Date Archives: July 2022

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Bellevue WA | 16 Posts
Buying a House | 7 Posts
Home Maintenance | 33 Posts
Portland OR | 65 Posts
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Seattle WA | 67 Posts
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Uncategorized | 42 Posts
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birch bayOld World European style mingles with contemporary amenities to make this 15-acre waterfront property in secluded Blaine, Wash. an exceptionally rare find. Dramatic views of Upper Puget Sound off the Canadian border are served up from nearly 12,000 square feet of luxury living space in this unique and enchanting estate on Birch Point. A picturesque sanctuary on uncommon acreage calling you to enjoy the serene beach life. 

Enter through the beautiful iron gate and drive onto the scale-designed motor court surrounded by exquisitely landscaped meadowlands. The classic stone exterior delights with its copper roof accents and turrets adorned with the tile roof. As soon as one enters the home's
custom, double front doors one is treated to breathtaking views of the sparkling bay through the formal living room with two-story soaring ceilings, accented by a dramatic chandelier and distinctive fireplace mantle. Adjacent sits a family room with wood burning fireplace and French door access to the back patio.

A well-appointed, eat-in kitchen is any chef's dream with double hidden appliances behind Wenge custom cabinetry with expansive space for preparations. The breakfast nook includes additional built-in cabinetries with access to the outdoor kitchen and Gazebo fireplace sitting area. A pass-through service window serves a formal dining room with cottage style windows and views the motor court. 

On the opposite side of the grand entry, you will find a private executive office, including a boardroom perfect for important meetings made more noteworthy under the wood beamed ceilings. Custom cabinetry surrounds a fireplace illuminated by tall windows that capture the water views. The office opens to an expansive, covered patio with bay views, while an elevator next to the office accesses all three floors of the home. An elegant flex room and half bath overlook the motor court, and offers built-in cabinetry, a window seat for relaxed reading and a walk-in closet making it readily available as a main floor bedroom.

The entire estate is comprehensively outfitted for business, entertainment, and wellness. 

The lower-level offers a state-of-the-art home theatre with seating for up to 12 and a Club Room complete with billiards table, five-seat bar, and memorabilia showcase. The black walnut carved statues at the entrance of the Club Room were procured from the RMS Olympic, a transatlantic ocean liner build in 1908 and sister ship to the Titanic and Britannic. The hand carved fireplace mantle depicts historic images of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith.

The lower-level wellness area includes a ¾ bathroom and a cedar lined dry sauna to soothe sore muscles after working out in the fully appointed gym, along with a 1,000-bottle capacity wine cellar perfect for impromptu tastings, as well as a custom safe room.

The luxurious owners' retreat on the second floor is ideal for unwinding at the end of the day with exquisite French doors opening to a view balcony and fireplace. Ensuite tenders a fireplace, double vanity, steam shower, jetted tub, and makeup counter, as well as a private water closet. The generous walk-in closet has extravagant storage space, as well as a washer and dryer. The second master suite showcases an Italian Carrara marble fireplace, a private balcony with French doors, an ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet. Comfortable secondary rooms all have private balconies, ensuites and walk in closets.

The grand patio is perfect for displaying your favorite outdoor furniture and flowers with six access points to the home. A lighted staircase leading to the beach located across from an expansive front yard with a pond feature and gardens. The sixty-zone irrigation system maintains the landscaping treasures and the brand-new Elan Smart Home system keeps everything up and running via an app on your smartphone.

One Bedroom Caretakers Suite offers a separate entrance and utility meters.

This rare, private location of 15 gated acres is close to the Canadian border, Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club and Marina, the village of Birch Bay and the Bellingham International Airport.

The Birch Point Property is listed by CBBs Bethnie Morrison for $6.5 million. For more information visit Bethnie's website:


Portland Hiking

Few sights can match the awe-inspiring experience of a sunrise over the spectacular natural scenery around Portland homes for sale, and there are plenty of great trails in the area that allow you to get a front-row seat for one of nature's most amazing displays. As an added bonus, hitting the trails early allows you to beat the crowds and leaves you plenty of time to tackle everything else you need to do in your busy day. Our brokers appreciate the natural beauty of Portland, and we've got all of the key details on some of the best trails for a sunrise hike around the city.

