Friday, December 17, 2010

New Apartments Near Fremont

Today, Prescott Homes of Kirland, a development LLC, purchased property between North 39th and 40th Streets in Seattle from Quality Food Centers (QFC). The property, which sits between Fremont and Wallingford on Stone Way, is essentially a giant hole. QFC had plans to develop, but trashed those because of the current economy. The property sold for $8 million and Prescott Homes plans to develop an apartment building after opting out of building a condo portion for QFC’s original plans. Last year, Prescott received a land-use permit for the apartments and last month, a permit for the foundation and garage. The proposed building will be 5-stories and house 150 apartments.

Colman Tower Design Approved

The Weber Thomson design proposal for the new Goodman Real Estate project, The Colman Tower Apartments, was unanimously approved this week by the Seattle Downtown Review Board. The proposal for a 6-story, 208-unit mixed-use apartment complex came earlier this year and is geared towards young, urban professionals. The building will feature rooftop amenities such as a terrace, dog run and common barbecues. The building’s interior will include a gym, lounge center, theatre room and game room. Goodman Real Estate has owned the property the tower will sit on for 10 years, and plans on developing 2,000 apartments in the Seattle area. These first 208 will be loft-style and an average of 700 sf in size. This is a good time for development as renters are on the rise. We hope this will help boost the real estate rental market in Seattle. The new construction and beautiful (proposed) building and almost-waterfront location at 888 Western Ave. next to Colman Dock should only make the project more successful.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ex-Cons: Can They Rent?

Landlords have, for a long time, understood the anti-discriminatory laws in Washington that come with the job. In accepting tenants who have applied for rentals, landlords are unable to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disabilities, or honorably discharged vets. They can, however, discriminate on the basis of criminal history. In recent weeks, social-justice groups and offenders are hoping to change this. One of their main arguments is that ex-offenders who are denied housing only increase the homeless population in the city. The Seattle Times’ article on the subject profiled one woman who has been denied housing after being charged 4 years ago for second-degree robbery. Her then boyfriend robbed a bank, and after not calling the police, was sentenced and served 6 months in jail. The goal of activist groups is to have people convicted of nonviolent and nonsexual crimes put on a protected list, so as they cannot be discriminated against when applying for housing. The director of the civil rights office believes that although this type of discrimination won’t be banned outright, landlords will have some discretion based on the history. However, the Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound fears this outcome because it takes away the power landlords have in the selection of a tenant. The association’s president also made a smart comment on the fact that a criminal history often comes from choices a person has made, as opposed to traits such as race and age. Thus, it makes sense to consider any and every conviction the applicant has. Others who back the proposal believe that giving an ex-offender housing after time served provides them stability and proper settling, as 98% of prisoners are eventually released back into society. Some programs in the state make it easier for ex-cons to get housing like the Landlord Liaison Program, which pay some of the property damages and unpaid rent, if there is a lease default. Other states in the nation have already imposed laws that ban the discrimination, and Washington may soon be joining that list.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Seattle Waterfront-A Future View

The last time we posted an update about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Project was in September after the neighborhood meeting. The Viaduct is scheduled to come down in 2015, and discussions for its future are still underway. Today, the Seattle PI posted an online photo album of the current Viaduct and a number of simulated images that could be the new Seattle waterfront. The images were taken from and compiled by the Washington State Department of Transportation. The “future” images provide Seattleites with a little bit of hope, because the replacement will surely be timely and messy. If we have this to look forward to, it may just be worth the trouble!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pnk Ultra Lounge-The Place to Be and Be scene!

Seattle’s newest lounge, Pnk has been the talk of the town since it first opened its door last month, Countless individuals, mostly young mid 20’s-30’s , go there from all over to get a piece of the new modern playground made for Seattleites and people alike. The lush Vegas atmosphere and hip ambiance creates a very trendy and certainly cool environment you sure won’t want to leave. This multi-million
dollar project was created with idea of “women” in mind. The owners Rob and Tammie Armijo created a perfect environment for the young urban professional women with 3 bars, 40 flat screens, 2 VIP areas, outdoor seating, and even a bar in the Women’s bathroom equipped with its own male bartender! Whether you’re male or female you’re sure to find a place at Pnk. Now open on the 4th floor of Pacific Place. Special thanks to our companies own, Erwin Park, for negotiating the lease. For more information about Pnk please visit their website

