Tips for Spring Sellers!

 

The flowers are starting to bud, and the sun is peaking through the clouds (on some days); Spring is in the air and For Sale signs are emerging around Seattle. How do you stay ahead of the game? As the housing market begins to heat up, sellers can take these extra steps to help stand out among the rest. At first glance, potential buyers are scrutinizing your property before they even step foot in the door, and having a clean entrance and yard can make a big difference for first impressions.  Adding a beautiful potted plant to the front porch, or staining the front deck could be relatively small projects that could add generous appeal to your home.

Staging your home is another great way to entice buyers to choose your home. Hiring professionals to arrange your home to appeal to a broad array of buyers could be the difference between a buyer choosing your home, or choosing one just down the street. Removing personal belongings helps buyers envision themselves living on the property- not you. Also remember to give your home a good cleaning before showings; a clean home feels bigger and more inviting.

For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

JOSEPHINE: Homemade Takeout Food

Traci, Josephine cook, prepares to roast brussel sprouts with preserved lemon.                                 Video: Rustic studio in L.A. /posted on Josephine site

A made-in-the-kitchen small business revolution is occurring in Capitol Hill and neighborhoods across Seattle. Josephine, an Oakland, CA-based startup which recently expanded to Seattle in 2016, believes in empowering home chefs to reach their local community, while supplying good meals to neighbors. This blog post happened because of a glowing comment from a current Josephine customer, Jordan L., in Capitol Hill. He enthusiastically recommended their service (see his referral below).

From customer Jordan L.

The two who started this business, Charley and Tal, named it after meeting initially at the warm, welcome home of a mutual friend’s mother Josephine, who invited them over regularly. This spawned discussions over meals about the value of home-cooking and whether we were losing that connection in our world.

 

A reoccurring comment about the Josephine service is that it connects neighbors to other neighbors; sometimes people you wouldn’t meet in your day-to-day, busy life. Customers come pick their food up in a chef’s warm, welcome (and safety-certified) kitchen, after signing up for free at the Josephine site.  After entering your zip code on the site, you will be able to see where chefs are located in your area. Once a week, members receive a newsletter showing the week’s food offerings from different kitchens, and how far they are away from your location.

Weekly Food Offerings near Capitol Hill (varies weekly). Photo: Josephine

This method requires meal planning on your part, since it’s not a delivery service, but many people say the homemade food quality is excellent. Chefs often have repeat customers. The choices are vast: ethnic dishes (that might not be available at restaurants in that neighborhood), vegan, gluten-free, baked goods and American comfort food, to name a few.

Community at cook Akiko’s home. Photo: Josephine / The Seattle Times

“We provide healthy food options, where the money stays in the community,” says Simone Stolzoff, Director of Communications, at Josephine. “You can buy food that reflects individual cooks’ culture; the most authentic representation of what they would feed to their own families.” Dishes are served a la carte, and cooks set their own prices, typically ranging between $8-12 per full meal, according to Stolzoff. In the Seattle area, including Capitol Hill, the local network extends as far north as Lynnwood and as far south as Tacoma.

Cook Shui Zhu’s creations. Photo: The Seattle Times / Josephine

Those approved to cook for Josephine decide what they want to cook and how often, and carry a WA food handlers licence as certification. They pass a safety inspection from Josephine, and two Masters of Public Health are on staff to check-in with new cooks before ever posting their offerings. Mark Bittman, of PBS and cookbook fame, also sits on Josephine’s board. Small business owners receive 90% of the revenue, while 10% goes to Josephine for maintaining the website, marketing home cooks’ meals, and creating a credit payment process for them.

It isn’t always smooth sailing. Although meeting standards for food safety, they have run into problems with government regulation, previously receiving “Cease-and-Desist” orders in California. But legislation continues to be developed and proposed.

A May 19th, 2016 NPR article mentions that Willard Middle School in Berkeley, Calif., has a student-run operation (with supervision) which has partnered with Josephine for the past 3 years. To date, it has brought in over $100,000 in revenue to the school, and is very popular with the locals.

Willard Middle School uses the produce from its school garden to create meals through Josephine.  Photo: Teresa Chin/Youth Radio on NPR.org

As Simone Stolzoff commented upon Josephine’s mission, “More than anything, it’s about connecting people and bringing them together.

 

Capitol Hill Real Estate – 2016 in Review

Capitol Hill HomesCapitol hill real estate, like Seattle real estate, continued to be strong in 2016.  Capitol Hill home market in 2016 seemed uninterrupted from 2015.  Prices were up in total ($983,591 average vs $981,161) and cost per square feet ($460 average vs $439), days on marketed decreased (25 vs 32), and the number of sales increased (221 vs 204).

Capitol Hill condos still attracted Seattle buyers in 2016 like they did in 2015.  While the number of condos sold reduced (349 vs 365) nearly all other numbers improved. Median sales price ($399,000 vs $355,000) and average price per square foot ($552 vs $492) went up.  The numbers of days on market tightened with condos staying on for only 18 days in 2016 versus 23 days in 2015.

