Bend is GROWING!

Well, we all knew that.  We’ve been discovered. Every top 20 list of places to live has had us on it for years, darn it.  Our little ski town is growing to something much bigger.  The culture that is coming with all the people is fun, but the impact on our roads, traffic and dare I say it, air pollution, is causing growing pains.

One of the biggest areas of impact is our schools. Most schools are overcrowded and aging quickly.  Extra classrooms added on outside, or more kids crammed into each room and hallway are normal.  We are building them, but more people are pouring in. The first day of school last September had 500 more kids showing up than we had planned for.

This map shows our current schools and the proposed schools and updates that would be built if we pass a bond measure in May for $268MM.  That’s peanuts compared to other school districts in Oregon.  We’re starting to get the word out now so residents will understand how serious the need is.  I thought y’all might be interested!


So yes, feel free to move to Bend, just know that our growing pains are strong and we are dealing with them as quickly as we can.  And plan on riding your bike when you get here so you don’t add to the traffic mess!



Pilot Butte, Bend, Oregon

We have this awesome hill in the middle of town that many of use as our free outdoor treadmill. Every time I walk it I take a picture from the top, any view, because it’s so beautiful.  A friend and I started walking it in 1985, when you’d only see a handful of people during the hour. Now it’s been turned into a state park on the east side, the road up has been improved, there are numerous trails all over it, and TONS of people use it daily.  Walking, running, biking it.

We can always tell the tourists from the locals – the tourists drive up it – when you come to Bend, get out of your car, it’s more fun!


This is the view looking east – my home is over there somewhere!



At the top is a huge plaza that has this mountain marker as the centerpiece.  There are always people reading it to try and figure out which mountain is which and I’m often asked to point them out correctly.  When it’s snowing or cloudy I have to tell them to come back another time!  Or in an hour when the weather changes…



This is the view west  – look hard for those little white bumps, that’s the Cascade mountains.  The little town of Bend is down there, too!  For some reason, I cannot make these pictures any larger, sorry.

butte-dogs My walking companions today!  Lady the Golden is almost 14, and Jessica the Maltese -Shitzu is in charge. She’s a pill!  Attitude beyond all. On this day I made the mistake of saying to them, “let’s go to the butte” then came in the house for something I forgot. I could hear them howling in the garage for a full 5 minutes; they were ready to go!

butte-nlj My son’s wrestling team RUNS the butte for practice.  I leave 25 minutes ahead of them, walk as fast as I can, and still Nate catches me at the top.  It’s a little over a mile.  We usually take the dirt path down because it’s easier on your knees when you run.  Or jog as I do, tripping over the dogs, saying hello to friends.

So when you come to Bend you have to walk the Butte! (Check out more information at the Oregon State parks website.)  When you’re done and have taken at least 20 pictures of all the various views, go the 1/2 mile to the Pilot Butte drive in and have the best burger in town, you’ve earned it!







“What’s FRED?”

I get asked that at least once a week!  The real estate brokerage firm that I work for is very cleverly named after Fred Mannila, our founder.  Our yard signs say “FRED”, my business cards say “FRED”, I call people and say “Hi, this is Sally from FRED” – and everyone wants to know who or what FRED is.  A real person! With a vision to do real estate in a manner that’s different from all those other firms.  We put clients first. Imagine that.

Click on the link below for the story, it’s pretty incredible.  Lucky clients. Lucky me.

A view of the mountains, For Sale!


Since we’ve been “discovered” by the rest of the country, all I’ve heard is, “Do you have a view”, “I want to buy a view”, “Come see our view!”  Depending on which way you face, you either get the low lying mountains around Powell Butte with the morning sun, or you get the glorious Cascade Mountains to the west.