New Apartments in Belltown

Just as the McGuire Apartments are headed to demolishment, a new apartment project is proposed for Belltown. The 17-2tory apartment building, to be called “Alto”, will be located on 3rd and Cedar. The expected 184-unit building ‘s construction will be the first of multiple proposals in Central Seattle in the last three years to start. The building will also have 2,700 sf of retail space. The developer, Harbor Properties (who is well known for Downtown’s Harbor Steps project) bought the land in March of last year, but decided not to build until the financial market had improved. The high demand for rentals in Seattle, especially among the younger populations in Belltown, has increased substantially in the past few years. As many of the projects in Belltown are condos, it is a nice change of pace to see some new apartment buildings. This will be the newest among a number of other buildings including 2300 Elliot, The Avalon, and Archstone Apartments, to name a few. The apartments will be aimed at middle-income renters as well, which is a plus for the younger population. Looks like Belltown living is back on the rise, as we expect the residential project from Goodman Real Estate (located on Western) to start in the near future as well.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Plans for the old Ballard Denny's lot.

The Ballard Denny’s once sat on the corner of 15th Ave NW and NW Market St. Back in 2008, after much controversy, the old “Googie” architecture that housed the breakfast chain was torn down to build a condominium complex. Due to the market crash of 2008, the lot continues to sit vacant-but not for long. On Monday this 1.38 acre lot sold for $12.5 Million to Chicago’s Equity Properties. The name may sound familiar as the company owns several other condominium projects throughout Seattle including Harbor Steps, Olympus, and the Centennial Towers, just to name a few. Equity Properties is the biggest openly traded apartment company in the nation. The plan is to build a mixed-use building with 288 units and up to 33,850 sf of street retail. Change is in the future for Ballard. A commencement date has not yet been released. For more info visit

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pyramid Living

Most of us have seen the Smith Tower located on 2nd Avenue in Pioneer Square. In the midst of many of the low rise buildings and condos in Pioneer Square lies the Smith Tower, a 1914 Seattle Landmark standing at 42 stories tall. It’s named after its builder, Burns Lyman Smith and it has a phenomenal observation desk on the 35th floor. What most of us in Seattle didn’t know until The New York Times brought recent attention to it was that a family currently lives in the pyramid-shape penthouse apartment near the top of the tower. The Lahaie family, Petra Franklin, David and their two daughters, have a long-term lease in the 1,750 sf, two bedroom, two bathroom downtown Seattle apartment. After the building was renovated in 1998, Ms. Franklin decided she wanted to live there-and that’s exactly what happened. Belltown and downtown Seattle living can be found where you least expect it. It just takes a little effort to find to find a rental or for sale property.

-Image courtesy of

Friday, October 22, 2010

McGuire Apartment Tear Down

In a previous blog, agent Michelle McMahan wrote about the McGuire Apartments in Belltown. Yes, that building on 2nd and Wall surrounded by scaffolding, you’ve seen it. In April of this year, the first demolishment announcement was made after reports of structural problems and cable corrosion. Debate (details here) over who was at fault ensued and in the meantime, tenants were asked to vacate with monetary incentives for prompt vacation. Well according to the Daily Journal of Commerce, issues have been resolved and the property owner Carpenter’s Tower LLC and contractor McCarthy Building Companies Inc. have come to a decision-McGuire is good to go. To the ground, that is. Settlement terms and a tear-down date were not disclosed, but Belltowners can be sure that the building will undoubtedly be demolished. We can only hope that construction closures and the like won’t be affecting the surrounding roads and businesses too much.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bravern’s North Tower Converts To Luxury Apartments.

Due to the success of the south tower conversion last April, Schnitzer West, developer of Bravern’s Multi-use complex in Bellevue, made the decision to convert the north tower luxury condominiums to apartments to mimic its neighboring south tower. The south tower's conversion has been extremely successful with nearly 25 leases per month. In the last 6 months, occupany has reached 65 percent. Luxury Apartments are available in both towers for lease starting at $1,550.
Please see my previous blog about the Bravern Complex for more info.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Plans For a 16-Story Residential Building in Pioneer Square

Goodman Real Estate continues to move forward with its project proposal for the construction of a mixed use, multi-family building in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square District. Land-use signs have been installed with plans to build a 16-story tower with 9,900 sq ft of commercial retail, 208 housing units and 124 parking stalls.

