Neighborhood Spotlight: Manito/Cannon Hill

We are smack in the middle of highlighting different neighborhoods in and around Spokane. Today were jumping into the gorgeous and historic neighborhood of Manito and Cannon Hill.

Manito Park isn’t just the main area of the neighborhood – it’s the center of the whole South Hill. When residents of the South Hill are asked where they live, the response is typically “west” or “east” of Manito. A little history of the neighborhood:

Manito was originally called Montrose Park. In 1888, the plan was to make it a residential area and a streetcar line was built along Grand Boulevard, but that was as far as it got for several years, as the original developer lost all his money in the depression of 1893. 

Many of the homes here were built in the early 1900s. Mature trees line the streets and the homes are each so unique. They all have features that you just can’t recreate anymore! There are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby, and it’s a short 5 minute drive downtown.

Top spots

Restaurant

This one goes to The Scoop. It isn’t your typical “restaurant” but it is amazing and the BEST ice cream in

town! They have a rotating menu that makes their ice cream in-shop using liquid nitrogen. They have unique flavors, such as: white chocolate lavender, cookie butter cookie dough and thai iced tea. I had to go visit again this week – just to make sure my recommendation was still as amazing as it was last month. Strictly for research, of course…

Activity

How could I choose anything except for Manito Park here!? The beautiful gardens, the duck pond and several walking trails…it’s a great place to spend a beautiful spring or summer day. Fun fact: at one time, the park was a zoo. There were monkeys and penguins, bears and various large cats. And you could hand feed all of the animals. Yeah…even the bears. The Great Depression was the demise of the zoo.

Coffee Shop

This one goes to Rockwood Bakery. It’s just across the street from Manito Park and this spot never disappoints. They have great coffee, but even better quiche.

 

Schools

As far as schools in the area go, there are several elementary schools: Wilson, Hutton, Roosevelt, and Jefferson. Students typically go on to Sacajawea Middle School and then Lewis and Clark High School. 

Follow the links of each school above to find more information about those schools.

 

This is one of the most historic neighborhoods in all of Spokane, but there are many more areas to highlight! Catch the next The Welcome Mat to find out which neighborhood is next.

 


Posted on July 2, 2019 at 3:21 PM
Alyssa Curnutt | Posted in Neighborhood Spotlight |

Matthew Gardner’s Mortgage Forecast for 2019

Mortgage rates are dropping, but what is the cause? Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, dives into that question and also what we can expect mortgage rates to do the rest of 2019 and into 2020.


Posted on June 26, 2019 at 12:16 PM
Alyssa Curnutt | Posted in Buyers |

Neighborhood Spotlight: Indian Trail

We’re in the middle of the Neighborhood Spotlight series – showing off different neighborhoods around Spokane. So the next up in this feature is Indian Trail.

This neighborhood has grown a lot over the last few years, with several new apartment complexes and duplexes going in. It’s about a 20 minute drive northwest of downtown Spokane. If you’re looking for mature trees and plenty of nature, you better check out the Indian Trail neighborhood.

Top Spots

Restaurant

This one goes to JJ’s Tap and Smokehouse. Barbecue is their main fare and the brisket is amazing!

Activity

The best activity is a little north of the neighborhood at Indian Painted Rocks. This gorgeous area is just off of Rutter Parkway. It’s an amazing place to hike, right along the Little Spokane River. Be prepared to see some wildlife too! Birds, deer, bald eagles and more are known to be out and about. The highlight of this area, though, is a rock near the entrance that has the remnants of a Native American painting on it. It’s believe that members of the Spokane tribe created the paintings back in 1750, and they are protected by steel bars now.

Coffee Shop Pizza

I typically do “best coffee shop” in this spot, but there are no local spots in Indian Trail! I mean, Starbucks never fails but that seems like a cop out. So instead I’ll give best pizza! Adelo’s is awesome. Their calzones are super good and they have a really fun, family-friendly trivia night on Friday evenings.

Schools

Depending on where your house is in Indian Trail, students either typically head to Indian Trail or Woodridge Elementary schools, then on to Salk Middle School and either Shadle Park or North Central High School. Click the schools here to find out more about each.

There are a whole lot of awesome neighborhoods in Spokane left to explore! Next time we will head over to the South Hill.

 


Posted on June 21, 2019 at 2:10 PM
Alyssa Curnutt | Posted in Neighborhood Spotlight |

Neighborhood Spotlight: Garland District



A little more than a year ago, I did a Neighborhood Spotlight series showcasing several neighborhoods in and around Spokane. It was so popular that I decided to do it again! Over the next few weeks, we’ll dive in to Indian Trail, Millwood, Shadle, a couple South Hill neighborhoods and more! This week, we’re diving in to the Garland District.

