What Renovations Should You Demand Of Your Sellers Before Listing? • Monday Market Minute • Carrie McCormick

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In our March episode of Monday Market Minute, Carrie McCormick from @properties provides statistics for Chicago’s market for this year. Carrie suggests that every agent should googling themselves to manage their own online reputation as a part of their marketing. Next, D.J. shares his marketing tip of the month. Carrie and D.J. discuss renovations that can be done when clients are planning to put a house in the market for the best ROI ad share photography tips for the agents. Last, Carrie and D.J. discuss the importance of reviews and why agents should ask for them.

If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!

Carrie can be reached at carrie@atproperties.com or by phone at 312.961.4612.

Please follow Carrie on Instagram by clicking here.

This episode is brought to you by Real Geeks.

Carrie McCormick D.J. Paris Monday Market Minute


D.J. Paris 0:00
What renovations should you be insisting your sellers make before listing their property that will increase the value and the speed in which their property sells? We’ll stay tuned. This episode of Keeping it real is brought to you by real geeks. How many homes are you going to sell this year? Do you have the right tools? Is your website turning soft leads in interested buyers? Are you spending money on leads that aren’t converting? Well real geeks is your solution. Find out why agents across the country choose real geeks as their technology partner. Real geeks was created by an agent for agents. They pride themselves on delivering a sales and marketing solutions so that you can easily generate more business. There agent websites are fast and built for lead conversion with a smooth search experience for your visitors. Real geeks also includes an easy to use agent CRM. So once a lead signs up on your website, you can track their interest and have great follow up conversations. Real geeks is loaded with a ton of marketing tools to nurture your leads and increase brand awareness visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod and find out why Realtors come to real geeks to generate more business again, visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod and now on to our show.

Welcome to keeping it real, the largest podcast made high real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Parris. I am your guide and host through the show today is our monthly series called The Monday market minute with Carrie McCormick from the Carey McCormick Real Estate Group with at properties here in Chicago. Carrie is a top 1% producer in Chicago with over 20 years of experience helping buyers, sellers and investors. In fact, in the past 12 months out of 44,000 real is actually 46,000 Real estate agents in Chicago. Carrie is actually ranked in the top, I think I think you’re number 13 right now out of all of those agents. She’s a true superstar and an expert in everything from first time homebuyers, veteran investors and luxury properties. She also works with a lot of developers and is often chosen to represent their high end developments. I actually live at a development that carry out represented so I can vouch for that. But please, please, please visit Carrie at her website, which is Carrie McCormick r e.com. And also follow her on Instagram. She has an incredible Instagram account. She does it all herself. And that’s at Carey McCormack real estate. Carrie, welcome once again to the show.

Carrie McCormick 2:44
Thank you, thank you, how are you?

D.J. Paris 2:47
I’m good. I’m good. i i i It’s funny I was all I keep hearing about is inventory shortages from everybody. And how, how is that going? Are you working with a lot of buyers these days? Are you working more with listings? Or?

Carrie McCormick 3:06
Yeah, you know, I, I was saying to it’s I think we’re all getting tired of hearing the inventory shortage story. And it’s true, and it’s continuing. And, you know, typically in my career, I’ve always been a little bit more of a, what we call listing agents, you know, I’ve worked with primary sellers. And over the last 24 months, you know, I’ve I have so many buyers, and everybody does, you know, we’re all in this hunting mode of looking for the sellers, and you know, really kind of expanding our networks. And, you know, I’m finding myself, you know, calling and emailing people and really, you know, someone said, describe yourself, I’m like, I’m, I’m truly a hunter, I will go find, I will go find sellers, I’ll go find people who want to sell their home. So just to kind of talk a little bit about Chicago and what we’re experiencing the amount of properties that were sold in February of 2022 I have to get my years right, the number of properties that were sold in Chicago is up 14% From February of 2021. So, you know 2021 We thought was an incredible year but so far, you know, our numbers are coming in extremely strong this year. And even though the sold properties are up, this is hard to believe too. The inventory is down almost 30% from last year. So we’ve got this weird, you know, balancing act that we’re trying to, to manage here and on top of managing that, you know, managing everyone’s expectations too. So you know it’s we’re now in I don’t even know what month we’re in. We’re in March headed into April you know, it’s interest rates as everyone know are starting to tick up. So we’ll see how that affects our market

