Take Your Realtor Seriously

I am a Realtor. My wife is a Realtor. Together we lead The Schuett Team of Keller Williams Bellevue Realty. Maria and I have had a long and deep passion for the real estate industry.

My passion didn’t begin until about 1994 when my wife, at that time, had earned a very large commission check at her job as a television station advertising and marketing specialist. She insisted that we should take that money and buy a home. We were both young and didn’t know what we were doing. But we found a home that suited us. We bought it. We improved it. And after only a few years we moved into a house double in size. And we did it without selling our first house. Instead, we kept it as a rental. We only sold it when we wanted to buy a new home in a new location only 8-9 years after buying our 1st home.

It’s important to note that after buying our first home we had almost no money at all. There was nothing left in savings. We lived paycheck to paycheck, as the old saying goes. But because we had bought a house, we started accumulating wealth.

The Realtor we used to buy our first house was a fast talking Filipino woman who was the sister of a co-worker of mine, a co-worker who was one of the most skilled salespeople I have ever known. It seemed she was from the same school, because she sold us, and not in the most honest manner. She convinced us to make an offer on a house…”before we lost it to someone else.” We hadn’t been sure about the house. But the idea of losing it propelled us into making an offer. The house had been on the market for three months. In negotiating our offer the seller demanded a 90-day close. We were not in danger of losing the house. The Realtor was just tired of showing us houses and wanted us to find something so she could move-on to someone else.

When we bought our second house about 3 years later we chose another real estate professional. This was a friend and co-worker who had just started his real estate career and was only doing it part-time. We wanted to help him. The house he showed us and we eventually bought was way outside the geographic area where we had asked him to look for homes. I still remember being upset as I followed him in our car to an unknown address. As we got further and further outside the area we wanted I was thinking, we might need to find someone else to help us. Then we saw the house and I loved it immediately. It checked all the numerous boxes I’d asked to be included in what we were looking for…except location.

Six-to-seven years later we were on the move again. For the sake of our children we felt we needed a more blue-collar neighborhood rather than continue to live with the the snobby, nose-in-the-air people in the community we had chosen. The former co-worker I hired for our second home search was no longer in real estate. So we chose someone with no referrals or references whatsoever. I don’t even remember how we found her. But she was located in the geographic area we wanted to consider. We ended up firing her after finding a house we liked without her help. She had repeatedly shown us homes that didn’t match our criteria and she didn’t find the one we did like, something I never understood, and understand even less now that I’m a Realtor myself. We ended up hiring a buying agent which came recommended to us by the house’s listing agent. Probably not the smartest move in the world. I don’t even remember their name. I think they were a woman. But I don’t even remember that.

At this point a the age of about 39, with my wife, I had bought 3 houses. The first two we kept as rentals for a period of time, before selling each. The first house was sold by a listing agent I have almost no memory of. They were chosen almost entirely because their brokerage office was close to the house we were selling.

Our second house and second rental was sold before we had to face the Capital gains tax for having lived outside it for three years. I do remember the listing agent. We chose him because he was a cut-rate agent and listed our home for only a 4% commission rate. I also remember this independent brokerage was out of business shortly after the real estate collapse of 2009. We did far more research in the choosing of a Realtor this time. Including the cut-rate guy two other agents submitted listing proposals to us. Each of the other two substantially underestimated the ultimate selling price of the house. The cut-rate guy submitted a proposal that would list the house at substantially more than the other two proposals. And even though we had to lower the price after a couple weeks on the market, we still sold it well above what the other two agents proposed listing it for. I don’t know what they were thinking.

Sadly, the third house was sold due to a divorce from my wife at the time. We hired a family member as our listing agent. And while they did a good job with some things, including the listing price, we weren’t completely satisfied. But being a family member we kept our concerns to ourselves.

As a divorced, single, self-employed man I was able to buy my own house less than two years after my divorce. I had one criteria in finding my buyer’s agent; I was looking for someone who would return the favor and do business with me and my marketing company. To make a long story short, this agent reneged on his promise to give me some business after my new home was purchased.

