Week #1 (In the Life of An Alaskan Realtor)


I have decided to commit to delivering a video each week in the upcoming 2017 year to give a better picture of what life is REALLY like as an Alaskan Realtor.  Any input, suggestions, thoughts or constructive criticism are greatly encouraged and appreciated along the way.  After all, part of being a good realtor is having thick enough skin to not only withstand the cold but also to handle other’s suggestions–all for the end result of becoming better each day in our service to clients in the world of real estate.

Staying the course…


P.s. (click on the link above”sheila-video-1″ for more info)

A Series of Great Opportunities


I recently returned from a trip to Liberia, Africa–one of the top five poorest countries in the world.  The poverty is so devastating that, if you look at the big picture, it can seem hopeless.

img_3673However, if you break the big picture down into smaller pictures, it doesn’t take too long before you realize that everyone has a choice in life: we chose to either be a part of the problem or to be a part of the solution.  This is true whether you live in Africa or in America.

I heard a quote once that hangs in my office as a daily reminder of the importance of perspective. The quote states: “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.” – Anonymous

Over many years of working in the business world, I have obtained a new mindset when faced with an “opportunity”–run TO the challenge or opportunity; don’t run FROM it.

If you are in the market to either buy or sell a property,  or are looking to sell or purchase a business–I would be honored to work with you from strong start to tenacious finish.

img_3858Shoot me an email (sheila@valleymarket.com) or call/text me (907.315.1086).

Great opportunities await you!





Valley Market Real Estate Goes Global

Valley Market Real Estate will be doing a drive for the month of October for an organization called Teamwork Africa (teamworkafrica.org). Besides helping in real estate; we also enjoy being involved both in our community and in other areas of the world.liberia-mark

My husband and I will be heading to Liberia the first part of November to work for several weeks with Teamwork Africa on various projects (co-founder, Mark Halvorsen in photo).  We at Valley Market thought it would be wonderful to include those in our own community who might want to participate in this amazing journey.  We are able to bring an extra 50 pounds each and want to pack in as much as possible.

If you or someone you know would like to donate any of the following items, please drop them off at our Valley Market Real Estate office located at: 603 W. Recon Circle, Palmer, AK.  The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00-5:00. You can also read more about the different aspects of this organization on their website if you are interested in donating to other areas of need.


Here is the list of items we are collecting:

-Over the counter prenatal vitamins
-Children’s Tylenol
-Band aids
-A&D Ointment
-Cortisone Ointment
-Rechargeable batteries AA/AAA
As you can see, the list of items is quite simple; every day items that we have access to 24/7.
If you would like to know more about Teamwork Africa; I would be happy to answer any questions!  You can also call or text (315-1086) or shoot me an email (sheila@valleymarket.com).

The Valley’s Best

With so many options to choose from in every industry, it can be tough to know which advertising campaign to trust.  Especially if the word “trust” is used in a company’s slogan.

Recently, our office has been discussing ideas for a slogan that might best represent who we are–both individually as realtors and collectively as an office.

Our ideas were as individual as each one of us.vmrea

In an industry where big name real estate companies operate with an extraordinary amount of realtors; it might be confusing to understand that bigger is not always better.

When I became a realtor in Alaska, I thought long and hard about where I wanted to hang my Alaskan Real Estate License.  Being a small town farm girl for part of my childhood; I was on the hunt for a quality broker whose focus rested on doing what was in the BEST interest of the client.  I wanted a place where a potential buyer or seller could become educated in the world of real estate by competent, caring and experienced realtors. I chose Valley Market Real Estate, with Marty Van Diest (far left in picture) as my broker.

At Valley Market Real Estate, clients return time and again when they are ready to buy or sell because they know they can trust the service behind the name.

So, at our office meeting this morning we discussed our final thoughts for a slogan; it was unanimous (and simple):

Valley Market Real Estate – “The Valley’s Best”

Not the best in regard to thinking we are amazing but the best because we work with the best clients and strive to bring the very best in all that we do.

If you or someone you know are looking to buy or sell property or land–give me a call (315-1086) or shoot me an email (sheila@valleymarket.com).VMRE-2106-Edit


Valley Market Real Estate – “The Valley’s Best”

Assume Nothing (Except a Loan)

If you’ve ever contemplated assuming a mortgage loan and how that works–I can help!

I have spent the last 10 weeks working with both the buyer and the seller for a property with an assumable VA loan, which just finalized today (note happy buyer’s Jachin & Sarah Putnam in pic!)  By the way, you don’t have to be a veteran to assume a VA loan.putnam

An Assumption Loan allows the buyer to assume the seller’s current mortgage for the duration of time that is remaining on the mortgage loan, potentially saving  many months of payments.  An Assumption Loan also passes the same interest rate that the seller has paid along to the buyer–this can be very beneficial depending on current market interest rates.

