Recent Happenings

When I bought this url and started posting I was traveling the world as an itinerant raft guide and ski bum.  I think most people liked the posts much more, not to mention the internet was kind of a “new thing” back then.  Now, I pretty much just post about Real Estate and I’ve noticed that not a lot of people read my posts.  So, here’s a change, a few things I’ve done lately….

I traveled up to Oakridge to ride the Alpine Trail.  Some of my good friends from years of adventuring had been recommending the Alpine Trail and Oakridge mountain biking for years and years, since I moved to Oregon.  I finally made it and have to agree, it was spectacular!shuttle_pic

I used Cog Wild shuttle service.  They did a great job!


Shot of Diamond Peak.


Cool covered bridge in Westfir where the Alpine Trail ends.

This was the highlight of the fall season for me.  I was extremely fortunate to join up with a bunch of really rad riders from Eugene in the shuttle van.  They were so kind to let me tag along to their group and we had such a blast whizzing through the old growth forests, through the mud and the meadows, pedaling and coasting through one of Oregon’s prettiest places.

If you stuck it out and read this far here’s a reward of sorts for anyone considering this quintessential absolute classic of a ride.  If you don’t geek out and watch a bunch of YouTubes, which I did not, this ride will surprise you.  I was in what I would rate as B to B+ fitness for me.  Meaning I had been climbing several thousand feet on Mt. Ashland anywhere from 2 to 4 times per week for 5 or 6 weeks.  I thought that because this ride involved a long shuttle ride up that it would be a pretty breezy easy descent without a lot of fitness required.  I was absolutely shocked!  It’s a hard ride if you are not an absolute animal.  Bring plenty of water and food.  We had cramping and discomfort in our group including myself.  It didn’t take away from the ride, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for the physical difficulty of this ride.  We were joking amongst ourselves that if one of these guys that has ridden the Alpine Trail several times had asked me in the parking lot what I thought the physical fitness difficulty of the ride was going to be I would have said a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10.  It was an 8 at least.  We did climb to the true summit and ride the whole trail, you could cut that top climb out and if you got super depleted cut off some more singletrack on the access road, but I think most folks would be happier just going with a bit more fitness and knowing they did the “real” ride.  Best wishes friends!

Up or Down?

Most Realtors will agree that friends, family members, and acquaintances often ask, “how is the market?”

I believe many do so in an effort to be polite and show interest in our career path while others are genuinely curious and are trying to gather information to create a strategy for their own real estate asset management or to assist a friend or loved one.

Naturally, I try and keep my answer brief, and repeat the question back, as I have found that nearly every homeowner and most prospective homeowners have a strong opinion about what exactly is happening in their market and most are willing to share their thoughts.  Those ideas are nearly 100% anecdotal observations and hearsay very rarely supported by facts.  They nonetheless may be correct, as many of you are astute and see the big market trends, but without market data I would never feel comfortable propagating those ideas.

As a professional, I try and look at pertinent data as frequently as possible to determine market conditions.  Members of the National Association of Realtors have access to their local association’s data that includes key box reports and sales history after deeds are recorded.  These two data points represent consumer interest and actual completed transactions in which a Realtor was involved.  More than 90% of all transactions in the United States are completed with the help of a Realtor, so in my opinion we are getting a great snapshot of data that can be organized by month, quarter, year, 5 year, or 10 year periods of time to detect market trends.

For instance, this graph depicts the number of pending sales in the month of June 2019 in Jackson County, Oregon reflected in the blue line and the mean number of pending sales averaged over the 6 month period reflected by the red line (provided by Rogue Valley Association of Realtors):


Most casual observers of real estate markets would not be surprised to see that from the time period of January to June activity generally increases in a temperate climate such as southern Oregon.

The question then becomes, “what does this period of time represent in a larger sample?”

The average number of sales over the 6 months is in the neighborhood of 250 homes, so there’s a total volume of nearly 1500 homes that sold in the first half of 2019.

If we compare those numbers to the 2018 year end statistics found in the following graph (also provided by the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors):


We find that we are on target to complete a greater number of transactions in 2019 and that the 5 year change in price is over 45% of increase.

