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March 26, 2017

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Animals in Homes

realtor.org Commercial Headlines - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 04:00

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The information in this infographic is from the Remodeling Impact: Animals in Homes report.

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Comment on View the Same Property Staged 3 Different Ways by Batman

Styled, Staged & Sold - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 20:46

I would love to see a designer re-create a neutral room three different ways based on the preferences of three couples

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Christine Elsasser

Styled, Staged & Sold - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 11:17

While I agree with some of your comments (mostly the part about you get what you pay for) I think you’re way to easily “offended”. Staging sets a tone in a house. The comfy faux fur pillows, throws, and maybe rugs are to exude the feeling of comfort and coziness. I would never use dead animal parts (as you suggested), nor have I ever seen dead animal parts in my 20 years of staging. The wine thing? That’s ridiculous. There are way more important things to worry about when selling a home.

Creating Shareable Real Estate Graphics

YPN Lounge - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 09:30

Kyle Hiscock

By Kyle Hiscock

When people ask me what I do for a living, the easiest response is to say I’m a real estate agent. If I really wanted to get into great detail, the answer would be something along the lines of, “I’m a digital marketing company that happens to help buyers and sellers with their real estate needs.”

With more than six years of experience as a REALTOR® in Irondequoit, N.Y., I’ve watched firsthand how the real estate industry has changed significantly over the past several years. When I first started selling real estate, there was still a fair amount of value in using print media, direct mailing pieces, and other traditional advertising strategies.

Fast forward to 2017; I won’t be the first real estate agent to tell you that marketing has changed significantly. Nowadays, buyers, sellers, and other real estate professionals are heading to the internet to get their questions answered. It’s critical that when these questions are being asked, you’re the one who’s answering them.

Whether you’re found through search or through social media, you have one opportunity to “WOW” consumers or other real estate professionals and leave a great lasting impression.

So as you’re creating helpful content, what should you be focusing on? What is one of the best ways to leave a great lasting impression on buyers, sellers, or other real estate professionals?  Simple…awesome graphics.

You want to be creating interesting, useful, and eye-catching real estate graphics that will actually get shared on social media.

First, think about what type of graphics work well on certain platforms. Here are some easy tips for getting started.

Why Do Certain Graphics Get Shared?

As a digital marketer, I’m constantly reviewing the content I’m putting out there and looking at how it’s performing. One of the best indicators is the total number of shares a piece of content receives.  If an article I write has hundreds of shares on Pinterest, I know the graphics were a success!

Recently I wrote an article on how to use Pinterest for real estate.  I included in this article a detailed infographic and a few additional graphics.  The graphics have performed extremely well, why?

Simple, because the graphics were memorable!  Graphics (and content) are shared on social media by people because they found the information helpful or thought others would enjoy as well.  Anytime you create a memorable graphic in an article, chances are, it’s going to get shared.

I recommend trying to create graphics that’ll make people laugh, fit the topic of your content, and last but not least, are attractive and well put together!

What Type Of Graphics Should You Use On Social Media?

Graphics are typically not a one-size-fits-all marketing medium. The social media network where you’re planning to share your content should play a big role in the type of graphics you’ll want to create.  If you plan on sharing your content on several different social networks, you may want to consider creating a few different types of graphics.

  1. Pinterest – The best graphics for Pinterest are long graphics. Graphics that perform well on Pinterest are at least 1,200 pixels long.  Generally, the longer the better. A detailed infographic can sometimes be as long as 3,000 pixels or more. As for width, typically I aim for my graphics to be somewhere around 800 pixels for Pinterest.
  2. Facebook – On Facebook, the best graphics are wider than their length. Long graphics don’t share as well onto Facebook as they tend to get cut off in the news feed. Typically, you’ll want to shoot for graphics that are no longer than 800 pixels long.
  3. Twitter – There are many varying opinions whether graphics make a difference on Tweets. I’m a believer that including graphics in your Tweets can only help engagement. On Twitter, like Facebook, you’ll want to aim for wider graphics. I find that graphics that are 500 pixels or less in length share better on Twitter than long, vertical graphics.
  4. Google+ – On Google+, graphics that are no longer than 1,200 pixels long will share well. Infographics don’t look very good when shared into Google+ because they’re typically reduced to fit a post.

