How do 60,000 new employees affect Seattle?

On February 14th, at Downtown Seattle Association’s (DSA) State of Downtown event, several note-worthy stats were brought to light to paint a picture of Downtown Seattle’s story, since 2010. The driving factor behind the city’s transformation is the demand for more employees; it’s clear that housing is the “traffic jam.”

Reported statistics for Downtown Seattle

2010 – present:

  • 60,000 new jobs were added
  • Population has grown 22%
  • Taxable brick-and-mortar retail sales have increased 34%

2016

  • Downtown businesses contributed $3.2 Billion in local, state, and federal taxes

2017

  • From construction, 3.6 million square feet of space was added above street level
  • 5,725 residential units and 637 hotel rooms were added

Present – 2020

  • 3 million square feet of space will be completed
  • More than 8,700 residential units and 2,400 hotel rooms will be developed
  • Public projects, budgeted around $330 Million are planned or underway

The short version

The takeaway is more people are moving to Downtown Seattle than there are places for them to live. For the majority of Downtown Seattle, the only way to accommodate these new residents is to build upward. Two major concerns that the DSA discussed were homelessness and affordable housing, and traffic. They have not developed a solution, however, there is a 20-year plan called One Center City to develop a solution.

The event discussion was focused on Downtown Seattle (Downtown Seattle area defined by the DSA), but the findings reflect the story of all of Metro Seattle. Without an adequate supply of housing for the thousands of new employees hired per month, it’s not difficult to see how problems can arise. Downtown Seattle has its issues of traffic and congestion that other neighborhoods may not have, but the bottleneck in the story is the amount of available housing. Below is a snapshot of statistics for all of Metro Seattle, telling a similar story. The snapshot is taken from our 2017 Annual + Quarterly (Q4) Report.

What do you think?

Click to view the Puget Sound Business Journal article.

Posted on February 16, 2018 at 17:03
Brandon Sturgis | Category: 2017, Annual Report, OWN, Quarterly Report, Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Changes and Milestones that You Might Have Missed in 2017

Did you know Seattle broke several records this year? Have you noticed all of the changes happening around you? Did you know if you were looking for this website a year ago, you’d be – – – – out of luck! Do you remember when the whole city turned white and shut down? What is Seattle, without rain? Dry humor.

Breaking Records and Making Changes

Here’s a breakdown of 2017’s big changes and milestones, in Seattle and at the Wall Street Group, that you might have missed while texting.

January

The launch of liveloveownseattle.com.

Envisioned, by the owner of the Wall Street Group, to be a “one-stop shop” for everything that Seattle has to offer, the website has taken off and is grabbing the attention of more than 2,000 people/month. Pretty cool if you ask us. The most viewed pages are the Neighborhood Reports, the blogs, and the LOVE content (obviously, because who isn’t intrigued by LOVE?).


February

Seattle “shuts down

Monday, February 6th, snow swaddled Seattle overnight, closing schools and keeping many people home from work. What a drag that was, huh? Staying home with the family and enjoying a rare snow day. Should we make it a holiday in remembrance of such a rare event? We’ll talk to the Mayor.

 

March

Sun and tulips started creeping back into our lives as we all put on our summer garbs WAY too early.

 

April

Record-breaking month. Record-breaking month. Record-breaking month.

You read that right. Seattle broke 3 records in April.

From October 2016 to April 2017 (because, if we counted every month it rains we’d be cheating) Seattle took on 44.7” of rain, breaking the Rainfall Record from the previous year. That’s deep enough to paddleboard!

As the sky was naturally pouring down on us in copious amounts, didn’t it seem like it was raining every day? Well, almost. For 144 days, between October 2016 and April 2017, Seattle had more than .01 inches of rain. Thus breaking the record for the number of wet days.

In a different awards ceremony, Seattle celebrated the population officially passing 700,000 people. Keep in mind, the official-ness of the count is really more of a very educated, very calculated, and extremely researched guess. This is most likely the best guess we’ll get, as it is provided by the city of Seattle and Washington state, with collaboration with U.S. Census Bureau. (Sorry for all of that. We love data.)

