Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm doing some time for Jerry's Kids

This year, I have the honor and pleasure of participating in MDA's Anacortes Lock-Up to help "Jerry's Kids®". To reach my goal I need your help! I'd like to include you or your company on my list of contributors who are helping me reach my goal. Your donation would help MDA continue the important fight against muscular dystrophy. Check out my web page by clicking on the link above. There you'll find all kinds of information about MDA, and be able to make your tax-deductible donation on-line using your credit card. MDA serves people in our community with neuromuscular disease by providing clinics, support groups, assistance with the purchase and repair of wheelchairs, braces and communication devices, and summer camp for kids. MDA also funds research grants to help find treatments and cures for some 43 neuromuscular diseases that affect people of all ages, right here in our community. I sincerely hope that you'll take the opportunity to support MDA. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or e-mail me. On behalf of the families MDA serves, thank you! Warmest Regards, Andrew Culp
Click here to visit my Participant Page.If the link above does not bring you to my Participant Page, cut and paste the address below into the address bar of your internet browser.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snowed In

Real Estate in winter is challenging. Only the most motivated buyers and sellers get involved in transactions when it's snowing and blowing. In my corner of the world we are challenged with icy roads, power outages, and school closures. Thankfully it only lasts for a couple of weeks every year. I don't know how Realtors in the midwest do it when they have a solid three months of winter.

This is a great time to go on vacation, or just spend some quality time with the family. I can't believe I spent thirty dollars for a cheap plastic sled at the hardware store. It was well worth the price watching my four year old bombing down the hills. He had no desire to go back in the house even though his face was beet red and numb. I think he thouroughly enjoyed himself.

This can be a challenging time for the housing market, but showing homes can be a lot of fun when the family has the house all dressed up for Christmas, with the lights and the tree and all of the decorations. The prospective buyers don't have to use their imagination to wonder what the house would look like with holiday decorations.

Some homes look really good with a good layer of snow around. It's also nice to publish pictures and market homes with the contrast of the snow bringing out the colors of the home and trim. With view property there are fewer obstructions this time of year without the leaves on the trees. I'm going out today to get a few snowy shots on a couple listings just for additional marketing pictures.

I wish the snow would last longer but in the Pacific Northwest this is just a temporary condition. It's going to melt away soon and be replaced by rain as usual.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turkey Day

I love this time of year!!!! i don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I go nuts for turkey on Thanksgiving. I am a complete and total carnivore, and when it comes to that big roasted bird I lose my mind.
I am so grateful for my clients, and all that I have is because of them. Let's face it folks, without our people we would have no business. In addition, a lot of my success is due to my wife's contribution to the homestead. It takes a lot of patience and planning to manage a household and my wife is the glue that holds ours together. I am truly blessed and have a lot to give thanks for, this and every year.
Let's get back to the Big Day. Since I kind of grew up I have come to love this holiday that is devoted to gluttony, sloth, and greed. I only partake in the first two. I leave the Black Friday shopping to the rest of the crazy people who are convinced that they are actually saving money by shopping the day after Thanksgiving sales. I actually heard a relative bragging about saving six dollars by driving twenty miles to get to a big box store. You do the math.
Gluttony and Sloth! Now that's for me. I do all of the cooking, Stuffed Roasted Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Gravy, Cranberry Sauce(out of a can), and Pecan Pie a la mode for dessert. If anybody has a favorite dish they are welcome to bring it, but that's all that I cook. In between all of that cooking I still manage to watch the football games. I'm so thrilled, there are three games to watch this year thanks to the NFL network. One of which includes the Miami Dolphins, my favorite team.
Wine is an integral part of the dinner. My preferrence is Pinot Noir with turkey, but there are so many varietals that go with the dinner that I put out a big selection for guests.
Enjoy this holiday with family and friends and don't forget to nap before dessert to make room for pie!
Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Winter whale watching

Well, here it is mid-November and I am already missing summer. I usually don't get this way until around the begining of February, but we have had the rainiest November (it's about to break the record) and it's looking pretty gray today.
I was just thinking back on how wonderful this summer was, and how much fun whale watching can be. I feel so fortunate to be in a place that has such easy access to boating, the ocean, and a vast array of marine wildlife. I have only had one opportunity to whale watch from my house. It was June of 2002 when my son pointed out the spray of a surfacing Orca. The small group passed by Deception Island and skirted the western coast of Whidbey Island by the Naval Air Station. I'm not sure if it is fact, but I was told that the whales won't go through Deception Pass, because that was where their ancestors were caught for the water-theme parks back in the seventies.
There are a couple of whale watching businesses out of Seattle, as well as Anacortes and other San Juan Islands. The companies I have dealt with have really gone out of their way to run a first class operation, and have proven over time that eco-tourism is a valuable resource to be respected and protected. They keep their distance from the animals, and they don't waste a lot of time searching around because they have a wonderful network of spotters that keep them informed as to the current locatoins of the different pods. The staff on board are well informed about the whales as well as other wildlife that one might encounter on any trip.
It's not a bad idea to go whale watching in winter. There are fewer runs, and yes it can get cold and wet, but dress for the Northwest and find a whale watch boat with a big cabin. I have a links to Some of the services that Anacortes has to offer, check them out and let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Benefit Tonight

