Every January, while still in recovery mode from the holidays, I find some time to sit down and make some goals for the coming year. This year I tried to go beyond the tired old “I’m going to lose 20 pounds and get in shape”, to something a bit more defined. Instead of “getting in shape”, I vowed to get back into hiking, something I had loved doing years ago, but had drifted away from as I got busier with work and kids. Specifically, in writing I said I would do 5 hikes this year. It helped that I also decided to get serious about the Keto diet, and since January, I’m glad to report that those 20 pounds I’ve been fighting with for years are gone. Now on to the next 20, but that’s a different story…
This story is about my first hike by myself (and my dog). I’ve walked the Centennial Trail a few times by myself, and have always really enjoyed it. Once I even saw an adorable black bear across the stream and maybe 100 yards or so away from the trail. He was minding his own business, enjoying playing with a branch and poking around in the water, and watching him was the highlight of my day. But I’ve never hiked alone. Most of the hikes I’ve done have been well known, more moderate hikes, ending at a significant waterfall or lake. This time, I just wanted one with an “easy” rating, that I considered a “real” hike. There’s lots of hikes in our area less than a mile, but this didn’t seem authentic to me.
I found a great app, AllTrails, that rates hikes and allows you to use filters to narrow in on what you want. I also took the time, mostly to ease my husband’s mind, and really packed a backpack. I looked up the 10 essentials to always carry with you, included my mace and extra socks, threw my favorite tennis shoes on, and headed out. Lucy (our 3 year old Boxer with no manners, but a great personality) and I headed out. After a quick stop for water and cheese sticks, we reached the trail head in about 20 minutes. One thing I love about living in the Lake Stevens area is how close we are to outdoor activities! Just a couple minutes outside of Granite Falls, take Menzel Lake Rd to Waite Mill Rd and follow to the end. I followed the advice of someone on the AllTrails review site and didn’t lock my car. I know this sounds odd, but I didn’t have anything of value in it, and I’d rather the potential looters not break my windows to find that out. It was mid week, sunny but not too hot, and there were plenty of other people on the trail. Lucy got some good practice not jumping up on people to say “Hi”, but I do apologize to the first couple of young girls she did jump up on. No manners. She’s learning. Most of the time, it was just the two of us. Lucy is a great hiking partner, for the most part. I do have to say, though, I was kinda hoping she would help pull me along when the terrain got steeper. This was NOT the case. She would slow way down on any type of incline, making sure to patiently wait for me, and not in any way pull against the leash. She also doesn’t appreciate any type of delay to take pictures, and would whine every time I tried to frame a shot. But she sets a good pace, doesn’t spend too much time sniffing, and never poops. I’m not sure why, but it sure is convenient!
The trail started out very well groomed, and you could easily take a horse on the first part. It’s wide and graveled, with just a slight incline. There’s lots of ferns and moss hanging off trees, for that quintessential Northwest feel. This transitioned into a blackberry field, then a dirt trail with some rocks, logs, and water over the trail in a couple spots. About 3 miles in, you’ll come across the Lime Kiln, which looks like something you’d see in an old western movie. They’ve left the relics scattered for ambiance, which was a nice touch. The end of the trail is another .7 mile, and Luc and I went about another quarter mile or so before finding a nice big log and sharing a cheese stick. We were above the Stillaguamish river the last mile or so of the hike and could see it far below, but there was seemingly no way to access it. Apparently, had we followed it all the way to the end, there is a nice pool and small beach. That’s where we’ll have our lunch the next time we do this hike! In all, we hiked over 7 miles, which I consider a huge success for my first hike, on my own, after many years away from the trails.
I was listening to a webinar recently and it challenged the agents to come up with 15 reasons why a seller should work with them. I couln’t immediately rattle off 15, and had to think about it for a few days. I’d like to think that just means I put some thought into it, and not that I couldn’t come up with 15! Here’s what I did eventually end up coming up with –
1. Full Time Agent – This is one of those that didn’t immediately come to me, as I just naturally work my job as a full time job. But then, I started seeing articles and overhearing discussions in the office about the huge jump in the number of agents since the market has improved. Then I was talking to a gal who’s son is an agent but also has two other jobs (how in the world does that work?). Today my broker (ie boss) said that 70% of the agents that have their licenses are part time. Of this, 50% have zero sales a year and 20% consider real estate a part time supplement to their chosen career. I believe a seller would benefit from knowing if their agent is actually a full time agent!
2. Put Seller’s Priorities First – The first page of my pre-listing packet says “We are confident that our service will exceed your expectations because your interests – not the transaction, nor the agents involved, nor the other principals in the transaction, but YOUR interests – will always come first.” and I mean it. I am in this business to help people with their real estate needs. Yes, I need to make money, and am not embarassed or ashamed of this. I believe people don’t fault you for earning what you make, so I strive to earn it!
3. Good communication Skills – I had lunch with an old friend and mentor today. I’ve known him since I was 16 and worked as an assistant at my first real estate office. The conversation kept coming back to communication. Whether it is working with escrow, lenders, title, other real estate agents, buyers, sellers, relocation managers, contractors (you get the idea), the answer to a successful interaction is always good communication. I believe if you are sincere, put others interests first, and stay organized, that good communication can be very easy. It is also something that can be easily taken for granted when done well, but boy does it become issue number one if not done!
4. Detail oriented – I spent 12 years as an appraiser. 5 of those, my husband and I ran our own business. Although we had mostly certified appraisers that worked for us, not a single appraisal left my office that I didn’t review. My husband says I should have been an editor. My spelling may not always be perfect, but I do have an eye for detail and it rubs me the wrong way when I read a listing that has inaccurate information, or things left out!
