WaLaw’s Best of Seattle Halloween

October 24th, 2014 by Marc


Halloween WalawBats


For some of us, Halloween sets off each year’s extended holiday extravaganza. It is the beginning of the season that makes being a home owner and part of a community amazing fun. While Thanksgiving and Christmas each have their own virtues, Seattle neighborhoods know how to keep Halloween in the running for the season’s top spot. Here is WaLaw’s list of Seattle’s “don’t miss” Halloween activities to help you kick this festive time of year off right:

  1. Ghost Someone!

When: Anytime
Where: Anywhere

This is a great way to boost Halloween spirit in your neighborhood. You just need a few bags of candy and 30 minutes. Just sneak up to a neighbor’s house (ninja outfit optional), drop the candy with a copy of a paper ghost and instructions on how the recipient is to carry on the game, knock on the door and run. Find the instructions and everything you need at the link above.

  1. Join the Halloween Pub Crawl

When: October 25th
Where: Downtown

A free event with costumes, games and booze! Enough said.

  1. Run Scared

When: October 26th
Where: Seward Park

Perhaps not for those who attend the pub crawl the night before, this 5K run, 4K walk with a free kids dash benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. You can run in your costume and get a free beanie or trucker hat to boot.

  1. Scale Capitol Hill for Hilloween

When: October 25th, 12-7 p.m.
Where: Capitol Hill- Cal Anderson Park & Broadway

This event has it all – musical performances, costume parade, carnival games and a magic show, trick-or-treating and it’s free!

  1. Trick-or-Treat Like a Pro on Halloween Night:

These are a few local favorites that provide endless candy and fun.

  •  University Village 2632 N.E. University Village St. Seattle, Wa 98105 When: Oct. 31, 2014 from 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
  •  Admiral District California Ave. S.W. & S.W. Admiral Seattle, Wa 98116 When: Oct. 31, 2014 from 3 p.m.–6 p.m.
  •  Magnolia Village W. McGraw St. Seattle, Wa 98199 When: Oct. 31, 2014 from 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Upper Queen Anne Ave. From McGraw St. to Galer St. Seattle, Wa 98199 When: Oct. 31, 2014 from 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
  1. Buy a Creepy Manor

If you don’t own a home just yet, let us help you buy this one.

Halloween Pic



WaLaw Homebuyer Seminars a Screaming Success! We’re Already Planning for 2012

July 22nd, 2011 by Marc

We recently finished up our 2011 Free Homebuyer Seminar Series, and it was a raging success!  What did we learn?

  1. Pizza and beer trumps cookies and soda by a very wide margin; and
  2. If we offer pizza and beer, apparently people will come to us (at our office) and we don’t need to go to them (at libraries/community centers around the area).

So to summarize, Pizza and Beer ROCK!  You’d think I would have learned that lesson in college.

Given the success, we’re already thinking about our 2012 series.  We will, of course, keep you posted as the schedule comes together late this year or early next.

Thank you to EVERYONE who took the time to attend our classes.  And for those of you who missed out — you also missed out on some cool WaLaw swag (in addition to the cookies/soda/pizza/beer).  I hope you’ve all learned your lessons and you make it to one of classes in 2012….

Getting a Mortgage to Buy a Home: Bank of America & the Dance of Death

October 7th, 2010 by Marc Holmes


Take our advice and avoid Bank of America like the plague.

BofA is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States today and, until not too long ago, one of the most prestigious as well.  It used to be that a pre-approval from BofA meant a lot because of their relatively high credit standards (admittedly, the bar set by the mortgage industry was extremely low).  I’ve had many clients use BofA over the years and seldom had any problems.  That all changed in August as we were preparing to close a client’s purchase of a FSBO house in Seattle.

The first foreshadowing of the problems to come was BofA’s discovery that an FHA rule required postponing the closing date.  Turns out the seller hadn’t held title long enough (90 days) due to a transfer out of her LLC into her personal name.  Ok, that’s not BofA’s fault or our client’s fault so no big deal.  BofA assured us that they had everything they’d need and they’d close this puppy lickety-split so all we had to do is wait out the rest of the 90 days. 