I was married to my beautiful wife Maria three years after my divorce. She was already a Realtor, and due to her urging I got my license too, in order to help her build our real estate business. Together we bought our current and what I hope will be my last home nearly 2 years ago.

In summary, through the purchase of five homes and the sale of five homes (Maria and I also sold our rental which had been her home prior to our marriage), I’ve made nearly every mistake in the book in hiring a real estate agent. I hired friends and relatives of friends. I’ve hired close family members. I’ve hired cut-rate agents. I’ve hired agents we’ve ultimately fired. I’ve hired agents that promised financial reciprocation. And I’ve hired agents having done almost no research on them or others at all. And in all cases (aside from the family member) I never heard from any of them ever again. Until Maria and I sold our two houses and bought our current one on our own I never got my house at what I thought was a particularly good price; and never sold a home for what I thought we should. In the case of selling the homes we have sold there was always an urgency that made selling them at less than best prices necessary. A good agent could and should have helped us with that.

When making one of the biggest decisions of your life, hiring someone to be your Realtor just because they are family, or a friend, or because they promise something they won’t put in writing is not the best approach. Wisdom and experience should be your measuring sticks for who represents you in deciding to buy or sell a home or investment property. When you look into a Realtor’s background and judge their knowledge you will make a better decision than by just having a friendly connection.

Critical Race Theory is a Lie

The debate over Critical Race Theory continues to grow and seemingly grow in its contentiousness. I may be wrong, but I sincerely think most Americans would reject CRT if they only knew what it was. The fact is Critical Race Theory is a lie. And as was said by Adolph Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbells, people will believe any lie if it’s told often enough and loudly enough. That’s what’s happening today.

To dispute this lie lets start with what should be the first and most obvious aspect of CRT. It’s a theory! A theory isn’t fact. A theory is someone’s postulation, or opinion. It is unproven.

Basically, CRT says that the United State’s foundation was born of and maintained strictly on the basis of white supremacy. This would include the existence of slavery at the time of the founding of this country, but also include all institutions herein since all institutions were created by whites, i.e. the oppressors. All non-whites, blacks in particular, represent the oppressed.

At the time of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1789 five of the original 13 colonies banned slavery. By 1812 there were 18 states and those allowing slavery had balanced out, 9 were free, 9 allowed slaves. Maryland and Delaware (adopted home of Joe Biden) were the only non-Southern states that allowed slavery. It should also be pointed out that the huge majority of whites in the slave states didn’t own any slaves. Owning slaves was a “privilege” exclusively for the rich, which most Southerners were not. So, again, slave ownership was actually something only a tiny percentage of Americans engaged in. Does that sound like an entire nation built on white supremacy?

When the Civil War began, ostensibly over the issue of slavery, the number of free and slave states remained balanced. More than 600,000 Americans died in that war. More than 300,000 of them were white Union soldiers. At no time in world history has a nation of predominantly one race waged war to free a people made up entirely of another race, except in the United States Civil War.

Advocates of the Critical Race Theory continually point to the U.S. Constitution as proof of how the United States was a racist nation from the start. In particular they point to the clause therein that designates blacks as 3/5ths of a person. What the uneducated and willfully ignorant fail to understand is that the 3/5ths of a person clause was specifically intended to deter slavery and weaken its proponents. In order to form a more perfect union and get the Southern slave holding states to join with the Northern free states and ratify the Constitution compromises had to be agreed upon. So the North was willing to allow the South to keep its slaves, not without some heated debate at the Constitutional Convention. But the North didn’t want the South to use their slaves to their advantage when it came to Representation in Congress.

As we all should know the number of representatives each state is allocated for the U.S. House of Representatives is determined by population. Population is determined by the Constitutionally mandated 10 year Census. The more populous a state, the larger its representation in Congress. The North didn’t want slaves to count at all toward a Southern state’s Census count. They wanted the South weakened by diminished representation. The South had a problem. They allowed slavery based on the premise that blacks were not human and therefore not entitled to the equal protections under the law that a white person is entitled. But how could they claim such a horrible belief while asking that blacks count as people, equally with whites, in determining Congressional representation? So the 3/5ths of a person compromise clause was established. The North had succeeded in weakening the slave holding South while still establishing and maintaining the fragile union created by the Revolutionary War.

