How to Real Estate In Winter

By Tara L. Christianson on Feb 11, 2019 9:48:33 AM

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” While technically it’s the United States Postal Service’s motto, it could just as easily apply to real estate agents, including during the extreme chill of a polar vortex. We’ve previously written about how to real estate in bad weather, where we talked about tips like checking in on clients and checking on signs. While information like this also applies to winter, there are a few other tips to consider that are winter-specific.

Ensure Access to Your Properties

Winter weather can bring more complications for access, including ice and snow. Ruthan O’Toole, a CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty Locust Grove agent, says she takes into consideration access concerns for both the public and other agents when there’s inclement weather. Having a plan for keeping walkways and driveways (or other parking spaces) clear and open, whether it be from the sellers or an agreement with third-party vendors, can provide additional peace of mind for both the sellers and the selling agent. Additionally, keeping specific winter weather tools on hand, like shovels, sand, and salt, is good for those times when wintry weather sneaks up on you.

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Who Needs Marie Kondo with These Real Estate Agents Around? (Part 2)

By Tara L. Christianson on Feb 1, 2019 12:34:39 PM

Since "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" premiered on Netflix, people around the country have been embracing the idea of decluttering. Last week, we brought you several helpful tips from our agents about tidying up when your house is on the market. This week, we're bringing you even more ideas! Perhaps they'll inspire you this weekend, whether you're prepping your house to sell, or just want to enjoy a neater space.

When Michelle Sanoske, an agent in our Reston office gets a listing, she doesn't waste any time getting the home ready for potential buyers.

“First, I get my clients to agree to a Salvation Army and/or junk removal date. Then, I offer my help to start the process. ‘Time is money’ is a very effective mantra (because it's true)! Once this is done and the house is staged, I ask my clients to use one specific bathroom and keep the house orderly because it will show better and sell quicker. Another good mantra to remember during this process? ‘No pain, no gain!’”

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Why You Shouldn't Wait Until Spring to List a Home

By Tara L. Christianson on Dec 31, 2018 10:40:24 AM

Traditionally, people think the real estate market starts in the spring of every year. However, savvy sellers know that listing in the winter ‘off-season’ can prove to be beneficial. Don’t believe us? Here’s what our CENTURY 21 Redwood agents had to say about why you should be listing your home right now.

“Of course, winter or off-season listing is beneficial to willing sellers!

There is less competition (fewer homes for buyers to select from) with fewer homes on the market that time of year AND buyers who are out in the marketplace are more seriously motivated to locate their next home & commit to a closing date.

Agents typically are carrying less inventory so have more personalized time for marketing. Vendors are also less busy, so scheduling photo shoots, repairs, remodeling is more flexible and compatible with seller plans.”

Ruthan O’Toole, Agent, C21 Redwood Locust Grove

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How to Transform from a Casual to a Committed Real Estate Agent

By Tara L. Christianson on Dec 28, 2018 11:13:00 AM

Once you’ve been in the real estate industry for six months or more, you’re going to be faced with a decision: Are you serious about this real estate business? It can be easy to leave your days and weeks unstructured and to only work with the clients who fall in your lap but, especially in tougher markets, there comes a time when that won’t be enough to sustain your real estate career.

We reached out to CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty Associate Broker and Success Coach Elsa Rake for her tips on how a newer real estate agent can transition from being a casual real estate agent to a committed real estate agent.

It’s All in Your Mind(set)

The first thing that has to happen, she says, is that you have to change your mindset. “You need to change how you view real estate, from looking at it as a part-time job or hobby to considering it as an actual business and career. Until that changes, typically an agent won’t be successful.

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How to Send a More Effective Email in 2019

By Tara L. Christianson on Dec 24, 2018 10:27:00 AM

Do your real estate business plans for 2019 include starting or continuing to send email newsletters and email campaigns? Do you know how you’ll cut through the noise, so your message gets read? Email marketing isn’t dead; it just isn’t done as well as it could be. Send a more effective email in 2019 using the following tips:

It Starts with the Email Subject Line

Many real estate newsletters use subject lines that say something like, “Real Estate Update for January 2019” or “Newsletter from X Property.” Sounds exciting, right?

One of the ways you can start to increase the chances of people opening your email is by writing a more interesting subject line. Don’t automatically use the default subject of your usual contact management program. Instead, think of something fun or descriptive that could pique someone’s interest. For instance, you can include someone’s name in the subject line, use “you” in the subject line, or even use an emoji or two.

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How to Thrive in a Changing Real Estate Market

By Tara L. Christianson on Dec 21, 2018 9:20:00 AM

When the real estate market starts to change and become slower, the initial reaction of many people is to panic. Newer real estate agents may be tempted to join them, while experienced agents know there are ways to tackle this new market without losing momentum in their businesses. As C21 Redwood Realty Arlington agent Gary Hughes shares, “Once you decide you will be one of the survivors, you can move forward eager to manage the change and embrace new experiences.”

Where to start? Here are some tips to help you thrive in your next changing real estate market:

Go Back to Basics

One of Coach Tom Ferry’s top tips for confronting a changing market is to diversify your lead generation strategy. You’ll have to work harder to attract buyers and sellers from a variety of sources, and you may even have to go back to certain basics of real estate like working For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) and expired listings. Diversifying also applies to new price points. Rethink the price point you work in and review whether you may want to explore other price points as well.

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Does the Chandelier Convey? Fixtures and Personal Property

By Tara L. Christianson on Nov 14, 2018 1:28:57 PM


Your buyers are getting ready to move in after a seller post-settlement occupancy, and you get a panicked call. The sellers removed the attached bookshelves in the living room and a few other built-ins that were scattered around the house. They also took the riding mower out of the backyard shed. What happens next?

First, the resulting confusion could have been prevented if the sellers had been adequately advised before they moved out. Sharon Ferguson, a CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty agent from Fredericksburg, says she’s never had a scenario like this happen in her 10 years of real estate. “That's due, in part, to my advice to sellers to remove and/or replace items that the sellers wish to take with them BEFORE the house goes Active. If they can't do that for any reason, I advise them to hang tags on the items that read "Does Not Convey." If the item is large, such as a tractor or riding lawnmower, I put in the remarks section of the listing that it either conveys, or does not, or is negotiable...whatever the case may be. Doing things this way heads off a lot of potential problems.” Locust Grove agent Ruthan O’Toole agrees that it’s best to have any replacement for a fixture, like a light fixture, visually in place before the home goes on the market: “It is smart to have the replacement fixture visually apparent for buyer to see what will be in the place of the chandelier or personal fixture not conveying.”

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3 Ways You Can Manage Real Estate Buyer Expectations

By Tara L. Christianson on Oct 26, 2018 10:34:10 AM

Who loves surprises? Probably a number of us, when they’re pleasant surprises. One of the places where you arguably aren’t such a fan of surprises, however, would be during a real estate transaction, especially if you’re a buyer. In our role as real estate agents, it’s essential to provide guidance and education to buyers to help them through their journey. We asked our CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty agents about how they manage their buyer clients’ expectations, and here’s what they had to share.

Manage Buyer Expectations from the Start

“Managing buyer's expectations starts with setting the right expectations from the start,” says C21 Redwood Gaithersburg agent Jeff Ganz. “This is done with an initial buyer consultation that covers all aspects of the transaction. When done properly, a buyer should know what to expect throughout the process as well as what the expectation is from all parties and what potential pitfalls there might be.”

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What Does a Day in the Life of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent Look Like?

By Tara L. Christianson on Oct 24, 2018 2:23:00 PM

Once you become a top-producing real estate agent, certain things should come as second nature to you. Don’t be mistaken, though. You still have to work hard and work smart, and a lot of that boils down to keeping a schedule. America's #1 Real Estate Coach and mentor to CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty agents Tom Ferry likes to say, “Routine is the sign of an ambitious individual.”

He’s written a blueprint for what a top-producing agent’s week should look like. While he has some basic rules – like starting each day knowing what your goal is and time-blocking your entire day out on your schedule – he has also broken the day down. Here’s a snapshot of what part of a day for a top-producing agent could look like:

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3 Ways to Protect Your Online Identity and Your Clients' Information

By Tara L. Christianson on Oct 12, 2018 11:05:21 AM

We get the notifications and hear it on the news every day – another website has been hacked and sensitive information, like usernames and passwords, has been compromised. When part of your business plan involves having a credible online presence, these kinds of disruptions can be detrimental to any real estate agent. Below, we’ll cover three basic steps you can take to start to help protect your online identity and keep information more secure.

Enable 2-Step Verification

You may be familiar with this concept already, and it’s one of the simplest steps any real estate agent can take to protect online accounts, including email. What is 2-step verification? Typically, when you go to login to your email account or any site online (like Facebook), you enter in your username or email address and your password, and you have access. Enabling 2-step verification, also known as two-factor authentication, on that account adds in another step. Once you’ve entered that username or email address and password, you’ll usually be sent a code to your phone via text message, voice call, or mobile app. (Sometimes, there’s a security key you can insert into your computer’s USB port.) What this does is protecting against the occasion when someone may have access to your password, but doesn’t have access to your other devices. Adding this extra layer to your most essential sites adds a level of security that’s become increasingly necessary in this day and age.

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