Include Your Pet in Your Family’s Emergency Plan

dog-and-cat

photo of dog and cat

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.

 

 

Posted on September 11, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: emergency planning, family, Robin Myers, safety, urban living, Windermere | Tagged , , , , , ,

Ideas for Creating Deck or Courtyard Privacy

courtesy HGTV

With summer weather finally here we’re all spending more time outdoors, but with the confines created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re spending a lot more time outdoors at home. Whether you live in an urban high rise or townhouse, creating privacy on your deck, patio or courtyard can be challenging.

 

HGTV has provided some interesting and affordable options available for adding a privacy screen to your deck. If you’re creative, there’s a lot of inspiration here for designing a customized screen to fit your space and decor.

 

https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/outdoor-spaces/best-outdoor-privacy-screens

 

 

Posted on July 15, 2020 at 10:57 AM
Robin Myers | Category: condominium speciaist, condominiums, lifestyle, urban living, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Mortgage Forbearance – Where are We Today?

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.

 

Posted on June 15, 2020 at 11:50 AM
Robin Myers | Category: condominium speciaist, economy, housing market, real estate, Windermere | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Could COVID-19 Impact Future Condo and Apartment Design?

Recent real estate and design articles have speculated on the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on future residential design. Features in the last decade have focused on spacious luxury owner amenities with indoor and outdoor common areas, lush gardens, fitness centers, media rooms, private dining rooms, pet spas and    co-working spaces. Will residential developers adjust future design plans to create safer and more comfortable common areas?

The new normal may mean fewer pieces of equipment in cardio and weight rooms and more space between mats in yoga studios. Expect more hand sanitizing stations and stricter cleaning protocols. Capacity limits or equipment reservations may be required to provide equitable use and a safe environment. Lobbies, owner lounges and other common gathering areas may adjust decor to provide more chairs and fewer sofas to create a comfortable yet safe area for residents and guests.

 

Home office space has become one of the “must have” features. Whether full or part time, more people are working from home increasing the need for dedicated office or study space. We’ve quickly learned dining room tables and kitchen islands aren’t the best backdrop for video meetings.

Spending more time indoors has made the need for a properly functioning HVAC system more evident. Buyers may be just as interested in knowing whether a new community design includes systems that introduce more fresh outdoor air, recycle air more frequently and perhaps sanitize.

Spending more time in our homes over the past several months has made us more aware of our space, how we use that space, how well it functions and what we may need/want for the future.

 

 

 

Posted on May 29, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: apartments, condominiums, home safety, home technology, safety | Tagged , , , , ,

How has COVID-19 Impacted Various Housing Categories

Matthew Gardner offers insight into how the coronavirus pandemic may impact urban housing, condos, single family housing, suburbs, second homes and short term rentals.

 

 

Posted on May 19, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: condominium speciaist, condominiums, economy, neighborhoods, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Real Estate – What to Expect as We Return to “Normal”

flickr/Mark Moz

It’s not surprising to know home sales declined in mid-March as we sheltered at home. Moving into mid-April both buyer activity and pending sales began increasing, all while home prices remained strong. Nationally median home prices rose in every region of the US in April.

Locally buyer activity and home values also gained momentum. Short market times and multiple offers were more common by late April, especially in affordable price ranges. Even the high end market, hit harder by the health crisis and volatile stock market, began to recover with more expensive homes coming back into the market.

What can we expect for the local condo market this summer? Over the last 30 days 131 condos in the Eastside marketplace have sold. The average time on market was just 15 days with an average sales price of $620,420. The average sale price vs. list price was 100.08% with 78 of those 131 homes selling at or over the list price. Condos currently under contract with sales pending have been on the market an average of just 14 days. As reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association and National Association of Realtors®, buyer mortgage loan applications are up for the fourth consecutive week  –  a strong indication buyers are back in the market and ready to take advantage of record low interest rates.

