Indoor-Outdoor Living Solutions

indoor-outdoor-livingWe live in an area ripe with opportunities to get outside throughout our seasons. We get 300 days of sunshine per year – we should all do a better job of enjoying it!

One way you can incorporate more sunshine into your life without changing your schedule is by embracing indoor-outdoor living. Creating a space that easily transitions between the in and outdoors via large, roll-away full-height windows, inviting covered areas warmed by the fire to ward off any chill, and an outdoor lighting scheme that highlights your outdoor area’s best features, you can spend more time appreciating the outdoors in comfort. Continue reading “Indoor-Outdoor Living Solutions”

Newest Custom Home. Rambler with Shop in Pasco WA

image1 (4)Devoted Builder’s really enjoyed working with these great home owners in Pasco WA. The couple owned their own lot and we orchestrated the hook up of all infrastructure including, electrical, water and an engineered septic system.  The owners provided us with a rough plan they had drawn and from there it was fine tuned with our designer. The home is built on a crawl space, with no steps or stairs to enter or exit the home.  The owners chose traditional yet contemporary finishes including durable wood laminate flooring, quartz counter tops, beech wood cabinets and ceramic tile.  For questions or to get an estimate to build a home on your own land/lot in or around the Richland, Kennewick or Pasco, WA area, call Jennifer at 509-947-5670 or Jessica at 509-947-2230. Continue reading “Newest Custom Home. Rambler with Shop in Pasco WA”

What is a home warranty?

The term “home warranties” can refer to a number of different types of warranties. When buying or selling a home, different types of home warranties can provide benefits to buyers or sellers – and sometimes both. For sellers, a home warranty increases the perceived value of their home by providing an extra incentive.  For buyers, a home warranty purchases a little extra peace of mind.

In many cases a home warranty is sometimes purchased independent of a real estate transaction by a homeowner simply wanting extra protection in the event of appliances breaking down or other issues that can come up in a home that are not protected under standard homeowners insurance.

Covered items vary widely on these types of warranties, so it’s a good idea to carefully review the warranty to be sure you’re receiving the coverage you need.  In many cases, after-market warranties can be created from an “a la carte” menu, allowing you to select the coverage most important to you.

Each home built by Devoted Builder’s includes a warranty from the largest national home warranty program, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty with coverage on homes for structural defects that make the home unsanitary, unsafe or otherwise unlivable and include a full ten years of qualified structural warranty coverage from the date of closing. For more information on coverage and the 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty visit

When discussing warranties, be clear on the exact resolution process when a problem arises with each covered item. For example, if the fridge breaks down, what is the process for getting it fixed?

Regardless of the type of warranty, there’s no doubt that they are an excellent tool to build trust and comfort between buyers and sellers.

For more of the nitty-gritty details on home warranties, give us a call at (509) 947-5670 or (509) 947-2230.


Senior Real Estate Specialist & Certified Aging in Place Specialist

Continuing education is very important to Jessica and as of Spring 2014 she earned her Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation. This training and designation combined with her expansive experience working with those 55 and over allows Jessica to provide a high level of knowledge, streamlined services and a team of professionals to assist “senior” buyers and seller in the steps needed to make a move easy and stress free.

Additionally Jessica completed training and testing to become a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). This designation is close to home as she has a 13 year old daughter who has Down syndrome and who she lovingly refers to as having “unique abilities.” This training allows Jessica to work closely with those with a disability of any kind and their families and caregivers to create specialized floor plans, accessibility, sensory aid systems and general functionality to optimize their current home or plan for a future home.

Moving: Easy Ways to Make Moving Day Less Stressful

By Staff

Moving day is stressful – not only do you have to coordinate every aspect of the move, you might also be dealing with the emotions of those around you on a very busy day — your spouse, your kids, your movers.

Heck, even YOU might be getting emotional.

So be careful that in the heat of the moment you don’t make some of these more common mistakes:

1. Ignoring Your Inventory

Your moving inventory is proof that items that were packed in your home found their way onto the truck. Make sure that everything that was packed got on the van, and that it’s reflected in the inventory. Work out a system with your mover so you can check this. (Moving companies do this all the time, so they’ll be prepared for the request.)

When you get to your new home, you’ll use the inventory again to ensure that everything gets off the truck and into your new home!

2. Not Doing a Walk-Through of Your House After Loading

It’s easy to leave stuff behind — perhaps it’s those Christmas decorations in the closet, or maybe that painting in the master bedroom. Before signing anything, go through every closet and cupboard to ensure it’s all been loaded. When you sign, your signing over your items to the moving company, and if anything’s been forgotten, you’ll have to arrange to have it shipped to your new home (and it won’t be cheap….)

