It’s today. | The Current Real Estate Landscape

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You are most likely expecting more changes and adjustments to our current real estate landscape from me TODAY. Nope. Instead, providing a sample client/sphere message if you are finding it hard to find your voice in messaging with your people. Hope this helps!

And oh, yes – Gov. Inslee did extent Washington’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order until May 4th 2020. Ok, I gave you one adjustment for TODAY.

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The Current Real Estate Landscape

Everyone loves real estate.

But during these challenging times, it’s not most people’s focus. Nor should it be. We are all busy trying to figure our way through the “new normal” or social distancing, sanitizing groceries, working from home (or worse, filing for temporary unemployment), and homeschooling kids. It’s a lot. The last thing most of us need to dial into is what’s happening in real estate. Even though it’s my passion and how I earn my livelihood, I understand that now is not the time to market my services or update you on your current home value or let you know about what new listings are coming on in your neighborhood. Instead it’s a time just to say hi, to reconnect, and to let you know I’m thinking about you. I’m also looking forward to the time when we can meet again in person. In the meantime, I’d enjoy hearing from you if you feel like reaching out. While I can assure you that residential real estate is not business as usual, I’m proud that Windermere has helped set the tone for what the industry landscape should look like while Washington’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is in effect. Our guidelines prioritize your safety and wellness.

From the very early days of COVID-19,  our mantra has been “Go slow and do no harm.” So while we’re working hard to help those clients who are already under contract on a purchase or who had a home listed at the time of the governor’s order, we are slow-rolling new business until the coast is clear. Our bigger priority these days is to live one of Windermere’s core values: putting people over transactions, which right now is more important than ever.

Stay healthy, be safe, and feel free to connect in any way at any time.

W

It’s Today. | a late cup of coffee & an FFT

Go Slow + Do No Harm

Gov. Inslee’s surprise yesterday morning in approving a handful of real estate activities as essential – permitted under heightened restrictions – did not mean “business as usual.”  Many of you would have received a Go Slow + Do No Harm memo from me yesterday in response. If you didn’t and would like me to forward to you: text me – 206.227.7133.

Cliff notes in response: We are citizen agents and this time more than any other in our history, calls on us to prioritize the collective community good over our individual.

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And this time more than any other is a collective “FFT” moment. Interested in what an “FFT” is? Grab a late Sunday morning coffee and listen in on Brene Brown on normalizing discomfort and identifying when we are in “FFT” moments.

This I am certain of.

Podcast on FFTs – Here.

Sun is out in Seattle at this moment; be sure to see it + feel it. Healing!

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It’s Saturday, please read. |From Gov. Inslee

The news from the Office of the Governor just released will hit each of you in a different way; I acknowledge that up front. It’s hitting me in all sorts of ways that I haven’t yet processed however I owe it to you to share what I am aware of in a timely manner.

As I hinted at on my post yesterday, we have been waiting for clarification from the Governor’s office on many of the critical duties needed to close existing transactions.

Gov Inslee just signed an amendment that outlines what can be done…

Please read this.

I have a 3pm TODAY Zoom meeting with Seattle/Eastside Windermere Owners and representatives from Windermere Services to better understand these details.

I can’t reinforce enough how vital it is for all of us to follow the specific rules that will be outlined! Please watch for the official announcement and revised FAQs from WA Realtors and NWMLS for all details as well as continued communication from me, your manager, your owner.

By end of TODAY, I hope to have finer details ironed out within this blog. For now; be smart and keep top of mind the “why” we are even having these conversations.

We must trust each other that will continue to take on this epic social responsibility in front of all of us as we navigate real estate.

Committed to “calm + caring thru crisis.” All in, for you. All in, for us.

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It’s Friday, let’s sweep. | an open letter

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Today’s post will not be more about what our real estate industry is allowed to do or not do during our current Stay Home, Stay Healthy order by Gov. Inslee. There are a handful of clarifications we are awaiting for and should have those by morning. If we do, I’ll update you here. For today, please lean into “no” you can’t do that right now if it is not from your living room. Need stronger verbiage when talking with a client who wants to see a new listing that came to market? Here it is: “It is illegal.” Somehow that “illegal” word gets right to the point and is heard.

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Curious what you can you do from your living room? Digest this (watch + listen to these 3 minutes)…

 You can plant seeds.

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An open letter to my FWL readers.

First up, a thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for digesting daily what we can. Thank you for understanding that information each day remains fluid. Thank you for reaching out to me; checking in on me. Thank you for sharing with me when this content is meaningful. Thank you for sharing with me when this content is confusing. Thank you for sharing with me when you don’t agree with this content. It all matters. It all goes with having a voice and being willing to write. Thank you.

