SELLER SUCCESS STORY: Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Ear

Michael Jarus found me through sales records on a popular real estate search site. He contacted me because I sold the property next door last year, so he knew that I was familiar with the area.

Michael lives in Pennsylvania, and had inherited a property in Des Moines from his uncle who recently passed away.

He called while I was on vacation, but given his position, I felt that I should help him take the right steps to promptly get clear title to the property. I walked him through the most immediate and important steps to get the process started, and a few weeks later, he came to Seattle to finish it.

I met him at the property, which was in very rough condition, with non-permitted additions and a lot of deferred maintenance, including a leaking roof. It was in fact a borderline tear down, but it was on a nice corner lot, which could have views of the mountains and Puget Sound with a second-floor addition.

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Posted on July 26, 2019 at 2:00 am
Don Koonce | Category: Case Studies

COBUY SUCCESS STORY: Mom & Daughter Find Perfect Home to Live Together but Not Too Together

Sally and Kate are a mother and daughter looking to buy a place together, who were referred to me through CoBuy–an exciting new company with an online platform that makes it easier to buy a home with one or more other people–be it friends, family members, or both.

We met for our initial meeting and I learned their criteria.

Sally was looking to downsize from her large home and Kate was looking to purchase her first home. They each wanted to have their own space, and neither wanted to be in a basement space. They were also open to doing renovations if necessary, to make the space work for them.

I set up two searches, one for multifamily (duplex, etc) and one for single family.

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Posted on June 21, 2019 at 12:30 am
Don Koonce | Category: Case Studies, CoBuy

COBUY SUCCESS STORY: Creating an Intentional Community

Friends Cameron and Isaac are CoBuy clients who wanted to buy a house in order to create an intentional vegan activists’ community.

CoBuy is an exciting new company with an online platform that makes it easier to buy a home with one or more other people–be it friends, family members, or both.

After the initial introduction, we connected by email and since it wasn’t convenient for them to meet in person, we scheduled a teleconference.

Once we had that call, I had a good idea of what kind of home and the location that they were looking for.

I set up a search for them. Since they were looking for a large home with several bedrooms that could be rented out, the options were limited a bit.

The search turned up five homes that could possibly work.

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Posted on May 26, 2019 at 12:30 am
Don Koonce | Category: Case Studies

COBUY SUCCESS STORY: Dan, Briannon & the Perfect Fremont Townhome

Dan & Briannon’s new townhouse boasts amazing views of Lake Union & downtown Seattle from the master bedroom & roof top deck.

Dan Mendoza and Briannon Schaeffer are an unmarried couple who were looking to purchase their first home together. They were referred to me by CoBuy–an exciting new company with an online platform that makes it easier to buy a home with one or more other people–be it friends, family members, or both.

Due to the complicated nature of a cobuying situation, CoBuy only works with brokers–such as your truly–that have been through their training program, so I was prepared to guide Dan and Briannon through the process and prevent any future surprises.

In our initial meeting, they explained that they they didn’t want much yard to maintain, didn’t want to do any renovations, were open to single family homes and townhomes, and were flexible about location provided there was good public transit to downtown.

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Posted on April 22, 2019 at 12:30 am
Don Koonce | Category: Case Studies, CoBuy

BUYER SUCCESS STORY: With Patience & Perseverance Comes a Super Cute Condo

Jennifer Cotter was referred to me by a former client who happened to be one of her colleagues. She had been working with a discount brokerage and was trying to use her credit union to obtain her pre-approval.

She had found a house that she liked that was in her price range, but both her agent and the lender were unresponsive and in no hurry to help her make it happen.

I however moved quickly, connecting Jennifer with a trusted lender who was quickly able to get her pre-approved, so that we could make an offer on the home she wanted.

Unfortunately, due to her previous delay, she lost out due to another cash offer that came in before hers and was accepted.

So my next move was to set her up for a property search.

She was initially was looking for a single-family home, but found that most were either out of her price range, or in very poor condition, so I suggested she consider a condo instead.

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Posted on March 25, 2019 at 12:30 am
Don Koonce | Category: Case Studies | Tagged , ,

SELLER SUCCESS STORY: Elbow Grease & Good Planning Net Full-Price Cash Offer

After nearly a quarter century living in her unique, townhouse-style condo in West Seattle, Ann Gilbert was having a hard time navigating the stairs and needed to downsize, so she planned to move in with her daughter in Puyallup.

She contacted my longtime partner Dorothy Driver through a mutual friend, and prepared to vacate the beautifully non-cookie cutter abode with lofted design, soaring vaulted ceilings, spectacular window walls of light and fenced yard.

It was a bittersweet time for Ann, and I was happy to help make the transition as smooth as possible for her.

We met with Ann to determine what was needed to get the unit on the market. While it was a nice private end-unit in a pretty setting, it was also somewhat dated and had some deferred maintenance, so we devised a plan and timeline to accomplish the work.

