Whether you're an owner or a renter, odds are that you have a complicated relationship with your home. As with any relationship, there are ups and downs, good times and bad, things you love and things you hate. But despite it all, you stick with it — hopefully because you love it.
And also as with any relationship, your love for your home progresses as time goes on. But there's always that honeymoon stage, the time when you're totally infatuated. We asked what one thing made you fall in love with your home — the thing that tipped you over the edge and made you decide it was the place for you.
Here is a list of items that make my clients swoon, over and over again.
Sometimes functional items are designed so beautifully that they blur the line between architecture and art. The fireplace surrounds in this collection are sculptural, stunningly beautiful and, arguably, works of art.
There are many reasons for using transoms. Here's the rundown on this fun-to-say architectural term. Transoms gained popularity after being used in spaces where an intricate shape or style door met another transverse architectural element. Pretty and purposeful, transoms are often used as ornamentation. They can also be functional; adding more sunlight to a room and (with the right hardware) they can swivel forward or backward for good air flow from the outdoors.
A Kitchen you’re proud to show off to friends and family
What makes the perfect kitchen? The answer is as varied as cooks are. Style is easier to recognize with your eyes than with words: You know it when you see it, and the one that inspires you most can often surprise you. From ultra-modern minimalist design to rustic woodwork and everything in between… your only limits are in your imagination and your wallet!
Historical charm relevant to the home but renovated with greener products
Although interior and exterior appeal is essential, history is what earned some homes a spot in people’s hearts. Bainbridge Island is full of beautiful vintage homes that are purchased and renovated yearly. In keeping with adaptive reuse of landmark buildings, subtle renovations can preserve the remarkable craftsmanship and details of bygone eras – while using newer, green products that enhance the style of the home while providing the amenities that modern living requires.
Indoor/outdoor living space
Some homeowners are all about being able to maximize long summer days with an indoor/outdoor living space that can also be used on slightly less warmer Spring and Fall Days. An outdoor living room complete with a covered area and amenities like a fireplace and cooking area expands your home into new world of dining and living al fresco.
High Ceilings/unique ceilings
Space and high ceilings make all the difference for some people. The open airy feeling lends to a feeling of sophistication while also making even a smaller home feel much larger. Add a unique ceiling with box beams, exposed rafters or timber framing and suddenly your ceiling has become a large part of your home’s architectural style.
Amazing View – Water or Territorial
Many people fall in love with the beautiful surroundings and views before actually falling in love with their homes. Whether it is large territorial view, a wooded sanctuary or open water view – a view that speaks to your heart can make any house a home.
Examples of artful staircases can be found as far back as 1500 BC in ancient palaces in China – but open interior staircases on an ambitious spatial scale cannot really be found before Michelangelo’s at the Laurentian Library, Florence Italy (1524–71). For many people, a grand staircase can turn a functional part of a home into a focal piece of art that makes them fall in love with a home immediately.
Interior details like round doorways, wood work, bookshelves and other charming details
Wood is becoming more and more expensive, and the level of craftsmanship in older homes is much higher than what you typically find in a new construction. This may include floors, trim, molding, fireplace mantels, bookcases, china cabinets, staircases and more. Embellishments on cabinetry can make a lovely room feel even more special. Leather, metal and even glass can be used to step a look up a notch.
Custom or Elaborate Doors
And finally… If a home is a place of meaning, doorways are the most meaningful parts. An opening connects one space with another, while a door sets the stage for the human interaction. Opening a door and crossing the threshold moves us from one realm to the next — from outside to inside, from public to private, from bedroom to bathroom, from big space to small space, from cold to warm.
1131 Cherry Avenue NE
Offered at $798,000
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Traditional craftsman-style home in a fabulous in-town location near schools, ferry, shopping and Wing Point Golf Club. Bright and cheerful featuring sunny western exposure overlooking multiple fairways. Amenities include a welcoming foyer and cozy den, open living/dining, fantastic updated eat-in kitchen and great room with French doors to spacious deck, perfect for year round entertaining!
Luxurious master bedroom and bath, 2 more bedrooms and guest bath an abundance of storage throughout. Detached 2-car garage with room for golf cart all located on a select lot On the Green featuring all day sun and across from protected open space. NWMLS #877179
Set a festive mood with fresh fall plants while preserving and protecting your landscape and water features.
November is the final month to prepare the garden for winter. It’s rather like tucking children into bed at night: They have played all day, and now they’re tired. There’s the bath-time ritual, followed by a quiet story before they snuggle under the quilt for several blissful hours of rest — for both of you.