Of course after the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, Jim Crow laws permeated the South but also existed in many Northern states. Hell, unenforceable discriminatory laws still exist on the books in this author’s home state of Washington, to this day. Convenants in home developments all over Western Washington prohibit non-whites. Most of these were written in the 1940s and 50s and were simply ignored upon later becoming illegal. But they are still on the books.

But here’s the thing, and the reason I mentioned these abhorrent Covenants and Jim Crow, even if they are still on the books they are unenforceable, even if some low-life tried to enforce them, because other Americans, the majority of Americans found such racist discrimination unacceptable.

Critical Race Theory advocates want to point to our history, for the most part our distant history, to make the claim that we are a nation of white racist oppressors. What they fail to mention, intentionally I believe, is that it was mostly white people fighting and dying and debating and writing the laws and issuing the Supreme Court determinations that ended slavery and Jim Crow. These are Americans too. And the slave holders and the racists were and are today only a tiny minority of this country.

No nation in world history has freed more oppressed peoples, healed more sick people, fed more hungry people, and opposed more tyrants than the United States of America.

The United States is and has always been a majority white society. Though that is changing. But when a majority takes the extraordinary steps this country has taken to protect the rights of the minority, including writing such language into our Constitution, calling it a racist country and oppressive is historically inaccurate, and entirely ungrateful for the blessings bestowed upon all of our citizens and the world as a whole.

Hard to take Biden as President-Elect Seriously

Loving thoughts of Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving week in the year 2020.

I am truly empathetic to those who have found this year to be a constant struggle. I am especially solemn in my thoughts for the nearly 300,000 Americans lost to this vile virus from China.

It seems like ancient history, though it was only 10 months ago that our nation was cruising along at break neck speed, with a growing, vibrant economy. We were making peace in the Middle East. Illegal immigration was dropping to remarkably low levels given the booming economy. The Wall was being built. And a President more efficient and effective in achieving his stated goals for our country than any in decades (perhaps ever) seemed well on his way to re-election in spite of the unprecedented opposition loaded up against him. Things were good and we had every expectation that they would get better.

But the problems that would mark this year as terrible in the eyes of many were all well on their way to combustion.

The year started with Democrats inartfully trying to impeach President Trump for essentially nothing. Sadly, all Democrats in Congress found zero need for Patriotism and national well-being in forcing through impeachment against a unanimous GOP opposing this embarrassing episode.

Corona Virus was already exploding in China. And the Chinese and the World Health Organization lied about its severity and subsequently enabled its escape into the world and our country.

Democrats fomented racial division by convincing the ignorant in our country that their President was a racist. And with the seed of hatred firmly planted racial battles infected nearly every major city on the U.S. after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Though called a murder by nearly everyone who commented on the incident, evidence that came to the public knowledge much too late indicated that Floyd had himself ingested a fatal amount of fentanyl along with 3 other illegal drugs. But this information came way too late and was not widely reported by an American news industry hell bent on pushing their own agenda.

Job losses from Corona virus lockdowns blew up the unemployment rate from record lows in February to over 22% in April. Cities and states around the country instituted policies prohibiting evictions and foreclosures. As a result 10s of thousands have not paid their rent or their mortgage in months. The catastrophe that looms when these eviction and foreclosure prohibitions comes to an end has not yet registered with the media or, it seems, politicians. It’s hard to imagine what’s going to happen.

And in a country that for decades has held life-long politicians at the same esteem level as that of a murderous pedophile has seemed to elect a life long politician who also seems to have a disturbing history of inappropriately touching and sniffing young girls to the office of President. The wisdom of putting a 78 year old DC statue into office during this difficult time will only be proven or disproven in time. Suffice to say, not even his supporters are enthusiastic about what Joe Biden might be or accomplish.

