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Get \'Ted\'ucated

Ted sells real estate. Has for 11 years. Those 11 years have shown him a lot and this is his place to sound off - but not just about the crazy world of buying and selling property. He likes to pontificate about happenings, make bad puns, and promote the sharing of important information (like where to get a good burger, or what there is to do in his neighborhood). Overall, Ted has a lot to say and this is his place to say it. Join the conversation, let Ted know what you think.

Again with the cameras….

May 22, 2012

So yesterday at our weekly sales meeting it came up again… “Beware of the Voyeuristic Seller”. That’s right, it’s becomeing more and more prevelant for Sellers to set up cameras and watch video of people touring their homes.

I wrote about this before in 2010 after hearing a particularly disturbing story of a Realtor being video’d from a bathroon while he was urinating… I know, creepy.

Though I can see why a Seller would like to protect their belongings or try to gain negotiating leverage by capturing touring Buyers on video, I am not a big fan of this tactic. There is something intrinsically violating about being “spyed” on. I would at least like it to be posted that the property is being monitored.

As this practice grows in popularity, it will be interesting to see what the state and the Northwest Multiple Listing Service require of Sellers and Brokers.

Until then, I guess I’d better stop taking naps in other people’s beds.




Are Zillow, Trulia, and the like, a bunch of thieves???

February 9, 2012

There is a new battle being waged in real estate over whether listing syndication websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and (which has nothing to do with the National Association of REALTORS by the way) are good for consumers and the real estate industry.

This question was brought up in a real estate technology forum that I am a part of earlier this week.  Most of the brokers in the room, including myself, agreed that anything that aids in promoting our client’s listings and makes information more available to buyers is a good thing.  One of the higher ups in our technology company said that that there was momentum building nationally for brokerages to start pulling their listings from these aggregate sites.

Since then I’ve a come across a couple of videos that as far as I can tell lay both sides general assertions.  To be honest, I’m not crazy about either of the personalities in these videos.  Mr. Abbott seems to be fear-mongoring, while Mr. Glick is a little condescending .  That being said, there are fair points coming from both sides.

Here’s Jim Abbott’s spiel:

Here’s Fred Glick’s rebuttal:

I currently support the continued supply of information to the syndicates simply because the other point of view seems more self-protective than based in concern for the public.

However, Mr. Abbott’s points about the absense of regulation are valid.  Real Estate Brokerages are highly regulated to protect the public. We answer to Federal & State law, as well as self-imposed rules through our local multiple listing services.  Though listing syndicates must comply with fair housing law they explicitly avoid membership in MLS communities to avoid the complicated series of rules brokerages must abide by.  Those rules are important.  Many were birthed out of lawsuits that occured due to the lack of regulation in specific parts of our industry.  The public has been greatly protected due to the implementation of these rules and practices.

Mr. Abbott took an extreme stance in that his brokerage pulled all of their information from these sites.

I believe in a more reasonable solution.  In a nutshell, I think we would all be better served to work with these sydicates in creating a series of guidlelines (much less cumbersome than MLS rules since they aren’t actually practicing real estate) to ensure the accuracy and proper use of our data.  The syndicates need our information to make their sites viable and should be willing to work with brokerages on improving the presentation of that information.  There’s a lot that would need to be worked out but essentially it would be the best of both worlds in that we would keep information free on the web for buyers and sellers while ensureing its accuracy.

This issue is heating up and I’d love to know where the general public stands on it. Chime in if you have something to say!

Are those weirdos next door hurting your home’s value???

January 31, 2012

Ahhhh… the bad neighbor. How much can they affect a home’s value?  Good question.

The Seattle Times ran an article today that addresses that issue, citing some pretty outlandish behavior.  It’s a fun read.  It’s also somewhat timely.  I’ve had people broach this issue in somewhat different ways within the last 24 hours.  Let’s look at one of those experiences and play Good Neighbor, Bad Neighbor.

Yesterday I held open a fantastic modern, built green home in Seward Park. One of the neighbors came by while some other folks were in the house. We were all chatting when the neighbor offered up “I can tell you all about Bob if you’re curious…”

“Who’s Bob?” I replied.

The neighbor pointed at a house down on the corner that was in a state of disrepair and said “That’s Bob’s place.”

The neighbor was obviously concerned that Bob’s property was reflecting poorly on the neighborhood, particularly because Bob lives right next door to him!  Said neighbor, also clearly had a soft spot for Bob and didn’t want people’s imaginations running wild about what kind of “nut” he must be. So he carefully pointed out the “elephant in the room” that was Bob.  Here was a guy that cared about his neighborhood and his neighbor and I appreciate that.

Contrast that to an experience I had 3 years ago in Lynnwood. I was working with a lovely couple on a short sale up there. One day we were outside the house and bumped into the next door neighbor.  At first he seemed friendly and helpful. But each time we spoke with him he would become more mysterious:

“I would look underneath the house if I were you.”

“We know they replaced the floor and some rotton joists there…” we’d reply.

