CommunityOffice NewsRecreational ActivitiesUncategorized January 14, 2021

Level Up 2021

2020 is behind us and I’m sure you will agree that we bid it good riddance. Though it was hard on all of us to be separated from our families, friends and each other, we somehow managed to have an excellent year in terms of sales and keeping the virus out of our office. It’s really a tribute to all of our real estates agents professionalism and dedication to both their clients and co-workers. 

 Over the holidays I was able to spend some time with my grandson while he played his favorite video games. I was reminded of how video games are very much like life.  In the gaming world, at least the ones that are inherently competitive, the player moves through what seems like a never ending sequence of levels.  Each level is more difficult as the player conquers the previous one.  However, it is in the upward progression of levels that I see a direct correlation to life itself;  specifically in the mindset and skill set of the player.

 You see, as you move upward to the next level, the game becomes more difficult.  The next level is more intense and the player must now have a mindset that is more focused and determined.  His or her skill set will be challenged to a greater extent than the previous level.  And as the player becomes more skilled, combined with a winning mindset, they find success.  Slowly but surely, they get better and better at the new level they are playing, until they break through.  With each conquering comes the bounty. Yes, without exception, the games offer greater and greater rewards with each victory. 

 In life, when we UP our level, we become uncomfortable with the degree of difficulty we just put upon ourselves. It’s harder. We have to focus intently and improve our skill sets in order to navigate the new level.  There will be risk.  There will assuredly be failure.  But always, always, always………….rewards. 

Windermere Mill Creek has dedicated the new year to what we call LEVELUP2021.  We hope you will join us in challenging yourselves to up your level in whatever that may be.  It could be in your business life, family life or whatever.  But as the video games prove, the challenge is worth it.  As your mindset and skill sets continue to grow and improve, it is not possible to be the same person that you were as you progress through the levels of life.  That in itself is a great reward.

Agent NewsBudgetBuyingCommunityHealthHomesHousingOffice NewsReal EstateRetirementVacation homes January 7, 2021

How to Make Moving With Your Cat or Dog a Success

blog post by Chasity Rodriguez


IN A TIME DEFINED IN many ways by the coronavirus pandemic, everyday life is affected constantly as we adapt to changing circumstances. One of the many effects of the pandemic is that more and more people are buying or adopting pets, sometimes referred to as “pandemic puppies,” than ever before.

Simultaneously, an increasing number of people are sheltering in place or being uprooted and going through multiple moves due to major life shifts in how they work or go to school. For many families, that means packing up and making a move with their furry friends in tow.

Moving is not necessarily a fun activity, and we often don’t take into consideration just how stressful it can be for our four-legged friends. Animals, like people, need time to adjust. But with smart preparation and planning, you can make the move successful and easier for your pet, for you and for your new home.


Here are five tips to make moving with your pet as pleasant and stress-free as possible:


Visit Your New Home Before Moving Day

Introduce your pet to your new home and surroundings the way you might introduce young children to the space (they’re called “fur babies” for a reason, after all). Most people bring their children to their new home a few times prior to an actual move to get them excited about the house and neighborhood. This gives them time to explore and visualize themselves in the new environment and can alleviate some of the stress that may carry over with the major transition.

Try this with your dogs, too – let them sniff around while you’re taking measurements for furniture. Take them for a walk around the block so they can start to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. Seek out any local dog-friendly parks and research where the best veterinarians and doggy day cares are. You’ll both come to rely on these resources, and it’ll be a great way to meet new people in your neighborhood.

You may be tempted to throw away old, worn-out items prior to your move, but you’ll be glad that you didn’t get rid of your dog’s favorite chew toy or your cat’s beloved scratching post. Having these familiar items present in their new spaces will be key to helping them acclimate and feel right at home.

If you really hate that old dog bed, it doesn’t have to stay in your new house long-term. Keep it around for the first few weeks until the dog adjusts and feels comfortable in its new space. Think about how you would feel if someone tossed your favorite pillow that you simply cannot sleep without.

The same goes for cats. You may feel inclined to get a brand-new litter box for your new home, but hang onto the one they’re familiar with while they get used to the new setting.

Keep Them Away From the Action

No one enjoys the mayhem of moving day. The house is a mess, movers are rummaging around and you’re scrambling to do your best to make sure it all goes as smoothly as possible.

