A New Kind of Real Estate Company Visited

A couple of weeks ago I blogged on a new real estate model where I try to match real estate agent strategies to the agent’s personality.  I call the different strategies “games” (www.getstrategic.com/agents).  I’m going to share my progress with you, the highs and the lows to let you know how it is going since there’s no other company that I know of doing this sort of model. It may be like picking a carrot to see how it’s growing. But this carrot is an unknown species. Sticking with this metaphore, the only way I can observe it is to grow it hydroponically in a glass beaker to watch it grow, the glass beaker being this blog!

Here’s what I can share with you so far:

I’ve had the poorest results with the 3 experienced agents I had to let go because they wouldn’t put time into activities that they’d never done before. I think they must have joined because of the word “free leads

New Book – Must Read!

Editor’s Note: I’m excited to introduce Seattle Eric as a new contributor on RCG. It must be six months ago that I first approached Eric to see if he would be interesting in coming on as a contributor because I really liked the writing style he demonstrated on his blog about life as a Seattle real estate investor. Now that he’s bitten the bullet and switched to a career as a real estate agent, I’m even more excited to have him on board!

For my first post on the RCG, I’d like to promote my new book, which so happens to also be a topic of much interest recently. All proceeds will benefit…well..me.


(available while supplies last….shipping and handling extra…)

Bedtime Stories…

What I enjoy most about our home are the many places where our family gathers to share stories. Some of the places include our the kitchen table, our computer room, and our deck. But the place that I’ll always associate most closely with epic stories is our living room.

Taken by itself, our living room is nothing unusual. It is not too big, not too small… It includes two couches, a rocking chair, and a fishtank that takes up way too much space. What makes our living room is not the stuff or the size, but rather the time that our family spends here almost every evening reading stories.

Sasha's Book Shelf

We’ve spent countless hours observing Harry Potter (barely) make it through the 5th year of school… We’ve helped and been helped by Aslan in the land of Narnia an numerous occasions… We’ve been fortunate to travel along with Laura and her family from Wisconsin to the Oklahoma Territories to Minnesota to the Dakota Territories

I only have to think of the many enjoyable nights we’ve spent sharing stories with a roaring fire in the fireplace and the rain pouring outside to remind myself why I love our living room!

Please feel free to join us on the day’s leading up to Valentine’s Day as we romance our homes by discussing some of the many ways we love our homes and neighborhoods.

A Birthday Request!

This past week I received the ultimate gift for my 30th birthday, which just so happens to be today!

With everything going on, I really haven’t spent much time thinking about my birthday (surprise, surprise!), but it did occur to me that maybe I should mix in a new feature of Rain City Guide with a birthday request.

Some background… I’ve been inspired by Jim over at J. LeRoy to write more book reviews. Some of the book reviews will be directly related to real estate (as in “how to buy, sell, invest” books), while other books will only loosely (very loosely) be connected to real estate (but I’m pretty good at stretching things!). The important thing is that I’m going to keep reading (and reviewing) and switching off between fiction and non-fiction in order to add some balance!

Knowing for a few weeks that I’ve wanted to include book reviews in Rain City Guide, I’m a little ahead of the game and have prepared a few book reviews that I’ll be publishing soon. However, I’ve got a problem. Only a few weeks into this endeavor, I’ve got plenty of non-fiction books lined up in my Amazon WishList, but I’m already out of fiction books. I’m in desperate need of some good fiction stories!

All this leads to my birthday request…

What books do you recommend I read in this upcoming year?

Despite my preference for fiction, there are no rules for your recommendations. Feel free to include one, two or ten books… Feel free to include books about investing in real estate, building environmentally-friendly homes, blogging, history, Japanese culture, and so on… Feel free to include books that have taught, inspired, or challenged you… Most importantly, I’m just looking for books that will keep me turning the pages!

7 Tips for Marketing Your Real Estate Blog

[photopress:poodle.jpg,thumb,alignright]As a real estate agent, Anna gets 100’s (maybe 1000’s) of letters and emails every week from companies that would love to do her marketing for her. However, we’ve never once used any of these services because I strongly (pigheadedly?) believe that if there is one thing a real estate agent should be good at, it is marketing.

Along those lines, Anna and I have done all of our own marketing. We’ve created all our fliers, CMAs, postcards, brochures, websites, logos, photos, etc.. This may have taken some more time than if we just paid someone to do the work for us, but as a consequence of our hard work we now know exactly what it takes to do something right. I like to think that the high quality of our work products reflects the tremendous amount we’ve learned!

With that said, I’m writing this post under the assumption that you are going to build and market your site yourself. You’ll never be a good blogger unless you know just how hard (or easy) it is to add a link, feature, or feed! You’ll never know just how hard (or easy!) it is to get a good google ranking unless you do the work yourself. (“Impossible!” you say… I say “It is definitely possible” and if you check back in a few days, I will supplement this post on marketing with a post on building a real estate blog using WordPress in this continuing series on blogging advice for real estate agents. Building a blog is not easy (or hard?), and I’ve been taking notes on a possible how-to build-a-blog post post ever since Andy requested it in this blowout, spectacular post.)

