‘Tis the season to be grateful

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many of us will reflect upon this past year and remind ourselves of what we are thankful for in our lives. It’s also a time when many of us get together and work towards helping those that have not been so fortunate. This season, our Windermere Real Estate offices and agents have been hard at work collecting food, clothing and other necessities to help out our neighbors in need. These are just a few of the activities taking place throughout our Windermere network…

The Windermere Prescott and Prescott Valley offices in Arizona helped collect and sort winter clothing for the homeless and families in need in the Greater Tri-City area at the annual Southwest Windermere Community Service Day on October 17. They sorted nearly 500 jackets, along with hats, gloves, socks, scarves, sweaters, pants, turtlenecks and shoes. Donated items were distributed through the First Congressional Church.

The Windermere Ballard office is collecting new and lightly used adult clothing and gear for The Bridge Care Center in Ballard, which benefits the homeless men and women in their neighborhood. Donations are being collected now through the end of November.

The Windermere Bellingham-Bakerview office is collecting donations of coats and blankets now through December 2nd for the men, women and children of Whatcom County that are being helped at the local Lighthouse Mission. With the cold weather upon us, they are hoping to help fulfill the mission’s great need for warm clothing for the families they serve.

The Windermere Edmonds office raised nearly $11,500 and collected over 12,000 pounds of food which was donated to the Edmonds Food Bank.

The Windermere Federal Way office is collecting non-perishable food items for the Federal Way Multi-Service Center now through December 5th. Donated items will be distributed through the Federal Way MSC food bank, which serves the Federal Way community in South King County, Washington.

The Windermere Kingston office is holding a Thanksgiving Food Drive for the Kingston Food Bank to fill their Thanksgiving baskets for local families. Donations can be dropped off at the Windermere Kingston office during regular business hours.

The Windermere Medford office has partnered with KDRV TV for the past 15 years on their coat drive for kids. Throughout the month of October, Windermere agents helped with picking up coats twice a week to deliver to the cleaners. They also sorted the coats into sizes and delivered them to the local schools. An estimated 2,000-2,500 new and used coats were distributed to schools (Head start through twelfth grade), with another 1,000 donated to local shelters. Additional coats will be purchased with funds through the Windermere Foundation, if the need exceeds the amount of coats collected.

The Windermere Mukilteo office participated in the 2014 Snohomish County-Camano Association of REALTORS Food Drive in October and collected over 4,600 pounds of food and over $1,000 in cash donations. Watch this time lapse video of Windermere Broker Bill Callahan deliver and unload over 600 pounds of food at the Mukilteo Food Bank.

Thirty-five Windermere offices throughout Oregon and SW Washington are holding their annual Share the Warmth Coat & Blanket Drive now through December 17thClick here for more details and a list of participating office locations to drop off donations.

The four Windermere Professional Partners office locations held a food drive the first half of this month to benefit The Families Unlimited Network Food Bank. The food bank provides at least a three-day supply of food for individuals and families of Pierce County. Donations collected will be delivered to the food bank a week before Thanksgiving.

The Windermere Shoreline office has a coat drive and food drive scheduled for November and December. Food donations can be dropped off at the Shoreline office for distribution to local food banks. Coats and clothing collected will go to local organizations such as Jacob’s Well.

The Windermere Stellar offices in Oregon recently pledged $2,000 through the Windermere Foundation to Oregon City’s Backpack Buddies, an organization that supplies backpacks full of food for low-income kids to take home over the weekend. The food is simply slipped into each child’s backpack during recess to prevent the kids from feeling embarrassed about receiving help. They are also holding a food drive for the organization, in addition to the $2,000 donation which will supply 500 backpacks.

Every year, the Windermere Whidbey Island-Oak Harbor office purchases winter coats and supplies for the women and children in their local area shelter. This year, 22 children will receive warm coats for the winter.

The Windermere Foundation is thankful for the continued support and contributions of our Windermere Real Estate offices, agents and staff, and for the generous donations made by those in our communities. If you’d like to learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.

‘Tis the season to be grateful

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many of us will reflect upon this past year and remind ourselves of what we are thankful for in our lives. It’s also a time when many of us get together and work towards helping those that have not been so fortunate. This season, our Windermere Real Estate offices and agents have been hard at work collecting food, clothing and other necessities to help out our neighbors in need. These are just a few of the activities taking place throughout our Windermere network…With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many of us will reflect upon this past year and remind ourselves of what we are thankful for in our lives. It’s also a time when many of us get together and work towards helping those that have not been so fortunate. This season, our Windermere Real Estate offices and agents have been hard at work collecting food, clothing and other necessities to help out our neighbors in need. These are just a few of the activities taking place throughout our Windermere network…

The Windermere Prescott and Prescott Valley offices in Arizona helped collect and sort winter clothing for the homeless and families in need in the Greater Tri-City area at the annual Southwest Windermere Community Service Day on October 17. They sorted nearly 500 jackets, along with hats, gloves, socks, scarves, sweaters, pants, turtlenecks and shoes. Donated items were distributed through the First Congressional Church.

