Author Maureen Castellon

How to Study the U.S. Real Estate Market to Determine Local Trends

This article originally appeared in the BHGRE blog on August 2018.

Clients expect real estate agents to be intimately familiar with the neighborhoods where they work. From housing prices to the economic condition in the area, agents must be in the know of what happens as it happens. Studying the U.S. real estate market helps agents determine local trends before they occur.

Be aware of the big picture

Many factors affect property value and pricing. National economics, the political climate, social situations and environmental conditions influence the value of real estate. Savvy agents follow the news and its impact on the price of properties. A high rate of unemployment may lower home prices, and reduce the number of available buyers. More people might be in the market to rent a home rather than purchase one. Keeping up with current events around the country helps agents determine the needs of local clients.

Know what shapes the real estate market

Several factors shape the real estate market. Demand is a driving force that determines the price of homes as well as how quickly they sell. Availability is another factor as people want certain types of property. If they are not available, a sale won’t happen. Houses must also be ready to sell. If the home is unusable or condemned, repairs are necessary before the deal will close. Finally, a property must be legally ready to transfer with a seller who has a deed and clean title in-hand. Agents need to assess these conditions to determine how many homes are legitimately available in their neighborhood.

Know core economic principles

Specific core economic principles define the real estate market. One of the leading ones is supply and demand. A house in a coveted neighborhood with few available homes on the market will sell for top dollar. Houses in an area with more available properties than qualified buyers will sell for a lower price. External conditions in a neighborhood also play a role. Homes in areas with political, social, economic and environmental issues will sell for less than houses in more stable locations. Consider a house in a high-crime area will sell for less than one in a safer spot, even if they have the same essential features.

Local data matters

Once an agent recognizes the state of the U.S. real estate market, it’s time to collect data on the local market. Sales and listing data reveal the number of homes sold, the sale prices and whether the houses appreciated or depreciated in the past year. Review the features of recently sold properties to determine what local buyers want. Study the current population data, including median income, unemployment rates and other factors that impact real estate sales. Find out more about financing data, such as the types of mortgages buyers take out, how much money they put down on the properties and the number of specialized loans. For example, a large number of VA mortgages reveal the area is popular for veterans.

Research resources

A well-educated agent knows where to conduct research. A variety of resources provide national and local real estate market data. On a national level, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve System, Census Bureau, Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the National Association of REALTORS®. Local resources include builder associations, the chamber of commerce, tax appraiser’s office, municipal planning commissions, county offices, title companies, banks, mortgage lenders and credit unions.

Benefits of knowing the market

Real estate agents who know the market reap the benefits of this knowledge. Awareness of the market conditions helps agents determine what is fueling the market or holding it back. Deciding whether it is a buyer’s or seller’s market makes it easier for agents to set their goals and guide the expectations of their clients. Agents who understand the market provide the best possible advice to their clients. From the correct listing price of a property to getting a great deal for buyers, agents in-the-know offer a higher level of service. Plus, well-informed agents have a myriad of promotional opportunities. Blogging, speaking at local community events and posting on social media are all ways for agents to gain trust, respect and clients.

Trends may last for a year or two or a decade. Most of them begin on a national level then trickle down to the local markets. Agents gain valuable insights by studying the U.S. real estate market. Knowing national statistics today can help agents determine the future of real estate in neighborhoods across the country. Successful real estate agents gauge these trends and leverage them to provide outstanding service to their clients.

10 Tips to Create Powerful Descriptions of Real Estate for Sale


This article originally appeared in the BHGRE blog on August 2018.

Agents have a brief opportunity to attract buyers to their listings. The right words attract targeted traffic and encourage buyers to take immediate action. Use one or more of these savvy tips to create powerful descriptions of real estate for sale.

Short and simple

Buyers seek instant gratification. Agents have a few seconds to grab their attention. Keep real estate descriptions short and simple. Extended descriptions are too wordy, and the reader may lose interest. Get to the point and provide a thorough overview of the property. Be succinct by using 100 to 200 words for listings. Anything less is not enough to encourage someone to act on the property. 

Showcase the most alluring amenities

It takes just a few words to describe the number of bathrooms and bedrooms. The rest of the description should focus on the most alluring amenities of the real estate for sale. Showcase desirable features such as hardwood flooring, energy-efficient appliances, a fireplace, hot tub or swimming pool. People who are searching for homes use these terms often.

