The Zebra Blog

A Picture is Worth Thousands of … Dollars?

Woamn taking house photo with tablet

Do you have five minutes? I encourage you to take this time to do a quick tour of your MLS and review the quality of home photography that is passing as “adequate” to someone’s definition (not mine!) this very second. While some agents do an amazing job enlisting the help of a professional photographer, many others make do with the cameras in their phones, and some of the photos are truly horrific.

My favorite gift I received this past Christmas was a 2016 daily calendar of bad real estate photos with hilarious captions. Turning to a new day reveals another bad, awkward, or truly terrible real estate photo. To date, my favorite includes an otherwise-vacant living room with a kayak seemingly staged in the middle, including a person – yes, a real live person – sitting in the kayak. I am not sure what this agent was trying to achieve here…

Is the agent trying to get across the message that this is a home for outdoor living or perhaps the potential buyer needs a flood insurance policy before buying? Only the seller and the listing agent can know for sure, but the fact that a photo like this represents what some agents consider adequate should be a concern to any agent who is concerned about the reputation of the real estate industry.

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Ask Denise: Wrong Personality?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I was on your website and was taking your free personality test. I am a newer real estate agent and haven’t had a lot of success yet. It said I was an analytical first and supporter second. I am concerned because I am not a promoter first and I think I need to be more of a promoter to be a good salesperson. Am I in the wrong job?

A:  ABSOLUTELY NOT! Each personality has their own niche and there is certainly one for you too! Your strengths are details and tasks, and you likely take great care of your clients. Your challenges are likely that you like to take your time, which might be frustrating to those people who like to move fast, but there will be buyers who will really appreciate the fact that you aren’t rushing them through a house or into an offer that they are not comfortable with. There will be sellers who appreciate that you do what you say you are going to do, and that you have a system for taking and servicing your listing.

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The Tipping Point

2 houses on tipping scale

Every seller has that moment in time when something happens that pushes them to making a decision to sell. In fact, many sellers don’t even know they want to sell until someone informs them of the benefits of selling.

For example, imagine a seller is at home and they retrieve their mail and find a letter from a real estate agent informing them that their neighbors home has sold. The seller is surprised to find out that his neighbor’s home sold for $425,000 – he had no idea that homes in his neighborhood were even close to selling for that! The seller then goes about his day and doesn’t give it much more thought.

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Ask Denise: Luxury Services Brochure?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I am thinking of making a very visual seller services brochure (one of the big glossy ones you do – 11 x 17 that folds in half to 8.5 x 11) with images of my marketing materials and logos of all the websites I syndicate to, etc. I am trying to decide what I want to do for luxury clients since there are a few things I do for them that I don’t do for my standard clients. I don’t want my standard clients to feel like they are being short-changed, but I also don’t want the expense of having two brochures. Ideas?

A:  I have the perfect solution! Have a luxury insert that outlines the additional service you provide for your luxury clients whether that be additional photography via drone, staging consultation, magazine marketing, video, etc. Then you only insert it into the brochure if you are meeting with a luxury client. Problem solved!

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Ask Denise: Word for 2016?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I understand you encourage people to have a “word” or an overarching theme for 2016. Can you tell me more about that?

A:  Having a word for your year is similar to having a short-term mission statement. The word needs to be easy to remember and utilize when making decisions about your business.

For example, I was just talking with one of my clients today about her word. She is looking to grow with a team in 2016. However, I know that with this particular agent, if she grows without structure, she is going to sacrifice her family time and increase her stress level exponentially. Therefore, I suggested her word for 2016 was rules. Rules for working with buyers. Rules for working with sellers. Rules for who was going to handle the various tasks in her business. If she lays down those rules now, she can grow in a very strategic manner.

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The Dog Ate My Time-Blocking Schedule

dog chewed schedule

How are those New Years’ business resolutions holding up? Did you start off the year with great intentions to get organized and complete those client care and business-building tasks that you know you need to do to succeed? Have you made progress in this arena or are you having some roadblocks? Or did you start your year with ambitious time-blocking with cleanly-defined lines indicating when you would get to the office, do your weekly marketing, and set up your buyer tours?

The problem with time-blocking is that your business involves people and most people don’t operate on the same timeline as you. Time-blocking might work when you are an accountant or someone who works solo, but it rarely works for real estate agents. As someone in sales, you need time to “float” – or talk to people, show homes, and close deals. There are regular activities that need to get done in your business, but do you really need the stress of worrying about when it is all going to get done while you are dealing with a seller whose basement has just flooded or when the windstorm has knocked your “For Sale” sign into the neighbor’s yard?

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Multi-Generational Homes – Big-Time Demand!

mulit-generation family in front of home

Multi-generational homes are increasing in demand across the country. First I want to explain what a multi-generational home is: It is a home that can have multiple families living under one roof in separate spaces.

A multi-generational home could house a married couple caring for an older parent, a grandparent living with an adult grandchild, or even Baby Boomers living with adult children who have moved back into the home.

The demand for multi-generational homes has risen in the last few years, partially due to the recession and its impact on the nuclear family. Families found it more financially feasible to band together and share resources and now these types of homes are in high demand due to the success of these living arrangements. People are willing to pay top dollar to get them.

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