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8 Seattle and Renton Art Street Fairs You Don’t Want to Miss This Summer

Categories: American Classic News, Events, Lifestyle, Renton, Seattle | Posted: June 19, 2019

The sun is shining, and city calendars are overflowing with activities. Farmer’s markets, festivals, parades, and beer gardens are brimming all over the Seattle area.

There is so much to celebrate, blue skies, perfect weather, a sparkling Lake Washington and a market filled with creative, talented makers from around the country. Pull on your favorite summer outfit, grab some friends, and peruse the artsy side of the city.

 

Seattle:

  • Celebrate the First Thursday of every month except July in Occidental Square. Located just inland off of Pier 48 in where the ivy hangs thickly off of red brick buildings and the cruise ships drop thousands of passengers off flooding the streets with happy travelers. This lovely outdoor square is covered with overarching London Plane trees creating a beautiful shaded canopy overhead. Concrete ping pong tables will keep your kids happy while you shop. Every First Thursday from April through October except for in July, 55 of Seattle’s artisans set up booths here from 12-9:00 p.m., it has an atmosphere like a European market under the trees.
  • Art on the Rocks at the Bar Shoppe and Lounge is a neighboring event, and it’s also on the First Thursday of every month. Hit up the market then wander over to Art on the Rocks in Pioneer Square. They house a monthly art show with local artists who set up across three rooms inside the bar. You can enjoy craft cocktails and a DJ with no cover charge. If you haven’t yet discovered this venue you should give it a shot, it’s really cool. The bartenders are masters at their craft and are happy to customize drinks on the spot with only your preferences to go off. Take a look at their Facebook page; they’re beverage artists.
  • The Full Moon Market June 8 & 9, July 20 & 21, August 24 & 25, September 21 & 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you like modern jewelry, bohemian designs and clean, trendy looks this market is for you. Located in the Stumptown Coffee Roasters building downtown, a team of Pacific Northwest makers creates a fresh exchange of products that look like they leaped off a modern, stylish Pinterest board.
  • The SODO Flea Market located at the Epic Antique parking lot at 3701 7th Ave South takes place the second and last Saturdays of every month. Enjoy free parking at this event where you’ll find vintage and antique furniture from stylish local vendors. The SODO Flea Market was recognized as one of the best flea markets in the country. Don’t be fooled by the title; they house vendors selling more than the typical flea market finds. You’ll find products here like, handmade jewelry, dyed textiles, ceramics, vintage clothing, housewares, and even fresh cut flowers. Food and coffee trucks will keep you fueled up for the hunt.
  • Urban Craft Uprising 2019 Summer Show on June 22 & 23, 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. This is one of Seattle’s largest craft shows, it’s held at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. People line up around the block to be one of the first ones in for this event. The whole family is welcome. Hopefully, you’ll leave with ambitions and creative ideas flooding your head for potential projects.
  • Urban Craft Market and The Seattle Street Food Festival held on July 6 & 7, Fourth of July weekend, a marriage of two of the best festivals ever have combined forces to drain your pocketbook and make your home awesome. A massive celebration of makers, artists, and chefs are working together to create this fabulous downtown festival located at 217 9th Avenue in Seattle. Bring the family; there will be something here for everyone.

 

Renton:

  • Rummage Sale July 20, from 3-9:00 p.m. Located at the Renton Pavilion Event Center. Come treasure hunt to find that perfect something you’ve been looking for to complete your home décor or a rare vintage cameo necklace. You never know what to expect at this annual event. The best part is, it doesn’t start until three o’clock in the afternoon. For those of you who never make it to early morning garage sales, this one’s for you.
  • Summerfest July 20, in the Piazza Park, Renton is celebrating summer alongside the Rummage Sale. Live music, an art exhibit, and food trucks will be open for business downtown. A beer garden will keep the adults happy, and the evening will end with an open-air movie in the park.

 

Meeting so many artists and crafters might inspire you to create something wonderful. Come and visit If not for the artists, for the food trucks, culinary inspiration is great too.

Seattle Area Running Races

Categories: American Classic News, Events, Lifestyle | Posted: June 6, 2019

This summer, challenge yourself to do something new, run a race with hundreds of others under the cool canopy of evergreens. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or new to the game, there are hundreds of competitions around the beautiful State of Washington this summer. Signing up for one will keep you on your toes and help you commit to a running plan.

