East and Emerald Blog

Diego PH

You don’t have to be holding a showing or Seattle area open house to appreciate time-saving maintenance and organizational tips. Nowadays, many of these are being called “home hacks”—but no matter what you call them, when you find yourself repeatedly dealing with recurring cleaning and household organizational problems, simple shortcuts are what is called for.

Without further ado, here are 9 home hacks for Seattle householders. I’ve noted them as briefly as possible so you can quickly spot familiar situations in your own household:

1.    Oil-stained garage floor? Some recommend sprinkling with cat litter—but it can get messy. Try Coca-Cola first!
2.    Don’t throw out those plastic clips that keep bread bags closed—label them with

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My organization—the National Association of Realtors®—offers a wide range of guidance for Seattle/Bellevue area families who have decided it’s time to land their first house. With more than a century’s worth of experience, you’d expect nothing less.
Last week I happened across an article the NAR had distilled that looked like a must-read for anyone who is just starting out on the path to buying their first Seattle area house. Its title was “8 Critical Things to Do Before Buying a Home”—but it could just as well have been “8 Critical Things to Do Before Buying Your First Seattle area House.” Each of the eight was apt—and important to mull over—but it’s the kind of list that’s awfully easy to read without giving much thought to the individual

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 Photo courtesy of Pexels  

Some key preparations for the marketing of any Seattle home actually start well before the first showing or open house: they take place in the hours before the Seattle listing photos are taken. Those Seattle listing photos will become the definitive beauty shots—the equivalent of the glamorous depictions that grace product packaging.

Manufacturers know very well the import of how their product looks on the carton, jar or bag. It’s why top commercial photographers rely on “product stylists” (they’re the experts who sort through 100 bags of potato chips to come up with the two or three that will photograph perfectly).

Seattle listing photos no longer have anything to do with 20th-century cameras or film. But it’s not

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 Photo courtesy of Pexels   Most Issaquah small businesspeople will recognize this post-startup scenario. It’s the moment when the whole idea of long-range planning first starts to make sense.   Although everyone who stakes his or her claim in a new business hopes for success, in the beginning, that outcome is far from certain. Throughout the early going, the first order of business has been simple survival—and that’s been a full-time job. You work your tail off 25 hours a day, tackle all the expected (and unexpected) challenges, and if the best happens, see the bottom line begin to brighten. And then, the reality dawns: your brainchild actually has a future —and it might just be a really bright one!   Last week, Forbes published a piece…
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 Photo courtesy of Pixabay  

Ask a typical Bellevue consumer to name the two most important purchases people make, and you’ll almost always hear “new house” and “new car.” They’re often lumped together, but they shouldn’t be. They aren’t all that similar.

The rationale for buying a new car is clear: automotive technology advances nearly every model year, improving fuel economy and safety. Add in that intoxicating new car smell, and the preference is all but automatic. Used cars may be economical, but as for the thrill factor: nyah!

Similarly, when the question is put to a cross-section of typical Americans, new homes get the nod over existing ones. The percentage of those who “strongly” or “somewhat” prefer buying a newly built home weighs

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 Photo courtesy of Photopin  

A couple of weeks back, the ultimate authority on Bellevue mortgage rates hadn’t minced words. That was Freddie Mac, whose opinion about mortgage rates constitutes the final say in the matter. Freddie isn’t modest about its preeminence (Freddie’s trademarked corporate slogan is “We make home possible”). Together with sibling Fannie Mae, the quasi-governmental entities stand behind 60% of U.S. mortgages.

Each week their PMMS survey collects data snapshots from thrifts, credit unions, banks, and mortgage lenders to gauge of the direction of the home loan market. Future Bellevue home hunters and the homeowners whose properties are found in the current listings (or soon will be) are constantly affected by those ups

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 Photo courtesy of Pexels

When news of the Equifax hack first broke, the credit ratings giant scrambled to minimize fallout from this massive personal information breach. After an initial embarrassing misstep (they tried to have affected consumers sign off on Equifax’s liability), the company moved to ameliorate the hack by offering free ID protection to consumers.

Seattle homeowners and potential home buyers had reason to do more than shake their heads at yet another electronic pratfall. In one way or another, most Seattle real estate transactions involve creditworthiness appraisals that are managed by the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax is one). That means that among the 143 million consumers it admits could be “potentially impacted” are

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Written for East and Emerald by Paul Denikin

For those not living in the Southwestern or Southeastern United States, several steps should be taken to properly prepare your home for the winter months. From adding necessary insulation to closing down the pool properly, certain tasks should be taken care of before the bitter cold and snow arrive.

(Photo via Pixabay)

 Check for Air Leaks

 Money Talks recommends surveying your home’s exterior doors to locate any air flowing in from outdoors. When winter arrives, these drafts will drive up your heating bill substantially while disrupting the cozy warmth with unwanted frigid air. The installation of weather-stripping is to be completed before the cold drafts rise in intensity and costliness.


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In sign of U.S. economy’s strength, Fed to start unwinding major stimulus program

US Department of the Treasury - https://www.flickr.com/photos/ustreasury/12350957073/in/photostream/

The Federal Reserve is going on the financial equivalent of a diet. The central bank announced that it will begin selling off some of its $4.5 trillion in assets, a sign of its leaders’ confidence in the economy. 

After the devastating Great Recession, the Fed took two unprecedented steps to rescue the U.S. economy and jump-start growth: It cut interest rates to zero for the first time ever, and it beefed up its balance sheet from about $900 billion in assets to $4.5 trillion. The Fed has already lifted interest rates to above 1 percent, a sign it believes the

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