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  • Seattle Neighborhood Profile: Laurelhurst

    July 24, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Just south of Windermere and east of the University District, Laurelhurst is situated on the shores of Lake Washington. The Duwamish tribe used this area as a seasonal campground called “Sahlouwil.” The neighborhood was first developed around the turn of the century, when a community of about fifty people built the Seattle Golf Club there; today, the club is a beautiful private residence. Here are a few reasons why living in Laurelhurst might be just what you need. 1. It Has Something For Everyone Niche.com ranked Laurelhurst as the best neighborhood in Seattle for families. This status is largely due to the neighborhood's excellent schools, quiet residential streets, and proximity to the University of Washington. The area’s best schools include the private Villa Academy and Laurelhurst Elementary, which offers the popular Laurelhurst After School Enrichment Rooms (LASER). Laurelhurst isn’t just for families, however; it’s also home to many singles and couples, both professionals working in the city and retired individuals. Because Laurelhurst is 52% less populated than the rest of Seattle, it’s the perfect home for anyone looking for a tiny oasis of quiet in an otherwise bustling city. Check out this sweet and private mid-century modern home in Laurelhurst.…Read more

  • Common Architectural Styles for Seattle Homes

    July 21, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    When I was younger, my mother and I used to spend Sunday afternoons driving around looking at houses in pretty neighborhoods. At the time, we lived in a small home in the Des Moines/SeaTac area. Today, my mother has worked her way up to a beautiful rustic cabin-style home in Gig Harbor. However, when we get together, we still love to admire the gorgeous houses in Seattle and the way they look in the Northwest’s unique silvery light. If you’re interested in buying a home in the Seattle area, here’s a quick guide to some of the common styles of architecture that you’ll see around the city. Be sure to contact Pickett Street at at (425) 502-5397 or info@pickettstreet.com to get started finding your home. 1. Victorian Often found around the Queen Anne neighborhood and mostly built during the 1880s and 1890s, these elegant homes are among the oldest in Seattle. Common features of this style include a gabled roof, scalloped shingle siding on the upper level, covered porches with round columns, and a round or octagonal turret. Check out this gorgeous, romantic, and renovated Victorian in Capitol Hill. 2.   Tudor Built in Seattle through the 1930s, Tudor homes are…Read more

  • Seattle Summers: Golden Gardens Park

    June 30, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    While on a recent visit to Seattle, my partner and I hit the Washington weather jackpot for June: 65-degree mornings and 85 degree afternoons, without a single cloud in the sky. We decided to grab Thai food and head to Golden Gardens, which is a beachfront park located in northern Ballard. “Hooray, beach day!” I said as we drove to the park. “Well,” my partner replied, with that tone he often takes when he is about to be clever. “Beach day.” He pantomimed air quotes around “beach,” implying that Seattle beaches are not real beaches. My partner is from Colorado (which, let me just point out, has zero beaches), and he grew up frequently visiting family in Hawaii, enjoying pristine white sand beaches and warm waters. I love him dearly, but he is a tiny bit of a beach snob. “What are you saying?” I asked. “I mean, is it even a real beach if it’s all rocky and doesn’t have any sand?” I told him that he’d better change his attitude or I would eat all of the spring rolls and his pad thai (which I am totally capable of doing). While driving to the park, we were able…Read more

  • Neighborhood Profile: Beacon Hill

    June 28, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    It’s a tough decision: should you live downtown amid the constant bustle of the deliciously funky urban organism that is Seattle? Or, should you live in a quieter neighborhood with better parking and perhaps slightly cheaper housing prices? Luckily, with Beacon Hill, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. The Basics Located south of downtown, between I-5 and Rainier Valley, the up-and-coming Beacon Hill is one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods. This large area is known for its relatively affordable housing and its convenient location—residents enjoy easy access to downtown Seattle without having to navigate the freeways (which we all know are not, ahem, Seattle’s best feature). Homes in the northern part of Beacon Hill were mostly built in the early 1900s, and so this area contains many lovely Craftsman bungalows and Seattle box houses. The hill also offers views of downtown, Elliott Bay, Rainier Valley, Mount Rainier, and the Olympic Mountains. Neighborhood Vibe Depending on where you are in the neighborhood, Beacon Hill can be both bustling and quiet. Currently, as well as historically, the neighborhood is home to a diverse population of working-class families. Completed just a few years ago, Beacon Hill’s light rail station has reenergized the…Read more

