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i turn REALTY into REALiTY

Who Pays The Commissions?

Buyer Representation

Many first time buyers don’t realize how real estate agents get paid, so I created this short video to explain commission splits. DISCLAIMER: It is illegal for real estate firms to discuss their commission rates among each other (price fixing).  This is JUST an example of how some agents are compensated.

Do you have specific questions about my rates?  Send me an email or give me a call.

When REALiTY BiTES, Bite Back!

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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!

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Act Now! Won’t Last Long! Going Fast!

You’ve seen the headlines before.  Just look in any newspaper.  It’s like the whole world is on sale.  But there is usually a catch. There’s only one left, or the one you want is slightly damaged.  Or, the seller is just trying the old Bait & Switch tactics to get you to come in.  Once you’re there, Wham!

Well, this time is no different, except that there is no bait & switch tactic (I promise).

furnitureBrown_sofa

This weekend, one of the larger home builders in the area, John Buchan Homes, is having a Model Home Furniture Sale here in Woodinville, WA.  That’s right, you can now own some of the same furniture that you’ve drooled over while touring new construction homes.

The sale dates are:

Friday, June 8, 2012 9:00am – 4:00pm
Saturday, June 9, 2012 9:00am – 1:00pm

Click HERE for the link to more information on the dates and location of the sale.

P.S. This would be a great opportunity to “Stage” your home if you are planning to sell in the near future, or to furnish your new home!

When REALiTY BiTES, Bite Back!

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Kudos

Thumbs Up

It’s always a good feeling when a client that I’ve helped has something nice to say about my services.  In the old days, my broker might get a nice letter in the mail from a client letting him know I didn’t screw anything up, and that I should be able to keep my job for at least another day.  Nowadays, the web makes it easier to share those thoughts with the world, both good AND bad.  Fortunately, I haven’t had any bad reviews (knock on wood).

Check out the latest review [Here] I received from a satisfied client on YELP.com!

I also happened to receive an award from Seattle Magazine for my work in 2011.

A big THANK YOU to all who I’ve helped this past year.  If I can help you with a purchase or sale in 2012, give me a call.  Let’s make this a great 2012!

When REALiTY BiTES, bite back!

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Get The Poop On Septic When Selling Your Woodinville Home

Septic_Tank_Riser_LidIf you’ve been a reader of my Blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that I tend to focus on certain topics and run them into the ground.  I like to think it’s because I’m being thorough and want to cover the topic fully, but those who know me might argue that I’m just odd.  Today’s post should be my last on the subject of septic systems unless someone asks me additional questions or some new changes in the law require an update.

King County Septic Regulations

Title 13 of the code within The Board Of Health Regulations is the governing document for all things septic within King County.  Within this chapter, 13.60.030 of the health code specifies what a seller must do when selling a home that is served by an OSS (On-Site Septic System).  Click HERE to view the regulations.  If your home is connected to a public sewer system, you can stop reading now.  BUT if you have a septic system serving your property, read on… Read the rest of this entry »

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Water Quality – Should You Drink Before You Buy?

Filling up a glass of water

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” – W.H. Auden

Back in college, I took a class on government. I don’t recall much from it, but for one thing that still bounces around in my head. The topic was civic amenities. The word AMENITY is defined as “A desirable or useful feature or facility of a building or place.”  Little did I know back then that the word would become such an important part of my everyday real estate vocabulary. Read the rest of this entry »

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Woodinville Happenings

Woodinville Patch

There are so many things going on in my small city that even I don’t know about all of them! Fortunately for me (and you), there is another place to go for this information.  Woodinville Patch is a new online destination that offers local news, a listing of events, volunteer opportunities, a Blog, and much more.  You can check out this website by clicking HERE or on my sidebar of other websites that I link to…

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Life in Woodinville

Woodinville City LogoI love my town. Every day is unique.  The motto for Woodinville as you enter the city is “City Living, Country Style”.  Or, maybe it’s the other way around…  I can never remember. In any case, there are many city aspects such as the shopping, restaurants, and movie theaters situated alongside the country ones (horses, deer and other wildlife). Today though, I came across something I’d never seen before in my town.  A single runaway sheep jogging along the road in the pedestrian lane in front of Cottage Lake by my home.  I took a short video of it because nobody would believe it otherwise…

You can watch the short clip HERE.

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What’s Happening in Woodinville

Cottage Lake SchoolIf you live in Woodinville, WA and are interested in the history of the town, you should join the Woodinville Heritage Society.  You can learn more about them at www.woodinvilleheritage.org.

You can also read their latest newsletter HERE.

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Woodinville Home Back on the Auction Block

Woodinville homeJust yesterday, I was touting about how to buy a home for pennies on the dollar (click HERE to read that post). In that post, I mentioned a home in Woodinville, WA that sold for $490,000 at a recent auction I attended. What happened afterward is a complete surprise to me… Read the rest of this entry »

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