Bussing Broker: Week 31

Super busy this week, but I made it out for a quick tour today.  I snagged a ride on the 49 to take a look at some properties at the north end of the neighborhood.  Today was a great day for properties with a view – lots of dramatic clouds over the water with piercing sunlight.

One of the upsides, for me, of touring Capitol Hill is that at this point, I know a lot of the other brokers who work the area.  Touring means we can swap stories about how the market is doing, and check in on transactions and clients we wouldn’t otherwise hear about.  One the tour properties I visited today was being held open by an agent who very generously shared a ton of information about co-ops and how they work, way back when I first moved to the Seattle market.  I had virtually zero chance of bringing a buyer to her, but she spent time with me anyway.  That was an area where I didn’t even know there was information for me to look into – co-ops in Seattle aren’t like co-ops elsewhere.  It was a big kindness and very welcoming experience to have early on.  Today I got to see another of her listings and pay that back a bit with feedback based on what I’m seeing with my buyers.  That’s a good day.

Location: Capitol Hill
Time: 1 hour
Transit modes: Bus, foot
Cost: $2.25
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Hot cider
Properties Viewed: 3

Bussing Broker: Week 26

Queen Anne hill remains my great nemesis.  Someday I will take my bike there without suffering ignominious defeat.  Today was not that day because I opted to leave the bike home.  I have no regrets.

If we use a very generous concept of lunch break, I snuck off to tour during today’s.  The 8 runs very near to my office, so I hopped on, took it all the way to its end, and got started.  A new townhouse development on Olympic was open for tour and I checked out the offerings there.  (I’m only counting it as two properties even though there were technically four.)  Between that, the nearby co-op apartment, and the condo on Roy, it’s very fresh to me right now how easy it is to have a gorgeous view in Queen Anne.

After the condo on Roy I hopped on the SLU Streetcar toward Denny and took a look at two condos on Blanchard.  More views, but very different.

The best part was the lucky timing; the 8 arrived to take me back to the office just as I reached its stop.  Very efficient!  And this was yet another tour where I noticed distinct envy from others when I didn’t have to find parking.  I’m definitely a huge fan of that part.

Location: Lower Queen Anne, Cascade
Time: 2.5 hours
Transit modes: Bus, Feet, Streetcar
Cost: $4.50
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Honeybush with Lychee Syrup, Iced
Properties Viewed: 6

Bussing Broker: Week 25

We’re back!

Happy autumn.  I really should have expected that the entire summer would go by before I had time to make a habit of property tour again, but here we are.  I did get back in with enthusiasm.

Yesterday I hopped onto my bike and took a look at two properties, a house in Wallingford and a condo in Fremont.  Round trip was two hours, but most of that was time on the bike.

Today I hit four condos in Capitol Hill (and returned a stack of books to the library).  There were a lot more buyers out doing the open house tour than I’m used to seeing which was fun for me.

How was your summer?

Location: Fremont, Wallingford, Capitol Hill
Time: 3
Transit modes: Bike, feet
Cost: $0
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Early Gray
Properties Viewed: 6

Bussing Broker: Week 23

The business continues, so it’s another sneaking out on Thursday lunch break for tour week.  I originally intended to see only three properties for a fairly quick tour, but the weather was so nice that a tossed in a fourth that wasn’t that much further away.  Also, it was a penthouse with a view, and it’s rarely a mistake to spend a little time taking a look at those.

This is definitely another week where I’d have skipped tour if not for my dedication to science.  Even if I’d had a car I probably would have walked; parking in Capitol Hill is not fun and things were close enough that they’d have likely had overlapping parking spots.

Location: Capitol Hill / East Lake
Time: 1.5 hours
Transit modes: Foot
Cost: $0
Cats petted: 1
Tea consumed: Strawberry milk tea
Properties Viewed: 4

Bussing Broker: Week 22

This week has been so busy and it was insufferably hot until yesterday.  I want to hug today’s weather and invite it to stay all summer.

