Page 1

425.516.2111 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015

 INSIDE THIS ISSUE Recipe: Chicken Tortilla Casserole .......... 2 Tidbits of Information ................................. 3 Trader Joes vs Whole Foods .................... 3 5 Steps to Organize your Finances........... 4 Free Shredding Event................................ 4 Current Market Stats.................................. 5 Rents Less Affordable Than Mortgage ..... 6 The Scoop on Home Inspections.............. 6 Architectural Styles .................................... 7 New Home Features vs Character ........... 7 De-Cluttering Don'ts................................... 8


THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING US TO SERVE YOU! From what I see, many of us are still smiling from experiencing one of the best summer seasons in history! Those long, action packed, sun-filled days may be coming to an end, but the good news is, there still are many fantastic adventures ahead as the crisp, fresh air of Fall is just around the corner. School supply shopping, cozy sweaters, pumpkin picking and the color of the Fall leaves are just a few reasons why I’m excited! And speaking of change, as many of you know, I am really excited to be a part of the Windermere Bellevue Commons office, with Cortney and Amy Adams leading the way, sky’s the limit! So for this first WBC issue, happy reading and celebrate this magnificent season! Enjoying all things home,

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


If you would like to see daily updates go to: Though most of the fires seem to be on their way to being mostly contained, the people of info#WA-NES-001209 the affected areas are still in need of support. The Windermere Foundation is 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.

Page 2


Where Oktoberfest Originated? So what made the good citizens of Munich want to celebrate each October by drinking lots of beer? It was the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810, and the citizens were invited to enjoy the festivities on the fields in front of the city gates. The horse races that took place on the fields that day were so popular that they decided to do it again the following year, and in 1819 they made it into an annual festival, so it was actually horse racing not beer that started Oktoberfest! In Munich there are strict rules for the beer that can be served at Oktoberfest, and they must meet the Reinheitsgebot (Bavarian Purity Law). This states that the beer be brewed within Munich’s city limits and have a “Stammwürze” of 13.5%. This isn’t the alcohol content but it’s a measurement used in brewing that gives an alcohol content of about 6%. So the beers at Oktoberfest are stronger than you’d find in most German pubs, ranging usually between 5.8 and 6.3% and with a high sugar content. Be sure to supplement your drinking with some of the great Oktoberfest foods such as pretzel, Würstl, Weisswurst, and Sauerkraut. A few local Oktoberfest Celebrations: Fremont Oktoberfest Sept. 18-20 Kirkland Oktoberfest Sept. 25-27 Renton Oktoberfest Sept. 25-27 launch?.rand=98dp0b26r7los#5596608808

CHICKED TORTILLA CASSEROLE minutes, whisk in some salt and pepper.

Ingredients 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts Salt Chicken Gravy, recipe follows 1 cup canned green chiles, chopped and drained 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 cup sour cream 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper Cooking spray Twenty-four 6-inch corn tortillas 3 cups shredded Cheddar

Casserole: Add the chicken to a large stockpot, cover with water and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken and set aside. Reserve 3 1/3 cups of the broth (1 cup is for the chicken gravy, supplement with boxed stock if needed). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13” x 9” baking dish with cooking spray. In a large saucepan, combine 2 1/3 cups of the reserved broth, the Chicken Gravy, green chiles, onions, garlic, sour cream, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.

Chicken Gravy 6 tablespoons butter 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup chicken stock 1 cup milk Salt and pepper Directions Chicken Gravy: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and the flour turns light brown in color. Gradually whisk in the stock and milk and continue to stir while cooking over medium heat. When the mixture thickens, after about 5

Spread 1 cup of the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Arrange a layer of 6 tortillas over the mixture, and then top with 1 cup shredded chicken and 1/2 cup of the Cheddar. Repeat this layer three more times, ending with cheese. Spread any remaining mixture over the cheese. Make sure all of the tortillas are covered or they will get very hard during baking. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Source: oc=linkback

NEED A PROFESSIONAL SERVICE? I have compiled an extensive list of professionals that encompasses a wide range of services. If you are in need of any contacts for services ranging from Arborists to Zoologists, I can connect you with a respected expert to meet your needs.

Call Me to Locate Your Professional!

