About Me

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REALTOR® with Prudential New Jersey Properties, Moretti Division, in South Plainfield, NJ. Contact me for assistance with selling or buying properties in New Jersey! President of Robin Taylor Roth Enterprises, LLC - Training, consulting, and social media for small businesses. Living in New Jersey and loving it. Proximity to Manhattan opens the world to us.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What constitutes a "good" exterior home photo?

When you get a new listing, often the only photo you can include in the MLS is a shot of the exterior of the property.  In fact, you should have that already, and have built it into your listing presentation!

So, you want to make sure that that photo presents the property in the most appealing way possible.  How can you do that?

It's a good thing to choose a partially cloudy day, so that the property is lit, but your camera lens is not blinded.  Walk around the front of the house, to determine which viewpoint offers the most attractive view of the property.  Often, an oblique view, rather than a front view, will make the house look larger, and can highlight a pleasing feature not clearly visible from the front of the house.

Naturally, avoiding "clutter" is important.  With your Seller's permission, move garbage cans out of the frame and pick up any newspapers, while you take your photo.  Move them back into place - neatly! - afterward.  If you live in the North and it's Winter, make sure the walks and driveway have been neatly plowed, before you take that picture!

Avoiding including much of the neighbors' houses is important, too - especially if they are not well maintained.  You want prospective Buyers to focus on the property you've listed, not on the adjacent houses.  You can sometimes eliminate peripheral property elements by shifting your view or physical position left or right, or by moving closer to your listed property.

Take more than one shot, and review your photos before you post one.  You'll be surprised what you did not see, at the time!

If all else fails, you may be able to use a photo-editing program, like Photoshop® Elements, to crop out unwanted items at the edges of the photo.  Be sure to maintain the same aspect ratio, however, as MLS systems expect photos to be in standard format.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sometimes, Your Client's Home Isn't Fit to Be Seen

Bad Photos

The gang at "This Is Why Your House Won't Sell" have a wonderful time collecting truly horrid photos from real estate listings.  It always makes me feel better, knowing that others take much worse photos than I do!

I have often had the experience of seeing entirely different things in the photo, than I saw in the viewfinder.  Some examples:
  • a full-body reflection in a glass storm door (I kid you not!)
  • an elbow in the mirror of a tiny powder room
  • a foot on a lovely ceramic tile floor.
That's why you should always review your digital photos before you leave the photo session:  you may have to reshoot some.  In fact, I usually review the photos, room by room.  That takes less time, overall.

Poor Staging

A much greater problem is houses that are simply not fit to be seen by anyone other than the inhabitants.  It is terribly hard to find usable images, in houses like that.

Obviously, your first line of attack must be to try to convince the Seller to clean up, throw out, and store all of the extra stuff.  A wall of cartons stacked neatly in the basement is preferable to having excess belongings all over the house.  (You might send them to my relevant blog post.)

If that doesn't work, take photos of only those parts of the exterior and interior that are acceptable, and refuse to take additional photos until the various rooms and the yard are improved.  Explain that Internet-savvy buyers believe that a house with few photos, or with just one photo of the outside, are assumed to be in "questionable" condition, and are, therefore, often dismissed as candidates for purchase.

Do you have other ways of encouraging Sellers to improve the condition of their houses?  If so, please share them in the Comments area.  Thanks!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blogging About the Good News in Your Marketplace

Whatever their favorite source of news (newspapers, television, or the Internet) consumers are inundated with bad news:  earthquakes, stock crashes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis, job losses, hurricanes, bank closures, forest fires, building collapses, epidemics, budget cuts, and on and on.  Some days, it's hard for us to keep smiling!

So, let your blog be a respite from all of the dire news that consumers see everywhere else.  Instead, focus on the good that is happening in your marketplace.

Certainly, you want to blog about real estate:  your featured listings, improvements in market conditions, low interest rates, helpful government programs, and so on.  But also, blog about the accomplishments of organizations (did the little league team win, this week?), businesses (is someone celebrating 10 years serving your community?), and groups (are some teenagers raising money for a selfless cause?) that are operating within your marketplace.  Cheer their successes!

Where can you find this good news?  Three sources are available to anyone:
  1. Keep your eyes open:  there are signs (literally), everywhere - town billboards, store signs, posters on telephone poles, notices on library and supermarket bulletin boards.  Make a note of who is doing what, and blog about it.
  2. Read your local newspaper as soon as it comes out.  Highlight and blog about the good news items you find there.
  3. Monitor your town's Internet site for news and announcements, and help them spread the word.
As the old Harlen and Mercer song says, "Ac-cen-tu-ate the positive, e-li-mi-nate the negative, hold on to the af-firm-a-tive. Don't mess with Mr In-Between." (1944).  Your blog can become the go-to place for good news about your community and marketplace.

And don't forget to share your blog posts, via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Posterous, and other social media sites.  That will draw more readers.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Frequent Touch: How Often Is That?

When you were taking your early real estate training, you learned about the importance of "frequent touch" - contacting members of your Sphere of Influence or your "farm" regularly, would ensure that your name would be "top of mind," whenever those people were ready to begin buying or selling a home.

A number of vendors would be delighted to sell you their ready-made "frequent touch" prospecting programs. Such programs usually consist of cards, newsletters, and a calendar. When you examine the details, you learn that you can buy several levels of program: monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly.

Each level of program offers a different number of "touches" each year - 4, 6, or 12. If the program is to be effective, isn't there a minimum number below which you should not fall? Or a maximum number you need not exceed?

The magic number depends on the individual, but many experts recommend 5 to 7 contacts each year. In the case of the ready-made prospecting programs, the middle ground - alternate months - should work well.

However, you should not rely solely on ready-made programs. They're informative, but rather impersonal. So, plan your own prospecting program to include face-to-face contact, phone calls, and e-mails. You could, then, select the least expensive ready-made program (just to give your prospecting some consistency), and supplement that with your own personal contact, to achieve the desired number of contacts each year.