Blog

3 Basic Tips for Becoming a First-Time Homeowner 

Dreaming of becoming a first-time homeowner? Well, then you may also be worried about whether buying your first home will be a nightmare. Thankfully, this process doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem, especially when you keep these home buying tips in mind.

Consider Building Your New Home 

If you have specific ideas for what you want your new home to look like, then you may want to consider building a custom home. Depending on the features and location, the costs to build a custom home can run anywhere from $350,000 to $1.5 million, although more basic homes will be between $165,961 and $474,252. Your price will also depend on whether your home will include a single level or multiple levels, will be large or small, or will adhere to traditional shapes or take on a custom flow. Try to keep in mind that these costs are only related to the actual construction of your home, as you will still need to purchase land before you start building. While this may seem like a less complicated task than buying a new home, finding the right plot of land for your custom-built home is critical. You don’t want to build a massive home in a neighborhood of modestly sized houses, and you also do not want to construct your home in an area that lacks access to utilities. So, your best bet is to work with a pro who has experience.

Think About Your Financial Options 

Whether you plan on buying or building a new home, completing certain financial steps needs to be a top priority. You may have already checked most of these tasks off your list, but reviewing your credit report, remedying any mistakes, and researching home loan options are smart moves toward getting the best deal on your new home loan. Depending on your timeline, you may also want to think about saving a down payment, so that you will have more buying power and access to a wider variety of lenders. Most down payments range from 3 to 20 percent of the total home value, and if you can make the financial sacrifices needed to put this money aside you will also have a better shot at keeping up with your housing payments. This is especially important for first-time homebuyers who may not be accustomed to paying for a mortgage other costs of homeownership. Speaking of the costs of homeownership, it’s also essential for first-time buyers to consider all potential expenses involved with owning a home.

Research Your Local Real Estate Market 

Before you begin applying for home loans, you also need to have a good idea of what current home prices and real estate trends are in your area. Researching real estate is so simple these days thanks to the internet, but you also need to take a look at the local community. Some key things to look for when researching local markets include the development of new infrastructure, the rate of housing price growth, and average property taxes for neighboring cities. Taking these factors into consideration can help ensure that you get the most house for your money and that you will be able to sell your home in the future, if needed. Of course, other factors you may want to consider when searching for your new home include local crime rates, school ratings, and nearby amenities. Good schools typically top the list for homebuyers, so even if you do not have kids, you may want to research schools in your desired location. Finally, if you want to avoid doing all of this homework on your own, work with a reliable local buyer’s agent.

Buying a new home can feel like an overwhelmingly complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be. When you take the time to decide whether to buy or build, carefully review your finances, and research the local real estate market, you can rest assured that you will make the best decisions when it comes to buying a home.

Find The Best Sequim Real Estate Agents

Couple Hands Holding Housing Model for Future home with help of Sequim real estate agentWhen looking for the very best Sequim real estate agents on the Olympic Peninsula, you’ll find none better than the professionals at Schwab Realty. Established in 1986, the company’s Sequim real estate agents offer buyers and sellers decades of experience and insider knowledge of the area. Whether you’re looking for your next home, land or other properties the team at Schwab Realty will help you every step of the way. 

Not only are the excellent Sequim real estate agents at Schwab Realty some of the most knowledgeable in the area, but they also deliver the very best customer service. Benefit from a full-service real estate company with friendly Sequim real estate agents that support their clients through the entire process. In this fast-paced market, you’ll need a trusted and efficient professional at your side. Contact the amazing team at Schwab Realty for the very best real estate service in the Sequim, Port Angeles and Dungeness areas of the North Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

Continue Reading

10 Reasons a Sequim Retirement is in Your Future

Senior couple holding hands watching beautiful sunset at a Sequim retirementA Sequim retirement to this scenic town on the lovely Olympic Peninsula has become the perfect choice of many happy seniors. It’s not a surprise that Sequim has one of the highest percentages of seniors in the state of Washington. The active retiree community enjoys all the amazing amenities this wonderful town offers to fit their specific needs. 

