2018 Holiday Happenings in the Seattle Area

Merry & Bright: Holiday Happenings Around the Sound


Our Northwest holidays may be wet, but they’re still bright! Make the most of the season with Seattle favorites—such as dazzling light displays and the Parade of Boats—along with new additions like the “Enchant” event with light mazes and ice skating inside Safeco field. Scroll down for all the details…

 

WildLights at Woodland Park Zoo

5500 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98103
www.zoo.org/zoolights
click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/23/18 – 1/5/19 | 5:30 – 8:30 pm
  • Cost: $9.95 – $14.95 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Get a 10% group discount on WildLights tickets for groups of 20+ (12/14/18 – 1/5/19).
  • Parking: Free parking is available at all lots after 4:30 pm (admission at both gates)
  • Food: Refreshments are available at food kiosks, Pizza Corner, and at the Pacific Blue Chowder House (with covered seating provided). You are also welcome to bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Special activities: Carousel, fire pits, select indoor animal exhibits, ZooStore, & indoor snowball fights at the Snowmazium
  • Closures: December 12, 24 & 25, 2018

Image courtesy of https://zoo.org/zoolights


 

Winterfest at Seattle Center

305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109
www.seattlecenter.com/winterfest

Map


 

Enchant at Safeco Field

1250 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
https://enchantchristmas.com/seattle/
click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: 11/23/18 – 12/30/18 | Sun-Thu from 4 – 10 pm, Fri-Sat from 4 – 11 pm
  • Cost: $19 – $32.99 per person (ages 3 and under are free) | VIP passes with dinner starting at $64.99
  • Promotions: Discount days on 11/27, 12/4 & 12/11 | Discount on final 2 hours of any day | Group discounts for 15 or more
  • Parking: $8 – $60 at Safeco Field Garages or check out the city’s Interactive Parking Map
  • Food: Seasonal food and treat concessions throughout
  • Activities: Ice skating trail, light maze, visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus, nightly live music & shows, gift market
  • Closures: 11/26, 12/3 & 12/10

Enchant Ice Skating Trail


 

Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden

12001 Main Street, Bellevue WA 98005
https://bellevuebotanical.org/garden-dlights/
click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/24/18 – 12/30/18 | 4:30 – 9:00 pm
  • Cost: $5 per person (ages 10 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Free admission nights on November 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 & 29
  • Parking: Premium parking is $5 per car in the Garden’s lot (cash only) as space allows OR park for free at Wilburton Hill Park
  • Food: Hot drinks and snacks are available at the Aaron Education Center
  • Activities: Gingerbread village, live music
  • Holiday Closures: None

Image courtesy of https://gardendlights.org/


 

Snowflake Lane at the Bellevue Collection

Bellevue Way & NE 8th Street, Bellevue WA 98004
http://snowflakelane.com/


 

Christmas Ship Festival

Launch locations include Lake Union Park, Kirkland City Dock, Hyatt Regency Lake Washington, Des Moines Marina, Port of Poulsbo, Seattle Waterfront – Pier 55, Tacoma (Dock Street Marina), Edmonds, and Shilshole Bay Marina

www.argosycruises.com
click here to get tickets


 

Ivar’s Clam Lights at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park

1201 Lake Washington Blvd N, Renton, WA 98056
https://rentonwa.gov/clamlights

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/30/18 – 1/1/19 | 5 – 9 pm
  • Cost: Free for all ages
  • Parking: Park for free at the Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park parking lot
  • Kickoff Event on November 30th, 2018, 5:30-8:30: Music, selfie-station with Santa & Mrs. Claus in their sleigh, official lighting ceremony, Parade of Boats viewing, and a visit from the Christmas Ship and Dickens Carolers
  • Holiday Closures: None

 

Westlake Center Tree Lighting & Holiday Activities

400 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101 (Westlake Park)
http://redtri.com/seattle/westlake-center-tree-lighting/

