Finding the Right School

Your kids are very important, and when buying a house one of the most important things you can do is to find the right school. Most people use resources like Great Schools at  This is all fine and good, but all you’re looking at here is test scores.  If you want good test scores, just go find a wealthy neighborhood, they all have good scores.

But test scores aren’t a good predictor of how successful your child will be in school.  They area really just a goo predictor of how much you’ll have to pay for a house.  There are more important things than test scores, such as the culture of learning, quality of teachers, family engagement with the school, and your child’s perception of bullying and safety.

A good case study of this has been presented by a real estate agent in Seattle at  The city of Seattle has good resources available with school reports of how each school is performing on not just test scores, but also surveys of how parents, students and teachers feel about a variety of metrics important to facilitating learning.  You can find the Seattle school reports at the link.

The agent, Justin Vander Pol from Re/Max Seattle has put together a very easy to follow article about how to identify the best schools in Seattle. This is a very important thing to do in a big city.  Most people would prefer to live in the cities, but choose the suburbs for their better schools.


In places like Seattle we are starting to see a shift in this pattern.  As more families opt for the benefits of living in a city with a vibrant culture, we are seeing the elementary schools get better as more families get involved and more high performing kids are staying in the city.

One place we are seeing this is in West Seattle’s Schmitz Park Elementary.  It is one of the top schools in the area, and the surrounding schools continue to improve.  Once these kids reach high school age then West Seattle High School is likely to improve as well.

It’s a safe bet to send your kids to a School in a place like Issaquah, but Seattle is starting to catch up.

Staging a House: Part 2

Advanced Staging Techniques

If you haven’t read the post on basic staging, you might want to do that first. It gives you some compelling reasons to clean up your house beyond the levels your currently used to. If you’ve worked with any of the Seattle real estate agents, you’ve probably heard this already.

Once you have the inside and outside of your home free of dirt, debris and most certainly mold, you  can start working on some more advanced techniques for staging your home.

There are several reasons for staging your home

1. You will get more money for it

2. You will sell it faster

3. You have the opportunity to start a bidding war (especially in the Seattle neighborhoods)

4. You don’t have to show your home to strangers for as long

5. The buyers bank will have to appraise your home and a staged home will appraise for more

6. Your home will attract more qualified buyers

7. The stress of the event will be reduced because it will sell faster

Century 21 Real EstateIn addition to the common reasons people have to staging their homes, the biggest advantages are financial. Better offers sooner means more money on the table and less time for you to continue making payments on a house you no longer want to live in.

Youtube has some great recommendations for staging a house.

Your counters should be free of appliances. Move the majority of your collection of dishes and cookware out of the kitchen and into storage. Instead of seeing how much stuff the cabinets will hold, buyers see space that looks crowded. Better to give the impression that there is so much space in this kitchen that the drawers and shelves are left roomy. It’s all about perception.

Same goes in the bathroom. It should be complete free of clutter and look as though it’s a hotel or rental space. No lives there. The counter tops should be bare and the drawers should be gutted. No razors or hairy brushes sitting visibly. You can easily keep all your necessities in a small portable bin that you bring in and out with you as needed. Think college dorm life. It was fun right?

Staging your House: The Basics

We’re going to just start with the basics of staging your house. If you are in selling in the Seattle real estate market, you’re going to have a lot more competition than you would if you were selling from the Port Angeles market.

At the most basic level, you want a clean house. A clean house is one without obvious dirt or grime on the interior of the house as well as the outside of the home. Now, for rural locations, grime is more tolerable on the outside of the home than it will be in the city where people moving to Seattle will expect a home to be clean throughout. If you need help, MerryMaids should be called.

If your house has any stains as a result of water damage, or if it has any visible mold, you’ll need to remove any sign of those things before any potential buyer sets foot in your house. Those things that you’ve learned to ignore, or that don’t bother you at all, will cost you a lot of money when you sell your house. You will either receive no offers, lower offers, or an offer with a request to fix the problem.

For more suggestions, this video may get you started.

Either way, you’re better off by handling it properly from the beginning, when you’ll be inclined to receive the greatest amount of benefit.

Olympics Real Estate News

Olympics Real Estate News

From Seattle real estate to the Olympics peninsula, we’ve got you covered for real estate.

There is currently quite a surge in sales in the areas real estate market and a marked slow down on the foreclosure side. Though the auctions are still taking place in multiple locations throughout the region, the real estate market appears to be back on its feet.

The best recovery is being seen in the Seattle area, despite some of the dead spots and the challenging situation  with some of the schools. Areas that were nice before the building boom are doing exceptionally well. Areas that were in dire straits (think White Center) and were given a lift by the boom are not any better off than they were before.

In fact buyers in those areas, hoping to see the neighborhoods improve with time are now fleeing faster than before with the realization that gentrification may be too far away at this point.  This is why it’s important to use one of the best real estate agents in Seattle.

Similarly, depressed communities on the Olympic peninsula have failed to move into a higher real estate bracket and remain in tough positions. While the economy has stabilized in major metropolitan areas, small communities that didn’t have much to rely on before the economic collapse are still faced with same challenges they had yesterday. No jobs and no meaningful growth in the real estate market.