In this issue of the LocalsGuide I am pleased to welcome back Patie Millen and the Patie Millen Group. Now moving into her 29th year here in Ashland, Patie’s team ranked number one for 2017 in Ashland in terms of number of properties sold, and again received numerous state awards for their success.
Patie has an excellent sense of timing and continually demonstrates a unique and decisive manner that allows her to continue making choices even in challenging situations. She is a first mover and never hesitates to take the necessary action to claim her spot at the front of the pack. This means when you have the Patie Millen Group on your team you can rest assured that they are continually moving you into a position of opportunity.
Thank you, Shields. I first want to comment how much I have enjoyed getting to know you over the past few years and to say I value our friendship. I find what you do and how you live to be inspiring and fascinating and I think it would be a good idea if we saw an interview with you in the LocalsGuide.
2017 was a great year both for our team and personally for me and my husband, Rob Edwards. In a market of very limited inventory, perhaps the lowest housing inventory in history, we managed to keep our sales volume at the top, serve many clients and were again awarded the Top 1% award for all John L. Scott agents throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.
That is an accomplishment only awarded to 18 agents out of nearly 4000. That felt really great and I am proud of our team.
It was a year of unexpected happy changes for me and Rob. After helping our clients find their dream homes for decades, we found ours by chance. We weren’t really even looking but visited an amazing home on a spur of the moment and after 20 minutes we decided to write an offer, move and change our lives. It happened so fast, but we found a magical property with a remodeled older home built in the 1950’s. A Leave it to Beaver type of home on ¾ of an acre and surrounded by 80 acres. The grounds and views are gorgeous and there is a nearby wetlands. The bird watching is amazing. It is peaceful and serene, one of the prettiest places I have seen. We even have 12 chickens! It has a separate full cottage for Rob’s mom Jacque, so everybody is happy.
It has been a year filled with wonderful surprises, gifts and success.
Now moving into March, how are things looking out there?
Today is February 13th and sellers are readying their homes for the market. It is always a fascinating time as we watch the market begin to emerge at the end of winter and early spring. The stock market has been volatile, and politics contentious, but I think the real estate market activity seems solid. We have been very busy over the past six weeks creating price evaluations and guiding sellers with fixes so their homes are set to sell when they hit the market. I expect we will see a good amount of new inventory emerge within the next 30-45 days but as of today the market is formulating.
Some homes are starting to hit the market now but as of today, inventory still is very low. We have so many buyers that we are working with and they have been ever patient and diligent over the past half year waiting for new inventory, we would love to have more offerings to show them. We want to find them homes. They are so ready.The forecast is that we will start seeing more inventory coming on the market than we have in the past few years. It is forecast that this will disperse pent up buyer demand by late summer. We are encouraging sellers to put their homes on the market sooner rather than later this year and some are following that advice.
Those that do will have less competition and if priced in the mid to lower ranges they could command slightly higher prices. If a home is well presented and priced at market it should sell quickly.
Uncertain times create unrest for the market. What are you recommending to your clients as a way to stay solid and focused on the long-term picture? How does your team work with the information overload w so many of us experience?
Our clients are very open with us. For most, they have been envisioning the change they are embarking on for a long time. That makes it easy to stay focused. Our job is to get them to the next big step in their lives. They appreciate our focus on their behalf and in the end we are successful with long-term grateful clients.
Information overload is real, I found I needed to set boundaries for the inflow of information. It is very important to communicate efficiently, and as a Realtor I must respond quickly. Real estate is a time sensitive business. I communicate with vast amounts of people in a day, but I find an intentional slowing down can produce deeper more connected relationships with clients, friends and family and a spaciousness that brings greater clarity to my work.
Our team member Allie Dickson has been a great asset for our team. Allie’s area of focus is follow up. She engages with all clients from their requests for information, through their search process until their offer is accepted. She communicates with them diligently. She also assists Rob Edwards with showings and monitors all of our lead systems. Clients rave about the great job Allie does for them.
Rob is our lead showing agent and he does a wonderful job. The clients enjoy him immensely and always call to tell me what a great experience their time with him was.
He has deep knowledge of the area, he is excellent at reading what the client wants and he finds them the right properties. Once Rob joined our team and my time was freed from being in the field all day our business rose to the next level.
Rob’s expertise allows me to focus on pressing client matters, to manage the business and enhance the marketing and client experience.
My right-hand wonder and administrator, Marla Owens, monitors all incoming communications which has freed up vast amounts of time for me. Marla also runs the office and coordinates all escrows and special events. Like the rest of our team Marla has been a godsend. This allows me to focus on the most pressing matters.
The team areas of expertise have removed many of the daily distractions and allow me to work in a more spacious mental environment. This gives me the time to work with clarity and purpose.
We serve our clients by taking on those things that create stress or that add layers of complexity in their lives. We want things to be easy for them. Everyone has busy lives, full time careers, family events and little free time. Buying or selling a home should not be a second full time job for the client. What lies on the other side of moving can be exciting and rewarding but the process is overwhelming. We ask our clients to drop the stressors and complexities into our laps. We have the systems and experience to make what may be stressful for our clients, flow with ease. We can easily take that on, I am wired that way, that is my comfort zone. I stay calm and focused and that is where I find needed responses and solutions. I work at a high level and I work until it is done. There are always solutions and choices that allow me to create that spacious flow where the magic happens.
