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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Running: Beating the Voice Inside My Head

I've never been an athlete.  I've never played a team sport with the exception of seventh grade volleyball.  Back then, everyone made the team so they had to take me.  Was I good?  No.  Was I distracted?  Always.  That's it - there's my team sports.

As for individual sports, well I took private golf lessons but that ended with me throwing my clubs.  I bowl a kids bowling ball and my scores are embarrassing.  I've always loved riding my bike but who doesn't, right?  I adore downhill skiing and have for years - the adrenaline when I tuck down the hill is phenominal.  I'm not a skilled skiier but I have a true love for skiing.

So to running: rewind to September of 2010, I was warming my lunch at work when a nice young man (an assistant to an agent and also a personal trainer) and I had a brief conversation about physical activity.  My memory is poor but I believe his suggestion was "Just walk on the treadmill at 4.0 for 30 minutes".  So I began.  Out to the shop I went, every other day, doing just as he'd instructed.  I slowly increased the speed and began to run.  Fast forward to the end of 2010, I was running on the treadmill.

Now how could this be?  Me, Anya, she who couldn't run on the track during P.E. in school.  How could I possibly be running?  Well I was and it felt great.  It took me some gumption to muster the ability to get off the treadmill and hit the road but in early 2011, I was running outside.  The fresh air was unbelieveable, noting my progress on my app's map was fulfilling and I just barely missed watching episode's of The Real Housewives of anytown on the treadmill.

I've run with a handful of friends, I've run in all weather elements, I've run along the water, I've run in the forest and I seem to run often from my home or office.  At home, it's my pup Zoe that keeps me going.  A 10 year old lab who lost her sister just last year, she was the runt of the litter so at nearly 45 lbs, she keeps up with me perfectly.  Sometimes she's met by neighboring dogs who want to protect their homes, other times we're jumping over live-stock droppings on the side of the road.  Did I disclose it's Pure Country at home?  From my office I can schedule in runs before or after appointments and I have the luxury of running on sidewalks with street lights partnered with a central location allowing for endless new routes.

November brought two milestones for me.  The first, I totaled 55.2 miles of running during the month.  The second, at the last minute, I decided to step-up my game and run the Oly Trot on Thanksgiving Day in Olympia.  I had some apprehension but nevertheless, I ran my first organized run and I felt quite triumphant crossing the finish line.  It wasn't about my final time, or my pace or anything other than: YOU CAN DO IT.  And I did it.

So as I recount my origin of running, I'm pleasantly surprised to see I will have logged over 300 miles of running in 2011.  I feel a goal is necessary to stay challenged but I'm not quite sure what I'll determine my goal to be.  For this moment I'll remain content in knowing - I can run.

"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit." -George Sheehan

Monday, December 12, 2011

Annual Blood Drive Another Success

In October, over 30 people from the Olympia area participated in the RE/MAX Parkside Affiliates Mobile Blood Drive in association with the Thurston County REALTORS Association.  Words cannot express my appreciation to each and every person who made an effort to donate blood or assist with the drive.  Thank You just doesn't seem to be enough.

When I originally pitched the affiliation to TCRA, my initial idea was for one REALTOR office from the Association host a mobile blood drive each month.  If you're interested in scheduling a mobile blood drive, please contact me and I'll provide to you the necessary information.

The required 56 days has nearly passed so those of you who donated at our mobile blood drive, you are eligible to donate again on or after Wednesday, December 14, 2011.  Please schedule your appointment here or contact the Puget Sound Blood Center at 800-398-7888.

Every day patients across Western Washington need at least 900 units of blood.  Every donation counts.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thurston County Christmas Tree Tips

My family has a tradition of selecting a tree with some very good friends of ours just after Thanksgiving.  There’s nothing like going directly to the farm and cutting down your own tree.  We have so much fun at the tree farm with our kids and friends.  It’s really become an event with camera’s and warm goodies.  I thought you may enjoy these tips if you haven’t already selected your tree.  You won’t get a tree any fresher and you can pick the perfect tree at one of our local tree farms.

