Considering that New Year’s is a pretty hot-ticket holiday, it’d behoove you to let your friends know sooner rather than later that you’ll be hosting a party at your place. Paperless Post is a good alternative for those who don’t want to track down friends’ addresses, go out to buy a roll of stamps, or leave the house. For those on a budget, there are several free invitation designs to choose from.
Hire a carpool so no one has to drive home. This is best done by using a traditional car service that can be scheduled for pick up and home delivery. Other ride share companies like Uber and Lyft offer similar services but they cannot be reserved and on a busy night you might find your friends coming in late and leaving far later than desired.
For a refreshing alternative to Champagne, try Prosecco. For nonalcoholic selection try Twelve, a fizzy blend of fruit and herbal tea. It’s delicious and certainly more elegant than sparkling cider. Pellegrino and Perrier are also very nice to keep people happy and hydrated.
Don’t let people get hungry! Make it easy on yourself and your wallet. Get some fabulous, frozen pre-made appetizers and keep them rolling from the oven. Cheese and cracker, charcuterie and veggie platters that require no cooking and can be made ahead of time are always crowd pleasers. These can even be purchased from your local deli if time is more important than slicing and arranging your own cheese.
We’ve all been eating way too much sugar all December but if you want to do a small dessert and make it look special, dust some edible glitter onto your store bought cookies or cake. Yes, edible glitter is a thing.
Set up Pandora at a volume where you can hear it – but don’t have to raise voices to hear each other. Hipster Cocktail Party is a great one. Don’t let the name turn you off; the music they play is terrific. Bill Withers, Nina Simone, Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin are some regulars you’ll find on this station.
Print a family cookbook.
Ask everyone to send you a favorite recipe and have them bound into a book to take home.
Craft a DIY photo booth.
No need to rent; just get creative. Hang some frames from a tree or wallpaper a wall with holiday paper and keep a fun prop bin on hand. Then set up a phone on a tripod and snap away.
Make an all-inclusive monogram gift.
Embroider a family inside joke or favorite phrase on t-shirts, hoodies or towels. Great templates and pre-made designs are on www.Zazzle.com
Hand out family photo books.
Collect photos from Facebook (and ask the less than tech-savvy to send in), then have them bound in a beautiful book and make copies for everyone. A great option for this is Shutterfly.
Write Letters To Santa
Help your kids write cute letters to Santa, then mail them off to the North Pole.
Print tote bags embossed with your family tree.
A decidedly useful, interesting and non-hideous freebie.
Encourage family members to bring belongings they no longer want (clothes, furniture etc.) and do a family-style round robin. You just might end up with Aunt Cindy’s beloved tea towels…
Most of us already have our “ways” of doing Thanksgiving — ways our mother did it, ways our extended family did it, ways our neighborhood did it. Thanksgiving doesn’t lend itself well to trying out new traditions, but sometimes the situation calls for it — you can’t make it home for Thanksgiving, for example, or you have a family now and want to start traditions of your own. So what can you do to heighten, deepen, and extend Thanksgiving to its most memorable end?
- Start the day with an indulgent, relaxing breakfast.
While some people are firmly in the “no breakfast” camp to save room for the big meal later, we love the idea of starting the day in such a festive, delicious way! Pancakes, waffles, eggs, even pie – it’s all good.
- Take time for yourself before time with family.
As wonderful as Thanksgiving can be, we all know it can be exhausting and overwhelming. That’s why it’s such a good idea to deliberately take a little time for yourself during the day to make sure you enjoy the holiday on your terms.
- Remember loved ones who have passed.
Holidays can be bittersweet when beloved family members or friends are missing from the gathering. Look through old photo albums and recall funny, tender or important achievements of those who are gone but not forgotten.
- Write your thanks on a butcher paper tablecloth.
Cover the table with butcher paper. During the meal, distribute pens and ask each family member to write down a few things they’re thankful for on the paper and then take turns reading them out loud. We love the practice during the Thanksgiving meal of naming things you’re thankful for, and this is a unique way to do it – especially since you can tear off and save particularly meaningful memories.
- Let everyone toast!
Another way to make gratitude gushing even more festive is to let everyone make a toast. Raise your glass to the year, to your family, to your friends!
- Have the kids serve dessert.
Let the bigger kids get in on the action of serving to their family. Put them in charge of delivering dessert and coffee after the meal. The oldest can plate and pour while the younger kids can take orders and serve. It keeps them busy after the meal while the adults talk and gives them a broader sense of appreciation for the holiday.
- Have Thanksgiving dinner early.
