Holiday Travel

Twas the week after Christmas and all through the house….not a creature was stirring, except one swimming mouse. Swimming mouse???  Ok, there was no mouse, but if there was he would have been swimming for his life!!  Here’s what happened.

download (2)Some clients of ours, Dave and Wendy, packed up their Christmas and 3 young boys, as they do each year, and headed for their cabin in Montana. They would enjoy cutting down their own tree behind the cabin, waiting for Santa to squeeze down their 3-story chimney on Christmas Eve, and frolic in the vast amounts of snow. As planned, the Christmas holiday went “swimmingly” well until they pulled into their driveway back in Kent, a week later, after a 9 hour drive across treacherous winter roads. The 3 kids peeled out of the car, all needing a bathroom break, grumpy, tired, and on Dad’s last nerve. As the kids piled out of the car, mom Wendy headed toward the door to start the great migration back into the house. As she turned the knob and went to step inside, the water came rolling out the door and down the steps. The entire one-story house held a few feet of standing water and the water was still running.  Thus began the $100,000 home restoration project.  The pipe in the wall had burst while they were away and the water had been running for several days.

So, what is the moral of the story?  Don’t go on vacation? Nope. Dave and Wendy would tell you that every time they go on vacation now, they turn the water off at the water shutoff in their closet. They open the tap in the sink and let the water in the lines run out so no pressure is left.

porchlight.jpgHere are some things your family can do while traveling for the holiday season. Personally, we have joined them in the vacation water shutoff protocol. In addition, we go online and have our mail held by the post office, leave our front porch lights on, leave our thermostat at 60 degrees, and let our neighbors know we will be gone so they can watch the house.

Cheers to a safe and dry holiday season!

Posted on December 15, 2015 at 10:35 pm
Mike Elliott | Category: Jennifer, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

5 Ways to Get Your Home Sold this Holiday Season

So, it’s November and you need to sell your home. King County averages about 2,000 home sales in December. That’s about half as many homes as in the Spring/Summer months.  The good news is houses do sell!  There are also less house options for buyers than in the summer, so you have less competition.  Here are the top 5 things to consider when selling this holiday season.

  1. Price it right – This is not the time of year to “test the market.” Prices flatten out in the fall and winter. Stay conservative and price it based on actual Sold Comparables, not homes currently trying to sell.
  2. Pack up – Your Moving!! If you are going to dare compete with the big boys this time of year, make it count. Houses do sell.  Pack your house, nik naks, family pictures, everything off the counters etc.  It needs to look like that sterile, perfectly tidy house that your one annoyingly perfect girlfriend has mastered (I mean that affectionately Wendy.)
  3. Every showing counts – There are less buyers this time of year. Don’t worry, these buyers are serious home purchasers, they are going to buy a house and it might as well be yours. Let them come see the house…when they want to…not when you want them to. They often don’t come back to see it a different time.  It might mean you are kicked out of your house during dinners and have to eat Chinese Food on Christmas like Ralphie’s family.  Ok, that’s extreme.
  4. Holiday Decorations – Yes, you can have them. But keep them minimal and coordinating.  This is not the year to put the tree out with the 22 art projects from your children’s k-6 grade classes.  It’s not because they look tacky (maybe a little) but because it will distract buyers from looking at your home. If they don’t look at your home, they won’t buy it.
  5. Light up your FOR SALE sign with a string of lights. Why not….I just told you basically you were going to have no fun this holiday, but this is one tacky thing that might be good. Helps people see your house is for sale in the dark, which happens to be about 18 hours during the winter.

Cheers!!

Posted on October 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm
Mike Elliott | Category: Jennifer | Tagged ,

5 Ways to Get Your Home Sold this Holiday Season

So, it’s November and you need to sell your home. King County averages about 2,000 home sales in December. That’s about half as many homes as in the Spring/Summer months.  The good news is houses do sell!  There are also less house options for buyers than in the summer, so you have less competition.  Here are the top 5 things to consider when selling this holiday season.

  1. Price it right – This is not the time of year to “test the market.” Prices flatten out in the fall and winter. Stay conservative and price it based on actual Sold Comparables, not homes currently trying to sell.
  2. Pack up – Your Moving!! If you are going to dare compete with the big boys this time of year, make it count. Houses do sell.  Pack your house, knick knacks, family pictures, everything off the counters etc.  It needs to look like that sterile, perfectly tidy house that your one annoyingly perfect girlfriend has mastered (I mean that affectionately Wendy.)
  3. Every showing counts – There are less buyers this time of year. Don’t worry, these buyers are serious home purchasers, they are going to buy a house and it might as well be yours. Let them come see the house…when they want to…not when you want them to. They often don’t come back to see it a different time.  It might mean you are kicked out of your house during dinners and have to eat Chinese Food on Christmas like Ralphie’s family.  Ok, that’s extreme.
  4. Holiday Decorations – Yes, you can have them. But keep them minimal and coordinating.  This is not the year to put the tree out with the 22 art projects from your children’s k-6 grade classes.  It’s not because they look tacky (maybe a little) but because it will distract buyers from looking at your home. If they don’t look at your home, they won’t buy it.
  5. Light up your FOR SALE sign with a string of lights. Why not….I just told you basically you were going to have no fun this holiday, but this is one tacky thing that might be good. Helps people see your house is for sale in the dark, which happens to be about 18 hours during the winter.

Cheers!!

Posted on October 21, 2015 at 9:02 am
Mike Elliott | Category: Jennifer | Tagged ,

Should I scope the sewer line when I buy/sell a home?

What is it? How much? Should I get one? What is a typical problem?

 A Sewer Scope is a type of inspection where a sewer expert or plumber runs a camera through the sewer line between the house and the street connection. They typically gain access through a sewer clean out at the house or they pull a toilet. A sewer clean out is an entry point to the sewer line. “Pulling a toilet” is when the plumber physically lifts the toilet off the floor and accesses the sewer line. He then reattaches the toilet. The goal is to confirm the line is in good condition with no breaks, blocks or trees growing in it. The cost is $200-$250.  This would be done during a buyer’s inspection timeframe, or, on occasion, it makes sense for a seller to get one prior to putting their house on the market.

Should you get one if you are buying or selling a home? If you are selling a home, you would typically not get a sewer scope as it would be part of the buyers due diligence. That said, in the current market there may be an exception. If you are selling a home built before 1980 in Seattle, and you anticipate multiple offers, handing a potential buyer clean sewer paperwork may allow them to feel more comfortable making a stronger offer and/or bypassing an inspection contingency. If you are buying a home, and it’s built prior to 1980, it is recommended to inspect the sewer. After 1980, the type of line material was changed from concrete to ABS and/or PVC which is more flexible than concrete and does not erode It’s also glued at the seams so roots cannot get in the line and block it.

What if there is a problem with the sewer line found? It needs to be fixed and it can be expensive. Repairs typically run $2000-$8000. Most common issues are trees growing into the line, which can often be cleared through a rooter. If there is a break in a line, it will need to be dug up and fixed.

Posted on September 29, 2015 at 1:50 pm
Mike Elliott | Category: Jennifer | Tagged , , , , ,