Archive for February, 2009

Word on the Street

Update on the Blue Mountain Mall.    According to the Walla Walla Planning Department the foreclosure process will be finalized on the Court house steps today.   The City does not believe the original investors will try to resolve the issue, but anything could happen.    There has been two investor groups making inquiries and might be thinking seriously about taking the project over.   It is estimated it will take between eleven and twelve million to move to completion.   The proposed tenants, Bed, Bath, and Beyond along with Ross have been continuing their work with the planning department to secure their permits to complete their tenant improvements.    We need this project to reach a successful completion to help maintain the vitality of our retail environment.

We hit the print front page on Sunset Magazine with their selection of one of the best small communities in America.   We had a photo on the front page and a great article about food and wine in our valley.   I spent most of my professional real estate career in Walla Walla and never had any national press but in the last ten years we have been in every major publication.   We see a real up take in calls and inquiries every time we see Walla Walla featured in a regional or national publication.   I know of three calls we received this week from families in Northern California and Oregon arriving early March to tour our community.   We have a special place and sometimes the locals do not see the forest for the trees.

We are working hard to push out our new internet presence.    We have asked our associates to contact their client to respond to our site and its comfortable use.   My main requirement was to make it user friendly.    Once we get the site ready and going we will spend some funds in the print media to announce the new site.    If you are interested to take a look go to:  www.coldwellbankerfirstrealtors.com and respond on any comments to admin@cbfr.biz.    I am always looking for advice.

We are doing well.   Sales are slower but still we see lots of buyer activity.   We are having our accountant, Mike Lemm, attend our next staff meeting to discuss the new first time homebuyer tax credit with our associates .    Up to an $8,000 tax credit.   I do not know all this issues for qualification and if you feel you might qualify I suggest you talk with your tax preparer.   Exciting benefit for our young first time homebuyers

Flash news.   The Blue Mountain Mall foreclosure took place and the Deed of Trust was redeemed by a new group, 4 Points Walla Walla.   We are not sure what the new organization ownership is at this point, but it could be part of the original LLC.   More news soon.

Thanks for your attention.

DM Ledford


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I was on my back patio yesterday enjoying the scenery with my pond and water fall when I noticed there had to be at least twenty orange breasted robins bathing, eating, and drinking in and around the pond. Also, while enjoying the robins I noticed bulbs breaking through the soil everywhere. It just makes me feel as if warm weather is moving our way.

I am looking out my window at the office and I see bright sunshine and blue skies. What a great day to be out walking and or taking photos of all the changes taking place. We can really see the beauty god offers us if we just take the time to look. Walking in downtown Walla Walla on a day we have today is just fantastic. People are out and they are happy and it is fun to see the smiles on their faces. We are so lucky to live in such a wonderful town and area of America.

Lots of opinions about the stimulus bill being signed today. I hope everyone wants to work to turn the employment issues and the economy around but we will have to wait and see. We did get a major incentive for the real estate industry with the $8,000 tax credit being offered. I do not want to talk in specifics but I feel it is going to be a wonderful gift for the families which will be able to put it to use. I do not feel there is any industry which will turn our economy around faster than the construction of homes. Just list all the people who are working on a building project, the list is too large to put on paper, and it would push dollars rapidly into the ill economic structure we have today. I feel it would jump start us faster than any other industry in America.

We are excited about the number of family inquiries we have been receiving over the past few weeks and the number of families attending our open homes. Take time to clearly understand we have plenty of mortgage dollars and the rates are unbelievable at this point in time. Our mortgage lender indicated you have rates under 5% with excellent credit and a solid down payment, probably 20%.

Thanks for your interest.

Dm Ledford

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Energy and Excitement

We had one of the best agent meetings in our office that we have had in years.   Three City of Walla Walla staff heads came and talked with my sales group.   Jim Dumont, Parks and Recreation, Kim Lyonaise, City Planning and Craig Sively.  They presented a very exciting evaluation of the activity they are experiencing so far in our fair city this new year.  Here is a brief overview of what they saw as energy to our area for 2009.

