Thursday, June 30, 2011

Saying "NO"

I have a REALLY hard time saying “no” to certain types of requests.  Is this a female thing?  A Mom thing?  An insecure thing?
For years, I’d say no, and then qualify the no, “ No, mother in law, I am not interested in going to the Opera with you, if I anything, I prefer ballet”  But that just got me somehow obligated  to accompany my mother in law to the ballet, so why did I say that!?  How about just plain, no.
And in my work, the classic is, “do you have a minute?”.  There are times when I should answer, “no, I do not”.  But somehow, I feel that I always should have time for the agents I train and supervise.  I mean what if they have some burning issue, and my lack of time and attention causes the burning issue to become and explosion (yes, real estate transactions can indeed have explosions).  So  today, for instance, I replied, “ No”, the agent made that “are you seriously telling me you don’t have time for me” face, so then I added, “unless it is important and quick”.  Well I might as well have said “yes, I have time”, because to any of us, our issue is important, and in general we believe it can, or should be quick. 
A place my inability to say no comes from is the little school girl.  Remember her, wiggling in her desk with hand raised, hoping to be called on to give the answer?  I was that girl, and so as an adult, if I know, or know where to find the answer, I’m game to answer the question.  Am I proving myself?  And if so, to whom?  In my work, many agents in my office ask me all sorts of questions; many of which are based on information readily available to all of us and not something specific to my principal broker’s license or training.  And how nice for them that, in most instances, I avidly answer the question or look it up for them.  “Look how much I know”, I must be screaming.
So this leads me to think about how others say” no”, and how I and others receive “no”.  Is there a polite way to say no, that isn’t an invitation to override the no?  “No, I don’t want to go for a walk today, it is too rainy”.  Can elicit the response , “ You can borrow my rain coat and umbrella, let’s go”.  And do we issue different “no’s “ to different people; pushy people get the firm “no”, whereby sensitive people get the softer qualified “no”?
What I do know is that I need to say “no”, really “no”, more often.  For folks who know me, hearing me issue a flat, unqualified, unapologetic “no”, will be a shock.  Get ready…

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

That Case Schiller Price Index Thingy

Some of you may have caught the story on NPR this morning, or may have seen it on the web already.  Surprisingly, Standard and Poor's/Case Shiller Index reported that prices rose in thirteen of the twenty cities they track.  As has been consisten for awhile, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle showed the biggest price increases, along with Atlanta.  Even Portland eked out a cute little 0.1 increase from April to May of 2011.

There is still plenty of doom and gloom to be found in the real estate. the rust and sun belt cities (along with one other) seem to be hurting: Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami and Tampa. Phoenix though, showed a similar gain to Portland, when looking at the April 2011- May 2011 price change, and Cleveland showed a nice gain also.

The New York Times has a nice interface with the S&P, Case Shiller graphs, which is pretty interesting.  And don't forget that fun calculator that looks at when you bought your home, how much you paid, and how much it might be worth now.  My home has actually bumped up a tiny bit since I last checked it in March of thsi year.  hmm,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some New CDs in the car!

How do you find and purchase new music?  As a baby boomer, I'm still attached to the idea of the "album", or CD as the case may be.  Oh yeah. here and there I will buy a song from iTunes, but in general, I buy and load to my iPod, whole CDs.  And an affliction of baby boomers is full iPods as we load whole albums, not just songs here and there.

In my younger years, I found new music through the radio and friends.  But as time has passed, my tastes have diverged pretty far from the radio, and somehow music is less and less a topic among my friends.  Or, which radio I find my music from has changed.  I realize I have actually bought quite a few CDs as a result of reviews on NPR.  OMG!  Really  ?!?!  NPR is a source of my music?  Why yes, and I think they have pretty good tastes in music and love their "tiny desk" concerts.  Here is a link to Adele's Tiny Desk Concert this past February:

Yes, I have a teenage daughter, and occasionally she will introduce me to some new music I like...occasionally.  Another way I find new music is by paying attention to the opening acts of concerts I attend.  I came to enjoy Over The Rhine when they opened for the Cowboy Junkies, and Lucy Wainwright Roche when she opened for Over the Rhine.  I'm guessing this thread will go on.

