Buckhead Condo Views

Living In Buckhead

As a real estate photographer living OTP in Atlanta Metro I always enjoy a trip to Buckhead or Midtown to shoot another condo in some highrise. Photographing a condo is very different than shooting a house in the suburbs. There’s a lot more glass and reflective surfaces, so I have to pay close attention to how I position my lights. The rooms are smaller yet there are many cool details I should showcase in my photos. Great condo photos is what will make the listing agent stand out and create more interest in potential buyers. Here are a few shots from some recent condo photoshoots. Ready for your photos, video and drone pics? Contact me today!

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Shooting Condo on Peachtree Rd

In the summer my family and I moved to Atlanta area. We are OTP, as they call us here. 🙂 But we very much enjoy it. After 14 years in the middle of the city life in Florida we are now enjoying a little peace and quiet of Atlanta massive suburbia.

I’ve started working with some very good people and talented agents. Had a great shoot with Emmett Carr at his listing at 2828 Peachtree Rd. What would be the tallest building in St Pete, Florida here is just normal average building. Yet the place was full of nice amenities and the floorpan of the unit we shot was very desirable with great city views.

Here’re some shots from our session.

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Opulent home twilight photos on Snell Isle Brightwaters Boulevard

Twilight and evening photos on Snell Isle

Brightwaters Boulevard has become a regular destination for us. We’ve shot photos and videos here for agents from different brokerages and the homes we photographed varied in size and style. There were sprawling mansions, cute cottages, mediterranean estates and modern efficient homes. Twilights are some of our favorite shoots, and this time we had an opportunity to make twilight photos of this opulent home on Snell Isle’s famous Brightwaters boulevard. Before the sunset we even had a little time to do some evening interior and exterior shots. Take a look! Contact us for your own twilight photos, your sellers will love them and you’ll receive the attention of many buyers.

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Twilight In Old Northeast St Petersburg

Old Northeast Twilight Shoot

Old Northeast neighborhood sprawls 30 block north of Downtown St Petersburg and is one of the largest residential neighborhoods in our city. There probably isn’t a style of home that you can’t find here. Tudor, Foursquare, Colonial, Craftsman, Federal and, of course, Soutern Bungalow are all present here in multitude of shapes and sizes. You will also find some Mid-Century Modern and even Neo-Modern style homes in Old Northeast.

This time I was doing a shoot of sort of a mix between mildly Tudor with Federal-inspired brick exterior. Day-time presented a challenge of many surrounding oak trees that cast heavy shadow, yet with sun shooting through the leaves. The contrast of brick layers with such light is not easy on your eye. As a real estate photographer I had to figure something out. The solution was to take twilight shots. Here are a few shots from this session.

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Why Saying You Are Better And Different Is Not a Wise Choice In Real Estate Marketing

Why Saying You Are Better Than Others Is Stupid. Especially If You Aren’t

better-than-you-realtor“Soaring above the rest”, “Why we are different from the rest”, “We answer our phones” – and so many other ways some of us advertise come across as passive aggressive, heck, sometimes plain aggressive.

A friend told me: I don’t want to be known for what I am against, but what I am for. Negative notes often speak to our ego. They reflect our immaturity. It’s one thing to address something wrong done by others, another to use a blanket statement to the rest of your competition. What will push you above the crowd is the respect of others, never just your own promotional efforts. The bullshit radar is so very sensitive right now among all generations. We spot arrogance, we see when someone lies and we don’t want to deal with them. Rolling that way online only magnifies things.

It will take someone 5 minutes to check on your real presence online, your work and your reviews. If there isn’t much to show then your statements of being “different” are foolish.

So how do you promote yourself correctly?

The simple answer is that you don’t just promote yourself. Today’s marketing is offering help and telling a story, providing service and education about product. It is not blasting mass emails to 1000 addresses you just bought and then try to immediately close, churn and burn style. Today it’s give, give, give, politely ask. Love them to sale.

Practically speaking

1) Like Gary Vaynerchuk says: become self-aware . What are your strengths? How can you use them in your business?
2) Decide how much of personal life you want to share with your audience. But share some.
3) Don’t just push your listings on your wall. Start thinking like your clients, what do they really want from you?
That’s right, they’ve already seen all new listings, maybe even those you yourself haven’t seen yet. What is your value to your client? Define it, package it, offer it.
4) Thank before you bank. Your past clientele is your best advertising tool. Take a selfie with your happy buyers or sellers. Help them move in. Ask for a positive review.
5) If you do something much better than others, don’t say so. Simply show it and offer it. “I love making property videos for all my new listings! Love to show to my community what’s new for sale in the neighborhood! Follow me on YouTube, new listings coming this week!” – Something like this is positive and offers value.