Goodman Real Estate will have to go through one more planning meeting with the Seattle Department of Planning and Development before the project is ready to erect.
Please refer to my last blog for more information.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Queen Anne Condo Rental

As the name clearly indicates, The Luxe Condominiums in Lower Queen Anne are anything but ordinary. The luxury condominium building, was constructed in 1967 and converted from apartments recently. During the conversion, the building was thoroughly remodeled, both inside and out. New systems, exterior siding, and a variety of unit updates such as custom countertops, African Tay and Koto wood cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances are just of few of the exquisite features of the condos. If you’d like to experience these luxuries, but simply can’t buy, you are in luck. Agent Bryan Graf has recently listed a condominium in the building for rent, offered at $2,300. The Queen Anne condo is an incredible, two bedroom, two bathroom unit with over 1,200 sf of comfortable living space. The living room is light, bright and gracious in scale and features multiple sets of large windows. An expansive master suite with a partial bathroom, ample walk-in closet and separate den is the perfect retreat. Perhaps one of the most exciting features of the condominium is the 520 sf wraparound deck, ideal for summer barbecues and entertaining. Other features include hardwood floors, energy efficient flat panel radiant, air conditioning and a full size washer and dryer. The condominium comes with one allocated garage parking spot. The Luxe is situated on the hill mere blocks away from the best cafes, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping that Queen Anne has to offer. It is also minutes from downtown attractions including the Seattle Center. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to rent in an ideal location, and in an amazing building. Please contact Bryan Graf for more information.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Alaskan Way Viaduct update

Thursday was the neighborhood meeting to discuss the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The state has begun the preliminary stages for replacing the south portion of the Viaduct. You probably have noticed the cleared lot with construction equipment near the Seneca exit off of Highway 99. The south portion of the viaduct is the first to be replaced with a new overpass and additional street to help avoid lengthy backup due to the railway. See my previous blog for more information. The Viaduct is scheduled to come down in 2015. The proposed tunnel is still awaiting its environmental review, which should be done Oct 28th. The board will need to review the environmental statement for over a year, and an expected decision should be made mid-2011. Pioneer Square and the International District should have no immediate threat. Next year will be the start of construction on parts of the viaduct near the Pioneer Square District. This will force heavy traffic onto 1st Avenue and Alaskan Way waterfront. The SDOT has already completed most of the preliminary work, which should help support the added pressure to some areas. Please visit for more information.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No Smoking!

A new petition to limit and/or eliminate any right to smoke in or around apartment buildings has begun. Recently, P.U.S.H. (People United against Smoke-Free Housing) asked the Tacoma –Pierce County Health Department to classify smoking as a nuisance under Washington’s Land Lord Tenant Act. This would give property owners the right to evict tenants for smoking. This push, no pun intended, started when tenants complained that their health problems including mild cases of asthma were caused by the smoking habits of their neighbors. In some of these cases, tenants who were sensitive to smoke were forced to move. The Pierce-County Health Department was set to review the proposal yesterday, Sept 15, 2010. There has been no report of the County’s position on the proposal. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department backed the campaign in 2005 for a smoke free Washington, which helped pass Initiative 901, prohibiting smoking in all public places or within 25 feet of buildings. If History repeats itself, we may soon be required to comply with a new addendum to the Land Lord Tenant Act of Washington State, declaring all apartments or multifamily units as smoke free zones. There have been 27 other jurisdictions around the country that elected to pass the ordinance that limits or restricts smokers in and around multifamily units. For more information on tenant and landlord rights, please visit a