It may be a smart move for families with children to send them to stay with a family member or friend on the actual move day, and do the same with your pet, if possible. You don’t want them to associate their new home with the inevitable chaos and the frazzled mood you are sure to feel on moving day. If you don’t have someone that lives nearby, drop them off at day care or ask a new neighbor if they’d be willing to help.

Prevent Accidental Damages

A move can make pets act abnormally – your dog may decide to use the floor as a bathroom or a cat may scratch up the carpeting. To avoid these potentially costly damages, try to protect your new home as if you were dealing with a new puppy or kitten with some simple precautions.

Lay floor mats down or cover the couch temporarily until you know all the moving jitters have subsided. An accident can create more stress for both of you, and tarnish what should be a loving and peaceful new environment.

Give Them a Room, Then Room to Grow

Cats, in particular, are more likely to feel anxious about their new surroundings. A way to ease their anxiety is to limit their initial access to the whole house or apartment. Create a home base for them in one room that has their favorite toys, water, treats and a litter box, and allow them to acclimate on their own time. Once they’re comfortable there, you can open up additional space for them to explore room by room. If your cat’s home base isn’t the final destination for its litter box, slowly move it closer to the permanent location each day.

Finally, don’t forget to change your pet’s address tags when you relocate. With time, patience and smart planning, everyone will start off on the right foot (or paw) in your new home.


By Allison Chiaramonte, Contributor


Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Windermere Mill Creek

BudgetCommunityHomesHousingOffice NewsReal EstateRetirementVacation homes December 22, 2020

How to Winterize Your Home Checklist

by Chasity Rodriguez

Make sure your home is safeguarded against subfreezing temperatures. Our checklist will help you ensure you’re prepared.


Protect Your Pipes

Depending on the region of the United States you’re in, you’ll need to protect your pipes from bursting this winter.

Frozen Pipes: Prevention and Repair

Check Your Fireplace

Animal nests or creosote buildup in your fireplace can be hazardous. Have an annual inspection before building your first fire of the season. Also, soot and other debris build up in the chimney. Call a chimney sweep to thoroughly clean the chimney before your first winter use. You should also vacuum or sweep out any accumulated ash from the firebox.

Clean Your Fireplace

Clean the Gutters

Cleaning your gutters is an important part of winter prep. A good rule of thumb is to have the gutters cleaned as soon as the last leaves have fallen in the autumn. To prevent clogging, inspect and clean the gutters of leaves and other debris. Clean gutters will also allow melting snow to drain properly.

If you want to avoid gutter cleanings, consider gutter guards. They can be made of stainless steel or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and will help keep out leaves, pine needles, roof sand grit and other debris from your gutter. They need to be occasionally brushed off to ensure the guards work to their maximum effectiveness, but it’s not as strenuous as routine cleanings.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

In the winter, the Department of Energy suggests keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re at home. Lower the thermostat a few degrees while you’re away or sleeping. Switching your thermostat out for a programmable version is a good idea. It’ll let you customize your heating so the system doesn’t run when you don’t need it, keeping your home comfortable and bills down.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Bring in the Outdoors

Cold temperatures, snow and ice can damage outdoor furniture and grills. If possible, store them in the garage or basement. If you have a gas grill with a propane tank, close the tank valve and disconnect the tank first. It must be stored outside. If you don’t have storage space for your items, purchase covers to protect them from the elements. You also need to maintain your grill and cover it before putting it away for the season.

Clean and Maintain Your Grill

Maintain Your Outdoor Equipment

Outdoor power tools, such as mowers and string trimmers, need to be cleaned and maintained prior to storing. If you have a snow blower, it’s time to inspect it before the first snowfall to ensure it’s working properly.

Why Own a Generator

Caring for Outdoor Power Equipment

Save on Your Energy Bills

Call your local power company to see if they conduct energy saving assessments. It’s often a free service where a representative will identify specific changes to make your home more energy efficient and save you money. In addition to the suggestions above, LED light bulbs and water heater blankets can also make a difference.

Make Your Furnace More Efficient

Your furnace will function more efficiently with a clean filter. A dirty filter with trapped lint, pollen, dust, etc., obstructs airflow and makes your furnace run longer to heat your home. Replace filters at least every three months.