May

The MarketFront was Completed

Pike Place MarketFront project completed in May, but the grand opening was the following month. Keep reading for the excitement

June

Open for business!

The previous owners traded places with our new owner, of Wall Street Group – Windermere Real Estate, in June. A friendly passing of the baton and business is as usual.

Oh right. Pike Place MarketFront opened to the public, too.

 

July

Kusama comes to Seattle at the SAM

Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese contemporary artist who likes to work in sculpture and installations, showed Seattle what an infinity experience might look and feel like.

“Our earth is only one polka dot among a million start in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity.” – Yayoi Kusama


August

Don’t look at it!

Remember when the earth was going to stop rotating? Or how about when we were all going to turn into zombies? What about the time when we all looked at the Total Solar Eclipse without proper SolarGlasses (made of cardboard)?

Yes, we actually heard those claims. And don’t say you didn’t look at the Eclipse with your bare eyes. We’ve never seen what 9% of the Sun looked like either. (p.s. if you find any typos it’s because our eyes are still recovering)

Dry Humor

Would you believe that Seattle broke 2 rainfall records and in the same year we also claim the driest stretch too? We sure did! For a record-breaking 56 days, Seattle was without its most talked about characteristic, rain.

September

SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS

So, let’s get this out of the way. The Seahawks. First-year missing the postseason since 2011. But we started off strong with 4 wins during the preseason and ending the season over .500. Let’s keep our heads high and let’s hear it in 2018, 12s!

The Mariners. Oh, Mariners. They didn’t make it to the postseason…again…but did you get a chance to check out the homerun food offerings at Safeco Field? Ballard Pizza Co., Great State Burger, and Poquitos! Tempted to buy season tickets for the food. Yumm!

The Sounders had a great season with a 14-11 record, and making it to the MLS Cup finals. Not to mention our 9-year streak of having the best record in the MLS. We’re really looking forward to next season.

Space Needle gets a Spacelift

If you’ve been able to pull your eyes off of your phone for a moment and look up. You’ll notice the Space Needle looks a bit different. That’s because it’s getting a facelift. To be more specific, the safety cage that hinders the view will be replaced with floor to “sky” glass barrier; from the renderings, it looks like the restaurants may be getting fitted with a glass floor.

October

Oktober Fests, scare-athons, and “hello” cold weather again (we had a good run, sun).

November

Giving back and get-togethers

We couldn’t say enough about how much the Wall Street Group Brokers do for the community. All year long, they attend in charity events, roll their sleeves up for community service, and gladly pull their checkbooks out. November is a special time during the year when the staff, owners, and dozens of Brokers come together to help a few organizations.

Every year for last 15 years, our Brokers have offered a hand to help out families in need of a Thanksgiving dinner, with Child Haven, Northwest Harvest Food Drive, and #tacklehomelessness. It’s truly a beautiful time of year.

December

Wrap it up

As we wrapped up a monumental year of changes, experiences, and a dynamic real estate market, we had a few more things to squeeze in. A couple more community events to provide winter clothing and toys to Seattle youth, and one amazing holiday party. Chihuly Garden and Glass hosted the Brokers of Wall Street Group for our Annual Holiday Party, and all we can say is, wow and #blessed. Blessed to have a community of relationships like you to look after one another and grow this wonderful city together.

And there ya have it, the most phenomenal changes and milestones in 2017. Maybe we stretched the meaning of phenomenal and milestones a bit, but they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Either way, 2017 was a great year for us at the Wall Street Group and it was pretty cool to watch all of the changes happen in Seattle.

We are predicting 2018 to be even more phenomenal.

How was your 2017? Any big changes?

Posted on January 26, 2018 at 16:19
Brandon Sturgis | Category: LIVE, LOVE, OWN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wrapping up a December Full of Winter Memories

Holiday, party, Parties, invitations, invite, fun, cheer, past, present, future, memory, memories, heart, secret, Santa, gift, Eggnog, food, share, brandy, alcohol, drinks, presents, gift, work, frustration, vacation, year, end, summer, nice, warm, December, pure, winter, season, seasonal

Yes, ’tis the season to create some memorable times. Don’t you remember your first glass of Eggnog? Or that one family get-together you can’t stop giggling about?

