It was a beautiful week really. I found myself in a beautiful office in a beautiful city on a beautiful day. I was sitting in front of a beautiful new client. It was a beautiful thing. My purpose that beautiful day was to make my “pitch”. We started with the glad handing. Then we moved to the client-based needs assessment. I espoused my resume, assessed potential outside threats, and finally monetized my message to close. It was all going along swimmingly, but I had one more little trick to pull out of my hat.
As we were wrapping it up, I started to show her something that I had just finished working on. It’s brand new, still a little buggy, an no one else had seen it yet. But I thought what the hell. As I revealed my new invention, her surprise became her interest and that became her approval. It really was what sealed the deal. In my pregame prep I saw myself walking out of that pitch having made the impression that I was the new messiah of my topic (or at a minimum, just stronger than my cologne). But in the end what really worked was much simpler and egoless than all of that: I have something that she can only get from me. That’s why it’s special. And she has something I need from her: access to a whole new market and the marketing muscle that goes with it.
The Schmalue Proposition
Most pitchers pitch the same way. They talk about “value”. Adding value, creating value, and of course, the value they create. There’s really nothing wrong with Value Schmalue approach. In fact, it really does play in Peoria. But there is one problem with the value-based focus: if you confront a pitcher and ask them to actually explain what all of this “value” stuff is they’re talking about they rarely (never) can. And that can be a problem for a pitcher. Especially with a smart client.
There’s a higher calling here; one that’s greater than the cliché of “value”. It’s the notion of “mutual satisfaction”. The idea that both you and the customer are better off together than not. The agreement that you both bring something of benefit to each other. It’s really no different than any other kind of relationship: when two people can come together in a transaction and find mutual satisfaction, magic occurs. You know what I’m talking about, you may just not see it quite this way. Mutual satisfaction is a point of view, an aspiration, and even an intention that each of us should embrace in all of our human interactions, but especially when pitching.
Most pitchers prep the same way: write it down, practice in the mirror, talk to the dog. There’s nothing wrong with these practice methods, but what you’re pitching matters too. You have to have an idea of something you can provide that someone else can’t and how that fits your customer’s needs. This is strategy stuff and it’s a big deal. You may be the best pitcher ever – the kind that can sell ice to Eskimos. But you’ll pitch more effectively if you’re pitching a way to stay warm in the arctic without wearing a piece of stinky animal fur and drinking whale oil martinis. It’s kind of crazy how few salespeople really take the time to learn these things, and yet this is the world customers live in every day. Knowing what options exist for customer and knowing where you fit in the mix of choices should be the center of your pitch.
I know this seems like such a simple thing. Even trite. But simple is beautiful and simple can make you rich. Perhaps this is a good time for you to stop and think. Think about what you do. Think about what you sell. Think about who you really are. Think about what makes you unique, special and different. Think about what makes people want to buy from you. Is it your looks perhaps? You charming personality? Or maybe the way you bake that one kind of cookie that no one else can. Marketers call this a “unique Selling Proposition (USP). Whatever it is, you should know this about yourself. Because you just never know when you’ll be in a beautiful town in front of a beautiful client staring at a beautiful opportunity. All you know for sure is that you don’t want to screw it up.
Author | Joe Still
You probably have felt it in the air over the last 90 days-home prices are coming down. Ah the good old days when a home would come onto the market and be sold in less than a week with multiple offers. Not happening now. Our Windermere economist is indicating that, on average, home prices are down 7-10% over this time last year.
No need to panic, because mortgage rates are low and will probably fall a little more over the next month, so that keeps buyers in the market. There is no one reason for this transition in prices. Perhaps prices just got too high for buyers to qualify or feel comfortable with their monthly mortgage payment? Perhaps the bulk of buyers have already purchased and are not being replaced at the same crazy rate that they were over the preceding seven years? Perhaps there are so many new rental apartments now with managers offering major incentives to prospective tenants that that has lessened demand, not to mention that as rents become much less than mortgage payments, folks may decide to stay in their apartments. Perhaps they are locked into a one year lease with ten more months to go? And we cannot forget the unusually higher volume of homes that came on the market in late April and continued through June which contributed to the price decline.
Despite the above, I am still very bullish on the future of Queen Anne popularity and pricing. If we follow the usual annual cycle, I expect this market to continue at basically this value level until next Spring when we will be off to the races again from March-June(or longer)!
Don’t forget: WS Excise taxes are going up starting January 2020 and really impact homes closing for $1.5M or more. Please see the attachment for details.