Speak to the target audience

Take the guesswork out of the description for potential buyers. Rather than making them read between the lines, speak directly to the target audience. Define who they are and why the house is perfect for their needs. Appeal to families with a statement such as “located near award-winning public schools.” Maximize the potential of a small house by saying, “ideal for first-time home buyers or retirees.”

Optimize real estate descriptions

Buyers need to find an agent’s real estate descriptions. Optimize all listings by including the type of property, location and critical terms about the house. People usually look for dwellings by area and the number of bedrooms. Make sure these terms are in all real estate descriptions. The content should attract search engines and potential buyers.

Proofread all descriptions

Spelling and grammar errors make a real estate agent look careless. Earn trust by proofreading all real estate descriptions before they are posted and published. Look for grammar and spelling errors. A program such as Grammarly.com is helpful. Another option is to ask an associate to reviews the description to see if it looks correct and reads smoothly.

Use paragraphs

A large block of text is difficult for the reader to digest. Break down the major subject points by creating paragraphs. Each paragraph should have just one or two sentences. Short paragraphs make the description easy to read and remember. Use a paragraph to define basic features, another to highlight amenities and a third to reach out to specific target markets.

Bring buyers Into the home

While descriptions must be short, they should also be complete. The goal is to use effective words to bring buyers into the home. Paint a picture with each sentence. Use words that give buyers a visual representation of the property. Instead of stating the house has hardwood floors, be specific. Describe them as oak or bamboo floors.

Avoid unnecessary repetition

Many real estate descriptions include default characteristics, such as the price of the home and the square footage. Avoid repeating these features in the written description. Other than the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the description should be original. Use the limited number of words to focus on features that are not in the default overview of the house.

Special incentives

Some properties have special incentives that make the descriptions more compelling. Always list these advantages in all descriptive content. Examples include a seller who is willing to pay for all or part of the closing costs. Another is a home that offers a tax advantage, such as grandfathered tax rates. 

Include a compelling call to action

People need a reason to contact an agent about a house immediately. Conclude all real estate descriptions with a compelling call to action. Stating the house will not be on the market long at the listed price gives people a reason to call the agent right away. The call to action can be as straightforward as “call now for more details.”

Everyone recognizes the power of words. They can be used to describe, encourage, inform and inspire. A top-notch real estate agent is also a wordsmith.

Hire me to write your property descriptions. I can craft descriptions of real estate for sale to help sell houses faster by connecting buyers to their dream homes.

How to Turn a For Sale By Owner Home Into a Listing

This article originally appeared on the BHGRE Clean Slate blog September 2018.


An agent who sees a “for sale by owner” sign should view it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. The majority of people who try to sell their home independently are looking to save money. Others might plan to sell the house to a family member or neighbor. A few might have tried to sell a home unsuccessfully with an agent. Regardless of the reason, learn how to turn a for sale by owner (FSBO) home into a listing.

Be helpful

Turning a FSBO into a listing is usually not a “one and done” situation. These homeowners need finesse. Instead of selling a service to them, offer to help. Marketing a house is stressful, time-consuming and complicated. Provide useful advice without any expectations. For example, explain how to describe the home to appeal to potential buyers. Be available to answer any questions they have. Follow-up in a week or two to show concern. Time is an ally. The longer the home remains unsold, the more likely the owners will list with a helpful, no-pressure agent.

Honesty is the best policy

Many agents approach owners with a typical statement: they claim they have a buyer for the home. While most agents have a pool of potential buyers, property owners rely on this statement. If the buyer does not select the house for any reason, the owners will not want to list with the agent. Instead, be honest and forthright. Agents should let owners know they work with a variety of qualified buyers. Tell them it is essential to see the home to determine which buyers would be most interested in it. Stand out from the competition by being transparent and realistic about the possibilities.

Focus on qualified buyers

There is an excellent reason why the majority of homeowners eventually list their properties with a real estate agent. A for sale by owner home attracts a myriad of questionable buyers. Some are renters who want the owner to hold the mortgages. Others are investors looking to buy the home for a fraction of its value. There are also people who want to buy a house, but might not be financially able to do so. Agents present the home to qualified buyers. Explain what this means to the homeowners. A qualified buyer is pre-approved for a mortgage and screened to ensure they can purchase the home. As a result, the homeowner can sell the property faster and for more money.

