After graduating college in 2002, Max Rombakh began processing residential home loans with one of the top mortgage brokers in the Seattle area. Two outstanding years later, Max was inspired to pursue a career working closely with clients to help them buy and sell homes. He was a man with a plan.
With a history in sales, Max’s passion was always real estate.
“Being young in this industry was actually an advantage as I was hungrier than the next person and was willing to go the extra mile for my clients,” he says.
He got his real estate license in 2004 and quickly rose to a top spot at the real estate office he worked for.
Max describes himself as “self-motivated and driven by the sense of accomplishment.” What keeps him motivated is helping people achieve their goals and when he has “truly delivered and exceeded a client’s expectations.”
Max has been with Windermere for more than 10 years. The Deasy family owns five other offices around the Eastside, and he moved to the Yarrow Bay office about five years ago.
“My business has been revolving around Kirkland and Bellevue for at least 10 years, and I felt that it was the most central for me,” he says. “This office is the top producing office in the entire MLS and houses some of the top brokers. I wanted to surround myself with the best so I can learn.”
Not only do Windermere’s principles—“hire the best people; give them the best tools; create thriving communities”—align with his own, Max appreciates their high standards.
“Once I joined the company, I truly felt at home, and I believe it’s been key to my success.”
Furthermore, community involvement is woven into the organization with the Windermere Foundation (a portion of every closing is donated to the foundation), Windermere for Kids and Windermere Community Service Day, to name a few.
The family’s philanthropy includes support for the Kirkland Arts Center and Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, with favorites being the Peter Kirk Classic golf tournament and the Kirkland Wine Walk. The Rombakh children are also passionate about philanthropy, so the family tends to support organizations their twin girls’ classmates are raising awareness for. Last year it was World Vision, where they participated in a Global 6K for Water; and the Arthritis Foundation Walk for a Cure, supporting children’s arthritis research.
Understanding the Eastside Market
Just as in other areas of King County, the local market is evolving.
“Kirkland, just like the rest of the surrounding area, experienced a slowdown, primarily stemming from an increase in inventory that we experienced this summer,” Max says. Currently, “it seems to be plugging along nicely. The inventory is barely at three months, which indicates a balanced market.”
Further, with Facebook, Amazon and Google growing on the Eastside, the market will stay strong, he says.
“Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner calls this an ‘opportunity market,’” Max says.
As for the challenges of the market, “I used to hear Kirkland referred to as a ‘solar community,’ meaning businesses only did well in the summer,” he says.
A key question is how the city can continue to do well in all seasons so local businesses can thrive year-round. Part of the charm of Kirkland is in the restaurants, shops and coffee houses you can only find here, Max says.
Max was born in the former USSR. His father came to Seattle in 1992 with just a suitcase and worked on obtaining visas for the family. He and his mother and older sister came in 1993 with almost none of their belongings; an entire shipping container was lost before it arrived.
“My parents worked very hard to build a good life for my sister and me,” Max says. “We put our roots down in Shoreline where my parents felt we were going to find the best schools. A few years later, my two younger sisters were born, and my family eventually moved to Edmonds. I moved out on my own when I was 18.”
He headed toward the Eastside.
Family Business and Fun
Max and his wife, Nadia, have been together for almost 20 years, happily married for almost 13 years.
“My wife and I have quite a love story—high school sweethearts, went to prom together,” he says.
The two also work together. Nadia runs the marketing side of the business, and Max believes they “make a pretty good team!”
He attributes their success to this effective team.
Max and Nadia have 9-year-old twin girls who attend St. Thomas School.
“When they’re not at school, they are at cheer team practice,” he says.
The newest addition to the family is an Australian shepherd, Blu, who is almost a year old and keeps them all on the run. Even though the job keeps him extremely busy, Max says he’s lucky to be able to spend time with family. Their activities include traveling and hiking through Bridle Trails, where they live; boating and wake surfing during the summers in Lake Washington; and snowboarding/skiing on Snoqualmie and Whistler in the winter.
Advice for Home Buyers and Sellers
We couldn’t let Max get away without offering some tips for would-be buyers and sellers in the Kirkland area. He offered these tips for sellers:
First, Kirkland has become a niche market, and there are so many nuances that impact the value including the target market. It is important to work with someone who knows the area well.
Second, don’t cut corners because you’re in a desirable location or in a hot seller’s market. Every detail matters, so make sure your home is showing at its best and marketed properly.
Third, price your home right from the start. Buyers are smart and have a lot of information at their disposal.
For buyers, he advises:
First, just as when selling, work with someone who knows Kirkland and has a proven track record in the area. You will use your time more efficiently. Your broker may have something or know of something coming on the market that is perfect for you. They have connections with other brokers in the area and are familiar with recent sales. They may also know of upcoming construction or zoning changes that may affect future values. Information is the key to success.
Second, connect with a good loan officer early and get preapproved.
The Last Word
“Word is out about Kirkland. Google has a major footprint in the area and is growing,” Max says. “I love the community. It still has a small-town feel, and I hope it retains that through all the growth. I love that it’s one of the only towns in the area where ‘everybody knows your name.’ Kirkland is great for every generation, with parks and beaches, the lake and views, the boutique shops and award-winning restaurants, the walkability.”
Add its proximity to Bellevue, Redmond and Seattle, and what’s not to like?
For more information, visit MaxRombakh.com.