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Month: April 2014

Do you really need new windows?

Do you really need new windows?

You might be surprised to hear that the answer is ‘probably not.’

Experts in “green building” will tell you that unless old window frames are thoroughly rotten, most windows can be repaired for a fraction of the replacement cost. Instead, if you spend about $1K to update insulation, caulking and weather stripping, you’ll still save 10%-20% on your energy bill. To recoup the cost of new windows, plan on staying in your house for another 10 years.

Posted by Alice Kuder on April 22, 2014

Should you move or improve?

Should you move or improve?

Should you move or improve your home? If you are a typical home owner, you probably ask yourself this question every few years. The answer is seldom obvious or simple.

The are basically two reasons to take on home improvement projects. The first is for your own enjoyment. The second is to increase the re-sale value.  Believe it or not, it can be easier to calculate the value of your enjoyment than the value of a remodel.

Remodeling Magazine conducts an annual survey providing insight into the relative recapture value of various home improvement projects. You can download the 2014 report for free from their website:

Kitchen and bathroom remodels tend to provide the best return on investment both in terms of re-sale and personal comfort, but they don’t come cheap. You should anticipate an average price tag  of $30-40K to re-do your kitchen, and $20-30K for a full bathroom (i.e. neither high-end nor low-end).

Financial considerations aside, the question of whether  to move or improve should be decided by the things you cannot change about your current home: the school district, commute/transportation options, lot size, neighbors, neighborhood. If you love your location, then improvements make sense, but if a different location is the biggest improvement you can make, then trading up may be the way to go.

Posted by Alice Kuder on April 19, 2014

Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a win-win business

Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a win-win business

Did you know that the non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity operates home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price? These ReStores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world.

The two locations closest to West Seattle are located at 21 S. Nevada St., 98134, and 13500 Bel Red Rd., Bellevue, 98005. Store hours at both locations are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm. Website address is:

Posted by Alice Kuder April 17, 2014


How hot is the Seattle real estate market?

How hot is the Seattle real estate market?

"Old" house
Sold in 4 days.
Sold in 5 days.


Here’s a story that will illustrate how quickly homes sell in the Seattle area right now.

My clients, N & E, called me on January 6th to discuss the possibility of selling their North Beacon Hill home in order to buy a new one that better met their changing needs.

After identifying and completing some minor tasks needed to get their home ready for market, they listed it with me on Thursday, Feb. 13th.

By Sunday, Feb. 16th, we had 5 offers; each buyer had invested in a pre-inspection so they could submit their offers without a inspection contingencies. The next day, N & E (digitally) signed one of the offers while they were vacationing in Hawaii! When they got back to town the following Sunday, we went house shopping for them.

That night, we found their perfect home. It had only been on the market for 2 days. The next day we wrote an offer…and so did 2 other prospective buyers. Happily, we won out and the sale closed on March 21st.

If you’re counting, that’s 13 days from putting their house on the market to signing an offer on their new house, and just 27 days from listing their old home to closing on their new home.

Give me a call if you’d like to discuss your options. 206-708-9800.

Posted by Alice Kuder on April 16, 2014