And, forget about the cold, dark, and short days. December truly is a great time of year. It’s a time of celebration for a year of hard work. A time for gathering with friends and family and sharing each other’s company. A time for passing on traditions to your children and new family members. It’s also a great time to slow down and take a vacation. But you know all of that. Heck, you’ve probably got something planned tonight so, we’ll keep this short.

Take in the celebrations or libations

For those of us that don’t have Festivus to attend later, here are a few ideas, from our team, to get you out of the house and into some holiday fun.


Spend some time at the 
Reindeer Festival
November 11 – December 24

Swanson’s Nursery website reports “[trees] are going fast,” but that shouldn’t stop you from taking the kiddos by to get their photos with Santa and his REAL reindeer. They’ve also scheduled a delightful Cello Concert at 6 pm, on December 21st.


Take in the spectacle and smells of Gingerbread Village
November 21 – January 1

Architects, builders, and culinary teams took to the Graham cracker and various sweets and frostings to create a yummy installation of the future city of Seattle. Viewing hours last nearly all day and night, so there’s no reason you can’t see this amazing dessert display. Stop by and what the city planners and developers envision for Seattle’s future.


Enjoy a holiday classic ballet, 
The Nutcracker
November 24 – December 28

A beautiful story in which a young girl’s favorite Christmas toy comes to life and whisks her away to a magical kingdom.


Take the family to Winterfest
November 24 – January 1 (closed December 25)

Located at Seattle Center, Winterfest is a 5-week long holiday and winter celebration. Fun for the family, including FREE events and performances at the Armory, winter train and village, ice sculptures, and ice skating.


Cheers and Feast
around Seattle

So you’re not into the holiday-specific events. Maybe you just want to find some holiday style meals or drinks, look no further. On any given day, you can find about 2,041,347.134 things to do around Seattle, so we had our friends at The Stranger put this list together for us, for you. (we just searched food and drink events on thestranger.com). Enjoy!

Shop till you drop

Hey, maybe you’re not into any of those things. You could always go shopping downtown if you haven’t yet. Tis the season for deals upon deals.

Whatever you end up doing, bundle up, put on your Cheermeister crown, and enjoy your company. Oh, get your Vitamin-D. It’s important!

 

So, what are you going to do? Big plans?

Posted on December 19, 2017 at 13:18
Brandon Sturgis | Category: LOVE, OWN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

STEM: Inspiring Students to Create a Brighter Future

Washington State is a National Leader in STEM!

In 2013, the state of Washington passed a bill to significantly improve its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning opportunities and educational outcomes for K-12 students. Simply put, Washington schools, government, and non-profit organizations have teamed together to create more ways to give our children opportunities to learn and apply STEM skills. Each year, more opportunities arise, more grant money is budgeted, our children get excited, and a brighter future is painted.

Why is STEM important?

So, you may think STEM education has been around since you were in school. Unless you participated in Science Fairs and went out of your way to expose yourself to STEM activities, you probably only scratched the surface of what is available to children today. Traditional education teaches about cool technology, math equations, and engineering marvels. STEM education goes a step further and puts the student in the driver’s seat and creates opportunities to put their education to work. Wouldn’t it be fun to learn how to build a robot? Code a program to control the robot? Or use the robot to gather samples of ecosystems in the Puget Sound? With real-world application, students are given the opportunity to get excited about possible career paths at an early age.

There are limitless benefits of STEM education, but here are a few to get you thinking: for years to come,

  • education standards and curriculum quality education will increase
  • high school graduation rates will increase
  • job satisfaction will increase
  • the global economy will increase, beginning in Seattle
  • there will be a greater number and quality inventions
  • the poverty level will decrease
  • the price of education will decrease

Washington STEM put together an amazing video outlining what STEM means and how students can thrive from STEM education.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=27&v=DT5wR70lNDY” title=”Washington STEM – Inspire, Engage and Unleash Potential” description=”Washington STEM advances excellence, innovation, and equity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for all Washington students. Our vision is to see all students succeed in thriving communities all within a vibrant Washington state.” upload_date=”Nov 29, 2016″ /]

STEM is Important for Seattle

Let’s be frank for a minute. Consider the industry that has moved into Seattle. No, we’re not talking about all of the construction. We’re talking about the tech industry that is creating all of the construction. Companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Expedia (and the list goes on) are continuing to grow and change the landscape of Metro Seattle – not to mention the other giant corporations like Boeing, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nintendo, Weyerhauser, and Windermere. The employees that these global companies are looking for are (for all intense and purposes) STEM employees. That said, 30% of their tech-savvy and STEM employees are transplants (not from Seattle).