These dark and sad occurrences in our country belie the fact that this author individually, and in my immediate family has had a pretty awesome year.

First and foremost after nearly 7 months of negotiating and maneuvering we were able to achieve a life-long dream of mine in purchasing and moving into our house on a lake. While I’d never given up on this dream, I had come to the point in my life where I believed if such a home existed for me it would be somewhere in the boondocks far away from the higher priced homes and the big city. But as it turns out we’re only 20-25 minutes from Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue and Snoqualmie Pass; otherwise known as the center of the universe…or at least…my universe.

We then proceeded to make the year all about improving our home; making it beautiful. Making it our own. We enjoyed the most spectacular 4th of July in my lifetime right on our own lake. And we enjoyed nearly daily walks on our 1+ acre property down to our lakeside. Needless to say, fishing and canoe rides occurred, frequently.

My wife and I were treated by her generous, loving adult kids to a trip to Disneyland to celebrate her milestone birthday at the start of this year. And we ended this year with a long, deserved, private get-away to the sun in historic St. Augustine, Florida. Two wonderful trips indeed. Both provided life long memories.

And in spite of all this, at this writing, we have more money in the bank than either my wife or I have ever had. No, we’re not rich. But we are very fortunate and very grateful.

We have been blessed by God.

I can’t believe we’re the only ones to enjoy a terrific year in spite of all that has transpired. My joy and enthusiasm has been significantly quelled by the knowledge that so many have struggled in our country and around the world. But my prayer for you is that you, like me, can find the gems that allow you to offer gratitude this Thanksgiving to God and all those for which you have received blessings.

It’s not as hard as you may think to be grateful during a year when so many tears have been shed. After all, the first official national day of Thanksgiving was declared by President Abraham Lincoln for November 26, 1863 while our nation had been at war with itself for over three years. Six-hundred thousand Americans would die by the time this conflict finally ended in April 1864. Yet, in spite of such horror and turmoil Lincoln found the ability to say To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and my you and your family be blessed, as have we.

I don’t understand today’s Social Justice Movement

Let me start by saying, I will not respond, reply, acknowledge hateful comments. You will be deleted and blocked.

The death of George Floyd sparked angry protests and riots all over our country in late May. It’s now late September and they haven’t stopped.

They’ve been fueled by other conflicts and shootings between cops and suspected criminals, suspected criminals who happen to be black.

DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I didn’t called George Floyds death murder, I called the protests protests and riots riots. I correctly pointed out that all the news stories about so-called police brutality involved cops and suspected criminals.

Many have called for defunding the police to diminish the incidents of conflict between the men and women in blue and criminal detainees. Many cities like Seattle, and Minneapolis have city councils that have already voted to eliminate the police or significantly cut their budgets; obviously having carefully studied the matter and examined the consequences of such an unprecedented move.

You see what I did there? I sarcastically suggested that these city councils had a rush to judgement on the defunding question. Because clearly there was no study or legitimate debate on the subject.

I believe racism exists. It’s real. And its unquestionably bad and deserves to be dealt with harshly every time it rears its ugly head, on an individual basis.

But, you may ask, what knowledge and experience do I have as a white guy in American, raised in the white suburbs outside Seattle to comment on race and racism. I’d like to address that two ways.

First, it doesn’t matter that I’m white and it doesn’t matter the ethnicity of anyone else who wants to comment on this subject. We are all humans. And I’m guessing those reading this are all Americans, which is to say United States citizens or legal residents. We’ve all been scared by the leftist screaming crowd that we aren’t entitled to talk about race or racism unless you are black and unless you completely agree with the Black Lives Matter agenda as it currently stands. As a result many scared people who don’t agree with BLM are intimidated into keeping their mouths shut. So we lose voices in this important conversation. And when you are told that your opinion doesn’t matter because of your race or ethnicity, isn’t that racism too? We’re allowed to speak our peace because we’re the ones assumed to all be racist and practitioners of a systemic racism problem in our country. Since we’re the problem, supposedly, you might want to listen.

