It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | Or better yet, get ready to row…

Welcome to Friday everyone! It is early spring yet it is beginning to take shape in all ways. My plan is to stay intensely focused in conversation & connectedness to navigate all waters ahead. Office meetings, tour, a few extra phone calls, cups of coffee and data. It all plays a role in being excellent in the market, together.

This week’s post is all about an idea to consider adding to your connectivity within community. While people travel from all over the world – literally – for Windermere Cup, it is our region that naturally benefits most. I want to make sure you are aware of ideas to consider in “flow” with your sphere on Cup Weekend – May 5th & 6th this year….

As Joie Gowan states below, “just try it!”

…whether you have leveraged Windermere Cup as a marketing idea in the past or have never considered – the below video does a good job of turning on inspiration to engage in Cup weekend! I’m a raving fan of community and of sport, so for me – this is a no brainer. Plus, this year we invited Australia to join – the “down under” vs the Dawgs!

Listen in on two of our fabulous brokers sharing in how they leverage Windermere Cup as a marketing tool – video here (2 min, 35 seconds).

Watch for all opportunities on HUB roll out soon…this post is a teaser to start thinking about it! Also, you can make this a no cost touch with your sphere too – just let them know to meet you at The Cut to watch races & boat parade (easy!)…

Hope to see you on The Cut, May 5th & 6th! – Laura

And oh this! This year the Windemere Foundation will be donating proceeds from the Party on the Cut to the Joe Rantz Rotary Youth Foundation, (JRRYF). Joe Rantz, the main character of the top selling book The Boys in the Boatfound himself homeless as a teen in Sequim, Washington. In 2018, inspired by Joe’s story, and in hopes of housing homeless youth, the Sequim Rotary established the Joe Rantz Rotary Youth Fund. The goal of the JRRYF is build a home to provide shelter and other services to unsheltered youth. Your ticket purchase to the Party on The Cut will help honor Joe and move the JRRYF towards their $750,000 goal.

Ps, this was my one and only attempt at rowing – that look is oh my goodness this is hard and takes total focus. Turns out this is the same look I have for our current spring market. We’ll get thru the finish line with our “swing.” We’ve got this, here to help…

Enjoying the madness!

Welcome to Friday everyone! Today is a day for me to set down the madness of real estate & enjoy another sort of March Madness. I also look towards the weekend in a big family gathering to celebrate my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. And, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’ll pick real estate back up next week.

Out of the office and enjoying other sorts of madness – Laura

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | mic’d up last night.

Welcome to Friday, the natural bookend to the week. I had a lot to say this week which include getting mic’d up Thursday night for an evening with brokers & clients coming together for an in-person 2023 Annual Real Estate Forecast with Matthew Gardner. I purposely planned a date away from original turn into the new year and a little closer to spring. Not able to join us? No problem. Here is the full hour from last night’s event!

Ps, you did miss out however on the yummy catering, conversations around the bar and beauty of the UW Urban Horticulture Center – sorry, can’t help you there…maybe next time! Note: I’ll also send around full slide deck next week to offices…

What else happened this week? Stats dropped…

FEBRUARY MONTHLY TALKING POINTS Seattle (based on Residential report):

Note: if you need the updated password to – text me: 206.227.7133

FYI: talking points around interest rates below were penned at release of stats – I fully recognize they have been moving. The talking points still tell the story.

Hot or Cold? How would you describe the current real estate market?

Real estate brokers will say the market is heating up with more homes selling in multiple offers for more than the asking price. I will also include commentary that some of our mulitple offers this week are pending above list, some at list and some below list. Key: describe all possibilities with your upcoming Sellers!

The Seattle Times headline reads, “King County home prices drop for the first time since May 2020” and the opening sentence is “King County home prices tumbled 7% in February, the first year-over-year drop since the once-sizzling housing market began to see cooling prices.”

The Seattle Times is factually correct, but comparing the market to a year ago is old news.

Real estate brokers reported a change in activity in early January 2023 and the market has been heating up ever since.

