Interested in moving or selling in Southern Oregon? Look no further. Reintroducing DeAnna Sickler and Dyan Lane, Southern Oregon´s top real estate producers. For the past 12 years, DeAnna Sickler and Dyan Lane have made it their mission to go above and beyond for clients, and with closing on average over $40 million per year, this is no small feat. In today´s interview, I speak with DeAnna and Dyan about their real estate history here in all of Southern Oregon. We go in depth on current trends and market movements. We talk about friends, family, and the true calling of going above and beyond for one´s clients.
Hi DeAnna and Dyan. Welcome back and thank you for speaking with me today.
Always great to speak with you Shields. Hard to believe how fast time flies by.
I thought it might be fun to go back and reintroduce you two. Over the past 22 years, the community and market have changed dramatically. Will you each tell us a little bit about yourselves and your life here in Southern Oregon?
DeAnna: Right after I graduated high school I moved from Springfield, Oregon to Ashland to attend what was then SOSC. My now husband who was my then high school sweetheart joined the year after and since 1994, we have called Southern Oregon our home. Upon graduating we decided this was where we wanted to raise our family and fast forward to now, we have two boys – ages 9 and 12. As most know, my husband is the Sheriff of Jackson County and we have really grown to love and care about this community on many different levels. I got my real estate license when I was 23 after becoming frustrated that I could not find a local job that was interesting to me. It goes without saying, the rest is history.
Dyan: For the most part I am a local gal. I was raised out in the Applegate and graduated from South High. I received my degrees from Southern Oregon University and have spent the majority of my adult life in Southern Oregon. I still love it here. No matter what vacation adventure we are on, I am grateful to come back home to the Rogue Valley. I have a 13-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old boy.
Both of them couldn’t be more different and I truly enjoy being their mother. I was given one of the biggest blessings of my life around 12-13 years ago. DeAnna approached me about joining her business and after a few weeks of trying to talk her out of it, I jumped in with both feet. Like they say, the rest is history. I got into the business at the bottom of the market, when everyone was short selling their homes and most listings sat on the market for 4-6 months. Man, has that changed. Average days on market now are under 30 days.
DeAnna, I think I first met you when you were working with Rhonda Lewis. I was just about to start LocalsGuide. It was a lifetime ago with no kids, a smaller and different world.
Oh Shields, if only we were as busy now as we thought we were back then. You are right, we met when Rhonda and I started advertising in the Passport2Ashland. I will never forget when you approached us with the wild idea and pretty much no guarantee it would be successful. You needed financial support and someone to believe in you and Rhonda and I both agreed instantly to help you out. I have always loved your enthusiasm and your heart for this community and I have no reservations about supporting your dreams for all these years.
DeAnna and Dyan, what are some of the biggest changes you have seen in the Southern Oregon market and what has just stayed the same?
Dyan: I think the biggest changes we are seeing currently is the historic low inventory continuing throughout 2021, and throughout Jackson County. We are also noticing that buyers are getting really creative on how to get their offer accepted. Most properties, especially entry level, are receiving multiple offers and buyers are learning to step up to the plate and offer sweeteners we haven’t seen often in our local market. Some buyers are waiving appraisal contingencies, accepting properties in as-is condition and/or allowing sellers to rent back at no charge and for an extended period of time. What I have seen stay the same in the Real Estate market locally is that relationships still matter. Although our community continues to grow, we still have that small town vibe. We are living in a place where it still matters that you do what you say you’ll do, that a reputation takes years to build and more often than not, who represents a client does make all the difference. The agents who were doing all the hard work years ago, are still the same agents that are rising above the challenges of today’s market and striving to think outside of the box.
Tell us about your business – the areas you cover here in Southern Oregon and the scope of services you offer to buyers and sellers.
At this stage of our careers (with a combined 32 years in the business), we are in the fortunate position of having a lot of referral business. We pride ourselves on working with those we feel we are the right fit for and also making sure our clients are the right fit for us. Surprising to some, the price point of our buyers and sellers is irrelevant to us. We want to work with kind people with genuine hearts and who will let us put our skills to good use. In the last two weeks alone, we have written multiple offers on homes under $300,000 and even a few vacant lots for under $50k. We love the wide range of clients; from first-time home buyers to investors and from modest cottages to multi-million dollar estates. We are well-versed in every city of Jackson County and appreciate how much this diversity has helped to best serve our clients. A few years ago we grew our team to three and brought on the darling and delightful Linda Haxton. She has lots of experience, is such a hard worker, and has been a life saver in this fast-paced market. We all work together on all our files and each of us can show properties, right contracts, hang lock-boxes, and change light bulbs. Without Linda’s help, we would surely be in the loony bin by now. For anyone interviewing for a broker, keep in mind you get three of us for the price of one and as efficient as we are, we are actually pretty rad to boot. Oh as one of our favorite clients put it, “Girls, you are so fun! You make this all so much better.”
