Category Archives: Sellers

25E: The Cut Energy Bills at Home Act

This is very exciting news that I came across on the blog from San Francisco-based Efficiency First, “a national nonprofit trade association that unites the Home Performance workforce, building product manufacturers and related businesses and organizations in the escalating fight against global warming and rising energy costs.” Their page “Introducing 25e: The First Performance Based Tax Credit for Homes” includes links to the actual text of the Senate bill, a quick reference fact sheet, and a webinar from December that discusses it in detail, as well as software and contractor credentials.

The brief description is:

The Cut Energy Bills at Home Act has been introduced in the Senate with bipartisan support. If passed, the bill would create a new 25e tax credit — the first residential performance-based tax credit given to homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements. The proposed bill would provide performance-based tax credits of up to $5,000 per project for homeowners who install qualified energy efficiency measures

I signed the petition in support of this important new bill, saying:

As a Realtor and EcoBroker I support any smart legislation that will create a market-driven change to building quality and energy consumption. 25E could create a revolution in bottom-up energy conservation by individual power users, from east to west, north to south. As someone born in the same year as Earth Day and seeing improvements at a pace slower than the destruction occurring on our planet, I consider it a personal mission to educate my clients, friends, and family about indoor air quality and energy usage in their homes.

If you also feel this is important, please endorse this new legislation by signing their petition to add your support to this important effort! Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Northwest MLS brokers report more than 56,000 sales during 2011, outgaining prior year by 7.4 percent, but total dollar volume shrinks

Here is a recap of 2011 real estate activity in the Pacific Northwest areas served by the Northwest Multiple listing Service. Please contact me if you have any questions, or need guidance in buying or selling a home. Thanks! Wendy


NWMLS KIRKLAND, WA. (Jan. 23, 2012) – Members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service tallied 56,290 closed sales of single family homes and condominiums during 2011, improving on 2010’s volume by 4,290 transactions for a 7.4 percent increase.

Last year’s completed sales included 48,952 single family homes (up 7 percent from 2010) and 7,338 condominiums (an increase of more than 10 percent from 2009). Together, these sales were valued at more than $16.7 billion, about $900 million less than the previous year (a decline of 5.1 percent).

Both median prices and inventory dropped compared to 2010. Prices fell 10.3 percent system wide, while the number of new listings added to inventory was down more than 13 percent. Brokers added 101,430 listings to the database during 2011, which was 15,269 fewer than the total number for 2010.

Last year’s median price for closed sales of single family homes and condos was $235,000. In 2010 the median selling price was $262,000. For the 21 counties included in the MLS report, the median price ranged from $120,000 in Grays Harbor County to $387,500 in San Juan County.

In King County, which accounted for 40 percent of last year’s sales, the median selling price was $311,748, down about 10.7 percent from the previous year’s figure of $349,000.

In its annual statistical summary report for its 20,000-plus brokers, the multiple listing service examined various indicators of activity. Among the findings:

  • Single family homes accounted for about 87 percent of the sales volume as measured by units, and about 90 percent of the dollar volume.
  • About half the homes that sold last year had 3 bedrooms, while three-fourths of condos had 2 or fewer bedrooms.
  • Prices for 3-bedroom homes built before 2009 vary widely among the counties in the Northwest MLS market area, ranging from $112,375 in Grays Harbor County up to $408,500 in San Juan County.
  • On average, Northwest MLS brokers represented 34,000 active listings each month.
  • Of 860 million-dollar-plus sales of single family homes, more than half (54.8 percent) were in Seattle’s Eastside suburbs. Of these high-end homes, 145 of them were in the MLS map area encompassing the area west of I-405, including Bellevue and the waterfront communities of Beaux Arts Village, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, Medina and Yarrow Point.
  • The highest priced single family home in the MLS system that sold last year was located in the Town of Hunts Point on the eastern shore of Lake Washington, which commanded $14,750,000. The highest priced condominium, located in downtown Kirkland, fetched $3,249,000.
  • A comparison of median prices of home sales within school districts in the Northwest MLS market areas shows the most expensive homes were situated in the Mercer Island School District ($824,000), followed by Bellevue ($550,000) and Issaquah ($530,000). The least expensive homes were in the Queets-Clearwater School District in Jefferson County ($30,000), the Vader School District in Lewis County ($47,900) and the Wilson Creek School District in Grant County ($52,500).
  • Northwest MLS members reported 81,019 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during 2011. That marked an increase of about 10.5 percent from 2010 when members logged 73,349 pending sales.
  • The pace of sales as measured by “months supply” (an estimate of how long it would take for all inventory of active listings to sell at the current pace assuming no new inventory is added) showed a system-wide total of 5.02 months, improving on a figure of 6.42 months for 2010. Using this measurement, Snohomish County had the lowest supply, at 3.69 months, followed by King County at 3.75 months. (Economists consider a supply of 3-to-6 months to be a balanced market, meaning the market favors neither buyers nor sellers.)