 “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”  – John Wooden

We can’t physically go to our offices, yet via technologies like Zoom, in so many ways I feel more connected than ever. Thank you Zoom and darn you Zoom. I’m exhausted and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way to “see” so many of your faces. One day, Zoom and I will break up – just not yet. While some people are facing difficulties in their health, job security, overall finances or feelings of being disconnected because they are not able to be surrounding by a family inside their abode like I am – it is ok for me to be exhausted. If I can make a drop of difference during unprecedented times; it’s all worth it.

For those of you that know me well, I live squarely inside an eternal optimist bucket; yet I too have felt every emotion under the sun these past weeks. I have felt fear, yet I lean on daily routine to diminish that. I have felt anger after one of our offices was broken into on day one of our Stay Home order and yet my family reminded me that this person is struggling. You get the point; a rainbow of emotions…

I have also found + created plenty of joy. We can’t high five or hug each other, yet we can send a video message, send a handwritten note or make that extra call in connecting, showing gratitude and caring.  We can’t spend much time with our friends yet we can host virtual book clubs. I did. How many virtual happy hours happened this week around the world?  I’m surprised Zoom didn’t break all together. We can’t go out to eat yet we can can teach ourselves to cook something new – or in my case – my kids now realize I can cook! I’m serious about that. “Wow mom, didn’t know you can cook so well!”  We can’t travel, yet we can expand our view in reading a good book or listening to that podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to. And oh my goodness, the creativity during this time has been epic! We found ourselves without baking supplies for a birthday cake for my husband – problem solved: light up a cold Coca-Cola – a real treat to him!

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Uncertainty continues to prevail day to day yet I am confident that we will eventually arrive at the other side of this time and humanity will prevail. We will be more awake + connected than before. We will see + feel more good.

W

No doubt, “predictions are a dangerous business right now” yet this…

At Windermere we don’t yet know exactly how COVID-19 will impact our regional housing market, though we remain confident in the long-term fundamentals. Far more important to us at this moment is doing what we do best: serving our neighbors, keeping our neighborhoods strong, and valuing people over transactions. We’ve been around long enough to have seen and helped our region bounce back from past challenges. Together we will do it again.

All in, for our neighbors.

I’m not at my desk. I’m home. I’m healthy. I’m grateful. You know where to find me.

Committed to “calm + caring thru crisis.” All in, for you. All in, for us.

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It’s today | as midnight approaches

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As we approach midnight tonight – the timeline to which we will all need to comply with Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order – a few items to further digest. I can’t stress enough – the information continues to be fluid and changing however I’m very impressed with Washington REALTORS (WR) direct & consistent communication with Governor Inslee as we continue to navigate & adjust.  If you haven’t yet seen WR attorney Annie Fitzsimmons STAY HOME video – here it is.

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GOVERNOR INSLEE ISSUES PROCLAMATION IMMEDIATELY ALLOWING REMOTE NOTARIZATION

Last night, Governor Inslee issued an emergency proclamation to allow remote notarization in Washington State.  This action addresses a priority request from Washington REALTORS® and other organizations to enable real estate and other transactions to proceed using remote/electronic means. The Order accelerated the October 1, 2020 effective date of broadly-supported remote notary legislation passed by the Legislature in 2019. Like other emergency orders, it is effective for 30 days and so WR will continue working with the Governor’s Office, and if necessary, the Legislature, to ensure that remote notarization can continue.

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT FOR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

One of the member questions we have received is whether REALTORS® are eligible for either (1) state unemployment benefits; or (2) federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (“DUA”). Short answer:

The National Association of REALTORS® is working on this issue with the goal of ensuring that REALTORS® are eligible for DUA in those states with federally-declared disasters, and we are in daily contact with NAR and will send information to our members in Washington State when more is known about this issue.

And a message from WR CEO…

“CAN I COMPLETE A WALK THROUGH?”

WR Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons is addressing coronavirus questions through the Legal Hotline. Log in to the Legal Hotline on WR’s website and select the category “Coronavirus” and then “Search” to review some of the most frequently asked questions from the last few days. If you have a question for the Legal Hotline (WR members only), email your question to legalhotline@warealtor.org.