Negotiating power

Buyers are often reluctant to negotiate with sellers. Also, sellers tend to be inflexible about their asking price and any requested updates. A seasoned real estate agent has the skills to negotiate the deal to the satisfaction of all parties. Buyers feel reassured knowing a professional is acting as a liaison to the sale. Owners soon recognize the benefits of working with someone who has negotiating power. Instead of letting a potential deal go by, the house could sell for more than the owner expected, with conditions met to satisfy the buyers that they also got a great deal. If possible, agents should offer testimonials and case studies from other FSBO homes they listed and sold to prove their worth to the homeowners.

Provide the personal touch

Agents frequently depend on phone calls and emails to transform a for sale by owner home into a listing. Unfortunately, other agents are doing the same thing. Instead, provide a personal touch by pounding the pavement for a few hours. Visit FSBO homes to talk to the owners. If they are not receptive, resist the urge to be pushy. Just offer a business card, so they can ask for advice as needed. Slip a note in the mail in a week or two to remind the owners that help is available if they want it. Selling a home is challenging, from improving curb appeal to pricing the house accurately.

Follow up regularly

One of the top reasons why agents don’t land a FSBO home is a lack of contact. It is rare for owners to list the house with an agent right away. They still focus on the reasons they did not hire an agent initially. Over time, these reasons fade into the background when the home does not sell. Follow up regularly.  Potential clients will become familiar with your name and real estate agency. Share useful tips, such as updated company blog articles and social media posts. Keep in touch by phone, email, text or snail mail, based on the client’s preference. Ultimately, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Turning a for sale by owner home into a listing requires patience and perseverance. Agents need the right combination of knowledge and persistence, without being pushy and presumptuous. Achieving the ideal balance helps agents score more FSBO listings and broaden their client base.

Getting Started with Your Gallery Wall

This article originally appeared on the BHGRE blog April 2017.

Creating a gallery wall is not only a great way to stay on trend, but creates a customized home. The Better Homes and Gardens Vintage Gallery Wall is ideal for the living room, entryway, or hallway. With just a few frames and nails, blank walls will transform into a beautiful focal point. The key to pulling all the pieces together is a balance of framing, mapping, and spacing. Although gallery walls have a reputation for being difficult, we have provided a few easy steps that will prevent any mishaps or unnecessary holes in your wall.

Frame Them Up

Frames are a great way to get creative or go for a more classic look. Selections can be uniform or eclectic to set the right tone for your statement. Just make sure the frames you choose do not leave an abundance of white space, which can give off a less than designer vibe. These BHG cover prints have been formatted to fit 11-by-14-inch photo frames that include matting for 8-by-10-inch photos. White matting works, but take care not to use cream as it may not be as pleasing to the eye as white. Select black frames with edges at least 1-inch wide. Frames of this type are inexpensive and available at Target, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Walmart, etc. The frames shown here are the Black Belmond Frame with Mat by Studio Décor® from Michaels.com.

Map It Out

Planning is essential to achieving the right look for your gallery wall. Consider the best location for your frames and make sure the gallery fits in with the surroundings. If your home has a fountain or a spectacular view, try not to compete, as a gallery wall might seem out of place there. Pick the grid formation that best fits your space from the options shown below.. Choose a horizontal or vertical orientation for all of your frames. Outer dimensions of the frames should be the same, and take care that mat openings are proportionate. Take the time to map out what works best with the other elements in your space. Use 12 prints over a sofa, or flanking a large mirror. If space is limited, either by windows or ceiling height, use only six or nine frames in your grid.

 Hang Them Up

To plan out the grid on the wall, start by making templates. Trace each frame onto craft paper and cut it out. Mark each template with a dot showing where the picture hanger lies. Use painter’s tape on the back of the templates and stick them to your wall so you can see the layout before nailing. Rearrange as needed and experiment with different spacing options between frames. When spacing frames of this size in a grid, leave about 2-3.5 inches of space between each frame. By using craft paper and tape, you’re not damaging the walls with the nail holes from trial and error. Before removing your templates, double check the alignment with a bubble level. Add nails or screws where you marked the picture hangers, then remove the templates and hang your frames.