The reasons to plan a Sequim retirement range from the very practical to enjoy the stunning landscape. Sequim is known for its scenic location with a shimmering coastline, a lush valley filled with lavender farms, the world’s longest natural sand spit, and the nearby mountains with miles of hiking trails. During your Sequim retirement spend the day biking, hiking or boating and the evening enjoying fine dining in the charming town center. Aside from the dozens of idyllic lavender fields, Sequim is famous for its amazing year-round weather. Nestled in the Olympic Rainshadow, Sequim sees very little rain and mild temperatures in every season.  Continue Reading

Tips for Turning Your Investment Property into a Profitable Vacation Rental

Thinking of renting out your investment property as a vacation home? This can be a great way to pay off the mortgage on your second home or at least earn some extra income on the side. However, the market for vacation rentals is very competitive, so you will have to invest some time and money into your rental to transform it into an inviting place to stay. Here are some of the best ways to make your property more attractive and welcoming to short-term renters.

Invest in Security

When your property is sitting vacant between guests, it can be a target for thieves and vandals. Fortunately, you can keep an eye on your rental with the help of a reliable home security system. When searching for the right security system, you’ll come across all kinds of features, from basic alarms to cameras that you can access remotely from your smartphone. Take the time to find something that meets your needs. Not only will a good security system help to protect your valuable investment, but it will also help your guests feel safe.

You may also want to install a keyless entry system to eliminate check-in hassles and reduce the risk of intruders in your rental. For example, you can set up a smart lock that integrates with your online booking service to generate a new entry code for every rental guest. A smart lock will also let you know when people come and go, so you can monitor the activity at your rental and ensure your guests make it inside successfully.

Know When to Splurge and When to Save

Furnishing and decorating your rental can get expensive pretty quickly. Find ways to save wherever possible so you can splurge on the key items that will make your rental more appealing to guests. For example, it’s always smart to invest in a high-quality mattress and bedding to ensure your guests can enjoy a comfortable sleep. According to Lodging Media, quality of sleep is one of the most important elements of the guest experience at hotels, and the same goes for your vacation rental.

For the rest of the home, try to create a feeling of luxury without the extravagant price tag. One way to do this is to embrace minimalism with just a few statement pieces. Crate and Barrel has several excellent items that can work as decorative focal points in your rental. Since their prices can be a little on the steep side, look for an online Crate and Barrel promo code before shopping. You can also get creative with different textures, mirrors, and lighting to create a welcoming and elegant atmosphere without purchasing a lot of expensive decor.

Make Practical Design Decisions

As you decorate your rental, try not to sacrifice function for appearance. Make sure your guests have a comfortable place to relax at the end of the day, a functional kitchen for cooking quick meals, and somewhere to store luggage during their stay. You could even purchase a sleeper sofa to add two extra guests to your accommodation capacity. Keep upkeep and maintenance in mind as you make these decor decisions. For example, consider replacing carpet with more durable floors or choosing stain-proof furniture that is easier to keep clean.

Keep it Sparkling Clean

The number one vacation rental guest complaint has to do with cleanliness, according to Evolve. Since cleaning a vacation home requires a high degree of detail, consider hiring a professional housekeeping service to give everything a deep cleaning between guests. A good housekeeper will also monitor the home for damage and potential maintenance problems that should be tackled sooner rather than later. Your guests expect a sparkling clean experience every time, so come up with a solid plan for keeping everything spotless. Running a vacation rental can be a great way to get your feet wet in the world of real estate investing. It’s important to put time and care into your property to ensure your investment is a profitable success. As you set up your rental, keep these tips in mind to design a safe and comfortable rental that will keep guests coming back time and time again.

Blog content provided by Ray Flynn | DiyGuys.net, ray.flynn@diyguys.net

Why the Low Cost of Living in Sequim Matters

Saving money and low cost of living concept with tiny houses on different size stacks of coinsA low cost of living may not be the first thing that pops into your head when thinking of Sequim, Washington. Many imagine wide open lavender fields with the snow-capped Olympic Mountains in the background. Sequim’s famous Dungeness Spit, stretching 6.8 miles into the sparkling Strait of Juan de Fuca, might also come to mind. While the year-round sunny and mild weather draws people to sunny Sequim. However, the low cost of living was also a key ingredient for many when purchasing their home here. 

The two major factors the make the cost of living low in Sequim are the reasonable home prices and relatively low taxes. Sequim has the perfect home for anyone, from retirees to young families. With an average price of around $300,000, homeownership is very attainable in the Sequim area. In addition to affordable home prices, local property and sales taxes remain low as well. And of course, all Washington residents enjoy no state income tax. 

