Windermere Real Estate Shows Two Property Listings at Annual Modernism Week Event in Palm Springs

In addition to great weather, beautiful scenery, world-class golf courses and fabulous shopping, Palm Springs is also full of modern era architecture that dates back to the 1950s. Each year, the city of Palm Springs shows its appreciation for these structural designs with its annual Modernism Week, a celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture.

This exciting festival will feature more than 250 events in the Palm Springs area from February 11-21 with an expected attendance of more than 60,000 visitors. Highlights of the event include films, lectures, architectural bus tours, nightly parties, live music, tours of Sunnylands, fashion shows, classic cars, modern garden tours, a vintage travel trailer exhibition, and more. Signature Home Tours will also be available throughout the event, where participants can view and tour properties that have unique history and elegant modern designs.

Windermere Real Estate will be showing two such properties throughout the event, including "The Lilliana Gardens Glass House", an architectural gem currently listed with Windermere Real Estate | Leaskou Partners. The second is a mid-century style home on Buckboard Lane that is loaded with modern features and listed by Windermere Homes & Estates.

The Lilliana Garden Glass House, which is located in the Mesa neighborhood, is a four-bedroom, three-bath home designed by Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison in 1954, and is currently listed at $1,588,000. The current owner spent more than seven years lovingly restoring this exceptional home, consulting with Donald Wexler throughout the process in order to retain the original artistry, while also incorporating contemporary fixtures and finishes. With its sharp angles, clean lines and walls of glass, there are ever changing lights and shadows inside the home, which makes it a living piece of art – and a great fit for Palm Springs’ Modern Week.

The Buckboard Lane listing, located in B Bar H Ranch, is centrally located from Palm Desert’s most popular attractions, including shopping outlets, golf courses, casinos and more. Although the home was built in 2006, it was designed by Architect Lance O'Donnell, and modeled after homes of the 1950s. Currently listed at $334,950, this home has a very sharp, mid-century theme, featuring an open

floor plan, gorgeous natural stone counters, and mosaic tile throughout the entrance, kitchen and bathrooms. Modern polished concrete floors expand through the living areas and into the master bedroom. The home features a butterfly roof design, outfitted with solar panels to maximize energy efficiency year-round. The backyard pool also utilizes solar energy with a low-maintenance saltwater system. All rooms have access to wrap around decks to enjoy the misting system that surrounds the home and private gardens, which have terrific views of snow-capped mountains and desert vistas.  

Modernism Week also has a charitable component which provides scholarships to local students pursuing college educations in the fields of architecture and design. They also support local and state preservation organizations and neighborhood groups in their efforts to preserve modernist architecture throughout the state of California.

Three Projects, Three Ways: Valentine’s Gifts for Your Loved Ones

Love it, or hate it, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching! If you want to create a thoughtful gift for a loved one (or for yourself because you TOTALLY deserve it), try one of these easy, inexpensive, do-it-yourself Valentine’s Day ideas!

Three-dimensional flower art:

The ladies at “A Beautiful Mess” have amazing craft ideas, so we decided to try out their flower collage. The results are so fun!

Supply list:

A favorite family picture- blown up to 5*7 or larger

Fabric flowers; you can find these at a local craft store. For a fun touch, pick up some fabric butterflies too

Hot glue gun and glue sticks

A shadow box or a picture frame with the glass popped out

 

Directions:

Let inspiration be your guide; mock up your design before breaking out the glue gun

Glue flowers around the frame

Let the glue dry and then display your work of art!  

Difficulty level: 1

 

A heart shaped picture collage:

Do you have so many favorite photos that you can’t pick just one? Are you an Instagram addict? Then this fun project is for you. You can use as many pictures as your frame will fit.

