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Have you noticed that for the past ten years kids showing up at your front door have no clue about Halloween tradition? Ask every kid who rings your doorbell tonight what "trick or treat" means. Every one of them will say (cutely, unless it's one of the neighborhood teenagers who usually don't even bother with costumes) "candeee?" We have failed as parents! These little goblins don't know they're supposed to scare us because we haven't trained them properly. We need to recover our national identity. This year, please, please, please instruct your children in proper Halloween etiquette. Show them how (3 comments)
A lot of people who move to Bainbridge immediately propose that the Agate Pass Bridge be closed, if not destroyed. It's quiet on Bainbridge, and in fact the bridge makes it less of an island. There's a lot of traffic across the bridge, some drivers heading to the Bainbridge ferry to Seattle, others heading to the Kitsap or Olympic peninsula in the other direction.The bridge is a mixed blessing. Residents need not depend only on the Seattle ferry to get off the island (before 1950, it was either the main ferry or part of the mosquito fleet, small boats that stopped at various (0 comments)
Finding foreclosures: A good idea? - 10/24/08 01:32 PM
I was asked last evening if I thought it was a good idea to look for foreclosures in this market. I have to say that in my experience it is certainly possible to help a distressed homeowner facing foreclosure if you know what to do. And it is certainly possible to buy a foreclosed home at auction if you know what to do. But the process is complex and you'll have to be patient.Imagine trying to rescue a struggling pet in shark-infested water. Those shark-investors have been there before. They're competing with one another and they know what they're doing. If (0 comments)
One sign (one cause?) of a rotten economy - 10/22/08 10:32 PM
Here's a notice I received from Chase. I pay the card balance in full each month. Chase hates this. Here's their reaction (I'm excerpting the relevant clauses--the rest is predictable legalese about what they'll charge per month/day for late payments).
IMPORTANT NOTICE OF CHANGE IN TERMS EFFECTIVE WITH YOUR JANUARY 2009 STATEMENT Your Default APR will be changed to a variable rate with a maximum APR of 29.99%. (!) Right to Opt Out: You can opt out (not accept) the changes in the APRs. (Awright!!) If you decide not to accept these changes to your APRs: We must receive (8 comments)
Kitsap closings: Oct 5-18 - 10/20/08 09:57 AM
To understate the situation, it is strong buyer's market. A land parcel in Poulsbo sold the day it was listed for 28% less than the asking price. This in an object lesson. If you're a buyer, make an offer--you might pick up a great bargain. If you don't have to sell, you might consider taking your home off the market until the market heats up again.17 closings for single family homes, 1 for land parcelsSilverdale 5 homes on the market for an average of 8.8 monthsPoulsbo 9 homes, average market time 5.8 months; 1 land parcel sold the day it listedKingston 1 home, average market time (0 comments)
It's not just the housing market - 10/19/08 08:38 PM
I think we all agree that our industry in general is culpable for allowing homesellers to set (and often obtain) asking prices that are simply unsustainable. Prices are now falling, and they're falling fast. We'll hit bottom and we'll return to a reasonable market. But it's not just sellers who have added to our economic woes. What about factory workers, manufacturers, the oil industry, government contractors? We're all connected. Those of us in these markets have no opportunity to negotiate, as we do in the housing industry. Buyers cannot determine value. What would be the result if they could? If an (6 comments)
A wise decision? - 10/19/08 04:45 PM
I love humor, particularly satire. Having said that, I wonder whether it is a wise decision for any candidate for public office to take time and thought away from perhaps the most important political campaign in fifty years. Do we really want a leader to be one of the guys, to be just like us? Or do we want a leader who knows how to set priorities, to concentrate on solutions to a collapsed economy, global warming, a broken healthcare system, a shrinking housing bubble. While I understand a candidate's wish to be well-liked, I'd rather like a candidate with vision, (1 comments)
What would you do? - 10/17/08 12:38 PM
Here's the scenario. An absentee owner invites an agent to list his home below market before it goes into foreclosure. He insists on using an attorney friend to negotiate any offer. Before an offer can be submitted, the home goes to the bank. Neither the owner nor the attorney notifies the listing agent. If you were the agent, what course would you take if you believed you could bring an offer to the bank? (3 comments)
Watch the Bainbridge inventory - 10/16/08 03:26 PM
All of us are concerned about the housing market, buyers, sellers, brokers, and homeowners. Because many homes were put on the market before the downturn in the economy, prices are clearly too high for today's buyers. And because the island doesn't have a normal turnover of homes, the supply exceeds the demand. We as brokers and agents are advising our selling clients either to drop their asking prices drastically (if they can afford to do so) or to take their homes off the market until we get back to normal. Only sellers who must sell will be urged to leave their (0 comments)
Who's your neighbor? - 10/15/08 11:59 AM
It's an important question, especially if you have children. Why? Because sex offenders don’t advertise their home or business location, but wouldn’t you want to know?Finding out if one of your neighbors is a sex offender or being notified if a sex offender moves into your neighborhood can be done with just a few clicks of the mouse by visiting the Washington State Sex Offender Information Center.The site provides up-to-date information about registered sex offenders in your surrounding neighborhood, and has several educational tools available for your family as well (0 comments)
