Small homes offer big advantages

Small home for sale!

Have you ever considered the big advantages to owning a small home?

In my first conversation with new clients looking to buy their first home, we always discuss their list of needs and wants (aka “must have” vs. “prefer”). This includes everything from  number of bedrooms and bathrooms to commute times and neighborhoods.

I am always interested to hear how much square footage my buyers would like. Most first-time buyers who are native to this area (whether a single person or a couple without children) estimate that they need at least 1000 sq. ft. of living space. Recently, however, I started working with a young couple who is moving here from Honolulu, Hawaii, where the price of real estate is significantly higher. They are used to living in such small spaces that 1,000 sq. ft. seems like a McMansion to them!

HERE ARE 10 ADVANTAGES TO OWNING A SMALL HOME

Living in a small home allows you to…

  1. Prevent back injuries (yours and your friends). Right from the start, moving into a small home costs less. You can rent a smaller moving truck and hire fewer helpers because it takes less time to move fewer belongings.
  2. Thumb your nose at the tax assessor. Personal property taxes are based on the combined value of your home and your lot. All other things being equal, the market value of a larger house is more than the market value of a smaller house, so the tax bill on a small home is less.
  3. Hire a maid.  It costs less to clean a smaller home; maybe you can afford a house cleaning service!
  4. Economize on flooring. Owners of small homes can often take advantage of bargain prices on flooring materials by shopping for remnants of hardwood, carpet, tile, etc.
  5. Avoid ladders. Most small homes are a single story, making it much more feasible to paint both interior and exterior walls yourself without risking a fall from a ladder. It’s also cheaper to hire a professional to paint your small home for you.
  6. Save on utility bills. It costs less to insulate, heat and cool smaller spaces. Consider using electric heat which eliminates the costs associated with furnace and duct work maintenance and allows you to heat just the rooms you are using.
  7. Spur your creativity. Smaller spaces inspire inventive ideas for maximizing every square inch of your home. Consider building a loft to take advantage of unused ceiling space. Or turn your stairs into drawers!
  8. Curb accumulation. The phrase, “Where would I put it?” will regularly run through your brian. When you have less space to fill, you tend to buy less stuff.
  9. Feel more secure. Smaller homes generally have fewer access points, i.e. doors and windows, so the bad guys can’t get in as easily without being seen/heard.
  10. Save travel time. Yes, it does take more time to walk from one end of a large home to the other and one floor to the next. Those seconds add up more quickly than you think, especially if you are running late!
Those are my Top 10 reasons for owning a small home. And here’s a bonus reason. Small homes are cuter than large homes!
If you are thinking of buying a small home, navigate to my Prudential Northwest Realty website where I have set up an automated small home search from various parts of metropolitan Seattle.
And here is a link to information about a terrific small home that is for sale in the Westwood neighborhood of West Seattle. (It happens to be my listing.) Call me today for an appointment to see it in person. 206-708-9800.

 

Westwood Bungalow for Sale

Just listed this week! Cute, cute, cute 2 bedroom/1 bath 1928 home in the under-appreciated Westwood neighborhood of West Seattle! 8139 30th Ave SW, 98126. $259,500  MLS# 368850

This small and adorable home has been lovingly cared for and is in great condition. Crown molding, muted, designer colors, hardwood floors, granite countertops, low-maintenance landscaping… it’s all here. 720 sq. ft of living space, plus another 220 unfinished space in the basement for storage and doing laundry. Huge 7,860 sq. ft. lot with a poured foundation for a 2+ car garage or MIL unit. Plenty of room for an RV or boat or both, with easy alley access.

AND it’s in Westwood! If you don’t know about the Westwood neighborhood, you should. One of the best-kept-secrets in West Seattle, Westwood has nearly every amenity you could want. AND you will likely pay at least $20K LESS than you would for a comparable home on “the other side” of 35th! Ignoring outdated perceptions of the east side of 35th Ave can save you big bucks and provide you a great quality of life.

Here’s some of what you will find within a 2 mile radius of this great home.

Westwood Village Shopping Center; US Post Office; 4 public parks (including Lincoln Park on Lowman Beach and one brand new park one block south of the home); 1 indoor and 1 outdoor public pool; numerous restaurants; 2 community centers; brand new public tennis courts; health club; bus lines to downtown; public and private schools; South Seattle Community College; Longfellow Creek Trail; and more!

Questions? Call me at 206-708-9800.

Wine and Wisdom permeate Savvy Seattle Women

Savvy Seattle Women (SSW) is an organization I started in February of 2010 to encourage home ownership for women. The core of the group is a Board of 6 women, all working in professions related to home ownership. Our intent is to grow our businesses by serving the unique needs of women who own their own homes, or aspire to own their own homes. (It is worth noting that we do not serve exclude men. Our programs and services are available to the general public.)

During our first two years we concentrated on offering monthly workshops, referrals and online advice and complimentary services. Beginning March 21st, 2012, we are changing the style of our monthly event from a workshop format to a discussion and information format, we are calling “Wine and Wisdom”.

Rather than focusing on a single topic, we will host a Q & A session where you can get expert advice for all topics related to buying, owning and maintaining a home. SSW Board members and other home service professionals will be on hand to answer whatever questions you’d like to ask of us.

“Wine & Wisdom” gatherings happen on the 3rd Wednesday of every month. They start at 6PM and end around 7:30 at the Prudential Northwest Realty office in West Seattle’s Jefferson Square Shopping Center. 4700 42nd Ave SW, Suite 600. 

Drop in for just a few minutes or stay the whole time.

Here are examples of some of the questions you could get answered during these informal discussions:

~ What home maintenance tasks should I do on a regular basis to upkeep my home?