There were very few homes that sold over their list prices in August, but there was one standout: 1407 Bigelow was listed at $1.495M and sold for $1.7M.
Make it another great month!
Windermere is proud to partner with the Seattle Seahawks for the fourth season to help #TackleHomelessness. For every Seahawks home game defensive tackle, Windermere will donate $100 to Mary’s Place, whose mission is to help families on their journey out of homelessness. To date we’ve raised nearly $100,000 through our #TackleHomelessness campaign and we’re looking forward to raising even more for our friends at Mary’s Place!
Author: Joe Still
As we pass through the tunnel of time, we inevitably come to our change moments. A breakup. A death. A public embarrassment. It’s these unexpected incidents that push us to the times when we find ourselves standing egoless at the alter of our own humility. These are the moments when we step back, examine, and make difficult decisions. When they’ve happened for me, I’ve left knowing that the story of my life is a book of pages written about moments, memories, and decisions. While all three are interdependent, it’s our decisions that have the most influence over our story. So I made a decision today to unpack the notion of decisions – their speed, their battle, and offer a few tips that might just help you deal with yours. Decisions are a huge topic that I could parse a million ways and write volumes. But it’s Sunday, it’s summer, and you probably have better things to do.
So today let’s begin by juxtaposing two aspects of decisions you may have never considered: the speed and the battle.
The Speed of Decision
Some people make decisions slowly; it’s just how they are. Let me say that one more time for you hurry it up types in the room: it’s just how they are. You’re not going to change them, and they usually can’t change it even if they wanted to. Think about software for a minute: you can’t do number calculations with Word and you can’t edit photos in Excel. But maybe you want to break the glass ceiling. Maybe you think you’re the one who can change it all and get them to do what you think they should. So you start. And you really, really, really try. But it doesn’t work so well. So you try harder, because you know you’re right. Eventually your relationship just becomes a lot of fighting and hurt feelings. You curse and you swear at them and you might even talk about them behind their back. You might even threaten to leave them if they don’t conform to your desires. But still, they don’t change. Word is for words and Excel is for numbers. They’re really good at what they do, but it’s who they are, and they can’t be and do something they’re not. The truth is, if you’re trying to get a slow decision maker to make a quick decision it probably isn’t going to work. Lean into it as hard as you can, but in the end you’ll probably just end up fighting, being frustrated, and maybe even breaking up. I know it’s happened to me and maybe it has to you too. But when I was in one of my own serendipitous moments, I realized something that changed everything. And that was the battle.
Making a decision, especially a quick one, is really a kind of battle we have inside ourselves. It’s the battle of our two selves: our mental self and our emotional self. You’ve fought the battle, we all have, but what you may not have noticed is that the mental self decides much faster than the emotional one. Give your mental self some sound advice, back it up with some simple data, add a dose of common sense, and in a matter of seconds – poof. The jury of your mental self has deliberated and rendered its verdict. You have your answer and you know what to do next.
But you don’t.
Examples of this are all around us. You’re fat and you now you should eat less, but you don’t. You really should jump on the bike, but the idea of exercise tires you. Quitting smoking? You can a list all of the obvious reasons, but also come up with just as many to keep lighting up those delicious little seducers. And that toxic relationship you’re in? You know you should run fast and far, but there you are and there you stay. You have all of the information, all of the data, and all of the reasons you could possibly ever need. You know what you need to do.
But still, you don’t.
Weird, right? Maybe this has happened to you, and maybe you’ve found yourself in a conversation with a trusted friend who asks you “why” but all you can say is, “I don’t know”. Well, here’s the deal and it’s actually pretty simple: it’s not your mental self that does the deciding, it’s your emotional one, and the reason you haven’t done what you know you should do is that your emotional self isn’t there yet. It’s still processing, or making excuses, or it just hasn’t felt enough pain yet (which is usually the case). If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a moment with a trusted friend who calls you on your shit, your emotional self usually replies by rolling out the excuses and justifiers. “Just one more.” “I’ll start tomorrow.” “Maybe it’s not really that bad.” This works for a while, but it usually just taps the brakes on the inevitable. Eventually the hangover of self-hate comes. And then the cycle begins again.
If all of this “two self” stuff has you feeling a bit schizophrenic, you’re probably not (at least not because of this), but you should find peace is knowing that this is just what goes on in humans and we all deal with it in varying degrees. If you feel stuck, my suggestion would be to start with something called the “Law of Results” which simply states that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. And of course, there’s its corollary, the “Definition of Crazy”. But whichever manash you prefer, if you want something different, you must first be open to a new strategy.