Thursday, September 9, 2010

P-Patch Move-Out

Most of us Belltowners are familiar with the P-Patch, located in the heart of Belltown sitting at Vine and Elliot. We’ve noticed the greenery and the three...buildings? These buildings are “huts”, more specifically, homes, that have been standing (although recently renovated in 2004) in that same location for over 90 years. They are the last 3 of 11 that were built as single-family residences in 1916 and owned by William Hainsworth to serve as homes that would eliminate the commute to the downtown Seattle industry core. The “Belltown Cottages” were determined Seattle Historic Landmarks in 2000, and in 2003, some of us (who know about it) began referring to them as “Hugo Huts”. The name “Hugo Huts” comes from the P-Patch’s attachment to the non-profit group Richard Hugo House, based in Capitol Hill. The Richard Hugo House is a center to promote the arts (specifically literature) that aims to promote new writing and provide writers with the resources they need to share their work. The Hugo House has been leasing two of the huts to house their writers on a month-to-month basis and in rotation. Unfortunately, this long-standing relationship has ended. The Seattle Times released an article stating that the Hugo House will no longer be using the homes as writer residences as of September 1, 2010. The Hugo House was initially invited by the City of Seattle to participate in the program to “strengthen the artistic diversity of Belltown”. Now, because of liabilities and security reasons, the cottages will no longer be leased to the participating writers of Hugo House. ‘Friends of the p-patch’ will continue to support this little piece of history though, despite the fact the two homes will be vacant-at least for now. For more information on the Belltown P-Patch, please visit their website.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Queen Anne Condominium

The trendy and modern “The Block” condominium project located at 1707 Dexter Ave in Lower Queen Anne is a 6-unit mixed-use building constructed of concrete and steel. The building has an exterior of braced frame and metal siding and offers spectacular Lake Union views, as well as those of the Cityscape and Capitol Hill. This unique Queen Anne condo is the only one in the building available for rent and is listed by Ewing and Clark real estate agent Nate Pearson, who has leased the condo once before. The condo offered at $3,650/mo features interiors just as stunning as the exterior. The interior contains a double height living space, exposed steel columns and wood beams, as well as high-end stainless steel appliances, bamboo floors and floor to ceiling windows. The unit is 2,400 sf with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. There is also an attached 2-car garage which is a nice feature for any condominium unit. Do not miss out on this amazing opportunity! Please contact real estate agent Nate Pearson for more information.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rental scams on Craigslist. Be aware.

Craigslist is a great resource to find deals and acquire items from locals, but be wary, it’s not the safest or most unfailing place to do business. Here’s a reason why; last week the Seattle Times reported a man was scamming locals out of rent money. His name was Paul Bakovich, a Sammamish dweller, who was posing as an eastside apartment owner to collect deposit money from innocent renters. Bakovich’s scam left him with nearly $5,500 dollars. Thankfully, he was eventually caught by local authorities. Craigslist users should be aware of this kind of thing because it isn’t the only rental scam on craigslist. There are countless reports of similar stories all over the country. One scam ran almost an entire year before victims realized they had been ripped off. An ad was posted on craigslist for a “Summer rental in the Hamptons” which was posted in the fall. Interested parties would tour the summer house, pay a deposit, sign a lease and then go on their way assuming that come summer, they would have a rental in the Hamptons. This went on during Fall, Winter and Spring and affected numerous people until Summer when all of the victims showed up at the same house. Surprised, the victims discovered that the man who posted the ad was working under a false name and of course, was nowhere to be found! This was a very clever scam and, unfortunately, it can happen anywhere and everywhere. If you choose to use craigslist to find a rental, pay close attention-you don’t want to fall victim to a scammer. Below are some some tips to help you avoid rental scams on Craigslist.

• Stay away from off season renters.
• Check tax records to make sure the person renting you the home is the actual owner of record.
• If the price seems to good to be true, it probably is.
• Check with a local real estate broker, they will help find you a rental at no cost.
• If it ask you to wire funds, it’s a scam.
• Never send money via mail.
• Be wary of sub-letting; make sure the person has the authority to do so.
• If the person wrote a heart wrenching story about how their mother is dying in Saudi Arabia and is out of the country, it’s a scam!
• Any listings that mentions Nigeria.
• Use common sense.
New ways to scam people are developed every day. Go with your instincts and if you unsure refer to craigslist’s “Avoiding Scams & Fraud” forum.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Waterfront Living