The Windermere Ballard office is collecting new and lightly used adult clothing and gear for The Bridge Care Center in Ballard, which benefits the homeless men and women in their neighborhood. Donations are being collected now through the end of November.

The Windermere Bellingham-Bakerview office is collecting donations of coats and blankets now through December 2nd for the men, women and children of Whatcom County that are being helped at the local Lighthouse Mission. With the cold weather upon us, they are hoping to help fulfill the mission’s great need for warm clothing for the families they serve.

The Windermere Edmonds office raised nearly $11,500 and collected over 12,000 pounds of food which was donated to the Edmonds Food Bank.

The Windermere Federal Way office is collecting non-perishable food items for the Federal Way Multi-Service Center now through December 5th. Donated items will be distributed through the Federal Way MSC food bank, which serves the Federal Way community in South King County, Washington.

The Windermere Kingston office is holding a Thanksgiving Food Drive for the Kingston Food Bank to fill their Thanksgiving baskets for local families. Donations can be dropped off at the Windermere Kingston office during regular business hours.

The Windermere Medford office has partnered with KDRV TV for the past 15 years on their coat drive for kids. Throughout the month of October, Windermere agents helped with picking up coats twice a week to deliver to the cleaners. They also sorted the coats into sizes and delivered them to the local schools. An estimated 2,000-2,500 new and used coats were distributed to schools (Head start through twelfth grade), with another 1,000 donated to local shelters. Additional coats will be purchased with funds through the Windermere Foundation, if the need exceeds the amount of coats collected.

The Windermere Mukilteo office participated in the 2014 Snohomish County-Camano Association of REALTORS Food Drive in October and collected over 4,600 pounds of food and over $1,000 in cash donations. Watch this time lapse video of Windermere Broker Bill Callahan deliver and unload over 600 pounds of food at the Mukilteo Food Bank.

Thirty-five Windermere offices throughout Oregon and SW Washington are holding their annual Share the Warmth Coat & Blanket Drive now through December 17th. Click here for more details and a list of participating office locations to drop off donations.

The four Windermere Professional Partners office locations held a food drive the first half of this month to benefit The Families Unlimited Network Food Bank. The food bank provides at least a three-day supply of food for individuals and families of Pierce County. Donations collected will be delivered to the food bank a week before Thanksgiving.

The Windermere Shoreline office has a coat drive and food drive scheduled for November and December. Food donations can be dropped off at the Shoreline office for distribution to local food banks. Coats and clothing collected will go to local organizations such as Jacob’s Well.

The Windermere Stellar offices in Oregon recently pledged $2,000 through the Windermere Foundation to Oregon City’s Backpack Buddies, an organization that supplies backpacks full of food for low-income kids to take home over the weekend. The food is simply slipped into each child’s backpack during recess to prevent the kids from feeling embarrassed about receiving help. They are also holding a food drive for the organization, in addition to the $2,000 donation which will supply 500 backpacks.

Every year, the Windermere Whidbey Island-Oak Harbor office purchases winter coats and supplies for the women and children in their local area shelter. This year, 22 children will receive warm coats for the winter.

The Windermere Foundation is thankful for the continued support and contributions of our Windermere Real Estate offices, agents and staff, and for the generous donations made by those in our communities. If you’d like to learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.

Western Washington I 2014 Third Quarter Market Update

Regional Economics

At first glance, the third quarter employment growth rate in Western Washington appears to be very healthy, with a substantial 62,520 jobs added since a year ago. For comparison purposes, the state as a whole grew by 2.5 percent and employment country-wide rose by two percent.

Despite what appears to have been strong annual growth, the rate of employment growth is actually slowing down with third quarter adding just 3,100 jobs. This isn’t too surprising given that all of the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession have now been returned, so it’s actually normal to see the rate of growth start to slow as we exceed our prior peak employment.

The tri-county area of King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties continues to dominate in terms of total jobs, as well as total growth rates, having added 57,300 jobs over the past year, and 6,800 jobs in third quarter.

