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Posts made in 2016

  • Energy, intensity, spirit, strength and spark.

    December 22, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    By Executive Assistant, Margaret Smith Definition of energy: Measure of the ability of a body or system to do work or produce a change, expressed usually in joules or kilowatt hours (kWh). No activity is possible without energy and its total amount in the universe is fixed. In other words, it cannot be created or destroyed but can only be changed from one type to another.  Definition found here: I think about this idea of energy transferring between people at least once per day, if not more.  It’s been apparent to me for a long time that certain people have the ability to transfer massive amounts of energy in a room, either up or down- but it can’t ever be removed or destroyed as the definition mentions above.  Diana Kokoszka, Chief Executive Officer for KW MAPS Coaching first brought the topic of your energy to the forefront of my mind last summer, 2015.  I was in Austin, Texas with Jesse D. Moore & Katie Silver at Coaching Skills Camp.  We spent 2 days learning as much as we could from Diana and Tony DiCello about coaching, leading and bringing our teams together.  Diana talked a lot about how she realized…Read more

  • It’s a Christmas Miracle!

    December 16, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Each holiday season, I like to kick back and remember the time my family banded together to roll a derelict hot tub down the road on Christmas Eve. The particular Christmas I’m about to describe would have been strange enough without the aforementioned tub. For one thing, it snowed about a foot that year, a curious and sensational occurrence in the Puget Sound, one liable to cause widespread panic in the streets (curiously, us Northwesterners can endure years of nonstop rain with stoic indifference, but the lightest dusting of snow results in pandemonium and chaos). Additionally, we lost electricity for the week leading up to Christmas Eve morning, meaning my poor mother’s preparations for our annual holiday party (normally a three week affair, if you don’t count the additional six months of initial planning) were squeezed into a mere six hours. To top things off, I had pretty extensive oral surgery just a few days before the festivities, so I spent much of the holiday sitting in a corner in a peaceful, painkiller-induced haze. As I said, all of this would have been enough strangeness for one Christmas, even without the hot tub. The tub in question appeared as if…Read more

  • 2017 Housing Market Slated to Combine Stability with Innovation

    December 9, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    It’s no secret that 2016 was a tremendous year for real estate, as demand for housing and the value of housing continued to increase. The health of the housing market was largely bolstered by an increase in wages, low mortgage rates, and the fact that millennials, those supposedly irresponsible youngsters, are finally beginning to buy. Despite this recent strength, the uncertainty of the recent election is leaving some potential buyers wary of the housing market. In that case, it helps to look ahead to some possible 2017 trends to assuage any lingering buyer reluctance.   (It goes without saying that all these trends are merely possibilities, as there is no way to predict the development of the housing market with 100% certainty.)   Prices Close in on Pre-Recession Levels One major prediction for 2017 is that home prices will close in on pre-recession levels. It may have taken years of dramatic growth to accomplish, but the housing market is closer than ever to making a full recovery and returning to the peak prices seen prior to the recession. While this might not seem like a big deal, consider the fact that the recession officially began way back in 2007, nearly…Read more

  • Education = Power.

    December 2, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

      Mortgage Rates on the Rise as Equities Recover As expected, mortgage rates climbed during Thanksgiving week as equities recovered based on speculation of economic expansion. In fact, these market conditions led the Dow Jones Industrial Average to record highs. In general, with election season fading into the rearview mirror and with Trump beginning to assemble the foundations for his political team, it’s expected that markets will return to a sense of normalcy after their initial uncertainty. That’s not to say that we won’t see any more volatility; in fact, market experts expect that, even if things are settling down now, we should expect a few more market surprises in the foreseeable future. Any political concerns aside, it’s important to note that mortgage rates are increasing, just as this blog has predicted on numerous occasions. More specifically, just before Halloween, the average 30-year APOR was about 3.52%. By the end of the first week in November, that rate had recorded a modest increase and risen to 3.58%, while it rose again the following week to 3.61%. By the end of Thanksgiving week, the average 30-year APOR had increased to about 3.98%. Likewise, MarketWatch estimates that the average 30-year FRM has…Read more

