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Archive for November, 2009


Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Each year I begin to I appreciate Thanksgiving more. Not only the holiday in and of its self, but I have come to really value the spirit of gratitude that surrounds it. This is such an amazing time to simply reflect on our blessings, to let gratitude be on the front of our heart and mind.

This past weekend I attend an “early Thanksgiving” family event that one of my aunts held at her home. It was great fun seeing many of uncles, aunts and cousins and their kids, but the best part of the day was to listening to my 95 year old grandmother say the blessing. It no accident she is named Grace, her prayers are exceptionally reflective, in part because I believe her advanced age gives her a perspective that many of us will never know. She has seen a lot in her lifetime. I know enough about her life to know some of the pain and rough roads she has traveled. Yet this past weekend, when I listen to her words and listen to the passion in her voice, I hear the heart of a woman whom is truly thankful for her blessings.

While my lifetime has been just a fraction of hers, this is such a great week to reflect on what we truly are blessed with. For some of us our material things have changed over the years, things we once counted as blessings are no more or have become burdens in our life. That said, I am looking at my life and thinking about all I do have and am truly thankful for. I also appreciate the opportunity to show gratitude through our efforts. At Landed Gentry we are still here serving people. While we may not be building and selling the same quantity of homes that we once were, our quality and commitment is still there, helping people make their new house a home. It’s truly rewarding watching the individuals and families as they get to move into their new homes, there is the extra excitement of building memories inside of their new place as the holiday season sets in.

Over the past few weeks our Landed Gentry team has been able to be part of gratitude in action. I see it as I watch a couple with there two young boys who are moving into a custom home we just completed, or the naval aviator who has the opportunity to spend a few nights in her first new home before she is deployed oversees, and in the empty nester couple who is excited to enter retirement. In each of those people, I see and hear thankfulness. Not so much for what we have done, but gratitude for the opportunity they have to live in home that at one time was distant vision and now is a reality for them.

Personally, I am thankful for my family, I’m thankful for the amazing team of people whom I get to work along side of, and I’m thankful for the people we get to serve. It is my hope that our spirit of gratitude shows in our all our good work and efforts. Each of us has something to be thankful for. This week, I would encourage you take a couple minutes and simply think about your blessings and reflect on how you have been able to show gratefulness to others.

May the spirit of gratitude fill your life and home this Thanksgiving.


Brian Gentry is a third generation builder.  Currently, he serves as the President of Landed Gentry Homes & Communities, a regional land developer, home builder and real estate consultant in Washington State.



Finally – a Homebuyer Tax Credit for the rest of us!

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I suppose I would be remise as a housing industry professional to not at least mention the new $6,500 tax credit for existing homeowners that was part of the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, signed by President Obama.

According to the Washington Realtors, over 60 percent of current / existing homeowners will be eligible for this new tax credit. Basically, if you’ve owned and lived in your home five consecutive years over the previous eight years you may qualify for a tax credit of up to $6,500 if you purchase a home by April 30, 2010. Purchase, for this credit, is defined as having a mutually accepted purchase agreement signed, and you have up to up to July 1, 2010 to close. This is especially helpful if you are looking at new construction.

The past tax credits have been focused on the first time homebuyer, and the $8,000 first time buyer tax credit was extended as part of this new bill. Homeownership has been considered part of the American way of life and the Federal government has supported these initial home purchases for years. The basic premise is to continue to maintain and build our society of owners. By getting people to own their own home there have been a variety of social and economic benefits that we have all benefited from. Traditionally there is a trickle down economic theory associated with this policy.

Existing homeowner sells their home to first time buyer, seller buys larger home that works for growing family or general needs, the purchaser ends up buying new or buys an existing home of another person, this new seller needs to find a new home that better needs their lifestyle. This home may be a home they will live in as they enter into retirement or just looking for lower maintenance. Each of these transactions along the way is an economic generator and meets societal needs for all of us. Generally, it all starts with the first time buyer and that is why the focus is traditionally on them. Well, in this previous round of tax incentives it didn’t play out quite that way.

With the economy such as it has been, here is what we saw. As opposed to a family selling their starter home and purchasing a move up house, or people move out of their long term home and move across to a home that better suited their current needs, we saw was people just sitting tight and not making any changes to their lives. There was little reason to do so with all the uncertainty in the world. The first time buyer has been finding their homes in the bank owned and foreclosed properties, short sales, etc. We have noticed in some of the submarkets we work in, that a third to over a half of all homes sold have been bank owned or short sales, and under the $250,000 mark. Candidly, they’ve done a good job of sucking up that excess inventory at the lower price points.

Here is where I think the new tax credit is closer to getting things right, compared to what has happened with the more recent tax credits. It rewards the responsible. There are some great homes to buy out there right now. With interest rates still at historic lows and pricing is pretty amazing. Part of the great news is if you are looking at new construction. This gives many homeowner / homebuyers a brief window of opportunity to get the home they have wanted built. Given building schedules and cycle times home builders need to work through, now is the time to act to have your next home tailored to the way you live.

Simply put, this is an unprecedented opportunity. As the great management leader Peter Drucker famously said, “opportunity favors the prepared mind”. If this is interesting t you, I’m sure you have a lot more questions. There are some details we should all understand. If you wan to know more about the new tax credit, here is a good website to look at: or you can always reach me by email at or stop by one of our communities, our team at Landed Gentry wants to be a resource for you.

Fall Reflections

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009


 Last week I attended the memorial service of a person who was a true leader in business and in our community.  His was a life well lived and I find these type of events cause me be reflective on my own life.  Thinking back on this past year, I can’t help but look at all the changes that have occurred in the economy, in business, in government… the world around us is different.  Well, how am I different?


Like most people, we’ve had to adjust to the economy.  I’ve modified my personal budget, not just monetarily, but I’ve tried to focus on how I budgeted my time. I try make more time for my daughter, my family, and other people who have made a difference in my life.  The funny thing, is I find that to be a reoccurring theme we people I talk with.  For some it’s been about experiences.  Taking that trip of a lifetime. Maybe they aren’t staying in the 5-star hotel that they would have a few years ago, but they are finding camping on the beach to be just as rewarding.  What most of us really want is to live the lifestyle that reflects the person we are at our core.


At Landed Gentry getting down to our core is something we have focused on too.  Over the years we have always tried to focus on is lifestyle, and understanding that a home should facilitate the way you want to live your life.  We’ve gone to the drawing board and reevaluated most of our communities.  Do the homes we offer and the features we include truly reflect what our today’s homeowners are looking for?  In many cases it was yes, we are doing things right. In other situations, we fine tuned things to better reflect what today’s buyers tell us they are looking for.  We’ve added some new products, (custom homes, all ages neighborhoods, special projects), adjusted included features, added a few new home plans and modified pricing. 


It’s a work in progress, just like each of us.  So follow us on our blog, online and in the real world too.  Feel free to stop by one of our neighborhoods, the office, or just drop us an email to see what’s new.  Things are different, but with some reflection and thought, different can lead to the “new and improved”.  New and improved can lead to life well lived.


brian-headshot-compressed-20082Brian Gentry is a third generation builder.  Currently, he serves as the President of Landed Gentry Homes & Communities, a regional land developer, home builder and real estate consultant in Washington State.