Gratitude. Exhale. Resurgence.

I will be away + unplugged + out of our offices this coming week. Back in the office April 12; blog posts April 16th.

As I take pause, I am fueled by my appreciate for you; those that – as a real estate community – helped each other navigated this past year together. One year ago – each of us took a gigantic inhale – one filled with so much uncertainty. We now each find the beginnings of our exhale and greet a world that has been transformed by a global pandemic.

As we discover our exhale, I look forward to our opportunities in embracing continued signs of hope, inspiration and less uncertainty. Over the past 365+ days I’ve written & spoken to resilience and endurance. In the coming weeks and months my words and leadership will pivot to an era of resurgence.

I hope you will join me in those signs of resurgence as a real estate community and within our city. Our next pivots are those that will lead us thru & beyond the last 365 + days.

Off to fly a kite for a week and then to double down on our resurgence together…



 

It’s Sunday, our city is on my mind!

Good morning Seattle, you are on my mind!

Sunday mornings are my morning to catch up on the world beyond my everyday.

While one year ago – these words were our collective story…

The heart of our city is quiet.

But the heart of Seattle beats strong.

You’re doing your part so they [essential healthcare workers] can do theirs.

This is how we defeat the virus.

Flatten the curve.

We don’t own the timeline.

But this is how we take control of it.

This is how we’ll get our city back.

And the comeback will be spectacular.

…this week, within my Sunday readings I enjoyed most GeekWire’s sharing of the Downtown Seattle Association “The Heart of Seattle is open” video depiction of welcoming people back and a hopeful view of our recovery.

Have a good week everyone. Turn up your volume & enjoy these 77 seconds…

#WeGotThisSEATTLELaura

It’s Friday, Chad turns 50! | “second half”

Welcome to Friday everyone! No “sweep” this week – instead I’m out celebrating Chad – 50 today! In our house & in typical March Madness basketball fashion – we are celebrating his “2nd half” on the court. I get one shot at getting this right in celebrating this day; his day. I’m going to take it.

(ps, yes he married a younger woman almost 22 years ago – I’m still in my first half – for the record!)

All in, for Chad.

Blog posts will resume next week. Until then, stay vigilant – Go Slow, Do No Harm.

Be well, Laura

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | roadmap to recovery

Welcome to Friday everyone! It’s a national holiday in our house – kids home – games on – brackets are hopefully not busted in the first round. On the real estate front, our industry was given what Phase 3 looks like for us. If you missed it – clarity below. I want to focus today’s post on this to be sure we are all on the same page. Our roadmap to recovery is beginning to show signs of a renewed sense of further opening. Good job everyone; we all play a vital role in this happening! Please do stay vigilant with our actions. Go Slow, Do No Harm.

Phase 3: COVID-19 Real Estate Protocols

Effective Monday, March 22nd

On March 11th, Governor Inslee announced changes to the “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery.”  The plan will transition from a regional approach to a county-by-county evaluation process.  

Effective Monday, March 22nd, the entire state will enter a new third phase of the Roadmap.  In Phase 3, the following changes will apply to the real estate industry:

  • Capacity for real estate offices, including guests, is limited to 50% or lower.  Appointments are not required for clients to visit real estate offices.  Remote meetings with clients are encouraged.
  • This is a change from 25% capacity and required appointments for clients to visit real estate offices.
  • In-person brokerage activities at the property (showings, inspections, etc.) are permitted by appointment with no more than ten (10) people on site, in addition to the broker, with face coverings, strict social distancing and proper sanitation measures. 
  • This is a change from five people on site, in addition to the broker.

*Please note that the current Phase 2 protocols remain in place until March 22nd.* [aka, this weekend]

As a reminder, following protocols will continue apply to all in-person activities (previews, showings, listing appointments, inspections, walk-throughs, appraisals, etc.):

  • In-person activities must be by appointment only;
  • Face coverings are required to be worn at all times by real estate brokers, their clients, and industry partners (e.g. appraisers, inspectors, photographers, stagers, etc.). Brokers may not provide services to any client who does not wear a face covering.
  • Those persons must strictly follow social distancing guidelines by remaining at least six feet apart at all times.