The garden has been playing hard and growing for more than eight months. Now it’s time to get it clean and tidy before its winter rest. Just a few hours spent in the garden this month will ensure that you both reach spring with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.
Protect your water features. Some of us are procrastinators, and some of us are just plain forgetful. This photograph shows what happens to fountains during a hard freeze in either case.
To avoid creating such dramatic ice sculptures, remember to drain small fountains and either store them in the garage for the winter or cover them to prevent water entering and freezing. Small submersible pumps are also best removed and stored indoors until spring.
Larger ponds and waterfalls may have a sufficient volume of water cascading through them that the entire body of water will not freeze, and the pump is either too deep to be affected or is in a protected enclosure aboveground. If you're in doubt, contact your local pond supply company for advice.
This is also the time to winterize your irrigation system. We use a simple drip watering system for all our containers as well as for our vegetable garden. The hoses can be left in place, but we disconnect the battery-operated timers and bring them inside for the winter.
Landscape irrigation companies usually offer a winter service to drain the lines if necessary — contact them today.
Add a few inches of compost. If you apply compost to the garden now, the rains will help its nutrients leach into the soil, and the worms will till it while I’m nice and cozy indoors. Some gardeners prefer to mulch in spring. If your garden soil is in poor shape, experts recommend adding compost in both fall and spring for three years and then once a year after that.
Check your drainage. In early fall, when the weather is still nice, walk slowly around the house and inspect the ground where it meets the foundation. Soil should not be touching siding and should slope away from the house, dropping at least 6 vertical inches over the first 10 feet.
Fall Planting. Spring is overrated for planting perennials, shrubs and trees. Starting plants in autumn has advantages for both garden and gardener. Not only is cooler weather easier on new plants and tired bones, but planting in a spent garden with rain on the horizon also has advantages – less watering being one of them. Go for some Classic Chrysanthemums, Decorative Flowering Cabbage and Kale, Hardy Geraniums and Seedums to fill in empty spots in the garden and keep it looking fresh and happy until Spring finally arrives.
When you're competing with a lot of other buyers for a hot piece of property, your bid needs to stand out.
You have found a home you can afford, in a great neighborhood with good schools. It even has a fenced-in yard for your dog. What could go wrong?
Any number of things, ranging from a competing buyer's all-cash offer to an insufficient earnest money deposit from you. In markets with houses in short supply, sellers have the advantage over buyers, and bidding wars often erupt between buyers vying for the nicest properties. The purchase offer should persuade sellers that your buyers are a serious contender who will give them most of what they want, even as it protects the buyer’s interests.
1. Pay cash. Investors have been snapping up homes to flip or rent, and they usually come to the table with cash. Sellers love all-cash offers because they're less likely to fall through before the sale closes. In January, all-cash transactions accounted for 28% of existing home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. Cities currently attracting strong investor interest include Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas and Phoenix, reports CoreLogic. If you need a mortgage, a low appraisal could cause your bank to back out of the deal, forcing the sellers to put the house back on the market.
2. Get preapproved. If you can't pay cash, you'll need to get a mortgage. Three or four months before you shop for a home, check your credit reports, says Michael Corbett, a consultant to real estate Web site Trulia and author of "Before You Buy!" That will give you time to dispute any errors and take short-term steps, such as paying off debts, that will improve your credit score. You can get your reports once a year free from the three major credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. Then get a bank's preapproval. It won't guarantee that you'll get a loan, but it will show sellers that a lender has verified your income and credit score and determined that you can afford payments on a mortgage for a certain amount.
3. Make your best offer on price. You may only have one shot to get it right, so make your best offer — what you're willing and able to pay. Base your offer on recent sale prices of comparable properties in the neighborhood so that it will pass muster when the property is appraised. If you hold back, thinking you'll sweeten the offer on the second try, you may lose the property to another buyer.
4. Up the ante. You can add an escalator clause, with which you agree to ratchet up your offer if there's a higher bid from another buyer. Keep in mind that if you agree to pay more than the market value determined by an appraisal, you're on the hook for the difference from your own funds.
5. Beef up your earnest money. This deposit signals how serious a buyer you are. Try doubling the amount that the seller requests or that is customary in the area. If you must renege on the offer for any reason allowed by the contract or state law, you'll get your money back.
6. Pay for extras yourself. These might include some of the closing costs, homeowners association dues that must be prepaid, a one-time contribution to a community-enhancement fund, or a home warranty.
