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Sensationalism is everywhere and it's hard to know what's real, anymore. The economy is tanking, the marketing noise is deafening, and you just don't know what tomorrow will hold. This site is dedicated to a no-hype retelling of what's working for me in real estate, business, and life. Welcome.

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Emily is available for speaking appearances and flat-rate consulting on the topics of personal finance and real estate. Please fill in the Contact Form for more information.

Archive for May, 2008


Financial Fluency For Business Owners

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I am writing this and cueing it up a few days in advance… hopefully by the time you get it, my baby will have arrived and I will be exhaustedly catching up on sleep somewhere… :)  I will keep you posted on that.

However, what I wanted to point out today was a free conference call my business partner Steve Maxwell is hosting on Thursday, May 29th.  The focus of the call is "Building Wealth From Your Business" – it will be an interview format and they’ll be leaving time for questions – so make sure you bring some! 

If you know your business could be running better than it is – with reading your financial statements, saving on taxes, getting expert consulting help, or improving your business model, you’ll definitely want to check out this call.

It’s free – all you have to do is register at our website:  If you decide to buy Steve’s financial fluency workbook afterward, there is a discounted price for people who have registered.

Hope you can join the call!  Here’s the outline:


Creating Wealth from your Business

  1. Seeing that it IS possible for you!
  2. Deciding specifically what you want.
  3. Becoming Financially Fluent
    a. The Language of Money … your financial statements and the 2 very simple equations you MUST understand to become wealthy.
    b. The 3 steps to becoming wealthy
  4. Growing you business … some of the keys
    a. Your mindset!
    b. Mentors/coaches/Advisors
    c. Hungry to grow & learn
  5. Learning to Invest … getting your money from your business working for you

Go here to register for the call-in information:

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Networking With Real Estate Brokers

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As a big 9-months pregnant lady, I figured, "What better to do this month than use some of my down time during doctors appointments to start networking with professionals in my industry?" 

Not entirely logical, given the added exertion of riding the bus downtown and tromping around to formal office meetings in my dorky maternity clothes wasn’t exactly going to do wonders for my sore, loosening hip joints.  But I considered it something fun to do to get me out of the house before the baby comes and I am emotionally chained forever after to a wonderful new baby who I will never want to leave even for a minute or for a business meeting…

So, since early May, I have been conducting "informational interviews" with folks working in the real estate and personal finance arena here in Seattle.  In part, this is to be more "businesslike" about connecting with new people, and not just hiding out in my office with my online and telephone business associates.  It has also been driven by my consideration of getting my realtors license (for use in commercial real estate).  I have been investigating what it’s really like in the commercial real estate industry and wondering whether it would be a good match with my skills and interests.

Here’s what I found about being a commercial real estate leasing agent…

  1. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do the job. – The people that I met were both very nice, professional and came across as intelligent and hard working.  However they both specifically SAID, "you don’t have to be a rocket scientist."  So I’m taking them at their word.
  2. You do have to be very competitive.  Because commissions are so high in commercial real estate, most folks in the industry are really willing to jump through a lot of hoops to win a contract.  You have to be so committed to "winning" work that it hurts a little bit when you don’t.
  3. Contacts aren’t everything, but they help.  I was told that a lot of people in the field are "fraternity members from the University of Washington." 
    The commercial leasing agents that I talked to were both NOT from this background, but recognized that it represented a significant part of the industry.  They said they made lemonade out of lemons by capitalizing on the "I’m different" angle and creating a niche and marketing plan (cold calling out the wazoo!) that was not based on being local.  They did however, go to networking events, serve on boards of charitable groups, and do other social/business activities to get themselves out there in front of potential clients.
  4. "The Guys Have It?" – Apparently 95% of the people in the field are men.  Don’t know why this might be?  Perhaps a female would have an "I’m different" niche advantage?
  5. Slow to build, but big income opportunities.  The agents seemed to think that a new agent in the field could expect 2-3 lean years as he was building his book of business, cold calling, helping more experienced agents as a "runner" and otherwise gaining momentum.  However, within 2-3 years time, one would expect to have a 6-figure income and be poised to do "much more" in the near future.  Good agents near the top of the field in this area can make 7 figures a year.


All-in-all, I determined that my interpersonal and communication skills would be more of an asset in this field than my math or economics skills.  I’m not sure if I’m enough of an extrovert to consider myself a true natural in this business, but I think with strong discipline, a long-term horizon and a career-minded outlook I could be very successful.  My next course of action is to continue talking with leaders in the field and perhaps start sending out some resumes and investigating firms I may be interested in joining.

