Home Projects – Right Tree, Wrong Place?

When our aunt gave us a cute little Japanese maple, we had no idea of what it would grow up to be. So we tucked it in the planting bed outside our dining room. Years later, with it's top branches brushing the eaves it had definitely outgrown its space! Procrastinators that we are, it took awhile to actually get around to moving it to a more appropriate space.  First of all, we needed to make a space by removing a dying shrub. Then, we were in the wrong season (spring). So, it wasn’t until late fall of 2012 that we actually got around to the job.

We had our trusty landscape company tackle the job – which was a little more difficult than anticipated due to a recent heavy rain, our lovely clay soil and the large size the cute little sapling had grown into. But Reyes Landscaping did a great job.



The big, heavy root ball.                                     Dragging to the new spot.                                Happy tree!


Lesson learned: make sure you put the right plant in the right place. The City of Seattle has a fabulous website and resources for helping to figure it all out: http://www.seattle.gov/util/EnvironmentConservation/MyLawnGarden/ChoosingtheRightPlants/index.htm


Need a quote for your landscaping job?  Contact Rodolfo Reyes at Reyes Landscaping, reyes.rodolfo@hotmail.com, 425-823- 0512.


Posted on March 26, 2013 at 9:47 pm
The Guidotti Group | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,

What’s going on with the real estate market?

Are you looking for a house to buy? So are a lot of other people! And they are scrambling to find something. Personally, we’re seeing multiple offers, offers over list price, offers with buyer concessions (such as no inspection), and cash offers – usually within a few days of listing. Crazy! 

On March 5th, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service published the current stats for residential home sales in February and the numbers showService published the current stats for residential home sales nd something to buy. On March 5th prices up and inventories continuing to shrink. Check out the Seattle Times article here.

For more in-depth number crunching of the stats, check out Seattle Bubble’s analysis here.

Case Shiller also reported national stats recently for 2012 here.

So, the real estate market is looking up, both nationally and locally. Anyone thinking of selling? This is a very good time to do it! 

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 9:13 pm
The Guidotti Group | Posted in Uncategorized |

FHA vs. Conventional Financing

This is great information on choosing between conventional or FHA financing, provided by Julie Hirsch with Sterling Bank. If you're shopping for a loan, it's a good idea to investigate all your options.

"Over the last five years, we have seen some shifting whether it makes more sense to go Conventional or FHA.   From the time period of 2008 to 2010, it made more sense to go FHA rather than Conventional unless the client had a 10% down payment.  As FHA continues to have loan losses, it has been annually increasing the cost of financed and monthly mortgage insurance.  In April of this year, FHA will increase the rates on mortgage insurance again.  It’s probable that the mortgage insurance will no longer be removable even between year five and ten. 

If you take a look at the image then you will see that it’s actually less expensive to go Conventional even with as low as a 5% down payment.  Disregard the 4.50% interest rate.   Genworth used this rate over the entire five year period to keep it’s charting consistent. The chart doesn’t account for the variance in rates.  FHA rates are approximately .25% lower which will negate some of the increased cost.   However, as of May 2012, the FHA mortgage insurance payment was $106 higher than Conventional.

When do we still use FHA?    FHA is still a better option when we have low credit scores, high debt to income ratios, gift funds, co borrowers, and possibly for a 3.50% down payment.

It’s important going forward that lenders look at both Conventional and FHA options for the client.   Conventional with private mortgage insurance may make more sense for the majority of clients."

Written by: 

Julie Hirsch
Loan Officer, NMLS #487461

Sterling Bank | Lake Washington Branch | 2536
10230 NE Points Dr., Suite 530, Kirkland, WA 98033
Direct: (425) 893-5717 | Fax: 425-650-7129

Graph provided by Genworth.

Posted on January 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm
The Guidotti Group | Posted in Uncategorized |

Looking into the Crystal Ball

We had a great real estate year in 2012 with an increase in the number of sales and  rising prices. What's going to happen in 2013?  Matthew Gardner is a wonderful resource for real estate economic news.  Check out his predictions:  

2013: Another Good Year for Housing by Matthew Gardner

Want to see what's happening in the market?  Check out our Current Market Stats button on our home page. 

