Last fall I was saddened to learn that the greater Puget Sound region voted down the mass transit package that had been put forward for the Pierce, King and Snohomish County areas. While that put a bump in the highway, so to speak, for the transit people it didn’t stop them from moving forward to see what other options could be considered for our area. Transit is a major issue for our continued quality of life in this region and many groups, government, non-profit, and public based are coming together to try and make it more and more of a priority.
It’s an enormous issue when it comes to real estate and it will impact what cities and neighborhoods will thrive over the coming years. Think of it like the railroad towns of the late 1800’s that once the automobile became the major mode of transportation, those towns dwindled to permanent small town status UNLESS they found another way to be relevant. Today, we need a more diverse mix of convenient transit options more similar to places like Washington DC, Portland, New York, Chicago or like our European counterparts in Paris, London, Madrid, or Milan.
The big question here is whether or not the choices that are implemented are ones that the public wants or feels is appropriate. If you want to see what is going on, check out this website at Sound Transit, and start providing your public comments to the conversation.
For my own part, I am proud to be a member of the local REALTOR(R) association and as part of my volunteer time spent with programs they have such as committee meetings, I am also involved in the current opinion panel work that is bringing together our organization with others that are shaping the area – such as city council members, Sound Transit, park departments, non-profit environmental groups, and more. We’re focused on trying to find common ground that we believe will benefit all in the area and transit is a big part of it. I hope you’ll join the discussion too.
A title rep sent me an email today that gave me a head’s up on a new site I’d not seen before called www.Zilpy.com. It looks a heck of a lot like Zillow but with data on rents instead of home values. I’ve been playing around with it a bit and while I can’t figure out exactly yet how they’re getting the data, I’m intrigued. Most likely I’ll make mention of it to some of our investors to get their feedback on it as well and see if they think it’s a worthwhile site.
Check out the function of “heat maps” for rent levels in Washington. More states and cities are covered so it’s not just a Seattle gig. I believe it’s come to life from Silicon Valley.
Staging Thefts Reported
January 29, 2007. It was reported to NWMLS that a theft of Staging items took place in Area 21 (Tacoma). The thieves broke off the door knob to get the Keybox and were able to retrieve the keys. A long list of items where stolen, stripping the house from towel racks to bedroom doors, including the kitchen island with butcher block on top. The Police Forensics Officer said, it looked like the thieves took things they needed to complete another house. If you have any information please call the police and reference case number #070280683.
It looks like thieves are getting even more gutsy and just putting a keybox on the doorknob isn’t the most secure. Agents – take note and work with your client to set up a safe method of access. Sellers – talk to your agent about the best way to secure your belongings and property. Perhaps come up with strategies for best placement and securing of keyboxes. For those with a vacant house perhaps it makes sense to not have a sign out front that makes it obvious to thieves that your property is on the market? I don’t know if these folks are accessing online systems to find houses for sale – but certainly it might help and it would force a thief to be more crafty than just seeing a sign outside.
The information at the top of this posting comes directly from the password protected NWMLS site for agents as did the previous post that noted thefts from other areas, noted by the codes the NWMLS and agents use to define territories.
The local NWMLS has posted a notice to its members that I’ve pasted in below:
Snohomish County Copper Pipe Thefts
January 19, 2007. NWMLS has received reports that copper piping has been cut away and stolen from the crawl spaces under several vacant homes in the Everett vicinity. Many of these crawl spaces were not secure, allowing easy access. A police report has been filed with Everett city police (Case #DD071461). Please notify local law enforcement if you see any suspicious activity.
For those that don’t know the price of copper has skyrocketed and there are many people stealing copper (and other metals) from locations like vacant houses. Recyclers typically don’t verify the source of where these scrap metals come from so it’s up to homeowners to be careful and make sure their properties are kept safe.
This isn’t just a local issue to Everett, it’s a problem throughout Puget Sound and nationwide. My parents own rental properties in Kansas and they were the victim of just such a theft from one of their vacant rental units this past fall. It cost them a lot of money to replace all the copper piping in the house, and unforeseen expense that can wreak havoc on annual profits from rental ownership.