Every licensed broker that joins their local association has access to this data.  What I have described here is a very small part of determining market conditions at the various price points that each market contains.

I appreciate those of you that read my words.  Generally, my friends and family will often ask, “this is great Matt, but what’s the point?”

My answer:  consult a well-trained, intelligent professional to find out what’s happening in the market.  Don’t trust a little red or green arrow next to a home report issued by a company that is more interested in advertising revenue than you and the important decisions you are trying to make.  It’s fun to talk about the weather at the barber shop, but I don’t plan a trip into the backcountry without checking with NOAA.  It’s fun to look at real estate sales data, but please do not make important decisions in your life without consulting a professional you trust.  As always, I, Matt Johnson at Keller Williams Southern Oregon, am available to provide a Comparative Market Analysis of your property or prospective purchase.  Get the data and make the right decision.




Shiny Penny

I learned a valuable lesson hiring a Realtor, and I would like to share some details about the experience as I think it is pertinent to many common situations.

Last summer my family decided to liquidate a real estate asset as it is located in a far away market and the market factors were favorable.  I traveled to the site to assess the value of the property and decide on a strategy to market the home.  While visiting it became clear to me that we could spend quite a bit of money “doing it right” and really turning the home into a turn key property or we could settle on a sales price that would be less than full retail.

I called several agents in the region to negotiate the listing.  It was an enlightening experience to be on the other side of the transaction.  First, I realized that my own preference is someone that keeps normal business hours and promptly responds to an inquiry if they are unavailable at the time of the initial contact.  Second, I am a person who learns by experiencing.  I find it invaluable to visit a site when discussing a property.  I prioritized agents that were willing to meet me onsite on short notice.  Fortunately my search paid off as I located an agent, Patty Schwed of Harry Norman in Atlanta, that taught me a valuable lesson in facilitating a real estate transaction.

Those of you that know me will probably agree that I am the type of person that really appreciates the complexity of most situations.  One of the scariest things I encounter is something that really appears to be simple at first glance.  I rarely believe that life or real estate is simple.  Interesting as it may be, my favorite way to analyze a situation is to reduce it to the most simple contrast I can find and try and weigh the two different perspectives.  Upon meeting Patty she immediately sensed the conflict that I as a client was feeling deciding whether our strategy to net the greatest gain from the property should involve some restoration work and improvements or simply settling for the value in the current condition.

Although on the surface this can seem like a very simple decision, I believe that often it is not and there is chatter among real estate professionals that feel the same.  First, some clients like to do their own improvements.  The “sweat equity” and making the choices about materials, colors, contractors, and methods actually encourage real ownership.  Perhaps for every owner that wants sweat equity and real ownership there is a hardworking owner that does not want to spend their free time working on their house?  Fair enough.  But, the two parts of the equation that tipped the balance in favor of selling the property “as is” were in fact a bit more complicated:  a) we were not local to the market to supervise contractors and b) the basis in the house was close to market value and we didn’t want to outstrip the values on the neighborhood and be trying to sell the “most expensive house on the block” which could take far longer than an “as is” sale.  In essence, the fact that the property was accessible to more buyers at a smaller purchase price encouraged us to bet on finding a buyer who would want to do some of their own work and/or choose contractors and do the improvements their way.  One important caveat being that the home was in good enough condition to pass the appraisal process for even the most demanding loans.  Often a distressed asset will not qualify for financing in which case you should probably reach out to a qualified real estate professional such as myself for a bit of a deeper look at which repairs will bring the greatest increase in value.

Patty, who is an efficient and honest agent, immediately came up with a very precise and in my mind wonderful analogy… the shiny penny.  Do we try and find someone who will pay more for the brand new fresh off the mint never in circulation penny or do we bet that in the masses someone will see the beauty in the tarnished penny and decide to add luster at their own volition.  Thanks Patty!  For teaching me a little about Real Estate and for professionally handling a tricky transaction.  You can find Patty here:

Nation of Renters?