What to Bring:
ü Saws and Equipment – Saws are usually provided, and most will cut the tree for you (usually for a small fee) if you’d rather not cut it yourself.  Most farms also provide wheelbarrows or other tools for transport.  Many will wrap your tree and; tie it on your car for you.  I recommend you bring your own rope or bungee cords with you; they may not have it or run out.
ü     Pack for a day trip – It’s fun to make an event of choosing your Christmas tree by packing some of your favorite snacks, hot chocolate or warm apple cider and hand towels or disposable wipes.
ü     Dress in warm clothes and hiking boots or old athletic shoes.  Bring heavy gloves to protect your hands and a jacket or other garment to protect your arms.  Bring layered clothing, and some extra socks and a blanket.  Dress for the weather.
ü     Remember the camera.  You may want to capture those memories you’re making.
ü     Protect your car – Bring a sheet of plastic or an old blanket to cover the roof of your car and protect the paint and finish.

Where to Go:
  ü Barneys Noble Trees, 2012 South Bay Road, Olympia WA 98506
  ü Johnson's Smokehouse, 8212 Diagonal Road SE, Olympia WA 98501
     ü Tom's U-Cut, 8137 Rainier Road, Olympia WA 98501

What to Get:
ü     Generally, the tree farm should have a variety of trees such as Douglas Fir, White Pine, Blue Spruce and Noble.

How to Pack it Up:
ü    Shaking – The trees have been living outside all year, and may well have become home to spiders.  Get the farmer to evict Charlotte (and her web) by shaking the tree on their mechanical shaker.
ü    Baling – Many farms also have baling (tree wrapping for transporting) or bagging for no fee or a small fee.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Congress Restores FHA Loan Limits

NAR Call for Action

Last night Congress restored the loan limits for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for two years.

As you know, in late September the FHA, Fannie Mae; and Freddie Mac loan limits were reduced in 42 states pricing potential home buyers out of the American Dream of home ownership and holding back the housing recovery.

NAR immediately went to work with the goal to get the loan limits restored in Congress. For weeks that goal seemed unlikely.

You, and countless other REALTORS® like you along with YOUR leadership and YOUR management team worked to educate Congress that well-qualified buyers didn't need yet another hurdle to access affordable mortgage financing.

They finally listened. Because we were persistent. And because we were right.

The reinstated FHA loan limit formula and cap change will help make mortgages more affordable and accessible for hard-working, middle-class families in 669 counties in 42 states and territories, where the average loan limit reduction after the reset last month was more than $68,000. The provision reinstates the FHA loan limits through 2013 at 125 percent of local area median home prices, up to a maximum of $729,750 in the highest cost markets, the floor will remain at $271,050. However, Congress chose not to apply the loan limits restoration to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie-and-Freddie-backed mortgages will remain at 115 percent of local area median home prices up to $625,500.

The bill also provides for a short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program through December 16, 2011. NAR will continue to press Congress to use the additional time to complete their work on a five-year reauthorization of the program, which ensures access to affordable flood insurance for millions of home and business owners across the country.

I know that when we work together we can accomplish anything we set our minds to in order to preserve, protect and defend the American Dream of Home Ownership.

Because of your excellent work, I am continually reminded that “REALTORS® are the Heart of the Deal.”
With much appreciation,

Moe Veissi Signature

Moe Veissi
2012 President

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adverse Possession: The Real Skinny

Photo courtesy of Roger Tufts, Maine

Q: I move to China for 20 years, leaving behind our 25-acre plot of vacant land in Olympia. During those 20 years, we do not check in on the land, nor does anyone we appoint (family, friends, etc.). Turns out the neighbors have been occupying the land during our time away, unbeknownst to us. Could the neighbors claim legal rights to the land?