If I were thinking about buying a home - 10/14/08 10:46 AM
If I were considering a home purchase and waiting for a sign to act, I would act NOW. The government has given a huge ($250 billion) transfusion to our ailing banking system to encourage them to extend credit and thus revive our economy. Get in line! Banks are eager to lend you the money you'll need to purchase. (0 comments)
Bainbridgs Resources: Bainbridge Performing Arts - 10/13/08 09:41 PM
The productions at Bainbridge Performing Arts just keep getting better and better. You might think that because the venue is a community theater, the productions values are probably inferior. You might be wrong. If the video below is representative, its production of Macbeth (opening Thursday) should be well worth your time. Please let us know your opinion if you attend! (0 comments)
Why Inslee voted No - 10/13/08 03:04 PM
Here is the letter I received today from my congressman explaining his reasons for voting against the economic recovery package last week. October 13, 2008Dr. Paul PivalBainbridge Island, WA 98110-2615Dear Dr. Pival: Thank you for contacting me regarding the economic recovery package. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.As you know, I voted against the first economic recovery legislation due to grave concerns about taxpayer protection, accountability, and oversight. While I worked with my colleagues in the House of Representatives for stronger protections, unfortunately my concerns were not addressed in the Senate’s version of the bill and it remains, (0 comments)
Are you ignoring the gorilla in the current market? - 10/12/08 11:56 AM
The stock market is low and the housing inventory is high. We're told by the media that the markets are connected in such a complex way that one drives the other. But is this a fact? We tend to concentrate on what we're pointed to, and in so doing we are likely to miss the obvious. Not everyone in the country needs a loan (and those who do, by the way, can get a good one through FHA at 3% down, a credit score of 600+, and an income). Those who have money from the sale of their stocks have enough (0 comments)
scam alert - 10/12/08 10:54 AM
Our friends at Silver Planet have just posted an updated list of current scams. It's worth your time to look at these. And in my opinion, it's worth your time to subscribe. I am constantly amazed by how gullible scammers think we are. But I am even more amazed about the number of us who go for this obvious bait! (0 comments)
To all investors selling stocks - 10/10/08 12:06 PM
If you've read this blog regularly, you won't be surprised that I'm a Contrarian. Warren Buffett is, too: he never follows the majority. Consider: the stock market is falling fast. The majority is panicking and selling. Those who sell have liquid assets. Consider further: the real estate market is also falling. Consider even further: we know that people have to live somewhere, and we know that nobody has to invest in the stock market. The majority of buyers are waiting (for what? the market to rebound before they buy?). If you have cash and want a return, now is the time (0 comments)
When the Titanic sank in 1912, its captain, Edward Smith, stayed with the ship until the last possible moment. Accounts differ slightly, but most agree that his life ended after he dived into the freezing waters just before the ship went under. That's what a captain is supposed to do. A parachute, golden or otherwise, would have been useless, but a lifeboat might have saved him. He didn't have a lifeboat. He didn't ask for one. He didn't take command on condition that he would have one in the event of a disaster. Captains didn't do that. Well, we've come (4 comments)
Yes, it's a slow market, but - 10/08/08 12:13 PM
Have any of you experienced a slower market than the one we're all suffering through? Realtors are quitting all over the country (which insures they won't do very well, no?). What encouragement can you offer those who have not faced a slow market before? Should they worry about rumors that banks will take over real estate transactions (Your Local Friendly Bank: one-stop shopping, including inspections, title, and escrow)? (6 comments)
What are they thinking? - 10/08/08 10:06 AM
Last night John McCain invoked the ghost of Herbert Hoover and reminded us of the birth of the Internet. President Hoover could get away with half truths or outright lies because fact checking took days if not weeks to reach the voting public. That was then. Why would presidential candidates (both of them) either lie or make remarks in ignorance knowing that Internet gives the whole world nearly instant access to facts? Here's an interesting analysis of last night's verbiage. (7 comments)
Another disappointment - 10/07/08 11:14 PM
Doesn't anyone listen any more? Intelligent questions from the Tennessee audience, from the Internet, even from Tom Brokaw, "just the hired help." I heard nothing new--just party rhetoric. My colleague Dave pointed out that we send our elite athletes to the Olympics. Why can't we expect to hear our elite thinkers? Both candidates promise Change. If we get it, it will be small change, I'm afraid. (8 comments)
Pending sales up in Kitsap County - 10/06/08 05:41 PM
According to the Northwest Multiple Listing service, pending sales in Kitsap County show an increased over the previous month for the first time in nineteen months, a sign that many buyers who have been sitting on the fence are starting to jump off and walk toward the homes they've been watching. If you're a fence-sitter, you might want to think about whether the home you have your eye on will be there in a month! (0 comments)