In addition, in-person open houses are permitted.  For in-person open houses, brokers must ensure that no more than ten (10) people are on site, in addition to the broker, and that all other required protocols are followed (face coverings, social distancing, sanitation, etc.)

What else happened this week? Well, a lot. We’ll digest more of that next week. We are navigating forms changes & best practices along with. A virtual Genuine Hustle happened – my first time attending. Ps, these events are curated by agents for agents – cool concept! There is something more to that & has me thinking about our gatherings. Standards of Practice happened – looking forward to digesting the notes and amplifying in another podcast. Launch of real estate review templates happened. Hosted my first FWL virtual book club. Witness to outside & socially distant broker meet up in an office parking lot – brilliant! The market leaves no lack of content and let’s be honest, we are tired of zoom.

And something I’ll leave you with as our roadmap to recovery moves along…remember one year ago when we all doubled down on reaching out to people and checking in on them? It was such a natural and right thing to do. Checking in on our fellow human beings. It’s not too late; do it again. What we all have endured over this past year – we all endured in some way. Who did you connect with early on when the pandemic hit? Let’s reflect on that. Who are the top 5 people that helped you endure? Thank them. These next actions will too be part of our roadmap to recovery. It’s happening!

…and a look at last night as I prepped for Friday, there was some serious “family business” happening post dinner. #bracketology It’s March. It’s Madness.

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

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | A nod to Seattle

Welcome to Friday! And, to the other basketball junkies out there that dearly missed March Madness in 2020; it’s back in 2021 and today is the Friday before selection Sunday! It’s a good day & weekend in the Smith house – all kinds of good feeling vibes. Don’t tell anyone, but, I’ll let you in on a Smith family secret: day one of the NCAA basketball tournament is a holiday in our house – yup, kids get an unexcused absence from school each year. I know, silly – yet, we all create joy in different ways! This weekend is all about the art & science of bracketology: Bracketology is the practice or study of predicting the outcome of an elimination tournament or competition. Bring on the madness!

As I sweep this week, Seattle was given a nod in the New York Times worth noting. Well done Seattle, well done. Yes, we have a long road to full recovery yet I do believe we’ll trailblazer and get there. Our real estate market & vaccine rollouts are in the same bucket; a supply and demand struggle. Fingers and toes crossed for both to loosen!

What is next? Washington state will soon move to Phase 3 of Inslee’s reopening plan. A few digestible bites from the headlines as we move to a new phase in Washington.

Note: I’ll be watching NWMLS for an update on what this means for real estate opening any further; nothing yet released on the homepage [as of 3.12.21 9am].

T-Mobile Park will be allowed to reopen at limited capacity to fans in time for the Seattle Mariners’ home opener against the San Francisco Giants on April 1, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday. This is part of the state’s plan to move into Phase 3 of Inslee’s Healthy Washington Plan and Roadmap to Recovery. The move to Phase 3 takes effect March 22.

Phase 3 will allows outdoor spectators, under some restrictions, to gather for sporting events.

Phase 3 of the reopening plan allows up to 50% occupancy of indoor spaces – including restaurants, movie theaters and gyms – and up to 400 people maximum for indoor and outdoor activities where physical distancing and masking are enforced.

Outdoor events in facilities with permanent seating – like at T-Mobile Park – will be able to seat up to 25% capacity with spectators physically distanced and wearing masks.The state said expanded spectator capacity for high school and youth sports will begin on March 18 so that parents and loved ones can watch their kids play before the season ends.

Just before that, on March 17, Inslee said everyone in tier 2 of the vaccine rollout will be eligible to receive it, which is ahead of schedule.”This is a medical miracle,” he said. “We have three extremely efficacious vaccines. Every day there is better news about how effective they are in saving lives, saving hospitalizations and saving your loved ones. So I encourage everyone who’s eligible to get to get a vaccine.”

The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine is the main differentiator in reopening, Inslee said. Eighteen percent of the state’s population has received one dose; 10% have been fully vaccinated.

Inslee reiterated the importance of social distancing, mask wearing to “pound” the virus.

Starting March 22, the state will move into a county-by-county evaluation process. Every three weeks, the state will evaluate Covid-19 metrics to determine if that county should move to a different phase.

The first evaluation will occur on April 12. Evaluations will occur on Monday and take effect that Friday.

If any county fails to meet one of the following metrics, that county will move down a phase.

I want to wrap this week with two new dates with ProDev on their The Power of Property Review class. And, if you attend and are committed to the practice of weekly annual reviews (2 per week is a good goal) I will share with you a template within your Moxi Present to build upon, a sample cover letter and checklist of items to include. Circle back with me if you attend either date and I’ll make sure a property review template lands inside of your toolbox. A special thank you to the Madison Park staff for helping me put together these templates! A huge lift and eventual time saver for many brokers. March class registration on the HUB and direct link here.

All in, for supply & demand to loosen (houses & vaccines!) – Laura

It’s Saturday am, let’s sweep the week!

Good morning! Plenty to digest over a nice cup of Saturday coffee or tea – let’s begin…

WindermereStats.com updated Friday 3.5.21 – if you need the March password – send me a text: 206.227.7133. Brief recap for Seattle below; all reports for Seattle, Eastside, King, Snohomish (residential, condo & by mls area) ready for your on WindermereStats.com.

FEBRUARY MONTHLY TALKING POINTS SEATTLE (based on Residential report): Surprisingly, the Seattle residential market has had more listings come on in January and February, than we have had for 10+ years. YTD there are 21% more listings than last year. (2021 – 1,476 new listings vs 2020 – 1,221 new listings YTD) Additionally, there is more demand (pending transactions) than there has been for 10+ years. YTD there are 29% more pending transactions than last year. (2021 – 1,498 pending vs 2020 – 1,163 pending YTD) Seattle is seeing that there is high demand for the seasonally higher than normal supply. With 0.6 months of inventory and 43% selling above list price, highly competitive multiple offers are the norm. Feb. 2017 and Feb. 2018 both had .6 months of inventory, looking back at March in 2017 and 2018 might help us determine what may happen this March.

75% of listings have review dates * 33% of those sell before the review date or remove/change the review date. 65% were pending (any status) seven days after input. * 12.5% of properties that went pending did so first, subject to an inspection. 30% of sellers provide an inspection. * 80% of the inspections are available upon request. * 20% are available from attached documents.

Article: Where Have All the Houses Gone? The inventory of homes for sale is startlingly low. The pandemic is part of the reason, but it’s not the whole story. NY Times By Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui | Feb. 26, 2021

Historically low interest rates and a pandemic desire for more space are driving demand — the other half is more complicated. 1. Who wants to sell a house in the middle of a pandemic? 2. Who would move into an assisted living facility or nursing home right now (freeing up a longtime family home)? 3. Who would commit to a “forever home” (freeing up their starter house) when it’s unclear what remote work will look like in six months? 4. Were in mortgage forbearance ……. meant that some homes that most likely would have come on the market over the past year, either through foreclosure or a forced sale, did not. 5. For more than a decade, less housing has been built relative to historical averages. 6. Low interest rates. That incentivized many homeowners to stay in their homes longer than they would have in the past, clinging to cheap mortgages. 7. The low rates also encouraged many homeowners who bought a new home not to sell their previous one, but to treat it as an investment property instead.

…and rolling in at #8 – and a highlighted this week on Windermere’s Instagram – what we DO know is that Home Means More. The definition of home has changed for ever and for everyone. We make an impact together in that every single day.

