Buying your first home can be an intimidating and daunting journey. For Payton and Kassidee Blood, they felt the gravity of this huge life changing step. They were making a choice of going from renter to homeowner. At first, it was a little scary for them but they went into the homebuying process with eyes wide open. It’s impressive that they carefully interviewed a total of 3 agents using a list of questions found with a simple Google search. It’s impressive that they had already spoken with a lender to get pre-approved before sitting down with an agent. It’s impressive that they were willing to ask questions when they didn’t understand a housing industry concept or term.
Ultimately, they chose to work with Josh Ahmann with Windermere Real Estate, who was honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of helping the young couple find their first home. Josh takes the role of educating buyers seriously and has a passion for finding buyers just the right match. In Josh’s words, “Buying your first home can be scary but it doesn’t have to be. Find an agent who will work with you. They should work with your schedule, ask a lot of questions to figure out what you’re looking for, and coach you along so you have an understanding of the process. After all, you may only buy or sell a home a few times in your life time. Your agent should gather the necessary facts, be a good listener, and make the home buying process as simple as possible.” Cheers to Payton and Kassidee in finding a great home and thank you Josh for mentoring them through the process. Here’s to years of happiness and memories and thank you for making your story our story!
75 houses were sold in March, compared to 45 last month. Spring fever has hit and we are seeing more and more people out and about. For purposes of this market report we included all of Helena as well as Clancy and East Helena. If you want to know more about what’s going on in the market by either calling our office at 406.442.1578 or clicking this link for a customized market report for your home or neighborhood.
Now that spring has sprung, let’s clear the cobwebs and get your home ready! Here is our quick guide to spring home maintenance:
Inspection top to bottom: Now that the weather is temperate you will want to check on how your home weathered the winter. Check the roof for leaks, the gutters for damage, and the siding for cracks. You will also want to inspect your basement or foundation for any shifts. Make repairs now to prevent further damage.
Clean out the gutters: April showers bring May flowers… so clear out the gutters to keep rain from pooling on your roof or near your foundation.
Pest control: Spring is mating season for eight legged critters, so sweep out cobwebs, clear debris, and check the nooks and crannies. If you live in an area prone to dangerous species like brown recluse or black widows, you may want to contact your local pest control, but otherwise household spiders do help eliminate other bugs.
Check your basement and attic for signs of other infestations. For more information on pest control go here: http://www.windermere.com/blogs/windermere/categories/living/posts/when-things-go-bump-in-the-night
HVAC system: If you have an air conditioner now is the time to check to make sure it is ready before summer gets here and everyone else is clamoring for maintenance. Now is a good time to check your home air filters and replace or upgrade to keep allergens at bay.
Clear the clutter: Do a sweep around the house and get rid of junk that you don’t use! Take a little time each week to tackle a room. Closets, playrooms, and basements can be especially daunting, but getting rid of old stuff and refreshing your space will go a long way!
Deep clean: On a nice day open the windows, dust, wipe, scrub, and clean. You will get a nice work out and your home will look and feel so fresh after a winter of being cooped up.
Update your décor: Add a splash of color to your home with small embellishments. Add a colorful vase, a lighter throw for your sofa, pretty pastel pillows, or spring-time candles, to upgrade your living space.
Take it outdoors: Let your throw rugs, curtains, and other tapestries air our outside. Shake off the dust, spot clean what you can and let everything bask in the sun for an afternoon.
Don’t forget the back yard: It may not be time to start up the grill, yet, but you can get started on your outdoor entertaining checklist. Check your lawn, and if you have some spare spots start filling in with seed. Check your outdoor plants, prune, plant bulbs, start to replenish soil for your garden, and mow, so you are ready to start when the season allows.
Speaking of the grill – if you have a gas grill you will want to pull this out and perform a maintenance check. Clean everything up and check to make sure all the gas lines are clear, as these can get clogged after sitting idle all winter. Make sure the grill is clear of spiders too, as they can build webs in the tubes, causing damage to your grill. You can start to bring out your garden furniture too, or clean it up if you left it covered outside all winter. Because before you know it, it’ll be barbeque season!
