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Coldwell Banker Bain is proud to share its platform to recognize AAPI Heritage Month (May), which honors the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history and are instrumental in its future success. Within our own organization, Tina Nguyen of Mercer Island Upside Properties is an integral part of its success; her team recently won Best Team Award by Seattle Agent Magazine. As a first-generation American born to Vietnamese immigrants, Tina shares her story and how her heritage and work experience helps serve her client base.

Tina's mother is the second oldest of nine siblings. She, her three younger brothers, and two older sisters left Vietnam in phases in the early 1980s, intent on immigrating to the United States. Her mom and two sisters had a long journey that took them first through Malaysia, then the Philippines for six months waiting on approval to go on to Seattle. They arrived by plane in 1984 and Tina was born a few years later.

"My mother is the strongest and hardest-working person I know, and she never faltered. She had a home-based daycare for 20 years," Tina says. "She's taught me so much about discipline, integrity, and treating clients like family. She's been an entrepreneur her whole life and I look up to her in every way."

The industrious nature must be genetic, because Tina has cultivated a rewarding career in real estate following a career in medical interpretation. Her work foundations began with childcare and the restaurant industry.

"I enjoy working with people and in teams while also being very independent," Tina says. "I worked in the restaurant industry for eight years, where I helped my customers and assisted my team's customers in the front of the house and the staff in the back of the house; there's always something to do."

Tina also opened and ran a licensed childcare facility for over three years where she and her business partner aligned their goals and divided the daily workload to scale it into a thriving business.

"When all team members know their parts in the business and can produce, that's when you're able to make new goals and see how well you can do," Tina says. "Working with children taught me to keep things fun and be prepared for the unexpected, because anything can happen.

Tina became a Certified Medical Interpreter after graduating from the University of Washington. She notes she's always gravitated towards jobs where she can work with others and be of service. Her clients included medically distressed immigrants, and she says they were always grateful for her help.  She assisted her community with their regular appointments, surgeries, therapy sessions, and more.

Working as a medical interpreter, Tina said she could quickly adapt to different medical teams and effectively communicate the patients' needs. This field also afforded her practice in delivering sensitive information to minimize confusion. "The professionalism and work ethic that doctors, nurses, medical assistants, and staff provided to patients and me was an excellent experience to learn from and later implement in my business," Tina says.

With her attention now fully focused real estate, Tina has built a clientele of which approximately 30% are Vietnamese. Tina's own professionalism, clear communication, and attention to detail are why past clients regularly request her. Working with families and exceeding their expectations has been a critical driver of her success as an entrepreneur. Having 80% of business come from client referrals showcase that her client's satisfaction comes first.

Tina networks with her community via social media, by keeping in touch with her Vietnamese contemporaries in the real estate industry, and by attending community events and holiday celebrations. When she has extra time, you'll find her catching up on news in Vietnam or watching Shark Tank Vietnam to keep a pulse on the country's emerging businesses and entrepreneurs.

Keeping established relationships is also important to Tina. For that, she taps a CRM and she also self-tracks. She keeps a list of current and previous clients on her phone, stays in touch, and maintains an excel sheet – updated monthly complete with birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones (recognized with cards or small gifts). 

She's been in the shoes of a new realtor and offers these tips to help those just starting out:

  • Clear out your schedule, especially weekends, to shadow your team members, host open houses, show clients' homes, or go to open houses and view properties yourself.
  • Read the contract manuals and practice writing offers before working with clients so you're efficient and comfortable.
  • Take care of your physical and mental health. It's a lot of information and can be overwhelming. Every day is different, and you need to find a routine that works for you. Don't expect to memorize everything; know where to access it and slowly internalize the information.

Tina's words to live by tell you she doesn't mind a challenge or hard work. Her go-to quotes are: "Mind over matter," "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity," and "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together."

We're grateful to recognize the life experiences Tina brings to her career, her clients and her award-winning team. During AAPI Heritage Month and every day, we thank Tina for being a part of what makes Coldwell Banker Bain so dynamic.



Seattle is known as the "Emerald City" thanks to the lush greenery that surrounds it, especially the many amazing forests. Seattle homes for sale benefit from these unique surroundings and much more: Strong local businesses, a vibrant cultural scene, and some of the best dining in the region.

Our real estate agents know Seattle has a reputation for rain, but you'll also have "can't miss" rooftop dining opportunities. While many of them are available only in spring and summer, some covered and climate-controlled rooftop patios have recently opened for dining all year around.

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Portland Saturday Market

The Portland Saturday Market is a local treasure in the area around our Portland homes for sale. With a history dating back nearly 50 years, it's easy to see why. This gathering of local vendors is a remarkable achievement. Let's take a closer look at the Portland Saturday Market and see what keeps it drawing so much attention after all these years. 


The Portland Saturday Market began in 1974 as a small gathering of local vendors interested in selling their wares to people in their community. This type of market was common in the early 1970s, reflecting high levels of interest in crafts like macrame, tie-dye, and crochet. 

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Seattle BBQ

Seattle is known for its vibrant restaurant scene, and there is a growing number of local restaurants making their mark with authentic and flavorful BBQ. Join our brokers and celebrate National Barbecue Month in May with a meal or two at these great BBQ spots. 

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Indoor Plant Tips

If you're searching for a simple way to add natural beauty to your home and freshen your air, houseplants are an essential addition to your home. Houseplants absorb carbon dioxide and add oxygen to your home's air, working to remove toxins from your home. Our brokers know that having indoor plants also makes your home more inviting and appealing to potential homebuyers.  

