8 Tips for Back to School During COVID-19

Here we are again, with a new school year right around the corner. We all know that this year won’t be anything like what we’re used to, or what we hoped for… those fresh supplies, cute outfits, and all the “first day of school” pictures spamming our Facebook feed. Your family might be mourning what should have been, or you might be stressed just thinking about how you’re ever going to manage it all. Regardless of the initial opening decision your school has made, or what you have decided is best for your family, there is a lot of uncertainty ahead of us this fall and winter.

 

Below are a collection of tips and strategies I’ve put together for making the most (or maybe just surviving) this coming school year. It won’t look like a “normal” fall, but maybe we can still make it a good one.

 

  1. Plan a daily routine

Take the time before the year begins to plan out a daily schedule and family routine. It is tempting to let everyone sleep in as much as possible and log into their Zoom sessions from bed, but it won’t be the best scenario for truly learning or engaging. Having structure and goals to work towards will set up your students for success and give them a sense of security and predictability.

 

  1. Verify Materials

Make sure you have everything your kids will need to be successful. Your supply list this year might be fewer pens and markers and folders, and more along the lines of a PDF reader, note-taking apps, noise-canceling headphones, a stable WiFi connection, and pertinent account log-in information.

 

You might also think about purchasing some of those fresh, fun supplies, even if you won’t really need them. Maintaining a sense of normalcy will be important for everyone’s sanity. Some fun or pretty things for the kids to start the year with might go a long way for keeping their spirits up.

 

  1. Create a Learning Environment

Everyone knows the learning environment is important. A space too isolated could create opportunity to slack off. Sitting at the kitchen table might prove to be too distracting. Really think about what each person’s needs are and be prepared to move or switch things around if you find something isn’t working well.

 

When creating everyone’s work space, think about distractions, comfort, and access to power. Try to eliminate distractions as much as possible. Background noise or music can help with concentration. Help your child create a playlist of soothing music, or try an app like this one for productivity and focus.

 

  1. Plan Each Day

This is not the same as your family routine or school schedule. Help your student to make a plan for each day by taking a few minutes every morning to look at their schedule and assignments, and create a specific plan for that specific day. This will be especially helpful for older kids who might have lots of projects to juggle and independent work that can easily lead to feeling overwhelmed.

 

  1. Center the Child, Not the Work

This may not be for every household, as it’s definitely more of a parenting philosophy. Some families may find it much more important during this uncertain time to prioritize working hard, rather than getting good grades. If nothing else, keep in mind that we are in unprecedented times, and everyone deserves some grace as we move through this. Our children included.

 

  1. Encourage a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset doesn’t put the focus on what they’re learning in school, but rather how to think about what they’re learning. Developing a growth mindset will help your student reframe how they approach challenges in every aspect of their life. Kids with a growth mindset believe that their abilities, intelligence, and performance can improve over time. It’s the subtle difference between “I can’t do this homework. I don’t understand science.” and “I can’t do this homework yet. I don’t understand how to make sense of this problem.” Students with growth mindset see mistakes as ways to learn and will persist in the face of setbacks. We all need more of this, pandemic or not.

 

 

  1. Mask Prep

Even if your school is 100% remote learning for the beginning of the year, we should be preparing our kids now for the possibility of a hybrid learning model that will hopefully come later in the school year. Most of us are familiar by now with wearing masks to the grocery store or in the park, but those situations are not the same as wearing a mask for 7 hours straight during a school day. Start preparing your student now for extended mask wearing.

  • Make sure you have several masks that properly fit your child.
  • Practice is key. Don’t expect perfection at first, especially with younger kids. Just know that the more they wear masks, the more comfortable they will feel. Practicing at home gives them a safe space to take it off when they need a break.
  • Build endurance. Start small, the way you would with any new habit. Have them wear the mask for small increments of time, and gradually build up.
  • Make it fun. Do fun activities while they have it on. Let them pick out the colors or the fabric, or buy plain ones along with fabric paint and let them design their own. Disposable masks can be personalized with stickers around the edges. Help them enjoy wearing the mask by letting it reflect their personality.
  • Explain the “why”. Children need to know why they have to wear the mask. Talk to them about germs and how the mask helps to prevent spreading sickness. Have lots of conversations with your teens and middle-school kids so they are armed with facts and information in case they experience peer pressure to stop wearing it.
  • Model what you want your kids to imitate. When you are asking your child to wear a mask, you should wear it along with them, even around the home when they are practicing.

 

  1. Exercise Daily

This might get difficult when the winter weather sets in, but it is so important that we are all exercising every day. Even just a 30 minute walk does wonders for our bodies and our minds. Physical activity will make your student feel better, function better, learn better, and sleep better. It will reduce anxiety and improve overall health. Make this one a priority!


Posted on August 17, 2020 at 11:22 pm
Debbie Jaeger | Posted in Uncategorized |

Where to Donate Household Items during COVID-19

For many of us, all the extra time at home this year has sparked bouts of decluttering and purging. Whether you have already cleaned out your linen closet, or you’re still planning to tackle the garage, an important key in this process is what to do with all the stuff.

 

Most thrift stores in King & Snohomish counties are open under Phase 2 right now, but many of the more well-known spots have restrictions on what they will take, and when they are accepting donations. If you’ve made your way through a donation line at Goodwill, you probably know that they are not currently accepting any furniture. But did you know that many of the smaller, independent shops are taking large pieces?

 

Do a Google search for “thrift stores near me”, and call the smaller ones to see what their donation acceptance policies are during COVID. Or use this great national directory where you can put in your zip code and find lots of nearby shops.

 

Below are a few Puget Sound organizations where your gently used household donations support important causes like homelessness and youth mentoring. Make sure to check their website or call for their current COVID policies.

 

 

Leave a comment if you have a favorite thrift shop in the area that is taking donations!


Posted on August 11, 2020 at 12:30 am
Debbie Jaeger | Posted in Local Events-King and Snohomish Counties |

Updated 2020 Forecast

 

As we head into the second half of 2020, we are starting to see the makings of a housing market recovery. There was a steep dive down in closed sales in April and May, but a quick snap back in June. This trajectory illustrates a “V” shaped change from the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis until now.

Nationally, sales are down year-to-date but they were up 21% from May to June, the largest month-over-month increase ever recorded by the National Association of Realtors. According to Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist and sought after expert across the nation, he sees our position as a “glass half full” reality. He just released his updated 2020 housing market forecast and believes that sales will be down year-over-year, but that prices will be up!

He believes that the strongest influence on the reduction in sales is the lack of inventory, not lack of demand. In fact, inventory levels are the lowest they have been in two decades. Currently, national prices are up 3.5% year-over-year and he anticipates that prices will end the year up 4.3%. Currently in King County, prices are up 2% year-over-year and in Snohomish County 4% year-over-year.

Eight out of the last nine weeks of pending sales in King and Snohomish counties have outperformed the pending sales for the same weeks in 2019. Historically low interest rates are driving demand, as well as many people making big lifestyle moves due to remote working, the Millennials expanding their families, and Baby Boomers retiring.

 

 

He does not anticipate a huge flood of foreclosures despite some of the noise out there. He believes the mortgage forbearance programs are providing great relief for those out of work and that this will enable those in need to hold on to their homes until their jobs return. The sizable equity position many homeowners are in across the country is also ensuring that fewer homes will be foreclosed upon.

Housing is performing very well despite the health crisis and it will be a key leading factor for the recovery of the economy overall. Unlike the 2008 Great Recession, housing is the cornerstone of economic fortitude right now. If you would like additional information or if you’re curious how the market relates to your lifestyle and bottom line, please reach out. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

On July 18th our office managed to pull off our annual paper shredding event. We were able to follow the proper protocols and made it a no-contact event. Guests stayed in their cars and we unloaded their trunks and sent them safely on their way. It was a relief to be able to provide this service, as it has been a long-time tradition that provides a meaningful service.

Even better is we equally billed the event this year as a food drive. The results were heartwarming, outstanding, and successful. The generosity of our guests was overwhelming and impressive! Mike from Concern For Neighbors Food Bank was thrilled when he walked in and saw all the food piled up. He mentioned that actual food donations are very low this year due to the pandemic and that this would help greatly over the coming weeks. In addition to the 2,123 lbs of food we also collected $4,122 dollars! Mike and his team will use those funds to purchase food to provide to the community in need over the next several weeks.