Photo courtesy of KREM

Garland is about a 10 minute drive from downtown Spokane and is easy to identify thanks to anchor spots like the Garland Theater. The main street is an eclectic, hip area dotted with fun shops and restaurants, including: an art studio, a guitar shop, a thrift store, a coffee shop and a couple pubs.

The neighborhood was establish back in 1910, when the street railway system was built. It really grew over the next 40 years, when Ferguson’s Cafe, the Milk Bottle and Garland Theater opened up. All three of which are eligible to be on the Historic Register. A fire destroyed Fergusons and badly damaged the Milk Bottle back in 2011, causing more than a million dollars in damage. Firefighters said it was “human started” but didn’t come out and say arson was the cause.

Garland’s Top Spots

Top Restaurant

This one is a tie. How do you pick between the Milk Bottle and Ferguson’s?! I say, get some lunch at Fergusons and then head next door for a milkshake. The food at Fergusons your typical diner-fare. This spot opened in the 30’s and has been featured in several movies: most famously Vision Quest and Benny and Joon. The Milk Bottle opened shortly thereafter, with its sister location just off I-90 downtown.

Top Activity

My top activity is to grab dinner or a drink at Bon Bon and then heading to the Garland Theater to catch a movie. They are in the same building, making it easy!

Top Coffee Shop

And finally, top coffee shop goes to the Rocket Bakery. There are so many of these in town, but they are SO GOOD. They serve up great coffee with tasty baked goods to go along with it. Hint: get the pink cookie. They’re known for it…for good reason!

Schools

The schools that students in the area usually attend are: Willard Elementary, Glover Middle School, North Central and Shadle High Schools. You can click each school to find out the statistics on those schools.

In the next video, we will head a bit farther north to discover more about the Indian Trail neighborhood. To see past neighborhoods in this series, click here.


Posted on June 5, 2019 at 11:59 AM
Alyssa Curnutt | Posted in Neighborhood Spotlight |

Final walkthrough: When does it happen and what to look for



So your offer has been accepted, you have gone through the inspection, and the appraisal came in at-value. You’re just a signing away from homeownership. Oh, and something your real estate agent calls a “final walkthrough.”  Let’s dive into what a final walk-through is, when it’s done and the most common issues that crop up during them.

First of all, the final walk-through takes place a few days before your signing. Think of it as your final chance to point out any issues before closing: because good luck getting a seller to do something after the fact.

Here are the most common issues and what to look for during your final walk:

Make sure the house is clean

This is typically a condition in offers. It says: seller shall clean the interiors of any structure and remove all trash, debris and rubbish. So if you’re selling, sweep and vacuum! If you’re buying, make sure you’re being realistic and don’t expect a spotless home. That’s usually your job once you move in. sometimes sellers will leave old paint cans to be helpful, but if you want them gone, now’s the time to say so.

Make sure agreed-upon repairs are made

Next, check to be sure any agreed-upon repairs were done. Sometimes the seller just forgot to do them…or hoped you would forget! As an agent I always ask for receipts for work that needed to be done by a professional about a week before closing. If it’s caught at the final walkthrough, it’s likely going to cause a delay in you getting house keys. If it’s a simple repair that the homeowner could do themselves—like replacing a faucet or adding carbon monoxide detectors- ask for a photo of the work to prevent any surprises.

Make sure items are still there

Make sure the seller hasn’t removed anything they agreed to leave…and that there aren’t any secret swaps for lesser quality items. If it happens, it’s typically with the washer, dryer, or refrigerator.  Sellers: always read the contract or ask your agent before removing personal property. Buyers: check it all out at the walkthrough!

Make sure there’s no damage

The last issue is damage from moving, so check the walls for massive knicks from moving a huge dresser or 15 holes from where a mounted TV used to hang. Sellers, you can take the TV and mount if it wasn’t in the contract, but you have to patch the wall and paint. Don’t leave it looking like a shooting range target.

 

Most walk-throughs have no problems at all, and if they do, they’re easily fixed. If you do find a problem, typically closing will be delayed until the issues are fixed. The other option is for the seller to give the buyer a concession. For instance, if the seller agreed to remove a bunch of firewood from the yard and it wasn’t done, they could give the buyer $150 toward closing costs to get it done. Both parties would have to agree on the amount and that this is an acceptable remedy.

A final walkthrough isn’t an inspection and it isn’t the time to start asking for things. The purpose is to make sure the house is in the same condition as when you first saw it, that any repairs you agreed upon have been made and that it’s cleaned up. 

