Windermere Foundation Quarterly Report

Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, the Windermere Foundation was able to provide over one million dollars in support during the first three quarters of this year to social service organizations that helped hundreds of families meet basic needs.

Programs which benefit children and youth continue to receive a significant portion of Windermere Foundation funds. These funds are made possible by your continued support.

The Launch Pad, a teen center in Prescott, Arizona, received a grant to support their after-school programs.

“Research shows that the most vulnerable hours of the day for youth are between 3 and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday,” according to a representative from The Launch Pad. “These happen to be the times that youth commit the most crimes and have the most crimes committed against them. Furthermore, youth-attempted suicides predominantly happen between these same hours. The Launch Pad focuses on these hours and helps intervene in high-risk behavior by providing enriching and empowering activities and workshops.”

Fill a Backpack, Make a Smile is a non-profit organization in Walla Walla, Washington that provides backpacks with school supplies for kids and families in the Milton Freewater School District who may not be able to afford them. A grant supported their efforts to help ensure over 150 kids received backpacks, supplies, two new shirts and help with payment of middle and high school fees.

The Marvin Thomas Memorial Fund in Seattle, Washington received a grant from the Windermere Foundation to help with the purchase of backpacks for more than 500 low-income children/youth. Its mission is to provide positive, supportive and safe programs for children, as well as food, fun, educational opportunities, interactions and working relationships with the community and other agencies to serve as “the village” in raising a child.

Assistance League of Greater Portland received a grant which supports Operation School Bell. “Thanks to the generosity of supporters like Windermere, we are able to provide clothing for more than 2,600 economically disadvantaged school children a year,” said a spokesperson for Assistance League of Greater Portland. “Education is vital to breaking poverty barriers for children and Operation School Bell plays a role in ensuring that these students may attend school confidently, appropriately dressed like their peers, and ready to learn.”


  • Donations collected through third quarter 2014:                                          $1,184,381.40
  • Percent raised through individual contributions & fundraisers:                  64%
  • Percent raised through transactions:                                                               36%
  • Number of grants awarded:                                                                               405
  • Average grant size:                                                                                              $2,559

If you’d like to help, click on the Donate button to make a donation. 



Visit to learn more about the Windermere Foundation, and remember to read the Windermere Blog for more in-depth stories about what our offices are doing throughout the year.

Thank you for your continued support of the Windermere Foundation. Your generosity is truly making a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities.


Christine Wood

Executive Director

Windermere Foundation

Announcing the Winner of the Community Service Day Southwest Facebook Challenge!

On October 17, Windermere offices in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado all took a day off from selling homes to help make a difference in their local communities. Our offices were challenged to share photos and videos from their community service day event on the Windermere Real Estate Facebook page, and in turn, they received a $100 donation to the Windermere Foundation charity of their choice.

To add some competition to this challenge, we offered an additional $1,000 charitable contribution to the office with the most Facebook “likes” and comments. So, who won?

Please help us congratulate a team of our Northern California offices! Windermere offices in Clayton, Brentwood, and Walnut Creek teamed up to collect 2,000 pounds of food for a local food bank and spent the day sorting food for the 188,000 people each month that benefit from their programs. They will use the $1,000 Foundation donation to support the Holiday Donation Drive for Mt. Diablo School Districts homeless students and foster youth.

Thank you to all our Windermere offices for the amazing work you do in your local communities. 

Design Trends That Sell New Homes

Are you drawn to new construction homes? As a homeowner, do you ever wonder what design trends are most appealing to buyers? Well, at the Windermere Builder Solutions breakfast yesterday, agents from throughout the Seattle area came together to discuss the features and trends that are drawing buyers to new homes.

The highlight of the breakfast was a presentation by the Macadam Floor and Design Center.  Located in Kirkland, Washington, they specialize in providing flooring and interior design materials, as well as installation, design, and project management assistance to the construction industry and other professionals. They walked the group through the five reasons buyers are drawn to new construction homes.