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In early June, both Redfin and Compass announced employee layoffs as a result of rising interest rates and falling consumer demand – and it's only the most recent shift in this market. Mortgage and Title companies have also been downsizing their overhead and laying off employees throughout the spring. Included in these recent layoffs is Compass' Modus Title Company. And to add fuel to the fire is the fact that consumer sentiment is at the same level as it was during the Great Recession.

Consumer sentiment is something all of us need to watch. Both in people's purchasing power and in their willingness to invest in real estate in an increasingly unaffordable market. Technically, the real estate market is in a much healthier place than it was leading up to the Great Recession. Buyers have more equity in their homes and more stable financial environments. But startled consumers can quickly crash the market. And without a doubt, Redfin's economist, Daryl Fairweather, is probably seeing this in real life. Ms. Fairweather is one of the leading economists in the real estate industry. In much of her early work she studied what led people to go into foreclosure during the Great Recession.

Meanwhile traditional brokerages like Coldwell Banker Bain and a few others have many legacy brokers and managers who were actively working during the Great Recession. They understand a pivot is coming and are prepped to support their brokers through the process. These traditional brokerages already have tried and true structures to support them in a shifting market. But there is a risk in naively assuming that this recession will be like the last one.

One model to weather a shift in the real estate market is to better understand how Coldwell Banker Bain's Capitol Hill office remained in the black throughout the Great Recession. They had a group of brokers who had both old school negotiation skills and the capacity to adapt to new technologies. The management team also maintained staffing and retained the bulk of their brokers throughout the recession. It is much easier to go fast when a market turns positive and you are fully staffed. Thankfully, many of these brokers and managers are still in the business making the ability to manage this shift easier.

More traditional real estate brokerages also practice old school client relationships. Something that many disruptors in the real estate industry didn't fully grasp is the client experience AFTER they bought a home. During times of uncertainty consumers want to know you are a place of resources and stability.

Meanwhile the layoffs at Redfin are having an immediate impact and interrupting clients' buying and selling transactions. Coldwell Banker Bain Broker Kim V. Colaprete was recently  interviewed on King 5 news about the real estate shift. Right after her interview she received a call from a Redfin broker who is representing a buyer on one of her listings. The broker called her to let her know she had been laid off and didn't know who would be taking over for the transaction. Going back to consumer confidence levels means that a client can and will worry about a sudden shift in their transaction. Interruptions like this have a huge impact on the clients as they go through the very stressful experience of buying a home.

Redfin's brokers are employees and not contract workers like legacy real estate firms. Not only are these layoffs impacting the clients they will also leave a large gap in the skill set of these brokers. It is in shifting markets that you learn negotiation skills to help you better represent your clients. Missing out on this moment means you are not built for the "next" market. That leaves you as a broker with a skill set that only works in a multiple offer market.

There are opportunities in a shifting market. Anne Jones, owner of Windermere Abode is currently opening a new office. Anne noted that "People need help navigating this market more than ever - and I think having a Realtor who will get in the trenches with them matters. But knowing your market, having people who will answer your calls (vendors, lenders, appraisers and other Realtors) is critical." And from a tech development perspective, who will develop that transformative tech that helped many real estate brokers during the Great Recession? DocuSign and Dropbox are two companies that seem old school now, but were game changers when they came out in the real estate industry.



Chavi M. Hohm is a broker and team lead at Team Diva Real Estate with Coldwell Banker Bain. Team Diva is a top producing Seattle real estate team who is known for advocating for diversity and inclusion in the real estate industry. Over the years Team Diva has been recognized as one of the most innovative real estate marketing organizations by Inman News and is often a speaker at various real estate events. Chavi's great passion is mentoring the next generation of real estate brokers who come from a diverse background. In her free time you will often find Chavi taking long dog walks with her rescue dogs, hanging out at shows with her wife Kim, and spending time thrifting with her teenage nephew that Kim and her are raising.


john and thereseHailing from Elk Grove, Calif. near Sacramento, John and Therese Kingsbury found success early in life and were able to retire at age 50.  Living 'the dream,' they bought a yacht and sailed for several years in and around Washington's San Juan islands, when they decided they wanted a more permanent home in this lush and scenic region.

