2023 Round Up & Happy Holidays!

Yes, Cally & JR are living in Scotland right now! They hoped to spend 6 months here each year but bringing their dogs back and forth turned out to be near impossible (the UK is really strict!). Cally is still overseeing ADDO Real Estate as the Designated Broker, and making sure our work is tip top.

Meanwhile Danielle (co-owner & daughter) is running the day-to-day business in Seattle, and Teresa Hess is working her broker magic out on Whidbey Island. We miss Cally, JR & the pups, but they are enjoying the beauty of Scotland, as well as the work they are doing at the Findhorn Foundation.

With interest rates bouncing up, homes prices not budging, and inventory still tight, it’s been a tough year for those wanting to buy or sell. Many buyers are sitting tight to ride this out (however long that takes!), potential sellers are experiencing what’s been dubbed the Golden Handcuff Phenomenon, and still others are having to move away or find more creative living and/or financing options. Rates may come down a bit in 2024, but prices in and around Seattle could stay stubbornly high due to lack of inventory!

Despite this (and everything else going on in the world!) we can’t help but feel thankful for what we have and the community that surrounds us. Most of our business is referrals from friends, so we have history together, which makes the work all the more rewarding. Just as you have been there for us, we want to make sure you know we are also here for you. Whether you want to chat about current market conditions in your neighborhood, need referrals for home professionals, or just want to grab a coffee, don’t hesitate to call!

Sending you a little magic, a lot of love, and a holiday season filled with warmth & peace!

Homeowner Resources – During the Covid-19 Outbreak

Mortgage help is available

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are implementing a number of relief strategies to help borrowers during this critical time. Here’s what they are doing.

If coronavirus has caused job loss, income reduction, sickness, or other issues that impact your ability to make your monthly mortgage payment, relief options are available.

  • Homeowners impacted by this national emergency are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months
  • Homeowners in a forbearance plan will not incur late fees
  • Credit bureau reporting of past due payments of borrowers in a forbearance plan as a result of hardships attributable to this national emergency is suspended
  • After forbearance, a servicer must work with the borrower on a permanent workout option to help maintain or reduce monthly payment amounts as necessary, including a loan modification
  • Foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days

These generally apply to anyone who owns a home, whether it’s your primary residence, a second home or a rental. For more info visit Fannie Mae – Know Your Options or Freddie Mac – Mortgage Help.

More resources for Seattle Homeowners and Renters

Don’t just stop paying your mortgage

Please, please don’t just stop paying your mortgage though! If you are currently in, or expect to be in, financial distress in the coming weeks or months, CALL YOUR LENDER! This is the company you pay your monthly mortgage to. They will work with you to figure if your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and help you navigate the necessary steps for getting relief! Without entering into an official agreement with your lender first, late and missed payments will be reported to credit bureaus. NOT A GOOD THING!

It’s also important to understand the difference between a mortgage forbearance plan (usually comes with a balloon payment at end) and a mortgage deferment plan (no balloon payment, just resume paying regular monthly amount). Learn more…

Mortgage relief offered for workers who lost jobs due to coronavirus closures

Utility companies are also stepping up

Puget Sound Energy has announced that they “Will not be disconnecting customers for non-payment during this time”, and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has suspended shut-offs for customers of Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities. Ok phew! But again, it’s critical that you call them to work out a plan, before you just stop sending them a check.

Puget Sound Energy – Covid-19 Response
Seattle Public Utilities – Contact
Seattle City Light – Contact

There is a moratorium on evictions in Seattle right now

If you are a landlord, it’s also important to know that as of March 14th, residential evictions for non-payment of rent are prohibited for 30 days.

FAQs Covid-19 Eviction Moratorium

Seattle’s New Backyard Cottage Rules

A Backyard Cottage, also known as a DADU or “detached accessory dwelling unit”, is a small, standalone house or carriage house (above a garage), located on your property but separate from your main home.

Contemporary Cottage in Greenwood Designed by Live Work Play

Backyard cottages have been increasing in popularity in urban areas like Seattle because of their many benefits, including:

  • Providing a sensible density increase in existing single-family neighborhoods;
  • Empowering homeowners (versus only developers) to create new and more affordable housing options;
  • Creating space for extended family, friends or guests, while also maintaining privacy.

Seattle has allowed backyard cottages since 2009, but with many caveats that worked to restrict rather then encourage their numbers. Fast forward to 2019 and we finally have the code changes we need to really start seeing progress.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the major changes to backyard cottage rules, which took effect in August 2019:

  • Lot size requirement now 3,200sf (was 4,000sf);
  • Maximum size now 1,000sf (was 800sf);
  • The owner-occupancy requirement was removed (both the main house and cottage can be rented);
  • The off-street parking requirement was removed;
  • Two ADUs now allowed*, in addition to the main house.

*Two ADUs (accessory dwelling units) are allowed if one is attached to the house (like a basement MIL) and the other is detached (a backyard cottage). Two backyard cottages are also allowed, but only if they are built green.