3. Letting Your Moving Company Move Stuff You Need Access to

Once everything’s on the truck, you won’t be able to get at it until you’re at your new home.  Make sure you set aside these things where the movers won’t accidently load them.

This includes enough clothing, cosmetics, toiletries, prescription drugs, electronics like a cell phone and a charger — and bring a little more than you think you’ll need, just in case the moving company’s late.

4. Having Kids and Pets Around During the Move

Having kids and pets around during the move can be dangerous to them, and to your movers, because the movers will be lifting and moving lots of heavy furniture and boxes. If you can’t have someone watch them for a few hours, make sure they stay in a room that’s out of the movers’ way. In your new home, set up their rooms first and unpack their toys and the TV, so they can occupied while everything gets moved in and unpacked.

5. Letting Movers Move Precious Goods

Anything you can’t bear the prospect of losing you should keep with you in the car on the way to your new home. These include family mementos like pictures, personal documents, financial information and artwork. Also back up the data on your computer (unless you’re carrying it with you) and carry the drive with you.

Should I Build a Custom Home?

If you are thinking of buying a home, the thought of purchasing either something new from a production builder or having a builder custom-build a home just for you may have crossed your mind. This can be a very exciting – and possibly scary – time! Usually buyers have a lot of questions about the process which can vary depending on if you are simply buying a home from a builder in a development or if you prefer to have a builder start from scratch on the land of your choice.

In the Tri-Cities, there are currently over 300 homes listed for sale which indicate they were built in either 2012 or 2013. Many of these homes are already finished, but there are several which are available in various stages of completion with some customization still available. Alternatively, there are over 250 pieces of land available to build a single-family home on ranging from property high on the hillsides of Richland to waterfront property along the rivers, to acres of agricultural land and even land bordering a golf course.

When we are working with a buyer who is thinking of building a custom home, we usually recommend they first think about where they want to live and HOW they want to live. For example, a buyer may be thinking of living in a golf course community because they like the access to recreation, yet they may need a three car garage and shop for their “hobbies” which may not be something that a standard lot in that type of development or homeowners association can allow. Furthermore, think about proximity to work, school, and extracurricular activities to determine an ideal radius to be within. This helps create a list of area “must haves” which is essential for beginning the search.

Then we look at new home developments within this to determine if anything that is already-built meets their needs. If the area is right, but the home or property just need a few tweaks in order to be move-in ready for the buyer, this type of new home may be a good fit.

However, if the buyer has specific wants and needs or there don’t seem to be any developments that are the right fit, then it is time to put on some boots and begin looking for the perfect piece of land. By this point, we should also have a list of home “must-haves” so we can find the right piece of land for your home. In the previous example, that buyer needed not only a garage, but also a shop. Depending on the needs of the buyer, we may also look for areas that allow homes to be above a certain height or allow a basketball court to be built in the backyard. Perhaps having some chickens is on the “must-have” list. Every buyer and list of needs is different.

Budget is also top of mind for us throughout the search and the “dreaming” process while we help our buyers find the right land fit and right builder fit. Helping find the right match and helping people live in an environment completely custom-suited to them is one of our favorite parts of our job!

If you have been wondering what it takes to buy a new home in a development, an almost-done home that requires customization, or a brand new home from scratch on your dream lot, give us a call! We are experts in helping our clients find – or build –  the right home for their needs. We are happy to consult with you to help determine the right direction. You can reach Jennifer at (509) 947-5670 or Jessica at (509) 947-2230.

Housing Affordability in the Tri-Cities

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 2012 was a record year in terms of housing affordability. The Housing Affordability Index is measured by the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. A higher index indicates the more purchasing power buyers have.

An index of 100 is the point at which a median-income household has exactly enough income to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home with a 20% down payment and 25% of gross income allotted for monthly mortgage principle and interest.

December’s Index numbers are not yet available, but at the end of November, it stood at 198.2 while it stood at 194 for the year overall – the most affordable on record since the Index was developed in 1970. This is an increase over 2011 when the index was 186 overall (which was the previous record).

Although the Federal Reserve has promised to keep interest rates low and wages are steady and moderately on the rise, interest rates will likely increase slightly in 2013, and with median home prices increasing, the National Association of REALTORS® has predicated the Housing Affordability Index will average 160 during 2013 –  still the third-most-affordable year on record.

