Local Holiday Light Shows

december-16-web-header

Ready to lift your spirits? Shimmering light shows are a brilliant way to celebrate the winter holiday season. Grab a warm coat and go exploring in gardens, zoos and even on the water. Here are five local venues that are worth braving the cold to see…

1. WildLights at Woodland Park Zoo

5500 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle WA 98103
www.zoo.org/wildlights | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/25/16 – 1/1/17 | 5:30-8:30 pm
  • Cost: $7.95-$9.95 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Zoo members who purchase tickets by 12/9 get a $2 discount off each adult ticket
  • Parking: Free parking at the north (Bear Lot), inner north (Otter Lot) and and northwest lot (Penguin Lot)
  • Food: Refreshments are available at food kiosks, Pizza Corner, the Rain Forest Pavilion and at the Pacific Chowder House (with covered seating). Outside food and non-alcoholic drinks are permitted.
  • Special Events and Activities
  • Holiday Closures: 12/24 & 12/25

Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo

 

2. Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden
12001 Main Street, Bellevue WA 98005
www.gardendlights.org | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/26/16 – 12/31/16 | 4:30-9:00 pm
  • Cost: $5 per person (ages 10 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Free admission on 11/28, 11/29, 11/30, 12/1, 12/5, 12/6, 12/7 and 12/8
  • Parking: $5 per car in the Garden’s lot (cash only) as space allows OR park for free at Wilburton Hill Park
  • Food: Hot drinks and snacks are available at the Aaron Education Center
  • Holiday Closures: None

Garden d'Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden

 

3. Snowflake & Celebration Lane at the Bellevue Collection
Bellevue Way & NE 8th Street, Bellevue WA 98004
http://bellevue.com/snowflake-lane

  • Dates/Times: Nightly 11/25/16 – 12/31/16 | 20 minute show starts at 7 pm
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: Free parking at Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square.
  • Food: A variety of dining options (from happy hour, to kid fare, to gourmet meal) are all within walking distance
  • Special Events & Activities: Ice Skating, Santa Parade & Tree Lighting
  • Holiday Closure: 12/25

Snowflak Lane at the Bellevue Collection

 

4. Christmas Ship Festival
Launch locations include Lake Union Park, Kirkland City Dock, Leschi Marina, Des Moines Marina, Poulsbo Marina, Seattle Waterfront – Pier 55, Tacoma (Dock Street Marina), Port of Edmonds Marina, Fishermen’s Terminal, AGC Marina, and Shilsole Bay Marina
www.argosycruises.com | click here to get tickets

Christmas Ship at Lake Union, Photo Courtesy of Seattle Parks

 

5. Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
5400 N. Pearl Street, Tacoma WA 98407
www.pdza.org/zoolights
click here to get non-member tickets OR click here to get member tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/25/16 – 1/1/17 | 5-9 pm
  • Cost: $8.50-$10.00 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Promotions:
    -$5 tickets for zoo members
    -Combo Pass that includes daytime zoo admission ($12-$16)
    -Military Nights ($8 for US Veterans): 11/28, 11/30, 12/5, 12/7, 12/12 & 12/14
    -Scout Night ($8 for registered Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts): 12/6
  • Parking: Free parking in zoo lots (entrance on Pearl Street)
  • Food: Hot drinks and treats are available at the café and kiosks throughout the zoo
  • Activities
  • Holiday Closure: 12/24

Zoolights at Point Defiance

©Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island

This blog post originally appeared on the MercerIslandPulse.com blog.

 

Babies of Homelessness Donations

Outside of real estate my focus is community involvement and helping people who are less fortunate or who have fallen on hard times. Although I try to make this a priority year-round, the Holidays are especially busy as everyone recognizes it is a time to be thankful for what we have and spread kindness and resources to individuals who aren’t as lucky. Today I want to highlight an organization with a unique focus, Babies of Homelessness, and share how we can help with their important mission.

Babies of Homelessness raises awareness about a particularly vulnerable population within the homeless community – babies and toddlers. Some of these kids were born into homelessness while others were brought into it. Regardless, their parents are unable to support them and provide the care they need and they are too young to protect and fend for themselves. They experience awful conditions at a young age that no one should have to endure in their entire lifetimes.

How can we help?

Babies of Homelessness’s immediate goal is to collect essential resources for these children who are living in homeless encampments and emergency shelters. For kids in encampments they are looking for items to fill care packages to hand out and would like to see each package include a set of PJs, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, a blanket, diapers/underwear, and an activity/coloring book. For kids in emergency shelters they suggest donating tickets to an event and restaurant and clothing gift cards to provide a little bit of an escape from their situations.

I am collecting items until December 9th. Contact me and I will come to you to pick up items you want to donate. Thank you in advance for your support and generosity.

Local Market Update – November 2016

Home sales outgained new listings again in October, further squeezing already tight inventory and pushing prices higher. Since new listings traditionally decrease in the fall, that inventory shortage is expected to last until spring. Sellers willing to put their home on the market now can expect plenty of interested buyers, and a highly favorable chance of getting the best possible price for their home.

Eastside

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.

