West Seattle Bungalow in the Roxhill Neighborhood

Wonderful 3-bedroom home with a large lot, green house and shed in the backyard with a vine bearing grapes for producing your own jelly. Enjoy the home with a nicely laid out floor plan, large master bedroom, nice size bathrooms, family room on the lower level and able to walkout to a secluded patio off the lower level.  If you exit out the main floor through French Doors you'll be on a maintenance free deck that overlooks the lovely backyard.  Don't miss out on this cute West Seattle charmer.  

 

Posted on April 7, 2016 at 4:54 am
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Choosing a Broker

Choosing a Broker Page 1 Choosing a Broker Page 2 Choosing a Broker Page 3 Choosing a Broker Page 4

Posted on February 9, 2016 at 12:07 pm
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I love working with my clients!

November 5, 2014

To Whom it May Concern:

Tom Fine was our buyer’s agent for our recent home purchase in Green Lake, Seattle. We have decided to pen an unsolicited testimonial to his services.

Our family recently relocated from Australia to Seattle and decided to purchase a home. Luckily for us, we found Tom. Tom was able to explain the real estate market and buying and selling process in Seattle (which differs greatly from what we were used to in Australia). He was tireless in identifying properties that met our criteria and spent countless hours on the road with us explaining the positives and negatives of different localities, housing and building styles while viewing ‘open homes’. He was very flexible and understanding in his approach and his availability.

Tom’s knowledge gained as a building contractor was invaluable. He was able to walk through houses with us explaining potential benefits or pitfalls of the construction, layout, style, materials used and potential areas for improvement or maintenance. Several times he drew our attention to problems with construction that we would not otherwise have noticed.

In the end we found a house we wanted to make an offer for and Tom was able to calmly handle negotiations, helping to secure the house below the asking price in a highly competitive real estate market. He kept us in the loop every step of the way.

Subsequent to closing on the house, Tom has been happy to provide advice and expertise in relation to our plans to improve the property.

We’ve been impressed with Tom and would wholeheartedly recommend his services to others looking to buy or sell a home in Seattle.

Mark and Caroline Gordon
Green Lake, Seattle.

Posted on January 9, 2015 at 6:05 am
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Down Payment Assistance and Closing Costs Program Available Through WSHFC

A great chance for home buyers to take advantage of a State program that provides an opportunity to get down payment assistance and closing costs at a great interest rate of 0% sand deferred up to 30 years. Don’t miss this opportunity, contact Tom to see how to take advantage today and enjoy what the state is dishing out.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 3:12 am
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Great Video Called a Time-lapse Study

It is great when we run accross articles, videlo's or photo's of great substance or content. A photographer and director made this Timelapse video and I am fan of cideos like these.

Durring my contruction days, weeks, months  well years, I loved to create timelapse photogtraphy. if shows so much in such a short time.

The Shard: A Timelapse Study – A Film by Paul Raftery and Dan Lowe

http://vimeo.com/portfoleo/theshard

 

Here is another Time-lapse video, about Vancouver

http://vimeo.com/95384593

 

Thank you

Tom Fine

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 11:10 am
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Contractor experience adds unmatched value in home-buying process

Realtors come from many different backgrounds—sales, IT, and consulting—to name a few. My experience as a former general contractor/builder is a huge advantage for my clients. Of all of the possible background for real estate sales, which experience brings the most to the client’s search, assessment, and negotiation process? I realize that I can’t be objective about this topic, but a former contractor’s knowledge of housing structure, materials, wear and tear, and renovation costs, are invaluable.  My background in construction has been a priceless bonus for all of my clients. Allow me to illustrate…

 

Imagine yourself as a homebuyer walking into a home that is for sale. As your agent, I look around and identify some things in the house that concern me; the exterior siding has moss growing on it, the railing is a little loose and penetrating the wall. I move the railing screw around and feel that the area is rotted. Then I start to wonder….what else is wrong? — is there anything else that is not taken care of by the owners? I see other items that prompt me to suggest to you that we move on and look at other houses.  If you loved the house, and all of its characteristics and layout, then I would let you know the problems that I saw.  During an intense inspection, we would see in total, all that was uncovered.