• Both the number of homes selling above asking price and the amount over list price have increased in the last three months (November 2022 compared to February 2023) *The % of homes selling over the asking price increased from 15% to 28% * The median amount paid over the asking increased from 3% to 4%.

There is about a one month delay between the activities that generated the results because the two statistics are based on closed sales. Both these figures will increase when properties sold today close in about a month.

Sale prices have decreased 11% from the last year, but the monthly mortgage payment increased 18% or $796 from $4,289 to $5,085 because interest rates increased 2.5 points from 3.8% to 6.3%.

If you compare prices and payments to two years ago, February 2021, you will find sales prices are up 3.5% or $27,000 from $798,000 to $825,000 and payments are up 54% from $3,283 to $5,085 (an $1802 difference).

The significant increase in payment should limit the amount the monthly payment can increase in next year or two. If this is true, then sale prices will increase if interest rate decreases. Or if buyers are buying today with the expectations of lowering their payment by refinancing their mortgage with a lower interest rate mortgage.

Interest Rate and New listings Taken are driving our real estate market.

Interest rates are up ½ point from 6.09% on February 2, 2023 to 6.65% on March 2, 2023.

New listings taken in February 2023 (513) are down 33% from February 2022 (769) and down 19% from the 10-year February average (635).

Active inventory is dropping at a time of year when the historical perspective shows it should be increasing.

• The number of homes selling above the asking price historically peaks in April/May and then starts to fall as the number of new listings increase. See graph on page 3 Seattle Residential Report on windermerestats. *again, need password?…

Text me: 206.227.7133

To the weekend we go in productive work & play – here to help, the ultimate goal.

Your fan, Laura

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | spring training insights

Well, I have baseball on my mind as I witness pictures on social media of folks visiting Peoria, AZ to witness our Mariners take the field for spring training! First pitch today! As with many things, I take insights from sport into our sport of real estate.

As I was reading a Seattle Times article on Thursday morning over morning coffee, “Mariners’ Ty France finally reveals the culprit behind last season’s second-half slump” I was a reminder of what broker Catherine Adams shared with my offices at our first meeting of the year – in baseball speak (not Catherine’s), to approach 2023 swinging at the right pitches…

“France blamed his struggles on swinging at bad pitches (not his injury) in an attempt to “chase hits.” – Larry Stone reported on within his article.

In real estate speak, swinging at the right pitches is making sure that we are working with clients ready for this market; aka, this season. We discover this thru fabulous discovery into why now – open ended questions, understanding motivations and educating on the real stories in the “now” market and practical (and successful) approaches. No one environment is perfect for every client, yet there is plenty of opportunity warming up in our spring training season.

I challenge everyone to take a quick glance at your roster of clients and see where your time should be spent, are there any gaps in understanding motivations and then, swing at the right pitches vs attempting to “chase hits.”

And, if you and your clients need some LIVE insights (including opportunity to ask questions), consider investing in an in-person Matthew Gardner client event to do so. Brokers, text me if you don’t have these details and are interested – 206.227.7133. A catered happy hour & conversation with Matthew Gardner March 9th. Last call as we are dialing in catering numbers…

Next topic as we sweep recap of this week – What is a 1099-S ? Good question. If you haven’t transacted personally in some time, you may have forgotten! We had a client ask a broker for a copy of their 1099-S recently, so we dug up more detail from CW’s Darlene Sozinho & Craig Ellis…

“A 1099-S is the IRS reporting form that escrow prepares to report the sellers net proceeds for the sale of their home to the IRS.  Our escrow teams send a copy of the 1099-S to the seller along with their settlement statement right after closing (via snail mail).  If your client has misplaced theirs, escrow can provide a new copy to them.   Your client will need this form when preparing their taxes.

Good News:  If they closed with CW, that form and their settlement statement will live in their Qualia Portal forever (or until portals become extinct like the floppy disk).” – Darlene & Craig

I’ll wrap this sweep of the week with a high 5 to our Windermere Foundation reps – those current & those previously that have served our offices. Last night I hosted reps from inside of my offices as a thank you. We raised a glass to celebrate the larger Windermere goal met last year. I didn’t want this moment to pass us by before we got further into this year. Yes, that was huge goal met, yet what the evening came to be for me was a reminder of the ethos within our brand. It is one thing to say you are philanthropic and involved in making communities better and it is another thing to be within a brand that is founded upon this concept. Our brand & people walk the walk and together we have achieved so much – incrementally, over time.

