Friday, August 11, 2017


I'm pretty good with change, or at least I like to  think so.  My work is about helping people with change.  Almost by definition, people buying real estate are in a state of change.  Minimally, buying or selling an investment property is a state of financial change.  Buying or selling an owner occupied property is a pretty big change.

For some, buying or selling is the change itself; moving.  But for some, the real estate transaction is both a result of change, and the change.  Many real estate transactions start with a life change.  Some life changes are happy: marriage, cohabiting, birth of a child, new job.  And some life changes are less happy: death, divorce, financial hardship.

Physicists think of Newton's first law of motion: an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.  In our personal lives we often hear the advice not to make any big changes after a large event in our lives. hmm.

I work in an industry full of change. Technology, interest rates, housing trends, environmental changes, government regulation, climate change, political climate and many more factors effect the real estate business.  We are also an industry that is a target for disruptors.  Just as the taxi (Uber, Lyft and car sharing) and hotel (air bnb) industries have been disrupted, there are LOTS of innovators and entrepreneurs trying to figure out how to disrupt, or get a piece of the real estate industry.

Lately, there has been a ton of change around me.  Any one thing isn't so big.  But wow.  We have a new agent services coordinator at our office, we have a new (returning) leader at RE/MAX equity group, RE/MAX is doing a big re-branding this month (which means we'll be changing logos and marketing materials).   My yoga studio closed, my personal trainer is moving out of state, my daughter is moving out, we have two new tenants in our rentals and so on.

Taking a page from Newton's book, I'm planning to harness the energy around all of this change to make some changes myself.  Resisting change just might be the "unbalanced force" of which Newton speaks.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Do you smell smoke?

Our sale agreement is eleven pages long, with options for a variety of addenda that can make it much longer. 

One of the important things the sale agreement says is: at the earlier of possession or closing date, the dwelling will have one or more operating smoke alarms, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as required by law (see

We all pretty much know and agree that smoke alarms and detectors save lives.  But many of us  have gotten a bit complacent keeping up on current some alarm/detector laws, and on keeping our actual devices up to date.  MANY real estate transactions get bogged down and slowed down while the correct devices are negotiated and installed.

Sometimes the issue comes up on the home inspection.  Sometimes an appraiser notes a missing device, and sometimes a sale closes without anyone noticing a missing alarm or detector,  EVEN THOUGH BOTH PARTIES SIGNED THE AGREEMENT SAYING THEY’D BE THERE.

The City of Portland has its own smoke and carbon monoxide detector rules, as distinct from the State of Oregon.

Anyone looking for a business idea?  I think there is market for the following service:  be familiar with the prevailing code, perform an inspection of  a property before it goes to market or sometime in the inspcetion process, and update or install the required devices.  Inventory woud be inexpensive.  There would be some sort of inspctor or contractor's license involved, and probably a chunk of liability insurance.  Oh, and putting seismic straps on water heaters is another service often needed, that can be inexpensively done.  Anyone?