For some, running is very addictive. The feeling of kicking off your dress shoes and lacing up your sneakers can be cathartic and feel amazing after a day of wearing work clothes. Plug in your earbuds and hit the trails. What happens next is euphoria. The workday stress melts away, and the daily commute disappears as you commune with the forest floor.

Pine needles crunch and soft summer breeze fill your nose. If you aren’t already a runner, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start years ago. The Pacific Northwest is a haven for runners, hundreds of miles of trails lace through towns and forests in all directions. A great way to start or continue running is to pick a race, every one of them has incredible greenery and beautiful forests towering overhead. Register early, the best ones go first.

It’s not too late to start the Summer Trail Run Series, every other Tuesday from May through August you can join a run with distances from 4k to 10k with different locations in Bellevue, Seattle, Redmond and Kenmore, each in a different park. Choose to run only one or make it an every other Tuesday tradition and run several. Your scores and times will be recorded so you can challenge yourself to beat your previous time with two weeks in between for training.

If you go often enough, you’ll meet other runners and discover new jogging spots along the way. At the end of each race, your hard work pays off with a cookout, veggie and pork hotdogs, and watermelon for dinner on these sunny summer evenings. Register now, if you’re ready to commit, there’s a discount for multiple races.

Taylor Mountain Trail Run, June 22, located halfway between Renton and Issaquah this trail goes right through the heart of the mountains. A 12.8-mile loop with a slow 1,900-foot ascent. Sign up for a half or full marathon through the beautiful Issaquah Alps. It can be steep in stretches and starts with a river crossing where you’ll get wet and cool off at the start.

Sunshine Salutation is one of the Summer Trail Run Series located at the Redmond Watershed June 25, at 6:30 p.m. choose to run 5 or 10 miles after work during the Eastside edition of the trail to grill run series. Take this course through the stunning Redmond Watershed, famous for soft, wide read: easy to pass, trails.

Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series #3 in Newcastle on July 13, join in on a 5k, 10.8- or 19.5-mile run benefiting King County Parks. Give back to a good cause for hundreds of runners who utilize their trail systems every day.

The Capitol One Torchlight Run in downtown Seattle on July 27. If you’re not a fan of trail runs choose the torchlight, it’s a 5 or 8k run through downtown and across the piers during the famous and historic Seafair festival covering a variety of events over ten weeks of celebrations.

Tiger Peak Challenge August 3, sign up for a half, full or 50 kilometers (31 miles) run through 13,745 acres of Tiger Mountain Park. The race covers two out of three mountain peaks at the park and finishes with flat trails to help you recharge while finishing strong.

Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series #4 in Newcastle on August 10, top your last time and distance from the Trail Series #3 during this race you’ll get another shot at the same trails during this 5k, 14.5- or 26.2-mile run through Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

Summer Blast at Redmond Watershed located in Redmond on August 17, only fifteen minutes North of Sammamish you can choose between 5 miles, 10 miles, half or full marathons to run in this lush, green, forested race.

Middle Fork Trail Run in North Bend on September 7, Just a quick 30-minute drive east from Sammamish and Renton. Choose a race of 10k, half marathon, 22 miles or a 50k. During the competition, you’ll follow the river valleys up and down through sloping valleys and mountain slopes with river views, through forests and incredible cliffs. Find detailed course descriptions on the website.

Run with the Kokanee at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah on October 12. Run a short 5 or 10k race that’ll benefit recovery work for the Kokanee salmon living in the lake.

Enjoy the outdoors with a run, take note of how you feel before and after you begin running, for many, they sleep better, eat healthier, and are naturally happier. If you surround yourself with like-minded healthy trail runners, you may end up with a whole new community of friends in your new city.

Simple Monthly and Yearly Maintenance Schedule for New Homeowners

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: May 28, 2019

If you’ve just moved into a new home, it’s hard to imagine anything but that shiny, perfect interior and exterior. However, as a homeowner, you’re going to be putting a lot of time and energy into maintaining that home. When you start considering everything that needs to be updated, cleaned, and repaired over time, it can get a little overwhelming.

But you can prepare for regular maintenance by keeping this schedule in the back of your mind (or right in your Google calendar). That way, you can tackle these tasks head on and keep your home safe and secure for many years to come.

Monthly Tasks

Check and Change HVAC System Filters

Checking your filters each month is an easy way to avoid super expensive repairs later on. Plan to go around the house checking these filters at the same time each month; you can even build it into your regular monthly chores. Be sure to clean or replace filters when they get dirty.