Make Adjustments

If you have a large blank wall such as a hallway (as in the photo to the left), you can fill the whole wall. Don’t be afraid to have some frames lower than eye level. When hanging a gallery above a sofa or console table, the bottom row of frames should start 8-10 inches above the back of the sofa or the top of the table. Nails or screws provide the greatest stability but if you need to avoid making holes in the walls, try 3M’s Command™ Large Picture Hanging Strips.



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Colonial Furniture Styles

American Colonial style is a mix of English Gregorian and Native American influences. Original pieces were created in the time when furniture and fabric were exceptional luxuries. With a dash of vintage charm, Colonial furniture is the most traditional of American styles. Marked by minimalistic, high-quality construction with simple lines and rich hues, the style can be updated or remain in classic/true form. 

Kitchen

The spirit of independence is strong in each homespun element from carved wood to pewter hardware for kitchen. With stately design heavily featuring wood and metal, the style of kitchen is cozy and minimalist. Cherry, mahogany or pine wood cabinets and matching floors are the norm/foundation. This look is also customizable. If wood in this space is too bare or neutral, consider a makeover with red paint. If a stain is preferred, deepen the tone to espresso or walnut. Colonial kitchen pieces can also be updated by swapping out standard pewter or tin for brass or nickel. 

Living room

Marked by elegant simplicity, a Colonial living room can be functionally sophisticated. Many pieces were stunningly hand carved and can make a statement in a neutral or colorful space. When possible, opt for Chippendale (ornate style using cabriole legs and claw feet, primarily crafted from mahogany), Hepplewhite (little to no carvings, with a focus on serpentine shapes and cabriole legs) or Sheraton (inlays and painted decorations crowning straight legs) styles of furniture. Textiles for seating could be upholstered in leather or earth tone fabric. A handmade quilt as a throw or wall hanging can work as a sensational accent.  Sisal rugs will fit in with the theme as will ones made from rags for an authentic look. Accent pillows with understand floral embroidery will also work in a Colonial-inspired living room. 

Dining room

Start with spindle back chairs also known as Windsor-style or American Windsor chairs to create a dining room with Colonial flair. Offering a carved seat and widely spaced rods for back support, these humble wooden seats anchored formal eating areas during colonial times. The chair design may be centuries old, but the look is timeless and fits in any contemporary home without looking too retro. However, the classic chair has been updated with a lower back that still supports while being distinct. Traditionalists can stick with the high back for authenticity. Beyond seating, Colonial tables generally have curved/cabriole legs and a planked top that will gain character over the years. Complete the exceptional style with casual tablecloths and a lace runner.  

Bedroom

The phrase sleep tight comes from Colonial times. During that era, a comfortable sleeping surface was made by crisscrossing ropes on a bed frame. A bed with delicately tapered octagonal posts, also known as pencil thin posts, and a canopy offer a bedroom historical charm. Nowadays, the canopy is optional, but it does add flair and warmth. Beds were elevated during this period, so use raisers to achieve the same effect. Make use of the space at the foot of the bed with a vintage trunk that can store extra blankets or be a simple decoration. Another optional is to create a sitting area with up to three chairs anchored by a handmade rug. Top the look off/Put the look to bed with a simple or elaborate/ornate quilt. 

Walls, windows and floors

The traditional colors to match Colonial furniture include mustard, sage, ivories and gray-blue. To further dress up a space, colonists used bead board and wainscoting halfway up the walls and then painted the rest of the surface in nature-inspired hues. Curtains were also popular for style and warmth. For an authentic look, consider muslin or linen with a twine bow. For a modern look, tab curtains on wooden rods will earn compliments. To balance between modern and antique, shutters will work in any home, inside and out. Detailed crown molding and portraits with dark backgrounds will complement this style of furniture.  Without exceptions, floors must be hardwood. They can be restored, but given the rustic nature of Colonial-style, any other option would appear out of place. However, any wood is acceptable. 