  • Dates/Times: Tree lighting ceremony on 11/23/18 at 4:30 pm. Holiday market Fri-Sun beginning 11/23 through 12/23. Carousel and other festive attractions through January 1st, 2019
  • Cost: Free for all ages
  • Parking: Access the Republic Parking garage from Olive Way between 4th & 5th Ave, or check out this interactive map of city parking
  • Activities: Carousel, Holiday Market at Westlake Park

Image courtesy of http://redtri.com


 

Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

5400 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407
www.pdza.org/event/zoolights
click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/23/2018 – 1/6/2019 | 5 – 9 pm
  • Cost: $10-$12 (free for kids 2 & under)
  • Promotions: $6 for zoo members; Scout discount night 12/4; Military discount nights Nov. 26, 28 & Dec. 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, & 19
  • Parking: Free parking in zoo lots (carpooling recommended)
  • Food: Warm drinks & treats available at the cafe and kiosks
  • Activities: Camel rides, carousel, aquarium, Kids’ Zone with animals
  • Holiday Closure: 12/24
https://www.pdza.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Hero-zoolights-1440x500.jpg

Image courtesy of https://www.pdza.org


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

 

© Copyright 2018, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island.

 

Posted on November 14, 2018 at 11:11 am
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Protect Your Investment: 5 Fall Maintenance To-Do’s

Protect Your Home | Fall To-Do Checklist

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While he was talking about fire safety, I think it applies equally well to home maintenance. One weekend of prevention this fall can save you many headaches (and a lot of money) down the road. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Gutters top to bottom: Water in the wrong spots can do a lot of damage. Start by ensuring that gutters and downspouts are doing their job. (You may want to hire a professional, especially if you have a two-story house with a steep roof.) If your home is surrounded by deciduous trees you may need to clean out your gutters a few times a year, especially in the fall. Check to make sure your gutters are flush with the roof and attached securely, repairing any areas that sag or where the water collects and overflows. Clean out the gutters and downspouts, checking that outlet strainers are in good shape, and are firmly in place. Finally, check that your downspouts direct water away from your house, not straight along the foundation.

Check for leaks: The best opportunity to catch leaks is the first heavy rain after a long dry spell. Check the underside of the roof, looking for moisture on joints or insulation. Mark any spots that you find and then hire a roofing specialist to repair these leaks. If you wait until spots show up on your ceiling, insulation and sheet rock will have also been damaged and you could have a mold problem too. You can find tips on how to solve roof & gutter issues in this great article from http://FamilyHandyman.com.

Don’t forget the basement and the caulking around windows & doors. Check your foundation for cracks, erosion and gaps in window and door weathering. Make sure to properly seal any leaks while the weather is nice. This will ensure materials dry properly.

Pest Prevention: Rodents are determined and opportunistic, and they can do tremendous amounts of property damage (and endanger your family’s health). As temperatures cool, take measures to prevent roof rats and other critters from moving in. Branches that touch your house and overhang your roof are convenient on-ramps for invaders, so trim back branches so they’re at least four feet from the house. If you do hear scuttling overhead or discover rodent droppings in your attic, crawl space or basement, take immediate action. The website http://www.thisoldhouse.com has several helpful articles on the topic.

Maintain your heating and cooling systems: Preventative maintenance is especially crucial for your home’s heating and air-conditioning systems. Fall is a smart time to have your systems checked and tuned up if necessary. Don’t wait for extreme temperatures to arrive, when service companies are slammed with emergency calls. Between tune-ups, keeps your system performing optimally by cleaning and/or replacing air filters as needed.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, a professional inspection and cleaning will help prevent potentially lethal chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, it’s a good idea to keep a supply of dry firewood or sawdust-composite logs so you have a backup heat source in an emergency. Gas fireplaces should be serviced about every 2 years to lengthen their lifespans.

