And the winner is…

Pickett Street Properties is proud and honored to announce that all 4 of us just received the “2009 – 5 Star Realtor Award, Best in Client Satisfaction,” recently published in Seattle Magazine. This is a great honor for us – because our greatest desire is to serve our clients incredibly well. Only 758 local Realtors received this award of the over 20,000+ licensed Agents in our area.

Here’s how the awards are determined:

First, over 22,500 people who recently bought or sold homes were surveyed by mail and phone.  Next, professionals in the mortgage and title industry were surveyed for their nominees.  Stacks of surveys were received, screened and scored by Crescendo Business Services.  Finally, a blue ribbon panel of local industry experts reviewed the finalists list – and the winners were announced!

Those surveyed were asked to evaluate their nominees based on nine criteria:  Customer service, communication, finding the right home, integrity, negotiation, marketing the home, market knowledge, closing preparation, and closing satisfaction. We want to thank our clients and those we work with for nominating us.  We are thrilled with the awards, and will continue to do our best to exceed our clients’ expectations and goals.

Several Agents we know keep telling us how lucky we are.  I think Thomas Jefferson said it best: “Luck is a dividend of sweat.  The more you sweat, the luckier you get.”

While many in our area continue to complain that “nothing’s happening” – and that the real estate market is “still dead” – we beg to disagree: As a team, we currently have 15 homes Pending, and many more homes For Sale that are receiving regular showings!  And as a team, we’re currently helping  12 different Buyers find great homes and properties all over Puget Sound.

Finally, I’d like to quote one of my kids’ favorite burger-makers, Ray Kroc (founder of McDonalds): “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

We do love what we’re doing.  We strive to put our customers’ goals first.  And we’re thrilled to serve our clients, and to earn success. We’re proud to be winners!   And we’re looking forward to helping many more clients win in 2010!

chip-and-leaf

Among the many contentious issues of our day, the concept of being ‘environmentally conscious’, certainly strikes a few hot buttons for some. This post isn’t going to explore the politics of Al Gore, or Rush Limbaugh, because, controversial as that subject may be, there’s just not enough space to do the topic justice, and frankly, I don’t find it that interesting.

My personal angle on the Green Movement tends to slant more toward the practicalities of implementation, and looking at the cost/benefit balance for long term value. Given the condition of our current economy, and the impact of rising energy prices, and prices overall, I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say everybody’s looking for ways to save money.

From that perspective, the question becomes one of whether it’s more practical to save money now (which frequently means either making do with less, or doing nothing), or to take the preventive and holistic steps that provide for long term cost and resource savings through conservation, thoughtful design, and practical implementation of new home-building technologies.

The Green Movement is really just a convenient handle for the overarching conversation that revolves around the management and distribution of resources within a given community, and attempts to provide quantifiable benefits for the conscious, thoughtful, holistic use of those resources.

The holistic view can be overwhelming but done well, it brings together the critical elements of a home: location (both within the community, and the specific site), materials usage, durability, water management/usage, power usage, lighting, walkability/transportation, and landscaping to name a few.

As resources in our finite world become increasingly difficult to procure, and consequently more expensive, finding cost-effective ways to recycle old materials into new products, and avoiding the dead end of landfills, will become yet another major industry- as we’re already seeing in many third-world countries. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, this is truly a direction all developed nations are already heading towards- from mining turkey carcasses for oil, to reinventing formica countertops- the race is already on for renewable solutions to our most challenging environmental questions.

There are an endless array of opportunities within this shift, some of which have been proposed as elements of a recession-ending strategy, and others that feel truly sci-fi.

Having recently earned my Realtor, Green Designation, I find this topic to be an endless source of ideas and look forward to implementing as much as I can in my own home. If you have questions or ideas about green construction, I’d love to chat.

instudio

On Tuesday Dennis and I were asked to participate on a round table discussion of the real estate market on “The Money Thing,” a local talk radio show that airs on Tuesdays from 12-2pm on 1150AM (KKNW). Neither of us had ever been on the radio before, but that would never keep us from offering our opinion! :) The show is hosted by Howard Bono, a mortgage originator and owner of Old West Mortgage in Everett. We had only met Howard once before, but that meeting prompted enough thought that he asked us to come on the radio program to share our ideas with his audience.

jesssmile

The discussion was lively, and was largely in reference to the short sale processs, what we anticipated for our local market over the next 12-18 months, and how we counsel buyers in times like these. The entire program segment is available on Howard’s website, TheMoneyThing.com, but I’ve posted just our segment below. Thanks to Howard for having us – and thanks to Jerry Jaz for taking the time to take in-studio pics.