What are you doing differently in today’s market to sell condos?
I forward the Top 5 weekly emails to my past and present clients, prospects and sphere of influence. Since many of the Top 5 materials/articles I use are for houses in more suburban areas, I edit the articles to apply to condominiums. If, for instance, the article talks about “curb appeal,” I simply insert something into the piece that applies to urban living, such as the importance of staging the exterior of a condo by adding potted plants and replacing worn or discolored outdoor furniture.
What does today’s condo buyer want?
Many first-time buyers and “empty nesters” from the suburbs are not always realistic with respect to getting all the features they want in a city condo. Most condos have been converted by carving up former single-family homes. Therefore, not every condo in a building has, for example, a parking space, outdoor space and/or eat-in kitchen. Sometimes the floor plans are a bit quirky, and not laid out like a traditional suburban house. When I’m working as a buyer’s agent, I gently let folks know up front that in almost every price range one must identify “must haves” versus “nice to haves,” and be ready to make compromises.
What are you doing to make a difference and drive new business?
I am doing all of the basic things that any good, full-time agent who is serious about building their business does: I call expireds; unrepresented sellers (FSBOs); and keep in touch with my sphere of influence and past clients. I love what I do, and when making cold calls, I deflect the fear of rejection by reminding myself that I am offering my skills as a “gift” to make a difference in someone’s quality of life. At my open houses, I have Top 5 materials prominently displayed: reprints of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine on which I was featured on the cover, as well as the “What Every Home Seller Should Demand…from Their Real Estate Agent” and “Top 5 Homebuying Q & A” brochures.
I have a Masters degree in psychiatric social work (MSW), so I am very astute and sensitive to a client’s need for emotional support. Buying or selling a home can be stressful even when it is a welcome event. Imagine the added stress when one is simultaneously going through a divorce, needs to sell due to a death in the family, or is forced to move to find a new job! I have actually referred clients to behavioral health specialists if they need counseling to cope with any personal issues that might otherwise impede them from moving on—literally and figuratively. My skills in this regard provide intangible added-value.
What’s your most creative marketing strategy for an urban market?
I create a website for each property with floor plans, a visual tour and a multitude of still photos. For example, rather than putting 123 Main Street at the top of my open house show sheets, I put the website address: www.123MainStreet.com. I am very pleased that my Keller Williams office provides us with Realtor.com® “enhanced listing” capabilities to place more photos on Realtor.com® than would otherwise be possible. In addition, I have purchased Realtor.com® “Featured Homes” capabilities for zip codes in which I primarily market properties. This feature ensures that my listings will pop up first on relevant searches. Whenever possible, I try to get front page articles with photos in Boston Homes magazine for my luxury listings.
What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
Ignore the press. That’s number one. Nothing is more annoying than sweeping generalizations about real estate conditions “in Boston” in our local press. These sensationalized articles panic both buyers and sellers, so we make a concerted effort to present our own statistics to demonstrate that these general statistics do not necessarily apply to our neighborhoods. Second, try to maintain some semblance of work-life balance. Third, keep an upbeat, positive attitude—it’s contagious! And most importantly, constantly remind yourself that your high-level knowledge and competence really are a gift to your future clients…they just don’t know it yet!