Time and time again we get clients looking to find a condo rental in Seattle that has a view. After all, the top two reasons for downtown/belltown living are location and views. Most realize the higher the condo rental, the better the view, and consequently the more expensive the condo. Renters are finding that they simply can’t afford that style of living. Sometimes renters come across impossible deals that are almost too good to be true, like two of the condo rentals Ewing & Clark have currently listed. What’s the cost of living ON the waterfront with some of the best views Seattle has to offer? No more than $2400-and that’s for two bedroom condos!! These rentals are located at the beautiful Seattle condominium building Waterfront Landings, and the name says it all! Located on Alaskan Way, Waterfront Landings’ residents enjoy breathtaking sunsets with views of the Olympic Mountains and Elliot Bay. The building is mere steps away from historic Pike Place Market and a variety of Seattle restaurants and entertainment. Real estate agent Merrily Jacobs has listed a 2 bedroom, 1,378 sf condo and agent Ridge Marshall has a listed a 2 bedroom, 1,121 sf fully furnished condo. Both rentals are ready for move-in! Please contact one of these real estate agents today and be able to call this wonderful building “home”.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Rental in Windermere

Located in the beautiful Windermere neighborhood, Ewing and Clark’s newest rental, listed by Our Distinctive Home Shop agents Jane Powers and Betsy Terry, is not one to forget! With views of Lake Washington and Mt. Rainier, the home is available for rent from October 1st until June 1st, 2011. The fully furnished home (including electronics and linens!) has 3 bedrooms, an office, recently remodeled bathrooms, a new kitchen and a fenced backyard. The home is close to the University of Washington and located on a quiet, 12,000 sf lot. Don’t miss this one of a kind opportunity and contact an agent today.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Plans for new building in Seattle

Goodman Real Estate submitted plans to build a 16-story apartment building in Seattle’s downtown core. The Building will be called Colman Tower and consist of 208 residential units and 6 stories of parking and commercial spaces. The building’s concept will be geared toward the “Seattle Yuppie”, a term used to describe the young urban professional. The building will stand where an empty 86 stall parking lot currently sits. This ½ an acre parcel is worth well over $4 Million. The value will only continue to grow once a new building is placed on it. It’s a great investment for Goodman Real Estate, having owned this property for the past 10 years and placing a building where the proposed Alaska Way tunnel may start. Once the Viaduct comes down it is only going to raise property values for those near it. These are some of the first plans seen in the Seattle core since the market crash of 2008. The Seattle apartment market is stable, which is why we are slowly seeing more of these plans around the city. One example is Queen Anne’s newest project, the Avalon Apartments, which is currently under construction. Another company submitted plans to build a mixed-use building for a hotel/condominiums, but has now converted to apartments to obtain financing. It’s a wonderful sign to see business building in our city once more.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The New Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square’s face lift has begun. From the Thursday art walks to the newest Saturday market, Pioneer Square continues to promote itself to bring more people to its district. Pioneer Square just launched a new market this weekend called “City Square”. The market included a couple dozen different vendors all selling crafty type items; some selling house ware, clothing, and even furniture. Local DJs spun a mixture of music that added to the markets uniqueness. City Square, which will continue every Saturday until September 25th, is just one part of the effort in revitalizing the area. It seems that after Pioneer Square’s long term tenant Elliott Bay Book Store recently moved (taking a lot of its customers with) there is a lingering impression that Pioneer Square isn’t a great place to do business. Yet, according to the local business owner s and residents of Pioneer Square, it’s a great place. I was showing a commercial space there this afternoon near Occidental Park, and the park was flourishing with people and artists. Decorations hung from the trees and spectators watched some sort of interpretive art and performances. One woman was dressed like a character from the 1900’s. She read from a book and paced back and forth along a red carpet. I was told she would be there pacing back and forth until she finished the entire book. People were free to join her and she would read pages aloud. Others were enjoying food and the local entertainment. Seems like a busy day in the park to me. Pioneer Square is doing a number of things to help bring life back into the area. Art work is being placed in the store front of vacant commercial spaces to help add to the areas creative mix of business. The city has applied for the main street program which will take effect this winter. Over all the businesses and residents would sure like to see it flourish like it did not so long ago. For more information on activity in Pioneer Square check out the new website.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The beginning stages to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct begins!