A: Adverse possession is the occupation of property for an extended period of time, as defined by law, which is not legally owned by the person occupying the property. This is sometimes called squatting, or squatter’s rights. Clearly the property is unoccupied, and if a person lives at the property for long enough, 10-12 years in many states, they can come to own the property, even if they legally have no claim to it. Adverse possession can thus be said to be a means of acquiring land or homes, without ever having to pay for it.

It can’t be said that adverse possession is legal. In fact, the time of occupation prior to gaining the title of the property is specifically illegal. If the person actually owning the property chooses, he can have people who are squatting removed from the property and charged with trespassing. You really can’t just walk onto someone else’s property and claim it for your own without expecting legal repercussions. Further, in many cases, if you leave the property, you lose any time you have accrued toward adverse possession of the property (they could never leave during the 20years).

To claim adverse possession, an adverse possessor must show that he/she was in actual, open, and notorious possession of the property. The possession must have been exclusive and hostile to the title of the owner of the property. The possession must have been uninterrupted and continuous for at least 10 years. Successive occupation of the property by persons who are in privity with each other (i.e. by contract, will or blood) can be added together or "tacked on" for purposes of fulfilling the time requirements. If the adverse possessor occupies the property under color of title and makes payment of taxes, the period is 7 years. Color of title means that the person holds out that she legally has a possessory interest in the property (i.e. the defective deed includes the property in question). In addition, permissive use can never ripen into adverse possession.

While this explanation is simply my interpretation of a summary to elude to an answer to your question, as always, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel as my expertise is as a REALTOR as I am not an attorney.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NWMLS Releases October's 'Mixed Results' Housing Activity

Befitting October and Halloween, last month's housing activity had both tricks and treats. Northwest Multiple Listing Service members reported solid gains in pending sales (up almost 21 percent from a year ago), consistent demand in many price ranges, a shortage of homes in a few categories, and some resurgence of move-up buyers.

Despite those encouraging indicators, prices were down almost 11 percent area-wide compared to a year ago and brokers say there is persistent “hesitancy” in the market.  “All the pieces (for a recovery) exist -- low interest rates, lots of choices, increasing loan availability as well as purchasing programs, yet as a whole the housing market has stalled in many places,” said Northwest MLS director Frank Wilson.

“What is holding back the housing market has little to do with houses,” Wilson stated, pointing to uncertainty in the stock market and volatile global economies, along with a more complicated, prolonged transaction process and lack of job creation.

“We knew the median price would take a hit in October because the temporary‟ loan limit for conventional financing dropped back down from $567,500 to $506,000 after being in place for two years,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate Co. As of October 1, buyers in need of a mortgage above $506,000 must now qualify for a jumbo loan which is more restrictive and comes at a higher cost than conventional financing, he explained. “With fewer financing options for buyers of higher priced homes in our metro area, it‟s only natural that this would cause downward pressure on October‟s median price,” added Jacobi, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors.

“As the supply continues to decrease, we expect shorter market time, with home prices stabilizing and even beginning to appreciate again,” Wilson predicts.

Pending sales (mutually accepted offers) increased nearly 21 percent from a year ago, rising from 5,653 transactions to 6,817.

In the past four months, the combination of shrinking inventory and more sales (both pending and closed) have led to a swift change in the supply of homes, remarked NWMLS director Darin Stenvers.  Demand is remaining consistent in many price ranges and move-up buyers are returning to the market because of a shortage of homes that are not distressed, Stenvers noted. This move-up segment can list and sell their homes, then buy a better home with essentially the same payments, he explained. “Buyers know interest rates will not be at these historically low levels forever so they may pass up a short sale/fixer bank owned home for a more conventional transaction,” he remarked.

“Interest rates are at historic lows, and here in the Puget Sound we are fortunate to have a stable employment base,” he observed.

