Like A Background For A Paxil Ad?

WTF74 One of my biggest pet peeves about real estate photos, are exterior shots taken in bad weather. I’ve seen foreboding clouds, rain, snow, hail and in one case what appeared to be an actual tornado carefully hidden behind the house. I kid you not.

This is great stuff if you’re a clothing company selling sub-zero weather proof gear to deep sea fishermen, if that’s the goal I say pour it on baby! Wait for the worst day possible. I’m talking a wall of wind and water pelting everything, get Clint Eastwood dressed up in your special raincoat and shoot him gritting his teeth as you “accidentally” try and drown him. Awesome stuff, we’ll sell a million of them.

However bad weather is like death to real estate shooting. Crappy day photos just send a message of “well at least it’s better than being in a tent”. They’re like a background photo for something like a Paxil advert, or say an avoiding foreclosure debt counseling service.

Real Estate Photography for Home Sellers

I’m going to touch on this theme again and again over the coming months… real estate photography is about creating a positive emotion in the buyer. The photos do not need to be technically perfect, but we do want a basic response of “oooh nice house” in the buyer. Real estate purchases for anyone except the most hardened investor are highly emotional, and positive emotion helps sell homes.

The simplest shortcut to getting that “oooh nice house” response for exterior shots is sunshine. Pure natural feel good sunshine simply can’t be faked. In other words, you have to wait until you get a nice day to shoot the exterior photos. Now you may have to go with what you can get in the first couple days of your listing, but nothing is stopping you from going back to the house and re-shooting the front on a nice day.

It’s well worth doing this. Yucky weather equals yucky photo, equals yucky house, equals no commission check for you.

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Open Houses: Just For Suckers

I’ve defended Open Houses for a while now, but I’ve swung about to Jonathan Dalton’s point of view on this one. (Enjoy your victory Jonathan.)

Open Houses are terrible at selling homes. That’s why established agents take the day off and get newbie agents to do their open houses for them.

It just seems to be a straight math problem. I think NAR figures had 4% of all homes sold from open houses. If each house had 3-4 open house events, then it seems like any individual open house has around 1% shot at a sale.

So as an agent hoping to actually sell the house, I’d in theory need to do an open house every week for almost two full years to get up to a 100% shot of selling a single house.

Each open house takes about 5 hours with printing up flyers, driving out there, plonking down signs, standing around in the open house, collecting signs and driving back home. So 5 hours x 100 open houses = 500 hours to get one sale. Do the mental math for the standard commission in your area divided by 500 hours and then pour yourself a stiff drink. For me it pays less than minimum wage and more than if I was in prison.

Though prison comes with health benefits, so it’s kind of a wash. Meanwhile actual showings probably have a 5-10% conversion ratio to actual offers on the house.

Open Houses are for Sellers!

Newbie Open Houses are held to shut the seller up, and to have the agent try and pick up buyers for other houses. End of story. This is specially true if another agent is covering the open house for the listing agent. There is a mere 1% shot at a hope to get a buyer for the house, and there is at least half a chance the buyer already has an agent. In that case, even if it sells from the open house, the newbie agent covering in won’t see a dime from the transaction.

Admitting that the only real reason to waste a Sunday doing an open house is to try and snap up some new buyers – the other issue is that usually next to no people actually show up to open houses without heavily investing in marketing of the open house. Those postcards, mailers and newspaper ads etc all ad up. The question is whether or not advertising dollars spent this way are as good as attracting buyers as advertising dollars spent in other ways. Farming cards, painting your car like a billboard, slipping business cards in your kids lunchbox to give to friends at school etc.

Personally I think it doesn’t add up to a good investment of time and money anymore.

Posted in The New Real Estate Agent Trap | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

10 Steps to Creating Space In Just One Week

Don’t know where to begin to declutter your house ready for photos and showings? Lets assume it’s pretty darn bad and you’re really in dire straits on the mess front. No more excuses because this time serious money is riding on you cleaning up and making the house shine.

Step One – Don’t think of it as de cluttering, think of it as creating space. De cluttering can have no end and can turn into a negative energy effect. Creating space is a more positive goal. Shout to Jessica Duquette for this point.

Step Two – Don’t assign blame to anyone, including yourself, for the mess. Just accept that this is the situation you find yourself in. The choice to either to fix it, or complain about it. Complaining about it hasn’t been working very well, so lets try fixing it. No one is the slob, no one is the victim. Slobs make a mess, victims attract more victimization. See how it can be a vicious cycle?

Making Home Declutter Easy!

Post-it-notes6Step Three – Call the local newspaper and order an ad for a garage sale. Call a dumpster company and order a dumpster to arrive the day after the garage sale. Order cardboard boxes for packing.

Step Four – Step Three isn’t skippable. I’m NOT kidding about ordering an ad and a dumpster. The ad is going to force you into action and once you order it you can’t change your mind about it. You better have stuff to sell for the garage sale.

Step Five – Each day pick a new room and go through everything in it and decide whether you will either;

Post-it-notes2Trash It – It’s completely worthless.

Cash It – Someone might find it useful and pay for it.

Stash It – You like it and just need somewhere to store it.

Stage everything for the garage sale somewhere, or if their is no room to do that, go through the entire house with a pad of yellow Post-It notes and slap a Post-It note on everything thats going to be attempted to be sold. Then the morning of the garage sale have your friends come over and just grab everything with a Post-It note on it and haul it outside.

Have a Garage Sale to get rid of stuff

Step Six – Have your garage sale. Just leave everything on the lawn that didn’t sell. Magically the next morning half that stuff on the lawn will be gone.

Post-it-notes1Step Seven – The dumpster comes. Fill the dumpster with everything left on the lawn. Then haul everything else that is “Trash It” into the dumpster. You can use the Post-It note trick and call for friends to help haul the trash away.

Step Eight – Call for dumpster pick up. Call for a second dumpster if you need it. Repeat as required. Ask for a discount or something.

Step Nine – Pack your “Stash It” items in the cardboard boxes. You can do this packing through the entire event, but simply focusing on one theme at a time can be helpful. Call for a 1 800 Pack Rat or similar (go through Home Efficient if you’re a Prudential Connecticut Realty client) and store all your precious excess stuff out of the house for the showings and moving.

Tip – You won’t ever fit into those clothes again. Donate them.

Post-it-notes3Step Ten – Clean the house. Buy some fruit for a display on the dining room table. Have the photos taken of the house. Act like it was no big deal. Glow in the moment of victory over your stuff.

You’ll feel so much better I assure you.

Posted in Deeper Thoughts | Tagged , | 1 Comment