1. Modern features.

2. Customization opportunities.

3. Less maintenance and repairs.

4. Being the first to live in the home.

5. Getting to live in a newly developed neighborhood.

So, what's new in the design trend sphere? Right now it's all about texture and simplifying. Say goodbye to bold, busy styles and trade them in for the natural, classy look with muted tones. Your color pallet should be moving away from the golden beige and heading towards the warm grey (and pastels).

Here are some key trends to follow:

Wallpaper – We know what you’re thinking, wallpaper is so 80s, right? Actually, wallpaper today is much more sophisticated and can add texture to highlight walls, powder rooms, or dining rooms. Wherever you decide to put it, make sure it fits the ambiance of the room.

Counter Tops – Whether it’s in your kitchen or master bathroom, white is all the rage right now. Here’s a tip we picked up: you might love the look of marble, but it’s not very practical because it’s susceptible to staining, scratching, and etching. Quartz allows for the same chic look that marble has without all the hassle. Want to be über modern? Invest in a waterfall kitchen island where the counter top comes down on both sides to meet the floor.

Architecture Elements - Open concept floor plans are opening up even more if you can believe it. People are shedding their walls and opting for rooms that are defined by posts, adding bigger kitchens and living spaces, and even floating stairs. Some even refer to them as “super rooms” because these spaces are so multi-purpose. This will make your home feel less cramped and fresher. Curl up to a full-height fireplace for added effect.

Tile – Think big. In fact, the bigger the tiles, the better. Format tiles, which are as large as 24 by 48 inches, are a popular choice for bathroom floors, as are wood plank tiles. Subway, glass, and metallic tile looks are also “in” in all styles of homes.  

Mud Rooms – These “throw back” multi-use rooms are gaining more and more momentum in modern day homes. Since they serve as a point of entry, you can count on guests seeing them, so “snazzy” is how they should be described rather than “drop and go.” There is a high demand for ones that also include a washer/dryer and extra storage.

According to the experts from Macadam Floor and Design Center, when people aren’t building their homes from the ground up, they are upgrading. The average amount that people tend to spend on an upgraded room is $20,000 – although that varies greatly depending on the room and budget. Relatively simple things, like adding a wine room in the cellar, a “Wok” kitchen, or a stand-alone bathtub in the master suite are great ways to keep your house up to date. What’s next for you?  

How NOT to Buy a Haunted House

Halloween is a holiday we tend to associate with the undead, so what better way to get in the “spirit” of things than to talk about ghosts. While you hear a lot about ghosts in October, they’re actually a year-round phenomenon (and they’re not all as friendly as Casper). So, if you’re in the market for a home right now, you might want to consider your threshold for the paranormal. Here are some ways to identify – and avoid – ending up with a haunted house.

Something doesn’t feel right. When it comes to finding a home, we talk a lot about how a home feels. People generally feel it in their gut when they have found “the one”.  Same goes for ghosts. If you feel like something is off, but you just can’t put your finger on it, you probably want to investigate a little further. This is the perfect time to break out the Ouija board and grab a bottle of something strong for your nerves (caution: seeing ghosts may or may not be due to alcohol consumption).

Follow the history of the home. Hit the interwebs and do a little online investigation to find out if the home has any skeletons in its closets (literally). Did anyone die in the house? Was it built on an ancient burial gravesite? Both of these could be DEAD giveaways for paranormal activity. Public records can be helpful for basic information, or you can check out this handy website: If you don’t mind the house’s sordid past, use it as leverage to knock some zeros off the asking price. What’s a house filled with dead people if you can get it for a steal?

