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  • Three Reasons To Fall in Love with Real Estate

    February 15, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    While we’re celebrating love this week–whether that’s enjoying a candlelit dinner with your partner, grabbing pizza with friends, or snuggling up on the couch with Netflix and takeout–let’s talk about other forms of love. Namely, let’s discuss love for investing in real estate. In my time working as a writer for Pickett Street, I’ve witnessed and felt inspired by how much everyone on their team truly loves working in the real estate world. I’ve also learned that there is something magical about investing in real estate. This is not to say that this investment doesn’t have its challenges–like all things worth loving, it does–but to say that it’s an incredibly rewarding lifelong practice. If you’re already thinking, “Yes! I’m in love! Sign me up!”, then get in touch with Pickett Street ((425) 502-5397) or info@pickettstreet.com) to buy or sell a home in the Seattle area. If you need more convincing, here are three reasons to love real estate. 1. Owning property generates income. Forbes notes that one of real estate’s main benefits is that it allows you to generate significant income without having to sell your investment. While stocks and bonds both yield about 2%, real estate allows you to…Read more

  • What to Know About the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

    February 9, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Recent changes stemming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may feel, as taxes sometimes do, a bit confusing. Luckily, Pickett Street and their preferred mortgage lender Cody Touchette of Caliber Home Loans are here with the breakdown of how recent tax changes will affect you. Keep in mind that most of these changes will not affect you until it's time to file 2018 taxes (the taxes you will file in 2019). For more information about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Cody recommends this helpful link. 1.  Standard deduction. According to the Washington Post, the new tax law increases the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for joint filers. This means that, for many homeowners, it will no longer make sense to itemize deductions. Zillow broke it down for the Washington D.C. area: under the old tax law, it made sense for 98 percent of homeowners to itemize, while under the new law, it only makes sense for 64 percent of homeowners to itemize. 2.  Mortgage interest deductions. If you bought your home on or after December 15th, 2017, then you can claim a maximum interest of $750,000 for each secured primary residence. If you bought your home before December 15th,…Read more

  • Keller Williams Ranks as the Happiest Company

    February 2, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Like most people these days, I’ve worked in several different jobs. While all of these jobs were stepping stones, some were stranger than others. In high school, I was a cashier for a retail chain that shall remain unnamed, and I remember that they didn’t allow employees to keep a water bottle at the register with us. In college, I worked for a woman who ran her own business, which appeared to be some kind of pyramid scheme. She mostly wanted me to create a spreadsheet of her airline credit cards and frequent flyer miles. One summer I worked for my college’s environmental health and safety officer and spent long days in the basement researching conspiracy theories about disease on the internet at his request. That was a weird summer. Later in my twenties, I spent a lot of time thinking about happiness, and how this relates to my work. I personally derive satisfaction and happiness from working as a writer and as a teacher–perhaps because both of these jobs mean that I get to drink water at my desk whenever I want and that I don’t have to spend hours in windowless basements researching conspiracy theories or sorting through…Read more

  • Hi, I’m Ansley, And I’m a First-Time Home Buyer

    January 26, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    I’ve been writing for the awesome Pickett Street Properties Team for nearly a year now, and it seems I’m overdue for a personal introduction. Hello! My name is Ansley. I’m a teacher and a writer. I spent most of my life in the Seattle area before moving to Colorado for graduate school. While I fell hard for Colorado’s snowy mountains, sunshine, and blue skies (seriously--you haven’t seen the sky until you’ve experienced it out here!) it’s my dream to move back to the Seattle area. I’m good at drinking a lot of coffee while watching the Great British Baking Show and reading New York Times articles in bed. I’m also good at whining at my partner to bring me things like socks and chocolate and more coffee so that I don’t have to get out of bed. I’m lucky that I have the most patient partner in the world. I love running and hiking in the mountains with my deaf puppy. I love learning and writing about the world in all its complexities. And now, a personal anecdote. A few weeks ago, my partner and I received the catering contract for our upcoming June wedding. The price listed was astronomically…Read more