So, my new CDs are: "Mercy Now",Mary Gauthier; "Courier", Richard Shindell and "Little Red Boots, Lindi Ortega.  Mary Gauthier and Richard Shindell will be on the Roots on the Narrow Gauge train trip this fall with Over The Rhine.  So it is like I'm paying attention in advance to opening or complimenting acts.  And Lindi Ortega?  I heard her album reviewed on...NPR of course!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

That Sweet New Listing...and why are they selling NOW?

14 years ago, (I remember because I was pregnant with Emma at the time), I sold this sweet house to some dear clients; dear now, as we've done business together for 14 years, back then it was our first transaction together.  They paid $98,600 for what was then a bit of a fixer in an okay to not so good neighborhood.

My clients are extremely hardworking people, doing most all of the fix up themselves; evenings and weekends after their fulltime jobs and while raising two lovely girls.  Oh yes, and between tenants of course.  Over the years they have added hardwood floors, remodeled the kitchen and bath, recrafted all of the period woodwork and much more.

In time, these folks bought more rental properties and switched their focus a bit to duplexes that were built as duplexes (not conversions with odd floor plans), in nicer neighborhoods.  As many landlords find, these duplexes are easier to manage and bring a higher level of tenant.  So my clients have decided to sell, and exchange this house into a duplex.  The exchange is a tax slight of hand, where by they'll defer paying any taxes on their financial gain from this sale, as long as they put all their proceeds from this sale into their new purchase.

These folks are selling now, in what some think of as a "bad" market for two main reasons.  1) Though the house is seen as having lost value in the years since 2005, the plexes we'll be looking at have also decreased in value, so the market adjustement can be seen as a wash.  2) Since these folks bought 14 years ago, and did not load up this property with debt, they have reasonable equity with which to move into a more preferrable type of project. 

Currently the house is listed at $229,900.  It is located at 705 NE 72nd Avenue.  Oh yes, and the neighborhood as improved alot in those 14 years.  A typical Victorian, the bedrooms are small, but there are three of them, plus a nice parlor, living room and dining room.  Because the basement is really more of a cellar, the laundry is on the main floor; so nice NOT to take one's clothes to the dirtiest part of the house to clean them.  The gleaming hardwood floors are a treat as houses of this vintage weren't  built with hardwoods and these are new, so even houses built in the 1920's and 1930' wouldn't have floors in this good of shape.  The forced air gas powered heat, gas hotwater and gas cooking are crowd pleasers too.  To view the virtual tour, click here.

The house will be held open on Sunday, June 26th from 1:00 - 3:00 pm.  If you'd like to see it before then, give me a call at 503-312-8038.  A few photos are below:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Market Data

The Case Shiller report came out a few days ago, looking at data from March 2011.  The news wasn't great, and the financial markets took notice.  Though we say there is no national real estate market and that all real estate is local, some national indices can be informative. According to the report, the U.S. National Home Price Index declined by 4.2% in teh first quarter of 2011 after having fallen 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2010.  Nationally, home prices are reaching the values we saw in 2002.   Some had predicted a "double dip", which we are now seeing.  Home prices were propped by by last year's home buyer tax credit.  The effects of the home buyer tax credit's expiration, along with a even more foreclosures due to interest rates resetting, has indeed pulled value lower.  Washington D.C. and Seattle are the bright lights , with Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas values falling below their 2000 levels.

When we get specific to Portland, we never saw much of a bump from the home buyer tax credit; values and real estate activity just didn't fall as far as they might have without the stimulus.  From February to March 2011 Portland's index has fallen 0.7% compared to the National 4.2% fall.  The nations one year change was -5.1% as compared to Portland's -7.6%.  Ew.

See the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices here