Memorial Day weekend | In remembrance.

Did you know? On Memorial Day, the red poppy is a symbol of remembrance for those who died defending our freedom. Behind each poppy is a story of a life that was lived.

Welcome to Friday of Memorial Day weekend! No sweep of this week or prep for next; instead – a nod in remembrance to those we remember & honor this weekend. I enjoyed reading about the history of Memorial Day here this morning while I had my first sips of coffee. Wherever you may roam this weekend – which appears to be brewing something gorgeous in our PNW – I hope you too find a moment to pause & remember and maybe even discover a red poppy in remembrance.

In remembrance. – Laura

Mics are still warm!…

This week’s sweep has kept my mics warm as I started in Bend, OR at the Genuine Hustle conference and wrapped this week with 3 of our esteemed colleagues that graced the stages, picked up another mic and dropped REAL & NOW knowledge…

Join me for an hour as we double down on environment & discoveries coming out of the 2023 Genuine Hustle conference. Or, better described today on mic as the “non-conference, conference.” Dave Jones, Nicole Mangina & Shawna Ader extend their go-giving stage presence with our overall commitment to continuing the REAL & NOW conversations with all of you…

Ep. 27 – right here.

Laura Smith | Windermere Real Estate Co. · Ep. 27 – Double Down – Genuine Hustle

And to the Mother’s Day weekend ahead – enjoy this PNW sunshine that has arrived!

Your fan, Laura

It’s “cup” Friday, let’s sweep! | Mic’d up.

Welcome to “cup” Friday – to say there has been a lot going on this week is an understatement and I’m excited to throw a few words down on this page to close it out and get back to it! Windermere Cup this weekend – details here! Let’s see if those Dawgs can “sweep” Australia as they cross the finish line. Should be a good match up in both “community & sport.”

This week in real estate I noticed closing reports up, a continued mixed bag in reporting on how listings are performing, new inventory and a continued focus in working opportunities here in our spring market. And for our city of Seattle, Geekwire gives us a solid perspective in what Amazon’s headquarters campus downtown felt like this week thanks mainly to the return of its people. Great read here! And ps, if you didn’t notice – with this shift comes the return of traffic patterns – you’ve been warned! And yet, I’m grateful for it in so many ways.

This week also personally marked a couple things for me – one, buckle up – my son is out there driving without me in the passenger seat. And two, my podcast mic’s are back…

Join me for an hour with high performance coach, Tanya Powell as she & I chat over an intentional process in doing a quarterly review in your business. While the conversation naturally lends itself to real estate; this strategy of “pause” translates to any pursuit you are endeavoring…

Join me as I’m back doing one of my every favorite things in the world – using connection & conversation to help guide, educate & inspire as many people as darn possible.

Laura Smith | Windermere Real Estate Co. · Ep 26 – Double Down – quarterly review

…hope to see you at The Windermere Cup this weekend! Our flags will be flying in a more normal fashion along the Montlake Cut – mirroring much more so what this prestigious event looked like pre-pandemic days. More people and more reason to celebrate “community & sport.” You’ll definitely see this guy picture above waving the Windermere flag!

And oh, for those of you planning your weekend real estate travel throughout the area – note: The Montlake Bridge will be closed at 9:20am and will remain closed until 3:00pm!

Go Dawgs, good luck Aussies and thank you Windermere for giving us this epic event to gather! – Laura

It’s Friday! “Greenlight” to livin’ (and limes)- our Michael Nelson.

This week was somber for those of us touched by the one and only, Michael Nelson. Michael passed away last Saturday, peacefully with his husband and Windermere broker, David Updike, by his side.

I personally have balanced this week in reflection & story with many of you all the while putting one foot in front of the other – as Michael would often say (and love doing) – “get sh*t done.” I did just that.

A picture is worth a thousand words, right?! This is one of my favorite pictures of Michael sporting one of his very favorite t-shirts…

David shared these words with our Eastlake office and I now share with all of you…

…”I really appreciate everyone reaching out to me with their love, support and tributes to Michael. It means so much to me to hear how positively he influenced our lives and careers.

He loved the business of real estate and he loved encouraging, helping, mentoring, problem solving involved in the real estate transaction. Michael was a doer and a leader – he bought his first house at a very young age and subsequently decided that real estate was an interesting and potentially lucrative business. He threw himself into it and quickly succeeded. His success motivated me to try my hand at it as well. He didn’t encourage me to leave my secure low wage with benefits job, (but foolish me), I did.  He understood what needed to be done from an organization and people skills stand point. What followed were financially rewarding years as a real estate team, then,  as a manager of other agents he continued to mentor me as an independent agent and subsequently as a team agent. I know, without a doubt, that I never would have succeeded on my own in this business without him.