Inspect Your Fire Extinguisher

Don’t wait for a full-blown grease fire to realize your fire extinguisher is outdated or worse, missing. Every monthly, take a look at your fire extinguisher(s) to make sure it’s easily accessible, has the right amount of pressure, and isn’t expired.

Clean Your Kitchen Range Hood

Range hood filters get grimy fast. You definitely don’t want to pull yours out a few months from now and find a thick layer of grease covering it. Use a degreaser to clean it, then rinse and dry before replacing thoroughly.

Check Water Softener

You won’t need to add salt to your water softener each month, but it’s a good idea to take a look and make sure.

Yearly Tasks

Replace Batteries in Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

There’s nothing more important than your family’s safety. Regularly check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re in working order. Once a year, replace all the batteries in those detectors. Don’t forget — plan to do this every year on the same day, like an anniversary, daylight savings, or a holiday.

Service Your HVAC System

Once a year, it’s a good idea to get your HVAC systems serviced by a professional. Clean systems are more energy-efficient, and you can stay ahead of potential issues by regularly serving these systems.

Vacuum Refrigerator Coils

You heard that right. As the fridge coils get dusty and dirty, they can suck up a ton of extra power. Keep your refrigerator running efficiently by vacuuming out all that grime.

Service and Prepare Air Conditioner (in the Spring)

Depending on whether your home uses window units or has central air, you’ll want to prepare your air conditioner before the hot weather rolls in. If you have a central air system, consider calling in a professional to service it and get it ready for summer.

Turn Off Outdoor Faucets, Unhook Hoses (in the Fall)

Prepare for colder weather by turning off your outdoor faucets and flushing them, and doing the same to your hoses. Unhook them and store them until the Spring.

There are other tasks you’ll want to do on a semi-regular basis to keep your home exterior maintained, like cleaning out your gutters in the Spring or cleaning out window wells in the summer. But the list above of monthly and yearly tasks are the most important ones to keep in mind to make sure you’re keeping your home up to date. With regular checks and repairs, you’ll be able to live in a safe and secure home for years to come.

Sharing the Excitement of Your New Home’s Construction on Social Media

Categories: Home Owner Tips, Lifestyle, Seattle, Washington | Posted: May 15, 2019

Social media is a big part of all our lives. Most of us use Facebook to stay connected to friends and family in different cities (or even countries!). And Instagram has let us take part in other peoples’ lives, whether it’s a new addition to their family, a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, or just day-to-day living.

These platforms are outlets for us to share big, exciting news with the people we love and care about. What could be bigger or more exciting than building a new home? Not only can you use these platforms to share the news – you’re building a home! – but you can take people along for the ride. Here are a few ways you can document and share your new home journey through social media.

Keep Your Friends & Family Updated

Use social media to document the home building process and give your friends and family updates on the process. Let them celebrate each milestone with you, even if they are hundreds of miles away. Regularly post updates and share photos of your new home as it’s being constructed.

They’re sure to offer words of encouragement and love, sharing in your excitement and joy each step along the way.

Reach Out to Your Followers for Style Input

As you know, there are a million decisions that go into building a new home. Like paint colors, flooring, kitchen cabinets and countertops, and so much more. While there are a lot of places to find inspiration, why not turn to your friends or family for ideas?

You could post photos of different rooms and ask for decorating advice or input. If you have particularly stylish friends or family, maybe reach out to them directly by tagging them in the photo. It’s a fun way to get people involved in the process and let people see the progress you’re making.

Create Photo Memories of Your Building Journey

Social platforms like Facebook make it super easy to create digital photo albums. By posting images of your new home in an album, you can both share it with your followers and keep a record of it for yourself. Years down the road, when you’re happily living in your new home, you will appreciate being able to look back at the process.

You’re going to be so busy in the next few months; you’ll hardly have time to really appreciate how amazing it is to build a home! Luckily, you can revisit these digital albums again and again to relive the journey.

Social media platforms are great for sharing updates and photos during your home building journey. Share learning moments and excitement with friends and family. Even better, each time you post you’re building digital photo albums you can revisit years from now.

How Seattle Celebrate Memorial Day 2019

Categories: American Classic News, Lifestyle, Washington | Posted: May 15, 2019

There’s nothing more exciting than Memorial Day in Seattle! The unofficial opening day of summer and a time to celebrate our freedom by remembering those who fought for it.

