Saturday, February 03, 2007

Humble, Proud, and Simply the Sweetness - the Essence of Payton Lives On

'85 vs. '06 Bears.
What can you say, in '85 they had bad singing, but 'Da Bears' were big on character... and talent. But I like the attitude of these '06-'07 Monsters of the Midway, too. Humility rules in my reign today - how did this happen to the old cocky me? I don't know, I still want to be #1 in product quality in business, I still strive to be the best at all I do. But I don't want to have a huge ego and declare to the world that we are Number 1. Chicago is the city of Big Shoulders, not Big Heads. The Bears show that with their tireless work ethic and smashmouth game play. There are very few superstars on that team, but look to where they've gotten. I want our company, our people, our customers to be #1 in their business. If we get to do that, we will be successful, and I can get back to writing more. I see my people as superstars, but maybe I should think of them as more of team players. I want us to focus on winning as a team - let our own personal pride come out of that.

Go Bears of today, thanks for the leadership of humility!

If they had been nice to Walter Payton, I would probably remember love them more. Great Sweetness, thanks McMahon for remembering him on an ESPN special. Talk about a man with super human abilities, but with a heart of pure kindness. Who else in professional sports better represents what is right and noble as an athlete, as an American, as a human being. And his foundation lives on in his memory. Giving back like #34 always did - on this day let's remember him, and remember to be humble and always give to those less fortunate.

Please visit theWalter and Connie Payton Foundation and share today!


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Friday, February 02, 2007

King of the Hill? Housing-Income Gap in King County Widens

The big scare across the country is falling house prices, leading to a cooler trend in the Real Estate market. But here in the Seattle area – and King County in particular – a more daunting problem is being caused by the exact opposite trend: high price tags.

A new study shows that fewer and fewer King County residents can afford to live within county limits. The typical wage-earning household would have to bring in nearly 50% more income in order to afford even the median-priced housing.

That average house in King was worth around $332k in 2005. At that rate, homeowners would need to make in excess of $88k a year to afford the suggested 30% of income devoted to housing costs. The average household, however, only brought in around $60k last year.

The gap between real income and the price of affordable housing has been widening year after year. In 2003 the average home in King County cost $265k, while the average income was only $1,500 less than it is now. In the years that followed, prices continued to climb, while income levels increased relatively slowly.

Many attribute part of the problem to increasing interest rates, but the gap is much wider than that. The truth of the matter is that Seattle is a highly desirable area in which to live and buy. The surplus of high-wage jobs make it relatively affordable for high-income professionals, but that does not account for the low-wage workers that are here to service the area.

Despite the numbers, low-wage families are not out of luck. The south end of King County is typically much cheaper than other areas closer to downtown, making home ownership more affordable here. The condominium market has also stayed luke-warm rather than raging hot. And apartment leases, which can offer lower monthly rates, though do not build real estate value, tend to be the norm among lower-income families.

For more information on the Seattle Real Estate market and online listing services, visit and



Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Forewarned before Foreclosed

A somewhat disturbing trend is continuing to sweep across the national and local real estate markets. Last year, Washington State’s mortgage foreclosures increased again, claiming nearly 20,000 homes statewide.

The trend is a national epidemic, recording a 42% increase in foreclosures across the country last year. Experts blame the foreclosures on resetting loans, which increase interest rates and mortgage payments for homeowners. When big financial changes occur in the midst of a cool real estate season, it can be difficult for homeowners to cope – leaving those who cannot refinance or sell their homes to face the ultimate real estate penalty.

Fortunately, the rate increase was less dramatic in Washington’s conservative market. Foreclosure rates grew 25% here, with one in every 129 homes facing the ax statewide, but almost one in 75 specifically in Tacoma. The Seattle/Bellevue area stayed relatively stable at one in every 136.

The state that took the largest hit was Colorado, with one in every 33 homes being foreclosed – and a jaw-dropping one in 24 in Denver itself.

The warning is clear: the fluctuation of the economy and mortgage rates can often cause dire consequences among homeowners. The greatest weapon against unforeseen problems is getting the best information up front.

Visit or check out our innovative real estate IDX tools at for the latest news on the Seattle housing market.


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Monday, January 29, 2007

Evergreen Point Blank

The fat cats are at it again and just maybe this time homeowners in the Seattle area are going to get a pleasant surprise.

On Friday, the Regional Transportation Investment District ‘reshuffled’ a new transportation plan that would begin construction on a modern six-lane bridge connecting Seattle to the Eastside via Route 520. The RTID voted unanimously to replace the Evergreen Point Bridge, which links the metro regions across Lake Washington. The new plan would also include expansion of the Sound Transit’s light rail system, further connecting Seattle to outlaying areas.

The real challenge comes in November, when voters go to the polls to ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ the plan that would be partially funded out of taxpayers’ own pockets. The board plans to raise both vehicle license prices and institute a small increase on sales tax, as well as tolls levied on the bridge itself.

The plan’s 8.5 billion dollar price tag is daunting, but it should have property owners smiling. The improved transportation between Seattle and the Eastside would almost certainly ensure greater opportunity for jobs and provide a lift to the real estate market.

Both areas would most likely see increased demand, pushing up home prices, and strengthening a market that has taken a slight hit in the past two years. Easier access to Seattle proper would make the Eastside more attractive to downtown businessmen weary of long commutes. Seattle residents would gain far easier sojourns out of town and increased commerce between the areas.

The main key is this: transportation is the unsung hero of the real estate market. Easier mobility and faster commutes puts nothing but money straight into the property. The RTID is thinking progressively here, realizing the higher demand for housing downtown and making areas that once stood out of the way more easily accessible.

For more information about Seattle real estate visit or check out our innovative real estate IDX tools at


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