I wanted to delay this edition of the blog until after I had made a visit to the CURRAN home at the U.P. apple orchard park, yesterday. After living for so many years here I realized that I had never been in the home.
Allow me to say right up front that I’m in favor of preserving it. I could not be any more straight forward about that.
Also note, that I look at homes differently than most of the blog readers. Why? Because some weeks, I walk through dozens and dozens of homes in my real estate business. I see more homes than Carter has….(do you remember how to finish that?). Well, I do…visit a lot of homes that is, and I will also go on record saying the following about the Curran home.
In a sense, it’s unique because of where it is and how the city acquired the orchard and home. Famous architect? OK I’ve really got to respond with a hearty “Whoopie!”. He’s not that famous. But I won’t argue with the fact that the architect is part of the reason to preserve the home.
“But Pat, it’s such a unique home!” No, it’s really not. I can walk you through others here in Pierce County which are considerably more unique in design and treatments. I can walk you through other homes built in the same style, some grand, some modest and a number of them, like this one, in between. I won’t argue with the fact that it is unique in the sense of where it is and what it represents and I think the possibilities here are many.
I understand that a major objection to keeping it and preparing it for public use is the cost involved. No argument. It needs a considerable amount of work from top to bottom. Water leaks, mold, very worn interior, broken windows…the list goes on. If I were listing it for sale, I would have to call it something MORE than just a cosmetic fixer… it needs more work, that is. Further, to prepare it for public use it would have to be brought up to the standards for such activity. Yes, an interior sprinkler system, ADA considerations and more. It would NOT be a cheap project.
So, what do I think should be done? I think preventative maintenance should be applied now so as to stem further deterioration and then let a community group, which does, in fact, exist, lead the fund raising efforts for restoration and retro-fitting to make the property suitable for public use. Of course, the city should bear a level of that responsibility as well and it’s the city which has been so successful with development grants from a variety of sources. Why not pursue assistance for this project, likewise?
The Curran Apple Orchard Park is a unique treasure and that’s no more apparent than today when a whole bunch of U.P. residents are picking and squeezing and making delicious cider from those beautiful apples. What a great afternoon to let your kids ruin a tee shirt and learn and experience and taste and have a ball right here at home in our city. Our summer open air concert series is hosted here in the park and it’s a joy just to take a wander through. Families adopt and care for the trees. This IS a unique place and it’s certainly a unique park and Yes, the home is park of that…or it can be again with restorative work and ongoing care. The home is part of what this place is. Would the park live on without it? It’s fair to say that it would. Would it be a richer place if the home was restored and used in ways appropriate to it’s setting? You bet!
The park is a gem. The house is part of that. The city should find a way to participate in what’s needed here while the bulk of the fund raising should be a community effort. Preserve it. Rehab it. Use it and cherish it. It’s worth it!
In this final photo (above) is Chuck Curran, son of the late owners, chatting Saturday at the home with Cindy Bonaro, Councilperson Lorna Smith and Denise McClusky, council candidate.
If you want to know more or get involved in the preservation efforts, contact Cindy at email@example.com
I have not written for some time about our Tacoma Rainiers but I should say something in putting the lid on their season. I stopped writing about them because #1.) They’re not in University Placeanymore. You see, their corporate offices were just upstairs from mine in what’s commonly refered to as the Coldwell Banker building, across from the new Town Center near 35th and Bridgeport. Well, they’ve gone to a facility on Union across from Life Christian and they tell me they’ve got more room there. (There was more available room in the CB building. So, that excuse hits me as pretty limp. ) At any rate, they moved to Tacoma. 2.) It’s easy to follow the Rainiers in other publications. 3.) Cheney Stadium is in Tacoma and thus the end of the U.P. relationship with the Rainiers? Naw, go to a Rainiers game and see your neighbors. My good friend John Lunkes and I were there the other night and I saw neighbors, retired coworkers, friends and cold beer. Which one did I enjoy the most? (Don’t ask a question like that!) But it was the final win of the season that night against the buzz saw that kills our playoff hopes seemingly every time we get there, the Sacramento River Cats, and low and behold, they did it again this year. So, the season is over but I’ve gotta tell ya, the Pacific North title is nothing to sneeze at and considering the slumps they survived this year, that’s a damned good finish.
