All posts by Kassi Simonsen

Planning a Move? Tips & Tricks for a Seamless Transition

We just sold our third home and are now pending on home #4 (surprise)! I can’t wait to share the details and what I’m most looking forward to about this home, but I’ll save that for another day! Having had three homes, two of which were custom builds and required us to move in (and out) with family between each build, it’s needless to say we have a lot of experience with moving in the past 10 years. It can be incredibly exhausting and frustrating but along the way we have found ways to make the packing, loading and transitioning stages easier. Picture Picture Before You Begin Packing Before you can even begin to start thinking about packing I highly recommend you look around and see what you can get rid of. This is great to do before even listing your home for sale. The less clutter you can have on your countertops and in cabinets and closets, the better it will show and the easier it is for potential buyers to envision your home as theirs. Plus the less you have to pack, the less headache and expense it will be. Go through your clothes, shoes, kid’s toys, home decor, holiday decorations, tools and more to see what you can do without going forward (or easily replace after moving into your new home). When it comes to getting rid of items I prefer to take my family’s clothes and shoes to a local second hand store or I send them to ThredUP. Though you don’t get the highest payout with ThredUP, it is incredibly easy and saves me so much time. You request a bag, they deliver it to your door, you fill it and then schedule a time for USPS to pick it back up off of your doorstep; shipping is free for you! You can claim a $10 off coupon to shop at ThredUP with the link HERE. I have had great success selling our household items on Facebook Marketplace and if you have a lot of various items, garage sales are still a great option. Advertise them on your personal Facebook pages, group selling pages, Craigslist, in your local newspaper and/or with signs. We just did a last minute garage sale with only Facebook advertising about a month ago and just about everything sold! Packing Tips When packing, I like to start as soon as possible to limit my last minute chaos and stress. I prefer to do a little bit here and there as time allows until it is crunch time at the end. I always pack less frequently used items, things we can do without for a month or two, first so that they can easily be out of my way and will not be missed by us in the last weeks/months. This includes items such as: formal dinnerware, holiday decor, family photo albums, the kid’s baby books, paintings and home decor, extra bedding and linens, clothes and shoes that are out of season and won’t be needed until in the new home, etc. Another benefit of packing over time and eliminating the less frequently used items first is that it leaves the items you use daily or a couple of times a week for last so that they can all be packed close, if not together, and easy to access first once you are unpacking at your new location. I usually leave our coffee pot, silverware, toaster and personal items like body wash, shampoo, etc to pack at the last minute. Picture Picture I like to get creative and pack our items in nontraditional ways to save money and space in the moving truck or storage box. For example, if you are bringing suitcases with you to your new home, pack items into the suitcases to make the best use of your space. Pack spices inside of your crockpot, etc. and don’t forget to use your towels/blankets as packing materials to prevent items from rubbing against each other and getting scratched or broken. I used our beach towels to wrap around our fragile home decor when packing into boxes this time. I needed to pack the towels anyway and saved space and money by using them instead of purchasing bubble wrap. When loading a moving truck or storage container we find it best to pack all boxes and other more linear shaped items such as dressers first. We have found that we make the best use of our space by doing so and saving odd shaped items such as exercise equipment and bikes for last. Be sure to stack the boxes all the way to the top and start with heavy boxes on the bottom and lighter as it gets to the top to avoid heavy items falling off of the top and breaking. Picture Label, Label, Label! You may think it will be easy to remember what you packed where but after all of the stress and chaos involved in moving and selling/purchasing/renting homes these details can escape your mind. Trust me! I like to boldly label a box with what room it is for (ex. KITCHEN, KIDS BATHROOM, etc) then in smaller font underneath include a few of the key items inside of that box (ex. silverware, crockpot, wine glasses, etc) to make it easier to get to the items that I need and want first upon arrival in the new home.  Picture Additional Tips & Reminders •Keep clothes on hangers; pack sections into garbage bags
​•Label breakables in large bold writing: FRAGILE!
•Use paper/styrofoam plates, that you may already have on hand, between your plates/dishes vs. purchasing packing material
•Check grocery and liquor stores for free boxes (I do prefer purchasing boxes that are all the same size, making packing a truck or storage container much easier, but I know many that do this, especially for close moves!)
•Set up/make appts for utilities, cable, internet, etc
•Make sure bedding is easily accessible One last thing: be sure to keep track of your moving expenses! Save receipts; some of your expenses may be tax-deductible which can be a huge benefit and save you money when completing your annual taxes! Have you moved recently? Any tips that you would add to the list?