“Not every home has dropped 15 percent in value,” Spencer insists. He attributes much of the decline to a combination of factors, including shifting demographics and the influence of distressed properties, which he said may be as high as 40 percent in some areas. More investors and first-time buyers are purchasing in the more affordable price ranges, which results in a downward shift of median prices, Spencer explained. Also, he noted, distortions caused by REO (bank- or other lender-owned) and foreclosed properties contribute to price depressions. “When you adjust for these conditions and compare standard resale homes‟ the change in home values is much less drastic,” Spencer emphasizes. He believes a more accurate reflection of price declines for the Seattle area is around 6 percent, citing research by CoreLogic, Wells Fargo Securities and other analysts.

Not always apparent in the raw numbers are the hurdles faced by “real live buyers and sellers who are having a harder time than in the past,” lamented Wilson. “Transactions are more complicated and have a higher chance to fail. Lenders who are involved with short sales and bank owned homes further complicate and lengthen the transaction process due to their policies and practices.” Consequently, Wilson emphasized, buyers and sellers need to be explicit about what they want to accomplish. “They also need lots of patience and should choose their team wisely, making sure to select real estate professionals who can walk them through the process.”

Comparing last year with this, Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain, noted inventory was plentiful and competition was relatively light last year. Now, he said the market “ingredients” appear to be changed: the number of buyers is increasing and there are fewer homes for sale. “While that's a typical recipe for stable or increasing prices and quicker decisions, today's market has some less palatable ingredients, such as foreclosed properties and shaky consumer confidence. Knowing whether these new inventory dynamics will be slow-baked or microwaved into the housing market is still anyone's guess,” Grady suggested, adding, “It looks like more people are coming off their home buying diets only to find a reduced supply of homes for sale. That could create some welcome momentum in local markets heading into the new year.”

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 22,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Change Clocks, Change Batteries; Dead Batteries Can Lead to Deaths

WASHINGTON, D. C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reminding consumers when changing clocks this weekend to change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, too. Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 6 this year.

"Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives by alerting you to a fire or CO buildup. They can't do their job if the batteries aren't working," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Protect your family by replacing smoke and CO alarm batteries at least once each year."

In addition to changing batteries every year, CPSC recommends consumers test their alarms monthly. Place smoke alarms on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside each bedroom. About two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that don't work.

Fire departments responded to more than 386,000 residential fires nationwide that resulted in nearly 2,400 deaths, more than 12,500 injuries, and $6.92 billion in property losses annually, on average, from 2006 through 2008.

In addition to changing batteries in smoke alarms, CPSC urges consumers to stay in the kitchen while cooking to help prevent fires. Cooking fires accounted for the largest percentage of home fires, an annual average of nearly 150,000 or 38.7 percent, from 2006 through 2008.

CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas. CO alarms should not be installed in attics or basements unless they include a sleeping area. Combination smoke and CO alarms are available to consumers.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that consumers cannot see or smell. An average of 184 unintentional non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products, including portable generators, occurred annually from 2005 through 2007.

To protect against CO poisoning, schedule an annual professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances, including furnaces and chimneys. Home heating systems were associated with 70 deaths, or 38 percent of CO poisoning deaths, in 2007, the largest percentage of non-fire CO poisoning deaths.

To see this press release on CPSC's web site, please go to:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Washington Real Estate Market Research for Autumn 2011

Photo courtesy of Jake, Prairie View School
Palouse Country, Washington
Derived from the Washington Association of REALTORs, the data for Autumn has been compiled as follows:

23,750  Homes sold in Washington in 2nd quarter, 2011. 12.2% below 2nd quarter 2010

$226,900  Median home sales price in Washington in 2nd quarter, down 7.6% in last year.

