Carrie McCormick

The Importance Of Staging • Monday Market Minute • Carrie McCormick

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Welcome to the October edition of Monday Market Minute with Carrie McCormick from At Properties!

Fresh from her speaking engagement as a panelist at Inman Luxury Connect in Beverly Hills, Carrie McCormick tells our listeners some of the insights she observed. For example, the rise of the importance of staging – buyers expect homes to be move-in ready and staged. Also, how you can use video to tell a story better than pictures. I provide a marketing tip on how to personalize your holiday cards for clients!

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

Carrie McCormick D.J. Paris Monday Market Minute
Carrie McCormick Logo


D.J. Paris 0:00
On this episode of Keeping it real is brought to you by Quicken Loans real estate professionals. When you work with Quicken Loans, you have an agent relationship manager available to you and your team. These dedicated experts are part of the agent relations team. They serve as your single point of coordination so you can count on them to keep you in the loop throughout your client’s entire home buying process, call 888-980-2891 or go to real estate dot Quicken loans.com Today, call for cost information and conditions equal housing lender licensed in all 50 states NMLS consumer access.org Number 3030. And now onto the show.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the largest podcast made for real estate brokers by real estate brokers. My name is DJ Parris, I’m your host and guide through the show, as always, today, we have the Monday market minute, which we do every month with the great Carrie McCormick. If you are a new listener and you haven’t yet got it listen to any of our Carrie money market minute episodes. Carrie is one of the top producing brokers in Chicago and this is a huge deal because there’s 45,000 brokers Carrie is always in the top 1% of 1%. She is literally one of the very highest producing brokers. She’s been a high producing broker for 20 years with App properties. And she just came back from Inman luxury connect where she was a featured panelist and speaker in Beverly Hills. So we are so excited to talk to you. So Carrie, welcome back to Chicago.

Carrie McCormick 1:50
Well, thank you, it was such a fun panel to be part of it was a privilege. I was seated next to Kevin Thompson, who I’ve never met in person. I’ve always seen him on panels or in, you know, different write ups. But he’s the Chief Marketing Officer of Sotheby’s International based in New York. So I got the privilege of talking to him backstage personally for a little while. And then of course, you know, seated on the panel with him. And then another gentleman that I was with is dusty Baker. He is a top producer from Southern California, also with Sotheby’s and, you know, talking to these two gentlemen that, you know, one on the East Coast, one on the West Coast selling millions and millions of dollars of real estate it was it was such a privilege, and especially to be in Beverly Hills. I don’t know, you know, how many people been out there? I’ve been out there once before, but it’s, it’s kind of lala land. It’s really it’s really interesting place to be and, you know, millions of dollars of real estate are traded in that town. It’s unbelievable.

D.J. Paris 2:57
Yeah, so tell us a little bit about what you you know what you spoke about what you learned, let’s, let’s Yeah, the listeners. And

Carrie McCormick 3:05
so the panel that I spoke on was about, you know, luxury listings and how to market them. And the reoccurring theme between the three of us is how important staging a home has become. It’s the buyers in this marketplace have changed. And again, this is not just a local thing here in Chicago, it was across the US, there were people. Like I mentioned from New York, or agents from New York, there were agents from California and Texas that deal with these oil tycoons. The same thing is, is that staging matters, when a buyer walks into a home, it has to trigger an emotional feeling and that emotion needs to be I love this house, I can live in this house, I can move right in. And, you know, it’s our job now to create an emotion of feeling from these buyers. And that’s where staging has become key. Whereas before, you know, but like I said, I’ve been doing this for 20 years, you know, it just we didn’t have to invest in that we didn’t have to worry about staging, you know, we would just use what was ever in the home. But again, staging has become key, whether it’s real staging or Virtual Staging. For the people who are listening. Virtual Staging has become a huge hit for those you know, folks that don’t want to stage their home so I would definitely look into that if you haven’t already. The other thing that I opened up the panel with was about storytelling. I use a lot of video marketing in my advertising and marketing for a home and dusty Baker who is the gentleman I sat next to he disagreed with me. He said that he does not use video because he feels that no one is watching seeing the videos. So again, everyone’s got a difference of opinion on video marketing. But I love video marketing for two reasons. One, it does tell the story about the home because you can do B roll of neighborhoods of schools of coffee shops in the area. So not only are you marketing and selling the home, your marketing and selling a lifestyle, the neighborhood, what you know, when you walk out your door, what can you enjoy. And you can’t get that through just, you know, traditional pictures. So I love the storytelling feature of the video. And also, I love it just because the SEO rankings when Zillow or any other platform sees that you have a video content in your in your listing, it thinks it’s more important, it feels it raises you up a little bit on your ranking. So I think you get to fold with these video marketing. So that was, you know, between the staging and the video marketing, that became the hot topic of our conversation on our panel, we talked a little bit about print marketing, and we all agreed that, you know, if you place an ad in a magazine, there’s you’re not going to get a buyer for that home, you know, no one’s looking for a home in a magazine. I don’t want to name any but you know that, you know, you’re not working through a magazine and saying, Oh, look, look at this home, I wasn’t even thinking about it, I think I should buy this home. But we all agree that print marketing has become a way for branding ourselves as agents. So you know, our picture, our name becomes front and center in that print, you know, if we want to list a few homes in there to obviously show off our listings or you know, hopefully there is someone that does see a home that they may like and give you a call. You know, we’ve all agree that that has become a way to leverage the print the print part of it. But really it was, it was such an interesting place to be again, I was talking with people from coast to coast. And we all seem to be struggling with the same issues as far as the buyer market right now. You know, the market times are up. Again, this is across the United States market times are up, pricing is starting to level out. If you’re looking to move a home, you’ve got to price it right. It has to be staged properly. And you have to have an aggressive marketing campaign. Hands down.