 

Scenario #2, the buyers that I represent are looking at a condo, and they love the view. I look around and make notes on my iPad. After a walk-through, I ask my clients what they think of the condo.  They like it. We look at the storage area—it smells moldy and musty. As we tour the mechanical room, we uncover a room that houses a sauna and a hot tub—both are decommissioned by the HOA (Homeowners Association.)  This is a HUGE red flag;  #1, the association has a moldy, smelling, storage area, and # 2 the hot tub and sauna are decommissioned by the HOA. This tells me that although significant dues are collected from each unit, the community facilities are not being maintained properly. What else is not being maintained? When we go outside, I see more items that concern me—the wooden soffits appear to have some deterioration issues. The exterior also needs attention, and my estimate is that this is a $250K improvement project.

 

Scenario #3, my buyers and I go to the next condo. It’s great! I mean…the view is fantastic! It has a great view of the water, but as I walk through the unit and into the hallway, I feel like a drunken sailor.  The floor in the condo is not level. After a complete tour, my opinion is that the unit is OK, but nothing to write home about…..but THE VIEW–did I mention the view?!  The place also has a pool and sauna, and is within walking distance of many local restaurants and shops. Later, I step into the hall to look for the mechanical room and meet a couple who live in the building. We talk briefly about the building, the maintenance, and some general comments they have about the place. They are very nice, and forthcoming, and I learn something about the condo board. It consists of residents that have been there for many years and they don’t like to spend money on maintenance or capital improvements, so the north side of the building is about eight years overdue for siding replacement. The decking around the pool also needs maintenance. The kind couple also inform me that one condo owner recently requested to make some changes to their unit — requiring board approval — and were turned down. What about that great view?!  A difficult HOA board is a potential deal-breaker — even if you inherit the property.

 

Scenario #4, my clients who are first-time buyers and newlyweds want to buy a rambler that just came on the market.  It is in a great part of town, and the yard is gorgeous.  I walk in and notice that the owners renovated it poorly. The floor plan was modified and it does not flow right.  In the basement, the drain/sewer was exposed and a temporary fix-it job was botched—someone tied into the wrong plumbing fittings.  What else did they do wrong? (I say to myself) I look in the attic and find evidence of a fire years ago and also find more signs of poor renovations and framing issues.  I analyze these items and feel there are too many issues to consider this house as a viable property.  My buyers really want the property, but I feel an obligation to explain all the issues that I see. Regardless, they feel that all the problems were things that they could fix. I appreciated their enthusiasm, and of course I would like to make the offer and sale, but I want to be honest with them about how much it would cost—it would take a deep pocketbook. They are so serious about the place and as much as I dislike being pessimist, I ask them to give me a few minutes to put together a rough estimate as to what it would take to do the repairs and make the place right. The total renovation and correction costs are enormous, and when I review the rough estimate with them, they realize that buying that home would be a mistake. That property sold for 10% over the listing price and I know the new buyers did not have someone with my experience in their corner.  I am sorry for them and others like them.

 

I could have sold these properties to my clients, but not with a clear conscience. I choose to create a long-term relationship with them and be the kind of agent that I would want for my own family. I can feel good about my service to clients when I work hard for their trust and confidence and provide them the information that they need. After all, it is probably the biggest ticket item they will ever purchase. Beyond making a sale, and a commission, I want to feel good about helping clients make good choices and build a solid future. Sound construction and renovation counsel is a customer-service bonus for my clients. How many real estate agents can offer this invaluable home-buyer service at no extra cost?

 

Tom Fine | Broker | Windermere Real Estate Capitol Hill

SRES and CNE Certified

Senior Real Estate Specialist and Certified Negotiation Expert

 

tomfine@windermere.comwww.finehomesnw.com

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm
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How long do things last in your home?

