Contact Us

text: (425) 502-5397

Posts made in 2009

  • Building Green- Was Kermit Wrong?

    April 17, 2009 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    With all the talk since January of inventive incentives to seemingly stimulate everything from hair growth to employment, never mind the pin-striped panhandlers on Wall Street (don't even get me started!), it's been interesting to watch the recent evolution of the environmental movement. From a tree-dwelling band of radical long-hairs with an agenda but little else, the cause has grown to encompass nearly every segment of our consumer-centric society. To paraphrase Chickenman, "It's Everywhere!" From Dr. Bronner's soaps (one of the true originals) to the Toyota Prius, there's been a sea change in perceptions of the impact our daily activities have on the planet. Few consumer products have escaped the scrutiny and benefit of an eco-makeover, with some being truly re-made, while others have received the marketing equivalent of a botox injection- also known as 'Green-washing'. Being green was once a tough sell due to the perception that it was 'difficult', and expensive. As green products and processes have slipped into the mainstream, that position has gradually become harder to defend; especially as the businesses who once protested have come to realize the economic benefits of waste prevention, thoughtful  materials utilization, and positive PR.  Green has become a critical component…Read more

  • The $64,000 Question

    April 1, 2009 /
    Cody Touchette /

    I had a client the other day ask me about the real estate market and waiting for the bottom.  In this case he was hoping for real estate prices to come down so he could buy at a lower price.  I told him that was a great idea, but it is really tough to time the market and that many professionals get that type of thing wrong, so I would be wary of trying.  In his case he was looking for a $200,000 house, and a 5% price reduction which represented a $10,000 difference in the cost of the house.  We agreed that was a lot of money.  However, I told him that if the bottom of the market was already here, and we just didn’t recognize it yet, waiting longer could cost him a bunch more. I explained that once the housing market bottoms and we see the market for homes stabilize, demand will increase and we will probably see a significant amount of buyers since plenty of people have had the same thoughts about waiting for the market to bottom.  Because of that we could see prices rise quickly.  This would actually not be the most costly part of…Read more

  • When is a Stylish Buchan Craftsman Home like Succulent Panko Encrusted St Peter’s Fish?

    March 26, 2009 /
    admin /

    After an intense (and fun) Pickett Street Properties retreat, I needed a bit of mind-numbing TV. In my search for something to watch, I came across the Food Network show called “Food Detectives.” It’s a show that does experiments with food—sort of an Alton Brown meets MythBusters. On the night of my respite, they did an experiment on food and how it tastes based on presentation and flowery descriptions. Two groups of diners were told they were going to be reviewing a new restaurant and after their meal they were given a survey to fill out. The first set of diners’ menus said they would be having “Green Salad, Fish, Green Beans, Potatoes and Chocolate Cake.” They were sat at tables with plastic table cloths, served New Jersey red wine in plastic cups, and their meals were presented on rather dated plates. The second set had “Crisp Mescluin Seasonal Greens, Succulent Panko encrusted St Peter's Fish, Hericot Vert, Potatoes au Gratin and Belgium Double Chocolate Cake.” They were sat at tables lit by candelight and adorned with linen table cloths. They were served a red wine from Nappa valley and the meal was presented on a classic plate. Did I…Read more

  • What is Mark to Market?

    March 19, 2009 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Warning: if Accounting isn't your language of choice, your eyes may be about to glaze over. However, as with many things arcane, mark-to-market accounting  may be having a huge impact on the world we live in right now, and according to many critics, could well be one of the root causes of the current financial crisis. Mark-to-Market accounting is a reporting rule that requires financial institutions to value their current investments at today's value, even if they have no intention of selling those assets now, or anytime in the foreseeable future. As an example, if you were to consider the current value of your own 401k, which most of us are already doing with some significant trepidation, you're  likely down about 50% from the highs of 2 years ago.  However, you're able to do the calculations and realize that so long as you don't sell today, you've still got a chance to recover on the long haul. Mark to Market doesn't allow banks that option, but instead forces them to report the values on their holdings at todays value, as if they were going to sell everything today. Because banks are not allowed to lend every dime they have access…Read more

  • Life is funny; chocolate fixes everything

    March 19, 2009 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Sometimes it's necessary to just purge. Collecting stuff can be such a burden, and the mental space required to keep everything 'sacred' weighs so heavily that eventually the only sane option is starting over. And yes, this can be a metaphor for many stages of life. I just went through it in a minor way this weekend, as I was forced to deal with the assorted detritus of several years worth of projects. The last one, a bunk bed for my daughter, resulted in a fine coating of wood dust on every surface of the garage, and enough wood scraps to build a small barn. My parents have been in town for several weeks now and Grandpa, being retired and a restless woodworker, was 'inspired' by his granddaughter (my 7-year old) to ply his skills in her employ. They both got what they wanted; I got another project. Namely, the disassembly of the old bed, reassembly of the new one ( 2 flights of stairs, 2x6's, and MDF panels, anyone?), and the subsequent cleanup and disposal of said debris.   Both cars are  now back in the garage (a result of  the persistent voice in my head that sounds remarkably…Read more

  • Dual Agency- Sharks that swim on the land

    March 12, 2009 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    "Can't you feel 'em circlin' honey? Can't you feel 'em swimmin' around? You got fins to the left, fins to the right, and you're the only bait in town." - Jimmy Buffet, 'Fins' In an economy turned topsy turvy, with which-end-is-up news coming out daily, and a seemingly endless parade of graft, corruption, greed, and new stories daily turning up parasitic relationships where there should clearly be walls of propriety, it's hard to know which way to run. As many homebuyers know, buying a home can be a baffling task- and that's assuming everything goes well. Obviously, as millions of people now know, it doesn't always end in the American Dream. With a purchase as life-altering as your first home, it's absolutely essential that you place your trust in an agent who deserves it. Unfortunately, the desire to 'get a deal' often overrides the common sense priority of 'know whom you're dealing with'. In the state of Washington, every agent is required to present to a new client, preferably at the first meeting, a pamphlet labeled, "The Law of Real Estate Agency". It is a 4 page 8.5" x 11" (double-sided) masterpiece that lays out the various options for real estate…Read more

  • Searching for Bank Owned Properties?