  • QUESTION #1: Can we do a final walk through on a vacant home prior to closing or does that need to hold up closing as well?
  • ANSWER: Assisting the parties to conduct a walk-thru is consistent with the provision of RE Brokerage Services which are NOT deemed an essential service under the Governor’s order. On its face, it would appear that broker is not permitted to assist parties with conducting a walk-thru. However, the right to conduct a walk-thru is a contractual right for which buyer bargained. As a result, the consequences of a broker refusing to facilitate a walk-thru could be significant. The Washington REALTORS is attempting to seek guidance from the Governor’s office on this specific issue but until that guidance is given, broker should work with his managing broker to determine how broker will proceed with this issue, on a transaction by transaction basis, and consult legal counsel as necessary. With respect to delivery of keys to the buyer/new owner of the home, broker should engage in this activity in isolation of the buyer. The Governor’s order allows individuals to take a walk. While broker is not actually taking a walk and while the Legal Hotline is not condoning ways to work around the order, this answer attempts to combine two accurate statements. First, a buyer/new owner cannot be denied access to their new home for two weeks because a buyer broker cannot access the key from the key box hanging on the property and deliver that key to the buyer. Second, Washingtonians are free to take a walk while respecting necessary social distancing measures. Combining these two separate, but equally true statements … brokers should individually access the key from the key box on the seller’s property and then, deliver the key to buyer while limiting contact with the buyer. The key can be delivered to the buyer’s home and placed under the door mat, for example, or delivered to some neutral location, such as the front desk of the hotel where buyer is residing.
  • QUESTION #2: I have a home inspection tomorrow (before the Stay Home order goes into effect). If items are found for repair, will those be allowed as they would in a rental?
  • ANSWER: Repair activities are allowed during the pendency of the Stay Home order for emergency repairs and repairs necessary to the structural integrity of the residence. Repairs for aesthetic purposes, and the like, are not allowed. For anything other than emergency or structural integrity issues, buyer would be well served to negotiate a reduction in price and/or seller’s payment of some portion of buyer’s closing costs as compensation for the repair, rather than trying to require seller to make the repair prior to closing. Buyer can then use the saved funds to make the repair, after closing, if that is what buyer chooses to do.

Dear Members,

We have received hundreds of questions and requests for clarification on a wide range of topics related to the Governor’s order. We hear you and are taking your questions to the Governor’s office. Please send additional questions to comment@warealtor.org. Even if we are unable to respond to each individual email immediately, your comments are being aggregated to be addressed. Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented event and please know that we are working diligently to get the answers you need. Stay tuned and keep reading these daily updates to stay current on developments as they happen.

Steve Francks, WR CEO

Back to TODAY, with Laura…

Look for the “Daily Update from Washington REALTORS®” in your inbox; clutter; junk. I shared bits + pieces of today’s “Daily Update” above and direct you back to your email to find the full meal deal (there is more). I’m impressed with the information they are able to timely turn around and provide us. Another source of over communicating within this environment.

Midnight TODAY is coming. Are you ready? Do you need clarity in how to operate within your business? Connect with your owner; manager or ping my cell – we are all in this together.

Ps; be looking for continued “Mondays with Matthew Gardner” on the HUB. Weekly digestible bites there too on the economics of all. *if you haven’t add the HUB app to your phone; consider doing so.

“Stay Home, Stay Healthy” and Stay Grateful. 

Committed to “calm + caring thru crisis.” All in, for you. All in, for us.

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It’s Monday, let’s sweep | Our next 48 hours…

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Our Next 48 Hours

Hard to miss Governor Inslee’s recently concluded a press conference this evening during which he provided a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. Within this order, Gov. Inslee indicated he will close all businesses that are not deemed essential within the next 48 hours for a two week period.

What does that mean for our real estate industry? Aka, you + me?

We have 48 hours to figure it out. Together with the quick + insightful leadership across the NWMLS, the Washington REALTORS, the National Association of REALTORS and many of our brokerage members we are discovering what this means for us. Collectively these entities are “on it” so that we may deliver a consistent message across our local industry. We are in this together; one sandbox.

As soon as a consistent message is available; you’ll receive it. The next 48 hours to figure it out starts right now.

A note tonight from Todd Miller, President CW Title & Escrow

Being that the title and escrow business supports financial services and banking it is believed that we are deemed an essential business under Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.  Without our efforts, banks and financial services institutions are significantly limited in their ability to lend within the real estate market. While I believe we are essential under the Governor’s order, our leadership team will now begin working with our counsel to ensure that we are, in fact, in the “essential business” category. With that in mind, CW Title will remain open for business tomorrow and will continue to safely provide world-class title and escrow services to our clients. Thank you for all that you do.  We will get through this together! – Todd Miller | President, CW Title & Escrow

What will remain in the very immediate…

Stay connected with your offices; with your virtual meetings; with communication on the Windermere HUB; and in caring about each other. Discover new ways to reach out + care + connect. We are adjusting beautifully, together. Hang in there! We are in a big snow storm and it will melt.