This morning LinkedIn’s feed contained a lot of commentary in regards to the above linked article by the Daily Herald.  Many comments referenced anecdotal observations from local markets rather than seeing the article’s main point that large institutional investors are looking at national trends.  We, the independent real estate professionals working at Windermere franchises, are pretty lucky that our corporate leadership provides an on-staff economist to help us understand how national trends interact with our local market.  Matthew Gardner, the Windermere staff economist, just visited the Rogue valley and  his analyses help me comprehend the impact of trends like the one mentioned in the Daily Herald article.

For lay people, the questions we often answer in a typical Buyer or Seller interview, are focused on the local market, not on national trends.  But, the national trends do effect what happens locally albeit in a much smaller way than in more populated markets.  Big markets dominate national trends and purchasing a home is becoming inaccessible for all but the wealthiest city dwellers in many urban zip codes, Oregon’s super nova market in and around Portland is no exception.  The idea that renters are eschewing owning homes due to personal preference is a bit outlandish in my opinion.  I think it’s human nature to mask a forced decision as a choice in order to stay positive about the situation, but there are some key reasons renters are “choosing” not to buy.


First, the last several years have had some of the lowest interest rates on owner occupied residential in U.S. history and that inflates price.  More Americans are moving into the biggest cities than ever in our country’s history and so we also have increased demand.  Wages have been stagnant in many sectors for nearly 15 years, which paired with inflation gives the average home buyer less purchasing power.  So, I don’t think we’re looking at renters who like the flexibility or lack of capital investment in up keep of home ownership, but truly don’t have the ability to comfortably own a home.  If we look at that in combination with the fact that employees change careers and workplaces at a faster rate than we’ve ever seen then it is easy to see why renting seems like a smarter “choice.”

The article references Millennials and student loan debt as another reason that homeownership is becoming less accessible.  Boomer clients, especially those without children or whom were generous enough to pay for their childrens’ higher education sometimes find student loan debt difficult to understand.  Why is it different than credit card debt, a mortgage, or a car payment many ask?  Unlike other forms of secured debt student loans are rarely forgiven in bankruptcy (dischargeable).  So, graduates will prioritize staying current on those loans in order to avoid garnishing of wages.

To each their own, but the disturbing echo in many comments coming from real estate pros concerning this article is in the focus on how it effects our industry and not how it effects our society.  The vast majority of home loans are guaranteed by the Feds in the form of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae.  The mortgage interest deduction is the largest line item deduction for most middle class Americans.  If we cannot grow home ownership between what most would consider pretty extreme measures of incentive, such as no or low down payment are we losing the war?


Warning: NO golf content

We hear this word bunted back and forth when certain subjects are broached.  So, my word of the day for February 22nd, 2018 is Algorithm.  A quick google search renders:

a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
“a basic algorithm for division”

For me, the first time I heard this word outside of a math class was when Pandora became all the rage for streaming music.  Their very special Algorithm (proprietary no doubt) was used to select the songs you liked to hear.  I’m no writer of computer code but I can only imagine it worked something like this…   last ten artists you searched and any artists in the same genre, last 50 tracks you played and hit “like” in a heavier rotation, and a little randomness mostly dominated by the artists who they pay the least per track to send into your stream.  This was more or less confirmed by a good friend who was working for a similar company and simply called the algorithm “marketing bollocks.”

So, how does this relate to Real Estate?

Many of us migrate to the website that most suits our taste to look at properties when we’re thinking of buying or selling a house.  Many of these websites, mine included (quick plug: My website ) uses an estimated market value on their website.  Once again, these values are defined by an algorithm.  Something along the lines of recent sales in the neighborhood and town or even the larger comparative markets, as well as property tax records, and basic information about the house such as square footage, the size of the lot, and the year it was constructed.

A member of our local community asked me recently how accurate that number really seems to be?  The answer was tricky….    it depends.

So, should you trust it?  I would probably use it as a reasonable ball park and if it were an object of my desire under $100 in price just write the check, hit the buy button, get that think shipped out ASAP.  But, when it comes to several hundred thousands of dollars, or even ninety thousand dollars, not so much.  Let’s remember that no one has seen the inside of the prospective property and it has not been inspected by a licensed contractor.  As I often explain in Buyer’s Interviews, there’s a big difference in market value of a house that’s a 1 vs. a 10.  That could mean bathroom upgrades, crown molding, new floors, or state of the art appliances, not to mention potential defects.

