It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | tribute to a windermere legend + superwoman

This week’s sweep is to honor a legend, a Windermere legend. Loretta Larson passed away on Tuesday. Loretta was Windermere Ballard’s manager of 30+ years. She created the culture that exists today in that office. She imparted deep wisdom. She mentored hundreds. She passed on knowledge to many of us. She made careers happen. She could beat any of us in poker. She forever lives within all of us, as we carry on as her Windermere family. I hope you will find time to read these four stories in tribute to a superwoman!

A Tribute to Loretta Larson x’s 4…

 
“I was having a bad day. I can’t remember why I was unhappy, but I can clearly remember what Loretta did that day. I plastered on my best smile and strode by Loretta’s office on my way to the Ballard resource room to visit with the agents. I put on a good show hanging out with the wonderful crew that Loretta had assembled and no one remotely suspected that I was having a dreadful day. Then on my way out, Loretta called me in to her office, had me close the door and, with a gentle yet piercing look, asked me, “are you ok?”. Watching me walk by her office from 20 feet away, she knew something was amiss. With tears welling up, I shared what was going on and she just listened and said how sorry she was that I was going through such a tough time. I learned then that you couldn’t keep a secret from Loretta. But then why would you want to keep a secret from someone so wise, caring and intelligent?”  – The “Tell” – from THE Dan Givens
“I first met Loretta one afternoon in April 2003 as I was dropping off an offer to Greg Stamolis. It was in the newly opened Windermere office. Greg took my offer and said have you met Loretta? Loretta stepped forward, shook my hand and didn’t let go. “Do you have a minute?” she asked cheerily. I followed her into her office. She was wearing a blue flowing gown with stars on it—like a wizard’s robe. Her red curly hair was back lit with the afternoon sun shining in the windows behind her and seemingly  radiating from her. I was mesmerized. She proceeded to say words like “ family, community, sharing and helping” (instead of shark, barracuda, top dog & 800 pound gorilla). She had a lovely smile. I was lulled. And then the close: “So, when would you like to join our family?” I said: “How about now?”
And the rest is history! Loretta transformed my life with her invitation of love.
I know she has done this for many of my associates too. I am forever grateful and will always remember & love her.
 
P.S. Loretta denied ever owning the described dress, but Greg Stamolis will corroborate my story—and the wizard gown.” – broker, Mary Durkan
“Loretta was one of the first Windermere managers I got to know after joining Demco Law Firm way back in the day. She would have me out to office meetings once in awhile to present on a current topic and do Q&A with the agents (they weren’t yet called “brokers” back then!). She was someone who truly helped me to “get my feet wet” in the industry when I was still just but a grasshopper, and I am grateful to her for having offered me those opportunities for professional development and relationship building. RIP Loretta, you will be missed.” – attorney, DAVID DANIEL

“Over 4 years ago I when I was hired to manage the wonderful WRE Ballard office, I was replacing a retiring legend who’s shoes I can never fill (although she said “Darlene, I only wear a 5.5, you’ll be find!”. Loretta built this amazing office over 30 years ago. Everyone who is a part of this team receives benefit of what she created in all of us…we pass it down. I was fortunate to be mentored by her and I am forever grateful of the knowledge she passed onto me. Her knowledge was so very vast that I wish I would have recorded her words, she always knew what to say. I owe my career to her, she is a legend and her memory will live on in all of us.” – manager, Darlene Sozinho

 Thank you Loretta Larson for your superpowers & wizardly ways in loving, caring, empathy, wisdom and that never forgotten smile. May we all impart her walk in those 5.5 sized shoes on some level as a tribute to a Windermere legend! I know I will.

Laura Smith, Co-owner | Windermere Real Estate Co.

Ballard + Eastlake + Madison Park + Northgate + Sand Point + Wedgwood

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | “bad press sells” | ps, got word swag?