Planning for a 3 p.m. dinner shifts the momentum of the day. An earlier meal creates a more relaxed celebration, plus there’s plenty of time to digest before going to bed. An earlier dinner also accommodates traveling guests and lets them return home at a reasonable hour.
- Take a long walk together after dinner.
No one is ready for dessert right after dinner anyway, so why not take that time to go on a long walk with your loved ones? Enjoy the cool, crispy (and hopefully dry) autumn weather and get the blood flowing again after all that rich food.
- If it’s just two of you, really treat yourself.
It can be hard to justify making a huge Thanksgiving meal when it’s just two of you, but that doesn’t mean it has to be any less special, or even any less of a treat. In fact, it should be more so. Make it special by treating yourselves to nicer ingredients and better wine than you would normally use if you were cooking for a large group.
- Stay connected with family members far away.
If you can’t be with your loved ones on Thanksgiving, thankfully you can still be together — just virtually! Do a video call or Google Hangout before dinner, or Facetime family members in for the giving-thanks portion of the evening.
MEMORIES OF YEARS PAST
A History Lesson
The one constant in our real estate market is change. Ten years ago (yes, it has been 10 years!), we were in a very competitive market. Inventory was tight and prices were going through the proverbial roof, setting new highs. Then, in September 2007, that came to an abrupt end and we began a downward trend toward the largest correction since the 1980s. It took until 2012 for the market to shift yet again and gradually pick up speed toward recovery. By 2015, we returned to familiar territory: an extremely competitive market with record low inventories and rapidly rising prices. On July 1, 2015, there were 58 active listings on the island. Now, just one year later, data suggests a potential market transition with inventories rising and price reductions becoming increasingly common.
We in the industry do not view this as a repeat of 2007. There are too many positive factors in our financing infrastructure and regional market that separate this climate from its predecessors. (Indeed, the financing environment is so much more conservative now that securing funding can actually be a hurdle in some transactions.) We are still in a very competitive market and the statistics bear this out. While we may be slowly moving towards a more “balanced” market, we are not there yet. Let’s look at some of the leading indicators that give a glimpse at where we are.
One year ago, there were 112 home listings, 54 of which were under contract. For a market the size of Bainbridge, 58 active listings in the middle of summer is a crazy small number. On July 15th of this year, inventory had ballooned to 162 listings, 64 of which were under contract (leaving 98 active). Yes, this was a substantial improvement from last year. But when compared to the absolute top of our last market peak in July 2007, the 162/64 stat still looks very tight compared to the 2007 numbers, which were 289 listings with 62 under contract.
The percentage of pendings to listings is 40% today compared to 21% in 2007. This year’s second quarter median cumulative days on the market is still a brisk 11 days, equal to what it was for the same period in 2015. (In 2007, it was 52 days.) It is still a very competitive market. Our inventory is growing because our price levels are finally bringing in more people from the sidelines. When you look at the history of the sold listings, there are scant few people who are “flipping” or who have bought recently and rapidly selling for a profit. Instead, many of the homes that recently sold were last sold in 2001, 2004, or even 2007 and 2008. It’s also interesting to note that people who have held onto their homes for a more extended period of time (since before the boom years) are realizing very healthy increases over what they paid.
We have finally drawn even with and are even beginning to pass our peak prices of 2006/2007. When we checked the history of all the homes sold in the second quarter, all those that sold in 2006/2007 did better this year. Our year-to-date median is $755,000, a 14.4% increase over last year. This number is exacerbated by the price ranges of the homes sold. Overall, sales were down almost 17% and almost all of the decrease came in homes below the $600K price point. This phenomenon can be partly explained by our old nemesis: lack of inventory. On July 15th, there were 13 homes available on the whole island for less than $600K. Not many choices …
However, we are now seeing more price reductions than even in the first quarter. This is another indication of a healthier market. Pricing still matters, as sellers can’t just ask for anything. As we mentioned in our last newsletter, this is one of many areas where professionals can really help. Overpriced homes usually end up selling for less than properly priced homes, a statistic that has been borne out in all types of markets. This becomes especially important when a market is going through a gradual shift. The bottom line is that prices are rising and healthy. True, the rate may change and is very neighborhood and property specific. But the competitive nature of our current market will help bolster prices.
Condominiums and Land
Interestingly, the increase in inventory has not yet been felt in the residential condominium market. Due to low inventory the volume of condominium sales are down almost 21% from last year. Prices are up 8% from 2015, but the median price is still 13.7% lower than in 2007. In addition to the shortage of available condominiums buyers face potential financing challenges specific to that type of property. In the land segment, sales are down more than 30%! Median price for land is also off 6.5%, which is 47% of the 2007 median. This is perplexing as land sales improved quite a lot between 2014 and 2015.
