Coldwell Banker Bain | Seal FastStart Career Accelerator

CB Bain and CB Seal Pacific NW Real EstateColdwell Banker has always enjoyed a well-deserved national reputation for attracting and educating the best and the brightest associates in the industry. For many, that journey begins with FastStart™, Coldwell Banker’s ‘signature’ core training program for real estate professionals.

For over 40 years, FastStart™ has developed a strong legacy of quickly producing confident, competent and successful REALTORS®. This program covers all of the essentials for career success, including personal marketing, time management, client acquisition and developing highly effective skill sets for working with buyers and sellers.

Additionally, the Coldwell Banker Bain | Seal FastStart program has been specifically tailored to the Northwest market, and educates its brokers with unique local strategies and techniques that aren’t being taught at any other brokerage. In fact, no other real estate company in the region offers the wide-ranging and exceptionally effective ‘in-house’ (and free!) education that CB Bain | Seal provides.

FastStart™ is also approved for 30 clock hours, and comes with the strong recommendation of those who have personally experienced this week-long emersion class into all things real estate. We encourage you to ask anyone who has participated to share their opinion of the value in this class!

If you’re serious about becoming a successful real estate professional, begin your career with the BEST start possible…a Coldwell Banker Bain | Seal FastStart™!

Meet the Author and special guest instructor Ron G. Sparks.


Normal Home Market

How’s the market? Using “Surprising” Stats to Jump Ahead in 2012

Normal Home MarketIt’s official–the brokers in my office consider me a “stats” guy. This moniker has always bothered me a bit, because I don’t consider myself a numbers person at all. Far from it, I was likely that annoying kid in math class trying to look over your shoulder during the test on dividing fractions.

No, I’m not purely a numbers lover…but I do love the stories that numbers can tell. And lucky for me, most people like stories.

At some point in 2012, someone is going to ask you “how’s the market?” What will you say? “Better!” “Great!” “Improving!” “Terrible!” All of which might be accurate…but none of which have the power to validate you as an expert.

What if you instead said something like “Improving…you know, it surprises a lot of people to hear that this was the best December for local home sales since 2006”.

I have started many, many conversations (stories) in my career with “It surprises people…” then dropping something, well, surprising on them. Here are a few more examples of current stats that could qualify:

“4th quarter sales in Washington were the best they’ve been in some time…in fact, in the last dozen years or so, only the 4 ‘boom years’ have been better.”

“…while some neighborhoods still have serious issues with foreclosures, this might surprise you—there are only 5 bank-owned properties for sale in all of West Bellevue right now.”

“It surprises most people to hear that foreclosure filings in Bellevue are down over 75% this past year! That’s really good news if you’re in the market…are you?” (Always gotta close).

All of these statements could have been drawn from easy-to-access reports from the NWMLS, foreclosure websites and the internal reports from CBBain, such as the one shown here.


Of course, not all stories are happy ones, with warm fuzzy endings like the examples above. But here’s a New Years resolution that might help you ring in a few more sales in 2012; when you find an interesting stat, think  to yourself–is there a story to tell? Once you begin to think of stats as stories–and not math—you open up a whole new way to convince people you’re the exact type of knowledgeable, engaged and informed broker they need. Even if you flunked that test on fractions.

Season’s Greetings from Coldwell Banker Bain

Techno Santa

It was just before Christmas, when 2 friends in high tech,
Were chatting in their cubicles, as conflicted as heck.
They argued back and forth “Should we buy, should we rent?”
Then one said “Where is the postcard that Bain Realtor sent?”

 There on the card was the home of their dreams,
And offered at a price not seen for years it would seem!
The postcard said “Rates are now low, and so are the prices”
“Of course” thought the workers, “The home market’s in crisis”.

 Yet one called the broker, and purchased a home,
While the other decided to ‘think on it’ some.
He rationalized and rationalized–you know how it went,
“I’ll skip the big mortgage, and pay less in rent!”

 So that worker became a renter, and with the money he saved,
bought a hybrid, iPad, and 3D TV, each one all the rage.
“My apartment’s just fine, no high property taxes for me”,
“I’m SMART to do this, my friends all agree”.

