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!

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!

Seattle Green Builders – Selling in 2014!

When the Seattle real estate market began improving by leaps and bounds last year, we took a closer look at Seattle green builders who were “raising roofs to meet the demand” in a post entitled Seattle Green Builders – Now Selling!. Now almost a year later, those same builders are humming along, but we’ve got some new editions we thought you should know about. All the builders listed here are not only green, but have homes currently for sale or about to hit the market!

Build Urban
With 10 projects under their belts, and 3 more ‘on the boards‘, Build Urban caught our attention when they recently broke ground on their Canopy at Maple Leaf project. Not only did they preserve the towering cedars on the lot, and incorporate existing features (like the curved driveway), the homes themselves will be a mix of both traditional and modern architecture (less likely to stand out like sore thumbs!), and they’ll all be 5-Star Built Green.

West Seattle - 48th

West Seattle – 48th

R. Thoreson Homes
While they call themselves small, and focus on a limited number of projects each year, R. Thoreson Homes specializes in energy efficiency, and using existing infrastructure to minimize environmental and neighborhood impact. Their latest projects include West Seattle – 48th (4 new modern townhomes), and a more traditional Mt Baker Residence, which was just written up as a Built Green Featured Home.

LimeLite Development

LimeLite Development
Bright. Green. Living. is their motto and they seemingly live up to that by building and rehabbing green homes all over Seattle. Their latest projects now under construction include 4 Star Built Green townhomes in both the Central District and Beacon Hill, but they’ve got a slew of other interesting projects. If you like sleek, modern, clean & green, check these guys out – their project gallery will delight!

As always, give us a call if there’s a project or home you’d like to see!

Ballard Built Green

Main FloorWe just listed a fabulous townhome in the heart of Ballard! This beauty was built in 2007 by Noland Homes and has the distinctive contemporary architecture and quality finishes that became their signature style. It’s a street-side, south-facing unit with a fully fenced garden patio and alley access to the garage. Being west of 24th Ave NW makes this particular locale quieter then central Ballard, yet the home is steps from the new QFC, coffee shops, pubs and the Burke Gilman Trail. It actually has a Walkscore of 92 – a Walker’s Paradise, so this is definitely urban living at it’s best!

3BR | 2.5BA | 1270sf | 1-Car Garage | $450,000

Special features:Office

  • Certified 3-Star Built Green
  • Pre-wired for solar hot water & photovoltaics
  • Energy efficient appliances, lighting & heating
  • IceStone kitchen countertops (concrete & recycled glass)
  • Custom cabinets (in kitchen & baths)
  • Heat & Glo high-efficiency, free-standing fireplace
  • Brazilian Cherry hardwoods & custom tile
  • Entertaining deck w/ glass & metal railing

We held an open house this past weekend and the feedback was great! “This place was remodeled right? It looks brand new!”, “What a great kitchen, love the countertops & cabinets!”, and “This place has a really good feel to it!”.

We agree! Noland Homes built this place right, and the homeowner has taken excellent care of it. See our Ballard Built Green featured listing for more photos & all the details. We’re reviewing offers July 3rd @ 5pm, so contact Danielle @ 206.679.0185 for more info.

More Listings Needed in Seattle!

We had to laugh when we saw the recent Redfin post 2013: Calling All Sellers! (Where are you?!?), as this is our sentiment exactly. According to the NWMLS the number of active listings in January was up 1% from December, but down a stunning 44.7% from January 2012, leaving us with a meager 1.4 month supply of homes (a 6 month supply is a balanced market).

We’ve been experiencing this first-hand as we work with buyers who are well-qualified and raring to go, but have nothing new to see! Yes, the market typically slows during the holiday season, and takes a while to build itself back up, but 2012 was nothing like a typical market. The theme was a continually increasing demand combined with an ever dwindling supply, which of course drove home values up all the way through December.

TimetoSellJanuary’s stats compiled by local real estate appraisers Alan L Pope & Associates shows 72% of homes on the market in King County receiving an offer. That’s the highest absorption rate we’ve seen in almost a decade, the second highest being 66.4% in March 2005.

The message is seemingly clear! If you’re a homeowner thinking about selling, now is the time. Competition is slim, market times are short, and multiple offer scenarios are the norm. In other words, it’s most definitely a sellers’ market in Seattle right now. So, what’s the problem?

Well, it’s pretty simple really…

Many homeowners either need to wait, or just plain want to wait to sell their home!

Underwater Homeowners. Many who bought during the housing bubble don’t have the ‘wiggle room’ to sell yet, as they risk losing a chunk of their down payment or even walking away with negative equity.

The Waiting Game. If there is no pressure to sell (job change, growing family etc…) and the market is on a steady rise from the bottom, then many homeowners would rather wait to see if they can get a higher price for their home in a year or two.