One question we know people will be asking is whether this means Tiny Houses are now allowed. Unfortunately a Tiny House on wheels is still considered a recreational vehicle, and by King County zoning code definition, a recreational vehicle or park model RV is not a dwelling unit and may not be used as a full-time residence. Although whether Seattle is enforcing that these days, seems up for debate! A Tiny House with a foundation, on other hand, has to be permitted as a backyard cottage.

Like any other major remodel or addition, creating an in-home apartment or building a backyard cottage means permits and building codes must be met. Seattle is working to expedite that process as well, but it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional or attend a workshop first. If you need referrals for either, drop us a line!

Helpful Links

Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections: Accessory Dwelling Unit (Mother-in-Law Apartment) – Seattle.gov

Accessory Dwelling Units – Seattle.gov

It’s about to get easier to build a backyard cottage in Seattle – Phinneywood.com

New Backyard Cottage Rules Allow More Density in Seattle’s Single-Family Neighborhoods – Crosscut.com

Seattle Says Yes to the Best Rules in America for Backyard Cottages – Sightline.org

Fall 2018 Seattle Market Update

In the news…

“Seattle’s housing market has cooled more in recent months than any other metro area in the country, according to Zillow. Just recently, prices were rising faster here than anywhere else; now, Seattle is 12th on a list of the biggest 35 metro areas.”
– Mike Rosenberg, Seattle Times

Is Amazon responsible for Seattle’s housing cooldown?
– GeekWire, 9/8/18

Improving supply helps slow escalating home prices in Western Washington
– Kirkland Reporter/Northwest MLS, 9/7/18

Price cuts increasingly common in Seattle home listings
– Curbed Seattle, 8/27/18

Is Seattle’s housing market taking a turn? 
– Seattle PI, 8/24/18

Buyers see some hope in cooling Seattle real estate market
– King5 News, 8/23/18

We’re here to answer your questions about Seattle’s cooling market and what it means for buyers and sellers alike, so drop us a line any time!

NW EcoBuilding Guild – Always Tackling Sticky Green Subjects!

We had to laugh when we saw what the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild‘s topic was for their March educational event – What Sticks to What?. That certainly caught (and held!) our attention long enough to find out more about (what a lot of folks would consider) a seemingly boring topic (sealants, adhesives & tapes, oh boy!).

BUT industry pros, homeowners, DIYers and green aficionados beware! The Guild’s educational events are never dull, and we don’t expect this one to be either!

So, join us on March 23rd, 7-9pm, for:

What Sticks To What: Sealants, Adhesives, Tapes & Indoor Air Quality
LEARN FROM THE PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY as our panel discusses indoor and exterior solutions that are part of changing best construction practices in the Northwest. Hear about materials, applications, and the finer points of innovation.

Facilitated by Tony Case of RDH Building Science, with speakers:

  • Robert Haverlock, Green Building Consultant who will talk about principles and products for indoor air quality, and share recent experiences.
  • Sharon Libby of Walsh Construction who will talk about a comprehensive study of exterior sealants, and shares some of her insights and experiences on high-performance building enclosures.

Where: Phinney Neighborhood Center, Lower Brick Building, 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
Cost: Free, but $10 donation suggested for non-Guild members. More event info.

Must See Projects! 2015 Green Home Tour

NWGHTThe 5th annual NW Green Home Tour, hosted by the Seattle Chapter of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, is only a few weeks away!

Saturday & Sunday, April 25th & 26th, 11am to 5pm

With a wide array of projects featuring everything from solar power to rainwater recycling, tour guides and project team members on-site, and a plethora of information and resources, this is a fantastic opportunity to really get inspired first-hand! Plus, it’s FREE!

We have to admit we are a little blown away by the sheer number of great sites on the tour this year (oh how to choose!), but we never-the-less made our selection of must-sees! Note that sites are open Saturday or Sunday only.

Open Saturday…

View Haus 5

View Haus 5

View Haus 5 in Madison Valley
Built by award winning Cascade Built & designed by b9 Architects, View Haus 5 is Seattle’s first Passive House-constructed townhome project. With 5 unique floor plans these 5-Star Built Green homes are visionary and built to last.

While in the Central area you might also stop by the Madrona Passive House.

Urban Haven in Magnolia
This modest 1940’s home was extensively remodeled in 2011 to increase natural light, energy efficiency, garden views, and unique storage space, and is now fully integrated into the sustainable garden, featuring cisterns, permeable paving, a small green roof, a compost fence, urban livestock and a large kitchen garden.


21 Acres in Woodinville
Visit 21 Acres, a LEED Platinum certified facility with the unique distinction of being fully integrated with 21 Acres’ own bio-diverse Organic farm. Walk the farm, shop the market, see the commercial kitchen and experience the entire green-built campus.

While in Woodinville you might also want to stop by Clearwater Commons.

Open Sunday…

Emerald Star Net Zero House in Ballard
Dwell Development’s first attempt to certify a project at the rigorous Emerald Star Built Green level. In fact, it will be the first single-family spec house in the Northwest to attempt such a feat. It’s more like 10 Star Built Green!

While in Ballard you might also stop by the Plum House by Green Canopy Homes.