  • Why You Should Sell Your Home Early in 2018

    January 19, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Last January, Seattle had the second lowest rate of homes for sale in the country, behind only the San Francisco area. This low inventory has resulted in higher home prices and a seller’s market. In May, Seattle real estate had the highest number of bidding wars in the country; according to Redfin, 90 percent of homes on the market in Seattle ended up in bidding wars. All of this is to say that it’s advantageous, to put it mildly, to be a seller right now. However, as the wise saying goes, this too shall pass, and later in 2018, the tides may begin to shift away from favoring home sellers. Through contacting Pickett Street (Pickett Street at (425) 502-5397 or info@pickettstreet.com), find an agent who can help you take the leap in selling while the market is still heavily in your favor. In the meantime, here are a few reasons why it’s smart to sell your home early in 2018–i.e. today! 1. Inventory might increase in the fall. This would be the first major inventory gain since 2015. It could mean more inventory gains and a shift away from a seller’s market in the coming years. Consequently, it’s smart to…Read more

  • Seattle Real Estate Update: What to Expect from 2018

    January 15, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    As you let go of 2017, look forward to 2018, and reassess your life and goals, you may wonder what’s in store for the real estate market over the next year. 2017 was an exciting and wild year; Seattle was named the hottest real estate market in the country and home prices rose 13.4 percent, which is more than twice the national average rate of 5.9% for home price growth. So, if you are looking to buy or sell a home in the greater Seattle area, what can you expect from the market over the next year? First, you should find a great agent who can help you. Second, check out these predictions for the coming year. 1. Lower mortgage rates will make it easier to buy a home. Long-term mortgage rates recently fell from 3.99% to 3.95% (a year ago the averages rates were 4.20%). The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also recently fell from 3.44% to 3.38%. According to the Seattle times, these relatively low rates can help homebuyers offset the rising costs of real estate and make it easier to afford a home. 2. Seattle, in case you haven’t heard, is very cool. According to Redfin,…Read more

  • Five New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

    January 5, 2018 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    I love that each year New Year’s Day and the month of January bring transformation, renewal, and possibility. As everyone returns to work after the holiday bustle and the weather in Seattle remains chilly and gray, the world feels quiet and peaceful. While we tend to focus on New Year resolutions that have to do with career, health, happiness, etc, we often overlook resolutions for one of the most important spaces in our lives–our homes. Setting and achieving goals for your home can significantly improve your finances and your general wellbeing (for more about the connections between architectural spaces and mood, check out this fascinating article). Here are a few of our favorite New Year’s resolutions for your home in 2018. 1. Create a budget for home improvements. Because it’s easy to rack up credit card charges when working on home improvement projects, this is the best place to start. Create a list of projects in order of priority. Be sure to devise a home improvement budget each year–HouseLogic suggests that the owner of a $250,000 home set aside $2,500 to $7,500 per year for maintenance and repairs. 2. Cut your energy use. Energy Star has an informative guide to…Read more

  • Pickett Street’s Favorite Holiday Memories

    December 22, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    My parents recently moved out of the house they lived in for many years. Though this change felt a bit sad, when I visited them this past week, I saw that they had worked hard to make this new space just as cozy as ever with candles, fuzzy blankets, board games, and tickets to see Star Wars (the family who nerds out together stays together!). With Hanukkah and the winter solstice this past week and Christmas next week, it’s the perfect time to relax and reflect. To get into the holiday spirit, I chatted with the Pickett Street Team about their favorite memories and strategies for making their homes feel festive. Sarah, Team Administrator Favorite holiday memories: Going on car rides to look at Christmas lights, getting all the Christmas decorations out, playing in the snow for hours on end with my sister, making quilts with my mom, watching Christmas movies with the family–mostly Christmas Vacation because my Grandpa John laughs so hard during the squirrel scene. Holiday rituals today: I am the person who busts out the Christmas decorations the day after Halloween because I want to enjoy it as long as possible. I have a collection of those…Read more