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 20,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.

2011 Statistical Review & Highlights

Copyright © Northwest Multiple Listing Service

5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Sale

Working to get your home ship-shape for showings will increase its value and shorten your sales time.

Guest Post By: G. M. Filisko

1. Have a home inspection
Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. For $250 to $400, an inspector will warn you about troubles that could make potential buyers balk. Make repairs before putting your home on the market. In some states, you may have to disclose what the inspection turns up.

2. Get replacement estimates
If your home inspection uncovers necessary repairs you can’t fund, get estimates for the work. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home and the repairs. Also hunt down warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for your furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items you expect to remain with the house.

3. Make minor repairs
Not every repair costs a bundle. Fix as many small problems—sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, dripping faucets—as you can. These may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression your house isn’t well maintained.

4. Clear the clutter
Clear your kitchen counters of just about everything. Clean your closets by packing up little-used items like out-of-season clothes and old toys. Install closet organizers to maximize space. Put at least one-third of your furniture in storage, especially large pieces, such as entertainment centers and big televisions. Pack up family photos, knickknacks, and wall hangings to depersonalize your home. Store the items you’ve packed offsite or in boxes neatly arranged in your garage or basement.

5. Do a thorough cleaning
A clean house makes a strong first impression that your home has been well cared for. If you can afford it, consider hiring a cleaning service.

If not, wash windows and leave them open to air out your rooms. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Wash light fixtures and baseboards, mop and wax floors, and give your stove and refrigerator a thorough once-over.

Pay attention to details, too. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, clean inside the cabinets, and polish doorknobs. Don’t forget to clean your garage, too.


G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has found happiness in a Chicago brownstone with the best curb appeal on the block. A frequent contributor to many national publications including, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Understanding How Real Estate Market Prices Work

I have been having lengthy discussions with a neighbor trying to explain how real estate market values work. I’ve explained things in more than one way but I can’t seem to get my point across. Really we just have to accept that our houses are worth 30% less than they were when we bought new four years ago, if they aren’t a distressed sale. I came across this article that I think will help those wrestling with reality.

Read Understanding How Real Estate Market Prices Work (NuWire Investor, April 2010)

“Building Green: Good for Planet, The Wallet, and The Bottom Line”

There was an important article that came out this week that I wanted to call to your attention. After 4 years in a Built Green Home and almost as long being certified in green housing, I’ve starting to see real meat and potato information coming out after more homes have been built/renovated, and it is being embraced by the consumer/home buyer.

Building green is getting big, better and cheaper. And it’s not just for new construction: from simple energy efficiency projects to “deep energy retrofits,” owners and leasers of existing homes and commercial buildings can join the green building boom.

Read more from

Try out our interactive home audit tool

Home Audit Tool partnered with Lowe

As a real estate professional I really focus on saving people money.
I am proud to be a part of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, which is putting an effort into their Green Leadership Initiative. Try out our interactive Home Efficiency Audit Tool, brought to you by Lowe’s. Learn how you can save money by making your home more efficient by using this online audit tool. Projects are broken out into everyday energy savers, conservation tip, weekend projects and big payoff projects. Scroll down to the “Live Green” section at the bottom of the page to learn more.

