The Zebra Blog

Big News for Real Estate and the Entire Pacific Northwest

Seattle waterfront

I have been talking about the possible alliance of the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma for quite some time. I have watched with eager anticipation of what the two ports would do and ultimately whether or not the alliance would be allowed to happen at all.

I am thrilled and ecstatic to be able to announce that The Federal Maritime Commission has completed its “competitive review and analysis” of the alliance agreement and have voted unanimously to allow the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle to form an alliance which will be known as the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

This alliance allows the two ports to work together on the management, use and operation of the marine cargo business. They will also work together to plan the marketing and operations of the two ports. This includes establishing a Port Development Authority, this is a new government structure that is being created to oversee the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

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Ask Denise: Database System?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, if you were starting your business as an agent today, what program would you use to manage your database?

A:  Hands down I would use Microsoft® Outlook. I already use Outlook for my email so I don’t even have to open another program if a client calls and I need to make some notes. Outlook also has a very powerful contacts feature complete with functions to house photos, insert a number of contact pieces of data such as birthdays, notes, and tasks related to these individuals. You can easily set up a mail merge or send out information to a list of people. And you can search your messages and notes.

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The 8 Biggest Communication Mistakes Agents Make with Clients

agent and client talking

One of my favorite things to do in my real estate training is to work with agents one-on-one to help them see how they communicate with their clients. I will even videotape them. I critique their performance and together we identify flaws in their communication style and we make a plan for improvement.

None of us get trained enough in the art of communication. And very few people have ever had anyone critique their communication style. In a role play setting, I watch how agents display body language and voice tone. I watch how they talk to their clients. I note the speed at which they talk. I watch how they mirror body movements.

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Ask Denise: 1 or 4 Page House Flyer?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I am working on finessing my listing presentation and I am having your team make me a presentation prop for what I do to market the home in print. This includes samples of just listed and special feature cards, listing letters to the neighborhood, and some of my open house materials. However, I am not sure if I should include my 1 page house flyer that I use for about half my listings or the 4 page house flyer that I use for high-end listings. What do you recommend?

A: You have several choices here. I assume the determining factor of whether you use the one page house flyer versus the four page is either price point or finishes. Basically what you have here is a basic listing program and a higher-end or luxury listing program.  Is the house flyer really the only difference between these two programs? If so, I would put the one page house flyer on the board and then bring a sample of a four page house flyer that you just have loose that you show your luxury clients.

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Opportunity Knocks: Tips for Marketing Properties with Huge Potential

Overhead Home view

I have seen a lot of marketing during my years in real estate. I have seen bad. I have seen good. I have seen exceptional. Recently I came across one of those exceptionally-marketed properties in Whistler British Columbia. I had the pleasure of talking with the real estate agent and learning exactly what he did to show the incredible potential of this property to potential buyers and he agreed to share this with you.

Every once in a while a property comes along that has extraordinary potential – that diamond in the rough – which can be difficult for the average buyer to see. But the new state-of-the-art 3D design programs allow the listing agent to create a visual of that potential to get buyers excited about the possibility of owning something so remarkable. Potential buyers need visual help.

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Design Spotlight: Swirl Savvy

Swirl Savvy design

This week’s design spotlight features the newly refreshed Instant Identity branding design, “Swirl Savvy.” A heavily textured background, decorative blue swirls, and a focal point artistic image all lend this brand a distinct individuality. Chocolate brown background textures layer thickly, like fudge brownie icing. Delicate sky blue swirls frame and enhance while adding the perfect contrast of bright color. Quirky, curlicued fonts naturally compliment the swirls, textures, and artistic feeling. Swirl Savvy is sure to leave a lasting impression!

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Ask Denise: Need Help?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I am at the point where I need some help in my business. However, I have some big concerns about hiring an assistant. The last time was a disaster and I spent so much time on training someone who I never should have hired. I don’t want to go down this road again, but I can’t grow my business doing it all myself. What do you think?

A:  It is not unusual to bring someone in your business who doesn’t wind up working out. Did you marry the first person you dated? Finding the right complement to your business can be tough and I see a lot of agents choosing an assistant that has a lot of the same sales personalities they do. I like to look at personalities when choosing the right assistant.

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Spring Leads Into a Robust Summer Market

house with pool

Over the past few years we have been used to real estate sales taking a breather in the summer months after the usual spring boost of sales. However, this year is different and the rate of new single family home sales has continued to soar to its fastest pace in seven years. This has caused many to wonder whether or not the market has hit its peak.

With new home inventory remaining steady, both locally and nationwide, the national month’s supply of inventory number dropped to 4.5 months (this is the number of months of inventory available before the current sales pace exhausts all the inventory). This is the lowest inventory level for new homes since June of 2013. Due to this high demand for new homes, this number will likely fall to as low as 2 months of supply in the next 6 months. This kind of demand can raise prices substantially. There is no doubt that the market is sizzling right now and the lack of new construction inventory is playing a big role in that. I have been writing about inventory challenges for 3 years now and I want to reiterate how important it is for real estate professionals to watch the local and national inventory numbers.

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