Insulate & seal: Insulating your home is a cost-efficient investment, whether you’re trying to keep the interior warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Aside from more major improvements like energy-efficient windows and insulation, there are some quick fixes that do-it-yourselfers can tackle. If an exterior door doesn’t have a snug seal when closed, replace the weather stripping; self-adhesive foam stripping is much simpler to install than traditional vinyl stripping. If there is a gap under the door (which can happen over time as a house settles), you may need to realign the door and replace the vinyl door bottom and/or door sweep. Air also sneaks inside through electrical outlets and light switches on exterior walls. Dye-cut foam outlet seals placed behind the wall plates are a quick and inexpensive solution.

Posted on September 4, 2018 at 10:42 am
Windermere Mercer Island | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

2018 Football Schedules, Recipes, Tips & More…

 

Are you ready for some football? Scroll down for printable schedules, game-day recipes and awesome tailgating hacks…

 


 


 

Hosting friends for game day? We’ve got you covered with everything from easy snacks to bonafide Seattle-born favorites…

1. Easy Chicken Taquitos

So quick and delectable, you can skip the freezer aisle and go fresh instead! Click here for the recipe.

Easy Chicken Taquitos by footballgrl16

Photo courtesy of allrecipes.com

2. Seahawks Popcorn

Just the right mix of sweet and salty, this perfect treat is also a breeze to make. Click here to learn how.

Seattle Seahawks Popcorn for those Seattle Seahawks fans in your life. Sweet, salty, crunchy and delicious and it is extremely easy to make. This delicious popcorn will be perfect at your next game day football party. a NFL playoff party or a Super Bowl party. Follow us for more fun Super Bowl Food Ideas.

Photo courtesy of twosisterscrafting.com

3. Just Good Chili

Coffee and cocoa powder? This is chili done Seattle-style, baby! Here’s the skinny.

Just Good Chili

Photo courtesy of thewednesdaychef.com

4. Seattle Dogs

A carry-over from the 1990s grunge era, cream cheese and sauteed onions define these wholly Seattle creations. Here’s how to make your own at home.

The Seattle Dog

5. Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Need we say more? Click here and let the magic begin.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Image courtesy of allrecipes.com

6. Ivar’s Clam Chowder

A Seattle legend and oh so good for those rainy day games. Dive in!

Ivar's Clam Chowder

Image courtesy of geniuskitchen.com

7. Hawk Shots

Fun, festive and easier then they look. This is how you do it.

8. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Root beer is the secret to this culinary gem. Yummy in a sandwich, or eat it right out of the crock pot all by itself…we won’t tell. Here is the scoop on how to make it.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Image courtesy of allrecipes.com

9. Avocado and Black Bean Dip

Surprisingly simple and delicious, this dip is also healthier than most. Grab some chips and check out the recipe.

Avocado and Black Bean Dip

Image courtesy of allrecipes.com

10. The Paseo Cuban Sandwich

For Seattleites who know the joy of Paseo sandwiches–or anyone who just loves good food–this recipe is well worth the extra effort.

The Paseo Cuban Sandwich

Photo courtesy of The Seattle Times

11. Crab Rangoon

For those looking to go the extra mile, these tasty appetizers will be the talk of your party. Find the full rundown here.

Chef John's Crab Rangoon

Photo courtesy of allrecipes.com

12. The 12th Man Margarita

The quintessential Seahawks cocktail created by Elliott’s Oyster House. Now you can mix it at home and impress your friends.

The 12th Man Margarita

Photo courtesy of lakeunionsearay.com

 

Bonus: Color Formulas for Team-Colored Frosting!

Team Colored Frosting Formulas


 

Click Here for Our 12 Favorite Tailgating Hacks

 

 


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

 

© Copyright 2018, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island.

Posted on August 7, 2018 at 10:40 am
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Q2 2018 Seattle-Eastside Real Estate Report

Q2 Market Snapshot

 

Signs of transition to a more balanced market are becoming abundantly clear as we move further into 2018. Price growth, while still climbing in most areas, has tapered off and average market times are inching up. Brokers are beginning to dust off forms that have seen little use of late—finance and inspection contingencies—as buyers gain a stronger foothold at the negotiating table.