D.J. Paris 7:33
Yeah, I have a few thoughts on on all this great stuff that you just said. And I wonder if a lot of it with a staging in particular, you know, we think about and we should really mention your Instagram account because it is one of the best if not the very best I’ve seen for what a realtor should aspire to do and Instagram, which is Carrie McCormack real estate. So go on Instagram and follow Carrie number one, everything she puts up is very professional, it’s a branding opportunity for her but also it’s there’s a consistency to the look the feel, and she does it all herself that she doesn’t have an agency posting for her. So it’s really very, very remarkable. And I wonder how much of this idea of now staging, whether it’s virtual or actual staging, I wonder how much of that has to do with the rise of the popularity of social media platforms like Instagram where we take pictures of our food, and we tweak it to make it look like it’s just absolutely incredible. And we post it and I think this idea of the pictures you know if you’re virtually staging, making the every room look perfect or again, actually staging so when somebody comes through, you know, I always heard years and years ago that you were supposed to leave the room as sparse as possible so people could imagine their own stuff in the room and I just don’t think that’s the case anymore. I think you’re right. You want it to look just perfect.

Carrie McCormick 8:57
Actually the moderator of our panel also brought that up is you know, she said Let we have to blame you know, these Instagram accounts and some of these. These TV shows like HGTV has some fabulous shows. But what the public is getting used to seeing is perfect rooms right with whites and these grays and these luxury this and luxury that and the consumers that’s in your face all the time of you know this is how a kitchen should be so when they walk into a real life kitchen that doesn’t live up to that expectation, the Instagram expectation or the HGTV you know kitchens, they get upset, you know and that’s what they want. So it’s it’s a hard dynamic to, you know, to work through. Another thing we all laughed about was that these and I love all these HGTV shows is you know they do these fix and flips and it takes you know you will I’ll just show for an hour, you know, the beginning to end the house has been renovated, but you know, in the show, it takes them two weeks. So when I coach a client through renovations, or how long it’s going to take or meet with contractors, you know, I tell them this, you know, this could take a couple of months, and they’re, they’re flabbergasted. Well, they did it in two weeks on the show, you know, how could that take, you know, six months for us to do. So it’s bringing, you know, some of these TV shows, you know, you gotta bring back the reality of, you know, what’s going to happen in the renovation. So it’s, it’s challenging.

D.J. Paris 10:36
Well, and also, for everyone listening, whether you’re a realtor who are looking for tips from from Carrie, or if you’re a seller going, oh, gosh, now I have to stage every room in my house. Well, the good news is, it’s never been more affordable. Obviously, you could always virtually stage it, which is, you know, very, almost almost a free service with photography studios now, but even if you’re hiring, you know, a staging company to come in and actually replace furniture and make, it’s not that expensive, if it’s going to yield a higher return. And I know many brokers and Carrie, I know you’ve done this as well, that will tell sellers, we need to get your stuff out and move stuff in sometimes. And and it’s just a great idea, because the the data suggests that help sells homes sell home quicker. And for higher price points.

Carrie McCormick 11:23
Absolutely. I’m starting to do that quite a bit. It’s I’ve got clients living in the house and will relocate all their furniture to one area. And then we stage a few other rooms. So they’re living in a half staged house, and you know, half of their furniture. So it’s it’s a really great concept and new new idea to sell a home.

D.J. Paris 11:46
Wonderful, any other takeaways that you could share with our audience from the conference?

Carrie McCormick 11:51
Well, it’s really like I said, it’s having a robust marketing plan. And the bottom line with a lot of this right now in the market is pricing home correctly. And giving feedback, I’ve started to give a lot more feedback on my showings to people and just, again, this was across the US agents are saying, Please give each other feedback after these showings, because it helps each other in our industry. communicate to our sellers of what’s going on, because if you do a showing, and then just go see each other, you know, and don’t give any feedback. It’s it makes more difficult conversations for our for our sellers. So again, just professional courtesy to each other, as you know, giving some good feedback.

