Local Windermere real estate agent Carole Stephen-Smith is preparing for a 500-mile walk on Camino del Santiago, also known as the Path of Saint James, in northwestern Spain. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth, Stephen-Smith is doing the walk to celebrate how far she has come since tragic events changed her life in 2005.

On March 25, 2005, Stephen-Smith a 30-year Palm Springs resident and real estate agent, was driving home to Palm Springs, crying, as she had just made the decision to leave her husband. Feeling numb throughout her body she looked down over the lights in Coachella Valley and fell asleep at the wheel, causing her car to flip three times until it was stopped by hitting a wall.

Three truck drivers rushed to Stephen-Smith’s car. One of the men stopped and said “No, the car is going to blow at any second.” They almost turned away from the car until one of the men heard Stephen-Smith say, “Please, don’t let me die.” The men dragged her out of the car to safety.

“I don’t remember much after that,” said Stephen-Smith. “I do remember overhearing a paramedic say ‘this one is gone,’ as the ambulance arrived on the scene.”

Stephen-Smith was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, where she learned her back was broken in several places, and her neck broken. Her family was told she would likely never walk again.

“They said there was a very small chance that I would ever walk again,” said Stephen-Smith. “But even a small chance was enough for me to try!”

Just three months after the accident, Carole started walking again – slowly but determined to get her life back. She was feeling so strong and confident, that in July of 2005 she decided to go on a cruise from Japan to Honolulu. “Every day I was on the cruise, I walked laps on the top deck of the ship,” she said. “That way, I could tell people that I walked on water all the way from Japan to Honolulu!”

Walking was therapeutic for Stephen-Smith and helped her regain strength over time. Over the past 10 years, Stephen-Smith’s walking has turned into a passion, Taking up Hiking 3 years ago and dropping 60 pounds along the way and now she is preparing for a 500-mile walk on Camino del Santiago in Spain in September 2016

“Preparing for this walk has been a challenge and a special personal journey for me. I’m so lucky to have support from my family at Windermere,” Carole said. “They’ve given me the encouragement and motivation I need to complete this walk. They know it means a lot to me, so to have their support throughout the process means so much.”

Brian Gooding, co-owner of Windermere Homes & Estates said, “Carole’s drive and determination is inspiring. We have no doubt this is just one of many exciting journeys she will successfully complete in her lifetime.”

Selling real estate in today’s information age is much different than it was when the main advertising vehicles were the newspaper, signs and direct mail. Now home buyers can instantly access thousands of listings online; drones are providing incredible aerial views; and social media has amplified word of mouth. Windermere’s arsenal of marketing tools employs a sophisticated array of effective online and offline marketing techniques. Its 360 degree approach is attracting buyers and agents who want to stand out and sell fast in today’s competitive real estate market.

Syndication-9-25-15Listing syndication and analytics 
Windermere Homes and Estates (WHE) offers robust listing syndication with online traffic stat reports that can easily be scheduled and emailed directly to the home seller.

Photography and videography
With its team of professional videographers and photographers, properties are spotlighted in the best way to sell. Whether the property calls for beautifully staged still shots, full motion video, property tours, or even a drone video, WHE understands the importance of images to today’s sellers.

Print and direct mail
By providing thousands of branded, customizable postcards, flyers, brochures and newsletter templates for property marketing, Windermere exceeds other real estate companies in the variety of promotional offerings. With each print and direct mail order, agents can also add a free, customizable, hosted campaign webpage to share on social networks.

Single-Property-WebsiteSingle-property websites
In today’s online world, single-property websites are a natural way to highlight the key features of a property, particularly luxury listings. WHE provides a unique web address, such as www.123SanDiegoDrive.com, and populates the site with media-rich content.

Email marketing
XpressMail, Windermere’s email marketing tool, lets agents access a variety of customizable templates in minutes. It is integrated with the MLS and contains an ever-changing library of industry-related articles and images, so agents can simply drag and drop the listings and articles of their choice to create high-impact emails that appeal to buyers. It even provides a robust reporting dashboard to track email marketing activity and performance.

Social media
Social HQ saves time by letting agents manage their social media channels from one dashboard. It also provides a library of timely, real-estate-related content that can be scheduled in advance to post anytime. Agents can track responses and results, and even set up keyword searches to source leads and manage their online reputation.

Windermere LivingExclusive listing magazine
Windermere Living is a quarterly full-color magazine featuring listings from throughout the Windermere network. It includes a residential/rental section, a Premier Properties luxury section, and a section dedicated to properties in second-home areas (Destinations). Distribution is via advertisers, Windermere offices, and direct mail to known homeowners surrounding each listing in the magazine. It’s an attractive and efficient tool for agent promotion and for listing presentations and open houses.

Premier Properties program 
Windermere’s Premier Properties™ program was created to address the unique needs of our luxury market clientele. The program provides customized marketing strategies, including distinctive signage, specialized advertising opportunities and publications, and high-end direct marketing materials. Every luxury listing receives marketing exposure through Windermere.com with enhanced search capabilities, expansive photo galleries, and detailed property information.

Global SyndicationChinese market reach
Did you know that 70 percent of Chinese buyers pay cash for property purchases,
and 46 percent of Chinese citizens with assets of more than $1.6 million are considering emigrating?* It’s an opportunity for home sellers and Windermere is capitalizing on it by syndicating its Premier Properties to 1.5 million high-net-worth Chinese buyers through Juwai.com.  This web portal allows Chinese buyers to search for luxury properties in their own Chinese language.