D.J. Paris 4:52
has the interest rate adjustment, which I now I was reading the Fed may make six adjustments this year. So certainly interest rates are on the rise, which makes sense because they were at historic lows. But has that impacted your buyers at all? Where are you have your have their? What they’re looking at their the range of pricing? Has that changed at all? Is it scaled down for any of your? Your buyers?

Carrie McCormick 5:19
Yeah, and I think it depends on what price point people are into. And But absolutely, I call it their buying power. So you know, just using a round number if someone was going to, you know, last year, purchase something for $500,000. And, you know, interest rates were in the threes, and they bump up to the fours. Well, guess what, they cannot afford that $500,000 home anymore. Now they’re their budgets, you know, 450, or, you know, whatever the numbers pull out of? So yes, it does definitely impact some of the buyers. And, you know, they just they have to pay more for the house now. So not only prices are up a little bit interest rates are up a little bit. So it’s definitely impacted.

D.J. Paris 5:58
Yeah, and we haven’t really seen a price correction from listings, correct. Like, there’s still so many buyers that the prices are still probably higher than than we would expect.

Carrie McCormick 6:10
Absolutely, absolutely. So one thing that I wanted to also talk about is just shifting away from the inventory. But just something kind of fun, is googling yourself. So I found the other day, I went to Google myself, the top or the fourth top, Google search for my name was Carrie McCormick’s husband. Isn’t that funny. And the funny thing is, when you click on it, there’s no pictures. Except, and if he’s listening, Matt silver, who’s a good friend of mine, he’s a broker. He was the president of Chicago Association of Realtors. And way back when we took a picture together. And when you when you google Carrie McCormick’s husband, he comes up. I thought that was so funny, you know. So I sent I sent a screenshot to him. And it just said, you know, this, just so you know, if anyone asks, this is what comes up when you say Carrie McCormick’s husband. But anyways, as I was Googling myself and just looking, it’s just interesting, you know, how Google categories is everything. And so you know, as part of our marketing, we have to manage our online reputation too. So just make sure every once in a while that you do, you know, do a search and see what comes up. What I also did, which was very helpful is Google allows you to set up a alert with your name. So you know, I’ve gotten an alert. So anytime either an article comes out or something is said, you know, with my name, I get a nice alert about it. So I can just, you know, manage what’s out there. And what’s being said, and you know, think, thank goodness, it’s nothing negative. But you know, it’s just nice to have an alert, even if something gets published in a paper or something you don’t know that your name is being published, it’s kind of nice to see that. So that’s my tip to you is to make sure that you Google yourself and watch all of your, your online profile, make sure everything looks good.

D.J. Paris 8:08
Yeah, it’s really, there’s some good good tips there. So what you can do if you have a more unique name, is type that into Google search and just see what starts to autofill. And and you were saying, you know, husband, for example, might autofill. And you’re like, Okay, well, that’s going to show up when anyone types by name. And so I should probably look to see what results come back. And then you know, you’re seeing that it looks like, you know, you’re married to Matt silver, which of course you’re aren’t and so then it’s like, okay, well, I, you know, maybe I can figure out a way to correct that. You could write to the whoever owns that website and say, Hey, I think this is inaccurate or whatever. And so there’s certainly can you know that that is important, because even in referrals, I’m pretty sure Google their realtor, right? Even the ones that he does, yeah, everybody does.

Carrie McCormick 8:56
Yeah, everybody does.