Here in the Tri-Cities, the median home price ending third quarter was $184,700, a 1.9% increase over the previous year. And although we have seen unemployment rates rise locally, the ratio between monthly income and mortgage payment remains better than most markets during the third quarter at 10.1% (nationally this ratio is at 13.8%).

This is still a great time to buy a house if you are a first-time homebuyer, or ready to upgrade to something bigger! With interest rates still low and prices have not increased significantly, buyers have more buying power than almost any other time in history. Couple this with bankers lightening their lending requirements in 2013 and it is a phenomenal time to buy. Give us a call to learn more about just how much home you may be able to afford. You may be surprised! Call us:  Jennifer (509) 947-5670 or Jessica (509) 947-2230.


Tri-Cities Housing Market Update

The National Association of Home Builders/First American released their Improving Markets Index in January, and the Tri-Cities made the Index due to home price appreciation, an increase in employment, and an increase in building activity.

The Index measures improvements from “troughs” in building permits (measured from the U.S. Census Bureau), home prices (measured from Freddie Mac), and employment (measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Each metro area has different trough dates depending on the lowest point in each of those individual areas. Cities that made the Index are those who have shown improvement from their trough over the last six months. Here is how the Kennewick metro area shaped up:

Let’s take a closer look at the new housing permit data from the U.S. Census Bureau. As you can see in the chart below, building permits for each month were higher than the previous month for each month in 2012 with the exception of April of 2012.

Total permits for 2011 were 1598 and increased by 28.84% in 2012 to 2059 (measured from January – November for both 2011 and 2012).

We have  a few more months until spring when the new home construction season starts and we at Devoted Builders and Referred Real Estate are looking forward to being a part of it!

If a move is in your future this spring, we would love to help! Please give us a call – Jessica (509) 947-2230 or Jennifer (509) 947-5670. We would love to get you into the home of your dreams!


Multi-Generational Housing Making a Comeback

Studies have been done on it. Books have been written about it. And now homes are being built or remodeled to accommodate it. What is it? A return to the multi-generational household!

While the last few decades have seen a decline in multiple generations living under the same roof, that trend tends to be reversing as more and more adult children are moving back home and homeowners are taking in their aging parents.

Sharon Graham Niederhaus, co-author of Together Again –  a book about multiple generations living under the same roof,  interviewed over 100 families who are living in this manner. She noted, “The balance and proximity and privacy is the key to success,” and indicated that “independence” and “separate facilities” such as a kitchen, bathroom, and separate entrance are essential to living together in harmony.

For hundreds of years it was not uncommon for several generations to live together although the trend towards smaller family units began to take hold after WWII. According to USA Today, the number of multi-generational households in our country is currently the highest since the 1950s.  The current trend is directly related to the economy, but many have noted the positive impact of having either their parents or adult children move back home.

PulteGroup Home Index (done by PulteGroup Inc, a national homebuilder) recently did a survey of homeowners with children 16-30. Fourteen percent indicated that they have one adult child who has moved back in with them and a whopping 31% expect that an adult child will return back home in the future. They also interviewed homeowners with living parents and found that 15% indicated a parent was already living with them and 32% expected that at some point they would be living with a parent.

In both cases, the number of multi-generational homes will double in the future if those numbers are correct. So how will current homeowners accommodate the additional people? Of the homeowners who were currently living with a parent or planning on it in the future, 72% planned on either renovating or purchasing a home with a floorplan that would work more effectively for the expanded family. 49% of the homeowners who were either living with adult children or planned to expected to renovate or move.

Builders across the country are beginning to see and provide floorplans which reflect this trend, and Devoted Builders is no exception. In fact, in 2011 the National Association of Homebuilders did a survey of builders and what they expected homebuyers would want in terms of new home amenities by 2015. They determined that 60% of custom new construction homes would have two master bedroom suites by 2015.

Here in the Tri-Cities, we have had several clients in the last few years who have had several generations living in the same household. We have seen adult children living with aging parents so they can help take care of them ensuring a higher quality of life and care. Also recently we have seen younger adults moving into Mom and Dad’s house to either go back to school or save money for a new house or simply due to loss of employment.

In our area most homes with multi-use spaces are in high demand, command higher prices and see a shorter time on market, especially if priced in a price range which is seeing a high turnover.

Our advice? If you are thinking you might need some extra space in the coming years, plan for it now. With interest rates and lower prices, it is a great time to either buy the home you will need in the future, begin planning for a remodel,  or even begin thinking of building. We are here to help and advise. Please call Jessica a call at (509) 947-2230 or Jennifer at (509) 947-5670 – we would love to hear about your plans!