So, as I had the opportunity to do in my kitchen last night, please thank a Windermere Foundation rep next time you see one. Not only do they live our ethos, they are passionately looking for new ways to better it. I was again witness to this last night.

Cheers to collective generosity! It is in us. – Laura

It’s Friday, let’s sweep this week! | Audit, ChatGPT & Rick.

Welcome to it, Friday all and specifically, Friday before Presidents’ Day Weekend. For those of you in the midst of transacting, please regard Monday, February 20th as a legal holiday with respect to computation of time.

 Today’s post is short & sweet as I’m knee deep in a DOL audit. Will expand on concepts below next week & beyond!

So, I did the thing this week. I also dove deep into AI for Real Estate and have taken a brief spin (so far) into ChatGPT. Remember when the word “hashtag” was new? Well, here is a new(ish) word for us as we explore this topic – “prompts.” In this space we will together learn how to have have excellent conversations with ChatGPT. Think of this tool as a “brain you employee” then add your knowledge for an end product…and over time this “brain” learns your voice as a content writer. I’m looking forward to discovering more with all of you. For now, I’ve begun down the path and will help to lead those that want to join me in productive & safe ways to use AI within our industry.

This week I couldn’t help to amplify Rick Franz’s recent video message on his YouTube channel – if you know Rick, you know. If you don’t yet know Rick Franz of our Windermere Bellevue South office – this is classic Rick. And guess what? After 32 years in the business, he plans to have his best year ever. He has a relentless pursuit of mastery in our industry, excellence and doing what is right. Sharing this 1 minute and 22 second video as a pause for all of us in our efforts thus far in 2023 – how do we stack up in our mindset & planning? Maybe this his a reboot in focus & what we know works…

A reminder from Rick here!

And for me, back to the DOL audit. Catch you all on the other side! – Laura

It’s Friday, let’s sweep this week! | A theme song. AI. Weekend Ready.

I’ll give one more plug for this book. If I have a theme song for myself in 2023, it is in the form of this book! Just wrapping it up and it has creating great dialog for those turning the pages with me. Cliff note version: “Hospitality means being more thoughtful.” I can’t recommend this read enough. Ps, chapter 19 even speaks direct to our industry.

Next week, I’ve been made aware of a class that is getting lots of attention. I’ll be digesting how AI & ChatGPT for Real Estate might play a role in our industry – well, turns out – it sounds like it very much is.

…”We’ll show you LIVE examples of ways to create content and implement it immediately. Discover how to format prompts that work, how to use the info it generates, and how to improve every single part of your business using this tool.

Listing presentations. Client emails. Drip campaigns. Listing descriptions. Video scripts. Marketing strategies. Blogging. Social Media posts. Ad copy. Phone scripts. Text responses. Lead generation and follow up… Literally every part of your business can benefit from this technology.” – with Valerie Garcia & Michael Thorne

Class details & registration here! I’m very curious.

Are you Weekend Ready? I am. A nice line up of Open Houses are ready – here!

And, will it be the Super Bowl football commercials or the game itself that gets you to the couch and some great eats? We’ll rank commercials in our house and enjoy the game. But first, this 8th grade squad will play for the CYO championship Saturday night! You’ll find me court side…

Have a wonderful weekend in productive work & play. Here to help – the ultimate goal. – Laura

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | on tour.

Welcome to Friday! Yes, the groundhog saw his shadow signaling six more weeks of winter this week – yet my gut tells me spring is feeling right around the corner in our local real estate market. This week’s blog post is short & sweet with a thank you and one focused topic.

On getting back on tour

Thank you listing brokers for getting back in the habit of putting your listings on broker’s tour. That is a first step toward moving our industry further and further back into the habit!

