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Gordon Stephenson's Advice

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  • 54 Contributions
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Gordon Stephenson wrote:

How expensive is it to make a sloped lawn level?

Answer
Spencer, I know this property and I agree, it would be nice to have a bit more level yard area.  There is an easier and cheaper way to accomplish what you've described than building a 30' vertical retaining wall.  In this municipality, I believe you're allowed to do a 6' wall without requiring it to be engineered.  You can pick a point and do a series of 6' walls -- creating a set of terraces, using keystone blocks or even just a rockery.  Just like the Aztecs.  Less fill is required, and more importantly, you don't have a four story drop off at the edge of the yard!  Downside:  You lose some of the horizontal yard area required for the terraces, but not by much.  
September 12 2011
(1)

How much value is really provided by those 3 Big Name real estate companies in the Seattle/Bellevue/

Response
It's a great question for all agents to consider, especially after they've been in the biz for a few years and have built up a good referral network.  I started at MacPherson's, then moved to Windermere, before starting RPA in '91.  My clients couldn't care less what logo's on my card.   Nearly all of my agents started or worked at one of those big shops at some point in their careers. That said, I think being at a "big three" is helpful to new agents; and to many successful agents, I think making a move after they've hit their stride, to save $15-20k/year, maybe isn't worth the hassle to them. 
December 06 2009
(2)

Best brunch?

Answer
The Original Pancake House on 15th NW north of 80th.  It's a classic and probably walking distance for you: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/1/5253/restaurant/Ballard/Original-Pancake-House-Seattle
July 13 2009
(0)

The Bottom is here, it's official

Response
Doesn't it count for anything that when you own a home, you aren't subject to a landlord?  And if you stay put for long enough, it does get paid off and you don't have any rent or mortage...even if the values fall by 50%, you've still eliminated rent or mortgage payments.  Maybe once you've bought and you're going to stay put it makes sense to quit tracking the values so much...like buying a stock and not checking the ticker every day.  How productive is that?
July 07 2009
(0)

I've made at least ten offers, Is my agent supposed to let me know why my offers have been refused?

Answer
Yes, your agent is supposed to let you know why your offers are being rejected.  Sounds like a pattern...either your agent is doing something wrong (although helping you to write ten intelligently prepared offers at least says he's showing up) or you're pursuing properties in an unobtainable way, or both.
July 07 2009
(0)

Hot price point in Seattle

Response
I've absolutely seen uptick in activity as well, even outside the city in Lake Forest Park.  Posted a bit on this topic here: http://blog.seattlehouses.com/2009/05/13/seattles-zero-lotline-boom-bust-boom/Amy -- conforming loan limit is an issue, but these sellers of the lower end inventory are going to move somewhere...if they have some equity, they'll be able to buy up considerably beyond that loan cap.
May 15 2009
(0)

Seattle Writers with Lake Union Inspiration

Response
Madison House by Peter Donohue...read this a few years ago, it's about a man living in Seattle, with his family's homestead/orchard on Eastlake, during the Denny Regrade.  A fun look into "early" Seattle, especially neat if you can identify the places named in the book to today's locations -- Eastlake, Madison Park, etc. 
April 29 2009
(0)

Would you Buy a home with the Listing Agent? Or would you seek your own represenative?

Answer
I would...but that doesn't mean YOU should.  I think it depends on your comfort level with the process, whether you think an agent "on your side" can add value (it often can, all you cynics out there), and whether by foregoing having an agent, you can get some benefit in the deal for the seller not having to pay that "buy side" fee. 
April 27 2009
(0)

King County Sales up 8% from January to February 2009

Response
Different situation out in the north and south counties with these developed and unbuilt plats that Geordy was referring to.  As for Mad Park, I've actually seen some good sales activity (I'm sure you have too) in your neighborhood, pendings in the $3-5M range.  So people are buying.  Prices are dropping, people are buying...just a matter of finding a point where those supply/demand lines collide.  And if you "would have sold" in the past two years to buy up...you should be doing so immediately, pre-rebound.  Real dollars are in your favor.
April 27 2009
(0)