It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | a key element to stability

…”A few decades ago, scientists conducted an experiment in the Arizona desert where they built “Biosphere 2” – a huge steel-and-glass enclosure with air had been purified, clean water, nutrient-rich soil, and lots of natural light. It was meant to provide ideal living conditions for the flora and fauna within. And while it was successful in some ways, in one it was an absolute failure. Over and over, when trees inside the Biosphere grew to a certain height, they would simply fall over. At first, the phenomenon confused scientists. Finally, they realized that the Biosphere lacked a key element necessary to the trees’ health: wind. In the natural environment, trees are buffeted by wind. They respond to that pressure and agitation by growing stronger bark and deeper roots to increase their stability.” – Think Like A Monk, Jay Shetty

Welcome to Friday everyone! I share the above passage this week being that these words helped me wrap up my prep for next week’s VirtuCon – our first go at an all Windermere virtual conference. It’s a jam packed day and a half. Well over 500+ registered – hope to “see” you there! I’m hosting 3 sessions; featuring a national championship NCAA coach, two brothers with a brand and a story of resilience to resurgence and a Windermere manager who will share her story in going from agent/broker into leadership. That is simply a taste of our time together. Windermere Services, Events & ProDev has worked so very hard to create a virtual space for us to gather – it’s not Hawaii as planned (2021!), yet I’m excited to carve out this time to “grow stronger bark and deeper roots to increase our (collective & individual) stability” as we continue to tango with 2020; finding strength & inspiration to look beyond…

Join me if you are game! Last call for registration – here.

I’m all in, for you. I’m all in, for us.

Laura Smith
Laura Smith 
206.227.7133 |

Welcome to Friday, let’s sweep! | Notes from the Barristers…

Welcome to Friday everyone! A handful of notes from my desk this week with a focus on today2020 Battle of the Barristers – my favorite 3 clock hours every single year! Over 600 brokers joined the “battle” virtually this year. For those of you who couldn’t join and are interested in the scenarios that we’re discussed – full outline here…

Let’s take a look at my notes – and remember, I come at these notes thru the lens of a Designated Broker – aka, my goal is to reduce your/our liability. Below is a readers digest of the points I scribbled down. It would be fun to hear what you jotted down too – certainly fantastic office meeting content for days, if not weeks…

NWMLS Form 65B (rental agreement after Closing)| Good reminder for all that once a home is Closed; Seller becomes tenant and Buyer naturally becomes the owner. With that, what governs the two parties moving forward in a rental agreement after Closing? You got it = Landlord Tenant Laws (not the PSA). *also, good reminder as new owner (aka, Buyer) to perform a “move-in and move-out” walkthrough; just as you would with a full lease agreement.

“Closing on or before xx/yy/20XX” | This is ONLY an agreement to agree on the PSA between a buyer and seller. Don’t do it – even if escrow or lender suggests you do. 1. This practice breeds uncertainly for all parties. 2. From the legal lens; it is unenforceable. In fact, you (broker) are engaging in unauthorized practice of law. Again, don’t do it. *And, another friendly plug for not choosing a Friday or the last day of the month for Closing Date.

NWMLS Form 35E (escalation addendum) | As a listing broker, please be sure to review multiple offer scenarios with a keen eye for what is by definition of a “competing offer” – and be sure to escalate winning offer with another offer that absolutely is “competing.” Questions on this? Review paragraph #2 on NWMLS Form 35E.

Form 17 (Seller Disclosure) | When your Seller tells you “I don’t remember…” – it’s true, they just may not. That said, do ask your Seller if there is anything available to them in order to recall? Good practice.

Dual Agency | One of my favorite topics to discuss. Why? Because 1. Washington State allows for us to be a dual agent and 2. because of that, it always give me pause – should we? My personal opinion is that Dual Agency is an oxymoron. Me talking to a client (hypothetical conversation) – “Do you want all of me or do you want part of me when we talk about advocacy?” Can we really serve both parties? Ok, that said – yes, there are situations that arise that (may) make sense. Before you enter into dual agency I’d strongly suggest you touch based with your manager/designated broker to talk out the scenario. It can be done; should be critically evaluated and performed perfectly in written consent, disclosure and agency. And of, if you think you are “only facilitating this transaction” – think again. You are exposed to liabilities. Ok, off my soap box, moving on…

Inspections for “informational purposes only.” (aka, scenarios whereas NWMLS Form 35 or equivalent are not in play). | Just a plain bad idea. Nothing good can really come from this – even with all good intentions going into such agreement with two parties. What if new information is discovered? If so, there is no process or vehicle in place to handle between a buyer and seller.

Ok, for those of you who I captured your attention and you made it to the end of this “legal bite” – let’s move along to the weekend in productive work & play! Here to help, the ultimate goal.

