Did you know . . . there are King County real estate property tax relief programs for qualified senior citizens, disabled persons and veterans. It is estimated that many qualified seniors and disabled persons are not registered for available exemptions and only 1 in 100 of those eligible for deferrals are enrolled.
The application process is fairly easy. There are income, age, disability and ownership/occupancy guidelines that must be met. Details can be found on the King County Assessor’s Office website.
There is also a tax relief program that may assist those who own property damaged in the recent wildfires. The program assists homeowners of properties damaged or destroyed by flood, storm or something beyond the property owner’s control. Owners may be eligible for a reduction of assessed value resulting in lower property taxes. Information and forms for the destroyed property tax relief program are on the King County Assessor’s site.
Detailed information, forms and instructions for applying for all tax exempt or tax deferral programs are available from the King County Assessor’s Office. Applications for the 2021 tax year may be submitted starting in January 2021. Contact the King County Assessor’s Office at 206-296-3920 or on line at www.kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor/taxrelief.
Robin Myers is a Realtor® with Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc. specializing in Bellevue’s urban condominiums and townhomes.
Brush and forest fires aren’t often a concern in the city. This week suburban, farm and agricultural communities in Bonney Lake and Sumner were caught off guard by a fast spreading fire that has caused evacuations, property damage and danger to people, farm animals and wildlife. If you live in a suburban community or a high rise city condo, you need a pet emergency evacuation plan.
You may already have an earthquake kit or an emergency “go-bag” with flashlights, water, food, etc. Maybe you’ve practiced a family evacuation plan. Whether you live in a high rise condo, a suburban single family community or rural farm . . . have you included your pets in your family’s emergency plan?
Your pet needs it’s own emergency “go-bag” with supplies (and medications) for 3-5 days. It should include food, bowls, treats, extra harness, collar and leash, plenty of water, doggy poop bags or kitty litter, vet contact and Rx information, a towel or blanket to warm or comfort a pet or provide a resting spot. If you evacuate by car, a crate is great to have to keep your pet safe, calm and confined while traveling. If you have no choice but to leave a pet behind, put pet alert signage in a window with the number/type of pet and your contact information so emergency personnel know to search for your pet and how to contact you.
We always think the worst won’t happen, but so far 2020 has shown us that a lot can happen that we haven’t planned for. For more information, human and pet emergency safety tips visit www.redcross.org.
I don’t do a lot of online shopping unless its for a product I’ve purchased before or from a retail store I’m familiar with and trust. Buying groceries online, a t-shirt from Nordstrom or replacing a kitchen item from Amazon is a safe bet. I’ve never made a significant online purchase like furniture.
Replacing the ottoman in front of my sofa with something more contemporary and more sturdy has been on my list for some time. A glass of red wine sitting on a tray on an upholstered ottoman is a disaster waiting to happen, especially when you have a dog. With working and spending more time at home in recent months, and maybe drinking wine more regularly, the physical and visual issues of the ottoman have been more noticeable.
Welcome to Wayfair – there are so many choices. After extensive research (probably to much) I parked several glass coffee tables in my shopping cart to ponder. I finally selected a table that checked all the boxes – not too large, contemporary, glass top and interesting style. When I was finally ready to to push the “purchase” button, I was delighted to find it was on sale for the Memorial Day holiday weekend sale. Awesome!
The table arrived a few weeks ago. It was easy to assemble and it’s perfect! Fits the space exactly as expected, the glass top visually makes the room feel larger, it’s a nice update to the room and its a more stable spot for a glass of wine. Couldn’t be happier. I’ve been thinking about new bedroom nightstand lamps . . . there could be another online shopping success story in my future.
Robin Myers is a condominium specialist with Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc.
This week Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist with Windermere Real Estate, provides updated news about the mortgage forbearance program. The program has provided a safety net for homeowners but isn’t likely to have any long term negative economic impact.
Over the past several months Windermere Real Estate has supported our local local communities, assisting front line medical staff and local food banks.
Windermere brokers and staff raised over $17,500 to buy meals for medical staff on the front lines at EvergreenHealth Medical Center. Those funds purchased 1,200 meals from local restaurants – just a small token of our appreciation for all they do, and continue to do.
For the past 35 years Windermere Real Estate offices have closed on the first Friday in June for our annual Community Service Day so our 9,000 member team can head into our local communities to volunteer. This year, due to COVID-19, the decision was made to replace Community Service Day with a fundraising challenge to help local food banks and the people they serve. The Windermere Foundation pledged to match every dollar raised, up to $250,000, with the goal of donating $500,000 to food banks in the communities where we live and work. We are thrilled and appreciative to all those who donated, raising a total of $690,000 for local food banks.
WINDERMERE . . . COMING TOGETHER TO SUPPORT OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES.