D.J. Paris 8:58
Absolutely. And setting up alerts is a really good idea. So just as a funny sort of story, I my name again, my name actually isn’t DJ Paris. I mean, that is what I go by. But my name is really Delfin Paris is the D is for dolphin, the J is Joaquin. So it’s a very unusual name, but because nobody calls me that I have an alert set up on Google for DJ Paris, which I set up a long time ago, and everyone should set this up. But in my case, just as a funny story, there is a famous DJ called DJ Paris and it’s actually Paris Hilton, the the heiress to or I don’t know if she’s actually the heiress, but you know, the Hilton family. So she actually goes by DJ Paris, so I ended up getting all of her alerts. Because if I put Delft in Paris, you know, I would never get an alert because nobody calls me that so, but it is funny. So I know everything about Paris Hilton’s life accidentally, only because we have she uses the name DJ Paris because she is a DJ, which a lot of people don’t know.

Carrie McCormick 9:53
Did not know that.

D.J. Paris 9:55
Yeah. And it but it is a good idea. And I’ll tell you this, so that was is just a cute story. But this actually just happened a few days ago. So it’s really apropos to what you were just mentioning. i We have an alert. So I work at kale Realty. So I have an alert set for Kale Realty anytime, you know, news comes up at properties, which is where Carrie works, I’m sure has, they have a whole PR department so they’re watching that stuff too? Well, we had one of our agents at Kale was just featured in a cranes article for a home that he sold in Edison Park, which was apparently a big deal. I didn’t even know he had sold this home in Edison Park. And, you know, I guess our operations team knew about it because they processed the deal, but we didn’t know about it. And cranes thought it was a big enough deal to write about. And as a as a result, the only reason we knew about it was because we set the alert up. And then we were able to send his name is John and I sent John a copy of the article. And it’s like, Hey, John, just I’m assuming you already know this. But cranes wrote that a little blurb, blurb about you and this sale. And he goes, he said, You know, I they said they might but he they didn’t. They never told me really that they were going to and the one of the funny things is, he said, Well, they actually didn’t ask permission to use this particular photo of the property. So he was sort of laughing about the fact that you know that he didn’t get the he didn’t get permission to use the photo. But the point is, is like he didn’t even know that that had been published. So and you know it? I don’t know if he’s going to send that article around to his clients and friends. And I don’t know, maybe, maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t. But we certainly from a brokerage level, we were like, hey, then we made a big deal about it to all of our brokers, like, Hey, look at one of our agents is in the news, how exciting. And that’s something that if you’re on a team, or if you’re, you know, even if you just set up your company name, or just realtors in general, setting up alerts for that kind of information, it’s a great way to make friends in the industry, and really, you know, celebrate everyone’s successes and be able to reach out and you know, and say, Hey, I saw your article in such and such, you know, publication and congratulations, and, and that stuff really does go a long way in building friendships and relationships. And, and maybe that maybe that sort of helps tip the scale, sometimes in a multiple offer situation, where all of a sudden, they’re like, oh, Carrie, you know, she has submitted an offer and that she called me the last time I had was published in this art, you know, it doesn’t hurt, I guess is the point to, to, you know, celebrate other people. So I think that’s such a such a great idea. I have a suggestion. And I want to carry because I don’t practice real estate. So I really want to get your opinion on the side of my marketing tip for the week, had to do around a home anniversaries. And it was really funny because Carrie and I were talking just before we started recording. And I said I want to talk a little bit about home anniversaries, or home bursaries. And Carrie says, Oh, this is really funny, because you had just actually ordered some cards. So yep, she’s showing them right now. If you’re listening, you won’t see them. But she has these really cute cards that say Happy Home anniversary. So you will be sending those out to people that have bought homes, I’m assuming do you do them for sells sales as well or just purchases?

Carrie McCormick 13:13
You know, I, you know, every year I like to call people and I just really in or send him a little gift. And I just I was browsing around online, and I saw these really cute cards, and I didn’t know home anniversary, or they started calling him home home home aversary or something like that I wasn’t even a real word. But you know, these cards were so cute. And there was a gal that was handmaking them and I thought you know, again, to support like a local business or small business, I thought it’d be a great idea. And so now let’s just start sending these cards out. I think it’s such a cute idea.