Follow us on Instagram @blankersrealestate and Facebook Jerry Blankers-Muljat Group North

Post compiled by Haley Parker // haleyparkerstyle.com@haleyparkerstyle

A Look at Home Price Appreciation Through 2025

A Look at Home Price Appreciation Through 2025 | MyKCM

Home prices have increased significantly over the last year, which in turn has grown the net worth of homeowners. Appreciation and home equity are directly linked – as the value of a home increases, so does a homeowner’s equity. And with these recent gains, homeowners are witnessing their financial stability and well-being grow to record levels.

A Look at Home Price Appreciation Through 2025 | MyKCM

In more good news for homeowners, the most recent Home Price Expectations Survey – a survey of a national panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists – forecasts home prices will continue appreciating over the next five years, adding to the record amount of equity homeowners have already gained over the past year. Below are the expected year-over-year rates of home price appreciation from the report:

What Does This Mean for Homeowners?

A Look at Home Price Appreciation Through 2025 | MyKCM

Home prices are climbing today, and the data in the survey indicates they’ll continue to increase, but at rates that approach a more normal pace. Even still, the amount of household wealth a homeowner stands to earn going forward is substantial. This truly becomes clear when we consider a scenario using a median-priced home purchased in January of 2021 and the projected rate of appreciation on that home over the next five years. As the graph below illustrates, a homeowner could increase their net worth by a significant amount – over $93,000 dollars by 2026.

Home Price Appreciation and Home Equity

CoreLogic recently released their quarterly Homeowner Equity Insights Report, which tracks the year-over-year increases in equity. It shows an average annual gain of $33,400 per borrower over the past 12 months. In the report, Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, further explains:

Double-digit home price growth in the past year has bolstered home equity to a record amount. The national CoreLogic Home Price Index recorded an 11.4% rise in the year through March 2021, leading to a $216,000 increase in the average amount of equity held by homeowners with a mortgage.”

The expected, sustained growth of home prices means homeowners can continue to build on the past year’s record levels of home equity – and their financial prosperity. It also presents today’s homeowners with a unique opportunity: using their growing equity for a home upgrade. With so few homes available to purchase and strong buyer demand, there may not be a better time to sell your current house and move into one that better meets your needs.

Bottom Line

Home prices are expected to continue appreciating over the next five years, and the associated equity gains are the quickest way homeowners can build household wealth. If you’re a current homeowner who’s ready to take advantage of your built-up equity, let’s connect today to discuss your options.

10 Ways to Upgrade Your Home on a Budget

Transforming your house into a home can be so fun and rewarding, but it can also become incredibly expensive! Adding character and charm, color or unique pieces can quickly blow your budget. If you are looking to customize or update your space but have limited funds to do so, here are a few ideas of changes you can make that will beautifully change your space on a budget. More details and tutorials can be found for each of these by searching Pinterest or YouTube!

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1. Frame Your TV

This is easy to do and is a quick way to change the look of any room. Purchase a frame large enough to go around your TV or build your own to instantly dress up the space.

2. Widen Your Baseboards

Wide baseboards make a statement but tearing out all of your old baseboards and purchasing new to replace it can be very costly and time consuming. Instead add a thin piece of molding an inch above your baseboards, fill in with caulk, and paint it all one color to give a cohesive look. 

3. Paint Your Front Door

If you are looking to add a pop of color to your home this is the perfect space to do so without feeling like it’s too much. Black is also a popular front door color at the moment and don’t forget about your options to stain too (if the door is wood)!