Tonia Radke has some huge medical bills to pay with no insurance (bartenders rarely have insurance) Come in and support her by participating in our silent auction, raffle or just buy a burger, Anacortes Amber, Absolut, Jim Beam or Sauza! Procedes go to the Tonia Radke Melanoma Fund.Silent auction begins Sunday morning. Come in and fill out a bid form and re-bid as often as you like and we will contact you if you win such items as an ipod nano, 2hrs of limousine service, full car detailing, local restaurant gift certificates, massages, salon product and service, art work and much more. At 9pm there will be a $3 joint cover with the Watertown (100% donated) at the Brown- Mouseheart Factor performs followed by Red Note and DJ Funkin' A. In between MC AC Murry will be giving away some fantastic raffle prizes. At the Watertown To Spite Mike performs followd by Thin the Herd. See you there!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Covenants Codes and Restrictions

Anyone who lives in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, architectural committee, or any local governing board has run into some form of resistance when it comes to change. Change, be it good, bad, or indifferent is difficult when a consensus is required.
What are CC&Rs? The covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) are the governing documents that dictate how the homeowners association operates and what rules the owners -- and their tenants and guests -- must obey. These legal documents might also be called the bylaws, the master deed, the houses rules or another name. These documents and rules are legally enforceable by the homeowners association, unless a specific provision conflicts with federal, state or local laws.
I pulled that definition off of It seemed to be the most comprehensive (and shortest) definition I could find.
I look at CC&Rs as a double edged sword. They are established to maintain a certain level of integrity and uniformity to the neighborhood or condo. However, they also restrict one of the fundamentals that makes us all proud to be Americans, FREEDOM.
I have sold homes to clients that expressed to me that they would absolutely not live in a neighborhood with and HOA, and I have sold homes to people that liked the idea of an association looking out for the neighborhood. As an agent, I find myself riding the fence in this debate. It's really easy to do a Comparative Market Analysis in a neighborhood that has conformed to the original design and maintained the sameness for all of the houses. I find myself scrathing my head sometimes in an area that has gone unchecked, and there are very few similar homes from which to draw any comparisons.
That's what makes this job unique. If every home were the same we all would be doing something else for a living.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Anacortes in Winter

I just remembered one of the many reasons Why I love Anacortes. Even though it's a little cold and rainy today, We still know how to have fun.
My wife and I went for a ride yesterday just to storm-watch. The wind and rain were unstoppable. We drove up and down the coastline stopping at various places to watch mother nature do her thing. The leaves were blowing off of the trees, branches were all over the roads, birds were having a hard time getting to where they wanted to go. At a couple of shoreline stops we watched the surf throw fifty foot logs around like they were tinkertoys.
Anacortes beaches are the best for storm watching. I always feel for the folks braving the weather in boats as they journey through Deception Pass. The currents are dangerous and mix in some 50 mile an hour winds and you've got yourself a rodeo. Our house is on a high bank at Rosario Beach and from our living room we can watch the boats go by and watch the high energy beach action when the storms come in. Living there is not without its problems. With the high winds come the occasional power outages. Good for flashlight tag, but not so hot when it comes to showers(no water).
The power outages don't usually last for more than a day or so. It's a small price to pay for living in paradise.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Deferred maintenance

Recently I had the opportunity to sell a home in Anacortes that had quite a lot of growth around it. I made the call to my buyers that first and foremost this home needed to be groomed. The plant material was overgrown and in direct contact with the siding and the roof. There were even places where the plants were growing into the siding. The mature landscaping was not ugly, but did threaten the well being of the home.
Undeterred, my clients went ahead and made an offer on the home. After a little haggling it was accepted and we pressed on toward inspections. The home inspector came to the same conclusions as I did. Trim back the shrubs!!! Now here's where things got wierd. We called for the sellers to cut back all of the vegetation a minimum of six inches from the home. Sellers agreed, but warned of a few plants that might suffer permanent damage from the pruning. Buyers got anxious and were no longer keen on trimming things back. Sellers did the bare minimum, buyers checked it out and were satisfied.
Now, I am not a botanist, arborist, or gardener. These matters are like trying to understand why my wife needs so many shoes. I drove by the house the other day. The new owners not only trimmed things back, but it looked like they completely removed the plants that they previously had been so concerned about preserving. Ah, the rights and pleasures of home ownership.
I can even recall a deal where the sellers insisted on writing up an addenda that allowed them to come back to the property after closing, and harvest their green beans from their garden. And they say that we don't deserve or earn our commissions.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Political Fallout

So, Bush and Kerry are at it again. After John Kerry fired a bunch of one liners the entire GOP is up in arms and ready to tar and feather the Senator. Can't anyone take a joke anymore? What ever happened to free speech?
I can hardly wait to see what happens next. I appreciate what Kerry had to say about the state of our country. I understood completely when he made fun of Bush, "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
With all of the resources at his fingertips our President should be making informed decisions about foreign and domestic policies. There are men and women out there that have a better understanding of how to deal with, and achieve diplomatic relationships with different cultures that are different from ours. These people are paid to advise and counsel our leaders. It is up to our leaders to listen.
Bush's response was the classic gibberish that we have been laughing at for six years now, "The members of the United States military are plenty smart and they are plenty brave, and the senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology," said Bush.
I have served in the military and I know that we have intelligent and brave men and women serving our country. Bush's quote just further supported Kerry's joke, however "botched" it may have seemed to the press and everyone else who found it objectionable