Tell Your Story – Reach Your Audience With Quality Media. Domain Homes

livingroom149I have worked with Domain Homes for a couple years now.  I could see passion in what they do and their enthusiasm for creating a brand name that is recognizable and carries a great reputation. My passion was to work with such passionate people. I wanted to come along and help them in this pursuit. Idea after idea, project after project, Domain Homes has grown into a reputable company in Tampa Bay whose brand is well recognised.

Quality Photography

design-center188For Domain Homes it was not a question wether they needed to present their homes with great photography. They wanted quality and consistency. Every model home was photographed and featured with a video tour.

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They wanted more. They honored owners of the lots they bought from, threw parties for them and presented gifts. When a kids baseball league found some of their equipment stolen Domain Homes stepped in and purchased new item for them. They also kept the story-line going with photos and video.

When I suggested we create a video presentation of their Enclave Model in the style of House Hunters – they jumped on it without hesitation. The video is now on their YouTube channel and uploaded directly to their Facebook Page.

Results

back240For a small Tampa home builder they created a strong following on Facebook and you will find their daily posts on Twitter and regular videos on YouTube. The awareness of their brand is huge in Tampa Bay. People in St Pete know of them, Tampa Heights, Seminole and Safety Harbor – all heard about Domain Homes. Not an easy task when you are competing with national new home builder giants.

You Already Took The Red Pill – Now What? Content, Context and Story Writing

Is Your Story Heard By Your Market?

red-pill-content-developmentThe red pill took you into the world of digital, the world of Internet. Are you surviving? Are you thriving?
Good news is before digital world and in it people always wanted to work with exceptional companies. But In 2015 exceptional companies usually will have exceptional presence online. Maybe you’ve heard that a good product sells itself. Sorry, it’s not true. The reality is even addictive products like tobacco require some creative marketing to have successful sales. Your amazing product, service or charity will thrive if you tell your story. But how?
Marketing methods constantly evolve. In the last 50 years we went from black and white paper ads, to QR-codes, social media and mobile-only tools. What haven’t changed is that people still desire to work with people they like and trust.

If Your Goal Is Success – Stop Hiding

I want you to think of marketing as a 2-step venture: 1. – helping people find you and 2. – giving them what they want once they find you. What is your story? 20 years ago it was strange when you shared too much about yourself online, but now it is considered strange if there’s no public info about your business or yourself. Think about Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Internet is no longer some mysterious outlet; it is now an extension of your life, your communication with the world, friends, parents and co-workers; Internet is your dictionary, encyclopedia, cook book, shopping cart, research tool, it’s your bookshelf and your stereo-center. We ALL took the red pill, we are ALL in the world of digital. But not all adapt easily.

Tell Your Story

How can you showcase your red pin and make it stand out on the vibrant map of the Internet? Building a company website is intimidating. From design and layout development to menu and plug-ins set up, it can be overwhelming. If you’ve hired a web-developer, you’ve solved a half of your problems. The other half is – content. Are you a creative copy-writer or blogger? If you don’t provide quality content like write-ups, bios, pictures, videos, service info, history, continuously updated storyline – your developers will have their hands tied. Your content must also be relevant to the context and platform where you choose to share it besides your site. Think about getting help from content and media professional.

Learn how to bring your site to life. It can happen naturally when you accept that the Internet is an extension of you, both personally and professionally, and that every day the world is more likely to see that extension of you first. Your content may involve regular copy-writing, personalized photography, video, creative customer loyalty ideas, engaging and offering help – it’s all part of building relationships with your clients. If you are in the beginning stage of your site development and integration with social media, and want to have a strong presence online, let’s talk, I’d be glad to offer a review and ideas.

Are You Packaging Your Services Right? Simple Tips For Real Estate Marketing and Branding

Cupcake Theory

cupcake-branding-marketing-real-estateA cupcake wrapper without a cupcake is of not much value. Yet, a cupcake without a cupcake wrapper is a nuisance. You can’t bake it without a wrapper and you’ll get messy when you eat it. You need a wrapper. A wrapper is a a type of packaging and packaging is a multibillion dollar industry. It is for a reason. And it’s not just for a practical reason. The looks, the appeal, the attraction are also invoked by smart packaging.

In a way, a realtor is a master of packaging, we keep things from burning, we help avoid sticky circumstances and we deliver a pleasant experience.

If someone threw a cupcake in your lap, you wouldn’t enjoy it, you probably wouldn’t eat it either. Imagine buttercream icing soaking deeper into the fabric of your favorite suit! A wrapper is both convenience and quality presentation. Apple products come to mind. Ever unboxed one? Then you know what I mean.

Is Your Branding Consumable, Pleasant and Helpful?

Too often we forget about the wrapper, we focus so much on the cake. It’s understandable, it is what we want and it is what we want to share with others. But nobody wants messy business. The desired end result is a practically and esthetically pleasant experience.