Welcome to Friday! It’s hot out – we can all agree on that! Now, can we all agree there is a shift in the market beyond seasonal? Well, let’s dive in. After looking at our July “science” + reading the most recent July 27th Seattle Times article – we thought it was time to have our Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner weigh in on a few talking points. Both the below commentary and a full recap/reports for our July 2018 are ready for you to digest here.
Before diving into the below, worth reading or re-reading the Seattle Times article here and then launching into Mr. Gardner’s “stream of consciousness” below…
“Firstly, it is a remarkable piece of “fluff” and, quite frankly, nothing more than scaremongering. Why do I say this? Let’s look at some of the quotes –
1. “Homes that should have vanished in days were sitting on the market for weeks”
So a market where homes are no going pending in days is a bad thing? I would hardly suggest that this is troublesome. In King County, homes took an average of 15 days to sell – exactly the same as seen a year ago and 4 days less than seen 2 years ago.
2. “There was a three-bedroom fixer-upper just north of the city going for $550,000, down from more than $600,000.”
Oh woe is me……..!  Now, there is something that should be said and that is the issue of perception.  Sellers are starting to have unrealistic expectations regarding the value of their own homes.  As I said on stage at Inman last week, brokers have a far better grasp as to how much a home is worth. If a seller disagrees then they may well feel that they have lost money but let’s be serious, they haven’t as their valuation is perception, not reality.
3. “Buyers are getting squeezed by rising mortgage rates and by prices climbing about twice as fast as incomes, and there’s only so far they can stretch.”
Now this is, in part correct.  Prices are climbing at unsustainable rates (as I have said for quite some time) and that does concern me; however, mortgage rates are still remarkably low and I do not see any negative connotations when it comes to rates until they get above 5% (and we have a way to go to get there).
4. “Inventory, which plunged for years, has begun to grow again as buyers move to the sidelines, sapping the fuel for surging home values.”
GREAT!!!!!  We need inventory and this is likely to cool price growth which I am all in favor of!
5. “Prices for existing homes climbed 6.4 percent in May, the smallest year-over-year gain since early 2017, and have gained the least over three months since 2012.”
But not here! In King County, Y/Y median prices are up by 9.8% and average prices up by 11.9%.  As I allude to above, this is unsustainable and I WANT it to slow down – I just don’t see it any time soon.
6. “Home prices are plateauing,” said Ed Stansfield, chief property economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London. “People are saying: Let’s just bide our time, there’s no great rush. If we wait six or nine months we’re not going to lose out on getting a foot on the ladder.”
Never trust an analyst from the UK!!  (Just joking!)  I do see would be buyers having a little more breathing room as inventories rise and, again, that is a good thing.
7. “Some of the most expensive markets, where sales are falling under the weight of prices, are now seeing substantial increases in supply, according to Redfin. In San Jose, California, inventory was up 12 percent in June from a year earlier. It rose 24 percent in Seattle and 32 percent in Portland, Oregon.”
The jump in supply was noticeable with single family listings in King County up 43% Y/Y but let’s look at the longer term trend. With 3,718 listings on the market, we are still way below the long-term average. In fact, the average number of single family homes for sale in King County in the month of June averaged 6,265 between 1999 and now.  Inventory is up but still way lower than the level needed to meet the needs of new household formations.
To conclude, bad press sells.  We are not in a balanced market and I hope that price growth slows to a sustainable level; however, I do not see that happening yet.  New construction activity is at woefully low levels and unlikely to improve soon which will continue to put upward price pressure on the resale market. Am I worried? Quite honestly, no I am not. Prices are too high, I admit that, but I expect growth to continue to slow through this year and into 2019 and we will not see any significant period of downward price pressure.  Remember that long-term price growth has averaged around 6% – 6.5% and that is where we will end up but not for at least another 18-months. I  hope that this makes sense (it’s more a stream of consciousness than a prepared commentary) but I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.” – Matthew Gardner | Chief Economist

That’s a wrap for this week – here to help – give me a shout if you need anything – the ultimate goal. If you are looking for the password for windermerestatstext me, 206.227.7133!

Ps, looking for a cool app to write on your pictures – like I did above?  I’m loving Word Swag! Add it to your social media playbook!

Laura Smith, Co-owner | Windermere Real Estate Co.

Ballard + Eastlake + Madison Park + Northgate + Sand Point + Wedgwood

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | Top 10

Welcome to Friday! Did anyone else appreciate waking to a bit of cool + wet outside? I did. Now, absolutely fine to warm back up in prep for our dog days of summer ahead of us!

My top 10 is back for this week’s sweep!

Let’s go…a little something for everyone. At a glance: CNBC article + Millennials + digital rebranded items + Seattle Art Fair [20% discount] + a mic dropped + jury trial + pool party + beer for homelessness.

1. CNBC article summarizing what we’ve been speaking to for many months – all in one place. Thank you broker, Cisca Wery for putting this in front of me this am!

“It’s not necessarily the decline in currency [China], it is the increasing restrictions on getting money out.”

“I’m not telling you there is going to be a crash in prices, but do I think there is going to be a drop in rate of increase? Yes.”

Full article here.

2. Now is a good time to welcome Millennials to your real estate practice. These 6 minutes + 55 seconds are worth watching. Yes, Millennials too want you to bring the “heart of a teacher” to your value perspective. Full video here.

3. Digital “guides” Rebranded! The “digital” versions of both our Guide to Buying a Home and Guide to Selling a Home are now available – they look fantastic. WORC > search bar “Guide to” > hit “documents tab” = you’ll find the goods there!

