Before and After – Real Estate Photos

If Real Estate photos are the first impression, a bad photo is the equivalent of putting your foot in your mouth.
It’s no way to say hello.
I hear you asking,”How hard can it be to take a photo?
Allow me to demonstrate.  

Behold the work of an amateur as held up against the work of a professional photographer:

              Amateur Bedroom Photo

photo 5

Professional Bedroom Photo

photo 4 (1)

Amateur Livingroom Photo

photo 1 (1)

Professional Livingroom Photo

photo 1 (2)

Amateur Bathroom Photo

photo 1

Professional Bathroom Photo

photo 2

Amateur Kitchen Photo

photo 3

Professional Kitchen Photo

photo 2 (2)

Amateur Kitchen / Dining photo

photo 2 (1)

Professional Kitchen / Dining Photo

photo 3 (1)

And now you know why I hire a professional photographer for my listings.
Their high quality equipment, artful eye and honed skills are so worth it!

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3 Secrets to Boosting Customer Loyalty

It’s a question that burns in the mind of many an entrepreneur: How can I generate customer loyalty?   Points programs and rewards, freebies and other ‘added-value’ may help. But it’s not enough.  Think about it. Who are you loyal to?  Why? Chances are the ‘Buy 7 Get the 8th Free’ promo won’t keep your business if your experience is tainted by poor product or service.

 “No matter how delicious the food, no matter how safe the jet travel,

if it’s presented in a way that doesn’t show care for the customer,

it’s not going to be a hit.”  –Forbes

 There is one simple yet difficult key to cultivating customer loyalty. Be hugely customer-centered. Devote your entire business to their happiness. That’s what it takes.

3 Secrets to Boosting Customer Loyalty

1)      Recruit the right kind of customer from the start
Know who your ideal customer is – their dreams, interests, personalities, lifestyles – and then work to attract them. My customer base is largely rural home owners for example, so I don’t focus on timeshares or high-rise condos. Knowing your customer is the first step to finding them.

2)      Treat that ‘right customer’ like royalty once acquired. Once you’ve found your ideal client, cultivate that relationship. Go over the top to serve them. Make them feel like the most important customer –your only customer. Woo the daylights out of them until they’re so in love with you that to go anywhere else is unthinkable.

3)      Devote yourself to high quality service. There is wooing and then there is marriage. This is the marriage part of customer service. This is where you commit to high quality service as a lifestyle – a part of who you are. The heart of your business. This is the difference between winning and keeping a client.  “Excellent customer care is the most important method for improving customer loyalty.” – Data Base Marketing Institute

 

This stuff is so simple, and so effective. It’s also difficult because it’s not natural. It’s not what we learn in our marketing courses and sales seminars. We’re told buzz words and hanging a carrot on a stick is enough. Sales are the ultimate goal and we are trained to pursue it single-mindedly. But it’s not about arm twisting and manipulation. It’s about integrity. Relationship. It truly is a people thing. 

“True customer loyalty means

making the relationship more important than making the sale.”

– Yes Sales Recruitment

 What is one method you use to recruit the right customer, or keep your existing clients?

Or, what is one new method you would like to try soon?

On Balancing Work and Family…

tree-with-green-leafage2How does one balance work and family?

I LOVE my job, especially dashing into the fray never quite sure where the next phone call will send me. It’s an adventure!
I also LOVE my family.  Often my job – spontaneous as it is – interferes with family time.
My husband and daughter have been so patient. They get it. They understand that, for now, work often comes first. I’m so thankful for their patience and grace, even when I dash from our family supper to work. Family’s pretty special. Who else would be so patient?

Funny, the thing I love about my job is the thing that makes maintaining relationships the most difficult. But I’m figuring out how to manage that. Whether it’s cobbling together a day off, or just making myself unavailable to clients during a ‘Family Day’, I’ll figure this out.
We all have to. 

Does your job demand after-hours attention, and interfere with family time? How do you balance your obligations?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.  

 

The Upside of Expired Listings (And I Don’t Mean Chasing Someone Else’s)

money-and-case

 

No Real Estate agent hopes their listings expire. No agent wakes up thinking, “Gee, I hope today is the day I can REALLY waste my marketing dollars. I hate money anyway.” Expired listings are disappointing for both agent and client. But even this cloud has its silver lining.