 

Some homes are still garnering multiple offers and commanding incredible prices and terms, but many more are seeing negotiations more equalized with fewer buyers at the table. Seattle has needed this return to balance for a very long time. It is likely that buyers who were beaten down and bruised over the past couple of years will return to the house hunt, but it will likely be on their own terms. Waiving all contingencies, releasing a substantial earnest money to the seller up front, and giving the seller a period of free possession after closing will be reserved for only the most coveted homes.

 

On the other hand, being able to conduct thorough due diligence on a prospective home over a comfortable period after offer acceptance is a buyer right that is returning to the picture. It has been a long time since that was even possible in the hottest neighborhoods. So long, it seems almost foreign. Yet that equalization of power is long overdue and needed to stabilize our market.

 

Overall median Q2 ‘17 to Q2 ‘18 prices in Seattle rose 11.3% to $801,000, while the Eastside rose 9.1% to $960,000. The average cost per home square foot was $459 in Seattle and $426 on the Eastside (which tends to have larger homes—2,752 square feet vs Seattle’s 2015 square feet—and thus a lower cost per square foot to construct).

 

Home mortgage interest rates have continued to rise, averaging 4.54% in Q2 putting continued pressure on buyers to purchase before they are simply priced out of the Seattle-Eastside market. Our region is entering a sweet spot where home prices are stabilizing and have likely peaked but interest rates are still affordable. Because rising interest rates have a much larger impact on the monthly mortgage than home price, values would have to fall pretty sharply to offset the impact of a 1-2% increase in mortgage interest rates.

 

Q2 Market Snapshot

SEATTLE

Seattle Report

Up 20.7%, affordable Richmond Beach and Shoreline saw the strongest price growth in Q2 followed closely by Lake Forest Park and Kenmore at 19.4%. West Seattle, South Seattle, Madison Park/Capitol Hill, and Queen Anne/Magnolia all saw increases in the mid-teens. Surprisingly, Ballard-Greenlake and North Seattle—strong contenders in the past couple of years—slowed to 11.8% and 6.3% respectively.

Click here to view the complete report for a neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown of Average Sale Price, size, and number of homes sold.

 

EASTSIDE

Eastside Review

Kirkland was the height of the storm on the Eastside drawing a median price gain of 30.6% over Q2 of last year. This was very loosely followed by Juanita/Woodinville at 14.4%, West Bellevue at 14.0%, and Redmond at 11.2%. South Eastside 7.5%, East Bellevue 7.4%, East of Lake Sammamish 6.9%, and Mercer Island 4.5%, all below the Eastside median, represented the fringe of Q2 appreciation.

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

MERCER ISLAND

Mercer Island Report

Mercer Island, with only two homes priced below $1 million, struggles with the lack of affordability at mainstream price points. While the number of $1-2 million homes for sale is up sharply (46%), finally giving buyers more options to choose from, the pace of sales in that price point has cooled off as buyers wait for the perfect home. A glut of homes for sale in the $3-5 million range—up 67% over this time last year—has caused that segment of the market to stagnate. Homes in the $2-3 million and $5 million plus ranges have fared slightly better than their middle sibling. Mercer Island condos, the only affordable option on the Island, have soared in value with recent sale prices creating shock waves within the industry.

Click here to view the complete report for a neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown of Average Sale Price, size, and number of homes sold.

 

CONDOS – SEATTLE & EASTSIDE

Condo Report

The number of Seattle metro condos for sale has steadily climbed in Q2 while those available in downtown Bellevue have diminished. Condo prices have continued to outpace their residential counterparts as demand to affordably own vs rent at astronomical prices drives buyer interest. Seattle condos appreciated 20.4-34.6% in all but two markets, North Seattle up 5.6% and SODO/Beacon Hill down 4.5%. On the Eastside, condos were up 13.3-35.2% except for Kirkland up 8.2% and West Bellevue down 3.5%. Not included in these numbers are the newly underway Bosa 188 condos which have a significant number of pending sales that will not close until 2020.

