KMRES Q&A: Who Pays For Painting The Building?

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The homeowners association is usually responsible for all things related to common areas and common area maintenance. When something like new paint is required in a common area, the Board of Directors will typically allocate money from the reserve fund, or issue a special assessment to cover the costs of the project as well as inform the residents of the work that is being done. 

All associations are unique, so reviewing the HOA Bylaws and the Governing Documents is essential when searching for information related to common area maintenance. Knowing where to look in these documents will save you time and confusion. Choosing a broker who knows where to find this information and interpret it will change your experience when looking for a condominium.

#FunFactFriday - Bellevue, WA

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Today, Bellevue is a busy corporate center located on the east side of Lake Washington. With a population of over 140,000 and being the home to over 1,250 businesses, Bellevue is a prominent part of the Seattle area. When you stand on the corner of Bellevue Way and 8th st, it’s hard to imagine that the gigantic Bellevue Collection of shops, restaurants, and entertainment used to be a sleepy rural town known for its strawberry farms and annual strawberry festival.

Bellevue was named by the city’s first postmaster, Matthew S. Sharpe. He was originally from Belleview, Indiana and he was inspired by the beautiful views offered by the local mountains and Lake Washington. 

Bellevue wasn’t incorporated as a city until 1953, 14 years after the first bridge had been built to span Lake Washington.

It wasn’t until after the opening of the Evergreen Point floating bridge in 1963 at the location we know today that Bellevue experienced its first real growth spurt. By the mid eighties, many banks had moved their corporate headquarters to downtown Bellevue, which greatly helped with the city’s growth.

It wasn’t long ago that Bellevue was a farm town with most of its now coveted land being taken up by forests, fields, and plows. In the past 10 years, Bellevue’s population has increased by an estimated 20,000 people. We are proud to call Bellevue the home city of Kappes Miller Real Estate Services.

Compiled with work by www.historylink.org/file/313

The Dangers of First-Time Condominium Purchases.

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Many first-time condo purchasers do not understand the importance of the homeowners association. You could find a unit that is perfect for you in every way, but if it is a part of a failing homeowners association, it simply doesn’t matter how perfect the unit is. Being a part of a failing association will result in more stress than if you bought an imperfect unit in a healthy association. It makes sense to buy a condo based off of how much you like the actual unit, because that’s where you will be living. But what isn’t as obvious is that buying a condo means buying your unit as well as buying into partial ownership of many parts of the condominium property.

Let’s make up a fictional condominium association for the sake of this example. We’ll call it ABC Condos. ABC condos is thirty one years old and consists of four residential buildings, each with three stories. There is a tennis court, a pool and a main office/clubhouse. Jim has just purchased a fully remodeled unit here with low HOA payments. It was a great deal, and ABC is a great location for him as well. Everything seems to be working out!

The danger in this situation lies in the fact that Jim doesn’t know much about the association. There are many ways that the community elements could turn from amenities to liabilities. Low HOA payments seem like a great thing, but they can be a sign that the HOA has been deferring maintenance or not keeping enough money in their reserve account for potential issues in the future.

The best way to know if your future HOA is healthy is to select the right real estate broker. The world of condominiums can be complex, and having a broker who deals with condominium transactions full-time helps to ensure that your transaction goes smoothly. If you have any questions about condominiums, our brokers are happy to help.

3 Reasons Why Now Is A Good Time To Sell | NWMLS July 2019 Market Statistics

Every month, the NWMLS releases market statistics. This month, there are a few key pieces of information to reiterate.

  • The median closed price for both residential and condo sales increased 3.6% compared to July 2018. (If you’re thinking of selling, you could still get more for your condo than last year.)

  • There is an 8.2% decrease in new listings across July 2018. (That’s 8.2% less new listings that your condo would have to compete with.)

  • There is only 1.76 months of supply currently listed. According to most industry experts, a balanced market is between 4-6 months of supply. We are well below that currently. This means the advantage goes to the seller. (Less homes to choose from with more people willing to buy means your condo will sell faster.)

If you’re thinking of selling your condo, now is certainly a good time. With high demand, low interest rates and more buyers than there are sellers, you might get more for your home than you think. If you have any more questions about the current market, our brokers are capable of answering them. Click the button below the info graphic to get in touch with us!

Statistical information provided courtesy of the NWMLS.

Copyright ©2019 Northwest Multiple Listing Service - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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The Seafair Festival - A Quick History

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Seafair is an annual summer festival in Seattle. It has been going on since 1950. Since then, there have been many changes to the festival. What started out as an event organized by local businesses has turned into what it is today: the center of a Hydroplane race, a Blue Angels airshow, and a multiple month long celebration with hundreds of events!