47,838  Homes listed with MLSs as of June 30, 10.2% fewer than a year ago

45.1%   Increase in multifamily building permits from 2nd quarter 2010 to 2nd quarter 2011.  Single-family permits declined to 9.7% in same period.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Credit Scores & Mores

Looking for a mortgage loan may cause multiple lenders to request your credit report, even though you are only looking for one loan. To compensate for this, the score ignores mortgage, auto, and student loan inquiries made in the 30 days prior to scoring. So, if you find a loan within 30 days, the inquiries won't affect your score while you're rate shopping. In addition, the score looks on your credit report for mortgage, auto, and student loan inquiries older than 30 days. If it finds some, it counts those inquiries that fall in a typical shopping period as just one inquiry when determining your score. For FICO scores calculated from older versions of the scoring formula, this shopping period is any 14 day span. For FICO scores calculated from the newest versions of the scoring formula, this shopping period is any 45 day span. Each lender chooses which version of the FICO scoring formula it wants the credit reporting agency to use to calculate your FICO score.

Generally, people with high FICO scores consistently:
  • Pay bills on time.
  • Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit products.
  • Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed.
Also, here are some good credit management practices that can help to raise your FICO score over time.
  • Re-establish your credit history if you have had problems. Opening new accounts responsibly and paying them on time will raise your FICO score over the long term.
  • Check your own credit reports regularly, before applying for new credit, to be sure they are accurate and up-to-date. As long as you order your credit reports through an organization authorized to provide credit reports to consumers, such as myFICO, your own inquiries will not affect your FICO score.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Waterfront Properties For Sale

October has officially arrived which means now is the time to begin searching for waterfront real estate.  Contrary to popular belief, it's not when the sun is shining and you feel like going boating or skiing. The best time is NOW!

If you already have your waterfront property when the sun starts shining, you'll be able to spend your time enjoying the weather instead of looking for somewhere to enjoy it from!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Home, Home on the Section, Township, Range

In colonial times, just after the Louisiana Purchase and smaller land acquisitions, the United States was faced with a major problem as to how to develop and describe the new land so
settlers could easily know who owned this real estate.  The government also wanted to encourage people to move West in order to homestead the newly acquired land.  This in turn would make the territory permanently part of the United States.  The Federal Government wanted to give land away to early pioneers daring enough to move, but this vast expanse of territory was lacking an adequate legal description in which this real estate could be conveyed from the government to individual landowners.

Along came Thomas Jefferson and others with the idea of the Public Land Survey System or PLSS.  This rather ingenious way of describing and surveying land was based on Meridians (Longitudinal lines) and Baselines (Latitudinal lines) lying within the United States.  Just about every modern legal description we use in the western United States, except in Texas, comes from this method of breaking up land into Sections, Townships and Ranges.

A Section is one square mile or 640 acres. A Township is designated either North or South depending on its position to a baseline.  Townships are six miles vertically.  A Range is
designated either East or West depending on its relation to a meridian line.  Ranges are six miles horizontally.  A permanent monument or marker is usually placed at each corner of a
section to designate its exact location.

In a given Township and Range there are 36 sections or 36 square miles which are contained in a six mile by six mile box.  Sections can also be broken down into Quarter Sections known as Northeast, Northwest, Southwest and Southeast.  All of these quarter sections are 160 acres, and can even be broken down further into quarter quarters of 40 acres and so on.  For
example, here in Thurston County we use the Willamette Meridian and Baseline.  A common designation would be the Northwest quarter of the Southwest quarter of Section 18, Township 17 North, Range 2 West of the Willamette Meridian.  This division would be 40 acres of land.

History was forever changed when the United States and its early settlers moved West.  With this new ability to describe land it became extremely easy to convey property from the
government to individual citizens.  This in turn encouraged early pioneers to move, knowing full well that they could have their very own piece of the American land pie.

Resources of unimaginable abundance were discovered along the way, especially here in the Northwest, along with a whole new coast used for the transportation of goods and services .  None of this would have been possible without first being able to come up with a legal way of describing these lands.  The idea of surveying the West by breaking it into Sections, Townships and Ranges, dramatically increased the speed at which this new land could be settled.  Without encouraging settlers to homestead the West, the United States would never have become the nation it is today.

