Taking my creative expression – and coaching tendencies – to a whole new level

My reward for getting up hours before the sun rises.

I woke up again way too early with vlogging on my mind after my first attempt was botched by old technology and the wrong equipment. So I’ve stepped in to my home office and just logged 27 awesome topics, with notes of what to include in each one, to share with my readers – who will now become “watchers”.

As you know, my blog is called “Green Spaces Real Estate”, but the tagline is: Pacific Northwest Life and Living: Pocket parks and open spaces ~ OLAs and other pet places ~ Real estate and home graces. I specifically structured it to be a lifestyle blog so I could write about anything I am passionate about. I have been, for two and a half years. Going to video lets me teach SO much more.

Categories so far: Eat Local, “Open Spaces” Series, Off-Leash Area locations, Native Plants and their benefits, Grow your own food (p-patch locations), Great reading materials (books and mags), Green tip of the day, Walkable Communities. Most vlog posts will include a link to homes for sale in areas related to the video.I’ve been sharing information on my “green” blog since Earth Day April 2007. Starting this blog was in response to a session called “Real Estate 2.0″ taught by Jillayne Schlicke at the 2007 Independent Brokers Association conference. And a request for a business plan by my former broker, Linda Lane.

Experiencing 2 real estate barcamps this year again catapults my business to a whole new level. Rhonda Porter, “The Mortgage Porter”, has been a great example of consistency using technology to enhance her clients’ home buying experience. She has encouraged me and been very open with her knowledge and I really appreciate and respect that. I need people like Rhonda in my life, I need mentors and people to look up to.

As is my tendency, I share what I learn with the people around me, including all of my colleagues at GreenWorks Realty, and my broker Ben Kaufman. It’s as if I am trying to drag them all kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Since I have joined the firm and started talking about blogs and using social outlets to build meaningful relationships four of my colleagues have started blogs. I was grateful for the barcamp last week since it was an opportunity for my colleagues to go and hear first-ear about everything I have been trying to explain all year (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) Now I can rest and stop harping on it.

Admittedly sometimes I, and people I encounter and have lengthy and enjoyable conversations with, question my choice of profession. At the February real estate barcamp I was able to share all of the things I do for my business (barcamp focuses on using technology) and even the “experts”, people who have been doing this sort of marketing for a long time and have been successful with it, can’t figure out why it is that I am “doing all the right things” but still can’t take my real estate business volume to a sustainable level. It’s a nagging issue that just causes financial stress in my household. But the activity of blogging and sharing with others is rewarding in and of itself, and I have made some great connections and tapped in to some opportunities to attend conferences for free as a “live blogger”.

And actually, I DO have some business as a direct result of being at the Built Green conference in March (for free as a live blogger, over $300 value) and chatting up the gentleman next to me, who once he asked what I did for a living switched chairs with his companion so we could talk. My $1,095,000 listing in Monroe, Woods Creek Preserve, is a result of this. And this 37.8 acre listing intended as a sustainable community also has its own blog. http://woodscreekpreserve.blogspot.com/ Now if it would only sell so my work translated in to some income. My sister Allison lives near my listing and I have employed her as “marketing support” having her check the flyer box for me so I don’t have to make the one hour and 20 minute drive to check it myself. Because there is nothing more lame and annoying than an empty flyer box.

I have been told 4 times this summer that I should be a life coach, to include professional career advice along with how to live a greener lifestyle. I have met and become friends with two fabulous women this summer after they wandered in to my real estate office because of the name of the company (GreenWorks) with questions not necessarily related to real estate. We have had the most enjoyable and mutually enlightening conversations. The most recent challenge to my profession came about 2 weeks ago from a woman named Gwen, who is interested in working for a green company. I asked her if she *needed* an income. When she said yes, I said real estate sales wasn’t it, then, but I had a lot of other suggestions. Her homework was to get on to Facebook and friend me. I am still waiting for her but I expect it to happen!