The more foreign employees these companies recruit, the more real estate construction and buildings will be built to accommodate them. Following all of these employees will be more consumer businesses, restaurants, traffic and more advancements in the city infrastructure, and ultimately a bigger Metropolitan area.

The changes in Seattle are happening and will continue for years to come. The key to growing with the city is to acclimate our children to the new and future economy. Resources are widely available and access is becoming easier.

How can my child get involved in STEM education?

There’s a good chance your student is already involved in STEM education at school. Beginning in preschool and Kindergarten, students in Seattle public and private schools are provided with workshops, classroom learning and out of classroom exposure to STEM education. Middle and high schools offer clubs and organizations to further their interests.

Check the Seattle Public Schools’ website to find out if your young student has access to STEM learning. See how your children’s school ranks for STEM, in the Seattle Area.

Extra-Curricular STEM Opportunities

Great resources put together by Washington STEM
20-plus STEM Summer Camps for Seattle-Area Kids by ParentMap
Marine-based STEM learning by Salish Sea Expeditions

Help us expand our list! Let us know which STEM Ed opportunity opened your student’s eyes.


STEM Success Stories

STEM grads step right into the future by The Seattle Times
A life-changing summer in Seattle for six STEM students by PATH – Stories of innovation and impact
Inside the pioneering Seattle area school that’s shaking up how STEM education is taught by GeekWire

Posted on September 18, 2017 at 15:05
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Seattle’s Best Neighborhood

 

It may seem like we say this a lot but, no two Seattle neighborhoods are the same. They each have distinct “personalities” that makes them unique. Without each neighborhoods’ quirks and characteristics, Seattle wouldn’t be the beautifully awe-inspiring city that it is.

So, which neighborhood is the best? Probably the one you’re currently living in, right? Or maybe it’s the one you gravitate to every time you need to throttle your taste buds, kick back with some culture, or loosen your inhibitions with some libations. We all have our guilty pleasures. So, just like all of the different quirks of each neighborhood, we have our own interests and idiosyncrasies.

How do you choose the best neighborhood? What do you look for?

  • Culture – hip, relaxed, business, young, family, lively
  • Music – jazz, theater, party, street performers
  • Food – seafood, Asian food, food trucks
  • Drinks – beer, liquor, wine
  • Proximity from home – worthy of a stay-cation, close enough to frequent and far enough to maintain priorities
  • Other?

If you’re having trouble nailing down your favorite neighborhood, then maybe you need to do some more exploring. Where to start? Our best advice is to ask your close circle of friends and family for their favorite spots to explore. There’s a reason you like them…they probably have some similar interests.

One of our Agent’s makes it a point to find a new restaurant every week.
One of our Office Staff never does the same hike.
Another Agent randomly picks an activity out of the Stranger Things each week.

These are great ways to get to know a neighborhood and area, but also an excellent way to test your comfort level. We’ve also put together a collection of idea sources at the end of the article.

Our favorite neighborhood?

Sorry if you thought we were going to take a hard stand and tell you which neighborhood is the best. That just wouldn’t be our style. We believe all neighborhoods are beautiful in their own right and it would be rude of us to pick our favorite.

Ok…we’ll tell you, but don’t tell anyone. Coincidently, our favorite neighborhood (and we believe this wholeheartedly) is the same one that you think is the best. See we’re kind of similar. 😉

Ready to tell us your favorite neighborhood?

 

 


Neighborhoods

Here’s a cool collection of neighborhood recommendations from Airbnb hosts. The hosts provide their recommendations and rank the neighborhood by their own standards. Although we might have some different things to say about this list, it’s pretty thorough and intriguing.

