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Image result for blue mountain mall walla wallaWell, my previous information was not correct! The Mall is going to start. We received an announcement yesterday that indicates they are moving forward and announced several of their stores. It will be an outdoor venue which fits the general model for malls currently.    It will be so good to have the area filled with vibrant activity and more tax dollars for the area.

I just read in some real estate news about inventory, and days on market across the country – trends which I see are accurate in Walla Walla as well as nationwide. The typical pre-owned house for sale was on the market for just 50 days last month across the country, compared with 64 days a year ago this same month. The strong demand is pushing up median home prices, which jumped 7.1% percent from a year earlier to $228,900. My companies days on market was 86 days and our median price is somewhat lower, but our inventories are very low which could force prices up this early spring. Just 1.69 million homes were on the market nationwide in January, near the lowest level since records began in 1999.

Image result for ducky derby walla wallaI attended an Exchange meeting yesterday and they have several major programs going this spring. The weekend of March 10th is the annual Community College Rodeo at the fairgrounds. Also, this spring is the Big Ducky Derby event. All the members will have tickets for the drawing. Buy tickets to support their program.

Spring is coming. Call me if I can help.

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

https://i1.wp.com/burningbird.net/photos/robin1/index.jpgWhat a good day for us! Sunshine and not too cold – this is good news at my home, because I saw about 20 Robins in my backyard. I have always felt that if I see Robins, that Spring isn’t that far away. I need to work on several Spring projects soon to be ready to plant in early April. I just completed my order form from Gurney’s to get all my seeds to Walla Walla and ready to go when the soil is warm and ready to nourish them to burst into life.

It appears rain is in our future, but not at the level we see in California. If that dam would break in Oroville, that would be such a disaster. There will be people and property destroyed, and it would impact the irrigation system in the country’s most fertile farming area.. I am sure this would push costs up on a lot of products.

On another note, rentals are hard to find! We manage about 600 doors and we have less than 2% vacancy in our system. I feel that is generally the case with most large units and Brokers who manage rental property. Real Estate is a good investment because you can secure monthly income to support your retirement and at the same time build equity. I was fortunate enough to make that decision long ago and it has helped me to live in a debt free lifestyle and allow my wife and me to travel and enjoy our lives together. It is never too late. Give it some thought.

https://i0.wp.com/bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/union-bulletin.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/4d/c4d22676-d8f6-11e6-ac74-afad233698ad/5877ce0d9a8c1.image.jpgAnother shout out to the road crews at both cities and our county for working through all of our snow and ice. I was talking with County Commissioner Jim Johnson and he said they are already about a half million over budget for their system and I am sure both cities have felt the same financial pain. If you have a complaints on your service – keep them to yourself. You did not have to get up at 2-3 in the morning and work 12+ hours in the freezing cold, to help the road system be as good as it could be. They worked hard for our valley!

https://i1.wp.com/realtybiznews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/HousingDemand.jpgWe have a lot of families looking at 2017 to be the year they buy a home or make a change. Lots of buyers are out looking but inventories are low. If you’re looking at buying, you should get in and get pre-qualified for a loan, so when you find the home you know your chances are very good you can close on it.

We had two first time home buyer classes in the last 45 days with the first attended by 27 people and the second with 20 people. n my 40 plus years those are the highest numbers we have ever seen for these classes.. Usually we have 5 or 6 people! This shows that the buyers are out there, we just need more listings.

Let me know if I can assist.

Have a good March!

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

Well, it is back – cold and snow! I have friends in the desert and in Mexico, and they are warm. I wish I was with them. Spring will be here soon and the sun will be out longer and come up in the morning earlier. Planting my garden is not too far off because my Gurney catalog arrived for me to choose seeds and plants for my early spring garden! I love working in the soil and https://i2.wp.com/www.lovethispic.com/uploaded_images/51025-Winter-Deer.jpgplanting my early spring crops, radish, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli. I have over the years cut back on my planting to only plant what my wife will eat. It makes it easier to eat the crop.