Author: Unknown. Many thanks to Kari E. Hayes of Thurston County Title Company, Olympia.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't Let Summer Pass You By

Now's the time: check out these sweet deals on truly exceptional waterfront estates in the beautiful pacific northwest:

To schedule a showing, call Jim 360-870-6767 or Anya 360-870-5191 today!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just Unveiled: New Explanation of Cost Valuation Report for Thurston County Real Estate

Time and time again, as REALTORS, we hear the age old statement "But my property is assessed for $X".  While you might see this figure as good, or bad, our recently appointed Thurston County Assessor, Mr. Steven J. Drew, offered a detailed explanation of the work he and his team have accomplished since taking office January 2011.  To read his letter, click here.

You may have recently received a postcard from the Thurston County Assessor's Office with the upcoming tax year assessed value on your real estate.  I encourage you to read Mr. Drew's new Cost Valuation Report online.  To do so:

  1. go to and locate your property by parcel search or property address
  2. once found, click on the parcel number at the right of the page
  3. this page will take you to your property's home page with numerous tabs; the 5th tab on the second row is 'NEW! Cost Val Rpt' - please select this tab
I'm hopeful you'll find this information helpful.  One step further, should you be curious about how property taxes are determined in Thurston County, you'll want to click here.

And as always, contact Jim & Anya for all your real estate needs.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Six Keys to Farm Land Value

photo courtesy of Jerry Lasky photos
Farmland investment income rests on crop production for much of its return on investment.  What makes for a productive farm?

  • Soil quality
  • Fertilizer requirements
  • Percentage of tillable land
  • Water availability and control
  • Topography
  • Proximity to transportation
As always, call me, your personal REALTOR when looking to invest in real estate: 360-870-5191.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today & Tomorrow: The 2011 Big Home & Garden Show in Olympia

The Olympia Master Builder’s Home and Garden Show is this weekend, September 10th and 11th at Saint Martin’s University on Pacific Avenue in Lacey.  

Click here for your printable coupon to enter the 2011 BIG Home & Garden Show!

Olympia Federal Savings & Loan will have a discount coupon, available only at the home show, for an owner occupied home purchase or construction of a green home which gives ½% off the loan rate!  This could be big savings!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Acting As Your Own General Contract - Are You Qualified?

If you're looking to remodel but on a strict budget, determining if you're a good candidate to be your own sub-contractor is imperative. Acting as the 'general' on your job will certainly save you the most amount of money but without the proper background and knowledge, the money saved might not be worth the final product.

Planning, researching materials, scheduling sub-contractors, daily on-site inspections, etc. Being your own general contractor should not be undertaken unless you have a good understanding of the construction process and the time to invest. But if you have experience and are willing to invest the time that will be needed then being your own general contractor should be a serious consideration.

As an industry professional in the Olympia area, I have a list of reputable contractors which I'm always happy to share.  These qualified tradesmen and tradeswoman are skilled in their area of expertise.  Just call, text or email me for the list.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bad News on the Horizon for FHA

Effective 10/01/2011, FHA will reduce the maximum loan limit in Thurston County from $361,250 to $293,250.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tansy Ragwort: Know Your Toxic Weeds

Have you noticed a thin yellow flowering plant in your field or pasture? It's important to know about Tansy Ragwort. Ten years ago, I received an informational postcard from the Thurston County Health Department about this plant. Since that time, I've only encountered Tansy Ragwort in my field just a handful of times. It seems this year's uncommon weather of more rain, less sun has encouraged this weed to sprout up everywhere.

You might say, well who cares - its just another weed? What you don't realize is the yellow flowering plant can be lethal to cattle and horses. Once the plant has gone to seed, it has the ability to spread everywhere. So I plead for you to do your part: pull the weeds by removing the plant and it's roots. Don't mow it or cut it.

Let's say goodbye to what might just be scotch broom's cousin - yet another terrible yellow flowering plant in our fields and pastures.

