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Designer Tips for Making Your Summer Party Pop

By John Voket

Summer is in full swing, and many of us are currently planning our summer parties. However, there is quite a distance between wanting to throw a great summer party and actually pulling it off. So we’ll look at some of the big challenges summer party hosts may face.

When it comes to planning a summer party, lifestyle expert Ceci Carmichael recently told blogger Candace Rose Anderson that people avoid entertaining because they just think it’ll be so full of stress and they’re not going to have a good time anyway.

Carmichael’s best advice—plan ahead. That means two weeks out get your list all set, get your menu all set and then along the way take bite size chunks out of it so that the day before you aren’t walking a tightrope between vacuuming and cooking at the same time.

Party planner to the stars Mindy Weiss (stylemepretty.com) advises aspiring party hosts to mind these tips:

tablerunner2Freshen up with Color

Don’t be afraid to add pop to your party with bright colors. Purchase a fun, colored table runner for outdoor tables and a set of patterned napkins for a fresh look. Include a few brightly colored dinner plates alongside basic white dishes. That simple pop of color adds excitement to the table.

picnic2Plan a Picnic in Your Own Backyard

Surprise your guests by setting up an outdoor picnic area. Spread multi-colored throws, blankets even large quilts on your grass and add bright colored pillows. The “eclectic look” is in! Place fun trays on the blankets filled with guacamole and chips or bottles of water and glassed bottled soda pop.

Light up the Garden

Lanterns placed throughout your outdoor area are always noticed! They can hang from gazebos or line the walkway into the party. These lanterns use battery-powered candles as an alternative to regular candles… they’re gorgeous and are safe too!


barcartInvest in a Bar Cart

Freshen up your bar by adding a bar cart to the area where your guests are gathering. The bar cart can be filled with alcoholic drinks for the party goers, or for an outdoor family event try beautiful pitchers of lemonade or iced lavender hibiscus tea. Recently, I took my bar cart and filled it will fun desserts that the guests could try at their leisure.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.


Be Smart About Marketing a Smart Home

By Courtney Soinski

Smart house flat illustration conceptIs one of your listings a smart home?  When marketing this type of residence, it’s important that you focus less on every detail and focus more on the home’s features that will attract a larger audience.  But how do you know which features are most appealing to home buyers?  Believe it or not, the most popular features are not the newest and most technologically advanced.  Rather, they are basic necessities like security, heating, cooling, and lighting.

Here are 3 top features that buyers will pay attention to in a smart home:

1.  Smart Security.

This is absolutely one of the most popular features in smart homes among consumers. For homeowners who travel a lot or want to monitor their home while they’re away, this is a great feature that is in high demand.  It makes residents feel safe and secure. Homeowners are able to access security cameras remotely by using their smartphone, tablet, or web-enabled device.  Also, if they forgot to lock the doors or set the alarm before leaving the house, this smart technology can take care of that, too.

2. Smart Lighting and Temperature Control.

With this smart feature, homeowners can now pull the plug on high energy bills.  Whether you forgot the adjust the temperature before going out of town or if you left the lights on before leaving for work, smart homes allow its residents remote access to all these controls.  The Nest Thermostat, for example, even programs itself based on the homeowner’s specific preferences and can easily be controlled from a smartphone or tablet.

3.  Smart Home Emergency Alerts.

This popular feature in smart homes will send warnings of emergencies like fire, burglary and carbon monoxide poisoning, giving you more time to react and keep your loved ones safe.  All in real-time, you will be notified the instant an alarm goes off, whether it be the security alarm or smoke detector.  You can even view live feed from your smartphone, showing exactly where in your home that the alarm was set off.

By marketing smart homes smartly, you will have an easier time selling your listings to the right buyer.  Always remember to market what is most important to homeowners, not every bell and whistle that come with the property.  Be a smart seller!

Source: RealtorMag, Home Safety


Spock says “Stretch Your Marketing Investment.” (or something like that)

By Rebecca Chandler

"Live long and prosper."

“Live long and prosper.”

Ok, I’m a Star Trek geek.  A quote from the emotionally void, but and logical Spock recently came to mind, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” Why?  I was having a conversation with a colleague who noted that agents in his area would spend freely on marketing tools for a single listing, but would skimp on marketing themselves, all their listings, and their entire business.

I’m not suggesting that agents should not spend to market their listings. After all, this is, and should be, a basic seller expectation when they sign a listing agreement with a real estate professional. What I am saying is, are your marketing efforts supporting your entire business – and not just a single listing?

Food for thought –

The little things add up. At $200 here and $49 there, what are you really spending on marketing tools? And, are those really paying off? I’ve worked with agents in the past who never really added up all the little things they did. It’s the $25 here and the $99 there of which they lose track, and those small amounts add up to a larger amount – with little to no return on what turns out to be a larger investment than they realized. It’s worth taking a minute and counting up all the little things. A lot of a little can . . . well, add up to a lot.

Make ALL your marketing efforts work for ALL of your business. Of course, it’s wise to invest in marketing tools for a single listing, and it’s also wise to make sure those investments serve the rest of your business well. For example, professional photography pleases your seller, shows the listing in the best light, helps to drive traffic to the home and increases the likelihood of a higher sales price. But, good photography also shows that you are a professional with a commitment to your clients. Everywhere those photos appear are a reflection on you. What is your impression of an agent who uses good photography versus one who uses really bad photography? As a seller, which would you prefer? As a buyer, which home would you like to see?

The same holds true for your brochures, mailings, website, email campaigns, etc. Consistent and professional design showcases you, your brand and all your listings. Unprofessional or inconsistent marketing actually works against you – by indicating to potential clients that you are as well.

How much is your time worth? I belong to a couple of Facebook group of agents who discuss how to invest their money in their businesses. Every day, there is a new service or tool available. Some seem to be valuable and some . . . not so much. However, the quantity of options available makes me wonder how much time an agent should spend? Many of the options may be great, but how much time and effort does an individual agent have to invest in integrating all of these tools into a consistent and professional marketing campaign for their listings – and their business as a whole? Wouldn’t your time be better spent following up on leads and working with real clients and prospects versus managing a complex vendor network? Is all this really necessary?

Admittedly, I may be biased because I work for a company that provides multiple tools from a single source for a single price – serviced by local professionals, who do nothing but put together effective and professional marketing campaigns for real estate agents and brokers, but the point remains the same. Wouldn’t you rather write fewer checks for a multi-media campaign that provides most of what you need to market your listings AND your business overall?

Think it over. If you haven’t looked into The Real Estate Book multi-media packages lately, you should call up your local rep for a tour. What many think of as just that little magazine around town with the real estate ads in them – is not just a page of print advertising any more. Packages now include interactive features such as text lead generation and GPS enabled yard signs. Personal desktop, mobile, and tablet websites with IDX feeds available and personal vanity text codes for a mobile business card come are part of the bundle. And, the check is much smaller than you might expect and you get your own professional real estate marketing consultant.

I believe Mr. Spock would find this approach most logical.

“Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a real estate marketing professional!”

“Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a real estate marketing professional!”


Watch this video to learn more about The Real Estate Book marketing packages.

Visit this site to find your local Real Estate Book representative.

Read more here -

Mobile marketing

Personal branding

Tracking your marketing investments

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