Category: univeristy place real estate


What a gorgeous couple of days! Is THIS finally summer?

Has anyone tried the new angle, back-in parking in front of town center on Bridgeport? I had one fella write me and say, “I tried to accomplish this almost impossible driving act, during the 5:00 – 6:00 traffic.  Needless to

Just in front of the new town center

say the result was less than favorable with the other drivers. Many honked their horns, waved (with one digit) and yelled obscenities.” Oh, sure, the old “You’re Number One” hand gesture.  I occasionally use the angle, back-in parking downtown on Tacoma Avenue and find it to be a bit “unnatural” but it’s certainly doable. After watching men, women and (comparative) children doing it without hesitation I concluded that it’s just something I need to get used to. Ha! Remember all of the hubbub about roundabouts? “Somebody’s gonna get killed because of those things.” “They’ll be tearing ’em up and repaving inside of a year!” Right. Give me a choice between a four-way traffic signal and a roundabout and I’m taking the roundabout EVERY time! And as for the back-in parking, I understand it really increases capacity and you don’t have to BACK INTO TRAFFIC like you would with a nose-in parking spot. Do I think it’s a good idea? Well, the folks I’ve talked to around Tacoma Ave seem to think so. I suppose then, what we ought to do is just give it a chance. Once town center is built and it’s been used for months, we should know better. Now don’t get me started about roundabouts made to resemble an eagle’s aerie!

Speaking of unexpected birds.  Have you seen it?  Did you see it being delivered?  What am I talking about?  The DUCK! 

They are dedicating it tomorrow (Sat) afternoon at 1:00.  Go see for yourself.  It’s under wraps today but tomorrow afternoon….tada! A giant duck!

Now, let’s set the record straight.  For the city to have an unending affection for the late Mr. Terry Reim is, at the least, appropriate.  Anyone who gives and gives and gives ought to be remembered and yes, perhaps memorialized.  But a DUCK?!?  No less a five foot duck (I may be exaggerating just a hair).  But the fact is that our new town center and beautiful library building and new cop shop and market square and all things great and architecturally beautiful about the hub of University Place – to come, will now be fronted by a gigantic brass duck.  I’m at a loss. 

Now, I know some people who I think a lot of are very much in favor of this

Is that a duck under there?

 memorial.  And I know they are very fond of the duck and they are very fond of University Place and you put it all together and we end up with a giant brass duck symbolizing our city.  Yes, yes, yes. I know that nobody said this was being placed there as a symbol of our city but that’s EXACTLY the effect it will have. I promise you.  Give it time.  Put money on it. You’ll win!  We’ll become “the Duck city”, “Ducktown”, “Quackersville”. The new UP obscenity will be “Duck you, buddy!”  OK, well maybe not but you get my drift. Just imagine how much fun they are going to have with this up and down the halls of Curtis Senior High. I have news for our new police chief. You want a target for pranks and graffiti?  You just got it.  “Hey, let’s go T-P the duck!”  Graffiti duck, I can just see it, now.  Is it easy to get spray paint off brass.  I honestly do hope no moron damages it (whether you like it or not – that’s just wrong) but you gotta admit, it’s about to take the place of the 56th Street Rock as a target for mischief.   I’m sure someone is envisioning little kids crawling around it as Mom takes a break in Market Square in the afternoon sun. Sure. It will happen but then that night at about 1am, big brother and his buddies, after another win by the home team, well… the boys will find a target for their “nuttin’ to do around here” lament.  The youthful, immature corners of my mind are going crazy right now with all of the stunts that could be played at, on, under and around Mr. Duck.  And, oh yeah, does he have a name?  Or is he a she?  There’s our first question to answer. Would somebody who actually knows something about ducks, (for real) certainly not me, go determine if it’s a rake or a hen, please.  (Yes, that IS what you call a male duck.)

Yes, I certainly am aware of our annual Duck Daze and the duck parade. Can I figure why people want to dress up in yellow and walk through the spring rain to the old town center in celebration of Duck Daze?  Nuttin’ to do around here? Mmmmm, yeah, that COULD be it?  Or maybe they really are seeking and identify for them and their city and the love our ducks!?!

Again, no argument…it’s a good thing to memorialize an outstanding citizen who was very popular and did a lot around U.P. before his untimely passing. No arguement.  In fact, my reticence about wholeheartedly accepting the big brass duck right in front of Market Square, has not a thing to do with the late Mr. Reim. It has everything to do with the fact that if I had to pick a symbol for our city, an animal in fact, that stands for the spirit of University Place, I certainly would rank mole, frog, racoon and coyote above duck. 

So, let me wrap a ribbon around this topic with one final thought. Over the course of the past year, what animals have I seen in University Place?  Aside from domestic dogs and cats and other such pets, let’s see… racoon, coyote, deer, mole, rat, possum, about 12 gazillion squirrels, a multitude of birds including eagles and the oft-depositing Canada goose, bats and not one single freakin’ DUCK! None. Zero. Zilch!  No ducks!!!  Maybe at one of our nature parks, they hang around doing whatever ducks do but since I don’t frequent our nature parks, I have seen not one single, solitary duck and not just in the past year but I’m willing to bet I haven’t seen a single duck in U.P. in the past FIVE years!    So, with all the civic pride I can muster I’ve got to ask, why oh why if you were going to put a memorial piece of art in front of Market Square, why in the hell is it a big, fat duck?

Now don’t get me started on the public art in University Place. You really DON’T want to do that.  There is one I actually like…a lot.  The others…  just don’t get me started!

Have you been voting in support of the Playground by the Sound?  EVERY DAY?!?  That’s what we need to compete and earn the $50K from Pepsi.  It only takes a moment and all you have to do is past this address into your browser and go do it.  EVERY DAY until we win!  The kids deserve it dontcha think?   http://www.refresheverything.com/search/?q=%22Playground+by+the+Sound+Committee%22+kids.basket+Joshua.Hazelton+fox.road+copper.Improvement+bed.head+upper.brain+%22vanRensburg%22+Oakland.Christian

Our U.P. Fire Department will host a free Fall Fun Day on Saturday, October 23 from 10 am-1 pm at UP Fire Dept. Pony rides, petting zoo, digital pictures for kids in costume, bake sale and food drive and pumpkins for the first 300 kids are all included in the plan.  They encourage you to wear your costume and the kids can get their Halloween safety bracelet and bag, there, too.  Refreshments are being served and the U.P. Primary PTSA will hold their bake sale, as well.  When you are packing up the kids to bring them, grab some non-perishable food to donate there, too. Would you?

Don’t forget tomorrow (Sat) is Fall Clean Up for everyone who lives NORTH of 40th Street.  It’s time to all your stuff to UP Refuse.  Next week, everybody SOUTH of 40th Street. 564-3212 is the number for more info.

Tuesday, Oct 19th is another installment of the Free Natural Yard Care Workshop series at the U.P. City Hall from 6:30 to 8:30.  This week, it’s Designing with the Right Plants in the Right Places and the topic of Natural Lawn Care which I don’t need to worry about. Instead, I should find a clinic offering “Natural Moss Care”.  If it wasn’t for moss my lawn wouldn’t be green!  Space is limited. So, contact grinehart@tpchd.org to reserve your seat.  The final night will be Oct. 26th when they will present Garden Pest Management (I wonder if that includes firearms?) and the topic of Smart Watering Techniques.  Do we need to be watering our gardens?  After all, we live in University Place, Washington!  Well, attend the clinic and listen to the experts, not me.  In my garden I grow hops and hot peppers…what do I know?

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 (Info from public records).  

2002 University Place home

Well, here’s another one that the bank took. I don’t know why the owner didn’t make their payments. I don’t know why they walked away from it and it’s really none of our business. The point is that YOUR home won’t sell for what it should because there are far too many of these bank owned properties, priced aggressively and stealing our buyers…yours and mine.  True!  If I can get this 2,411 square foot home built in 2002 and in good condition for less than $300K, why am I going to pay you what you want for your home?  This home sold for $120 per square foot. Now, don’t go comparing your 1970’s home on that basis and don’t go comparing your rambler based on that data.  Different homes are worth different prices.  If you want to know what your home is worth or what you can get for it TODAY, just call me and I’ll be more than happy to tell you.  However, know that if it’s out there competing with the likes of this home, the bank owning this home is competing with you in ways you can’t do.  Can you price your home to compete with bank foreclosures?  Most often the answer is “No”.  But you MUST if you want your home to be the one selected by the buyers who are also considering the bank owned properties.  It’s head-to-head competition and the banks WILL win if we price our homes like we would have four years ago…FACT!  

