Category Archives: High Point

Why it is crucial your Listing Agent understands and specializes in the TYPE of property you are trying to sell

I have a stark example today, and a story with a positive ending and a very happy client, about why it is CRUCIAL that home sellers hire the right agent for the job.

Any real estate agent can sell what I call a “conventional” property. But if you are going to be short selling your house, you should seek out a short sale expert. If you are selling a condo, or vacant land, again you should seek out an expert in these niches. Vacation property or secondary home? Same thing. Professional agents who have been in the business a long time have developed their skill sets over the course of their careers and have narrowed down their business to what they are most passionate and knowledgeable about.

I chose to specialize in green homes over five years ago. In the Seattle area, served by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, they are referred to as “Environmentally Certified” homes. First I bought a Built Green Certified Home. And then I earned four different specialty designations all requiring education and testing in this area of expertise over the next five years. It is important that the agent you choose to hire shows they are staying up with technology, products, and laws pertaining to their area of expertise. If someone is an expert in something, they can really “sell” it.

I am an expert in green homes, and I can really sell High Point because I live here, and literally walk the streets here 365 days a year with my dog. I know the good and the bad. And I am an honest agent, I will share what’s important with anyone considering moving here whether the law requires me to or not.

The marketing photo for the condominium discussed in this blog post. Redwood High Point in West Seattle.
In July I was contacted by a neighbor who I had never even met. They had purchased their Redwood High Point condominium in March of 2011 as a short sale. They unexpectedly found themselves needing to move out of state for employment. I advised them how to best prepare the home for market, which began with packing as much out of the closet contents as possible. I helped them find off-site storage so the home would look as big as it was (almost 1,000 sq ft). And I had trouble convincing them to list it for over $30,000 more than the agent who represented them as a buyer the year before told them to list it for.

The selling price in March 2011 as a short sale was $194,950. When it was new construction in 2007 the selling price was $306,000. I get sick to my stomach whenever I talk about prices in High Point because I too bought then, in July 2007, literally at the height of the market. (For an example, I paid $395 for my townhome, a year ago it was valued at $260k by the lender. A neighbor with the same floor plan has a pending short sale that went down to $209k before it got an offer. Final sales price we don’t know yet.)

When this neighbor contacted the agent who represented them when they bought it last year, the agent did a CMA (comparative market analysis) and recommended they list the property for $185,000. Yes, values are dragged down by all the bank owned and short sales around them. But it is not a distress sale. And maybe if this was just any old condo in West Seattle it would sell for $185k – but it’s not. This is an Environmentally Certified condo – and the entire neighborhood is also certified as Built Green. There are people who are looking for properties like this. If you market it right, it will sell for its true value.

I finally convinced them and we priced the property at $219,950 and received a full price offer within 24 hours. We went off market and went through the entire inspection process and were proceeding to closing when the buyer got cold feet and walked. The buyer gave up $3k earnest money to the seller. The seller loaded up their moving truck and drove away, trusting me that I would be able to do it again.

Two months went by. We finally started talking about a price reduction. Rather than a $5k drop, I suggested splitting it between the buyer and the buyer’s agent. We did a $3k price drop and a $2k commission bonus to the buyer’s agent if we received “an acceptable offer” (seller determines what is acceptable) within about 5 weeks.

Less than two weeks later we received another full price offer – at $216,950. And what was really hilarious about this was that the buyer was the same person who went to buy it in July. So three months later, tomorrow we close this sale. And I have a very happy client. And the buyer really did pay full price of $219,950, because she paid $3k of it two months ago when the first sale was closed.

In his own words, my client explained the financial side of this in a recent email.

“I went through our old docs from the purchase – I think once everything is included, we’ll end up $1,261.87 up from the money we put in 19 months ago. We got lucky! If we would have listened to our old Realtor and listed it at $185,000, we’d be down like $30,000!”

It’s not cheap to sell real estate. There are thousands upon thousands of dollars paid towards commissions, excise tax, and other closing costs, including title insurance and more. How would you feel if you got to live someplace FOR FREE for a year and a half?? If you bought low, it is possible to sell high – or at least today’s market rate adjusted “high”. But only if you hire the right real estate agent.

How often does this happen?

Weeks, nay months, of work are culminating in TWO closings tomorrow – one a few days early and the other a few days late. Both bring me new neighbors in my Built Green Certified condominium in High Point (the big tan section to the right of B on this map, which is Viewpoint Park). Like, I can shout at them down the driveway close. I don’t think ever in my life will I have two sales close on the same day again. I think I really need to celebrate!!