Let’s finish this up with a few thoughts on how to get your emotional self on the giddyup.
1. Get Support
If you’re reading this right now chances are very, very good that you’re human. And as humans we need each other. Get support. Pick people you trust and listen to what they say. Your mental self probably already knows most of it, but sometimes we just need to hear what we already know from someone else.
Imagination is the realm of change agents in our world from Ghandi to Lennon and Jobs to Bezos. Imagination has created everything around you right now – all of it. But imagination is akin to a muscle. It doesn’t just “exist”. You have to exercise it. Work it out. Make it hurt a little. Imagine what your life will be like in your future if actually make the decision you need to make. And then imagine what it will be like if you don’t.
3. Embrace your Pain
Most of us run away from pain. We shouldn’t. Pain is the domain of the emotional self and harnessed correctly, it’s the only mechanism we can use to affect change. As I’ve told audiences over and over (and over and over and over), we humans will do more to avoid pain than seek pleasure. If you want to kick your emotional self in the ass so that you can actually make the decision you know you need to make, go deep and associate a lot of pain to your current situation. If you hate yourself enough, you’ll do something about it. I know it sounds weird, but it really does work.
4. Limit Your Data
Slow decision makers often dive deep into the pool of data. Data matters, but not as a form of camouflage. Approach data with a Goldilocks mentality: not too much, not too little, just right. Learn to limit your data set. It will eliminate the procrastination excuse. And that alone is a huge victory.
5. Look Up
For thousands of years humans have looked up for guidance in their most personal and difficult moments. I did some research on this. Apparently 84% of us have some kind of religion, Deity, or belief in a universal consciousness that’s bigger than we are. I can tell you for myself that it’s helped me move beyond my own moments of self-doubt, anxiety, fear, and stuckness. If this isn’t for you that’s fine, but it might be worth a try. The barriers to membership are low, there are no annual fees, and no pesky passwords to remember. It works for me and it might work for you too. I highly recommend it.
The reasons for choosing to leave your current home may vary, but whatever they are, it means you now have to decide what you should do with the house you’re living in. Let’s discuss some of the things you should look at before making the move.
Where Are You Going?
You know you need to downsize, but you also have to establish where you’ll be living once you move. According to HelpGuide, seniors have the options of independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes or aging in place. Independent living facilities are meant for seniors who are still capable of managing their day-to-day activities on their own, while assisted living facilities are able to provide help with certain things like laundry and cooking. Nursing homes are for seniors who have a certain amount of independence but need the 24-hour supervision of medical personnel. Seniors who would like to continue living in their own house choose the age in place option. Since you’ve already decided that your current home isn’t right for you, then you’ll need to find a smaller home that suits your age in place needs. You will also need to determine whether you’ll be buying or renting the new home. The decision to buy or rent must be made based on your affordability and your budget.
What Should You Do With Your Home?
You can either sell your home, turn it into a rental property or transfer ownership of it to a relative. All of these options have different processes and documentation involved with them so it’s important that you know what you’re getting into with each one.
This article from Senior Advisor gets into the pros and cons of selling or renting your home, especially if your aim is to use the funds to help with the cost of living in a senior-focused facility. While a rental property will generate much-needed income, you will also have a lot of responsibilities as a landlord. Selling the property requires short-term work, but the funds received are set and may run out depending on your recurring expenses. Transferring the ownership of your property to a relative comes with its own regulations, and it’s important to be aware of these to ensure the transfer is handled properly. Unlike the first two options, transferral will mean you’ll no longer be able to use the property for income generation.
Who Do You Need to Consult?
Whether you decide to rent, sell or transfer ownership, you’ll need to consult a lawyer to draw up the relevant paperwork. Real estate agents are essential for selling or renting your home as well as helping you find a new one. This article by the U.S. News offers suggestions on finding the best real estate agents for you as well as what services you can expect them to offer.
A real estate agent will also be able to help you find homes that will suit your age-in-place needs and fit your budget. Before engaging an agent, make sure the cost of the house you’d like is in line with what you can afford and that you have the necessary funds for a down payment. This is most important if you will be using the proceeds from selling your home to fund your new one. If you’ve decided to rent your home and will be unable to carry out activities such as property maintenance and emergency repairs, then it would be in your best interest to get in touch with a property manager. Bear in mind, however, that property managers charge a fee in order to manage rental properties for landlords.