Banks don’t want to own homes.  They lose money every day they hold them.  So, they price them to be SOLD…NOW!  They have to and will beat your price because, again, they don’t want to own them and will do what it takes to get them sold, without hesitation.  Pierce County leads the state in foreclosures.  THAT should startle you.  That should also tell you that it takes very up-to-date market knowledge, experience and insight to get your home sold right now.  We can but it ain’t the old days when we had bidding wars ever other day, when we didn’t get the sign up before it was sold. No, I don’t know that we will EVER see those days again. But is getting your home sold for a decent price a doable task right now?  Yes, it is but it isn’t for the faint of heart.  If you want to discuss that, give me a shout.  I do it all the time and would be happy to sit down with you and discuss what it will take to get your deal done.  University Place homes STILL compete well in our market and, as is the case with this one that just sold, even if it’s a UP house that’s NOT in the UP School District, it competes well.

Well, I have a football game to get to tonight, a chili cookoff to compete in tomorrow, a birthday party for a daughter and son-in-law tomorrow, a benefit concert for a distant cousin tomorrow night and sheesh!  I’ll catch my breath in time for the Seahawks, I hope!

Have a wonderful weekend and, as always, be well…

PAT MADDOCK                                                                                                                                           Coldwell Banker BainREALTORS  3560 Bridgeport Way West,          University Place, WA 98466                                                                                                                             (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

So, just who IS this guy?

Pat’s been a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place and he was the 2007 President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS as well as a 2009 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.   Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran. But most importantly, he’s been a     University Place native since 1953.

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OK, OK, OK already. I get it! You want me to start up the blog again! Whew!
I suppose it’s a good thing that so many folks have been “beating me up” to resurrect the “University Place: What’s UP?” blog.  So, I should say a sincere “Thank You” for the compliment.
However, to restart the process I have to clear the air just a bit and here’s the best way for me to do that.  Set Policy.
As frequent readers will know, I don’t author this blog to piss and moan. I don’t put the time into it to gripe and rant about what’s wrong with… most anything. There are enough folks around us every day who do that FAR better than I ever could. Don’t mess with the masters.
But more importantly, there is so very much around us that is positive, is good, is healthy, fun … that we LIKE! …that we LOVE!  I began writing this blog for a simple reason. TO BUILD COMMUNITY!  Not to tear it down.
I spent my morning, today,  in a class with experts talking about social media and they acknowledged that there will always be those who seek out good things in order to play their small-minded “Troll” games and “Pee on the flower bed” as my Father used to say. And you know what? The flowers don’t like it.
Well, I view you as the flowers, the things that are bright and good about our community and if I can perpetuate a tool which contributes to that just a wee bit, I think it’s worth doing.
I’m not going to dwell on the nay sayers who caused me to back off production of this blog with their constant gripes about our community, our city, it’s leadership and about the economic state of our society at large. No, I didn’t post their messages and I won’t. That’s not why I created this little creature and, according to YOU, that’s not what you want to read. They were not griping about me or what I was saying here but still, I won’t be the platform for “pissin’ and moanin'”. I don’t need it. You don’t want it. Door closed!
OK. I needed to get that out. Thank you for sitting through it. I hope you understand that you sure can write me about ANYthing but what WE seem to want is information about what’s coming up in our community.  A fair and equal treatment of local issues.  A positive look at our world here in University Place and, from what I do every day, a peek at our own slice of the real estate marketplace and how it’s effecting the value of our homes and investments, here.  So, shall we get back to the business at hand?
UNIVERSITY PLACE: What’s UP? (Now that we got all of that out of the way, I’ll give you a mini version and we’ll really catch up in the next edition.)

REMEMBER WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE THIS?

Doesn’t the new Library look inviting , these days?  Have you paused on Bridgeport to take a look at it, lately? Wow!  That place is really going to be something and Yes, I understand they ARE on track to have it finished shortly after the first of the year.  I really am looking forward to walking through. I’m absolutely looking forward to taking my grandsons!  I loved the old Swasey Branch Library on 6th Avenue when I was a kid and I loved the Pierce County Bookmobile in the summertime.   Remember?  They brought us The Hardy Boys,  Long John Silver, the magic of Shakespeare, scientific discoveries, our national parks, the adventures of Lewis and Clark.  All right, I AM dating myself but they did bring my sisters Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie mysteries.  They trained us to use our imagination. They helped us develop a thirst for more and more and more!  Yeah. The library.  If we don’t think it’s a gem of our community we really missed the boat somewhere.  Get ready to reaquaint yourself with all that magic but much bigger and better than University Place ever knew of the very fine facility we had.  My understanding of the plans for the new library is…well, just wait.  We ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!   There are, however, some unmet needs inside and the Library folks are conducting fund raising to meet them. I’ll tell you more about that next time but understand you can participate in small or large ways, you, your kids, your neighbors, all of us!   It’s a chance to invest in something which will pay us back and right away. To say nothing of what it will do for our youngsters…and theirs!

October 12th, this next Tuesday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 the Pierce County Department of Health is bringing a free and informative workshop to us at U.P. City Hall.  What’s it about? NATURAL YARD CARE.  (Hey, NOW’S the time of year!) Specifically, Tuesday the experts will present you with answers on Garden Design:  Backyard Composting & Growing Healthy Soil.  Sign up RIGHT NOW as space is filling up. grinehart@tpchad.org  will register you and/or get you more info but DON’T put it off.  They’ve got more sessions planned for upcoming weeks and I’ll get in to those specifics, next time.

FALL CLEAN UP…FALL CLEAN UP…FALL CLEAN UP  How many times have I heard

My wife insisted, "But there's MORE!"

my neighbors bemoaning the fact that they missed it?  Well, don’t.  Here it comes.  Saturday, October 16th. If you live NORTH OF 40TH Street it’s your day.  Load up your truck (I didn’t say OVERload) with your “stuff” and head to UP Refuse & Recycling at 2815 Rochester Street West between 9am and 4pm.  (Pssst some of us go early to avoid too much of a waiting line.)  Call them at 564-3212  (8:30am to 4:30pm) to get all the details.  Hey!  What if I live SOUTH OF 40TH Street?  No problem.  The following Saturday is YOUR day, October 23rd.

REAL ESTATE DEAL OF THE DAY: In an effort to help you keep tabs on this continually changing real estate market in University Place here’s another Actively For Sale U.P. home.  

It's a perfect U.P. condo

When you hear the admonition that “It’s a great time to BUY!”  Well, it certainly is.  The deals are unbelievable.  The equity you have when you walk in the door is crazy.  History concretely tells us that the healthy market will return and some are saying we’re already on the upswing. I won’t argue that the market has picked up as of late but the admonition doesn’t change.  The prices are way down and they need ‘em sold. So,  it IS a great time to buy! .  Interest rates are hovering at or below 4.25% … like the lowest EVER!  So, what’s for sale out there that you haven’t seen?  Well, here’s one…behind locked gates.  The neighborhood is called Williamswood, built 10 years ago by William Barrett. (Hence, Williamswood.) and the beautiful little community,  just west of University Place Elementary School and on the north side of 27th is just clean as a whistle with freshly paved streets with a nice

It’s light and bright and the price is right!

clubhouse. The exteriors and yards are all maintained by the community and this two bedroom, two bath, one-level home without stairs, is on the market for only $209,000!  No, I’m NOT kidding. What’s wrong with it?  I see nothing wrong.  The seller kept this 1,322 square foot home in superb shape.  The master suite is HUGE. I swear you could play basketball in there…OK, now I’m exaggerating.  The fact is, this is a very nice, open concept rambler condo in a pristine little gated community in the heart of University Place and the price is RIGHT!  Want to take a look?  Give me a shout!  I would be happy to show it to you…today!

 
First of the week, we’ll get back to our regular delivery of timely University Place information and we’ll certainly keep our eyes on the real estate market for you. You tell me you like that.  I really do want to thank so many of your for your positive feedback and your calls to “Bring back the Blog!”  Those were nice to hear.  There’s a lot coming up in our little piece of the world over the next few months and we’ve got some important elections just around the corner. Hey!  Are you as tired as my wife and I are of political ads?!?  OMG “…and I endorsed this message”.  Give me a break!  If the candidates did everything as wrong as their opponents said they did, I think they’d be behind bars! But you know what those ads ARE doing that I like?  Every time one comes on in the middle of one of the few decent shows on TV right now, my wife and I turn to each other and actually speak!   Imagine that.  To heck with NCIS or Dancing with the Wanna Be’s or whatever.  We’re so sick of the political commercials, we actually talk to each other… after 37 years of marriage.  Wow!  So, I’ll take this opportunity to thank Dino and Patty and Dave and Susan and whoever else is out there “…endorsing this message.”  You’ve done my wife and I a real service.  Thanks. Oh, we’re not voting for you but thanks anyway.