Supply list:

A picture frame

A piece of cardstock or paper cut to fit your frame

Cardstock cut into a stencil heart shape

A pile of your favorite photos

Scissors

Craft glue or scrapbooking adhesive

Fancy accent paper (optional)

 

Directions:

Decide the quantity of photographs you want to display

Arrange your photos on your blank sheet to determine the best placement

Cut each photo into the same size heart (use a stencil heart or heart shaped paper punch for this)

Arrange your pictures on the card stock

If you want to add some dimension, cut out hearts from the fancy accent paper to display behind your photos

Once everything is exactly how you like it, glue it all down

Let everything dry and finish by adding your frame!

Difficulty level: 2

 

The writing’s on the wall

Do you have a favorite quote about love? Make a modern wall hanging with some simple tools and your favorite words!

Supply list:

A wood frame for stretching canvas (can be found online or your local craft store)

Dark denim (enough to fit over canvas with a couple of extra inches all around)

A white fabric pencil

White fabric paint

Small acrylic paint brushes (with stiff bristles)

Masking tape

A staple gun and staples

A printed template of your favorite quote, as you would like to see it displayed

A window with natural light

 

Directions:

Tape your printed quote to a window with natural light shining through

Tape your fabric swatch over your template, and position the image/text in the middle of your fabric swatch (dark side facing you)

Using the white pencil, trace the quote and/or image clearly on your dark fabric

Once done, remove your fabric from the window and tape to a flat surface like a desk or table

Use the paint brush and white fabric paint to trace over your white sketches to make your text and/or image visible

Let your masterpiece dry for a few hours (amount of time varies based on the thickness of the applied paint)

Position your fabric over your wooded canvas frame. Make sure the placement is straight and where you want it

 

Hold your fabric in place over the frame and staple the sides to the back of the wooden frame, checking to make sure your image on the front is straight and the fabric is taught on the frame

If the fabric on the back of your frame is too long, you may want to consider trimming so it doesn’t peek out when the frame is hung on the wall

Find the perfect spot to hang your masterpiece or the perfect person to gift it to!

Difficultly level: 3

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

Oregon and Southwest Washington Real Estate Market Update

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

I’m happy to report that employment in Oregon continues to grow at a fairly healthy rate. Through November of 2015, the state added 51,000 new jobs for a growth rate of 2.9 percent. As we move into 2016, I anticipate that the region will continue to expand its job base, but at a slightly more modest pace.

In November the state unemployment rate was measured at 5.7 percent—down from 6.2 percent seen in September. In my last report I suggested that the increase in the unemployment rate was a temporary “blip” and it appears as if I was correct. I expect that this rate will also continue to contract as we move through the year.

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • Sales activity rose by 11.9 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, with 14,600 home sales.
  • As we have seen in the past, sales rose at the fastest rate in smaller counties, with Hood River, Columbia, and Marion Counties leading the way.
  • Double-digit percentage increases in closed sales were seen in a majority of the counties, but we did see modest declines in four counties.
  • It was interesting to note that we are starting to see home sales slow in select counties. I believe this is due to a lack of inventory rather than any other reason.

 

HOME PRICES

  • Average prices in the region rose by 7.1 percent year-over-year to $308,373. We are starting to see a slowdown in price growth, but I attribute this to a lack of inventory.
  • When compared to fourth quarter of 2014, Skamania County continues to see the strongest price growth with home prices rising by 34.3 percent. This remains a function of the size of the market, which allows for substantial swings in price.
  • All but three counties saw prices rise compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, with eight counties showing double-digit percentage gains.
  • Prices fell in three counties, but again, these are counties where relatively few transactions take place so they are prone to extreme swings.

 

DAYS ON MARKET                   

  • The average days it takes to sell a home in the region dropped by 18 days when compared to the fourth quarter of 2014.
  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 100 days.
  • Klamath and Hood River Counties were the only two markets where the average time it takes to sell a home rose, but these are relatively small areas, so there’s no cause for concern.
  • It still takes less than a month to sell homes in the Portland area market.