He’d continue, “I’m not saying anything… just look under the house.”

Seems harmless enough but being that we had already had full disclosure regarding rot that had been in the flooring/sturcture and how it had been remedied we didn’t need Captain Creepy stirring the bad feelings pot.  I don’t know if he thought Hoffa was buried there or what, but it was a bit much and were my clients not so well-informed they may have been spooked and the deal may have fallen apart.

Not helpful sir.

Thankfully my people were of sound mind and are enjoying their perfectly fine floor and the rest of the house to this date.

I could go on about vengeful neighbors blocking a potential buyer’s car in a driveway or go back into the story of a house I was watching last year that is sure to fall collapse soon (check out this post, you won’t believe the pictures).  Or how my neighbors (who are nice people by the way) have at least 7 vehicles and 2 yipey dogs.  Everyone has a story.

I’d love to hear some of yours.  If you have an interesting or funny story about a neighbor, let us know.  We’d all like to hear about it.


October 25, 2011

an encore whattheted blog from 2007 who’s timeless cookie truth lives on today

I have often heard it said that when holding an open house you should bake cookies or pop popcorn. This will supposedly create an atmosphere that will stir would-be buyers into a frenzy! By all accounts, these spendid aromas should create such longing for the home in the buyers’ hearts that they have no other choice but to write an offer on your listing!

Recently I gave this a shot.


After a few attempts, not only did I find this “frenzy” legend to be utterly false, I also found that people didn’t want my cookies. This I took personally.

“I mean c’mon people… they’re cookies… WHO DOESN’T WANT A COOKIE?!” … I cried on the inside as I shook with anger and stuffed my face full of remnant cookies.

It wasn’t like I was serving some store bought, flavorless, rock hard, teeth shattering discs. These things were oven fresh, hot, gooey, stain your hands with chocolate goodness, COOKIES …and nobody wanted them.

Questions rushed through my mind…

“Am I pushing the cookies too hard?”

“Are they not large enough?”

“Should I serve milk too?”

No answers were found.

Then it occured to me ” Ted, these people aren’t rejecting you and your delicious cookies. They’re just being polite.”

That’s when it hit me “I should create signs that invite people to enjoy my cookies”.

So that’s what I did.

Interestingly enough, cookie consumption has risen dramtically at my open houses since the signs have been installed.

Hopefully I’ll realize the cookie’s “frenzied selling power” soon as well.

101 Things To Do in SE Seattle: #25 Watch a Parade, Play in the Street

August 16, 2011

It’s not too often you get to play in the street.  This Saturday, Aug 2o, is the exception.  Rainier Ave will be closed for most of the day for the Rainier Valley Heritage Parade followed by the Summer Streets Party – and boy will there be a lot to do!  According to the Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce who sponsors the event there will be, in addition to the parade, two music stages, Art in the Alley, World Board Games, bike games, a kids bike parade.  Not to mention all the great stuff that is always in Columbia City – great restaurants and shops.  Did I mention I will be in the parade?  I didn’t?!  Well, allow me to do so now.  I will be in the parade with my office.  It will be spectacular, and I will wave at you.  What more reason do you need to come?    Parade starts at 11am, the street party will go until 3pm.  See you there!

101 Things To Do in SE Seattle: #63 Jazz in the Park

August 11, 2011

This Friday night the Valley Vibes Jazz Series will be al fresco.  Sponsored by SEEDArts, the concert will be held in the park behind the Columbia library.  Music will be provided by Tor Dietrichson’s Salsa/Afro-Cuban Jazz Band Mambo Cadillac and Jeff Busch’s Latin influenced Sambatuque.  Bring a picnic and a blanket, sit back and relax, let the kids roam free, and enjoy an evening outside.  This is what summer is all about.

(Also, there is another Valley Vibes concert happening Sept 9 at 7pm, that one will be at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center.)

101 Things To Do in SE Seattle: #64 Pick Fruit

August 9, 2011

Every August and September fruit trees around Seattle ripen.  In our own yard we have an old plum tree that makes the best, biggest, fattest, juiciest plums around.  We eat them until we start to turn purple.  But it’s hard to keep up with all the fruit, even with giving bags of it away to friends and coworkers we are still left with plums rotting on the ground.  And our tree isn’t the only one.  An organization called City Fruit has a solution, they match people with too much fruit with people who need the fruit.  Here is what they have to say for themselves:

City-grown fruit is a resource for the entire community. Because most residential tree owners can’t—or don’t—use all the fruit produced on their properties, much of it falls to the ground and rots.In addition, much of the fruit grown in urban landscapes is infested with preventable pests.

City Fruit works neighborhood by neighborhood to help residential tree owners grow healthy fruit, to harvest and use what they can, and to share what they don’t need. City Fruit collaborates with others involved in local food production, climate protection, horticulture, food security and community-building to protect and optimize urban fruit trees.

If you have a fruit tree and you need help harvesting, or if you would like to help harvest other people’s trees so that the fruit can be put to good use, contact them.

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