Have a wonderful weekend and, as always, be well…

PAT MADDOCK                                                                                                                                           Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS                                                                                              3560 Bridgeport Way West,                                                                                                                             University Place, WA 98466                                                                                                                             (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

So, just who IS this guy?

Pat’s been a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place and he was the 2007 President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS as well as a 2009 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.   Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953.

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OK OK OK … I’m back!
You wouldn’t believe the hounding I’ve been taking because I haven’t been writing. Sorry. I’ll try to get my head back into it. I mean, after all, this IS the time our community starts to come to life, every year. So, I suppose I should, as well.

Next weekend is DUCK DAYS! Even Fircrest is opening the pool today. Sheesh. We’re talking polar bear club.

Well, OK, I’ll get back into it this week and get you the Duck Days details. The chamber has a number of things going on. City government is alive and … oh be nice now. And the real estate marketplace…now that’s another story!

But first, there is one and only one important consideration this weekend, from where I stand. Please indulge me and then I’ll get the blog about U.P. back on it’s feet and looking forward, this week. Nice to be back. Good to “see” you all.

MEMORIAL DAY
A three day weekend for bbq, beaches, camping (blue tarps around here), working in the garden, time away from the job… Sure, I suppose. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. Not at all. If it wasn’t for the rain, I would probably be working in the yard, myself.

Back during the civil war, the confederates didn’t think there was anything wrong with dumping the bodies of hundreds and hundreds of union soldiers into a mass grave and marching on off down the road. But in 1865 a group of emancipated slaves felt that maybe they owed those union soldiers a little something more. So, they voluntarily dug up that mass grave and established a cemetary for the union dead and they started what became known as Decoration Day, that Spring. That’s the day we visit the dearly departed, remembering them, who they were, what they stood for and we revisit our cherished memories of them. And as the day evolved, as all things do, it became known as Memorial Day, a recognized federal holiday and it became widely applied as a day or a weekend to visit our cemetaries and pay our respects to those who have gone before us. And what’s wrong with that?

No. It’s not the absolute original intent of the commemoration but it’s certainly an honorable one. And that’s what I do, too.

Today, I’ll visit our family’s cemetary, tidy up the decorations for my late parents, visit my grandparents and some aunts and uncles and before I leave, I will always put a fresh flag in place for my father… the Marine.

He didn’t talk a lot about what he did during the war. That was WWII, by the way. I know he had some very vivid memories that were not very pleasant but he understood why he did what he did and, given the chance, he would have done it all again. He once told me that he was proud of me for my choice to serve our country and the 20 years I spent in an Air Force uniform and that meant a helluva lot to me, coming from him.

I like to take a moment and remember my parents, honor them, say a prayer for them and put them back a little closer to my heart, where they belong.
Memorial Day is a good time to do that. Yet, it certainly is also the time for us to remember all of our servicemen and women who have raised their hands and said “I will” when our country called on them, too. They may have fought to establish our freedom. They may have fought to stop aggression. They may have given their lives to thwart terrorism. There have been too many reasons over the many years of our young country, too many reasons for war. Can I say I support all of the causes which took our young men and women into harms way? Certainly not. I’m a child of the ’60’s, after all and we question everything. But I do honor THEM, the men and the women, and I honor those they left behind. It’s true that a parent should never outlive their child. It’s just not right. Ask any parent of a service member who did not come home.

This is a time to remember who paid the ultimate sacrifice but I would submit it’s a time to also be mindful of the children who were left without a father, wives and husbands who felt as if they lost half of themselves and the parents. Oh, the parents who lost children, children in uniform. Could there be anything more desperately heart wrenching?

I honor them, as well. They who also gave.

I find Memorial Day to be an appropriate time to remind myself, too that we all ARE the government of this nation. We set the policies, make the laws and send our sons and daughters off to war. If we are mired in Afghanistan and Bin Laden is still creeping around after all of these years, do I blame George Bush? Well, honestly, yes I do but I have to stand up and take some of that blame myself because I AM the government of this country. I have a voice and No, I don’t just mean a vote. I mean that I talk with our elected representatives and I work to get the good ones reelected and I work to replace them when they deserve it, as I am today. I have that responsibility. I owe it to my country. I owe it to my family and I owe it to the men and women serving us all, in uniform…and those who have gone before them.

It’s good that we honor a day of remembrance. It’s good that we remember to say “Thank You”. Even if we only take a moment on Monday afternoon to sit down for a few minutes and just imagine what it would be like to be the spouse or the child or the brother or the sister, or God forbid, the parent of a service member who never came home. Imagine.

Don’t they deserve that from us? Don’t we owe them enough to remind ourselves what an unfathomable sacrifice they made for us, both them and their loved ones?

Memorial Day is a good thing. It’s a very good thing.

It’s been said that as long as there are men, there will be wars.

Perhaps in remembering and imaging we can also take a moment for two more thoughts. One would be how wonderful our world could be without another war. If you really give that some thought, it’s beyond description. But the other thought harkens back to the words of Albert Einstein who said, “I do not know what weapons the next war will be fought with but I know the war after that will be fought with sticks and stones.”

We all have a role in this.

Memorial Day is a very good time to remember, to think ahead and to determine what role we each can play in stopping parents from losing their children.

Memorial Day is a good thing. It’s a very good thing.

Not really caring what the “professional” sports commentators decide to say about it, THAT was one helluva Superbowl!

So, with so much going on around University Place what shall we discuss today?

Nothing.
Nothing expect the election.
And I’m really not going to discuss it.
I’m going to “get a little pushy” instead. If you want rationale for why you should vote for the School Levy, read the newspaper or read the preceding installment of the this blog.

My message to you today is really this simple. VOTE!

VOTE right now! Tuesday the 9th is election day and if you are reading this on the 10th and you didn’t vote. Look for a hard object like a bat or maybe a  rolling pin or perhaps a shovel. Grasp the handle firmly and hit yourself in the head!  Yes. I’m serious. OK you can use your hand if you can’t find anything else.

We cannot afford to “forget” to fund our schools. It’s really THAT important.

So, I don’t want to dilute the message. VOTE, VOTE now and of course…

VOTE “Yes” for Schools !!!

My very sincere thanks to you!

PAT MADDOCK     

Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS      3560 Bridgeport Way     University Place, WA  98466      patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

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 the 2009 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.

You can find him at the Bridgeport office of Coldwell Banker Bain.  If you want to know something about University Place real estate, talk with someone who certainly does!

 So, it was the driest January on record here?  It just felt kinda-yucky There is something VERY important I need to you do.  Frankly the people who need you to do this are a lot shorter than I am, come to think of it.    We need you to go dig up your ballot…now!  You, know, the one you received in the mail the other day.  Inside it’s labelled “Special Election Ballot – February 9, 2010, etc…”  Now, if you wait until February 9th, you’ll probably forget, as I would.  And instead of me just saying “Mark Yes” and mail it back in, I should set the record straight on an item of concern or two. 

NO, NO, NO this is not in any way tied to the Town Center!  Sheesh!  I couldn’t believe it Friday when I was talking with our School District(UPSD)  Superintendent, Patti Banks, and she noted that there are people out there who are actually under the impression that the two are somehow connected. NO, NO, NO!   Please pass that word on, would you? 

And while you’re at it, NO, NO, NO this is not a levy for capital improvements!  That means, this is not a tax so they can build new buildings. No! This is, as your ballot explains, a REPLACEMENT levy.  In other words, a few years back we voted to fund the operations, maintainance, staffing, materials, books, etc…the “stuff” needed to educate our youngsters. Well that runs out at the end of this year and this levy will REPLACE those funds.  It will NOT build new buildings. Those monies come from a totally different place.  This vote is essentially saying Yes, we want school to continue in University Place.

Let’s take a quick peak at where funds do come from that keep the doors open through our schools.  State funds provide 68.28% of the revenue used by the UPSD and 21% of their revenue comes from local levies such as this one. That’s about 1 out of every 5 dollars used to operate our schools that is dependent upon this election.  Whew!  I would not want to see what would happen if we took 1 our of every 5 dollars away from the operations of our school district!  And I don’t even have kids in school!