~ I currently rent, but I’d like to own. What steps should I take to achieve this goal?

~ What are my options for refinancing my home?

~ What are my options for financing remodeling projects?

~ What remodeling projects will net me the highest return in re-sale value?

~ What are some low-cost DIY projects I can do for my home?

~ I’m thinking of selling my home. How can I find a good real estate agent?

~ How do Community Property laws affect my rights as a home owner?

~ How can I find a good electrician? plumber? contractor? painter? etc.

We weren’t kidding when we said “Wine & Wisdom”! We serve complimentary wine and refreshments at the event!

You can sign up to receive reminders about Wine & Wisdom by registering on the  www.Meetup.com website.

Another avenue for getting your questions answered is to join our Google Group. Send your e-mail to SavvySeattleWomen@GoogleGroups.com. The professionals on our Board will review and answer your questions.

Spread the word! Savvy Seattle Women are here to help!

Living alone isn’t necessarily lonely

Here’s a link to an article from The New York Times with an unusually positive take on the experience of living alone. It very much reflects my experience. How about yours?
OPINION
By ERIC KLINENBERG
Published: February 4, 2012
Living alone can make it easier to be social.

Do you have bad neighbors?

The front page of the Real Estate section of yesterday’s Seattle Times (Jan. 22, 2012) has an interesting article titled Next-Door Nemeses (by Dianna Wurn). The author puts some much-deserved focus on the phenomenon of bad neighbors and how they can affect both your peace of mind and your property values.

There are all kinds of bad neighbors, of course, ranging from the merely messy to the truly obnoxious. And what bothers you, may not bother someone else. Can you tolerate loud music with a pounding bass on a regular basis? How about dogs that defecate on your lawn or bark incessantly? What about a yard that is grossly overgrown or full of garage sale remnants? Multiple broken-down cars parked in front of the house? A disintegrating fence? Peeling paint? What if you suspect your neighbor is dealing drugs or running a house of prostitution or is a registered (or unregistered) sex offender?

When you think about it, there are soooooo many possibilities for bad behavior by a neighbor that we should be really grateful when the people next door are civil and considerate, even if they might not be best-friend material.

Bad behaviors involving the upkeep of a yard or house are often more easily cured than rude or obnoxious behavior, perhaps because it is less subjective. Most cities, including Seattle, have codes made up of ordinances requiring a certain level of upkeep by homeowners. For the most part, however, it seems to be up to one neighbor to report another for violations. I’ve never talked to anyone who knows the actual contents of these ordinances unless they’ve been in a dispute, but here is the Department of Planning and Development web address where you can fill out a complaint form.

One of the reasons this article caught my eye is that I have a friend who feels trapped in her home by this very problem. She has the neighbor from hell living on the other side of the wall that separates her town home from his. This is a guy who has invested heavily in the most expensive, commercial-grade sound equipment available and delights in cranking the volume up to its maximum during his frequent parties, which last till the wee hours. Hard to believe he has so many equally inconsiderate and oblivious friends.

Unable to negotiate a peaceful co-existence with this neighbor, my friend desperately wants to sell her town home and move, but she bought when prices were still high so selling now would mean losing a painfully significant amount of money. Plus, she took advantage of the $8K government tax credit, so she has to live in the house for 3 years or pay back the $8K.

She submitted a noise complaint to the City once, be the neighbor figured out who made the complaint and retaliated, so she is afraid to try that again. Other neighbors are equally unwilling to turn this guy in. Bad, bad Leroy Brown.

My friend and I have racked our brains, but haven’t come up with a workable solution that will allow her to retain both her mind and her investment. If you have any ideas, she’d love to hear them.

Tell me about the worst neighbor you’ve ever had.

 

 

 

Schizophrenic about living alone

There are times when I am grateful to live alone and times when I am not. At the moment, I am feeling a bit schizophrenic because I am experiencing both emotions at the same time.

On the one hand, for the past week I’ve been sick with some sort of upper-respiratory infection which has me barking like a seal, so I’m grateful I live alone because there is no one else to infect or keep awake at night by my coughing. I can sneeze, wheeze, cough and hack all I need to without feeling guilty about disturbing anyone.

Cassie & me

On the other hand, my precious pet, Cassie, passed away quite suddenly on Tuesday, so my home seems uncommonly empty and devoid of life. Not such a great time to live alone.

Bridging the gap are many generous, caring and considerate friends who allow me to call on them when I am in need. Their condolences, phone calls and company have been a great comfort. That’s another good thing about being single; it forces you to ask for and accept help from a wide base of friends, rather than hoping that one person will provide everything you need.

I will share more of my perspective on living alone in future posts. I’d love to hear yours as well. If you are single and living alone, how do you feel about it?

 

McLendon Hardware hosts “How to” clinics

As a single woman homeowner, I’m always looking for resources to help me learn how to maintain my home. I’m a big fan of McLendon Hardware because I find their staff to be knowledgeable, courteous and helpful. They may not have quite as big a selection of merchandise as the big box stores, and their prices are not quite as low, but I am always amazed by how much they DO have in stock and I find their prices to be moderate/reasonable. Living in West Seattle, I frequent McLendon’s White Center location, but I have had equally good experiences at McLendon’s in Renton and Puyallup.

I recently became aware of the free “How To” clinics McLendon’s offers on Saturdays at their Renton and Puyallup locations. The latest is happening this weekend (Sat. Dec. 3rd). Learn how to fix a leaky roof and how to weatherize your home.

What is your favorite place to get help with home maintenance?

McLendon Hardware "How To" clinics are Free!