Supporting the People of Ukraine Via the Windermere Foundation.

You know how Facebook asks you – “What’s on your mind?” Well, Ukraine is on my mind. FWL is amplifying this week what has been posted on the HUB for all of us in one way to help.

Note: Windermere Services Company is covering all processing fees related to the below giving. Thank you Windermere for streamlining this opportunity for anyone inspired & that can…and, as of 3:567pm on Friday March 11th we are up to $22.021.47. It’s growing effort by the minute.

Supporting the People of Ukraine Via the Windermere Foundation

Over the past couple of weeks, the people of Ukraine have had their lives turned upside down and their livelihoods pushed to the brink. Millions have fled, and those who remain are joining in the nation’s valiant resistance to the Russian invasion. As Russia’s military presence in Ukraine continues, it is vital that the Ukrainian people receive aid and support.

Here’s how you can help the people of Ukraine via the Windermere Foundation:

We’ve set up a Windermere Foundation Qgiv page to benefit three organizations providing direct aid in Ukraine: Save the Children, whose donations provide children and families with food, water, hygiene kits, and other immediate aid; Global Giving, whose current $15 million Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund is supporting humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled; and World Central Kitchen, who is serving thousands of meals to Ukrainian families.

Donations made through Windermere’s Qgiv page will be evenly divided amongst the three organizations. To make a donation &/or share beyond this blog post & the HUB please visit this link.

All in, for Ukraine. All in, for the Windermere Foundation.

Welcome to Friday, let’s sweep! | “21 run”

When you’ve been doing something for a good long while – the numbers (in years) – from day to day, week to week, year to year become an absolute blur. This week however I pulled out my ’22 “word” – curiosity – and thought gracefully about a golden anniversary. Monday, 2.21.22 was my 21st year at Windermere Real Estate Co. Sorry in advance for the readers who thought my blog title reflected a more commonly known “21 run” in some party fashion – nope, that 21 run was in 1996 on a beach in Sidney, Australia!

Simply put, Windermere was certainly legendary before I got here. We firmly exist now by our strength in numbers because of those who believed in building better communities thru our profession beginning in 1972. During my first 21 years, the industry & our brand has changed in many ways, yet in many necessary ways has stayed the same. It has seen “lovely renovations” (pulled that vernacular from an article on Architectural Digest’s celebration of 100 years) and it has doubled down in what I believe we all know be true – it’s about the people. I am constantly impressed by the environment for each of us to build a business inside of a business. I look at my selling days – I could always find help. I stayed curious. I did my dardnest to stay relevant. I was given space to create. I was given inspiration to drive my individual passion. I discovered the true meaning of a lifestyle profession. When I describe to others the “lifestyle” – if done well & with the right intent – this industry allows one to bring together your personal & professional life. There were & are no limits put upon me drive, rest, endure, screw up, get back up, create, excel, learn, grow, help, take pause & repeat.

In my early days, contracts were hand written on triplicate forms (I think we left the “yellow copy” with clients?) & a fancy flyer included a black & white sketch (big investment at the time). Our current legends can speak well beyond those historical perspectives I reference in how we did business.

And, if you want a real legendary perspective (30+ years) – ask brokers inside my offices that are still fully engaged with this craft of real estate such as Barbara Shikiar – over 42 years at Windermere; Joie Gowan – over 33 years (alongside her daughter – Lizzy! ps, happy birthday Joie this week!); Sue Bethke – over 30 years; Nick Upshaw – over 37 years; Kathryn Hinds – over 32 years (and both daughters – Taylor & Katie – now working in partnership with her!); Laura Bethel – 30!; Steve Senescall – over 36 years; Dick Carruthers – over 35 years; Barrick Benson – over 35 years; Scott Anderson – over 35 years (now alongside his son, Tyler!); Matthew Townsend – over 34 years; Maria Rippee – almost 35 years; Jason Viydo – over 34 years; Irma Suntay – 34 years; Marshall Airey – 32 years; Brian Steiner – over 31 years; Charlie Cowan – over 31 years (now alongside his son, Tom); Brian Steiner – over 31 years & Bob Melvey – over 37 years!