If you’d like to donate, please visit their website (above) to see their COVID-19 schedule and how you can help.

 


Posted on August 4, 2020 at 9:50 pm
Debbie Jaeger | Posted in Newsletter |

South King County Quarterly Market Trends – Q2 2020

The real estate market performed very well in the second quarter despite the changing and challenging environment due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Our industry has been considered essential and required to operate with strict protocols in place to help protect the safety of buyers, sellers, brokers, and service providers. The ability to still do business helped sales churn during what would have been our busiest season, spring market.

 

Interest rates remain at the lowest levels we have ever seen, creating strong buyer demand and providing plentiful audiences for listings. The biggest challenge we saw in the second quarter was a lack of sufficient housing inventory for buyers to choose from, especially in the lower to medium price ranges. Understandably, would-be sellers were delayed in coming to market and some even stepped aside to survey their safety and motivation. This led to a 27% decrease in new listings in the second quarter vs. the same quarter last year. All the while, pending sales were only down 12%, illustrating the demand in comparison to supply.

 

This classic supply and demand scenario has helped maintain price appreciation. With only 0.7 months of available inventory based on pending sales, the median price is up 7% year-over-year. As we head into summer, we are looking to see more inventory come to market. Summer will be the new spring market as supply starts to catch up with demand while taking advantage of the longer, lighter days.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!


Posted on July 18, 2020 at 12:47 am
Debbie Jaeger | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South King County |

Eastside Quarterly Market Trends – Q2 2020

The real estate market performed very well in the second quarter despite the changing and challenging environment due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Our industry has been considered essential and required to operate with strict protocols in place to help protect the safety of buyers, sellers, brokers, and service providers. The ability to still do business helped sales churn during what would have been our busiest season, spring market.

 

Interest rates remain at the lowest levels we have ever seen, creating strong buyer demand and providing plentiful audiences for listings. The biggest challenge we saw in the second quarter was a lack of sufficient housing inventory for buyers to choose from, especially in the lower to medium price ranges. Understandably, would-be sellers were delayed in coming to market and some even stepped aside to survey their safety and motivation. This led to a 31% decrease in new listings in the second quarter vs. the same quarter last year. All the while, pending sales were only down 20%, illustrating the demand in comparison to supply.

 

This classic supply and demand scenario has helped maintain price appreciation. With only 1 month of available inventory based on pending sales, the median price is up 2% year-over-year. As we head into summer, we are looking to see more inventory come to market. Summer will be the new spring market as supply starts to catch up with demand while taking advantage of the longer, lighter days.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!


Posted on July 18, 2020 at 12:47 am
Debbie Jaeger | Posted in Eastside, Quarterly Market Trends |

Seattle Metro Quarterly Market Trends – Q2 2020

The real estate market performed very well in the second quarter despite the changing and challenging environment due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Our industry has been considered essential and required to operate with strict protocols in place to help protect the safety of buyers, sellers, brokers, and service providers. The ability to still do business helped sales churn during what would have been our busiest season, spring market.

 

Interest rates remain at the lowest levels we have ever seen, creating strong buyer demand and providing plentiful audiences for listings. The biggest challenge we saw in the second quarter was a lack of sufficient housing inventory for buyers to choose from, especially in the lower to medium price ranges. Understandably, would-be sellers were delayed in coming to market and some even stepped aside to survey their safety and motivation. This led to a 25% decrease in new listings in the second quarter vs. the same quarter last year. All the while, pending sales were only down 10%, illustrating the demand in comparison to supply.

 

This classic supply and demand scenario has helped maintain price appreciation. With only 0.9 months of available inventory based on pending sales, the median price remained even year-over-year. As we head into summer, we are looking to see more inventory come to market. Summer will be the new spring market as supply starts to catch up with demand while taking advantage of the longer, lighter days.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!


Posted on July 18, 2020 at 12:46 am
Debbie Jaeger | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, Seattle Metro |

North King County Quarterly Market Trends – Q2 2020

The real estate market performed very well in the second quarter despite the changing and challenging environment due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Our industry has been considered essential and required to operate with strict protocols in place to help protect the safety of buyers, sellers, brokers, and service providers. The ability to still do business helped sales churn during what would have been our busiest season, spring market.

 

Interest rates remain at the lowest levels we have ever seen, creating strong buyer demand and providing plentiful audiences for listings. The biggest challenge we saw in the second quarter was a lack of sufficient housing inventory for buyers to choose from, especially in the lower to medium price ranges. Understandably, would-be sellers were delayed in coming to market and some even stepped aside to survey their safety and motivation. This led to a 51% decrease in new listings in the second quarter vs. the same quarter last year. All the while, pending sales were only down 15%, illustrating the demand in comparison to supply.

 

This classic supply and demand scenario has helped maintain price appreciation. With only 0.8 months of available inventory based on pending sales, the median price remained even year-over-year. As we head into summer, we are looking to see more inventory come to market. Summer will be the new spring market as supply starts to catch up with demand while taking advantage of the longer, lighter days.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!


Posted on July 18, 2020 at 12:45 am
Debbie Jaeger | Posted in North King County, Quarterly Market Trends |

South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q2 2020

The real estate market performed very well in the second quarter despite the changing and challenging environment due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Our industry has been considered essential and required to operate with strict protocols in place to help protect the safety of buyers, sellers, brokers, and service providers. The ability to still do business helped sales churn during what would have been our busiest season, spring market.

 

Interest rates remain at the lowest levels we have ever seen, creating strong buyer demand and providing plentiful audiences for listings. The biggest challenge we saw in the second quarter was a lack of sufficient housing inventory for buyers to choose from, especially in the lower to medium price ranges. Understandably, would-be sellers were delayed in coming to market and some even stepped aside to survey their safety and motivation. This led to a 26% decrease in new listings in the second quarter vs. the same quarter last year. All the while, pending sales were only down 7%, illustrating the demand in comparison to supply.

 

This classic supply and demand scenario has helped maintain price appreciation. With only 0.6 months of available inventory based on pending sales, the median price is up 5% complete year-over-year. As we head into summer, we are looking to see more inventory come to market. Summer will be the new spring market as supply starts to catch up with demand while taking advantage of the longer, lighter days.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!


Posted on July 18, 2020 at 12:45 am
Debbie Jaeger | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South Snohomish County |

North Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q2 2020

The real estate market performed very well in the second quarter despite the changing and challenging environment due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Our industry has been considered essential and required to operate with strict protocols in place to help protect the safety of buyers, sellers, brokers, and service providers. The ability to still do business helped sales churn during what would have been our busiest season, spring market.

 

Interest rates remain at the lowest levels we have ever seen, creating strong buyer demand and providing plentiful audiences for listings. The biggest challenge we saw in the second quarter was a lack of sufficient housing inventory for buyers to choose from, especially in the lower to medium price ranges. Understandably, would-be sellers were delayed in coming to market and some even stepped aside to survey their safety and motivation. This led to a 21% decrease in new listings in the second quarter vs. the same quarter last year. All the while, pending sales were only down 1%, illustrating the demand in comparison to supply.

 

This classic supply and demand scenario has helped maintain price appreciation. With only 0.7 months of available inventory based on pending sales, the median price is up 7% complete year-over-year. As we head into summer, we are looking to see more inventory come to market. Summer will be the new spring market as supply starts to catch up with demand while taking advantage of the longer, lighter days.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!


Posted on July 18, 2020 at 12:44 am
Debbie Jaeger | Posted in North Snohomish County, Quarterly Market Trends |

Currently Gathered Micro-Data Illustrating Summer is the New Spring Market

 

 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic reaching our region, I quickly shifted to updating you more frequently with information to help you stay informed on the real estate market. Since mid-March, I have been committed to gathering high-frequency data (micro-data) to help illustrate “Where We Are Now” and have provided this newsletter bi-monthly vs. monthly. I felt this was important as real estate is typically our biggest investment and the pandemic has certainly had its economic impact.

I have also closely followed Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner, and Economist Steve Harney of Keeping Current Matters. They have both been knowledgeable guides and source their micro-data from various credible sources to help determine their conclusions. Check out Matthew’s latest video update below about the real estate market in relation to COVID-19.

