White vs. Color? Interior painting to sell your home.

  What should you do to help sell you home quicker and for top dollar?

  “Let’s just keep it white that way the buyer can paint it the color they want.” Have you heard this? Maybe you have said this. Believe it or not this is still a misconception in the real estate market. Logically it makes sense but a majority of the buyers do not want to make changes to their new home. Moving is plenty of work as it is. We are all very busy and taking a few days out of our lives to paint a few rooms or maybe all of the them is not our idea of taking time off.  White is also considered a very stark and cold color not to mention it doesn’t look that good in the pictures on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

Here is what buyers want…

-Warm and stylish colors

-Coordinated contrasty colors (here is where you can keep your white) for mill and trim work.

Here are a few examples of how color helps a room look better.

White roomGreen RoomSafe colorWhite RoomSafe colorBold Color

Painting is a very inexpensive way to give your house a mood and make it look fresh and new. Don’t save money in this area.

 I can help you get your home ready for sale. Visit www.GregRBenson.com or www.O-Condo.com for your home or condos value, my contact info and other real estate info.

Get Your Home’s Market Value?          Click Here to Search for Homes.         Click here to have listing sent to you.

Contact us.


Should I sell my home now?

 Is it a good time to sell?

This posting is not specific to Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah, Redmond, Bothell etc. It applies to the real estate market in most of Western Washington. Ok, the question is, Should I sell my home now.  Here is my opinion. With the way the interest rates are now I expect there will be a flood of first time home buyers, move up buyers and refinancers. So if you have been on the fence about selling here are a couple reasons to sell now.

-Don’t miss the flood of buyers suddenly hitting the market because of the rates.

Home values are still rising in and around the King County areas.

The selling season will be here in about a month. There is no better time than now to get your home ready for sale and put on the market.

One last thing I want to stress to sellers, It is vital to price your home correctly. Overpricing a home or condo doesn’t work and here are just a couple reasons why…

-Many sellers think they can overprice their home so they have room to negotiate. Sounds like good sound logic but here is the flaw. If the market value on your home is $495,000 and you want to list for $510,000 you will miss all of the buyers that have a max price point of $500K. 

-These days buyers are very well informed and educated about the real estate market. With the internet they have access to all of the listing on the Multiple Listing Service and they will know when a property is over price causing them to not want to visit your listing.

-Your home becomes “stale”…  What does that mean? If your home is overpriced it will sit on the market. Sellers have about a 3 week window to get a property sold for top dollar before it becomes “stale” meaning buyers will either think there is something wrong with the property and never view it or if you get lucky you might have a buyer looking for homes that have been on the market for a while and make a crazy low offer. Let’s compare your home to a loaf of bread. The market value on a loaf of bread is $1.99 but you price it at $2.50. Buyers will see all of the other comparable loafs for $1.99 and buy those. 3 days have passed and you decide you want to lower the price of your bread to the market value price. The problem is that your bread is no longer fresh and squishy. Another 2 days go by and your bread is still on the shelf. What do you have to do to get that bread sold??  Discount it to sell. It’s the same concept with a home. It’s better to price it correctly when you first list it so you get top dollar.

Please visit  www.GregRBenson.com or www.O-Condo.com  for your home and condo real estate needs. Somebody on my team is more than happy to answer your selling or buying questions.

Get Your Home’s Market Value?          Click Here to Search for Homes.         Click here to have listing sent to you.

Contact us.


Secrets successful sellers know.

Selling a home can be tough. No matter what your reasons are for moving, you may have feelings of deep attachment for your home.  While these are perfectly normal, it may skew your opinion of what potential buyers may see when they walk in. Your goal is to remove evidence of yourself from the home to allow the potential buyer to imagine themselves living there. Below are some tips on how to keep your personal feelings out of the sale of your home, and the perceived value strong.  

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Annexation of North Juanita into the city of Kirkland

The Kirkland City Council is carefully considering the annexation of the Finn Hill, Upper Juanita and Kingsgate neighborhoods. While the City has been discussing annexation for years, due to a new state sales tax credit, it is revisiting annexation of these three neighborhoods known as our “potential annexation area” or PAA.

Annexation Q & A

Kirkland Community and Potential Annexation Area (PAA) map (PDF-1.8 MB)

PAA Fire District map (PDF-3.1 MB)

PAA School District map (PDF-3.2 MB)

PAA Utility District map (PDF-3.2 MB)

Pricing, Pricing, Pricing. Why pricing your home correctly is so important.

Pricing you home correctly.

The house inventory is rising due to the tightening of the mortgage strings, creating less qualified buyers. What is the #1 deciding factor on getting your home sold? Pricing! It is important for sellers to understand how vital it is to price your house correctly. Sellers need to think as a buyer would when they sit down with their agent and come up with an asking price for their home. Get rid of your emotional attachment you have for this house. It is a business transaction and if your home is not competitively priced then you WILL NOT get an offer.


Real Estate Market in Seattle

Seattle, Bellevue and Western King County is still one of the better real estate markets in the country.  (spring 2007)

Plans for Kirkland’s, Juanita Beach Park to get $15 Million facelift.