As for blogging, I started a personal blog in 2005 (the “pink” blog http://pensandpixels.com/wendysworld/) in response to my friend Kristine’s too-high Outlook security settings, where her computer refused to download photos attached to email messages. We were headed to Italy for our 8th anniversary and Christmes/New Year holiday and I wanted to share my experience and photographs with her and my other friends and family. I am grateful to her for being a motivating factor for me – we share a passion and appreciation for art history and I wanted her to see what I experienced through my eyes. I have had trouble keeping up my pink blog this past year since my husband Stephen and I are not traveling (due to finances) AND my green blog really is where my heart is. It has to be infinitely more interesting than my walk around the neighborhood with the dog.

I am a lifelong learner and I love sharing what I have learned and experienced with new people. If anyone can think of a way I can translate that into a sustainable profession, I am all ears. Maybe I should have a travel show?

GreenLending Specialist™ Designation Program Launches Nationally

September 2009
STANWOOD, Wash. – PorterWorks, Inc.

A GreenLending Specialist ™ (GLS) is a lending professional, educated and certified through the GLS designation program. This individual has attended the comprehensive two-day training, successfully passed two exams, and adopted the principles set out in the GLS Code of Conduct.

For lenders, the GreenLending Specialist™ designation will provide credibility and access to thousands of like-minded green professionals such as: National Association of Home Builder (NAHB®) Certified Green Professionals (CGPs), National Association of Realtors® (NAR) GREEN designees, LEED APs, EcoBroker®s and hundreds of other regional and local green building professionals.

The course provides critical information for commercial, residential and construction lenders including: site, design, energy, water, materials, indoor environmental quality; currently pertinent information on: rating systems; appraising, green lending and energy efficient mortgages, greening Multiple Listing Service providers; and useful marketing and educational tools for consumers and business partners.

The course is the brainchild of Dave Porter, who has been in the real estate and mortgage industry since 1979. Mr. Porter is President of PorterWorks, Inc. and is a nationally recognized speaker, educator, writer and consultant. Along with his wife, Anna, he is the visionary, developer and owner of Going Green at the Beach, a multi-certified, multi-award winning deep green demonstration home in Stanwood, Wash. In addition to a degree in Education, Mr. Porter holds five designations from the National Association of Home Builders.

Porter says there is a compelling environmental and economic business case for lenders to go green. McGraw-Hill reports that green construction could amount to as much as 140 billion dollars by 2013. With more than 100 million homes in need energy improvements, the green remodel opportunities are historic in scale. Porter states “This is urgent and important work and provides lenders an exceptional business opportunity if they heed the call.” Going green can help “future-proof” lending organizations while helping protect our precious resources.

“There is clear evidence that green homes are selling faster and for more money. These homes are a safer investment for lenders due to improved collateral and reduced consumer cost to operate,” states Porter.

Courses are being scheduled across the country. Lenders can find course dates and locations at www.greenlendingspecialist.com or can contact PorterWorks, Inc. 360 631 5631 to schedule an exclusive training.

For more information regarding Green Lending Specialist Designation contact:
Dave Porter
President, Porterworks
206 304 8228

Seattle’s Newest Condominium Development, The Pontedera, Is Offering Savings Of Over $26,000 To Qualified Buyers

CONTACT: Eric Pravitz, eric@homesightwa.org http://www.pontederacondos.com/

SEATTLE, WA – With the $8,000 Federal tax credit program for first time homebuyers expiring soon HomeSight, a local non-profit housing developer and mortgage lender, announces a new program that can save homebuyers over $26,000 in taxes. The Pontedera Condominiums, a beautiful new South Downtown development, already Seattle’s most affordable new condominium, becomes even more affordable with the Seattle Multifamily Property Tax Exemption Program. The Pontedera is the only new condominium building in Seattle approved by the City to make this offer to homebuyers.

The Property Tax Exemption Program is available to buyers with household incomes up to 120% of the area median. It provides the eligible buyer with an exemption on the property tax assessed on the home for up to 12 years. The buyer of a typical two bedroom condominium priced at $298,000 will save approximately $2,162 per year in property tax payments. Over the 12 year term of the exemption that will be a savings of $26,000. After adjusting for inflation the actual savings should be even bigger.

