Dude – Death Happens. Get Prepared!

Guest blog today written by Kristi Richards of Northwest Elder Law Group


The Natural Conclusion to a Successful Life:  Estate Planning 101

Watch the Video HERE.

Disclaimer:  This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should it be construed as legal advice for any particular matter or person. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your attorney. This posting is also not intended to constitute an advertisement or solicitation.

As part of living, things go wrong.  Few things in life are as difficult and challenging for your family and friends as things going wrong for you without the ability to ask you how you want to handle those lifetime speed bumps. Preparing an estate plan lets you control decisions about those speed bumps in life and death.

You worked hard to be successful.  An estate plan protects your family, helps protect your assets, and protects your decisions.  Your asset strategy likely focuses on growth, transfer, and avoiding income or estate tax, but your hard work can stall if you do not formally set out your wishes in written documents.

A successful estate plan generally includes a Will or Revocable Living Trust to transfer your assets after your death. Both of these can assist you with protecting assets after you die (for you children or vulnerable family members), transferring assets to the specific recipients you choose, allowing you to name a guardian for young children, and potentially lowering your taxable estate.  Without you taking the time to make these decisions and putting them in a formalized document, your state has a set of rules that will determine your end of life answers.

More importantly, a successful estate plan generally also includes durable powers of attorney and health care directives, and can include a variety of other documents for you to make personal care decisions.  Durable powers of attorney allow you to choose another person or professional service to make your financial and health care decisions if you are unable to do that for any reason – from being out of the country to being unconscious due to an accident or being unable to make decisions due to dementia.  You also have the option to decide if you want ongoing medical interventions if the intervention will only prolong your life. Again, without a formal written document in place, your state of residence will have a set of rules will likely make your decisions for you.

Your financial success took a lot of time and effort to achieve.  The state creates a default set of rules to ensure you and your assets are protected, and that your assets are transferred if something unexpected occurs, but you have the ability to prepare an estate plan and make your decisions.  Making those plans allows you to make your personal decisions and choose the individuals that carry out those decisions. 

The information above covers the simplest parts of an estate plan, but you may have more difficult questions and documents that could or should be prepared.  Every individual can benefit from discussing their life and death preferences with an attorney experienced in creating estate plans.

Disclaimer:  This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should it be construed as legal advice for any particular matter or person. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your attorney. This posting is also not intended to constitute an advertisement or solicitation.

Seattle Real Estate – 2019 in Review

The Most Remarkable Thing About Seattle Real Estate in 2019?

It was the least remarkable year in almost a decade.


Let’s talk about the thing you likely care most about.  The median sales price:

Houses and Townhouses:

During most of 2019, our median sales price was lower than it was in 2018.  Seattle home prices saw the usual price increases through early summer, then it levels out and does a gradual decline at the end of year.   Interesting to note… The median sales price in December is almost the same for the past 3 years.  


Not as smooth and predictable for condos.   2019 was like a puppy at his first day at doggie daycare.   All over the place!  Ups, downs and obviously at least one nap in August.  Condo prices don’t follow the consistent annual trends that houses do, so timing the market is trickier when you are buying or selling a condo.  Seattle condo prices are unpredictable!

Supply and Demand Heavily Impacted the Market:

 Seattle real estate doesn’t exist in a bubble.  It is influenced by global economies, trade wars, the influence of our major employers (Boeing, Amazon and others) and by good old fashioned supply and demand.  We had a lot more houses, townhouses, and condos for sale in 2019 than we did in 2016,2017 and early 2018.   But we had a better ratio of buyers to available properties than we did during the steep drop in the Seattle housing market during the last 6 months of 2018.

Houses and Townhouses:

 For most of the year, we had more homes for sale that were selling (meaning the buyers had several options).  In December, we saw the number of sold properties EXCEED the number of homes available for sale.  That was really common during the frenzy of the market, but not something we have seen since early 2018.   The closer those lines get to each other, the more the seller is in charge and the more competition buyers see.


  The Seattle condo market wasn’t as competitive as the house market.  Condo buyers had the upper hand all year, with over double the number of available condos for sale compared to the number of active buyers.  The supply and demand did tighten up in December for condos also, but not to the extreme that it did for houses.