 

CONCLUSIONS

The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates and larger economics factors. The Oregon economy continues to expand and I do not see this changing in the foreseeable future. However, similar to many West Coast markets, Oregon’s inventory constraints are becoming problematic. I believe we will see more listings come online in 2016 as home equity levels continue to expand, but unfortunately it will not be enough to meet demand, and the market will remain imbalanced. I have kept the needle at the same level as last quarter. The market currently favors sellers, but buyers are growing weary of multiple offer situations and are likely to wait for inventories to rise, which will hopefully happen in the Spring.

Looking forward, I believe 2016 will be a year of few surprises. Because it is an election year, I do not expect to see any significant governmental moves that would have a major impact on the U.S. economy or the housing market.

 

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. 

Keeping up with the Joneses: How Much Does it Cost to Update a Bathroom?

 

Ever wondered what it would cost to update your bathroom?  Basic raw materials can range from $30 to…very high. Jenn and I decided to spend a little bit more on some beautiful, high quality floor tile and go middle-of-the-road with our fixtures (not IKEA but not Crate & Barrel). The most cost savings will be found in labor — we are doing all of the demo and install work ourselves once the professionals are finished with the behind-the-walls plumbing.

We love that our home was built in the 1940s and wanted to keep with the classic aesthetic of the house when choosing fixtures. 

 

 

 

 

Here's our spend-to-date on the basic materials for our bathroom remodel:

SUB-TOTAL: $1,690

 

We're hoping to keep our bathroom reno below $2,500 so I think we're on track! The return on investment for updating a bathroom is between $10,000-15,000 on average so not only will this suit our style better, it will also increase the resale value of our home.  But of course, remodeling a bathroom takes more than just tile and a new sink. And you never know what unexpected cost you'll run into as you're taking down drywall and old tile.

 

What's not on this list:

  • Bead board for the walls
  • Backerboard for behind the tile
  • Tile adhesive
  • Tile seal
  • any paint or paint supplies
  • any tools
  • any labor… my dad and I are paying for that with blood, sweat and tears!

Onward and upward…

 

 

Tyler Davis Jones is a Windermere Real Estate agent in Seattle who, with his wife Jenn, recently traded in their in-city condo for a 1940s fixer-upper. Tyler and Jenn, along with the help of some very generous friends and family members, are taking on all the renovations themselves. You can follow the transformation process on the Windermere Blog or on Tyler’s website and Instagram

Next week on the blog: how much does it cost to update a bathroom? (Part 2)

 

Windermere Foundation 2015 Year in Review

2015 was an incredible year for the Windermere Foundation. We reached a goal that we set back in 2013, which was to raise $30 million in total donations by the end of 2015. Not only did we reach that milestone, we did it three months early, thanks to the support of Windermere owners, agents, and staff that increased their giving, held more fundraisers, and brought new donors into the fold. With funds raised for the Windermere Foundation, our real estate offices are able to support local non-profits that provide much-needed services to low-income and homeless families in their communities.

Nearly $2.1 million was raised in 2015, for an overall total of $30,859,447 since the start of the Windermere Foundation in 1989. Donations from Windermere sales transactions accounted for 33 percent of the revenue and 67 percent came from additional donations from agents, owners, staff, and the public.

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY OF FUNDS, GRANTS & DONATIONS IN 2015

 

FUNDING BREAKDOWN

 

So how are funds used? Windermere offices get to decide how to distribute the funds their agents raise so that they may help organizations in their communities. Many offices choose to adopt families during the holidays. Like the Windermere office in Anchorage, Alaska which adopted two families in need. Both families were referred to them by the local elementary school. The school nurse said that when they were asked what they needed for the purpose of a wish list, they wrote down soap, toothpaste, towels and blankets. Also puzzles for the kids, and clothes. (Not your typical holiday wish list.) Well, our Anchorage office did more than purchase the requested items, they went above and beyond!