Ps, I have 92 brokers with 20+ years at Windermere Real Estate Co. still rostered and in many ways rocking it. Legendary. This all calls for party planning – another reason for my new dress & heals.

And on this “21 run” a nod to my direct mentors – Matt Carroll (who took a chance on a young gal in 2001 – coming from two start up tech focused real estate firms – yup, been there done that & fyi, my stock options were worth zero when I left), Pat Corr – whom I sat next to in office for years and learned thru osmosis & Eileen Lindsey to whom I would often go to for “WWED” (what would Eileen do) kind of curiosity & often with a dose of perspective from Jill Cunningham. And now, I tap Eileen’s son Kelland on the shoulder for WWKD kind of curiosity (and fantasy football) – Jill’s too!

Our offices are now filled with a rainbow of legends to fresh perspective – both key ingredients to staying curious, continued renovation, deep wisdom & relationships that are and will continue to become the personality of who we are.

And to these two – as pictured below with me – thank you for your trust & guidance and in also taking a big chance on me. My job now is to pay it forward for others & give them a chance. The first 21 years were epic – I am all in for together writing the next 21 and help move Windermere from celebrating 50 years to making certain 100 years is to also be big-time celebrated!

Humbled by this profession. Humbled by the great around me. Committed to staying curious, to passion and to innovation around my favorite piece of this industry as a whole; the people. You & our communities. A little different from the “21 run” on a beach in Australia in 1996 – yet a “21 run” I would trade for anything.

Here to help – the ultimate goal. – Laura

And as I sweep this week in particular – if you’d like a recored zoom & presentation slides from our client event hosted this week – “2022 Seattle House Market Forecast with Matthew Gardner”- ping me: 206.227.7133. We certainly didn’t have a Chief Economist on staff when I started! We do now.

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | “Don’t argue, educate” & Top 4

Welcome to it, Friday! I again mic’d up with Windermere broker, Kristin Munger for our 4th “cup of coffee” (aka, our 4th month in a row!) in taking stats & headlines and deconstructing them into buyer & seller conversations. One of Kristin’s mantras is “don’t argue, educate.” Please join us for these 25 minutes. Our hope is that your investment in time will add a bit more confidence within your craft.

Full conversation here.

The other headlines I’ll leave you with today are the Top 4 conversations within this week’s Standards of Practice meeting. My hope by sharing these Top 4 is to give you all a nudge to actively participate in extending the conversations into your office meetings…

NWMLS Rule 2c violations. No pre marketing; especially on social media.

As a listing agent always fill out number of offers and relevant terms when you switch to sold.

If an appraiser calls, be helpful.

Let us become a culture of catching each other in acts of excellence in action.

And to wrap up this week, again giving you a placeholder for dishing out high 5s in catching each other in acts of excellence:

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

Here to help, the ultimate goal. – Laura

It’s Friday, preparing us for THIS Monday!

Welcome to Friday all! What I care most about today is preparing us all for a good THIS Monday. Yes, it’s Valentines Day & something else is brewing…

If you have a Windermere email address – Monday morning you’ll be very pleased to wake that day & know your email password. My best advise is to jot it down on a sticky note – naturally somewhere safe (wallet, kitchen drawer – just spitballing here…) between now and 6am this Monday morning.

Why? A note from WORC:

BE PREPARED! Enhanced Email Security Update: Microsoft is updating its systems to enhance email security authentication. This is a mandatory update, that must be completed by October 2022. Windermere will be converting early on February 14, 2022, to minimize any potential business impact during peak real estate seasons. All Microsoft customers will be forced to convert in October 2022. Read our Enhanced Security Update FAQ for all of the important details surrounding action you need to take to be ready for this update.

All of us Microsoft email customers will be forced to convert – it is our turn! Let’s make it a great day by knowing our email passwords & pivoting quickly to a focus on dishing out Valentines love.

If this doesn’t go well for you there will be a HUB post on Monday morning to support next steps in email password recovery option during said forced security authentication. Yet, sigh – let’s not go there. That sounds like a really bad Monday!