2840 SW Raymond #102 as seen from High Point Drive.
I represented the seller.
2830 SW Raymond #202, as seen from my home office.
I represented the buyer.

Two Built Green condos going “pending” today; I am blogging LIVE from the Built Green Conference tomorrow; OOPS…biking in the woods in the dark

Big news today – two Built Green condominiums in Redwood High Point (where I actually live) are going “Pending” today. I represent one buyer, and a seller, in two different transactions. It’s a good week!

Also I will be blogging live from the Built Green Conference tomorrow. I have gone every year for the past 4 years on a press pass so I can share what I learn and also keep fresh with the most up-to-date information when it comes to green homes. You can tune in tomorrow right here for updates and information on the latest trends.

Photo for today is a picture I took at Rattlesnake Lake Monday night after biking with my husband 22 miles down the Iron Horse Trail from Hyak in Snoqualmie Pass. The trail starts at the pass with the Snoqualmie Tunnel, 2.75 miles of pitch black and cold. The trail unexpectedly ended at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center and clearly our timing was off as by that time it was dark (see photo, haha). We expected it to connect to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, which we have biked sections of before. (We would have found the entrance to the trail just down the road if it had not been dark!!) We biked another 8 miles down very steep roads (Cedar Falls Road, then over I-90 and into town), annoying traffic, to reach North Bend and my real estate office where we left one car. Total trip was 29.76 miles. Average speed was 12.6 mph, fastest (on my bike) was 25.6 (Steve probably had faster). It was a little scary going down a steep hill in the dark. Later looking at a map we determined we had taken a MUCH more direct route than if we had been on the Valley Trail, which winds all over. We had to drive back up to the pass to get the other car. We walked into an Applebee’s in Factoria for dinner at a quarter to 10, and didn’t get home until 11. A ride to remember!!

Built Green barrier free view condo open in West Seattle this Sunday, 1-4 PM

This Sunday 1-4 PM I am hosting an open house in West Seattle, while my broker hosts an open in Snoqualmie Pass.
Please pass the word about this FAB property and good price. Click on the CONDO tab for details on this and other Mountain To Sound Realty properties.

Enjoy our YouTube video tours of these properties!


NWMLS #380491 2840 SW Raymond Street, #102 | Seattle, WA 98126
Offered at $219,950 | City and Mountain Views
High Point is a Built Green Certified Community and this is a 3-Star Built Green Certified Home. Experience this secluded ground floor location in this award-winning neighborhood with pocket parks on every block, community gardens, and other environmental features. Great views of downtown and the Cascade Mountains. Nine foot ceilings, granite slab breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances, raised panel doors, crown molding and designer colors upgrade. Luxury living in a secure building. Move right in and don’t lift a finger! Turnkey!


For sale – four 2 bedroom condominium units above Summit Market. Located off Exit 52 of I-90. Faces Summit West. Vacation All Year Round Up At Snoqualmie Pass! Large rooms throughout and views of Snoqualmie West and Alpental. Two bedroom condo featuring a sauna in the 2 premium units, and all units feature jetted tub, heated tile floors, all new appliances, and come furnished. View, view, view. Sofa that unfolds into a bed, large TV, sleigh beds, armoire, table and chairs. Close proximity to stores, coffee shops, gas station and of course – the ski area just across the street

Have you heard about the Drive-In Condo in West Seattle? | Built Green Certified (VIDEO)

My normal marketing process would have had this video out a lot sooner; however, this is the Built Green condominium that received an offer on its first day on market…so naturally the marketing process kind of stopped (except for all of the online marketing).

So this video features my community of High Point, then marketing the view ground floor condominium that sold on day one. Unfortunately the first buyer flaked and it went back on market last Saturday!

NWMLS #380491 2840 SW Raymond Street, #102 | Seattle, WA 98126

2 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 996 square foot home | Ground Floor | Barrier Free | City and Mountain Views | Attached one car garage | Covered patio

High Point is a Built Green Certified Community and this is a 3-Star Built Green Certified Home.

Experience this secluded ground floor location in this award-winning neighborhood with pocket parks on every block, community gardens, and other environmental features. Great views of downtown and the Cascade Mountains.

Nine foot ceilings, granite slab breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances, raised panel doors, crown molding and designer colors upgrade. Luxury living in a secure building. Move right in and don’t lift a finger! Turnkey!