Meet the neighbors. It’s always a good idea to get to know the neighborhood before moving in. Learn about the schools, check out the local shops and amenities, and take a good look at who your neighbors will be.  If you walk next door and the equivalent of the Adams family is staring you in the face, it might be a good time to look at other options. And if you have no other options, it’s never too early to invest in a respectable tombstone. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Follow the paper work. When selling a home, homeowners are required to fill out a “Self Disclosure Form” to reveal any known issues. In some states, this includes revealing if the home has any paranormal activity. In fact, if a home is known to be haunted, it can be deemed a “stigmatized home” which can impact the sale. But keep in mind, self-disclosure of paranormal activity is hard to qualify and prove, so buyers beware.

Look for more overt signs. Did you feel a tap on your shoulder, but nobody was there? Is there blood oozing through the walls or furniture moving by itself? Or maybe a spirit physically manifested itself in front of you. Well, this might be a ghost trying to get your attention. If you have an experience like this, it’s probably a good idea to find the nearest exit as quickly as possible and move onto the next home.

Let logic be your guide. So you’ve fallen in love with a home, but you suspect that it’s haunted. There could be a totally plausible explanation. Start by trying to explain the phenomena you are feeling. Could the creaks and bangs come from pests or plumbing issues? Perhaps the chills you feel are caused by a draft? Are you watching too many horror movies? Do you need to make an appointment with your shrink? What you think are signs of a haunting could all be in your head.  


Do you have any ghost stories to share? We’d love to hear about your own experiences of dealing with the undead. 

What does the future of luxury real estate look like? We travelled to Beverly Hills to find out.

Last week, Windermere Real Estate sent 25 agents to Beverly Hills, CA for Luxury Connect, an exclusive, invitation-only event that focused on the tools and trends that are shaping the future of luxury real estate. Held at a $135 million dollar estate, the impressive line-up of speakers were the who’s who of luxury real estate and reality TV, including Josh Altman and Madison Hildebrand from the Bravo TV show, “Million Dollar Listing”, and Mauricio Umansky, CEO of The Agency and a regular on the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”. Among the topics discussed were the latest cutting-edge technology trends, like 3-D photography, and how they will enable agents to deliver the ultimate luxury real estate experience. Attendees also listened to discussions about international real estate with particular emphasis on the growing number of Asian home buyers in West Coast markets like Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Windermere agents Erica Clibborn, Wendy Paisley, and Tere Foster with Madison Hildebrand

The Luxury Connect event was held at the legendary “Beverly House” which was once lived in by William Randolph Hearst and served as the location for John and Jacqueline Kennedy’s honeymoon. The Beverly House was also featured in the films, “The Godfather” and “The Bodyguard”, and is currently on the market for $135,000,000.


Beverly House

The keynote speaker was Huffington Post founder, author, and syndicated columnist, Arianna Huffington who spoke about the habits of high performers and the importance of achieving balance (and eight hours of sleep a night) in a fast-paced, multi-tasking, high-tech society. She also discussed the need to incorporate spaces into our homes that combat stress, promote peace and balance, and allow us to unplug from the world. She challenged everyone to remove their phones and other electronic devices from their bedrooms at night. The consensus among the attendees was that this is probably easier said than done for real estate agents who are almost always on call, but great advice, nonetheless.

Million Dollar Listing star, Josh Altman, Arianna Huffington, and Josh’s brother/business partner, Matt Altman

Trick or Treat: Dress up Your Porch With No-Carve Pumpkins

For those of you out there who have older kids or just want to do something different than the typical Halloween jack-o-lantern this year, try a more sophisticated pumpkin. Instead of carving one, paint one. Here are some ideas:

Flower Power – Use a drill or nail wide enough to poke holes through for stems of flowers and cover pumpkin in them. Use flowers with your favorite fall colors: yellows, oranges, and reds.

Watercolor pumpkins with glitter stems - Paint with traditional acrylic paint and allow it to dry overnight, then put glue all over the stem and sprinkle glitter on it. Sparkles and gold accents will add glam to your fall décor and make you wish pumpkins were always in season.    

Halloween meets Day of the Dead – Begin by painting the whole pumpkin white, then allow it to dry overnight. Next draw a skull face with a pencil, and then go over it in paint.