  • Landmarks of Washington State: Mount Rainier

    June 16, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Many of you have been reading Ian Clark’s blog posts for Pickett Street over the past couple of years. Since Ian is now moving on to a PhD program, he kindly passed the blog writing torch to me, his older (and, let’s be honest, wiser) sister. So, if you’re curious as to what it was really like growing up in the Clark household, I can fill you in. Anyway. Like Ian, I grew up in Washington State. Though I now live in the hippy haven of Boulder, Colorado, I look forward to the day when I can move back to the Pacific Northwest, where my heart and my family reside. To start off on a fun, perhaps sentimental note, I’d like to discuss one of my favorite spots in Washington, and, in my humble opinion, what is one of the best mountains in the entire world: Mount Rainier. Don’t get me wrong—Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are truly incredible. However, there’s something special about Mount Rainier. Maybe it’s the fact that, with the surrounding landscape at sea level, the peak with its 14,410 feet dramatically rises out of the clouds like a storybook mountain. I first heard about this mountain when my…Read more

  • On Moving, Part 2

    June 8, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Growing up in Washington State, I was convinced my mother and stepfather were ascetic monks disguised as law-abiding citizens. Everything about our house in the woods—its dirt driveway and wood-fired stove, the rickety doors that were forever creaking and driving us all mad—suggested an extension of pioneer society, a devotion to hard work and self-denial accompanied by a general mistrust of modern comforts. My family didn’t seriously invest in electric heating until after I left for college (during winter, I was forever walking around like the little brother in A Christmas Story, wearing roughly 20 sweaters and weeping about not being able to put my arms down), and our shower usually had only 30 seconds of hot water per day. My mother was forever banging on the bathroom door, ordering us to get out of the shower and stop wasting precious natural resources. This lifestyle became especially troublesome once I entered high school. Living in a largely affluent small town, most of my friends enjoyed accordingly cushy lifestyles: palatial homes, unlimited heat, fancy refrigerators that dispensed pompous quantities of ice and filtered water. Such modern conveniences seemed impossibly luxurious to my untutored experience, more akin to the advanced technologies of science…Read more

  • Do You Love to Rent?

    June 2, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Three Things to Know Before Agreeing to a Mortgage Because moving and buying a home can be time-consuming and stressful, it can be tempting to rush into a mortgage to get the process over with as quickly as possible. However, a mortgage is an important commitment, and there are a couple key concepts you should understand before signing the dotted line. Luckily, you don’t need to be a mortgage lender to understand your contract, and the most important mortgage concepts are relatively simple once you grasp the basics. Below, we cover the basics of interest rates, adjustable rate mortgages vs. fixed rate mortgages, and points to give you a better idea what to expect when you prepare to agree to your first mortgage. What’s My Interest Rate? Saying your mortgage’s interest rate is pretty important is an understatement, as the interest rate you agree to can dramatically affect the final price tag of your home. It’s surprising, then, that roughly 30% of the country’s homeowners have admitted to not knowing what their interest rate is. Even a slight difference in interest rate levels--say, 4% rather than 4.5%--can save you hundreds of dollars a year and thousands of dollars over your…Read more

  • Neighborhood Profile: Queen Anne

    May 22, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Way back in the Stone Age (or thereabouts) Queen Anne was among the least popular parts of Seattle when it came to purchasing property. Much of this unpopularity was a result of the neighborhood’s steep and hilly geography (which, to be fair, would have been much more annoying before the advent of the automobile). Whatever the reason for public distaste when it came to Queen Anne, local developers were desperate to get land off their hands, and even tried to entice potential buyers by offering two plots of land for the price of one. Now, of course, Queen Anne (named after the style of home many original builders constructed in the area) lives up to its regal name and is one of Seattle’s most popular places to live in. However, even characterizing the neighborhood itself can be something of a challenge. The lower end of the region is close to downtown attractions like the Key Arena and the Space Needle, while other parts of the neighborhood are comfortably residential. And let’s not forget that, with the presence of Seattle Pacific University in the north end, some of the area has a distinctly collegiate atmosphere. In short, there’s a little bit…Read more

