Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I’m so confused. I’ve been looking for a house with you for a long time, and I feel bad about that.

I don’t want to waste your time. But just about the time I finally decide I like a place it either sells, or my friends talk me out of it. I know they’re just trying to help but everyone bombards me with advice. Resale value, location, condition of the house, color of the place, and even doing Tarot readings. How will I ever really find a home?

A:  The easy answer is that you need to make up your own mind. Part of the duty I personally accept when working with buyers, is to help them avoid real mistakes. I’ve always cautioned you about places that would be expensive to maintain, need too much work, have a really bad location for re-sale, or have what I call “fatal flaws”.


Beyond that, it’s really what makes you happy. You have to ask yourself things like: When you’re in the house and on the property does it feel like a good fit? Will the space work for your hobbies and interests? Can you entertain there easily, which I know you enjoy, and is it relatively simple to maintain? Since you live alone and work at a stressful job, you want somewhere that gives you peace and relaxation.

I had a client very much like you several years ago. He was being pulled in all directions by his friends and coworkers “good advice”. One weekend we looked at a place he really loved. It worked well for him in every way. This time he didn’t call any of his friends. He wrote up an offer and it was a done deal before he even mentioned to anyone. He’s still there, years later, and he still loves it. Since his friends didn’t have any influence in the matter, they accepted his choice and they all love it too. He always has his pals from the city staying here. Trust yourself and know that I’ll be there to help along the way.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Q: My husband told me not to write to you but I just have to say a few things.

We appreciated your time last weekend showing us houses, but the homes here are just not up to the standards we expected.  We are also looking on the Kitsap Peninsula and have seen several homes that are twice as nice as what you showed us.  We were also a little taken aback by the way you and the other Islanders we saw were dressed.  Casual is one thing but you were just not dressed for business and the community people we saw all looked like a bunch of hippies.  I thought you’d appreciate the feedback.

A:  The fact is that our prices are now and always have been higher than most of the Kitsap. I send folks over there when their budget just won’t stretch far enough to buy here. I’m not proud that our prices are higher, it’s just a fact. We have some lovely homes for sale right now; they are just out of your price range.
   As for my casual dress, I will agree that I am no “clothes horse”.  In fact in these warmer summer days, most of us are in short sleeve shirts and light weight pants.  If you expected all the realtors to be in  branded blazers and high heels you are definitely on the wrong island.  This is a casual place.  People move here so that they don’t have to wear suits and ties, dresses and heels.  In fact there are times of the year when I suspect that warm ups are almost a uniform here.

Vashon Island is a place where “hippies” can be comfortable and we are accepting of differences. Many of these “hippies” as you call them; have day jobs as lawyers, doctors, accountants, tech wizards, and famous artists. They live here so that they can be real and to be themselves.

I’m sure you’ll be very happy in one of the cities on the peninsula. There are several nice places where everybody dresses appropriately, and they cut their grass weekly.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Q: You just sent my mother to another agent to work with. What are you thinking?

I made it a point to introduce her to you and really wanted her to work with you. You did a great job for us when we moved here and we expected that you’d welcome working with our family. Mom is ready to make an offer and I can’t imagine why you would pass her on to someone else. I’m really disappointed and upset. 

A:   As I explained to your mother, I want to avoid the appearance of a serious conflict of interest in the case of the home she wants to buy. I’ve been on the Island over 25 years and know a lot of people. If the seller of a home on the market is a close friend I won’t usually represent a buyer for that home. I want to be fair to my buyer clients and negotiate in their best interests, but if the seller is a close friend of mine someone might suspect I am really looking out for the seller.


I sent your mom to another broker whom I trust and believe will do a good job representing her. This way there is no appearance of a conflict of interest. I often am acquainted with the sellers of property here, but I feel I can represent a buyer anyway. However, if the seller is a close friend, it could look like a conflict of interest.

In our state it’s totally legal for a real estate broker to represent both parties in a transaction. I simply don’t believe that you can represent both sides of a transaction fairly. That’s why I’ve chosen to only work with buyers all these years. Many states don’t allow duel agency and I agree with them. I don’t fault brokers who do it, that’s their right and their decision, but for me I’d rather pass up a sale than have anyone doubt my loyalty. Maybe I’m too self righteous, but it has to feel right to me.