Michael’s energy and focus was undiminished throughout almost all of his career. His throat cancer and recovery years quieted his voice but it didn’t diminish his skills or his goals. It wasn’t until his stroke 3 years ago that he began to slow down and reflect on what retirement might look like. I am so thankful to have shared so many happy years with him and with all of you through all of this.

Michael was bound and determined that we be back in Seattle for the Windermere meeting on May 12th. All of you, and the Windermere family mean, meant so much to him. He wasn’t willing to let it slip away. I hope to put together a plan for a party sometime soon where we can get together and celebrate Michael’s life. Details to follow…  

Love, David”

…and to take you back to March 21st, I text this picture to Michael & David and said, “where am I?” To which they responded within minutes to “El Mirasol, only do they give you a half of a lime in your margarita.” I was there with a girlfriend as Michael had highly recommended this spot on our trip to Palm Springs. Let’s just say, in tribute to Michael I will forever put a whole half of lime in any drink deserving of a lime. Thank you both for the recommendation as it turned into a way of life for me. And to Michael, you gave me so much more – I cherish you.

What else did I do this week? Somehow I managed to read an entire book as I kept one foot in front of the other – well actually, I re-listened to “Greenlights” – by, Matthew McConaughey. Also just what the doctor ordered. For those that follow along my book of the month & discussions around such (feel free to join! – – this is our current read. It’s a love letter to life…it Matthew’s memoir to date in bumperstickers, notes to self and prescriptions. The pages are a stories in bringing the self closer to “me” (aka, you) – as when we are in alignment to ourselves we are best positioned to say “greenlight” to what matters most & decisions from day to day.

This week was a week to rediscover a “greenlight” to get busy livin’ and give tribute to Michael Nelson who was always in alignment to himself – he had that very much right in this life.

To livin’ (and to limes) – welcome everyone to a beautiful PNW Friday – Laura

…and ponder this: what will you next “greenlight” in your life?

It’s Friday, let’s sweep | “not my mess”

Welcome to Friday, all! As I put a bookend to my week I share a two things with you – 1. a reminder and 2. a story. Let’s get right to it…

Let’s start with a reminder. When listing a home, do yourself a favor – check websites on launch day to be sure they swept appropriately from the NWMLS. Let’s be honest, your Seller will. This week we had one listing on Redfin showing off market – not the case; very much a listed property. It gave me an opportunity to again share this resource on Redfin’s website for our brokerage community. Here is a link to the below page – where you as broker can “submit a request” to a “edit a listing“. You’ll get an automated response speaking to a 24 hour turn around yet my guess is engineers are typically on it asap – all websites syndicating from an MLS want the best & correct data feed – quickly.

And now for a story to ponder as we close out this week and prepare for a weekend of productive work & play…and for many, spring break is upon us!

Thursday of this week I had an opportunity to start my day at the 15th annual Row to the Future benefit breakfast (thank you Windermere Foundation for being a sponsor). During the event we heard from Arshay Cooper – Director of A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund. Arshay’s name might sound familiar to you as he has helped to to tell the moving true story of a group of young men growing up on Chicago’s West side who form the first all-Black high school rowing team in the nation, and in doing so not only transform a sport, but their lives. I guess I have rowing my mind with the Windermere Cup just around the corner!

Arshay shared with us an early story of he experience in the boathouse as a young rower. He spoke to a coach asking him to clean something up. He responded with, “coach, I didn’t make that mess.” Coach went on to teach him both a familiar concept that many of us can recall in life lessons yet he added a twist that made me ponder the familiar with new. Coach taught Arshay on that day in the boathouse to always leave the boathouse better than he found it…”even if you didn’t make that mess.”

That story stuck with me this week, simply wanted to share.

Ok y’all, it’s the Masters weekend & it is the beginning of spring break for many. However you decide to architect your weekend, be well & stay well! I plan to continue a recent spring fling with my clubs at the driving range. Dusting off the sticks, and as we like to say in our house, “let the big dog eat.”

Who wants grab a bucket of balls with me this spring? The bucket below was the best $12 I’ve spent in a long while!

On the real estate front, keeping swinging. Keep adjusting the swing. Have fun with hit. Tee up another ball when it doesn’t go where you want it. And enjoy & celebrate it when you hit it just right. I’m right here with you.

– Laura

FWL back April 7th, until we meet again!

Fridays With Laura will be back April 7th as I am taking a pause in a long weekend away from real estate to return refreshed. Until we meet again & we will very soon!

Be well, Laura

And oh, for those of you getting excited about the Seattle Mariner’s home opener tomorrow – this hangs prominently in our kitchen now…play ball! #believe

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