Be Roof-Ready

Snow, rain, ice and wind can make it challenging for your home to withstand winter’s wrath. Of particular concern should be your roof. You can get a head start on winterizing your roof with a few key steps.

  • Inspect the roof. Look for broken, frayed, curled or missing shingles; clogged valleys; damaged flashing; or deterioration.
  • Clear leaves, pine needles, dirt and other accumulated debris from the roof.
  • Cut back overhanging branches to prevent damage to shingles and gutters.
  • Install snow guards.
  • Check the attic and ceilings for staining from water leakage. While you’re up there, make sure the attic is properly ventilated to prevent mold and mildew.
  • If you live in an area that’s prone to snow, invest in a snow roof rake.

Protect Windows From Heat Loss

To help keep chilly air from leaking in through window cracks, swap out the lightweight summer curtains with thermal lined curtains or drapes. They’ll help keep your home warm and lower your heating bill. For the windows that don’t get direct sunlight, keep the curtains or drapes closed to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.

Time to Stock Up

Don’t wait for the next big winter storm. Depending on where you live, there are certain staples that are good to stock up on ahead of time.

  • Snow shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Ice melt
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Weather radio
  • Emergency car kit (extra blankets, radio, ice scraper, car charger, first aid kit, jumper cables)
  • Water and food that doesn’t require cooking or preparation (dried fruit, granola bars, crackers, etc.)
  • Extra pet food




Written by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Office News December 7, 2020

Your Winter Reading List


Winter Reading List

These are my reading picks to enjoy reading through Winter. I hope you enjoy them along with other reading options through King County Library System which is offering contact-free pick up and return of physical library materials. All online services and resources continue to be available. No in-library services are available at this time. Visit there site here,


Oak Flat by Redniss, Lauren

A powerful work of visual nonfiction about three generations of an Apache family struggling to protect sacred land from a multinational mining corporation, by MacArthur “Genius” and National Book Award finalist Lauren Redniss, the acclaimed author of Thunder & Lightning. Oak Flat is a serene high-elevation mesa that sits above the southeastern Arizona desert, fifteen miles to the west of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.


Youth to Power by Margolin, Jamie

“The 1963 Children’s March in Birmingham, Alabama. Tiananmen Square, 1989. The 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests. March for Our Lives, and School Strike for Climate. What do all these social justice movements have in common? They were led by passionate, informed, engaged young people. Jamie Margolin has been organizing and protesting since she was fourteen years old. Now the co-leader of a global climate action movement, she knows better than most how powerful a young person can be.


We hope you enjoy the books I have chosen for you. Visit to view other wonderful books that are available online. Libraries are not open yet but you can reserve books online and there are safe pick up and drop off options for you.



Written by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Agent NewsBuyingCommunityHomesHousingReal EstateVacation homes November 10, 2020

Why This Winter’s ‘Slow’ Home-Selling Season May Be Hotter Than Ever

Winter is traditionally real estate’s slow season. Between the cold weather and the holidays, the housing market typically plunges into a hibernation of sorts, with both buyers and sellers shelving any major real estate moves until spring. This winter’s real estate market, however, is shaping up to be unlike any other before it—and, contrary to what some may have feared, is slated to be an excellent time to sell a home. In fact, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, predicts “it will be one of the best winter sales years ever.” Why? Chalk it up to a perfect storm of low mortgage interest rates, sparse housing inventory, plus a pandemic that’s fundamentally changed how, when, and where buyers are shopping for homes. So if you’ve assumed you should put your home-selling plans on hold until spring, read on for a surprising reality check on all the reasons this winter could be a great time to put your house on the market.


Pandemic lockdowns have created pent-up buyer demand

While spring is typically real estate’s busy season, the “silent spring” of 2020 saw the housing market grind to a near halt amid pandemic-mandated lockdowns. This, in turn, created pent-up demand to purchase property that is only now being unleashed. “We currently see buyers sticking around in the housing market much later than we usually do this fall,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at®. “If that trend continues, we will see more buyers in the market this winter, too. So this winter is likely to be a good time to sell.” “There are plenty of people in the pipeline ready to hit the market this late autumn and winter,” Yun agrees. Many real estate agents have noticed this glut of eager buyers first-hand. “Winter is usually a slower season, but this year we’re not seeing any sign of letting up,” says Matt van Winkle, a real estate broker and owner of Re/Max Northwest Realtors in Seattle. “The selling season was delayed because of COVID lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, so several months of usual busy sales periods were delayed.” This buyer demand likely won’t wane anytime soon. “We will see an extended purchase season in 2020 and into 2021,” says Shelby McDaniels, channel director of corporate home lending at Chase.