In other (good) news, it appears the conversations around removal of the “don’t know” box on Form 17 will not happen! That was a dumpster fire waiting to happen. An opportunistic moment however for me to remind Listing Brokers the importance of coaching Sellers to a completed Form 17. Not necessary to investigate further beyond the moment of filling out a From 17, yet 100% necessary to complete it – completely. Have questions as to the “why” – feel free to ask me or ask you owner/DB/manager.

Wrapping FWL with those two pieces of information on this Friday, February 11, 2022. Are we Valentines (email password) ready?! Hope so.

And if you are up for dishing out a high 5 from this week to a peer within industry? We had 5 this week! They were awesome. Let’s show love where we see impeccable professionalism & collegiality.

Welcome to Friday, let’s sweep! | Dish it out.

Dish what out, Laura? Dish out high 5’s from this week. No blog post necessary in speaking to current market conditions – we know them – we know the missing piece – yes, inventory. But wait, did I see a wee bit of a pop in that department yesterday?!

What is not always visible to us is the good, the inspiring, the collegiality, the courage & the helpfulness between each other as we pull on industry oars to both move the market and maintain the highest level of professionalism. Think about it – the good is often not what is shouted out or even seen – heck, even our MLS shouts out disciplinary actions from their homepage. Let’s make good seen by dishing out high 5’s! It might too be just the missing puzzle piece to your week.

Use email address to land your high 5 this week! Who is then recipient on the back end of this email address? I am, along with my leadership team.

Did you see a colleague handing a scenario in an incredible way? Share it with me.

Were you the recipient of impeccable communication? Share it with me.

Were you witness to a staff support person going above & beyond? Share it with me.

Were you provided advice or coaching that worked? Share it with me.

Did you observe professional ethics and standards of practice being lived out loud? Share it with me.

Did a colleague help you out in a pinch? Share it with me.

Is there someone you’ve been meaning to acknowledge? Share it with me.

Was there creativity in the marketplace that deserves a high 5? Share it with me.

In creating this habit in ’22 we will fuel creativity, collegiality, acknowledgement & a general lovely renovation of our mindset from week to week. Thank you for giving me the eyes to see more and ears to hear more of the good.

Ps, dishing them out will give you a lift too – I promise! There is research behind that statement – content for another FWL blog post.

And oh, a humble brag about one of our very own, Sharlane Chase! These beauties showed up to the Eastlake office and are not what they appear. Happy clients? Well yes yet these actually arrived from the Buyers where she represented the Seller…high 5, Sharlane!

This story from this week is too a reminder to all of us in how we show up within industry is seen far + wide. Our individual efforts represent all of us. I sure appreciate it when you are seen. And as I give a nod again to celebrating #Windermere50 – we didn’t get to our first 50 years on accident, we got here on purpose. The next 50 will be on purpose too. The example above in appreciation is an example of why we have arrived at 50 years in being one of the most reputable brands around. It is because of you; the people.

Thank you. I see you.

Dish is out at high5@windermere.comLaura Smith

It’s Friday, let’s sweep the week! | superpowers + time well spent + high 5’s to kick off ’22!

*Picture as seen on today’s morning walk. What will the day become for you once the fog clears?

Welcome to Friday, let’s sweep the week! This week we began our year long celebration in Windermere Real Estate’s 50th anniversary with our ’22 kickoff event. What you don’t need from me today is a regurgitation in content being the HUB has it all! What you will find there is 1. a recording of the event 2. ’22 Western Washington highlight video 3. Matthew Gardner’s top 10 predictions for 2022. What you won’t find on the HUB are a few of my favorite take-aways to further ponder…

Yes, people (clients) want systems & tools yet they don’t want them without you.” – Matthew Ferrara

…Matthew captured this truth in that we all have “essentials” to our business (systems, tools, Nwmls, forms, docs, etc…) yet it is your superpower(s) that set you apart. When you bring the essentials + your superpower(s) to the client – this differentiates your client experience and becomes your unforgettable brand. Did you spend time yet to think critically about your top 5 superpowers? Then whittle down to top 3? And then finally, filter to your top superpower? Do that. Amplify that with courage & risk in ’22!

