4 Reasons to work with a Real Estate Specialist

A broker who’s earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) designation made the choice to assist people who may be unsure about how to navigate life’s transitions.

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Older homeowners often face tough choices about where to live.

You’ve probably heard the saying “all real estate is local.” It’s never been more true than in our current changing market in Western Washington. Though home prices can vary dramatically in our new climate, still from street to street, demanding a broker’s expertise to be VERY local.

No matter the dynamics of the market, real estate decisions are also extremely intimate and personal as unique needs arise for every buyer or seller. This is especially true for letting go of or purchasing a home later in life, which may include distinct challenges like floor plans that accommodate aging in place, estate planning or fulfillment considerations or special financing requirements.

If you’re over the age of 50 and making the decision to sell or buy a home – or are assisting someone who is – here are 4 distinct reasons to pick a real estate specialist who chooses to work with older clients:

WE MADE THE CHOICE
A broker who’s earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) designation made the choice to assist people who may be unsure about how to navigate life’s transitions. Many enjoy the process and have first-hand knowledge about the typical steps involved because they’ve helped parents, neighbors and relatives make similar real estate decisions. It’s all about using a wealth of skills to help others steer down a new path.

WE HAVE OPTIONS
Newly retired? Empty nester? Divorced? Spouse has died? Any of these monumental changes can precipitate a huge adjustment in lifestyle which often leads to ‘where to live.’ An SRES® will closely listen to your concerns and share potential solutions and resources to help make some decisions. Real estate brokers who make it part of their business to work with seniors already understand the challenges and know which properties come closest to meeting current needs. You can rely on such a broker to have a toolbox of ideas and resources for every step of the transition.

WE ARE EMPATHETIC
A senior specialist understands that major life changes are never easy, but they don’t shy away from the difficult topics or emotions that often accompany these decisions. There’s no hurry, no need to make a plan by sundown, no pressure to move quickly. Sometimes we don’t know what the priorities are or how the plan will go, and it often changes as you roll along. A caring broker will stay attuned to unexpected challenges and unusual opportunities while often checking in on your state of being.

WE ARE ENGAGED
Brokers who work with older clients don’t just talk about the issues, they get involved, whether it’s volunteering in the community’s senior-centric activities, developing relationships with vendors or meeting with new care residences, agencies and relevant individuals. It’s all about building the rolodex with other empathetic partners who can also assist clients with their new, transitional goals.

You can count on an SRES® to guide you through the process of buying or selling your home, making the transaction less stressful and more successful. For brokers who choose to work with older clients, a passion for helping people naturally comes with the package.

Related:
Hands-Off or Hands-On? When Selling a Home, it’s All about the Plan

Contributed by:
MARK JACOBS, REALTOR®, SENIORS REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST®
(206) 683-9088 | markjacobs@cbbain.com | markjacobs.coldwellbankerbain.com

Ballard | A World of History NOT a World Away

I’d been waiting for an “excuse” to get over to Ballard because it always seemed so out of the way.

Version 3Lately, I’ve taken steps outside my comfort zone. On purpose, and, it’s been pretty neat.

After a lengthy afternoon visit to MOHAI, Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry standing squarely on the south bank of Lake Union, I discovered, among many stories of our region’s past, that European influence was significant. Because Washington was a U.S. territory until it reached statehood in 1889, it surprised me that Spain, Great Britain and Russia had laid claim to land so late in our history. Of course, Native tribes and American interests were well entrenched, too.

My time in MOHAI made me want to learn more about how the Pacific Northwest, and specifically Seattle, grew out of a melting pot of natives, immigrants, cultures, work ethics, commerce and opportunity. With a renewed, piqued curiosity, I know there’s so much that goes into our history – Chinese and Japanese immigrants, the Klondike Gold Rush, Chief Seattle of the Duwamish tribe and the arrival of many of our city’s recognizable families.

