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It’s a good Winter day! The sun is out and a really nice day. I love getting into my hot tub in the morning and feeling the jets working on my back.

New out recently is that Key Technology was sold to a privately owned company, Duravant. They own several companies, and some similar to Key – but they feel they need Key to complement their ownership group. All indications are that they plan to stay in Walla Walla, which is good news.

Walla Walla Town Center is moving along. We might see some completion in the next 120 days. It has been a long time coming!

Construction is happening in several spots. Old Nita’s Auction is down and a small strip mall is going in. Big car wash, coffee shop, and maybe a couple of other small spaces to fill. It will be great to see that entry to Walla Walla cleaned up. Good luck to the new group moving in, it should be a great location.

Short notes of the Port EDAC meeting I would like to share.

  1. Boise Cascade at Wallula has made the decision to re-tool their plant and move from white paper to corrugated products. This is a 150 million dollar investment.   We feel they will stay, with that heavy of an investment.
  2. Rail-Ex sold to Union Pacific. They have increased traffic from three departures a week to five departures.  This is a positive move to get our products back to the East Coast.
  3. Simplot has agreed with the Port after some zoning changes by the County to move ahead with the building of a new Potato French Fry plant. Good news for our County tax base!
  4. Hi-Way 12 Phase #7 is fully funded with a start date in 2019-20. Once phase 8 is funded and approved we will have four lanes to the West side of the State which will be great for our area in many different ways.
  5. All the economic news we received from the Port was very positive for our area.

Image result for el sombrero walla wallaEl Sombrero will be starting construction of their new building just off Second Street in 60-90 days. They are excited to get it going and have felt very good about the cooperation the City has given them. They feel they will only be down for two weeks. Thank you City for helping this great business.

Real Estate is picking up with listings coming on and sales continuing to move up. Prices and rents are moving up.

Related imageWe have definite housing issues for the homeless and low income families but as rent moves up and sales prices increase, our core group of families are pressured as well.   Our new teachers, firemen, policemen, and other community groups need affordable housing as well and if they cannot find it in Walla Walla they will go to other communities where they can find affordable housing. If we cannot house them, it will create a real issue of the strength of our community.

Let me know if I can help, and if you have some news let me know. I am sharing an aerial shot of the progress on the Mall for your entertainment.

Thanks

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors®

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Thank you all for reading. Today I’ll be featuring a guest blog written by my granddaughter, Haley J. Ledford – I think she has a great young-persons perspective on this topic!


We’ve all heard the stories of people being fired from their jobs because of something they posted on Facebook or Twitter and it has made us all somewhat more conscious of what we say online. It seems, however, that in light of the social media boom, we’ve forgotten to be conscious of what we say and do in real life – and not just online. If you can get fired for something on Facebook, you certainly can lose out on opportunities for things you do in real life, and that’s why good references matter.

https://cdn0.iconfinder.com/data/icons/admin-panel-glyph-black/2048/608_-_Referrals-512.pngThis is not your parent’s pep talk about managing a credit card so you have a good credit score, and it’s not your grandma’s sermon on being a good person either. We all have our moments where we don’t behave as we should, but make it a habit and soon no one will be able to vouch for your character; no one can give you a good reference. When you want to rent an apartment, you need references. When you find an opening for a job so much better than the one you have now, you need references. When you are in the running for most adult things, you need references – and good ones at that. If your only reference is your old landlord who kicked you out for noise complaints, you’re out of luck.

Image result for reference pngYes, “adulting” is hard, but part of “adulting” is building references of your character and your ability to act responsibly. Think of it as your stats for how good you are at “adulting”. If your references read more like a rap sheet than glowing praise, know now that it’s time to suit up and take things more seriously. It only gets harder getting older, so don’t stop yourself from realizing your dreams by getting poor references everywhere you end up. References matter because in the same way you don’t want Facebook to get you fired, you don’t want your actions to get you denied from your next home.