No matter how you’d like to spend the holiday, you don’t need to go far for museums, beach days, parks, shopping, or hiking. Try to put away your home projects and forget about work this weekend. It’s time to enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful State you call home. Celebrate like a Washingtonian and pull out the bicycle, fire up the grill and throw on a salmon or two. Living this close to the open water has its benefits.

Blue Star Museums is a program opening up on Memorial Day for active duty families granting them free access to participating museums all summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 27 Museums all over the Seattle and Tacoma area participate in the program. Art, history and children’s museums participate. There’s something for every age and interest level to enjoy with this fantastic service member benefit.

The Museum of Flight located in South Seattle, just below the Boeing Airfield, will be celebrating Memorial Day with live music by the Boeing Employee Concert Band and a special ceremony. Memorial Day is the grand opening of a brand-new Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park with a B-52G Stratofortress plane as the main focal point and a memorial statue and tribute wall. Guest speakers and jet flyovers will celebrate this momentous event. Veterans and active duty military are allowed free entry.

48th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival at the Seattle Center, this is a free festival located on the Space Needle grounds. It’s an anything-goes kind of festival, and there’s a market place full of goods from all over the world, street performers, musical instrument workshops, 20 stages and 5,000 entertainers and performers, food stands and lots of hippies. It’s a love it or hate it kind of a place, so if you don’t like crowds of smelly strangers, you might want to avoid it. But, if you’re up for an adventure, you’d like to meet interesting folks, enjoy excellent entertainment and unique food you’ll love it.

Newcastle Beach Park, bring a blanket and spend the day in this 29-acre green space. A lovely swimming area is roped off in Lake Washington keeping the space wake free for your little ones to swim safely. Take a walk on the trail or steak out a spot on the dock. A play structure will keep the kids busy, and public grills are available for lunch so you can spend the whole day enjoying the views in the great outdoors.

Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is one of the most popular beach parks in Renton. It’s a large, 57-acre space with views of Mount Rainer. Gene Coulon is situated on Lake Washington with a large playground, a boat launch, trail, barbeque grills, and a swimming area. Come early especially on Memorial Day weekend, it will be busy, and parking can be tricky. A strict no-dog policy is in play here with hefty fines if you’re caught with one in the park. If you don’t have time to plan a picnic, no worries, Ivar’s Seafood and Kidd Valley burger both have locations in the park.

Sammamish Landing Park is an eight-acre park on Lake Sammamish. Three beaches are favorite spots to soak in the sunshine. This is the only public access point on Lake Sammamish and can be busy, so come early and stay for the day. For a different change of pace on Memorial Day head over to Pier 59 downtown. There are more than enough activities to keep the whole family happy for the day.

The Seattle Aquarium will be hosting a Family Science Weekend. Shows, exhibits and educational opportunities are offered all weekend. You’ll have the chance to explore the sea life living in the Puget Sound. After the aquarium, you can enjoy dinner on Elliot Bay at one of the dozens of eateries with water views. Ride the Ferris Wheel overlooking the city and the Bay and wander along the waterfront while taking in the sounds of the city. There is more than enough to keep the family busy here for a weekend.

Follow the Orca Network and find whales. The Orca Network is a public group where anyone who spots whales of any kind (not only orcas) will post their findings, the time and location. If you watch closely, you could use this information to chase and spot whales of your own. You may be required to hop a ferry to find them, leading to a day of adventure and warm family memories.

There are dozens of ways to celebrate this Memorial Day. The most important thing is to leave your to-do lists behind and revel in your freedom.

How to Pamper Your Favorite Lady this Mother’s Day in Seattle

Categories: Lifestyle | Posted: May 7, 2019

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and it’s time to plan. Why not make an entire day of it? Traditionally the holiday primarily means brunch, but this year you can wow her by thinking outside the brunch menu. Show mom how much you love her by taking the entire day to entertain and pamper her every whim. You know your lady best, whether it’s your mother or the mother of your kids. Think about her love language and do what you know will matter to her most.

A picnic by the lake is a fantastic way to start the day. Let her sleep in, while you pack a simple morning picnic. Cut up fruit, croissants and coffee are perfect. Pack up the kids, balls, a blanket, or other activities to keep them busy. The two of you can enjoy a pleasant morning sitting on a blanket in the grass shaking off the winter and gazing at the sparkling waters of Lake Washington or Sammamish.