Accents

For any room in the house, consider wood bowls, handwoven baskets and brass candlesticks as ideal accents. Stencils were commonplace in Colonial America, taking the place of wallpaper and borders. During this time, pineapple and willow tree motifs were quite popular. Pineapples signaled warm hospitality while willows were symbols of strength and devotion.  Simple chandeliers and wall scones also enhance the timeless look. Lighting should be minimalistic chandeliers of wood, tin, pewter or iron. Simple walls sconces also create an accurate historical ambiance. 

Craft a classic or updated Colonial look with the tips inspired by the July 1958 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. 

One-Color Looks to Help Sell Homes

We are all winners in the color game. While there are no guarantees of success, a one-color look is always a crowd pleaser. Monochrome does not have to translate into monotony. The look is easy to do, but challenging to get right. The trick is to vary shades and tints while mixing textures and patterns. 

Colors

The go-to color for monochromatic rooms is white. Glamorous and peaceful, the look is timeless. However, a whole spectrum of color awaits consideration. Blues are serene and popular. Purple is on trend and lighter shades can be soothing, especially in bedrooms. Gray is quiet and contemporary. Pink can be sophisticated if furnishings are kept simple. Black is sedate and elegant. While bright, yellow can be a great selection if done in muted shades. Get inspired by any views your designated space has or colors that already exist in features such as the flooring. Most designers stick to three shades of the selected color. Choose a base shade to define the design, then go one color lighter and one darker to complete a harmonized look. Shades of the same color create depth and definition. 

Textures

Texture increases the power of a room. Designers generally include two to three distinct textures in a space. Use two when you want to emphasize a focal point and three when you want the space to be considered as a whole. In a monochrome look, texture should heavily contrast to bring visual interest and harmony. Rough textures, such as wood or burlap, ground a room with rustic touches. Smooth ones, like glass or stone, set a more refined tone. Paired together, the rough will stand out and be balanced by the elegance of smoother textures. Tray ceilings and crown molding provide texture via architecture. Wood benches, marble countertops and satin loveseats do so with furniture. Other options include greenery, rugs, wallpaper and window treatments to give light surfaces on which to play. 

Patterns

Structured design, big or small, is a great way to vary color within a monochromatic look. Prints can be subtle or bold. Vary the scale to avoid visual clutter and make the space more inviting. Large-scale patterns can mingle with smaller ones within the same hue. A dominant print can be used in artwork or window treatments while complimentary ones can be used for accent pillows and textiles. Express creativity or recent travels with unique or exotic prints. Stripes, paisley, checks and flowers liven or anchor a space. Abstract geometrics are having a banner year for their ability to make almost any space contemporary. Wallpaper is a convenient way to celebrate a bold or subtle motif in the background of a space.  

Create a seamless and tranquil space with a single-color palette using these tips that were inspired by the July 1958 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. 

13 Essential Real Estate Marketing Videos You Should Be Making

This article originally appeared in BHGRE’s Be Better blog on August 2017.

The real estate mantra used to be location, location, location. With the impact of social media, it should now be connection, connection, connection. Videos are an excellent way to expand your reach by engaging with those who are interested in either buying or selling.

ComScore recently reported that online videos increase consumer preference by up to 25 percent. With numbers like those, it is time to review 13 of the most popular types of video to expand your reach with every upload. 

1) Interview

Testimonials are essential to building your reputation online. Video is the wave of the future, and it is time to climb aboard! No need to panic when it comes to finding willing participants; past clients are a great resource. If they are happy with your work, they will most likely be open to filming a short testimonial video.

Don’t forget that your colleagues in the real estate industry can also polish your reputation. Ask clients and colleagues for a brief interview explaining your professionalism and results. Make sure to ask sensible questions, like how you personalize the real estate process,  that will result in usable sound bites.

 Include a brief introduction in the beginning so viewers can connect the testimonial with your face. This is not the time to skimp on quality – invest in your future by doing research and selecting professionals who can help you look your best with the right equipment. 

2)  Informational

What is common knowledge to you might be mind blowing to someone else. Become the expert by sharing valuable information with brief, educational videos. If you are not sure what to discuss, it might be best to start with FAQs and do a short video on each answer. 

Brevity is key here as you don’t want to overwhelm viewers. Harness the power of social media by becoming a shareable source of reliable information. Practice your script a few times before going on camera and take the time to figure out which background you will use when positioning yourself as an expert. 