    March 4, 2009 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Opportunity takes many forms. In fact, once you've spent a little time on the planet, you realize that many of the laws governing science also apply in large part to the rest of life: there's rarely a negative without a positive, and for every action, there's usually an equal and opposite reaction. Our current financial trauma is offering up further proof, as heavily leveraged howmeowners who purchased at or near the top of the real estate  boom cycle are contributing to the dramatic increase in foreclosures. Typically, a bank-owned home is one that has been through a foreclosure proceeding, and is now offered for sale by the mortgage holding lender who is keen to get the property off their books to reduce their holdings. Banks are in the business of lending, and are not well-suited to property ownership or management, so it's in the best interests of everyone - the bank, new homebuyers, the economy, and the community, for these homes to be occupied as soon as possible, before the effects of long-term neglect can begin to impact the value of the structure. It's important to note that the timeframe leading up to a foreclosure can take anywhere from several…Read more

  • Keller Williams passes RE/Max

    February 26, 2009 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    In every industry, there are always little rivalries; the kind that keep managers, owners, and statisticians awake at night. When you're on the receiving end of the latest corporate dig, or you've paid your dues as the "New Kid on the Block", the ribbing can occasionally get a little personal. And of course some personalities just don't deal with defeat too well. Which is why it has been so amusing to watch the latest blogflares going up as Keller Williams announced at the annual "Family Reunion" in Austin, TX this week, that they've taken some of the air out of RE/Max's balloon. Surpassing RE/Max's national agent count ( to take the spot as the nation's 3rd largest real estate company) is especially gratifying to us here at Pickett Street, as we joined the Keller family in early 2008, after 3 years with a local RE/Max agency.  To be fair, RE/Max was very good to us, and we cherish the relationships we made there. However, we have learned that Keller's culture is more suitable to our way of business: we love the supportive, cooperative, family & community-oriented, values-based team atmosphere. Another significant piece of the business decision puzzle for us was their progressive stance…Read more

  • Top 3 Reasons why $ 8000 tax credit is better

    February 15, 2009 /
    Jesse D. Moore /

    The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) have to be glad that this week is over. It had to be tortuous - thinking on Tuesday that Congress was on it’s way to approving a $15,000 tax credit for those that bought a home in 2009 - then watching the House of Representative strike it completely from the Economic Stimulus package on Wednesday. The NAR's response to the unexpected change was measured, saying only that nothing was yet decided, and that changes would be made before President Obama signed the bill into law. The week ended with a narrow passage of the Economic Stimulus Package on Friday, and (together now, with a sigh of relief) the NAR's efforts were rewarded with an honorary mention in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. I preface with all of that to say this: THANK GOD! Not because I think that the measure will be a salvation to the industry, but because their are several reasons why the act passed yesterday is better than the $7,500 tax credit passed last year and the $15,000 tax credit initially supported by the NAR. Here are the top three reasons why: (1) The same benefit for all that use…Read more

  • Why We Do What We Do

    February 11, 2009 /
    Dennis S. Pearce /

    Tonight saw the end of a purchase transaction that is at once a cautionary tale, and a laser bright light in the darkness of a struggling economy. To really tell the story, we have to go all the way back to August 26th,  2008, when the offer on this short sale home was written. That's right - six months from writing an offer until closing! Knowing we were writing on a short sale, there was an explicit understanding that we were on the extended timeframe plan. As the seller's lienholder was Countrywide (who takes longer than any lien holder to even look at an offer), we even knew to expect the unexpected. However, saying that and experiencing it are frequently two very different things. Due to the fact that our clients had some very specific needs, including active young children and an unpredictable work schedule, it was decided early on that Jesse and I would work in tandem on this one. One of the benefits of partnering in this business is the ability to share the load, and we have found it adds a dimension to the relationships we develop that we both cherish. There were several twists and turns…Read more

  • Washington State shorts sellers: an obvious problem with short sales, excise tax & Washington State’s position

    January 11, 2009 /
    Jesse D. Moore /

    UPDATE: If you're looking for information on the short sale process in regards to real estate transactions in Washington State, you might want to read "The Anatomy of a Short Sale" instead. The post below is a response to a policy from the Washington State Department of Revenue on short sales that has since changed. To tell this story effectively, I'm going to have to explain a few things - assuming that not all of you are up on the real estate vernacular of the day. Excise tax: In the sale of real estate, Washington State charges a tax in the amount of 1.78% of the home's value (to be paid by the seller). One would think that the easiest way to determine value on a property that recently sold would be to...I don't know...maybe...look at the sales price?!?! But we'll get to that in a minute. Short sale:I would think that most of you would be familiar with this term, but in talking with friends and clients, I think that many are unclear of its true meaning. A "short sale" is different from a foreclosure or pre-foreclosure sale, in that the seller may be absolutely current on all of their…Read more