I ducked out for a walk and hit three properties on tour today.  I wouldn’t have bothered except I wanted to have something to report here.  I’d been to three counties and on five kinds of transportation by the end of the day Tuesday. So instead of rambling about today’s tour, which happened but isn’t terribly, interesting, I’m going to share a story from Monday.

In the last two years I’ve been doing a lot more work on vacant land deals than I had in my career before.  Vacant land is just making a lot more sense for buyers than it used to.  They can’t live on it, but frequently they can’t afford to buy something they can live on right now, anyway.  At the same time, they have some resources at their disposal.  At the rate the market is growing, and with the rents keeping up with that growth, a lot of buyers are in a position where they won’t be ready to buy in today’s market for a year or two, by which time the market will be out of reach again.  So they buy land, and that gets those resources tied into the market at large.  Eventually they’ll save enough to build, or they’ll be able to sell it and have a down payment that has grown with the market.  Since transactions on vacant land aren’t moving as quickly has transactions on houses, it also means those buyers have time to think about the purchase and make sure it’s a good idea for them in a way they don’t buying a house or condo.  It’s not a path I’d recommend for everybody, but there’s a significant portion of my clients where this is a really viable option in a market that would, otherwise, block them out.

Showing vacant land, however, does not work the way showing houses does.  A point illustrated very elaborately for me on Monday.

I had a client who wanted to see a lot in a gated community outside Seattle.  I’d contacted the listing broker ahead of time to arrange access; there was a box we could put a code in to open the gate and go into the community.  Great!  Except, not so much.  The box was dead and completely unresponsive when we got there.  So I called the listing agent for advice.

And that, gentle reader, is what led to me scaling the fence to a gated community, in broad daylight, during rush hour on a busy street, then flailing my arms like a mad woman to trigger a motion sensor so the gate would open.  Nobody called the police or stopped to ask me what I was doing.

I can now say that I’ve professionally broken into a gated community.  Credentials like that are just one small part of why I love my job!

Location: Capitol Hill
Time: 1.25 hours
Transit modes: Foot
Cost: $0
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Iced basil-infused oolong with honey
Properties Viewed: 3

Bussing Broker: Week 21

This week has been super busy the good way.  Lots of time with clients, lots of time out and doing showings.  Today’s been the first day where things have been slow enough for me to get some time in at my desk, which I really need.  Nevertheless, I took some time to slip away for a short tour today.  I ducked out to three different condos in Capitol Hill.  They were all fairly near each other, and did a really great job of showing off the spread of options available in established condo buildings in the neighborhood.  It was a fun tour!

I’m a cook, so when I’m touring like this, I pay a lot of attention to how the kitchens are laid out.  This can wind up telling you a lot about a unit, too, since kitchens are both fairly expensive to update and also the most effective in terms of increasing a unit’s marketability.  People want modern kitchens, even when they generally favor a more vintage or historic look.

One of the units today managed to really impress me with its kitchen layout.  It was a small one bedroom in an older building – arched doorways, old hardwood floors, plastered walls.  It had an eat-in kitchen with a galley layout which means small but, if well done, extremely functional.  They crammed in a ton of cabinet space, and by choosing their appliances really carefully, got in a fridge/freezer unit and a dishwasher.  Both were small, but they were there.  I don’t normally wax on about a given property I see when I’m touring, but that impressed me enough I had to share.  Getting to see that was, on its own, enough to call today’s tour a win.

Location: Capitol Hill
Time: 45 minutes
Transit modes: Foot
Cost: $0
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Assam Black Tea
Properties Viewed: 3

Bussing Broker: Week 20

After completely missing tour last week (I shake my fist at thee, rhinovirus!) I jumped on the wagon in a big way the first chance I had this week.  Yesterday I took a nice long lunch break and made a tour of the condos on offer from Belltown down to Pike Place.  The sky was a delightful Seattle gray, the temperature was comfy, and it didn’t drizzle even a little.