Manager Daren Brown can be proud of his accomplishment especially considering the frequency of runs taken this season onthat elevator between Seattle and Tacoma. Just look at the guys who are finishing the season with the Mariners who started with the Rainiers to say nothing of all of the other guys who went up to the dance and returned. Then there are all the guys traded away this year. I would have to say, however, that if we lined up those we lost against those we gained, I’d say we outta respect the Mariners back office. It smells like they know what they’re doing.
However, my favorite Mariner/Rainier play is now a Washington National. In the trade that brought left fielder Ryan Langerhans, we gave up Mike Morse. That kid is talented and I ALWAYS enjoyed watching him play. I watched him play on his birthday in Peoria. I watched him at Spring Training as he racked up the highest batting average of ANY major league player at ANY Spring training camp…how’s .492 sound for a complete preseason? I watched him take that elevator up and take that elevator back down again but no matter where Mike ended up, when he stepped onto the field or he reached for his bat, he was a young professional. Keep an eye on that talented utility player. I think his potential for good things in the majors is high.
And as for our Tacoma Rainiers, I believe the new ownership is doing good things. The price of a Rainier’s dog is still ridiculous but I like the updated rosters, The Dirt, a different player each night signing autographs out front, the new scoreboard, the freshnessthey’ve given back to Cheney, what you see when you sit in any of the good seats and baby, they’re ALL good seats at Cheney Stadium. (Except maybe for the seat directly behind the bronze of Ben Cheney.) Not bad for a 50 year old ballpark, eh? Yeah, officially, next year is the 50th Anniversary. I remember that first season in 1960 watching the Tacoma Giants and that’s when I fell in love with pro baseball. I still get that feeling in a good seat at Cheney Stadium watching the Rainiers…but it’s gotta be one of the good seats!
I should mention that a lot of sports and other Fall activities are getting underway in U.P. To find out what all is happening and to get registered for the programs and events, check the official UP website. See it listed there over on the right? OK upper right.
I should tell you that some friends are doing something pretty smart. Are you familiar with a University Place company known as CORNERSTONE FINANCIAL STRATEGIES? Cornerstone is really Bob and Deanna Cleaveland and their team of financial professionals. I first met Bob and Deanna through my work with the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce but then I came to absolutely trust these two most ethical financial planning pros as they did what was absolutely appropriate for some aging members of my family. They are both superb members of our greater community and we should be pleased to have their business in U.P. What they are doing tomorrow night (Monday September 14th) is sponsoring one heck of a financial planning expert as he visits our area and he’s to be featured on KBTC Television beginning at 8pm. His name is Ed Slott and he’s a nationally recognized IRA distribution expert. He’s the author of Growing And Protecting Your Money In Turbulent Times and other successful books. Ed is often refered to as America’s IRA expert. I just wanted to give you a heads up about something that I think is pretty darned sharp, that one of our local U.P. businesses is up to. You just might profit but tuning in Monday night. That’s KBTC Channel 12 Comcast and Channel 3 on CLICK! Thanks toBob and Deanna Cleaveland and the Cornerstone Financial gang.