Thank you to those of you that have already adjusted your practice and have recommitted to this weekly practice in getting out there. By touring weekly we engage with each other. We know the real story – beyond the stats and pictures. We connect. We “show” support of each other – Sellers happy! We have better responses with our clients in “how is the market?” And, we have fun!

What to tour you say? Naturally you tour for clients, yet the practice moves beyond this “why.” Tour for open house prep. Tour new inventory (track how market reacts). Tour to support your peers. You’ll want this on your listings! You’ll be better & quicker at your real estate reviews. You’ll see what works in staging. You’ll price better. You’ll market better. You’ll pick up ideas. The list goes on and on…

And did I mention tour for fun? Yup, meet up with peers, fill the cars and go…

This week, I scrubbed my recurring calendar. I carved out 1.5 hours on Wednesday and 1.5 hours on Thursday. By time blocking this, it will happen for me more often. Might that pro tip help you?

If you take me up on this activity in making it again a weekly habit, I passionately believe you’ll be grateful for what comes of it. Every single time I commit to this practice, there is a connection, a market conversation, a follow up & a story that comes of it. It builds the core of a local real estate business.

I’ll leave you right there to ponder your next step in touring. Turning our focus to the weekend in productive work & play. Let’s get after it! Here to help.

Ps, have a high 5 for something this week? Share at – let’s lift each other up as we endure six more weeks of winter and anticipate spring!


Welcome to Friday, let’s sweep! | Insights.

Welcome to Friday everyone! I have two things for us as we sweep this week & prepare for next (and beyond)…both of which I’ll speak to as “insights” as we get further into our 2023 together. The puzzle pieces are all out on the table from strategic planning, commitments, habits & crystal ball predictions – now we build; piece by piece.

Thru our Moxi toolbox we have a new program this year.  It’s called – you go it – “Insights” where business intelligence is combined with quick feature training modules that can have a big impact.  The plan is to do this at least once a month and I’ll post here as released. So, with that, here is our first…

Insight: Brokers using Neighborhood News do anywhere from 30% – 100%+ more transactions than non-users.

Now, is it Neighborhood News in and of itself that is driving this? I would argue no. Instead, use of Neighborhood News is an insight into Brokers with a commitment to a combination of activities in “flow” with their sphere. This insight is simply an indicator of working a plan – and in this case – an automated plan with your sphere (at your fingertips).

Click here to learn how easy it is to subscribe clients to Neighborhood News within your Engage, 2min video.

Well, it sure doesn’t look like we are turning our warm drinks into iced just yet and while we anticipate our spring market heating up I am sharing a handful of insights taken from a recent Luxury Portfolio webinar. While the deep dive featured the State of Lux Real Estate and 2023 predictions, the conversations and talking points apply to all price ranges – not just luxury.

Before I share these insights – please help me thank your peer, Broker Susan Stasik for putting these together for us. Susan continues to show up with her palpable collaborative spirit and drive for excellence thru service within our industry.

Full webinar here – a great line up of panelists!

A few highlights Susan pulled out for us…

  • Buyers are returning to quality and not glitz.
  • During International uncertainties, buyers want to invest and live in America and English-speaking countries. Cities like Seattle and Vancouver B.C.
  • GenXers are buying homes online sight unseen.
  • Site-unseen buyers want to buy from brands they trust.
  • As brokers, we can 1. Have great digital information. 2. Great social media presence. 3. Great websites with information. 4. Demonstrate trustworthiness. 5. Video. 6. Word of Mouth. 7. Google ads. 8. Podcasts. 9. Expert interviews. 10. Online reviews. 11. Point of contact (direct people to website and social media). 12. Have educational content, success stories, engaging content (interviews), show them what you are doing (being there) in videos and graphics, Social connecting – join a movement, be joyful, fun, make it fun, share it.

No doubt these insights will be good conversation & content to circulate during our meetings, networking, and roundtables. More reasons to commit to engagement this year – see you out there – in offices, on tour and the like; piece by piece.

And, as the webinar wrapped up, I too will wrap this week with this – “Stay hungry and stay alert” in 2023. I know I am.

