The Zebra Blog

Ask Denise: Hiring a contractor

Denise Lones

Q: “Denise, I am thinking about hiring a contractor to do a little remodeling in my laundry room. If the contractor does a good job, I would have no problem recommending him or her to my clients. However, I am reading through the online reviews of some of my top picks and each has one review that is unfavorable. They all seem to have at least one unfavorable review among many good reviews. I just don’t want to make a mistake!”

Think back to all the clients you have worked with over the years. I am sure you can think of at least one person who would not give you a favorable review right now despite all the things you did right. Their unfavorable opinion may not have even stemmed from something that you had any control over. Read more »

Renovation Mistakes You Don’t Want Your Clients to Make


Many of your potential seller clients are opting to do “minor” renovations before they put their homes on the market to sell.  They believe that these renovations will bring them big returns. However, that can be the opposite of what really ends up happening because they fail to do their research and planning before they begin their project.

If potential sellers tell you that they are planning to do any kind of renovation before they sell share the list below with them.  Read more »

Design Spotlight: Jani Spencer


This week’s design spotlight features the brand of our MASTERY agent Jani Spencer, of Bellevue. Jani’s brand includes her assistant and protege, Ashley. She wanted a brand that was efficient and sensible. She brought the Jani Spencer & Company logo to the design.  She specifically requested bight “Tiffany” blue and Bellevue imagery in a contemporary layout. The result is a striking “Tiffany” silhouette of the Bellevue skyline. The cool gray bars create a soft and stable structure for her content.

Read more »

Ask Denise: Hire a Bookkeeper?

Denise Lones

Q: “Denise, I think it is time to hire a bookkeeper. I only need them for a few hours a month. What do you recommend?”

I would recommend making a list of what exactly you want the bookkeeper to do. Do you want to hand over a batch of receipts and the credit card statement, check stubs and have them record your income and expenses? Or are you looking for someone who does all this and handles your taxes each year? Someone who calculates your quarterly taxes? You may actually need an accountant and a bookkeeper. Read more »

What is Your Back Up Plan?


Have you ever wondered what you would do with your business if you received a call that required you to drop everything and divert your attention to an issue more important than business?  The call may come from a family member needing your help with an emergency or about an aging parent that needs your FULL attention now.  Or worse, that call may be notice that someone you really cared about was at the end of their life.  Or maybe the challenge is that YOU need to attend to a an urgent personal medical issue. Read more »

Design Spotlight: Antoinette Contreras


This week’s design spotlight features the brand of our MASTERY agent Antoinette Contreras of Seattle. Antoinette is an outdoor enthusiast, and her design features many of her favorite outdoor things, including Mount Rainier and Alki Beach. Her business card is portrait-style with a quote from Little House on the Prairie. All of her mailing pieces include a small “recycle” sign to encourage everyone to be a little greener.

Read more »

How to Let Go and Learn to Delegate


When I first started selling real estate, I was a young “whipper-snapper” who wanted to set the entire industry on fire.  I had it all planned.  I was going to be the Number One real estate agent in America – no, the WORLD! – and I was going to do it alone.

Being young and naïve, I truly believed I didn’t need anyone else.  I wanted to do everything myself.  I wasn’t going to ask anyone for help.  I wanted to be successful and thought that the definition of success was doing it all myself… how wrong I was.

My, how time changes things! Read more »

Design Spotlight: Evy Flynn


This week’s design spotlight features the brand of our MASTERY agent Evy Flynn of Seattle – which happens to create the eye-catching focal point in her designs. Evy’s branding goal was simple; to provide easy to read, valuable information to her clients in all marketing pieces. Evy strives to achieve customer satisfaction with each and every transaction, which she proudly promises in her tagline ‘Exceptional Service, Exceptional Results’.

Read more »

Ask Denise: Value of Landscaping

Denise Lones

Q: “Denise, my out-of-area seller doesn’t want to spend the time or money to maintain their yard when it is for sale. In the seller’s area, a non-maintained yard makes the home look sloppy and in disrepair very quickly. The seller has alluded to perhaps my paying for the lawn service if I am so concerned about it. What do you think?”

I think this is not your problem to fix and I think you need to be firm with your seller. I get concerned when agents hire their own contractors or service providers to perform work on their clients’ homes. What if something happened? Would this be covered under your business insurance? Read more »

The Seasons in Your Business


The calendar turned to a new season week, it had me thinking about how there are different seasons in a business as well. These don’t necessary follow a calendar or the Earth’s rotation. Instead, they tend to follow what is happening for you personally or for others in your personal life.

For example let’s take look an agent with a steady home life. There are no kids at home or aging parents with special needs. There are no demands on the on this agents time from anyone. Furthermore, this agent has time to exercise daily and is in good health. This moment in time – this season – seems like the perfect time to grow his or her real estate business and perhaps implement a new lead generation system or a website complete with thought-out content.  Read more »

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