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Posts made in 2007

  • Propaganda P-I

    November 27, 2007 /
    Jesse D. Moore /

    Yes - as in the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer." Take this article for instance: Seattle's 12-month reign atop the nation in annual home-value increases came to an end in September, according to a report released Tuesday. Charlotte, N.C., posted a year-over-year increase of 4.72 percent, just ahead of Seattle's 4.69 percent, according to Standard and Poor's S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. To the informed mind, this might sound like good news: despite a falling American dollar, despite the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market, despite national news reporting falling home prices across the nation, home values in our area continue to rise! Not at the meteoric rate that we had seen over the past four years - but who really wanted/expected that to continue? Instead, the data shows that homes in Seattle appreciated only 4.69%, a small-to-moderate gain among a nation of markets with falling values (a home purchased at $400,000 a year ago with annual appreciation of 4.69% would now be worth $418,760). Back to the article: Just five of the 20 cities the indices track posted year-over-year increases, while all 20 declined from August to September. The 20-city composite dropped by 4.9 percent from the prior year and 0.9 percent from…Read more

  • Suze Orman Sells Seattle

    October 23, 2007 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    How’s that for a catchy headline? Well, if you’re a follower of Oprah, you might have caught the reference. In a recent show, which aired 10/18/07, Suze dresses down a California couple whose lavish lifestyle has driven them off a financial cliff. As she outlines her prescription for their recovery (a process she refers to as financial detox), Suze's suggestions take an unexpected turn toward Seattle. “Suze's final step is the most drastic. Suze tells Felice and Phil they must sell their California home and move to Seattle, Washington. With a booming housing market and high-tech industry, Suze says Seattle is particularly well suited to both Felice and Phil's strengths—Phil is a computer contractor and Felice was once a mortgage broker.” Now, if you live in Seattle, you probably aren’t surprised to hear about yet another Californian preparing to migrate to our fair city. But this isn’t just another LA escapee; this is Seattle as a recipe for financial survival. And if you’re in the market for a Seattle home, you’re probably wondering why Seattle would specifically be mentioned by any responsible financial consultant - and particularly one of Suze’s national stature. Given the “Subprime Meltdown”, the “Mortgage Morass”, and…Read more

  • No housing woes in booming Washington State

    September 19, 2007 /
    Jesse D. Moore /

    One of our hardest jobs of late has been educating our clients on managing the sudden onslaught of recent information on the national mortgage crisis with our local real estate reality. Simply said, what happens in the industry in California, Florida, Nevada or elsewhere doesn't translate to our local real estate market. We've been saying for several years now the same thing: the Puget Sound is governed by geography (mountains, water, and wetlands) and politics (because of our geography, environmental regulations make it more difficult for builders to build in certain areas). These factors combined with our strong economy result in a more stable local real estate market than almost any other large metropolitan area. Despite our argument, it's still hard for many people to ignore the headlines in the newspapers, or the cautious words of a friend or relative who knows the friend of a friend who bought at the top of the market and lost their shirt. We're thankful then for a little help from the news industry when they differentiate between California's woes and Washington State's boon. No housing woes in booming Washington State (Reuters) - While California suffers in the housing crisis, the economy of nearby…Read more

  • Book Review: Three Cups of Tea

    September 17, 2007 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    What? A real estate "free" post? We are (after-all) versatile agents, filled with thoughts and ideas, vim and vigor, passion and nuance. The review below is written from guru of all things non-fiction: Dennis Pearce. First, let me say that I don’t read much fiction. I think life is wild, wacky, weird, and wonderful enough that I really don’t have a strong need to search out alternate worlds, or explore fantasy dimensions. This book reinforces my belief in the surreal nature of reality, while simultaneously awakening a desire to leave a more meaningful mark on our world. Opening in the mountains of Pakistan, the story begins with Greg becoming lost during his descent from a failed attempt on K2, in the Karakorams. After his resuscitation by a local tribe whose village he happened to stumble into, more dead than alive, Greg resolves to repay their kindness by building a school for their children. In spite of his own impoverished state, he returns to the US to begin gathering the funds to fulfill his promise, and is launched onto a path that eventually blossoms into a lifelong vocation. The soul of the story lies in the connections that are made between…Read more

  • Pickett Street updates “Resources” page

    September 2, 2007 /
    Jesse D. Moore /

    We're proud to announce that after several weeks of development, we've successfully completed our update to the "Resources" page of our site. Synonymous with all things "Pickett Street," we found that to get the tools that we wanted to offer, we needed to start from scratch. The Interest Rate Update, for example, was designed for our lending partner (Jeff Brown with Homestead Mortgage) the ability to update the web pages without delay as rates fluctuate. This gives visitors to our site easy access to timely and accurate information in a fluctuating mortgage market. All rate information is assuming a 3% down-payment, which we consider a reasonable expectation as zero-down loan programs become less and less available. Jeff Brown will be updating the rate information every other day, and more frequently as necessary if the rates shift drastically, so we expect the "Resources" page to be one of our most frequently visited pages on our site. Visitors will also find a mortgage calculator on our "Resources" page. While the end-user can change all of the fields on the calculator, the tool assumes a downpayment of 3% and pulls the 30-year fixed rate from the rate update tool above. We'll be updating…Read more

  • World’s Greenest Hummer?