The property for sale below faces west, but also gets some of the beautiful northern mountains. Truly a unique gem, it’s 14.66 acres of peace and quiet, with 4.88 acres of irrigation.  It’s zoned R10, so only one house can be built for every 10 acres, and one on the 4.88 isn’t allowed.  That ensures your privacy.  Minutes from downtown Redmond, it feels like a different world because the lot is so large.

The owner raised her 4 kids here, and her son stills lives next door. The pictures don’t capture the new 6′ privacy fence she just installed, since you might not want to pop next door a dozen times/day as she did.

If you have hobbies, there is room for any kind of shop you want to build.  And horses?  Cattle?  Hogs?  Chickens?  Room for all of them.  Organic gardening? Start it here.  Bring your dreams and live the life YOU want to live…

See more pictures and the drone video below:



My 1st Friend to Trust Me

I started my real estate career on August 5, 2015.  Yesterday I attended the document/closing appointment with my dear friend, Lisa, my first friend to trust me with her real estate needs.  It’s not that my friends don’t love me, it’s just that they are not sure I know what I’m doing. And they’ve said so to my face!

But Lisa has been in the mortgage industry for years, and she knows that I have a whole team of mentors who advise me on any part of a transaction.  I value their real estate expertise, their availability for questions, and their kindness.

I value Lisa more.  She got the ball rolling and helped me to go through the process with her as a client, and not lose our friendship.  She knew that I was always working FOR HER, and that the paycheck is incidental to what she was looking for in a home. And we found her a beautiful one. Which she gets to enjoy for years to come!

Yesterday, she received the cake below, her first of many closing gifts that I’ve found for her.  I wanted her to know that this melt-in-your-mouth cake means “thank you for trusting me”, and I told her.  Sweetness all around.




My first pending real estate listing!

SLJ Pending sign pictureOkay, could that picture be any larger?!  My Dad took it in front of my Albany Avenue listing a few days after it went pending.  I was (and still am) proud that I found a buyer for the kindest seller’s ever – they really deserved to have a good transaction – and it has been!   It should close this week.

I woke up this morning, on this lovely Monday morning of our time change, and my first thought was “I cannot wait to work today”!  I just love helping people beyond all.  Getting to use my brain is a bonus,and getting to use my past finance career is a double bonus and makes all those boring years worth it.  And now I might be able to start earning a living for my family and my husband can retire again!  Woohoo, it’s a good day here in Bend.


My 1st six months as a “newbie” Real Estate Broker in Bend, Oregon!

Whew, that was a fast six months!  Today is another 15 hour day and I’m exhausted, but I want to write down my thoughts now so I won’t forget how incredible this six months has been.

I started on August 5th, six days after arriving back home from our 19 month RV trip around the USA and parts of Canada.  I was so happy to be back in my beloved Bend, and thrilled to be seeing family and friends again.  I was relaxed, refreshed and ready to hit my new real estate career hard.

Which I’ve done!  I’m ALL IN in every aspect.  I spent two weeks setting up my technology life and learning all the new systems.  I went from traveling and asking my teenagers to figure out details on the Mac for me, to having to do it all for myself.  I asked tons of questions of anyone nearby and I smile when I remember all the mistakes I made.  I miss my assistants from my former professional life more than I can articulate.  I’ve read 11 real estate books, taken 16 classes and 11 webinars, and read countless articles to get up to speed.

But the beauty of working at Fred Real Estate, by far the best company in Bend, is that I get to run my own business, my way.  It’s not a corporate structure with a top-down, shareholder driven mentality.  Fred & Keeley started the company in 2008 and it has had phenomenal growth and success for everyone involved, with happy clients in abundance.  When I was deciding who to interview with, I read  “Our philosophy is simple: work hard for our clients, and have fun. We pride ourselves in saving our clients money while providing an exceptional real estate experience” on the website and knew I had to go meet with Fred.  My notes say, “wow, is he real?!”  and “could make my dream come true here” and “clients first”.  I chose the best company in Bend.