Renting Instead. The rental market in Seattle remains strong, with no indication that rents will go down in the next few years, so some homeowners are opting to go ahead and buy now, but rent instead of sell their current home.

So, will 2013 be dubbed the year Seattleites waited to sell? Maybe, but we certainly hope not! These are all valid reasons not to sell right now, but there are also many advantages to jumping into the market, versus waiting until all your friends and neighbors do too!

For your additional reading pleasure, recent real estate headlines…

Brokers report brisk sales, but rising frustration for home buyers – NWMLS

City-by-city look at U.S. house prices – WSJ Marketwatch

Signs of a Housing Recovery Point to a Stronger Economy – NYTimes.com

The Year Everyone Was Wrong (Again) About Home Prices – WSJ




Seattle Green Builder Spotlight: Cascade Built

Cascade Built has been constructing high performance custom homes in Seattle for some time now, and they have a particular knack for maximizing the potential of postage stamp-size infill lots in the Madison Valley area. While many green builders make their way from ‘light’ to ‘deep’ green slowly over time, founder Sloan Ritchie has jumped in with both feet, and is seemingly only content when he’s literally pushing the green building envelope.

This is particularly refreshing when you consider that a number of Cascade Built’s most successful projects have been spec-built. We’ve had the privilege of working with founder Sloan Ritchie to market and sell a few of the more recent projects, and they’ve been crowd-pleasers every time! Clean modern designs that are at the same time warm and inviting, fresh and sassy finishes with earthy undertones, uniquely appealing color combinations that are both bold and subtle, and a predilection for open, light-filled spaces that connect to the natural and urban environment alike.

AlleyHouseAlley House – 3BR | 2.5BA | 1,830sf | Off-Street Parking
As one of the first LEED Platinum certified single-family homes in Seattle, this stunning modern redefined urban infill development with it’s plethora of sustainable and energy efficient features and unique back alley location. Structural insulated panel (SIP) construction, cedar rain screen siding, concrete and recycled wood floors, custom Kirei doors, dual-flush toilets, pre-wiring for photovoltaics and solar hot water, drainwater heat recovery, Alley House Kitchenrain gardens, grasscrete parking, a green roof and so much more!

Every square inch of this 3-story home was maximized, yet it felt both open and inviting with its over-sized windows and glass doors connecting the main living space to a private bamboo courtyard. The home’s high performance design and construction also meant it was 50% more efficient than other similar code built homes, and roughly 70% more efficient than the average Seattle home.

Alley House 2
– 3BR | 2BA | 1,697sf | 1-Car Garage

ExteriorflyerDesigned by award-winning architect David Foster and certified LEED Platinum, Cascade Built’s second Alley House was prefabricated in modular components by Seattle-based, green prefab specialists Method Homes. Sloan chose a modular prefab build for this project because of the shorter building time-frame (approximately 2 months) and reduction in material waste (minimized to less than 5%). The prefab build also means the house was constructed in a closed environment where exposure to elements such as rain, do not exist. All the modules were craned into place in one day!

PrefabKitchenThis 3-story home featured hardi-panel rainscreen siding, bamboo floors, custom Squak Mountain countertops, Energy Star and Water Sense fixtures and appliances, an on-demand tankless hot water heater, ductless mini-split heat pumps, heat recovery ventilation, and a fully conditioned garage for future ADU conversion.

If you think living in an alley sounds unappealing, think again! Tree-top views of Madison Valley, over-sized east and south facing windows for ample natural daylight, two entertaining balconies, and a quick stroll to neighborhood amenities made this the perfect urban retreat.

Park Passive
– 4BR | 3BA | 2,300sf | 1-Car Garage
Designed by NK Architects this ultra-modern home is now under construction in Madison Park and is targeting Passive House certification (the world’s leading standard in energy efficient construction). As a result of extreme attention to detail in air sealing, high levels of insulation, and high-performance windows, this home’s heating energy consumption will be reduced by nearly 90%.

This home will also feature a solar hot water system, site harvested woodwork, zero VOC finishes, heat recovery ventilation, pre-wiring for solar PV and more. True to Cascade Built style, the in-fill city lot this home occupies measures just about 2,000sf. This home is expected to be completed this spring, so stay tuned for our upcoming tour announcement!

Cascade Built also has a fantastic line-up of sustainably designed backyard dwellings – see Backyard Boxes to learn more!

What We’re Up To In 2013!

We feel lucky! We launched ADDO Real Estate in a turn around year for the Seattle real estate market, which means we hit the ground running. Our website was barely launched when we listed and sold a beautiful Maple Leaf Tudor, co-listed a green remodel in Leschi targeting LEED Silver certification, and then worked straight through the holidays listing a townhome in Ballard and helping the sellers find a new home just around the corner.