Why are you buying the house?  Is it an investment?  Are you moving your family into the home?  Do you hope it appreciates at least as fast as the average?

Competent professionals in this industry ask these questions.  They also represent you exclusively unless it’s an extraordinary situation.  Be smart, don’t just hit on any Listing Agent and have him/her write you an offer.  They’re inherently a bit biased towards the Seller.  Can they overcome that?  Perhaps.  But, you’re paying the commission either way.  Why not know that you have a gal or guy in your corner?


I indulged myself and re-read these old blog posts.  Funny how time flies, and also funny how ideas, notions, and blog posts, seem clearer and more well-written when you write them.

Back in one of my first posts I wrote I would teach my reader a “new” word in each blog.  Today’s word is “posh.”  Like the Spice Girl, I think of posh as being British.  The Queen Mother would be the epitome of the poshest of posh.  Posh is probably at best a synonym for the more Marxist interpretation of the French word, Bourgeoisie.  I think of Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark eating the world on an oyster.  Don’t bite into the pearl, Howard.

A few months back I made the rather posh decision to book a tee time at an exclusive private country club when visiting North Carolina for a friend’s nuptial.  The wedding was the highlight of the trip by a long shot.  You truly know you’re absorbing a special moment when you watch two people gaze into each others’ eyes and say “I do.”  But, it was also private, intimate, and patently not my moment, so I don’t dare write too much about it.  The golf on the other hand…

Weather was spectacular and this particular club has gone through a recent rather spendy (once again very posh) remodel.  Fairways were grafted from a sod farm.  Extensive research was done to insure that Donald Ross’s design intents were uncovered and adhered to strictly.  Greens are rumored to be the fastest in the state.  Well, lucky me, the weather was outstanding (did I already mention that?)


So, real estate content, and course review…

Biltmore Forest Country Club is amazing.  If you ever have the opportunity, carpe diem.

Donald Ross and understanding his design philosophy is like crawling is to walking for a recreational golf course design junkie like myself.  Neat photo of a statue of Ross outside of the pro shop at the Grove Park Inn..


Any of you that know me personally know I have strong opinions.  Like coffee, I like things strong.  I don’t even mind if you have strong opinions that are the polar opposite of mine, shocking, I know.

So, the real estate content this week is going to be opinionated, which is actually unusual, because my mine focus in real estate is usually very different than from life.  In life I love the challenge of unraveling a huge problem and finding a solution.  But, usually in real estate, I find that you just grind away the details and hope that you’re helping someone make a great decision that is almost integral to the true American experience.   The big opinion is (thanks for waiting patiently)…

The golfing part of this trip to North Carolina revealed two golf courses, two neighborhoods, and two “works in progress” that I felt were yielding vastly different results.  Case A, Biltmore Forest, involved the poshest of posh, spending a very luxurious amount of money and rendering the purest golf experience I’ve ever had the pleasure to live.  Case B, Grove Park Inn, is actually Bourgeoisie, in the actual French meaning of the term, not Carl Marx.  It’s middle class.  They’ve taken the driving range out to build more lodging and amenities, so you warm up hitting balls into a net.  The maintenance is very public and a little ragged around the corners.  The homes that line the fairways are every bit as beautiful as the ones in the Biltmore Forest neighborhood, but the resort attracts travelers.  Travelers don’t necessarily want to golf any more.  If they do, many prefer it to be less expensive and don’t mind losing out on the “posh.”  Thank goodness we need everyday, run of the mill, chip off the old block, restaurants, bars, shopping centers, golf courses, homes, and everything else at least as much if not more than posh.

