On Humility and Contentment. The period of time after the housing market crash of 2008 was especially tough for everyone involved in the industry:  Realtors; mortgage lenders (at least the rates dropped and they had a refinance boom!); home inspectors; title/escrow companies; home builders; 3rd party warranty companies; home contractors, etc.  There were also people in indirectly related fields, like the small markets and hole-in-the wall lunch stands next to giant housing developments, luxury car salespeople, copier machine salespeople, etc. We recall meeting a sewer and digging contractor early one morning, who had been sent out to make sure that the line was indeed connected before they filled the ditch up.  The contractor looked really familiar and when he gave us his name, we asked if he had any relation to a well-known local builder.  To our slight surprise, he said yes, he is in fact that guy!    Here was a guy whose company had probably built ½ of the new construction homes in Seattle since the late 90s.  We asked him what he was doing out here digging ditches at 7am and he basically said that when the market crashed, his company lost everything.  They had invested everything into the company and had lots of undeveloped land and partially-completed projects.  When the market stopped going up, his financiers got skittish and called all of his loans due.  Without the necessary cash to repay the projects (and land that was worth less than he had bought them for) he lost it all.  He told us that his experience with financial devastation was amongst the most humbling things that anyone could imagine going through.  Our real estate team thinks about growth a lot and how such growth could affect our service levels and our expertise in our core markets.  At the heart of every major strategic business decision that we make is the question of “Will doing such-and-such significantly diminish the time we require to maintain our service levels?”  You can rest assured that our commitment to service and the customer experience will trump any ambition to grow beyond our ability to maintain the highest standards in our business.