For us being busy is the absolute best way to market ourselves and our new company. Our signs, our business cards and our marketing materials are out there getting noticed by our peers and potential clients alike, while we’re focusing on what matters – making our clients happy!

You will see a slight shift in how we present ourselves this time around though. In the past we’ve thrown everything into branding our company name (a natural inclination when you’re personally invested in it), but we actually believe it’s an agent’s name and reputation that attracts new clients, and we think it’s time people find out who Cally & Danielle are! This may sound self-indulgent to some, but if you think about your best real estate experience, we think you’ll agree it’s the agent (not the company) that you now refer to family and friends.

It's already here!


We of course have a vision for ADDO Real Estate, which is that it always be a sound and sustainable platform from which to do our work. Low operating expenses, online and digital operations, simple yet effective marketing tools & techniques, a strong connection to local business groups making a difference, and a champion of sustainable community development. This is ADDO! We also know it needs to be highly adaptable, because the face of real estate (and our economy, our planet!) is rapidly changing.

The world didn’t end in 2012, a new era began! Green and healthy homes are as important to us as ever, but we believe we have to think beyond even those concepts now, and figure out how to incorporate resiliency into how we live. Eco-neighborhoods, urban farming, tool libraries, bike & car sharing,, community solar and similar ‘sharing economy’ concepts are happening now and here to stay. Will this affect what people look for in a home? We hope so! And, we are excited to be a part of that change.

So, that’s a little bit about what we’re up to this year. We are here living, learning and always moving forward, and we look forward to crossing paths with you soon!

Cally & Danielle

A Seattle Gut-Rehab Targeting LEED Certification

Homeowner Collen Groll of O’Brien & Company has spent the last 5 years bringing this 1919 Seattle bungalow back to life, and it’s now for sale! Remodeled from the studs-out for superior energy efficiency, increased comfort, and flexible, open living spaces, and is now going to achieve LEED for Homes Silver Certification.


3 bedroom/2.5 baths, 3-stories, 2,390 sf home, 3,530 sf lot and 1-car garage. Secluded amongst trees, yet blocks from Lake Washington & Leschi town center.


This home was originally built in 1919, and is 2-stories with a basement. When purchased in 2007, the house was in poor repair, extremely leaky, and was not functionally well laid out. It was essentially a stripped shell with exposed floor joists and wall cavities. The second floor included a typical gable roof with a small window at either end, and because the south side of the house was already at the set-back line, there was no way to extend the roof line.

The floor plan was redesigned to include functional, adaptable spaces. In order to accommodate three bedrooms and extend the ceiling on the second floor, the roof peak was raised, which increased the pitch of the roof line. A crow’s nest (future yoga and meditation studio) was added, which allowed an additional view of Lake Washington and a special place for rejuvenation.


The priorities for this project were improved envelope and energy efficiency. Additionally, homeowner Colleen, wanted to incorporate salvaged products and healthy finishes where possible.

In order for this project to pursue LEED for Homes certification a complete gut rehab was necessary, as partial or even substantial remodels are not eligible. Additionally all systems and components (e.g. HVAC, water heater, windows) are required to be replaced and exterior walls must be open to allow for a Thermal Bypass Inspection.

Features – Exterior & Envelope

  • Metal Roof
  • Locally Milled Red Cedar Siding (from naturally downed trees)
  • Double 2×4 Wall Construction
  • Blower Door Tested
  • Envelope Airsealing using Closed Cell Foam & Caulk
  • Blown-in Cellulose Batts (R-28 Walls)
  • Super-insulating SeriousWindows (u-factor range .15-.17)
  • Garage Can Accommodate up to (4) 500-gallon Tanks for Rainwater Catchment
  • Cantilevered Deck to Protect Environmentally Sensitive Area
  • Permeable Driveway & Parking Area

Features – Interior

  • RecoupAerator 200DX Energy Recovery Ventilation System
  • HTP Elite Energy Star Modulating Boiler (up to 98% efficient)
  • Runtal Wall Radiators
  • Lennox Elite Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace w/ Electronic Pilot
  • Over 100 YR Old Salvaged Wood Floors (from Garfield High School)
  • Salvaged Solid Wood Cabinets & Doors (from Second Use)
  • Locally Made Paperstone Countertops
  • Energy Star Lighting & CFL Bulbs used Throughout 95% of House
  • Kohler Highline Toilet w/ Sloan FlushMate Pressure-Assist (only 1.0 GPF)
  • Low-Flow Showers & Faucets
  • Non-Toxic Paints (Benjamin Moore Natura) & Finishes


Jamie Fisher Architect

Kristian Nunnelee
NW Contour Building Co

LEED Homes Green Rater
Chris Edlin