– Laura

It’s Friday, let’s sweep the week! | responsiveness

Hello Friday! In looking back at this week I want to give space to another responsive concept to the market that helps Buyers focus more and more on the house and a tiny bit less on rate sensitivity. Lenders and clients are getting better at creative solutions.

As the market works itself towards more normalcy (yes, time will tell), to date we’ve see financed buyers successfully using ARMs or interest rate buy-downs. In transactions without competition, buyers are often negotiating for sellers to pay the cost of the buy-down. These buy-downs may be the tool that helps bring buyers and sellers together on price.

This week I was introduced to Penrith’s buy-now-refinance-later plan, which allows buyers to refinance their loan within three years of purchase if rates go down, and they can do this without paying the lender admin fee on the new loan, plus their appraisal fee would be significantly reduced for the refi.

Penrith Home Loans Adam Boss gave me a good reframe in refi consideration down the road:

“A good point to make for refinancing is something I picked up from Mathew Gardner

The old adage that rates need to be lower by 1% of your current rate to signal a refinance opportunity is no longer true.  

I ran the numbers @ 700,000 loan 6% vs 5.5% 

$4196.85 /mo   vs  $3974.52 /mo – that lowers the payment $222/mo   

Penrith’s Rate protection program fits nicely with this  strategy.”

If you aren’t yet connected with Penrith mortgage consultant on this – feel free to text me and I’ll make a warm introduction. 206.227.7133

And as we get further and further into 2023 I’ll have a focus in “back to basics” – as I strongly believe that is where we’ll need to be our best this year. Here to help with that every step of the way. – Laura

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | “Unreasonable Hospitality”

Before I get to a story from this week – sharing a foundational item that deserves a highlight as we set out further into 2023. When your real estate license is up for renewal AND so are your fingerprints – you will receive an email from the DOL roughly 4 months in advance that reads like this…

Your fingerprints expire on 10/27/2022 and it’s time to renew. Schedule your fingerprinting: Go to Schedule and pay for your digital fingerprinting. Save the receipt number (you’ll need it for your license renewal). Questions? Need help? Real 360.664.6488 Thank you. Department of Licensing

Pro Tip! Go do this right away so that it doesn’t become a problem later! We’ve had a few lag issues in license renewals based on not knowing or forgetting fingerprints were also up for renewal. It is not an overnight thing – often weeks to have fingerprints reviewed and in the system – thus weeks in lag before your license is renewed.

Ok, onto a story to wrap this week – actually an excerpt out of my new read. I’ve been waiting for this book to drop and yes, it arrived this week and now on audible…

Many of you might remember me getting on a high horse about hospitality within our business last year and I remain in that space whereas I feel strongly the things our clients wouldn’t expect from us (those little things that surprise & delight) are what truly set your business apart from others. The technical excellence of real estate is expected from all of us. The excerpt below comes from the restaurant business yet it makes my point…

…”They primed every one of us to seek out new ways to make our guests’ experiences a little more seamless, relaxing, and delightful. And so, the first time a guest mentioned she was going to have to get up, mid meal, to feed the meter a few blocks away, it was natural for us to offer to do that for her.

…”Eventually, that gesture became one of our steps of service. The host would ask guests, “How’d you get here tonight?” If they responded, “Oh, we drove,” he’d follow up with, “Cool” Where’d you park?” If they told him they were by a meter on the street, he asked which car was theirs so one of us could run out and drop a couple of quarters into the box while they are dining.”

…”This gesture was the definition of a grace note, a sweet but nonessential addition to your experience. It was an act of hospitality that didn’t even take place within the walls of the restaurant! But this simple gift – worth fifty cents – blew people’s minds.”

As we sink our teeth further into 2023, where will we provide a consistent grace note that will have your audiences telling their audiences about you? Now THAT is swimming in abundance!

Ps, for anyone wanting to join my book of the month club – text me (206.227.7133), I’ll add you! Hint hint: this is our next book;)

Welcome to the wrap of this week – I’m already looking forward to next! But first, go Seahawks!

And, I think I’ll go track down two quarters this weekend and put them in my pocket to remind me of meaningful grace notes. Let’s blow some minds in 2023…

Your fan, Laura