Good news for first-time homebuyers - 10/06/08 11:28 AM
In case you haven't heard, first-time homebuyers will be given a $7500 tax credit if they purchase a home between now and July 1, 2009. A flash of good news in an otherwise dismal economic year. If you're even thinking of buying, contact your mortgage broker or lender and your financial advisor to learn whether this credit makes sense for you. (0 comments)
Kitsap closings: Sept 14-Oct 4 - 10/06/08 11:00 AM
It is still a buyers' market. More homes closed during this period than last. 33 closings for single family homes, 4 closings for condos, 3 for land parcels Silverdale 11 home on the market for an average of 3.9 months Poulsbo 7 homes (2 presales), average market time 5.2 months Kingston 5 homes, average market time 8.3 months; 1 condo in market for 13 months; 2 parcels on market for 8.8 months Bainbridge 10 homes, average market time 4.75 months; 3 condos closed in 4.5 months; 1 parcel on market for 7.3 months The same period last year closed (0 comments)
What th???? - 10/05/08 08:44 PM
Please forgive me. I haven't studied economics, so I rely on people I trust to help me understand stuff. We've been assured by the NAR that The Bailout will give the economy what it needs to revive the housing market. But last Friday, Bill Maher (whom I also respect) stated that The Bailout will cost each of us $2300, and banks will be able to lend the money back to us at interest. There is often truth in jest. Does anyone know enough to dispute his (maybe) joke? (0 comments)
Why I don't miss teaching - 10/04/08 07:42 PM
I had dinner tonight with friends and my friend Mike (all grown up now and working as an appraiser) asked me if I would like to return to teaching. No. And here's why. Press the play icon to listen. The big question here is what happened to the declarative sentence! For that matter, what happened to the conventional answer to "Thank you"? (0 comments)
Take a break! - 10/04/08 07:19 PM
This post has absolutely nothing to do with life and real estate in Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County. But I'm tired of all the gloom and doom from the national media. I thought you'd appreciate a break. Last year I posted some outrageous puns. My friend Helen sent these, perhaps in revenge. I share these witha caveat: don't read this unless you can tolerate what Dr. Johnson called the lowest form of humor. I'm thinking of using these to qualify buyers.. Thanks, Helen! 1. The roundest knight at king Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too (0 comments)
Disappointing Debate - 10/03/08 10:56 AM
I watched the Biden-Palin discussion last evening at a watch party in Tacoma (if you look hard enough, you'll find my photo on the back page of the Tacoma News Tribune). Palin was more articulate than I expected (but just as folksy, you betcha) and Biden not as incisive as I had hoped. It appeared to me that Palin was texting the office during the latter half of the debate, or if not texting then reading text. (9 comments)
Good news for contrarians - 10/02/08 11:56 AM
If you believe that the best course of financial action is contrary to the actions of the majority, you'll be interested in listening to this news piece. If you base your decisions on advice from the media, be afraid. You're not going to buy a home for a long, long time. But consider: What if you were the only person walking around in a buyer's market? Wouldn't you have your pick?
A confession - 10/01/08 09:30 PM
I tell this (true) story at my own expense to nervous first-time buyers. I try to make two points: first, they can't possibly be dumber than I was; second, as their agent, I will protect them as my agent did not. My bride and I rented a home when we moved to Bradford, PA to take my first position as an assistant professor. We had our eye on a large home just steps from the campus. When we finally made our lowball (and acceptable!) offer, I made sure our agent specified that the fireplace tools were to be included in the (5 comments)
A website for 55-plussers - 10/01/08 09:06 PM
AARP became a huge and powerful organization because it targeted people over 50. Here's another organization dedicated to informing people over 55. It's savvy and readable. If you're in the demographic, check it out. If not, forward it to your mom or dad or uncle or aunt or . . . Silver Planet (2 comments)
Vultures - 10/01/08 09:00 PM
I am constantly surprised by humanity. I received two email solicitations today promising great information (for a monthly fee, surprise, surprise) on homes about to be foreclosed on. I guess there's money to be made no matter what the situation. On second thought, I guess I'm not surprised, just saddened. Sharks like this would have charged for information about Auschwitz victims had they had the information. (4 comments)
Meet ferry advisory reps - 10/01/08 03:38 PM
Those of us depending on the Washington State Ferries for our livelihoods have been worried about our wallets ever since the passage of I-695 in 2000 cut funding. Unlike our brothers and sisters who drive free of charge on the highways east of Puget Sound, we pay a toll every time we go to work. You'll have a chance to meet with ferry reps to learn of the long-range plans that will take place, like it or not. Tomorrow (Thursday, Oct 2), Thursday, Oct. 2, 6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Bainbridge Island Commons 402 Brien Drive, Bainbridge Island. (0 comments)
Now is the time - 10/01/08 03:08 PM
I just want to remind my colleagues that times like this make our services as professionals most valuable. Our clients are understandably fearful and need our experience and support more than ever. Be sure to contact your sphere now to let them know that you're still in the business and ready to help them and their friends. It's a good opportunity to continue to build your credibility. (3 comments)
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