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November
21

Decorate Safely This Holiday Season

Delta Media Group


Decorating for the holidays is one of the fun perks of being a homeowner, because your whole property becomes a blank canvas. Decorating is a great opportunity to get in the spirit of the season, show off your sense of style, and get your kids (even more) excited for the holidays. No matter how you choose to decorate your home this holiday season, just remember that it's also important to keep home safety in mind as you deck the halls. We've put together 5 decorating tips to help keep your home safe, without cramping your holiday decorating style.

  1. Check It Twice – Holiday lights are among the most popular decorations, and for good reason! They're bright, beautiful, and can transform the look of your entire property. Before you start stringing up those lights, however, be sure to check for any signs of wear. If there are broken lights or exposed wires, it's time to purchase some new outdoor holiday lights. Remember that outdoor lights are exposed to the elements, so even minimal signs of wear can pose a risk.  Bonus Tip: If you're in the market for new lights, try LED lighting rather than incandescent bulbs. LED lights are more energy efficient, burn cooler than incandescent bulbs, and come in just about any color you can imagine.

  2. Don't Overload Outlets – Overloading a single outlet is a fire risk, even if you're plugging in new, energy efficient decorations. Avoiding tangled wires is also good for holiday decorating safety, and it's easier to do when you use multiple outlets. Always plug decorations into outlets with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, which are designed to shut down the circuit automatically if certain signs of electrical danger are detected.

  3. Indoor/Outdoor – That giant, inflatable Santa Claus won't fit in your living room, so it's probably a safe bet that he can be used outside. But not every decoration makes the distinction so clear. For any decorations that rely on electricity, always check whether they're rated for outdoor use before you plug them in outside. This is a great step to take care of while you're shopping for decorations, as the necessary info should be available right on the packaging.

  4. Rooftop and Ladder Safety – For many homeowners, the holiday season is one of the few times each year when we take our ladders out of long-term storage and venture onto our rooftops. Stay safe by taking your time, having a plan, and wearing sturdy boots (or sneakers) with strong treads. If you do plan on climbing on your roof or using a ladder to decorate, never do so alone. Make sure there's someone on the ground to "spot" you and aid if you run into trouble.

  5. Clean Gutters – Since you're likely to be spending time up there anyway, it's a great idea to clean your gutters before stringing up any holiday lights. Dried leaves and plant matter in gutters can serve as kindling when a faulty wire leaks electricity. As a bonus, keeping your gutters clean is a great way to lower your risk of water-related roof damage throughout the year.

The biggest thing to remember for holiday decorating home safety is that electricity can be dangerous, especially if you're using older decorations. Check any decorations for signs of wear before putting them up, make sure that any decorations you wish to use outside are rated for outdoor use, and keep your gutters clean to reduce fire risk. And of course, don't forget to have fun!

October
11

Halloween Events

It's no trick, there are plenty of treats to enjoy in the Spokane area with fun Halloween themes! Enjoy music, movies, and mayhem aplenty at these exciting Halloween events near Spokane homes for sale

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August
22

Labor Day Weekend Spokane

Labor Day is fast approaching, and in the Spokane area, there are many activities and events to enjoy! Join our real estate agents in saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall with these wonderful activities happening near Spokane homes for sale.  

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August
29

Terrific BBQ Recipes

Fantastic recipes just in time for your late summer get-together!

Tequila Baby Back Ribs

2 Tbsp. chili powder 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. paprika 1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp. garlic powder 1 chopped onion
1 Tbsp. salt 1 lg. handful chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp dried oregano 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
2 tsp. cumin 1 bottle (fifth) tequila
1 tsp. black pepper 1 lemon, halved
1 tsp. white pepper 2 limes

Combine all the above and season 2 full slabs of ribs, each cut in half. Refrigerate 2-4 hours.  Put half of 1 slab in 1-gallon ziploc bag, layer with onion, cilantro, and garlic. Place other half on top, repeat with onion, cilantro, and garlic. Pour in half bottle tequila. Add juice of half lemon and 1 lime. Seal. Repeat with other slab. Marinate at least 4 hours. Grill with onion, cilantro, and garlic at 350 degrees until done.

 

Honey Mango-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

1 c. honey 4 ripe mangos, cubed
2 full racks, baby back ribs 1 tsp. pepper
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 1 Tbsp. salt

Remove ribs from packaging, rinse and pat dry. Remove membrane from backside of ribs. Place ribs in shallow pan, sprinkle salt and pepper evenly and set aside. In a small saucepan, add chipotle/adobo, mango and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until cooked down and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Using the slow and low method of BBQ'ing, set temperature to 225-240 degrees. If using coals, let them burn off and move over to one side of the grill. Wrap the ribs and 2/3 of the sauce mixture in aluminum foil tightly and place on grill. Close lid. After 2 hours, flip the ribs and let cook for another 2 hours. Open the aluminum and remove ribs, place them on grill and brush on remaining sauce and let cook another 30 minutes.