#HomeMeansMore – Be well, Stay well and welcome to the weekend! – Laura

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | Ep. 24 sop “NOW”

The NOW in conversations within Seattle’s Standards of Practice group. The hope is that this Episode continues the conversation further & deeper inside of our offices. What is urgent? What is important? Above all – a nod to working kindly within extreme market conditions. I will be building upon this each month. This will set our table moving forward.

…before we tune in, a roll call in THANK YOU to our Seattle Standards of Practice reps. YOU each make a tremendous impact in keeping the collective heartbeat of Windermere’s Standards of Practice strong, healthy & meaningful. Right NOW we have an opportunity to double down on who we are – even amongst chaotic market conditions. This too will pass – hang in there!

Diane Terry + Nahjeen Shirazi-Wu + Darci Gillespie + Cory Egan + Ben Clough + Jan Craven + Alan Bonaci + Josh Bolton + Dillon Chatriand + Gene Seguin + Brian Landreville + Robin Reed + Bruce Ainslie + Laura Kinzel + Jim Jacobsen + Shari Kruse + Gerry McBarron + Sol Villarreal + Stacy Jost + Cory Brewer + Amy Hyden + Jeff Parker + Lisa Visintainer + Jill Langer + Theresa Ahdieh + Esther Kim + Aaron De Nunzio + Alexandra Riede Cummings + Kevin Cunningham + Kevin Jeffries + Holley Ring + Audrey Manzanares + Sandy Nicholls + Travis Stewart *disclaimer & an apology if I missed anyone as this group naturally evolves over time.

With gratitude – Laura

Note: Ep 24 goes 38 minutes – ends a bit abruptly as I lost internet at the end of recording – life happens – the show must go on…

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | sharpen your pencils.

Welcome to Friday! If you are unaware of our NWMLS revising many forms and introducing several new forms on March 3, 2021 – this blog post is for YOU!

This week, designated brokers & managers had access to a first look and 3 clock hours with NWMLS attorney, Justin Haag. Classes for brokers have begunare you registered? There are still spots open at NWMLS & our Windermere ProDev folks have also enlisted Demco to teach the update for us too. Note: appears Demco classes are full – worth putting your name on waitlist – they will let you know if their schedule expands. [Update: WRE ProDev opened four new classes. Based on schedules they are being pushed into mid-March. Goal is to get everyone thru a class. Check HUB early & often!]

Whichever class you take – sharpen your pencils! There are significant revisions to the Purchase and Sale Agreements, the Financing Addendum, the Inspection Addendum, and the Escalation Addendum. Other forms revisions are not substantive and include minor clarifications and updates to outdated vernacular.

Where to start?
Legal Bulletin 219, which summarizes the forms revisions, and SAMPLE versions of the revised forms are linked below for review purposes – in both clean and redline formats:

Legal Bulletin 219 PDF

Revised Forms – redline format

Sample Revised Forms – clean format

Sample New Forms – clean format

How much to I appreciate the redline forms? Answer is: SO MUCH. All Forms changes launch March 3rd – let’s be ready!

Laura Smith
Designated Broker, Windermere Real Estate Co.

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | A love letter

Dear brokers,

One the eve eve of Valentine’s Day I find it most suitable to write you a love letter – a love letter about your client’s love letters. You know the ones…

Actually, let me do one step better and bring you back to one year ago and my Ep #18 podcast – Double Down, CORE Legal Bites with attorney, David Daniel from Demco Law Firm. Taken straight from the legal horses mouth & the best “belt & suspender” advice to our Sellers – “base your decision on what is within the 4 corners of the offer.” – David Daniel

How can we help Sellers accomplish staying within the “4 corners” of an offer and thus keep them safe with respect to Fair Housing Laws? Listen in on minutes 2-12 for a smart conversation around “love letters”…

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/767162314&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true Laura Smith | Windermere Real Estate Co. · EP 18 – Double Down; CORE legal bites

…hope you take those 10 minutes offered up to listen in. Why? E&O will not cover a fine or other type of penalty that may be assessed against a broker for violating Fair Housing Laws. That should have our attention. It sure got mine!