Terrific Trivia: When was the first glass beer mug used at Oktoberfest in Munich? A. 1887

B. 1898

C. 1895

D. 1892

Be the first to call me with the correct answer for a prize!

Page 3

Windermere Bellevue Commons




A survey conducted by home fashions retailer Home Goods found that 93% of Americans felt that a room’s décor (lighting, accessories and color palette) can impact a person’s mood in either a positive or negative way.

You could buy a parking spot in Manhattan for $450K, or you could buy an entire village in Spain for $230K. Yep: a whole village!

Currently in for permitting with the City of Bellevue, the future Brewpub will be home to approximately 9,000 square feet of brewery and restaurant space, an expansive outdoor beer garden with views overlooking the adjacent neighborhood park, and 14,000 square feet of creative office space. The Brewpub will be a hub of activity, serving as a community center, a place that welcomes guests, and a central location that encourages interaction and idea generation. Selection of a brewery and restaurant partners for the retail spaces are currently underway. The Brewpub is anticipated to open Summer/Fall 2016.


46% of Americans said that better lighting could improve there moods.


37% said that additional decorative accessories could positively impact their moods.


39% feel that a room’s color palette can have a positive impact on their mood. Source: Home Goods Survey, September 26, 2013

The parking spot, at a luxury condo in TriBeCa, features parking for one car. The village of O Penso, near the northern coast of Spain, features 100 acres, 6 houses and 3 barns. The largest of the houses has hardwood floors, 5 bedrooms, an orchard with peaches, figs, walnuts, apples & pears. The difficulty, of course, is the location. The village hasn't been inhabited for 10 years, since the last resident died. Source:


WHICH STORE HELPS YOUR HOME VALUE MORE? VS. It’s not quite Sheetz vs. Wawa, but people have some pretty strongly held beliefs about Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. A recent report from RealtyTrac looked at home values, appreciation and taxes in zip codes with a Whole Foods and zip codes with a Trader Joe’s. They found 188 zip codes containing 1.7 million homes with at least one Whole Foods and no Trader Joe’s. There were 2.3 million homes in 242 zip codes where residents had at least one Trader Joe’s but no Whole Foods. The average home appreciation in the United States is 34 percent,

says RealtyTrac. That’s also the percentage of home appreciation for owners near a Whole Foods. Properties near a Trader Joe’s appreciated an average of 40 percent. Trader Joe’s-adjacent housing also held higher average values ($592,339), compared with Whole Foods-adjacent housing ($561,840). Unsurprisingly, that also means Trader Joe’s neighbors are paying higher property taxes each year ($8,536 on average) when compared with those who live nearby a Whole Foods ($5,382). Source:

Page 4

FIVE SIMPLE STEPS TO ORGANIZING PERSONAL FINANCES Managing financial papers for a household can be overwhelming as the never-ending flood of paperwork we deal with like monthly bills, receipts, account statements and other essential paperwork received by a household on a monthly basis.

 Bank Statements: One year. But hold

onto records related to your taxes, business expenses, home improvements, mortgage payments and major purchases for as long as you need them. Check into the option of online statements.

Taking a few simple steps toward organizing  your personal finances is a great way to get on track with your spending and feel more secure with your finances.

Establish a central location for access to all your financial documents. Create a list with important numbers for all credit card companies and account information. Include which items are stored in safe or safety deposit box at your bank.


Invest in a shredder. “Dumpster diving,” or rifling through trash cans for personal information, is a tactic used by identity thieves.  You are taking a terrible risk if you don’t shred sensitive material. If your shredder can’t handle plastic, use scissors to cut up expired  credit and identification cards before discarding them. What should I shred? In short, destroy all sensitive information including junk mail and paperwork that includes:     