Here’s a short list of the 15 Best Neighborhoods in Seattle, from Seattle Magazine. Again, it’s not our opinion of the best neighborhoods, but the article offers some insight into what the neighborhoods are all about.

Things to do

Here are some excellent publications to spark your exploration around Seattle’s neighborhoods. You might even find some discounts and freebies.

Atlas Obscura – Guide to Hidden Seattle
BuzzFeed – 28 Unexpectedly Awesome Things to do in Seattle
Curbed: Seattle – 22 Things to do in Seattle with Kids
Groupon – Things to do in Seattle
Seattle Met – 10 Quintessentially Summer Things to do in Seattle
Stranger Things – Things to do in Seattle this Week
The Crazy Tourist – 25 Best Things to do in Seattle, WA
Thrillist – 33 Free Things to do in Seattle
TripAdvisor – Things to Do in Seattle
USAToday:10 Best – Exploring Seattle: Activities Free of Cost, Rich with Delight
Viator – Seattle Tours, Tickets, Activities & Things to do

Posted on August 15, 2017 at 14:29
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Gardner Report: Western Washington – Q2 2017

The Gardner Report is an analysis of the Western Washington Real Estate Market, provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. This is a great starting point to building more knowledge and helping you make better informed Real Estate decisions.

For more information about the Real Estate market in YOUR area, we have monthly Neighborhood specific reports, as well as, our Q2 2017 – Seattle Metro Report. If you have more questions please contact your Windermere-Wall Street Group Broker.

[vc_separator border_width=”2″]

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Washington State economy has been expanding at a rapid pace but we are seeing a slowdown as the state grows closer to full employment. Given the solid growth, I would expect to see income growth move markedly higher, though this has yet to materialize. I anticipate that we will see faster income growth in the second half of the year. I still believe that the state will add around 70,000 jobs in 2017.

Washington State, as well as the markets that make up Western Washington, continue to see unemployment fall. The latest state-wide report now shows a rate of 4.5%—the lowest rate since data started to be collected in 1976.

I believe that growth in the state will continue to outperform the U.S. as a whole and, with such robust expansion, I would not be surprised to see more people relocate here as they see Washington as a market that offers substantial opportunity.

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • There were 23,349 home sales during the second quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 1.1% from the same period in 2016.
  • Clallam County maintains its position as number one for sales growth over the past 12 months. Double-digit gains in sales were seen in just three other counties, which is a sharp drop from prior reports. I attribute this to inventory constraints rather than any tangible drop in demand. The only modest decline in sales last quarter was seen in Grays Harbor County.
  • The number of homes for sale, unfortunately, showed no improvement, with an average of just 9,279 listings in the quarter, a decline of 20.4% from the second quarter of 2016. Pending sales rose by 3.6% relative to the same quarter a year ago.
  • The key takeaway from this data is that it is unlikely we will see a significant increase in the number of homes for sale for the rest of 2017.

Gardner, Report, Windermere, Western, Washington, Market, Real, Estate, Home, Sale, Buy, House, Housing, Owner, Listing, Analysis, Economist, Economy, Seattle, Puget, Sound

HOME PRICESGardner, Report, Windermere, Western, Washington, Market, Real, Estate, Home, Sale, Buy, House, Housing, Owner, Listing, Analysis, Economist, Economy, Seattle, Puget, Sound

  • Along with the expanding economy, home prices continue to rise at very robust rates. Year-over-year, average prices rose 14.9%. The region’s average sales price is now $470,187.Price growth in Western Washington continues to impress as competition for the limited number of homes for sale remains very strong. With little easing in supply, we anticipate that prices will continue to rise at above long-term averages.
  • Price growth in Western Washington continues to impress as competition for the limited number of homes for sale remains very strong. With little easing in supply, we anticipate that prices will continue to rise at above long-term averages.When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in San Juan County where sale prices were 29.2% higher than
  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in San Juan County where sale prices were 29.2% higher than second quarter of 2016. Eight additional counties experienced double-digit price growth.
  • The specter of rising interest rates failed to materialize last quarter, but this actually functioned to get more would-be buyers off the fence and into the market. This led to even more demand which translated into rising home prices.