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm
The Guidotti Group | Posted in Uncategorized |

Happy Holidays


Target Kids Shopping Day

Every year, the owners of our office (and several other Windermere offices) sponsor a holiday benefit for local kids that might not have enough resources to buy their family gifts. Agents and staff from the offices meet at 8:00am on a Saturday in early December at the Factoria Target store. Each child gets a $175 gift card to buy gifts for their family. Then the gifts are wrapped and tagged while they visit Santa, munch on snacks and make holiday crafts. The agents and staff help the kids with their shopping, wrap the presents, then deliver them back to the family to take home and put under the tree. It’s such a fun event– nothing like hundreds of real estate brokers and staff gathering together with tons of holiday spirit. At this year’s event  over 100 kids were treated to a fun morning and our whole family had a great time participating. A huge thank you to the Deasy organization for hosting this great event each year.

There are lots of ways to get involved with charity events this holiday season and beyond. Here are a few ideas:

Give Charity Gift Cards – http://www.charitygiftcertificates.org/

Have some extra time to volunteer?  Check out the United Way website –https://volunteer.truist.com/uwkc/org/opp/medallions/?medallion_id=806

Find something the whole family can do:  http://www.parentmap.com/article/giving-back-30-organizations-that-offer-help-during-the-holidays

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm
The Guidotti Group | Posted in Uncategorized |

Home Projects

Interested in recylced or reusable building products? Try these spots:

Habitat for Humanity Store

Second Use

The RE Store

Earthwise Architectural Salvage


Posted on November 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm
The Guidotti Group | Posted in Uncategorized |

Get your calendars out and start planning for the holidays!

Ready? It's almost time to get really busy. Just don't forget to pause occasionally, take a deep breath, and count your blessings. Listed below are links for several eastside communities holiday events and calendars. Enjoy!


Auburn Veterans Day Parade

Redmond Centennial Celebration

Issaquah Events

Bellevue Holiday Guide

Seattle Holiday Event Calendar

Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo

Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo

Garden d'Lights at Bellevue Botanical Gardens




Posted on November 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm
The Guidotti Group | Posted in Uncategorized |

Home Projects


Everyone has them – those projects around the house that just never quite seem to get finished. Well, we joke that we live in the land of unfinished projects. We did a major remodel about 10 years ago (added about 300 sq. ft., redid all the bathrooms, added a bedroom) and somehow several items just never got finished off. Of course, we had a good excuse. We were at the hospital with the birth of our son at the same time the contractor was tiling the master bathroom floor.  Subsequently, all construction stopped for several months…..which somehow turned into several years.  Now, we are aggressively attacking some of those projects. They will get finished, darn it!

This Home Projects blog will be about some of those projects. We want to share the process – whether doing it ourselves or hiring a contractor. Hopefully, you can learn from our successes and mistakes.

Just trying to finish off a previously started project, or thinking of tackling a new one? One thing to consider is the affect on the resale value of your home. Kitchens and bathrooms are generally your best bet, though they are usually bigger budget items. To see which projects net the most, check out this website:  www.costvsvalue.com.

Next time, we’ll show you the progress on one of our projects.  If any of these posts absolutely require you to go out and buy a new tool, we take no responsibility for that. Happy hammering!


Posted on November 1, 2012 at 6:55 pm
The Guidotti Group | Posted in Uncategorized |

My house is on the market, can I still decorate?

If your home is on the market during the holidays, you might wonder if it's appropriate to still put up holiday decorations. As long as they are not overwhelming (think Addams Family ghoulish or the Griswold's Christmas light extravaganza), you should feel comfortable decorating as you like. You can think of it as temporary staging for your home – use the same care and attention to detail as you would for the rest of your home.  Animated coffin at the front door?  Probably a bit much. Several carved, lighted jack-o-lanterns? Just fine.

If Halloween has snuck up on you again, there's still time to get your pumpkin carved before next week. In our lovely, moist weather we don't have to worry too much about our jack-o-lanterns drying out – just getting moldy!  And then there are the inevitable fruit fly invasions, slug attacks and random squirrel gnawings. So remember to check your pumpkins frequently and remove them at the first sign of rot. You want to create a nice first impression at your front door.

Here are a few websites with tips and ideas for carving your masterpiece:

Pumpkin Carving 101

Extreme Pumpkins

Better Homes and Gardens






Posted on October 24, 2012 at 8:58 am
The Guidotti Group | Posted in Uncategorized |

Fall is here! Time to get ready for winter.

  The leaves are falling, the rain is here and it's time to get some of those winter-prep tasks done. This is a good article on some basics to take care of soon from Kiplinger.  Fall and Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm
The Guidotti Group | Posted in Uncategorized |