Southern Oregon truly is a beautiful area and it is no wonder why we remain such a popular destination for people to live. Please talk a little bit about your own experience and knowledge of real estate and life here in Southern Oregon.
Dyan: There are a lot of reasons I never moved out of Southern Oregon. We are so blessed to have so much to do here locally, and then only be a short drive away from everything else. It’s a great place to land and make lifelong relationships. I love watching all our clients plant roots here, whether they are starting to raise their family or retired and branching out on hobbies and new friendships. Our team prides ourselves on getting to know our clients and their future plans and what their lifestyle looks like. Until we have a better sense of who they are and where they want to go, it is super difficult to provide a steady guiding hand. We want to be the people they call when they need a recommendation for a dentist, a restaurant, or the best park to take their 4-year-old.
DeAnna: I love to fish. What more can I say?
Specifically talking market trends, please give us a review of where we´ve been over the past 18 months and where we are currently.
The decreasing inventory levels in the last 18 months is probably the most noticeable change. With the decrease of supply coupled with crazy low interest rates, the values have gone up. Many property owners have great equity positions in their homes and after being “stuck” inside due to Covid, they are starting to get the itch to upgrade their places. It’s been fun to see past clients seeing a sizable return on investment in the homes we sold them a few years back and watching them reinvest that into something nicer and/or more suitable for their growing families.
DeAnna, where do you see things going over the next several months?
We are already seeing a trend of increased inventory so I am hopeful that will continue. As more people see what their neighbors sold for and are convinced “my house is waaaay better than that,” they’ll likely be compelled to sell as well. If this becomes true, buyers will have a bit more leverage since the house they see likely won’t be the only game in town. Sellers will still fetch a premium but getting the additional 5% for “blue sky” is likely going to be a thing of the past.
Dyan, are there any tips or advice that you feel buyers and sellers must know and can take action on now?
Yes! Make that phone call. As our world becomes more and more digital and removed from each other, it can cause some people anxiety to call and make an appointment with a professional, especially someone in sales. I promise you; this phone call can change your life. You don’t even need to be in the market to sell or buy in the next six months. Connect with a real estate agent that you can develop a long-term relationship with so when you are ready to buy or sell, they have a better sense of what goals you are working towards, etc. A true professional will offer you their time with no expectation in return. I had the pleasure of meeting with a couple last week that were trying to decide if they should rent or buy, especially because they will only plan on living in Ashland for 2-3 years.
As they left the office they said, “Wow…thanks! Thanks for guiding us on our best interest and not yours.” Those are the people you want on your side.
Dyan, after these many years in the real estate business with DeAnna, how would you describe your true calling of working together?
I know there are sales teams out there that are always running hard to the finish line where the trophies are. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t meet very many people more competitive than us. But our true calling has nothing to do with houses or sales or being the best. For the most part, I think the majority of people would say 2020 changed them. That is what experiences do, especially if you choose to grow after them. A few years ago, we sold the most real estate in all of Jackson County. And it was just the two of us working all those files, the competitive teams had 5 plus agents/support staff etc. We celebrated our accomplishment and then looked at each other and said, “Goal met and we never want to do that again!” Our true calling is to be present with the client we are working with at that specific moment. To provide grace and understanding in a world that wants everyone to conform. We want our clients to know they are not alone. That we are fighting for them and are their personal advocate when it comes to their real estate goals. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have hard conversations with grace and love. We have been so blessed to be really good at what we do, but to also have amazing opportunities to walk alongside people as they have their first child, lose their homes in a fire, grieve the loss of a loved one or celebrate a huge career accomplishment. Our highest priority to be loving even when may be that person is going through a difficult time and maybe isn’t being too nice. “Have Grace” has been our slogan lately and it has been spot on.
For many who have followed your stories, they will know you are great friends and business partners to one another. Please say more.
Dyan: I tease DeAnna that my parents raised me my first 18 years and then she is raising me the rest of the way. Who are we kidding, she is still raising me. And what a chore. In all seriousness, my parents prayed for a great friend for me, and I had to go through 18 years of life before I found her. Dee has been there with me through the most joyful and difficult times of my life. She was the one there walking me through my infertility, the births of my two miracle babies, my mom’s two rounds of cancer, and dang now that I am talking about it, a lifetime of other memories. I have been so blessed I forget sometimes that other people don’t ever have the friendship we have had over the past 20+ years.
It is one of my biggest blessings to watch Dee grow as a mother, wife, and business owner. If you haven’t met her… she doesn’t do anything half-assed. She inspires me daily plus she has the most beautiful skin.