Check out all of these factoids and more in the full condo report.

 

WATERFRONT

Waterfront Report

Seattle and Mercer Island have fewer waterfront homes for sale in Q2 this year than in either of the past two years. The Eastside is up very slightly while Lake Sammamish has more than three-fold the number of homes for sale over the same time. The highest closed sale in Q2 was a NW-facing 1937 Yarrow Point estate on 100 feet of waterfront and just over an acre of land for $10 million. The most affordable waterfront sale was a Ripley Lane 2003-built home with 140 feet of waterfront for just shy of $1.7 million.

Check out the full Waterfront Report for a complete list of waterfront home sales by address and community.

 


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

 

© Copyright 2018, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.

Posted on July 23, 2018 at 9:21 am
Windermere Mercer Island | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Outdoor Living Trends for Summer 2018

Outdoor Living Trends for Summer 2018 - Windermere Mercer Island

 

The sun is back and summer is so close you can almost taste the s’mores being toasted around the fire pit…is this the year to spruce up your outdoor spaces? Fun new trends in alfresco design revolve around individuality of lifestyle and a desire to bring the inside out with rooms, furniture and lighting that would all be equally at home indoors. Cheesy, bulky and loud are out–quality, artisan and subtle are in. Here are some ideas to get you started:

 

1. Experiential Design

Newer outdoor concepts centered around the experiences of the owner–such as meditation gardens, outdoor movie screens, fireplaces/fire pits, children’s play spaces, and even life-size chess–are gradually replacing the cookie cutter yards of the past.


2. Chic Lighting

While Charlie Brown string lights have had their days in the sun, new trends are heading toward more sophisticated lighting fixtures. Shaded lamps, artisan and vintage fixtures are good choices for outdoor rooms and patios. We’re also seeing more indirect, low lighting that doesn’t compete with the stars.

 


3. Open Air Rooms

As weather-proof technology and materials improve, more homeowners are creating permanent outdoor living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and entertaining bars. Mildew-resistant curtains or folding glass doors can enclose the space as needed, while fireplaces or built-in space heaters keep things comfortable year-round.


4. Subtle Neutrals

We’re seeing a transition from bold stripes and colors to a softer palette with neutral tans, greys, greens, and dark blues. More discreet patterns follow the “indoors out” trend.

Photo courtesy of Kerry Joyce Associates.


5. Indoor Quality Furniture

Lighter fine-boned wood furniture with luxe upholstery is usurping those blocky, heavy, dark aluminum and plastic pieces that bake in the sun. Comfort and quality are key, with designer statement chairs and unexpected wicker pieces that are a far cry from your grandma’s wicker.


6. Alternative Flooring Materials

Many homeowners are moving beyond the rug, using new budget-friendly materials such as porcelain pavers or beechwood deck tiles to create a seamless indoor-to-outdoor look.


7. Smart Outdoor Tech

Whether it’s smart sprinklers that use soil moisture and weather data to adjust their water output, quieter & cleaner electric mowers, or 3D imaging programs that help landscapers develop and visualize designs, the world of smart technology is definitely making its way outdoors.

 

 


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

©2018, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island

Posted on June 7, 2018 at 4:15 pm
Windermere Mercer Island | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Free Recycling & Shredding Event May 19th

Free Recycling Event Saturday, May 19th from 9am to 2pm

 

Hosted in our Parking Lot:

2737 77TH AVE SE
MERCER ISLAND

 


Bring your recyclable items (working or not) to the event. All recycling services are free!

We’re also sponsoring a Confidential Data Disposal truck for free, secure shredding of sensitive documents.