While I’m happy to be working in a great atmosphere with other dedicated professionals, I’m also exhausted.  It has taken every bit of energy and drive I have to start my business from scratch on a positive, ethical, client-driven note.  I’ve always said that parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but now I believe being a real estate broker is harder.  “It’s crazy” is what I keep telling people, and here’s why:

  • I fired some of my first clients because they wormed their way into a home they loved, even though they’d seen it before, the owner had a medical treatment that day, and I was on the other side of town waiting to show them the house we had the scheduled appointment for.
  • People lie.  I thought I was done with that aspect because I was no longer loaning them money, but it’s even worse with real estate.  And yet I find out.
  • I’ve laughed harder than I ever did as a banker. (Even when I was playing practical jokes on people.) Spending time with other realtors and lenders who know how insane this business is makes it enjoyable.  The stories they can tell, wow.
  • Prospective clients think I’m dumb because I’m new to the business, and I’ve had several explain to me basic terms: mortgage, HOA, loan locks; I find it funny.
  • One man wanted me to find a house for he and his wife to buy, but then confided that he was going to divorce her and the house was just for him, and did I “need to tell her?” “No, but you do” was my reply.
  • I’ve been hung up on and cussed out when calling to thank them for signing up on my website. (
  • I’ve received the best advice from other experienced brokers. It’s a gift.
  • I knew that money made people emotional, but add their HOME to it, and you can multiply it by a thousand.  I call the process a roller coaster and tell clients I’m here to help with the ride, with all the details, and we’re all going to have fun.
  • I’ve become a referral source for more than just real estate related people – plumbers, electricians, handymen – but also for dentists, doctors, lawyers, schools, shopping, restaurants, vets, pedicures.   I’m happy to track down anyone they need, but I’ve been surprised by some of the requests.
  • I’ve shown houses and spent hours with clients who suddenly disappear and don’t return phone calls and emails, only to find out they’ve found a for sale by owner and cut me out. Without even a by-your-leave!
  • I missed my son’s first wrestling match to help a client who insisted on seeing the house that night, only to have her say on the way out the door, “well, I really need to come back tomorrow and see it in the daylight”.  Grr, wasn’t that my suggestion?
  • I’ve played ping pong at work and had a beer while I played = rough life.
  • I showed a house to client who said they wanted to write an offer.  I couldn’t get the key out of the door and by the time I met them 15 minutes later, they had changed their minds.  (Probably saved time in the long run.)
  • I’ve shoveled snow off driveways, steps and porches just to be able to show houses.
  • I wrote an offer on Thanksgiving and would have written one on Christmas if the listing agent had gotten back to me.  Definitely not banker’s hours.
  • I’ve met clients who will be lifelong friends.
  • I can recite the history of Bend, Mt. Bachelor and the brew pub route in my sleep.  It used to be that people asked about skiing, then it was golf, then it was brew pubs, now it’s recreational marijuana.  (Are we evolving or going backward?)
  • I’ve been stalked by a dirty old man who saw my picture and thought that gave him the right to be inappropriate.  I don’t need a sale that bad; he’s blocked.
  • I’ve shown homes to clients and had to apologize for the state they were in – I wouldn’t let my dogs live in them and yet they are for sale. In one home, the client and I were careful not to touch anything and we were laughing the whole time.

I’m sure I’ll remember more funny or frustrating instances later, but those are the first that come to mind.  And some I’m not going to share because I don’t want to get sued,ha.

More important than anything, however, is the internal reward I’ve gotten for helping people.  One of the main reasons I went into this crazy business was to help people again, and it’s so worth all the pain to be able to do so.  Last Friday, it took me 23 emails, texts and phone calls to track down and get a deed recorded so I could hand over the keys to my very first client. I was not going to make her wait until Monday, as many suggested.  It was an incredible feeling to see her step into her home and smile  – and to know that I helped get her the home that she’s going to enjoy for years to come.  Me, the newbie, closed her first transaction in 6 months!