Spend the afternoon on a family gathering, or give her some time for her favorite activity, biking, hiking, a spa day or kid-free time with friends. You know your lady best if she loves to read, but never has time anymore take the kids to the park and give her two lavish hours on the window seat in the sunshine. For a mother, time for a nap, gardening, painting, running, whatever makes her tick is the best gift of all. Nothing is sweeter than having a little bit of yourself back for a woman who’s swallowed up in the day to day highs and lows of motherhood.

Some ideas around town:

  • If you live in Renton jump on the freeway South to Tacoma for the day. It’s an easy half hour drive. Head to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. They’re offering a special, half price for mom’s all day so you get two experiences lumped together in one. You can visit polar bears and sharks in the same place and the kids will have a blast.
  • Head East about 40 minutes’ drive from Renton, Sammamish and Newcastle to the beautiful Cedar River Watershed on Rattlesnake Lake. Guides will be teaching about animal mothers who live in this incredible place. A little museum with art installations is informative and interactive. Views from Rattle Snake Ledge and walks around the lake are worth coming for. Several hikes branch off from this location, bring sandwiches and make a day of it.
  • The Bellevue Botanical Gardens is open for free this Mother’s Day, flowers and trees will be in full bloom. A schedule of events includes artists painting throughout the garden, live music, a reopening of the Native Discovery Garden, tours and a ballroom dancing demonstration. This popular event is terrific for any age, and a wheelchair can navigate most trails.
  • It’s the World Bonsai Day at the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way just twenty minutes South of Renton. During Mother’s Day, the museum’s bonsai trees are blooming, and they open up the doors to share the beauty for free. It’s packed with exhibits on the weekend, poetry readings, bonsai making demonstrations, food trucks and card making stations for the kids. Celebrate the art and patients of bonsai growing. This ancient art takes years to grow and develop the delicate branches and tiny root systems.
  • Head East thirty minutes to Snoqualmie to the Northwest Railway Museum, buy your ticket first, all of the tickets are pay at the window, so make sure you head out early to get a seat. While you’re waiting for your train, you can tour around the charming little Snoqualmie village. This is a popular excursion, and you’ll find out why. Trains take you on a 70-minute scenic ride chugging from Snoqualmie to North Bend and past Snoqualmie Falls. Trains run at 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
  • Take mom out for a dinner to remember at the Calcutta Grill in Newcastle. This place is stunning, and there’s no better way to show a woman that you love her than to bring her to an outstanding, fine dining dinner. Watch the sunset with an incredible view of Seattle from above with a rolling green golf course stretching out between you and the skyline.

Spring Beer Festivals and Wine Tastings Abound in and Around Seattle

Categories: American Classic News, Lifestyle | Posted: April 29, 2019

When it comes to wine and beer, the creativity of Washington’s residents shine. The craft beer and local wine grower scene here are off the charts, and the rest of the country has taken notice. Washington recently brought home 17 medals in the 2018 Great American Beer Festival, one of the biggest, most prestigious beer competitions in the country. Internationally at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards Washington won 39 awards and accolades.

The wine and beer world in America has changed immensely within the last few years with the explosions of small-batch brewers and thousands of propagated acres across Eastern Washington. It was all started by happenstance because of the devastating drought in California. Vintners moved north in search of wetter pastures finding a gold mine of inexpensive, vitamin-rich, rocky soil that mimics much of the old-world wine regions of Europe.

Not only do we have grapes, but the Yakima valley grows 75% of the country’s hops. They come in handy in a State with the second largest number of breweries in the country. Move over California; there’s a new region shaking things up. Breweries and tasting events have popped up all over Washington for the last few years. You can happily keep your carbon footprint small by drinking local and still enjoy some of the best beer and wine in the country.

Bacon and Beer Classic Saturday, May 4, located at the T-Mobile ballpark in Seattle. Get your fill of bacon at this annual event. Try bacon-themed snacks from 23 participating restaurants and beer from 50 breweries attending this gigantic event. If you enjoy eating while you party, you’re welcome to join in on the bacon eating contest sponsored by who else but Hormel, the bacon people. A range of tickets are available for purchase from $69 – $125. All tickets include an unlimited number of beer tasters, bacon sampling, and the opportunity to have a fantastic day in the stadium with hundreds of new friends

Downtown Issaquah Wine and Art Walk Saturday, May 4, located in Issaquah, come for wine tasting, art, and live music. Participants are encouraged to bring their own tasting glasses and you can shop while you drink!