From an absolute number standpoint, King County (+44,300) maintains its top position in terms of employment growth over the past 12 months, followed by Pierce (+10,800) and Thurston Counties (+2,700). When looking at percentage growth rates, the small San Juan County area saw employment rise by 6.5%. This was followed by Pierce County (+3.8%), Skagit County (+3.5%), and King County (+3.5%).

In Western Washington, annual job losses continue to be seen in just a handful of small counties. Grays Harbor County lost 380 jobs over the past year with pronounced declines in transportation and construction industries. Employment also dropped in Mason County (-190 jobs), and Whatcom and Kitsap Counties fell by 100 jobs a piece. Very minor losses were also seen in Jefferson and Island Counties.

When we look at unemployment rates in the region, all counties showed improvement in total unemployment relative to a year ago and no county currently has an unemployment rate above 8.8 percent. We have not seen that for several years.

When compared to September of 2013, the greatest decline in unemployment rates were seen in Cowlitz, Mason, and Grays Harbor Counties, whose rates all dropped by 1.8 percent.

One might wonder how counties (Grays Harbor and Mason) that lost jobs over the past year could also show a drop in their unemployment rates. This is a fair question that needs to be addressed.

Unemployment rates are calculated by dividing the number of people unemployed by the total workforce. In the counties mentioned above, the labor force actually shrank over the past year and the number of people claiming unemployment benefits also declined. As such, the rates dropped.

In total, Western Washington continues to outperform the nation as a whole. Certainly, there are pockets that have not seen rapid improvement, but the trend remains positive. I cannot yet up the “B+” grade that I have given the employment situation for over a year, but the faster that we head toward an average of five percent unemployment—generally considered to be full employment—the sooner I will be able to improve the grade.

Regional Real Estate

The number of homes for sale dropped slightly between September 2013 and September 2014, which was a little disappointing. Total listings in the counties covered by this report were measured at 21,019, compared to 21,589 a year ago (-2.6%). As a point of reference, in September 2009 there were 32,598 homes listed for sale!

Five counties saw the number of homes for sale increase when compared to a year ago, starting with Snohomish County (+7.8%). This was followed by Cowlitz (+6%), Pierce (+5.45%), and Kittitas (+5.3%) Counties. Eleven counties reported a year-over-year drop in homes for sale, starting with Mason County (-18%). This was followed by Skagit (-14.8%), Island (-14.4%), Clallam (-13.8%), and Lewis (-11.1%) Counties.

When comparing first and second quarters of this year, every county reported more homes for sale. The greatest increase was seen in Kittitas County where inventory levels grew by 50 percent. This was followed by Whatcom (+44%), King (+41%), and Thurston (+40%) Counties. The smallest increase was seen in Lewis County at a still respectable 14 percent increase over the first quarter of this year.

When we look at home sales, 49,391 homes were sold in the first three quarters of 2014—a modest increase of 1.9 percent compared to the same period in 2013. During the third quarter of this year, there were a total of 19,237 home sales, an increase of 5.4 percent over second quarter. During this time, sales rose the most in Island County (+28.3%). This was followed by Mason (+26.4%), Grays Harbor (+22%), Kittitas (+17.8%), and Whatcom (+17.7%) Counties. Sales fell in just one county, San Juan, which is not surprising given the volatility that this particular market frequently sees due to the limited number of homes for sale at any one time.

The average price of homes sold in Western Washington in the third quarter was $361,767—an increase of 0.7 percent when compared to second quarter. Prices are 4.1 percent higher than those seen a year ago when the average price was $347,411. Year to date, prices are up by 4.4 percent over the first nine months of 2013.

As is seen in the chart to the right, all but three counties saw average home prices rise when compared to the third quarter of 2013. Price growth continues to taper, but remains generally positive. The strongest annual gains were in Clallam County where prices rose by 18.2 percent. There were also significant gains seen in Kittitas County (+18.1%) and Lewis County (+15.9%). On the opposite end of the spectrum, we did see prices decline in the always-volatile San Juan County where they were down by 16.5 percent compared to third quarter of last year. Small losses were also seen in Mason and Kitsap Counties.

All is looking good in terms of home prices, but we are still not seeing the growth in listings that are needed. As such, I am maintaining the “B+” grade that I gave the market last quarter.

Conclusions

Our region’s economy continues to expand but the rate of growth is tapering. This is not surprising, and as long as we can continue to say that our region is growing at a faster rate than the country as a whole, we are in pretty good shape.

Interest rates so far in 2014 have not trended as I had anticipated. Regular readers of the Gardner Report will note that I had been expecting rates to rise—albeit modestly—in the second half of the year, but that has clearly not been the case.