  Which brings up another important point. I was in a conversation with a gent the other day who was bitchin about the fact that this was bound to pass and he was gonna have to keep paying for the UP Schools when his kids had all graduated from Curtis and now have families of their own.  I wanted to slap him but I’ve taken a personal vow to be nicer and I have no desire to inspect the inside of a Pierce County Sheriff’s facility.  If that thought every crosses your mind (No, not the slapping)  please think of two things.  When you were putting your kids through school, here or wherever, you were not alone in funding that.  Parents whose children were long gone were helping you fund your childrens’ education. Single folks who never had kids were helping to fund it.  Even my parents and so many like them who helped pay the cost of students in University Place while they also paid tuition to St. Charles where all six of us Maddock kids attended, then Bellarmine and so on.  But Dad didn’t gripe about having to pay twice because it was his choice to send us to Catholic school and  (Here’s that second reason I promised you) he knew that by maintaining a strong school district there was a direct impact on the rate of appreciation of his biggest monetary investment, our home. 

In my business I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had clients come to me and list the U.P. Schools as THEE number one reason why they wanted to live here.  Of course you realize that the same home in U.P. and in Fircrest will bring two different prices, don’t you?  It’s primarily because of the schools!  The day I stop supporting U.P. Schools is the day I no longer care about the resale value of my home!  

By the way, in 2010 we have a voter approved rate of taxation in support of the schools (bond, M&O and tech levies) of $6.85 per $1,000 of assessed valuation of our homes.  With the passage of this levy this week (don’t put it off) in 2011, the voter approved estimated total will be $6.62 per $1,000.  Ah, yes, that WOULD be less. Now wouldn’t it?  Do you think I’m going to fill out my ballot with a YES and send it in BEFORE the February 9th deadline?  Yes?  NO!  … I already did it!

Please get to your friends and neighbors and politely remind them to get their YES vote in early and if you think it’s going to be a NO vote, then let’s hijack their ballot.  Yes, I’m kidding.  But you certainly know how to correct any misconception they might have about the election.  If not, give me a shout. I’ll be all too happy to chat with them.  It really is that important.  Thanks!

The City of University Place Economic Development Office is about to start their Business Workshop Series again.  February 24th will be the first lunchtime session and they are worth their weight in ownership/managerial gold!  They really are.  I’ll tell you more as the date nears but grab a pencil and your calendar and write “U.P. Food for Thought” on Feb 24th.  They will happen about every other month this year and all you pay for is your lunch.  Last year’s sessions were worth TONS more than that!  Seriously, mark your calendar and check back here and I’ll tell you the details of the first one. So, you can make it a point not to miss it.  Outside experts talking specifically about issues we face with our businesses every day.  This is powerful stuff.

Are you a business owner or manager in University Place?  If so, you really ought to look into the University Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.  It is a very active and successful arm of the main chamber and it’s one that certainly makes a difference for you and your business here in U.P.   One small thing you might want to just show up for and yes, that’s totally welcomed…you don’t need to be a member to come join in…it’s called Wake U.P. and it happens the last Friday morning of each month. The February event is set for 7:30 a.m., Friday, February 26th and it always takes place at the U.P. Presbyterian Church (C’mon around back) at 8101 27th St West.  It runs until 9:00 a.m. and it’s packed full of information which benefits most all of us as business owners/managers here.  It’s different every month and it’s valuable every month.  Plus, that first half hour as most of us are drinking coffee and just trying to think lucidly, it’s a good time do a little networking with other business owners from the area.  Give it a try. I believe you’ll be surprised and if you want to, just tell anyone who asks that I invited you! 

So, what is going on in the real estate realm now? We see all the for sale signs around University Place but what’s happening elsewhere. Yes. We heard the news that Pierce County essentially crashed in December, something over a 16% loss from the prior month. Does that mean the value of my home fell 16%? No. Certainly not. What it means is that we closed more than 16% fewer sales than in the prior month. But isn’t December traditionally a slow month? Yes. It is but that doesn’t cover the 16%. A player in that number was that so many first time buyers sprinted to meet the deadline to qualify for the $8,000 federal tax credit for buying their first home or the first they’ve owned in more than three years. There was a deadline to hit which did get extended until this June but many were sprinting and they closed in October and November and the rush was done by the time December rolled around.

New-home buyers responded to the tough times in 2009 by opting for smaller houses, driving down the average size of a house built in the United States for the first time in 27 years. Data recently released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found the average size of a new home that was completed in 2009 fell to 2,480 square feet from 2,520 square feet in 2008. That doesn’t seem like a big adjustment but many of us feel the trend will continue.  I really think we’ll settle somewhere around 2,000 square feet.

RealtyTrac, one of the leading online marketplaces for foreclosure properties, released its Year-End 2009 Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report, which shows that cities in four sun belt states accounted for all top 20 foreclosure rates in 2009 among metro areas with a population of 200,000 or more, but foreclosure activity showed signs of spreading into previously insulated areas as unemployment became more of a driving factor.

California accounted for nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates, followed by Florida with eight, Nevada with two and Arizona with one. The highest-ranked metro area outside of those four states was in Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, which ranked No. 24 with 4.66% of its housing units receiving at least one foreclosure notice in 2009.

Many of us in the industry feel that we’re entering a new wave of foreclosures, driven more by unemployment and economic hardship than what we’ve seen over the past few Areas like Provo, Utah, Fayetteville, Ark., Portland, Ore., and Rockford, Ill., all posted foreclosure rates above the U.S. average in 2009. And markets like Honolulu, Minneapolis and Seattle saw foreclosure activity increase at more than twice the national pace over the past 12 months—although all three of those markets still had 2009 foreclosure rates that were at or below the U.S. average.

Las Vegas posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate for the year, with more than 12% of its housing units receiving a foreclosure notice in 2009—more than five times the national average. Las Vegas reported a quarter-over-quarter decline in foreclosure activity in the fourth quarter—as did all the other metro areas with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 for 2009.

Las Vegas never ceases to amaze me and for so many reasons. Did you know that there are more Catholic churches in the greater Las Vegas area than there are casinos?  (If you think about it, one sort of leads to the other.)  What I didn’t know was that the churches in Las Vegas accept casino gambling chips in the Sunday collection plate? No kidding. The churches have organized and figured out that if, each week,  they gather their chips together, hand them over to a local monastery of Franciscans, they get them exchanged for cash. The Franciscans, of course are the …. chip monks. (Didn’t even see it coming, did ya?)

Next week we’ll look at a couple more recent, local home sales.  Have a great week!

PAT MADDOCK     

Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS      3560 Bridgeport Way     University Place, WA  98466      patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

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 the 2009 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.

You can find him at the Bridgeport office of Coldwell Banker Bain.  If you want to know something about University Place real estate, talk with someone who certainly does!

Boy! It’s been awhile and I’m glad to “be back”. I hope you are having a great new year in this 2010 and why not? I mean, yes, there’s rampant unemployment and bills need to be paid and businesses are not reaching their goals and schools need to be funded and the state has no idea where they will actually find sufficient sources of what they perceive to be necessary funding and our own city council is in crumbling disarray and… Whew! I’m starting to bring MYSELF down. Sorry. I’ll get off that. But why?

For a very good reason. Positive begats positive. Negative begats negative. That is to say that life proves to us over and over again that the more positive our attitude and actions are the more positive our experiences and outcomes will be. It’s just an undeniable fact of life.

In recovering from my open heart surgery, (exactly four years ago this week), I was one bitter son-of a gun and I let that linger for much too long of a  time. How did I expect to have positive things and positive people around me if I didn’t seem to have a positive bone in my body? The more positive I try to be, the more focused I am on BUILDING for the future, not tearing down but BUILDING….that’s a purely positive action…the more of that I exhibit, honestly, the more positive things flow my way and you know what, I love it!  And surprise – I get twice as much accomplished!

I could dwell on that topic for a month of Sundays but that’s not what you “tune in” here for, now is it?  So, what’s UP in U.P?

Hey. I got a postcard from a friend of mine who’s in the south sea islands on his well-deserved annual vacation!  He was around here about a month ago.  Thought you might agree…he deserves this.

Speaking of hard work, we’ve got a staff over there at the city that’s scrambling like a dozen eggs, doing more with less. That’s for sure. After the end of year staff cuts, staff members still have a bit of a hard time explaining all the hats they are wearing simultaneously. The harsh part of that were those who were let go. It’s the economic times we are in. I understand that. The only thing to do now, is to support the people who are here to support us. Those who are juggling jobs like a circus entertainer need to be given the rights that go along with the responsibilities. We’ve given them a lot to do. Now, we need to let them do it or they are absolutely bound to fail, with micromanagement, interference, etc. I hate to sound boring but treat them Positively and the quality of people we have in this city will care well for us and our neighborhoods.

Set them up to succeed.  Don’t harass them toward failure!