The market is picking up in the Helena area. There were 88 residential homes listed in February and 45 homes sold. For purposes of the following market report we included all of Helena as well as Clancy and East Helena. Clancy accounted for 2 homes sold and East Helena had 6 sold listings in February. Central Valley, East Valley and East Helena were the areas that were hot for sold listings this month. In the first 5 days of March 14 listings have been added to the Helena Multiple Listing Service. Check out our fun infographic for February and contact us to know more about what’s going on in the market by either calling our office at 406.442.1578 or clicking this link for a customized February market report for your home or neighborhood.
Newly married Zach and Sam weren’t looking for the typical three bedroom, two bathroom, open floor plan home, their list was a little different. What was important to them? A claw foot bathtub, a wood burning fireplace, acreage close to town and aspen trees. Realtor, Mary Ahmann Hibbard took to task to find them the perfect home. After having one house fall through, the ‘one’ came on the market. Mary knew before they walked the property that they would love it. In Sam’s words “It was an instantaneous love for the house”.
Today Zach and Sam have turned the 3.44 acres into their own little country farm, including a yurt where Sam operates her Mountain Bluebird preschool.
As Sam affectionately mentioned, “Mary has a way with matching her clients up with the perfect home. I didn’t think we were going to find the perfect home, but Mary did it! She found us not only a home, but our forever home.”
I could spend ages talking about everything there is to learn from remodeling your house: the best types of tile for a shower floor, little details that you shouldn’t overlook when remodeling, tips and tricks for finishing a project on time — you name it.
But a remodeling project, being a rather noteworthy life experience, can also teach you a lot about yourself. No, I’m not talking about your tastes or preferences (for example, you learn that you love the color blue on your walls or you learn that you really just don’t like remodeling). Rather, it can teach you about some characteristics you never knew you possessed, or at least never had the opportunity to focus on — the good and the bad. Here are some things you might learn about yourself.
Learn 1: Jane Lockhart Interior Design, original photo on Houzz
1. You’re more impatient than you thought. Remodeling will — I repeat, will — test your patience. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a dedicated yogi who can sit and meditate for hours at a time or a hobbyist who works late into the night tirelessly assembling detailed ships in bottles. Weather delays, unforeseen problems (wait, there’s mold behind that wall?), busy trade schedules — it’s almost impossible to have a remodeling project without a delay or two. And when it’s your project with the delays, you might just find yourself repeating the mantra of kids stuck in the family car during a road trip, “Are we there yet?” Or more specifically, “Are we done yet?”
Learn 2: Transitional Sunroom, original photo on Houzz
2. You’re adaptable. Bathroom remodels and kitchen remodels are notorious for, well, making bathrooms and kitchens unusable while they’re under construction. At the beginning this might seem like a major inconvenience (truth be told, it is!), but by the end you might be thinking “Who really needs a full kitchen?” After all, there are so many small appliances loved by college students and remodeling survivors alike — toaster ovens, microwaves, slow cookers, camping stoves.
Bathroom remodels can be easy to work around if you have another bath that isn’t under renovation, or a next door neighbor who is fairly generous, or membership in a gym with clean showers. Remember, creativity and adaptability are your friends. So embrace your inner MacGyver.
Learn 3: AMW Design Studio, original photo on Houzz
3. You want in on the action. It starts small: At first, you’re just chatting with your contractor about the status of your project — normal stuff. But as time goes on, you can’t help but ask questions about the more technical side of things. Some people might find details about tile installation eye-rollingly boring, but you’re intrigued.
Suddenly, you find yourself searching for home improvement how-to books and classes on design. You may even start planning your second project (which you’re considering doing yourself) or looking for houses you think you’d like to flip. Watching your own home transform before your very eyes has been an exciting process, no doubt, and now you’re ready to try your hand at it. Don’t be surprised if at first you just want the process to be over, only to find that you never want it to end.
