The Zebra Blog

Ask Denise: Learning My Market

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, last week you had a question on how a new agent can get leads fast. But I want to really understand my market. How can a new agent learn their market really quickly?

A:  The most important thing you can do is to preview your area by looking at every listing in a price point every day for 10 days (or as many as possible in your market). You will very quickly learn the differences between price points, neighborhoods and house styles.

There is nothing better than doing “in the field” research.

One Person Can Make a Huge Difference

Denise and Byron

Recently, I traveled to New Orleans to speak at the National Association of Realtors Convention for the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. I had never been to New Orleans before and was excited to see what was in store for me there. I traveled with Shauna from my company and we stayed at a hotel that had a restaurant that we frequented daily for breakfast.

The first day we arrived in the restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised at the great service we received from our server, Byron. But Byron didn’t just provide good service, he provided exceptional, memorable, over-the-top service!

He was genuinely interested in who we were, what we were doing in New Orleans, and he was excited to share his knowledge and passion for his city with us. He acted as our tour guide, concierge, historian, and our friend. It’s the little things that add up to make a big difference in client care.

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Ask Denise: Immediate Leads

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I am a new agent, so I need to get leads right away and get some closings. I just changed careers. In my last career I was an insurance salesperson. What do you recommend to get business immediately?

A:  While there are a myriad of ways to get new clients, I have two recommendations for you. Since you have moved careers, you may want to make a list of your past clients from insurance if you are allowed by the insurance company to do that and if you are in the same area. You can send out a letter indicating that you have switched careers and why this change is a benefit to them. For example, if your focus is on client care, you may want to indicate that your past experience in insurance will be of benefit to buyers purchasing unique properties which require additional insurance.

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Six Tips for New Agents

Young RE Agent

Our industry has seen an influx of new agents over the last year. I was absolutely energized by the number of new agents who were at the National Association of REALTORS® Conference this last week. In fact, I had a few agents stop by our booth who had not yet even received their license yet! Those new agents we spoke with wanted to know what we would recommend for people who are just getting started in real estate.

My advice to them might surprise you.

I remember being a new agent. I remember my managing broker and my colleagues making plenty of recommendations about what tools and systems I needed. However, since I had very few funds available then, I gave myself the gift of time to learn about what I needed in my business – not necessarily what others recommended for me. I needed to learn my own style and how I was comfortable conducting business. I had to complete a few transactions before I felt like I had a good grasp of what would and would not work for me in the business. Then, when I had the funds, I could spend them wisely.
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Ask Denise: Spotting Market Trends

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I would really like to know more about how to research market statistics to spot trends, but I don’t want it to take a ton of time. What do you recommend?

A:  Good for you! Your first step should be to take a closer look at your MLS. Many MLS’s have either live classes you can take or videos that will show you how to access and download the data contained in there. Take a look at your MLS website right now. Is there a section for classes or help? Don’t be afraid to call them up or march right in, explain what you want and see what they can do to steer you in the right direction. You may even want to see if they have a YouTube channel or see if other agents have figured out some shortcuts and have posted videos of their solutions. Don’t be afraid to dig in and ask for help!

Remodeling Hits an All-time High!

Happy Painting Couple

People ask me all the time about my personal formula for home remodels, but in my experience every project and every home is unique. I let each home visually tell me how it needs to be changed. For some remodels a complete new kitchen is in order, while other kitchens can be transformed with new countertops, backsplash, and cabinet re-facing. For some homes the outdoor landscaping is as important as the changes that will be made inside the house. It all depends on the home, the location and the market demand at that moment.

It is surprising that sometimes homes that are side by side sell for almost the same amount of money, even though one home had more extensive remodeling done at a different time in the market. When a market is slower, the buyer pool is smaller and unfortunately the seller with a more extensive remodel will not capture a higher sale price than the seller with a more basic remodel. But remember, many remodeling projects are done simply for the homeowner’s enjoyment, not necessarily for resale. Remodeling a home successfully requires attention being paid to three critical areas: design & aesthetics, location of property, and market timing – both when doing the remodel work and when selling the remodeled home.

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