7. Make contingencies palatable. Most sellers prefer offers with no contingencies, but you probably can't afford to forgo the protection that contingencies provide if you want to cancel the contract. Offset a financing contingency with preapproval and a strong earnest money deposit. If you have enough cash, temper an appraisal contingency by assuring sellers that if the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, you'll pay the difference or split it with them (up to a certain amount). Include a home-inspection contingency, but tell sellers that you will cover the cost of any repairs. If the price tag on those repairs gets out of hand, you can back out of the deal.
8. Write a love letter to the sellers. Re/Max agent Gayle Henderson, of Scottsdale, Ariz., says this will help you connect with the sellers, especially if you haven't met them. She suggests such points as: "We're relocating from…" "We see ourselves living in your neighborhood or chose your schools because …" "We especially love …" and "We appreciate your accommodating our visits."
9. Give the gift of time. Express your willingness to work with the sellers' timetable to go to closing. If the sellers want to remain in the home for a while after closing, offer them a "lease back" or "rent back," which means that you will be their temporary landlord. This is a legal arrangement, and you'll need to work out the details with your agents and be sure that the sellers keep their homeowners insurance during their stay. If you are bidding on a short sale, make clear to the sellers that you are patient and can wait for the bank's decision.
Download a PDF of this blog post here: JACKIE98110_Make_your_home_offer_irresistible
RESIDENTIAL HOME SALES IN REVIEW
YEAR Avg. Sale Price Total # of Sales Avg. Days on Market
2003 $481,758 454 101
2004 $551,462 468 92
2005 $670,004 442 91
2006 $752,154 349 87
2007 $820,607 317 97
2008 $749,970 187 108
2009 $662,668 212 139
2010 $639,169 255 102
2011 $581,855 257 113
2012 $636,705 384 101
2013 $599,116 414 75
2014 $706,275 401 65
CONDOMINIUM SALES IN REVIEW
YEAR Avg. Sale Price Total # of Sales Avg. Days on Market
2003 $304,874 73 165
2004 $302,123 157 185
2005 $381,143 74 55
2006 $359,040 150 89
2007 $459,756 129 218
2008 $458,383 42 107
2009 $366,369 53 176
2010 $326,174 53 214
2011 $289,338 67 212
2012 $296,702 80 147
2013 $328,139 93 117
2014 $384,416 100 60
LAND SALES IN REVIEW
YEAR Avg. Sale Price Total # of Sales Avg. Days on Market
2003 $211,651 106 233
2004 $187,045 104 254
2005 $292,644 87 216
2006 $460,802 53 183
2007 $378,295 30 164
2008 $421,728 15 124
2009 $433,500 11 291
2010 $172,625 24 175
2011 $233,405 20 182
2012 $216,672 32 159
2013 $197,453 52 315
2014 $249,267 43 209
So you’ve begun thinking about selling your house and you figure: Let’s wait until spring or early summer before listing. The yard will look its best and potential buyers will be out in force. Recent research studies show home listing prices, sales price and time-on-market data from January 2010 through October 2014, concluded that if you want to sell for more than your asking price, listing in December through March gives you a better chance on average than if you list June through November. If your goal is to sell relatively quickly, February is historically the best month to list, with an average of 66 percent of homes listed then selling within 90 days, according to national averages, including cold weather cities like Boston and Chicago.
Researchers are quick to note that the advantages of listing in winter compared with other seasons are not huge. But the fact that winter produces at least competitive or better results by some measures should encourage potential sellers to get into the game sooner rather than later. Bottom line: Real estate does not hibernate. Other factors to consider: Only 63 Homes, 8 Condominiums and 53 land parcels currently For Sale on Bainbridge Island. Less Inventory = Less Competition for Sellers who list prior to spring. This is surprisingly an advantageous time to list, shop and buy Real Estate. Buyers shopping at this time of year are Serious Buyers. More Corporate Transfers at this time of year. Buyers have more time to surf the web for homes.
What are your real estate goals for 2015?
Call me for a Current Market Analysis and I will provide you with an honest, fact-based report of the financial value of your home.
Fay Bainbridge Park is a 17-acre marine camping park with 1,420 feet of saltwater shoreline on the northeast corner of Bainbridge Island. The park offers sweeping views of Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains and features sandy beaches. On clear days, Mount Rainier and Mount Baker are visible from a sandy beach.
Besides the amazing beachcombing, Fay Bainbridge also has sheltered Picnic areas with water and electricity, a large playground and camping!
While it is free to access the park, there are nominal fees for camping and use of the large shelter areas. There are plenty of open picnic tables all over the park that are free to use – first come first served!
For more information on this lovely treasure, go to the Bainbridge Island Parks Department website: