Seattle, WA

Living in Seattle, Washington

Seattle Washington, the cultural center of the Pacific Northwest is a place where the great outdoors is a way of life. With such icons as Mount Rainier, Pike Place Market, Experience Music Project, and the Space Needle, plus breweries, wineries, a thriving arts scene and major ski areas, Seattle offers a well-rounded and appealing lifestyle.

Surrounded by the beautiful natural setting of Lake Washington and Puget Sound, Seattle is consistently voted one of America’s most vibrant and desirable cities. The city of Seattle holds many attractions for the prospective home buyer with its robust economy and employment opportunities, its broad range of architectural styles, its various entertainment venues, and its famed institution of higher education (the University of Washington). Seattle has a little something for everyone and extensive neighborhoods to call home.  

Enjoy our Seattle Blog!


Oct. 19, 2012

Knowing Mortgage Calculators and their Benefits

Benefits of Mortgage Calculators

The advent of the digital technology has made several things convenient for humans. The Internet has brought many great things into our lives. People have different financial goals to achieve in their lives. Some think of having their own homes. Owning a home will continue to remain a distant possibility unless you have the necessary funds. Well, not everything is that bad. You can always ask lender for loans. This will require you to visit several lenders and draw comparison on their quotes. That makes the process look far more difficult than it actually is. There is nothing to worry about if you have a mortgage calculator to assist you in such situations.

What is a Mortgage Calculator?

A mortgage calculator is a tool designed in such a way so as to make an easy determination of the financial impacts of the changes that are more likely to happen to variables during a borrowing and lending procedure. You can gain access to these tools through the Internet. You won’t be charged anything for that. You’re going to get some financial tools and software programs upon buying mortgage calculators.

Using a Mortgage Calculator

Questions arise as to why one should go for mortgage calculators. This is mainly because of the fact that people are not well aware of the benefits that they can get out of using mortgage calculators. The following are the factors that make it important for one to consider doing calculations on a mortgage calculator.

  • Accuracy – When it comes to accuracy, nothing can beat mortgage calculators. They are known for providing 99.9% accurate results. Being an automated tool, there are hardly chances of errors. By the way, you have to be careful while entering data into the calculator. Formulas, papers and old calculators have to make way for the latest mortgage calculators.
  • Independence – Complete freedom while you’re acting as a mortgage broker is important. Using mortgage calculators allows you to do calculations without any external help. You’re free to choose the lender of your choice and take advantage of the best deals provided by them.
  • Rate comparison – It is never without doing the right comparisons that you’ll be able to get a good mortgage. The online mortgage calculators have made it easier for people to carry out rate comparisons as they seek better mortgages. This helps you make decisions on lenders and choose the right one.
  • Variables – You’ll come to know about the variables that you can change with the help of mortgage calculators. In fact, questions on your affordability will be easily answered with the use of a mortgage calculator.
  • Time and money – Using the Internet to access mortgage calculators is going to save a considerable amount of time for you. Further, you’ll save money as they are available free of cost. You’ll have to pay only if you purchase the software programs.

Making financial decisions will cease to be painstaking once you start using mortgage calculators. Carry out further researches to know more about the usage and benefits of mortgage calculators.

by Miss Garfield


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Sept. 17, 2012

An Afternoon of Dining and Shopping in Lakewood's Koreatown on South Tacoma Way

Korean Tofu Soup, Bibimbap, and side dishes

Dining and Shopping at Lakewood's Koreatown

My wife and I enjoyed a recent afternoon at what has become known as Lakewood's Koreatown (officially: the International Business District).  Koreatown is a collection of 200+ business along South Tacoma Way between approximately 84th and 96th Streets.  Two grocery stores, Pal-Do World Market and Boo Han Market, and the large Shin Shin variety store anchor the shopping district.  Pal-Do World had a couple interesting sights I photographed: a beautiful European style bakery and a tank of live (ugly) flatfish from Korea for $69.99 each.  The flatfish looked like they have two ounces of meat on them at most - I didn't see the attraction.

Many fine Korean restaurants abound in the area.  For our lunch, we chose Cho Dang Tofu (see review on, around the corner from Pal-Do World.  What we knew of Korean cuisine is Kim Chi and barbecued meats.  Cho Dang offered a specialty new to us: tofu soup.  They offered about a dozen varieties of tofu soup.  They were out of oysters, so I tried the dumpling tofu soup.  The soup came out piping hot - still cooking really - in a miniature metal cauldron.  Elizabeth ordered Bebimbap, another signature Korean dish of rice topped with vegetables, chilis, and meat or egg.  The waitress brought us also a fried fish each and another half dozen side dishes.

