The House was Smokin'

[photopress:issaquah_highlands.jpg,thumb,alignright]Randy (husband) and I are buying a new home in Issaquah Highlands, a neighborhood I really love. Won’t we be neighbors, Robbie?  Reminds me of Queen Anne with the local community feel.  It was supposed to be the new home for Microsoft, but the company decided to stay in Redmond although Issaquah Highlands is home to many Microsofties. It didn’t seem to matter that Microsoft didn’t take up residence there as it is booming anyway.  I’m looking forward to seeing it continue developing.  I understand the shopping district will be like the U Village and that they’re just waiting for an anchor grocery store before they begin building the village. In ground internet and intranet, acres of playgrounds, in community grade school, wine restaurant, everything you need in a community.[photopress:smoking_house.JPG,thumb,alignleft]

The Highlands has several green builders and we’re buying from one of them, Specialized Homes who specializes in the Healthy Habitat approach to building. It’s educational to understand the purpose behind the eco friendly materials and systems he’s using. One of the really interesting things I’ve learned watching the home get built is the heating system.  Most heating systems lose up to 50% of the heat in leaky ducts making the 92% efficient furnaces hardly worth the extra money when the system is really only 46% efficient.  

One day, my duct work was all gunked up with a gray substance which I’d never seen before. It was applied to about 90% of the ductwork in the entire house. Bob, the builder, told us that he had conducted a ‘smoke test’ by running smoke thru the ductwork to look for leaks. The gray gunk was applied anywhere and everywhere there was smoke coming thru. They applied it until it was totally sealed and no more smoke! It improves comfort, lowers heating bills and improves air quality.  There’s also better windows, totally sealed doors, better insulation. it all adds up, but the smoke test I thought was cool and it makes sense now to spend the extra cost of the 92% efficient furnace.

These are great websites to learn about this if you’re so interested. Not only am I happy to know that the house will be healthier to live in, but I predicting a heating bill 1/2 of what I am now paying which I’ll need with the higher payments! Check out those web sites to learn more ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home.


Is EVERYBODY Happy!?!?

[photopress:ted_Lewis.jpg,thumb,alignright]Using Ted Lewis’ famous line, “Is Everybody Happy?” as my guide, I am going through all of the people who bought and sold homes last year.  Not just our personal clients, but the clients of other agents in the Company as well.  While it is very common to do so at this time of year for financial reasons,  I take some extra time to study who was very happy and why, and also who was unhappy and why.   

I’d have to say 90% to 95% were happy, but I find myself more interested in those who were not happy.  I think by writing about the unhappy people, maybe a few readers will learn not to go down that same path. 

The least happy prospective home buyer, was one who was being forced to move.  I had one prospective client who was being forced to move from her apartment due to a condo conversion, which is now Mira in Downtown Kirkland, behind the Post Office.  Cheap rent; great location.  While she could afford to buy a condo, she could not afford to buy a condo in the same location.  She considered Juanita and Kingsgate and Totem Lake and finally I said, “Why don’t you just rent right here in the same location for now?”  Finally…she was happy.  Because what she liked most was being able to take her two dogs out for a walk and enjoy the same sights and scenery she had come to love, visit the same coffee shops that let her two little doggies come in with.  Just because she was forced to move out, didn’t mean she was forced to leave her everyday happy times, which were location dependent.  So the least happy prospective buyer was somone who really didn’t want to buy at all…and so she didn’t.  Sometimes you make “a client” happy, by not selling them anything at all.

The least happy client of one of our agents was pretty much the same scenario.  She was renting a house with her handicapped daughter, and the owner of the house sent a notice that she had to leave because the house was being sold.  The agent was a friend of hers and found her house after house to buy, and nothing seemed good enough.  Mainly she was extremely unhappy because she really just didn’t want to move!  Unfortunately no one could fix that part for her.  She did buy a house and eventually got used to the idea and the new home.  But the only thing we really did for her was make it impossible for someone to knock on her door again and say, “You have to move because we are selling the house you are living in.”  When you have a handicapped child, moving is ten times more difficult.  The added burden of having someone give you 60 days or so to find a new place to live can be an overwhelming burden.  At least it is not likely that she will have to face that event again, and will only move if she chooses to do so, not because someone sends a notice saying she has to move now.

The other day someone came to me who lives on Lake Washington Blvd saying, “I have to move by March 1 because I was just notified that the place I live in is becoming a condo conversion.”   I am finding him a place to rent nearby so that when and if he chooses to purchase a home, more likely closer to the time when he is getting married next year, he can do so by his choice and in his own timeframe. 

Studying the patterns of unhappy clients, can help you set the wheels in motion in the right direction for that next person, who is being told that they have to move now.

Unhappy sellers pretty much fit the same criteria, those who are being forced to move due to a divorce or job transfer.  Those who did not electively choose to sell their homes, often leave “with a bad taste in their mouth”.  Being forced into moving out of your home by events not set in place by you, seems to set the stage for the least happy buying and selling experiences…at least in the short term.  Best you can do is try to make lemonade out of those lemons.

So when someone is telling you a war story about their terrible ordeal in buying or selling homes, ask WHY they were buying or selling.  You may just find that what they were least happy with, was the fact that they had to move in the first place.