    August 28, 2007 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    I was at Home Depot a couple weeks ago, putting in my order at the paint counter for a couple more sample quarts, in the hopes that we could arrive at some armistice in the paint wars - it was color selection time at our house again. The last time our house was painted, a Democrat was in the Presidential hot seat, so we were close to the statute of limitations on that batch of pigment. The colors we had chosen for this particular round of paint scheme roulette came from the green family, and had names like Sonoran Sands, Raked Leaves and Palisade. Grandiose handles for wall coverings. As it happened, I was also wearing a loose green shirt, over a green t-shirt, with olive green sandals (no socks- it was in the 80’s) A fellow customer standing in line sized me up succinctly with his observation: “you like green, don’t you?” I was in no position to deny it as I headed across the parking lot, back to my Galapagos green 2004 Honda Element. I’m sure there’s a personality test based solely on color preferences. I wouldn’t take it - I already know the likely results: Green lovers…Read more

  • Dual Agency or Double Agent – What’s the Difference?

    May 3, 2007 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Recognizing that what is legal is not always what is best, I am writing this in response to a situation I recently found myself in: Imagine you are a buyer, searching for a home - for nearly a year and a half. The perfect home comes on the market, and your agent is hot on the trail; previewing the home, running comps, feeding you all the information you need to make an informed decision. Wanting to have all the latest status info, your agent contacts the listing agent, who reveals that she has a buying client of her own, who is viewing the subject property for a 2nd time, and considering making an offer. What to do? The listing agent, under Washington state law, and according to current MLS rules, has the legal right to “represent” both sides of a transaction. Now my question: Is it ethically, physically, and humanly possible for one person to effectively represent both sides of any transaction? What would you do? If, as a responsible agent, you recommend that your clients submit an offer prior to the listing agent’s clients, you know the listing agent’s competing offer will win, regardless of how strong your clients…Read more

  • Of Sharks, Birds, and Open Houses

    April 22, 2007 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    It’s a beautiful day in Bothell, WA. I could give you the specifics (57 degrees, light breeze, blooms are budding and the birds are chirping), but it’s enough to say that the sun is shining. Any day in the Puget Sound with a shiny orb beaming down on you is a beautiful day – no matter the temperature or wind speed. For prospective home buyers, it’s a great day to look at open houses. As a Realtor, it’s less than ideal. I think I would rather sit an open in the rain than in the sun, knowing that professional obligations aside, the weather would keep me from doing something more personally fulfilling. I can’t help but feel a little jealous working on a day like today - my clients, meanwhile, are taking their daughter to the park to play while they soak up the sun under the shade of a good book. I’m more envious of those that are chasing a little white ball on manicured greens, and I can’t help but think that many of these Columbia-clad golfers are my peers, who merely chose their 9-iron over sitting an open. I haven’t noticed that my traffic goes up on…Read more

  • Live Like You Were Selling

    April 15, 2007 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    A seller and I may work together for weeks (sometimes months) to prepare their property for the market. This is more work for the seller than for me obviously: decongesting closets that are busting at the hinges, getting the kids to put their clothes on hangers, painting a few spots that were missed because of large furniture, and fixing the hole in the drywall that was borne out of a misbegotten re-enactment of WrestleMania. When it’s ready for me to step in I schedule the cleaning, followed by the staging, followed by… [insert obligatory surprise service that is needed due to revealing nature of the prior events – carpet cleaning for spots that were covered by a rug for the last five years, handyman services for remembering that the large picture you didn’t like was placed only to cover several holes that were created in an attempt to prove that you didn’t need a studfinder, etc]. When all is said and done, I stand back with the seller and peruse the fruits of our labor: the floors are clean, the rooms are uncluttered and tastefully decorated, unsightly blemishes have been covered with designer paint, and the home even smells inviting.…Read more

  • Words matter…

    January 22, 2007 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    A recent study was done to examine how word selection in real estate ad copy affected the outcome of the sale. Originally detailed in The Seattle Times, the study came up with some interesting results: Words matter. Wars have started over them. Civilizations have collapsed because of them. And it appears the speed with which a house sells might be determined by them.As listings grow old on the vine in this flush-with-inventory market and frustrated sellers reach for the slightest edge, the findings of several academics might offer guidance. For example, a Canadian professor, as part of a broader study on real-estate sales patterns, found that homes where the seller was "motivated" took 15 percent longer to sell, while houses listed as "handyman specials" flew off the market in half the average time. FULL STORY   As I reflect on the story, I realize from my own experience how much sense this makes. Most home buyers make emotional decisions, not logical ones. Sure, they'll buy in an area that makes sense, within a range that makes sense, but when given the opportunity to buy a beautiful home or a value (both within their criteria), most buyers will pay more for…Read more

  • 2006 in review…

    January 8, 2007 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Dennis and I were recently contacted about listing a property that had previously been listed with another agent. While it’s always promising to get a new lead, working properties that have already had market exposure (and didn’t sell) tend to kill the buzz a little. Still, we’re thankful for the opportunity, for as we did the research, we learned quite a bit about the business we conducted in 2006. One of our responsibilities after getting a lead on an expired property involves researching the previous agent. I won’t say what agency this agent worked for (other than to say it wasn’t RE/Max, nor was he a Realtor©), but his work was shoddy at best. He hadn’t taken any photos of the property, nor had he taken any time to develop any outside marketing for the property. Sadly, like so many agents are perceived, he was merely hoping that sticking a sign in the ground and putting the property on the Multiple Listing Service would be enough. Looking over his productivity for the year, it was interesting to see how his listings fared: 33% Expired 11% Cancelled 56% Sold Essentially, anyone that chose to list their homes with this agent had…Read more