CMA Mania

Why do I call this CMA Mania? Because I am looking to the evolution of the CMA (Comparative Market Analysis.) Frankly, there is too many elaborate CMAs being used by realtors today. Elaborate CMAs were necessary up until the early 2000s before Zillow, Trulia and existed. Today, the consumer has access to all of these sites to easily learn how many homes in their neighborhood have sold and for how much. So, it’s really no longer necessary for realtors to spend their time providing the consumer with all of the traditional CMA information.


CMA Mania is the idea that you are going to send different CMAs at different times, these CMAs are not going to always include house information. For example, after you host an open house, send all visitors a CMA that is a glorified information packet about you as a realtor. Then use different CMA before having an appointment with a potential client, most of this CMA is marketing documents on how you can help them sell their house faster for top dollar.


Agents frequently get confused about CMAs, because they are often taught by their brokerages that CMAs need to be more elaborate than they need to be. I personally like CMAs to be in a simple form and not just a list to show comparative sales. I prefer to focus more on sharing marketing information that I will use to sell the house, instead of dozen pages of neighborhood comps.

Listing Strategies

Top Ten Takeaways From Internet Presence Class – Agent Truth

Thank you for all that attended our Internet Presence Class!

As promised here are our Top Ten Takeaways;

  1. Your website should rank 1st for your name.
  2. Google Business Profile should appear on the right-hand side of the page –
  3. Complete Zillow Profile
  4. Links and activity are how you rank higher.
    1. What website do you want to rank highest? Link all other profiles to it.
      1. Update it the most.
    2. What website do you want to rank second? Link other sites to it and update it the second most.
  5. Consistent Messaging and Profiles
    1. don’t be a leasing specialist on zillow, a vacant land specialist on facebook, and a foreclosure specialist on twitter (different pictures are ok)
  6. Understand value of Google Ranking – big websites with existing credibility will rise to the top faster
  7. It counts less when its below the fold, unless its eye catching like a video, (Audience gets distracted).
  8. Reviews get you Stars. Stars are seen better than words.
    1. Facebook, Google, Zillow, Trulia,, Yelp
  9. Marketing – remember people look at EYES
    1. You want your photo to show up or video
  10. Video, Video, Video – re-purpose your content on multiple sites

Are you interested in being notified when the Internet Presence Class is an available video for purchase?


How to Make a House Sexy

I think the key to understanding how to make your house sexy is recognizing the fact that selling homes is very similar to online dating. This is because the way to get the most people interested is to make the house attractive, or in this case sexy. The key is understanding what housing trends are the most desirable. There are certain looks in real estate most people find attractive, just like in dating there are certain looks most people find attractive.

Buying a house is often an emotional decision. Why do we call it “How to Make a House Sexy”? Because we are appealing to the emotional side of the buyer.


When I first got into real estate in 2003 many houses for sale only had a few listing photos, mostly of just the front of the house. Fast forward to 2019, now most listings have thirty or more photos! How many listing photos do you need? I think you need somewhere between 7-15 photos of the best features of the house. The curiosity to see more creates seduction, thus bringing more buyers in the house. Similarly in online dating, people show off their best features with hopes of meeting someone for a date to learn more about each other. The goal in home selling is to seduce buyers by making your listings “sexy” so buyers will want to come “date” them.


It’s not a requirement to show all rooms of a house in the listing photos. Use only pictures that highlight the best features of the house that are clean with nice lighting. Show off only the best features of the house, leaving something to be desired is sexy. A home is typically the most expensive thing people buy, so they will want to come look in person before making a final decision. The goal is to make your listings “sexy” so the most amount of buyers will want to come “date” it.

Listing Strategies

Understanding Functional Obsolescence

This is one of the most important concepts that a real estate agent can learn if they want to take their representation to the next level-the concept is that not all homes are created equal. Agents need to understand price per square foot is a novices way of interpreting the market, they are just averages. The reality is real estate is much more complex than averages, especially as you get into the luxury market with homes over $500k, over $1 million and over $5 million plus.


Agents need to understand they may be dismissing features of the house. For example, some features in a kitchen are counters and cabinets. Granite countertops comes in different levels and there are different types of cabinetry. Cabinetry quality vastly ranges from pre-fabricated assembled with staples to custom cabinetry assembled with tongue and groove joints. Other kitchen items are backsplashes and appliances. Agents need to have an understanding there is a value of every detail in the house. To fully understand this, agents need to understand functional obsolescence-those are the items that will keep a buyer from buying a house. Therefore, having a negative impact on other features of a house. For example, if a house backs to the railroad tracks, that’s considered functional obsolescence because there is a huge swath of buyers that you have taken out of the marketplace, thus reducing the demand, therefore the house sells for less. In this example of a house backing to railroad tracks, it’s worth 12-15% off the price of the asking price versus a standard lot.

When I was a buyers agent looking at my first one to two thousand homes, there were particular items I would notice. For instance, I would notice maybe nine out of ten, or maybe in ten out of ten buyers would not like a home. If you are only selling ten houses a year you may only run into this only once every few months, so you pass it off as my buyers just didn’t like it without realizing all of the buyers that saw that home didn’t like it for the same reasons.