In Conclusion:

  The Seattle real estate market typically ebbs and flows during the course of a year, and it actually did in Seattle in 2019.  Long gone are the frantic and relentless month-over-month price increases and homes flying off the market in under a week.  2019 was still a competitive market for buyers looking for houses under $500,000.  The Seattle condo market continued to be soft, with a steady amount of inventory and condos taking an average of a month to get an offer.

2019 Seattle Real Estate Year in Review

Watch the Video Here

Download the video transcript here.

Looking forward to 2020:

  You will have to wait for that!  My 2020 predictions blog will be out the first week of February.

Hannah and Tim Get to STAY in the Neighborhood!

  So often, first-time home buyers end up leaving the neighborhood they live in, searching for more space and some affordability.   Well, not Hannah and Tim.  These two are die hard lower Queen Anne people.  They know all the baristas and the grocery clerks and the neighborhood “characters”.  They love their walk to work and being surrounded by the vibrancy of the city.   So when they decided to buy a condo, it was Queen Anne or NOTHING!

Hannah and Tim smiling posed in front of a brick wall

  We wasted no time touring all the available condos in lower Queen Anne that met our criteria.   We only had to see 4 places to know we had found THE ONE.  This condo had it all.  Tons of space.   Newer construction and a well-funded HOA.   Views of the Space Needle from their private balcony.  A fireplace, big kitchen with a gas stove and an actual laundry room IN the unit.  After sleeping on it, these kids decided to go for it and put in an offer!


  To make a good story even better, these kids happened to be buying during that brief window that favored buyers.  Not only did they get the lowest price for any unit in the building in the last 3 years (you might remember this building, it’s been in the Seattle Living Spaces family before), AND they were able to get the seller to give them some credit towards closing costs.  The ultimate win-win!

  Offer accepted!  Inspector Gadget came in and the inspection went well.  We were on our way to a smooth closing.  And then we hit a MAJOR hurdle.  I won’t go into detail, but the lender had a company wide issue, and wasn’t super transparent with us about it, and we almost didn’t close on time.  But the important word in that sentence is almost.  We did close on time!  Just 2 days before Christmas, and on the “meet-day anniversary” of these two newlyweds, they got the keys to their first home!!

Congrats Hannah and Tim and welcome to the family!   Since I know y’all like those GOOD bubbles, I’ll make sure to have you over next time I decide to crack open the nice bottle.

Seattle Real Estate Trends – Episode 9 – 12/27/19

Who the heck buys a house the week of Christmas?  Who the heck puts their condo up for sale during Hanukkah?  


Turns out, lots of people!



34 people put their home up for sale this week, and 45 people put in an offer on a house this week.   That is almost 80 people that went all-in on late December real estate.  And it might have worked out well for both buyers AND sellers this week.

We have only 10% of all the houses for sale in Seattle having been on the market for less than 2 weeks.  The Seattle housing market is over 50% of all houses for sale having been on the market for over 60 days!


  8 brave souls decided to put their condo up for sale this week, and 6 buyers came out and put in offers on condos this week.  The Seattle condo market is sleepy.  Snooze fest.  Boring.  36 lucky buyers closed just in time for Christmas, and Hannah and Tim were one of those sets of people.  Congrats and welcome to the family kids!

Only 6% of all condos for sale have been on the market less than 2 weeks.  Any condo that goes up for sale this coming week and is priced right has a great chance of getting an offer the first week on market.  That would be a nice change of pace from the 30+ days it is taking for most condos to get an accepted offer lately.

It was a sleepy week, but a few bright spots here and there.   Watch the video below for more details.

Download the transcript here.


3 Things New Landlords Need to Know

Today we team up with Brett Waller of Washington Multi-Family Housing Association to go over the top 3 things all new landlords need to know.

Watch the Video Here

Before you ever list a property for rent, make sure you have these three covered:

  1. Have a great lease.  
  2. Know your local and state laws
  3. Make sure you understand operations and vacancies.

Y’all know I’ve been a landlord for over 20 years, so I would love to chat with you one-on-one if you have any specific questions about turning your property into a rental.

You can reach Brett at Brett@wmfha.org or 425-565-9077.