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Posts made in 2008

  • Stop Making Sense

    September 10, 2008 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Regardless of whether your glass tends toward half empty, or half full, the last week has provided plenty to talk about. Starting with the announcement Sunday that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson was busy cleaning house at the 2 GSE's, and then Monday's market rally, along with the dramatic 1/2 point mortgage rate drop, it was one for the history books, as they say. And this all follows a bold prediction by CNBC's Jim Cramer, of Mad Money fame, stating unequivocally that the third quarter of 2009 will see the housing bottom. Whew- Now that's a lotta meatballs! Whatever your perspective, there's more than enough to chew on for a while. So, while you're digesting, I'm going to review where we are: Rates have dipped to the mid 5% range, as a direct result of news that Fannie and Freddie are now property of the taxpayers, stocks jumped over 300 points as Wall Street's Monday juices got flowing, and we've had a prediction from one talking head that housing will reach its nadir in a year. And no, I didn't make any of this up. What does it mean? If I knew the answer to that.... My short answer goes like…Read more

  • Architecture: Inhabited Sculpture

    September 5, 2008 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Art is where you find it, and Architecture provides unique opportunities to unite form and function. As Realtors, we have occasion to experience a wide swath of the offerings made available to the buying public. I feel a deep sense of accomplishment when I walk into a space with a client and see the serenity that envelops their being as they recognize 'home'. This is a very personal business. Few things in the material world are more sacred than the space we inhabit and call Home. It's a blissful combination of quality (both in materials and execution), location, size, amenities, lighting, openness, and of course, price, but most critically, the thoughtful, even artistic arrangement of all of these elements in a given space. However, in the mass-produced world of P & L statements, and the ubiquitous drive to 'maximize', 'home' often gets lost in the 'house'. For that reason, I feel compelled to open a new category on this blog- a Showcase of Homes, in all the various permutations that represent the best expressions of the unique, the unusual, the classic, and the new. This category will openly request your entries, and the only guideline is that the homes must…Read more

  • Do the Fair Thing

    August 20, 2008 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    If school is around the corner, we're on the cusp of Fall. Which means it's County Fair Season! First to kick off is Snohomish County's Evergreen Fair, in Monroe. Click HERE to download your copy of the printable schedule.Read more

  • Designed to Sell

    August 13, 2008 /
    admin /

    If you’re planning to sell, you better sit down in front of your TV. I’ve been selling real estate for over 8 years now, and I have encountered many different, shall we say, less than appealing homes. I have had sellers tell me “Oh, I’ll just give the buyer a carpet allowance, they probably won’t like the color I pick anyway.” That same reasoning has also applied to the removal of paint colors that are very specific to the seller’s taste. There are also the awkward conversations about pet odors, kitchen odors or lingering cigarette smoke. Naturally, when you live in a home, you get used to how things are. You probably have a few projects that “you’ll get to” later- also known as 'Round-to-it's'. Those little coffee spots on the carpet add “character”. The huge display case of a collection that has been growing for the last decade is a source of pride and the hallway of family photos makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Ahhh, if only a buyer felt the same way about things. Unfortunately, the buyer may not appreciate the lilac wall with the purple sponge painting technique. The wall of mirrors with the gold mottling…Read more

  • Cramer vs. Cramer

    July 31, 2008 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Every once in a while (about twice a day, or so) someone asks for my thoughts on the current housing market. I'm in the industry, I read everything I can get my hands on, and those who know me generally consider that I'll give them the straight scoop, to the best of my abilities. It's that little caveat 'to the best of my abilities' that keeps me up at night. I was reminded of this conundrum last week, as I happened to catch a snippet of 'Mad Money', the CNBC financial show hosted by loudmouth Wall Street pundit and market observer, Jim Cramer. As he blathered about WAMU, Wachovia, the general financial picture, and whom to buy, hold, and sell, it became apparent once again that even his views are in a constant state of flux. As we all have seen, the economy is an unfolding story- one that even a guy like Cramer, with all his access to the inside can't keep up with. However, Cramer's on the same page with guys like Warren Buffet's housing expert, Ronald J. Peltier, when he said in last week's show, "Buy a home in the next 6 months!" This is the bookend…Read more

  • Summer Secrets

    July 23, 2008 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    We all know the old saying, "All work and no play... " in which Jack becomes a dull boy for keeping his nose to the grindstone. Well, Jack and I have had too much in common lately, and it has prompted me to reminisce on summers past, when I've had the luxury of exploring some of our areas scenic escapes. As I've spent a little time reviewing, I've realized with some surprise, that I've amassed a pretty fair travelogue, and since I'm not likely to get back to many of them any time soon, the decent thing to do would be to spread the wealth to those enterprising folks with a little more time on their hands. Most of my favorite trips have involved a few days in the woods with a backpack, and a flyrod, so that's going to be the slant of this post. The majority of my travels have been in the North and Central Cascades- starting in college with short weekend trips around the Bellingham area to Pine & Cedar Lakes- small, twin lakes packed with brown and rainbow trout, and populated by clouds of voracious mosquitoes. The hike in is, while not overly long at…Read more