Lockdowns are forcing many buyers to upsize their homes

COVID-19 has not only created pent-up demand, but many buyers are also in the market purely because they’re working/schooling from home and realizing their space is no longer big enough—particularly now that the temperature’s dropping so they can’t easily escape to their back patio to catch up on emails alone. “With people spending so much time in their homes, including working from home and virtual schooling, there’s a great emphasis on being happy there,” says Matt Curtis, owner of Matt Curtis Real Estate, in Huntsville, AL. Lack of space is a complaint agents hear more often now. And if people are allowed to continue working from home rather than commuting to an office, they might also realize that they can shop for homes farther outside cities—great news for home sellers who live in more remote areas.


Housing inventory is low

Although buyers are plentiful, the number of homes for sale is way lower than usual. According to’s Monthly Housing Market Trends Report, in September, national housing inventory declined 39% over last year. “Because the number of homes available is currently at a record low, even if we see some improvement, which I expect, there will still be relatively few homes for sale,” Hale says. “That will keep upward pressure on home prices and help ensure that homes continue to sell quickly.” “Inventory is low, so the overall advantage is with the seller,” agrees Yun. Tracy Jones, a real estate agent with Re/Max Platinum Realty in Sarasota, FL, says buyers have so few homes to choose from these days that they’re feeling forced to make quick decisions about whether to make an offer, or risk losing out on the chance. Nationally, homes spent an average of 54 days on the market in September, 12 fewer days than last year, according to the trends report. “The buyers I have worked with this year only had a handful of homes to look at,” Jones says. “They had no time to wait and talk about it, and they had to fight other buyers if they wanted to buy them.”

Sellers can get top dollar for their homes

It’s simple supply and demand: Low supply and high demand are bound to drive up home prices, so sellers stand to make a killing. Across the country, median home listing prices jumped 11.1% in September compared with a year ago, to $350,000, according to Price per square foot increased by 13.9%. “Sales prices and home values remain strong,” McDaniels says. And since there are so many offers on the table, “sellers can call the shots regarding terms of contract and repairs.” The only challenge sellers face with such low inventory—if you can even call it a challenge—is dealing with too many offers at once, says Curtis. “The challenge they face is navigating multiple offers and not accepting an offer too quickly to help ensure they get the most money for their home,” he says.


Mortgage interest rates are low

Although buyers will face stiff competition, it’s not all bad news for them. For one, despite high home prices, record-low interest rates mean they’ll save a ton of money. Interest rates on a 30-year fixed-rate loan were 2.8% as of Oct. 22, according to Freddie Mac. This “boosts buyer home purchasing power,” Hale says. “In fact, despite double-digit increases in home prices this year compared to last year, today’s home buyers are likely actually paying slightly less on their mortgage each month, thanks to much lower mortgage rates.” The Federal Reserve has continued to lower interest rates this year to keep the economy going during the COVID-19 crisis, says McDaniels. “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, economists and real estate professionals predicted mortgage interest rates would remain below 4% in 2020,” she says. “This means buyers that might have waited will consider entering the market this year.”


Any economic shift likely won’t be felt until spring

Although unemployment continues to rise due to COVID-19 layoffs, Hale says this could affect the real estate market, but the effects likely won’t be felt for a few months. “A worsening unemployment rate would lead to a slowdown in the housing market and home sales, but I don’t expect that to happen immediately, more likely in the spring,” Hale says. This could create a slower start to the spring home-buying season. Plus, if another round of stimulus money appears, this would fuel consumer spending. “This would be a good thing for the housing market and the economy at large,” Hale says.

 | Nov 2, 2020



Blog by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Office News October 22, 2020

5 Ways to Stage a Cozy Outdoor Space for Cooler Weather

During the pandemic, outdoor space has become a premium consideration. Homeowners are sprucing up their spaces to maximize every square inch of their properties, and home buyers are reportedly giving more weight to the outdoor appeal of homes. But as the weather cools, how can you continue to take advantage of these spaces?