For more information: read here

Friday, August 19, 2011

Real Estate Leaders Roll Out New Logo

This past week in Los Angeles, founder of RE/MAX International Dave Liniger told nearly 1,000 RE/MAX Brokers, Owners and Managers that he is through being polite or humble about the unmatched competitive advantages of RE/MAX affiliation. We have the best, most productive, most experienced Sales Associates in the business, and there's no reason to be shy about what that means. RE/MAX Sales Associates are…

• #1 in Market Share
• #1 in Sales Associate Productivity
• #1 in Brand Name Awareness
• #1 in Advertising
• #1 in Lead Generation
• #1 in Professional Education

Most importantly, we are #1 in the minds of buyers and sellers, and #1 in the eyes of most of our national competitors, who understand that RE/MAX continues to be the home of top producers who outperform them year after year.

The simple fact is…real estate professionals who want to be on the #1 team should be with RE/MAX. We are the #1 brand in real estate, and we will be saying so; loudly, and very clearly.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nature Nurtures Childcare - Now Enrolling

A client of mine is opening a new nature-based childcare program on a farm. If you're looking for childcare in Olympia complete with chickens and rabbits and ponies - check this out


Monday, August 15, 2011

What Goes Up Must Come Down

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported the median sale price for existing single-family homes fell 2.8% in Q2 compared to a year ago. Yet 41 metro areas saw price gains, up from 34 in Q1. The NAR's chief economist said, "Median home prices have been moving up and down in a relatively narrow range in many markets, which shows a stabilization trend." Another survey showed two-thirds of the markets reported bigger price gains in Q2 versus Q1.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Price it Right from the Start

I review market statistics regularly, and since we just passed the halfway point of 2011 I found some very powerful data on the relationship between percent of asking price that local homes sell for and how long they have been on the market. As the table from the MLS below illustrates, the percentage of asking price a home sells for decreases the longer the home sits on the market, all the way down to a whopping 7% average loss for older listings.

The sample size, over 1700 closed single family homes in the first half of 2011, is plenty large enough to draw accurate conclusions. The longer your house is on the market, the less you can expect to net. 


  • 0-30 Days. There are very few homes on the market 30 days or less. Even in an all cash transaction, closing in 30 days is not easy. But of the handful that did close, they averaged above asking price by more than half a percentage point. 
  • 31-60 days. This is also considered a fast closing, and the home would probably have to sell in the first week or two to close this quickly. Obviously, these homes were priced right. And in a severe buyer's market, they averaged well over 97% of asking price. 
  • 61-90 days. This is a larger sample, and represents over 12% of the market. These homes did sell quickly, and just over 96% of asking price was the average closing result. 
  • 91-120 days. There is only a small difference, but still a difference, for the homes that took up to 4 months to close. This is just under 96% of list price, and represents almost 18% of the market activity. 

Drum roll...

  • 120+ days. This group represents virtually two thirds of the market, over 1100 closings. Homes that were on the market over 4 months averaged only 93% of asking price. In a county where the median sale price is almost $600,000, that equals about $40,000. The chief reason a home takes longer to sell is that it is priced too high. How ironic. The people that tried for more ended up with less. 

Many of these homes were on the market longer. This simply represents their latest listing contracts with the broker that sold them, so regardless of how long they were on prior to the data recorded, once their price was right they sold. 

There is another rough fact behind the numbers that isn't obvious from the table. If overpriced homes take longer to sell, then it becomes clear that the homes on the market for longer than 120 days may have had price reductions along the way! I've seen homes sold in the low $500s that started out asking over $700,000! If they had started out realistically, they very well may have sold for mid or high 500s! Asking for more and chasing the market cost the sellers upwards of $50,000! How ironic! Regardless of your zip code is, real estate mistakes are very expensive. 

Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. 

Price it right from the start and you'll net more. Be objective, think like a businessperson, and base your decisions on market data and not sentiment. The statistics aren't kind if you don't. 

Contributor J. Philip Faranda