Along with a low cost of living, Sequim also has a wonderful community with amazing amenities. The charming, walkable town center has great restaurants, shops, galleries, and pubs. Locals love to play outdoors in the ideal year-round weather. Sequim’s beautiful coastline, biking trails, and surrounding mountains offer adventures kayaking, hiking or pedaling in the stunning landscape. Sequim has everything that makes a wonderful hometown. Let our wonderful team at Schwab Realty show you around sunny Sequim and help you find the perfect place.

Continue Reading

Sequim Weather is Ideal for Retirement

Beautiful senior couple enjoy the Sequim weather standing with bicycles in sunshineThe amazing Sequim weather tops most lists of the best reasons to live in this charming coastal city on the Olympic Peninsula. Residents enjoy mild and sunny weather most of the year with an annual average rainfall of only 17 inches. The wonderful Sequim weather has also earned the town two nicknames; “Sunny Sequim” and “The Blue Hole.” While the first nickname is clear, you might be scratching your head about the meaning of “The Blue Hole.” Local pilots use the name to describe the perfect landing conditions the Sequim weather creates. Recreation, such as flying, boating, biking, and hiking are all enjoyed year-round in the ideal Sequim weather.

The excellent Sequim weather also appeals to those looking for the perfect retirement location. The city has one of the highest percentages of seniors in the state at 37.0%, and the great weather is a big factor in attracting them. While the lack of rain and abundant sunny days are wonderful, the mild temperatures in the winter also mean no snow or ice to clear away on cooler mornings. The mild winters don’t turn into sweltering summers. The summers are also mild, cooled by the breezes from the Straits of Juan de Fuca. This creates a type of Goldilocks effect where it’s never too hot or too cold to enjoy the outdoors in the Sequim weather.

Lastly, Sequim is also the perfect place for people who love the changing seasons. Unlike hot and humid southern beach locations, the Sequim landscape explodes with the color of springtime wildflowers, summer lavender farms and brilliant fall foliage. If Sequim residents miss the snow, they visit it skiing or snowshoeing at Hurricane Ridge. The staff at Schwab Realty are ready to help you explore the great city of Sequim, Washington and find out why this could be the place you were looking for all along.

Continue Reading

5 Best Reasons for a Day Trip from Sequim to Port Townsend

Angled view of Port Townsend City Hall against blue sky to see on a day trip from Sequim to Port TownsendThe drive from Sequim to Port Townsend is a scenic 45 minute ride that hugs the coastline of Sequim and Discovery Bay. While the lovely views along the way makes for a pleasant outing, the charming Victorian port town has a lot to offer visitors. The historic buildings house unique shops, romantic restaurants along with wineries and pubs. Ex-military outposts, transformed into beautiful parks, have great hiking trails, fun events and sweeping water views. The parks and the city itself, has a rich link to the past and visitors can explore this at the small museums and historic home tours. After a nice long hike or exploring the town center, stop at one of the local wineries, breweries or cideries for a refreshing drink. Any day trip from Sequim to Port Townsend makes a wonderful getaway and visitors will always find something new to discover. 

The short drive from Sequim to Port Townsend and other wonderful cities and locations, is what makes Sequim the perfect central location on the Olympic Peninsula. Nestled between the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Sequim residents enjoy access to great nearby small cities and the grandeur of Olympic National Park. If this sounds like paradise to you, we invite you to experience Sequim for yourself. The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Schwab Realty can show your around and help you find your next dream home.

Continue Reading

3 Great Reasons to Dine at the Dockside Grill Sequim Restaurant

Panorama Sunset on San Juan de Fuca Strait by Dockside Grill SequimThe Dockside Grill Sequim restaurant has the distinction of offering the only waterfront dining in this small city on the Olympic Peninsula. The restaurant has a casual elegance and large picture windows overlooking scenic Sequim Bay and the John Wayne Marina. Since opening in 2007 the Dockside Grill Sequim restaurant has become a favorite for locals and visitors alike. While also receiving rave reviews for great cuisine, drinks, and an amazing view. In fact it has been nominated for many “Best” lists such as “Best Steakhouse”, “Best Seafood”, and “Most Romantic”.