DeAnna: I can’t think of anyone, besides the two of us of course, that thought it was a good idea for us to go into business together. After all, you don’t mix business with pleasure. It’s no secret most real estate partnerships don’t make it. I am creative and Dyan is analytical, yet I love the most detailed and anal buyers and she connects well with the elderly. Where she is green, I am versed, and where I am overwhelmed, she slays the minutia. If you are a jerk, we both sense it and already know we aren’t going to work together without ever speaking a word about it or asking the other for permission to bow out. More than a few have thought we were a couple, commenting on how tangible the love is between us. I often refer to how I wish Dyan was my wife; that girl has the next 12 months of our work schedule, our kids’ school schedules, sporting events, and next year’s school supplies already in a cart and in our joint calendar. She would keep me so on-task and I would keep her off the ledge and also keep her well-fed.
DeAnna, you mentioned that now more than ever your business has been reaping the benefit of the over 20+ years of positive relationship building here in our community. Can you give us some examples of the amazing synergy you both get to experience as a direct result of this investment?
In a market like we are experiencing right now it’s becoming more and more important to have great relationships within our industry. Unless you are living under a rock, you will be competing in a multiple offer situation at some point. If in the past, you treated the agent with disrespect and attitude or were sloppy about the contract or contingency deadlines in your contract, they will remember that. Getting the highest price isn’t always the strongest motivator to a seller and if the deal never closes or it’s a painful process, they will likely regret being swayed by money. A few years ago, we prevailed in a multiple offer situation and when the agent called to tell me, she made it a point to mention our offer wasn’t the highest. It was a $90k house so the demand was high. She went on to say that due to the age of the home (and the seller), the property inspection may pose some challenges. In her discussion with the seller she shared her experience with us over the years, our integrity, our solution-oriented mindset, and that she felt confident the escrow would close successfully. Fast forward to yesterday when we submitted on another multiple offer situation. This time it was a higher price point but a darling house with lots of interest.
To our benefit, the listing agent was the same one from several years ago who we knew wholeheartedly, our representation of this buyer was adding value to the offer even though it didn’t necessarily compute to dollars. We learned late last night our offer was chosen and we couldn’t be more thrilled for our client. When we have tight timelines for inspections or extraordinary circumstances around scheduling, our go-tos will find a way to fit us in even if it means they work the weekend. Our lending and escrow partners know we value their time so if we reach out after hours it’s because it’s really important and they answer the call every time. We are so grateful we have always followed the Golden Rule and are so glad it has also benefited our clients.
Can you say more about why it is important right now to be well-rounded to be able to work with both buyers and sellers?
This market is so fast-paced right now that if you aren’t out actively showing property to see what your competition is, you’re leaving money on the table for your sellers. You can’t rely on past sales or statistics such as price per square feet to establish pricing. If you think Zillow is gospel…. oh Lord help us all. Sellers need to know first hand how the subject property compares to all the other homes within $50k of the suspected value and how it stacks up. And buyers need to feel confident their representative knows whether a house is priced appropriately and if it will be snatched up in a hot second or likely to sit there for a bit. Values can change daily so now more than ever it’s critical to be working with someone who is full-time, all the time. We are so grateful our team of three is providing coverage around the clock and between Dyan, Linda Haxton, and myself there is rarely a time when one of us can’t meet with a client at a time that works best for them.
Dyan, what would you say truly differentiates your business in our community?
If I had to sum it up in two words: Heart and stubbornness. There are people who go through their entire lives and never find their passion. We found ours. Our heart attaches to our clients and their stories. We have been known to drop off random gifts, cry with our clients, and follow their success years after we have seen them. I think it is our tendencies to be empaths that has made us so successful. It is also very exhausting at times. But in the long run, I know the people I surround myself with celebrate in my success and mourn with my trials. These are the professionals we strive to be every day. Oh, and we are too darn stubborn to fail. Got a property that is a difficult sale? We are your girls. FHA buyer with 3.5% down and needs closing costs at an entry level price range…We got you. We love the challenges of the real estate world. When others have backed away from the table, we strive to scoot in our chairs and get to work. When I first joined DeAnna, a well-respected and highly successful broker said I wasn’t tough enough for this business. Game On, Sister. I may not look as refreshed as I did back then, but I hit my pillow every night knowing I did my work throughout the day.
In conclusion, where would one begin in starting to work with you all?
If you think we are a good fit for you (and you for us) reach out to us for a conversation. We would be happy to spend some time learning about what you’re looking for both in a buyer’s agent or seller’s agent. We are an open book and known for our candor so be careful what you ask for. Dyan has no problems kicking me under the table if I am being too direct but hey, I know no other way.
DeAnna Sickler and Dyan Lane
320 E Main Street, Suite 100
Ashland, OR 97520
Office line: 541.494.5353