So, we extended the closing date, jumped through a hoop or two, and waited for the FHA-required time period to pass.  Unfortunately, lickety-split turned into a whole month of foot dragging and excuses for why the deal wasn’t closing.  Repeatedly we were told that “we’re in underwriting” but now they need this, that or the other thing.  Or they’re waiting for a response from somebody about something.  Or something got lost or misplaced.  Or forgotten.  Or they need something they didn’t anticipate.  Then they need a new appraisal.  It was non-stop.  I was told “I’ve got a call into so and so but haven’t heard back” or “I sent so and so an email and am waiting for a reply” so many times it was ridiculous.  Apparently, returning internal calls or emails is optional at BofA.  It got so bad, the apologies so numerous, and the incompetence so great that we were kicking ourselves for not going to a new lender.  And BofA wasn’t denying it.  They ended up comping our client several nights in a hotel and a birthday dinner at one of the most expensive restaurants in town.

Now I’ll be the first to concede that hiccups and delays before closing are common and practically par for the course these days.  But they seldom merit starting over with a new lender only days before closing.  In this case everyone at BofA assured us that the file was fine and they just needed a little more time.  So we hung tight.  In hind sight it might have been worth the effort to look elsewhere.

Our client really wanted the home and was understandably concerned that the seller would back out.  The concern was valid because the seller could have reasonably decided to walk away.  Fortunately, the contract we drafted protected our client’s earnest money so the seller had a big disincentive to bailing out.  Our client’s desire for the home also made sense because it’s a great house and he was getting a great price: two separate appraisers both appraised it for more than the agreed upon sales price.  That’s pretty impressive in this day and age when appraisals come in low much more often than high. 

Fortunately, we had a very understanding seller and an open line of communication gave her some idea of why we were being delayed.  Ultimately, BofA got their act together and the deal closed but the process taught us a real lesson about how far BofA has fallen.

It’s clear that BofA didn’t use the billions of dollars in bailout money it received to hire enough staff or to train and motivate their staff to do quality work.  

Well, we’ve learned our lesson and we’ll politely decline the next time somebody asks us to do the Dance of Death with Bank of America.

WaLaw Realty, Absolute Zero, and the quest for the Perfect Crystal

May 6th, 2010 by Marc Holmes

We’ve Moved!  That’s right, we’re now in new and larger office space at 6th & Virginia.  We still have a few pieces of furniture to buy and the walls are screaming for artwork (or sweet posters of 80’s hair bands) but, all in all, we love it.  And the best part is, we now have room for additional staff.  Did I mention we’re hiring?

So what’s with the absolute zero reference you ask?  Well, as we all know, absolute zero is the theoretical temperature at which all molecular motion ceases and, at least theoretically, pure substances can form perfect crystals.  However, the laws of thermodynamics state that absolute zero cannot be reached because this would require a thermodynamic system fully removed from the rest of the universe.

Nonetheless, our research and development division has taken it upon itself to disprove the naysayers.  Accordingly, the photo below should demonstrate definitively that absolute zero is achievable and that perfect crystals do exist.


But Marc, what pure substance is capable of such perfection?  Why, caffeine free Diet Pepsi, of course.

But, Marc, that’s just a fridge with cans of exploded soda in it.

No, it’s not. It’s the only thermodynamic system on earth capable of full removal from the known universe.  Under no circumstances did I or anyone in our employ put cans of soda in a fridge with the temp setting set too low.  We’re educated professionals over here and that would never happen.

The only plausible explanation is that the former tenants left behind a supremely powerful device that they feared and, for good reason.  I mean really, did you see what it did to those cans?

So, feel free to stop by our new digs and check out our kickin’ new fridge.  But call ahead if you’ll want a cold beverage as inter-universal soda retrieval and serious defrosting may be required.