Archive for December, 2008

Wow!!! What A Storm!

dh058_0011This might be the worst snow since 1968.  I have over 20 inches at my home and I cannot remember the last time we had that much snow in Walla Walla.  It has slowed our showings of current listings and made it very difficult to show our available rentals, with access to the parking areas and finding enough snow removal help to stay dh058_00151up with all the new snow we have received this past weekend.  We saw the first snow fall last Saturday and it was a very unusual snow in the way it was distributed in the area.  I live on the west end of the area and we did not get snow until Saturday night.  My mother, who lives on the very east end of town had over three inches of snow by Saturday night.  I do not feel we have seen that happen  all in my life in the Walla Walla Valley.

We are still getting inquires from potential buyers and have sold several homes this past week.  We have been limited in holding public open houses the past two Sundays (one of my agents had to shovel the walk herself  just so potential clients could get to the house), but we are still receiving calls.  I still feel once we move away from the Christmas season, New Years Eve and the weather, we will see a strong move by the families looking to take advantage of the low rates and the great inventory available to them.  I feel we are going to have a great spring.

I made a decision in my last ad of the year to make comments about the great interest rates and the availability of funds.  We have talked with several families and friends who did not realize  their are funds available for mortgage loans and the rates are at an all time low for my career.  The media does not seem to talk about the good news, just the bad.  We are making an effort to call our clients and share with them the good news and hopefully it will spread in our community to help generate excitement in a refinance or the purchase of a new home.

Walla Walla downtown looks beautiful with the snow, lights and decorations.  The city has worked miracles on snow removal in the downtown area.  I must extend compliments to the road crews for their effort and the leaders in the management area which made it happen.

I will return after New Years with an update.  Have a wonderful Christmas and talk to you in 2009.  DM Ledford


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Beautiful Day in Walla Walla

12/15/08 ~ With light snow falling and cool weather for a wonderful holiday setting, the enjoyment of children on their sleds with their moms and dads watching with concern for their safety, a hot cup of coffee in their hands.  I hope your weather is warm and  comfortable but that your holiday season is wonderful.  We need to remember the reason for the holiday is the birth of our load and savior.

Real estate in Walla Walla is picking up for us.  Buyers are starting to come out and look.  The attractive interest rates and the availability of homes and the softer pricing are a real stimlus to make a decision currently, rather than later.  We have been so fortunate to miss the huge value drop seen by so many other areas in the West.  Walla Walla has always been able to avoid the violent spikes of value on the upside and the reverse of the down side through my 36 years working within our local market.  However, the number of units sold and closed dropped significantly in the second half of the year.  In my discussions with the top group of agent in the office, they feel 2009 is going to be just fine.  They see many potential families in the market but just waiting for the holidays to be over and move into spring to finally make a move.

Rates are just great.  Our Coldwell Banker Mortgage representative, Bobbie Jo Haggard, indicated rates for the top credit scores is currently at 5.25%.  It doesn’t get much better.  Also, several lenders who I work with are seeing an increasing number of families looking to refinance.  It really makes sense with the low rates we see currently.  I feel that might go the other way early next year.  I am suggesting to my agents that they talk with their clients about 90 day lock-ins to give them some protection on the current rates into early spring 2009.

Attitudes are so much more positive than early in September.  The elections are over and people are setting into a much more comfortable level of confidence.  My associates are looking forward with a much more positive outlook on their future business climate for next year as well than just a few weeks ago.  I feel very positive about 2009.  Walla Walla is solid.  We saw large commercial sales close in October and November for amounts of two million for the land under the K-mart, five million for Northwest Collision on West Poplar and Lions Gate Apartments for over eight million.  People and investors still have confidence in the Walla Walla market.  Have a great holiday season.  DM Ledford (I have to apologize to Dennis. He gave me this post last week but I didn’t get a chance to put it on. Lisa.)

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Hello, my first post


Blogging is something totally foreign to me. I just turned 60 this past June and have been in Real Estate since 1972 in Walla Walla, Washington.  I have seen such changes and cycles over the last 36 years in my community and my profession, I find it hard to get my hands around.  My knowledge that I will try to share with anyone interested are my ideas of what I have seen and what I feel will be seen in the next few years in my beautiful valley.  Let me tell you more about my educational background and family history.

I moved to Walla Walla with my family in 1961 from Phoenix, Arizona. My dad moved to Walla Walla with Cascade Natural Gas as the Construction Superintendent for Eastern Washington and Oregon. Mom was an at home mom.  She always had everything under control.  I graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1966, played football and worked on construction crews for two different pipe line construction companies during the summers.  I attended Yakima Valley Junior College for two years with a weak attempt to play college football but found out soon it wasn’t for me.  Because of several injuries I had to my body during high school I found I did not enjoy it any longer.  I moved on to Central Washington College in Ellensburg, Wahsington in 1968 and received my degree in Economics and Business Administration in 1970.

I married and moved back to Walla Walla and worked on a large family farm for about a year.  I loved it and the family, but it just wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to be downtown in the business world.  It was my passion.  I worked for a short time in insurance with Prudential, but it wasn’t for me.  However, it was great training.

I moved into Real Estate with a large northwest firm named Sherwood and Roberts and remained with them for just over a year. At that time I had a fantastic opportunity to move into the strongest firm in Walla Walla in the early 70″s, Linscott, Wylie and Blize.  I learned so much from Dale Ross and the men I worked with during my first few years which helped me through the balance of my business career.

Because of some frustrations and the passion I had to own my own company, several of the men I met at Linscott, Wylie, and Blize and I decided to make a change.  We were given that opportunity in 1978 when a classic professional, Gordon Matthews asked us if we were interested in buying his company.  We were.  We closed the transaction in March of 1979.  The partners at the purchase were Doug Klein, Ted Johnson, Denny Wagaman and myself.  We lost Doug in death to illness shortly after the firm was formed and Ted later moved to Hermiston to own and operate the company we had purchased there a year earlier.

Denny and I became partners and changed the direction of the company in 1983 when we  joined the franchise of Coldwell Banker. It has been a wonderful affiliation for over 25 years and hope to maintain for many more years.  My partner Denny retired this year in August so the full operation is now under my direction.  I miss having Denny, my mentor, for years as my sounding board.  He prepared me well. We were partners for 30 years, but will be friends for life.  Not many relationships last that long.

My company is Coldwell Banker First Realtors.  We are located at 218 West Main, in Walla Walla, Washington. We have 36 licensed Realtors, 3 licensed full time property managers and a great support staff.  We have led the community in sales for years and have consistantly maintained the highest market share in the valley.  We have the largest property management company in Walla Walla, managing over 700 living units. I am really proud of what we stand for and the respect the business community gives our firm. I have great people and I know they make the company what it is.

Walla Walla is a beautiful community.  I have seen so many changes over the years and all of them have made it a better place to live.  In my blog I will talk about what I have seen over the years and what I see for our future.  I hope I can contribute to the network with my knowledge and passion for my business and community.

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