…and Matthew also spoke to a conscious focus on “time well spent” – we all need more of that; specifically in the good news category. I’ve put together for us a small yet mighty way to help with that…

…a place to land your high 5’s within our offices, our companies & our industry. Naturally in leadership & management we spend our days solving for solutions. It’s seldom that people walk thru our doors simply to give a high 5 in something they’ve seen done well. Ps, for those of you that do that – keep doing that!

And, to all of us – use this email address to land your high 5’s:

When you see a colleague handing a scenario in an incredible way? Share it.

When you see a staff support person going above & beyond. Share it.

When a manager gave you advise or coaching that worked. Share it.

When you observe professional ethics and standards of practice being lived out loud. Share it.

When you see one broker helping another broker. Share it.

When you see someone having success for the first time. Share it.

The list goes on and on in why to land a high 5! This email address will give me the eyes to see more and ears to hear more of the good that I know exists ever single day in our industry. Make it a habit – ps, it will give you a lift in doing so too!

…and back to that “time well spent” mantra – happy birthday to this four-legged friend today – an extra long walk to celebrate her 6th birthday today! The fog has lifted in Seattle, what will today become for you?

All in, for ’22 with youLaura

It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | “When the Oracle of Omaha speaks, people listen…

As our industry does it’s best to ramp up to meet demand (I know, hardly – ok – not at all) – I fell in love this week with this short article – Jan 20th article, “Warren Buffett Says 3 Life Choices Separate the Doers from the Imposters. When the Oracle of Omaha speaks, people listen…”

“Warren Buffett has captured our hearts and minds over the decades with such unconventional wisdom that it tends to defy today’s business rationale.

But you can’t deny that when the Oracle of Omaha speaks, people listen. Or so they should. More importantly than that is being able to apply such rare wisdom. Take, for example, these three well-known Buffett life strategies of most doers and achievers. Simply act on them with positive intent and watch the magic happen.

1. Learn to say no to most things

This Buffett-ism has garnered a lot of debate over the years since he said it years ago. It’s a quote about the difference between successful people and really successful people. Here’s what Buffett said verbatim: 

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

The context here is that most busy people are driven by doing more, not less. If we let our egos dictate our actions and we keep saying more yeses instead of more no’s, it’s not a sustainable business or life practice. We will inevitably crash and burn. 

To simplify our lives and keep us grounded, we have to know what to say no to. It could mean saying no to those shiny opportunities that may tempt us but in reality, don’t really serve us or our mission. 

2. Surround yourself with people operating on integrity

Integrity is such a non-negotiable aspect of Buffett’s business practice that he vows to only hire people who possess it. He says “if you’re going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.” 

One of the big reasons to surround yourself with people operating on integrity is because they have an orientation toward the truth — whether acting on it or speaking to it. In essence, this is the exact opposite of being an impostor. It’s being someone who will display uncommon honesty, treat others well, reject political divisiveness, and bring people together to achieve real results.

3. Increase your knowledge daily

According to Buffett, the key to your success is to go to bed a little smarter each day — what he calls the “Buffett Formula.” He connects the dots of his formula to a simple rule of investing: “That’s how knowledge builds up. Like compound interest,” says Buffett.

One of the ways he famously builds his knowledge is to spend a great deal of time reading. While you may not have the same commitment to gobbling up books or journals like Buffett (he’s been known to spend 80 percent of his daily routine reading), the point of the Buffett Formula is to make whatever progress you can by learning new things and improving your life on a daily basis.”

Stay curious my friends. Stay well. Be kind.

Here to help – Laura

Welcome to Friday, let’s sweep! | coffee, a party & a first…

We’ll start this week’s wrap up with our 3rd “cup of coffee” with broker, Kristin Munger. We share a relentless passion to help brokers & clients make better decisions as a result of understanding the market. Together in ’22 we’ll continue to set out to provide a handful of monthly soundbites. 14 minutes together on that right here

Note: we reference Keeping Current Matters & Windermere Stats often – as always, ping me if you need help gaining access either – happy to help: 206.227.7133

…and, as we set out into the weekend, for those of you in the midst of computation of time, regard this Monday, January 17th as a legal holiday. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a legal holiday under WA St law.