4. Add/Update Kitchen Backsplash

Kitchen backsplash is something you can do yourself and save thousands of dollars on. If you currently have backsplash and have to tear it out prior to installing new then there will of course be more labor and costs involved but either way there are many affordable options to replace/add to your space. We have purchased affordable backsplash for multiple homes and have always been happy with it. An even more affordable option is the trending peel and stick backsplash that is easier to install.

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5. Replace Light Fixtures

Many homes come with outdated light fixtures or something generic. Through time spent walking through local stores and/or searching online you are bound to find something you love that can change the entire look and feel of your space. I highly recommend doing this in your entry way, kitchen, living space or other areas that guests and yourself frequent the most. Lighting can get expensive but try waiting for a sale or finding something similar to a more expensive piece that gives off the same overall look you love.

6. Add Floating Shelves

These are many DIY styles for floating shelves that are easy and inexpensive. I found this particular triangular style on Amazon for a very affordable price and the black metal mixed with the brown/gray wood matches the black fixtures while adding in a cozy comfort to our white powder bathroom.

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7. Replace Cabinet Hardware

There are so many colors and styles of cabinet hardware that this small change can go a long way! If you want to take the easiest route be sure to choose the same size pull/knob style so that you don’t have to drill any new holes or patch existing holes. 

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8. Replace Door Handles

Another easy change just like the cabinet pulls is changing out door handles. As long as you stick with the same size it’s a project that will take little time and equipment while delivering nice results.

9. Upgrade Bathroom Mirrors

Just like framing your TV, you can frame your bathroom mirror by finding a pre-made frame that fits the dimensions or by building one yourself. You can also remove and fully replace your mirrors with a framed option, easily found online or in local home decor stores.

10. Install an Electric Fireplace

This entails a bit more cost than some of our other options but still a great way to upgrade your space without the large cost of adding in a traditional fireplace. Electric inserts can be found on Amazon, come in various sizes and colors, and give a similar look as a traditional gas fireplace while still giving off heat too.

Have you done any budget friendly home upgrades? Comment your experiences; I’d love to hear!

Follow us on Instagram @blankersrealestate and Facebook Jerry Blankers-Muljat Group North

Post compiled by Haley Parker // haleyparkerstyle.com@haleyparkerstyle

What Do You Mean Housing Bubble?

Home prices are being driven up by lack of inventory and bidding wars. This can be scary and discouraging for some people looking to buy a home right now, afraid that we are in a housing bubble.

Here are three reasons why this market is totally different than the housing bubble we experienced a little over a decade ago.

  1. Housing supply is extremely limited. Inventory of homes for sale is currently running at less than two months. A healthy inventory is about six months, and in 2008 we were actually up as high as 11 months inventory.
  2. Homebuyers are more creditworthy. When the housing market crashed in 2008, mortgage standards were at an all time low for credit scores and down payment requirements, as well as providing income and assets to purchase. The current guidelines are much stricter, making the borrowers more financially secure.
  3. Homes have equity. Back in 2008, homeowners were pulling out equity causing many to be upside down. This time around, equity levels are extremely high, meaning that homeowners could see values decline slightly without concern.

Reach out any time with questions or if you need assistance with your home search!

In Today’s Market, Listing Prices Are Like an Auction’s Reserve Price

In Today’s Market, Listing Prices Are Like an Auction’s Reserve Price | MyKCM

For generations, the process of buying and selling a home never really changed. A homeowner would try to estimate the market value of their house, then tack on a little extra to give themselves some negotiating room. That figure would become the listing price. Buyers would then try to determine how much less than the full price they could offer and still get the home. As a result, the listing price was generally the ceiling of the negotiation. The actual sales price would almost always be somewhat lower than what was listed. It was unthinkable to pay more than what the seller was asking.

Today is different.

The record-low supply of homes for sale coupled with very strong buyer demand is leading to a rise in bidding wars on many homes. Because of this, homes today often sell for more than the list price. In some cases, they sell for a lot more.

According to Lawrence YunChief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“For every listing there are 5.1 offers. Half of the homes are being sold above list price.”