With open houses back in limited capacity; continue to…

Go Slow, Do no Harm. – Laura

Our Commitment to Change: A Message to Our Community

It’s been a year of listening and learning for me this year. I’m sharing Windermere’s community message that was released this week on my blog as a reflection point to look back on one day and see what short & long terms goals we are able to accomplish together. Our industry is human and I will never lose sight of that. All In, for community. – Laura

For nearly 50 years Windermere has been deeply rooted in the communities where we do business. However, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement has made us realize that our roots don’t extend as deep as we thought. It also made us realize that over the decades, the real estate industry has played a significant role in exacerbating systemic racism through redlining and steering, which has prevented many members of historically marginalized communities from building wealth through homeownership.  

This summer, we began a robust diversity, equity, and inclusion journey supported by an organization called Moving Beyond that specializes in helping companies integrate and operationalize DEI. Next, we formed two internal workgroups, with a diverse makeup of Windermere franchise owners, managers, agents, and staff to guide and implement DEI efforts across our 10-state organization. 

Following three months of collective conversations, we have identified several short- and long-term initiatives on which to focus – all with the aim of building a diverse organization that fosters a sense of belonging and provides equal opportunity across all aspects of homeownership for people of color. Some of these activities can be acted upon right away, as we develop a long-term strategic direction for our DEI efforts. 

We’re committed and in it for the long haul, and believe transparency is a critical part of this journey, so here is an update about our goals and progress thus far:

  • In August, we conducted an internal survey among our owners, managers, and staff, to create a benchmark of where we are as a company and help guide the direction that we need to take to advance our DEI initiatives. An agent survey is forthcoming in 2021.
  • We are producing informational content related to CC&Rs to educate homeowners on how to remove racially restrictive language from their title reports in the 10 states where Windermere operates. 
  • We are working with an advertising agency that specializes in inclusive and future-forward marketing to evaluate our digital marketing products through a DEI lens. 
  • We have designated funds for a scholarship program that invests in people of color who want to work in real estate, and are designing training and mentoring programs to aid in their success. 
  • We are building internal DEI training and development programs, starting with franchise owners, managers, and staff, with plans to expand to agents in 2021. 
  • We are analyzing our hiring processes to ensure broader representation by people of color.
  • We’re generating insights from all these efforts to help us develop a set of thematic pillars to guide our DEI goals and strategy over the long term. 
  • We’re planning on listening sessions this fall for the Windermere community to continue to have input in this process.       

This is just the beginning of what we know will be a long-term journey of awareness and accountability. We are focused and determined to do our part to address discrimination, racism, and inequity within Windermere and the real estate industry. Our efforts stem from the recognition that there is a long history of housing discrimination in the United States and that the inequality in homeownership has deepened the racial divide. Through our work we hope to play a role in finding ways to correct these inequalities. We realize we were late to this movement and should’ve spoken up sooner, but our eyes are open, and we are committed to leading the way towards positive change from here on out.

If you would like to share this message with your communityhere is the full link.

What else happened this week? A lot. Safety protocols around open houses released this week at your office. Windermere Stats updated; including Seattle & Eastside talking points. Need password? Your office staff has it or text me: 206.227.7133.

I’m off to a WA State Statewide task force meeting with leaders across all Firms to evaluate NWMLS forms revisions. “Off to…” – aka, logging back into zoom. Welcome to Friday everyone!

All in, for community. All in, for you. – Laura

Let’s sweep the week! | closing dates + let’s VirtuCon + collegiality + WinderKids #hope

A little ray of sunshine on this Saturday morning coming into my kitchen keeps me focused on hope! Nature’s arrangement at my nook table credit broker, Dina Harvey Jardine – thank you! Ok, let’s sweep this week…

What have I noticed? All parts of the Closing process is being tested in bandwidth. I’m seeing delayed Closings – at no fault of Buyer or Seller. No finger pointing here; only a heads up. Ps, Friday Closings never ideal – especially now. Give yourself and your clients the gift of time and of setting expectations – being there could be delays simply based on high volumes of transactions. Idea: as taken from WRE Form 64, item #6 – consider this:

Automatic Extension of Closing Date. If, through no fault of the party whose performance is delayed, the Agreement cannot close by the Closing Date due to circumstances outside of the control of such party, then the Closing Date shall be automatically extended for up to ____ days (5 if left blank) (the “Extension Period”). Closing shall occur as soon as reasonably possible within the Extension Period.

Join us on October 27 & 28th for our first go at a VirtuCon? We were to be in Hawaii this year for Symposium – instead – we are adjusting in gathering and going virtual. I can’t wait to see my Windermere friends far & wide late October! Intro, video here!

