i turn REALTY into REALiTY

For the fun of it… Category

Yes Virginia, There Are Buses in Woodinville…

Bus1It All Began One Sunny Afternoon

This is a recap of my first experience riding the public transit system here in WA state. Prior to this past Monday, I had looked down upon those poor souls who chose to ride buses.  Little did I know at that time, how dramatically my life would change after the experience.

The Hypocritical Years

Before my two children learned to drive, I had the pleasure of being their personal taxi service.  As they got closer to their “age of independence” as I liked to call it, I started telling them to just take the bus.  They used to call me a hypocrite because in my 17 years as a resident in Woodinville, I had never ridden the local transit system here.

Growing up in San Francisco, I was an experienced rider. I took public transportation everywhere, often hopping from bus to bus, and even an occasional cable car to get to my destination.  I was even one of the first passengers on BART when service began in the 70’s, so I’m not sure why it was so hard for me to take the plunge here in WA. In fact, when I first moved to WA in the mid 1990’s, I lived across the street from my office at Microsoft. Instead of walking to work like a normal person might do, I drove the one block to work and parked in the underground garage.

I Used To Talk The Talk, But Now I Walk The Walk

As a Realtor who lives and works in Woodinville, I’m constantly extolling the benefits of living here.  We have great schools, an abundance of wine tasting rooms, walking trails, and lots of greenery. For some of my buyer clients, the only perceived objections are that a) We are too far from Seattle; b) It is too difficult to get to places without a car; c) Traffic congestion is bad.  I used to explain that there were trade-off for living in the suburbs.  In exchange for fresh air, green grass and trees, you had to put up with a longer commute.  But I would always preface that with an “It’s not as bad as you might imagine”.  As of today, I can personally attest that:

a)    It is not too far from Seattle.
b)    It is not that difficult to get around without a car.
c)    Traffic congestion is indeed bad.

On A Whim…

My inaugural bus ride took place this past Monday, a warm, sunny weekday afternoon.  Out of boredom and a desire to do something completely impromptu, a friend and I decided to hop a bus to Seattle.  After a few false starts which included trying to board the wrong bus (twice!), we hopped on a Sound Transit, paid our fares and sat back in the air-conditioned seats headed to Seattle. The bus was clean, the ride was pleasant, and traveling in the HOV lane probably shaved off several minutes from a normal trip time to Seattle, even if you include the stops along the way.

Walking Is Healthy (Just Don’t Inhale)

Walking in Seattle on a sunny day is an experience like no other! While my friend and I were walking by Pike Place Market and the park, she turned to me and whispered in my ear “Wow, it must be 5:20 because somebody is smoking Marijuana”. I looked back at her and started cracking up! Oh, what sheltered lives we lead on the Eastside of the lake.

Bar:Bus Stop Ratios

There are at least 3 restaurants on any given block in downtown Seattle, maybe more.  Bus stops average one per every two blocks. Given my fuzzy math skills, that’s a Bar:Bus Stop ratio of at least 6:1! Planning a bus trip to Seattle during happy hour is a perfect afternoon getaway. The money you save in gas, parking, and tickets more than pays for the afternoon!

Bus2Here are some tips to get you started:

If you have a smart phone, download the free app titled OneBusAway, created by UW students that give you the approximate times of bus arrivals at the nearest bus stop.
If you’re not sure about your route, ask a bus driver or a fellow passenger (but don’t wake them if they appear to be asleep or unconscious) for help .  I discovered that people are generally nice and want to be helpful.  Just be polite! FYI, The express bus from Woodinville to Seattle is #522.
Make sure you have EXACT change (including quarters) for the trip.  For example, if it costs $2.50 each way from Woodinville to Seattle, bring $4 in bills and $1 in quarters. Don’t forget this fact halfway through happy hour when you leave your tip.  Leave dollar bills, because you’ll need the quarters for the bus ride home!

Taking the bus to downtown Seattle was a fun experience.  There were no parking hassles, nor exorbitant parking fees. It was only a short walk from downtown to Pike Market and the many restaurants there.  After this experience, I can see how one might choose to commute via public transportation. Forgoing the 520 bridge toll ($7/day), gas, parking fees, would certainly reduce my stress level.  Now if only they offered wireless internet access on the bus…

Have you ridden public transportation here? Share your experiences!

When REALiTY BiTES, Bite Back!

Tags: , ,

The 5 Most Expensive Homes Sold in 2011

Who said that the real estate market in the greater Seattle area is slow?  In King County alone, there were 734 homes that sold for over $1 million!  Of those, 135 homes were over $2 million, and 45 were priced over $3 million.  Here are the top 5 most expensive homes sold in King County last year.