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May: Emily’s Baby Update

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I haven’t posted much lately, and I apologize.  With the upcoming baby delivery date pending (he was due 5 days ago on May 15, but he doesn’t have a calendar in there, so I guess we can forgive him being late just this once…) there have been a lot of doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, pediatrician shopping, and so forth piled on top of my usual workload and keeping me fully occupied. 

In mid-April I had a very nice and generous baby shower hosted by my sister Laura with tons of books and clothes, and I have been working on writing what seems like a million-and-one thank you notes after that.  I am also told I will be "even busier" after the baby is born.  After learning that babies eat every 3 hours around the clock, I don’t doubt it!


The Cost of Having a Baby

I have been keeping track of baby-related expenses, but haven’t posted much lately (mostly because my husband and I haven’t had to buy much for the past few months…) but here are some updates, complete with the last-minute purchases I realized I couldn’t put off any longer once the baby was considered "full term" a few weeks ago.


  1. Crib and Dresser – THE MOST EXPENSIVE ITEMS.  We were given these items as a gift, but the new equivalents are $200-$500 each at Babies R Us.  We also got a used Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper which is a small crib we can use when we are traveling, or when the baby is small and we want to keep him with us in our room.
  2. Crib Mattress – This is sold separately from the crib, but all mattresses seem to be the same size so it was easy to shop for.  We bought our new inner spring crib mattress for $79 at Target.
  3. Diapers and Wipes – I finally realized that we would need some of these in the house BEFORE the baby came.  I shopped online at and found that most diapers there were about 17 cents each (disposables) when purchased in bulk and shipping was free on orders of $50 or more. 
    Shortly thereafter, I  found some diapers at target for $0.13 each which I knew to be an incredible bargain, so we snapped up the Pampers Swaddlers for this price.  They turned out to be mis-marked and Target doesn’t really sell them that cheaply, but they honored their price and we got a bargain!  I have found out that you can get diapers for about 13 cents each at Costco stores, but we don’t have a membership there…
    Thus far in this category we have spent $55 for 2 boxes of 216 infant diapers and 2 boxes of wipes.
  4. Car Seat – A car seat is a must-have item.  In order for you to drive your baby home from the hospital, you have to already have it installed in your car.  It has been really weird driving around with a car seat in the back seat of our Mazda, but no baby.  It’s definitely putting my husband and me in an anxious-waiting mode, reminding us that the baby could come any day!
    We got the cheapest new Graco car seat we could find.  It was gifted to us by my parents and grandmother, but the retail price was $99 at Babies R Us.
  5. Swaddling Blankets – I have to say we got a MILLION baby blankets – more than we need considering the baby will be born right at the start of summer.  However, we didn’t have any big, square blankets for swaddling the baby to keep him comfortable and still (as recommended in The Happiest Baby on The Block) so I got 2 large (45" square) fabric pieces at the fabric store (and some fabric iron-on hemming material, since I don’t have a sewing machine) for $11.
  6. Clothes – We got a lot of clothes (more 3-6 month onesies than he’ll probably have time to wear before he grows out of them!) from friends whose son had outgrown his infant wardrobe and new for gifts at the shower and from other folks!  We have not had to buy any additional clothes yet.
  7. Returns – We got a number of duplicate items (especially blankets, clothes and books, at the shower) which we returned for store credit.  Now we have about $200 in store credit at various baby and department stores which we can use to buy some big-boy clothes once he’s a little larger.
  8. Crib pad – I bought a mattress pad for the crib to go under the sheets and absorb leaks at night – $8 at Target.
  9. Changing pads – I also bought 2 changing pads so we can change the baby’s diapers when we’re out and about and not near the changing table at home – $9 at Target.

Total for this reporting period: $264 spent – not bad.  Thanks to all the friends and family who helped keep our costs down!  Once the baby is born… I feel like we’ll be responsible for absorbing more of our own costs! :)

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About Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate investor and licensed real estate agent living in Seattle, Washington. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa with an Economics degree from UNC-Chapel Hill (Go Tarheels!) her focus has been on building business for cash flow and investing in real estate for wealth. If you have questions about real estate investing, personal finance, or would like some flat-rate, affordable advice on one of these topics. Please fill in the Contact form.