Are you throwing all effort into the cake forgetting the wrapper? Are you keeping the desired end result in mind? Is your product or service presented in a consumable, easy and pleasant way? If not, it’s time to pause and reflect.

The meat (or in this analogy – the cake) of your work is the sales process. You love the real estate business and you love to help people buy or sell properties. What you need to see is that branding and personalized marketing is your packaging. But a great sales person is not always a great marketer. It’s normal when an agent struggles to independently create a nice branding portfolio. All those cheesy slogans on bus benches? Umm, yup! Creating a “You” brand takes time and creativity, demands searching deep within yourself, becoming self aware and going all in on your strengths. Many real estate companies offer help with marketing and branding, take advantage of it. Yet you will still need to implement a lot individually, and if that’s not your strong suit – hire a professional.

Marketing and Branding Must Be Useful

If there was one thing I’d want you to take away from this message, it wouldn’t be just a fact of you needing a presentation and looking good. I’d say it’s this: don’t just look pretty, be useful too.

Marketing and branding is not just story telling. It’s also doing something useful. Your stories shouldn’t just tell a good story about you and showcase your product or service – your stories must draw tears because of the positive action your marketing brings to the lives of others.

Advice To New Realtors – Where To Begin?

Practical advice to new real estate agents

living-room-snell-isle-tampabayYou passed your real estate exam. Congrats! So, did thousands of others this year, eager to join an army of a couple million Realtors in USA.

You already have a plan… or not. Or you just asked the person sitting next to you in class about reputable brokerages in town and now you put together a list of brokers you want to interview. Chances are you are in one of the following scenarios:

  1. Your job sucks and your friends say you are great with people and should sell real estate. You already quit your job, and after your 63-hour course and exam, which I’m sure you passed on your first (or second) try, you are ready to rake in those thousands of commissions dollars, like next week!
  2. Your kids left home for college and you’d like to take on a new adventure in life. Yes, the spouse works, but you just want to make a few extra bucks you can spend anyway you want.
  3. You worked at a real estate office as an assistant and now ready to venture out on your own.
  4. You have a friend already making tons of cash and he/she invited you to join forces and start a team. (no! run! I’ll explain later)
  5. Or a dozen other scenarios, but it doesn’t matter…

…What matters is your very next step. Your first activity as a licensee will be forever etched in your memory and I really hope one day you can look back and smile because you made a good decision.

Being your own boss is not easy but doable

You will have to join a broker and once you hang your license there, it’s up to you to make sales happen. There may be training and some help at a cost of your commission. Your broker may provide paperwork assistance and floor time. But training and floor time will not get you far. If you are in it to win it, get ready to hustle, cold call, solicit every relative and friend you have, reach folks on social media and knock on your farm’s doors. I did and disliked all of these, but if your skin is thick enough, there will eventually be result, it may take a few month and over a year before you get on your feet financially. It may be easier if you were in real estate related business like lending or insurance where you can prospect to your client database. Still, it will take time for them to trust you in your new field.

Buy leads

To make money as an independent agent you will need to have cash to invest before seeing any of it come back. In addition to “old school” prospecting, buying leads, zip codes on Zillow and Trulia and hosting other agents open houses will be your good options.

Are you a team player?

If you are not too keen on cold prospecting and spending thousands of dollars to generate quick business is not an option, you will have to consider other scenarios.

Joining a team is different than becoming a partner. Unless it’s with your spouse, business partnership should only be considered if you know the person well, duties and responsibilities are written in stone and possible exit scenario is well discussed and documented. Additionally it’s desirable if both partners are bringing a book of business to the table. As a new agent you simply will not have one. A new agent becoming a partner will often see failure within months.

Joining a successful team, on the other hand, is a great scenario. Find a few successful agents with a team in your market and pursue them. You may start as a buyer’s agent, team assistant or office manager. If the team rocks, so will you. Hustle hard, don’t mind low commission splits (you are learning after all) and build relationships with vendors and clients.

If you decide to go solo, be willing to pick up other agents “unwanted” business. Take tough clients, lower end buyers and offer to host open houses. Remember, your local community will bring you business, so volunteer for events and take part in non-profit activities.

Lunch Value

After five years in real estate I was surprised how few of the vendors wanted to build a relationship with me. We like to gage success with dollars. Ok, so what if I told you the highest ROI I’ve ever had was from a cup of coffee? Simply building a relationship with a prospective client on social media and then asking if I could buy her a coffee? Simple as that. Those clients are now most loyal. Many of them have become friends too. Stop thinking money and ROI, start thinking about building genuine relationships with people you want to do business with. My suggestion – in your first year never eat lunch alone. Who’s the most successful agent in your brokerage? Offer to buy him/her a burger and pick their brain! And if it’s coffee with a potential client – they already know why you are inviting them, so don’t say a word about business! They will ask you.