Kirkland’s, Juanita Beach Park plan for a $15 million upgrade could make the neighborhood of Juanita a great real estate buy. 

  One can still get a single family homes in Juanita for under $400K. Juanita is about 15 mins to Bellevue, Redmond (Microsoft) and Lynnwood and about 25 mins to Seattle making this a still affordable location, close enough to commute to these locations without completely losing your sanity. There are plenty of bus lines and ample Park & Rides.  Ok, Ok, the commute, Park & Rides and bus lines are great, but more important this is a very family friendly area and the North Shore school district is one of the best in the state. Oh by the way, if you can’t tell, I am proud to say I live in Juanita and have since 2000. For more about the Juanita Beach Park upgrade check out the link and the Seattle Times article below



Ninety years ago, construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal caused the water to drop nearly nine feet. While most residents wrestled with gooey black mud that appeared in their back yards, a vast expanse of fine white sand revealed itself on Alicia and Leslie Forbes’ Kirkland waterfront.

And thus a community beach was born.

Knowing economic potential when they saw it, the couple opened a concession stand and then added a dance hall and bath house. For decades, visitors crossed the lake for weekend getaways.

In 1957 the couple sold the site to King County, which gave it its current name, Juanita Beach Park. But in the 1990s the beach languished in disrepair, and a budget shortfall forced the county to transfer ownership to Kirkland in 2002.

After years of discussion, the Kirkland City Council recently approved an extensive master plan for the 30-acre park that could return it to its former glory.

All they need now is $14 million.

“It is one of the jewels in the city,” said Marianna Hanefeld, who is on the board of Juanita Neighborhoods, an association of residents in the area. “We’re thrilled it was approved. The question is when is it going to be built?”

Hanefeld walks to the park nearly every day and has been working to improve it for seven years, including pushing city ownership and sharing ideas for the master plan.

The plan calls for a community plaza with an amphitheater; a waterfront promenade that connects to the existing pedestrian pier; a skate park; more sports fields; boat-rental facilities; picnic shelters; improved water quality; new vegetation and garden areas; and restoration of the Forbes House, which has been nominated for historical designation by the city.

The newly built Juanita Village added apartments, retail shops and restaurants across from the park, creating a community core that will connect with the revitalized park, city officials said.


If the city annexes the Finn Hill and Kingsgate areas north of its current border, as is currently under discussion, the park will be an even more prominent part of the city, neighbors said.

“Once annexation takes place, it will be the dead center of Kirkland,” said Greg Butler, a board member of the Juanita neighborhood association. “Historically, it’s one of the destinations that really make Kirkland what it is.”

Funding options

The city has set aside $1 million from its capital-improvement program and is applying for an additional $1 million in state and federal grants to begin work on the first phase of the $15 million project.

“We’ll do as much as we can based on how much we can pull together,” said Kirkland park-planning manager Michael Cogle, who added that the city is exploring additional grant options.

Other funding options might include a parks bond, neighbors said. Parks officials confirm there have been initial talks about a possible parks bond in the next few years, and Juanita Beach Park could be a part of that.

The first phase will cost about $5 million to $6 million and will include improvements south of Juanita Drive, including improving water quality and building the amphitheater and promenade. Construction is set to start around 2008 and, if fully funded, could be finished within a year to 16 months, Cogle said.

Nearly $2 million of the first-phase funding will go to water restoration. For years the beach has faced seasonal closures due to high levels of bacteria from goose droppings combined with poor water circulation in the swimming area.

The city will also regrade the site to make the lawn less inviting for geese, Cogle said.

It will also improve water circulation in the enclosed swimming area by getting rid of bulkheads along the concrete pier that can create stagnant water.

There are also sediment and pollution problems where Juanita Creek empties into Juanita Bay at the west end of the beach. The city is working to improve water quality upstream to prevent pollution and stabilize the banks of the creek to alleviate sediment buildup.

Wildlife habitats

The East Lake Washington Audubon Society had raised concerns that the plan, which allowed for motorized and nonmotorized boat rentals off the pier, would threaten wildlife.

The bay is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including herons, turtles, Canada geese, salmon and trout. In response, the City Council modified the plan to take into consideration wildlife habitats when boating plans are implemented.

The beach park complements nearby Juanita Bay Park, also owned by the city. Juanita Bay Park is a natural wildlife area, offering walking and bird-watching tours. The beach park is more of an active community and recreation park.

Neighbors say that the beach park has been a gathering place for the community and site of such popular events as the city’s centennial, the Christmas ships parade and the Fourth of July fireworks show.

Kirkland Mayor James Lauinger said the city put a lot of work into improving the park after it took over ownership from the county but there’s a lot more to be done.

“I’m confident I’ll see it [completed] in my lifetime,” said Lauinger, 65.

Lisa Chiu: 206-464-3347 or lchiu@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

 Also see link below for “The Plan” http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/__shared/assets/Juanita_Beach_Park_Master_Plan_74344.pdf