As you gain more experience selling 50, 100 or more houses a year, you realize the impact these items have and the financial impact. I use the word “impact” because when you impact demand, when you impact the amount of people that will buy something, then you impact the price.

Why as a real estate agent do you want to know what functional obsolescence is? On the buy-side it helps you puts deals together. The more information you can supply in negotiation that is able to be understood by both the buyer and the seller, then the more deals you can put together when everyone sees the same rationale. Likewise, on the sell-side, now you add additional value items into the transaction, so you make the house worth more and the seller can accept the sales price. The reality is that you are always going to have to overcome a functional obsolescence and removing some of it releases significant value in return.

Listing Strategies

Listing Marketing – How to Market to Drive 50-100 Buyers Through Your Listings Per Month

I feel marketing may be the most underused, misunderstood and under appreciated thing in real estate. Most realtors use traditional methods of marketing such as advertisements in newspapers & magazines, and calling the neighbors. I believe the traditional marketing methods do not drive enough traffic to effectively to sell a house.


So when I talk about marketing for listings, I’m talking about getting more potential buyers through the house. For example, if the listing under a million dollars I’m expecting 50 to 75 people through the house in the first thirty days and if the listing is a million dollars then I’m expecting 25 to 50 people. From the many mastermind groups I’ve been through, I’ve learned that realtors spend the least amount of their marketing budget truly trying to target buyers to sell that house! Versus market tactics that benefit the listing agent or to market to other realtors. This is a huge differentiation, because the reality is buyers are now shopping without a realtor. As a result, realtors need to be doing direct to consumer advertising.


So, how do I respond if someone says to me, “Jeff, the newspaper is direct to consumer advertising”? Yes it is, except do buyers look through the newspaper to find a house? The answer is big fat “NO”.

Where do 90% of buyers start their search process? Online! If you’re looking through the aggregators, meaning those websites that are online that are getting the most amount of traffic, it’s going to be sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and Of course you can buy premier ads on any of these websites, but there are different things that you can do to make sure your listings stand out to make sure you’re getting the most amount of traffic. Most believe that there’s just a general search traffic, yes there is, but that’s also hard to master because that’s owned by the consumer. You also need to consider all the different types of ways people search for a house.


Are you doing a good job marketing your listings for sale? On average, are you driving 30 to 50 people through a house each month? How are you going to drive traffic to your listings? The first part to answer these questions is understanding consumer behavior and realizing that consumer behavior is changing. When I first became a realtor in 2003, the consumer contacted an agent 90% of the time before going to see a house because there was not enough information online. Well, now all the information is online. So how do you drive that consumer from what it sees online to come through the front door of your listing? That’s what this class is about and why it will be a series of classes, because it’s not just one simple thing, it’s many things that you have to pay attention to.

The first thing is I think it’s time for agents to stop trying to solely pitch to sellers, that they need to do advertising to reach buyers online. Secondly, like I previously mentioned are the aggregators, but there’s also the search process meaning Bing, Google, Facebook and Instagram, which are all avenues to reach buyers.

Listing Strategies


Distribution is KEY!

Get Better at Selling Your Own Listings

It is easy for real estate agents to get complacent in the marketing of their own listings beyond the hundreds of relationships their brokers and the association have already concreted for them.  The past success of this is still winning new listings and sales. The majority of time in the recent past, another realtor would bring their client after the realtor emailed them the home or they found limited information online and contacted their agent to show them and get more details.  In years past, the buyer did not have the access to information the internet now provides, hungry for house details, more consumers would engage agents earlier in the home buying process relying on them to provide this information, allowing this old school marketing to reach all consumers. This is only one side of the new world of real estate.

Realtors now have more access to consumers in the home buying process but its going to require more effort to draw them out.  

Realtors have traditionally spent more time trying to attract other realtors because they were the one in charge of getting their client to come.  This model is weakening as the buying public is out in front of the search process exposing themselves to listing agents like never before.  This is very cool as next generation marketing methods are changing as we speak away from traditional models. This will cause further innovation in the world of real estate and what has encouraged us to come out with the Real Estate 2020 podcast, to discuss the evolution of the industry and what it takes to be successful.

The advancement of technology, the explosion of photography and the acceptance of realtors letting the consumer control the house finding has decreased the engagement of their traditional buy side agents and empowered the consumers to shop alone until ready to write.  

This approach is not exposing the consumer to portals to get their data.  This has also changed the influence that agents have on reaching the consumer directly through effective and enhanced market brought online.  This enables listing agents to reach their intended target consumer directly, the buyer, making it easier to sell the house versus selling through the agent.  The intent is not to cut out the buyer broker (I double dipped less 5% of my sales as I keep my reputation high) and often buyers have an agent they prefer to write the contract, but to get more traffic through your house in hopes of selling faster and for more money.  Your goal as a listing agent is to drive maximum traffic through your listings, which leads to faster sales for higher return for the seller.  Advertising directly targeting the consumer goes way beyond photos in MLS that are syndicated to agents and consumers, and now leading agents will win deals at massive rates when they understand how to leverage this paradigm shift.