Recovery of the local economy will have an impact on the real estate market as we move toward summer. Based on buyer activity and mortgage applications, as we find our “new normal” it’s clear buyers are ready to step into home ownership. Available housing inventory is still lagging behind compared to the same time last year. It remains to be seen if there will be enough housing inventory to meet buyer demand this summer. Low inventory will certainly keep pressure on prices resulting in fewer discounts in the marketplace.

 

 

 

Posted on May 17, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, condominiums, home property values, housing market, real estate, selling a home | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Concerned about a Housing Bubble?

These are interesting and complex times. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, brokers are following strict recommendations from public health officials and government agencies to ensure we are helping to reduce its impact. Ensuring that agents, office staff and clients are safe and healthy is the top priority.

Real estate is still happening  –  homes are still being listed for sale and buyers are still purchasing those homes, exhibiting a surprising high level of interest. Matthew Gardner provides good information and perspective on the current market and the health crisis vs. the housing crisis experienced in 2008.

Posted on April 28, 2020 at 10:59 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, economy, housing market, real estate, selling a home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Homeowner Association Issues Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the shelter-at-home order in Washington State, board or HOA meetings are currently prohibited. This may create complications for homeowner associations trying to conduct business that needs a majority vote regarding matters impacting the HOA and owners.

Homeowner/community associations are required to follow their governing documents when handling association matters. This includes owners and directors voting on association matters which is most often done in person. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home order, the Governor of Washington has amended the Emergency Proclamation to address issues relating to homeowner/community associations.

  • Owners and directors in homeowner/community associations are permitted to vote on association matters by mail, electronic mail and proxy, even if the association’s governing documents do not permit them to do so.
  • Owners and directors in homeowner/community associations may attend meetings by conference phone call or other similar communication that allows all participants to hear each other at the same time, even if the governing documents do not permit them to do so.
  • The Emergency Proclamation prohibits homeowner associations from charging owners late fees and interest on delinquent assessments and from imposing fines on owners for violating their governing documents.

This proclamation expires at 11:59 PM May 17, 2020.

 

 

 

 

Posted on April 22, 2020 at 2:36 PM
Robin Myers | Category: condominium speciaist, condominiums, Homeowner Associations, real estate | Tagged , , , ,

Downtown Bellevue Condos – Year-to-Year Stats

flickr/Dafne Cholet

 

Demand for urban housing remains strong, and with Amazon’s projected growth in downtown Bellevue, along with other corporations’ expansion plans, high demand is expected to continue over the next few years. Before the coronavirus outbreak and Stay Home/Stay Healthy order that went into effect in mid-March, the local condo real estate market was off to a very strong start.

2019 DOWNTOWN BELLEVUE CONDO SALES
1/1/2019 thru 3/31/2019            4/1/2019 thru 4/16/2019
39 sales                                      16 sales

2020 DOWNTOWN BELLEVUE CONDO SALES
1/1/2020 thru 3/31/2020           4/1/2020 thru 4/16/2020
55 sales                                       13 sales

 

First quarter downtown Bellevue condo sales were up significantly compared to the same period last year. Moving into the second quarter, numbers for the first half of April are surprisingly similar year-to-date,  despite the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis. It’s possible this April’s sales stats reflect contracts written in early March just prior to (and perhaps to secure a home) before the anticipated shelter in place order.

Though well below normal for this time of year, homes continue to be listed for sale, and buyers are writing offers on some of those homes. Many sellers and buyers, for health and safety reasons, have chosen to put plans on hold until the shelter at home order has been revised or lifted and there is a better  sense of what “normal” is going to look like. Like many businesses, it is expected the current strict restrictions on the real estate industry will be lifted gradually. What will the summer market look like? It’s tough to say, but based on activity during the first quarter, the high number of property and virtual tour views on websites over the past several weeks, and conversations with clients and potential buyers and sellers, summer may pick up right where the first quarter left off.

 

 

 

Posted on April 18, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: condominium speciaist, condominiums, Downtown Bellevue, real estate, urban living | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Are Open Houses a Thing of the Past?

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.

 

 

 

Posted on March 27, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, home safety, open house, real estate, selling a home, Windermere | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,