I’m registered! Registration here. Looks like I’ll be with incredible company. Time to up my game – geez! I’ll be focused on opening our minds from resilience to resurgence…

Next week I will have Windermere broker Diane Terry mic’d up with me as we ponder together what collegiality means in our industry, as a nod to the passing of RBG.

Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.col·le·gi·al  (kə-lē′jē-əl, -jəl)adj. 1. Full of or conducive to good will among colleagues; friendly and respectful: an office with a collegial atmosphere. 2.a. Characterized by or having power and authority vested equally among colleagues: “He … prefers a collegial harmony that will present him with a consensus on the issues”

I’ll host the podcast recording right here next week.

…and it was fun to bookend this week celebrating many of the WinderKids in my hood that completed their 3rd week of remote school with a drive-by ice cream social. All smiles behind my mask in seeing this next generation. #HOPE

Our late September sun is trying hard to make a solid appearance today; next week looking G O O D! Let’s get out and get after this weekend in productive work & play. Around if you need anything. Here to help – the ultimate goal. – Laura

It’s Sunday :: special addition post

A new week is upon us and as I set my week I’ve moved a few things around on my calendar to accommodate attending Washington REALTORs Fall Business Conference; virtually of coarse. As I looked closely at the line-up I couldn’t help but share for other REALTOR members.

September 22nd 12-1pm | Keynote speaker: Dr. Quintard Taylor – Professor Emeritus, University of Washington

Dr Taylor will explain the history of housing in Seattle/Washington and the impact of communities and generational wealth…

September 23rd 12-1pm | Economist panel: Lawrence Yun, NAR + Leslie Appleton-Young, CAR + Matthew Gardner, Windermere

As a WR Member, we are able to join these events and listen in. No registration is required and there is no fee to attend. Please note, the events are capped at 2,000 attendees and admittance is on a first come-first serve basis.

Access all Conference Events Here.

And as a end cap to this special edition post, a note from one of your esteemed Windermere peers, Darci Gillespie on her involvement with WR…

…”One of the best things I’ve done in and for my career – actually, THE best thing – is to get involved with the Realtor association early on. The WA Realtor Fall Conference is this week. This usually takes place in person, but of course this year with COVID it’s online, which means accessible and cheap, and no excuse for Windermere agents not to check it out and see all that our Realtor volunteers do. Most meetings are open to all members.” – Darci

Have a good week. Here to help. Ps, Seahawks lookin’ good! – Laura

If you missed the link above to access the conference – here you go!

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | It’s raining!

Welcome to Friday everyone – best news – it’s raining in Seattle! Ok, let’s get right to it – this week at a glance…

Ps, treated myself to these beautiful dahlias – a reminder of simple pleasures as we find a pop of color wherever we can amidst the smoke. Be well, be safe as we await patiently for the smoke to clear. My heart, my everything is with those effected by the fires. And oh, if you are looking to donate to wildfire relief via our Windermere Foundation and want to direct those funds you may do so here.

My daughter took a break from remote school to tune into our WRE Luxury 101 zoom this week. She’s always wanted to meet Louis Muniz being he sold her dream home (and not to her – she isn’t happy with him!). Ha. Funny story, for another time. That said, here is the recording of the Zoom. Louis Muniz, Ty Evans, Cori Whitaker and Max Rombakh – thanks for sharing your gold! Tune in here with a weekend coffee or beverage of choice.

Keeping up on the weekly pulse of our local market. Seattle residential pending sales by week again outpaced 2019. Solid visuals below for Eastside, Seattle & King County.

There are a handful of items on the HUB this week worth bringing attention to. Check the HUB often – content coming out of our ears! I’ll give another plug for the HUB app – it gives me those notifications when new content is there; daily.

We won’t be in Hawaii for Symposium as planned, yet we are pulling together our first WRE VirtuCon – details and registration here. It took me 3 minutes to register. Plus, Marcus Trufant will be joining us. Go HAWKS this weekend on Sunday night football!

Tech Talk Webinars start September 28th. Moxi Engage + Agent Websites + Moxi Present with Todd Steinberg.

Virtual ProStart has begun which also means virtual WA clock hours for anyone! I attended Agency last week with Demco Law Firm. Highly recommend.

Ok, now back to that good news about the rain! I want to do a barefoot rain dance! Keep it up Seattle and spread that rain to places that need it more than us. Signing off on this Friday with a local market update – Laura

All in for you, all in for us.

Welcome to Friday, let’s sweep! | Back to school edition…


The school bell officially rang this week and yes, the school year looks different than one could have imagined. Hello 2020, you really are something! For many, this is a giant transition week in remote learning inside of our homes. The Smith’s are on day 4…what I learned you ask?