To see a real life example of the different type of graphics, check out this comprehensive guide I wrote on the steps to buying a house. You’ll notice throughout the article there are few different sized graphics. Take a look at one example infographic on the right.

How Do You Create Awesome Graphics?

Try, try, and try again!  The best way to learn how to create awesome graphics that share well on a variety of social networks is to keep trying and experimenting. The first graphic you make for your Facebook post will be much worse than your fiftieth, that I promise. As you continue to try new things and sizes for your graphics, you’re going to learn quickly which type gets the most engagement from your audience.

I use Canva to create my graphics. Canva is a fantastic website that allows you to create free graphics and offers images and stock art that you can purchase for as little as $1 per image. Canva is very user-friendly and also allows you to pick the dimensions of your graphics.

As you’re creating graphics, make sure you keep in mind the rules of using stock images and the copyright laws. While there are a few websites out there that offer free graphics, I personally prefer paying a small amount per image to keep myself out of trouble.

Kyle Hiscock is a Rochester, N.Y. real estate agent with RE/MAX Realty Group. He is the founder and owner of his website, Rochester Real Estate Blog, where he frequently publishes helpful real estate related content. Connect with Kyle on Twitter @KyleHiscockRE, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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Sales Doesn’t Equal Service

Weekly Book Scan - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 10:21

At the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla. last month, I had the chance to sit down with two authors who know a ton about generating customer loyalty. One was Jason Forrest, a sales trainer and coach whom I’ve known as a regular contributor to REALTOR® Magazine over the years. He introduced me to Paul Cardis, founder of Avid Ratings, a reputation management and customer service firm for the homebuilding industry. The two co-authored a new book, Service Certainty: The Secret to Customer Loyalty (MJS Press; Dec. 15th, 2016). Here’s an edited transcript of the interview.

Credit: Ryan McGuire, Bells Design

Tell me how the idea for this book came about.

Jason: The idea came about just like any book comes from the need to solve a problem. My primary focus was on the sales side and helping homebuilders increase their sales. The problem was, we found that by increasing their sales, their customer satisfaction will go down.

Huh, really? I guess that makes sense, though it’s certainly an unintended consequence!

Jason: Yeah, definitely. I started formulating these ideas about why this might be happening, but I didn’t actually know if they were evidence-based. So since Paul is the industry expert and the wizard behind the curtain when it comes to the research, I really wanted to work with him on this problem. I would basically run my ideas by him and say, “Hey, this is what I believe will improve customer satisfaction. Do you believe this would work too?” We worked through that and then ended up coming up with 15 best practices to make it happen and increase customer satisfaction, service certainty, and customer loyalty.

Paul: Avid’s been working with builders for 25 years measuring customer satisfaction and customer experience, and Jason here has been an amazing leader in helping our clients to change their cultures improve so it was really just a natural fit to put these two worlds together and come away with a more practical book. With more than 30,000 books on customer service out there today, we were going into very red ocean. But one point that we both agreed upon was that making customers happy in an imperfect world hadn’t been written about. And in our business in real estate and homebuilding, let’s face it: We deal with a lot of imperfections in the process, and there really wasn’t a book that was realistic. Jason and I put something together here that I think does that.

Yeah, a lot of the books I’ve read talk about how to improve customer service in a perfect world. But they often lack best practices for real-life situations.

Jason: That’s what is so great about the book. So I’m a sales guy, and the normal trend is salespeople don’t like service. Like, if you’re really great at sales you think, “I want to sell you something and move on to the next guy.” So I had to learn how to convince myself first before I could convince anyone else. What’s great about this book—and this is why it’s so small that you can read it in an hour and a half or less—is that we wrote it in a way that it’s the minimum effective dose. Think of it this way: Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and if you increase the temperature to 213, 214, or 216, it’s still boiling. So you’re wasting energy doing that. We decided to make the book super simple so it’s applicable even to the person who says, “I really don’t like customer service. I don’t want to mess with it.”

What’s a way where sales-focused folks are getting service wrong?

Paul: One of the common problems we see is people who think the solution is, “Well we’ll just go and tell our customers to give us good reviews.” They try and game the system, and they get frustrated in the gaming. That mindset is also evident when you’re thinking “Buyers are liars.” You get mad at the buyer because they’re not happy, as if they came out of the womb that way. Well no, we created them. Of course, there are some buyers—a very, very small percentage—that are just difficult people. But in general we create these difficult customers, so getting your mind right is really an awesome thing and without having your mind right, you can’t move on.

Jason: Yes. It’s also important to think about the service journey. As soon as a customer signs a contract with you, that’s the highest level of emotional engagement they’re going to have with you. Think of it like getting married. The second a person gets engaged, they’re basically saying, “O.K., that’s it. I believe we should be together for the rest of our lives.” Well when you give the girl a ring your goal is to make sure that you provide an experience that’s just as good up to the point of her saying yes to the ring. You know the couple doesn’t need nine months to plan a wedding. They could do this thing in a couple of days, right? It’s a way to put them through purgatory to make sure they don’t do anything to fall short of expectations. It’s called an engagement, but it’s really a test! In the industry, on the day of signing that contract it’s like the engagement ring. You have to get to the move-in day, which is like the wedding day. The customer can easily take the ring off and cancel the wedding any time along the way if you don’t live up to the same promise you did in the dating-to-engagement time as the engagement-to-wedding time.

In gathering the examples you use in this book, did you guys get them from people in the field or did you create hypothetical situations?

Paul: It’s all real stories of actual builders and clients dealing with problems, and a lot of them were pretty interesting too. One particular story that we put in there was one that I affectionately call the “Lemon Man.” We had a customer who dumped 10,000 lemons in their own front yard and let them rot. They wanted to make a statement to the world to say, “Hey, this is a terrible builder and I’m very upset!”

Wow. That’s some serious conflict there.

Jason: Oh yeah. But I think one of the coolest concepts here, which is very provocative, is that a customer sometimes needs conflict in order to generate loyalty. Say a real estate professional takes a buyer out and the buyer is completely in control the entire day. Then buyer thinks they don’t need the help. They’re asking the real estate pro, “Why am I paying you so much money?” That’s why the agent must get into position of strength; they must be in charge. Now I’m not saying you want to actually cause problems, but you do have to create conflict. You have to set clear boundaries and sometimes that creates pushback from the customer. One of the things that we found in the research is that the more the customer is in control, the worse the service scores end up being. Along those same lines, proactively bringing up the conflict and extracting the concerns increases customer loyalty too. If a buyer calls and says, “I have a concern about such-and-such,” and the agent solves the problem then it’s one point to the customer. But let’s say the agent calls the client and says, “Hey I’m curious. Has there been anything that kept you up at night about this purchase you’re about to make?” And the buyer says, “Oh actually yeah…” Well if the agent then solves that problem, that’s one point to the real estate pro. It’s about you bringing it up. You bring it up, you solve it, and you get the credit. If they bring it up and you solve it, you will get no credit.

But that’s scary. I mean, it’s a big thing for an agent to make that phone call and ask if something’s wrong.

Paul: Sure. To be transparent and to own up to problems is a very big deal, because we have all been raised in a perfection mentality. But we are in a different world now, where authenticity matters more. So when things do get screwed up, do we bury them or run away from them? Or do we run at them? That is the key here is that you’re not going to have perfection, and brokers and agents need to embrace that that’s not going to happen.

