The best thing about my start in real estate was the retail location of Hallmark Realty - in the heart of Kirkland a mere stone's throw from Lake Washington.
Over the past five years Kirkland has been at the center of my business. As the map shows, there is a concentration of orange dots (buyers) and red dots (sellers) in the Kirkland area. Yes, I am a Kirkland specialist. Three of my clients are in the same Kirkland condo complex. I have a website dedicated to Kirkland condos and only a lack of time prevents me form expanding the content.
So how is it that I've done that much business outside Kirkland? Well, real estate may be local but people choose real estate agents for their total qualifications and qualities. Local expertise is just one of these. That's why I've listed a home in Camano Island and helped a Bellevue resident find a vacation home with a glorious view of Port Susan and Mount Baker. That's why a young family asked me to find their first home. We found one that was affordable where they wanted to live.
What's local depends on your perspective. For someone relocating to this area from California, Illinois, Europe or Asia, greater Seattle and the entire Puget Sound area is LOCAL. When these people find my websites in English and German or read my blog they form an opinion based on what they find. Those that contact me may be considering a job or transfer. They are looking for more than a home to buy; they are seeking advice on what it is like to live in the United States. Although many have visited Seattle before, moving here is another matter.
I didn't mind being the weekend tour guide showing off this wonderful area to a German from Munich who was considering a position with Microsoft and preferred a Redmond home. (He did not take the job.) I was happy to take mother and child from Chicago to see neighborhoods like Leschi and Seward Park while the husband had already started his new job at Amazon. They bought a 1930s bungalow that reminded them of Chicago. Another couple with young children who moved here from Singapore decided that living near downtown Issaquah would suit them best.
When I moved with my family to Seattle in 1999, we were eager to learn as much as we could about this area. It is satisfying to share my knowledge and experience with people who are just as curious. In the process I've driven all over the place (green dots) and taken the ferries across the sound.
More recently, a couple called me from the Canadian border and asked to see some listings they had found on Brio Realty's website. We met and looked at about a dozen properties over the next 36 hours. They purchased a home in Kirkland before they continued on their way to California. Currently I am working with two clients who want to downsize by selling their Woodinville homes and purchase Kirkland condos with views of Lake Washington and the Olympic Mountains.
So, despite my foreign roots and the territory I've covered over the past five years, Kirkland is still home base.
© 2007, Gerhard N. Ade