Maybe the most astonish number for the previous two years is both the Capitol Hill homes and Capitol Hill condos on average sells for over list price.  In 2016, the average Seattle home on Capitol Hill sold for 103.1% of list price in 2016 and 103.6% in 2015 and the average Seattle condo on Capitol Hill sold for 104.2% of list price in 2016 and in 2015 it was 102.7%.

The Capitol Hill real estate market is similar to Seattle and the surrounding counties.  The overall real estate market in the region (area covered by Northwest Multiple Listing Service which serves 23 Washington State counties) saw an 8.1 increase of sales in 2016 when compared to 2015 with inventory at a record low for most of the year.  For the 23 counties, the median sales price increased 8.9 percent from $310,000 in 2015 to $337,500 in 2016.  Condos, which make up a smaller share of the market, were actually up 12.6% while single-family homes increased 8.7%.

Inventory was tight throughout the year, there was an average of 1.86 months of inventory in 2016, compared to 2.4 months in 2015.  King County was the tightest with only 1.1 months of supply.  A balanced market is generally considered to be between 4 and 6 months of inventory.

2017 seems to be taking over where 2016 left off.  Low inventory remains and prices remain strong.  As always, to maneuver the market, reach out to your local real estate agent to navigating the Seattle real estate market.

These statistics were gathered from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, but were not compiled or published by that organization.

Pictured: Capitol Hill Home sold in August 2015 for $2,550,000.

November Real Estate Report!

Like the rest of Seattle, Capitol Hill real estate market continues to be very strong. This past month (November), Capitol Hill had 37 sales. While not a lot of sales, the details are interesting. Last month, the traditional Seattle home was listed for $849,880 and sold above asking price: $1,136,000. Another home was listed for $1,375,000 and sold for $1,510,000. With limited inventory, buyers are competing and raising the prices even higher than asking.  The median average sale price has gone from $447,500 (November 2015) to $567,500 (November 2016). The average highest price has jumped by $204,000 and lowest going up by $55,000. A couple sales can change the average quite a bit, for example Capitol Hill had several small condos sell in, what a difference a year makes!

 

North Capitol Hill Home New to the Market!

klosh1115-60

This quintessential North Capitol Hill Tudor sits privately above the street on coveted 22nd Avenue East, one of Seattle’s finest blocks. Generosity and flow of space are the key elements making this home both luxurious and functional.

The expansive but private front porch is a room of its own–a great spot for breakfast or an evening read. The large, sun-filled living room boasts classic Tudor-style details: original stained glass and leaded windows, beamed ceilings, and a wood burning fireplace framed by a substantial mantel and built-ins. Off the living room is a cozy study with a gas fireplace.

Perfect for entertaining, the spacious dining room is conveniently open to the living area, kitchen, and breakfast room. The chef’s kitchen is well equipped with a commercial range combo–6 burner gas cooktop, double oven, broiler, and griddle–plus ample counter and storage space, counter eating, and a cook’s desk. Just off the kitchen and breakfast room, a decked garden space is lush with mature shrubs, trees, and vines.

The 2nd level features the bright and spacious master suite with walk-in closet, finished sunporch, and full bath; two more bedrooms, one with in-suite bathroom; a stately office with gas fireplace; a 3rd full bath; and hall closet space.

The 3rd level is complete with two large bedrooms, both with a pair of built-in single beds; a full bathroom; craft/work room; large storage room; and another large closet. In keeping with this home’s spacious overall feel, the basement level hosts a sizeable recreation room warmed by a wood burning fireplace; a huge, open laundry area with laundry chute and closet; and, of course, plenty of additional storage space.

Nearby shops and restaurants, parks, excellent schools (both private and public), 10 minutes to downtown, this home meets all your needs and more. Make this your forever home.

Pronto Bike Share On A Roll On Capitol Hill

Pronto CycleIf you live on Capitol Hill, you’ve most likely seen one of the bright green Pronto Cycle Share bikes that are docked at 10 locations throughout the neighborhood. So, after three months in operation, are people riding them? According to Pronto’s recently released statistics, the answer is yes, and a large chunk of them are starting on Capitol Hill. The docking station at Broadway and Harrison has the highest number of origin trips out of all 50 stations in the city, with 849, and the stations at 16th and Pine (747 trips) and 15th and Thomas (639 trips) are also in the top 10. Not surprisingly, only one Capitol Hill station, Broadway and Harrison, is on the list for the top 10 destination stations (it appears most of you prefer to ride downhill).

The majority of users were those who purchased single-day or three-day passes (3,501 people), but nearly 2,000 people have signed up for an $85 annual membership, as well. With the 21,026 total trips taken, Pronto users have ridden 43,010 miles – enough to circle the Earth 1.72 times; burned 1,677,390 calories; and saved 34,941 pounds of CO2. We’d say that’s a pretty good start, and numbers should only increase as the weather improves!

Celebrate The Season At Capitol Hill Holiday Hotspot

Cap. Hill Holiday HotspotThink of the Capitol Hill Holiday Hotspot as the winter version of the Capitol Hill Block Party. Though there won’t be live music in the streets and you’ll have to bundle up for this one, holiday activities will take place within the same footprint as the block party, the area bordered by 12th Avenue and Broadway, and Pike and Pine streets, as well as in Cal Anderson Park.

The celebration will kick off Friday, December 5, with the lighting of Sound Transit’s street stars at the section of wall surrounding the Capitol Hill Transit Station construction at Broadway and John (see here for photos of last year’s stars).

On Saturday the 6th, bring your little ones for a kids party from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Elliott Bay Book Company, featuring face painting, holiday mascots, and a performance by children’s rock group The Board of Education. Find the perfect Christmas tree at the Seattle Area Support Groups‘ pop-up tree stand, located in the parking lot behind Havana at 1010 E Pike St., between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. They will also be serving coffee, cider, and cocoa, and in true Capitol Hill fashion you might spot the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence singing Christmas carols throughout the day.

After that, get some Christmas shopping done. The Oddfellows Building on 10th Avenue is home to a trove of local businesses where you are likely to find a gift for everyone on your list. Super-stylish clothes and home goods at Totokaelo; handmade furniture, candles, and furnishings at NuBe Green; well-made bags and tech accessories at Brenthaven; and books of all kinds at Elliott Bay. Many businesses are also offering free gift wrapping on both Saturday and Sunday.

Round out Saturday afternoon with cookie decorating from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Cal Anderson Park shelter house, which will be decked out with holiday lights, and then stick around for photos with Santa from 4:00-6:00.

Whether you live on Capitol Hill or not, this will be a great chance to do some shopping at local businesses and get in the holiday spirit!

Get In The Halloween Spirit With Events This Weekend

Halloween is quickly approaching and there are several events happening this weekend on Capitol Hill to get you in the Halloween state of mind before the 31st. DCF 1.0

  • If you’re feeling like a big spender, a $100 ticket will get you in to the Haunted Halloween Party at the rumored-to-be-haunted Stimson-Green Mansion this Saturday, October 25. The ticket price gets you admission to the party, signature cocktails, appetizers, sweet treats, and entertainment including a DJ and a live burlesque performance. Costumes are required! Buy tickets here.
  • If that’s a little too rich for your blood, the Halloween Pub Crawl on 15th Avenue East is also happening on the Saturday the 25th. The crawl kicks off at Smith at 5:00 p.m. and will also visit Coastal Kitchen, the Hopvine, Liberty, Harry’s Bar (at Olympia Pizza), and wraps up with a costume contest at The Canterbury.
  • For the little ones, Hilloween is Capitol Hill’s kid-friendly event, taking place at Cal Anderson Park on Saturday the 25th. Get there at noon for carnival games,entertainment, and face painting; followed by a costume parade at 3:30; and trick-or-treating on Broadway from 4:00-7:00. Kids in costume will also get a free pizza slice from Pagliacci! RSVP on the event’s Facebook page.

A Look Back On the Installation of the Black Sun

Have you ever wondered what the story is behind that big black sculpture in Volunteer Park? The Black Sun sculpture, (not to be confused with the Changing Form steel sculpture in Kerry Park) has often been the centerpiece for iconic Seattle photography, as the view from the sculpture overlooks the Space Needle, the Olympics, Elliott Bay and beyond. It’s inspired generations of onlookers, including Seattle’s own Sound Garden, (remember Black Hole Sun, won’t you come, won’t you come?). But did you know it’s been displayed in the neighborhood since 1969? Internationally renowned artist Isamu Noguchi had a vision to create a fluid and timelessly constructed piece that would appear to move as the sun does, creating a steadfast relationship between the actual sun, and the artwork itself.

Courtesy of the City of Seattle Archives, Installation circa 1969

Courtesy of the City of Seattle Archives, Installation circa 1969

Black Sun was a gift donated to the City of Seattle from the Seattle Foundation, with funding support from National Endowment for the Arts. Noguchi etched the stone to capture the organic forms found in nature, and the sculpture is made out of Brazilian granite form materials, measuring 9ft in diameter. Installation took place in 1969, and has been drawing crowds of tourists and locals alike ever since. If you haven’t been to the park in a while, take advantage of this beautiful weather and snap a shot of the skyline through the hole of the sculpture, or put your headphones in and zone out with Chris Cornell.

Sneak Peek Of The New Canterbury Space

There’s a rumor floating around that the reincarnation of the Canterbury Ale House will at long last be opening tomorrow (check their Facebook page for the official word), but in the meantime check out these photos we took at last night’s soft opening. Although the space retains its medieval influence with the inclusion of lots of wood and metalwork; murals featuring dueling knights; and a stained glass window depicting a sword and shield, it bears little resemblance (in a good way, we think) to Ye Canterbury of Olde.

canterbury 1

The medieval theme continues with decorative murals.

Ceilings have been raised creating a much more open feel.

Ceilings have been raised creating a much more open feel.

canterbury 3

A stained glass window

canterbury 4

Another view of the bar area and very medieval-looking chandelier.

A look at the seating.

Seating and wood paneling.