Gardner, Report, Windermere, Western, Washington, Market, Real, Estate, Home, Sale, Buy, House, Housing, Owner, Listing, Analysis, Economist, Economy, Seattle, Puget, Sound
DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the quarter dropped by 18 days when compared to the same quarter of 2016.
  • King County remains the tightest market; homes, on average, sold in a remarkable 15 days. Every county in this report saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop from the same period a year ago.
  • Last quarter, it took an average of 48 days to sell a home. This is down from the 66 days it took in the second quarter of 2016.
  • Given the marked lack of inventory, I would not be surprised to see the length of time it takes to sell a home drop further before the end of the year.

Gardner, Report, Windermere, Western, Washington, Market, Real, Estate, Home, Sale, Buy, House, Housing, Owner, Listing, Analysis, Economist, Economy, Seattle, Puget, Sound

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the second quarter of 2017, I moved the needle a little more in favor of sellers. To define the Western Washington market as “tight” is somewhat of an understatement.

Gardner, Report, Windermere, Western, Washington, Market, Real, Estate, Home, Sale, Buy, House, Housing, Owner, Listing, Analysis, Economist, Economy, Seattle, Puget, Sound

Inventory is short and buyers are plentiful.

Something must give, but unless we see builders delivering substantially more units than they have been, it will remain staunchly a sellers’ market for the balance of the year.

Furthermore, increasing mortgage rates have failed to materialize and, with employment and income growth on the rise, the regional housing market will continue to be very robust.

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

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.

[vc_separator border_width=”2″]

Here is the full Gardner Report.

Posted on July 27, 2017 at 16:38
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Rational Tips for Saving Money

Let’s be Honest

Whether we admit it or not, we’ve all made some unwise financial decisions. Remember that one time you spent $100 too much at the local watering hole? Or how about last weekend when you needed some toilet paper and walked out of the store with 5 bags of feel-good snacks? Or every night that online shopping gets the best of you? Financial advice and conversations of money saving tips are nothing new. We’ve all needed help at some point, the problem is its just not that simple and there’s not a one size fits all solution to saving money.

This article from MarketWatch, 7 real ways for millennials to save money (not by brown-bagging and skipping Starbucks) discusses some great rational (and somewhat brash) tips for Millennials to save money. Although it’s geared toward Millennials, anyone (of all ages) would be wise to take a look. Living in Seattle, we’re surrounded by technology, fast-paced shopping, and immediate vices, so this is advice we could all put in our pocket.

Below is the list of tips, in no particular order, for millennials (or anyone) to save money. As the 7th tip will point out, we’re all different. What works for someone else may not work for you, so try things out and customize your habits to benefit your financial wealth.

  1. Live like a college student for a few years
  2. Skip the starter home
  3. Skip the new car
  4. Focus on your fixed costs
  5. Automate
  6. Make more money
  7. Understand yourself

Remember, we’re all living in this beautiful world of Seattle together. Help your neighbor out and share your money saving tips and what works for you below.

Posted on July 20, 2017 at 13:13
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

From the Mountains to Your Tap

 

Are we using up all of our water?

As most of us are Human. 😉  We need water to stay alive. We also need this magical substance for hygiene, cooking, farming, making alcohol, and of course all of our Seattle water activities (fishing, sailing, paddle boarding, floating, riding on ferry boats, etc.). Considering everything we use water for and knowing less than 1% of the Earth’s water is available for consumption, you may wonder if we’re in danger of using it up. Well, here’s the quick and short answer from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

While population and demand on freshwater resources are increasing, supply will always remain constant. And although it’s true that the water cycle continuously returns water to Earth, it is not always returned to the same place, or in the same quantity and quality.

Key takeaways – water is not always returned to the same place, or in the same quantity, or quality. Basically, we’re not going to use it all up, but we need to be mindful that what we do to the water isn’t always natural.

How does the water flow to my tap?

Now we can ask questions like, “where is my water coming from,” and “where is my money going.”

In Seattle (and 22 other cities and utility districts), our primary source of water comes from 2 major watersheds. About 65% comes from Cedar River Watershed and about 35% comes from the Tolt River Watershed. The water embarks on a journey down the mountains to two treatment facilities for testing and treatment to ensure safety. Finally, after a thorough examination of the water, it travels through 1,900 miles of pipeline to your faucet.

