May

19

Owning a Seattle waterfront vacation home has an appeal to almost everyone. The idea of waking up to enjoy a cup of coffee with views of the Puget Sound already makes you feel relaxed. It may not seem like an affordable option for some people, however, especially with the real estate market making improvements. Before you make your purchase, consider the pros and cons of owning a waterfront vacation home.

Renting Out the Vacation Home

The biggest benefit in buying a waterfront property is renting it out. Many homeowners don’t consider this option, but you can often pay your mortgage through the rent costs. Locals searching for a romantic getaway or travelers wanting somewhere to stay all look for the appeal of a waterfront house. Many Seattleites find their homes rented practically year round because the neighborhoods are so close to the amenities of the metro.

Maintenance Costs

Maintenance of a waterfront property is more expensive than others. If you choose a house near salt water, the salt spray can require some more home maintenance. Local weather can also impact the house, like anywhere. You will want to ensure you keep a good savings in place strictly for yearly repairs.

When You Buy a Vacation Home

If you decide to move forward and buy a vacation home by Puget Sound, there are a few ways to save a few dollars. You may want to, for example,

  • Practice seasonal maintenance issues like turning off water in winter and storing items
  • Buy a smaller house that is easier to maintain
  • Pay for a good insurance policy that includes flooding
  • Utilize a property management firm when renting out
  • Complete an inspection after each season to catch damage quickly
  • Consider constructing a new build with weather resistant materials
  • Hire professionals to clean or do yard maintenance during off-season

If you want a guaranteed place to get away, a Seattle vacation home may be just what you need. Speak with us to find the location and type of home suited to your needs. Waterhavens has prime property ready for you around Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and many other areas. With the best client satisfaction, the Waterhavens team will make it easier for you to sit back while you enjoy the waterfront views and that cup of coffee.

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Jan

31

As football fans everywhere look forward to a Seattle Seahawks/Denver Broncos Super Bowl, real estate experts are again pitting the two cities against each other in terms of their burgeoning real estate markets. Yes, it’s time for a hard-fought Real Estate Super Bowl.

Last year, Seattle dominated categories like median household income and education level. 58% of Seattleites over age 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, versus 45% of Denver residents. The teams were almost neck-and-neck in population (612,916 for Seattle; 604,356 for Denver) and average square footage (1622 for Seattle, 1671 for Denver). Forty-nine extra square feet doesn’t equate to a lot of yardage for Denver, but the Mile-High City did surge ahead in categories like average lot size (6250 vs. Seattle’s 5500) and number of homes for sale near the city’s football stadium (299 vs. Seattle’s 194). It was indeed a close contest overall.

This year will be another close call. According to projections, Denver’s “players” move the fastest—the median number of days a home spends on the market is just 18 days in Denver, vs. 32 in Seattle. Seattle, however, has the most valuable players, if you measure value in terms of a home’s selling price: Seattle’s average home price is $285,849, compared to $259,000 for Denver. Seattle also has significantly more veteran players—it has a higher ratio of existing homes on the market compared to new construction. This kind of matchup should make for a riveting Real Estate Super Bowl. Who will come out ahead?

To make an accurate prediction, it’s necessary to look beyond figures and investigate more subjective categories. Seattle leads in two such areas: coaching staff and home-field advantage. Seattle’s superior coaching staff consists of real estate agents who are deeply knowledgeable and totally committed to finding buyers the home of their dreams.

Seattle’s home-field advantage is equally impressive. While the football Super Bowl is taking place at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the Real Estate Super Bowl takes place on the home field of each competing city, and the Seattle waterfront home field is considerably more appealing than Denver’s. Ocean views and a wide variety of bay and lakeside homes put the Emerald City decisively ahead. Only in Seattle can home buyers find stunning properties overlooking Puget Sound, and amazing waterfront houses bordering Lake Washington and the other breathtaking bodies of water that dot the Seattle metro area. This is going to be the game clincher for Seattle.

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May

20

Beautiful waterfront home for sale with scenic views.

New Burien Three Tree Point WaterHavens listing

Just a few months ago, there was an online auction house for a 1927-vintage fireboat “Alki.” This special boat was the senior member of four boats that comprised the Seattle Fire Department’s Marine Emergency Response Team. This boat had served the Seattle community well, but it had reached the point where it couldn’t keep up with the demands of modern technology and became an icon for a bygone era instead. While it was a bittersweet time for Seattleites to see a boat with an 86-year history go, it’s just one more reminder of what makes waterfront real estate in Seattle such a special feature of the Washington metropolis. How many other places can boast water-based traffic like water taxis and fireboats?