…and now I have your full attention – I will say, not all love letter are bad – yet they are fertile ground for a violation – our pandemic advice works well too with Fair Housing: Go Slow, Do No Harm.

Taking you back to the HUB to wrap this week.

The History Of Housing Discrimination in Washington State

In a presentation on the history of housing in the Puget Sound, UW History Professor Emeritus Dr. Quintard Taylor, explores the roots of discriminatory practices that formed the predominantly black neighborhoods of Seattle and the surrounding region. He shows that despite the progressive early history of Seattle, a gradual change in economic and social conditions leads to open housing discrimination against African Americans through the use of restrictive covenants in the early 20th century.

Those early restrictions were amplified in later years by FHA underwriting standards and appraisal bias within the industry. Throughout his detailed seminar, Dr. Taylor argues that discrimination in housing plays a major role in the economic displacement of the African American community.

Every real estate professional who is interested in a better understanding of our history, the challenges of providing housing for all, and the obstacles to home ownership for minority communities should view Dr. Taylor’s lecture. I’ve watched this once; will hit repeat the weekend – it’s that important. Head to the HUB for the recorded video.

This is one in a series of videos hosted by the Seattle King County Realtor Association commemorating Black History Month in February

XXOO.

Laura Smith | Designated Broker, Windermere Real Estate Co.

A note on the upcoming Presidents’ Day:
When computing time for purchase and sale agreements, please regard this Monday, February 15th as a legal holiday. Presidents’ Day is a legal holiday under Washington law.

Welcome to Friday, let’s sweep! | Ep 23 – controlling the chaos

Controlling the Chaos via Collegiality

Welcome to Friday everyone – my favorite day of the week! Why? Because I earmark this day to write, create & grow. This week’s focus in on Episode 23 – Double Down podcast – as the Queen of Windermere Standards of Practice again agreed to mic up with me and do Part II of a conversation around collegiality within industry. Our conversation is specific to right NOW and how we can each play a role in controlling the chaos – at least, where we can. I fully see & feel the chaos; that should be strongly stated. I am pleased with the real & open conversations happening in our office meetings, manager meetings & owners meetings. Keep it up!

Thank you Diane Terry for your willingness to lead our In-City Standards of Practice group and willingness to yet again; mic up with me. To everyone, let’s keep the dialog going and create a further impact as we navigate chaos, serve the needs of our clients and roll up our sleeves in doubling down in collegiality within industry. It’s tricky; it’s possible. Interested? Listen in…

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/979871272&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true Laura Smith | Windermere Real Estate Co. · EP 23 – Double Down – col·le·gi·al·i·ty – Part II

AND, as we launch into our first weekend in ability to host open houses in 2021 (Phase 2 counties) – you’ve heard this from me before: Go Slow, Do No Harm. We must take every precaution outlined by WA State & amplified by the NWMLS + your office.

Note: a few more comments below if you & your clients are considering open houses…

All in, for safety. All in, for collegiality. – Laura

…wrapping this post the way it started, “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

Open House Considerations

The first consideration is one you need to make. What does the next 30-60+ days look like for you with respect to hosting open houses. Do you want to do them? Do you not want to? If you do not want to, do you have Seller pressures (and how will you handle these)? Please take time with these questions before proceeding.

The 2nd consideration is one you need to make with your Seller. You will need to be able to speak to necessity in hosting open houses at this time to accomplish the exposure needed to sell their home. Do they understand the risks & requirements that we/you must follow to do this safely?

If you choose to host open houses within this environment, the 3rd consideration becomes becoming fully prepared to follow all health & safety measures as outlined by NWMLS & your office.