Saturday, May 19th
9 am – 2 pm


What we can recycle:

  • Most electronics, working or not, whole or in part
  • Scrap metal of any kind ferrous and non-ferrous
  • Appliances
  • Washers and dryers
  • Water heaters
  • Water coolers
  • Dishwashers
  • Small appliances, blenders, toasters, coffee makers, bread makers, kitchen wear, metal pots
  • Computers and computer Accessories
  • Flat Screen Computer monitors (no CRTs please)
  • Desktop PC Computers, Servers, Server racks
  • Laptop and Notebook Computers
  • Scanners and Copiers
  • Laser and Inkjet Printers
  • Fax Machines and All-In-One devices
  • Printer cartridges, toner cartridges
  • Computer speakers
  • Circuit Boards/Motherboards
  • Radios
  • Receivers
  • Speakers
  • CD Discs, DVD Discs, Media
  • Computer Parts
  • Desktop Computers
  • Keyboards
  • Laptops
  • Floppy Disks
  • Mixed Components
  • Modems
  • Multi Line Phones
  • Networking Hardware
  • PBX Systems
  • Phone Systems
  • PDA/Handheld Systems
  • Phone Answering Machines
  • Photo Copy Machines
  • Printer Parts
  • Printers
  • External Connectors
  • Fax Machines
  • Disk Drives
  • Batteries (not household alkaline batteries)
  • Larger Batteries/ Car Batteries
  • Dry Cell NiCad Batteries
  • Used Computer Items
  • Keyboards and mice
  • Backup UPS systems and UPS batteries
  • Cell Phone Batteries/ Laptop Batteries
  • Home Phones
  • Home Entertainment
  • Small Answering Machines
  • Stereo Equipment
  • DVD Players
  • VCR Players
  • Cellular Phones and Accessories
  • Used Paging Equipment
  • Cable TV Converter Equipment
  • CB’s
  • Chargers (cell phones)
  • Radio Equipment
  • Remote Control Handsets
  • Satellite TV Equipment
  • Scanners
  • Single Line Phones
  • Typewriters
  • Two Way Radios
  • VCR (Video Cassette Recorders)
  • Voicemail Systems
  • Video Cameras
  • Walkie Talkies
  • Wires and Connectors
  • Cables
  • Medical equipment
  • Vehicles
  • Motorbikes
  • Bicycles
  • Scooters
  • Tractors
  • Metal furniture, metal file cabinets, metal desks, metal shelving, metal window frame (please no glass)
  • Lawnmowers (please no gasoline)
  • Edgers
  • Generators
  • Metal patio furniture
  • Garden tools
  • Weed eaters
  • Metal containers
  • Books
  • Refrigerators

We cannot accept the following:

  • Wood furniture
  • CRT televisions (flat screens OK)
  • CRT monitors (flat screens OK)
  • Chemicals
  • Paint
  • Tires
  • Lightbulbs
  • Glass
  • Gasoline
  • Oil

Posted on May 3, 2018 at 10:54 am
Windermere Mercer Island | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Planning ahead: how tax reform will impact your home deductions next year

2018 Tax Changes for Home Owners

 

While you may still be busy filing your 2017 taxes, it’s important to look ahead and be aware of how the new 2018 tax reform laws will affect next year’s return–especially if you’re a homeowner. Those who itemize will need to note some big changes in what they can and cannot deduct. Many will instead choose to use the new higher standard deduction ($12,000 for single individuals and $24,000 for joint returns) rather than itemizing their deductions.

What can you do now? Check in with your accountant for advice specific to your situation and filing status. Also, you’ll probably want to update your withholding amount to reflect the new deduction amounts. In the meantime, here is the skinny on 5 changes that may affect you if you own a home…

 

1. Mortgage Interest Deduction

The deduction that allows homeowners to reduce their taxable income by the amount of mortgage interest they pay has been scaled back.