Retiring the Fireboat “Alki”
The retirement of “Alki” coincided with the recent acquisition of some new boats. “Engine One” was added to the fleet in 2006, and “Leschi” was built in 2007. In addition, the “Chief Seattle” was renovated and given an additional twenty years, making it possible to auction off one of the most enduring pieces of Seattle history. Like most things above 80 years of age, the fireboat could boast plenty of interesting stories, such as the time it was able to help save a commercial sea captain’s home below Magnolia Bluff. The most important part of the story was that the “Alki” was able to get the job done when firefighters on land weren’t able to reach the flames. With plenty of stories like that all along the coast, it was like the waterfront community had to say goodbye to an old friend.

Fireboats for West Seattle Waterfront Real Estate
Along the waterfront coastline is a thriving community full of condos, homes, public parks, shops, and restaurants. Because land traffic can only come from the other direction, water-based firefighters are a staple of various Seattle communities that border Lake Washington and the Puget Sound. These fireboats are even more important for waterfront homeowners with properties that don’t have direct drive-up access. For example, some waterfront houses are walk-down or tram-accessed properties, both of which are difficult to reach quickly from land in the case of an emergency.

The Future of Fireboats
Because of the two new boats and the retrofitted “Chief Seattle,” even more security is now provided for Seattle area waterfront property. Unlike the “Alki,” which was still using decades-old technology for firefighting, the new fireboats are a major step forward in speed and power, as well as the major upgrades to the “Chief Seattle.” For fires, speed and power are often the deciding factor in how much damage can be avoided, and fortunately, the “Leschi” doesn’t disappoint. Stationed in Fire Station 5 on Elliott Bay, this primary firefighting vessel can travel at 14 knots and fight fires with 22,000 gallons of water per minute. While the “Marine One” is about half as long as the “Leschi,” it can actually travel more than twice as fast, making it a fast attack option. With new technology on the fireboats, it can only be even safer now for waterfront real estate owners.

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Dec

16

The Seattle Times just ran an interesting article about the many positives of the Alki neighborhood of West Seattle, and it includes the balanced negatives of a place that has become over-appreciated and over-populated by many visitors in the summer months.

The lifestyle, views, huge expanse of public waterfront access, shops & restaurants, and relatively quiet neighorhood (for 8 months of the year) are all discussed, including interviews with some representative local residents. The downside of all the appreciation during the summer months (crowding, tight parking, increased crime) are also addressed. This it its cost for being popular and a beautiful place to spend a day, or live a year or more…

West Seattle provides an unusual combination for Seattle, given its sometimes suburban feel, terrific views either to the west across to the Olympic Mountains or northeast to the Seattle city skyline and Cascade Mountains, and its wonderfully long and scenic waterfront walking paths and parks. The shopping is plentiful and self-sufficient. The access to Seattle is good too over the West Seattle Bridge, although it can get congested in peak rush hour times. The people who live there tend to enjoy it immensely and protectively, as its own part of Seattle that is also a separate community “island” across a bridge.

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Nov

16

The Elliott Bay Water Taxi, which travels from West Seattle across to downtown Seattle in 12 minutes, increased its ridership by 15% over the prior year. It’s a great commute alternative for people who live in the waterfront community of West Seattle and either work in downtown Seattle or can connect to other public transportation from there.

The water taxi is successful enough that year around service is set to start in 2010, and several other demonstration routes are being planned for other local Puget Sound and Lake Washington communities.

Elliott Bay Water Taxi service from West Seattle to downtown Seattle, photo from King County Metro Transit

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Apr

23

The Elliott Bay Water Taxi service – that takes passengers between West Seattle dock at Seacrest Park and downtown at Pier 55 by Spring Street – is back in operation starting April 29th and runs through September 30th this year. There is also an associated free shuttle bus that connects the dock at Seacrest Park to Alki, Admiral District, and West Seattle Junction. It operates 7 days a week and operates throughout the day, with more frequent crossings during commute hours. Fare is $3, and numerous passes and associated discounts are accepted.

A community celebration will be held opening day on Sunday April 29th, including music, family activities, and free rides on the Water Taxi all day.

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