The darkest hour is just before the dawn

First, I’d like to congratulate Kristin Adams Johnson for winning the Regional Science teacher of the year award for southern Oregon.  Medford School District was kind enough to send the two of us off to Portland to receive the award and for Kristin to attend a convention for Science teachers.  We drove through abysmal weather to get to PDX.  Rain, wind, pooling water on the interstate, and bumper to bumper traffic contributed to a lot of tension en route.  Alas, we arrived safely, walked through a downpour, and very much enjoyed the ceremony at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).  What an excellent facility and truly intriguing displays including an on loan touring version of the artifacts from Pompeii.  A timely dose of culture for a couple that admittedly doesn’t get out much.


My quote for this blog, “the darkest hour is just before the dawn” is attributed to Thomas Fuller, but it’s one of those universal truths that is observed by many and arrived at organically and originally by many.  I actually attribute it more to Drew Emmitt and Leftover Salmon from the song Troubled Times than anyone else.  It ties into this trip to Portland for me because I was in limbo planning this trip.  I knew Kristin was going to be busy with the convention and I was at liberty to choose how to spend my day.  I really wanted to play some fantastic golf course and held a voucher for a deeply discounted greens fee at Chambers Bay, home to the 2015 U.S. Open.  But, it was about a 5 hour round trip drive and the weather was horrendous.  I had visions of full rain gear, wind that knocked poorly hit balls right out of the sky, and slogging through ankle deep water.  First world problems, but I’d gladly suffer through these conditions after a 15 minute commute, but I’m not willfully driving 5 hours to endure it.

The alarm sounded just after 5 AM in order to beat traffic.  Coffee, clothes, one last check of my golf bag, and I was merging onto I-5 into a surprisingly heavy flow of traffic.  I’ll skip a lot of the mundane details and get to the morale of the story… the weather was outstanding, the course played like a dream, and although my back was stiff from carrying the clubs and sitting in the car, I had a smile plastered on my face for two or three days.  Here’s a photo I snapped from a prominent tee box:


For golfers who are interested, I love this golf course.  I’m not the world’s biggest RTJ Jr. fan.  I think his courses push the edge as far as the severity of slope in the fairways, number of bunkers, how tight the “A” position landing zone often plays from the tee box.  His designs are often uncomfortable for me as a fairly skilled player, so I don’t think they work for 99% of golfers.  He migrated into being less like his father as an architect and more like Nicklaus in my opinion.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy his layouts.  Eagle Point Golf Course is one of my all time favorite golf courses especially to play frequently, but it just doesn’t pass one of the more intuitive tests to me, which is how does it play for an 18 index on his very first round on that course?  Enough criticism, my point being I’m non-biased about RTJ Jr., if anything maybe biased against him.

Chambers in feel could be in the same complex as the Bandon Dunes Resort courses.  Real American Links Golf.  I love the driving range and practice area at Chambers Bay.  The morning was cold, I had a toque on my head, truthfully, I’m scared of the reverb from the first poorly struck shot.  Boom, I slap a little utility club shot down range… it catches the slope bounces hard, skips over another ridge, bounces back the other way.  It was a great reminder that I wasn’t playing parkland target golf for the day.   Hole 1 and 10 are a little too similar for my taste, but the routing is pretty awesome.  Very fortunate to have the help of AJ, who has to be the kindest caddie I’ve had the fortune to meet.  Such a positive young man, he exudes “golfer” and you can tell this kid can flat play.  His targets off the tee were perfect all day.  Probably part of the reason I love this golf course was his help.  I can handle a poor approach shot pretty well, but floundering around off the tee is painful.  My biggest criticism would be the same as at EPGC, the course is just a little claustrophobic from the tee box.  Thank goodness for AJ!  At times you get the same feeling from the fairways.  Big forced carries over mean looking bunkers and waste areas.  I know he designed this course to hold big tournaments.  I, personally, prefer an architect that builds layouts where pin positions and tee boxes can be altered to make an incredible “test”  but that can be set for member play and not result in 5.5 hour rounds.  It’s just part of what’s shrinking participation numbers in my opinion.  Once again, just different approaches.  I have a big hunch that Mr. Jones and I would run across a lot of differences in opinion if we had much of a conversation, which is fine.  The world needs differing opinions.