Monogram – Add your initial to your pumpkin with glitter or thumbtacks. If you are putting it outside, another idea is to put your house number on it.  

Different types of paint - Use chalk paint for vintage looking pumpkins with muted tones or glow in the dark paint for extra spookiness.

Accessorize – Add rhinestones, confetti (which sticks right to the paint), or a bow on top to add a little something extra.

Not only is it quick and easy, it’s super chic too. Spray paint your pumpkins gold, silver, black, and red, add stripes or polka dots. This year, it would appear that the no-carve trend is the way to go.

Check out our favorite pumpkins on Pinterest!

Windermere Foundation Charity Challenge follow-up

Earlier this year, Windermere Real Estate hosted the “Windermere Foundation Charity Challenge” to celebrate the Foundation’s 25th anniversary. Twenty-one non-profit organizations throughout the Western United States were nominated by Windermere offices to compete via Facebook for $25,000. The five non-profits that received the most votes were Hand in Hand, Friends of the Children of Portland, Family Promise of Spokane, Boys and Girls Club of El Sobrante, and Yavapai CASA for Kids, Inc. Each organization received $25,000, for a total donation of $125,000 from the Windermere Foundation. Here’s what they’ve been up to since receiving their winnings.


Hand in Hand (Western Washington)

“The gift of $25,000 went to our Safe Place program,” said Todd McNeal, Executive Director and Founder of Hand in Hand. Safe Place provides medical care, food, clothing and shelter to kids who are removed from their homes in emergency situations. Each child that comes in receives an initial health screen, has access to a forensic nurse when needed, and receives three to five new outfits, shoes, school supplies, and a backpack or roller suitcase for their new stuff. For babies, formula, bottles, diapers, and any other needed items are sent as well. On average the children stay two-and-a-half days while the social workers look for a home for them. Volunteers provide most of the direct child care and they use donations of goods to keep costs low. The Windermere donation has allowed Hand in Hand to hire staff and purchase food and clothing to serve an additional 50 to 60 children this year.

Friends of the Children of Portland (Oregon)

“Thank you so much for your support!” said Megan Lewis, Director of Development and Marketing for Friend of the Children. “We are incredibly grateful for the Windermere Foundation’s generous commitment to our East County Impact Capital Campaign.  The $25,000 donation will go towards our building project, which is to construct a facility to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the youth we serve.” This donation, in addition to other generous donations, has helped to bring them up to 72 percent of their five-million-dollar goal.



Family Promise of Spokane (Eastern Washington)

“Thank you to the Windermere Foundation. Not only do you provide money each year to help pay for permits, work clothes, shoes, kitchen items, and hundreds of other necessities for our homeless families, you also provide boots, shoes, socks, and underwear each year at the beginning of school, and at the beginning of the winter for the children of these families.” said Steve Allen, Executive Director of Family Promise of Spokane. “And then, to top it off, you selected us to participate in this $25,000 competition.”

Mr. Allen said that the $25,000 donation turned their books from red to black in an instant, and provided them with the opportunity to consider, over the ensuing months, how to reduce the number of homeless kids in the Spokane Valley. It also opened the door to them being able to move into a new building that will double the number of families they are able to serve.

Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante (California)

The donation they received helped with their summer program, which serves between 80 and 100 children each week. “Thanks to Windermere's support, the Club is able to provide ten hours of care every day, weekly field trips to places such as the Lawrence Hall of Science, the Oakland Zoo, and the Aquarium of the Bay, and a variety of programs including Arts & Crafts, Athletics, and Brain Gain, a pilot program aimed to prevent summer learning loss,” said Alexa Garratt, Development Director at Boys & Girls Club.

“These are just a few examples of how Windermere has helped the Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante positively impact the youth and families they serve. Ultimately, Windermere's support has helped guarantee the Club's ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment for youth to learn and grow year round."