Last night I looked into my rose garden because I thought I saw some movement and I was correct, with five deer looking straight into my eyes. I guess they were grazing on some of my dead plants and maybe water from my fish pond that we keep heated during the winter – it was really fun to see. I texted my brother Jerry because he still hunts, (but with very little success) and I told him they were so close he could hit them with a rock. He said maybe a bow..

It is so cold that remember your pets. Keep them warm and well fed and watered. Do not leave them out at night.

Image result for blue mountain mallThe renovation and rebuild of the old Blue Mountain Mall is dead again, I heard from a good source. The key tenant would not sign a lease so all the others that follow that company withdrew as well. I do not know where that is going to go. I feel we should re-zone some of the east part to allow multiple family construction. We have no other large spots with that zone to build on. My company manages over 600 doors in Walla Walla and we have over a 95% occupancy, and I feel that is the case in most of the complexes in town. If we do get some new jobs where are they going to live? Just my thoughts.

Image result for spring coming soonInterest rates are still good, but inventory low. If you are thinking of making a move in the Spring that requires the sale of your home, starting now might be good for you in so many ways. Talk to a Realtor and get some advice, and hopefully you will use one of my great Realtors at Coldwell Banker First Realtors.

Let me know if I can assist or answer any questions.

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

It’s warming up?

Image result for walla walla snow plowMaybe it’s warming up? This has been one of the longest cold stretches I have seen in Walla Walla for a few years! I have to compliment the City Street Crews for their hard work making it easier for us to get around. It is my understanding after talking with Nabiel Shawa that they were working 12 hours shifts to make it work. Amazing. I heard last week that Pendleton had sold their snow equipment because winters have been so mild the past several years.. Can you imagine the pain the families are going through in their area?   Again, we’re lucky to live in Walla Walla.

https://i0.wp.com/www.grindtv.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Melting_Snowman_12-16-05.jpgAs Walla Walla is famous for, we have had one of our Chinook winds come in with warm wind and some rain, so the snow and ice is almost gone. Creeks and rivers are running high, so be safe. Several friends of mine of had water damage, and I am sure there is more to come. Be careful with mold in walls and basements – be sure to check it out with a professional. I use a company for my personal issues and in our rental management with Coldwell Banker First Realtors – Five Star Disaster Services is a good company and they are real professionals. Vince and his crew will do a great job for you.

Interest rates are settling down if you’re looking to buy. They’re averaging around 4% but you still might be able to afford the house of your dreams. If you are thinking about selling in the Spring, now is the time to start. Inventories are low and buyers are in the field. We are holding a workshop for owners/sellers for the first time in years and we had 40 people sign up. Hard to believe those numbers, but it does show us we have a lot of demand. Start early and beat the rush!

If I can help, let me know!

Thanks,

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

Good morning Walla Walla!

Image result for coldCold few weeks with lots of snow. I do not feel we have had a winter like this for some time, and I am not sure when it is going away! It is easy to bear with the bright sunshine, but boy it is cold.. Today, Thursday, on my wake up – it was 4 degrees! But it can be colder, my executive officers daughter lives in Miles City, Montana and the high was -4 degrees with a low of -17.. Now that is very cold and I am not sure what the wind would push that to but COLD.

I am a Board of Director for the new Charter Public Middle School, Willow. We are taking applications now for the first year which will be August of 2017 with sixth and seventh grades. We need to start our application process for the new students in our area and it might end up in a lottery drawing the limited number of students we can handle. Our building will be the old Ace of Clubs on Tietan. It’s a great location and lots of room.

“Willow Public School teaches with joy and passion. We help kids find their strengths and interests, support them where they struggle, and connect them to resources in the school and community so that their middle school experience is challenging, rich, and meaningful.”
– Dan Calzaretta, Executive Director

Image result for home buying dreamOn another note, interest rates are jumping around. They had moved higher over the last several weeks but I feel there was such uncertainty and frustration with the election that people, banks, lenders, and buyers were nervous. I feel 2017 is going to be a solid year for the economy and real estate. Rates might jump some but we are still at record lows. With a half point increase the new home buyers should check with their lender on what they still qualify for in a mortgage.