Each child received three outfits, socks, slippers, and warm jackets—and two toys. The moms received spa packages (soaps and lotions) and throw blankets. The dads received wallets and socks. All of the kids were so excited over the prospect of presents—one six-year-old girl ran around the house saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” after receiving her gifts. Receptionist Breauna Cook was so moved by the experience that after she finished dropping off the gifts to the families, she adopted another family in need from another school, using her own money.

 

While holidays are a peak time of giving, many of our offices also support organizations throughout the year. The Windermere offices in Utah (Salt Lake City-Union Park, Park City, Park City-Kimball Junction, Salt Lake City-Sugar House, and Coalville) have been a dedicated partner of Family Promise - Salt Lake since 2007, going above and beyond through annual financial contributions and large volunteer service projects. Support from partners like Windermere allows Family Promise to provide safe shelters for families in need, as well as case management services to help facilitate lasting income and housing self-sufficiency. Families like Elizabeth’s.

 

Elizabeth had spent months job-searching and researching what apartments were the cheapest in Utah. She had been living in an area of California where there was a lot of crime and not a lot of opportunity. Elizabeth wanted to raise her three children in a safer and more community-oriented environment. So when she finally got a call from Walgreens, who said they would hold a job for her in Salt Lake, she packed up her family and made the move. Not having enough money for a deposit and first month’s rent, Elizabeth sought out shelters and found Family Promise - Salt Lake. There she found a comfortable, safe place to stay that included a storage unit to store her belongings.

“Coming to Utah was a big change to our lives. Living in churches and moving every week is a struggle when you have kids. And trying to keep two jobs while being in a shelter is another struggle and can be overwhelming at times,” says Elizabeth. “It was hard at first, but then we got an apartment within two months. Now, when I look around my new home, I am thankful for everyone in the Family Promise program who helped me get through it all.”

 

Thanks to our agents and everyone who supports the Windermere Foundation, we are able to continue to make a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities. If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click on the Donate button.

 

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation

 

 

#YourStoryIsOurStory: Starting from Scratch

Kate and Peter spend a lot of their free time on Whidbey Island, WA. In fact, Peter practically grew up there. The island holds special meaning to them and their relationship. It was the place Kate first met Peter’s family, where they were engaged and eventually married. For a couple renting a small apartment in downtown Seattle, Whidbey also offered a great escape from the city. So before they upgraded their city apartment to a city condo, they decided to invest in some land for their future vacation get-away and eventual retirement property.

Windermere Real Estate agent Linda Casale was the perfect person to help Kate and Peter through this unique journey of finding an undeveloped piece of land on an island in the middle of the Puget Sound. Soon enough weekends were spent driving from lot to lot, kicking the dirt and taking in the views. After about a month of searching, Kate and Peter came across a very special parcel that they knew right away was “the one”, and immediately started dreaming of the life and the home they would build on it. Linda guided them through the process, which is very different than buying a home, and included identifying the right companies to assess the land and provide quotes for future improvements.

For Kate and Peter, finding a special place on Whidbey Island to call their own is an investment in their future together. While they don’t plan on living on Whidbey full-time just yet, they hope to build their dream home and plan for their future retirement in this special spot. 

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.

Keeping up with the Joneses: Demo Day One

This blog was written by Jenn Jones

 

Our closing date had finally arrived! We were officially the owners of our little Wedgwood home. We rushed over to the house as soon as we got the go-ahead with boxes delicately packed and a cheap bottle of lukewarm champagne. Tyler carried Addie over the threshold. We prayed in the kitchen together. It was one of my favorite moments we've shared to date.

Twelve hours later, we were back in the house, lit up in all its splendor by the morning light – but this time, we were not alone. We were surrounded by a swarm of contractors, worn tarps strewn over the original hardwood floors, walls missing huge panels of drywall. What happened to my beautiful home?! What had we willingly done?

This is normal right? To wonder if updating the plumbing and electrical was a good idea? Wasn't it fine before? I feel like I'm hurting the home!!