Home prices on the Eastside took a big leap in October, fueled by record low inventory. The median price of a single-family home sold that month was $768,000, a jump of 15 percent over the same time last year, and the fastest price growth in several months. With the market so strongly favoring sellers, brokers are hopeful more consumers will opt to list their homes.

King County

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.

The amount of inventory in King County fell to levels not seen since the 1990s with just one month of available inventory. With supply falling well behind demand, prices jumped significantly. The median price of a single-family home sold in October jumped 15 percent over a year ago to $550,000.

Seattle

Click image to view the full report.

Click image to view the full report.

There is no place where the supply of homes is tighter than Seattle, particularly in areas close to the city center. Just three weeks of inventory has kept this market in solid multiple-offer territory. Prices in October increased accordingly. The median price of a single-family home in Seattle rose 13 percent to $625,000.

Snohomish County

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.

Inventory in Snohomish County dropped more than 20 percent from a year ago. With just over a month of available inventory, prices climbed. The median price of a single-family home was up 6 percent over last year to $386,599. Even with that increase, buyers continue to be drawn to the area by home prices that average 30 percent less than King County.

Windermere Launches New Ultra-Luxury Brand: W Collection

I’m so honored to be part of Windermere’s W Collection, a new brand in ultra-luxury! I’m happy to be able to help people reach their real estate dreams in an area with so much to offer, and that continues to grow. Read more about this unique program below and check out W by Windermere to see my profile!

W Collection

Anyone who has spent time in the Seattle area in recent years has likely seen for themselves how much the city has changed. Thanks in large part to the booming economy, growing tech sector, and increasing international appeal, Seattle is no longer a sleepy little city tucked away in the far corner of the United States. With this changing landscape has come an infusion of wealth that has seen the area’s high-net-worth population explode. And with it, so too has the ultra-high-end real estate market.

In order to meet the specialized needs of this burgeoning market, Windermere has launched W Collection, a new ultra-luxury brand specifically designed for homes priced at $3 million and above in Western Washington. OB Jacobi, President of Windermere Real Estate, says that Seattle’s population of “global affluent” is on the rise and they greatly value real estate. The proof is in the numbers.

Over the past five years there has been a significant increase in the number of home sales in the $3 million+ market. In 2011 there were only 45 such sales in King County, while in 2015 there were 131. “Windermere agents represent anywhere from 40-60 percent of the $3 million+ sales in the Seattle area, so we felt we were in the ideal position to build a brand that could provide enhanced marketing support to the growing number of ultra-luxury homes,” said Jacobi.

W Collection is its own standalone brand with a separate website, WByWindermere.com, signage, presentation materials, and specialized advertising opportunities. When developing W Collection, Jacobi said that the goal was to create a sophisticated, yet humble, brand that evokes the understated expression of wealth that is unique to the Pacific Northwest. “Our clients are not largely drawn to the shows of excessive wealth that you see at other companies and in other parts of the country. This is reflected in the W Collection brand,” said Jacobi.

The development of W Collection began a little over a year ago, and according to Jacobi, was a highly collaborative process with Windermere agents playing an integral role in every step, “Over the past 44 years some of Windermere’s best ideas have come from our agents who are totally in tune with the needs of their clients and the shifting demands of the market; W Collection was born from this same agent ingenuity.”

This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.

We’ve Got You Covered

Windermere and the Seattle Seahawks have come together to help #tacklehomelessness in our community.

As part of that campaign, offices on the Eastside are participating in Windermere’s “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive.

From October 17 through November 14, we are collecting new hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, and warm socks for YouthCare, a non-profit that provides support and services to homeless youth throughout the Puget Sound area.

Each night in Seattle, nearly 1,000 young people are homeless. Please help them stay warm during the cold winter months by dropping off your donation to one of our offices during the drive.

Eastside Windermere Office Locations

Visit the Windermere.com blog for more information.

What Amazon in Bellevue Means for Our Housing Market

In case you missed it, Amazon is officially expanding to the Eastside! Back in August there were rumors that Apple and Amazon were looking to add offices across Lake Washington. A recent article from The Seattle Times confirmed Amazon will be returning to its Bellevue roots to lease a space much larger than the garage where it started 22 years ago. The online retail mogul will be the new (and only) tenants of Centre 425, a 16-story building in downtown Bellevue that is due to be completed this fall.

Amazon has already invested billions of dollars in its Seattle campus that occupies 8.5 million square feet in and around South Lake Union. This desirable location has attracted many young creatives in the area, as evidenced by the fact that the company currently employs more than 25,000 people in Seattle. The Bellevue office is expected to accommodate over 2,200 people. Considering the success of other Eastside-based companies such as Microsoft and Valve, Amazon will not have a problem recruiting that amount of local tech talent for Centre 425.

Right now it is unclear why Amazon is deviating from its original plan to develop in more urban areas like Seattle. GeekWire speculates it could be a way to cater to employees who already live on the Eastside or an attempt to lure in talent from Expedia once it relocates from Bellevue to Seattle in 2019.

What does this mean for our local housing market?