We had perfect scoring weather, wet saturated greens, sun, no wind, but you’re not going to go out and scorch this layout without a lot of course knowledge and being 100% “on” all day.  I hit a half a dozen shots at least, that appeared great, came of the club exactly how I wanted them to and were misjudged a little for distance.  2 or 3 paces short can be the difference between a good look at birdie and the ball rolling back to your feet.  I guess that would drive some guys crazy, but I try and laugh and enjoy the chance of a do-over.  The big question from my golf mates, “how were the greens?”  I felt the greens were fair.  Not perfect, but fair.  My advice if you’re really trying to post a score, book an early time.  I watched a few putts drop from distances that mean the greens were rolling true, 12, 15, even 20 feet.  I don’t know if that would be the case later in the day.  I left feeling a little embarrassed for the tour pros that acted like such brats about this golf course, especially the guy that won.  A little of a black cloud on that victory to me.  I’m hugely impressed by this project and give the greatest compliments to the townspeople and leadership that made it happen.  They have built a timeless classic and given golfers the world over a great gift.

Thanks for reading!  Push through the darkest hours and enjoy the dawn, friends.


True confessions: I never really got fall, the season.  I love the weather.  I love football, hiking, mountain biking, and playing anything in the cool crisp weather.  I am not big at picking favorites, but fall might would win, for seasons.  The thing I never got, was the whole death and rebirth theme.  Sure, the days are getting shorter, technically they’re getting shorter since the first day of summer.  It’s more obvious in the fall, especially the further north you live, and we get our first days of cooler weather.  I guess I’m just not much of a doom and gloom person and always ignored a central point to the season, the shedding away of the old for the new.

Dragon flies are totems of change.  Spirit animals of transitions, they are born in water but mature into a graceful insect that flies.  They shed the old and transition into a beautiful existence of helicopter like mobility.   Well, we are into a beautiful dragon fly fall, and I challenge you to transition like a dragon fly.  What in your life is transitory, perhaps an illusion that you can let go of and move into a more free existence?

We are always balancing between competing values and loyalty may come at the price of emotional freedom and new opportunities.  Let’s all makes sure that we are confident in the our commitments and not drudging through darkness that is avoidable.


Photo by J.N. Stuart.

Get A Second Opinion

In one of my earlier blogs I wrote about time as a resource and the ultimate value of time and how we each cherish it as the integral “counter” in our own human experience.  I believe we make a ton of decisions every day and often we factor “time” into these decisions.  We are prioritizing things that bring us the greatest pleasure and in contrast we prize efficiency in tasks that we see as menial or necessary yet less than enjoyable.

Selling or buying a home is often filled with just such tasks.  Anyone who has recently completed the process can make a huge list, such as compiling financials for the lender, preparing your home, possibly staging it, and obviously moving our belongings is fraught with small tasks, each of which is tedious, in order to achieve the higher good of living in a different home that’s more comfortable, a better location, maybe more affordable, or often times less maintenance.

I understand, like most professional Realtors, that clients perform these tasks reluctantly and prize efficiency in the performance of all of the small pieces that add up to a huge life change.  As professionals we perhaps see a bigger importance in the curb appeal, contractors you use to freshen up paint or that long neglected roof, and ultimately we see a lot of importance in how you choose your Realtor.  In a pure commission field of sales, like Real Estate, belief in ourselves as a valuable resource is paramount to success and we constantly are searching for ways to express our competitive advantage to our client base; i.e. marketing.

Recently I have had several conversations with both acquaintances and friends that chose a different Realtor to buy or sell their home.  In each case, the damage was done, I had lost the deal and transitioned into being congenial and supportive in order to show that I value the relationship, but I fear I might have done a disservice.  Sometimes it’s easier to agree with someone who has just made a difficult decision rather than invoke language that might inspire them to question their decision.  I am results driven, and for the people I care about, that’s what’s ultimately important.  Sometimes believing in your process and the decision you’ve made is of greater value than the actual decision.  Perhaps X, Y, or Z Realtor wold have all given excellent service, comprehensive pricing information, and ultimately a reasonably good net result.  But, in the future I think I will have a different conversation because I pride myself in stepping up to challenges and effectively communicating even when the pill is difficult to swallow.