More from the Builders' Show:

5 Home Design Needs for Your Boomer Clients

Hot New-Home Trends to Watch

The New American Home Tour

Sales Doesn’t Equal Service

The Heart of the Remodel

Comment on The Value of Window Treatments: How to Choose Which Ones Work Best in a Home by Fifty Shades And Blinds Inc

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:02

Thanks for the useful information. This will be very helpful. These window treatments helps in many ways : to provide protection from UV rays and also protect it from outside dirt and it gives privacy as well.

Great Leaders Exhibit Gratitude

YPN Lounge - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 17:31

John Blom

By John Blom

Last year I blogged about my experience as president of my local association, so it seemed right to wrap it all up with a grand finale — a seminal description of the lessons that I learned as part of that experience.

I sat down last week to write that post and ended up staring at my computer screen for 30 minutes. I tried again the next day with same results. Certainly there were plenty of lessons learned: the importance of planning, getting people on board with your vision, and dealing with a crisis, but none of those got my creative juices flowing.

Then last night it hit me — gratitude. Sustainable success can only be built on a foundation of gratitude.

The success of an organization depends on the health and happiness of its people. At their core people want and need to feel appreciated. As a leader, you can only appreciate the people around you if you recognize that their success is your success.

During difficult situations, it’s often easier to recognize the valuable contributions of those around you. Our association hired a new executive the month before my year as president began. The new AE rose to the demands we placed on her time and time again throughout last year, and I think the board members and I did a pretty good job of letting her know how much we appreciated her efforts.

I don’t say that to pat ourselves on the back. As I look back at the year, I’m not sure we would have shown that same appreciation had our previous AE still been in the position — not because she wouldn’t have done the job well, but because we’d come to expect it and perhaps take it for granted.

@TukTukDesign 2016. pixabay.com

No one ever gets tired of being appreciated, and leaders that consistently show gratitude to those around them will establish a high level of trust and loyalty. Leading from a place of gratitude extends beyond people to situations and opportunities. Over the course of the last 18 months, my involvement with the association has opened the door to some incredible opportunities.

In part, because of my involvement with the REALTOR® Party and the relationship that allowed me to create with our local congresswoman, she shared with me her single guest ticket to last year’s State of the Union address — a truly once in a lifetime experience.

During the NAR Leadership Summit in the summer of 2015, I got to see the San Francisco Giants, who I’ve cheered for since I was 5 year old, play the Chicago Cubs at historic Wrigley Field (that experience might have been better if the Cubs hadn’t swept the Giants in that series).

But, being involved in leadership has also had its costs: business opportunities lost because of travel, bedtime stories with my kids missed due to meetings, and the extra stress of trying to do what’s best for our association’s members, our clients, and our communities.

It’s easy to be grateful for the fun times and good experiences, but finding gratitude in those challenging times is important as well. Of course you won’t be grateful for missing bedtime with your kids (unless your kid is a 2-year-old going through a brief stage in which every bed time is a 60-minute World War II reenactment). Rather than feel resentment or frustration in those challenges, be grateful for the opportunity to make a difference.

Leadership skills can be learned and developed. But, gratitude is the multiplier that can take those skills and propel you to heights far beyond your expectations. As leader in your association and your community, be thankful for the people you have around you, the opportunities with which you are presented, and the challenges that you will overcome — then there is no limit to what you can achieve.

John Blom is a broker for the Hasson Company REALTORS® working in the Portland/SW Washington market. He is the immediate past-president for the Clark County Association of REALTORS®. You can find him on Twitter: @johndblom, LinkedIn, on his website johnblomhomes.com, or e-mail him at johnblom@hasson.com.

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Summer 2016: Special Edition - Commercial Recap from the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in D.C.

realtor.org Commercial Headlines - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 12:01

Welcome to this special edition of Commercial Connections, with highlights from the commercial perspective and activities during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. While it’s a condensed glimpse of what happened during the week, the important conversations had by your commercial real estate colleagues involved at the national level has great importance and long-lasting impact. Thanks to the many members and staff who contributed photos and quotes used in this publication.