The life span of your household components

Nothing in life lasts forever – and the same can be said for your home. From the roof to the furnace, every component of your home has a life span, so it’s a good idea to know approximately how many years of service you can expect from them. This information can help when buying or selling your home, budgeting for improvements, and deciding between repairing or replacing when problems arise.

According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) study, the average life expectancy of some home components has decreased over the past few decades.  (This might explain why you’re on your third washing machine while Grandma still has the same indestructible model you remember from childhood.) But the good news is the life span of many other items has actually increased in recent years.

Here’s a look at the average life spans of some common home components (courtesy of NAHB).

Appliances. Of all home components, appliances have the widest variation in life spans. These are averages for all brands and models, and may represent the point which replacing is more cost-effective than repairing. Among major appliances, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy, at about 15 years. Electric ranges, standard-size refrigerators, and clothes dryers last about 13 years, while garbage disposals grind away for about 10 years. Dishwashers, microwave ovens, and mini-refrigerators can all be expected to last about nine years. For furnaces, expect a life span of about 15 years for electric, 18 for gas, and 20 for oil-burning models. Central air-conditioning systems generally beat the heat for 10 to 15 years.

Kitchen & Bath. Countertops of wood, tile, and natural stone will last a lifetime, while cultured marble will last about 20 years. The life span of laminate countertops depends greatly on use and can be 20 years or longer. Kitchen faucets generally last about 15 years.  An enamel-coated steel sink will last five to 10 years; stainless will last at least 30 years; and slate, granite, soapstone, and copper should endure 100 years or longer. Toilets, on average, can serve at least 50 years (parts such as the flush assembly and seat will likely need replacing), and bathroom faucets tend to last about 20 years.

Flooring. Natural flooring materials provide longevity as well as beauty: Wood, marble, slate, and granite should all last 100 years or longer, and tile, 74 to 100 years. Laminate products will survive 15 to 25 years, linoleum about 25 years, and vinyl should endure for about 50 years. Carpet will last eight to 10 years on average, depending on use and maintenance.

Siding, Roofing, Windows. Brick siding normally lasts 100 years or longer, aluminum siding about 80 years, and stucco about 25 years. The life span of wood siding varies dramatically – anywhere from 10 to 100 years – depending on the climate and level of maintenance. For roofs, slate or tile will last about 50 years, wood shingles can endure 25 to 30 years, metal will last about 25 years, and asphalts got you covered for about 20 years. Unclad wood windows will last 30 years or longer, aluminum will last 15 to 20 years, and vinyl windows should keep their seals for 15 to 20 years.

Of course, none of these averages matter if you have a roof that was improperly installed or a dishwasher that was a lemon right off the assembly line. In these cases, early replacement may be the best choice. Conversely, many household components will last longer than you need them to, as we often replace fully functional items for cosmetic reasons, out of a desire for more modern features, or as a part of a quest to be more energy efficient.

Are extended warranties warranted?

Extended warranties, also known as service contracts or service agreements, are sold for all types of household items, from appliances to electronics. They cover service calls and repairs for a specified time beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranty. Essentially, warranty providers (manufacturers, retailers, and outside companies) are betting that a product will be problem-free in the first years of operation, while the consumer who purchases a warranty is betting against reliability.

Warranty providers make a lot of money on extended warranties, and Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, advises against purchasing them.  You will have to consider whether the cost is worth it to you; for some, it brings a much needed peace of mind when making such a large purchase. Also, consider if it the cost outweighs the value of the item; in some cases it may be less expensive to just replace a broken appliance than pay for insurance or a warranty.

 

Posted in Buying by Tara Sharp

Tom fine Is a Reealtor with Windermere Real Estate Capitol Hill in Seattle Washington, Helping Byers adn Sellers "Making Home Ownership Easy"  Fine Homes NW, Inc.

 

Posted on March 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm
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Are you thinking of a new neighborhood to live in? Let’s talk about Wedgwood.