What else is on my mind today? Our birthday. I’m excited to celebrate a year-long birthday with Windermere as we’ve turned 50 in 2022! As we set out on this party – I’m pretty darn excited to celebrate our past, celebrate our now and look towards the future. In my humble opinion, all 3 of equally importance. I’ve been here 20 of the 50 and look forward to many many more. The Godfather, American Pie, and the VW Beetle. What do these have in common with Windermere? All of us became big news in 1972!…

And oh, on a super fun future forward note around Windermere – I received this memo from Windermere Services Company this week. Typically I don’t shout out leadership changes at WSC yet this once deserves a special post; as it is a first! The first hire of Windermere’s 3rd generation…

Western Washington Owners,
It’s no secret that being a family-run company has been at the heart of the Windermere story for the past 50 years. This extends well beyond Windermere’s founding family to include several franchise owners who are second or third generation, as well as a great number of agents who have also passed the baton to younger generations of their family. With that in mind, I am very excited to announce the addition of Lucy Wood to the Services team as our new Western Washington Regional Manager. 

As I’m sure you all know, Lucy is Geoff and Jill’s daughter, and she will represent the third generation of their family to take on a leadership role at Windermere. Lucy will report to Dan Givens and augment the operational support he provides to each of you and your offices. Together, Dan and Lucy will attend all of the Western Washington owner meetings, communicate with you about business-critical updates, track and analyze agent retention data, work with you on recruiting efforts, and help support the ongoing success of you and your agents, among many other things. 

I know I speak for Lucy when I say that she’s incredibly excited to take her experience and lifelong connection to Windermere to a new level with the support of Dan – and all of you.

Please join me in congratulating Lucy on her new role! If you would like to reach out directly, her email is or ping her 206.437.7038!

Many of you too have worked with Lucy on her path to today. If you don’t yet know her story – we mic’d her up to better connect us with her experiences thus far as she sets out further into third 3rd generation work. Interview right here! My favorite quote from Lucy’s interview, “people need people” – how incredibly true is that. On a funny note, she reminded me this week of misplacing her office keys when she answered phones for me many many years ago on a few weekend days (hard to open the office without keys!) – please do give her a hard time about that. Heck, I recall mistakenly locking myself in a bathroom when closing up a broker tour (without my phone) and awaiting the next showing to let me out! This is a humbling business at all levels on some days; as we can all attest to. In all seriousness, I’m pumped for my continued work with Lucy…

Happy Anniversary Windermere. Thank you for being home to me for so long and for allowing me to be a part of creating an successful environment with the best people, driven by the the highest of standards and committed to our collective communities. This year is about all of us. Lots to celebrate in 2022 – in many ways, just the beginning…

Let’s do great things in ’22! – Laura

Welcome to Friday, let’s sweep! | headlines & cafe conversations

Welcome to it! Friday, January 7th. It’s a messy moment as we thaw out locally, mountain passes are hit hard and are in and out of closure and oh, omicron has taken on it’s own kind of winter storm (and a moment to up our mask game apparently). The Seattle Times posted a headline (24 hour after NWMLS released their stats) – “Perfect storm” slows Seattle-area housing market in December. Zero of those topics will be today’s focus in reading FWL yet I will throw out what you would expect from me – be well and please stay well. Let’s double down in taking care of each other! Ps, coming soon will be our next “cup of coffee with Kristin Munger” as we continue to move beyond the headlines and prepare for January & beyond; together.

Ok, leading with one of my favorite questions of all time to set a foundation for FWL today…

What is the most powerful thing in the world? Answer is: A made up mind.

This past week I challenged the brokers in my offices to come up with one word that they would like to celebrate come year-end. Imagine it is December 2022 and I am toasting all of us in celebration (and hopefully gathering) – what are we most proud of? Here is a what I am hearing…

reconnect + commit + evolving + engage + positive + open + team + seeing co-workers + transformation + family + connectedness + reinvigoration + teamwork + camaraderie + celebration + collaboration + connect + together + success + momentum + cohesion + focus + community + confidence + reunion + reliability + openness + unite + steady + productivity + growth + gather + unity + celebrate (each other) + health + fun + curiosity + togetherness + accomplishes + abundance + cohesive + friendship + support + clarity + cast (a successful performance) + emerge.