So our changes are subtle at this time, but in process. On the residential side, the greater inventory gives buyers more choices and potentially more sales. Sellers are seeing price levels that entice people to return to the marketplace and support a competitive environment. The regional economy outlook continues to impress and our position in that marketplace remains strong. (What other community can still claim the same commute time to downtown as twenty years ago?) The outlook ahead is all very positive!
This summer, we are opening a satellite office on Olympic Drive and Winslow Way. There we’ll be able to greet ferry passengers as they first arrive to the island. Our goal is to give our clients more exposure to pedestrian and vehicle ferry traffic and have agents on hand to answer questions. We hope to have our doors open soon, so please stop by.
Windermere In The News
To say that Windermere has a lot of Seahawks fans would be an understatement. That’s why we are so excited to announce today that we are now the “Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks”!
At the center of this partnership with the Seahawks is a new #tacklehomelessness campaign in which the Windermere Foundation will donate $100 for every Seahawks tackle at home during the 2016 season. On the receiving end of these donations is YouthCare, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that has been providing services and support to homeless youth from across Puget Sound for more than 40 years. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has donated over $30 million to non-profits that support low-income and homeless families, so partnering with YouthCare and the Seahawks on the#tacklehomelessness campaign is a perfect fit for us.
“We are proud to partner with Windermere, an iconic and locally-based company with a deep commitment to this community,” said Seahawks Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Amy Sprangers. “Windermere’s brand and values align perfectly with our commitment to this region. It is wonderful that this partnership will make a positive impact on homeless youth throughout the Seattle area.”
Summer Day Camps 2016
Summer time is quickly approaching and suddenly that old feeling of dread and/or panic sets in… the kids are going to be home with nothing to do.
Bainbridge Island has a myriad of opportunities for children of all ages to learn and have fun this summer while school is out.
Islandwood Summer Day Camps invite children to open their imaginations in rich natural settings. They offer day camps for children from Pre-Kindergarten through the 9th grade.
The Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District offers a wide variety of classes and programs for children of all ages, all summer long. To download the full catalog for the entire summer of 2016 offerings click HERE.
Do your children enjoy soccer? Bainbridge Island FC offers summer camps for children starting as young as 3 years old!
Ok, it isn’t a summer camp but it surely is not to be missed. The Grand Old Fourth has been Bainbridge Island's biggest party for 48 years with a mile-long hometown parade, street fair with more than 100 booths including 30 food vendors, live music, kids' entertainment and games, pony rides, beer and wine garden, classic and electric car show, family fun run, pancake breakfast topped off with fireworks over Eagle Harbor at dusk. Admission is free and your entire family will love it!
Who says you can't have it all? This charming standalone townhome offers a main floor master plus so much more – in easy reach of everywhere you want to be.
Open Sunday, May 22nd from 1pm to 4pm!
For more information on this home, please click HERE
Open Sunday May 15th from 1pm to 4pm
4876 Rose Avenue NE
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
OPEN SUNDAY, May 1st 1pm to 4pm
Offered at $998,000
Beautiful property and exquisite home, just a short stroll to parks and trails to Blakely Harbor. Stone fireplace warms the great room extending into the grand open kitchen inspiring culinary performances and memorable gatherings. This fabulous home features boxed beam ceilings and painted pine walls, custom furniture grade cabinetry, soapstone counters and select quarter-sawn floors, offering casual comfort of Island life and the charm of a bygone era. Timeless, function and value throughout! NWMLS #931429
For more information and to preview the photo gallery, please click HERE
The Same Old Tune
Even as the birds of springtime sing their new songs of the season, we must hit repeat as we report – once again – on our local market’s low inventory. A lack of available homes continues to dictate what’s happening in Bainbridge Island real estate. On April 1st, there were only 47 homes and 5 condominiums available for sale on the island. Within the overall market, certain price points have been more pinched than others (which is a snapshot in time and will change as the year goes on). For example, if you were looking for a home in the $600K to $800K range, you had only 5 houses to choose from and zero condominiums.
How Inventory Affects Sales and Prices
This extremely limited inventory helped drive home sales down more than 20% from last year. There are plenty of buyers out there; there are just not enough properties on the market to sell. The scarcity of inventory has increased competition and bumped median prices up more than 9%. The average, which is more a function of the price ranges where homes closed, was up more than 18%. The median cumulative days on market dropped from 26 in 2015 to 20 in 2016. To put this in perspective, the cumulative days on market in 2012 was 146 days.