  • The Preposterous Rituals of Turkey Day

    November 23, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Call me sentimental, but my mind is wholly occupied with turkey and potatoes today. Thanksgiving in my household was always a bit of a confusion, partly because we never knew exactly who might show up for dinner. As a local pastor, my father maintained a more or less constant open-door-policy with his parishioners, meaning that all 300 members of the congregation were theoretically welcome when it came time to carve the turkey. In addition to this prodigious crowd, my father’s property generally played host to an eclectic assortment of animals, including, but not limited to, one cat, one dog, two parakeets, three obese chickens, and two stupendously moronic goats (Dad was an urban farmer before the role was co-opted by bespectacled twenty-somethings from Brooklyn), all of whom seemed fond of wandering in and out of the house with a blatant disregard for both basic social etiquette and screen doors. All in all, Clark Thanksgivings were usually characterized by barely managed yet jovial chaos, making them pretty standard affairs as far as holidays go. And yet, this craziness was an important part of my home’s identity. My childhood wouldn’t have been the same without the sound of gravy burbling on the…Read more

  • What Do We Pay Real Estate Agents For?

    November 9, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    These days, a large swath of the population seems fond of predicting the imminent decline of the real estate agent. With the newfound ease of viewing homes (along with accompanying neighborhood/community statistics) online, it occasionally seems like the services provided by real estate agents are unnecessary expenses. If that’s your line of thought, then think again: appearances are deceiving. In reality, real estate agents perform far more tasks than merely finding a home for clients, and they are paid for a much more diverse array of services. In fact, the average real estate agent is paid for vital but abstract services that no Internet search can provide, including problem solving and stress/emotional management. So, if you feel like you can handle your home search with a measly tour on Google, read on to see why working with a real estate agent is always the better option. Problem Solving Even the most seamless real estate transactions run into occasional setbacks. Whether you lose a bidding war on your dream home, or the home you’re about to close a deal on requires unexpected renovations, buying a home almost always involves at least one unforeseen hiccup. This observation is not meant to discourage…Read more

  • Is Portland King of Real Estate? Not for Long!

    November 4, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    When hot home markets come up in conversations, most people mention Portland, Oregon. Rent prices in the region have been soaring for years, after all, and actually purchasing a home in the region can be as competitive as a Timbers-Sounders match. After living in Portland for five years, I can certainly see the appeal of the city (where else can I scarf down a bacon-wrapped donut mere moments before attending a Level 3 Vinyasa Flow Class heated to a toasty 101 degrees?). That said, based on the latest housing market trends, it seems like Portland’s days as the hottest housing market are numbered. Between August 2015 and August 2016, Portland home prices increased by 11.7%, putting Rip City in first place for the hottest home market in the country. However, that lead is beginning to look precarious, as Seattle’s housing prices posted an 11.4% increase during the same time period. Not only that, but Seattle also posted significant gains over third place Denver’s housing prices, which recorded a comparatively modest 8.8% gain. Based on this information, it seems that the Emerald City real estate market is reasserting its dominance once again. Now, those numbers might initially seem mildly interesting but…Read more

  • 2016 Election: Why you should buy a home now

    October 28, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    No matter what side of the electorate you find yourself on, most of us can agree that the United States is approaching a transitional period. In times of transition, people can resort to a fight or flight mentality that occasionally reaches unneeded proportions (remember the Y2K craze? Guess y’all didn’t need to dig bomb shelters and stock up on canned goods after all). However, if you’re anticipating the coming election with some unease, it might help to consider how the election will affect the average mortgage rate. I suggest this consideration might help because, historically, elections have not had dramatic effects on mortgage rates. Of course, there is always a certain level of uncertainty during election years that tends to affect the economy. By extension, there are often mortgage rate fluctuations during the time immediately following an election. Don’t let that prospect worry you, though: remember that mortgage rates are in a constant state of change, and a permanently stable mortgage rate would be strange. In that case, we shouldn’t view mortgage rate fluctuations during election season much differently than other mortgage rate fluctuations.   But don’t take my word for it; check out some examples of mortgage rate changes…Read more

  • Chunky, creamy or extra crunchy?