On August 11, 1950, the first Seafair festival commenced. It began with a two day long National Water Skiing Championship on Seattle’s Green Lake. There was an aqua acrobatics show held at the then brand new Green Lake Aqua Theater. This show ran for ten nights with a combined 59,000 people estimated to have attended. There were boat parades on Lake Washington and even a police pistol competition! At the end of the first Seafair festival, there was a boat burning ceremony held on Elliott Bay. Complete with fireworks and colored smoke, the boat burned quickly, and the historic Fireboat Duwamish swept in to put out the flames.

Today, Seafair hosts many events including the aforementioned Hydroplane races and the Blue Angels Airshow. These main events, however, are only a part of Seafair Weekend (August 2-4 2019) and Seafair hosts events like the Torchlight Parade, Seafair Summer Fourth, and The Ballard Seafood Festival throughout the summer across Seattle! (June 14 - August 20th)

For this Seafair Weekend, The Blue Angels airshow will take place at 3:00pm on both Saturday the 3rd and Sunday the 4th. There are many public viewing locations, including most waterfront parks along Lake Washington, and if you have a boat, the lake is a perfect front row seat for the action! The full event schedule can be found at www.seafair.com.


The information in this article was compiled with information found on www.historylink.org and www.seafair.com.

Here's Why Rental Caps Exist.

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A rental cap is exactly what it sounds like. A limit (or cap) on the number of units allowed to be rented at any one time in a given condominium community. In condominium communities, some owners purchase units for investment purposes. Usually, this means they buy a unit and rent it out to tenants. From the view of the property investor, (owner of the unit) they simply want to buy a piece of real estate and have it make them money. From the view of the renter, they are renting out and living in a condominium as opposed to an apartment, and usually condominium buildings are built more substantially than apartment complexes. For both the renter and the owner, this is a mutually beneficial scenario. But what about from the view of the condominium association or its respective board?

The condominium association and its board of directors has an obvious interest in keeping their community in top shape. (especially when they live there) They own their units and the community is their home. It makes perfect sense that they want their home to be a place that is safe, quiet, and well kept. When more owners live in a condominium community, there is a higher chance that more people will be involved in their community out of the desire to protect their investment. 

When more owners rent their units, there is a lower chance that the tenants will have the same level of interest in keeping the unit or common areas in the same condition as the owners would. This is certainly not because renters are destructive or careless. It’s simply because they have less financial incentive to be as involved in the community. If they don’t own the unit, how could it make sense for them to care about what the unit is worth in ten years?

Rental caps are put in place by associations who understand that investment properties are an essential part of the real estate market, but they elect to limit the amount of rent-able units. This is in an effort to preserve the value of the property as well as increase the desirability of the community to like-minded condominium owners with a similar desire to live in a community of owners. 

When you come across a rental cap, keep in mind what your goals are. All condominium associations are unique, and each respective board may have different rules for different reasons. Make sure to take your time with the purchasing process. If there is something you don’t understand about a unit or an association, remember that going forward with a transaction without a full understanding of it can lead to headaches down the road. If you bought a condo to rent out and later find out there is a rental cap in the community and you can’t rent your unit, it could end in foreclosure. (See More) We know condos, and our brokers understand how to read these essential documents to determine if you are making the right choice for your goals. If you have any questions, we are able to answer them and are happy to help you with your search.

KMRES Q&A: Why do we feel it is important to specialize in condos?

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At Kappes Miller Real Estate Services, we focus on condos. For 40 years, our parent company, Kappes Miller Management has been managing condominiums in the PNW. Over the years of managing condominiums throughout the PNW, the general lack of knowledge surrounding condominium transactions became more and more apparent to the team at Kappes Miller Management. Due to many factors unique to the world of condominiums, it is rare to find a real estate broker who knows enough about condos to truly understand how to navigate each transaction successfully. There was a clear need for a real estate brokerage that specialized in condominiums.

Kappes Miller Real Estate Services is that brokerage. By offering brokerage services, we are able to provide our clients with the knowledge of 40 years of condominium management. If there is something that could cause an issue in a transaction, chances are, we’ve seen it before and know how to handle the issue if not prevent it altogether. Kappes Miller Real Estate Services is in the unique position to offer our clients brokerage services with knowledge only possible through decades of condominium management experience.

3 Simple Things That Transform Your Condo's Balcony.

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Your condo is your home. Even though you may not have a yard, you probably have a balcony. And in the summertime, your condo’s balcony is your “yard.” Since it’s likely your only private outdoor space and we only have a few months of perfect weather here in the pacific northwest, it makes sense to make the most of your outdoor time this summer. And making the most of the space you have is something condo owners do best.