Seattle Beer Week May 9 – 19, This is an enormous event located in multiple locations from North to South Seattle. All week beer and food pairings will be offered throughout the city. Check the map and calendar to find out which locations are participating. A full roster of events are happening every day, bocce tournaments, beer tastings, beer and brunch, Beer-B-Q, trivia, chefs menus, discounts, release parties, pine box beer can derby, mother’s day events, even a Bothell block party. You can vote in a number of competitions between German and Seattle Beers, not sure if they know they’re competing. Participate in coffee infused beer and donut pairings, and you can even drink beer and hold a bunny! This week can’t get any better. Don’t miss the ridiculousness.

Pours In Stores Saturday, May 18, located in Issaquah at the Grand Ridge Plaza. Shop and sip while tasting wine and ginger beer and enjoying live music.

Jet City Rosé Saturday, June 1, located at the Charles Smith Winery Jet City hanger. For those of you rosé lovers who feel like you’re left behind by the celebrated reds of the wine tasting world, this one’s for you. Back for the third year in a row, this event has sold out the previous two years. Buy your tickets early. Three live bands, food trucks and 25 of the top rosé cellars in the country will be there to savor.

Renton Wine Walk on Friday, June 7, located in downtown Renton. You’ll have the opportunity to wander through downtown businesses while sampling wine and getting to know your neighbors.

Washington Brewers Festival is on June 14 – 16 in Redmond. Taking place Father’s Day weekend, this gigantic beer festival will make your honey happy. Located at Marymoor Park, come taste over 500 Washington beers with live music and 20 food trucks. There will be entertainment for the kids at this all ages festival, a root beer garden, bounce houses, and balloon animals will keep the little ones happy while you grab a drink.

Viva la Vino! Showcase of Spanish-Style Washington Wines Tuesday, June 18, located downtown at the World Trade Center Seattle. If you love a dark, bold Spanish Tempranillo, you’ll fancy this event. A celebration of Spanish varietals that grow beautifully in the rocky dry soil of Eastern Washington. The soil has a similar mineral composition to Spain creating comparable styles and varietals at your fingertips.

Seattle International Beerfest July 12 – 14, located at the Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center.  This Beerfest has been going strong for 17 years. It’s located on the green where there is enough space for 1,000 visitors, bring your blankets and sunscreen.

Choose from beer gardens, live music, food trucks, and hundreds of beers imported from all over the world. The entry fee will buy you a tasting glass and wrist band. Don’t toss them, they’ll get you back in all weekend to try more beer, dogs are welcome. You’ll have a blast at any brewery or wine tasting room you choose, it’s inevitable, bring good friends and enjoy the fabulous Pacific Northwest weather all spring and summer long.

Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates to Get More Home for Less

Categories: Home Owner Tips, Uncategorized | Posted: April 18, 2019

You’ve probably heard that now’s the time for buyers to get into the market. The main reason for this is interest rates – that is, historically low interest rates.

If you’re considering buying a home in the next year, you may want to bump up that timeline. Right now, interest rates are low enough that you could afford more home than ever before. We’re talking about how interest rates affect your buying power and why you can afford to buy more home for less by taking advantage of today’s rates.

How Interest Rates Affect Buyer’s Purchasing Power

It’s important to understand how interest rates affect how much home you can afford. After all, the interest rate you can secure will impact not just monthly house payments, but also your overall purchasing power.

What is your purchasing power? It refers to how far your dollar goes. Purchasing power is the amount of house you can afford based on your available budget. There are all sorts of factors that go into this, like your down payment amount, debt, and credit score.

But interest rates play a huge role in what kind of home you can buy. Take a look at the chart below, which shows how different rates affect monthly payments for two different houses.

 The chart above doesn’t factor in any down payment amount on the home and focuses on Principal and Interest (P&I) monthly payments. If you’re interested to see how your monthly payment may change with these interest rates, you can calculate that here.

Paying Less for More Home

You can see how the buyer’s purchasing power changes based on what interest rate they can secure. We’re specifically looking at homes in the $400,000 and the $450,000 range.

A buyer who secures a rate of 3.75% for their new home could have the same monthly payment ($2,087) on a $450,000 home as someone with a rate of 4.75% would spend on a $400,000 home. The lower the interest rate you can get, the more home you can afford.

Today’s buyers can afford more home for the same monthly payments. You can extend these numbers to larger, more expensive homes depending on your budget.

