Thoughts on my latest real estate journey 

As you may know, I took on a new role at the beginning of the year: managing feasibility and permitting for a builder. What a journey it’s been! 

I don’t know how clear the title is, but “feasibility” is critical to our company. Can we build at a profit? To state the obvious, in our culture, profitability equals survival. 

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service provides a form specifically for this. I’ve been asked a lot about it lately: most agents never use it. And they don’t understand what it’s for. 

The purpose: time to explore the components of build-ability. For some projects, say a custom home, we’re exploring whether the costs fit into your budget. Will state, county or municipal rules let you build at all? If so, can you afford it?

Construction is cleaner but more complicated. Can what you are able to build sell for for a profit? 

In Snohomish County, well, the whole state, we have challenges related to growth management. Important concerns, for the good of the community, and the ecosystem we draw our life from. I’ll get to that soon. 

Real Estate – Construction Thought Of The Day

A client saved a lot of money by buying house plans off the internet. However, the savings are being chipped away at by the needed engineering of the plans in order to make them compliant with local zoning and Washington State laws. Not sure if, in the end, they will still save money or these additional costs will raise bring up higher.

My advice: if you find a house you adore online, then, sure, go-ahead and buy those plans. Recognize that there will, most likely, be some additional costs associated with bringing the plans up-to-code locally. Make it about what you love, vs saving a few bucks here or there.

Hey, I fully support saving money. Just, well, make sure you’re not spending more money to save. Or, as a friend likes to put it, don’t step over dollars to get to nickles.

A week of challenge, growth and development 

An interesting week. Much excitement, accompanied, as that often is, by aggravation. My team is moving at a frantic pace. In such circumstances, things get lost in the blizzard. Which frustrates me more than anything. I can deal with most annoyances with grace and patience. Except when the causality is mine. My tolerance is slim towards myself. Strange phenomena, that. I’ve read how compassion towards oneself is the critical first step in developing compassion towards. I seem to be in reverse. As I’m want to do. 

Next month I’ll be taking classes again, bringing my autocad skills into the 21st century. I took autocad back in the mid-90s (DOS based, I should add), used it on a handful of projects, with the last of those ending in the late 90s. From that point forward I used Visio for that sort of work. Mostly just laying out office space, mapping outlets and network jacks, that sort of fun. 

I’m actually quite delighted to get this update, build this knowledge. Construction has been great fun, even with the challenges. Looking forward to continuing onwards. 

There’s a great alignment of my interests within this industry. My time at Starbucks working on environmental issues, as well as accessibility, plenty of opportunity for that here. Studying Seattle and the region’s culture has a place, too. Plus the things I liked most about real estate have a place. Very pleasing, indeed. 

It is interesting that, at 50, I feel like I’m new, freshly learning. I’m blending refreshing old skills and knowledge with the new. Part of what drives that feeling of newness: the mistakes. Fortunately, I’m in a place where real risk taking is encouraged. “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not pushing yourself enough.” As I embrace that, let it pull me forward, there’s positive changes coming forth. I like the way things are moving, the direction I’m growing. 

I can’t think of a better life than that. 

Growth, development, change, and my little suburb, Lynnwood 

Went walking this evening. It’s been nice walking in the evenings these past two nights; last Friday I gave my left ankle s mild sprain. That frustrated me as I was starting to do jumping jacks. JUMPING JACKS! I’m a black belt in taekwondo and am limping after jumping jacks. Sigh…
It’s nice seeing the stars. Orion’s Belt crisp and clear in this night’s air. 

On part of my walk there’s some new construction. Working in the industry, I take notice of such things in my neighborhood. 

Now this lot (if you know Lynnwood, it’s on 60th between 176th and 173rd, just south of Meadowdale high school) was a single family home on a decent sized lot forever, or so it seemed. I walked by that house daily from junior high through high school. 

Well, the house is gone. 5 houses are going up. Five. And they’re 5 bedroom homes as well. Well, it was hard to read the sign in the dark, and I didn’t want to use my phone as a flashlight. Just seemed kinda weird. 

Anyway, the surrounding houses are mostly mid-century three bedroom ramblers. Nearby at some larger split levels from the 70s and 80s. These new homes are quite a shift from the existing ones. But that’s what’s bring built in my town right now. All around, and in some large plat developments, too. 

Makes me wonder what the future holds for Lynnwood. I’m expecting many more older homes will get replaced buy these larger homes on smaller lots. What will it look like in a couple years? That’s anyone’s guess. How many will get absorbed by growth, vs how many folks holding out against the incoming tide? There’ll be some hold outs. Perhaps many. But I expect there will be a gradual attrition that will snowball at times. Eventually, my funny little suburb will be as glitzy and shiny as Bellevue. BMWs, glad towers and McMansions. 

It’s the way of things,  I guess.