D.J. Paris 13:48
Yeah, and it’s something that I know, as, you know, as just myself, I know, I don’t have people ask when did you move in and it was only like a year ago, and I’m like, I march I think I like I honestly don’t even remember when I moved into my place. So I suspect most people don’t maybe retain, you know, the specific date that they move in or close on a property. And this is a great opportunity to just remind people about that special day and you know what it’s like to, you know, get the keys and, and you can do it through through a card or a bottle of wine or whatever, you know, whatever you want to do, gift wise if there even needs to be a gift. But I would say one thing that that would be something I would include would be or maybe I’d send it out a week later or something. But I do also want to give them an updated comp, I would want them to say hey, you know if, you know, here’s what I’m seeing in your area, and if if anything’s changed for you let us know. And here’s what your home you know, may be worth right now. That is something that I think a lot of homeowners just don’t really think about until they need to think about it until they’re like oh, we are thinking of moving. But I think if I knew that my home would appreciate it. A certain amount, and it was a legitimate thing where I was like, Oh, I could make some money, then, you know, I personally wouldn’t probably move, but I know probably there would be people that would. And so I think that’s a great thing. And I don’t think most people are hitting up Zillow and looking at these estimates as often, as Realtors may think, because we live in that world. So might be something that your clients just aren’t really thinking about. And you can bring it to their attention and maybe, you know, help facilitate that conversation if they start to realize, wow, there’s an opportunity here.

Carrie McCormick 15:33
I think that’s a great idea. And one other thing I’d like another tip I’d like to put out there is, a lot of times when I’m meeting with a seller about selling their home, you know, we walk through the home and they say, you know, what improvements can I make to, you know, get the best ROI on my home, you know, and so we go through a list of it, but a nice consultation to clients. You know, if they’ve been in the house for three years, maybe they had, you know, a five, seven year plan is, is meet with them on year three and say, okay, you know, I know, you know, have your plans changed? Are you thinking of selling and maybe 234 years from now? And if the answer is yes, it’s like, let’s start talking about, you know, you mentioned the kitchen renovation, you mentioned the bathroom renovation, you know, the landscaping, you know, why don’t you start that now, and so you can enjoy it. Right, and the time that you come to sell your home, it’s already done, and you’re not scrambling at the last minute, you know, trying to get things improve. So, you know, come together as a, as more of a consultation about what can they do to improve the home. So the time that they’re ready to sell? It’s done and ready to go?

D.J. Paris 16:37
Are there any rooms that are usually wins for an ROI return on investment? And are there any that are usually not worth doing? If you’re looking for a return on investment? Are there any just I know, it could be anything in there? There’s a million variables in place, but general rule of thumb, are there any rooms where you’re like, usually? That’s a yes. Or Usually that’s a no,

Carrie McCormick 16:58
I think it’s going to be the usual suspects, right? You think of your kitchen and baths is number one, right? Landscaping, like your curb appeal is becoming so important. Windows are becoming important as well. Roofs are important, I guess. I don’t know, it just seems like it’s a little bit of everything. I’m just trying to think if there’s anything I’ve said no to you know, maybe, you know, washers and dryers, you know, stuff like that, that can be easily replaced, you got to think about from a buyer’s perspective, when a buyer comes in the home, they want it to be perfect. And they want to be able to move right in and not have any big capital expenses, like a roof or you know, furnace or something like that. So those are big tickets, if it’s something that’s easily can that can be changed, like, again, a washer and dryer, let’s say, you know, wouldn’t focus on that. One thing I read, which was very interesting, is one of the biggest thing people are looking for is the entrance like their front door, you know, of just like, that is setting the tone of walking in the house, you know, so if you have chipped paint on your front door, if it’s banged up, for whatever reason, you know, it just as a buyer approaches the home and the property, it really gives an impression of how well that home has been maintained and how welcoming it is. And it just sets a tone. And you know, not that I never thought about that. But I just didn’t realize that that kind of snuck up on the ranks of top things to improve upon is your front door.

