#YourStoryIsOurStory: Finding the best place to play

Jayden and loyal pal Marley needed more space to play. With the help of Windermere Kennewick, they found the right place to roam and grow.

Throughout the year we will be posting some of our favorite #YourStoryIsOurStory videos, photos, and blog posts. Please take a minute to share your experiences, and follow #YourStoryIsOurStory on our blogFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Pinterest pages.


7 Helpful Back to School Organization Ideas

This article originally appeared on Porch.com

Written by Mady Dahlstrom


Skip the stress of staying organized this school year with these helpful DIYs!

The new school year is almost here! Worried about your home staying in tip-top shape during busy school days? Make the back to school transition a breeze by keeping your family and your home organized. From a menu board to a daily closet organizer, stay on track with these helpful tips and tricks that you can DIY at home!

1. Lazy Susan Homework Caddy

Be prepared for the many homework hours ahead of you with this DIY homework caddy. If your kids like to do homework at the kitchen table, this lazy susan homework caddy makes every supply easily accessible.

Home Stories A to Z

2. Paper Clutter Organization

Keep your mail and school papers from cluttering your countertops with this wall file folder organization. Categorize the files to your personal needs, such as sports, medical, coupons, and emergency numbers.

Simple Stylings

3. Kids Closet Organizer

Make your mornings a little easier with this kids closet organizer. With a hanging cubby and iron-on letters you can designate daily outfits for the whole week.

Inspiration For Moms

4. Family Command Center

Get the whole family organized by creating a command center! A place for backpacks, filing, to-do lists, keys, and much more, a family command center will keep all of your important items in one area.

Mom On Timeout

5. Meal Planning Board

Plan ahead for the week by organizing your meals with a meal planning board. Whether you’re going out to eat or staying in, your kids will love to help pick out what’s for dinner each week, and it will help you know what should be on your shopping list.

A Prudent Life

6. Homework Station

Give your kids a creative and inspiring space to learn with a personalized homework station! Gather school supplies, art supplies, and colorful decorations for a fun space to work, learn, and create.

Mom 4 Real

7. Library Book Basket

Never worry about another late library book with this DIY library book basket. A bin dedicated to only library books will make sure you keep library books separate from your personal collection.

Blue i Style

How do you get your home ready for the school year? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

Top Image Credit: Eisner Design LLC


 Porch.com is the free home network that connects homeowners and renters with the right home service professionals.

The Windermere Foundation Wildfire Fund


We are deeply concerned about the ongoing impact of wildfires throughout the Western United States this year. Eastern and Western Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and Western Montana have been hit particularly hard by rampant wildfires this summer. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 65 known fires are raging throughout the states we serve, displacing thousands of families.  We have heard that many of you wish to support the emergency relief for those who have lost their homes.



The Windermere Foundation is now accepting donations to support the families that have been affected by wildfires. We will disburse donations to organizations that are serving local families based on the region you designate or by your billing zip code. One hundred percent of the funds designated to the Windermere Foundation Wildfire Fund will go to local organizations that are providing immediate assistance to those who are affected by the fires.

You can donate online at: https://store.windermere.com/content/FoundationWildfireFund Anyone can make a donation through this fund, so please feel free to share this email with your friends and family.
Our hearts go out to everyone who is affected by these terrible fires.
Thank you for your support!




How to get started in your home search

Whatever your reasons for buying, finding the right home in the perfect neighborhood, and at a cost that is within your budget, is no small task. But if you do your research and approach the process with confidence, you are much more likely to emerge at the end of the day with a house you'll be proud to call home.


#YourStoryIsOurStory: When selling the family home is like saying goodbye to a member of your family

Homes hold some of our most sacred memories. Nancy Chapin helps her clients pass along the torch to the next family.

"When people hand me the keys at the end of a conversation, I know it's not about the keys, it's not even about the house. It's about the legacy. It's about the history. It's about passing on a life to the next person, the next family, the next generation."

Throughout the year we will be posting some of our favorite #YourStoryIsOurStory videos, photos, and blog posts. Please take a minute to share your experiences, and follow #YourStoryIsOurStory on our blogFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Pinterest pages.