    October 21, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    When my girlfriend sent me out to buy peanut butter last week, she had no idea that such a simple task would end in disaster. To put this grim statement in context, it’s important to understand that I’m still used to Irish supermarkets (in which you can choose between two brands of peanut of butter and dare not ask for more) and regard all American Mega-Marts with unease and mistrust. As such, you’ll understand when I say that my trip to our local King Soopers became a task fraught with anxiety. Reaching the peanut butter aisle, I was astounded to discover that it was exactly that: a whole aisle devoted to nothing but different brands of peanut butter. I shuffled to and fro along the shelves, wondering whether chunky would taste better than creamy, or if reduced fat meant the same thing as 30% FEWER CALORIES!!! Even worse, was I supposed to buy any old run-of-the-mill butter, or would it be better to buy an all-natural brand? And what was the difference between all-natural and organic anyways? Surely peanut butter couldn’t be organic but not all-natural? All of this was very confusing; perhaps there were better options at the Safeway…Read more

  • The Missing Person’s Report

    October 7, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    For a brief period between my sophomore and junior years in college, I had the exciting privilege of working a job without my boss’ knowledge. I’m not quite sure how this happened (and, apparently, neither did my boss), but it’s an interesting story that’s worth mentioning.   At the end of my sophomore year, I applied for and accepted a job at a library. Having few aspirations beyond funding my first summer living away from home (and all the accompanying frivolity such an endeavor entails), I wanted nothing more than a quiet work space filled with quiet tasks amid quiet and comfortably dusty stacks of books. To be honest, I imagined spending most days sliding around on those vintage rolling ladders one sees in especially august and illustrious institutions. It was an idealistic notion of library work, so you can imagine my dismay when I discovered I was to be the resident “cataloguing specialist.”   This glamorous title referred to a job that essentially involved pasting bar codes onto books in a little back room isolated not only from my coworkers, but also the bulk of Western civilization. I arrived to work at 8 o’clock every morning and spent most…Read more

  • How can we help you realize your dreams?

    September 29, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    By Margaret Smith, Executive Assistant for Pickett Street Properties I had a vivid imagination as a kid.  Like Mary Poppins, I would hop off the garage roof with my red umbrella hoping to fly.  My Mom taught me to hope and I think her optimism passed on to me in a fashion similar to her smile.   I know people may not think my optimism is sensible at times- I get it. But I have to tell you, it has helped me push through some difficult times, and I think ultimately I am healthier for it.  My delight with tree houses started when I was in elementary school.  I loved the idea of living in something above everyone else and surrounded by leaves.  I had a sense that if I lived in one, the fairies would eventually come find me as well.  I never imagined there were people that were capable of building something so whimsical yet functional.  In the last few years I began to notice places like Treehouse Point in Issaquah, WA where you can rent places to stay overnight or rooms for events. Many people have watched the tv series Treehouse Masters, where they have built the…Read more

  • Has Anyone Heard of King Olaf?

    September 22, 2016 /
    Pickett Street Properties Team /

    Until recently, neither had I. Here’s some context for you: a few weeks ago, while wandering the stately avenues of downtown Poulsbo, I suddenly found myself on an unfamiliar lane leading off Front Street. This was weird. Having grown up in Poulsbo, I was pretty sure I knew all there was to know about the place (after all, how hard should it be to get to know a small, Viking-themed town?), but there I was, standing between a kayak store and the Sons of Norway headquarters, lost in suddenly unfamiliar territory. According to the street sign, the little lane was called King Olaf Way. How hadn’t I noticed it before? Being a curious person (and apparently having nothing better to do) I decided to do some detective work. I walked home, cracked open the Encyclopedia Britannica, and searched for evidence of King Olaf. There was quite a lot to read. Born in the 960s, Olaf was a celebrated Viking king of Norway. In his youth, Olaf was forced to flee Norway after the nefarious Harald Graycloak murdered his father. Living in exile in Russia, Olaf trained as a Viking warrior, a process I assume was similar to the training montages…Read more