We encourage you to dig deeper, attend future meetings and help continue to... Read More

Should Your Older Clients Buy a House Without Having to Make Monthly Payments?

Speaking of Real Estate - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 10:33

The retirement boom is on for baby boomers so expect a lot of downsizing in the years ahead as older homeowners replace their suburban house with a condo. Now, how do you respond if you have clients who want to use a reverse mortgage to buy their new place?

It’s not your job to be a financial advisor, but it doesn’t hurt to know how reverse mortgages for purchase work. That way, if a client wants to go this route, you will at least understand the mechanics of these mortgage loans.

In a revese mortgage for purchase, buyers put up sizable down payments and in return get to have their monthly mortgage payments come out of the reverse mortgage rather than their pocket. That keeps their money free for spending on other things. Of course, when they go to sell the house or refinance the mortgage, the amount of the mortgage they’ve used to make their payments is a negative against their equity.

These mortgages remain a small part of the market, but as young boomers retire, many of them might find the option attractive. To help you at least understand how these mortgages work, REALTOR® Magazine is hosting a live webcast on Feb. 22 with a real estate pro and a lender who do a lot of these reverse mortgage transactions, which are backed by the FHA, by the way. If you watch the webcast, you can ask them questions while it’s going on.

A summary of the upcoming webcast is a top story in the latest Voice for Real Estate news video. The video also looks at how the confirmation of Ben Carson to be HUD secretary is going. The video excerpts from his testimony before the Senate Financial Services committee at which he said all Americans should have an opportunity to own a home and that the federal government should maintain a role in the secondary mortgage market even while it encourages private-sector alternatives. He also said the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage plays a key role in healthy housing markets.

The video also looks at the Trump Administration’s suspension of a planned FHA mortgage insurance premium reduction. The suspension was issued before the reduction took effect, so no one’s insurance premium will go up as a result. But NAR would like to see the reduction put back on the books, because an estimated 40,000 households would be able to buy that otherwise couldn’t.

Another segment looks at last year’s final existing-home sales number. It was 5.45 million, a 10-year high. Expect even more sales this year, but there are two negatives in the market: persistent inventory shortages in many parts of the country and the likelihood of higher mortgage interest rates. Even so, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun expects home sales to rise by 2 percent this year.

Access the video.

Comment on The Number One Design Style for 2017 Is … by Melissa Tracey

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 12:46

Hi Cara – That photo is from Houzz.com. They have so many examples of beautiful farmhouse kitchens, along with links to where you can get the products pictured too!

The kitchen pendants are from Uttermost Lighting. Here is a link:
http://www.houzz.com/photos/48098323/Sea-Gull-65086-715-Pratt-Street-Metal-Pendant-Light-Autumn-Bronze-contemporary-pendant-lighting

I just submitted a question to the designer, Gardener Homes, about the chandelier — I’ll let you know when I find out! Thanks for reading!

Comment on The Number One Design Style for 2017 Is … by Cara

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 12:33

Do you know where the pendants and chandelier are from? Love them!

Get Off the Hamster Wheel

YPN Lounge - Tue, 01/31/2017 - 19:40

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

What were your sales goals last year?
I… I didn’t have any.

Were you happy with your sales results?
No, I wanted to sell more!

What are your sales goals this year?
I… I don’t have any.

How are you going to have a better sales year?
I’m so frustrated because I just don’t know!

It breaks my heart when I meet some real estate sales professionals for the first time, and this is how our conversation goes.

Most agents are selling to earn a living — to fund their children’s education, care for ailing parents, have a roof over their head, or perhaps to find financial freedom from crippling medical debt. Yet, too often I see folks busy with little or no results. I call it “losing the hamster wheel race.” This happens when you do the same business activities day in and day out with no movement. Sure, these activities keep you busy and give the illusion that you’re making strides. However, in reality, you are in the same place even after a flurry of work. If this describes you or someone on your team, know there is no shame because today can be the start of your new year.

Then there’s the “sales spaghetti method.” Do you remember that old way to test whether or not spaghetti is ready to eat? You’d throw it against the wall to see if it sticks. And it worked…for spaghetti. However, in real estate sales — where each new sales method, tech tool, or system may have a massive price — trying to see what “sticks” can destroy your effectiveness, energy, confidence, and wallet.

If you are not seeing your desired productivity, I want to encourage you to start fresh today with a plan that can salvage the rest of the year. To help, I want to offer you an exclusive item used in my one-on-one and group training sessions. Feel free to download a complimentary copy of my planning worksheet: Plan to Win the Year. It will walk you through goal-setting, identifying your strengths, connecting with your sphere, and tracking your leads.

I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+, or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor. And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win!, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success.

Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate broker and business doctoral candidate who trains agents and brokerages on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Lee

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 22:22

Well, I always tell my clients that have animals mounted and displayed in their homes to make sure that they are dead first. Seriously, it really depends on the area and type of home that you are marketing (and if it has acreage on which to hunt). The “dead animals thing” is an over generalization. I often use photos in my marketing and it works.

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Dave

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 21:58

Well, that was a waste of time…..dead animal parts. Really, come on man!

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Susan

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 15:43

I respectfully disagree. If people are so offended by a bottle of wine that it will turn them off to a house, they may be living in the wrong place. I may not put out a bottle of wine in my home state of Texas, where there are lots of Southern Baptists, but I certainly will in the state where I now reside, where folks seem to *really* love their wine. I agree that wine in the bathroom is just tacky unless you are specifically going for that feel (no pun intended!).

Dead animal parts. I agree that animal heads, skulls and stuffed animals are never appropriate. Most fur is faux, and it is often very hard to distinguish real from fake. Fake animal fur is almost perpetually in style and can lend a warm and cosy feel that few other materials can match. In a mostly monochromatic room it adds a wonderful bit of texture as well.

As far as the word art, that is a very popular way to decorate now and really speaks to the under 40 crowd in particular. It fits right in with hardwood floors and grey or greige color schemes. As an agent, I keep a few on hand for homes I am selling to add a nice warmth and to send a subtle message. A couple of my favorites say, “Home Sweet Home” and “Home Is Wherever I Am with You.” I love to study how our brains work, and such things as word art really can have an impact on our subconscious. I put motivational signs in my kids’ bathroom in hopes that they will read and internalize it as they are brushing their teeth, or yes, even going to the bathroom. They certainly won’t do affirmations on their own (again, very powerful!) but reading them is almost as good.

With the tipis, it really depends on your market. Here where Native Americans make up 0.1% of the population or less, it probably wouldn’t be an issue. In New Mexico or Arizona I would definitely reconsider. Though personally I think it shrinks the space. If the corner needed anything (doubtful, and certainly not in the article’s picture), a child-sized reading chair would be more visually pleasing.

I guess it all boils down to knowing your market. But to be honest, I feel that most of the things you mentioned are either neutral or positively perceived in many markets.

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Jacqueline Balcells

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 14:49

Relax… take a breath…. don’t be offended by everything you see or you’ll give yourself a heart attack!

Comment on How to Use a Sectional Sofa to Solve a Staging Dilemma on a Limited Budget by Sunil Saharan

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 07:10

Sectional sofas offer the perfect solution for your living room and these type of sofas sets are never go out of style. Even look amazing at your house and comes in various designs and layouts. Some sectional sofa sets are divided into sections and used separately.

The Heart of the Remodel

Weekly Book Scan - Fri, 01/27/2017 - 17:31

At the International Builders’ Show earlier this month, I was lucky enough to meet up with Mina Starsiak at the Owens Corning booth on the expo floor. Starsiak—a licensed real estate pro and REALTOR®—and her real estate attorney mother, Karen E. Laine, have been rehabbing and selling homes in the Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolis since 2007. The two recently caught the attention of HGTV, which enlisted them for the upcoming television series, Good Bones.