“Why Good References Matter”
By: Haley J. Ledford

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WOW, the Christmas Light Parade was fantastic, this last Saturday. We served over 500 cookies, cups of cocoa, and hot coffee to a big crowd – and ran out of everything! We know some of the kids had more than one cookie and several people had more than one cup of coffee or cocoa, but it worked out well.  Thank you Macy’s for sponsoring such a fun event. We must have had the largest number of floats we have seen over the last five years.

https://www.99acres.com/microsite/articles/files/2016/02/development_charge.jpgI attended the Port Economic Development Advisory Committee Meeting last Tuesday and found out a lot of interesting facts about their activity, and data on growth and housing which I find interesting. The median price of housing has gone up 45% from 2012 to 2017 – to a median price of $220,000. This isn’t crazy in comparison to King and Pierce Counties, where their median price is above $600,000. How does a young family afford to own a home in those areas? It is tough enough with a median price in our Valley of $220,000. The 220,000 does not sound terrible but it is a 45% increase while income has only increased by 15% during that period.

https://i1.wp.com/orlando-rising.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/populaton-growth-750x400.jpgPopulation growth is at 1%. Which is comparable to most of Eastern Washington during the year. Our growth is families moving to Walla Walla and not just new born. Most of the big dollar companies are at Wallula. Boise Cascade is making a huge upgrade from white paper to cardboard products. Several million is being invested, so Pat Rae feels that will keep them in place for several more years.

Unemployment in Walla Walla is in good shape at a 4%. We are the 6th lowest in the State. Benton and Franklin are higher than our County, at 4.5% and 4.8% so all in all, we are looking okay.

Housing is tough. The local MLS on listed 50 homes in November. Many went under contract in the same month. My suggestion is, do not wait for Spring to list your home.   Start now, and you will find a buyer and a better price. Give it some thought. Mortgage rates are still low and who knows what will happen in the coming year.

UntitledSome big changes for College Place for the land that has been sitting vacant for several years just South of Home Depot and East of the Water Tanks. Bob Price and Farran Development have formed a new group to develop that parcel with the Western Segment will be high end multifamily apartments. The East 2/3 will be retail /mixed use. The group have the funds to move forward on the west 1/3 first and break ground in the first part of 2018.

There’s always something happening! If you hear of new things, let me know.

Call if I can assist.

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors

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End of October Blog

https://chambermaster.blob.core.windows.net/userfiles/UserFiles/chambers/65/CMS/convert/www.wwvchamber.com/files/785.jpgFALL IS HERE. It has been just beautiful in the Walla Walla Valley this week. Crisp weather in the morning, with beautiful sunshine in the afternoon – all of the Fall colors are making a show for us all to watch. Take a ride into Pioneer Park this weekend and you will be awed by all the fall colors on display…

https://i1.wp.com/www1.pictures.zimbio.com/bg/Views+Las+Vegas+Shooting+Memorial+Las+Vegas+cLthxNY3Hn4x.jpgI spent some time in Las Vegas this past week for a conference, and it was such an eerie feeling looking at the welcome to Vegas sign and all the white crosses and flowers as we made our way into the strip from the airport. Hundreds of people milling around looking at photos, flowers, stuffed animals and special personal items that represented all the dead. My heart went out to all of the families that suffered losses in the tragedy. God Bless them all.

Kris Sign Draft (800x800)Real Estate is still solid. I saw some statistics from King County over the week and the inventory numbers were amazing. In 2007 they had 15,000+ active listings and currently in 2017 they have less than 3,000. Less than two month’s supply. We are short of inventory here as well, but not at that degree. Sellers still have a great opportunity to sell their homes before the end of the year, and find another home that fits their current needs. Mortgage rates are still just great and look good for the future. The economy is booming and we have a lot of commercial transactions happening as well as new homes being constructed. Oasis Homes is starting some new inventory homes on Whitney Road between Plaza and South Third. If you are looking for an alternative to Hayden Homes call Kris Youd for more information and see if it will work for you. You can reach Kris at (509) 301-3626.

Looking forward to November and December.  I just love the Holidays!

If I can assist in any way let me know.

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors®

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Mid-October Updates

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Vegas shootings/wildfires/controversy. What else could we face in October? I was so shocked with the killing and wounding of so many people in Vegas, who were just trying Image result for disneyland california firesto watch a concert. Wildfires in California have destroyed entire neighborhoods and killed several people in the wake – they still are not under control and more damage to come. And by comparison the most minimal issue is the kneeling when the anthem is played at football games for the NFL. All of these topics are tough ones that have arisen this month but I know we will get through them as One Nation, Under God.

