Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pacific Dogwood near Lake Arrowhead

California has many different ecosystems which support an immense variety of flora. Surprising to me, pockets in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California have gorgeous Pacific Dogwood.
On a visit in 1991, Lisa and I took my mother on a hike near Lake Arrowhead to visit a an area with many beautiful dogwood.
From photographs she took during several visits to the grove, this beautiful watercolor was created. This colorful painting was the first my mother gave Lisa and me. It proudly hangs in our home reminding of the foggy walks we took through these beatiful mountain groves.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Open House Prospecting Plan

Prospecting in real estate should always be systematic and planned. Open Houses, a comprehensive prospecting system, is a great example. With both active and passive prospecting activities, open houses expose our listings and reach both buyers and sellers.
For open houses to reach their greatest prospecting potential, follow these simple steps:

Two Weeks before the Open House
  • Choose a house to hold open
  • Mail invitation post cards to 50 neighbors
  • List the open house on the multiple listing service and on other real estate pages
  • Order a short open house newspaper advertisement or facebook pay per click ad

The Week before the Open House

  • Place an Open Sunday sign rider on the sign
  • Place an event on Facebook and invite local friends
  • Prepare flier for open house
  • Call prior open house attendees inviting them
  • Call twenty neighbors inviting them

The Day of the Open House

  • Place at least six open house signs
  • Request every visitor sign in by using an inexpesive raffle

These simple to follow steps will create an open house system that will generate many buyer and seller leads. Including the buyer prospect in future open house invitation calls insure more interest to your open houses and will create lucritive relationships with buyers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Open Houses Create Successful Prospecting Opportunities

If Prospecting is the lifeblood of a real estate agent's career, then open houses are the blood cells themselves. No other single activity gives more opportunities to prospect for new customers than the open house.
Frequently, real estate agents try open houses and then give up doing them because they quickly learn that open houses don't work. Though this will sound contradictory to my initial statement, they're right. Open houses don't usually work ... by themselves. Most of the time an agent plans an open house by placing an announcement on the local mls, an Open Sunday sign, places a directional sign or two and lets it rip. If this is your idea of an open house, let me save you some time, GIVE UP!
Open houses offer many proepsecting opportunities that need to be used to not just increase attendance to the open house but to also prospect for other buyers and sellers.
- Think about your sellers. They're looking for the BEST price for their home. Brining in more buyers may bring more than one offer but at least the highest possible offer.
- Think about the neighbors. They're watching the for sale sign in your seller's yard. They are considering selling but haven't found a real estate agent yet. They're waiting to see your efforts.
- Think about other buyers. Often buyers visit open houses long before they're ready to buy.
Prospecting for these groups will increase your customer base dramatically. Having success using open houses takes a systematic approach with a variety of open house invitation and follow up activities.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mt. Morrison - Convict Lake

Convict Lake is one of my favorite fishing lakes in California. Nestled high in the Eastern Sierras,Convict is a paternoster lake. It is one of a series of lakes in a glaciated valley, like beads on a string.
Mt. Morrison which guards the lake, is one of the most notable peaks near Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada. Its precambrian rock, composed of Dolomite and Marble - basically metamorphosed limestone, makes it some of the oldest in the Sierra.
Convict Lake and creek were named from an ambush that took place in 1871 when a group of escaped convicts holed up at then Mount Diablo Creek. Sheriff George Hightower and his posse caught up with the escaped convicts. In a shoot out posse members Robert Morrison a Benton Merchant, Mono Jim were killed. The convicts were caught later in Round Valley. Mount Diablo was renamed after Robert Morrison.
Besides its unmatched striking beauty, Convict Lake's depth and shelves make it an exceptional fishing lake. Loaded with plentiful trout, large German Browns and stout Rainbow Trout await the eager fisherman.
I fished from this exact spot many times. A few times my mother joined me. Usually I would fish and she would sketch. This beautiful watercolor painting started with a series of sketches and photographs. This painting by my mother hangs appreciatively in my office. Not a day goes by that I don't think of the summer days I spent with great friends and on solitary quests hunting the big trout of Convict Lake.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Quick Social Media Plug-ins for

Social media networking and linking is an important part of being found in Google searches. The Houston Association of Realtors makes it easy for us to quickly link to social media sites. The short narrated video slideshow will help you set up your network.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Real Estate Reading List for 2012