Learn 4: Deville Custom Homes, original photo on Houzz
4. Your relationships can (probably) weather any storm. If the space you’re remodeling is a place that you share with someone else (whether it be your spouse, children or others), it’s likely that you’ll feel a little more stress than if you were just remodeling your own personal space.
Every stress that you feel about the remodel, they probably feel as well. Every worry you have about budgets and schedules and paint colors, they have too. Pour all that stress into a small group of people who live together, and, well … things can get messy.
But when you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, you realize that all that pressure was worth it, because you and your people have a beautiful new space to use for years to come. It probably took some compromise and communication to get there, but now that you’ve finally made it, you know you’re that much stronger because of it.
Or not. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but what you might discover about yourself is that you can’t collaborate with the person you’re with. Remodeling is like a stress-test on relationships — for good or ill.
Learn 5: Tiffany McKenzie Interior Design, original photo on Houzz
5. You’re fearless. I’ll tell you this much: It takes a lot of inner strength to not freak out when you see someone you’ve never met come through your front door with a hammer. Remodeling can make some people stronger. Once you see your home demolished before your very eyes by strangers wielding tools and driving heavy construction equipment, your definition of “scary” changes a little.
Obviously, this isn’t an all-encompassing list, nor is it supposed to mean that you will find yourself relating to every point. You may or may not feel the urge to become an amateur remodeler. You might (understandably) still get freaked out at a stranger coming into your home with a hammer. Remodeling is a personal journey, full of personal discoveries and accomplishments and all that good stuff. The only way for you to truly know how it will affect you is for you to experience it yourself. But whatever happens, you will learn more about yourself than you have in a long time.
By Hannah Kasper, Houzz
At the end of a long day, your bedroom should be a sanctuary of comfort that welcomes you in. But, as a room that guests rarely see and in which homeowners spend most of their time with their eyes closed, its upkeep frequently gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Thankfully, there are some little design tricks that can make a big difference. Turn your bedroom into a restful retreat when you up its coziness factor with a few of these easy ideas.
Flooded with soft lighting, plush textures and other comfy touches, your bedroom environment will envelope you at day’s end. And, perhaps even better than the idea of your bedroom refresh itself, is knowing that none of these tips take longer than a weekend to complete! So, slide into your slippers as you settle on which cozy updates you’ll select for your new favorite room of the house.
Katie Laird is the Director of Social Marketing for Blinds.com and a frequent public speaker on Social Media Marketing, Social Customer Care and profitable company culture. An active blogger and early social technology adopter, you can find her online as ‘happykatie’ sharing home décor, yoga, parenting and vegetarian cooking tips. If you're interested in faux wood blinds like those described by Katie, please go to the Blinds.com website.
The regular football season is officially over, and while the Seahawks didn’t make it to the Super Bowl this year, they did take home the title of NFC West champs. We can think of a number of reasons to be proud of the Seahawks, but the biggest one for us is the $35,000 they helped us raise to #tacklehomelessness.
As the Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks, Windermere and the Seahawks decided to partner on a cause that is important to our community. The result was our #tacklehomelessness campaign which saw Windermere donating $100 for every Seahawks home game tackle during the 2016 season. An additional donation was made in honor of Bobby Wagner, the NFL leader in tackles this season, for each of his 167 tackles. All of these tackles added up to an impressive $35,000.
The recipient of the $35,000 donation is YouthCare, a non-profit organization that provides essential services to homeless youth. The money raised will help fund YouthCare’s Residential Care Programs, which provide both housing and tailored support services to youth transitioning from homelessness to stability and independence.
Our partnership with the Seahawks and YouthCare fits perfectly with the mission of the Windermere Foundation, which is to support low-income and homeless families in the communities where we have offices. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide additional support to homeless youth in our area thanks to the Seahawks, YouthCare and the #tacklehomelessness campaign.