July
5

Ideas for Upgrading Your Patio

Delta Media Group

Maybe you've been pondering all those cool ideas seen on TV and the web about redoing your drab slab of a concrete patio so that it's a standout feature of your indoor/outdoor entertainment area. Here's the deal. We are all in love with the idea of extending our living and entertainment area into the outdoors. And why not? There are dozens of relatively inexpensive and yet innovative hacks that will make your outdoors as inviting as the indoors, so let's start working from the ground up by renovating that boring, cracked, or scuffed-up concrete patio and see how dazzling it can be.

  1. Paint it.
    For basic painting, you will need concrete binding primer; concrete paint; painter's tape, a roller tray with liners (for fast cleanup), a paint roller, nap roller covers, and paintbrushes.

    Pressure wash the patio and let it dry. Cover up with painter's tape everything you don't want to be painted. Apply concrete binding primer, allowing it to dry one to four hours prior to painting. Apply two coats of paint, allowing the first coat to dry overnight. Wait 72 hours before you move furniture back onto the patio.

  2. Stain it.
    Apply a stain over the patio, then seal it. 

  3. Paint a pattern.
    Using a circular saw, score a concrete slab with a diamond pattern, then paint it with two shades of gray concrete paint. You can also use a stencil to create interesting patterns like a carpet design.  

  4. Lay decking on top of the concrete.
    Not a fan of concrete? You can lay decking on top of the concrete and attach white fascia boards along the sides.

  5. Create a stamped concrete patio.
    Stamped concrete is wildly popular these days. A bit cheaper than pavers, it comes in a variety of patterns and colors. Installers will try to delay cracking (be advised, it will crack someday) by installing control joints. Obviously, you will have to pour concrete and stamp the new concrete before it hardens. So if you've already got a concrete slab there, you'll have to figure out how to get rid of it. 

  6. Fake a stone look.
    Another redo that involves pouring new concrete is to fake the look of brick or stone with a patterned rubber roller. You'll need a concrete roller to create indentations that look like brick or stone, and those rollers can be costly. Concrete stamping mats are a more affordable option. These flexible pieces of rubber have embossed patterns. Stamp them on wet concrete and apply pressure. Lift the mat and repeat the process. 

  7. Resurface with pavers.
    How about resurfacing your patio with clay pavers? These bricks are hard-fired in a kiln, so they are extra-strong and can stand up to the harsh sun and inclement weather. Less expensive than stone, clay pavers cost more than concrete pavers. 

Although all these projects are relatively inexpensive, you can obviously spend more on some than others. So if cost is a factor, then you may want to go with simple painting or staining.

Once you're done with your new floor, it's time to think about decorating. You might start with a weather-resistant outdoor rug, perhaps in the dining area. Decorate with flower boxes or containers of flowers that can change with the season and move indoors when it's cold. Hang up strands of lights. Add a water feature, which could be a fountain with plumbing or a self-contained model that runs on electricity and recirculates the water.

Let your creativity and inner interior decorator run wild as you think up ways to jazz up that formerly dull space and make it shine.

Have you made some updates to your outdoor living space? Show us some pictures in the comments! 

June
27

Boat Launches Spokane

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Fourth of July is the most popular day for boating. If you haven't already contacted our real estate agents at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson to purchase your new lake property, head out to these great boat launches near Spokane homes for sale to celebrate on the water.

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June
13

Spokane Ski Resorts

Think Spokane area ski resorts are only fun in the winter? Think again!

Thanks to the region's dry, clear, and warm climate during the summer months, mountain resorts around Spokane homes for sale still offer a wealth of outdoor activities. When our real estate agents need fresh air and sunshine, they head to these great nearby resorts for summer fun.

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May
23

Spokane Dog-Friendly Spots

What could be better than a day on the town with your favorite furry friend? More than ever, local shops, dining destinations, and other small businesses are becoming dog-friendly, allowing you to take your well-behaved pup on your journeys all around Spokane. Many local restaurants offer patio dining where your dog is invited to join!

Whether you're shopping or dining, life is just a little sweeter with your dog at your side. Our real estate agents have the details on five dog-friendly destinations around Spokane for you to enjoy with your pet.