Enter my first lesson in home renovations: While it is slightly traumatizing to watch perfectly good walls be torn through, replacing things behind the walls is both nauseating and worth it. It will be worth it to give Addie a bath without wondering if there's water leaking behind the walls. It will be worth it to be able to plug in my laptop without worrying about tripping a breaker. Actually, I don't even think we have a breaker box…the electrical is that old!

Let the renovations march on. Goodbye orange countertops. Farewell nasty linoleum. And as my husband says, "Onward and upward…"

One change I will not second guess… removing the window from the bathroom.  Because it’s a stained glass bear with a hat and a honey jar.  And because that bathroom honey-bear window leads into… wait for it… another room!”

 

Tyler Davis Jones is a Windermere Real Estate agent in Seattle who, with his wife Jenn, recently traded in their in-city condo for a 1940s fixer-upper. Tyler and Jenn, along with the help of some very generous friends and family members, are taking on all the renovations themselves. You can follow the transformation process on the Windermere Blog or on Tyler’s website and Instagram

Next week on the blog: how much does it cost to update a bathroom?

 

 

 

 

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The Washington State economy has added almost 370,000 jobs since the lowest point of the recession at the start of 2010. Additionally, total employment is 176,000 jobs higher than seen at the 2008 peak. With a vast majority of our metropolitan areas having fully recovered from the job losses seen during the recession, I expect to see somewhat more modest job growth in the coming year. That being said, our economy will continue to expand, which will be a benefit to our region’s housing market.

 

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • There were 16,895 home sales during the fourth quarter of 2015, up by 4.6% from the same period in 2014. Sales activity is starting to slow somewhat but this is due to inventory constraints.
  • The growth in sales was most pronounced in Cowlitz and Lewis Counties and double-digit growth was also seen in Thurston County. Sales declines were seen in Grays Harbor County and Skagit County, but only minimally.
  • The number of home sales grew in all but two counties, with the average number of sales up by almost 6% from the same period in 2014.
  • I am not surprised to see some decline in sales start to appear. Listing activity was down by 28% compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, and there were no counties where there were more homes for sale in Q4-2015 versus Q4-2014.

 

HOME PRICES

  • Prices in the region rose by an average of 9.3% on a year-over-year basis but were
  • 0.4% lower than seen in the third quarter of 2015.
  • Unsurprisingly, no counties saw a drop in average home prices compared to fourth quarter last year.
  • When compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, San Juan County again saw the fastest price growth with an increase of 37.6%. However, this county is notorious for extreme swings given the huge variations in prices in the San Juan Islands. Double-digit percentage gains were also seen in five other counties.
  • As long as inventory constraints persist, it is likely that price growth will continue.
  • That said, modest increases in interest rates, in combination with declining affordability conditions in several markets, will likely slow price appreciation.

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by nine days when compared to the third quarter of 2014.
  • It took an average of 78 days to sell a home in the fourth quarter of this year—down from the 91 days it took to sell a home in fourth quarter of last year.
  • There were just two markets where the length of time it took to sell a home did rise, but the increases were minimal. Jefferson County saw an increase of eight days while Mason County rose by two days.
  • King County remains the only market where it takes less than a month to sell a home.

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates, and larger economics factors. For the fourth quarter of 2015, I have left the needle at the same position as the previous quarter. In as much as the market is still very heavily in favor of sellers, I fear that some markets are reaching price points that will test affordability. Furthermore, while inventory levels are likely to see some growth in 2016, it will not be enough to satisfy demand, adding further upward pressure to prices.

 

Overall, 2015 was a stellar year with sales volumes and home prices moving higher across the board. In 2016, I believe we’ll see some growth in sales activity, as well as continued price growth – just at more modest levels than last year. Interest rates are going to rise moderately through the year, but still remain very competitive when compared to historic averages. In other words, any increase in interest rates should not be a major obstacle for home buyers.

Looking forward, I believe 2016 will be a year of few surprises. Because it is an election year, I do not expect to see any significant governmental moves that would have a major impact on the U.S. economy or the housing market.

 

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. 