I zeroed in on Ballard, where many immigrants from Scandinavia landed after first arriving on the east coast. Feeling more at home because of the Evergreen landscape alongside vast stretches of water, seemingly in all directions, many saw the area as ripe for timber production and fisheries.

The new Nordic Museum popped into mind (current exhibit: The Vikings Begin). I’d been waiting for an “excuse” to get over to Ballard because it always seemed so out of the way. All that traffic, the unpredictable raising of the 15th Ave bridge to allow taller boats through Salmon Bay…and, oh the parking…it’s so hard to park “over there.” Spontaneity won the day.

I make it my mission to find all the good bakeries around Seattle, and I just read about Cafe Besalu in Ballard. Just up the street from the Nordic, I stopped in for a mid-morning pain au chocolat and an 8 oz. latte…my favorite combination. All I can say is that Besalu did not disappoint. More on my passion for local bakeries another time.

See more on Cafe Besalu

The Nordic Museum has quite the presence on NW Market Street, the main drag through the center of Ballard. Architecturally, it’s a clean but stark design with minimal landscaping. Plenty of free parking is available along street but ample paid parking behind the museum (really, the front entrance) is nominal.

Nordic Museum ExtAs I approached the entrance, I’m struck even more by its sturdy simplicity and lack of windows, transported, by imagination only, as to how this building was engineered to protect visitors and contents alike from the harsh winds and winters of Scandinavia.

I couldn’t help but notice the bustling Freya café as I walked in. The menu offers excellent presse coffee (imbibed on a return trip a week later…and so good!), fresh salads or other light Nordic favorites. Already satisfied by my stop at Cafe Besalu, I paid the $15 entrance fee and immediately became mesmerized by the towering, all white, wall map of the Nordic countries. The display offered a simple introduction to this part of our world, prompting such questions as “Do you know which countries make up Scandinavia?” Hint: Only three. Answer below (1).

I continued to admire the clean lines of the Nordic’s interior design, the the exhibits taking center stage throughout. I’d no idea just how much the Nordic people had contributed to the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Ballard.

Slowly walking through these new halls of history, displayed in a straightforward, interesting manner, I became enthralled by their journeys, contributions and innovative spirits. Nordic values – openness, social justice, connection to nature and innovation – are identified as persistent threads throughout their ancestral culture, values that trailed these courageous people across the Atlantic, the American West and into our Emerald region as they settled among the trees or along the banks.

Explore the Nordic Museum

As Ballard’s Nordic settlers proclaimed, all of my renewed interest in regional history has created a deeper appreciation for these noble values that are obviously ingrained in local culture today, but also, they acknowledge an intense “awareness of place” whether in Northern Europe or in what they found in the PNW.

The experience I discovered inside the Nordic Museum moved me to consider not only the countless stories of place itself, but to ponder what my place is in the thread of Seattle’s story.

(1) Scandinavia includes Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The Nordic Countries include Scandinavia + Finland and Iceland. The Nordic Council includes the Nordic Countries + Greenland and the Faroe and Aland Islands.

NEAT FACT | Celebrate Chief Seattle every year on August 25th.

Related:
Read | My Ballard Blog
Discovering Seattle: 5 Back Doors into the City

Contributed by:
MARK JACOBS, REALTOR®, SENIORS REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST®
(206) 683-9088 | markjacobs@cbbain.com | markjacobs.coldwellbankerbain.com

Fall | How Seattle and its People Change Overnight

Walking around in the rain while never utilizing the protection of an umbrella is a local phenomenon I’ll never quite understand.

Brief rain storms sweep in temporary cool fronts, but our first real dip in temperature later this week is right on schedule. November is here and seemingly overnight, the Pacific Northwest is finally shrouded in red, gold and auburn. And, Seattleites, always seasonal chameleons, have changed their colors, cloaked in quilted coats, hands in pockets, heads down against the mist.

Seattle twists slightly into focus a bit earlier after last weekend’s “Fall Back” while low-lying clouds hover over all things. There’s been a noticeable late afternoon chill in the air that when it lands on my skin, I shudder and utter a silent brrrr. I think, “it’s just the beginning of 6 months of this.”