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May
9

Spokane Gardens

Our real estate agents are always excited to welcome spring back to the Spokane area. This season offers a chance to reconnect with nature and to be reminded of all the amazing green spaces our city has to offer. 

This spring, we recommend taking that appreciation a step further by exploring some of Spokane's most amazing gardens. With spring flowers blooming, there's no better time to experience these spectacular Spokane gardens. 

  • Lilac Garden - W Shoshone Pl, Spokane, WA 99203
    Spokane has been nicknamed the Lilac City, and it's not hard to see why. The Lilac Garden in Manito Park contains over 100 cultivars from at least 23 unique species of lilac trees and bushes. The best time to see them in full bloom is from late May into early June, and the annual Lilac Festival has been a fixture of Spokane's spring calendar since the 1930s. 

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March
14

Spokane Wine

One of the best ways to experience all of the greatness Spokane has to offer is through its wine. The area's local wineries serve as community gathering spots, help fuel the local economy, and tell the story of our area's rich history.

Also, learning to distinguish between certain types of wine is a lot of fun. With 20 wineries within 10 miles of Spokane, you'll have no trouble developing a sophisticated palate. Here are some of our favorite local wineries to visit this weekend:

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February
28

Spokane Ice Fishing

Some parts of Washington never really get enough ice to make ice fishing possible. But here in the Spokane area, our cold winters are a blessing in disguise. Local anglers look forward to ice fishing all year. 

Our real estate agents look forward to it too. If you happen to be in the Spokane area and are looking for a place to drop a line, be sure to check out these great local ice fishing spots. 

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February
14

Spokane Trail

The Spokane River Centennial Trail is just one example of what there is to see and do in the area, and it can provide day after day of outdoor adventures. Whether you prefer more urban activities or want to hike your way through gorgeous topography, the trail has something for everyone. Nearly 2 million people visit the trail each year, a testament to its popularity and the gorgeous scenery it offers.

Our real estate agents share what you need to know about exploring Spokane's Centennial Trail:

History of the Trail

Spokane River Centennial Trail is 40 miles long, starting at a recreation area on Lake Spokane before winding its way to the Idaho border and beyond. It generally follows the contours of the Spokane River as it makes its way through many diverse areas of both states.

Construction for the trail began between 1989-1991 in celebration of the Washington State Centennial. All of the trail's miles are completely paved, with many stretches separated from vehicular traffic.

The trail takes you through areas ranging from basalt canyons to hip urban centers. 

For example, you may want to spend time in historic downtown Spokane and the more urban areas of the trail before heading out to explore more rural areas and their spectacular views. You can traverse the trail's entire length on a long bike ride, or take several days to hike your way through.

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January
10

Spokane Snowshoeing Trails

Parks and trails in the Spokane area offer amazing hiking opportunities during the warmer months... but the fun doesn't end when the snow flies. Winter in Spokane means it's time to strap on the snowshoes!

When there's a good base layer of snow on the ground, there's no place quite like Spokane County for an outdoor adventure. Our real estate agents are excited to share their favorite snowshoeing destinations in the Spokane area. 

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September
27

River Views Near SpokaneThe beautiful river is one of the many features that make Spokane special. Our real estate agents want you to see it like never before! Since all the way back in 1873, "The Lilac City" has depended on its river for both trade and natural beauty. No surprise that its modern restaurant scene has also used the river for precious inspiration.

When you explore Spokane homes for sale, you will notice that the riverfront area isn't over-developed as in some cities. Only a handful of establishments, many of them historic, offer the breathtaking vantage of a lovely river view. To get a unique glimpse of the true heart of Spokane, it's a great idea to stop in for a bite to eat.

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August
9

If you're looking at Spokane homes for sale, you'll be within easy reach of Mount Spokane State Park. This is a lovely place to stop and take a hike. The scenery is breathtaking, and there are trails catering to all ages and levels of ability. Here are a few of the key trails you can hike within the state park. 

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July
12

Summer Mountain Biking Spokane

Warm, dry weather and a beautiful landscape make Spokane an ideal place for summer mountain biking. Strap on your helmet and head out to these challenging and fun trails around Spokane homes for sale recommended by our real estate agents.

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July
2

If you're searching for drama, don't limit yourself to Netflix. Instead, tune in to the real estate market, where the competition among buyers has never been fiercer. And with homes selling for record highs, the appraisal process is receiving more attention than ever. That's because, in a rapidly appreciating market, a property is more likely to appraise below the sales price—which can lead to major repercussions for both buyers and sellers.