D.J. Paris 18:28
Yeah, it is sort of the first thing that once you take in the overall entirety of a property just visually like you see it from the street, you see everything and then you sort of narrow in I guess at least I do I narrow in on the front door. I don’t know why I do that. Maybe because that’s the entry point and just sort of make sense to think about that. But you’re right. I think about it, and I do evaluate it in a weird way. I don’t I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t think I don’t think I’m a snob about it. But I do I guess I noticed it as the point and if it’s really unique or interesting or cool. Then I go ooh, look at that they did something and if it’s maybe if it is banged up a little that I do have a slight negative thought about it like why don’t they fix that up? So that’s a really good point is keep those front doors looking great as as well as the entire outside. That’s yeah, it’s it is we live in this like Instagram world where in particular, this Instagram perfect world where we can make things that aren’t look that don’t look good, look good. On screen. But then if the person shows up and everything’s been filtered to death, it’s it’s going to be a letdown. And I see it with some of these photos that some of the photography studios do when they’re shooting homes. And they just make the sky a little too perfect and the grass a little too green and everything’s just pops a little bit too much. And it’s like it looks cool, and it’s very enticing, but it’s not going to look like that when they get out of it. You know, if it’s a rainy day, it’s not going to look like that. And even on a sunny day, it’s not going to look like that. So I always think maybe we’re doing ourselves a little bit of a disservice by making every picture look a little too perfect. I’m curious what you think online dating? Yeah, exactly. You never want somebody to show up to the first date and go, Oh, that’s what you look like. You want them to go, you look just like, it’s like, the greatest compliment you could ever get when you’re dating is You look just like your photos. Because that’s the person that is that’s the person that the person is going to fall in love with. So you might as well, but I wonder if that applies? Do you see that as well? Sometimes, like they put clouds in the skies, and sometimes these these photos, just, they don’t even look real?

Carrie McCormick 20:42
Yeah, you gotta be careful with them. And you know, there are enhancements that I think enhance, you know, like a sky or a tree or something. But if you’re really changing the integrity of the home, and what really what it looks like, I think that’s a big no, no. And I’ve been with buyers that we walk into a home and they are let down, you know, because they’re in their mind, they were expecting, you know, a certain look, you know, and then they walk in, and it’s not at all what it looks like in the picture. So,

D.J. Paris 21:09
yeah, so tip there is Don’t Don’t overdo it, it doesn’t have to look perfect, it just has to look really good. And it also has to look really good when they step out of the car. And, and so it needs to be pretty similar, I would say. But, yeah, so those are our tips for the week. So we talked about, obviously, we just talked about sort of photography, we also talked about home gifts, we talked about Google Alerts. And also, you know, this is a great time to where everybody’s is really stressed. This is a good time to to ask for reviews, as you’re looking at your online reputation. There is no shame in reaching out to a previous client and saying something to the effect via email, or text or even a phone call and saying, hey, you know, I know, I felt like we had a really great experience. If you you know, have any time. If you would love to share, you know, with with the public your experience of working with me, I would really appreciate that, that really helps me out. And I suspect, most people would want to do that. I know I would want to do that anytime. Even a restaurant, I always think restaurants missed the boat, the restaurants never asked you to do that. And I always think like, whenever I have a good experience, I would be happy to do that for anybody. I go out to eat more than anything. And I’m always surprised that nobody ever says, Hey, if you had a good experience, you know, go on Google and leave us a review. But nobody does that. But I think you can ask for that. I think it’s okay to ask for that. And, and people are gonna read that stuff. So you might as well try to try to get some in there. But you probably have to ask because usually I think people aren’t thinking about writing a review, unless they’re, you know, over the moon overjoyed. And there’s somebody who likes to write reviews, or they’re really angry. And there’s somebody that likes to write reviews. So I think you know, when you’re there’s going to be angry ones written about every business and every person at some point in someone’s career. So you should also maybe stack the deck in an ethical way by asking your clients who liked you to also talk about their experiences. And we started doing this at our company. Where we we had, we didn’t really think about this, because we didn’t want to upset our agents. So a couple years ago, I finally said, you know, we would ask our agents, please ask your agents, or please ask your clients to write reviews, and nobody ever did. Because you know, it’s kind of embarrassing. Maybe I sort of understand that. So I said, Well, we’re gonna just ask every single client once they close, like, you know, and then the next month, hey, could you please let us know how your agent did. And I let our agents know that we were going to do that nobody seemed to have a problem with it. So we started doing that. And we went from I think we had like 50 reviews before we started asking now we have like almost 400. And once in a while you do get a one star review and happens. It actually just happened to us a couple of days ago. And it’s actually good for us to know that because then we could reach out to that agent and say, hey, just FYI, this person wrote this. Is there anything we can do to fix this is there, you know, and it happens. But almost all the reviews have been five star? And it’s like, oh, yeah, because, you know, we have really great agents. Of course, Carrie is a great agent, and her company has great agents as well. So I think you can ask for it. And people seem to be really excited about that. So definitely ask it if you don’t want to do it because you feel like it’s maybe self serving, ask your managing broker to do it. Ask your manager broker to reach out to your clients and get reviews on your behalf. There’s nothing wrong with that either. In fact, in some ways, it’s kind of easier.