See you next season and GO HAWKS!
The Windermere Foundation had another banner year in 2016, thanks to the continued support of Windermere franchise owners, agents, staff, and the community. Over $2.2 million was raised in 2016, which is an increase of seven percent over the previous year. This brings our total to over $33 million raised since the start of the Windermere Foundation in 1989.
A large amount of the money raised last year is thanks to our agents who each make a donation from every commission they earn. These funds enable our offices to support local non-profits that provide much-needed services to low-income and homeless families in their communities.
|SUMMARY OF FUNDS, GRANTS & DONATIONS IN 2016|
|Number of individual grants fulfilled:||664|
|Average grant amount:||$2,581|
|Average donation to the Windermere Foundation:||$122.05|
|Total funds provided in 2016:||$1,951,878.78|
So how are funds used? Windermere offices get to decide how to distribute the funds their agents raise so that they may help organizations in their communities. Our offices have helped to fund school lunch and afterschool programs, supported non-profits that provide housing assistance to homeless families, donated to food banks, purchased school supplies, provided meals and gifts for families in need over the holidays, fulfilled wishes for children through Make-A-Wish programs, and purchased shoes, clothing, blankets and other items to help keep families warm during the winter months.
This year was also marked by a new partnership between Windermere and the Seattle Seahawks to help #tacklehomelessness. During the 2016 football season, Windermere donated $100 for every Seahawks home game tackle to YouthCare, a non-profit organization that provides essential services to homeless youth. At the end of the season, the #tacklehomelessness campaign raised $35,000, which is being used to help fund YouthCare’s transitional housing program.
Thanks to our agents, offices, and everyone who supports the Windermere Foundation, we are able to continue to make a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities. And not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click on the Donate button.
To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.
Maybe it’s that 1980s soaking tub with the giant surround, or maybe you’re prepping for resale, or perhaps an overhead flood is to blame. Maybe it’s just time for a change. Whatever the motivation behind them, bathroom renovations are one of the projects homeowners put the most effort and investment into. Here are 6 of the most dramatic before-and-after bathroom stories from Houzz, from budget-friendly to luxe.
Bath Makeovers 1: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz
1. The Bathroom That Helped Sell a House in One Day
BEFORE: In this Massachusetts bungalow, over 100 years old, the 1960s bathroom renovation wasn’t offering much help to real estate agents.
Bath Makeovers 2: Copper Dot Interiors, original photo on Houzz
AFTER: Interior designer Karen Goodman had resale in mind, as she was redoing the house to flip. But it was important to her to preserve and restore the original 1902 feel. She found a claw-foot tub at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and painted it green, added a wall-hung sink and used subway tile befitting the home’s turn-of-the-century aesthetic. A unique shower curtain adds color and personality, while the classic fixtures have widespread appeal.
Great tip: Goodman shared her philosophy about painting the original wood with Houzz contributor Annie Thornton. “If it’s painted, it’s getting painted. If it’s wood, it’s staying wood,” she said. “It wasn’t my place to decide what should be wood and what shouldn’t be in a place I don’t plan to call home.”
Shower curtain: Danica Studio; tub paint: Moss Green Rust-Oleum spray paint; claw-foot tub: Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Bath Makeovers 3: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz
2. Dilapidated 1970s Bathroom Gets Inspiration From a Dilapidated Mansion
BEFORE: The state of the bathroom in this 1912 Colonial-style home in New Jersey was sending the whole family up to the third floor to use the facilities because they couldn’t stand the cracked tiles, 12-inch-high tub, awkward layout and dated colors in the main bath. While walking through a once-grand old house during an estate sale and seeing its fabulous colors and tile patterns, homeowner Jody Suden had a clear vision for the bathroom makeover in her own home.