It's never been more important to understand the appraisal process and the risks involved. It's also crucial to work with a skilled real estate agent who can guide you to a successful closing without overpaying (if you're a buyer) or overcompensating (if you're a seller). Find out how appraisals work—and in some cases, don't work—in today's unique real estate environment.

APPRAISAL REQUIREMENTS

An appraisal is an objective assessment of a property's market value performed by an independent authorized appraiser. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to lower their risk of loss in the event a buyer defaults on their loan.

In most cases, a licensed appraiser will analyze the property's condition and review the value of comparable properties that have recently sold. Appraisal requirements can vary by lender and loan type, and in today's market, in-person appraisal waivers have become much more common. If you're applying for a mortgage, be sure to ask your lender about their specific terms.

APPRAISALS IN A RAPIDLY SHIFTING MARKET

An appraisal contingency is a standard inclusion in a home offer. It enables the buyer to make the closing of the transaction dependent on a satisfactory appraisal wherein the value of the property is at or near the purchase price. This helps to reassure the buyer (and their lender) that they are paying fair market value for the home and allows them to cancel the contract if the appraisal is lower than expected.

Low appraisals are not common, but they are more likely to happen in a rapidly appreciating market, like the one we're experiencing now. That's because appraisers must use comparable sales (commonly referred to as comps) to determine a property's value. This could include homes that went under contract weeks or even months ago. With home prices rising so quickly, today's comps may be lagging behind the market's current reality. Thus, the appraiser could be basing their assessment on stale data, resulting in a low valuation.

HOW ARE BUYERS AND SELLERS IMPACTED BY A LOW APPRAISAL?

When a property appraises for less than the contract price, you end up with an appraisal gap. In a more balanced market, that could be cause for a renegotiation. In today's market, however, sellers often hold the upper hand.

That's why some buyers are using the potential for an appraisal gap as a way to strengthen their bids. They're proposing to take on some or all of the risk of a low appraisal by adding gap coverage or a contingency waiver to their offer.

Appraisal Gap Coverage

Buyers with some extra cash on hand may opt to add an appraisal gap coverage clause to their offer. It provides an added level of reassurance to the sellers that, in the event of a low appraisal, the buyer is willing and able to cover the gap up to a certain amount.

For example, let's say a home is listed for $200,000 and the buyers offer $220,000 with $10,000 in appraisal gap coverage. Now, let's say the property appraises for $205,000. The new purchase price would be $215,000. The buyers would be responsible for paying $10,000 of that in cash directly to the seller because, in most cases, mortgage companies won't include appraisal gap coverage in a home loan.

Waiving The Appraisal Contingency

Some buyers with a higher risk tolerance—and the financial means—may be willing to waive the appraisal contingency altogether. However, this strategy isn't for everyone and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

It's important to remember that waiving an appraisal contingency can leave a buyer vulnerable if the appraisal comes back much lower than the contract price. Without an appraisal contingency, a buyer will be obligated to cover the difference or be forced to walk away from the transaction and relinquish their earnest money deposit to the sellers.

It's vital that both buyers and sellers understand the benefits and risks involved with these and other competitive tactics that are becoming more commonplace in today's market. We can help you chart the best course of action given your individual circumstances.

DON'T WAIVE YOUR RIGHT TO THE BEST REPRESENTATION

You need a master negotiator on your side who has the skills, instincts, and experience to get the deal done...no matter what surprises may pop up along the way. If you're a buyer, we can help you compete in this unprecedented market—without getting steamrolled. And if you're a seller, we know how to get top dollar for your home while minimizing hassle and stress. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

June
16

Green Bluff Growers

The Green Bluff area is known for its beautiful scenery and fertile soil, which allows local farmers to grow a wide variety of delicious, high-quality produce throughout the year. Many of the best local farms and fruit stands are part of the Green Bluff Growers' Association, a local organization dedicated to sharing all that local farms have to offer. And it's not just about great food! They also host many fun, family-friendly activities available at local farms throughout the year. Coldwell Banker Tomlinson has all the details on the fun you can expect at local farms, in our Green Bluff Growers Spotlight.

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April
12

Spokane Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrated on Thursday, April 22, so why not get out and enjoy Spokane's natural beauty? Whether you want to hike to see a waterfall or browse in a market filled with fresh local produce, there's plenty to do and see locally on Earth Day.
Check out the following five places to celebrate Earth Day in Spokane:

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March
9

Spokane Flowers

Planting the right flowers in your yard can truly give your landscaping a boost! That's just one of the great reasons to participate in National Plant a Flower Day on Friday, March 12. Our real estate agents share some helpful information about planting a garden in Spokane to get you started. 

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