  • The Space Needle

    May 22, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Like most things in Seattle, the Space Needle began with a cup of coffee. To be fair, there was a napkin involved, too. It was the end of the 1950s, and Edward E. Carlson was relaxing in a coffee shop, idly doodling on a serviette. It’s impossible to say for sure whether or not the impending World’s Fair was on his mind when he originally sketched the city’s sci-fi pinnacle (for all we know, Carlson might have been dreaming about his dry cleaning whilst scribbling). What we can say is that Carlson’s design, etched onto scrap paper amidst a peppering of coffee stains, served as the inspiration for one of the Northwest’s most important monuments. It wasn’t completely Carlson’s brainchild, however. Left to his own devices, he would have designed a building resembling either a massive balloon tethered to the earth or an equally large balloon perched on top of a column (the man liked his balloons, it seems). It took architect John Graham and his dedicated team to translate Carlson’s initial inspiration into the flying saucer structure we have today. After successfully building the first suburban shopping mall in the country (which just so happens to be Seattle’s Northgate…Read more

  • Do You Like Low Interest Rates?

    May 9, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Interest Rates Unchanged After The Fed's Wednesday Meeting After its meeting this Wednesday, the Fed voted to leave interest rates unchanged, keeping its benchmark rates at 0.75-1.00%. The decision was a response to the economy’s slow .7% growth in the year’s first quarter. Much of this slowing growth can be attributed to the transition period following the presidential election, so the Fed remains optimistic for future economic growth. In that case, two more rate increases are expected by the end of the year. The next rate hike is expected to occur in June as long as the economy continues to grow, while many experts expect a second increase to occur in September. Overall, the decision seems to have had a very slight indirect effect on mortgage rates. As of Thursday, the average 30-year FRM was down about 1 basis point, hovering around 4.02%, while the average 15-year ARM and remained around 3.27%. And, though rates are always changing, many experts don’t expect them to increase dramatically between now until the end of the year. Many economists expect the 30-year FRM to fall between 4.2-4.5% at the end of 2017. For some, these rates might seem to be way too high.…Read more

  • Rain, rain, (Don’t) Go Away

    April 28, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Seattle’s had quite a lot of rain recently. For the second year in a row, Seattle has broken a century-plus record for rainfall, enduring almost 50 inches of rain since the beginning of October. Usually, the city gets just over 30 inches by this time, so it would be an understatement to suggest that it’s been moist lately. In fact, the whole of Western Washington seems to have been caught in the deluge. Quillayute in Clallam County, for instance, has received more than 100 inches of rain since the beginning of October, or more than 10 feet. To put that number in perspective, if you were to clone me (because why not?) and perch my double on top of my shoulders, our combined height would be only slightly taller than the amount of rain that’s fallen in Quillayute. Some of you (all the transplants from California, I expect) might balk at this veritable monsoon. However, I’ll take the opportunity to be bold and suggest that life in Seattle is at its finest when experienced under a constant curtain of drizzle. I’ve already written about how much I love rain in Seattle, so I…Read more

  • Pike Place Market

    April 21, 2017 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    For a long time, I only went to Pike Place Market when my extended family from the East Coast visited Seattle, which might be the reason I’ve since avoided it for much of my adult life.   Don’t get me wrong: I love my family, and I never felt any ill-will toward the Market. If anything, I essentially forgot about Pike Place’s existence, writing it off as a tourist novelty that didn’t warrant attention from a Puget Sound native. Never mind that I was actually from New Jersey, and probably would have spent my life there if my parents hadn’t decided to relocate to the Emerald City (I imagine one of them randomly looking up from the newspaper and saying something like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be swell if we moved to the rainiest corner of the country?”); no, in my mind I was already a true Seattleite, and I couldn’t be bothered by tourist attractions.   Of course, whenever my uncles, aunts, grandparents, and cousins gathered in the Northwest for reunions, Pike Place was always their destination of choice. On one memorable family outing, everyone insisted on visiting Pike Place’s Starbucks, famous for being the business’ original location. It’s also…Read more