to pay certain bills, it’s easy to forget about them and incur late fees. On your calendar keep track of the different payments you make each month and when they’re due to avoid Credit Card Statements: At least 45 days. unnecessary fees. You can even set up online The rules here are similar to those for bank reminders. statements; hang on to those you may need  Nearly every credit card company, bank for your taxes or as proof of purchase. and utility provider offers an online payment Shred the rest after you’ve confirmed option these days. If you opt in, the payment. statements you’ve been receiving in the mail will now show up in your email inbox. Medical Records: At least a year, but often longer. Keep medical bills for at least a year  For some people, paperless is a great in case of a dispute over a reimbursement. option. For others, the lack of a physical bill Some experts suggest keeping records for can mean no more reminder that the bill is five years from the time treatment for the due. If you sign up for online banking, make symptoms ended. sure that you set up due date reminders for yourself and that e-statements aren’t getting Insurance Records: Keep policy caught in your junk mail folder. information for the life of the policy plus an additional five years.  Many billers with online payment services offer the option to set up recurring Utility and phone bills: Shred them payments, which can take the stress out of after you’ve paid them, unless they contain remembering what bills are due when. If tax-deductible expenses. you choose this option, make sure your bank account regularly has enough of a balance to cover your payments to avoid overdraft fees from your bank.

Account numbers Birth dates Passwords and PINs Signatures Social Security numbers

Balance your checkbook.  Online banking makes it easy

To protect your privacy, you should also consider shredding items that include:    

Names Addresses Phone numbers E-mail addresses

Determine what you should keep, and for how long. Here’s a handy guide:  Tax Records: Seven years, to be safe.

Take advantage of online billing and payments. Even if you have the money

 IRA Contributions: One Year. You can

shred quarterly statements as soon as you match them with your yearly statement.  Home Purchase/Sale/Improvements:

Until six years after you sell. Improvements you make and expenses such as your real estate agent’s commission are factored in when you sell your home, lowering your capital gains tax.

The IRS has three years to audit your return if the agency suspects you made a mistake & up to six years if you likely underreported your gross income by 25 percent or more.  Warranties: As long as they are current. Expired warranties can be recycled,  Pay Stubs: One year. Match them up to unless they contain personal information. your W2 form, then shred.

to forget about balancing your checkbook when all of your purchases are available online almost as soon as they’re made. It’s important to remember, however, that banks and retailers sometimes make mistakes, and they could be costing you money. You should keep track of your purchases, especially if you’re spending more than usual during certain times of the year.  It’s also important to check your accounts

regularly for unanticipated fees and unauthorized activity. Spending some time getting your finances organized will pay off in time and money saved, each and every month. Source:

Windermere Bellevue Commons

Page 5


Year-to-date 2015 Closed Sales thru August

Year-to-date 2014 Closed Sales thru August


Number of Homes

Median Sales Price

Average Market Time

Number of Homes

Median Sales Price

Average Market Time



37 days



41 days

Up 9.3%

West Bellevue



35 days



39 days

Up 19.9%

East Bellevue



20 days



21 days

Up 8.2%

South Bellevue/Newcastle/ Issaquah



34 days



34 days

Up 10.4%

Kirkland/Rose Hill



26 days



32 days

Up 14.3%




41 days



41 days

Up 4.8%

Mercer Island



41 days



50 days

Up 13.8%



36 days



36 days

Up 5.4%




48 days



46 days

Up 1.2%




44 days



55 days

Up 14.4%



15 days



20 days

Up 14.7%



22 days



34 days

Up 1.2%



28 days



30 days

Up 12.5%

N. Seattle



17 days



22 days

Up 11.2%

Queen Anne/Magnolia



26 days



29 days

Up 9.2%

N. Bothell/Maltby



47 days



42 days

Up 8.7%

Lynnwood/ Mt. Lake Terrace



41 days



42 days

Up 9.6%

Mill Creek/Everett



42 days



44 days

Up 8.1%



47 days



62 days

Up 9.5%

East of Lake Sammamish

Woodinville/Juanita/ Bothell/Duvall

Ballard Central Seattle West Seattle

Monroe/ Snohomish

*All data compiled from information supplied by Northwest Multiple Listing Association on 9/01/2015 Accuracy of information herein is not guaranteed. This information was only taken of single-family homes, and does not include condominiums or vacant land.

“When you see a person without a smile, give him yours.� - Zig Ziglar

Page 6

RENTING LESS AFFORDABLE THAN MORTGAGES "There are good reasons to rent temporarily – when you move to a new city, for example – but from an affordability perspective, rents are crazy right now. If you can possibly come up with a down payment, then it's a good time to buy a home and start putting your money toward a mortgage."