To be eligible for the Program a buyer of a one bedroom home can have a household income equal to the median income for the Seattle area. For the buyer of a two or three bedroom home their household income can be up to 120% of median. Median income in Seattle is currently $67,400 for a two person household. The benefits of the tax exemption are transferrable to a subsequent buyer as long as they meet the same eligibility criteria as the original buyer.

The value offered by HomeSight at the Pontedera is second to none in the City of Seattle. HomeSight’s Mortgage Lending staff has put together an assortment of incentives and assistance tailored to help nearly everyone interested in purchasing a new home realize the best value for their home purchase dollars. Working with their lending partners, HomeSight can offer fixed rate mortgages with the lowest rates available in Seattle.

HomeSight is a Washington State non-profit corporation that builds affordable, for-sale housing, and is Washington State’s first non-profit mortgage broker. Our nationally recognized free counseling program can help prospective buyers reduce their borrowing costs by improving their credit and savings prior to closing on the purchase of their new home. HomeSight is committed to providing value and creating opportunities for sustainable and secure home ownership through quality homes and responsible lending. HomeSight is a non-profit 501(c) 3 Community Development Corporation, U.S. Department of Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution, and a NeighborWorks® America chartered member.

Guest blogger – market update from Liesl Mordhorst

It’s Still a Buyer’s Market
If you were curious who had the upper hand nowadays in the real estate market, it appears it’s still the home buyers, according to real estate info service Zillow.

Buyers paid 3.3 percent, or nearly $7,039, below the final listing price on homes for sale during July.

Yes, nearly a quarter (22.8%) of all homes listed for sale on Zillow had at least one price reduction as of September 1.

The median home price reduction was 6.5 percent off the original listing price; homes listed for sale on Zillow during August were listed for a median 96 days, up from 91 in July.

Of course it wasn’t all bad news for home sellers; that 3.3 percent discount was less than the 3.5 percent ($7,630) discount in June, and down from the 4.6 percent ($10,260) reduction seen in January.

“The strong summer selling season in 2009 has led to a decreasing difference between the last listing price and final sale price, but most buyers are still getting some additional discount at selling time,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries.

“We expected list-to-sale price ratios to fall as the sales volume picked up during the summer, and the California markets are showing strong declines in the discount off the last listing price, relative to levels at the start of the year. This is fueled both by increased sales and high proportion of foreclosures re-sales, which are already priced relatively low.”

Florida homebuyers had the most room to negotiate in July, with buyers in the Vero Beach MSA paying 10.2 percent, or a median $23,500, less than the last listing price.

The opposite was true in El Centro, California, where home buyers paid 1.8 percent, or a median $2,150, more than the listing price.

Liesl Mordhorst
Home Financing Professional
Alpine Mortgage Services, Inc.
2150 N 107th St Ste 480
Seattle, WA 98133

phone (206) 683-2382
fax (206) 529-3331
(800) 394-4464, ext 131

Learn more: Seattle City Light ~ Solar America Cities

The Seattle Renewable Energy Meetup Group has a great topic slated for its September meeting.

What: Seattle City Light and Solar America
When: September 24, 2009 7:00 PM
Where:First Presbyterian Chuch
1013 8th Ave Seattle, WA 98104

“We are thrilled to be able to present another stelllar topic this month. Our guest speaker will be Meg Gluckman, Seattle City Light’s Solar America Cities Coordinator.

Meg has experience designing and installing solar in the U.S. and in Central America, has worked with various renewable energy nonprofits and consultant companies. She has a BS in Environmental Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration in Sustainable Business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

Seattle’s Solar America City grant is helping to address barriers to widespread solar use in Seattle. Seattle City Light collaborates with a team of City departments and regional partners to increase solar energy education and outreach, address economic hurdles to solar, improve the interconnection process, integrate solar into city planning efforts, and to create new programs such as Community Solar.

At our monthly meeting September 24th, Meg will talk about both the concept of Community Solar and the annual Solar Home Tour happening the first weekend in October: Saturday October 3, 2009, 10am – 4pm.

We welcome everyone to our meeting, this will be another great one.”
Sean Abbott
Organizer, Seattle Renewble Energy Meetup

Learn more here:http://alternativeenergy.meetup.com/11/calendar/11366083/