Oregon and Southwest Washington Real Estate Market Update


The Oregon economy has regained its traditional job growth advantage relative to the nation with employment growth running about one percent higher than a typical state. With the expansion in employment—in concert with rising wages—the economy appears to be in good shape. Although not yet at full employment, the direction is very positive.



  • Sales activity rose by 20.9% compared to the second quarter of 2014, with 16,871 homes closing.
  • Sales rose at the fastest rate in smaller counties, with Lincoln, Klickitat, and Marion leading the way.
  • Double-digit percentage increases in closed sales were seen in all but two counties across the region.
  • Equally impressive was the fact that no county saw an annual drop in sales.




  • Average prices in the region rose by 7.2% year-over-year to $310,576.
  • When compared to second quarter of 2014, Skamania County rose to the top with price growth of 34%. This is attributable to the size of the market which allows for substantial swings in price.
  • All but five counties saw prices rise compared to the second quarter of 2014 with six showing double-digit percentage gains.
  • Prices fell in five counties, but again, these are counties where relatively few transactions take place so they are prone to wild swings.




  • The average days it takes to sell a home in the region dropped by 16 days when compared to the second quarter of 2014.
  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 103 days.
  • There are still a few markets where the length of time it takes to sell a home did rise, but they were modest increases in smaller counties and not a cause for concern.
  • Only 13 counties saw sales take over 100 days or more to sell—down from 18 in the second quarter of 2014. In Portland, it now takes less than a month for homes to sell.




The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates, and larger economics factors.

As mentioned in last quarter’s Gardner Report, inventory constraints persist, which continues to drive prices higher. Additionally, home sales continue to rise while simultaneously the number of days on market continues to fall.

Because of all of this, I have moved the gauge a little further in favor of sellers. It would have moved even further had we not seen interest rates rise (albeit modestly) during second quarter.


About Matthew Gardner

Mr. Gardner is a land use economist and principal with Gardner Economics, considered by many to be the foremost real estate analysts in the Pacific Northwest. Over the past 25 years he has served on many industry-related panels and has been cited regularly in local and national media.

Will millennials be ‘perma-renters’?

This article originally appeared on Inman.com 


Several factors have kept this generation renting, but they won't last forever



  • Many believe that millennials will continue to be renters and not homeowners for various reasons.
  • The first of the millennials were not even in a position to consider buying until roughly 2008.
  • Credit has become tighter for older buyers; therefore, the recent rise in first-time buyers actually can be attributed to millennials.

There has been a lot of buzz in the news recently suggesting that millennials will forever be renters and not homeowners.

Reasons for this theory are plentiful and include amenities that apartments offer, flexibility when it comes to moving and changing jobs, and inability to afford a home given the crushing student debt load that many are carrying.

So will this be the renter generation? Let’s take a look at the data.

Millennial homeownership rates

Those who believe in the “perma-renter” theory point to U.S. Census Bureau statistics that state the homeownership rate for individuals under the age of 35 has dropped from a peak of 43.6 percent in 2004 to 34.6 percent today.

Now, I can’t deny that this is a precipitous drop, but let’s not get carried away quite yet. To start with, the first of the millennials (born in 1982) were not even in a position to consider buying until roughly 2008. That accounts for four years of college followed by two years of work.

We all know that 2008 was a terrible year to buy a home, so let’s bring it forward a little further to 2012. At that time, the ownership rate was roughly 36.7 percent. Since then, it has dropped to the current level of 34.6 percent. This drop is hardly a drastic one, but it is a drop all the same — so what happened?

Fewer urban options

As mentioned earlier, some suggest that millennials are bypassing homeownership because they prefer to remain mobile and are drawn to the bells and whistles that modern apartment living offers.

I would add to this that urban life simply appeals more to younger people than living in the suburbs; especially to those who are just starting their careers and don’t yet have a family.

But the options to buy in many cities are few and far between. Since the Great Recession, there has been a shortage of new, for-sale multifamily development, which limits the availability of urban housing for buyers.

At the same time, new apartment projects are being built at a frenetic pace. According to REIS, 240,000 apartment units are scheduled to open their doors by the end of this year, which represents a 43 percent increase compared with 2014, and well over 100,000 units above the 10-year trailing annual average.