If you or someone you know would like more information about assumptions please give me a call @ 315-1086 or shoot me an email: sheila@valleymarket.com

The main goal of real estate is simple and never changes: caring about people and serving each client in the way that best meets his or her needs.



Valley Market Real Estate – The Valley’s Best!



When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

I enjoy watching movies with unexpected endings.  Often, the endings can frustrate me if they don’t work out according to the endings I had hoped for. Even so, the element of surprise is usually appreciated.

In real life, however, unexpected endings or dream-shattering endings can send me into a tailspin.2013-09-21 15.36.43

The other day I called my sister, also a realtor, and started our conversation with, “You won’t BELIEVE what just HAPPENED!” There was a moment of silence and then– laughter.  Laughter because I have started many conversations the same way. Anyone in real estate will tell you that crazy things happen.  Yes, they happen often.  I believe the same can be said about almost any industry: teachers, pastors, fast-food workers, and on and on.

If you are facing an obstacle in your own life right now, and life is not making a lot of sense, here are a few thoughts that may bring you encouragement:

  • Problems are often nothing more than brilliantly disguised opportunities.
  • Some things are impossible to not take personal- so set a period of time that you will allow yourself to feel the hurt or disappointment ( 5 minutes, 1 day, etc) and then shake the dust off of your feet and get back up.
  • Find one honest friend who will help you keep a healthy perspective when life doesn’t make sense.
  • Keep moving forward–do one thing TODAY that will help get you back on track.
  • Don’t allow self doubt to sabotage your goals and dreams.
  • Tomorrow is never a guarantee–make today the best day ever!

Each one of us has a great purpose, not just on the good days but also on the days that don’t make sense. Unlike a movie, an unexpected turn of events in our own lives is simply the end of a chapter, not the end of our story. Turn the page–start a new chapter. Stay the course.

In the wonderful, crazy world of real estate, I can help. It would be my honor to bring my expertise to the table in an industry chock full of brilliantly disguised opportunities!VMRE-2106-Edit








Going For The Gold

The 2016 Summer Olympics are currently underway as I write this blog.

Over the years my perspective toward the Olympics has changed depending on which lens my current life is able to view it through; it is true that we see other people not as they are, but as we are.

In my younger years I dreamed about what it might feel like to be an elite athlete, standing on the middle podium (my dream, my gold medal). I lower my head as the gold bling is placed around my neck, followed by the National Anthem ringing in my ears as the USA flag is raised with pride. 2014-07-16 17.06.16 2014-07-16 17.07.30

However, in my current “more experienced” hence more realistic season of life, I find myself mostly drawn to the humanity side of the Olympics–the focus is more clear through this lens in its ability to see the many athletes who put in thousands of hours of practice only to have their dreams fall apart in a millisecond in front of the entire world. These athletes are not failures; they are humans.

You may be wondering, “What does winning a medal or facing defeat have to do with real estate?”


As a Realtor, my clients trust me from start to finish to go the distance for them in selling or purchasing a property.  The baton of trust is placed in my capable hands with great hopes that I will not fail them.  Just like the Olympians, though my clients only see me, there is a large team of professionals in the mix, without whom my job would be impossible.

We have brokers and lenders and escrow officers. We have surveyors, engineers and photographers.  We call on roofers, contractors, plumbers and electricians. We have fellow realtors, underwriters, and assistants to assistants.

Yep, we all play to our strengths and when we work together, on the day that our clients become a homeowner for the first time or says his or her final good-bye to home that no longer fits–it’s almost as exciting as winning a Team USA gold medal.

Not all files make it to the finish line–we have our share of “fails.” The entire world doesn’t get to see our failed attempts but we feel them deeply just the same. We learn from the fails and we cheer each other on even when the baton falls out of our hands just short of the finish line.

I have been training diligently for over thirty years in the wonderful world of business. Give me a call or text (315-1086) or shoot me an email (sheila@valleymarket.com).

I assure you, no one will work harder for you than me (and my team)– from solid start to gold medal finish.





Chicken Coops & Mountain Views

My Alaskan Realtor wheels have been putting on some miles over the last couple of months.  It feels that I have trekked every nook and cranny between Palmer, Wasilla, Eagle River and a bit in Anchorage.

That being said, there’s a lot of road time in between properties.  A lot of time to think. Lately I’ve been thinking about chickens.

I’ve been thinking about chickens because a lot of my clients dream of buying a piece of Alaska but only if that piece allows them to raise chickens. Better yet if they can have chickens AND a mountain view.matanuskariver2

Although I spent a large part of my childhood on a dairy farm, I have never raised a chicken.  We bought eggs from neighbors who wanted to raise chickens.