Chef Steve Little and his wife, Ruth, own and operate the Dockside Grill Sequim restaurant. Steve and his assistant chef, Josh Souza, met in 1995 while working in the restaurant business in California. They have worked together at restaurants in California, Oregon and Washington over the years and remain best friends to this day. The family connection continues as, Steve and Ruth’s son, Glen, works with Josh as his assistant chef. Through their hard work and dedication the Dockside Grill Sequim restaurant has become one of the best in Washington state. Join them for lunch or dinner and discover the 3 best reasons to dine at the Dockside Grill Sequim restaurant:

  1. Amazing Cuisine – You’ll find only the freshest, cedar plank salmon grilling by open fire at Dockside Grill Sequimseasonal Northwest dining at the Dockside Grill.  The talented chefs local farm produce, baked goods and fish caught the same day it’s served. All these ingredients become amazing dishes to savor. Favorites are the delicious local oysters on the half shell, cedar plank salmon topped with Dungeness crab, ale battered halibut, and coffee rubbed ribeye. 
  2. Refreshing Cocktails, Beer and Wine – Not only can you enjoy an extensive wine, craft beer and cider list with dinner, but the Pelican Room also offers an intimate space for sipping an excellent cocktail. Separate from the main dining room, it’s the perfect place to watch sports at the bar or host a private event. 
  3. A Stunning View – The outstanding cuisine will be the only thing to distract you from the beautiful scenery. The picturesque panoramic view of Sequim Bay and John Wayne Marina create a wonderful setting for a romantic dinner. Colorful sailboats reflect on the glassy waters where seals and otters play. While eagles, herons, and kingfishers glide past the windows. 

Continue Reading

5 Great Reasons to Move from Seattle to Sequim WA

View of an idyllic lavender farm on a sunny day why people move from Seattle to SequimWhen listing all the great reasons to relocate from Seattle to Sequim, of course the cost of living comes to mind first. However, there are so many more benefits to moving from Seattle to Sequim than just money. For those looking to leave the stress and crowds of the city behind, Sequim offers the beauty and wide open space of a stunning landscape. In addition to gorgeous mountain and water views, the more affordable homes also mean more personal space. Also access to the Olympic Peninsula state parks offers amazing hiking opportunities in magical rainforests, along crashing waterfall trails and the rugged Washington coastline. Yet, Sequim has plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities within the town itself. Sequim residents enjoy a wealth of local activities such as hiking, biking, boating, golf and aviation. 

Another big reason many relocate from Seattle to Sequim is the ideal weather. Sequim is significantly drier and sunnier than the Seattle area, so the outdoors can be enjoyed year-round. While Sequim’s landscape is breathtaking, its lively downtown also has amazing restaurants, gourmet coffee bars and pubs. This in addition to dozens of fascinating festivals through-out the year makes Sequim an exciting place to live. Are your ready to make the move from Seattle to Sequim yet? Contact our amazing team of knowledgeable brokers at Schwab Realty to find your new home on our corner of paradise of the Olympic Peninsula.

Continue Reading

4 Best Reasons to Visit the Sequim Casino: The 7 Cedars

Blurred slot machines in the Sequim CasinoResidents and visitors love the Sequim casino, the 7 Cedars is just 5 miles east of downtown Sequim. This friendly and fun establishment was opened by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in 1995 and is now operated by JKT Gaming, Inc. The lush valley location overlooks tranquil Sequim Bay, alongside the majestic Strait of Juan de Fuca. This Sequim casino not only offers the hottest games around, but also great entertainment, wonderful dining choices and a world-class golf course. 

Seven colorful totems welcome visitors to the 7 Cedars Casino and also honors the history of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. In addition to a wide variety of gaming activities, the 63,000-square-foot Sequim casino also houses several restaurants and stages for bands, comedy shows and much more. The Sequim casino sits on 14 scenic acres with a 18-hole championship course, a huge draw for local golfers. Here they hold year-round events, competitions, and is also the home of the Washington Senior Open. Not many small towns can boast an exciting casino in their backyard. It’s just another reason why so many love calling Sequim home. When visiting the Sequim casino, also explore everything our town has to offer. Contact our staff at Schwab Realty, we’d love to help you find your dream home on the Olympic Peninsula.

Continue Reading