After lunch, I dutifully tagged along, while Elizabeth shopped to her heart's content.  We visited a linen store with beautiful bedding and authentic Korean silk dresses.  We ended at Shin Shin, a big housewares and variety store.  Elizabeth likes to look at every little thing in a store like this, so I had a good hour nap out in the car.




Pal-Do World Market in Lakewood 

European style bakery at Pal-Do World  

Cho Dang Tofu Restaurant 

Korean silk dresses 

Expensive flatfish 


Cute frog humidifier 


Kim Chi

Shin Shin variety store

Elizabeth buys a hat 

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Sept. 15, 2012

Chihuly's Garden and Glass

  Chihuly's Garden and Glass-A magnificent way to spend an evening!

One of the most interesting places to go in Seattle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center.  The glass artwork that is contained in several rooms and and outside garden is amazing.   The picture on the left is an indoor garden that is much more brilliant in person.  A friend and I strolled through the exhibits several times listening to the music and seeing what a very creative mind can do.

There's even glass creations in the ceiling of one room.  It's like looking up from the bottom of an aquarium and seeing the interesting creatures above you.  Of course, it is all glass but the interpretive art is amazing.  One of the interesting parts of going to Chihuly's Garden and Glass is that they only let so many people in at a time.  If you just show up and they have enough people in the exhibit, you won't be able to get in for at least 20 minutes.  We had purchased our tickets on line at their website but even then if you're late by more than 20 minutes, you are not guaranteed to get in.  There's a hint in a picture below that gives you an idea of where to park.

And here is the clue, do you see the Space Needle through the ceiling?  If you park near the Space Needle, you'll be right by Chihuly's Garden and Glass.  Unfortunately, my outside pictures don't do justice to the brilliance of the glass work so you'll have to experience it yourself.  This is a great way to spend an evening but I bet during a sunny day, it will be just a interesting and amazing.

Have fun in Seattle!

Dave Sato

Residential Real Estate Professional &
Certified Commercial Advisor
eXp Realty LLC

425-213-6411 cell
206-902-4378 (fax)

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Sept. 10, 2012

Affordable Houses Brought within Reach of Seattle by Ferry


The Wenatchee Departing Seattle

The Wenatchee Departing Seattle

Washington State Ferries

The Washington State Ferry System connects Seattle and the nearby mainland to the many islands and peninsulas around Puget Sound.  Residents rely on the system to connect them to centers of employment and commerce.  Seattleites ride the ferries to reach recreational opportunities.  And tourists frequent the system in the summer to enjoy the ride and the beautiful destinations the ferries make accessible.

Washington Ferry Statistics

The size of the ferry system is truly impressive:

  • The largest ferry system in the US with 23 million riders per year
  • The third largest system in the world
  • 10 million vehicles carried per year - more than any other system in the world
  • The system operates 22 ferries distributed among 9 routes, averaging 450 crossings per day
  • The largest ferries, such as the Wenatchee pictured here, can carry 2,500 passengers and 202 vehicles at a time

Seattle-Bremerton Crossing

This is one of the most popular crossing for tourists.  You can walk on at the waterfront in Seattle, enjoy the one hour ride across to Bremerton, and then either explore downtown Bremerton or get right back on the ferry for the return trip.  The view is varied and tremendous all along the way:

  • The dramatic departure from the Seattle waterfront with the skyline of skyscrapers behind
  • The new Great Seattle Wheel
  • The huge cruiseships docked on Elliott Bay
  • The port with its huge cranes and cargo ships
  • West Seattle and Alki Beach that reach out towards the ferries
  • The Olympic Mountains coming closer as one approaches Bremerton
  • The forests and waterfront homes lining the shore as the ferry winds its way through Sinclair Inlet


Ferry Loaded with Vehicles

Ferry Loaded with Vehicles

Two clients I've worked with this year have made me aware of how ferries can figure into real estate planning:

Commuting by Ferry

A client taking up a new job in South Seattle became aware from his co-workers of Port Orchard and nearby communities on the Kitsap peninsula as an affordable alternative to King County house prices.  Port Orchard is serviced by the Fauntleroy-Southworth ferry route with a relatively quick crossing (30 minutes direct or 45 minutes, when stopping at Vashon Island).  He realized that he could afford a larger house on more land than was possible near to his job in King County. He explained to me that the cost of commuting in one own's vehicle alone adds up to $6,000 per year.  He participates in a van pool that brings the cost down to $1,000 per year.  The county owns the 15 passenger van.  Riders meet at a park-and-ride near to the ferry terminal.  The van gets priority loading onto the ferry, so they never miss a crossing.