The graphs below are a new data set I’ve been studying on a weekly basis. They compare the number of pending sales reported each week to the same week in 2019, which was another stellar year for our local real estate market. 2020 was outpacing 2019 when the National Emergency was declared and then dropped significantly once the Stay Home Orders were put in place in late March.

 

 

April stalled, and rightfully so: pending sales were down as people retreated into their homes and started new routines, such as working from home. As we ventured into May however, things changed. From mid-May until now, pending sales activity in both counties has started to reach or outpace 2019 numbers.

Spring is typically our peak season for real estate sales, and what is being made clear is that the historically-active spring market has now shifted to summer. As we come off the Summer Solstice and head into the warmer months, we are seeing tons of buyers out in the marketplace and a limited supply of available inventory. This combination has helped prices maintain, and in some areas appreciate.

One set of micro-data that is illustrating increased buyer demand is the uptick in mortgage applications. Last week, mortgage applications were up 20% over the same week last year. Note this is for purchase loans, not refinances. With the lowest rates we have ever seen in history it is no surprise that buyers are motivated to go secure a home with the lowest debt service ever!

Last week, the micro-data set of the recorded home-showing appointments displayed a 51% increase in showings over 2019! This is measured by comparing key box access compared to the same week last year. Demand certainly paused in the spring, but was not eliminated; it was being deferred to the summer. As we have reported from the beginning, this is a health crisis, not a housing crisis.

Our biggest challenge as we head into the peak summer months is the available inventory. We entered into 2020 with tight inventory to begin with, and COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the number of homes coming to market. We are expecting some homes to wait until the health crisis has passed, and others will be delayed by 45-60 days. Homes take time to prepare for market, and contractors and handy-persons were all at home in April, pushing prep time out to later spring/early summer for those ready to come to market.

We expect to see an increase in new listings as we head into July and August, which will be welcomed after a 40% deficit compared to 2019. Mortgage applications, historical interest rates, industries in our region that are thriving, and entering into Phase 2 are all micro-data sets that indicate strong buyer demand for the second half of 2020.

Unemployment numbers are also an important micro-data point to keep an eye on. Since the Stay Home Orders, initial unemployment claims have dropped significantly, but continued claims are maintaining. We anticipate the continued claims to reduce as more and more people return to work after being furloughed. Not all of those jobs will be recovered, indicating our greatest need for recovery.

The last three months have been an incredible journey helping people safely navigate the real estate market. Some folks just want to know that their nest egg is safe, and some are making actual moves. When COVID-19 hit there was a ton of uncertainty, we weren’t sure how this would play out in regards to housing. Since we went into this with a very formidable economy and housing values, we have sustained, and in some areas we are thriving. It has been remarkable to watch and be a part of. I am grateful every day that this is not the housing crash of 2008 all over again.

If you are curious about the value of your home in today’s market or are considering a move, please reach out. The interest rates are unbelievable and will greatly benefit those who take advantage of them. I am committed to safe business practices and follow all of the protocols put in place, which include mask-wearing, proper social distancing, and sanitizing. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong, safe decisions, especially during unprecedented times. Thank you for your trust; I am honored to be your trusted advisor.

 

SHRED EVENT

NEW DATE! We are partnering with Confidential Data Disposal for our 9th year; providing you with a safe, eco-friendly way to reduce your paper trail and help prevent identity theft.

Saturday, July 18th, 10AM to 2PM
4211 Alderwood Mall Blvd, Lynnwood
Bring your sensitive documents to be professionally destroyed on-site. Limit 20 file boxes per visitor.

We will also be collecting non-perishable food and cash donations to benefit Concern for Neighbors food bank. Donations are not required, but are appreciated. Hope to see you there!

This is a no-contact, drive-through event. We ask that you stay in your vehicle and unlock your trunk or car door so that we can unload your boxes. We will be taking all proper precautions to keep everyone safe, including wearing PPE, maintaining distance, and using CDC-recommended disinfectants.

**This is a Paper-Only event. No x-rays, electronics, recyclables, or any other materials.


Posted on June 25, 2020 at 8:15 pm
Debbie Jaeger | Posted in Local Events-King and Snohomish Counties, Newsletter |