The internet is full of advice on how to capitalize on other agents’ expired listings. Here in Canada, though, that kind of thing is against the Privacy Act. It is federally not okay.  Agents do it, clients let them, but it shouldn’t be happening. (Can you really trust an agent to represent you, when they don’t care about the ethics governing their industry? Just a thought…)

Listings expire for a lot of reasons. I’ve had months where that’s all that happened; expiries. But I don’t see those as a waste of my marketing dollars. I may not have gotten the sale I wanted, but I did get exposure. One of the best things for my marketing was a low-priced property at a high-traffic intersection. Talk about exposure! The investment was in building my brand and advertising my name. My sign, the online marketing and print ads all worked hard for me out there, getting people good and familiar with me.  It’s a worthwhile investment that takes the sting out of expires for me.

Hopefully you’re encouraged too, the next time your listing expires. It is not a waste of money. You invested in your business. You became that much more familiar to your market. Keep it up!

Real Estate Humor – 5 Property Descriptions You Won’t Ever See.

Crafting the perfect property description is… an art. To paint with words all the beautiful things about a house is easy when the house has many beautiful things. But sometimes it’s harder to find the gem beneath the dirt. And then polish it to such a shine that no one notices the dirt. There are ways. Sometimes it’s not what we say, but how we say it that matters…

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What You Won’t Ever See:

Tiny, windowless hut. Poor lighting, roof may leak.
Little room for expansion, but at least it’s cheap!

little house

What you would see: 

Affordable starter! Cozy home with a beautiful yard.
Opportunity to increase value.  Prime location.
Won’t last long at this price!

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What You Won’t Ever See:

Abandoned cabin. Features one straight fence.
Overgrown yard. Roof issues. Perfectly suited for demo.

old-house-13186084721wl

What you would see: 

Little house on the prairie!  Rustic log cabin
boasts hand-hewn timbers. Fenced, treed yard.
A handyman’s retreat!

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What You Won’t Ever See:

Floating picnic table. Features roof and flag pole.
No oars. No motor. Must be moved.

picnic-house

What You Would See:

Rare offering! Bohemian houseboat now available.
Vessel features solid wood construction. Newer roof and flagpole.
Simple floor plan allows room to grow.

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What You Won’t Ever See:

Prison-like brick cube. Features creeping moss.
Freshly painted-over windows create a sense of mystery.
Dual chimneys reminiscent of German labor camps.

stone house

What You Would See:

Own your very own castle in the country!
Turn of the century cobble stone beauty features
solid construction,  some recent paint, and two fireplaces.

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What You Won’t Ever See:

Attention carnies! Circus themed party house just for you.
Complete with fun house mirrors. Features colorful row of beehive holders.

het-klompenhuis

Calling all artists! This whimsical haven
features turn of the century shutters, wood heat
and a whole lot of bling.

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3 Reasons REALTORS® Should Blog

laptopBlogs started out as a kind of online diary and unfortunately there are business people who still think of them that way.
Times have changed. Blogs are now an essential business tool – for REALTORS® too.

There are loads more reasons, but here are the top ones.

Top 3 Reasons to Start Blogging Today:

1)      Google Ranking

Yes, it matters to be listed on the world’s largest search engine. And because Google doesn’t know about every website out there, you may be invisible out there on the net. Get visible by blogging. “On average, companies that blog receive 434% more indexed pages.” – Hubspot
remember how 68% of clients used Google to research their agent? Can you afford to miss being seen by most of the market?

2)      Connect with Your Email List  – They Want You To!

You’ve already got a list of people to whom you send emails every week. Use that. They already like you and want to hear from you – that’s an open door to building customer relationship (and, in turn, loyalty)!  Turn email lists into website traffic and develop that relationship. This will keep you on their minds, and they’ll remember you when it comes time to buy or sell a property.

3)      Build Reputation for Being Awesome

If you’re creating custom content (you know, instead of using canned posts from a blog writing mill?) you will be helpful to your readers. And they’ll remember that. ” 78% [of consumers] believe that companies behind content are interested in building good relationships.” Your readers will see that you are the kind of attentive, caring and, in general, awesome professional they want to work with.

My number one reason for blogging is so people see my website. My ranking on Google is part of my marketing plan. If over two thirds of people are looking online for a REALTOR® in their area, I want to be at the top of the list when they search. Regular, continual blogging keeps me ranked. And, because I’m about building relationship whether working or not, I hope the custom content here is helpful in some way.

How about you? Do you have a blog?