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Writing

Some samples have been edited for length.

Editorial Writing

Fix it or Forget it?

Windermere agents share the renovations that can help you make—or even beat—market value. BY HANNAH BRUNELL 

 

WHEN IT'S TIME TO SELL your property, it might be tempting to focus on the big, eye-catching details. While an entire kitchen or bathroom remodel will be sure to turn heads, covering the bases with cost-effective repairs and refurbishments can add just as much value to your home. What renovations are worth investing in when you're ready to sell? 

 

The first step in selling your home for the highest value starts years before you even put it on the market. Maintaining property maintains its value, and in the eyes of a buyer, deferred maintenance is always going to appear more costly than it is to the seller. "If it's $1,000 of work [that needs to be done], it's going to look like $1,500 to $2,000 to the buyer," says Blake Ellis, broker for Windermere Realty Trust in Portland. He also mentions that it can be worth it to make updates prior to selling just to mitigate the stress of the selling process. 

 

It's important to start with the basics when deciding what needs to be addressed. "If there's a sewer, safety, or sanitary issue, it needs to be fixed prior to putting the home up for sale," says Cory Williams, Broker for Windermere Real Estate in Metro Denver. A sound, watertight roof, decent siding, window and door seals, a regularly serviced HVAC system, and a house free of pests and rot are basic buyer expectations. 

 

With a baseline of a well-maintained home accomplished, variables such as the age of your home and the market you're selling in can determine what's next. If your home is only a few decades old, investing in renovations can make a big difference in value, but much older homes might not enjoy the same increase. "If everything in the house is from the 1960s, then you might not need to renovate. Someone's going to update it to how they want," says Robyn Kimura-Hsu, a broker with Windermere Mercer Island. 

 

The market and the buyer set you're looking to attract will greatly affect how much effort a seller will be expected to put into renovation. "Look at the Portland market several years ago," says Ellis. "Buyers would compete for listings that might not have sold at market value now." As more houses were built, buyer expectations were able to rise. Similarly, properties have to be pulled together and priced right to sell in the Seattle market, according to Kimura-Hsu. "Your property has to be visually appealing, especially since photos are what lures buyers in."

 

It's always possible, however, to blend both cosmetic and functional repairs to improve the value of your home. Fixtures in kitchens and baths can be good to invest in if they're notably dated. Kimura-Hsu says that painting dark-wood cabinets white or gray is an inexpensive way to modernize the all-important kitchen. Most buyers are looking for gas ranges rather than electric, so if you have an unused gas line it might be worth it to swap out your electric model for gas. 

 

Williams has more ideas for renovation that might often be overlooked. "Gutters that don't slope correctly, clog, or don't go far enough from the foundation are going to cause big problems in the future." He is cautious when it comes to replacing windows, however. "A lot of people get overcharged for windows while trying to make their home more efficient. Make sure that it's a smart investment for a good return on the money." For assurance, Williams suggests homeowners consult with a real estate professional before making such a significant investment. 

Research Writing

Towards a Better Understanding of the Trans & Nonbinary Experience

Community is the bubble of safety

Community can be a great source of support and sense of belonging for students, but often, the reason students have to resort and rely on their communities is because they feel unwelcomed and unsafe outside of that community.

Students shared that they do not feel safe or welcomed at the University outside of their own small circles. This sentiment was especially repeated among graduate students, one of whom stated that they felt “fortunate” to have their circle and imagined they would not be able to have the same close-knit community had they been an undergraduate student. Over all levels of study, smaller circles and events were appreciated for the safety they could generate.

“I know that I'm safer in those smaller spaces, like you know small events are just like hanging out to lunch, but like at orientation this is the entire student population it's not just the student population that goes to student government.”

In contrast, when students interact with those outside of their small circles, they feel unwelcomed and misunderstood from other communities. This exclusion leads to feelings of shame and hostility, hindering trans and nonbinary students from being able to fully engage in other spaces. The following excerpt is from a student who wishes to be a mentor to the students they are teaching but when their students refer to them as the wrong name, they feel they are referring to an old version of themselves.

“When I have literally thousands of students a year emailing me with an old name or old pronouns… A whole community of people that I'm trying to teach a subject I love, and it feels like a huge rejection from that community. Or it’s perceived to me. That didn’t just create shame in me, it was creating hostility and anger. Like I can't teach from that place.”

At the same time, students explained that it is hard to find community with other trans and nonbinary people in each faculty, and so students feel isolated. Newly-out or questioning students may feel questions of ‘validity’ or permission to enter trans or nonbinary spaces. Campus tour guides may not have the information to give to prospective students about what queer life is like on campus. As such, mentorship was brought up as a desire, both to be mentored and to mentor other trans and nonbinary students within their respective faculties.

Technica Writing

President of Board of Directors

Description

WLA Board President takes office following one year in the elected position of Vice President/President-Elect

  • Voting member of the WLA Board

  • Term of office is three years: first year as Vice President, second year President, and third year as Past President

  • Office shall be assumed January 1

  • Candidate must be a member of WLA

  • Requires considerable time and support to carry out activities

 

Responsibilities

Participate in Board activities and communications

  • Attend and facilitate Board meetings and WLA events

    • Three Board meetings are online and one is in-person at the annual conference

    • The WLA President is strongly encouraged to attend WLA events such as the annual conference, WA Library Legislative Day, etc.

  • Read and respond appropriately to Board emails and attend ad hoc Board meetings

  • Familiarize yourself with the issues before the Board and prepare in advance for discussion and decision-making

  • Participate in annual Board self-assessment and management company evaluation

Participate in financial planning

  • Serve on Finance Committee and attend short monthly online meetings

Participate in library advocacy

  • Serve on Legislative Committee and attend short weekly online meetings during WA legislative session

  • Participate in contract negotiations with Legislative Liaison

Facilitate communication throughout the association

  • Establish Board meeting dates and agendas along with Executive Director

  • Ensure continual sharing of information between and among the board, divisions, committees, and membership

  • Prepare WLA President’s column for each issue of Alki during presidential term

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