New Home Construction and It’s Effect on the Housing Market

This week on “Mondays with Matthew” Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner analyzes the past two decades of the new home construction market and then discusses his predictions for this segment of the market going forward.

Click here  to view Matthew’s weekly video.

Posted on April 25, 2020 at 12:25 pm
Amie Armstrong | Posted in Uncategorized |

Conforming Loan Update & Forecast from Matthew Gardner

This week Matthew discusses “conforming” loans, offering his perspective on current and expected rates going forward. One thing I like about Matthew is he explains technical aspects of the financial world in an easily understandable way.

Posted on April 16, 2020 at 2:20 pm
Amie Armstrong | Posted in Uncategorized |

Is loan forbearance is right for you?

Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, many have had their income severely reduced, making it hard to keep up with mortgage payments. The federal government has created loan forbearance plans which may help ease the burden for many homeowners. However, be careful…it may not be the best option for everyone, especially given that not all of the details have been hammered out. In this video, Rob Berg with Fairway Home Loans shares his perspective and caveats, offering food for thought if you’re considering the loan forbearance option.


Julia Hansen talked with her lender, Freedom Mortgage, who told her that in order to get federally mandated help, she was required to make an $8,000 payment in three months or else “go into foreclosure.” Photo courtesy of Peter Hansen Also See NPR article,


Posted on April 8, 2020 at 1:21 pm
Amie Armstrong | Posted in Uncategorized |

Spring Home Maintenance

It’s a great time to begin preparing your home for spring. Here are a few general home maintenance tips to consider this time of year.

  • Clean the kitchen exhaust hood & filter.
  • Replace the furnace filter. It may be especially filthy after the winter months.
  • Inspect the roof for water damage. It’s also a good idea to check any fences, carports and sheds. TIP: check the south end of your roof first; it is the first to show wear.
  • Test the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Clear the gutters of any buildup to allow for proper functioning.
  • Start the grass revival cycle by aerating, thatching and fertilizing.
  • Be sure no inside or outside vents are blocked by fallen debris.
  • Clean the windows and screens. Repair any holes in screens or replace them if needed.
  • Inspect and repair siding and peeling paint. Fix or replace damaged siding. Strip peeling paint and replace it with a new coat.
  • Check the basement for water damage. Pay attention to musty smells, water stain and damp surfaces.
  • Invest in a carbon monoxide detector – every home should have at least one.

Posted on February 27, 2020 at 7:55 pm
Amie Armstrong | Posted in Uncategorized |

Economic and Housing Forecast for Western Washington

Happy New Year, and Happy New Decade!!

Last week I listened to an in-person lecture by Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist. In his lecture Matthew shared his 2020 forecast for the economy and his housing market expectations for Western Washington. Below is a link to his recent blog post which covers a lot of the same material as the lecture. Regarding his lecture last week, I did not record it, however I can send you his powerpoint slides which he so graciously shared if you’re interested. I’m in the process of getting a “highlights” sheet from the talk which I plan on sharing later this week or next. Enjoy!–21

Posted on January 27, 2020 at 9:30 pm
Amie Armstrong | Posted in Uncategorized |

How Long Things Last

We all know that nothing lasts forever, but when everything is working fine it is easy to forget that all of the systems and appliances in your home have a finite lifespan. Keep this information in mind, whether you are buying or selling a home, budgeting for improvements, or deciding between repairing and replacing.

Here’s a brief look at some of the components of your home and their average lifespans (courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders)


ROOFING, SIDING, WINDOWS & DECKS. You can expect slate or tile roofs to last around 50 years, wood shingles 25-30, metal will get you about 25 years, while asphalts typically last about 20 years. The lifespan for siding can vary quite a bit. Brick will last 100 years or more, aluminum about 80 years and stucco will probably last you 25 years. Wood siding can last anywhere from 10 to 100 years depending on the climate you live in and how it is maintained. Both aluminum and vinyl windows will last 15 to 20 years, while unclad wood windows can have a life of 30 years or more. Cedar decks will average 15-25 years as long as they are properly treated and cleaned, and a high quality composite deck will last 30 years with minimal maintenance.


FLOORING. The natural flooring materials such as wood, marble, slate or granite will all last 100 years or more, while tile has an average life of 70-100 years. Vinyl can last up to 50 years, while laminate and linoleum will get you up to 25 years. Expect your carpet to last 8-10 years, depending on use.


KITCHEN & BATH. Laminate countertops can have a life of 20 years or more, but it will vary depending on use. Wood, tile and stone should last a lifetime, and cultured marble will typically see a lifespan of 20 years. You can expect your stainless steel sink to last you about 30 years, while an enamel-coated sink will give you five to 10 years. Slate, granite, soapstone and copper will be around for 100 years or more. Bathroom faucets should give you about 20 years, and toilets will average a 50-year lifespan, although some of the parts will need replacing.


APPLIANCES. The lifespan of appliances will vary widely depending on the appliance, the brand, model, and use. Use these average lifespan numbers as a rough guide for when it may make more sense to replace rather than repair. Gas ranges tend to have the longest lifespan of your major appliances, giving around 15 years of use. Electric ranges on the other hand, are closer to 13 years, which is also the expected lifespan for standard refrigerators and clothes dryers. Your garbage disposal should give you about 10 years of use, while the dishwasher and microwave will be around nine years. You can expect your electric furnace to last about 15 years, 18 for gas and 20 for oil-burning. Central air systems will live 10 to 15 years on average.


Check out the NAHB website for more information.

Posted on October 3, 2019 at 6:13 pm
Amie Armstrong | Posted in Uncategorized |