 


Posted on May 10, 2019 at 12:15 PM
Alyssa Curnutt | Posted in Buyers, Sellers |

Matthew Gardner’s 2019 Q1 Report: Eastern WA


Posted on May 6, 2019 at 11:42 AM
Alyssa Curnutt | Posted in Buyers, Listings, Real Estate Agents |

Facts about Spokane



Maybe you’ve lived in Spokane your whole life or maybe you’re new to the area and just started to explore this wonderful city. Here are some fun facts and a little history I bet you didn’t know about Spokane.

Birthplace of Father’s Day

Spokane is actually the birthplace of Father’s Day! The very first Father’s Day celebration took place back in June of 1910 at the YMCA. Lyndon Johnson officially proclaimed it a holiday in 1966 and it became a national holiday when signed into law by Richard Nixon 6 years later.

Original name? Spokan Falls

The city originally started as “Spokan Falls” – no “e” in Spokane. It was incorporated back in 1881 and the “e” was added two years later. Ten years later, “falls” was dropped from the name and its just been good ol’ Spokane ever since.

Great Fire of 1889

Have you heard about the Great Fire of 1889? It was a huge fire that took out all of downtown Spokane. The whole thing started at Wolfe’s lunch counter and lodge house – which was near Railroad Avenue and Post Street…that alley behind the Davenport Hotel Parking Garage. It could have been a lantern getting tipped over or as a kitchen fire. It started as a pretty small fire, but due to a problem at the pump station, there was no water pressure in the fire hydrants. In an effort to stop it, the mayor at the time ordered demolition of several dozen buildings. It didn’t help much and the fire just had to run its course until winds died down. In total, 32 blocks of the city were destroyed. It was a bad year for fires in Washington, as Seattle and Ellensburg were also destroyed by fires.

World’s Fair of 1974

Did you know we have the world’s fair of 1974 to thank for our well-known pavillion? At the time Spokane was the smallest city to ever host a World’s Fair, and it brought in about 5 and a half million people to our town. A HUGE revitalization project took place to get the city ready, focusing on the downtown waterfront and pavilion itself.

 

 


Posted on April 19, 2019 at 4:20 PM
Alyssa Curnutt | Posted in Neighborhood Spotlight |

New construction vs existing homes



New construction or moving into an established home? On the surface, new and shiny seems like the obviously answer. New builds are – well – new! You can customize the cabinets, the floor plans, new appliances… it all sounds great. BUT is it really the best choice? Today we’ll dive into the differences between new construction and existing home purchases and why you might choose one over the other.

Cost

The average residential resale value in Spokane for last month was a little more than $245,000, while the average cost for new construction homes on less than an acre was almost $370,000. That’s about a $125,000 price difference. It really adds up once you start adding the cost of upgrades or any fees that result in changing the floor plan. Plus there is much more opportunity for some negotiating when you’re buying an existing property. That option isn’t really available with new construction: it is what it is. You also have to consider the cost of adding fencing, landscaping, grass, etc. to new construction. That can tack on an additional $10,000 – plus time and effort.

Everyone knows there’s more to homeownership than just the listing price, though: repairs and renovations add up! That’s one nice thing about new construction. They are unlikely to need big repairs for several years and if they do? It’s typically covered under warranty. Plus renovations are few and far between, because you can do all that customizing when you are building!

Timing

New builds can take six to nine months to complete. This could be a positive or a negative, depending on your situation. You have more time to gather a down payment and there’s less competition…but you’re waiting almost a year for your home to finish. Once you find a home to buy on the resale route, you can move-in in about 30-45 days.

Location

New construction is typically happening where there’s a lot of land…and that’s usually where there is a long commute. You’ll likely be on the outskirts of town, which is a HUGE draw to many people, but an equally big downfall for many others.

Summary

So to wrap up, existing homes give buyers more flexibility in cost and location, and you can move into them a whole lot faster. However, with new construction homes you won’t have to deal with repairs for awhile, you are typically further from the hubbub of the city and there’s more time to stockpile your down payment. You just need to look at all the variables and determine what’s best for you and your family.

 

 

 


Posted on April 3, 2019 at 10:38 AM
Alyssa Curnutt | Posted in Buyers |

Getting pre-approved: What it is and why you need it



So you’re starting the house hunt – or at least entertaining the prospect – and you’ve heard step one is getting pre-approved. Today we’ll dive into what “pre-approval” means, why it’s important and the documents a lender will likely need to make it happen.

What is a pre-approval?

First of all, pre-approval is a mortgage amount that a lender is saying 1) he or she is confident you have the ability to make the necessary down payment of X amount and 2) you have an income that can sufficiently cover mortgage payments for the pre-approval amount. It’s not a commitment or a guarantee to loan you that amount of money. Why? Because it still has to go through underwriting once you have an accepted offer. It’s the lender saying: “I am 99% sure they can qualify just fine for this amount and I have gotten to this number by checking into their financials.”