I have always had a gift with numbers, I feel how they work together in combinations, establish values, feel high, feel low or feel right. They convey an energy. They are not a cut and dried representation to me. In pricing you cannot just look at the numbers and see that this similar type home sold for this, so that must be what this home down the road should sell for. The question always becomes where will a buyer and seller, and if required, an appraiser meet on price.
How do we assign numbers (pricing) that reflect the special qualities that a home may have that other homes do not? I am talking about a master garden, a privacy factor, an artistic aesthetic, a spectacular view. Some owners feel their home is more special than their neighbors because it has a nice breeze…that doesn’t count LOL.
Several months ago, I priced a home where the comparables pointed to $465,000. But the home had a wonderful feeling. It wasn’t large but had a wonderful sunroom and great grounds. We priced it at $595,000 and it sold at $580,000. The appraiser was initially stymied and saw no way to get to that number but after we discussed it and I laid things out, he was in agreement.
My ability with numbers allows me to “feel” the real estate market. It allows me to spot trends early on and watch them closely. It allows me to see patterns that others may be missing. I am someone that loves economics, statistics, patterns and trends. This is fun for me. It is my nerdish side and I find it fascinating.
The systems you have developed to support your business are really top notch. How do they support you and keep the team working as a well-oiled machine?
Great question. In real estate and especially in a business that serves a large number of clients we must have tight systems. You must adhere to contract timelines or you can have costly errors. There can be no tolerance for that.
We have systems for every aspect of our business. Our systems have been developed over years and are constantly being upgraded and allow us to serve our clients at a high level, manage a high sales volume and have a life. It allows us to do much more business than the typical agent and to offer a higher level of service. I am a research nerd and I spend many evenings researching new technologies and systems that will improve our business, our lives and our client experience.
Our systems and our team create a wonderful reliable experience for our clients and for us.
What it always comes down to is the people; it is all about the people. We work with people in all price ranges and in most communities in Jackson County. Our territory runs from the Applegate to Shady Cove from Ashland to Central Point. Due to my longevity in the local real estate market I am privileged to see the continuum of our clients’ lives. We are with them through many life transitions and it is beautiful and meaningful. Some of the transitions are tough and some are exhilarating. It is their stories, the twists and turns of life that evoke respect for all of our time here on earth. People are brave, kind, generous, hilarious, angry, tearful and beautiful as they navigate their journey. It deepens who I am to witness that, and I feel that universal gratitude for being who I am and where I am. I am always awake to that. We just helped the third generation of a family buy their first home. How satisfying is that? Very.
How are you continuing to refine your business and what are some of your personal goals for this year?
I am in a very good place in my life. I love what I do and I love life. That has mostly been true my entire life. I have had some hard hurdles and knocks as we all experience, lost a lot of family members but the beauty of life is what dominates my time here. I am very happily married to Rob, he is such a great guy, a wonderful husband and he makes me laugh hard every day. I find him to be hilarious. He has been a huge asset to our business. He is also a champion drag racer and has a lot of heart.
My business goals this year are more one on one time with our sphere of clients I have engaged with over the years and formed many friendships with, enhancing and continuing to streamline our systems and increasing our sales volume while having fun doing it.
Personally and professionally, my motto for this year is Grace and Ease. Personally I am focused on doing things that bring me joy and in creating the time to explore them.
I am making the change from acoustic guitar to electric with my new Gibson SG, plant based online cooking classes to celebrate two years of being vegan, seeing my amazing and magical grandchildren and daughter in Santa Cruz regularly, continuing to beautify our new home. There are several political issues that have my attention. Being tuned in to what is seeking expression in me through inner listening and creating my art. Enjoying the silence and just being here on earth. I love all of that.
You have helped so many people over the years make Ashland and Southern Oregon their home; tell us why you love it here.
When I look back 30 years to why I moved to Ashland, I can remember what I envisioned at that time like it was yesterday. I bet it is a very similar vision for many of us. I was looking for a healing place. A new place to call home. I had recently been widowed at a young age and I was looking for beauty for me and my 5-year-old daughter.
When I saw Ashland I envisioned a life surrounded by great natural beauty, friendly and well-educated residents, afternoon walks in Lithia Park, day trips to the lakes and rivers, a place where I could raise my daughter in safety and peace. Southern Oregon gave us all of that and much more. I have a deep appreciation for Oregon and I am passionate about it.
We are very grateful to assist people moving to Southern Oregon and those that live here who are readying for a new chapter in their lives with a move to a new area. Not a day goes by that I am not amazed by the beauty, the sky, the colors, the majestic mountains, pristine forests and farmland, all so very beautiful. This is home.
I receive calls weekly from people begging me to get them out of the congestion of California. It is real, they want to change their lives desperately. California has 40 million people and Oregon has 4 million. We have a very different quality of life.
Finally are there any last thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers here today?
My goal from day one was to never let a client make a real estate mistake and I feel I have been successful with that. In a real estate transaction, of course the money and budget are important. But I feel it is important to keep your eye on the pleasure a property will provide for you and your family. What will this create for you over the years of your life? Sometimes we have to remind people of that. This is your life.
Sometimes people miss a market because they feel they cannot sell because they will lose $30,000 or some other number, they won’t get as much as they put into a property. I ask, have you ever made money on your previous real estate investments and they beam and start to tell their stories of how they slayed it. My response is well, there you go, you made great money then and to get on with this chapter of your life things are going to even out a bit. They usually smile and nod. Go live your life, go be near your grandkids, go move near your family and friends and be happy. And they do and I like to imagine they live happily ever after.