However, there was that one time when our oldest daughter’s high school agriculture class hatched chickens at which time she talked her dad into letting her bring home two chickens.  It was January in Wisconsin. The chickens had to stay in the garage.  The garage shared a wall with the kitchen.  One morning while eating breakfast we discovered that one of the chickens wasn’t a chicken–he was a rooster.  For weeks we listened to Chez the Rooster learn how to crow until at last we gave both Chicken and Rooster to Neighbor who raised chickens.

All of these memories are what I was thinking about the other day when another client shared with me his dream of raising chickens.

I had to ask.

“Why?” I asked, not wanting to offend but desperate to understand.

He took no offense as he shared with me in great detail of his many times away on foreign soil fighting for our country in the most tentative of environments.  He shared of lives lost. He shared of times that his own life was a breath away from enemy fire. On and on he spoke, his thoughts thousands of miles away as he told me story after story of where his path had taken him while on active duty.

Finally he stopped talking and looked me in the eyes coming back to my question about chickens.

“Chickens represent a normal lifestyle that a person longs for when they are not certain if they will ever make it back to “normal.” They represent something simple and good and safe.”

I cannot put into words how my view of chickens has changed.chickencoop

Not only did we find him a property with a fabulous ready-to-go chicken coop–he also has a mountain view!

If you are wanting to find a special property to raise chickens where you can slip away from the cares of the world–I would LOVE to help you. Give me a call (315-1086) or shoot me an email (sheila@valleymarket.com)

Sheila Cote



Why I Am A Realtor

On a particularly tough real estate day I found myself driving my white Ford Focus down a bumpy gravel road in Palmer Alaska in an attempt to locate a property to show to a prospective buyer. Between bumps, billows of dust and intermittent cell service I pondered a recent conversation I had had with a person who did not understand the value of using a realtor.

No surprise that this person’s opinion of realtors stemmed from a negative personal experience.

Although I am but one Alaskan Realtor Chic in a small but mighty Ford Focus (no longer white thanks to dirty, bumpy roads!) I have formed my own opinion of realtors over the years.  We are not all good. We are not all bad. We all make mistakes. Sometimes little mistakes that no one notices and other times big mistakes–because we are imperfect humans.

And yet we continue to show up on a moments notice to show a property on a Sunday evening, write offers at 10:00 at night, receive phone calls and texts 24/7, line up a half dozen showings in one afternoon, and stick with our clients for sometimes months on end in an attempt to find them not just A house but to find them THE house.  And we get excited every time we successfully match a client with the right property or when a seller receives an offer from an excited buyer.

It’s what we do.

Sometimes I wonder if what I do is enough, especially when things go south.

However, last week I sat at the close table with a remarkable man, Mike Tucker, as he signed the papers to his new property.    Mike and his beautiful family are one of the reasons why I am proud to say that I am a realtor.  The other reasons are all of the amazing people I have gotten to know and help because I am a realtor.  I love coming alongside hard-working, diverse, incredible families and getting the honor of serving them in the wonderful world of real estate. And yes, it really can be wonderful.

So, though some days may be tough, I am feeling as optimistic as the young man at the beach who was throwing the starfish into the ocean one at a time.  An older man walked by and asked him, “What are you doing?”  The young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back into the ocean they will die.”

The older man replied, “There are miles and miles of beach with starfish along every mile. You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The young boy picked up another starfish and threw it back into the ocean with its breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

If you are looking for a realtor, I would love to be your perfect, imperfect choice.  Give me a call or text me (315-1086) or shoot me an email (sheila@valleymarket.com).

You are the reason why I am a realtor!



Now Is The Right Time

With the longer days, sunshine, and the promise of spring and summer in the air, there’s a question that I’ve been getting asked a lot lately, “Is now a good time to put my home on the market?”2013-08-28 11.29.01

The answer is, “Yes.”

Here’s why:

Typically inventory (number of homes for sale on the market) spikes in both the spring and again in the fall.  What that means for the homeowner contemplating listing his or her home is that if you wait until everyone else puts their homes on the market, the competition of possible homes similar to your own home is much greater, allowing buyer’s more options but possibly causing your home to be one of many instead of one of few.

I have experienced this firsthand with a few buyer-clients whom I have taken to view brand new listings.  We have been beat when putting in an offer to purchase by a different buyer who was just a tad quicker pulling the trigger. The experience reminds me of childhood lessons learned when my dad explained what the expression, “the early bird gets the worm” meant in real life situations!

If you are teetering between listing your property right now or waiting, of course you need to do what is right for you and your family.  However, if you are ready to pull the trigger or if you want to have more worms to choose from–now is the time.

Give me a call (315-1086) or shoot me an email (sheila@valleymarket.com). I promise I will work hard to market and sell your property.