You may need to change the way you look at the asking price of a home.

In this market, you likely can’t shop for a home with the former approach of negotiating to a lower price.

Due to the low supply of houses for sale, many homes are now being offered in an auction-like atmosphere in which the highest bidder wins the home. In an actual auction, the seller of an item agrees to take the highest bid, and many sellers set a reserve price on the item they’re selling. A reserve price is the minimum amount a seller will accept as the winning bid.

When navigating a competitive housing market, think of the list price of the house as the reserve price at an auction. It’s the minimum the seller will accept in many cases. Today, the asking price is often becoming the floor of the negotiation rather than the ceiling. Therefore, if you really love a home, know that it may ultimately sell for more than the sellers are asking. So, as you’re navigating the homebuying process, make sure you know your budget, know what you can afford, and work with a trusted advisor who can help you make all the right moves as you buy a home.

Bottom Line

Someone who’s more familiar with the housing market of the past than that of today may think it’s foolish to offer more for a home than the listing price. However, frequent and competitive bidding wars are creating an auction-like atmosphere in many real estate transactions right now. Let’s connect today so you have a trusted real estate professional on your side to provide the best advice on how to make a competitive offer on a home.

Top Reasons to Own Your Home

Top Reasons To Own Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • June is National Homeownership Month, and it’s a great time to consider the benefits of owning your own home.
  • If you’re thinking of buying a home, it might just help you find the stability, community, and comfort you’ve been searching for over the past year.
  • Let’s connect today to determine if homeownership is the right next step for you.

Last week The Jerry Blankers Team went to Lynden Paint and Flooring to speak to owner Trey Vogt and hear about their services plus offer you a chance at a $100 gift card to spend there. Be sure to check out the Instagram post HERE to enter! Duane Bode opened Lynden Paint and Flooring back in 1980 and Trey started working there in high school in 2016. Recently Trey became the owner when the opportunity arose.

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Facebook: Lynden Paint & Flooring
Address: 417 Front St. Lynden, Washington
​Website: www.lyndenpaintflooring.com
Phone: 360-354-5858

Lynden Paint and Flooring has a wide range of products and services. They can help you with your paint needs, flooring (vinyl plank, hardwood, tile, etc) and even have an in house interior designer, Pam, available to help you design the space of your dreams. Pam has over 40 years of experience designing homes.

Painting is a great way to transform and update a space such as a kitchen. Trey informed us that the main tools you need are a roller, a good brush to cut in, and painters tape. Current color trends are whites and greys though some brighter colors are popping up as accents.

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A personal favorite color of mine that has been trending for the last few years is Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. It looks beautiful in homes with white painted cabinets and woodwork as well as homes with light wood, dark wood features and just about everything in between. We chose to paint all interior walls of our home Revere Pewter and are incredibly happy with how it looks in all lighting variances, different angles and room sizes.

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The Benjamin Moore color of the year for 2021 is Aegean Teal (below) which is intriguing, balanced and soothing.

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Have you painted your home recently? If so, what color(s) did you chose?! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway HERE!

Follow us on Instagram @blankersrealestate and Facebook Jerry Blankers-Muljat Group North

Post compiled by Haley Parker // haleyparkerstyle.com@haleyparkerstyle

Where Do Experts Say the Housing Market is Heading?

Where Do Experts Say the Housing Market Is Heading? | MyKCM

Where Do Experts Say the Housing Market Is Heading?

As we enter the middle of 2021, many are wondering if we’ll see big changes in the housing market during the second half of this year. Here’s a look at what some experts have to say about key factors that will drive the industry and the economy forward in the months to come.

realtor.com

“. . . homes continue to sell quickly in what’s normally the fastest-moving time of the year. This is in contrast with 2020 when homes sold slower in the spring and fastest in September and October. While we expect fall to be competitive, this year’s seasonal pattern is likely to be more normal, with homes selling fastest from roughly now until mid-summer.”

