About Us - A Brief History of PRESS

PRESS was founded on one of the most idealistic world-views in the real estate industry. Founded by educator, real estate broker, consultant, real estate expert witness and author Jim Stacey in 1994, and developed over the years by Jim and his wife, Mel, PRESS began as the answer to the challenge of how to provide a very unique, more charitable than profitable service to the public without obtaining grants, being a government entity with endless regulations, and yet still managing to exist decade after decade.

After many years of successful service to the community, Jim retired in 2005, and passed the torch to Brett Clifton, an experienced consultant, real estate investor and developer, who has continued the path of PRESS and taken its mission to heart as one of his greatest passions. Today, PRESS exists as one of the most unique consumer advocacy programs in the nation, providing a free service to Clients that adds more value and security to real estate transactions for buyers and sellers throughout the Puget Sound region.

Brett Clifton, Owner

Since 2000, Brett Clifton has built a distinguished career in real estate in wide-ranging areas of real estate investment and development, from property valuation, conventional and private finance, contracts, negotiation, acquisition, renovation, construction analysis, property and tenant management, marketing, sales, and condominium conversions. He brings real-world experience in these and many other aspects of the real estate industry to bear as the Owner and primary consultant of PRESS. Brett owns and self-manages rental units in single-family and multi-family rental properties in the Green Lake, Wallingford and Magnolia neighborhoods of Seattle, and maintains an active real estate investment portfolio. For Brett, real estate is a life-long passion and deliberate endeavor.

Prior to working in the real estate field, Brett had a successful career as a business and technology consultant. He has a broad business background ranging from small business ownership and operation to management consulting at Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, the Boeing’s Aerospace & Defense Group and AT&T Wireless. Brett’s consulting background brings an additional level of expertise to PRESS, with his experience on a variety of projects including risk mitigation, marketing strategy, compliance management, human resource strategy, industry sales projection and analysis, process improvement, web portal development and integration, and Customer Relationship Management strategy and implementation. The marriage of Brett’s business and real estate backgrounds continuously proves to be a powerful asset through his operation of PRESS and consultation to PRESS clients.

Jim Stacey, PRESS Founder (Retired)

Jim Stacey entered real estate in 1982 after having tried over and over to find a career that absorbed a man who had dozens of interests. Stacey had been to grad school (English) and admitted to law school and nursing school, but quickly grew bored with all of them. He started an outdoors school in Kentucky, teaching survival, canoeing and climbing for eight years, a program that certainly kept his interest, but one that didn’t pay very many bills. And life in a log cabin can be much colder and tougher than anyone imagines. The door to a higher standard of living was marked “Contracting,” so Stacey became a carpenter-builder, at first in Ohio and then in Oregon.

From Oregon he went to Seattle to teach remodeling and all things related to solar construction with the Northwest Owner-Builder Center. But this idealistic organization was not long for this world and so he soon had to resume the job search. He had never seen himself as a salesman but he did love his construction and architecture, so why not give the life of the Realtor a try?

Stacey sold his first house in 22 days. Knowing construction really and truly did give him a big advantage over his colleagues. He entered the “Million Dollar Club” his first year (it sounds more impressive than it is, but it does mean he wasn’t napping). Then, after 14 months he also became the real estate instructor for The Experimental College at the University of Washington (in the spring of 1984). Sales paid the bills. Teaching provided the raison d’etre.

To teach, one needs a text book. There was no such book. Stacey wrote it in 1986: Seattle Homes, which became the regional number one best-seller in its fourth month, staying on the best-seller lists for two years. In 1990 he added Washington Homes and in 1996, re-wrote Seattle Homes.

By 1985, Stacey had opened Jim Stacey Real Estate, becoming the first company in the Northwest to successfully specialize in “buyer-brokering.” This was very much at odds with the industry at this time, but he still managed to be elected president of the north Seattle Realtors, and his agents followed him in that position for three years. So, while the industry was resisting a basic change in its approaches, one of its elected leaders was trying to catalyze that change. Ironically, his success at leading the industry in this change took away from his own company’s specialization. Within nine years, even the companies that had once resisted the changes the most vehemently were now enthusiastically offering the same service. It was time to look for a new and fun challenge. And so that brought about the beginning of PRESS in 1994.

In 2005, after serving over 400 clients through the PRESS service, Jim decided it was time to pass the torch, and begin his lifelong dream of retirement. Since retiring, Jim has traveled extensively and lived in a variety of places including the Philippines. Jim now resides in North Carolina with his wife Mel and their seven dogs, enjoying a leisurely life of writing and improving his homestead.