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Where are you at for the voting for the City Council race November 7? Good candidates are available with new and previously existing members. Read carefully about each and make an informed vote. The Chamber is hosting a Q&A this Thursday, which would help you understand what each feel about the operation of our City Government. We need good people to represent the City, and none of us know how much work is involved in their day-to-day work, it is not just attending the monthly meeting.

And as always, do not forget the Real EstateImage result for residential new construction Market. We have less than 150 active listing that are not under contract. If every Broker in Walla Walla sold a home, we would have no inventory. New construction is still a big piece of our inventory, and Hayden Homes have met a lot of the demand in our Valley. We really do not have many alternatives for our families to choose from in buying a new home. The good news is, Oasis Homes are starting homes on Whitney Road soon. I have seen their product line in the Tri-Cities area, and the owner Les Savitch is very creative. He stays in tune with all the new ideas that are coming out in the construction world. Call Kris Youd or Jason Vicari to get information on the new homes Oasis are bringing to our Valley.

Support our Flag and our Country.

God Bless America.

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors

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I could not believe it but the other day, Monday, September 25th, I saw snow at the top of the Blues. I do not think it lasted long but it was there, believe me. Cool mornings and evenings feel great and that is what I enjoy about FALL – the wonderful weather we have in Walla Walla in September and October. Get out and enjoy it while it lasts. That snow might be down on us soon.

Image result for oregon coast oceanMy brother Jerry and I went fishing on the Oregon Coast at Pacific City two weeks ago on the 16th.  Something we have never tried to do but it was amazing. We went out on a Dory boat with a launch from the beach. We were fishing within 10 minutes and we limited on Black Rock Sea Bass, Ling Cod, and Crab. We ate like Kings for two days, with crab salads each day and more on our return. If you ever want to try your luck call me and I will give you a referral to the best captain in the fleet, Mark Lytle. He knows the bottom of that ocean like the back of his hand and he is always coaching on how to hook your fish. They clean your fish and vacuum seal them and cook and clean your crab.   Amazing fun.

If you are thinking of buying a home in the next six months keep these tips in mind.

  1. Talk with a lender to find out what you can afford, however, keep in mind their Image result for home buyingidea what is reality might be different. Look at the cost of your hobbies and their cost and fun with the kids. You want to have funds to still live a real life.
  2. Review your credit score in advance of meeting a lender. HUD recommends going to some home ownership classes before choosing a lender
  3. Once you are pre-qualified and have a Broker, start looking at homes that fit what you want to commit to a housing payment. If you will be using FHA, USDA home loans or other special financing tools, ie; firefighter, teachers, law enforcement, and maybe some state financing.
  4. Negotiation, work with your Coldwell Banker Broker to decide on a strategy that they feel will put you in the best position to get the home. Multiple offers complicate the process but listen to your Real Estate Professional
  5. Always have a home inspection by a professional before you close your transaction.

These ideas and notes should help.

Let me know if I can answer any questions.

Thanks,

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors®

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Smoke from the surrounding fires is really creating health issues, even for myself. I worked in my garden over the Labor Day weekend and my eyes were watering, coughing, sneezing, and my sinus drip was terrible. We had a small break in the smokey air early this week.. But now it’s back! Photos of the Eagle Creek Fire in the Gorge are amazing. I cannot believe they were able save the Lodge at Multnomah Falls from destruction. They must have had a river of water pouring over the building. It is such a classic building and it would have been so sad to have it burn down.

As Seen on TVWe are just starting our adventure into TV advertising with my office on the Charter network. We are trying to work on building our name in the community more than it currently is. We have picked channels like Food Network, HGTV, History, Discovery, and a few more. It will be interesting to see how it will work. It will not advertise properties but instead the Brokers at Coldwell Banker First Realtors and what they do in our community, the technology we have, and the marketing we do to make our company the best in the Valley. Try to see some of our ads and give me comments.

GroupMortgage rates are still good and the market strong. Lots of buyers and they are looking hard. Remember to always to get pre-approved before starting your search. Work with a lender to get that started. I suggest Tera Davis from Academy Mortgage. If you need help, she is definitely the one to ask. Then find a Broker to talk with and start your search – of course, I recommend a Realtor® from Coldwell Banker First Realtors®. Go to our Website and look at them, read their profiles and find the Broker which you feel will be the person for you to work with.

Let me know if I can assist.

Dennis M. Ledford, Owner/Broker
Coldwell Banker First Realtors®

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