Monday, December 20, 2010

Q: My husband and I are thrilled to finally have a home of our own.

With your help we were able to finally afford to buy a place instead of continuing to rent. This was always our dream. But now, especially around the holidays, I am feeling sad and guilty because we were able to afford this place only because some other family lost it. I feel like we took advantage of someone else's misfortune. You negotiated aggressively for us so that we could qualify for this house and we appreciate it, but how do you cope with the feeling that you are hurting the sellers?

A: That's an excellent question. I do struggle with bad feelings every time I do a sale that's a foreclosure, short sale or other circumstance where the seller is in a hardship situation, but I always remember that my job as I've defined it, is to get the best possible deal for my clients, the buyers. That's why I only represent buyers. My loyalties are clear.

In the case of many foreclosures it's also important to realize that the seller is now out of the situation and we are dealing only with a lender. they have no attachment to the property and no emotional investment.

In the case of a short sale, I remind myself that by selling the house and negotiating with the lender, we are really helping the sellers move on with their life and hopefully a new start. They aren't going to get any money out of the sale, but may at least end up out from under a great deal of debt.

The recession has made everything harder and more complex, but my reward is seeing folks like you, who grew up here and are raising your family here, finally be able to afford a home of your own. It doesn't mean that I don't have moments of sadness for the sellers in these distressed situations, or that I don't care, but I try to concentrate on the positive aspects. So relax and enjoy the holidays!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Q: We moved here last summer and had no experience with winter on Vashon until that awful November storm hit.

I was appalled! Trees down, roads full of snow and ice for so long, frozen pipes, and days without power. I can't understand why it took the road crew and electric company so long to get things fixed. If this is what winters are going to be like I'm sorry we ever came here. I think our real estate agent should have warned us, don't you?

A: I'm sorry you feel that way. Your real estate agent should not have needed to tell you that we have winter weather here. Our weather patterns are common knowledge, virtually identical to Seattle and statistics are easily accessed via the Internet. The issue isn't the weather, but the fact that we are more rural and therefore have fewer services available. That should be self evident.

It may be that you won't fit into our community. That's too bad. I for one, am incredibly grateful for the hours and days that the crews of King County Roads Division, Puget Sound Energy, CenturyLink, Potelco, and all of our emergency responders put in to getting us back up and running. These courageous and hard working men and women gave up their Thanksgiving holiday to spend freezing days and nights directing traffic, answering emergency calls, digging out the roads, and hanging from power poles so that the rest of us could be warm and safe. I consider every one of them a hero and I pray for their safety.

Living in the "country" has its price. In exchange for miles of forests, beautiful open spaces, lovely ponds and ample wildlife we don't get all of the conveniences of the city. That's a deal most of us have gladly made to be able to live here. We should all do our best to be prepared for bad weather and emergencies and take responsibility for ourselves as much as possible. We also need to recognize the work of those who keep the lights on and the roads clear.