You can still stage an outdoor space to show off its appeal in any season, designers say. Here are few tips.


Add a fire pit


Outdoor fireplaces or fire pits are a big win once the sun goes down and the weather cools off. You can even stage the area with ingredients for s’mores.


Add plush cushions and blankets


Wrought-iron or plastic deck chairs come off as cold. Add seat cushions, outdoor pillows, and a basket of warm throws. “Wool blankets are the best for regulating temperature, especially lightweight merino or cashmere ones, which make lingering on the patio or in the yard luxurious.


Add a heat lamp


Patio heaters have become one of the hottest accessories this fall as the temperature drops. The phrase “patio heaters” has reached a record volume of searches, according to Google Trends. Standing propane or electric heat lamps, or an infrared heating device installed on a porch ceiling, can warm up a space.


Add an all-weather rug.


An extra layer on your outdoor space can cozy it up. All-weather rugs are made to withstand weather changes, particularly those made from polypropylene. Outdoor rugs can add something underfoot as you walk on a back deck, plus provide a pop of color to liven up the space.


Add extra lighting.



Outdoor lamps aren’t going to bring in any extra warmth, but they can help with ambiance, designers say. Consider adding twinkling Edison bulb lights wrapped around the top of a pergola or a back deck; glowing lanterns or Mason jars with tea lights on side tables; or tiki torches placed strategically in the yard.®.


Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Windermere Mill Creek Real Estate

BudgetBuyingCommunityHomesHousingReal Estate October 8, 2020

Everything You Need to Know About HOAs


   If you have been shopping for a new home recently, you might have realized that more and more communities have an HOA, and therefore have HOA fees. If you buy a home within an HOA, you have to join it, no matter what. So what is an HOA and are they really worth the fees they charge? Should you pass on your dream home just because it is a part of an HOA? Keep reading to find out more about HOAs and whether they are really as bad as everyone thinks! 

What Really is a Homeowners Association?

   So what really is a Homeowners Association, or HOA? An HOA is an organization in a condominium or other neighborhood community that makes and enforces rules for the people living in that community and how they need to upkeep their homes. If you buy a home within an HOAs jurisdiction you automatically become a member in that HOA. An HOA is usually made up from other people in the neighborhood or community. It is nice that the organization is made up of people in the community, but sometimes this means the HOA could be run by people who don’t necessarily know what they are doing or talking about when it comes to your neighborhoods or homes real value. The rules they make are usually designed to keep the neighborhood looking uniform and nice. The rules typically only apply to the front exterior to the house and target things like the cleanliness  and condition of the property. They are usually just rules about how long you can let your grass grow or what color you can paint your house. There may also be rules about the types of things you can use to decorate your yard with too and when it’s ok to display seasonal decorations. This is to make sure that each home and the overall neighborhood is able to maintain its value overtime. So there is a purpose for the fees that they charge their members.

What Are The Fees Used For?

   The fees that HOAs charge are used for more than just helping them enforce the rules. The fees usually go towards things like paying for landscapers for the neighborhood, amenities like community pools and playgrounds or tennis courts, or even neighborhood events during the year, like a neighborhood block party. The fees can even be applied towards things like trash services and snow removal in the winter. The fees average anywhere from $200-$400 a month depending on the neighborhood, but everything goes toward improving your neighborhood and home value.

Overall Pros and Cons

   Just like anything else you need to consider when buying a home, there are pros and cons to an HOA. The main pros being the HOA rules are there to protect your home’s value and that the fees usually go towards things for the community, like being able to maintain a community pool or events like a block party. Some people would say that an HOA can make a neighborhood closer because of the meetings involved and it usually is made up of members of the community. The main cons are that the management could be inexperienced therefore not making the best decisions and that there are set monthly fees that are usually over $200.

   The best way to think about an HOA fee is to just realize it is an investment in your personal community. Like I stated earlier, more and more neighborhoods seem to be requiring you to pay an HOA fee, and while it might feel like an unwanted and unnecessary fee, it can really benefit you at the end of the day. So I wouldn’t suggest passing on your dream home just because of an HOA fee, because that fee might just make your dream home that much better. 