Comparing Today’s Rates to The Past

Today’s interest rates are historically low. Even just a few years ago, rates were double if not triple what they are now. Back in 2006, the average mortgage interest rate was 6.4%. While that’s not terribly higher than today’s higher rates, even a few percentage points can make a huge difference in monthly payments.

Before that, in 2000, interest rates were averaging at 8%. Your monthly payments for a $400,000 home back then would have been $2,935 — nearly double the highest amount on the chart above.

While doubled interest rates may not seem crazy to you, consider what homebuyers faced back in the ’80s. In 1981, buyers faced interest rates at 16% or higher (source).

Can you even imagine? Compare that to today’s rates, even on the high end of 4.75%, and you can see why so many people are urging homebuyers to jump into the market right now.

Home Buyers Today Can Afford More Home for Less

The interest rate you secure plays a considerable role in determining how much home you can afford. Today’s rates are crazy low compared to those just a few years ago, not to mention those back in the ’80s and ’90s.

If you’re looking to buy a home, now’s the time to do it. You can take advantage of these historically low interest rates. You can even go beyond your expected price range because you can realistically secure a rate low enough to pay the same monthly payments on a bigger, more expensive home.

The market is hot right now for a good reason. Lower interest rates help home buyers – whether first-time buyers or seasoned buyers looking for their next home – get more bang for their buck.

Getting to Know Your New Community After a Move

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: April 11, 2019

Relocating can be tough for you and your family. Even if you’re only moving a few miles away, it’s hard to deal with so much change. Not only are you facing different commutes to work, school, and grocery stores, you’re also contending with joining a new community.

Getting to know your neighbors and neighborhood can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve gathered a few easy ideas that can help make the process easier. Even if you’re not a social butterfly, don’t worry. These are easy ways to help integrate yourself into a new community and learn about a neighborhood.

Take Regular Walks Around Your Neighborhood

Assuming you haven’t moved in the dead of winter, take some time in the mornings or evenings to walk around your neighborhood. If you can’t manage this every day, at least try to get out and about on the weekends.

You are likely to discover new bakeries, restaurants, or shops within walking distance from your new house. As you’re walking around the neighborhood, you will probably also run into your neighbors.

Besides, moving is so stressful for you and your entire family. Taking some time, even just five minutes, to walk around and get out of the house is an excellent de-stressor. Recharge your batteries every day, so you don’t wear yourselves out.

Take Notes On Your Neighbors (Without Being Creepy)

Not everyone feels comfortable approaching strangers. But even if you’re on the shy side, you can still get to know the people who live in your area. While taking walks through your neighborhood, pay attention to the kinds of activities your neighbors are into.

For example, maybe you see a neighbor wrangling kids carrying soccer gear. Or maybe you see the same neighbor working daily in a gorgeous garden. You can strike up a conversation later about community sports or ask for recommendations about local greenhouses. Finding common ground with the people living near you can be an excellent ice breaker.

You can learn about your neighbors this way without feeling like a stalker, which will make it easier to get to know them. You can also take a stronger approach and invite your neighbors over to your new home. Which leads us to…

Throw a Neighborhood Housewarming Party

No doubt your friends and family would love to join you in your new home for a housewarming party. But if you’re looking to get to know your neighbors, consider hosting a neighborhood get together after moving in.

First, give your family time to settle in, unpack boxes, and paint the walls. Then, within the first month of moving in, send out invitations (by mail or in person) to your neighbors inviting them over. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors in a relaxed environment.

There’ a good chance you haven’t met all your neighbors yet. After all, moving can be so time-consuming! So, hosting a get-to-know-you party is a great way to meet everyone.

Sign Up For Next Door

Have you ever heard of Next Door? It’s a private social network for neighborhood communities. People living in your area can post about neighborhood news or alerts, sell or give away items, and generally interact with each other.

What’s great about Next Door is it offers you the opportunity to interact with people right away after moving into your new home. Since each neighborhood community is only open to those living within the area, it helps keep interactions local.

Sign up for your neighborhood’s Next Door community and introduce yourself! Start up conversations with people in your area, find common interests, and even learn about ways to get involved. People are always posting about intermural sports teams, community events, and other meetups.

Joining a new community can be a lot of fun. You have the opportunity to meet new people with similar interests and get involved in new activities. Pay attention to community events and attend them with your whole family. You’ll have a good time, and it will make the entire relocating process that much easier.