At the start of the year, the average 30-year fixed rate in the U.S. was 4.53 percent. After dropping quite dramatically for a month or so, it started to rise again in February and continued up through the end of March. Since that time, the rate has trended down, and at the end of September was measured at 4.2 percent.

As of the publication date of this report, average mortgage interest rates dropped below four percent to 3.92 percent in the third week of October (excluding fees and points). We are now back at levels not seen since early 2013 and rates are certainly far lower than I or anyone else could have anticipated.

So the question now is, will they rise and, if so, when? I certainly believe that rates cannot stay at these levels forever. Global instability and “frothy” equity markets have led to a flood of money moving into the fixed income markets. As we know, mortgage rates follow the yield on the 10-year treasury, and as long as buyers are prepared to accept low interest rates for their money, mortgage rates will remain low. However, as long as the economy continues to improve, rates will start to trend higher. It’s just a matter of time.

About Matthew Gardner

Mr. Gardner is a land use economist and principal with Gardner Economics and is considered by many to be one of the foremost real estate analysts in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to managing his consulting practice, Mr. Gardner chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; sits on the Urban Land Institutes Technical Assistance Panel; is an Advisory Board Member for the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington; and is the Editor of the Washington State University’s Central Puget Sound Real Estate Research Report.

He is also the retained economist for the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties. He has twenty-five years of professional experience in the U.K. and U.S.

He has appeared on CNN, NBC and NPR news services to discuss real estate issues, and is regularly cited in the Wall Street Journal and all local media.

 

Windermere Real Estate is proud to partner with Gardner Economics on this analysis of the Western Washington real estate market. This report is designed to offer insight into the realities of the housing market. Numbers alone do not always give an accurate picture of local economic conditions; therefore our goal is to provide an explanation of what the statistics mean and how they impact the Western Washington housing economy.

We hope that this information may assist you with making an informed real estate decision. For further information about the real estate market in your area, please contact your Windermere agent.  

Western Washington I 2014 Third Quarter Market Update

Regional Economics

At first glance, the third quarter employment growth rate in Western Washington appears to be very healthy, with a substantial 62,520 jobs added since a year ago. For comparison purposes, the state as a whole grew by 2.5 percent and employment country-wide rose by two percent.

Despite what appears to have been strong annual growth, the rate of employment growth is actually slowing down with third quarter adding just 3,100 jobs. This isn’t too surprising given that all of the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession have now been returned, so it’s actually normal to see the rate of growth start to slow as we exceed our prior peak employment.

The tri-county area of King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties continues to dominate in terms of total jobs, as well as total growth rates, having added 57,300 jobs over the past year, and 6,800 jobs in third quarter.

From an absolute number standpoint, King County (+44,300) maintains its top position in terms of employment growth over the past 12 months, followed by Pierce (+10,800) and Thurston Counties (+2,700). When looking at percentage growth rates, the small San Juan County area saw employment rise by 6.5%. This was followed by Pierce County (+3.8%), Skagit County (+3.5%), and King County (+3.5%).

In Western Washington, annual job losses continue to be seen in just a handful of small counties. Grays Harbor County lost 380 jobs over the past year with pronounced declines in transportation and construction industries. Employment also dropped in Mason County (-190 jobs), and Whatcom and Kitsap Counties fell by 100 jobs a piece. Very minor losses were also seen in Jefferson and Island Counties.

When we look at unemployment rates in the region, all counties showed improvement in total unemployment relative to a year ago and no county currently has an unemployment rate above 8.8 percent. We have not seen that for several years.

When compared to September of 2013, the greatest decline in unemployment rates were seen in Cowlitz, Mason, and Grays Harbor Counties, whose rates all dropped by 1.8 percent.

One might wonder how counties (Grays Harbor and Mason) that lost jobs over the past year could also show a drop in their unemployment rates. This is a fair question that needs to be addressed.

Unemployment rates are calculated by dividing the number of people unemployed by the total workforce. In the counties mentioned above, the labor force actually shrank over the past year and the number of people claiming unemployment benefits also declined. As such, the rates dropped.

In total, Western Washington continues to outperform the nation as a whole. Certainly, there are pockets that have not seen rapid improvement, but the trend remains positive. I cannot yet up the “B+” grade that I have given the employment situation for over a year, but the faster that we head toward an average of five percent unemployment—generally considered to be full employment—the sooner I will be able to improve the grade.

Regional Real Estate

The number of homes for sale dropped slightly between September 2013 and September 2014, which was a little disappointing. Total listings in the counties covered by this report were measured at 21,019, compared to 21,589 a year ago (-2.6%). As a point of reference, in September 2009 there were 32,598 homes listed for sale!