Yavapai CASA for Kids, Inc. (Arizona)

“CASA for Kids strives to provide many items and services, not covered by state funding, to children in foster care living in the quad-city area of Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey-Humboldt, and Chino Valley (Arizona). With the ever-increasing numbers of children being removed from unsafe homes, our operating budget was stretched beyond its limits,” said Diana Dalsass, a Board of Directors member for Yavapai CASA for Kids, Inc. “The $25,000 award from the Windermere Foundation will permit us to fully conduct two of our most critical programs, with additional funds remaining for others.”

The two primary programs funded by the Windermere award are: The Annual Clothing Card Supplement, which allows foster parents to purchase additional clothing not covered by the state’s clothing budget for the children in their care. The other provides Emergency Clothing Cards, which helps foster parents purchase basic necessity items for children while they wait to receive funds from the state. Many of these children are removed from extreme living situations and come with just the “rags on their backs.” CASA for Kids makes emergency clothing gift cards available to the case managers at the Department of Child Safety, to be used under these circumstances.

Congratulations to all the winners of the Windermere Foundation Charity Challenge and to our Windermere owners and agents for their passionate support of these non-profit organizations. For more information about the Windermere Foundation, please visit



Thriving Economy, Clean Air, and Chinese Film Draw Homebuyers to Seattle

Earlier this week, I attended the Pacific Rim Summit which was hosted by Seattle’s local chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA). While the overarching discussion was about international home buyers, the main focus was on wealthy Chinese families seeking out cities that can offer their children better educational opportunities and cleaner air.

I learned that China is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world which has a huge impact on their quality of life and life expectancy rates.  So those with means are seeking refuge in cleaner Western cities, like Seattle and Vancouver B.C. The difference between these two cities, however, is that Chinese migration to Vancouver B.C. is nothing new, but for Seattle, the rapid growth of this demographic really only started a couple of years ago. In fact, real estate agents estimate that Chinese buyers now represent upwards of 40-50 percent of all real estate activity in the neighborhoods to the east of Seattle, like Bellevue, Medina, and Kirkland. Areas that are also home to some of Seattle’s most expensive real estate.

The keynote speaker at the Pacific Rim Summit was Mauricio Umansky, the CEO of The Agency, and the number three real estate agent in the nation. Mauricio is also a regular on several reality TV shows and cable news networks, and really seems to know his stuff when it comes to Chinese home buyers. He quoted some interesting figures, including one that states that there are 30,000 new millionaires in China every year, and 40 percent are expected to immigrate to Western countries like the U.S. Apparently in 2013, China had 2,378,000 millionaire households, a rise of 82% from the previous year, and the most of any country in the world.

Speaking alongside Mauricio was Windermere agent, Tere Foster, who has been in real estate for more than 30 years and says that the percentage of Asian Pacific buyers in her business has grown by over 90 percent during the past two years. Because of this, Tere made the decision to hire a mandarin-speaking agent-assistant to help with this clientele. Other speakers talked about similar efforts, including hiring translators, partnering with Chinese agents, and taking Mandarin lessons.

According to AREAA, Seattle is currently the sixth most popular destination for Chinese immigrants in the world, behind cities like Los Angeles, which is number one. Seattle is the closest mainland U.S. city to travel to from Beijing and offers things that really appeal to the Chinese, like clean air, quality education, and employment opportunities with several Fortune 500 companies.

One of the most curious things I learned is that an uber-popular Chinese film called "Beijing Meets Seattle” has been another big draw for the Chinese, some of whom are looking to realize the movie’s portrayal of Seattle. I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t been surrounded by several Chinese business professionals all nodding their heads in agreement. Ironically enough, the film was actually shot in Vancouver B.C. (here’s a trailer:  

Other interesting facts according to Pacific Rim Summit speakers:

  • Over the past year, international home buyers have spent more than $92 billion on buying homes in the U.S. – and 60 percent of them have purchased homes with cash.
  • At least 75 percent of home purchases by Chinese buyers in the Seattle area are cash.
  • Chinese homebuyers care most about three things: their children’s education, the air quality, and food safety.
  • Eleven percent of all incoming freshman at the University of Washington are foreign-born Chinese students.
  • The University of Washington is currently ranked #15 on Shang Hai’s academic ranking of world universities – just behind schools like Cornell and Oxford. 
  • Many Chinese families with means are purchasing homes for their children so that they may attend local schools like the University of Washington. Sometimes well before those children are of college age.
  • East/West Bank reported that 73% of their mortgages to Chinese buyers were on property located in neighborhood’s on Seattle’s eastside.

