasantness. HOAs run interference for members by enforcing CC&Rs and resolving disputes.

  • PRO: Simplified Bill-Paying
    HOA fees in many communities include monthly sewer, water, trash, and recycling charges. Not only do you have fewer bills, but you also don't have to budget for fluctuating utility costs.

  • CON: Less Freedom
    HOA CC&Rs that are such a benefit when they apply to neighbors can become a liability when they apply to you. If you like to throw big parties or paint your home in different colors, you may find an HOA restrictive.

  • CON: Added Expense
    While HOA fees are paid separately from a mortgage, they're included in the total amount a lender considers for financing. Even if you're current on your mortgage, defaulting on HOA fees can carry the same potential penalties as defaulting on a mortgage.

  • CON: Politics and Red Tape
    HOAs are headed up by an elected board of directors. Like any governing body, the board is charged with acting in the best interests of its members. It can also be subject to power struggles, conflicting agendas, and layers of bureaucracy.

  • CON: Shared Financial Burden
    A portion of HOA fees goes into a reserve fund intended to cover unforeseen expenses. If emergencies create a shortfall in the reserve fund, members are charged to bring the balance back to a reasonable level.

  • CON: Legal Entanglements
    If the HOA becomes involved in a legal battle such as removing a board member, you could be subject to fallout. This ranges from a spike in HOA fees to a drop in property value.

  • CON: Rental Restrictions
    Some HOAs impose a rental cap, meaning only a certain percentage of units may be rented out. This can be a roadblock if you intend to use your property as an income generator.

Our REALTORS® will help you find a home best suited to your personality and lifestyle. Contact us for more information.

October
21

Tips for Adjusting to a New Town

Moving to Spokane

Buying a new home and moving to a new town is exciting — but sometimes it can be a little scary, and at first, your new house or town might not feel like home at all. Our REALTORS® want you to know that this is completely normal. Any time you relocate away from your familiar surroundings, you're going to have instances of uncertainty.

Get acquainted with your new town and have it start feeling like home with these helpful tips. 

  1. Don't Lose Touch With Your Old Home
    Moving is quite the transition, and you'll need the support of your family and friends to help. Just because you're geographically farther away doesn't mean you can't remain close. Keep in touch and openly communicate your feelings with those you trust. Even though they aren't down the street anymore, they can still offer you support.

  2. Accept Invitations
    When you move into your new town, it certainly won't go unnoticed. Neighbors, coworkers, and others you begin to interact with will introduce themselves and try to welcome you to the neighborhood. Take them up on their offers and be receptive to engaging in new activities. Open yourself up to new experiences with new people, and you'll be surprised how quickly you'll make friends.

  3. Extend Invitations
    You also don't have to wait for an invitation to make new friends. Feel free to invite neighbors, coworkers or parents of your children's friends over for a cookout or dinner one night. By extending invitations to those you'll see each day, you'll get more comfortable and confident in your surroundings and show your willingness to fill this new chapter of your life with excitement and fun.

  4. Get Involved
    One great way to get to know the community is to get involved in events. Whether it's volunteering with a local nonprofit or joining a social club, one of the best ways to get to know those around you is by becoming active in the community.

  5. Become a Tourist
    One of the best ways to get to know the highlights of a town is to view it through the eyes of a tourist. See the sights and do the things your town's tourism websites suggest and learn why tourists flock to your town. 

  6. Do as the Locals Do
    Of course, you won't be filling all of your weekends with museums and landmark spotting. You'll also want to discover the hidden gems that locals love. Ask around your neighborhood, office, or even in a coffee shop — we're sure plenty of residents would love to tell you about their favorite places!

  7. Unpack
    Unpacking your possessions is an instant way to make your new house feel like home. Even if you can't dedicate a lot of time to unpacking in the beginning, try to unbox sentimental items that bring you happy thoughts of those you love. Photographs, gifts, and other mementos will help fill every room with your family's spirit.

  8. Be Patient
    You may not feel at home overnight — and that's okay! Most new residents need a little time to settle in and start to feel at home. We assure you, in time, this house and town will feel like home sweet home!

For help finding Spokane homes for sale in neighborhoods that you'll love, 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 10/03/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 10/03/2022. 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 Mon 10/03/2022 10:16:20 AM EST) or Spokane MLS (last updated Mon 10/03/2022 10:15:48 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coldwell Banker Tomlinson may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --



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