Five counties saw the number of homes for sale increase when compared to a year ago, starting with Snohomish County (+7.8%). This was followed by Cowlitz (+6%), Pierce (+5.45%), and Kittitas (+5.3%) Counties. Eleven counties reported a year-over-year drop in homes for sale, starting with Mason County (-18%). This was followed by Skagit (-14.8%), Island (-14.4%), Clallam (-13.8%), and Lewis (-11.1%) Counties.

When comparing first and second quarters of this year, every county reported more homes for sale. The greatest increase was seen in Kittitas County where inventory levels grew by 50 percent. This was followed by Whatcom (+44%), King (+41%), and Thurston (+40%) Counties. The smallest increase was seen in Lewis County at a still respectable 14 percent increase over the first quarter of this year.

When we look at home sales, 49,391 homes were sold in the first three quarters of 2014—a modest increase of 1.9 percent compared to the same period in 2013. During the third quarter of this year, there were a total of 19,237 home sales, an increase of 5.4 percent over second quarter. During this time, sales rose the most in Island County (+28.3%). This was followed by Mason (+26.4%), Grays Harbor (+22%), Kittitas (+17.8%), and Whatcom (+17.7%) Counties. Sales fell in just one county, San Juan, which is not surprising given the volatility that this particular market frequently sees due to the limited number of homes for sale at any one time.

The average price of homes sold in Western Washington in the third quarter was $361,767—an increase of 0.7 percent when compared to second quarter. Prices are 4.1 percent higher than those seen a year ago when the average price was $347,411. Year to date, prices are up by 4.4 percent over the first nine months of 2013.

As is seen in the chart to the right, all but three counties saw average home prices rise when compared to the third quarter of 2013. Price growth continues to taper, but remains generally positive. The strongest annual gains were in Clallam County where prices rose by 18.2 percent. There were also significant gains seen in Kittitas County (+18.1%) and Lewis County (+15.9%). On the opposite end of the spectrum, we did see prices decline in the always-volatile San Juan County where they were down by 16.5 percent compared to third quarter of last year. Small losses were also seen in Mason and Kitsap Counties.

All is looking good in terms of home prices, but we are still not seeing the growth in listings that are needed. As such, I am maintaining the “B+” grade that I gave the market last quarter.

Conclusions

Our region’s economy continues to expand but the rate of growth is tapering. This is not surprising, and as long as we can continue to say that our region is growing at a faster rate than the country as a whole, we are in pretty good shape.

Interest rates so far in 2014 have not trended as I had anticipated. Regular readers of the Gardner Report will note that I had been expecting rates to rise—albeit modestly—in the second half of the year, but that has clearly not been the case.

At the start of the year, the average 30-year fixed rate in the U.S. was 4.53 percent. After dropping quite dramatically for a month or so, it started to rise again in February and continued up through the end of March. Since that time, the rate has trended down, and at the end of September was measured at 4.2 percent.

As of the publication date of this report, average mortgage interest rates dropped below four percent to 3.92 percent in the third week of October (excluding fees and points). We are now back at levels not seen since early 2013 and rates are certainly far lower than I or anyone else could have anticipated.

So the question now is, will they rise and, if so, when? I certainly believe that rates cannot stay at these levels forever. Global instability and “frothy” equity markets have led to a flood of money moving into the fixed income markets. As we know, mortgage rates follow the yield on the 10-year treasury, and as long as buyers are prepared to accept low interest rates for their money, mortgage rates will remain low. However, as long as the economy continues to improve, rates will start to trend higher. It’s just a matter of time.

About Matthew Gardner

Mr. Gardner is a land use economist and principal with Gardner Economics and is considered by many to be one of the foremost real estate analysts in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to managing his consulting practice, Mr. Gardner chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; sits on the Urban Land Institutes Technical Assistance Panel; is an Advisory Board Member for the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington; and is the Editor of the Washington State University’s Central Puget Sound Real Estate Research Report.

He is also the retained economist for the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties. He has twenty-five years of professional experience in the U.K. and U.S.

He has appeared on CNN, NBC and NPR news services to discuss real estate issues, and is regularly cited in the Wall Street Journal and all local media.

 

Windermere Real Estate is proud to partner with Gardner Economics on this analysis of the Western Washington real estate market. This report is designed to offer insight into the realities of the housing market. Numbers alone do not always give an accurate picture of local economic conditions; therefore our goal is to provide an explanation of what the statistics mean and how they impact the Western Washington housing economy.

We hope that this information may assist you with making an informed real estate decision. For further information about the real estate market in your area, please contact your Windermere agent.  