What will the lender need from me?

What financials are they talking about? Well you’ll need to provide income information, such as: a couple months of pay stubs, tax returns and W-2s from the last two years, bonuses, child support, etc. The lender will also need to see your other assets like bank account statements or investments. And finally, he or she will need to check out your credit score. Those are the basics, but they may ask for other documents or information to get you pre-approved.

Why do I have to get pre-approved?

So why is it so important to get pre-approved? First of all, in a competitive seller’s market like we have today, offers aren’t getting the time of day if you don’t supply a pre-approval letter. It proves the ability to purchase the home from a financial standpoint AND that you have done due diligence of getting pre-approved – so you’re serious about this! Plus, do it for your own sake. There isn’t much worse than falling in love with a house, deciding to make an offer for $250,000, only to find out you can only get a loan for $240,000. You might know you have amazing credit or the ability to make a large down payment, but it is so important to take this step early and make sure all your ducks are in a row.

Can’t I just get pre-qualified?

There is also a huge difference between getting pre-qualified and getting pre-approved. A quick 10 minute call with a lender, telling him or her that you “make X amount of money, can put Y amount down and your yearly expenses are Z” can get you pre-qualified. But that doesn’t hold very much weight with sellers. It’s more for your own information. Getting pre-approved will prove to be worthwhile.

How long does the process take?

The whole process of getting pre-approved can take about a week or two – depending on how long it takes you to get the documents together. So if you’re considering buying a home, get the process started early! It’s free, there’s no harm in it and the pre-approval will last for about three months.

If you’re looking for a lender to get started with, let me know. I have a couple tried-and-trues whose contact information I can gladly send your way. I promise they’ll help you out and make the whole process pretty painless!


Posted on March 22, 2019 at 2:16 PM
Alyssa Curnutt | Posted in Buyers |

First steps toward selling a house


So you’ve decided to sell your house. Well, now what? Today we’re going over how to get the ball rolling and what you need to do before all those potential buyers come traipsing through your door.

First you need to get ahold of an agent who knows what they’re doing! The first step is for them to come to your home and do an initial walkthrough. It will only take about 30 minutes. This allows the agent to get a feel/layout of the house and take some preliminary photos for their own recollection when they build the CMA (we’ll get to more about that in a second.) This is also the time where you and the agent can make sure you’re on the same page: chat about your goals, an ideal timeline and any expectations you have.

The agent will then put together an CMA, or a comparative market analysis. This is a compilation of nearby homes most similar to yours that have recently sold. The agent will take everything into account: from the square footage and numbers of bedrooms or bathrooms, to the age of the furnace and roof, to the condition and updatedness of the whole shebang. At the end, the agent will likely produce a range for what your home could likely sell for in the current market. It is so important that you listen to the agent’s expertise in regards to the price, because pricing a home too high has all sorts of negative impacts…but that’s a discussion for another day.

Next, you’ll meet again to go over the CMA, talk numbers and the agent can explain how he or she got to the number that they did. They’ll also go over their marketing strategies, revisit your timeline and chat about staging ideas. During this time, the agent may also make recommendations in terms of repairs to be made to the home. If you’re open to the constructive criticism, it can greatly help your end goal – whether that’s a price you net or a quick sale. The agent will put their “buyer hat” on and go through your house, pointing out small changes you could make that will really help elimiate any red flags for potential buyers. These changes can be deferred mainaence issues or minor repairs, such as changing light bulbs or a hole in the wall. Or other times it’s something unsightly, like a neon green bathroom they recommend you paint or something larger like worn carpeting that needs replacement. Sometimes it’s an unpleasant smell, where something as small as moving the cat’s litter box will help.

At this point, some sellers are ready to sign the paperwork immediately, while others want to think about the listing price or even chat with other agents about listing the home. Both options are completely fine. However, once you decide to move forward with getting your house on the market, I recommend signing the agent’s paperwork as soon as you are comfortable. This allows the agent to get it all inputted into the system and uploaded in the MLS. Then, once the photos are taken and you are ready to go “live,” it’s as simple as pressing submit.

During the time between signing the paperwork and going live, get to cleaning and making those repairs. You need to clean and scrub every single surface in your house to make sure a buyer’s thoughts are “wow, they really took great care of this home.” That will help you make the most you can on the sale AND sell it ASAP. Until next time, thanks for joining me on the welcome mat.


Posted on February 22, 2019 at 8:52 AM
Alyssa Curnutt | Posted in Sellers |