Second, I have as much knowledge and experience on this subject as any white suburban, middle class, public school educated baby boomer alive. I suppose others could surpass my expertise under these qualifications. But they would be few and their experiences are not my own.

In 1985 I started living with a black woman. We were subsequently married and had three child, all of whom are and identify as black. I was completely embedded in my ex-wife’s black family for the whole time we were married. After 30 years we were divorced in 2015. I have since happily married another woman. She is Mexican.

SO HERE IS THE BIG QUESTION: Having lived with a woman of minority status for 35 years, and having raised three black kids to adulthood and being thoroughly active in their lives you would think I would have a story or two or twenty of all the incidents of racial discrimination, hatred, and bigotry that I or someone in my family experienced. Given how this is supposedly a racist culture with systemic racism in every corner of our nation there is no way I could escape the vile acts of a racist or the road blocks imposed.

The fact is I don’t have one story. I don’t have a single anecdote. I can’t even share with you any single incident in which my kids or either of my wives expressed to me the sense of having been targeted by racist activity. Quite simply, it never happened. I’m not a small man nor am I a shy one. Were any loved one of mine hurt by racism I would be fighting somebody.

Oh, there was one time where I suffered tremendously from an act of racial discrimination. It occurred in about 1990 when I was about 26 years old when I was passed over for a very lucrative, high paying job with the Washington State Department of Transportation due to their affirmative action policies. I was told by the Director that after three interviews I was the highest scoring applicant, but that I wouldn’t get the job because a black man and a woman were each awarded points for their race and sex that I wasn’t entitled to, and those points were enough to give each a higher score than me.

This is why I struggle with today’s Social Justice argument. Seemingly everyone has drank the Kool-Aid. All walks of life, businesses, entertainers, athletes…they are all on board with the belief that our country is inherently systemically racist.

All we have to do is look at the incident that prompted these riots and protests to understand my internal conflict. Like absolutely everyone (seemingly) I saw the video of the death of George Floyd and I was outraged. It looked like Floyd was murdered. But, I only saw the video of him already on the ground with the police officer keeping him there with his knee on the back of Mr. Floyd’s neck. Since that initial video and reaction more video has come out and more news. Quite simply the police did not murder George Floyd. The medical examiner says there was no evidence of asphyxiation. At worst the cops should be convicted of failing to provide him needed medical attention.

Here is what we know: Floyd resisted arrest for something like 10-15 minutes. He was acting very strange. Toxicology tests revealed that he had four different illegal drugs in his system including cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and a lethal dose of fentanyl. He was complaining that he couldn’t breath long before he was pinned to the ground. And respiratory distress is a symptom of fentanyl overdose.

And Dear God! Why is nobody reporting that this man was huge! He was 6-foot, 6-inches tall and clearly physically strong. Couldn’t that have played a part? You think the police may have been physically intimidated? You think they might have needed to use considerable force to subdue this man? And when you are high, acting strange and fighting with police while resisting arrest what does skin color have to do with any of this?

I know incidents of racial discrimination occur. I would never stand for it personally or where it affected my loved ones who happen to be minorities. But it’s long past time that we realize that a lot of people make an awful lot of money by jumping up and down and screaming racism wherever they see conflict. It’s also long past time that we stop blaming society for the bad decisions of single individuals. It’s also long past time that we recognize that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. If you commit crimes, at some point you are going to meet police officers. And if you resist arrest with those police officers you may end up dead. Police are humans too. They have a right to self-defense. And your criminal butt who puts the cops lives in danger will suffer the consequences for doing so.

Lastly, this is not the final word on this matter. Evidence I haven’t and you haven’t seen will still come forward in the George Floyd case. And if there is a trial a verdict will determine guilt or innocence of the four cops charged. God help us if they are acquitted, as I’m sure some of them will be. It’ll be another occasion for protesting/rioting. And just like the current riots, it won’t accomplish a damn thing.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome…to a point.

 

 

 

  • Calendar

    • December 2021
      M T W T F S S
       12345
      6789101112
      13141516171819
      20212223242526
      2728293031  
  • Search