Vacation Homes around Puget Sound

A second client searched all around Puget Sound for a waterfront vacation home.  He wanted a nice beach for the kids, a project house he could work on, and a reasonable drive under 2 hours.  He also gravitated to Port Orchard for its affordability.  We found him a great deal on an estate sale that had been empty for 5 years.  The house was set forward on the beach ahead of its neighbors for some privacy.  It has a great view of Colvos Passage, Vashon Island, the tippy-top of Mount Rainier, and the downtown Seattle skyline in the distance.  He was delighted to find that the waterway in front of the house is full of delicious red crab.


Waterfront Homes near Bremerton

Waterfront Homes near Bremerton


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Sept. 9, 2012

Wilde Rover, Kirkland's Irish Pub

One of my all time local favorites is The Wilde Rover Irish Pub Restaurant.  This popular Kirkland pub borrows part of its name from the well known Irishman, Oscar Wilde.  By their own admission devoted to "good food, drink, conversation, entertainment and friends" the atmosphere of this local place, here in the heart of beautiful downtown Kirkland since 2006, is truly as if you'd wandered into a pub in Dublin fot the evening.  It's a place friends meet, families meet, and even my scuba diving club meets for traditional Irish fare such as Shepard's Pie, Corned Beef and Bacon Cabbage, Irish Soda Bread BLT, Colconnan & Sausages, and Guinness Lamb Stew.  And of course the fully stocked bar is never at a loss to serve Guinness, which I grew extremely fond of while taking a trip to Ireland and visiting their Brewery.

Most important point, this place has a romantic feel and as well, it truly captures the neighborhood "Pub" flavor better than almost any I know, it's always worth a visit!!

Downtown Kirkland is a vibrant, walkable center of shopping, dining and activity that rings all the bells.  Real Estate within walking distance is in high demand and ranges from elegant family homes in Houghton to veritable lakefront estates west of market, to older family homes on the hills east of market, to elegant condos tucked in right around the downtown.  For a quick glance at what's new on the market this week, see below.  Here's a map of the neighborhoods: Neighborhood Map (PDF-286 kb) Adobe Reader Required - PDF

Here are new listings in Kirkland:


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Sept. 8, 2012

Today Seattle Center, Tomorrow Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival


Not only is there a huge Celebration of the Next 50 down at Seattle Center today, the Lighthouse Festival in Mukilteo through tomorrow, but the salmon are returning so we have to make it down to Ballard Locks and watch them climbing the water ladders, looks like that will have to be Monday (after school of course).  There are other places to watch the salmon, running June through October, with the best viewing in September.  The Sammamish River (Redmond), the Issaquah Creek, Bear Creek / KIS in Redmond, Kelsey Creek in Bellevue, Ebright Creek in Sammamish, Lewis Creek in Issaquah, Piper's Creek in Seattle (all outlined here on the Salmon SEEson site).

At the ongoing celebration of the Next 50 (through October) all kinds of events and venues are free... I heard EMP (Experience Music Project) is free and so is going to the top of the Space Needle!  There are events, music, and way too much to list here, so check out the site!!!

The Lighthouse Festival is a fun filled weekend in Mukilteo, normally a sleepy seaside town just north of Seattle where you can go to stroll, shop and enjoy good seafood and pubs.  For this one weekend, crowds enjoy music, exhibitions, and a holiday atmosphere including a hot dog eating contest.  Come help Mukilteo celebrate, and soak in the summer seaside ambiance.  The Lighthouse Festival is a trip!

For a complete (well, completer anyway) list of September happenings and area information see my website.


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Sept. 3, 2012

America's Car Museum by LeMay - New Major Greater Seattle Tourist Attraction

Tacoma Car Museum

Tacoma Car Museum

LeMay America's Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington

I am not at all a car enthusiast.  I drive my cars until they fall apart around me.  I could only get my wife to accompany me with the promise of good food and shopping at Tacoma's Koreatown on South Tacoma Way.  But we were both fascinated by this museum and crawled over every inch of it for at least two hours.