With a new year comes a challenge and an endeavor to improve both in knowledge and in skill. My reading list never seems to shrink. As i finish one book I seem to add another two to the pile. What is on your list for 2012?
  • Linchpin Seth Godin
  • Raving Fans Ken Blanchard
  • Trust Agents Chris Brogan
  • Tribes Seth Godin
  • The Real Book of Real Estate Robert Kiyosaki
  • The Millionaire Real Estate Agent Gary Keller
  • Unselling: Sell Less to Win More Peter Bourke
  • The Law of Success Napoleon Hill
  • Google + for Business Chris Brogan
  • The Thank You Economy Gary Vaynerchuk

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Selling Real Estate Takes Perseverance

Real estate is a great career requiring hard, focused work. Agents reach fantastic emotional highs and then experience dramatic lows. Bouncing back and continuing to persevere receives it unmatched and well deserved rewards. Successfully helping clients reach their dreams is unbelievably rewarding!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ready, Set, JUMP!

Being cautious and looking at a problem from all sides is a great business practice. Business plans should include intricate details about marketing and product development. After careful analysis, however, sometimes you just have to take a running start and jump in! Don't forget to make as big of a splash as you can!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Content Marketing for Social Media Sites

Many new Facebookers have true concerns about what and when to post material. Instead of creating a page and then trying to determine what information to provide, do it in reverse. Decide what content to provide and then create a page designed to deliver the information.
Before creating your Facebook page decide what kind of content or information to provide. This will depend completely on who the targeted audience is for the page. This allows the page to focus completely on consumer needs and delivers enough content for the first thirty to sixty days.
Three good questions to ask before creating a Facebook page are:

  1. What kind of information does my targeted audience mostly likely need?
  2. Why do I love selling real estate?
  3. Why do I love this community?

The answers to these three questions are the beginning of a cntent grid. Use the following chart to help create a content grid.

Post several times a day in order to maximize exposure. Some recommend even posting the same material more than once to increase readership. Though this may look a bit like spam to frequent Facebook visitors, allows for the greatest exposure.

With all this great consumer centered information being produced, length of article or post is a concern. Facebook users are accustomed to short bits of information which is why Facebook is not in the center of the social media hub. Facebook allows the consumer to readily find topics and shorts posts of information. The true source of the information is the blog. Facebook just directs the consumer to it Even so, some bits of information may come from other sites like
governmental agencies, Realtor ssociations, school websites, news organizations to name a few. Create a link tothis information and post it directly on Facebook. Add the URL to longer articles or helpful link lists posted on the blog.

Each blog post has its own distinct URL or web address. By clicking on the title of the blog article, the URL will appear in the address bar. Copy and paste the URL for the article to Facebook. This gives the blog article greater exposure. The back link helps in placement in Google searches as well.

Content on blogs and Facebook is not limited to written articles. Content can be as simple as a picture with a title posted from Flick’r onto Facebook and the blog. Use the hub to create a network of sites whenever possible! Content can be shared as a video as well. Imagine, for example, keeping the community informed about a local construction project by posting
frequent and short videos. These videos are stored on YouTube and linked or embedded into the blog and Facebook. Creatively, client testimonials can be video as well. Ask satisfied clients to make a short 30-45 second video instead of writing a letter. These are great show instead of tells for blogs and Facebook.

Now that the social media hub is in place and beginning to work, refocus on the content grid to deliver quality and enjoyable information to your targeted group of consumers. This is the fun part!

China Island Big Bear Lake

My mother painted this and gave it to me for Christmas this year. China Island, really Garstin Island, is a privately owned island in Big Bear Lake. Maude Garstin built the little Oriental style buildings in 1911.

Big Bear Lake is high in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California. A transverse mountain range formed by folding and faulting, the San Bernardino Mountains are home to spectacular wildlife including big horn sheep, bald eagles, montain lions, and bobcats.Mount San Gorgonio, known as Old Greyback, tops out at 11,499 feet and is the tallest peak in southern California. The San Gorgonio Wilderness has an extensive trail system and is home to several ecosystems including chaparral, yellow-pine forest, montane meadows, lodgepole forest, sub-alpine, and alpine

I was fortunate to pass by China Island frequently on my way to Papoose Bay to fish. Big Bear lake is a stellar fishing lake with rainbow trout, northern largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, and even carp. Imagine having to live in such a beautiful place? Thanks mom for this wonderful gift!