Written By Nikki Allen

Agent NewsCommunityEventsRecreational Activities October 1, 2020

Your Fall Reading List


Fall Reading List

These are my reading picks through the Fall. I hope you enjoy them along with other reading options through Sno-Isle Libraries which is offering contact-free pick up and return of physical library materials. All online services and resources continue to be available. No in-library services are available at this time. Visit there site here,



The Impersonator by Mary Miley

“In 1917, Jessie Carr, fourteen years old and sole heiress to her family’s vast fortune, disappeared without a trace. Now, years later, her uncle Oliver Beckett thinks he is found her: a young actress in a vaudeville playhouse is a dead ringer for his missing niece. But when Oliver confronts the girl, he learns he is wrong. Orphaned young, Leah’s been acting since she was a toddler. Oliver, never one to miss an opportunity, makes a proposition: with his coaching, Leah can impersonate Jessie, claim the fortune, and split it with him”–Dust jacket flap.



The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zeitlow Miller

Growing up in the segregated town of Clarksville, Tennessee, in the 1960s, Alta’s family cannot afford to buy her new sneakers–but she still plans to attend the parade celebrating her hero Wilma Rudolph’s three Olympic gold medals.



We hope you enjoy the books I have chosen to put on our blog to read. Visit to view other wonderful books that are available online. Sno-Isle Libraries are not open yet but you can reserve books online and there are safe pick up and drop off options for you.



Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Windermere Mill Creek Real Estate

Office News September 14, 2020




Buying your first home is typically pretty straight forward. Find a REALTOR®, secure financing, scope out homes, make an offer, and sign the papers. But when it’s time to move on from that first home, the process gets a bit more complicated. Should you sell your first home before you buy your next one? If you do, where will you live in between? Can you buy a new home before you sell your old home? If you do, how will you pay for it with your money tied up in your first home? It’s enough to make your head spin.

While conventional wisdom suggests you shouldn’t buy a new house before selling your old home, it is possible, although riskier than selling before you buy. To decide what’s right for you, consider the pro’s and con’s of each approach and then take the process step by step.

  • Access to cash: Selling your old home before you buy your new home gives you cash in the bank. This means you’ll have funds available for a decent down payment and you won’t run the risk of having to pay two mortgages.
  • The possibility of a better deal: When you’ve already sold your first home, you’ll have a clear idea of how much money you have to spend on your new home. And, without the pressure to sell quickly, you can make sure you’re getting a great price when you sell. On the flip side, going into a new purchase without a contingency to sell your old home can be very appealing to sellers.
  • Less stress: With one deal behind you, you can focus on what lies ahead. Not having to worry about moving funds around, or paying two mortgages simultaneously, makes the path from moving from your current home to your new home much smoother.
  • Extra unknowns: When you’ve sold your current home before you’ve bought your new home you’ll need to consider where you’ll live in the meantime. It can be stressful to find a temporary place to live. You may feel like a burden if you’re staying with friends or family and the pressure to find a new home quickly may cause you to make a rash decision.
  • Additional costs: It’s unlikely that your temporary housing will be able to accommodate all of your belongings. You’ll need to budget for a storage locker while you house hunt. And, because you’ll actually need to move twice – from your old home to your temporary home and then into your new home – you’ll also need to budget for two sets of moving costs.
  • Less of a time crunch: When you’re buying your new home while still living in your old home, you won’t have the pressure to move out of your temporary housing situation meaning you can relax and enjoy the home buying process. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind if your new deal falls through knowing you still have your old home to stay in.
  • Only one move: If you wait to see your old home until you’ve bought your new home, you’ll only have to pack up your things and move once. This will eliminate the need to budget for storage and temporary housing. Plus, if your new home needs improvements, you can stay in your old home while those updates are made and your new home is move-in ready.
  • Financing can be tricky: With your funds tied up in your old home, coming up with enough cash for a down payment, especially if you’re moving into a more expensive home, can be difficult. While there are ways to overcome this hurdle (see below), this is a big challenge many current homeowners try to avoid. In some cases, you may not qualify for a new mortgage if you have an existing one.
  • Additional costs: If you’ve bought a new house before selling your hold home there will be a period of time where you’re paying two mortgages. Not only that, but you’ll also be responsible for two sets of taxes. Both of these scenarios should be budgeted for ahead of time.
  • More stress: Figuring out financing can be a huge stressor. You also need to consider what to do if you don’t sell your house right away. You can rent your old home while it’s on the market to help cover some of your monthly payments, but being a landlord comes with its own set of issues. The pressure to sell might make you accept a lower offer on your home just to be done with it.

