Tis the season when we look back upon the year and give thanks for all that we have and count our blessings. At Windermere, we are thankful for all who generously donate to the Windermere Foundation, and we are grateful to have franchise owners and agents who go above and beyond to make a difference in the communities where they live and work. This year, Joan Tate Allen, co-owner and vice-president of Windermere Realty Trust, was recognized with the “Windermere Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award” at the company’s annual Owners Retreat. Joan is a visionary and one of those individuals who puts her whole being behind her commitment to helping others.
After joining Windermere in 1991, Joan became involved with the Windermere Foundation during its early years. She found inspiration in the unprecedented idea of all agents donating a small portion of each commission check because it provided an opportunity for regular people to make a big difference with a modest amount of money. The entire basis for the Windermere Foundation was built on the premise that these funds would accumulate over a period of time, as the agents pooled their resources.
Joan and her husband Brian eventually became the owners of several Windermere offices in Portland, Oregon — bringing on a change that would lead to Joan setting new standards for community service. In a short amount of time, she was able to spearhead entire fundraising events and challenge her agents to raise even more than their commission check donations. She created a friendly year-long contest called “Rise to the Challenge,” in which her offices compete to raise the most money for the Windermere Foundation. The total amount raised in 2017 as a result of those efforts was over $203,000.
Joan’s infectious enthusiasm has led to her company’s agents initiating their own fundraising events, such as a golf tournament organized by just one agent which has raised more than $40,000 each year.
Joan’s philanthropic work, however, does not end with the Windermere Foundation. She was highly involved with the founding of New Avenues for Youth and Bridge Meadows, and also serves on the Providence Portland Medical Center board.
Joan is constantly finding ways to engage her network to help the community through events such as organizing a day of serving meals, promoting clothing drives with Windermere agents, or giving underprivileged youth the opportunity to spend a few weeks learning to row in the summer. It is this type of leadership that has had meaningful impact and is why we honored Joan with the Windermere Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.
We are grateful to have owners like Joan who inspire others to help those in need and are thankful for all who continue to support the Windermere Foundation.
If you’d like to help support programs and services that help those in need in your community, please consider making a donation to the Windermere Foundation through a Windermere office near you. Just click on the Donate button.
To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit https://www.windermere.com/foundation.
Owning a home provides a sense of security, but the process of building towards homeownership can be overwhelming. There are obstacles that can get in the way of even the most diligent prospective buyer. For Zaharra Karungi, there were dozens of opportunities to see her dream of buying a home for herself and her daughter waylaid. But with hard work, a thoughtful lender, a baseball game, and a determined Windermere agent, Karungi is now a proud homeowner in Antioch, California.
Windermere agent James Quintero didn’t suspect he’d walk away with a new client when he attended “Windermere Real Estate Agent Appreciation Day” at an Oakland Athletics baseball game earlier this year. But that’s exactly what happened when he ran into mortgage lender Bret Henly who told him about someone special he was working with by the name of Zaharra Karungi.
Karungi’s pathway to homeownership was a winding one. Arriving from Uganda at the age of 25 with the goal of studying to become a nurse, Karungi began her time in the United States with next to nothing. A generous friend allowed her to stay in their walk-in closet for eight months, but Karungi brought with her little more than a few changes of clothes and basic necessities. While studying for her nursing degree, Karungi babysat and worked odd jobs to afford her continuing education, finally emerging as a certified vocational nurse in 2013. Now a single mother with a precocious 10-month-old daughter named Victoria, Karungi was in search of the next step of security in pursuing her American Dream: owning a home.
Finding herself frustrated with the agent she’d been working with, and outbid on multiple homes, Karungi was connected with Windermere agent James Quintero with the assistance of Henly. After attending an open house at an Antioch, CA, condo, Quintero helped Karungi make a well-constructed offer to the sellers. Despite two other offers, her bid was chosen. At Quintero’s behest, the sellers took extra care to ensure the home was unimpeachably safe for a 10-month-old like Victoria.
On August 9 of this year, Karungi received the keys to her new two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo – the same day that she officially gained her United States citizenship. Owning a home provides a sense of security and confidence, knowing that whatever happens, you have a refuge where you lay your head at night. For Zaharra Karungi it was a long time coming.
Change is afoot. We suppose it always is, but doesn’t it all seem to come at us so much faster in today’s world? We see change all around us. Just consider, for a moment, how much technology has changed our lives thanks to innovators like Uber, Google, and Apple, to name a few. Technology has also changed the way we do real estate.
The real estate world is a complex environment that most of us only travel once every 10 years. This infrequency, coupled with the ever-changing laws and emotional toll, makes it very hard for most of us to navigate. That’s why we rely on a professional. Even those of us who live and breathe real estate every day use a Windermere agent to conduct our personal transactions.
Thanks to technology, certain aspects of the real estate process that were once difficult are now very easy, like searching for a home. Within minutes of a property being listed, it’s fed to websites all over the world for potential buyers to see. Information about neighborhoods, schools, and home values are also readily available online to help buyers make smart decisions.
There’s no doubt that real estate will continue to benefit from technology, but we’re concerned about the companies that are beginning to look at consumers less as people and more as data that can be generated and shared for monetary gain.
At Windermere, our agents don’t treat their clients like data points being fed into an algorithm; they know them on a personal level. They help buyers make one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions of their lives. They help sellers understand the nuances of the market so they can get top dollar for their home. They are experts in neighborhoods, market trends, contracts, and negotiations. They treat their clients with respect and compassion. And they care deeply about their local community.
As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Real estate is the perfect example of that. Technology will continue to change and improve how people buy and sell homes, but our pledge to you is that it will never replace what has always mattered most to us: relationships.
– OB JACOBI, JILL JACOBI WOOD, AND GEOFF WOOD
When you’ve been in business for 46 years, you learn that one of the keys to being successful is knowing when it’s time to spruce things up – and that’s exactly what we’ve done with the Windermere brand. We knew we didn’t need an entire brand overhaul, but a little facelift was definitely in order.
It all started in the spring of 2017 when we launched Windermere’s ultra-luxury marketing brand, W Collection. The development of that program and its visual identity caused us to take a step back and look at how the primary Windermere brand and all of its sub-brands worked together as a cohesive unit.
The result was a 12-month process that saw every element of the Windermere brand updated to reflect a more modern look and feel. Everything from signage to business cards, marketing materials, and the Windermere website now features our new and improved brand. For a complete look, please visit windermererefresh.com.
May 1 marks the official launch of the refreshed Windermere brand; to commemorate this major company milestone, we produced a video that visually embodies our core values of professionalism, relationships, collaboration, and community.
We’re incredibly proud of the refreshed Windermere brand and thankful that we’ve been able to serve communities up and down the West Coast for the past 46 years.