Rent is unaffordable in three-quarters of U.S. housing markets, especially high demand markets like Miami, San Jose and San Francisco - Renters can expect to spend 30 % of their income on rent, while buyers can expect to spend 15 % of their monthly income on a monthly mortgage payment.

Mortgage payments will continue to be affordable even if mortgage rates rise as expected. If rates reach 6 % next year, home buyers can still expect to spend 30 % or less of their income on mortgage payments in 265 out of 290 (91.4 %) of the metros Zillow analyzed.

Paying for a mortgage is still affordable, while rent takes up more income than ever in most major metro areas, according to a Zillow® analysis of U.S. rental and mortgage affordability in the second quarter of 2015.

"Our research found that unaffordable Rents, on the other hand, are already Rental affordability worsened over the last rents are making it hard for people to unaffordable compared to historic norms in year, while mortgage affordability stayed save for a down payment & retirement, 77 % of metros, and with relatively stagnant essentially the same. Renters in the U.S. and that people are more likely to skip wage growth, this likely won't improve as can expect to put 30.2 % of their monthly out on their own healthcare," rents keep climbing. income toward rent – the highest percentage said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Below are a few samples of income ever. Before the real estate bubble and bust, percentages spent on housing in the U.S. in general and in several U.S. renters spent about 24.4 % of their incomes on rent. specific markets. Metro Area Current Percentage of Monthly Income Spent on Mortgage Payment (Q2 2015)

Historic Percentage of Monthly Income Spent on Mortgage Payment (1985-2000)

Forecasted Percentage of Monthly Income Spent on Mortgage Payment at 6%

Current Percentage of Monthly Income Spent on Rent (Q2 2015)

Historic Percentage of Monthly Income Spent on Rent (1985-2000)


























THE SCOOP ON HOME INSPECTIONS Having a home inspected by a licensed professional provides buyers with a lot of value and security. A thorough home inspection provides the buyer with a clear understanding of the home’s current condition— including the structure’s foundation, exterior and interior surfaces, roof, attic, crawl space and all major systems. A home inspector also takes the time to educate the buyer about the to operate appliances, turn off the main water line, adjust the water heater and thermostat, and change air filters.

Sellers must also be put at ease knowing the home inspector is unbiased in their reporting; not just working on behalf of a buyer or their REALTOR®. The home inspector has a duty to provide honest, detailed reporting regardless of the benefit to the buyer, seller or REALTORS® involved. It is important for a reputable home inspector to work accordingly and disclose all issues discernible with the home. When working with a home inspector, make sure they are state certified and licensed members of the professional industry. A good Inspector will address any defects confidently and with resolution. Look for an inspector who can provide a technically accurate inspection but also possesses the skills to clearly communicate the findings in a non-alarming yet understandable fashion.

Page 7

Windermere Bellevue Commons

A LESSON IN ARCHITECTURAL STYLES: ART DECO Art Deco architecture began as a decorative take on modernist design from the early twentieth century. Sometimes referred to as Architecture Moderne, it was defined early on by large, geometric decorative elements and a vertically oriented, urban design with clean lines. Art Deco was made popular by Hollywood movies of the 1930s with flat roofs and smooth stucco walls, but was more

commonly used for commercial design than residential. By the 1940s it had evolved to include curved corners, rectangular glass-block windows, and a nod to the nautical with porthole windows, giving it an almost boat-like appearance.

Elements of design:  Flat roofs  Vertical floor plans  Smooth walls and corners,

often made of stucco  Bold, geometric exterior decorations  Experimentation with new technology,

glass block windows, neon, chrome, mirrors, and glass paneling

NEW FEATURES VS. CHARACTER If you have your heart set on a family room, an entertainment kitchen, a home office and walk-in closets, you’ll likely want to buy a newer home—or plan to do some heavy remodeling of an older home. Unless they’ve already been remodeled, most older homes feature more basic layouts. Materials and craftsmanship

“Which is the better buy, a newer or older home?” It all depends on your needs and personal preferences. The neighborhood A big factor in choosing a new home isn’t the property itself, but rather the surrounding neighborhood. While new homes can spring up in established communities, most are built in new developments. The settings are quite different, each with their own unique benefits. Older neighborhoods often feature tree-lined streets; larger property lots; a wide array of architectural styles; easy walking access to mass transportation, restaurants and local shops; and more established relationships among neighbors. New developments are better known for wider streets and quiet cul-de-sacs; controlled development; fewer above ground utilities; more parks; and often newer public facilities. There are typically more children in newer communities, as well. Design and layout If you like Victorian, Craftsman or Cape Cod style homes, it used to be that you would have to buy an older home from the appropriate era. But some new-home builders now offering modern takes on those classic designs.