3) Local business reviews

To potential clients, a new neighborhood can be intimidating.  Show viewers the inside scoop on a community by answering the questions you would want to know as a potential buyer. For example, where would you like to eat? Which restaurant is the best and worthy of some viral attention? These types of topics will work to your advantage as people’s loyalty to local eateries are almost as strong as their devotion to local sports teams. This will start a conversation that others will want to join, which might boost your views. 

Local business owners will appreciate the free attention and may give you perks such as the best table when bringing in clients. Other videos can include community features such as great parks or landmarks. 

4) Local culture

Similar to local business videos, local culture videos are a way to showcase the community within a neighborhood. Show off popular gathering spots and those that are charming, such as parks or wishing wells. Ask clients that have just moved into the neighborhood for testimonials.

Every community has at least one event that makes it unique. Parades, celebrations or even a charity garage sale shows neighbors enjoying something that brings them together. Make each neighborhood personable and welcoming with engaging videos. 

5) Livestreaming

People want to see homes in real time and livestreaming is on trend. The advantage here is that it allows you to communicate in real time and engage a broad audience. Virtual open houses can be seen by those who are considering a move to the area. Go with the standard Facebook Live and make sure to create an event page for the property a few days beforehand to emphasize the address and time. 

Repeat the ihouse details multiple times throughout the broadcast. Other livestreaming options include broadcasting a Q & A session. Viewers can engage with you in real time, allowing you to nurture  new client connections.  

6) Listing 

Each listing is unique and should be treated as such. Now, you have the opportunity to share a home’s value with the world. Listing videos are a way to customize how a home is presented to the world. By taking viewers on a private tour, you can engage them with your expertise and welcoming personality. The starting point is figuring out which features of the home are stand-outs. It could be a great pool, Brazilian cherry wood floors or stunning views. 

Pick features that are so amazing they just have to be shared. Center the video on these features and get creative with background music or descriptions. Make your virtual tours must-sees. 

7) Brokerage/office promo 

Bragging, in the case of office promotional videos, will work in your favor. Agents and brokers now have a chance to talk about what makes them special. You can start by discussing the successes you have found in your specialty. Show off any awards you have won and explain their meaning. 

Brokers can discuss culture and why it works in the client’s favor. Be sure to go beyond the clichés – instead, take viewers on a short tour of the office and introduce them around as you would if they were right in front of you. 

8) “About Me”/agent profile

The human connection is the most powerful force on the planet. Harness the desire to know and be known with a video that shows a more personal side. This will not detract from your positioning as an expert as it will make you more human – more likable – to viewers.

 Share personal information that viewers can relate to. You can share that you love dogs or that fishing trips with your parent were a touchstone in your formative years. Once you have made yourself human, start sharing your credentials and why you are passionate about helping others find their ideal home. Stories are also a great way to connect. 

Talk about selling your first home or something industry-related that you are proud of. Future clients will feel as if you are now an acquaintance rather than a stranger. 

9) “How-to” 

A video that demonstrates your expertise is a great educational resource. Share hacks or advice to navigate topics that are complicated for those outside the industry. Ask friends and family for topics, or research which ones are trending on social media. People want to know things like how to pick an agent or how to read an inspection report. SEO counts here, so make sure “how-to” is included in the title. 

Another consideration is whether to have DIY project how-to videos. These can be targeted to Millennials who see DIY projects as an investment in their homes (include stat). Ask local experts to contribute for utmost credibility. To get more shares, show a unique way to do a common project.

10) Housing market updates 

The housing market can be a mystery to clients. Some reports are optimistic while others predict doom. It can be confusing to a person who is unable to decode sets of circumstances on a local or national scale. Clients can be clueless about terms like “buyer’s market” and “seller’s market.”

Whatever it all means, they want to be on the right side of the equation and want a friendly insider – you – to tell them if now is a good time to buy or sell. Give clients and potential leads the inside scoop on trends and rules. By consistently posting videos on the housing market, your clients may start thinking of you as their personal expert, which will lead to  great references. 