They put their active real estate licenses and experience to work researching islands that might match their needs. In the process, John and Therese settled on Whidbey Island and learned enough to build a thriving real estate business specializing in Island/Skagit Counties vacation homes.

The Kingsburys encourage their clients to buy vacation homes as getaways, future retirement homes, investments, and active businesses, while guiding them through careful research. Here are some of their top tips for buyers and, in turn, other brokers who might want to enter this segment of the real estate business:


  1. Investigate the destination before you buy – be Informed! Each island has its own personality, advantages, and disadvantages. For example, how willing are you to be tied to a ferry schedule?  Subscribe to the local newspaper, check the Chamber of Commerce, join Facebook groups in that area, and attend different churches. Island communities are small towns - make certain your neighbors are like-minded.  Find out if it's a charitable community, as that can say a lot about the people. 
  2. Consider buying the home to use as a short-term rental. Many people do this to cover the taxes, and the property gets cleaned regularly forcing owners to keep it in good shape, especially if it would have only been used a few weeks out of the year otherwise.
  3. Find out the typical vacation rental fee for the destination. It may seem high, but people often vacation with other couples or families and split the cost.  It can pay off for clients to buy much more house and reap the future benefits as it appreciates.  
  4. Before creating a short-term rental, it's important to know whether the location is unincorporated. Some cities have laws that restrict your ability to host paying guests for short periods. These laws are often part of a city's zoning or administrative codes. In many cities, you must register, get a permit, or obtain a license before you list your property or accept guests. Certain types of short-term bookings may be prohibited altogether. Local governments vary greatly in how they enforce these laws.


For realtors interested in selling vacation homes, in addition to the tips above, John and Therese recommend getting to know your market. Consider access to beach and water views. Find out about local non-profits.  Not only do they offer satisfying participation in community, but they also offer access to potential clients. Help clients get creative in financing to manage rising interest rates. They're still very low, especially for those who are more financially secure.

Be a problem solver. Get to know local landscapers, plumbers, electricians and movers, house cleaners for vacation homes. Make sure you can be of maximum service to clients and help ensure their vacation rental is an asset, not an anchor for them.

John and Therese Kingsbury know from experience how a vacation home purchase can be a happy ending. They ended up on Whidbey Island living on a vast estate which they continue to groom with sculptures and nearly 100 Rhododendron species. Both are involved with local charities. They went from knowing no one, to being major players in their community.



Furniture Tips

No matter your style, arranging your furniture in just the right way can turn a house into a home. When you use furniture arranging tricks from top designers, your rooms will look more spacious and inviting. Our brokers know a thing or two about presenting your space to look its best!

We know: Sometimes, nothing less than more space will do. Most of the time, though, you can give any room in your home a new lease on life by applying the techniques of interior decorating. It's easier than you might think – and if you have an afternoon to spend, it can be a lot of fun.

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Portland Pearl District

Get to know the glittering jewel of Portland's incredible neighborhoods. Our brokers share their favorite must-see places in the chic and historic Pearl District.

History of the Pearl District

While the word "pearl" conjures up images of a shiny, polished gem, Portland's Pearl District was originally a gritty area that was home to railroads, warehouses, and industrial buildings. In the mid-1980s, urban renewal began transforming the neighborhood into a popular district known for art galleries, charming boutiques, and trendy restaurants.

At one time, the district was known simply as the Triangle, but a search began for a more satisfying name. The Rose Arts Magazine presented a list of suggestions, and the Pearl District ended up gaining favor as a reference to the artists who were setting up studios in warehouses being converted to lofts.

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Seattle Restaurants

Seattle established itself long ago as one of America's leading foodie cities. And while that reputation remains unchanged, the restaurants that define Seattle's dynamic culinary scene are always changing. With that in mind, our brokers are eager to share their favorite new restaurants that you'll need to try soon!

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