Bath Makeovers 4: Tracey Stephens Interior Design Inc, original photo on Houzz
AFTER: Interior designer Tracey Stephens worked closely with Suden to help her achieve her vision, using classic fixtures and completing lots of complicated tile drawings to get the details just right. The tiles are based on historical patterns and colors and were handmade in Arkansas by American Restoration Tile.
The overall style suits the home’s age and style, mixing mint green, white and black with vintage apothecary style.
Great tip: Even if you have a strong idea of what you want your room to look like, hiring a designer is key — you just have to find one who gets it. Suden told me she couldn’t have done it without Stephens, who told me she considered herself the “midwife” helping Suden achieve her vision.
Bath Makeovers 5: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz
3. The Bathroom Where 2 Doctors Take Deep Soaks After Long Days
BEFORE: This Cincinnati bathroom was dark, dated and awkwardly laid out. Because of a lack of smart storage, the countertop had become a magnet for clutter.
Bath Makeovers 6: Ryan Duebber Architect, LLC, original photo on Houzz
AFTER: Architect Ryan Duebber stole about 16 inches in length for the bathroom from the master bedroom, then moved the toilet to the back of the room. This allowed space for a spacious shower and a Japanese soaking tub.
The sapele wood at the back of the room draws the eye and makes the room look deeper, while a new skylight, lots of reflective white, clear glass, a floating vanity and a strategic lighting scheme bathe the room in light. (For example, check out the glow on the floor provided by the LED tape lights underneath the vanity.) In addition, there’s a place to store everything so the counters can stay clean, maintaining the minimalist look the homeowners love.
Great tip: Having a specific place for everything you use in the bathroom will keep the clutter at bay. Give it a lot of thought early on in the design process. Where will your hairdryer go? Which products do you use every day in front of the mirror? Are you a toothbrush-out or a toothbrush-put-away kind of person?
Bath Makeovers 7: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz
4. Saving the Best for Last
BEFORE: These San Francisco parents worked on the spaces the whole family could enjoy before tackling their awkward master bathroom.
Bath Makeovers 8: Hulburd Design, original photo on Houzz
AFTER: Taking over an unused terrace space gave architect Holly Hulburd plenty of room to work in a new bathtub, a generous separate shower stall and a long vanity complete with dressing table. The room is a study in lines and scale, from the way the tub surround extends into a shower bench to the careful use of different sizes of rectangular tiles.
Great tip: When using strong lines, lining things up is important. In order to have the tiles meet the ceiling and floor without any cuts, Hulburd dropped the ceiling a little to make the geometry work.
Bath Makeovers 9: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz
5. The Bathroom That Makes the Most of Burgundy Floor Tiles
BEFORE: For the 2012 D.C. Design house, Christopher Patrick decided to embrace the existing tile and plumbing configuration in order to stick to a budget.
Bath Makeovers 10: Christopher Patrick Interiors, original photo on Houzz
AFTER: He chose a neoclassic wallpaper that complemented the burgundy tones in the floor, and added a more modern vanity to blend old and new.
Setting the sink and mirror asymmetrically on the right side of the vanity left ample room on the counter.
Great tip: Don’t get stuck in a bathroom design rut. Patrick had an “antibathroom” attitude, styling the room more like a living room or den and adding open shelves instead of a typical medicine cabinet.
Bath Makeovers 11: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz
6. Adding Laundry Makes Way for a Guest Room in a Toronto Pied-à-Terre
BEFORE: The converted loft in this 1905 eyeglass factory offered a decent-sized laundry room that didn’t get much use, but it didn’t have an extra bedroom. By integrating the laundry into the bathroom, there’s now room for guest bunks in the former utility room.
Bath Makeovers 12: Affecting Spaces, original photo on Houzz
AFTER: This shows the opposite wall from the one in the “before” photo; to see the complete makeover, click over to the story. Architect and designer Gillian Lazanik removed a linen closet and planned a layout that made the most of the space. This included room for a stackable washer-dryer and a new walk-in shower stall with a clear glass divider that opens up the room.
By Becky Harris, Houzz