 Meanwhile the homeowner’s mortgage was low and was fixed,
and with each check sent in, a small portion was nixed.
They also knew that someday, a big bonus existed…
“Appreciation, compounded!”…but the renter resisted.

 As the years went by, rents kept going up.
The renter paid little attention, and kept buying more “stuff”.
Eventually, like most, both retired from work,
Now who was the sly one, and who was a jerk?

 The homeowner retired well, with a house payment so low,
He could do as he pleased, as his cash had some flow.
The renter was buried, however, in the high cost of housing,
“My rent is TOO high!” he was constantly grousing.

 Is there a holiday moral? I leave that to you.
Should the renter have chosen ownership that Christmastime too?
Well, some learn over time that ‘stuff’ rarely suffices,
And finally left this poor renter–quite literally–to their very own ‘devices’.

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday season!

The Legacy of William A. Bain (and the Rest of Us)

Recently, the name sake of Coldwell Banker Bain, William A. Bain, passed away at age 88.  Brokers who personally knew Mr. Bain have stopped by my office this week to reminisce about the man and his leadership, and particular phrases have cropped up again and again; “A TRUE gentleman” “honest” “fair” “kind” “a man of his word”. As legacies go, I kept thinking that I too should be so fortunate to be remembered in this way.

That got me thinking about legacies.

In the time since Mr. Bain sold his company in the early 90’s, CBBain and it’s sister company, CBSeal,  has grown to 34 offices from Portland to Bellingham, becoming the largest single-ownership company in the Northwest. As we finish 2011, it also appears that our Bellevue branch will again be the #1 Coldwell Banker Affiliate office in the U.S., the 17th year in a row it’s earned the achievement. These are among the proud company legacies history will deservingly attribute to our current owner, Bill Riss. Other CBBain & CBSeal offices certainly have similar stories to tell–but it occurs to me that the most important, most impactful company legacies are those our brokers and managers forge in the crucible of every home sale, each and every day.

We’re so incredibly fortunate to do what we do. It gives us an opportunity to influence and lead. Satisfy and achieve. Earn fierce loyalty and unbreakable relationships. Develop a legacy.

I’m certain William A. Bain had a proud sense of achievement as he witnessed the growth and unwavering professionalism of his namesake company. Each of us, in our own way, should also enjoy the same. Just as Mr. Bain is fondly remembered for his grace and support, we have all had a part in perpetuating his legacy…and as such, we validate our own.

Pending sales up inventory and prices down

NWMLS October Stats for King County – Two Treats, One Trick

Pending sales up inventory and prices downRecently, I was chatting with Mike Grady (President of CBBain) about the differences between the Greater Seattle housing market this year and last. We were talking because the NWMLS had just released their market stats for October, and three things really stood out. First, the inventory of homes for sale in King County was down substantially year over year—about 25%. Conversely, pending sales of homes were up more than 25%.  Typically, this kind of relationship — less product + more demand — will generate higher prices. However, the third statistic that stood out was lower prices…down about 18% for single family homes and condos combined.

At first blush, it is difficult to understand why the nearly immutable laws of supply and demand are not in play in King County. In fact, listing inventory in many popular Seattle and Bellevue neighborhoods is severely depressed…even as more and  more buyers are signing contracts. Lower prices simply do not compute.

So what’s happening here? Well, here’s one way to look at it…

The price drops depicted in the NWMLS release are year over year comparisons, so the ‘real time’ market of today suffers the burden of the ‘past-time’ market of the last 12 months. In other words, say a neighborhood dropped 10% in value over the first 9 months of the year, but then rallied to gain 2% over the next 3 months. This would be characterized as a “price drop” of 8%. But would this be an accurate assessment of the market today? No…so I repeat our mantra—all real estate is intensely local. A home that lost 15% of value in one neighborhood might have an identical twin in another neighborhood 10 miles away that has started to regain pricing momentum.

The stats that the NWMLS so ably puts out each month is terrific information…but it will always take the knowledge of a very local expert to effectively interpret.