Add Some Sparkle to Your Holidays with Gilded Décor

In October we started to see gold amongst our pumpkins, but this fall get ready for all gold everything. From gilded pears to golden leaves, there’s something here for everyone.

Gilded Pears – Use real or fake pears, whichever you prefer, spray paint gold, and allow them to dry completely. You can add little flags to the top if you’re really feeling crafty.  

Magnolia Wreath – Collect some Magnolia branches and use a wreath frame as a base. Spray paint the green side of each leaf with gold and then assemble using wire. Supposedly it’s not as complicated as it looks!

Dipped Pinecones  - First, you’ll want to make sure your cones are clean and dry. Apply gold leaf adhesive using a foam brush; deciding how much you add will determine how much of the cone is covered in gold. After they dry, it’s time to add gold leaf, which comes in whisper thin sheets about 5” square. Wrap it around the cone and use a clean foam brush to rub it into the adhesive. Then give it a light spray with sealant and allow them to dry.

Gold Acorns – Hand pick your acorns, clean, and oven-dry them to make sure they are pest free. Paint them gold and then add a layer of clear shellac for a shiny look. Lastly, you’ll want to use a hot glue gun to attach the caps since they naturally fall off after the acorns dry. You can use these as filler in a glass vase or simply scatter them on a tabletop.

Shimmering Maple Garland – All you’ll need is a bag of artificial leaves, bought at any craft store, some Elmer’s glue, glitter, and string. Use a paintbrush to apply glue to each leaf and sprinkle lots of glitter over them. Let the glue set, then shake of the excess glitter, punch a hole at the top and attach a ribbon. Tie them all to a large strand and voilà, a perfect garland for the holidays.

Petite Pumpkins – If you are still head over heels for pumpkins, then using small ones for place cards will add some spice to your table. Tape each pumpkin halfway with painters tape, it can be horizontal, diagonal, you pick! Next paint the bottom portion with gold craft paint (may need multiple layers) and with the last layer still wet, generously sprinkle gold glitter over the painted half. After your pumpkin is dry and you’ve shaken off the excess glitter, wrap beading foil tightly around the stem. Leave a little extra at the end for you to bend for your place card.

Check out more ideas on our Gilded Fall Décor board on Pinterest

Windermere Foundation Quarterly Report

Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, the Windermere Foundation was able to provide over one million dollars in support during the first three quarters of this year to social service organizations that helped hundreds of families meet basic needs.

Programs which benefit children and youth continue to receive a significant portion of Windermere Foundation funds. These funds are made possible by your continued support.

The Launch Pad, a teen center in Prescott, Arizona, received a grant to support their after-school programs.

“Research shows that the most vulnerable hours of the day for youth are between 3 and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday,” according to a representative from The Launch Pad. “These happen to be the times that youth commit the most crimes and have the most crimes committed against them. Furthermore, youth-attempted suicides predominantly happen between these same hours. The Launch Pad focuses on these hours and helps intervene in high-risk behavior by providing enriching and empowering activities and workshops.”

Fill a Backpack, Make a Smile is a non-profit organization in Walla Walla, Washington that provides backpacks with school supplies for kids and families in the Milton Freewater School District who may not be able to afford them. A grant supported their efforts to help ensure over 150 kids received backpacks, supplies, two new shirts and help with payment of middle and high school fees.

The Marvin Thomas Memorial Fund in Seattle, Washington received a grant from the Windermere Foundation to help with the purchase of backpacks for more than 500 low-income children/youth. Its mission is to provide positive, supportive and safe programs for children, as well as food, fun, educational opportunities, interactions and working relationships with the community and other agencies to serve as “the village” in raising a child.

Assistance League of Greater Portland received a grant which supports Operation School Bell. “Thanks to the generosity of supporters like Windermere, we are able to provide clothing for more than 2,600 economically disadvantaged school children a year,” said a spokesperson for Assistance League of Greater Portland. “Education is vital to breaking poverty barriers for children and Operation School Bell plays a role in ensuring that these students may attend school confidently, appropriately dressed like their peers, and ready to learn.”

DONATIONS & GRANTS

  • Donations collected through third quarter 2014:                                          $1,184,381.40
  • Percent raised through individual contributions & fundraisers:                  64%
  • Percent raised through transactions:                                                               36%
  • Number of grants awarded:                                                                               405
  • Average grant size:                                                                                              $2,559

If you’d like to help, click on the Donate button to make a donation. 

 

 

Visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation to learn more about the Windermere Foundation, and remember to read the Windermere Blog for more in-depth stories about what our offices are doing throughout the year.

Thank you for your continued support of the Windermere Foundation. Your generosity is truly making a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities.