Carrie McCormick 24:45
I don’t want to do it. Right. But you’re right, I think nine out of 10 Well, probably 10 out of 10 I mean they do you they do like to write a review for you. So definitely need to ask though.

D.J. Paris 24:56
Yeah, and with inventory shortages. We’re just gonna keep trying We’re going to get creative. And I know you know, we talk about that a lot. And so we won’t mention any more of that today. But, but getting creative is important. And so this is a good time to build those friendships with other realtors who might have some listings that aren’t yet on the MLS, or maybe they’re in a private listing network and, you know, aren’t even there yet. And you know, you can start to get, you know, more access to some of that stuff before it gets sold. So all right, well, I think that’s a great place to wrap. On behalf of everyone listening, we want to thank you for thank Carrie for her time, she is incredibly busy. Gosh, I don’t I don’t even know how many homes you’ve already sold this year. Dozens and dozens, I assume. And it is. So Carrie is very busy. And she is takes the time every month to come on our show. We’re so grateful. And if anyone out there is looking to work with a top Chicago real estate agents, she works in the city, the suburbs, she’s everywhere. And she’s been doing it for over 20 years, he has one of the best reputations of any realtor really in the area, they should reach out to you. Or if you’re an agent who has somebody moving to the Chicagoland area, you don’t service this area, another great person to reach out to as a referral. So Carrie, what’s the best way someone should reach out to you

Carrie McCormick 26:17
always call me 312-961-4612.

D.J. Paris 26:21
And we should mention that you do not have this big, incredible team, which most of the people in your peer group who are at the level you are at. In fact, I can’t really think of any exceptions to this, although there may be, but maybe just one or two. They all have big teams. And you’re really doing this all yourself. So she when she says she gives out her phone number, it’s because she’s the one answering the calls and, and taking care of everything. And she does it very, very well. So congratulations, of course on all your continued success. And we would like to ask everybody just to help us out two quick things. Please tell a friend. Think of one other realtor that could benefit from hearing our podcast and let them know about our show. And then also please, please leave us a review. I will ask for reviews because it helps us learn not only what we can do better, but also helps us get more listeners because you know the different podcast directories, prioritize shows that have reviews. So let us know what you think whatever podcast app, you’re listening, you know, give us a review. We really appreciate it. It helps us continue to grow. So that’s all I got for this week, or this month rather. So on behalf of Carrie and myself, we want to thank the audience for continuing to support our show and we will see everybody next time. Thanks Carrie.

Carrie McCormick 27:37
Thank you

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