Without further ado, here are seven tips on marketing your real estate blog:

  1. Linkation, Linkation, Linkation
  2. Personalize your site! Just about every blogging software comes with templates that can be easily edited to personalize your site. Add some photos and some text about yourself. Sites that have not been personalized are boring to read! Great content is good, but it needs to be presented well to become great! Make things colorful. As much as I enjoy it, real estate is not the most exciting topic in the world, so make it colorful. Have fun!
  3. Leave Comments. Leave comments on other blogs. I happen to know that many people find out about my blog because I leave a comment on their site. I don’t want to give away too many tricks ;), but blogging has opened up tons of free ways to find and interact with people who might be interested in the real estate services that you provide.
  4. Use Trackbacks. When you write an article that links to another blog, most blogging software is set-up to “ping” the other site. Should the other blogger allow it, a link back to your site will appear in the “trackbacks” section under their article. It is a nifty feature, that can easily be abused. If you want site owners to let the trackbacks show up on their site, then make sure you’re adding something of value to the conversation!
  5. Personalize your content. Don’t waste (too much?) time on your blog displaying your listings. That stuff gets old quickly and most people reading your blog will quickly tune it out (if they even continue to read!). Instead write about your local market conditions, or local/national news, or real estate search, or whatever interests you… Or better yet, have fun and think up things like nominating yourself for an award that you are guaranteed to win! Most importantly, make sure that the content interests you, because if it doesn’t interest you, I can guarantee that it won’t interest your readers!
  6. Read other blogs. For marketing information, start with these three blogs: Real Estate Marketing Blog, Seth’s blog, & Matt Cutts. These guys all cover wildly different ground and before you know it you’ll be using the web marketing lingo like SEO and Viral Marketing. (Now that I’ve said these terms, I should probably explain them… SEO stands for search engine optimization and refers to the practice of improving your site so that search engines will locate, like and link to your site. Viral Marketing refers to the very subtle (and quite tricky) practice of creating buzz (and traffic!) to your site without using standard marketing tools.
  7. Love RSS. Why? Because people are lazy, so make is easy as possible to read your blog.

(L-P-L-U-P-R-L… hmmm… )

Want more tips on running a real estate business? II highly recommend Paul Hawken’s Growing A Business. His writing is extremely easy to read and he gives lots of memorable examples from his experience building up Smith and Hawken And best of all, he writes without including all the hype of a typical business-advice book. Just good solid ideas about how to differentiate your business by concentrating (and building upon) your strengths as oppose to spending time worrying about the competition!

On a related note, Anna asked me last night why I was giving so much advice to potential competition. I guess that goes to show that I still have not completely brought her around to my world view yet. In my world, I spend a lot of time thinking about creating interesting content and almost no time worrying about the competition. I’m of the opinion that real estate agents who spend their time worrying about other agents will be smacked up beside the head by some very tech savvy competition in the near future!

By the way, if you are an agent that would like to see me cover any additional topics, let me know. The two ideas that are still on my list are (1) how to build a real estate blog and (2) types of real estate posts…

George Washington, the real estate mogul?


Revolutionary War general, father of our country, cherry-tree murderer. Many descriptions come to mind when we invoke the name of George Washington.

Real estate mogul isn’t one of them. But it should be.

This fun San Francisco Chronicle column continues

At the tender age of 15, Washington became a professional land surveyor and cartographer, a short-lived career that would have a long-term influence on his destiny. Among his earliest jobs, he laid out the subdivision plan for Alexandria, Va., adding “urban planner” to his résumé. By the time he quit to join the Virginia colonial militia a few years later, he had surveyed some 66,000 acres of land and traversed most of what would become the original 13 United States.

Walking the land seemed to whet his appetite for owning it. He learned to assess property and poured his earnings into buying tracts of land near and far. By the time he was 21, he owned 1,558 acres of land purchased from his earnings as a surveyor. By the time he died, Washington was one of the country’s wealthiest landowners.

Seattle Public Library Resources

spiderDid you know that you can get the full-text of on-line newspapers through the Seattle Library? I read an article describing how many libraries provide full-text access (on-line) to magazines and newspapers that would normally charge fees for such access:

It’s impossible to list every database available from every public library since resources vary amongst libraries. Simply visit your local library’s web site, or give them a call and ask what’s available and how to gain access. It’s a painless process that can be accomplished in a matter of minutes.

After reading the article, I was pleasantly surprised to find many great resources available on the Seattle Library Website. While just scratching the surface, I’ve already found current and archived collections of all 18 Washington State Newspapers, Technology Review, and Harper’s Magazine. The only catch is that you will need a Seattle Library card in order to access many of the databases.)

Is Real Estate Investing for You?

Thinking BigI’ve talked with many people recently that are interested in investing in real estate but not sure where to start. If that descrives you then I would recommend reading Gary Keller’s most recent book, Millionaire Real Estate Investor. In this book he gives you a step-by-step approach to becoming a real estate investor. It’s nice that his writing style is very conversational and easy to read without being condescending.

A previous book of his, Millionaire Real Estate Agent, illustrates how an agent can set themselves up to become extremely successful in life (as well as professionally!)

(Read the Amazon.com reviews on the above links and you’ll see that I’m not the only one who thinks they are worth reading!)

If you are a potential investor in Seattle-area real estate interested in reading either of these books, let me know, and I would happily pass along one of my copies to you!