#5 – 9740 SE 35th Place, Mercer Island WA  – $6,750,000


#4 – 9627 Lake Washington Blvd. NE, Bellevue WA  – $7,030,000


#3 – 3248 78th Place NE, Medina WA  – $7,250,000


#2 – 6301 NE Windermere Rd., Seattle WA  – $7,999,999


#1 – Undisclosed Address in Seattle, WA  – $9,000,000


Would you like to see your home on this list?  If so, just give me a call and we’ll get it sold right away!

Happy New Year!

DragonToday marks the beginning of the Year Of The Dragon in the Chinese lunar calendar.  Actually, this year is considered the Year of The Water Dragon which happens only once every 60 years.  In Chinese culture, the dragon is considered to be the most powerful symbol in the Chinese zodiac. Read the rest of this entry »


Top 10 Real Estate Websites

top-10-logoDisclaimer:  The websites presented are my own opinions, and not the results of some analytic gobbledygook.  The determination and ranking of these sites is completely random (with the exception of #1).  I will share the links to each of these sites along with my reason for inclusion in the list.  With no further ado, let’s take a look, shall we? Read the rest of this entry »


I Blame Starbucks For My Composting Addiction

Addiction – Part II

Coffee groundsIt all began one winter day back in 1996.  I remember it all so vividly.  You never forget your first time, do you?  You can read about my first time [read here] if you really want…  From that day forward, I’ve been downing mochas on a regular basis.  The byproduct of making coffee is of course coffee grounds, and being the naturally inquisitive person that I am, I started reading about how coffee grounds could be used as compost in the garden for acidic plants.  I’m never one to just dabble, because when the addiction hits, it hits hard. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

The Road To Addiction Has An Innocent Start

ChocolateFrom Candy To Coffee

Like nearly every other Seattle-ite, (Or Woodinville-ite), I’ve become addicted to that syrupy brown goodness we call coffee.  In my case, it’s espresso, and it all started about 15 years ago during one of my very long meeting sessions at Microsoft.  Up until that point, I had never, ever, ever had a cup of coffee. Never.  That’s 33 years of living without drinking the brown liquor.  So I was standing outside the conference room, and there happened to be an espresso bar. The gentleman barista coaxed me over to talk to him because he was bored. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

The Changing Role Of A Real Estate Agent: A Historical Perspective

The Old Days

The Old Days

Realtors as Gatekeepers

Prior to entering real estate as a career back in the mid 90’s, I spent nearly ten years working in the computer industry, using the most advanced PCs at the time.  When I first saw the tools available to real estate agents, I felt like I was stepping back in time.  If you were a buyer looking for a home, you couldn’t just log on to the internet and search.  Real estate agents were the gatekeepers of the data, and that made them an integral part of the process.  Back then, all of the homes for sale were listed in paperback books that came out every couple of weeks.  The photo to the left shows what the books looked like.  Depending on what area you worked in, you could have 3 or 4 of these books in your possession at any one time. Read the rest of this entry »

Daylight Savings Time Is Over

Screen Shot 2011-11-06 at 11.11.35 AMTime on my clock as I write this post

Did you remember to turn your clocks back by one hour?  It’s a beautiful, crisp, sunny day here in Woodinville, WA and you should take advantage of what little sunlight remains.  Go out and enjoy the day!

Food Waste In America


Today is Blog Action Day for 2011.  It is the one day of the year that this organization attempts to get bloggers all over the world to blog about one particular topic that affects everyone.  This year’s topic is FOOD.

While some bloggers may choose to blog about their favorite restaurant or their favorite food, I’m choosing to blog about food waste.  While thinking about my topic for today, I came across a previous blog post that cited some statistics about food waste in America.  I didn’t research the authenticity of the data cited, but on the surface, the numbers are staggering.  Here are just a few statistics:

  • A report completed in 1997 cited a statistic of 91 Billion pounds of food waste in 1995 by consumers and food service.
  • Food disposal costs the US about $1 Billion each year.
  • Households waste approximately 14% of their food purchases each year; 15% of this waste is still within the expiration but never opened.
  • An average family of 4 tosses out $590 of food each year in meat, fruits, vegetables and grains.  This doesn’t even include packaged food that gets thrown out! Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,

Seattle’s Own Green Monster


One of the best things about being self employed is that I can choose where my office will be on any particular day.  Lately, I’ve been making my rounds to the various coffee shops that are so abundant in the area.  With free Wi-Fi at nearly every place I go, I’m no longer tied down to sitting in my Woodinville office.  I have met some really interesting people and had some great conversations, all under the premise of “work”. Read the rest of this entry »