4. 2018 Seattle Art Fair opened last night! Still looking for tickets for you or your people? Let me know! Windermere Real Estate is proud to be the exclusive real estate sponsor and has access to 20% off tickets. Daily talks, special projects and performances, in addition to the over 100 participating galleries from around the world. For more information, visit www.SeattleArtFair.com. *ping me for the 20% off link – if interested! [206.227.7133]

5. Mic dropped. No, this isn’t about Windermere vs Compass. This is “An Open Letter to Compass From a CEO” and specifically in regards to knowing the facts and speaking to truth. Mic dropped here.

6. You’ve been asking. For those of you interested – more on the history of Windermere’s court battle that ended in the “W” column last week – a jury trial win. Frankly, I’m simply pleased this is behind everyone. More history here.

7. PSBJ also reported on “Windermere wins legal fight with former brokers Bennion and Deville” – PSBJ is a pay to play news vehicle. If you want me to forward you this article – just ask. I’ll place in your inbox.

8. Pool party in October? If you are going to WRE Symposium in October – please join OB, Jill and I Monday night! Manager Michael Nelson will open his Palm Springs home to the brokers within our six offices that Monday evening [October 15th] after our classes. Still needed to book your trip? – details here.

*ps, I’m teaching in Session 1 – come obtain 3 clock hours talking Buyer Savvy Strategies!*

9. Are you asking [for reviews]? Just Do It. – again thank you Nike. I am.

In the spirit of asking for reviews and leading by [hopeful] example, I am going to practice what I am preaching.  The business of managing offices, growing our company, being in partnership with you and representing Windermere would also be enhanced by getting professional reviews from each of you! I am hopeful you know thru my actions that I greatly value the business and personal relationships I have with each of you. And yes, there are many of you I still hope for more “reps” with long-term. If you have found my support to be helpful, inspiring or perhaps even fun, please consider going to my LinkedIn profile and giving me a 5 star review:

I’ve made it easy – click here + thank you!

10. I think my husband Chad has been awaiting his shining moment in making the FWL blog content! Today is his day. Yes, Windermere Real Estate and the Windermere Foundation have banded together to fight homelessness with Pearl Jam’s The Home Show. This morning Chad found another neighbor banding together to fight homelessness = Georgetown Brewing Co.  PearlJam.com/TheHomeShows


Today’s hand model did an epic job today – well done, Chad! That’s a wrap for this week – here to help – give me a shout if you need anything – the ultimate goal.

Laura Smith, Co-owner | Windermere Real Estate Co.

Ballard + Eastlake + Madison Park + Northgate + Sand Point + Wedgwood

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | Are you asking?

To ask or not to ask [for reviews], that is the question…

Over and over you’re bombarded with advice that tells you to get out there, go grovel and beg for that review. Your business needs it. You deserve it. So, taking Nike’s slogan once again: Just Do It! If you’re like most people, you dislike asking. And you know what? That’s a healthy response. You should not love groveling – it’s the wrong way to ask for a review from a customer.

Begging ruins relationships with customers. What happens when someone begs us to do something we don’t want to do? It hurts the relationship. It creates negative feelings – bitterness, resentment, loss of respect – feelings that weren’t there before. It takes away from the goodness of the relationship that already exists. The relationship is permanently changed.

Asking a client for a review is done best by using a few keys:

1. Make it reciprocal. Ask them first, “How are you settling into your new home? Is there anything you need from me now that the transaction has closed?” Continuing to care for them after you’ve been paid shows them you are still their trusted advisor and friend.

2. Use a template. Starting from scratch on every request is daunting, but a form letter is too cold. Use your template as a starting point and edit small things to personalize the request. Be sure to individualize the messaging on some level.

3. Be specific. “If you found my services helpful, please consider giving me a 5-star review on Zillow at this link: [provide your direct link here]” There’s an old southern term that comes to mind here. You have to name it to claim it. Ask for the highest review. Believe it or not, it immediately takes the pressure off of your client to craft something huge. The idea that they just click on 5 stars and say something nice sounds much easier than a vague request.

4. Make it easy. Navigate to your reviews page [Zillow or LinkedIn], click the review button and then copy that link to your request. Don’t send them on a wild goose chase and make them search you out.

Just Do It. – again, thank you Nike.

In the spirit of asking for reviews and leading by [hopeful] example, I am going to practice what I am preaching.  The business of managing offices, growing our company, being in partnership with you and representing Windermere would also be enhanced by getting professional reviews from each of you! I am hopeful you know thru my actions that I greatly value the business and personal relationships I have with each of you. And yes, there are many of you I still hope for more “reps” with long-term. If you have found my support to be helpful, inspiring or perhaps even fun, please consider going to my LinkedIn profile and giving me a 5 star review:

I’ve made it easy – click here.

Ps, if you’d like a bit more direction in getting your review process set up – feel free to leverage support at our Tune Up team > tuneup@windermere.com

Have a fantastic last weekend of July weekend in summer work + play!  Here to help – the ultimate goal. Headed up to meet my mini-sailors on Whidbey – headed for the open waters to beat the heat!