What do I do with that content as a leader within our industry and connected with all of you? I plan for that year-end toast to the above! And, I know one way I’m going to accomplish this in 2022 with you. It’s official I’m committed to the knowledge cafe model in providing the environment to gather and host meaningful conversation. By doing this over a year (and beyond) – we will have all of this to celebrate. Initial cafe conversations will be via zoom with hopes that this style of conversation will move to in-person. The first next step to begin is to know the history, why and how these knowledge cafe conversations came about – they started at a global level – we’ll bring it to us. Our homework in January is to digest these next 62 minutes in Episode 20 of my Double Down podcast. You will then all be invited to these conversation throughout 2022. More to come!

What is the most powerful thing in the world? Answer is: A made up mind.

…and, my mind is made up. Knowledge cafes are happening in 2022. I hope you will join me….

…and a hello from me to you without a mask – being our masking game needs to again be very on point & upgraded in this moment of time! Be well, stay well, take care of each other and stay curious! – Laura

Good morning! | an unwelcomed guest & a puzzle

Good morning! FWL will be back on regular schedule this Friday yet between now and then I simply wanted to say hello, tell a couple of stories and set us out on a new week; our first full week of the new year! This will be short & sweet and moreso a note to simply say hello & set us out into 2022…

Our home endured an unwelcomed holiday guest by the name of omicron. How did Laura do with 10 days of quarantine? Let’s just say she wasn’t her best self and if I were to pen a blog post solely on those 10 days I couldn’t do it any better than this Washington Post article, “They were so careful, for so long. They got Covid anyway.” *I’m pretty sure I wrote this article yet I didn’t. I lived it though.

We kicked this holiday guest out of our home after a full 10 days of quarantine on Saturday, January 1 2022. Onward & yet I did learn a handful of things during this time – one ah-ha came in the form of a puzzle. I was looking to both quiet my mind and stay busy at the same time so I dumped out a puzzle. Two days in I quickly realized I was the only person in my home going to work on this puzzle and after not being able to complete the board in full (for the life of me I couldn’t find 3 border pieces of this new puzzle) I tossed the whole thing back in the box and back into the game closet. Why? Two reasons…

I realized I don’t like working alone. It’s just not me. Taking you back to my college tennis days – I played singles and doubles. Guess which one I liked better? You got it. Doubles.

The puzzle felt all too much like 2020 and 2021 and trying to solve for the world around me. The intent to quiet my mind wasn’t working at all. Wrong activity; wrong time. And for those of you who joined me for a business planning session at year-end you’ll remember one of my favorite questions – “what will you stop doing?” It was time to stop doing that puzzle.

..and then came the clarity for 2022 I was looking for mid-quarantine. Curiosity. Many of you will recall I enjoy having a word heading into a new year – a word that sets tone & intention. It takes time to come up with the right one. In fact, heading into the turn of the new year – I had two front runners – create & commit. Looking back on 2021 – those 365 days required endurance and resilience – both ingredients that in many ways we have fully digested. Again, onward. This single word – curiosity – will drive 2022 for me. Winner winner! Yes, I will create (many things in process). Yes, I am committed. Moreover though, creating and commitment have to stem first from a key ingredient = to be curious.

Here we go. 2022 is here. I am curious. My work is fully enjoyed with others – not alone. I have no clue what the puzzle will look like at the end of 2022. I’m not going to guess. What I do know is this – an invitation to a new puzzle to work on. It’s on our table. One piece at a time. And if you or I can’t find a missing piece – I bet we can together.

And, to end on a funny – beloved broker Catherine Adams sent me a note yesterday as she had come across her 2021 word (yes, so last year) – too good not to share. It made me smile.

I’ll be back Friday will regular scheduled programming in the form of a blog & real estate content. Between now and then, I’ll stay curious and look forward to connecting within our first week of 2022!

Be well and for goodness sake, stay well…

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

Your fan,

Laura Smith, Windermere Real Estate Co.