Nothing warms you up quite like a crackling fireplace on a brisk winter day. But if you're like most homeowners, your fireplace probably hasn't been touched since last spring. That could be a problem.
Our brokers want to help ensure your cozy fireplace is safe year-round. Here's what you need to know about enjoying your fireplace safely this winter.
The year is coming to an end, but for many homeowners, there is no end in sight to the amount of time they'll be spending indoors. The extraordinary increase in work from home and learn from home have turned the house into an office, a school, and a social space for entertaining. As we move into 2021, our brokers understand that a change of scenery might be necessary. Here are a few burgeoning interior design trends for you to consider in 2021.
Our brokers are hard at work this holiday season, helping motivated buyers in the Portland area find the homes they want. But everyone should slow down during the holidays and spend time with loved ones – and often, searching for the ideal holiday gifts is a part of the enjoyment.
Here's a holiday tip: Board games are having a renaissance!
Yes, with more people spending time indoors, board games are a fun and fast-paced alternative to a computer or video games that everyone can take part in. And there truly are games for everyone, from children of all ages to adults looking for a more sophisticated experience.
While some games only get played once or twice, others have real staying power. They can even form the backbone of a new family tradition. If you're hungry for something new on game night, you're in luck: The Portland area is replete with shops where you can explore board games, card games, and RPGs.
For Rachael Podolsky, a global luxury broker in the Coldwell Banker Bain of Bellevue office, when you work with her you're "stuck" – meaning you become her friend for life. While she laughs when she describes this business approach, underneath you hear the seriousness and passion around her clients-turned-friends.
And it's clear that they feel the same way, as is evidenced by an array of testimonials and 5-star ratings on Zillow and Google. So, what drives this dynamo, who has seen a 260% increase in production since September 2019?
"It's about being completely open and authentic, and showing everyone you meet both your personal side and business acumen," she says. "We have at our fingertips amazing technology that allows us to show who we are outside of real estate, as well as within the industry, and I've found doing so has resonated with my clientele."
Rachael began her real estate career in 2016, joining Coldwell Banker Bain in 2018. Prior to that she held a number of positions for well-known companies, handling sales and marketing, community relations, and leasing and construction responsibilities, all of which have served to provide her with valuable insight and expertise related to her real estate practice.
When asked why she made the switch to residential real estate she replied, "I have always been in client-facing roles throughout my career – but was looking for something that really made a lifelong impact on the people I worked with. Nothing is more important than home."
Rachael holds a B.S. in Regional Development from the University of Arizona, a Master Certificate in Project Management from the University of Washington, and is a committed community volunteer for organizations including Camp Korey and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington and Alaska. She founded the nonprofit Kidserve in 2009, which connected younger children and their families with volunteer opportunities around the Puget Sound. After growing the organization significantly, Rachael donated it to the United Way of King County in 2014.
Professionally, she holds a CHLMS (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist™) designation, the highest mark in luxury property marketing, and is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS).
But it's Rachael's consistent use of, and focused attention to, technology in marketing herself and her practice that has made her one of the office's most productive brokers. Social media in particular – YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – are all used strategically and personally to market her personality, her personal life, her listings, and client testimonials – and provide potential clients the opportunity to get to know her and trust in her for their real estate needs.
"I've found that people really respond to my videos… they want to see me talking. And it's not extremely time intensive or expensive to do them. It just takes someone with a camera – following me around a home that I've listed so I can show and talk about its amenities and finishings. And you might even get a tap dance in the foyer," she laughs.
Rachael also takes time to research those those who "like" or "follow" her accounts and posts, and if it appears they may be in the market for a broker, will reach out via direct message to inquire and has found this a successful approach. Contracting with an online marketing firm to integrate into her activities paid Instagram and Facebook posts has also resulted in a lot of quality leads.
"I have met several amazing clients through social media – one follower was actually actively working happily with another broker - but sent a friend they thought would be a good match to me as a referral even though they had never worked with me," she said.
An important element of these activities, especially as it relates to the luxury sector, is being well-versed on new construction, and able to speak to amenity brands and their quality, so that you can educate potential clients on their value.
"Buyers are becoming savvier as the online resources to which they access have burgeoned, and so you must exhibit the knowledge they may already have learned from doing online research," she says.
Finally, Rachael attributes working with a business coach, conducting annual business planning, scheduling regular and consistent of marketing activities, and hiring an assistant to help with all if it has been instrumental to her success. However, her clients get her face-to-face for most tasks. "Given the team has my name, and everyone has a role, it's important that my clients interact with me regularly and know I'm not delegating it all to others," she said. "This is how I build trust."
"Although it sounds like a lot, and it is, it is manageable with help and an action plan that continues even when you're in the middle of multiple deals. The bottom line is to show potential clients that you are informed, can be trusted, are an expert and will put them first. Being fun and showing your personality adds another element to a process that can be stressful and frightening for some, and especially in an environment where people are isolated, has proven to be welcome," she said.
Whenever Pantone announces their Color of The Year, a flurry of design inspiration follows. Brands everywhere sit up and take note, incorporating the chosen shades into their messaging and products.
I'm always excited when Pantone makes this announcement, but I'm not typically affected on a personal level. This year, it's different. I won't even try to hide my enthusiasm for Pantone's 2021 Color(s) of The Year; a confident and bright blend of Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (a warm and inviting shade of yellow).
Ahh, yellow. It's my favorite color. Naturally, when I saw Pantone's announcement, I literally jumped up and down in my chair and cheered out loud. This may be an overreaction in any other year, but while I'm certainly biased, the "marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting" is exactly what the world needs right now.
Let's look forward to a new year, a new beginning, and new creative inspiration!
Be bold, be bright, and here's to refreshed spaces in 2021!
'Tis the season that the Pacific Northwest turns into a winter wonderland, and our brokers love every minute of it! One of our favorite activities throughout December is to throw on our favorite holiday sweater, grab a thermos of hot cocoa, and take a stroll through a Christmas tree farm. Whether you're searching for the perfect tree for your home or if you love surrounding yourself in Washington's wonderful outdoors, we suggest you stop by these Christmas tree farms near Seattle this winter.