Keeping Up with the Joneses: Home Renovations

 

Our Dream

Jenn and I have long desired that our story would involve owning a home in Seattle in a great school district, with plenty of room for Addie to grow up, and space to host our friends and family overnight. But with home prices in Seattle rising higher every month (the median being $562k right now), this dream seemed like a stretch. We knew that the only way to make our dream become a reality would be to save our money diligently and buy a fixer that we updated ourselves. 

With determination and a tight budget (I plan to write on budgeting for your future home soon), we worked hard and saved for the last two years. I'm excited to announce that our dreams became a reality today! We are now the proud owners of a beautiful 1941 4-bedroom, 1.75-bathroom home in the cozy neighborhood of Wedgwood, Seattle!

What's Next?

This is an exciting time, but we can't celebrate just yet as the house hasn't been updated since the 1960s!  With knob and tube electrical, galvanized plumbing, an awkward 70's bathroom, and a kitchen that is straight out of Mad Men, we have a whole lot of work ahead of us! 

We Want To Share Our Experience

While I sell real estate as a profession, and have been a part of many remodeling projects with clients, the truth is I'm a layman when it comes to DIY. It's in that spirit that I want to share the experience of our home renovation with you.

My goal will be to honestly share the highs and lows, as well as break down the budget of what it actually costs to create our dream home. I hope that you find this journey helpful, humorous and maybe even inspirational. 

 

Tyler Davis Jones is a Windermere Real Estate agent in Seattle who, with his wife Jenn, recently traded in their in-city condo for a 1940s fixer-upper. Tyler and Jenn, along with the help of some very generous friends and family members, are taking on all the renovations themselves. You can follow the transformation process on the Windermere Blog or on Tyler’s website and Instagram

Next week on the blog: demolition day! 

Make 2016 A Year of Service

On January 18, 2016, many people across the U.S. engaged in service activities on the federal holiday to honor the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to continue his legacy of service. The MLK Day of Service is also a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative which is built upon the belief that ordinary people can come together and achieve extraordinary things when given the proper tools.

If you did not get a chance to volunteer on MLK Day, there are many opportunities for you to get involved and help out others in your community throughout the year. You can visit Serve.gov to find volunteer opportunities near you.

Here are some ideas for how you can help out in your community:

  •  Collect food for your local food bank. They are always in need of donations—and not just during the holidays. There is a great need during the summer when schools are on break, and subsidized breakfast and lunch programs are not available for children.
  • Volunteer at your local food bank. You can come in as an individual, or plan a group outing with co-workers, friends, or family members and help sort and pack food items.
  • Help prepare and serve food at a homeless shelter or community center. The staff will appreciate the help, and the patrons will enjoy interacting with others in their community.
  • Help build and renovate homes. Volunteer with an organization like Habitat for Humanity in your community, or sign up for volunteer trips throughout the U.S.
  • Participate in a neighborhood, park, or beach cleanup. Many neighborhood organizations have at least one yearly event where they garden, paint, or clean up an area within the community.
  • Support a backpack/supply drive. Most schools have a backpack and school supplies drive before the beginning of each school year. You can volunteer to help collect and sort items, or donate money and supplies.
  • Collect warm coats and blankets for the winter season. While shelters need donations throughout the year, warm coats and blankets are in most need during the fall and winter season.

If you are not able to volunteer your time, but would still like to help, then another option is to donate money. This is probably the best way you can help out organizations that serve your community. No matter what the amount, every little bit counts. Many organizations, such as food banks, can make your donation dollars stretch further and serve more people through their partnerships with various organizations.

Not sure where to donate your money? You can always make a donation to the Windermere Foundation and designate your funds to the Windermere Real Estate office nearest you. This ensures that your donation will go towards supporting non-profit organizations that serve people in need in your community. For more information about the Windermere Foundation, please visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.

Please consider donating your time and money throughout the year, and help us make 2016 a year of service. Together, we can make a positive impact in our communities.