  • Where we reveal our secret marketing tool

    July 16, 2008 /
    Jesse D. Moore /

    We know a thing or two about marketing. Before he got into real estate, Dennis spent most of his career managing advertising projects for a sign company – not just stand alone signs, but convention booths and tables, where his work had to be good enough to lure people in without the promise of free pens or letter openers. Before I got into real estate I helped other real estate agents develop ad campaigns in print and online – alerting them to new techniques, strategies and technologies that were having success in other areas of the country. I say this because I’m about to reveal one of our best marketing secrets. It’s something I picked up from my days at the advertising firm, and if I hadn’t lucked into it, I probably never would have known how important it could be to our business. It’s responsible for our greatest volume of lead calls every month, and helps us secure buyers by getting them to respond emotionally not just to a home, but to an idea. Our secret? The log home. We try to feature a log home in almost every form of advertising that we do. If we don’t have a…Read more

  • Puget Sound ranks among the best in recent study

    July 8, 2008 /
    admin /

    Recently, Dennis wrote a blog post about seeing the long range picture when considering purchasing.  As fate would have it, I have stumbled upon more information to support that fact AND I think buying prior to September might be a good idea. Read on: PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., the primary U.S. subsidiary of The PMI Group, Inc. (NYSE: PMI), today released its Summer 2008 U.S. Market Risk Index(SM), which ranks the nation's 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) according to the likelihood that home prices will be lower in two years.  To put it simply, the higher the score, the greater the chance that home prices will decline in the next 2 years.  Here’s an example where bigger is NOT better. For instance, the number one position is held by Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA with a 95.5% chance prices will be lower.  That is amazing to me and I feel sorry for the sellers that are attempting to sell in that area. Most buyers would be extremely leery of investing their money in a home that has a less than 5% chance of being worth what they paid for it in 2 years. "Compared with a year earlier, there has been…Read more

  • Give Me Liberty!

    July 7, 2008 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to take up arms, then someday a government official will declare a holiday...  and we will blow up stuff to celebrate! So, this is how we spent our 4th of July, 2008 holiday- with a few friends from college, celebrating in a tradition that is now 20 years old; to eat until we explode, and then piece together sufficient gunpowder to make the biggest blast in the neighborhood. If that's not the American Way, I don't know what is! The piece you're about to see includes a 16' tall steel sculpture, dubbed 'Lady Liberty'. She was constructed several years ago for the express purpose of serving as an explosives scaffold. She is demurely wrapped in 70,000 or so firecrackers, with spinners placed strategically at her breasts and navel, and holds a mortar box of another dozen rounds. Beside her, at stage right, is a dizzying testament to the wonders of gunpowder & saltpeter, including mortars, Saturn Missiles, and who knows what. This link will take you to the video- it's about 12 minutes long, and needs a minute or so to load, so you've been warned! independence-day-2008-web. Kick back, crank…Read more

  • The Value of Taking the Long View

    July 2, 2008 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    If you pay attention to any real estate related news headlines these days, it certainly sounds like THE SKY IS FALLING!. It seems the safest option would be to sit on your predictably rising average rent payment of $1350/mo., and wait for interest rates, the cost of living, gas, and housing to drop back to where they should be. That's what I would have done- 14 years ago. Or at least that was my plan. My wife had other ideas. We'd been paying $690/mo for an 1100sf 2 bedroom, 1-3/4 bath Wedgwood apartment. It was a block from the local Safeway, the bus stopped at the front door, and was within easy reach of downtown Seattle. We were comfortable, and after 3 years there, I saw no sense in nearly doubling our housing allotment to over $1200/mo. (We didn't have much of a down payment) to move 12 miles away, into the 'burbs', or as our Ballard friends called it, "Canada". We saw about 35 homes before our agent, Linda, called one evening to say, "this is it, it's just come on the market, and you'd better run up here to see it, now!" We'd familiarized ourselves with the area…Read more

  • Free Diamonds!

    June 23, 2008 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Have you got a dream? I mean a gnaw-at-your-brain, tried-to-forget-it, leave-me-alone kind of wishful fantasy that fires your imagination some days, and tantalizes you with its out-of-reach nature on others. Many of us here in the Northwest, in spite of having seen our share of liquid sunshine, are still drawn to the many lakes, streams, rivers, and salt water frontages that abound in our glorious corner of the world. There is something primal about the urge to live near water- it's truly a gut level need for many. I count myself among those who dream of waking to the sight of a sailboat bobbing at anchor outside my own front door, or stepping off the deck of my small fishing cabin, fly rod in hand, for a day on the stream. I alternate between these twin romances and honestly couldn't choose between them if my life depended on it. A former client of mine had a term for the dancing flickers of light refracted off water that define the essence of the waterfront experience: He called those flashes and sparkles "free diamonds". I love the evocative image of that phrase, as it encapsulates for me the dream of finding a…Read more

  • Surveying the lending landscape

    June 18, 2008 /
    admin /

    Whether we are representing a buyer or seller, as Realtors it is our job to keep on top of what is going on in the mortgage industry. There has been a lot of press about the changes occurring within the lending arena, but even the news has a hard time keeping up with the extremely fluid nature of lending today. I think it would be safe to say that the mortgage brokers themselves have a real challenge in “knowing” what is going to happen from day to day. First, let’s get this out of the way: “Zero Down” loans are no longer in existence. “No Income Verification/No Asset” (NINA) loans with small down payments have gone the way of the dodo bird and dinosaur. Fogging a mirror will no longer qualify you for a mortgage. While this makes getting a loan more difficult, perhaps it’s all for the best. Lenders actually should want to be sure that their borrowers can afford to pay them back. If you would like to hear a very interesting commentary on exactly how we ended up in this mortgage crisis, click HERE. In fact, let’s not forget, it wasn’t all *that* long ago that 20%…Read more