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Light a high commodity in Seattle

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Tess Vigeland: If you’re in the market for a home anywhere, you’ll be on the lookout for many of the traditional elements: A nice layout, perhaps a landscaped yard, maybe a few high-end fixtures.

But here in Seattle, potential homeowners are willing to pay big bucks for something a little unexpected. We asked one of the city’s veteran real estate agents to explain.

Marlow Harris: Marlow Harris, I’m a real-estate broker with

Lights important in Seattle real estate, because we only have about 58 sunny days a year. The rest of the days are either cloudy, semi-cloudy or rainy.

This is a house that made excellent use of light. Come on in.

Sound of door opening

Because we’re so far north here, southern exposure is prized in a home. That’s a marketing feature that we use. You know, people will also discuss eastern exposure, western. You never say, “Great northern exposure!” because that means there’s no light.

I think light adds actual dollar value to homes in the Pacific Northwest, because light is at such a premium. It’s $890,000, with the beautiful spaces and open rooms and lots of light. And if it didn’t have this light, it would be very difficult to live here and the value would probably be 10 or 20 percent lower.

Now is a contrast. We’re going to be entering a home that’s a little bit more light challenged. So, as you can see, it’s a really lovely, well kept home, but because of the way the windows are situated, it’s very dark and it’s almost depressive.

This building is half the price of the one we just came from. The house that we came from, full of light, was $890,000. And this is on the market for about $500,000. If it had better light, you could probably get another $100,000.

You could call it feng shui, you could call it exposure, but it has to be the right location to get that kind of light that we’re looking for up here.

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