Laura Smith, Co-owner | Windermere Real Estate Co.

Ballard + Eastlake + Madison Park + Northgate + Sand Point + Wedgwood

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | rooted in community X 3

Welcome to Friday, let’s take a quick sweep of three sponsorship + event happenings upcoming! Windermere’s sponsorship hits on three distinct platforms – art, summer fun and homelessness –  are all rooted in community. Feel free to leverage these events and messaging as you deem fit. Great social media playbook content!

Seattle Art Fair | August 2-5

Windermere Real Estate is proud to be the exclusive real estate sponsor of the 2018 Seattle Art Fair! From August 2-5, the Seattle Art Fair will host daily talks, special projects and performances, in addition to the over 100 participating galleries from around the world. For more information, visit www.SeattleArtFair.com.

Your office has a link for you and 20% off tickets! Ping your office – or me – for more information. I have a handful of General Admission complimentary one-day passes. Our six offices are gauging interest now. First come first serve on these hot items.

Summer Splash At Green Lake

Pure summer fun + free fun for all! Details here!

Windermere + Pearl Jam Home Shows Announcement

Let’s get super clear first though, no –  I do not have Pearl Jam tickets for you – I too wish!!!

What I do know thus far…our Foundation dollars are hard at work…

Windermere Real Estate and the Windermere Foundation are banding together to fight homelessness with Pearl Jam and our community. It’s going to take all of us coming together to solve this crisis and help our neighbors. PearlJam.com/TheHomeShows

Interested to know more about what Pearl Jam is up to? Video here.

So there you have it. We are rooted in community once again – 3 different ways – fun to share!

Have a fantastic July weekend in summer work + play, here to help – the ultimate goal.

Laura Smith, Co-owner | Windermere Real Estate Co.

Ballard + Eastlake + Madison Park + Northgate + Sand Point + Wedgwood

 

 

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | #’s we should know

Welcome to Friday! Let’s not only wrap up this week, let’s wrap up June 2018. I’ve put together our June 2018 Monthly Talking Points. Ready to digest!
Looking for the pdf report to follow along? Click here: www.windermerestats.com | *text me if you do not have the password [c. 206.227.7133]
JUNE 2018 MONTHLY TALKING POINTS
Seattle (based on Residential and Condominium report):
Inventory rose to its highest level since the spring of 2014 (May 2014 or 42 months). At the end of June 2018 there were 1,246 Seattle single family and condominium homes for sale, up 73.54% from the same time a year ago (718 June 2017).
(historical data, page 8)
Pending Sales for the month of June 2018 were 1,118 down 13.95% from 1,274 in June 2017 (page 8).
Both of these statistics indicate a shift in the market, but we are a far way away from a buyer’s market as evidenced by:
* Median closed sales price is up 8% from a year ago (page 1)
* 53% of properties that sold, sold for more than the asking price (page 3)
* 79.2% of the properties that sold had 15 days or fewer on the market (DOM) (page 5)
* Months’ Supply of inventory is 1.1 (page 1) 
Part of the shift is seasonally. It takes sellers longer to prepare their homes for sale, than it takes buyers to become buyers. The result is higher demand relative to supply early in the year, easing in the second half of the year. The current trends are beyond seasonality and are the result of more sellers coming on the market. Specifically, in the three months ended June 30, 2018 (April, May, June 2018) there were 4,183 new listings taken compared to 3,870 for the same period in 2017. That is an additional 313 listings. (historical data, page 8)
The seasonal trends can be seen on the page below that shows the percentage of sold properties that sold for more than the list price. The percentage rises Jan through April and then decreases and flattens out for the remainder of the year.

Laura Smith, Co-owner | Windermere Real Estate Co.

Ballard + Eastlake + Madison Park + Northgate + Sand Point + Wedgwood

#WeAreWindermere

 

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | hoopfest + popsicles

Hello Friday, hello everyone!

Fridays with Laura is taking a day off. I’m off to Spokane this morning with these four girls as it’s Hoopfest time on the blacktop! Headed to the largest 3on3 outdoor basketball tournament on Earth. That means over 6,000 teams, 3,000 volunteers, 225,000 fans and 450 courts spanning 45 city blocks! Good luck to the “Dunkers” + their coach (gulp, me)!

…and on another summer note, a shout out to this local popsicle cool spot in Wallingford – Seattle Pops. I made the trip this week to pick up some gift cards! A little different twist for summer vs. picking up coffee cards for quick thank you gifts and the like. I highly recommend!#BeDifferent

Laura Smith, Co-owner | Windermere Real Estate Co.

Ballard + Eastlake + Madison Park + Northgate + Sand Point + Wedgwood

#WeAreWindermere