Walla Walla is still busy. Energy is still good. We are lucky to live in Walla Walla.

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

WELCOME TO WINTER, WALLA WALLA!

Image result for walla walla snowWell, we finally are having a winter. We really have not had one for several years, but we are in one this week. We have about five inches of snow with more coming this week. Temperatures to drop into the single digits the week of the 12th , and that is cold! Be ready for furnace failure with portable heaters, but do not put more than one on your circuit. If you’re traveling, take warm weather clothing and blankets in case you breakdown. The key: BE PREPARED.

Image result for thankful christmasThe Christmas Season is on upon us, big time. Donna, my wife and I, are at home for Christmas Day for the first time in a long time. My daughter is moving into a new home on the 23rd and she can’t handle having DAD with them on the move, which will take them all of the days of Christmas. We are buying a prime rib roast and a lobster, with champagne and we’ll enjoy the evening together. We thank the Lord for all the gifts he has given our family and reflect on the gifts we have given to the community over the past year, and pray for more ideas.

The housing market is still strong in our valley. If you are thinking of making a change in housing in 2017, talk with your lender and Realtor because rates are moving up. They are currently around 4% and that is still really good – but check with your lender to see how increasing rates can impact what you can afford. Look at it in several levels because sometimes you qualify for more than you want to spend monthly. You do not want to put so much pressure on your total income from the house payment, that you have nothing left to do things you and your family enjoy.

The Walla Walla Planning Department is reviewing the rules for Bed and Breakfasts/VRBO’s on parking and fees. The demand for designated parking at these small homes would put them out of business and they have become an important source of specialty housing for visitors to our valley. I hope they see the real issue and not build it around just a revenue source for the City.

https://evmaroon.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/img_1760.jpg?w=400&h=249I’ve got nothing new to share on the renovation of the Mall. I had talked to the owners and they hoped to get started in December, but I do not see much activity at this point but I really want to see them make some progress this Spring. We need to clean up that mess!

I am looking forward to a great 2017 for the Walla Walla Valley.

If I can assist you, let me know.

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

https://i1.wp.com/cdn.wallpapersafari.com/41/96/zxG9dh.pngA lot of water under the bridge in the last two weeks.. The election is over (Thank God) and we need to move on. We must support the new President and be cohesive as a country. I am embarrassed by the protests at our schools and in the streets, calling on all of us to ignore what happened in the election on the previous Tuesday. College students are blessed to live in this country, and need to realize that just because it did not go the direction they wanted, does not mean we can throw stones at our new leadership.

America is where most of the world would like to live, but cannot because they are trapped in a third world country or a dictatorship. Count your blessings before you throw stones – if you know of a better place to live, make the change. If it doesn’t work we will take you back, because I am sure you would have learned more about life than you would have gained living the life of “Poor Me!”.

Walla Walla is a special place to live. Veterans Day was great, and the parade gets better every year (and longer!). Watching all the flags go by with little kids waving the smaller ones, shows us what a special place we have here in our corner of the world. Take some time to thank Vets you run into during your day, and thank them with a hand shake for their service – we do not do that enough. I saw a video of an airport the other day with several service men and women boarding a plane and the people in the concourse stood and applauded them and shook their hands. There were tears and smiles on both levels. We are lucky to have such great men and women who stand up for your freedoms.   Just pause and think about it..

Real estate is going well in Walla Walla. I just attended a lunch with our legislators and the talked about the increased revenue at the City, County, and the State level, because of the amount of excise tax being collected on all the real estate transactions taking place everywhere in the State. But the costs to operate government continues to grow. A powerful statement was made by Maureen Walsh that several important pieces lost by just a few votes and the number of registered voters who did not vote was off the charts. I think this is hard to believe.

Are you thinking of buying a home this year, or the first part of 2017? You might take a look at interest rates, they are going up. Talk with your Realtor or Lender to see how it can affect your purchasing power.

Image result for prepare for winterWinter is soon.. Get yourself ready! Clean your gutters, take your garden hoses off the bibs, get your snow gear out and ready. Do not get caught by surprise.

Call if I can help.

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

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