Homes built before material and labor costs spiked in the late 1950s have a reputation for higher-grade lumber and old-world craftsmanship. However, newer homes have the benefit of modern materials and more advanced building codes (copper or polyurethane plumbing, better insulation, double-pane windows, modern electrical wiring, earthquake/ windstorm supports, etc.). Current condition The condition of a home for sale is always a top consideration for any buyer. However, age is a factor here, as well. For example, if the exterior of a newer home needs repainting, it’s a relatively easy task to determine the cost. But if it’s a home built before the 1970s, you need to consider the fact that the underlying paint is most likely lead-based, and that the wood siding may have rot or other structural issues that need to be addressed before it can be recoated. On the flip side, the mechanicals in older homes (lights, heating systems, sump pump, etc.) tend to be better built and last longer. Outdoor space One of the great things about older homes is that they usually come with mature tress and bushes already in place. Buyers of new homes may have to wait years for the yard to fill in. However, maybe you’re one of the

many homeowners who prefer the wide-open, low-maintenance benefits of a lightly planted yard. Car considerations Newer homes almost always feature ample off-street parking: usually a two-care garage and a wide driveway. An older home, depending on just how old it is, may not offer a garage—and if it does, there’s often only enough space for one car. For people who don’t feel comfortable leaving their car on the street, this alone can be a determining factor. Finalizing your decision While the differences between older and newer homes are striking, there’s certainly no right or wrong answer. It is a matter of personal taste, and what is available in your desired area. To quickly determine which direction you’re leaning towards, use the previous information to make a list of your most desired features, then categorize those according to the type of house in which they’re most likely to be found. The results can often be telling. If you have questions about newer versus older homes, or are looking for an agent in your area contact me today. Source: windermere/posts/new-features-vs-character

WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN DE-CLUTTERING Some of this advice is hardly new or shocking. But these five missteps are the most common — and most likely to derail even the best efforts to conquer clutter.

friend, put in deep storage). But here's the crucial part: Once you have decided where something is going to go — take it there. Never keep bags for charity or boxes for friends in your home to deliver later. Do it now. Finish the process.

1. Organize First; Buy Second. 4. Rome Wasn't Built In A Day. Do not think that once you've Do not go out and buy a ton of storage organized your space, that you are done. You'll feel like a failure pieces and supplies before you sort when you have to clean it up again in a month. Realize that through your home. All of those pretty while you have created a new, more efficient system for bins, boxes and baskets at The Container processing & managing incoming & outgoing items, you are not Store are very enticing, but they won't do done. There is no autopilot. You should expect regular upkeep. you any good unless they fit the space 5. Good Enough is Enough. Very few people have closets and (on the shelf, under the bed, in the drawers that resemble those in catalogues. After reorganization, closet); hold what you need them to hold, and function properly your new spaces will look great and work properly, but it is a for your particular space. Clean out first, assessing what space that is used by an actual human containers you REALLY need, and then buy a few bins to start. being, not one that has been carefully You can always add later. staged by a team of stylists & marketers 2. Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew. Do not set aside an for a non-existent resident. You will ENTIRE day to organize your WHOLE house. Very few people ultimately be disappointed if perfection have the energy and/or focus to spend 8 hours organizing. You'll is your goal. The goal is to set up a likely become frustrated and less efficient as the day progresses. space that works well for your needs. That is success! It's much better to spend 2 or 3 hours on one project or space. 3. Complete Each Task...Completely. Of course you will need to sort things into categories (e.g., toss, recycle, donate, give to

Ashley Weiss 1200 112th Ave NE, Suite B100 Bellevue, WA 98004 425.516.2111


Profile for Windermere Bellevue Commons

Sept oct newsletter 2015 ashley  

Sept oct newsletter 2015 ashley