Deciding whether you want to buy first or sell first is just one step on the road to owning your next home. No matter which route you take, these steps will help guide you through the process:

  1. Assemble your team: With so many variables to consider and paperwork to manage, finding a skilled REALTOR® can eliminate a lot of stress and help you buy and sell with confidence. William Fastow, an associate broker with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Washington, D.C. told Bank Rate, “Working with a really experience REALTOR® makes a huge difference. There are a lot of moving pieces, so you want to work with someone who has a proven track record in your market and experience across both buying and selling.”
  2. Figure out your financing: In a perfect world, you’d have concurrent closings, selling your old home in the morning and closing on your new home in the evening. But things rarely go that smoothly. And, if you’re buying before you sell, you may have to get creative to free up funds. Darrow Wealth Management lists these six ways to finance the purchase of your new home while selling your old home.
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC) or home equity loans: Home equity loans are essentially a second mortgage that provides you with cash. Your lender can help you decide if this is an option for you.
  • 401(K) loan: With some 401(k) plans, you’re permitted to take out a loan under the plan. Often, with this type of loan, your debt ratio isn’t affected because lenders see 401(k) loans as borrowing from yourself. However, if you’re taking out a large sum and won’t be able to pay it back quickly, this strategy may leave you worse off in the long run.
  • Cash-out refinance: Similar to a HELOC, a cash-out refinance allows you to turn your current equity into cash. However, instead of placing a second lien on your home, this option pays off your first mortgage and sets you up with a new one. There are closing costs associated with a cash-out refi, so make sure you fully understand the terms before committing.
  • Gifts: Who doesn’t love free money? If you have someone willing to assist you in the form a monetary gift, you’ll need to have the donor sign an agreement stating the amount won’t be repaid. You and your donor should speak with a tax professional since the IRS may tax the gift depending on the amount.
  • Less than 20% down payment: You may be able to secure a loan without a 20% down payment. Standards vary by lender and state, so talk to a mortgage professional for guidance int his area.
  • Use a sale-leaseback contingency: This is a common strategy used to negotiate a deal. Darrow Wealth Management states, “A seller may request a sale-leaseback to (literally) buy them some more time to purchase a new home after selling theirs.” The buyers and sellers must agree on the terms.
  • Negotiate the timeline: Whether you’re selling first or buying first, working out a timeline that works for both the buyer and the seller is an essential part of a successful deal. Mark Pire, a REALTOR® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in New Canaan, Connecticut says, “Making sure you can close on the same date is a huge part of negotiating our terms.”
  • Expect the unexpected: Planning for the worst-case scenario allows you the flexibility to walk away from a deal you’re not happy with or bounce back if a potential buyer backs out with a minimal loss. Knowing that things might not go as planned and having an idea of how to deal with temporary housing, extra moving costs, or hold-ups with financing will give you peace of mind as you make your move.

Moving from your old home into your new home is a different process for everyone and what might be right for you may not be right for your neighbor. Working with a REALTOR® to understand your options and support you in the complicated process of buying and selling will help ensure you’re happy in your new home.


July 2020


Blog Post created by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director


Recreational ActivitiesUncategorized September 1, 2020

5 Family Friendly Things To Do This September

September usually means the end of summer and the beginning of fall. But I feel like people have a lot of trouble figuring out what to do for fun because of all of the changes that are going on. Usually school is just starting, people are just getting back from their Labor Day trips or their last big summer outings of the year, and trying to come up with fun things to do to entertain both yourself and the kids is just that much harder than anticipated. Well let me help you out with some fun and relaxing ideas that your whole family will enjoy!