The collection spans the history of the automobile from its earliest days (first decade of the 20th century) to the newest electric cars (Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf).  Harold LeMay built up one of the largest car collections in the country over 50+ years.  The LeMay family ran a large private garbage hauling business over 5 counties of Washington state, which funded Harold's collecting activities.  The museum has taken donations and cars on loan from many other private collectors as well.  They are continually rotating the vehicles on display (some trucks and motorcycles too).  Harold passed away in the year 2000 and his widow, family, and network of friends and car enthusiasts spearheaded this effort to build a major museum around Harold's collection.

The museum was conceived of deliberately to be among the most important car museums in the US.  Its sheer size puts it in the top rank.  The building you see, sitting along highway I-5 next to the Tacoma Dome, is just the cap to a structure that is mostly underground.  Four major exhibit halls sit one on top of the other along with further displays in the side ramps on both sides that reach from one level to another.  The effect is disorienting.  Multiple people remarked that they had become lost in the structure.  The museum participates or sponsors a variety of local community events and as far afield as California and Italy.  They have created a membership club for car enthusiasts with special events, a private meeting room, and a private garage.

My favorite aspects of the museum tour were:

  • The beautiful architecture of the building, which is a giant tube encased in metal - something reminiscent of a sport car.
  • The terrific view of the City of Tacoma at the end of the tube.
  • My favorite cars were the coach cars from the 1920s and 1930s that were custom-built for the wealthy.  These would have lace curtains, crystal vases for flowers, and a rumble seat over the back wheels.
  • For an extra fee one of the lower levels has racing simulators and a huge remote control track that would be fun for kids.
  • A theater gives you a place to rest and learn about the LeMay story.
  • The gift shop was quite good.


LeMay Car Museum

LeMay Car Museum

Beautiful car in the lobby

Beautiful car in the lobby



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Sept. 1, 2012

What Time Does the Sun Set Today in Seattle?

Ballard, Beach, Golden Gardens Sunset in Seattle

by Edy Kizaki, Seattle Realtor and Branch Manager of our eXp Lake Union Office, 206-249-2914, never too busy for your questions and concerns!  We're here for you.

Since we were packing a picnic to go down to Golden Gardens Beach State Park in Ballard and watch the sunset while enjoying nature, the boats and people going past, and the summer late dusk, we wanted to know what time the sun set yesterday.  If you have the same question, check out this site, which will not only give you the times for sunrise and sunset, but lets you know the time difference from the days before, and after for 7 days.  Yesterday sunset was at 7:51, four minutes earlier than the day before!  Here is the site, you might want to bookmark it for future reference!

Email me if there is other information you'd like on the area, I've been collecting!!

For those who want to know what's new on the market in Ballard, here are all the residential listings that have come on the market in Ballard in the last 10 days:



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Aug. 29, 2012

Seattle Homes for Sale in Mt. Baker

by Edy Kizaki, Seattle Realtor and Branch Manager of our eXp Lake Union Office, 206-249-2914, never too busy for your questions and concerns!  We're here for you.

Mt. Baker is one of Seattle's beloved neighborhoods, and there are several reasons why.  One is the view that the neighborhood is named after... a view north east across Lake Washington all the way to Mount Baker, one of our state's more famous natural monuments. Another great feature of living in Mt. Baker is Mt. Baker Community Club, a great neighborhood resource and gathering place, offering such things as Tai Chi Classes, Trees for Neighborhoods participation, concerts, Knights and Dragons Days in the park, etc.  Every summer Seafair shatters the calm of the neighborhood in July as it actually hosts the spot on Lake Washington which most people attend to see the show.  A couple good neighborhood restaurants to try are Judkins St. Cafe which serves healthy comfort food, and the highly recommended Mioposto, for Italian.

The median home price in Mt. Baker this August according to Zillow Home Index is $484,600 but homes can be found from under $300,000 to well over a million.  Here are the selection of homes in Mt. Baker currently for sale:


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Aug. 27, 2012

The Little Free Library Movement

Little Free Library

The first Little Free Library has come to Bellevue (see map).  If you hurry, you can grab the copy of Sense and Sensibility I left there.  The Little Free Library movement seeks to:

  • Promote literacy and the love of reading
  • Build a sense of community
  • Build more libraries (albeit little ones) than Andrew Carnegie!

A Little Free Library is a book borrowing box placed on private property and stocked by the owner.  Visitors are welcome to take a book and return it later or trade a book.  The boxes are unattended and run on the honor system.  You can't really steal from a Little Free Library, since the books are free.



Inside the Box


A Library Patron


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