Low cost/affordable energy improvements available for 2,000 homes in Central or Southeast Seattle NOW

I recently learned of a company that has entered the Pacific Northwest home+energy market, called Energy Savvy. They have been contracted by the City of Seattle to provide a method to roll out affordable energy efficiency upgrades to home owners. It’s called Community Power Works. A press release in April provides the meat of the matter, but here is a brief summary:

Community Power Works for Home plans to upgrade 2,000 homes in its service area over the next two years. The project serves the central and southeast neighborhoods of Seattle, areas which have historically been underserved by energy efficiency programs. It will give residents of those neighborhoods an affordable way to make their homes more comfortable and healthy while making energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.

“Our leaky old houses waste so much energy, it’s like having a window open 24 hours a day, every day of the year,” says contractor Jason Lear, of Batt + Lear, a Seattle green design/build company. “We find our customers like having a home that is far less drafty. They had no idea how much more comfortable they could be in their home, in winter and in summer. And what so many people don’t know is that when you improve the energy savings of a home, you inevitably improve the comfort, the durability and the health of the home, too. ”

Community Power Works for Home is part of a $20 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant awarded through the Department of Energy’s BetterBuildings program. Over a two-year period, Community Power Works is leveraging these federal dollars to produce an additional $25 million in economic activity in the region from state funding, utility rebates, and homeowner investments in their homes. All of this investment will put a charge into a local green industry to preserve and create hundreds of living–‐wage jobs, help homeowners save energy, and reduce the City’s carbon footprint.

(read the whole press release here.)

Community Power Works offers:

  • A deeply discounted home energy assessment. Thanks to incentives from Seattle City Light, this assessment costs only $95 – a $305 savings.
  • Certified contractors to do the work.
  • Rebates and incentives to bring down the cost of your upgrade by up to $3,000.
  • Affordable loans with easy terms to qualify.
  • Energy Experts to help you every step of the way and make sure the job is done right.

From their website:
Community Power Works is offered by the City of Seattle with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal of the program is to achieve energy savings of at least 15 percent in each home served. The special incentives and financing are available only to projects that meet or exceed this savings level.

See if your house is inside the coverage area – map here.

What all of this means is that you need to jump on this opportunity if you are within the area served. Not only will you save money on your utility bills (I know you keep hearing this over and over) but what it ALSO does it make your home more sell-able in the future.

I can talk about this all day. If you’re interested in learning more about this whole concept of a “house as a building system” and nothing more, and how to improve your current home, please talk to me. Send an email using the button on the right, message on Facebook, or call me at 206.686.HOME (4663).

Thanks! and have a wonderful weekend!

Wendy Hughes-Jelen

Outdoor living spaces can really sell a home

There’s a reason why summer time helps sell your home – your yard is looking at its best. Curb appeal makes so much difference, you really can’t ignore it.

“Outdoor living spaces” have been a huge trend in the last 5 years. During recession time families have spent more time at home “cocooning”, so have invested time and money on making their homes and outdoors spaces more enjoyable.

An added green bonus: If you keep your gardening spaces and lawn pesticide free, this is really a selling point for families with children and pets, since lawn fertilizers and weed killers and bare feet/paws really don’t mix.

There is an article in today’s Realty Times that gives some more Summertime Selling Tips.

Also, HGTV has a great article out today,
Beautify your outdoor living space with easy-to-tackle projects that can be done in a weekend or less

If you are in the Seattle area and are looking to buy or sell a home, or RENT and need to move, please contact me at 206.686.HOME (4663) for a more personalized search experience.

Wendy Hughes-Jelen, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Executive
EcoBroker Certified® | Earth Advantage® Broker | Built Green® Certified Professional

SW Cycle Court in the Built Green Certified neighborhood of High Point (in West Seattle) - is reminscent of a beachside village retreat.

UPDATE: 6/17/2011
Landscape Appeal Helps Sell Homes
If you’re like many sellers, listing your home for sale creates a challenge to keep the home show-ready at all times. That can be difficult enough.
Full Story: