What an intense week. A friend referred a friend who was moving into town, and I was excited because I really like “relos.” I have so far moved people from Iowa City, Cincinnati and Boca Raton — I enjoy showing off my city and I feel like that sense of pride really comes through.
So the relo — let’s call her Catherine — steps off the train at 10 a.m. and goes home at 7 p.m. the next day with a place to live. That was such a high — there is nothing as fun as a fast deal, nothing (well, maybe a big multimillion-dollar deal is as fun, I’ll let you know whenever that finally happens).
Unfortunately it was a rental because there was no way I was going to be able to sell Catherine something before her job starts in a month, but I got some very intense bonding time in with her, and I showed her a bunch of neighborhoods before leasing something to her in the area that I thought was perfect. So the eventual sale should be fairly easy, just a matter of waiting for the right house (this is in a non-apartment-y neighborhood, unusual for me) to come up.
Plus it meant another check hit the business account. I am still paying off debts from my first crazy year of trying to “flip,” but every month the credit card balance goes down a little bit and I breathe a little easier.
I have another relo coming in this weekend — a London buyer — so we’ll see if I do as good a job!
As a reward, I told myself today that I would lie on the sofa (this is one of the parts of this job that I haven’t figured out, when do you NOT work?). I was all set for a day of intense relaxation with Oprah when I saw a crazy news story on abcnews.com: Coldwell Banker has put a house up for sale on Second Life.
For those of you who don’t know Second Life, it is one of these virtual universes that gameplayers go to and build communities in — kind of like Sim City with other people.
Coldwell Banker has been there before, selling virtual real estate, but this time they decided to put a real-world house for sale there, a Seattle-area home priced at $3 million.
So on the one hand, it seems like this is just a publicity stunt, but on the other hand, my reporter instincts said “story.” I ended up doing a pretty long post on my blog saying, “Hey, this real estate firm had a real house that they decided to represent virtually, what did they do?”
I had a notion it would tell sellers some things about staging.
For example: in virtual world, the landscaping in the front yard is shorter, and the shrubbery is moved away from the house. Also, the columns and the fireplace surround in the living room are a slightly darker color, to give the room a sense of depth.
I went on and on about this (you can check out the whole thing at www.frontporchllc.com if you want every single detail and tip), but it was fun to do a blog post that was a little more off the news and a little less “here’s what your closing costs will be.”
I truly believe potential clients want both information and entertainment, but I think sometimes we’re trying so hard to talk about ourselves in our blogs that we forget that.
Of course it’s a cycle, it’s easier to be client-focused when you have money in your pocket, and when you are client-focused then often the money follows.
I’ll let you know next week how the relo went.
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of “Diary of a Real Estate Rookie.”