Leaving your home can be an emotional experience, but it’s important to make decisions based on facts and data. It’s in your best interest to make sure you have all the information and have covered all the bases for whichever option you choose.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
The only positive aspect of the current trade war that I can determine is that it is scaring investors into the bond market and consequently lowering yields and mortgage rates. The other “secure” investment, gold, has risen significantly and now has a market price of around $1500/ounce, up from $1250/ounce prior to about 90 days ago. Lower interest rates are always good for buyers and sellers of course. I expect mortgage rates to be at this level through the rest of the year.
Despite the low rates, home prices in King County have fallen 7% in the last year primarily due to rising inventory which has increased an average of 12%. This has also increased market times. Market times for QA homes have risen from 28 days to 39 days for the past 45 day period. Remember when our market time was about 6 days(or less)? Fortunately, homes on Queen Anne have continued their upward trend, although certainly more slowly than the preceding 6 years. I did a sampling of homes that sold in 2018 from 1/1/18-7/1/18 and we had 135 sales of single-family homes.
For the same period this year, that figure was 169, a 25% increase. Currently we have 38 homes for sale on the Hill as of today and 16 pending sales in the last 45 days which signals a 42% pendings/actives ratio(see attachment). That still indicates a seller’s market. Wages in Washington have risen 5.5% which if rates stay low, will help buyers purchase higher priced homes.
The home that sold for the most over list in the last 45 days was 2435 1st North, listed for $998,000 and selling for $1,050,000. Multiple offers are down in properties over $1.2M and when they occur, do not significantly raise purchase prices like they used to.
And that’s the way Steve sees it…Click here to view report.
Have a great month!
In addition to providing shelter and comfort, our home is often our single greatest asset, and it’s important that we protect that precious investment. Most homeowners realize the importance of homeowner’s insurance in safeguarding the value of a home. However, what they may not know is that about two-thirds of all homeowners are under-insured. According to a national survey, the average homeowner has enough insurance to rebuild only about 80% of his or her house.
What a standard homeowners policy covers
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy typically covers your home, your belongings, injury or property damage to others, and living expenses if you are unable to live in your home temporarily because of an insured disaster.
The policy likely pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by disasters, such as fire or lightning. Your belongings, such as furniture and clothing, are also insured against these types of disasters, as well as theft. Some risks, such as flooding or acts of war, are routinely excluded from homeowner policies.
Other coverage in a standard homeowner’s policy typically includes the legal costs for injury or property damage that you or family members, including your pets, cause to other people. For example, if someone is injured on your property and decides to sue, the insurance would cover the cost of defending you in court and any damages you may have to pay. Policies also provide medical coverage in the event someone other than your family is injured in your home.
If your home is seriously damaged and needs to be rebuilt, a standard policy will usually cover hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while you are temporarily relocated.
How much insurance do you need?
Homeowners should review their policy each year to make sure they have sufficient coverage for their home. The three questions to ask yourself are:
· Do I have enough insurance to protect my assets?
· Do I have enough insurance to rebuild my home?
· Do I have enough insurance to replace all my possessions?
Here’s some more information that will help you determine how much insurance is enough to meet your needs and ensure that your home will be sufficiently protected.
Protect your assets
Make sure you have enough liability insurance to protect your assets in case of a lawsuit due to injury or property damage. Most homeowner’s insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability coverage. With the increasingly higher costs of litigation and monetary compensation, many homeowners now purchase $300,000 or more in liability protection. If that sounds like a lot, consider that the average dog bite claim is about $20,000. Talk with your insurance agent about the best coverage for your situation.
Rebuild your home
You need enough insurance to finance the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs, which vary by area. Don’t confuse the amount of coverage you need with the market value of your home. You’re not insuring the land your home is built on, which makes up a significant portion of the overall value of your property. In pricey markets such as San Francisco, land costs account for over 75 percent of a home’s value.
The average policy is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding your home using today’s standard building materials and techniques. If you have an unusual, historical or custom-built home, you may want to contact a specialty insurer to ensure that you have sufficient coverage to replicate any special architectural elements. Those with older homes should consider additions to the policy that pay the cost of rebuilding their home to meet new building codes.
Finally, if you’ve done any recent remodeling, make sure your insurance reflects the increased value of your home.
Remember that a standard policy does not pay for damage caused by a flood or earthquake. Special coverage is needed to protect against these incidents. Your insurance company can let you know if your area is flood or earthquake-prone. The cost of coverage depends on your home’s location and corresponding risk.
Replacing your valuables
If something happens to your home, chances are the things inside will be damaged or destroyed as well. Your coverage depends on the type of policy you have. A cost value policy pays the cost to replace your belongings minus depreciation. A replacement cost policy reimburses you for the cost to replace the item.
