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By Virginia

If you garden, what should you be doing now?

If you garden, what should you be doing now? If you live in a house, maybe you’re pruning your fruit trees and looking through Territorial Seed Company’s catalog for the vegetables and flowers you contemplate growing this spring and summer. We did a radical pruning on one of our oldest apple trees recently, and belatedly, I found this guide – click on “How to prune an old neglected apple tree” (which I will call Ode to Patience).

If you like to structure your time, here’s a great Northwest guide to when you should plant what.

But an encouraging word to all my friends and clients who are condo dwellers: you too can participate in gardening – grow your own herbs on chosen windowsills (carefully!) or if you have a balcony, grow just about anything.

This year we’re selling our “back 40” so losing several fruit trees and lots of garden space. We’re already planning what will go where with a whole new garden configuration, and we’d LOVE to see your photos of what you’ve got going on (or had last summer). I know you’ve got some great photos…

Here’s to sunshine!

By Virginia

The best thing about living in a house?

You can have a milkman! With crack of dawn delivery of milk, eggs, butter, coffee, cream, cheese, and now bread and bagels, who even needs to leave the house?! Just joking. Of course you want your vegetables, your fish, your nice juicy steaks.

But those days when you’re just too exhausted to contemplate stopping at the grocery on the way home – or going out to the grocery – it is nothing short of wonderful to step onto your front porch and find the Smith Brothers Dairy box filled with fresh, local supplies.

Smith Brothers has been saving the day at our house for over 15 years, and just keeps adding to their product line.  We started with milk – really, who wants to lug gallons of milk around along with all the bags of groceries? Then coffee, then eggs, butter….pepperjack cheese, Greek Gods honey yogurt, sour cream, whipping cream.

This time of year we sometimes add Cougar Mountain chocolate chip cookie dough to the delivery, or eggnog, or pumpkin bread.

Smith Brothers delivers all over the Puget Sound area – to some 45,000 homes weekly. They’re located in the Kent valley and have been delivering farm-fresh dairy products since 1920.

Milk comes from the farm to your fridge in 24 to 48 hours. “When it comes to milk, it’s all about freshness,” says Smith Brothers Farms’ Todd Behan, a fourth-generation family member who oversees operations.Coffee comes from Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie, bread and muffins from Alki Bakery or the Bread Garden, bagels from Seattle Bagel Bakery, and cheese from Tillamook.

It’s easy to set up an account online, and then you can either have a regular order or you can email (getmilk@smithbrothersfarms.com) or phone in (1-877-milkman) a different order each week.

By Virginia

True Confessions of a Real Estate Investor

Actually, the investors are my clients – but I wanted to share some of this year’s stories.


Who’s buying: People who already have homes, and have more than one reason to buy (it’s not just a place to park their money).

What’s the price: Prices so far this year have ranged from $67,000 to $150,000.

What are the terms: All of the purchases have been made with cash.

Contingencies: Inspections, Condo resale certificates and reserves studies, neighborhood reviews, Form 17 seller disclosures…these things are more important than ever when it looks like you’re getting a bargain. Knowing the property very very well is your best defense.

Where are the places located: Seattle outskirts

Why so cheap? They’re short sales – or bank owned – or in proximity to short sales and bank-owned properties, and the seller is ready to let it go.

What are the frustrations? Short sales take TIME! Even with all the Federal efforts to encourage banks to speed the process up, it still can easily take 2 to 6 months to close on a purchase. Bank-owned properties where the underlying loan is owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae now usually reserve the first two weeks on the market for OWNER OCCUPANT BUYERS only. By the time you, as an investor, can make an offer the property is usually sold. And banks are now trying to set up listings for auction-style bidding…it’s the same old multiple offer situation, only at cheaper prices with homes that often are not in very good condition.

Bankruptcy hang ups? Sometimes the sellers have tried to do a short-sale, with no success, and as the home starts to go to foreclosure the seller files bankruptcy. Sounds simple…but it creates an additional payee! You, as a buyer, will likely have to pay $20,000 or more to the bankruptcy trustee, in addition to the purchase price. And this is not financeable as part of a purchase loan; it has to be cash.

Firms that specialize: There are now several local real estate firms that specialize in bankruptcy/short sales. Contact me for more information!

By Virginia

What is it about Pink Bathrooms?

What is it about those pink bathrooms?!

Mostly, I guess, it’s that they are so shockingly different from anything we’ve created in a long long time. They make my clients laugh, but guess what – everybody looks good in the mirror in a pink bathroom.

In Seattle the Pink Bathroom is iconic in late 1940’s and 1950’s brick ramblers. As it turns out, they were popular all over the U.S.in that period – read Save the Pink Bathrooms’ nod to Mamie Eisenhower for starting this post-World War II color trend.

Save the Pink Bathrooms is doing their part to reverse the demolition trend by supplying links to pink-tile suppliers.

For me the Pink Bathroom is the symbol of the well-built 50’s house in our area: what are the odds, I asked my fellow agents, if you find a house that has a well-preserved Pink Bathroom, that the house is solid as well? “Extremely high!” was the unanimous response.

Then, what to make of Kohler’s brand NEW Pink Bathroom featured in Rebecca Teagarden’s recent Pacific Northwest article? Gorgeous, slick, and definitely 21st century!

By Virginia

Best new waterfront feature!

We spotted Seattle’s best new waterfront feature under construction in early June from our vantage point on the schooner Adventuress, in Elliott Bay. Promised ourselves to check it out on opening day, but it turned out we couldn’t pass for reporters after all. We came back a couple of days later and had a truly amazing ride, with not much standing in line. The ticket house was still under construction and most people stood around looking stunned. Just what we need downtown! Comes with lots of street parking nearby. Mention this post to me by September 30 and get a ride for you and a friend FOR FREE!

 

By Virginia

Mediterranean Style on North Capitol Hill

Near Volunteer Park, this well-loved and solidly built true 2-story offers endless design possibilities.

Sorry, SOLD! contact me for more information.

Wonderful light, clean lines, circular floor plan, loft office area…Enjoy al fresco dining in the sky patio on the roof deck.

Think of it as a 2,900 sq.ft. space awaiting your modernist-contemporary visions – or, enjoy its existing blend of classic and Spanish style.

High-ceiling unfinished basement adds 1120 sq.ft.

Private back yard by landscape architect Glen Takagi.

Address: 1543 17th Ave E

Listed at $899,950

If you garden, what should you be doing now?
The best thing about living in a house?
True Confessions of a Real Estate Investor
What is it about Pink Bathrooms?
Best new waterfront feature!
Mediterranean Style on North Capitol Hill
Reasons to Love Winter in Seattle
Choose Your Style!