Best,

Christine Wood

Executive Director

Windermere Foundation

Windermere Foundation Quarterly Report

Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, the Windermere Foundation was able to provide over one million dollars in support during the first three quarters of this year to social service organizations that helped hundreds of families meet basic needs.

Programs which benefit children and youth continue to receive a significant portion of Windermere Foundation funds. These funds are made possible by your continued support.

The Launch Pad, a teen center in Prescott, Arizona, received a grant to support their after-school programs.

“Research shows that the most vulnerable hours of the day for youth are between 3 and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday,” according to a representative from The Launch Pad. “These happen to be the times that youth commit the most crimes and have the most crimes committed against them. Furthermore, youth-attempted suicides predominantly happen between these same hours. The Launch Pad focuses on these hours and helps intervene in high-risk behavior by providing enriching and empowering activities and workshops.”

Fill a Backpack, Make a Smile is a non-profit organization in Walla Walla, Washington that provides backpacks with school supplies for kids and families in the Milton Freewater School District who may not be able to afford them. A grant supported their efforts to help ensure over 150 kids received backpacks, supplies, two new shirts and help with payment of middle and high school fees.

The Marvin Thomas Memorial Fund in Seattle, Washington received a grant from the Windermere Foundation to help with the purchase of backpacks for more than 500 low-income children/youth. Its mission is to provide positive, supportive and safe programs for children, as well as food, fun, educational opportunities, interactions and working relationships with the community and other agencies to serve as “the village” in raising a child.

Assistance League of Greater Portland received a grant which supports Operation School Bell. “Thanks to the generosity of supporters like Windermere, we are able to provide clothing for more than 2,600 economically disadvantaged school children a year,” said a spokesperson for Assistance League of Greater Portland. “Education is vital to breaking poverty barriers for children and Operation School Bell plays a role in ensuring that these students may attend school confidently, appropriately dressed like their peers, and ready to learn.”

DONATIONS & GRANTS

  • Donations collected through third quarter 2014:                                          $1,184,381.40
  • Percent raised through individual contributions & fundraisers:                  64%
  • Percent raised through transactions:                                                               36%
  • Number of grants awarded:                                                                               405
  • Average grant size:                                                                                              $2,559

If you’d like to help, click on the Donate button to make a donation. 

 

 

Visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation to learn more about the Windermere Foundation, and remember to read the Windermere Blog for more in-depth stories about what our offices are doing throughout the year.

Thank you for your continued support of the Windermere Foundation. Your generosity is truly making a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities.

Best,

Christine Wood

Executive Director

Windermere Foundation

Announcing the Winner of the Community Service Day Southwest Facebook Challenge!

On October 17, Windermere offices in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado all took a day off from selling homes to help make a difference in their local communities. Our offices were challenged to share photos and videos from their community service day event on the Windermere Real Estate Facebook page, and in turn, they received a $100 donation to the Windermere Foundation charity of their choice.

To add some competition to this challenge, we offered an additional $1,000 charitable contribution to the office with the most Facebook “likes” and comments. So, who won?

Please help us congratulate a team of our Northern California offices! Windermere offices in Clayton, Brentwood, and Walnut Creek teamed up to collect 2,000 pounds of food for a local food bank and spent the day sorting food for the 188,000 people each month that benefit from their programs. They will use the $1,000 Foundation donation to support the Holiday Donation Drive for Mt. Diablo School Districts homeless students and foster youth.

Thank you to all our Windermere offices for the amazing work you do in your local communities. 

Design Trends That Sell New Homes

Are you drawn to new construction homes? As a homeowner, do you ever wonder what design trends are most appealing to buyers? Well, at the Windermere Builder Solutions breakfast yesterday, agents from throughout the Seattle area came together to discuss the features and trends that are drawing buyers to new homes.

The highlight of the breakfast was a presentation by the Macadam Floor and Design Center.  Located in Kirkland, Washington, they specialize in providing flooring and interior design materials, as well as installation, design, and project management assistance to the construction industry and other professionals. They walked the group through the five reasons buyers are drawn to new construction homes.

1. Modern features.

2. Customization opportunities.

3. Less maintenance and repairs.

4. Being the first to live in the home.

5. Getting to live in a newly developed neighborhood.

So, what's new in the design trend sphere? Right now it's all about texture and simplifying. Say goodbye to bold, busy styles and trade them in for the natural, classy look with muted tones. Your color pallet should be moving away from the golden beige and heading towards the warm grey (and pastels).