I’m home, I’m healthy, I’m grateful to be and here for you.

Committed to “calm + caring thru crisis.” All in, for you. All in, for us.

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Today, let’s sweep | I went for a drive…

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Yes, that is my son 2 feet high jumping on top of his sister; smashing & smothering her with the pillows. Fortunately this only went on for 20 minutes. This week for you and me however this went on all day; everyday. Smooshed, smothered and trying to come up for air in navigating uncertainty, breaking news reports, press conferences, stock market, social responsiblity and fear. The beginning of spring brought us the best gift of all; sunshine. Yet, with all of this – I’m not sharing anything you don’t know. We are all in it together. I will share however a snapshot of one gift of spring. *picture taken by my daughter on a late afternoon walk…

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I hope so very much so that you are doing okay during these uncertain times. Our family has been operating “as if” we have been given a Shelter-in-Place (SIP) order. I’ve been focused on preparing offices “as if” we have been given a SIP order. That hasn’t happened, however it does have us all on edge.

So, I went for a drive today…

I went for a one hour drive; just me. This hour drive was very intentional. I had a one-hour podcast I wanted to listen to (more on that later). I spent one hour driving our city. I wanted to see what people were up to. I wanted to see how people were adjusting to our current new normal – distancing and the like – on a Saturday. And I wanted to drive by small businesses. I wanted to be connected to our city beyond my house, my front yard waiving at neighbors, neighboring park without organized sports from sun up to sun down and our immediate local streets. I got a very good feel for those environments the past week. I wanted to see beyond my immediate reach.

What did I notice on my drive? 

I noticed a lot of good. My post drive analysis became focused however on the small businesses. I drove slowly by the storefronts. Some front doors were open for business. Some doors were closed for business. I drove by coffee houses; bakeries; local restaurants open for pick up or delivery and even a dry cleaner. I think they all had a sign in their window in how they were taking on social responsibility; keep calm & wash your hands, take-out only etc…

I share this story because it is a good reminder that our real estate industry is chalked full of just that; small businesses. Think about your office for a minute. Let’s say there are 50 brokers in your office. Truly, when you boil it all down each of those 50 brokers are essentially a small business. You are a small business.

Why do I bring us here? I bring us here because as we move further into the weeks ahead I believe we’ll need to keep this top of mind. Each of you will evaluate your small business. Some of you will choose to close your door for a period of time. Some of you will keep your door open. Either way; we must trust each other that will take on the epic social responsibility in front of all of us.

You may not agree with your neighboring business (i.e. your peers) to close up shop or remain open. That is ok, yet keep in mind such decision for each business is complex and not black and white. As with your Buyers & Sellers – taking a couple weeks or months off might be the right call. For other Buyers & Sellers – staying in the market may be the right call. Until (and only if) we are given a Shelter-in-Place notice we will navigate this dual environment together; as small businesses.

Back to that one hour drive today…

What did Laura listen to on her drive you ask? I listened to Thursday’s Facebook “live” with KCM’s Steve Harney / Tom Ferry. I would ask everyone to listen/watch it. No need to summarize into digestible pieces, as the full hour is worth it.

How to Effectively Serve Your Clients & Community During the Age of Coronavirus: CALM & CARING THROUGH CRISIS | w/ Tom Ferry & Steve Harney right here.

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 I loved my drive today. Just me. Just what the doctor ordered after one very long week of being smooshed & smothered by uncertainty all the while trying to come up for air – as seen in the pillow fight between my son and daughter today. Windows were open (even the sunroof) and evidence throughout our city that people are are trying to respond in creative ways to social responsibility and take in spring all at the same time.

As Tom Ferry boldly shares in his FB “live” video it is also time for each of us to “up our MEDS” = Meditation. Exercise. Diet. Sleep. Do it! So that we may too take care of each other; when called upon.

And oh, Tom Ferry also boldly suggested; this is the time to over communicate. Thus far the morning news is often old by afternoon. This week, I will be working to post a recap daily on what I’m seeing and hearing on this blog. Zoom will also continue to take over my days. Thank goodness for technology that too allows us to stay connected. This week I was able to connect with over 200+ people; hitting repeat in the coming weeks. This is the time to step up and commute to over communicating!

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Ps, if you are wanting to implement Zoom into this new normal of life right now, I’m happy to help. The more we all stay connected the better. This week will also include book club; happy hour and a good old fashioned game of battle ship with the cousins via Zoom!

Text/call if you need a bat phone; we all will need that someone to reach out to in the coming days; weeks months. Check in on each other.

Committed to “calm + caring thru crisis.” All in, for you. All in, for us.

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