 City Cabins

City Cabins

City Cabins in North Seattle
Imagine living in a net-zero home with enough juice left over to charge the car! This is Martha Rose Construction’s latest 5-Star Built Green project, where you will find garden roofs and rain cisterns, stained concrete and stainless steel, and much more.

While in North Seattle you might also stop by the Greenwood LEED Platinum Prefab.

Retreat in the Trees in Sandpoint
SIPs construction, triple-pane windows, super-efficient ductless heat pump, LED lighting, compact, efficient appliances, low-flow water fixtures, and elegant use of a small space are just some of the features of this 400sf ADU.

While in NE Seattle you might also stop by the Lifestream Backyard Cottage.


Housing Makes Headlines, Again!

Thanks to our friends at Sound Community Bank for sharing the buzz! Seattle’s housing market is already getting off to a strong start in 2015, and these factors are no doubt contributing.

In early January a sharp decline in interest rates, coupled with buzzing announcements to reductions onsidebar_835 popular federally-insured home loans, resulted in both purchase and refinance volume at their highest in six years, according to a CNBC report.

After rates dropped in the first full week of the year, total home loan applications almost doubled in the week following. By mid-month, purchase applications were two percent higher than the same time last year, and demand for refinances was at its highest in eight months. According to a Wall Street Journal report, rates on the popular 30 year fixed home loan were at their lowest since May 2013.

Big Housing Announcements
The housing industry was already the talk of the town after President Barack Obama announced cuts to mortgage insurance premiums on new government-insured Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. The reductions will result in more affordable monthly housing payments and provide new opportunities for as many as 2 million borrowers over the next three years. In other mortgage insurance news, legislation was again passed which makes any payments on mortgage insurance premiums in 2014 tax deductible.

It may be too soon to tell whether the housing market will continue on its strong start to 2015, or slow down. “We have to see strong and sustained income growth before we’re going to see housing make a significant move upward,” said Doug Duncan, the Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, in a recent Wall Street Journal report. A December Fannie Mae survey also revealed that only 64 percent of consumers said it was a good time to buy a home.

The Bottom Line
Continued low rates and higher demand for popular first-timer home loans may drive up housing activity. If you have any questions regarding housing or know of friends, family or colleagues who wish to discuss buying or refinancing a home, please get in touch.

Sources: CNBC, Wall Street Journal


As always, feel free to contact us to discuss how this may affect your buying or selling plans in 2015!

Food For Thought 2014

Happy New Year!

To start 2015 we thought it would be fun to pass along a handful of articles that caught our attention in 2014. This is not a list of the year’s top headlines or critical issues, but simply interesting food for thought to mull over as we start the new year. Enjoy!

What do you get if you map coming climate disasters? Hello Pacific Northwest! – LA Times Op-Ed
“The Northwest may well become a climate refuge during the upcoming century.”
Related…Climate refugees, DO NOT MOVE TO THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST – Grist

Walking: The secret ingredient for health, wealth and more exciting neighborhoods. – Yes!
“Even the American dream is being remodeled to meet the public’s growing enthusiasm for walking.”

11 Tiny House Villages Redefining Home – Sharable
“But as the tiny house movement grows, so too does the desire to live a simple life in community.”
Related…Tiny Houses for the Homeless: An Affordable Solution Catches On – Yes!

If America cared about the planet as much as the NFL, this is what it would look like. – Grist
“What if people showed the same zeal toward environmentalism as they did sports?”

Most people say they could get rid of tons of stuff and still be happy. – Time
“For many consumers, it makes more sense to “share” (usually for a fee, of course) rather than buy…”
Related… How Cities Can Be Designed To Help – Or Hinder – Sharing – Yes!

Climate change: The hottest thing in Science Fiction – Grist
“Post-apocalyptic sci-fi isn’t new. But you may have noticed an uptick in books set in the wake of some kind of major climate disaster.”
Related…Cli-Fi is Real – Huff Post

No we’re not “environmentalists”. It’s more complicated then that. – Grist
“So go ahead, call us “environmentalists.” If we don’t answer, it’s because we’re too busy trying to make things better.”

Join us for the 2014 Green Building Slam!

We are excited to announce that Fifth Street Commons has been chosen as 1 of the 10 projects to be featured at this year’s Seattle Green Building Slam! This annual event, hosted by the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, celebrates “remarkable green building projects” around the Puget Sound, and presenters are given just 10 minutes to tell the story of their project!

On deck to present a (very brief!) story of how Fifth Street Commons evolved over the past 2 years will be JR Fulton and Ross Chapin. With project co-conspirators Cally Fulton and Debra Chapin cheering them on of course! It’s going to be a fun, high-energy evening with lots of great folks, as well as delicious food and drink. We hope you’ll join us!

When:  Saturday, November 15th, 5-9pm
Where:  University of Washington, Kane Hall (free parking!)
Tickets:  $25 ($10 for students) – Buy your tickets today!

We are of course only 1 of 10 projects being featured, and are honored to be presenting alongside our friends from Heartwood Builders, who are showcasing a wonderful project they completed this year in West Seattle, as well as the folks from Cascade Built, who are pushing the envelope with their passive houses in Capitol Hill. See the full list of presenters!