Now that consumer friendly companies that are in control of the data, like Zillow, Trulia, and, that have eloborated and expanded the offering gaining the trust of consumers.  I am talking about how realtors can leverage this versus selling against it.  These portals are accepting consumer contact information hand over fist.  It is best to get engaged with the portals, understand the offerings and benefits in hopes of luring their viewers to the homes you are trying to sell and this does not mean buying the leads. The best way to do this is clearly the open house.  We have seen spectacular results having 50% of our homes sell from open houses over the past 6 months, which amount to 4-5 sales per month.

Listing Strategies

Open Houses Sell Homes

Open Houses work as the best possible tool to sell a home for top dollar, if you execute them correctly. The reason they work is they get people out from behind their computer, tablet or cell phone at home or work and give them a free look on their time. Often they already find themselves in that area during the time offered so them are impacted using their freedom of choice to swing by. This explains how we get 50%+ of our traffic for open houses from the Internet (Trulia, Zillow, Redfin are most named by visitors).  

The open house is actually free advertising offered to realtors for your seller

Open houses reach more consumers by flagging it as so on portals, used as bait for visitors back to their portal and working as a great tool to get more showings for your seller.  For example, at a single open house, we had 70+ visitors to the listing.  The scheduling of the open house and putting it out there for online or the advertising through syndication in the Open Houses section of these portals well before the actual open house is critical to maximizing the traffic. Inherent delays with syndication, put stress on realtor to advertise in advance.  Driving traffic to the open house online versus putting up a few signs at the gate and the home is the best way to drive traffic and sell the listing for more money.   One key note is putting the time frame of the open house, both online as well as on the signs. For example, 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, or 1 to 4 pm on Sunday. The game has changed as “looky-loos” are far and few between as this online education and availability of information has transcended the open house into a way of meeting qualified home buyers for your seller.

Real Estate Blogging

You’ve set up your agent website, you’ve tweaked your website design to reflect who you are as an agent, and you’ve filled out your “About Me” section.  Now what?  It’s time for content!  Content that engages your target audience is what will keep your readers coming back, week to week.  Blogging is a large part of effective online marketing strategy, but if your blog goes stagnant, and your content gets stale, you’ve lost your readers, and the chances of them coming back for more are pretty low.

Creating fresh content, however, keeps your website dynamic and ever-changing.

Now how do you create engaging, interesting and relevant content? You don’t need to be a creative genius, or a professional writer. In fact, you don’t even have to be a good writer, technically speaking.  What you do need to be is authentic. Today’s internet audience is overwhelmed with information and marketing from every direction, and with that massive influx of information comes information overload and fatigue.  To weed out this overload of information, today’s reader has learned to hone their relevance meter (aka, BS meter) to determine whether content is valid or true.

You need to make sure any content you create is a true reflection of who you are as an agent. You aren’t like anyone else…so what makes you stand out from the pack? 

If a homeowner or buyer hires you, what will you have to offer them that is different from what the agent one office over can offer them? Then, the trick becomes, how do you convey this authenticity in a blog posting?  You can do this by gearing your blog postings toward how you operate as an agent in various situations.
For example, a blog posting that describes exactly what a homebuyer can expect when they work with you is a great way to demonstrate to your readers how you stand apart as an agent.  Do you prefer to meet with them before appointments to interview them about their current real estate needs, or do you like to learn about them as you go, in the interests of maximizing their time?

Another blog post could address the top three questions you usually receive as an agent about the listing process.  For example, why is MLS relevant these days when most listings can be accessed on Zillow or  And, why are open houses still relevant in the age of the Internet?  Finally, how can staging a home make it stand apart from the other houses for sale on the street?
Finally, consider writing blog posts about the area in which you specialize.  For example, if you consider yourself an expert on Troon North, create articles written from your insider point of view that contain information your readers can’t easily get anywhere else on the Internet.   Most people don’t realize that Troon Mountain is private, and not accessible to the public.  Articles written from the point of view of a location or area expert will garner you more attention and respect, and will cement your reputation as an industry leader in that geographic area.

Setting Goals

As we come to the end of the year and quickly approach the new year, many of us begin to make New Year’s Resolutions, but how many of us stick with them longer than a couple weeks? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to research, less than 10% of people actually follow through on them. Yet, New Year’s Day isn’t the only day we can set new resolutions or goals for ourselves. So no need to wait, start setting your goals TODAY!


Did you know that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goal simply by writing it down? After writing down your goal, keep it where you can see it. Let it serve as a daily reminder to help keep you motivated. Also helpful, is sending weekly progress to a friend, which helps hold you accountable.


When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you. Goal achievement requires commitment. To maximize the likelihood of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and have an “I must do this” attitude. When you don’t have this, you risk losing the motivation to do what you need to do to make the goal a reality.


Make sure each goal is important to you and that that there is value in achieving them. Your goals should relate to high priorities in your life, otherwise you can end up with too many goals, leaving you not enough time to devote to each one.