We talked about family dynamics in real estate, the teardown trend, being bold with remodeling choices, and more. Here’s an edited excerpt of our chat.

What’s it like working with your mom on these houses?

I’m definitely the business end of the partnership and my mom is kind of the dreamer. She’s the one always wanting to do spray-foam installation—which now is standard in all our houses—solar panels, channel glass, and she’s the one who found the colored shingles. She’s the one who really dreams everything up and I make sure that we can get it executed, business wise. So the first time we sold one of our houses and paid someone else commission, I was like, “I can do that too.”

It sounds like your guys’ dynamic is pretty different from how we would imagine a traditional mother/daughter relationship working!

Yeah, it probably is, very much so. I always joke with her whenever we come to these shows that she needs to be hooked to one of those backpacks that they make look like little stuffed animals, but that are actually leashes for little kids [laughs]. She’s so sad she couldn’t make it here, because the home shows are her happy place. She just wanders in to the booths and says “Let’s do this, let’s do that,” no matter how expensive it is. And then I’m like, “OK, we’ll talk about it.”

Tell me a bit about how you guys make your mark but still try to integrate your rehabs to your little pocket of Indianapolis.

Initially we didn’t even realize that we were doing anything special. We paint our houses funkier, different, bold colors. We use different tiles and tried to use color inside, and in different ways. And that fits with Fountain Square; it’s urban, it’s a little funky. We’re not really into that super modern style that’s really boxy. That’s not really what we go for. Most of the houses that we fix up don’t have a lot left to salvage, so we try to choose items we can bring back to life to help the homes stay consistent with the nature of the neighborhood and the block. We even think that through with the color choices outside. We’ll look at the five houses on either side and that goes into the question of, “OK, what color are we going to do here? Well, there are no blue houses on this block so let’s put a shade of blue in that pops.”

We stick in the same little area. We could make a lot more money if we jumped around the city. But we both live next to each other. When we moved in, our block had no fixed-up houses. And now there are only two that aren’t renovated! Our little area has changed pretty significantly, and not just because of us. It’s also other people who are doing similar stuff and it’s completely changed and it’s really cool. We are selling homes to people who are our neighbors.

With some of these really old, run-down homes, is there ever a temptation to just tear it down and start over?

Oh yeah. A lot of the homes we do, people—even our subcontractors—will say, “We should’ve torn it down and built new!” That’s how bad some of the properties are. The problem is, if you tear down and start new there’s nothing to draw your inspiration from. My mom comes at it more from a feeling prospective, and she says you have to have something there to work with. It’s not that the past defines the remodel, but it informs the resident’s decisions in the house.

If it’s a blank slate, for me, it’s almost too many options. I’m the one who does the start of the floor plan. We’ve built two new-construction houses and they were the hardest floor plans I ever did because there’s nothing to start from. When I have a foundation I’m like, “Okay it’s kind of a math equation. I can do this, this, and this. I need a bathroom…” and it just happens.

Even if the financially smarter decision is to tear down and build new, it just doesn’t feel like there’s as much heart in it.

Do you have any advice for people who are rehabbing houses and making bold choices—whether in terms of color and style or avoiding the teardown trend—where subcontractors and others are trying to talk them out of it?

The biggest hurdle is knowing your options. It’s tricky. In general, construction is a man’s world. But my advice would be to just ignore that. Say what you want. Do your research and know what you’re talking about. You can’t come into a conversation and represent your own ideas, thoughts, opinions, and feelings if you don’t know what they are or if you haven’t taken the time to figure it out. Just being informed so you can go in feeling comfortable with what you’re asking your contractor to do.

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Comment on How to Reinvent a Room to Attract Buyers by Karen Hernandez

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 01/25/2017 - 15:52

I loved your articles with so much ideas. My home is small and I love been able to use your ideas. My recent purchase is in East Los Angeles with a great realtor Gabriel Reyes http://GabrielReyes.com