Here are some key trends to follow:

Wallpaper – We know what you’re thinking, wallpaper is so 80s, right? Actually, wallpaper today is much more sophisticated and can add texture to highlight walls, powder rooms, or dining rooms. Wherever you decide to put it, make sure it fits the ambiance of the room.

Counter Tops – Whether it’s in your kitchen or master bathroom, white is all the rage right now. Here’s a tip we picked up: you might love the look of marble, but it’s not very practical because it’s susceptible to staining, scratching, and etching. Quartz allows for the same chic look that marble has without all the hassle. Want to be über modern? Invest in a waterfall kitchen island where the counter top comes down on both sides to meet the floor.

Architecture Elements - Open concept floor plans are opening up even more if you can believe it. People are shedding their walls and opting for rooms that are defined by posts, adding bigger kitchens and living spaces, and even floating stairs. Some even refer to them as “super rooms” because these spaces are so multi-purpose. This will make your home feel less cramped and fresher. Curl up to a full-height fireplace for added effect.

Tile – Think big. In fact, the bigger the tiles, the better. Format tiles, which are as large as 24 by 48 inches, are a popular choice for bathroom floors, as are wood plank tiles. Subway, glass, and metallic tile looks are also “in” in all styles of homes.  

Mud Rooms – These “throw back” multi-use rooms are gaining more and more momentum in modern day homes. Since they serve as a point of entry, you can count on guests seeing them, so “snazzy” is how they should be described rather than “drop and go.” There is a high demand for ones that also include a washer/dryer and extra storage.

According to the experts from Macadam Floor and Design Center, when people aren’t building their homes from the ground up, they are upgrading. The average amount that people tend to spend on an upgraded room is $20,000 – although that varies greatly depending on the room and budget. Relatively simple things, like adding a wine room in the cellar, a “Wok” kitchen, or a stand-alone bathtub in the master suite are great ways to keep your house up to date. What’s next for you?  

How NOT to Buy a Haunted House

Halloween is a holiday we tend to associate with the undead, so what better way to get in the “spirit” of things than to talk about ghosts. While you hear a lot about ghosts in October, they’re actually a year-round phenomenon (and they’re not all as friendly as Casper). So, if you’re in the market for a home right now, you might want to consider your threshold for the paranormal. Here are some ways to identify – and avoid – ending up with a haunted house.

Something doesn’t feel right. When it comes to finding a home, we talk a lot about how a home feels. People generally feel it in their gut when they have found “the one”.  Same goes for ghosts. If you feel like something is off, but you just can’t put your finger on it, you probably want to investigate a little further. This is the perfect time to break out the Ouija board and grab a bottle of something strong for your nerves (caution: seeing ghosts may or may not be due to alcohol consumption).

Follow the history of the home. Hit the interwebs and do a little online investigation to find out if the home has any skeletons in its closets (literally). Did anyone die in the house? Was it built on an ancient burial gravesite? Both of these could be DEAD giveaways for paranormal activity. Public records can be helpful for basic information, or you can check out this handy website: www.diedinhouse.com. If you don’t mind the house’s sordid past, use it as leverage to knock some zeros off the asking price. What’s a house filled with dead people if you can get it for a steal?

Meet the neighbors. It’s always a good idea to get to know the neighborhood before moving in. Learn about the schools, check out the local shops and amenities, and take a good look at who your neighbors will be.  If you walk next door and the equivalent of the Adams family is staring you in the face, it might be a good time to look at other options. And if you have no other options, it’s never too early to invest in a respectable tombstone. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Follow the paper work. When selling a home, homeowners are required to fill out a “Self Disclosure Form” to reveal any known issues. In some states, this includes revealing if the home has any paranormal activity. In fact, if a home is known to be haunted, it can be deemed a “stigmatized home” which can impact the sale. But keep in mind, self-disclosure of paranormal activity is hard to qualify and prove, so buyers beware.

Look for more overt signs. Did you feel a tap on your shoulder, but nobody was there? Is there blood oozing through the walls or furniture moving by itself? Or maybe a spirit physically manifested itself in front of you. Well, this might be a ghost trying to get your attention. If you have an experience like this, it’s probably a good idea to find the nearest exit as quickly as possible and move onto the next home.

Let logic be your guide. So you’ve fallen in love with a home, but you suspect that it’s haunted. There could be a totally plausible explanation. Start by trying to explain the phenomena you are feeling. Could the creaks and bangs come from pests or plumbing issues? Perhaps the chills you feel are caused by a draft? Are you watching too many horror movies? Do you need to make an appointment with your shrink? What you think are signs of a haunting could all be in your head.  

 

Do you have any ghost stories to share? We’d love to hear about your own experiences of dealing with the undead.