 

Seattle is so fortunate to have many great neighborhoods. It's all about what you are looking for?  Location close to Amazon, Broadway, Downtown, need to be North of town? Well there are others that are located in great areas, Ballard, West Seattle, Capitol Hill and on.  I am not here to talk about these but what about Wedgwood, that's how you spell it, with no "e" in it.  Wedgwood is located just North of Downtown Seattle and North of the University of Washington and East of I-5. Wedgwood has sidewalks and tree lined streets. 

Wedgwood was created right after WWII by a developer who built Cape Cod style homes in this area. The name Wedgwood came from the landowner’s wife who had china that was named "Wedgwood". This neighborhood consists mainly of the middle class America. There is dental clinics, hair salons, restaurants, you don't have to leave this area unless you wanted to. If you have a  craving for donuts, then you can go to Top Pot Donuts, or you can grab pizza at Fiddler’s Inn or Wedgewood Ale House & Cafe

If you would like to check out the Wedgwood Blog

It's a great place to take a drive to and check out this area. Go for a stroll and enjoy your afternoon and enjoy a great meal. You can't go wrong in or around Wedgwood, it's only a 15 minute drive to downtown.

Keep an eye out for more information about other neighborhoods.

 

Tom Fine, Broker

Windermere RE, Capitol Hill

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 12:42 am
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Don’t Throw your Money Away! Use the Referral From your Realtor

 

Do you like to throw your money away? If you are like me, I value my money and don't like throwing money away. Don't get me wrong, I do buy things once in a while that might be ridiculous, but at least I am making that choice.  When you pick a mortgage broker, because they are a friend or friend of a friend or they may be a big bank. This may be you are gambling with your money.  

Why do I bring this up, well this happens more than I would like. I have clients that come to me and they have a buddy that is a banker for a large bank and we have a real estate property that we are in contract with. It has a 45 day close.  The banker takes the information and the appraisal doesn't happen for 15 days, (what! 15 days for an appraisal) but the client is told by the banker everything is good and release the financing contingency. Done, Financing contingency is released, no contingencies left.  I tried to interject and emails would not come back to me form the banker, the banker was only responding to his client which is "our client". 5 days before the scheduled close, the client is rejected by underwriting, (What!) The banker said to his client (Suppose to be our client) he can work it out and needs another 5 days. We are now going to 50 days to close. Seller does not accept an extension, guess what, we are so close to the client loosing his earnest money. Why? Because of the buddies relationship with the banker. a large sum of money was on the table as far as the earnest money that was in jeopardy. After an exhausting day with multiple conversations with the listing broker, I was able to work out an extension with working with the listing agent and negotiating a deal. Today, the deal got done, but my gosh, none of us need to have this kind of stress.

What can be learned from this? Please use the referral from your Realtor. 

It is about getting the deal done for our clients, with the least amount of stress to the clients. Our clients need to feel special and that they are being taken care of. It's critical to provide them with updates with the current program and where they sit in the funding process.

This is what we do, getting the job done with the least amount of stress and provide updates and clear and open communication.

More stories to come.

If you need a referral or are looking for a property, contact Tom Fine.

 

Posted on January 25, 2014 at 6:59 am
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Tree Masters Makes a Tall Order

 

Tree houses like none other, a creative contractor is creating some very unique and fun tree houses.

Mike Nelson from Fall City, Washington, (Northeast of Seattle) Mike creates a magical outdoor space, bringing happiness in many forms. Mike Nelson is a bubbly energetic contractor with incredible vision. These tree houses are not the typical tree house your father built for you or your friend’s tree house.  See these links for some of the tree houses Mike and his crew has built.

Portfolio

Nelson Treehouse and Supply

This is a cool link to a tree house retreat in Fall City, Washington,  Treehouse Point

Mike has a show on Animal Planet on Fridays; my family enjoy watching this funny cast of characters.

 

You most likely won't get your return on investment as monetarily, yet I would think you would maximize a fulfillment of happiness and pleasure knowing your family has a unique item that other homes in your area may not have. 

 

 

Posted on January 25, 2014 at 5:29 am
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