After attending yesterday's Pioneer Square Neighborhood meeting about the Viaduct’s replacement, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Pioneer Square wouldn’t be immediately affected by construction. Starting July 7th, construction workers will begin to break ground in the efforts to start preparation for replacing the southern portion of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This section stretches a mile long and is located in the SODO district. The south end viaduct replacement should continue into 2014 and connect with any future replacement of the Viaduct’s Central Waterfront Section, including the proposed Bored Tunnel, which is still in the planning stages. The south end portion on the viaduct will be replaced by a side-by-side road way stretching from S. Holgate St. to S. King St. offering 3 lanes in each direction with wider lanes and shoulders. An overcrossing will be built at the railway located on S. Atlantic to avoid strenuous back-ups on Alaskan Way S. A new street will be added between S. Atlantic and S. Royal Brougham, west of 1st Ave. This will be a detour route when portions of Alaskan Way S are closed later in the project. Seems over the next few years a number of construction projects will be underway, as the state, county, city and Port of Seattle start making way for a new revised waterfront. We are only at the very beginning of a very large project. I spoke with a few local building and business owners after the meeting. One seemed very concerned that the construction could have a negative effect on his building located in Pioneer Square. It’s a little preliminary to start worrying about the effects of this summer’s construction. The South end replacement is far enough south it shouldn’t have an immediate effect on historic Pioneer Square. However, the next portion of the viaduct’s replacement, The Central portion, could inadvertently take a small toll on the neighborhood. Its plans are still tentative. For more information on the Viaduct replacement please visit www. or if you have comments or concerns you can speak your mind at the next neighborhood meeting, which is on the 3rd Thursday of every month, times and locations can be found on the website.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Seattle attracts many out of state residents

Seattle is known for its major corporations, eco-friendly culture, great food and glorious setting. These are only some of the reason that Seattle is a magnet for out of state residents. According to the article linked in my last blog, Seattle was ranked #2 in’s list “The 10 best cities for the next decade”. Over the span of the last few months I’ve noticed a majority of my clients have been from out of state. Many moving here from the mid-west, and some from as far as New York, have all found employment here and all agree that Seattle is an attractive city to live in. After some further investigation, I found that a number of our major corporations are continuing to create jobs and support this beautiful city. I found that had offered well over 500 positions in the last month, (Wow!) and Starbucks, Nordstrom’s and the University of Washington were all among the top leaders for job openings. There were close to 5000 positions available in Seattle alone on the state’s website It’s the workforce like this that keeps people moving to this unparalleled city. If you need assistance with rentals in the Seattle area please contact me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Seattle ranked one of the best places to live.

According to a Yahoo real estate article, Seattle is full of smart people and innovative ideas. That's why we’re ranked #2 on the Best City’s for the Next Decade. Click here to read the article

Monday, May 24, 2010

Understanding what it takes to be a good landlord

Are you cut out to be good landlord? Many believe they may have what it takes to be an efficient landlord, but little do they know, it’s a full-time job! Owning and managing your own property can be time consuming. You may find yourself dealing with property issues, answering late night maintenance calls or even trying to hunt down a tenant for late and unpaid rent. Here are some tips to help you understand what it takes to become a landlord or property manager.

1. Find an ideal tenant. No manager enjoys or profits from keeping their property vacant for long periods of time. It is important not to rush the first prospect that tours your home into to renting it. It’s crucial to do the proper screening prior to approving a tenant. A thorough background and credit check should generate enough evidence to give you an idea of who the applicant is and whether or not they have the financial capabilities to rent. You sure don’t want a level three sex offender or someone who will be late on their rent payment. Make sure you review these reports thoroughly. Ask for other items like pay stubs and personal references that can help you in the screening process.

2. Properly prepare a lease. Once you have done the proper screening and approving, you are expected to prepare a lease. This is necessary to create and relay the leasing terms the tenant is to expect and follow. There is a written requirement for a lease contract for it to be valid. This is also beneficial for managers because if there are future discrepancies or your tenant defaults, you have hard evidence to refer to. Consider asking a local attorney or real estate company to help prepare one for you. Make sure the contact is binding in a court of law.

3. Maintenance. If swinging a hammer around is not your forte then I would suggest having a few maintenance companies on call. An emergency can arise at any time. Make sure you have these numbers handy. Most property managers have lists of frequently used vendors for maintenance purposes so services can be easily obtained, and I suggest you keep a list as well.