There are limits on the losses that can be claimed for expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry, and collectibles. You can get additional coverage for these types of items by purchasing supplemental premiums.
To determine if you have enough insurance, you need to have a good handle on the value of your personal items. Create a detailed home inventory file that keeps track of the items in your home and the cost to replace them.
Create a home inventory file
It takes time to inventory your possessions, but it’s time well spent. The little bit of extra preparation can also keep your mind at ease. The best method for creating a home inventory list is to go through each room of your home and individually record the items of significant value. Simple inventory lists are available online. You can also sweep through each room with a video or digital camera and document each of your belongings. Your home inventory file should include the following items:
· Item description and quantity
· Manufacturer or brand name
· Serial number or model number
· Where the item was purchased
· Receipt or other proof of purchase / Photocopies of any appraisals, along with the name and address of the appraiser
· Date of purchase (or age)
· Current value
· Replacement cost
Pay special attention to highly valuable items such as electronics, artwork, jewelry, and collectibles.
Storing your home inventory list
Make sure your inventory list and images will be safe in case your home is damaged or destroyed. Store them in a safe deposit box, at the home of a friend or relative, or on an online Web storage site. Some insurance companies provide online storage for digital files. (Storing them on your home computer does you no good if your computer is stolen or damaged). Once you have an inventory file set up, be sure to update it as you make new purchases.
We invest a lot in our homes, so it’s important we take the necessary measures to safeguard it against financial and emotional loss in the wake of a disaster. Homeowners insurance is that safeguard, be sure you’re properly covered.
The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please contact me!
Washington State employment jumped back up to an annual growth rate of 2.4% following a disappointing slowdown earlier in the spring. As stated in the first quarter Gardner Report, the dismal numbers earlier this year were a function of the state re-benchmarking its data (which they do annually).
The state unemployment rate was 4.7%, marginally up from 4.5% a year ago. My current economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2019 will rise by 2.6%, with a total of 87,500 new jobs created.
- There were 22,281 home sales during the second quarter of 2019, representing a drop of 4.8% from the same period in 2018. On a more positive note, sales jumped 67.6% compared to the first quarter of this year.
- Since the middle of last year, there has been a rapid rise in the number of homes for sale, which is likely the reason sales have slowed. More choice means buyers can be more selective and take their time when choosing a home to buy.
- Compared to the second quarter of 2018, there were fewer sales in all counties except Whatcom and Lewis. The greatest declines were in Clallam, San Juan, and Jefferson counties.
- Listings rose 19% compared to the second quarter of 2018, but there are still a number of very tight markets where inventory levels are lower than a year ago. Generally, these are the smaller — and more affordable — markets, which suggests that affordability remains an issue.
- Year-over-year price growth in Western Washington continues to taper. The average home price during second quarter was $540,781, which is 2.8% higher than a year ago. When compared to first quarter of this year, prices were up 12%.
- Home prices were higher in every county except King, which is unsurprising given the cost of homes in that area. Even though King County is home to the majority of jobs in the region, housing is out of reach for many and I anticipate that this will continue to act as a drag on price growth.
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Lewis County, where home prices were up 15.9%. Double-digit price increases were also seen in Mason, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, and Skagit counties.
- The region’s economy remains robust, which should be a positive influence on price growth. That said, affordability issues are pervasive and will act as a headwind through the balance of the year, especially in those markets that are close to job centers. This will likely force some buyers to look further afield when searching for a new home.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home matched the second quarter of 2018.
- Snohomish County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 21 days to sell. There were five counties where the length of time it took to sell a home dropped compared to the same period a year ago. Market time rose in eight counties and two were unchanged.
- Across the entire region, it took an average of 41 days to sell a home in the second quarter of 2019. This was the same as a year ago but is down 20 days compared to the first quarter of 2019.
- As stated above, days-on-market dropped as we moved through the spring, but all markets are not equal. I suggest that this is not too much of an issue and that well-priced homes will continue to attract attention and sell fairly rapidly.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. I am leaving the needle in the same position as the first quarter as demand appears to still be strong.
The market has benefitted from a fairly significant drop in mortgage rates. With average 30-year fixed rates still below 4%, I expect buyers who have been sitting on the fence will become more active, especially given that they have more homes to choose from.
As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.
The market in our region appears to be moderating. Inventory is up, prices are relatively stable and homes are taking a bit longer to sell. However, with less than two months of available inventory, supply is still far short of demand. Steady buyer activity, low interest rates and a thriving economy are making for a strong summer in the housing market.