The Zebra Blog

Credit Is Tight …

a couple signing papers

Even for Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke!

Low interest rates should mean that opportunity is in abundance for the real estate industry. However, if you can’t qualify for a mortgage, even the lowest rates don’t help you if you want to finance or refinance your home.

This point became significant when the news was announced that even the former Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was turned down when he went to refinance his home. Mr. Bernanke was at a conference and shared with moderator Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics that he, “recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful in doing so.”

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Ask Denise: Low Inventory Burnout

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, this market has made me absolutely exhausted! I have buyers who can’t find a property… I have sellers who want to sell, but they are very concerned about being able to find a home to buy, so they aren’t going to list right now. I can’t seem to make any forward progress on anything, although I am working really hard. I  am emotionally drained!

A: I can definitely see you are emotionally drained, so I am going to give you some great advice – take two days off immediately. I can guarantee you if you are working this hard and feel like you are not getting anywhere then what you need is a win and a change in perspective. Change your voicemail and email to indicate when you will be returning calls and emails so you don’t feel guilty. Then take some downtime for yourself whether that is sleeping, reading by the lake, taking a hike or a bike ride or even going to a movie with your family.

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Bucket List Day: The Best & Worst Day of My Life


Make sure to scroll down the page
to see more photos from our trip! –

I have always loved zebras! Ever since I was a little girl I can remember my fascination with and love of zebras. Their unusual stripes and aloof demeanor always intrigued me. I loved that they looked like horses, but were a little stockier and incredibly more exotic. Over the years I have had the pleasure of being able to get my equine fix because my daughter is a competitive horseback rider, but I have never had enough of my zebra fix.

Years ago my husband took me to a drive through wild animal sanctuary where we were told NOT to get out of our vehicles around the zebras because they were mean tempered. That has always bothered me as I felt those zebras were portrayed negatively. Zebras aren’t mean – at least not in my mind. So, without thinking, I jumped out of the car and began feeding the zebras… They were wonderful and amazing, and everything I thought they would be! But I had such a short time with them because my husband was freaking out that I was breaking the rules. To this day that is one rule I do not regret breaking! Other than that, I have not had the pleasure of spending any time with zebras. Enter Shauna, my company CEO and super woman of the Universe…

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Ask Denise: Bucket List

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I have been thinking about my bucket list since we talked last week and I am shocked at how many things are on my list! How do you suggest I start checking things off?

A:  That is a great question and a fun one to answer! Start finding opportunities to check them off. For example, when we were in Kansas last week we had two days of down time. Shauna had promised me a zebra trip and the opportunity presented itself.

Think about the places you want to visit and how you can fit those into your schedule OR put them into your schedule and have your work and life work around that time. Think about the activities you want to do or learn and make a plan!

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Ask Denise: Pets in Branding?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, what would you think if I were to use my pet dog in my branding and marketing?

A: If you are a dog lover and that seems to be a way that you connect with people, then by all means, bring your dog into your brand development. We have created a number of brands which highlight our four-legged friends and these brands are some of our favorites.

Once you decide to have the visual of your dog in your brand, however, I encourage you to take it a step further by including what you do with your dog in your bio or even making a pet-friendly charity a focus of yours. Perhaps your specialty is dog-friendly condos. There are so many opportunities to celebrate your relationship with your pooch that tie into your brand!

Design Spotlight: Firebrand

Firebrand design

This week’s design spotlight features our newly refreshed Instant Identity branding design, “Firebrand.” Fiery reds and golds shimmer and swirl across the page creating sumptuous textures and patterns. Inky black curves contrast dramatically against the bold, flame colored background. Strong, classic, and elegant fonts complete the picture, alongside a transparent, abstract swirling element. This brand is sure to get you noticed and remembered!

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Task Management: The Key to Getting It All Done

agenda page

A real estate agent that I coach recently presented me with a beautiful weekly calendar with lead generation, client follow-up, and potential client follow-up neatly organized according to time blocks and color-coded. I complimented him on his diligence and use of color in a calendar format and then informed him that with his personality type and business, this type of planning was not in his best interest… Why?

Because this type of planning is “time management.” But in real estate, the best way to handle all the things that we need to do is through “task management.”

So many agents plan their “perfect work week”. They get out their leather binders, color-coded tabs, and highlighters. They make lists and schedules, attempting to control the uncontrollable.

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