Mommy/Daddy and Me starts their Kids Love Soccer program Monday 1/25 for the 2-3.5 year olds.  Want to know more?  Hit the city website at www.ci.university-place.wa.us   While you are there, watch for info on the other YOUTH SOCCER programs for the various age groups.

Did you read the “big news” in the Tribune about the development at the Chambers Bay golf course?  Well, before you conclude that they are about to break ground on a hotel and everything else, understand that there’s no money on the table, yet and without it, it’s talk.  The developer happens to be an old friend of mine and actually a damned fine person (who I used to fight with constantly as kids…but that’s a different story….he really is a good guy).  But we do need to understand that if development of the nature being proposed does not have all the major glitches worked out and if it isn’t funded and ready to break ground aggressively within  about the next year or so, it’s not going to happen.  A committment has been made by our county to the USGA that Chambers Bay WILL be ready to host the U.S. Open in 2015 and if a development of this nature is not completed, well, let’s just say that a construction site is NOT where the USGA will host their tournament.  They always have an alternate site ready.  So, it’s either time to put up, strike the full agreement and break ground or go find another project.  All I’m saying is they’ve got to get a move on.  That’s the developer’s responsibility.  Commercial development monies are tight (Oh, THAT’S the understatement of this year!) as evidenced by the pace at Town Center but investment monies ARE there.  If the project is right and there is sales job extraordinaire being conducted…the $$$ will flow.

Since former Pierce County Exec, John Ladenberg first made it known that he wanted to see the course sited there, I always thought view residences could fund a lot of good things on site.  That is to say, the sale of impeccable view lots for multi-million dollar homes which would not be in the way of anything planned or in place today, could produce revenue to fund the building of a number of the other amenities you want in a destination resort such as Chambers Bay COULD become.  The developer  with a memo on the table, Jim Burkhouse, is a smart and successful guy.  If there’s a way to do it in this economy, he’ll figure it out.  The county would love to see it but it CANNOT get in the way of preparations for or the hosting of the US Open just five short years from now.  So, I suspect it’s an Elvis deal.  “It’s now or never”.

What else is up in UP?  I hate to sound like a broken record but if you’ve got somebody at your house interested in ballet, Polynesian dance, guitar or so many other instructional options, check out the city website.  Some are underway but many have more sessions starting shortly.  www.ci.university-place.wa.us

And for the not-so-young youngsters around here, the AARP Driver Safety course is set for Wednesday and Thursday 1/27 & 28 at the Senior Community Center on Grandview. Call 564-1992 to complete the required pre-registration.

Hey, by the way, let’s thank those folks, offices and companies who stood up to foot the bill to sponsor our Youth Basketball Coed League.  When you see the folks associated with these sponsors, please take the time to express your THANKS.  Sponsors make it possible for our kids to have this experience!  AHBL, Mercedes Nepute LMP, the Law Office of Clayton R. Dickson, Way Out Records, the UP Volunteer Center, Tacoma Bike LLC, Westside Community Bank, Owens Press Inc, the Pain Clinic, Alarm Works NW and Team Insurance. When city funds are tight, WE ARE THE CITY!!!  Isn’t it time for us to step up and make sure the programs which make this such a desireable place to live are maintained?

Sponsored youth athletics IS possible, isn’t it?  We can’t quite now, though.  We’ve really got to ratchet it up for the upcoming sports seasons.  Just think how many youngsters play softball and baseball. 460-2530 is the number to call at Parks and Rec to find out how you or your company can be a sponsor for U.P. Youth Athletics.  It’s important!

There’s so much more going on around University Place these day and we’ll get back to it all but before I close out with an updated look at U.P. real estate allow me to finish with just one simple thought.  If you never support any taxation levy ever again in your voting life, support the current request for University Place Schools.  There are those who say “Now is not the time, not in this economy.”  While I put off things I would like to buy right now for my wife and myself, I cannot put off funding for our school system. Yeah, sure my kids are all grown and long out of school.  That’s not the point and I take issue with ANY senior who says, “Don’t tax me. It’s somebody else’s turn.”  Well, you know what?  When we were putting our kids through school, we needed the support of the seniors who already had and you know that’s the truth!  It’s our turn to step up and support what those youngsters need, what our school district needs to remain one of the best in the state.  By the way, if you want to negatively affect the value of your home and property, just stop supporting our schools.  They backslide and so does your home’s value!  Undeniable Fact!  See that old black and white photo of Mr. George Curtis and friends in front of the old original U.P. Elementary School? (Yes, yes I did.)  Do you see what the sign said?   And now,  U.P. schools still need our support.  U.P. kids DESERVE it!

So, what has the U.P. real estate market been up to lately?   (Shhhhh Do you hear that quiet?)  It might be an overstatement to say you could hear a pin drop but it’s been very, very quiet.  In fact, since the day after Christmas there have only been seven U.P. residential sales close.  That included one condo.  Seven!   I have closed seven in one day…No, I haven’t. Five is my record but seven is very, very slow for a city of our size, especially for a period of nearly a month.  Two factors are to be kept in mind. Yes, the obvious…we’re in the heart of a very slow market but on top of that is the reoccurring factor of “Seasons”.  This is NOT the season for big sales in residential real estate.  We are approaching a traditionally stronger period but January is just a slow month and that’s ALWAYS a fact.  Now, couple that with the down market we are in and you get the picture.  Is that to say U.P. homes won’t sell now?  No, not at all. In fact, I’m listing a VERY marketable U.P. home next week and I promise you, it’s going to sell!  It’s a great 5-bedroom, beautifully remodelled home with a fantastic fenced yard, ringed by evergreens and … I’ll tell you all about it when I put it on the market.  In the meanwhile, WHAT’S SELLING?

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.  (In fact, to catch up, here are several)  SOLD7607 Chambers Creek Road West.  It started at $497,500 and after  dropping the list price to $449,950, they sold it for $412,000 in a mere 753 days….WHAT?!?  That’s over two years!  Yep, it is.  But that includes a period of time when they were offering a developement as part of the listing.  Overcomplicated deals aren’t going together right now. Those monies are hard to find.  Simple, well priced home deals work.     SOLD:  4108 Brouse Blvd West in the Heitman Addition near Curtis.  They listed it for $229,900 and sold it 53 days later for $225,000.  Another rambler, this one from 1963 offering 1,447 square feet including 3 beds and 1.5 baths. This home had some remodelling inside with Corian counters, cherry cabinetry, vinyl windows and hardwood floors and even as small as it is, it was relatively desireable and the price was right on.  So, it didn’t linger on the market as so very many are, here today.  The house on Sunset (above) sold in 247 days.  SOLD:  8314 63rd St St West. Now here was an owner-occupied home that was neither a Short Sale nor a bank owned property.  Oh, the market is just loaded with those at the moment and WILL be for some time to come.  Here was a home in comparatively excellent condition and it was originally listed for $395,000 but it was dropped to $330,000.  Why?  Because those cut rate deals on the bank owned and short sale properties effect EVERY home on the market.  In 91 days they took $335,000 for this 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2,125 square foot home built in 1990 in the Danbridge community above Chambers Creek Road.  It’s only fair to add that they pay $157 per month in homeowner’s dues, there.  When you are looking at value and monthly payments, you’ve really got to look at the whole picture and those association dues are a legitimate part of that.  SOLD: 2019 Sunset Drive West.   Listed at $315,000 then eventually dropped all the way down  to $249,000 then sold for $245,000.  It was a bank owned 1954 rambler with 3 beds and 1.75 baths on a third of an acre with a 2-car garage. 2,644 square feet.  It closed on 12/30.  It took 434 days for this house to finally sell and close. Oh they had earlier sales…FOUR OF THEM!  None of them got past the inspection phase.  Think there was a problem with this house?  Oh, just maybe?

 

PAT MADDOCK     

Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS      3560 Bridgeport Way     University Place, WA  98466      patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

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 the 2009 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.

You can find him at the Bridgeport office of Coldwell Banker Bain.  If you want to know something about University Place real estate, talk with someone who certainly does!

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Are you prepared for Christmas Eve?  I’m referring to the tracking of the grand old man. The NORAD Tracks Santa web site is www.noradstanta.org and that features holiday games and activities that change daily.  I suppose there is just a right age to be “wowed” by this show. Not sure what it might be but I do know some “kids” in their 60’s who love to visit the site.  On 12/24 the web site will stream videos captured by NORAD’s Santa Cams from along the jolly old elf’s route.
Beginning that morning at midnight, the website will show Santa preparing his sleigh, checking his list, etc… later, the kids can track him via Google Maps and Google Earth reports.
At 4am MST (no kidding) on Christmas Eve, they begin answering phone calls and emails at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. The phone number is 877-Hi-NORAD (877-446-6723) or youngsters can send email to noradtrackssanta@gmail.com
Although they’ve certainly expanded the program since then, NORAD began providing Santa updates back in 1955 when a child dialed a misprinted phone number and reached the NORAD Headquarters near Colorado Springs. That’s the North American Aerospace Defense Command…for the record.
If you are travelling in an OnStar equipped vehicle that evening you simply push the blue OnStar button to get status reports on Santa’s whereabouts.  What will they think of next?
So, do you want to amaze your little ones?  Now you can!