  • Real Estate Inspiration: Seattle’s Unique Architecture

    December 15, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Seattle’s silvery light and green landscapes have resulted in some unique architectural styles that integrate modern vibes and natural elements. For more about Seattle’s common architectural styles, check out this blog post, or for information about buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact Pickett Street at (425) 502-5397 or info@pickettstreet.com.   In the meantime, here are a few of western Washington’s gems to inspire you to find your own dream home. 1. A mid-century modern in Magnolia   With stunning views of the Ballard locks, this Eichler-inspired home is a small piece of luxury and peace in the city. The space features floor-to-ceiling windows, a private courtyard, a large deck, and exposed ceiling beams. 2. A sustainable Key Peninsula retreat   Located in Longbranch, this home follows net zero guidelines, which means that it is highly energy efficient, producing as much energy as it consumes and racking up a grand total of $0 in energy bills. The property features a solar panels, an air-to-water heat pump, an exterior made from reclaimed fir, extra-efficient insulation and appliances, LED lighting, triple-pane windows, and a green roof. In addition to being green, the home is also cozy and spacious inside…Read more

  • How to Take the Leap and Invest: A Conversation with Cody Touchette

    December 7, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    While investing in real estate is one of the best ways to build wealth, getting started can often feel intimidating. However, this exciting process is much more accessible than you think. In fact, one of my favorite parts about writing for Pickett Street has been learning from their wonderful team and realizing that investing in real estate is not just for experts in real estate and finance. I was recently able to talk with Cody Touchette, who is a mortgage planner with Caliber Home Loans and provides clients with expert guidance during their home financing processes. Here’s what he had to say. 1.  Why is investing in real estate a worthwhile endeavor? According to Cody, there are four main benefits to real estate as an investment: cash flow, appreciation, leverage, and tax benefits. First, investing in real estate through buying your own home, purchasing a property to rent to others, or other options, is a great way to receive immediate cash flow that can help you purchase more property. Second, regarding appreciation, Cody reminded me that real estate has always increased in value over time, if you look at a long period or time. While the market experiences normal ups and downs, appreciation on real…Read more

  • Free Holiday Events in Seattle and Beyond to Keep You Warm

    December 1, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    In the chaos of gift-buying, searching for the perfect party outfit, and organizing holiday travels, it’s easy to forget that some of the season’s most enjoyable events are free. In fact, there are so many free holiday events happening this month that it was impossible to fit them all into this list. Here’s a guide to just a few of the best free holiday events around Seattle this December. Festivals and Other Events Reindeer Festival When: November 11th through December 24th Where: Swansons Nursery, 9701 15th Ave NW, Seattle What could be better than holiday shopping while strolling through fragrant pines and mingling with two real-life reindeer? This holiday festival includes a model train display, Christmas trees for sale, gifts and holiday decorations for sale, live music, and Santa Claus and holiday yurt photo ops. Gingerbread Village When: November 21st, 2017 - January 1st, 2018 Where: City Centre, 1420 Fifth Ave, Seattle The Sheraton’s Gingerbread Village has been a Seattle tradition for 25 years. Each year, architects from the city’s top firms, as well as master builders and the Sheraton’s culinary teams,  design intricate and stunning gingerbread creations. The event is free and donations go to the JDRF Northwest Chapter.…Read more

  • Pickett Street Properties Gives Gratitude for 2017

    November 21, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    My favorite part about Thanksgiving is the chaos: family members bickering while on hour three of Settlers of Catan, something burning in the oven, the dog stealing turkey off the counter, a holiday song sung terribly out-of-tune. These sweet, funny moments of imperfection are, I believe, life in its purest form. They remind me of all the people, relationships, and tiny moments for which I feel grateful. So, in the spirit of the season, let’s talk about gratitude. Multiple scientific studies have shown that gratitude improves sleep, psychological health, and physical health. Basically, gratitude is one of the keys to a happy life. I recently interviewed the Pickett Street team to find out what they’re grateful for this year. I’ll start. I’m grateful for my partner, who makes me coffee and brings it to me every single morning (seriously, what a hero!), for my healthy body that lets me do yoga and climb mountains, for my undergraduate students, who are funny and inspiring and give me hope in the world, for the great companies with which I work (such as Pickett Street!), and for my sweet dopey pitbull puppy. Here’s what the team at Pickett Street had to say. Christi Samaniego, Listing Coordinator…Read more