So, what’s the medicine you may ask?  Why is it difficult to swallow?

Because choosing a Realtor and preparing your home for the market, or pre-qualifying for a note as a buyer, does not give us that short-term pleasure I see friends prizing the efficiency of using the first person that comes to mind, or hiring a contractor because they recently completed work on the neighbor’s house, and making that decision “feels” good.  It’s similar to an omen that they’re making the right decision.  And, that very well may be true.  Sometimes the contractor that just painted the neighbor’s bathroom is affordable, insured and bonded, does excellent work, and is timely and professional.  But, how do you know?  The answer is simple, but sometimes difficult to swallow… you use some of your most precious resource, your time, and you call two more painters.

Often I close a communication with a potential client by emphasizing that I would like to interview for their business.  I am sincere in seeing each client relationship as a professional interview and you should expect as much.  In a world that seemingly detaches us from the intuitive “gut instinct” that we all should trust, it can be difficult to gather more information when something “feels right.”  Why get two more bids?  This guy or gal was in the right place at the right time and their price is great.  The answer is also intuitive.  We gather information through working a process.  Sometimes that information is not exactly what we set out to find.  The yard maintenance company owner recommends a great plumber or we find the perfect dining room table from the second staging company who bid our home.  Three bids whether it’s a plumber, Realtor, or new car is about the process, not the bid, and it should be a starting place, a minimum of three.  It’s about finding out what you really want and who can deliver it.  It’s about learning.  Don’t make the mistake of going with whomever is in front of you and regret denying yourself the process.  Making a huge life-changing decision does not happen every day.  Slow down.  Enjoy the flow of power and energy and feel confident you are making the right decision.  The process is life, and more often than not we can save some of that very valuable commodity we call time by doing it right the first time.

Deacon Rootbeer Johnson


Today’s picture and topic is my beloved friend, Deacon Rootbeer Johnson.

Deacon turned 10 on April 1st, 2017, so I want to commemorate that special day with an ode to my dear friend.  We never thought we would see 10 years.  When I decided I wanted a Rottweiler I poured through hundreds of photos and articles concerning the breed.  I decided to find one to adopt, but I cautioned myself and warned Kristin, “some of them are quite ugly and many of them don’t live to be 8 years old.”  Deacon, luckily, was neither.

Deacon has been a wonderful dog and still behaves as if he’s a 2 year old puppy, but unfortunately he doesn’t have the bladder of his two year old self.  So, I go home everyday at lunch to let him out and often try and make it back in the early afternoon.  Sometimes when he can’t hold it long enough and I come home to an accident I can feel anger well up inside of me.  I don’t want to have to stand over the smell nor soil my hands or clothes cleaning up after him.  Usually that feeling is closely followed by shame as I know he would do anything within his power to hold back his pee pee.  And then often I feel sadness as I know he’s probably in the sunset of his life.

This is the embodiment of the sacrifice we all make to love those around us.  Dogs are different than most humans in that they are “perfect.”  They have no will to misbehave.  They only feel anxiety and act out due to their discomfort.  Deacon lives every moment of every day to feel the love of the people that are around.  All he wants is to be touched, to be loved, and to be congratulated for simply being alive.  I know in my heart, with 100% certainty that my agitation and anger comes from within me.  I also know that I control it.  With the power to be unattached to the things that bother me, or to activate my free will and change the circumstances, I am empowered to be a better person.  Dealing with an aging pet reminds me of my own mortality.  May I be as healthy and wonderful when I face my sunset.  Mr. Rootbeer is a crucial component of my life and I will pledge to be grateful for everyday I have the pleasure of spending time with him.  Happy birthday, little man!

Real Estate content:  Be careful if you buy a breed that is labeled “attack.”  When you switch insurance companies to make sure you have homeowner’s insurance (some companies won’t insure a house with a Rottweiler or Pit Bull), take your car insurance and every other policy you have with you to discourage bias against breeds.  Dog’s aren’t bad.  People are bad.  Bad people raise bad dogs.