Don’t take a work call when you are cooking lunch. Yes, first day of school lunch went to the garbage burnt – round two pizza bagels turned out fine! Oops. What did my kids learn? The concept of a “snow day” is probably out the door for good. Ouch. Can you tell which student realized this and which one hasn’t yet?…


Ok, in all seriousness – this week led me back to school too. Time for me to get focused on my license renewal. And not a bad reminder for our kids to see that growth never stops. I traded in my summer threads for a refreshed back to school outfit (thank you Stitch Fix) and sunglasses for blue light filtering specs…


I’m giving a shout out to the NWMLS live instructor virtual classes. My first go with their virtual clock hours and I enjoyed it. Upped my mobile app game this week. Did you know you can air walk property lines within the HomeSnap app? (Note: not the kind of true line that you’d build a fence on; instead the kind that gives your buyer a general feel for where the lines are while you walk the property!). This kind of “did you know” content was worth the $15 and time.


…and more learning for me this week as I continue to explore, well – I’m just going to say it – my whiteness. Scene on Radio has an excellent podcast series, entitled – Seeing White. Sharing here. This week I’m digesting Episodes 1-6.

2020 has provided an open invitation to bring meaningful conversations into our lives. Being that our real estate work is people work, I’m focused on creating ways in which we are able to provide an environment to host intentional “cafe” style conversations. Feel free to join me in this space. There will be opportunity.  

Curious how I’m planning for this? Welcome (again) the concept of The Knowledge Cafe. Episode 20 of my double down podcast describes what goes into a successful cafe model. Here. Currently working on this craft.


Did you too miss out on those summer Canlis drive-in movies? I have a fix for you! Next week – two nights – movie details – location all right here! I’ll be there both nights (Thursday & Friday) – why? Because I hope to see you (miss you!), it’s for a good cause and rumor has it the documentary is excellent! Win/win/win. Easy client event done for you possible – socially distant, of course. Certainly a reason to reach out to people.

It’s time to put a wrap on this week and roll into a long holiday weekend. Real estate continues, the remote school bell gets a pause and all the while once again the PNW looks to be showing off her good side for our region. Not ready to put those paddle boards away yet! Welcome to Friday in productive work & play – safely! Here to help.

Note: When computing time for purchase and sale agreements, regard this Monday, September 7th as a legal holiday. Labor Day is a legal holiday under Washington law.

Ps, next week on my back to school edition: stats! Want to go to stats class early? Go look at the Pending Sales by Weekweekly data updated thru 9.2.2020.  Bonkers. *need password? Text me: 206.227.7133*

All in, for you.





It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | our “surge capacity”


Good morning. Although I adore writing, I’m going to step aside today (kind of) and share someone else’s writing. Why? Because Tara Haelle penned just about everything that has summed up my observations and conversations this week – both in my head and with others.

How do you adjust to an ever-changing situation where the ‘new normal’ is indefinite uncertainty?

Our new normal is always feeling a little off balance, like trying to stand in a dinghy on rough seas, and not knowing when the storm will pass. But humans can get better at anything with practice, so at least I now have some ideas for working on my sea legs.

Full article here. It took me 13 minutes to read.


Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle is a science journalist, public speaker, and author of Vaccination Investigation and The Informed Parent. Follow her at @tarahaelle.



…and what about real estate Laura? Great question. I’m focused on stories of people being remarkable. How about this one!

This story reigns from the Windermere Wedgwood office; and yes I share names.

Broker wins in multiple offers (20) on a house on a lake. Pending Inspection. Client lives in California and flies up for the inspection. It was a hot day. Broker wakes up early that day and asked himself, “what would David Prater do” in this situation. This though pattern led broker to pack a cooler with drinks & snacks so “I could be the full service broker that I am.” But wait, it gets better…

…he packs two towels and two pairs of swim trunks thinking maybe his client would like to jump in the lake before he hops back on a plane to CA to go back home.

Post inspection, with 30 minutes left on their ShowingTime slot, he then tells his client he packed said towels & trunks and sure enough they jumped off the dock into the lake, took a quick swim over to a community beach and back to the dock. A quick change of clothes, inspection complete and they went on their separate ways.

I put this story in the “being remarkable” category! Certainly a full neighborhood review was done by water too! Well done Bill Reilly, well done! And oh, why the “what would David Prater do” internal dialog that sunny morning for Bill Reilly? Oh, just another example of a 30 year Windermere vet who has rubbed off on another broker within an office. This stuff happens all the time in our offices; it makes us, US.

And to take this FWL blog post full circle – Tara Haelle’s article above speaks to a focus on maintaining and strengthening important relationships and being creative a this time to do so. She writes, “The biggest protective factors for facing adversity and building resilience are social support and remaining connected to people, Masten says. That includes helping others, even when we’re feeling depleted ourselves.

Let’s continue to help each other build our reserves & create resilience so that we may each find our resurgence along the way in 2020.

All in, for remarkable. All in, for you. All in, for us.


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