D.J. Paris 12:39
Well, and it is called a cooperative commission. Right? So brokers are supposed to cooperate. And again, oftentimes, the broker might be too close to the situation to see something that other brokers who are coming in to do this, to look at the property with their clients might not see. So you have this opportunity to provide incredible feedback. And I don’t know what percentage of brokers provide feedback, but it’s not high enough for sure. So everyone listening, if you’re a realtor, and you get that little email saying, give us some feedback, please do that, or call the other broker and let them know. So that you guys can both work together and get some homes closed. Exactly. So I have a and I want to hear I want to get your feedback on this. So I have my marketing minute of the day. And Carrie actually gave me the suggestion, really, the credit goes to her. But I wanted to also get your thoughts on this because I was like, oh, what should I talk about? And the holidays are coming up, Carrie reminded me. And it was like, Okay, what what do brokers do? Or what should they do for their clients. And so I’ll just give you my experience, because I’m not a producing broker. So I’m really the worst person to ask, but I will tell you what I get in the mail around this time of the year. And I have lots of different professionals that have various services that I employ, you know, financial advisor insurance, you know, that mortgage, that sort of thing. And I really get very little, quite honestly, around the holidays I use, I usually will get a card or some sort of mailer. But it’s I can’t think of anyone and I’m not in any way insinuating the people that I choose for my taxes or for the other services I employ. I have no qualms with them. They’re great, I love them. But I don’t know that any of them really send me anything personalized. And so I was thinking about this and like sending out something is better than nothing. And if you’re just going to throw a holiday card in the mail, hey, that’s better than sending nothing. But I would think if you have the time, and you can start now because we’re only in in the middle of October is maybe even just write one or two sentences on the card specific to that individual. And again, I know if you have hundreds and hundreds of people in your database, that’s not going to be super easy to do. But I will tell you the idea of a handwritten note, and I’m not suggesting we all write handwritten notes for every single person for the holidays, but just a sentence or two about Something about that person, you know, even if it’s just hope you and the kids have a great holiday or hope you and your husband have a great holiday. And if you’re like struggling on what to write about, really, this is where social media comes in very handy, or LinkedIn, right? Go to LinkedIn, go to Instagram, go to Facebook, look up your clients see what they’re up to. And you could write on the Holiday Card, hope you have a great holidays. Oh, I just saw you got back from Barbados. That sounds amazing, right? Or that looked amazing. Anything like that? I think personalized is just because I get I might get 10 cards in the mail, but none of them have any personalization. So that’s just my thought, again, I know it’s a little bit of work. But I would remember that card would would mean a lot more to me, if someone took a few, you know, 30 seconds to write something

Carrie McCormick 15:46
that is a great tip. And that is so true. Because I do I get cards from like, the bank or tax accountants or whoever it is. And it’s just it’s, you know, got a printed label on the front, it’s got, you know, their signatures even printed. So it’s like, I’m sure they don’t even know that that card went out to me. And again, the gesture is nice. I’m glad I made their mailing list. But if someone wrote a personal note, even if it said Happy Holidays and had a hand signature, it goes much further. I love that idea, especially getting a little more personal with a trip or a baby or wedding or whatever it is. That’s that’s huge.

D.J. Paris 16:23
Awesome. Well, I think that just about wraps us up. But before we wrap up, I want to obviously remind our listeners, if you are a buyer or a seller and investor or renter, and you’re looking for a great realtor, if it was me, I would want to choose one of the top producing ones in Chicago, because that just seems like a good idea. So Carrie McCormick is at the very, very top of that mountain. So Carrie, if there are people that want to work with you, what is the best way they should reach out?

Carrie McCormick 16:53
Absolutely. So always call me I’m always working 24/7 So 312-961-4612 Or you can shoot me a quick email to Kerry ca RR ie at@properties.com. But please do if there’s any questions just about market in general, about the panel I spoke on about marketing. I’m always loving to give back and you know, give free advice. So anyone out there if you need anything, always just call me.

D.J. Paris 17:23
Wonderful. Well, thank you to everyone who continue to listen, we’re so grateful for our audience. So grateful to our guest host Carrie who comes on tirelessly and selflessly who does not have time to do this. We were actually supposed to book do this yesterday and she’s like, Oh my god, I have a showing and I was like of course you have a showing. That makes perfect sense. That’s how busy she is. So we’re so grateful to Carrie. So thank you on behalf of the audience and on behalf of Carrie and myself to the audience. Thank you for listening, telephoned pass this around to other brokers who you think could benefit from hearing from from from from Mavericks like care like Carrie and continue to listen and carry we will see you next month. Thank you

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