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Posted on February 11, 2019 at 12:30 am
Don Koonce | Category: Case Studies, SOLD

SELLER SUCCESS STORY: Managed Expectations Make for Happy Endings

The holidays were just around the corner when Astrid and Matt Horine reached out to my colleague Dorothy Driver and I about listing her Mount Baker Townhouse, which she had been renting out for some time.

The home was bright and spacious and nestled perfectly between the desirable Mount Baker and Columbia City neighborhoods, within walking distance to shopping, dining, nightlife, light rail, buses, parks and seasonal farmers markets.

Astrid had been impressed by our super successful sale of her neighbor’s home at 4735 South Hudson Street in the Southeast Seattle neighborhood of Lakewood, where the sellers were blessed with a final sale price 16% more than list price, but that house had been listed in May 2018 and the market had changed a lot in just a few months.

It was clear that we needed to manage the Astrid and Matt’s expectations.

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Posted on January 7, 2019 at 12:30 am
Don Koonce | Category: Case Studies

SELLER SUCCESS STORY: Chuck Rides Off Into the Florida Sunset

Longtime Mount Baker resident Chuck Valentin approached me last summer with a desire to sell the home his parents built in 1954.

His parents had both passed away several years earlier, and Chuck bought out his siblings and had lived in the house since. But he’d recently retired and decided that he wanted to enjoy some sunny days and warm weather, so he was moving to Florida.

I made an appointment to see his home and plan a strategy for selling. It was full of many years of treasures from his parent’s time there. It also had quite a bit of deferred maintenance, but Chuck just wanted to move on and didn’t want to spend any money on renovations.

We determined that it would be best for him to move out since he could stay with his sister until he moved to Florida. We devised a plan to first clear out all the contents of the house., by getting a pod for the items that he wanted to take with him, and then selling, donating, discarding, or giving away the remainder. This process took several months since he had to go through everything.

Once the house was empty, we had the old carpet removed to show the hardwood floors, the windows washed, and the whole house cleaned. It was ready for the market. I knew that the buyers for this property would be a developer or flipper, so that is mostly who we marketed to.

Once on the market, it took a little over a month to find the right person–a cash buyer who could close quickly. The next thing we knew, the sale closed, and Chuck was off to Florida.

Congratulations, Chuck. ENJOY!

Do you need help selling your home in this intense market? My mission is to help you achieve your life goals. Contact me today at 206-250-7291 or

Posted on September 13, 2018 at 2:00 am
Don Koonce | Category: Case Studies

SELLER SUCCESS STORY: Classic Madrona Craftsman Nets More than 10% Above List Price

With some maintenance and cosmetic work, the Wright’s Madrona home sold for $718,500–more than 10% above list price.

Peter and Kirstin Wright are clients of my good friend and colleague Dorothy Driver, who happened to be out of town when I received an urgent call from Peter.

They had been planning for some time to move to Bellingham to retire and had just found their dream home. They had already put an offer in on that property, and now needed to sell their classic Madrona Craftsman, where they had lived for 25 years, as soon as possible.

We needed to move quickly to get their house in shape to go on the market. It had some deferred maintenance and cosmetic items that needed to be addressed, such as old carpeting, paint, and a house full of treasures that had to be relocated until they could move into their new place. To get them the most money for their house, it needed to be empty and staged.

Once Dorothy returned, she invited me to co-list with her. I am always up for a challenge, so I eagerly said yes.

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Posted on July 25, 2018 at 12:30 am
Don Koonce | Category: Case Studies

FROM DON: Cooling Market, Co-Buying & Community Service

Hi friends,

It’s been another busy month with three new listings: a beautifully updated Kent condo listed at $128,500, a solid mid-century fixer in Mount Baker, and a sweet top-floor Rainier Beach condo co-listed with my friend and colleague Nancy Chapin for $375,000.

I expect more of the same next month with four new listings on the horizon, including properties in Tukwila, North Bend, Mount Baker, and Lake Forest Park. So while Seattle-area home prices have reached record highs, increasing inventory does offer a ray of hope.

In other news, my office, Windermere Mount Baker Real Estate, is currently in the midst of our annual Project Cool School Supply Drive for homeless students. We use this time to help provide each child with a sturdy new backpack filled with quality school supplies, books, toothbrushes, and more. You can help with donations from the wish list found here through mid-July.

Also, I’m proud to share that we recently partnered with Wellspring Family Services in the Rainier Valley to sort, organize and fold clothing for children ages 0 – 17 who are experiencing poverty and homelessness. We’re so grateful for all the great work this South Seattle-based organization does for our community, and encourage you to learn more about them.

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Posted on June 30, 2018 at 12:30 am
Don Koonce | Category: Case Studies, CoBuy, From Don