Blog Going through the back door Pocket or “off-market” listings are quietly for sale but excluded from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). In the past, they were commonplace with high-profile homes.
Blog Vacation steals Some buyers are getting vacation homes on the cheap, reports CNN Money . Not all destination properties are created equal, however, so buyers should size up their purchases before taking the plunge.
Blog Americans are moving to Seattle, Bellevue, and Everett The Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area ranks No. 4 on Yahoo Real Estate’s hot metro areas  for relocation. The number of inbound shipments from January to March of 2012, tracked by the American Moving and Storage Association, indicates that individuals and families are moving to the Emerald State in high numbers. “Seattle’s economy is based on innovation, and information technology is an enormous industry in Seattle,” according to Yahoo
Blog Borrowers want shorter loan terms About 31 percent of all those who refinanced in the first quarter of this year cut their mortgage terms from 30 years to 15 or 20, according to Freddie Mac, reports the  New York Times . This marks the second highest level since 2002′s peak of 35 percent.
Blog More homeowners want automated technology More homeowners are opting to install automated technology systems in their houses today than in years past, based on the State of the Builder Technology Market Study . Energy solutions and entertainment systems are among the most popular upgrades for new construction. Energy-management solutions (e.g
Blog Should homeowners go organic on their lawns? Many homeowners are more environmentally conscious today than ever before, but some are reluctant to buy organic products for the lawn, doubting their effectiveness. talks with expert gardener Scott Meyers, who debunks the myth that natural products won’t produce a robust lawn. Meyers also offers some key maintenance tips
Blog Real estate on the radio The Seattle metro area welcomes a new radio show to its airwaves. “Real Estate Radio Northwest,” co-hosted by Carolyn Frame and Nick Neal, premiered on Money Radio 1300 AM KKOL on May 5th and will air Saturdays from 2 – 3 p.m.
Blog The science behind the short sale A short sale is defined as a sale of real estate property where the proceeds fall short of the mortgage debt owed. While all short sales do not necessarily forgive borrowers’ deficiencies (the amount of the unpaid balance), they are often considered more favorable than foreclosures.
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Blog An all-American house built in Bozeman, Montana One man in Bozeman, Montana, has thrown down the gauntlet to builders throughout the nation. Anders Lewendal, a builder who holds a degree in economics, asserts that buying just 5% more American-made materials would create 220,000 jobs.
Blog Seattle beats Silicon Valley Seattle wins the top spot for long-term, broad-based technology growth, reports Forbes . Based on a ranking system developed by the Praxis Strategy Group, Forbes considered employment growth in two sectors — high-tech companies (software, data processing, Internet publishing) and industries connected to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  The numbers were tallied over the last two years as well as the past decade for the 51 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. Surprisingly, the Emerald City beat out Silicon Valley and the other 49 areas with these high notes: 12% tech job growth over the past two years 7.6% STEM growth over the past two years 43% increase in tech employment over the decade 17% expansion in STEM jobs over the decade The presence of tech-oriented companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing supports consistent growth in the Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue metro areas.  GeekWire credits Amazon for playing a large role in the recent expansion
Blog How will Echo Boomers affect the housing market? Generation Y, the Millennials, and Echo Boomers refer to individuals between the ages of 17 and 31, and they are 62 million strong in the U.S. alone, reports the National Association of Realtors in a recent news release. Echo Boomers represent significant buying power, according to the 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
Blog A picture is worth a thousand words Imagine driving by a house, snapping a photo of it with your iPhone, and then obtaining relevant data about the home and surrounding community. It’s possible with the HomeSnap app by Sawbuck. Walt Mossberg, personal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal , reports on HomeSnap’s utility.
Blog The housing market gets a boost in April Housing starts in April were strong, increasing by 4.7 percent to a 685,000 annual rate, according to the median estimate of 80 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News . The Associated Press reports a slightly higher annual pace of 717,000 homes, based on Commerce Department figures.
Blog Spotlight on Pacific NW gardening Everything comes alive in the Pacific Northwest with fair May weather. The last frost of the season is likely behind us, and gardeners have the next 200 days, approximately, to cultivate the annuals, perennials, and vegetables of their choice
Blog Seattle touts job growth and sustainability Seattle ranked fifth in the nation for job growth during the period between January 2011 and January 2012, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal . Washington state was fifteenth in the nation. The W.P
Blog Modernize your grandmother’s kitchen Homeowners Desiree and Brian Bell wanted to change the look of their 1950′s kitchen into a room they could call their own.
Blog Kitchen islands aren’t going away Better Homes & Gardens The kitchen island is often the hub of the home, the place where family members and guests gather to eat and socialize. While the island’s function remains the same as it has been for years, its look and feel are changing. “Pare it down to the basics, and anything else is a great addition but not necessary,” says Samantha Emmerling, a senior editor at House Beautiful, as reported in the Chicago Tribune . She notes that since most homeowners want an area for prep, additional counter space, seating, and storage, the form of the actual island ought to follow its function
Blog Housing news for April Housing prices for King County in the month of April were strong, and inventory was down 37 percent from one year ago, reports  the Seattle Times   based on data released by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The median house price in King County went up to $360,000, which is 9 percent better than last month and about 3 percent higher than April 2011. Snohomish County’s median house price jumped to $255,502, which is almost 10 percent better than a year ago. A total of 741 homes were sold, 25 percent more than the number closed in April 2011.