I asked a friend last summer if he ever attended the outdoor concerts at the Curran Orchard and his response was, “Not any more…same old same old, ya know.”  So, I just called him and reminded him of that and told him to solve the problem. Here’s how you can.  Faye Anderson at 565-3754 is the person to contact if you have a band you would like to hear in the park or if there’s a type of music you would prefer or even if you are in a band and want to be considered for performance.  We can sit and bitch or we can promote change.  Speak now or forever…you know the rest.

Are you ready for Christmas?  Are you ready for a safe Christmas?  Our friends at the fire station remind us… Recycle wrapping paper – Don’t burn it in the fireplace…  Keep the lit candles up high and away from kids and pets…  When there’s something cooking on the stovetop make sure the cook is there, too…   Smoke outdoors…  Keep matches and lighters up high and locked away…  Don’t overload outlets… Extension cords can not only be a tripping hazard but a fire hazard, too when we start walking on them…  Oh, one more comment about those candles…not too close to decorations!  Common sense goes a long, long way toward a safe holiday.

With the recent passing of Council Member Jean Brooks, the city is seeking an applicant to fill Position #7.  Completed application packets will be accepted at the city until January 8th.  For more information, visit the city web site www.ci.university-place.wa.us

By the way, do you have a neighbor who might be alone this week?  The holidays can be a real depressing event for some.  Maybe a knock on the door from you and a brief visit could make a difference.  And when the temperature drops, are you thinking about neighbors who might not be fending well for themselves, perhaps the elderly, perhaps the not-so-able?  You know it feels good to help.  Winter calls for more than the usual amount of that.Well, it’s Monday afternoon and there’s one more gift I need to buy, a few yet to wrap and a bird to thaw.  But I also must remember that it’s a challenging Christmas for many families around us.  Unemployment is high and a lot of businesses just don’t know how they will make it into next year.  Our country’s economy hasn’t seen the likes of this in many, many years but to heck with the big picture…think about YOUR neighbors.  Who might need a hand or even an invite? Perhaps a meal?  What’s your part in making this Christmas in University Place a good one?  Maybe a knock on the door down the street just to check and see how things are.  The good Lord knows we would appreciate it, if the shoe was on the other foot!  Living in U.P. IS different.  It IS special and along with all that we enjoy here, I suppose some little bit of extra effort on our part might be appropriate, as well, in terms of “giving back”.  There ARE neighbors in need, here.  Perhaps you are the one who can make that little bit of difference to restore their faith, lift their spirits and make them feel good about themselves again.  How?  Just extend your hand, ask what’s needed, keep them in your prayers, maybe invite them over for a warm cup and in the end, eye to eye, wish them a sincere Merry Christmas. You just might be surprised at how much it is appreciated.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

PAT MADDOCK   Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS              3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466                       (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

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.

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As if life was back to normal…
Greetings all. Hope this finds you well.
Only 10 shopping days left ’til Christmas…when did that happen?
In retrospect, I think it’s fair to say that I have no idea where 2009 has gone. None!
While that may or may not be a bad thing, it startles me to think how close we are to 2010.  2010?  That’s a number not a year!  “Back in ’67”.  I understand what that means. “In 2010, we’ll be…”. I don’t get it. It doesn’t SOUND like a year. It doesn’t LOOK like a year. Nothing about that number says “next year” to me. OK, now that I have officially designated myself as an old fart, I suppose I should just get into the blog and ponder the unfathomable on my own time… sheesh!

First Aid and CPR Classes are coming up this Saturday, the 19th. From 9am to 5pm, the class will run you $30 and you ought to be registering NOW by calling 564-1623.

And speaking of Saturday, PLEASE rummage through your can cupboard and ask yourself if you couldn’t help restock the food bank?  No kidding.  This year the need is huge.  A bunch of U.P. volunteers are doing something this Saturday to make a dent in that problem but they won’t be successful without you.  (See below)

The next time you’re sitting around wondering why we can’t buy a decent pro football team, consider the difference you can make with a bit of your spare time.  (No, not for the Seahawks.)  The U.P. Volunteer Center is a real gem in our community and they would love to hear that you can dig up a couple of hours here or there to pitch in making U.P. a better place.  Consider giving them a call at 223-0039.   (Now, about that football team… )

I was having a conversation yesterday with a fellow who told me about being in a tailor shop downtown when members of the Tacoma Police Department Honor Guard stopped in with their new uniforms in need of a rush job of tailoring before the memorial for their fallen brethren from Lakewood.  What impressed the gentleman who told me about it was the fact that during a rather brief visit, no less than a half dozen passers-by bothered to take the time to walk into the shop and offer their hands in thanks to each of the uniformed officers, for the jobs they do for us.  We’ve all heard similar stories as of late and many of us have, ourselves,  taken an extra step to express appreciation.  Why let that stop?  Can’t we just make it our habit to stop what we are doing  when we see a uniformed officer and take less than a half of a minute to look them in the eye, extend our hand and sincerely thank them for what they do on our behalf.  It’s natural for us to feel emotionally motivated to do so right now in the wake of our local tragedy but why let that show of support fade.  Talk to any of them.  Ask them how they feel about that.  You’ll see the look on their face change and you’ll hear a response from the heart.  It DOES make a difference to them!  And don’t they make a difference to us?  Don’t stop thanking them.  They deserve to hear it every day, every week, every month.  Many of you know that I’m retired Air Force and in the early days of my career it was not at all popular to be seen in a military uniform and that hurt.  You can guess how important it is to me to take the time to thank our young servicemembers and their families for the sacrifices they make for us every day of their lives.  Well, our debt does not end there.  Those four Lakewood officers were wearing their uniforms because we need police to do just that.  Not unlike Air Force bombers on alert, we need the deterrence that our police professionals provide for us, just by their uniformed presence.  We need them uniformed, visible and out in the community but that simple act, as we have so clearly seen, puts their very lives in jeopardy.  Is our thanks enough?  Maybe not but it’s a damned good place to start!

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:  6913 Twin Hills Drive West.  Here was a perfect example of a house chasing the market.  That is to say, it appeared for sale first at $389,000 which was a bit above comparable homes in the marketplace, yet $1,000 less than they had bought it for just three years before.  Well, of course, other homes began selling but not this one.  It had a lot going for it, nice bright, good sized kitchen, huge common rooms both upstairs and down, five bedrooms or offices or playrooms or whatever…the floorplan was certainly flexible. It was located in the U.P. School District on a very low traffic street in the heart of a nice development of like-valued homes.  But again, it was priced just a bit above the market and that market was depreciating.  So, rapidly, the market “ran away from the house”.  By that, I mean, other comparable homes appeared for sale but at lower and lower prices and those others competing with this house which had already been on the market, they were cutting prices right and left.  However, the homeowners here, while advised to do so, couldn’t see their way clear to making their home competitive with the others.  The only way to do so would have been to make the price reductions in a timely manner.  Now, is this what we want to deal with when we sell our home?  Of course not but it is what’s happening all around us in the market right now.  Well, certainly earlier this year it was but this house just didn’t keep up.  So, two things happened as a result of that.  First, it was on the market for 292 days!  No fun.  And more importantly, in the end, it sold for less than it would have had it been made competitive early in that lengthy listing period.  Agents and buyers begin to see a home as “damaged goods” after it’s lingered on the market far beyond the competition.  Even if they can’t find a thing wrong with it, they “perceive” that there are problems…they just come to see the home as less valuable than it’s competition and in the end, to get it sold, it must be PRICED BELOW the competition.  Hence, the seller gets less than they would have had they priced it even with the competition early on.  It’s an expensive lesson.  My advice to future sellers is this.  Learn from other’s experiences.  Don’t pay that price, too.  When you realize your home is not selling BUT others are, get your price truly competing with your rivals.  If you don’t, your home is simply helping theirs to sell by showing itself as the one that is overpriced, while the comps are comparative deals. 

It’s still a nasty market out there and it will be for some time to come.  To compete in it, you must KNOW it and not at a gross level but intimately.  Trust your REALTOR and ask him for the information behind his recommendations.  He’ll be happy to share his market knowledge and research. So, you can be well informed, too.

