Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Q: We really had a lovely time touring the Island with you last week but I do have a question.

I hope you don’t take offense but I was actually appalled by the way people dress here. Even in the shops everyone looks like they just fell out of bed. Their clothes are not really appropriate at all! Mix matched and not ironed and some of them look just plain odd. I even saw a woman in bedroom slippers at the grocery store! There are so many young people with odd hair styles and the children look just wild. I don’t know if I can adjust to a place where people look so weird. Is that just the way it is?

A: Well, bless your heart. You actually answered your own question. You probably wouldn’t be able to adjust to living here. First, remember that Washington is far less formal than the rest of the country and the Seattle area is far more "laid back" than the rest of the state. Vashon Island is even more informal than Seattle and not as concerned with appearances as most places.  In our defense, we try to be a "live and let live" community that is accepting of everyone. Of course folks who commute to jobs in the city look very different on the ferry than they do on the Island. I rarely see local women using much make up when on Vashon, and no one wears a suit here unless they are going to a funeral or heading off Island.  As for the children, I agree that some are wild. Their parents think that’s the way to raise them. There is a strong belief here that raising children in a rigid, disciplined way is basically not good for the adults they will become. There is disagreement about that, of course.  I’ve also seen folks wearing slippers and even a bathrobe in the grocery stores. I think it's fun that people can be that unconcerned about "keeping up appearances." My dear grandmother, a Midwesterner through and through, would say we’ve "let ourselves go."

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Q: We are really confused.

We were not as ready as we should have been to make an offer, but we thought we had some time with that last one you showed us.  The listing said that they would look at all offers on a certain date.  We rushed through the preapproval process so that we could make an offer and then found out that the house sold days before the date offers were supposed to be reviewed.  What’s that about?

A:  This is what I would call a gimmick and I hope people stop using it.  Legally the seller can take any offer at any time they chose, even if they have stated that they will review all offers at some future date.  Frankly, that sucks!  The goal, I believe, is to try to create a frenzy among potential buyers who might bid the house up to a higher price.  There are a couple of glaring things wrong with this scenario. First, there are many buyers who refuse to play games.  I have had many clients over the years that simply will not make an offer if they perceive that it’s going to go into a “bidding war.”  That means an otherwise interested buyer may simply not make an offer at all.  Second, it makes the sellers appear greedy.  That is probably not what they intend, but it does make it appear that their goal is to sell for even more than the house is worth. Another big drawback is that often the house doesn’t receive any offers on that specified date.  We see homes still listed months after they were going to “review all offers.” I would think that would embarrass a seller and I know it makes buyers assume it’s over priced.  Frankly, that’s often the case.

I totally believe a home should be properly priced and go on the market without these silly gimmicks that can drive everybody crazy.  Sellers deserve to receive a fair price for their home but buyers deserve respect and a clear path to making an offer.  Better luck next time.