The makeup of first-time buyers

Now let’s turn to the National Association of Realtors’ data on the percentage of existing sales to first-time homebuyers. As the chart below shows, between 2008 and mid-2010, there was a rapid runup as a result of the first-time homebuyer tax credit.

After that program expired, the percentage naturally dropped and trended lower through the end of 2013. However, it’s clear that the share of sales to first-time buyers has been trending higher for the past 17 months. But not all of these buyers are millennials, so we need to dig a little deeper for answers.

Source: National Association of Realtors


To better understand the makeup of first-time buyers, I started by looking at their age distribution. There is some great data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta that sheds light on this through analysis of mortgage data and demographic attributes.

As is shown in the table below, first-time buyers are actually not getting older. Although their numbers tumble after the crash of the housing market, the age distribution did not change drastically.

Now, if we believe that the decline was driven by the millennials, surely we would have seen first-time buyers getting older, but interestingly enough, they didn’t.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York


To add to this, analysis prepared by the Center for Real Estate Analytics suggests that the gap between median credit scores of younger buyers and older buyers has closed.

In other words, credit has become tighter for older buyers; therefore, the recent rise in first-time buyers actually can be attributed to millennials.

So, if credit quality isn’t the issue holding back millennials, and rents continue to increase at a frenetic pace, it stands to reason that we will see more and more members of this generation becoming homeowners.

I hope I’ve demonstrated that these broad statements that people are making about millennials being perma-renters are unfounded.

Are many of them delaying their purchasing decisions? It appears so, but I expect them to move into homeownership in greater numbers as they start to marry, have families or simply find themselves paying too much in rent.

So where are these millennials going to buy? I’ll tackle that topic in an upcoming post.


Matthew Gardner is the chief economist for Windermere Real Estate. He is the former principal of Gardner Economics and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. Follow him on Twitter @windermere.


You found your dream home, now what?

You’ve found the home you can see yourself living in, now what? There are several steps to the buying process you will go through before you can officially call it your own.


#YourStoryIsOurStory: A Unique Challenge

Every family has unique needs to fulfill when searching for their forever home. But 3,000 action figures is more unique than most. See how the Stevens family, and Windermere agent Marguerite Giguere, found the perfect home.

Throughout the year we will be posting some of our favorite #YourStoryIsOurStory videos, photos, and blog posts. Please take a minute to share your experiences, and follow #YourStoryIsOurStory on our blogFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Pinterest pages.





August Perspectives

Every year there’s some aspect of the real estate market that becomes a focal point for the media. A few years ago it was whether or not housing would ever recover from the Great Recession. Then it was historically low interest rates and inventory levels. And more recently, it’s whether or not this hyper-paced, multiple-offer real estate market is heading towards another housing bubble. To explore this further, we’d like to introduce Windermere’s new Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, who doesn’t believe there’s a cause for concern, for now.


I’m often asked if we are on the verge of another “bubble” bursting due to an overheated housing market. My response is no, and here are the reasons why:

Fewer flippers: Foreclosures are the preferred property type for home flippers because they offer significantly higher margins. But with the continued drop in foreclosures, we’ve seen a marked slowdown in flipping. Nationally, the percentage of flipped homes has decreased from 6.7% in 2014 to 4% today, and this share is expected to keep declining, signifying a more normalized market.

Lending standards remain stringent: Banks actually learned a lesson from the collapse of the housing market and have made qualifying for a mortgage quite difficult. Even low down payment programs like FHA, that have less stringent FICO requirements, have significantly tightened their standards, thus lowering the risk of lending to borrowers who cannot handle their mortgage obligations.

Home prices are up, but not to pre-bubble levels: Data provided by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices tells us that in the Seattle area, the bursting of the housing bubble led to a 33 percent drop in the index. The index has certainly recovered significantly, but is still 7% below the prior peak.

Interest rates will (eventually) rise: Some fear that rising rates will take some steam out of the market, but growth in employment, and the subsequent drop in the unemployment rate, will lead to wage growth and increasing incomes, which will take some of the sting out of any rate increase.

As you can see, the housing market and economic climate of today are very different from the conditions that led to the housing bubble in 2007. Nobody can predict what’s going to happen with 100% certainty, but given the current state of things, I don’t believe there is a risk of history repeating itself in the foreseeable future. 


Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.