Listed by Mountain To Sound Realty and marketed by Wendy Hughes-Jelen
Built Green Certified Professional, Realtor, and EcoBroker
In West Seattle since 1997 | Living Green and Wearing Pink!

Built Green High Point condo sells in one day at full price – why working with a Built Green Certified agent and EcoBroker matters

Well, I agreed to take a listing in my community in High Point in West Seattle. One of my neighbors noticed the fliers I have been posting for years on the bulletin board here and called me because he with his family was suddenly relocating for a job. I usually help people move INTO High Point, not leave it. I was looking forward to having a green home to show and educate people on Built Green and what it means. But we received a full price offer the first day!! It is a ground floor barrier free view condominium facing downtown Seattle and the Cascade Mountains. Highly desirable! And I proved it.

The seller had contacted the real estate agent who represented them when they bought the place and said she had recommended listing it for $185k. Of course it would sell for $185 because it is worth so much more. It would be a steal. As a Built Green Certified Professional Real Estate Agent I fully understand, and am able to convey to the buying public, what a Built Green Environmentally Certified home means, and its true value.

If you own an Environmentally Certified home or condo, or want to buy one, you NEED to work with a professional such as myself to fully understand what it is you are buying. Period. I will have been certified five years as of this fall. My name is Wendy Hughes-Jelen and I am a green real estate expert.

The personal responsibility that comes with living in a Built Green Certified community

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a “green” community?

I live in a Built Green Certified neighborhood which means we get occasional reminders about what that means, personal-responsibility wise. Although I don’t have a yard myself (being in a condo and there is a professional service that takes care of what is in front of my townhouse), I would say this effects 3/4 of the homeowners in the community as well as the tenants when it comes to caring for their personal fenced back yards. Currently this would be about 12oo residents on 120 acres, which makes up 10% of the total land that is part of the Longfellow Creek watershed.

This email reminder came today:

Good afternoon High Point Residents!

Hasn’t the gorgeous weather of the last few days been a treat?! It’s wonderful to see blue sky, and all of the trees and daffodils in bloom really brings home the fact that Spring has arrived.

Many of you probably know that an extensive natural drainage system (NDS) underlies the entire High Point community. This NDS is designed to capture storm water run off from each roof, street and impermeable surface in the community and filter it into the bioswales. What isn’t absorbed into the ground eventually makes its way to the pond along Juneau/High Point Drive. The water is filtered further in the pond, and eventually is released downstream to Longfellow Creek.

Because of this natural drainage system, and in order to help protect the salmon and other wildlife downstream, High Point is a 100% organic community.

Pesticides and chemical fertilizers are prohibited, both in common areas and on private lots. That means chemicals like Round-Up may not be used to kill weeds, and “weed and feed” products may not be used on lawns. Instead, owners are encouraged to use natural or slow release fertilizers. Hand pulling is still a tried and true way to eliminate weeds, but vinegar and boiling water can be used as well. If you’re planning to use vinegar do some research online first, and use the same cautions you would when applying chemicals (dilution, gloves, eye cover, mask, etc.). Dandelions almost always need to be dug out (to get those pesky taproots so they don’t come back a few weeks later in the same spot).

Washing cars on streets and driveways is also very strongly discouraged. The chemicals and surfactants in soaps have the potential to be harmful to fish and marine wildlife. There are a number of environmentally friendly automatic car washes around the Seattle area, and a do-it-yourself car wash just across 35th near Graham.

Interested in Organic Vegetables? High Point has two “p-patches” where you can get a garden plot. If you’re interested, please contact Bunly Yun, Community Garden Coordinator with the Seattle P-Patch Progran for more information. His phone number is 206.684.8495 and his email address is: bunly.yun@seattle.gov.

There also is a Market Garden in High Point at Juneau and 32nd. During the summer you can buy organic vegetables at the farm stand, or you can sign up to have veggies delivered each week via Seattle Market Gardens: http://seattlemarketgardens.org/

Thanks, and have a great rest of the week,
Heather

High Point real estate sobering – no rainbow yet

Where is the rainbow in High Point real estate?

I’ve just pulled a report for my neighborhood, which has been a perfect micro-climate to observe the dark side of the recession and collapse in real estate in the Seattle area. We personally closed July 27, 2007 on our townhome on Raymond – the month and year considered the peak of the bubble.

I’ve been on the ground here for five years (we wrote up the contract in April 2007), literally since I am walking my dog twice a day (or often three times). High Point’s Built Green Certification has cushioned home values somewhat, but at this point there are too many people who have been hanging on too long. There is a plethora of short sale listings now, many of them in my condo association of Redwood High Point.