  • For loans taken out after 12/14/17, you can now only deduct mortgage interest paid on the first $750,000 of combined debt for primary and secondary residences (or $375,000 if married filing separately).
  • Current loans of up to $1 million are grandfathered and are not subject to the new $750,000 cap if they were taken out before 12/15/17 (or if you entered into your purchase contract prior to 12/15/17 and the sale closed by 1/1/18).
  • You can continue to deduct the interest on grandfathered loans even if you refinance.

 

2. Home Equity Loan Deduction

Under the former tax law, you were able to deduct the interest on up to $100,000 of home equity debt even if the proceeds were used for something other than buying or improving the home (for example, an equity line of credit used to pay college tuition). This is now no longer the case.

  • New 2018 law eliminates the deduction for interest on home equity debt unless it’s used to buy, build, or substantially improve the home that secures the loan.
  • Loans to buy second homes do not qualify for the interest deduction if they’re taken out against the equity of your primary home.

 

3. Deduction for Property & Sales Taxes

Tax relief for homeowners who pay property taxes has also been limited.

  • Itemized deductions for property taxes, sales taxes, state income taxes, and any other local taxes will now be limited to a combined total of $10,000.
  • The combined limit drops to $5,000 if married filing separately.

 

4. Deduction for Moving Expenses

While you used to be able to deduct some moving expenses when you moved for a new job, this deduction has been repealed for everyone except active-duty members of the armed forces.

 

5. Deduction for Casualty Losses

Under former law, substantial losses to your home and personal property through things like fires and robberies could be deducted from your taxable income. Under the new law, this deduction is eliminated for everything except presidential-declared natural disasters.

 

Want to know more?

 

The above article is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional tax advice from your accountant.

Sources:
“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – What it Means for Homeowners and Real Estate Professionals,” by the National Association of Realtors
“5 Homeownership Changes Coming Under New Tax Law” by NerdWallet
“Tax Reform” by the Internal Revenue Service


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

©2018, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island

Posted on March 12, 2018 at 10:48 am
Windermere Mercer Island | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Amazon Now Hiring 100,000

The South Lake Union-based e-commerce giant announced the plans in January to add more than 100,000 full-time employees in the U.S by 2018. Most of them will be in fulfillment centers, though some will be headquarters jobs in Seattle. There are 9,700 job positions in Seattle listed on Amazon’s job page.

Amazon has about 40,000 Washington State employees in corporate offices and fulfillment centers. The company will have more than 30 buildings totaling more than 10 million square feet in downtown Seattle when its ongoing expansion is completed.

The company said its plans to increase its full-time US workforce to more than 280,000 by mid 2018 from 180,000 in 2016.

Contact me for seeing condos and homes for sale in Seattle.

sources: Puget Sound Business Journal Feb10,2017

 

Posted on February 12, 2017 at 9:43 am
Lisa Dong | Category: Uncategorized

China President Xi Jinping visits Seattle on 9/22-24, 2015

More Chinese people will know Seattle and its important role to US-China relations after Xi Jingping's visit. I have been seeing trenmendous inbound investment from China to Seattle area on tourism, real estate and Education businesses in the past 5 years. 

Numerous cities throughout Washington and China have established sister-city relationships as following:

  • Seattle—Chongqing
  • Tacoma—-FuZhou
  • Spokane—Jilin
  • Kent—Yangzhou
  • Dupont—Qinghai
  • Lakewood—Danzhou
Posted on September 19, 2015 at 2:37 pm
Lisa Dong | Category: Uncategorized

A moment of History: Secretary John Kerry announced effectively today (11/12/14) US issues first ten-year visas to Chinese tourists and business men and women

What does it mean to Seattle Real Estate market in the future? What do it mean to your business?

A lot of people expect that more Chinese buyers come to Seattle to buy properties here. Some people may think that fewer Chinese would apply EB-5 visas. Are you ready for this change?

 

 

 

 

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 9:59 am
Lisa Dong | Category: Uncategorized