11) Humorous

 Explore funny options such as parodies of songs, sketches, and tours with amusing narration. The lesson here is to be careful with jokes and banter. However, if you’re naturally funny, there is a need for humor in the industry. The trick here is not to play the fool. You cannot expect to be taken seriously if you are purposely intending not to be. Make sure viewers know that you are in on the joke.

12) Instagram 

Social media is as much a part of real estate marketing as direct mailing. The key is harnessing the power of platforms and knowing how to reach your audience with curated videos. Instagram takes advantage of the inherently visual nature of real estate.

Content can include listings and open houses. Try to engage followers by giving an inside peek at your life or something personal you would not mind going live for a full day. 

13) Year-in-Review 

Let people know what a good year you have had by putting together a year-in-review video. Highlight your successes over the past 12 months. Include snippets of listings, open houses and events you have sponsored. 

Want a marketing plan that works? Text me at 786-208-0451. 

What is the Color of the Year for 2022?

For the first time, the Pantone Institute has created a brand-new color for the 2022 Color of the Year to define the next 12 months. The newborn hue, Very Peri, is a bright yet complex violet with electric red undertones. Members of the global color authority wanted it to evoke consistent energy and thrills. Some have started calling it the happiest periwinkle around. 

How to pair Very Peri with other colors

The saturated hue is an emotional one. It is perfect as an accent color. Pair with neutrals like taupes or creams. Add a little drama with navy or brown as darker neutrals. Consider using it on pillows, wallpaper or as the main color source in artwork. 

Play around with a multitude of textures, including velvet, leather or grasscloth. The striking hue should inspire bold and dynamic expressions that seek to establish creative communities. 

How to use Very Peri in the bedroom 

Your bedroom should be your sleep sanctuary. If you haven’t done so already, remove all devices and experience deeper quality sleep. Create a sleep-inducing scene with scented candles in Very Peri. Throw on some periwinkle bed sheets or blankets to contrast with white walls.  

How to use Very Peri in the living room

Invest in some big or small art pieces in Very Peri, or paint the walls to wake up a room. You could even add some vases or lampshades for a subtler effect. Put them in darker corners for unexpected vibrance. 

How to use Very Peri in your work area

Most work and study areas use darker tones to convey seriousness. You don’t need to lose all creativity when working – consider adding some joie de vivre with Very Peri curtains. Clock watching can be positive with a stunning vintage wall clock. 

How to use Very Peri in the dining room

Half the fun of hosting is presenting your culinary creations. Jazz up surroundings with Very Peri tablecloths. Pair with darling serviettes, leaving white napkins in the cabinet. 

Besides ensuring your dining room is spick and span, you can enhance the look by draping the dining table with a Very Peri-coloured tablecloth.

Gear up to surprise your guests with cute serviettes in this gorgeous shade. Ditch the regular white napkins and choose to go the Very Peri way.

How to use Very Peri in the kitchen 

Americans are moving away from all-white kitchens. If you are not ready to make that type of commitment, buy some crockery in Very Peri. Set the table with gold cutlery for a stunning aesthetic. 

How to use Very Peri in the bathroom

Add some pizzazz to your bathroom. Replace hand towels with those in Very Peri. Transform a compact space with a periwinkle shower curtain for a more relaxing vibe. 

Need help with your copy and content? Text 786-208-0451 to schedule a discovery so you can keep your pipeline full. 

How to Sell a Lakefront Property

A lake house provides the perfect balance of fun and quiet. As a real estate agent who may know every cove by road or water, you know these luxe homes are highly coveted by a certain type of buyer. However, a one-size-fits-all approach will not close the deal. 

Potential buyers may want to go fishing or take the boat out every day.  They may be imagining drinking their morning coffee on the deck. You already know more or less what they are envisioning so use that to design a sales plan. 

Let’s explore how to create a lifestyle vision for your ideal buyer. 

What to clean 

Clear everything and anything that is blocking the path to the dock and shoreline. That means trash, fishing lines, discarded floats and plastic bags. 

Windows should sparkle to show off picturesque views of the lake. 

Make all windows sparkle. And don’t forget the boathouse, garages and storage constructions need to be pristine. 

Have a patio set up and some lounge chairs to show off lakeside living. Grills and a jet ski or canoe visible around the dock will let the buyer pool see how much fun they can have. 

Questions to ask: 

What is the orientation of the house? 