5. Work well with other agents – I have developed a good rapport with agents, both in my office, where I train new agents, to other agents, both inside Windermere and with other companies. I have helped my buyer’s win in multiple offer situations because I had worked with the agent before and she knew I wouldn’t drop the ball or leave her with all the work. This relates to good communication skills, but merits its own line because it’s such a small community. Sometimes we are competing against each other, and then the very next day we are trying to work together on opposite ends of a transaction. It’s a balancing act we do every day.
6. Technical experience – I think being an appraiser for so long made me a bit of a geek, but I really like keeping up on the stats of our business. I also like sharing these with buyers and sellers and seeing the lightbulb go on when people understand the numbers.
7. Lender connections – I have great lender connections for my buyers, but this also helps when working with sellers. I regularly reach out to the buyer’s lender and stay in contact with them throughout the process. Again, it comes back to communication. My long term lenders have become some of my biggest advocates, and I get a tremendous amount of referrals from them. This is quite an honor considering how many agents they work with! They also become a great resource for me and my clients to clarify market trends, interest rates, or changing regulations.
8. Vendor connections – One thing I love about the office I work in, we share information. Between us, we have compiled a great vendor list of trusted people that do excellent work.
9. Realtor – Much has been said about what it means to be a Realtor, and not every agent is one. I am happy to pay the dues every year because the organization has done so much to help homeownership be attainable for the average person. If you’d like more information, please visit Realtor.com
10. Windermere Way – I work for such a great company. Windermere is all about putting others first. Building relationships. Making a transaction the beginning of the client relationship, not the end. Windermere fits perfectly with my own personal philosophy, and I can’t imagine working anywhere else.
11. Appraisal experience – I became an appraiser because I wanted to be a better agent. Although I ended up doing it for 12 years, I always knew I would return to my first love, real estate. Because I have this experience, it helps in every type of market, with both sellers and buyers. In our current market, we have to sell the house twice, first to the buyer, then to their lender. I can make sure this happens!
12. Inspector experience – When my husband and I had our business, it was a blended business, serving both appraisals (which I managed), and home inspections (he managed). I spent many years in houses as he was inspecting them, in place of the buyer’s agent. I know this sounds odd, but I had my license and agents loved the fact that I could stay with their buyers (talk about trust!) while they did other things. I also attended all the same training as my husband and could have become an actual inspector, had I wanted to walk on roofs and crawl in crawl spaces (I did not!). This has been of great value for both my sellers and my buyers. It doesn’t mean I see everything, though, and I highly recommend pre inspections for sellers and inspections for buyers.
13. Stager’s eye – I stage out all my vacant listings with vignet style staging (think small scale staging) for no charge. I can also help advise sellers that are still living in their homes on ways to improve their surroundings for potential buyers.
14. Internet exposure – Although at times this can feel like a moving target, the internet is constantly evolving to better meet consumer needs. I stay on top of changes and take the time to implement the most important into my business.
15. Long time experience – I have been in this business since I was 16. Back then, the MLS was in book form, the access keys looked like actual keys, and by boss used a Rolodex. I can remember the first agent in our office to get a computer! And the cell phones were huge! As much as things change, some things remain the same. Great service, putting the client first, knowing your inventory, and communication!
If these 15 reasons sound like an agent that you would like to have on your side, call me. Or text, or email, or Facebook, or LinkedIn, or whatever else new that may come up as the next big thing next week. I’ll still be here, doing my thing…
Tami Tuck – 4252-231-7610
Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!
Rule 2: The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers in not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping, they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
Kent Keith/Mother Teresa
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether his is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – Zen Buddhist text
Professional Experience –
My background includes over 15 years of real estate experience and more than 10 years appraisal experience. During this time, I have owned an appraisal business with my husband, which has allowed me to work closely with banks and underwriters, so I fully understand our ever changing market. My knowledge makes me one of the few agents that can interpret our current market conditions from both the lenders and buyers point of view. I regularly assist other agents on pricing their listings, and have held training seminars for both real estate agents and loan officers. I am proud to be a Realtor, and continue to support the high ethical standards of this organization. I am a trained Ninja, which focuses on putting the customer first and believes that we are put here to serve others. Because I focus on serving, rather than selling, I can honestly say I have the greatest career in the world!
If you are considering selling your home, then you know time is of the essence. The most important thing right now is properly pricing your house. My background will help you determine the right price for the highest return on your investment. If your sale will require lender approval, our Lake Stevens office is equipped with a fully staffed short sale department to assist us through each step in this procedure.
When buying a home, my expertise will guide you through the process, from finding the perfect home, to navigating through the contracts, negotiations, and inspections, and finally to a smooth closing. I believe communication is the key to a successful relationship. I will take the time to get to know your family and your housing needs and make sure you fully understand each step of the real estate process. My goal is to make your home buying or selling experience to be beyond your expectations.
On a personal note –
My husband, Jeff, and I have lived in Snohomish county most of our lives. We’ve been married over 20 years, have three great kids, and enjoy camping, motorcycle riding, and spending time with our family and friends. We have purchased both resale and new construction homes. Jeff worked as a home inspector for almost five years and we have used our combined experience in all our own real estate adventures. We have built home additions, dealt with the county on development issues, as well as complete “studs out” remodels, and have personally experienced many typical homeowner woes. We currently live in the Lake Stevens/Marysville area and have a rental house in Everett.