Of course, the process is more complex than flowing water, which includes:

  • 2 protected mountain sources
  • 2 state-of-the-art water treatment facilities
  • 1,900 miles of pipeline
  • 13 reservoirs
  • 14 storage tanks
  • numerous pumping stations
  • over 600 employees (for testing, treating, repairing, monitoring, building, and protecting)
  • 1.4 million people to drink and use the water in their homes, businesses, and public facilities

So that’s where your water comes from, and hopefully gives you a better understanding of what you’re paying for. Which, by the way, bottled water is not as heavily regulated and can be up to 1,000 times more expensive than tap water.

Conserving saves money!

Now let’s talk about what you can do to conserve your Seattle water…and let’s save you some money while we’re at it.

Brushing your teeth

We all like the sound of water, but running it while you brush your teeth is unnecessary. Turning the water off as you brush your teeth could save, on average, 7 gallons per day.

Washing clothes

Wait to do laundry until you have a full washer.

Washing dishes

Did you know washing your dishes by hand can waste as much as 20 gallons of water? Invest in a dishwashing machine. Look for the ENERGY STAR endorsement.

Taking showers

Take short showers. Cutting your shower time from 10 minutes to 5 minutes can save 10-25 gallons of water!

Fixing leaks

Fix your dripping faucets and leaky toilets. An efficient faucet could save up to 570 gallons of water per year.

Finding Rebates!

In 2000, Seattle founded the Saving Water Partnership. The partnership is comprised of 19 local water utilities dedicated to providing water conservation programs to their customers in Seattle and King County. The Saving Water Partnership has helped Seattle and the nearby cities save 9.6 million gallons of water per day (from 2000 to 2010) and built some pretty awesome rebates (queue excitement).

Us Seattleites are pretty environmentally conscious and we do most of these things without a thought, but there’s always more we could do. What are some other water saving tips that you use? Share this article and include your tips, by clicking on the share button below.

Posted on July 13, 2017 at 16:34
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Creating Zen: In Home and Life

It’s a noisy world out there. In our daily lives, we’re constantly bombarded with instant notifications, emails and phone calls, alarms, construction on every corner, car horns, and all of that city noise to navigate through. The rush and the pressure to keep your footing, in an increasingly hectic atmosphere, certainly bears influence over the state of our homes and our minds.

Hit the pause button. Take back some semblance of calm when your environment’s chatter threatens to blow your proverbial speakers. Cultivating a Zen space for meditation in your home is for YOU and it’s right now (almost).

Creating Space

The easy stuff! This is the mondo fun part where you get to repurpose a section of your home for your greater good.

Choose your space.

Your ideal meditation space should provide maximum privacy and minimal distraction. So, probably not smack dab in the middle of your living room or home office. Choose a quiet spot you can imagine yourself relaxing in. Once you’ve claimed your stake, it’s time to appeal to the senses.

Supply your space according to sight, touch, sound, and smell.

Adorn your Zen space with visuals that are minimalist but meaningful, and help to inspire a sense of calm. Create mood lighting, hang framed photos of botanical scenes or philosophical mantras (anything you find simple and beautiful). These are all great visual cues to set your mind on the right path.

Invest in items that support your body while you meditate. A large comfortable throw pillow or removable couch cushion is a must. Keep soft blankets nearby in the event that your meditation session turns into the perfect nap-portunity (because naps are healing to the mind too, friends).

Provide a meaningful auditory experience. This can be an important component of meditating as well, especially if you’re a novice. Learning to quiet your mind doesn’t necessarily mean that silencing your entire environment is mandatory. While a track of nature sounds or instrumental music can help to fade outside noises to the background, they can also drown out deafening silence which often leads to the bombardment of thoughts. Your chosen auditory ambiance will focus you, and make your mediation session that much more effective.

Aromatherapy. Whether by scented candle or essential oils, aromatherapy aids in reducing and eliminating stress. Not into fragrance? No problem. Unscented candles help to create that mood lighting we talked about earlier. Win, win.

Keep your space sacred.