Well, don’t let the shopping crowds get to you and beware of being ‘swept away’ in your favorite stores.   What?  You know what I mean. It might be REI, Sports Authority, Macy’s that gets ahold of you or you might be held captive, as I was the other day,  in Border’s Books.  I came home after a multi-hour visit to buy one book, with two bags full of volumes.  I didn’t shop the store. The store shopped me!  Beware! 

PAT MADDOCK   Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS              3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466                (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

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.

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Didja miss me? Ha!
I was just burned out after election week. The most tumultuous election week in U.P. since… Well, ever! It’s behind us and I, for one, am glad for that.  We talk about how sick and tired we are of mudslinging, name calling and otherwise “low road” politicians at the national level but when they come home to roost right here in University Place…how terribly disappointing.

I should take a Thanksgiving minute and send my thanks to all of you who have gone out of your way to stop me when I’m at the store, in community meetings or elsewhere, to tell me how much you enjoy reading this blog. Sincerely, thank you. It does take a fair amount of time and effort and I am more than open to your input but again, I just want to stop and thank you for taking the time to express your appreciation.

Didja know that our Pierce County Library System “celebrated” Amnesty week last month and welcomed people back to the Library without affecting the Library’s bottom line budget, which includes projected revenues from fines and fees of $520,000.

Wait a minute, did they say over half a million dollars primarily in late fines?  A half million dollars?!?!   Holy Crap!

You may recall, that when the Amnesty week was announced I went on record as clearly leaning toward arresting the flagrant offenders, not offering them Amnesty.  That is to say, those jamokes who just take ’em after taxpayers dollars pay for ’em.  It’s called T-H-E-F-T!! 

But a half million dollars!?  I’m in shock.  I’ll keep my nose out of second guessing the librarians.  They seem to know what the heck they are doing.  Maybe the whole amnesty idea has more than just a sparkle of brilliance to it.  Wow!  I’m knocked out.

OK, sometimes it doesn’t take that much.  Actually, I really ought to be learning for them.  I’ve got it…”Hey Mike, remember my roto-tiller you borrowed last summer, I need to collect $250.00 in late fees!”  “Jim, is my wood chipper still in your garage?  Ah, that’ll be $335.00.”  “Oh, Bob, that toilet plunger you borrowed…on second thought, uh, never mind.  You can keep that.”

Librarians.  What a group of enterprising people! (And world class whisperers.)

Well I would be remiss if I did not offer you all a Happy Thanksgiving.  Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, 1620, Indians, Corn, Mayflower…parts of it are  even true.   Any excuse to take a moment and say thank you sincerely to those who support us…that makes it worthwhile and sausage and apple stuffing and some giblet gravy doesn’t hurt any, either!  There actually was a time, after my heart surgery that I blamed my health crisis singlehandedly on Giblet Gravy! But, oh baby what a way to go.

Saturday Dec 5th from 3-6pm in Windmill Village it’s a free event as we light our CHRISTMAS Tree.  No, it’s not a holiday bush.  It’s a Christmas Tree.  The next time someone says to you that they think it’s wrong for a public entity like a city to display a Christmas Tree because it’s a Christian tradition, fill ’em in.  The Christmas tree actually goes back to Roman pagan festivals, then the Druids latched onto it in old Britain as they marked winter solstice. Hey if you want pagan traditions, go for the yule log and the hanging of mistletoe.  But the tree really is an old German tradition as is, of course Santa Claus.  Now, speaking of old holiday traditions, somebody has to explain to me the significance of the Yule Goat!  No. I’m not kidding.  Anyway, Saturday afternoon there will be Santa pictures, kids can ride the train, there will be local musical performers, food and drink and, of course, the lighting of the CHRISTMAS Tree!  Come enjoy!  (When last I checked they were still seeking volunteers to help out.)  Call 223-0039 to get involved or shoot Julie an email at jkerrigan@upvolunteers.org

First Aid and CPR class is coming up again, Saturday, Dec 19th from 9am to 5pm.  This course meets the L&I requirements as well as the Health Services Standards.  The good folks at the University Place Fire Department are the instructors. Your CPR certification is good for two years.  Payment must be made in advance, along with registration. For more information, call 564-1623 but don’t put it off.  At least four pre-registrations are required or the class will be cancelled.

Lions Pancake Breakfast with Santa, Dec 12, 9 to 11 at Univ Place Primary School.  $5 for adults, $3 for the kids and $5 for photos with the jolly old Lion himself.

Speaking of that fine group of volunteers, the Lions, we recently lost one of the very best.  Without fanfare, quietly, respectfully, just the way he lived, Ralph Harrison of University Place passed away just a couple of weeks back.  Now, there was a fair chance that the average UP resident didn’t know Ralph but if you have any past association with Boys Scouting around here, you couldn’t have missed him.  Ralph was the Scoutmaster of the St Charles Parish Boy Scout troop for decades putting an endless supply of young men up into the mountains, deep into the Olympics, cresting the Cascades and what they eventually all realized was that in any one of Ralph’s boy-led units, you just couldn’t help but learn while you were enjoying those adventures.  Ralph believed in the program. He believed in allowing young men to rise to challenges and he believed in letting them fail.  In turn, Ralph knew how to get them to learn.  He liked to say, “Oh, he won’t do that again.”  And from my experience with Mr Harrison, he was right.  Some scout units flounder year in and year out while everything at the leadership end of things is done by the adults.  The boys might make rank, IF they chose to stick with it and they might even learn a little bit but if you want to see wonderful young men who know, understand and live by things like the Scout Law and the Oath, watch any of the young men, now Dads and patrons of our communities, who spent time scouting with Ralph Harrison. Ralph was honored by the Boy Scouts with darned near every honor they have all the way up to and including the Silver Beaver.  But as far as Ralph was concerned, the highest honor he wore was one he earned as a young scout. His highest honor was his Eagle Scout award.  And some of the most memorable moments in Ralph’s career centered around his scouts working toward and achieving their own Eagle.   Without fanfare, quietly, respectfully…that’s the way Ralph Harrison lived his life but the impact he left behind on so very, very many young men and their families will be felt for many, many years to come.  What was Ralph Harrison?  He was a wonderful Dad, a devoted husband to lovely Teresa and to those of us who walked trails with him Ralph Harrison was Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent!. 

Have you ever thought that your spare time might be valuable to someone else?  Well the good folks at the UP Volunteer Center absolutely believe that and they’ve got many choices for you as to how you might opt to best apply your time, energies, experience… call Julie Kerrigan (253-223-0039).

If you haven’t been keeping track, budget cuts in the city are going to require quite a lot more volunteer help and leadership to keep our youth sports programs alive and well.  And why not?  I remember that’s how we used to do it when I was a little guy back in the ’50’s and ’60’s playing ball down at old Colgate Park.  If it wasn’t for parents, we would not have had any sports programs.  Coaches, officials, administrators, organizers, grounds help…you name it.  Everyone’s talents and experience will be put to work.  So, keep your ears open for a call from the city for assistance.  Why?  Because our kids want to play ball.  Our kids deserve to play ball. We want to keep our kids off the street.  The kids…  Oh, I could give you 50 reasons but I think you got it. 

Oh by the way…where did the money go from the city’s general fund which is there, in part, to pay the salaries of city employees to run these programs and others?  Town center  Nope?  Reconfiguration of Bridgeport?  Nope.  The next time you think Tim Eyeman has another one of his “good ideas” remember the impact of his other measures dating back into the ’90s.  That’s the fund his authored initiatives have been raiding, time and time again, the general funds of municipalities across the state.  If you think government should be smaller.  That’s ok but then you better be willing to get off your duff and go volunteer to do what the former government employees were doing for us…Which ones, the 20-plus who are about to lose their jobs right here in U.P.   Real Estate Excise Taxes are down simply because darned few homes are selling.  (Just ask me)  But it’s the initiatives which have gutted the city’s general fund that puts us into such a squeeze at a tight economic time like this.  And the effect?  Two-fold.  We put more people into the jobless category and we either shut down youth athletics and other parks & rec programs or volunteers step up to run them.  So, you do have a choice.  You want smaller government?  Then do it yourself!  It really blew me away the other day, a guy was telling me how we shouldn’t have this crisis because we have more employees than any city needs and we’re just a little place.  He thought it was good that we were “thinning”.  In fact at one point I remember him using the phrase, “Survival of the fittest.”  He also went on to insist that this city should have the best sports, parks and rec programs in the state because our taxes pay for them and we pay a lot, here.  (Oh, if he only knew how good we do have it, in terms of taxes here.)  Furthermore, he insisted that there never has been any reason why parents need to coach or volunteer to support kids activities here.  If the city didn’t squander all of the tons of  money he pays them, there would be paying jobs for a lot of people here.  He went on.  I did not.  After awhile I remembered that you shouldn’t try to teach a pig to sing.  It’s just a waste of your time and it annoys the pig! I did however suggest in parting that he NOT volunteer to work with the kids.  Gee, I wonder why.