I work from home frequently, so the adjustment to a home office over the past month hasn’t been a major change for me. I don’t have children living at home, so I can’t imagine the challenges of balancing working from home full time, parenting 24/7 and taking on the role of teacher. These new routines, along with the isolation can, no doubt, feel overwhelming.
I’ve found it helpful to stay in daily contact with family and friends, clients and business associates. We’ve shared frustrations, questions, fears, stress and anxiety, humor and ideas to help us find a path through these uncertain times. Virtual happy hours have kept us laughing and we’ve all decided to never hoard but always have ample TP in the house. (I still don’t understand the TP hoarding.)
A haircut would be such a luxury. No spa day for me, so no spa day for the pups either. Trimming a dog’s nails is a workout and it’s become very clear that dog grooming is not on my professional horizon. The groomer always says the dogs are well behaved during their visit – how does she do it?
The amazing weather has been helpful, providing the opportunity to spend time outdoors, appreciate the sun and see the day-to-day changes as azalea, rhododendron and cherry blossoms explode. Fresh air and sunshine can definitely put a smile on your face.
It will be a few more weeks until we begin to see life slowly return to normal. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Before you know it, July 4th and summer will officially be here.
The coronavirus health crisis has redirected everyone’s focus. We’re all searching for our “new normal”, abandoning and creating new daily routines, figuring out how to safely shop for groceries, work from home (maybe cope with the temporary or permanent loss of a job or income), home school and entertain children, balance finances and care for family, friends and neighbors.
Real estate is how I’ve earned my living for three decades. I love what I do, but right now, and for the foreseeable future, it’s anything but a priority or business as usual. I’m also trying to figure out how to navigate working from home, support elderly parents on the east coast, stay in touch with family members near and far and reach out to friends and neighbors. Staying connected with family, friends and clients has led to some creative and interesting get-togethers. Virtual coffee meetings and happy hours, with the occasional photo bomb by a family pet, has generated a much needed laugh or two.
Whatever, and whenever normal resumes, there will be plenty of time to get back to previous work and family routines. My priority is to take care of my health and my family’s health and safety. I’m fortunate to be affiliated with a company that helped set the tone for what the industry landscape should look like while Washington’s Stay Home/Stay Healthy order is in effect. Since the early days of this crisis, Windermere has taken the position “go slow and do no harm” with a goal, within strict guidelines set by the State of Washington prioritizing safety and wellness, to take care of our clients. Brokers and management worked hard to help clients who were already under contract on the purchase or sale of a home, to complete that transaction so that no one was caught between moves, but we will slow-roll new business until the coast is clear. Our priority, and one of Windermere’s core values . . . putting people over transactions . . . is more important than ever.
Take care of yourselves. Be safe and stay healthy.
Earlier this month, as concern regarding the coronavirus grew, my company, Windermere Real Estate, followed by the NWMLS a few days later, made the decision to suspend all open houses in an effort to protect the health of buyers, sellers and brokers.
There will be little real estate business transacted during the State of Washington’s mandated “shelter-at-home” period. Escrow and title companies and lenders will continue to work, as much as legally permitted, to be sure sellers and buyers involved in transactions already under contract will close on time.
Even before the mandated “shelter-at-home”, many sellers requested no open houses and buyer traffic dropped significantly at homes (mostly vacant) where open houses were scheduled. What about open houses in the future? While I always include open houses in my marketing plan, at the seller’s option, it is one of the marketing activities that delivers the least return to, and honestly, most inconvenience to sellers. The majority of my real estate business focuses on condominiums, and its not unusual to find open houses restricted or prohibited by the HOA. Homeowners who purchase in a secure building do so because they want to live in a community offering safety and where public access is limited to owner controlled, owner invited guests. A public open house that allows dozens of strangers to access a building is an intrusion on the privacy and security of everyone who lives in the community.
With the advancement of technology, professional and drone photography, 3-D and 360 degree virtual tours, buyers can virtually walk through a property before scheduling a private appointment with their broker to see the home. Going forward we may see fewer open houses, especially in secure residential buildings. Open houses create a logistical challenge for the hosting broker, sellers, buyers and the concierge staff, and are an intrusion to the privacy of all homeowners in the building.
Windermere Real Estate has partnered with the Seahawks this season to tackle homelessness. So far this year the #tacklehomelessness campaign has raised $14,600. For every defensive home game tackle, Windermere is donating $100 to YouthCare which provides services and housing to homeless youth.
You may have difficulty getting in touch with your local Windermere broker today, but there’s a very good reason. Today is Community Service Day. A tradition at Windermere since 1984, each year Windermere offices close for the day to help make a positive difference in our communities. Over 30 years and more than one million hours of community service later, we’ve continued this tradition through neighborhood enhancing projects in the areas where Windermere brokers live, work and play.