Out of 16 active listings on the NWMLS in High Point proper (the redeveloped area), 7 are short sales, 2 are bank owned (both Fannie Mae, already foreclosed on), 5 are Polygon Phase 2 listings, (which have been selling like hot cakes in our new reality – almost 80 homes sold in less than a year, they are at really good prices and are attractive since so many people want “new”, they are rated 300 point Built Green Certified), and 2 are Seller occupied and considered Market Rate listings (at $460k and $530k, but both have been on the market for months). 7 of the 16 listings are in Redwood High Point and all of them are distressed pricing.

I look around me and just get depressed. I have not seen this many listings,all at once, ever. Owners are dropping like flies. We’ve been trying to negotiate with our own lender for over three years and only recently engaged an attorney who is looking into the robo-signing issue (among others) that was prevalent at the time everyone in Phase 1 purchased. I only hope we don’t end up moving like so many others have.

As someone who has been in this community for so long, and watched it change and grow from one day to the next, I don’t want to leave. But a lot of people have been in extended financial distress and just need it to be over. Way over. A couple of my neighbors moved on two years ago and my porch-mate tried to sell for a year before giving up. We’re just stubborn fools, I guess, committed to our community and lifestyle here (my husband and I). We watched our home be built, we customized every square inch of it, and I feel safe walking my dog here most of the time. I might gripe about being sick of walking in circles in the rain for 6 months, but when I think of where else I could be living, from a safety standard High Point beats anywhere I have lived in 20 years.

My heart aches for those who moved here with such great dreams and high expectations, only to be disappointed by job loss or transfers, a bad turn in finances, and the gradual slipping away of the American Dream. Many criticize, saying people who are in trouble with their home now didn’t deserve to own that home in the first place. I try to not take it personally. Our household just happened to be comprised of careers in two industries really hit hard by this recession – and I have fought hard to stay in this business since I am passionate about solving people’s real estate problems. It’s not like there were a lot of jobs out there for me to go to even though I have extensive professional experience outside of real estate.

But this plethora of short sales is just one problem I can’t solve. I just hope I don’t end up as one myself.

To those who have given up, moved on and started over somewhere else – my thoughts are with you and your family. I hope there will come a time that you can look at your place in High Point in a positive way and not just some big black period in your life. And your contribution to our neighborhood will be sorely missed.

Regardless of my personal situation, I continue to be an Ambassador for High Point and I bring all of my buyer clients through my neighborhood to educate them. I am a believer in the community, the natural surroundings, the storm water management and watershed interface, and the Built Green Certification process. And I am an optimist. Things will get better. It is always a good time to buy – or sell – a home, depending on your personal circumstances. And as long as I am a resident of High Point you can always call on me for information about this unique, green community and the larger West Seattle area. We have lived in West Seattle almost 15 years and it is in our blood. They will have to drag me kicking and screaming out the door to get rid of me.

Don’t forget to LIKE the High Point Real Estate page on Facebook.

“Go Small, Go Green, and Go Home” | The non-trend in new homes

Martha Rose (Martha Rose Construction) has a guest post on the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties Facebook page today, called “A New Normal in the Home Market”

Martha is a very creative home builder. I have toured several of her properties in the last 5 years. She loves educating people about what is going on “behind the walls” since that is where most of the energy efficient things happen. Home buyers often arrive on the scene too far along in the construction process to be able to see and fully appreciate all that went into making the home as efficient as possible.

If saving money is important to you, and you are in the market for a home, you will want to seek out “Environmentally Certified Homes” through the local Northwest Multiple listing Service. Large search sites often don’t allow you to use this as one of your search criteria but I made sure my brokerage’s search page does at Mountain To Sound Realty.

If you have any questions about green homes, let me know. It has been five years since my husband and I purchased a Built Green Certified home in a Built Green community and I have a lot to share.

The Holiday Porches of High Point

One of the great things about living in a Built Green┬áCertified Community is the seasonal decorating that comes with certain holidays. Halloween is a real hoot, but Christmas is very beautiful. The “front porch” community built in 2006/07 (and some 2011) really gets into the holiday spirit every year. Every porch has en electrical outlet so it makes it easy to have fountains or lights outside.

You can view the entire public album on Facebook, and it will continue to be updated as more people decorate – all the way up to Christmas! Have a wonderful holiday season.