Go Blueberry Picking

Growing up, one of my neighbors had a bunch of blueberry bushes on their property and they usually let us come and pick blueberries every year. It was always one of my favorite things to do! Besides, there’s no better way to make blueberry pancakes than with freshly picked blueberries! Luckily, there are plenty of U-Pick farms in Western Washington and quite a few here in Snohomish County! Blueberry Farms are not just great for picking blueberries though! They are also a great place to go and get some family pictures! So make sure you bring your camera to capture all of the memories your family is going to make! Please make sure you are following the guidelines that are in effect right now due to COVID-19 if you do choose to go out and spend the day on the farms. A couple of the Blueberry farms I would suggest checking out would be Mountainview Blueberry Farm which is located in Snohomish and Blueberry Beads which is located in Bothell and is hosting their grand opening on September 1st, 2020. Not only is Blueberry Beads a great place to go for getting blueberries but they also sell beads and other crafting materials. It is definitely a place you are going to want to check out! 

Check Out Donut Fest Seattle

Happening on Sunday September 13th, 2020 is the Donut Fest Seattle! What better way to spend a Sunday than munching on (a few) donuts with the family? This event is being held by Food + Travel at Peddler Brewing Company in Seattle and tickets range from $10-$25. The best part of this festival? Not only is it about donuts, but it is also about beer! So if you’re over 21 you can partake in some beer tasting too! They will have quite a few activities to do other than just eating donuts and drinking beer too! If you get a general admissions ticket you can take part in things like voting in the Best Dessert contest, taking photos at their photo booth, and the opportunity to buy some Donut Fest swag. If you get VIP tickets though you can do all of that stuff while also getting a gift bag and also have the chance to win prizes in the games going on! For more information or to buy tickets click here

Take a Trip to Leavenworth

Another fun thing to do with your family this summer is pack everyone in the car and visit Washington’s own little piece of Bavaria, Leavenworth! Things in Leavenworth are looking differently this fall because of the COVID-19. This year they had to cancel the annual Autumn Leaf Festival. This is Leavenworth’s longest running festival that started in 1964, and it is actually the original festival of Leavenworth.So usually there is a huge celebration with a parade and they have a yearly announcing of the Royal Lady of the Autumn Leaves. Even though this year’s autumn festival is cancelled, they are already working hard to make 2021’s Autumn Leaf Festival better than ever! Even though the Autumn Leaf Festival is canceled this year, there are still a lot of fun things to do too. Every Thursday in September they have a community Farmers Market happening from 4pm-7pm. And every Friday-Sunday they have the Village Art in the Park happening from 9am-6pm, where they showcase both amateur and professional artists from the Northwest. I think the best part about visiting Leavenworth in the fall though is seeing all of the green leaves change to orange! And if you are able to take State Route 2, you are in for a beautiful drive! 

Take Your Pup to the Pumpkin Patch

On Sunday September 20th and Wednesday September 30th at Craven Farms in Snohomish, WA, come hang out to celebrate their second annual Pooches in the Patch! For this event Craven Farms allows families to bring their dogs with them to spend the day relaxing while taking in the farm scenery. September 19th is also the opening day to their Fall Festival so you can expect a lot of exciting things going on if you choose to visit on the 20th! They will have tons of activities to do like a corn maze, a pumpkin patch and plenty of games too! Admission is free but there are still some activities you will have to pay for if you want to participate in them. Also please be respectful to the restrictions they will have this year due to COVID-19.

Go to Your Local Farmers Market

Another fun thing to do with the whole family is spend the afternoon at the farmers markets. Where else can you spend the afternoon getting outside to support local businesses and artists, while also getting some nice, fresh produce? September typically is the last month most places have farmers markets here in Western Washington but I’ll tell you some places you can still go and check out! Monroe has their farmers market going until September 30th and it falls on every Wednesday up until then. It is held in the Galaxy Theater parking lot and is being held 3pm-6pm. Head a little down south to Burien and you can hit up their farmers market. The Burien Farmers Market is a year round farmers market and it occurs every Thursday from 11am-6pm. If you are near the Lake Forest Park area,they have a farmers market every Sunday up until October 18th, 2020. The Lake Forest Park farmers market is held 10am-2pm in the Town Center. 

This list is just some of the fun things you and your family can do this September! There’s a whole more going on so make sure to check your local Facebook events pages to see what else is happening around you this month! The beginning of a new season always brings on a bunch of new activities, so get out and get your adventure on!


Written by Nikki Allen