All in all, the Pacific Rim Summit was fascinating. I learned so much about this incredibly fast growing demographic that’s buying up homes left and right in Seattle and other West Coast cities. Now I have a better understanding of why they’re choosing to leave China for places like Seattle, and a keen appreciation for their driving desire to find a better quality of life for themselves and their children.  

Windermere Gives Back with 30th Annual Community Service Day

On Friday, October 17, Windermere offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Nevada will be closed for a very special reason. For the past 30 years, Windermere has dedicated the third Friday of October to our annual Community Service Day*. On that day, you will find our teams doing a variety of projects, like cleaning, landscaping, and painting at local community centers and schools, collecting coats for low-income and homeless families, and working with local nonprofit organizations to ensure that kids in our communities are getting the resources they need.

This year we want to do even more, and you can help. For each office that posts their Community Service Day photos and videos on the Windermere Real Estate Facebook page (, the Windermere Foundation will donate $100 to that office’s Foundation fund, to benefit low-income and homeless families in their community. We encourage you to “like” your local office’s Facebook page, as well as your favorite Community Service Day photos. The office with the most photo/video “likes” and comments will receive a $1,000 donation for the local Windermere Foundation charity of their choice. The contest will end next Thursday, October 30th.

*Windermere’s Northwest offices hold their Community Service Day in June

Windermere Office Projects for October 2014:





"Warm for Winter Coat Drive"

Prescott Valley

"Warm for Winter Coat Drive"


"Warm for Winter Coat Drive"






Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano


Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

El Sobrante

The El Sobrante Boys & Girls Club

Morgan Hill

Can Tree Food Bank


Make a Wish Foundation and Wings of Angels Fundraiser

Walnut Creek

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano





Ft. Colins

United Way





Henderson- Anthem Hills

Communities in Schools of Nevada

Lake Las Vegas

Communities in Schools of Nevada

Las Vegas- Henderson

Communities in Schools of Nevada

Perspectives – Standards of Practice

As you’ve probably heard, the housing market is a little crazy right now. Every day we hear stories from our agents about the competition among buyers and what it takes to secure the winning offer. Escalation clauses, love letters, waived contingencies, non-refundable earnest money. The list goes on and on. Navigating this type of market requires an agent with moxy. An agent who is highly trained. And an agent who is ethical and respected by other agents (you’d be surprised how important respect between agents is in these situations).

Windermere agents hold themselves to a very high standard. That’s why 30 years ago we decided to establish an internal code of conduct known as the Windermere Standards of Practice. Within these standards is an outline of how we believe our clients deserve and expect to be treated. They are intended to provide total transparency about how we do business, while letting our clients know that our agents practice the highest level of competence and accountability.

Call us old-fashioned, but we still believe that notions like integrity and respect should be taken seriously and practiced rigorously. So much so that from the first day an agent joins Windermere, he or she is asked to subscribe to the Windermere Standards of Practice. In turn, we hope this commitment to ethical conduct lets our clients – and our community – know that doing right by them is our highest priority.

Why should this matter to you? Because when you’re competing for a home with six other buyers and everyone is upping the ante in a highly charged, time-sensitive situation, it’s important to know that your agent is a full-time professional who takes the business of real estate very seriously. With this comes a deeper understanding of the market and a commitment to professionalism that other agents recognize and respect. We call it the winning formula, and when competition is fierce, it’s good to know that the cards are stacked in your favor.