4. Understand your rights. Make sure you are familiar with the laws of your community. Most states have laws in place to protect both the landlord and the tenant. Make sure you understand these laws and know your right as a landlord.

As you can see managing you your own property can be an excruciating task. Make sure you consider hiring a property management company before trying to manage your property alone. It may be worth it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is renting your home a good idea?

Many people have turned their homes into rentals. You may have to move for various reasons and selling your home may not be your best option. I put together a few tips to help you determine if renting your home is the best decision.

First, you need to know how much it will cost to keep your house functioning. These are cost such as mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, HOA dues (homeowner dues), and maintenance cost. Some expenses may include property management fees or legal counsel. Come up with a total.

Second, come up with an adequate amount for rent. Find a way to compare other rentals in your neighborhood that are similar to yours. Use resources such as the local paper or property management company. Another good place to search is Craigslist.

Finally, compare rent vs. cost. It’s a good idea to create two Profit & Loss (P&L) statements. Create one with the best case scenario; this is if you lived in a perfect world, high rent with little maintenance and few expenses. Create the second P&L statement as if it were the worst case scenario; this is if you had the tenants from hell. Your maintenance cost would be high, and rent low. Now analyze each statement and decide if renting your home is a good financial decision. Renting your home may create extra cash flow for some, and a loss for others. Keep in mind; this could be a long term investment. There may be good reason to hang on to your rental even if it doesn’t have an immediate profit such as, it’s a tax sheltered depreciation, the prospect of a worse loss incurred by selling immediately or the chance it will appreciate in the near future.

All things considered, making this decision may not be an easy one. Stayed turned for my next blog, on understanding what it takes to be a landlord.

Thank You Seattle Police

There was an article in the Seattle Times today about Seattle Police Department doing a drug sweep in Pioneer Square with the intent of arresting 27 crack-cocaine dealers who have been repeat offenders. The months-long probe has the goal of getting the dealers off the street up to five years instead of arresting them and then seeing them back on the streets in a short amount of time. The sweep should help Pioneer Square clean up its image. The Elliott Bay Bookstore recently moved out of the neighborhood and the state of the neighborhood is believed to be one of the major reasons for leaving. In addition, the article regarding the drug sweep quoted a tenant of Monterey Lofts who said she witnesses drug deals daily. Hopefully, this will help people living in the area feel safer as well.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Update on the McGuire Building

Another article about the McGuire today. If you have not read my blog before the McGuire is a building in Belltown that the owner plans on demolishing because of structural issues. This article talks about how once a building is built it is up to the owner to make sure it is safe, rather than the cities responsibility.

Click here to read more

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rent Vs. Buying

Is it better to buy or rent these days? Check out this link that analyzes markets in major cities through-out the country. The results are shocking.

Click here to see the article

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bellevue’s Bravern switches to apartments

In the news today it was announced that there are plans to convert the Bravern Residences of downtown Bellevue into lavish apartments. The plan is to lease the 236 units located in the south tower for 18-24 months at prices between $1,200 -5,000. It’s an amazing deal considering Bravern’s original plan was to sell the condos at prices ranging from $320,000 - $6 million. The developer, Schneitzer West, feels that it is the best decision they can make with the current market conditions. In short, there is too much supply for the demand. This conversion isn’t uncommon. Just recently in the Seattle area, condominiums such as Rolling Street, Expo 62 and Moda also switched their buildings to apartments before opening.

The $1.6 billion Bravern project was designed for upscale, high-end living. Its original design consisted of two 33 story condominium buildings, two office towers and 305,000 sq ft of office retail space. The 2 residential towers sit atop the retail space. Some of the retail anchors include big names like, Neiman Marcus, Louis Viuitton, Jimmy Cho and the David Barton Gym. The towers are equipped with 25,000 sq ft of lifestyle and entertainment space. The areas include a terrace garden, private theater, garden house and views of the local Cascade Mountains. The conversion will turn the nearly empty tower into an area full of life. It is unknown at this time when these units will be available for rent.