Still not cold enough for a fire, our windows are shut tight at home, the street noise dulled just enough to make it my favorite time of year. A bit quieter, it almost seems like I’m in the rural country for a few fleeting seconds, but then I sadly realize we’re still in the urban jungle. Regardless, I like this annual passage.

Daddy's Coffee MugI feel holed up, suddenly needing a blanket across my lap in the mornings as I sip steaming coffee from my favorite mug. It’s a speckled white and navy blue earthenware mug that was my father’s favorite for years before he died in January. Each morning, he looked forward to Café Francais, an International Coffee from Maxwell House. We grind and brew a bracing Italian roast from Starbucks. Add a dollop of whipped cream and it’s almost like my dad’s.

Soon, city folk will proudly hold their heads up through high-necked sweaters to meet the cold raindrops. Walking around in the rain while never utilizing the protection of an umbrella is a local phenomenon I’ll never quite understand. I don’t like to be wet. Taking a long shower or anticipating a soak in the tub isn’t ever high on my list.

City life, in all its buzz and busyness, continues, of course. It’s just darker, wetter, and perhaps more deliberate with less joviality tossed around. Summertime used to be my favorite season, and I’m still very fond of it because I get to wear thin cotton t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops. But, as I get a little older, I like moving inside more as the temperature falls, where I feel insulated from so much randomness on our streets.

November, for me, is a welcome retreat, a time for quiet assessment, an opportunity to reshuffle scattered priorities. I also get to spend more time with my husband because the weather often forces us inside, our little Sophie curled tightly against either of us for warmth. She switches from one to the other through the evening. It’s comforting, tame, peaceful. Everything slows down. We can all fully exhale.

Related:
Running Through the Pacific Northwest | Charly Tate

Contributed by:
MARK JACOBS, REALTOR®, SENIORS REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST®
(206) 683-9088 | markjacobs@cbbain.com | markjacobs.coldwellbankerbain.com

Listening is often the Missing Ingredient

My job with any client, or potential client, is to guide, be honest, be respectful, hold hands when necessary and nudge a little when things seem insurmountable.

Canal Cottage

As we completed part 1 of a 2-part process for the privilege of listing a really adorable home in Northern Washington, I was reminded once again just how much is immediately required from the homeowner to get ready for that first day on what continues to be a brisk seller’s market.

My job with any client, or potential client, is to guide, be honest, be respectful, hold hands when necessary and nudge a little when things seem insurmountable.  Most of all, though, besides the obvious legal responsibilities I carry as a licensed broker, a larger part of my experience is to listen to any client.  True listening is a developed skill but an invaluable one…and I would argue, the most essential asset I bring to kick off any relationship.

Our meeting last evening went through all the necessary steps – touring the home, taking diligent notes and discussing the course ahead.  The conversation really wasn’t about the preparations beckoning so much as it was about preparing to let go, sharing excitement about a new chapter in a new home and experiencing the sudden feelings of stress that come with such a big decision, one that requires action, tough bargaining with oneself and others and compromise against what was once entirely personal space.  No longer.  Life has now entered a new reality.

We also spent a lot of time talking about how the rapidly changing real estate market in Greater Seattle affects price, days on market and lingering expectations for multiple offers. Those times appear to be over for the most part. Multiples still happen depending on property, condition of home, location and price point, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. How quickly times change!

I look forward to seeing these lovely friends again on Sunday as we lay out our “listing presentation,” the ways in which we’ll show off their home in person, online, in print.  We’ll also decide together a price and the timeline for how we want it all to go.  And, I’ll continue to listen; hopefully, have a few more laughs.  The sound of laughter truly eases the stress.

Contributed by:
MARK JACOBS, REALTOR®, SENIORS REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST®
(206) 683-9088 | markjacobs@cbbain.com

Related:
The Shift Toward Balance: 6 Factors Reshaping the Local Real Estate Market