We are proud to highlight a dialogue with two of our wonderful Energy Agents this month, Kris Murphy and Daniela Dombrowski. They will be listing our first ever NetZero homes, Sol and Solange!
1) Both of you have taken very different paths to becoming real estate agents. How has your background prepared you for this?
Kris – My degree and early work experience was in the hospitality field, so customer service has always been the central focus of my career. Following that I worked for a software development company in a client services capacity. The technology and customer service skill sets have provided a very solid foundation for real estate. The industry has become extremely “techy” in the past several years; however the need for customer service skills will never go away.
Daniela – My educational background is in art and architectural history as well as languages. However, like Kris I ended up in the software industry (12 years at Microsoft) working with vendors around the world on the internationalization of Microsoft Office products as a localization program manager. Therefore, Kris and I approach real estate very much from a very systematic project management method with the goal to let nothing in the complex web of tasks fall through the cracks. “Death by Flow Chart” if you get my drift …
2) What gets you excited about Seattle Real Estate?
Seattle is in the throes of change! Between light rail, rezoning, new architecturally interesting dwellings and the whole “green” movement, there is never a dull day. We pride ourselves in being Seattleites, embrace the urban village lifestyle, and are excited to be part of all the on-going and coming changes as the city continues to evolve. Growing up in Germany which is a model for green and energy efficient building methods, Daniela is excited to see these changes (finally) coming across the ocean.
3) How do you differentiate yourself and your brand?
Nothing gimmicky. We have worked extremely hard to build the track record we have today, and pride ourselves in extremely high standards which are reflected in everything we do. When potential clients see our on-line or printed materials, or walk through our listings, they immediately see the difference in both detail and quality. We understand that leaving out small details can cost our clients many $$$ and we take that responsibility seriously.
Real estate to us is as much art as it is a science. Anybody can look up sales data, hire a stager and a photographer and put a listing on the MLS but to us every client and every home is unique and from the choice of the stager to the meticulous choreography of the photos - of the home as well as the surrounding area attractions such as parks, schools, coffee shops, grocery stores and coffee shops -we attempt to capture the essence of each home and the lifestyle that goes along with it.
At the end of the day, we pour our hearts and souls into what we do (sometimes to a fault ;-) and have a lot of fun working together – despite the sometimes heavy workload there is a lot of laughter around every day. This love & passion for what we do inspires & transpires to our work. So really our brand is who we are as people and human beings.
4) How does green and energy efficiency make an impact in your work as a Seattle Real Estate Agent?
We are always striving to expand our knowledge in these areas. Once you learn about the impact green features have on an individual and a community there is no turning back. We find that the green knowledge finds its way into all real estate conversations even if just advising a client on how to make their old drafty (yet charming) home more energy efficient and making them aware of the many resources, programs & incentives that are available. We find we are a much more valuable resource to our clients and spheres having this knowledge and we feel very fortunate to live in a city that promotes and supports these principles politically and like to see Green Canopy pushing these issues forward.
5) What does success look like to you in this market?
That’s very simple: Extremely satisfied and happy clients that come to us with any real estate need, concern or questions they may have and that feel compelled to refer their friends, family and neighbors to us because of the great experience they have had in working with us. That’s why the majority of our business comes from personal referrals and we plan to keep it that way J.
6) You both think outside of the box. What are the most creative projects you have taken on and how have they panned out?
A few years ago, we had the opportunity to market a home of significant architectural history. The home was built in the 50s by a visionary single woman who was the head of the Interior Design Department at UW for almost half a century (from the 20s to the 60s). She is credited with founding the Northwest Contemporary style by bringing “Modern” to the Northwest and merging it with local materials and Eastern themes. She camped on the land for many seasons before breaking ground to find the perfect orientation of the home, and the finished product was very “Frank Lloyd Wright” in style. You felt as if the structure simply grew out from the ground; that’s how well it was integrated in the surrounding landscape.
This was a very unusual home for this particular neighborhood, so it was important that we ventured outside the usual channels to find our audience; and find them we did. We had 60 brokers show up for our opening broker’s lunch/open house. We took a chance, knowing this property was very special, and found ours comparable in different neighborhoods. Our list price was approximately $300,000 over the neighborhood expert’s pricing recommendation and it sold almost at that price. But more important than the final sales price, it was a true honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to delve into such an important part of local architectural history. That is also why we love working with Green Canopy on their projects and see dilapidated properties restored and reinvented for the 21st century.
7) What do you see in the future of the Seattle Market and the real estate profession?
Smaller footprints, sustainable materials, low maintenance, simple clean lines, increased energy efficiency. “Green” will eventually go mainstream and become the new building standard. Clients are already asking for these features; they don’t want to spend their whole wad on their dwelling but also do other things such as travel or have another little cabin in the mountains or on the water, be part of an active community where they know their neighbors rather than being locked behind gates. At the same time, they want high quality materials that will stand the test of time and be responsible with the earth’s resources for a better future of the planet.
8 ) Please highlight a project you’ve done with us; whichever one you get the most excited talking about!
We are super excited about the upcoming Twins project in Tangletown. Having a new construction, single family, net zero project in the neighborhood where we live and work, really gives us something exciting to talk about. It involves more learning for us and in turn provides an opportunity to do educational community outreach about a deep green project powered by solar energy. Sol and Solange we can’t wait to show you to the world!
The Green Canopy blog is written by our CEO and Culture Curator, Aaron Fairchild, as well as our staff and a few very special guests.