The Story on Condominiums and Land
The condominium market is also suffering from lack of inventory. Last year at the beginning of April, there were 16 condominiums available compared to this year’s 5; both of which lie in sharp contrast to 2012, when there were 45 available. Consequently, sales dropped from 19 to 16, but the median price rose 23% to $430K. Land, on the other hand, experienced a 30% increase in sales to 13 parcels this quarter with a 26.8% increase in the median price to $225K.
The View from Inside
One might assume that a market like this, with rising prices and inventory competition, makes our jobs easier. The reality is that there are some basic principles, goals and strategies that any good real estate professional seeks to embrace, all of which must adapt to an ever-changing market. Regardless of the climate, we want our clients to achieve the best possible outcomes – both at closing and in the future. This is sometimes easier said than done, especially when competition is fierce and time is of the essence. Given the complexities of the Bainbridge market, where most homes and locations are unlike any others, things can get even more challenging. It is not like buying or selling in a large subdivision where a product like Zillow has some merit. Here, each house has strengths and weaknesses and the success of a sale can pivot on those subtle nuances.
If you’re a Buyer
For buyers in this market, supply is tight and prices are rising. You almost have to assume you will be competing with others when you find the house you would like to make your home. Is the price fair? How high should you go? The specter of 2006 and 2007 should be in the back of your mind, as the concept of paying “whatever it takes” came back to bite many homebuyers. An agent brings knowledge of the current market, the choices it offers, what might be coming and how an individual house fits into the bigger picture – including the history of the neighborhood and often of the house. An agent will know whether a price is in line or whether the seller is being aggressive. When there are limited comparable properties, this expertise becomes extremely important. No one wants to hear, “You paid how much for your house?!”
In multiple offer situations, there are strategies to employ. You need to line up your resources to be “the best you can be.” Multiple offers often require that decisions be made quickly, so being prepared makes you a stronger buyer and one less likely to be disappointed later. If you are not a cash buyer, there are things you can do to compete with those who are. Get comfortable with the stack of forms you’ll be asked to sign. Ask your Realtor what it means to omit certain forms, how to read building inspection reports and Title reports. Learn how to spot red flags that make certain houses less expensive. Being a buyer in this market can be difficult, frustrating and even scary. A good agent can help you navigate the winding road to achieve the best results and avoid mistakes.
If you’re a Seller
Sellers may think they have it easier, but the reality is that a seller’s quest is the same in an ascending market as in a descending one. The two primary goals for sellers are to get the home sold in the timeframe desired and to maximize net proceeds. Buyers will be more attracted to, and will ultimately pay more for, a house that is optimized to appeal to a buyer and priced in a manner that a buyer feels is reasonable in the current market. Knowing the current market, as well as past and future markets and how a particular home fits into all of them, is essential in achieving the seller’s ultimate goals. But the work is just beginning when buyers first express interest. You have to know which of them will have the greatest possibility of actually achieving a closed transaction. It is surprising how many transactions fall apart in this market. Negotiating inspections, Appraisals, Sellers’ liability; what do all those forms mean and what are your responsibilities? There are many steps between deciding to sell and achieving your goals. The reality is that sellers don’t always get everything they hope to get out of a sale – even in a sellers’ market. But an experienced agent will help you prepare, present and respond so you can get the most out of any market.
Real estate markets fluctuate all the time, sometimes favoring buyers and sometimes favoring sellers. This is simply the nature of the business. But in the midst of all those ups and downs, one thing remains consistent: the beauty and livability of Bainbridge Island. At Windermere Bainbridge, we celebrate our island community and all it has to offer.
In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would have a little tribute to the color green. While a pale, almost neutral green is common in design, it takes guts and color savvy to really sock a punch to a room with green. These are a few great examples where the designer is a green maven.
This room has such a fun vintage feel without the burden of all of grandma's clutter. Keeping all of the other major pieces a stark white really showcases the green color.
I LOVE this room; my eye was immediately drawn to the Egg Chair in that gorgeous shade of green!
I think I'm drawn to this room because it looks like it was inspired by the Farnsworth house. The green accent mimics what is going on outside the structure.
The designer of this bathroom understands color and balance. The green is allowed to shine against the white while a little punch of orange provides great contrast.
Speaking of orange and green – being fearless with color can be intimidating but rewarding and well worth it when done properly. The balance of the orange and green is so refreshing and exciting.
Also, chocolate brown looks fantastic with green.
This calm traditional room probably would have seemed like the same old, same old without that brilliant hit of green provided by the duvet and throw pillow.
Here the green tiles add a bit of whimsy to an otherwise very modern kitchen.
And finally, who says wreaths are only for Christmas? A living wreath planted on a moss ring provides lovely greeting at your front door.