The most difficult set up to maintain: no technology! With the exception of the device you choose to play your music (or guided meditation app), a ban on technology removes the temptation to check in with social media or work obligations and to check out of your Zen space.

Engaging Space

Now you have a beautiful, serene, and self-made space to achieve peace of mind. As my Designated Broker, John Wellman, always says, “The proof is in the practice”. So make it happ’n, capp’n! Take the time to enjoy your new Zen space, to practice the technique of resting the mind through meditation, and to show off your tricked-out space to all of your friends. As they say, calm inspires calm. And wouldn’t that be lovely?

Need More Guidance?

There is a ton of information out there regarding zen spaces, chi, peace in your life, quite rooms, relaxation, and creating peace of mind. Our recommendation is to pick one reliable source and see what you can get out of that one source. No need to overwhelm yourself looking at 20 different sources on Zen…talk about counterintuitive. We found this article from Yoga International to be just what we were looking for.

Posted on July 7, 2017 at 12:09
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What’s the Real Cost of Waiting to Buy a House in Seattle?

Why waiting to buy a house in a hot market can cost you

As long as you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the past three years, you’ve probably heard that Seattle is one of (if not the) hottest markets in America. While this is great if you already own a home in Seattle, it makes things very challenging for prospective homebuyers.

The housing market in Seattle: At-a-glance

  • We’re continuing to see home prices climb every year at a record pace.
  • Seattle is expected to continue this trend as we’re seeing droves of people moving to the area. Economists have predicted between 700 to 1,000 per week are moving to Seattle.
  • Economic forecasts indicate that we’ll see at least an 8 percent increase in home prices over the next 12 months.
  • The National Association of Realtors projects that 30-year fixed rate mortgages will gradually climb to 5.0 percent by the end of 2018.

All this leads to the question we hear most often.  Should I purchase a home now, or should I wait to buy?  There are many ways to answer that question emotionally or situationally, but let’s just focus on the numbers today.

You may see this “wait to buy” question play out in one of four different ways:

  1. Let’s assume someone chooses to purchase a home today for $700,000. They put 20 percent down and get a 30-year fixed rate at 4.125 percent. That equates to a Principal & Interest payment of $2,714 per month.

 

  1. Let’s compare that to someone choosing to wait one year to buy. Assuming that the same house increases in cost by 8 percent, you’re now looking at a purchase price of $756,000 for the same house. Let’s follow The National Association of Realtors’ rate prediction and use a 4.9 percent rate. Now the Principal & Interest payment balloons up to $3,209. Waiting just 12 months to buy a home increased the monthly housing expense by $495 per month!

 

  1. Let’s look at another scenario using the same $700,000 purchase price. Someone chooses to purchase a home today for $700,000. They put 20 percent down and get a 30-year fixed rate at 4.125 percent. That equates to a Principal & Interest payment of $2,714 per month. Now let’s assume that home prices go down by 3 percent. (I can feel the snarky grins. I too know this is highly unlikely any time soon, but please play along.) The $700,000 home is now down to $679,000, but rates have still gone up to 4.9 percent. The Principal & Interest payment is at $2,882. This is still an increase in monthly payment by $168 per month!

 

  1. Let’s look at one last scenario with our $700,000 home. Someone chooses to purchase a home today for $700,000. They put 20 percent down and get a 30-year fixed rate at 4.125 percent. That equates to a Principal & Interest payment of $2,714 per month. Now let’s assume that prices continue to rise. (I hope we’re all in agreement that this is the most likely case.) But we all get lucky, and interest rates stay exactly where they are today at 4.125 percent. The Principal & Interest payment is at $2,931. This is still an increase in monthly payment by $217 per month!

The numbers tell the story. Waiting to buy a home in this market will cost you money. You may not be surprised to hear that 14 percent of buyers are young unmarried couples pooling together to save on the rising cost of mortgage. It’s an incredibly challenging market to buy in right now — no doubt about it.

We want these figures to encourage you to keep going.

Buying now is tough, but the economic indicators show that it will continue to get tougher and more expensive each and every year. Make the effort now to find the home of your dreams and know that we are here to help.

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 14:16
Brandon Sturgis | Category: OWN | Tagged ,