National Association of Realtors (NAR)

Sellers who have been hesitant to list homes as part of their personal health safety precautions may be more encouraged to list and show their homes with a population mostly vaccinated by the mid-year.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com

“Surveys showed that seller confidence continued to rise in April. Extra confidence plus our recent survey finding that more homeowners than normal are planning to list their homes for sale in the next 12 months suggest that while we may not see an end to the sellers’ market, we might see the intensity of the competition diminish as buyers have more options to choose from.”

Freddie Mac

We forecast that mortgage rates will continue to rise through the end of next year. We estimate the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will average 3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2021, rising to 3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2022.”

Bottom Line

Experts are optimistic about the second half of the year. Let’s connect today to talk more about the conditions in our local market.

How to Refresh Your Outdoor Space with Spray Paint

Now that spring is in full force and we’re seeing more and more beautiful days, I’ve been working on refreshing my outdoor space. It’s important to me that it’s comfortable and inviting and after months of wind, snow, rain, etc. my outdoor furniture and decor can always use a little TLC. 

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We have had this outdoor patio table and chairs for years. It is metal but after spending so much time in the weather it’s not only dirty and has rust spots but the color isn’t looking as fresh as it did years ago either. 

​A great, inexpensive way to refresh patio furniture is with spray paint. Spray paint is quick, easy, inexpensive and gets into all of the small grooves and edges. Sure you could go buy a new patio set but that would cost you hundreds of dollars (or more!) where a can of spray paint can be found for $5-6. You may need 2 cans or more depending on your furniture size and number of pieces. This is the brand I used (below). I found it at a local paint store which offered a large variety of colors. I thought about really changing it up and doing a different color but ultimately decided to stick with black so that it continues to flow well with the rest of our patio furniture. This is a paint plus primer and works on plastic, wood, metal and more while also being great for both indoor and outdoor use (a must for my patio transformation)! I prefer the look of flat black for our patio furniture but they also offered glossy if that is more your style!

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Since I was in need of some new patio decor and already had the spray paint, I decided to visit my local dollar store as well to look for any buckets or bowls that I could use to decorate. Typically I only find bright colors there which doesn’t fit with my current decor vibe but I easily transformed the plastic red pieces I found by spraying them with the flat black spray paint as well. I also grabbed a couple bags of crushed rock to put in the bottom of the plastic containers as they are lightweight and can easily blow away if they are not weighed down. I then added shells, succulents, etc to the pots.

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Now, when it comes to spray painting the furniture and decor there a few basic practices that will help you have a smooth experience but it’s something even a first time painter can complete well and with ease.

Spray Painting Tips & Tricks

•Clean your items prior to spraying. Wipe off any dust, bugs, etc and sand (if needed).
•Avoid painting in the direct sun. This can cause bumps. Aim for a dry and moderately warm environment. This may include thinking ahead as it can take a while for paint to dry. I usually spray outdoors on the grass and put plastic down first but if the weather is an issue consider spraying in carport or garage with the garage doors open. Be sure to first move/cover your car and any other objects you don’t want to get any paint on. In my experience, the cans don’t overspray much but you can never be too cautious.
​•Spray thin layers. This will help prevent cracking and will allow you to create a more uniform look overall.
•Avoid spraying vertically to avoid drips. Lay items down and spray down onto the side that faces up, allow time for that to dry completely, then turn it over (repeat as necessary). Consider changing whatever you have laid down under the project, such as a drop sheet, so that you are not setting the finished side onto potentially wet paint on the sheet. Often the drips on the drop sheet are thicker than the layer of paint you sprayed on your piece so even though your piece is dry, they will not be.
​•Shake your can well prior to spraying to ensure an even color.

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While I was at it I decided to switch out our patio chair pads with a neutral, plush option that fits our current style better. We love them! Small changes like that can really make such a big difference in the overall look and feel of your space.

I hope you found these little tips and tricks helpful when it comes to refreshing your patio furniture and decor with spray paint. Have you ever used spray paint for a project? I’d love to hear your experiences and advice!

Follow us on Instagram @blankersrealestate and Facebook Jerry Blankers-Muljat Group North

Post compiled by Haley Parker // haleyparkerstyle.com@haleyparkerstyle