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Month: December 2012

The trouble with Yelp

The trouble with Yelp

The trouble with Yelp is…

What good is it to have your own blog if you can’t use it to vent your frustrations once in a while?

I’m told that a lot of people swear by Yelp and won’t make a move without consulting it for recommendations. Being a Realtor with lots of satisfied clients, and not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to let them toot my horn, I tried a couple of times to build up my Yelp recommendations. Alas, I met with nothing but frustration.

For one thing, Yelpers are required to create an account and post a photo of themselves. While I understand the reasoning behind this, very few of my clients seem to have a Yelp account and I don’t like asking them to open one just so they can do me a favor. This is especially true because I have noticed every time a friend gets hacked, the source shows a fictitious Yahoo account name. That suggests to me that Yahoo is particularly vulnerable to hackers.

I have also had Yelp remove legitimate recommendations in accordance with some policy of theirs that randomly deletes some entries. (I read their explanation at the time, but can’t remember their reasoning… probably because I thought it was ridiculous that there was no way to appeal their decision or prove the validity of the recommendation.)

So, if you are thinking of using my services and wonder why I don’t have more recommendations on Yelp, that’s why. Meanwhile, I am more than happy to provide you with a long list of happy, happy clients who will tell you everything you want to know about working with me, warts and all.

You can also check out the December 2012 issue of Seattle Magazine, where you will find me listed among a select group of real estate brokers who received the 5 Star Professionals Award for outstanding client service (3 years in a row, no less).

So there is my rant.

Tell me about your experience with Yelp.

Good News in Seattle Real Estate

Good News in Seattle Real Estate

Good News Header

The Good News In Real Estate courtesy of Prudential Northwest Realty Associates, 2012 ‐ 4th Quarter Quotes, Issue 71

Excerpted from The Seattle Post Intelligencer ‐ December 5, 2012

Seattle‐Area House Prices Surge…King County house prices rose by nearly 20% over the past year, according to a new report. The median price of a King County house that sold in November was $385,000 up 19.7% from a year earlier and 4.1% from this October, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported. The median price in Seattle was $425,000, up 18.1% from last November and 1.2% from October. “Incredible,” said Glen Crellin, associate director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington. “I’m surprised by how much they’ve jumped.” Price increases close to 20% sound like the sort of jumps we saw during the bubble years. So is this reason to worry that the market may be bubbling up again? “It would be if it weren’t for the fact that we’reat a point in the housing calendar that is going to lead to slower levels of activity anyway,” Crellin said.

“Once the prime season starts again next spring, an influx of homes for sale should ease the pressure. We may see prices continue to jump significantly between now and next spring.”

Excerpted from The Wall Street Journal ‐ December 14, 2012

Home Prices Could Jump 9.7% in 2013…Homeprice forecasts for 2013 are on the rise. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. expects U.S. home prices to rise 3.4% in its basecase estimate and up to 9.7% in its most bullish scenario of economic growth. Standard & Poor’s said it expects a 5% rise in 2013. The J.P. Morgan analysts boosted their basecase estimate from 1.5% after a convincing rise in the “net demand” for housing this year has surpassed 2 million homes for the first time since 2006, said John Sim, a strategist at the investment bank. Net demand is the pace of existing home sales minus the inventory of homes available for sale.

Excerpted from Puget Sound Business Journal ‐ December 19, 2012

Seattle‐Area Home Values Keep on Rising…Home values in the Seattle metro area in November posted their largest monthly gain since 2007, according to a report from Seattlebased online real estate listing service, Zillow. November marked the ninth consecutive month that home values have appreciated in the Puget Sound area. Nationwide, home values have risen every month for more than a year. Within the Puget Sound area, several cities posted doubledigit gains in November.

Excerpted from The Washington Post ‐ December 19, 2012

Wall Street Is Betting on a Housing Recovery…The highest return among stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index for the year so far is Pulte Homes, the major homebuilder; as of Wednesday morning it had returned investors 195%. “The quality of the traffic is superb and visitors are very serious about buying,” said Douglas Yearly, the chief executive of major homebuilder Toll Brothers, in a conference call with analysts earlier this month. The question now is not whether housing is coming back; new data shows that November housing starts were up 21.6% from a year earlier. The question is what will the housing recovery look like. Will it be strong enough to pull the rest of the economy with it, even amid potentially tighter fiscal policy and international economic turmoil.

Prudential Northwest Realty: An independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation of Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

My Review of Avia A325W – Women’s – Shoes – White

My Review of Avia A325W – Women’s – Shoes – White

Originally submitted at

Walk in comfort with effortless efficiency in the Avia A3-squared5W walking shoe. This women's shoe sports a synthetic upper with a removable EVA insole and a molded EVA midsole for all-day comfort. The oil-resistant rubber outsole of the Avia A3-squared5W shoe features a non-slip design for op…

Basic walking shoe

By 20 Plus Years from Seattle, WA on 12/26/2012


3out of 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Width: Feels true to width

Arch Type: Average Arch

Pros: Lightweight, Attractive Design, Comfortable

Cons: Insoles Are Rather Wimpy, Wears Out Easily

Best Uses: Walking, With Orthotics/Inserts

Describe Yourself: Gym Rat

Was this a gift?: No

I’ve been buying Avia brand walking &/or cross training shoes for about 20 years because Avia brand generally fits my foot better than other brands and they are a good value. I always replace the insole with an orthotic with better arch support. My perception is that the soles wear out a lot more quickly than they used to. I have purchased several pair of this particular style and find it to be a good, basic walking shoe.


A “Single” Christmas

A “Single” Christmas

There is no doubt about it. Christmas for a single adult (i.e. one who is not in a committed relationship) with no kids is vastly different than Christmas for other adults. Not better or worse, just different.

In my case, I am single and childless by choice, as well as by circumstance, so my perspective is different than someone who longs to be a spouse and/or parent. In some ways, I feel I have the best of both worlds. As an aunt, I have the option, rather than the obligation of being around children at Christmastime. I am able to control the pace of my holiday activity, keeping it as simple or hectic as I choose.

I suspect I was a late bloomer when it comes to figuring out how to enjoy the holidays. For years, I focused on the holiDAY, December 25th. (You will note that I am not attempting to be politically correct here. I celebrate Christmas, so that is my point of reference.) I eventually realized that that mindset created tremendous pressure for Christmas day to be perfect, which it rarely was. When I shifted my focus to the variety of fun events leading up to Christmas, I enjoyed the entire season rather than just a day.

Since I have a December birthday, celebrating it with friends and family is part of the holiday tradition for me.

Other local events I look forward to each year are the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition; the Argosy Christmas Ships; various Santa breakfasts; ACT Theater production of A Christmas Carol; the carousel at Westlake Center; the Snow Train to Leavenworth, and; our family Christmas Eve gathering. With all these heart-warming events, our family Christmas day gathering comes as a capstone, rather than the central focus.

I certainly feel less emphasis on gift-giving as a single person, and the gifts I do give are more often “experience” gifts such as event tickets. This is especially true with my nieces and nephews. They get so many gifts from grandparents, parents, and Santa that I think many get lost in the shuffle. As much as children might want to see lots of presents under the tree, I do believe there is a saturation point, after which they become desensitized.

Giving “experience” gifts also fits with my personal values around trying to live green.

What about you? What holiday traditions do you enjoy most? If you are single, do you feel it affects your enjoyment of the holidays one way or the other?

However you celebrate, I hope you experience the joy and peace that is available to us all.