1.       The new outpatient facility at our VA has been funded and is in the process of engineering and permitting.   $76,000,000.   What a positive prospect for our area vets.

2.       The new Myra Road connecter between Hwy 12 and Hwy 125.   Several inquiries from commercial investors and large multi-family developers.   It will create a wonderful corridor from Pine St to Hwy 12.

3.       Several funded street improvements and LID’s.   Abadie Street off 13th, LID for all new pavement, curbs, gutters, street trees, and lighting.   Plans for the renovation of 13th St from Rose to Pine.   Several street and sidewalk improvements by LID and student connectors for access to Edison and Pioneer Middle School.

4.       Pioneer Park and the rebuilding of the pond wall with the assistance of several city departments to make the process more efficient and hold the costs down.

We are seeing a significant increase of calls to our sales staff over the last few weeks and our open homes are seeing a very positive upturn.   If and when the stimulus bill passes and we see the $15,000.00 tax credit given to families buying homes we will see a huge push to buy and we are ready.   We have great rates, lots of money to lend, and a good inventory of homes.   All the ingredients for a strong up take for housing in our area.

More exciting news for our office is coming out shortly.  Our new website has been in the development stage for several weeks and I was able to view it last week.  It is awesome.   Another exciting item is we have moved from sixth place for Google search for Walla Walla real estate to number one.   Thanks to the help from our consultant, Chris Saffer, and his push to get as many of us as possible to blog.   My thanks go out to everyone who has helped.

We are excited for the spring to move into Walla Walla and we are ready.   The sun is out today and it is beautiful as ever.   You need to see Walla Walla and the view of the Blue Mountains from our door steps.   Make the trip or make the inquiry to see what we have to offer.

DM Ledford

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Oregon….. Here we come!

Our Oregon Satellite office has finally arrived. After a lot of thought, we made the natural transition into the Oregon Real Estate market this past week. George Kaup, an associate broker at Coldwell Banker First Realtors and my Washington based corporation have formed a new LLC for the opening of the Coldwell Banker First Realtors, Oregon Satellite Office. We have leased a small building on the main retail entry from Walla Walla located at 129 S. Columbia in Milton Freewater. It is the perfect fit for our entry to the area.

George is the key to our new office. He is a long time area resident and has been a major producing Realtor in Oregon for some time. It was a difficult decision for George to make the change from Roff Real Estate because of his long time affiliation with Marge Roff, who helped him build his career in Oregon. But after giving it a lot of thought George decided to pursue his Broker’s license in Oregon and make the change. We are excited to be able to offer our clients assistance in the Oregon area to help secure residential or commercial real estate.

Several agents in our Walla Walla office are looking to secure their Oregon license.  First on the list is Greg Kelly.  Greg was born and raised in the Milton Freewater area where his family owns and operates a long time apple orchard. Greg will be up and running with George by April.

The other two strong candidates are Scott Erwin and Cindy Waliser. Cindy has strong local ties with her family and their apple business while Scott would like to pursue land acquisition for vineyards. We will be able to build a strong team of Realtors from our organization and I know George has several other agents he would like to associate with.

You can expect to receive the same friendly, professional customer service in Oregon that you receive from our Washington office, and we are looking forward to it.

What’s the market doing? We get this question all the time. The market is slower but our written business for December was higher for 2008 than 2007 and our January was higher than January of 2008. Would we like to see more? Yes we would but we are doing well. Real estate in Walla Walla is ok. We are so fortunate we live in such a beautiful community with our wonderful park system with over 600 acres and our downtown. It is the perfect time to buy a home in Walla Walla. Low rates and a strong inventory make for the perfect storm for families looking to find a home for their families. All is well. Weather improves each day. The sun comes up earlier and sets later. Spring is on the way.

DM Ledford

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