REAL ESTATE SALE OF THE DAY: In an effort to help you keep tabs on this continually changing real estate market in University Place here’s another recently sold U.P. home with details from public information. SOLD: 8801 45th Street West in Beckonridge. Well, it’s time I talked about it. The home that has become the scurge of our business. No, not this particular home but SHORT SALE homes in general. Across the board, they are most always a nightmare. By that I mean, they are most often not in the best of shape and they are usually an AS IS sale and why not? A Short Sale is when you can’t sell your home for what you owe on it. You, the homeowner will walk away with nothing. So, why would you do repairs or keep it in tip top shape? And by the way, once you accept an offer it still has to go to the bank for their approval and the bank says they’ll cooperate which implies that they will take a loss. So you go get what you can for it and then find out whether or not the bank really will cooperate. They often do not. And too many times they tell the homeowner they will and then the homeowner get’s to the closing table and to get out from under the home they just moved out of they must sign a note to the bank for the deficit. Yes, they now loose their home and begin paying what they DIDN’T get in the sale, back to the bank and again, remember, they just LOST that home. The bank isn’t cooperating at all! They are not taking a short. They are simply letting you sell the hose to someone for less than you owe on it and now you owe the bank an unsecured loan at “what interest rate?”. For the homeowner, it’s ugly but for the home buyer it’s ugly, too. We have to remember that in a short sale, the homeowner is still making the monthly payments on that house up for sale. You see it, like it make an offer that the seller approves but then you have to wait for the mortgage holder to approve it, too and here comes the ugly part. That will take MONTHS!!! If you make an offer on a bank owned property they are motivated to get it sold so they respond often in a matter of hours but with a Short Sale, again, somebody is making the payments so why should the bank be motivated to take a short (which in the end they often don’t do, anyway). They drag their feet, deal very badly with the clients… I mean, MEAN, nasty, rude, offensive…get the picture? And short sales are taking three, four, five, six months and more! It’s a nightmare and No, the pricing is not necessarily anything near a bargain, to begin with.
This particular home was a Short Sale but I chose it because it was the rare exception to that model I described above. This 1972 split level U.P. home offered 4 bedrooms, 2.25 baths and as I recall it was pretty clean inside and had been maintained fairly well but NOT updated at all, again, as my memory serves from when I saw it when it was first listed back in March. They started at $279K which wasn’t bad but had to drop it first to $259K then to $249 to finally get a buyer. So, it took about 70 days to get that buyer but then it took another two and a half months to get it closed (thanks bank!). Now that one wasn’t too bad. There ARE exceptions to the rule but that is NOT what your average Short Sale is like. It’s more like the one I have in progress on North 30th Street in Tacoma right now. Eight weeks we have been waiting for ANYTHING from the bank. No answers. They keep saying things like, they are still reviewing the file. We check for an updated states every single week and most weeks there is none. It’s a long, ridiculously drawn out process and (here’s the bombshell) MOST BUYERS WILL NOT PUT UP WITH IT. They just march down the street and buy the one that isn’t a short sale or the one that was foreclosed on and it’s now a bank owned property for sale. Those buyers know they will receive timely answers and they have good reasons to expect their purchase to go smoothly and they will be treated with the respect they deserve. More and more of the practitioners in my profession are not showing Short Sales because they don’t want to put their buyers through that nightmare. And more and more buyers when they see what the average Short Sale looks like, they don’t want to have anything to do with it either. By the time you even get a response from the bank about your offer, you could have purchased, closed and moved into many other homes. So, why bother? On rare occasion we find short sales like this one where it only took two and a half months to get it closed. Folks, that’s still two and half months most buyers don’t want to wait, especially when they don’t have the final answer and what about those sellers who don’t know if they are going to walk away clean or if they are absorbing a new and often sizeable debt. The banks take the bailouts and then the screws get put to the mortgage holders. That’s the reality of it.
To determine what you should do if you need to sell and you suspect this market might not support what you owe on the home or to find out if you really do want to consider short sales in your buying efforts…on either issue, one way or another…to reach an informed decision, just give me a shout. It’s what I do and I’ll be happy to make sure you get the straight word!
PAT MADDOCK Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS 3560 Bridgeport Way West, University Place, WA 98466 (253)682-1182
Who is this guy?
As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and a current Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.