This has always been my favorite way to do property tour.  It’s near my office but since it’s not Capitol Hill, it’s mostly flat, and the views are always great – I’m a an admitted sucker for views of downtown, so even if water or mountains are lacking from a unit, it probably has something I like.  Now, with the experiment in touring without a car, I get a bonus opportunity to be smug everytime somebody asks, “How did you find parking?”  I should perhaps start tracking this stat, too.  It happened at four out of six properties yesterday.

Location: Belltown / Downtown
Time: 2.25 hr
Transit modes: Bus, Foot, Train
Cost: 2.75
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: Iced Oolong
Properties Viewed: 6

Bussing Broker: Week 17

This week was a Tuesday tour week.  I’ve been running from appointment to appointment ever since and this is the first chance I’ve gotten to write it up.

The weather on Tuesday was pretty nice, so I caught the train downtown and took a look at condos.  I had five I wanted to see, the last on in Belltown, but I cut the Belltown condo from my plans because I was getting tight on time.  The downtown condos were all clustered fairly near Pike Place Market, so walking between them was quite easy – I probably would have opted to walk even if I’d had a car with me just because parking downtown is such a hassle.  My favorite part of looking at condos downtown: the views were fantastic.  Mount Rainier wasn’t out – it was hazy enough in the distance to hide a shy mountain – but the sun on the water was great.  Days like that, I spend a little time wishing I worked out of an office downtown instead of in Capitol Hill.

This tour was definitely a clear victory over using a car, though.  The train to Westlake was easy, and not having to find parking and debate whether I should move the car from one showing to the next was a huge improvement.  So far, the tours in the denser parts of the city have been strong arguments in the no-car column.

Location: Downtown
Time: 1.5 hours
Transit modes: Train, Feet
Cost: $2.25
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: No tea
Properties Viewed: 4

Bussing Broker: Week 16

You may recall earlier this month when I decided to conquer Queen Anne Hill with nothing more impressive than my bicycle and my poor judgment.  You may also recall that this wasn’t one of my more graceful tours and I may have been inclined to deploy some choice language on the subject of me and foolish ideas.  I short, I was defeated, heartily, and though I persisted and completed tour, there was a reckoning left to be made.

This week, I decided to make that reckoning.  Monday night I worked out the plan for where I wanted to go and it looked easy enough.  Tuesday dawned, the weather was great, I didn’t have any appointments until the evening, and I had a hill to bike.

You can probably guess where this is going.

The morning went haywire and I didn’t leave until much later than I’d meant to.  Then, after I made it to the first property I got a call form a client and suddenly I had an appointment to get to.  Tour canceled.  I did get to stop and pet a cat before abandoning my plans, at least.

But the spring market means more things on inventory and Capitol Hill’s broker tour today had more offerings than I’ve seen so far all year.  I ducked out on my lunch break for a stroll to four different places and made it back before anybody missed me.  It’s not the same as settling accounts with the hill that shamed me, but I’ll have other opportunities for that.

Location: Capitol Hill
Time: 45 min
Transit modes: Feet
Cost: 0
Cats petted: 1 (I’m counting Tuesday’s cat)
Tea consumed: Assam milk tea
Properties Viewed: 4

Bussing Broker: Week 14

Spring has definitely kicked off, because this week has been astonishingly busy, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any time soon.  Despite that, and clients running me from hither and yon, I did make it out on tour this week.  (I suspect next week isn’t going to happen, though.  We’ll see.) I went on Wednesday, and this is the first chance I’ve gotten to sit down and write it up.

Given the frantic pace this week had, my goals for tour were pretty modest.  Three properties, a condo and two single family homes, in Fremont and Wallingford.  I caught the bus to the first property, walked to the other two, and then used a bus-train combo to get back.  This was slightly less than two hours round trip, including the tour, and I got a lot of correspondence and planning taken care of while I was on the bus, so it worked out pretty well.  Also, the weather on Wednesday was gorgeous, and everything is in bloom, so that was a really nice walk to take in the middle of the day.

Location: Fremont, Wallingford
Time: 2 hr
Transit modes: Bus, feet, train
Cost: $2.50
Cats petted: 0
Tea consumed: No tea
Properties Viewed: 3