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cyrus fieneCyrus Fiene's accomplishments as a REALTOR® belie his seven years as a broker. Entering the field of real estate at age 21 can be daunting, and for Cyrus, he chose a path to success by networking largely on his own and getting to know prospective clients by working other brokers' open houses. Today, he leads a team where he mentors other agents, helping them fast-track their careers through the best practices he refined.

Recently selected as one of Coldwell Banker International's top 30 Agents Under 30 for the second time, before starting his team, Cyrus ranked in the Top 1% of Coldwell Banker Worldwide. Since founding Cyrus Fiene Team, in its first year in the "team size 3 or less" category, it has achieved top 4% internationally at Coldwell Banker, selling over $60 Million in Sales in 2021 (among more than 100,000 agents). He characterizes his client relationships to be built on trust, integrity, and his "relentless effort to get the job done."

Raised in Edmonds and an alumnus of Seattle University in Capitol Hill, Cyrus grew up and worked all over the Puget Sound, from Redmond to downtown Seattle. His knowledge of Seattle's neighborhoods gave him a near encyclopedic fluency to pair listings with his clients' unique lifestyles and needs. But he almost missed his calling in real estate.

Fresh from college graduation, Cyrus started to work at a marketing firm. Six months into it, he realized it wasn't for him. He recalled that his mother, who was a part-time real estate agent, always remarked that he'd do well working in the industry. A year after her passing from cancer and following a three-week, soul-searching super cruise courtesy of his father, Cyrus told himself he'd try it for a year. If it was successful, he'd continue; if not, he'd keep searching.

Cyrus joined CB Bain right away, impressed by how much it focused on education. He admits he is not one to work under the 'fake it 'til you make it' mentality: "I really need to know what I'm talking about; when I know my craft very well, I can be confident about it," he said. Cyrus immersed himself in education and classes, as well as mentoring under John Deely who was managing broker at the time (now Coldwell Banker Bain's EVP of Operations). 

Cyrus recalls commuting to the South Lake Union office from Edmonds his first four years – and how he made it to the office every single day. By being in the office and hearing the chatter of the successful agents, he learned a lot about client behavior and agent gems of the trade. "For me, being physically present was the only way to go – I firmly believe that – in real estate – things must be done in person. Feeling the space, taking in the neighborhood, talking to the neighbors. It is home, it isn't something you can genuinely experience virtually."

As a young agent, Cyrus chose to build his network by covering open houses for other brokers in his office. No one in his personal network could yet afford to buy a house, so by becoming an expert in his field during the first few years, he'd be ready when his own network was in a position to buy.  It wasn't the easiest path, but for Cyrus, it was one he found rewarding.

During COVID's initial shutdown, when the world stood still, Cyrus called all the brokers he respected and asked them about their teams and how to launch one.  He used the time to analyze his business needs and formed his own team, starting with a transaction coordinator. Today, his four-person team is all brokers: Tarice, Thomas and Monica. "I helped Monica and Thomas get their first houses; I was their broker!" he mused. 

The main benefits to his team of brokers are Cyrus's training, guidance, and his insights—especially after approaching this field without a team, initially. Having access to the contacts he's acquired over the years and to be able to align with his stellar reputation are also huge bonuses.

Some of Cyrus' key points for new brokers are:

  1. Put in the hours. Real estate is a 24/7 career, i.e., researching and stats, scouring industry articles, contacting brokers to get their open houses, website marketing, working on CRM, initiating coffee meetups, etc. Eight out of 10 first-year agents don't renew their licenses after year one; another 80 percent of the remaining agents don't renew in the second year. It takes a tenacious and self-driven personality to succeed.
  2. Listen to your clients and act on their feedback. Spend time getting to know your clients, put yourselves in their shoes, and ask detailed questions that paint a full picture.
  3. Follow up and follow through. This applies to clients, as well as colleagues; deliver on your promises. Integrity is valued and follow-through shows that you are committed.
  4. Save up before starting out. Save enough money to sustain you through your first six months, because your first sale might take that long.
  5. Work the way that serves you best. Plenty of brokers don't work on a team and find it manageable. Others crave the team atmosphere, camaraderie, and shared connections and experience. Do what suits you best - just know that starting on your own could be the more challenging path.

Additionally, if you're an established broker and so busy that you don't have the capacity to serve everyone who seeks out your help, chances are you're losing out on business - consider starting a team. Just know that once you have a team the work doesn't get easier.

"People have this impression that starting your own team saves you time. That simply is not the case. As a team leader, I must sustain my own business while also helping my teammates grow their own. As a solo agent for six years, to me, it is 100% worth it and motivating for me to have the buzz of a team, the support of one another, and people to celebrate wins with," Cyrus says.

Take a moment to hear what his own clients say about Cyrus in this short video here.

Follow Cyrus on Instagram at @cyrusfiene_seattlerealtor.

cyrus fiene team


Seattle Libraries

The Little Free Library movement has been gaining popularity in cities all around the country, but few places have embraced it with more enthusiasm than Seattle. All around the city, you'll find Little Free Libraries where you can freely exchange books with friends and neighbors. Find something new and exciting to read while supporting a good cause in the process. Our brokers have more information on what Little Free Libraries are all about and where you can find some of the many Little Free Libraries in Seattle.

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Ramen restaurants

Spring is here in Portland, but there will still be some chilly days where you'll need comfort food to help you warm up! Ramen is flavorful and inexpensive, putting it high on the list of comfort foods as ranked by our brokers. When you need a meal to satisfy your body and soul, head to one of these great ramen spots near Portland homes for sale.

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