Pioneer Square's efforts for change

According to the Seattle Times, Pioneer Square is soon to get a face lift. Pioneer Square is both a unique and historic area. It seems to be an attractive setting for tourists and visitors alike, but to the locals, it has become some sort of eyesore. The architecture is fascinating and buildings are original from 1890’s. Pioneer Square has an extraordinary ambience and has a unique mixture of design. Even with the district’s rare architecture and unoriginal setting, local businesses say something needs to be done to change how the locals view it.

Elliott Bay Book Company was once Pioneer Square’s largest commercial tenant. After recently relocating to Capitol Hill it took a large portion of its customers with it. The Pioneer Square Association has called in Washington State Main Street Program to help bring some help to revitalize the local economy, appearance, and image of the downtown commercial district by using the Main Street Approach. Through strategic planning and new design, the program hopes to give the historic district a new face and bring more locals to appreciate it. I’m sure making the area more inviting will bring more people to live there.

Find out more about Washington's Main Street Program at:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mcguire Apartment Controversy

Carpenter’s Tower LLC reported this week it will be tearing down its 25 story apartment building located in the heart of Belltown. 272 units must vacate by the end of the year. Incentives have been offered to apartment tenants. Three months money back rent if tenants move out as soon as possible.

The conflict still remains between who is at fault. McCarthy Building Company LLC, who built the McGuire Building, stated that the building is entirely safe and demolition can be avoided by proper maintenance and monitoring, but the Seattle Department of Planning and Development said it had reviewed engineering reports of structural problems of cable corrosion and agreed it should be demolished. The estimated cost to repair the building was $80 million. According to county records, the build was assessed at $60 million.

The Carpenter’s Union filed lawsuit against the McCarthy Building Company and its architects who designed the building. McCarthy Building Company in turn filed suit against its subcontractors. Trial dates are set for Sept.

The verdict of weather or not the McGuire building will come down is completely up to the owner, Carpenter’s Towers, who has made its point this week that’s what they want done.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A few tips for your next move

Tips for your next move

Make your next move with ease! Ask yourself these few questions. The answer will help your moving experience be more efficient and less time consuming.

I.Know your financial situation.

  • How much rent can you afford?
  • How much of a deposit can you afford? (Homeowners can ask for first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a deposit. Pets are usually an additional deposit.)
  • What is your budget for utilities? (remember larger homes can be expensive to heat)

II. Know what areas you are willing to live in.

  • You may not always find the perfect home in one area. Find other neighborhoods you wouldn’t mind living in.

III. Know what your needs and wants are.

  • What are your needs? These are things you can’t live without (ex. 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, 2 car garage, etc.)
  • What are your wants? Things that are not a necessity, such as a view or a tennis court.

IV. Know when you need to move.

  • When is your current lease up?
  • How much time do you have to relocate?
  • Don’t start looking too early. Generally it is a good idea to give yourself 30 days to find a home. Landlords typically will give you up to 30 days to move in. In Washington State, tenants need to give 20 days notice before moving out and often tell their landlord 20-30 days in advance that they are moving out. Landlords typically want to fill the space without it sitting vacant. Thus landlords normally will not sign a lease for a property unless you are willing to move in within the next 20-30 days from signing the lease.

V. Talk with an agent.

  • Real Estate agents have access to most rentals on the market. It’s a good idea to give your local office a call. Usually it’s at no cost to you.

Demands for rental properties are high right now and rentals do lease fast. Try to be as flexible as possible and remember to follow these few tips.

Monday, April 5, 2010

What Does It Mean To "Go Green"?

Is seems the term “going green” is becoming more and more popular these days. So what does it mean to build green? Building green is designed to reduce the overall impact on human health and the natural environment. It starts from the very begin of a building cycle and continues though the life of the building. The process of building green is environmentally responsible and resource efficient during design, construction, maintenance and operations. New technologies are constantly being developed to make practices “more green”. The U.S. Green Building Council (WSGBC) has put together a green building certification program known as LEED. LEED is an internationally recognized certifications that verifies that a building was designed and built using strategies that are aimed at making a difference on the impact it makes on its environment. LEED is a voluntary certification the recognizes performance in these areas: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, Indoor environmental quality, location & linkages, awareness & education, innovation in design, and regional priority. Find out ways you can go green at