Be well…

PAT MADDOCK   Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS              3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466                (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

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.

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Monday night, November 2nd, there will be an important Public Hearing at the town hall at 7pm.  It’s all about 2010 revenues in U.P. and a possible local property tax increase.  They’ll also be discussing the increase to some city fees, as well.  MANY cities across American have already far surpassed what’s being discussed here…it’s just that kind of economy.  While it won’t be supremely interesting for many, it will be important.

Your local REALTORS say, OK, it must be time for Fall stuff…  Typically our last fertilizer treatment for the lawn for the year happens right about now.  What type?  How about a slow release nitrogen fertilizer and apply according to the package.  You’ll be thankful in the Spring.

Watch the weather forecast.  When you see an upcoming week of reasonably warm temps, it’s a great time to sprinkle some seed and maybe a bit of topsoil in your lawn where the bare spots are.  Warmish days and cool nights…that’s the perfect time.

Have you ever wondered what the effect is of leaving wet leaves on your lawn for more than a daycompost-leaves4 or two?  They rob your turf of oxygen and can kill the lawn in a matter of days. No kidding.  So?  Rake ’em, blow ’em, mow ’em chopping them back into the lawn as a natural fertilizer or add them to your compost pile and remember to layer, brown material then green material.

Sunday, November 1st, skip forward or spring f…No.  C’mon, it’s the end of Daylight Savings Time. So, we are supposed to Fall up…Spring bac…No, it’s Spring nothing, it’s Fall something!  Fall over!  No, that’s not it, either. Fall down?  Fall-la-la-la-la?  No, that’s a bit early.  Hey, while we’re at it, are you celebrating the big holiday Friday?  It’s National Candy Corn Day!  I don’t jest about serious topics like that!  But this Sunday you really do need to do something with your clocks…not sure what, just change something.  Maybe, try moving your alarm setting an hour forward so you can sleep in on Monday!  “What do you mean, that’ll be TWO hours?” 

A couple of things I try to do whenever I reset my clocks in the Fall and Spring is to change the batteries in my smoke alarms and treat the roof for moss.  I gave that piece of advice to a friend a few years ago and later he calls me to say, “I opened the alarm and I don’t see any batteries.”  So, I asked him if he installed it or if it was there when he bought the house, new.  He said it was there.  I explained that his alarms were “hard wired” to the electrical circuitry of his home and there are no batteries involved.  So, my college professor friend then asks, “Well, what am I gonna do with these six batteries I bought?”  I told him to just put them in his junk drawer in the kitchen and they’ll still be unused when it’s time to reset the clocks and take care of the alarms next year.  His response?  “Oh, yeah. Good idea!”  He teaches Art.

Now, as for treating the roof for moss, if you have a composition roof, as most of us do, here’s the easiest and cheapest way to prevent roof moss.  Again, watch the weather forecast.  When it’s dry…you remember dry?  And you see two or three or more days of rain coming up, head for theRoof Moss “I buy everthing in 55 gal size” store and get the cheapest dry laundry detergent you can find.  Then the day before it’s going to start raining, get up on the roof and sprinkle it by the handful along all of the ridge lines.  What happens then is both preventative and entertaining.  First, the rain dissolves it and washes the soap down the roof destroying the roots of the moss before they can really get started or perhaps REstarted, as you should get on the roof first with a straw broom and sweep away all the growths of moss.  Don’t destroy your roofing by sweeping away all of the granules on the roof shingles,  just the moss. Then let the soap get in there and kill off the roots before they can come back.  Yes. It works and it ‘s a lot cheaper than the Anti-Moss treatments at the home improvement stores.  Oh, the entertainment value of it?  Here’s the thing. Once the rains hit, if your downspouts are not tight lined, you’re likely to have growing mounds of soap suds at the corners of your home to the end that your neighbors will drive by and notice your house is “foaming at the mouth”. Tell ’em you’re treating it for distemper!  They’ll go away with a puzzled look on their face…if they teach Art.

Why do I not recommend cleaning your roof with a pressure washer?  Well, it’s about the easiest way to do it but it can also take YEARS off the life expectancy of your composition roof.  Roofs are far too expensive to beat them up with a hard stream of water.  Sweep the moss off, preserving the roofing. Then let the soap do the rest.

Remember that University Place Public Hearing I told you about back in September on the topic of increasing the rates for garbage pick up.  Well, I suppose you figured out it got postponed.  It’s now set for November 16th. So, if you want to get in on that, just head for town hall on the 16th at 7pm.

By the way, there are tons of Zumba and Yoga and Pilates and other self-improvement classes like that being offered by the city.  Check the UP municipal website…it’s over there on the list to your right.

So, this guy (I won’t bother to name) reads my last blog and sends me a comment. That’s nice. Unfortunately Finger Pointit contains the following quote, “I do not intend to offend you personally but people need to be very careful about accepting economic data from a realtor.”  OK, well then Sir (First of all REALTOR carries a trademark and is written in capital letters…got it?  Thanks.) I would note, what you said you intended NOT to do, you promptly did.  (I don’t mean to hurt you but here, take this punch.) And since you can’t make up your mind, you’ll not be sharing such scatterbrained thoughts in here.  Plus, you purposefully offended me and all I ever purposefully offend are politicians!   (Oh, so many thoughts come to mind at this moment.)   

The data I offered in the last blog dealt with home sales and home sale  inventory statistics.  For that, you’ll find no BETTER source than an experienced, qualified REALTOR who gets his stats directly from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  I sure wouldn’t turn to an economist for THAT. By the time they get done analyzing it, it’s HISTORICAL data.  If I want to know how the strawberries are this season, I’ll talk with the farmer, not the Ag analyst.  The farmer knows how they are selling.  He sees the national numbers and he knows the local numbers and on top of that, he knows how they taste!  And after all, when it comes to strawberries, that’s what matters.

You may have seen it in another venue recently but I’ll quote the CBS Money Watch, “10 Best and 10 Worst Housing Markets”.  They talked about the national median home prices not being expected to climb much for the next few years and then they added that there will be a lot of movement down at the local level.  “Some markets are poised to do quite nicely – others will tank. Based on the Case-Shiller index, Moody’s Economy.com forcast the 10 best and worst markets between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the fourth quarter of 2013.”  Then they led their list of 10 best with a little place called TACOMA, WASHINGTON.  While no other Northwest areas made the top ten list there were also none on the bottom ten roster, either. Their prediction was for a 20.7% market appreciation here  (While predicting a 40.3% market DEpreciation for Miami).   But for gosh sakes don’t take economic news from a REALTOR!  (LOL)  Do I know what our market is doing and what’s expected?  Whether you believe that I do or not understand this…I’M BUSY!

In case we might be too fixated on the recession and we let it get us down too far, there’s always another perspective to consider…

If the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds”, I think you should pick up the phone, call them and ask, “Who?  Me or you?”

Hotwheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM!DOLLAR SIGN

I understand McDonalds is about to debut the 1/4 ouncer.  You know McDonalds, the place where just the other day the employee asked you “Can you afford fries with that?”.  (That employ was probably a real estate agent.  Half of them are driving buses the other half are riding them!)

And as for Bernie Madoff, I’m oh so glad that Congress is investigating the whole thing.  (Right!)  So, the guy who made $50 billion disappear is being investigated by the guys who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!  God help us!

HAVE YOU VOTED?

No?  Why in the world not?  PLEASE don’t let your ballot sit there and gather dust past November 3rd….PLEASE.  Truth be told, it’s not even HOW you vote that’s important to me.  As I’ve mentioned before, on my 20 year galavant around the planet, I lived in places where they didn’t enjoy the freedoms and rights we do. I am constantly appalled at the low number of people who turn out for our elections especially when it’s not a Presidential year.  What we do LOCALLY can have a much more immediate impact on our lives than what we do nationally.  PLEASE give it your best consideration and get that ballot turned in, please!

I’ve beat the drum enough concerning the U.P. City Council Candidates.  If you missed it you can alway go look at past blogs here.  If you didn’t miss it, I won’t deafen you with continued beating.  Thank’s for hearing me out and taking the whole thing seriously.  It IS important.  Enough!

                                                                                   PAT MADDOCK     

 Coldwell Banker Bain

   3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466   (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

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.

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