4 Seattle Food Forests Provide Free, Organic Food and a Reprieve from City Life

Categories: Community Spotlight, Lifestyle | Posted: April 3, 2019

One of the first things that you might notice after moving to Seattle is the prolific amounts of fruit trees. Apples, pears, plums, and cherries grow abundantly throughout parks and neighborhoods in the city. Gardens here produce high-volumes of flowers, vegetables, and berries. South facing front yard green spaces are popular, and people enjoy being out in the elements growing organic food.

The mild climate and abundance of rain in the Pacific Northwest allow a front or back yard gardener to grow a healthy variety of fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. With the right equipment, you can have a garden all year long. Empty, run down lots, overgrown with weeds often hide an apple tree or two, still producing in the fall.

Now that it’s spring, and it’s time to begin planning your garden. Even apartment dwellers can find a sunny window for an herb garden or a patio to grow a tomato plant. You don’t need much space to grow your favorite vegetables. If you can’t find the space or crave more, there are a number of ways to get your hands dirty in your own soil or lending a hand to others.

Food forests are a relatively new concept. Volunteers utilize city spaces, grants and donations to plant fruit and nut trees, berry shrubs, herb, and vegetable gardens that produce yields available to anyone at absolutely no cost.

 

  1. The Beacon Food Forest is on 15th Avenue South and South Dakota Street. Just North of Beacon Hill and a short walk from the VA hospital. This amazing seven-acre city project produces crops for a working-class neighborhood that historically is short on food. The idea began in 2009, and it took several years of planning and a lot of hard work, but now it’s a Garden of Eden within city limits. Fruit and nut trees, berry bushes and edible annuals greet you around each corner. Fanciful paintings, art installations and garden paths weave through the space creating a utopia within two miles of the city center. The Beacon Food Forest has a berry patch, nut grove, fruit orchard, medicinal garden, and annual vegetables.They’re working their way up to housing 1,000 varietals of plants after taking a survey of favorites from the diverse neighborhood residents surrounding the property. They’ll eventually have trees, plants, and shrubs from around the world. They host a variety of classes offering things like seed harvesting and starts, fruit tree pruning, and herbalist plant walks. The forest is a work in progress and volunteers are working in phases to bring it to fruition. Volunteers are always welcome to get their hands dirty while meeting new friends and learning sustainable gardening skills in the process.
  2. Georgetown Urban Farm and Forest (GUFF) at 6737 Corson Avenue South, is located just outside of the Georgetown campus. It’s in an area known for being a food desert and an industrial space. Organizers decided in 2015 to do something about it and started this food forest for the community. The area used to house a landfill, which has led to some setbacks. Site organizers are determined to rebuild the soil. For now, they have space for raspberries, medicinal plants, and raised bed vegetable gardens. The community is excited to have GUFF as a resource for fresh food, education and much needed healthy, living space within an industrial area.
  3. Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (RBUFW) is on 5513 South Cloverdale Street in South Seattle. It sits on the shore of Lake Washington in a space that used to be under water. When they built the shipping canal, the lake dropped adding this space to the landscape. RBUFW is the newest of the Food Forests, and due to some hefty donations they’re off to a great start. Three greenhouses, a classroom, and a teaching kitchen are all situated on site. They offer Dozens of classes for kids and adults on sustainability, cooking, and livestock.
  4. Puget Ridge Neighborhood Edible Park located at 5265 18th Avenue SW in West Seattle. The edible park sits on a ¾ acre of neighborhood space. The land has established apple, plum and pear trees and grape vines that were already there when the neighborhood garden began. From March through October volunteers meet here the second Sunday of each month and every Thursday from 4:00 – 6:00.

If you aren’t close to the food forests, or if you’d like your own space to tinker. Seattle neighborhoods offer P-Patch community gardens where residents can rent a gardening patch to grow anything you want. Each of the P-Patches is on a waiting list, and it’s a good time to throw your name down if you’re interested.

If you like to garden with others check this list of organizations, they’re always looking for volunteers to help out.

Take a look at the website Falling Fruit for your neighborhood and favorite park spaces. It’s an interactive website that allows readers to log in fruit trees around town. Look at the map and notes before you harvest, a lot of the trees saved are on private property.

There are thousands of trees on city land that are open for picking, make sure it’s legal before you do. If the tree is on private property, even if the branches hang onto city streets, ask the homeowner if you can pick. It’s the polite and neighborly thing to do. Enjoy the coming summer of bounty, Seattle will soon be bursting with sweet, bright fruit. Just keep your eyes open and upward and you’ll find it.

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