Whatever the reason for Amazon’s expansion, it will certainly make the Eastside even more attractive for tech employees and have an impact on our housing market. Although the median home price is lower in Seattle, inventory remains higher on the Eastside. Amazon’s location in Bellevue will allow prospective employees to focus their search on the Eastside and give employees currently living here an incentive to stay.

Read the full article from The Seattle Times.

Local Market Update – October 2016

At a time of year when sales traditionally slow down, September saw particularly strong sales growth. Home prices rose yet again compared to the same time last year, but they remain below the peak of several months ago. And inventory, while still low, is at its highest level in two years. The local real estate market continues to be one of the hottest in the country, but there are signs that prices may be rising more slowly than they did in the first half of the year.

Eastside

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.

Home prices on the Eastside remain very strong. The September median price of $750,000 was a healthy 10 percent increase over last September. Inventory remains very low with just over a month supply of homes. Demand in this sought-after market continues to overwhelm the number of properties available for sale.

King County

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.

Home prices are typically lower in the fall, and that was the case in King County for September. The median price of homes sold in September was $538,000, down from the market peak earlier this summer. That number reflects a 10 percent increase over a year ago, which represents a significantly higher appreciation rate than the national average.

Seattle

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.

Inventory in Seattle remains very tight, but is up slightly from a year ago. While multiple offers are still common – particularly for entry-priced homes — some agents are reporting fewer offers than in the past. The median price of a single-family home in Seattle was $630,000 in September, an increase of 10 percent over the previous year.

Snohomish County

Click image to view full report.

Click image to view full report.

Home prices in Snohomish County climbed 11 percent in September as compared to a year ago. The median price of a home was $395,000, just below the all-time high of $405,000 set in July. The area continues to see an influx of buyers trying to find a more cost-effective option to the comparatively high housing prices in King County.

First Day of Autumn

fall

Even though it happens year after year, the arrival of autumn is always a little surprising. Almost as if on a switch, one day late in the summer you feel it – a subtle crispness in the air. And before you know it, it’s pumpkin-spice-everything everywhere. We are suddenly swathed in sweaters, wearing boots, and bombarded by shades of orange, often even before the thermometer warrants it. After slogging through a long hot August, it can feel exciting.
Making the transition to autumn is also a great way to reorganize after a hectic summer and be better prepared going into the winter months. To make the transition a little smoother, we have created a to-do-list of ideas to help.

bedroom

Start with your bedroom
Gauzy cotton feels decidedly summer, while soft cashmere has a distinctly autumnal vibe. This time of year, feel free to use both luxe textures at once, but incorporate them in colors that are appropriate for the changing seasons: cream for cashmere, gray or stone for linen.

car

Winterize your car
Due for an inspection? Been meaning to get those tires changed? It’s tedious, but dealing with maintenance issues now instead of three months from now (when you’re stuck in a freak snowstorm) is definitely a smart move.

herbs

Perform a pantry audit
First, remove all the cans and boxes from the shelves and vacuum any lingering dust or crumbs. Then inspect each item before putting it back in its place, tossing anything that is expired or past its prime. If you are overloaded with canned goods, make a bag for the local food bank.

fireplace

Don’t neglect the Fireplace
You may not be ready to think about it yet, but on the first chilly night you’ll be glad you did. Hire a professional to inspect the fireplace and chimney to make sure it’s clear and ready for use.

Windermere Launches Ultra-Luxury Brand

Today Windermere Real Estate unveiled its ultra-luxury brand W Collection. W’ is a high-touch concierge service that not only markets luxury listings, but connects Windermere brokers and their clients to every aspect of the luxury industry.

W Collection’s goal is to develop a sophisticated brand that evokes the understated expression of wealth of the clients it represents. The new luxury division will focus on homes priced at $2.5 million and above in Seattle, and $3 million and above on the Eastside.

The market has dictated this elevated luxury tier, because the amount of homes in the $2.5 million and up range has exploded. Windermere is uniquely poised as the preeminent real estate company to cater to this clientele.

The W Collection will formally launch in late September.

W Collection will include a boutique office in Seattle where brokers can host events and connect privately with clientele.

Windermere has 7,000 agents in 300 offices in 11 states throughout the Western United States. It is the largest real estate company in the Pacific Northwest and largest regional real estate company in the Western United States.

w brand

Free Tour of Green Homes!

House in the trees

House in the trees

Record-breaking crowds are expected at the 2016 Northwest Green Home Tour on April 30 and May 1.

The free educational event, produced annually by Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, showcases local, sustainable, and green new homes, remodels, and energy retrofits in the Greater Seattle area. Last year’s tour drew 3,000 visitors.

The Green Home Tour features builders, contractors, suppliers, and green homeowners and facilitates interactions between building professionals and consumers.

Greenhome Solutions, Seattle’s only locally owned green building supply retailer, is the presenting sponsor for the NW Green Home Tour. The family-owned business offers a showroom near the Ballard Bridge, an online store, and certified installers for all its products.

The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is a nonprofit community of builders, designers, suppliers, homeowners, and partners concerned with ecological building in the Pacific Northwest.