*Sources: Hurun 2013 Wealth Report, Hurun Luxury Consumer Survey 2014, AT Kearny, NAR 2013, Juwai.com Research

Global distribution
In the US, more than 87 percent of property searches begin online. The same process is trending in China, across Asia and worldwide. WHE connects its clients to this large, rapidly growing, elite class of consumers eager to experience global luxury on a grand scale. Each month Windermere reaches an aggregate audience of over 20 million luxury property consumers.

Online ads
Windermere’s Listing Xpress tool lets agents post their listings to agent-to-agent sites and Craigslist quickly and easily using a variety of customizable templates. Its reporting tool tracks how the listings perform on these sites, as well as on Windermere.com and all of Windermere’s syndication channels. It can even email performance reports automatically to clients.

Touch CMA
Windermere’s robust Comparative Marketing Analysis (CMA) tool, TouchCMA, offers two formats for maximum flexibility. Agents can quickly create and sync CMAs on their computer and iPad using pre-loaded or custom pages, including Windermere’s suite of presentation sheets to help clients understand the selling process. The iPad app has dynamic mapping features and interactive graphs and charts, and even creates a PDF leave-behind of the presentation that can be printed or emailed on the spot.

Moxi Works – CRM system
Windermere agents can manage their business and daily tasks more efficiently with Moxi Works. Organized around the people in an agent’s sphere, it helps agents increase their income by managing the entire sales cycle, from first point of contact to closed transaction, ensuring repeat business and referrals.

Maximum online listings 
WHE is a Zillow Pro and Realtor.com partner, giving sellers maximum online exposure for their listings. Agents get more leads from active buyers and have control of how listings appear on Zillow.

Research is an important tool for Windermere. TrendGraphix and Altos are two very robust tools that take MLS data and transform it into powerful, dynamic, easy-to-understand research information.

“Who’s Who” in Luxury Real Estate
WHE is a member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate, a global collection of the finest luxury real estate brokers in the world, this group of more than 130,000 professionals in 60 countries collectively sell more than $128 billion annually. Listings are syndicated on LuxuryRealEstate.com, the highest trafficked site on the web for luxury real estate.

Customized listing presentation books
WHE also customizes quality, hard-cover listing books for agents. The book tells the Windermere brand story and outlines its core values while explaining the state-of-art tools and marketing that Windermere uses to sell properties quickly.

Windermere Homes & Estates is adding agents to its team daily. For more information, call 760-585-8868, or contact Brian Gooding at briangooding@windermere.com or Rich Johnson at richjohnson@windermere.com.

Windermere Homes & Estates is proud to announce Andrea Rosenblatt has joined our new Palm Desert Office in El Paseo. Andrea started her real estate career in 2008, and is extremely knowledgeable about the Palm Desert area. She is very involved in the community including the; Palm Springs Art Museum, Les Dames Escoffier International Palm Springs Chapter, McCallum Theatre, Girlfriend Factor, Palm Springs Women in Film & Television, and has volunteered at Rancho Mirage High School with their Culinary Program.

Andrea is also a published author, her book is titled “Entertaining Your Way”, and it is a guide on entertaining at home.

Welcome to the team Andrea!

Windermere Homes & Estates (WHE) is adding The Bannister Group team to the Windermere brand and is opening a new office in the El Paseo district of Palm Desert at 73-725 Paseo Drive.

Since 1999, The Bannister Group has built a solid reputation as a boutique real estate company focused on superior customer service for those buying and selling luxury real estate in the greater Coachella Valley. Windermere Homes & Estates is welcoming 11 new real estate agents to their desert team before the paint has even dried in the new office.

“The Bannister Group is a perfect addition to our team because of their expertise in luxury real estate in the desert communities. This includes the prestigious Indian Ridge Country Club, where they currently have 15 listings,” said Windermere Homes & Estates Co-owner and Broker Brian Gooding.

Windermere Homes & Estates, founded by Brian Gooding and Rich Johnson, opened nine offices in San Diego County in just two years and is now expanding its reach into the Coachella Valley. Opening offices in the desert is a natural progression for the company since Brian Gooding lived and worked in real estate in Coachella Valley for 15 years and has strong connections in the community.

Gooding and Johnson have a long history in sales and management with Windermere, leading them to open their own franchise in July 2013. After just two years, they reached $1 billion in annual sales, per data from Broker Metrics. The company is the fourth largest residential real estate brokerage in San Diego based on sales volume, and has more than 324 agents. They plan to recruit additional agents to the Coachella Valley offices.

“We are recruiting some of the best agents with incredible luxury listings in the Coachella Valley area,” said WHE Co-owner and Broker Rich Johnson. “We are growing our operations in the desert at a decent clip, but even better, we are growing smartly. We are here for the long term and are adding the right real estate pros at the right time to ensure sustainability.”

President of Windermere Real Estate, OB Jacobi, says Gooding and Johnson have Windermere’s full support to carry its brand to the next level in Coachella Valley. Although Windermere has had offices in the desert since 2001, the previous franchisee is no longer with the company.

“Rich and Brian know how to run a real estate business with all the strength of a large operation, but with the feel of a small boutique office. Agents and home buyers alike benefit from this family-oriented culture that puts relationships first,” says Jacobi. “And they support agents with marketing and technology that ensures success.”

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. For more information, contact Brian Gooding at briangooding@windermere.com, or Rich Johnson at richjohnson@windermere.com. Both can be reached by phone at 760-585-8868.