The most thoughtfully designed small spaces take into consideration the scale of the space. In the case of the average-sized condo balcony, the space is small. This means taking measurements of your balcony and using those measurements to determine the size of your furniture or decorations you want on the balcony. In most cases, the over sized patio furniture of suburbia paired with a lounger and a hammock simply isn’t practical.

A small table and chair setup is a great start. It’s easy to find a pair of nice, comfortable patio chairs with a small coffee table for under $200. A great time to be on your balcony is to enjoy the evening and wind down. This makes a set of string lights a great addition. Most home retailers sell bistro-style string lights for around $20, and on a small balcony, all you need is one string. Hang the lights above your space and enjoy the warm glow on a nice summer evening! Adding some plants to a balcony is a perfect way to top off your little outdoor space. Pick out a pot and a plant that you love and set it on your coffee table in between the chairs to provide a little company for watching the sunset and enjoying your summer evenings on your condo balcony.

Big spaces are fun, and while the idyllic scenes of suburbia seem to fill every magazine, most private outdoor spaces in an urban environment are relatively small. Making the most of your balcony will add a whole new thing to love about  your condo. Make sure you check with your HOA about any restrictions that may apply to your balcony, and if you have any questions about your condo, we would love to have a conversation. 

3 Reasons Why Seattle Summers Are Sensational.

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If you’re not from here, Seattle in the summer likely brings to mind some Seattle-based movie scene. The rain is coming down in sheets, the sky is a permanent shade of grey and everyone has an umbrella and rain boots even though it’s the middle of July. If you are from here, you know that it rarely rains in July, and even when it is raining, most Seattleites go about their normal business without an umbrella or boots, because, aside from rain just being water (and water dries), it could be sunny in fifteen minutes anyway, so why bother with an umbrella?

The truth about Seattle in the summer months is that it transforms. In the ~93 days that make up a summer season, the rain subsides for the most part and we’re treated to stunning clear blue skies, weather that is neither too hot nor too cold, and our lakes even warm up to temperatures that are comfortable to swim in! 

1 - Outdoor Events.

Summer in Seattle is cause for celebration. And Seattle knows how to party. The city and surrounding areas erupt with life as soon as we get our first week of sun. From May to September, there are hundreds of outdoor events ranging from street fairs like the legendary Fremont Fair to outdoor concerts in the Woodinville wine country. We have a short window to enjoy warm weather and sun, and we make the most of it.

2 - Natural Beauty.

Seattle is located within an hour’s drive to a wide variety of outdoor activities. The expansive hiking, camping and climbing opportunities offered in the Cascade Mountains are only 50 miles east of downtown, and it’s a straight shot on I-90. Seattle itself is surrounded by water and has over 6,400 acres of parks like the famous Gasworks Park on Lake Union for everyone to enjoy. Waterfalls like the 268’ Snoqualmie Falls are only a 30 minute drive from Seattle and offer instant tranquility and the sense that you really are away from it all, even though you are just in your “backyard.”

3 - The San Juan Islands

Okay, this could fall into the natural beauty section, but it could also be its own blog post. The San Juan Islands are a collection of islands in the northern part of the Salish Sea very close to the Canadian Border. The Islands are a step back in time, and offer a truly slower pace of life. The summer time turns the Islands into a summer camp-like setting. Whether you get ice cream in downtown Friday Harbor and walk the shops, or hike Moran State Park’s trails searching for rope swings and hidden lakes on Orcas Island, the San Juan Islands are a dream summer vacation spot. The best part?  It takes less than 4 hours to get to the town of Friday Harbor from the Seattle city center and includes a scenic drive and breathtaking ferry ride through the Salish Sea. The San Juan Islands are a short trip away, but promise to leave a lasting impression.

Those of us who live in Seattle year-round do so under dark grey skies and rain for the better part of the year. It should be no surprise that when the summer months roll around, the city changes. We know it’s temporary so we take advantage of it. It’s impossible to list all of the opportunities for summer fun in Seattle, and impossible to experience it all even when you do live here. Seattle is a one of a kind place and I am proud to call Seattle my home. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any summer activity suggestions or if you have any questions about Kappes Miller Real Estate Services and how we serve the Seattle area.

The KMRES Blog and What to Expect.

We love to write, we love to inform and we love to help others learn.

This blog is the home for helpful condo tips, interesting information and features from industry professionals. Expect long form content about things that we find interesting updated weekly and written from a real estate broker’s point of view.

Inquiries for features, interviews or guest articles, please refer to our contact page.