Category Archives: Green Homes

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.

House of the Immediate Future

Finally, something post-worthy! I’ve been grinding away on real estate (conventional at the moment, not green unfortunately), but I am still doing a lot of reading and this popped into my email today from Jetson Green.

Prefab Wet-Cores Used in Next-Gen Home

Off-site fabricated modules with plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems — referred to as “wet-cores” — were installed recently in The Home of the Immediate Future in Seattle. These will help keep the home affordable and high performance.

It really caught my attention since it is close to home (I live in Seattle). After The Next 50 exhibit at the Seattle Center, the home will be relocated to a Rainier Vista development by Dwell Development that includes three other homes. I did a little poking around, and Built Green featured this Dwell community at Columbia Station (next to Light Link rail) in January. This micro-community will grow to 15 units of affordable housing and are cited as “great example(s) of 5-Star green building and design at an accessible price point.”

See the Case Study here.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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:

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:

Thanks, and have a great rest of the week,

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.

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.

City Cabins now available for sale on Queen Anne hill

I met Martha Rose a few years ago when touring one of her sustainable home developments in the Shoreline area just north of the Seattle city limits. It was called Fish Singer Place and it was a renovated original home and three new homes built on the original property – a very large lot.

Now Martha Rose has just completed a project with a view – and Martha is moving closer and closer to what is called “Zero Energy” homes. You should look into City Cabins if you want the ultimate in clean green and great energy efficiency in your next home. The homes are located on the northwest slope of Queen Anne and just across the water from Ballard and boast a Walk Score of 75! They are 5-star Built Green Certified, the highest possible rating in our area. Visit the website

About City Cabins
Martha Rose, known by many as the ‘Queen of Green,‘ is a national leader in the Green Building Movement. Her interest in energy efficiency and sustainable building practices goes all the way back to the 1970‘s and currently is her main focus. Today Martha is striving toward building Zero-Energy spec-homes.

The energy crisis of the 1970‘s sparked her interest in conservation and alternative energy that became intertwined with her career in construction. The necessary learning that goes along with this topic is deep and on-going. Today, Martha is an educator herself, pushing the building industry towards zero-energy-use homes.

“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.

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