Where the sun rises and sets has a tremendous impact on the activities of the home. The deck may need sun protection. Winds may impact the heating of the home. 

Which type of lake is it? 

Include whether the lake has a rocky, sandy or muddy bottom. Talk about how busy the lake is during each season and which recreational activities are popular. Some lakes are perfect for kayaking, boating, fishing, diving, water fowl hunting and water skiing. 

Talk about mosquito season and the local wildlife. Discuss the variation in water levels based on the season and whether duckweed is a problem. Let the buyer pool know if there are local ordinances around noise or zoning. 

Is there a lake association?

A homeowner’s association or other organization may be in charge of the lake. Do some research into which situations they handle and their reputation. They may have some restrictions that need to be relayed. Most of the time, an association is a good thing. 

Will the property be used for a vacation home or primary residence? 

The top rule of real estate is to know your buyer pool. Cater marketing to their differing needs. Vacationers may not need to know the lake’s weather patterns, but year-round residents do. 

Check that the property’s HVAC and plumbing are winterized. 

How secluded is the property? 

Grocery stores, medical care, highways and dining options can be a few miles or hours away depending on the lake’s location. Some buyers may thrive in isolation while others couldn’t bear it. 

The right marketing plan helps you stand out in the luxe home niches. Keep your pipeline full and convert leads with high-end, quality copy and content. Call me at 786-208-0451 to dominate the luxe niche today.  

Create a Master Marketing Plan

Use a written marketing plan to get direction, motivation and goals to take your career and reputation to the next level.

Define objectives

Attainable goals are building blocks for success. Declare your vision for yourself as an agent, such as being the top producer in the area, entering a certain niche or earning a specific amount of money. Get more specific, such as getting 25 listings in the next year or receiving referrals from 40 percent of your network of past clients and industry professionals. 

Establish the target market

The next step is to determine your target market. The audience might be a certain age, such as Gen X buyers or retirees. Target a specific income bracket, such as first-time home buyers or luxury property buyers and sellers. Or explore the niche of non-commuters in various professions who might want to live in the area to be close to work. 

Focus on a niche geographic area. Research so you can be ready to offer insights about the housing market, financing and other areas of interest.

Know what makes you stand out

Dive deep into the market and competing agencies. Understand your competitors better by defining your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWAT). Write a mission statement based on your business value, philosophy and uniqueness. 

Generate a list of your qualifications and assets, such as knowledge about a specific niche, participation in a community or professional group, and educational accomplishments. Incorporate them into your marketing efforts. Speak in a way that resonates with your target audience.

Choose a message and media

Offer ideas, solutions, and valuable information based on your niche’s top two needs and considerations, such as security and a luxury lifestyle. Find out where they come to gather information, such as social media sites, local publications, educational sessions at local groups, and more. 

Develop marketing campaigns using these media choices. Include contact information with a link to your website and blog. Choose a consistent day to publish blog articles and post on social media. Include videos, market updates, the latest listings, and community happenings that might interest your target group.

Set a schedule and budget

Transform leads into clients with consistency. Schedule two or three specific marketing campaigns, such as email, text messages, and posting and sharing blog articles. Consistency makes your personal brand recognizable. Include a call to action so people know what to do. Figure out a marketing budget and its details. 

For example, busy agents might want to outsource blog article writing to me so they can always have great content ready to go for the next few months. 

Measure the progress

Measure the results of each marketing strategy by using letter codes to track mailings, for example. Ask callers how they found out about you. Create a landing page for online marketing efforts. If a strategy doesn’t work, stop spending money on it. Redirect your efforts to a different method, such as distributing brochures to local businesses or speaking at seminars and events.

Control the plan

You must exercise control over the marketing plan. Changing market conditions may impact your target market and how to reach out to potential customers. Be flexible and stay in control of the plan at all times. Although the plan is designed to provide discipline to achieve or exceed your goals, flexibility is also crucial to staying successful in a constantly evolving industry.

Write the guidebook to your career’s future. Always be open to finetuning your plan and approach. Keep track of your results and make periodic updates/upgrades to claim more sales and referrals. 

As the former copywriter for Better Homes and Gardens®Real Estate, I know how to make your marketing plan work for you. Call me at 786-208-0451 so we can get started today!