“Welcome Home” Is The Best Closing Gift For Clients With Children • Monika Strand

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Monika Strand, realtor with Compass and author goes back to beginning of her career in real estate. Monika describes the special way she does open houses and how its brought her success. Next, Monika talks about her book “Welcome Home”, who she wrote it for and what’s the best way agents can utilize the book. Monika also discusses the importance of showing kindness to the kids of the family you’re working with. Last, Monika describes what differentiates her from her competition.

You can buy Monika’s book “Welcome Home” here with a 20% when using the code KeepingItReal20 until September 1st 2022.

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

Monika Strand can be reached at monika.strand@compass.com and 510-754-7437.

This episode is brought to you by Real Geeks and FollowUpBoss.


D.J. Paris 0:00
On today’s episode we discuss a revolutionary new Closing gift for your clients that have young children. 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 and 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 solution so that you can easily generate more business. Their 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 onto our show.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the largest podcast made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris. I am your guide and host through the show and in just a moment, we’re going to be speaking with top producer and also closing gift expert Monica Strad. Before we get to Monica just a quick reminder to please tell a friend about our show. It helps us continue to grow and reach more and more real estate professionals. So think of just one other agent in your office that could use the knowledge and wisdom of someone as amazing as Monica, who you’re about to hear and let them know about our show, send him over to our website, which is keeping it real pod.com. And also please leave us a review whatever podcast app, you might be listening to this on my voice now or maybe it’s apple, podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, etc. Let us know what you think of the show, leave us a review and that helps us continue to improve as well. But enough about that. Let’s get to the main event my conversation with Monica strand.

Today on the show, we have Monica strand who is a realtor and author from Compass. Or she’s with compass in Fremont, California. So let me tell you a little bit more about Monica. Monica. Stan is a realtor in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a people connector, a problem solver, strategic thinker dream maker and recently and most interesting to us a children’s author. Now her first book, which was just released is called Welcome Home and it came to life after Monica couldn’t find the perfect gift to give her buyers children on closing day so she created one now today her vision is for realtors who value client relationship building is essential to growing their business and gifting this book Welcome home to their clients who have children. Monique oh and by the way, but everyone can visit Monica you can check out the book for children. And everything related to Monica at Monica strand.com. That’s m o n i k So Monica with a K strand STR A n d.com. Monica, welcome to the show.

Monika Strand 3:49
Thank you so much. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for inviting me,

D.J. Paris 3:53
you. Thanks for coming on. And also please follow Monica on Instagram at Monica strand as well again, Monica with a K, before we get to the children’s book, which is so exciting because I think I remember moving as a child and I remember how, what a scary experience that was for me too. Yeah, so I’m excited to get to that. But before we get there, I would love to start all the way at the beginning and of your sort of career and how you even got into real estate. So Tasa tell us how you how you got here.

Monika Strand 4:27
Wow. Well, I go all the way back to when I was 15 I used to work at City of San Carlos in the finance department where I learned a lot about money and, and keeping things in check and taking care of a lot of tasks and I was kind of like the Girl Friday, people probably don’t even know what that is anymore. But I was a high school student. And I also was a ballerina. And I used to teach adults and little kids and I loved teaching little kids because that was like such a passion of mine, they were three and three to five year olds running around in their little outfits. But anyway, from there, I ended up opening a dance clothing store. When I was 19. And I was the youngest business woman in San Carlos at the time, I got to go back to my job at City Hall and say, hey, I want my business license. And they were all cheering me on and it was amazing. You open

D.J. Paris 5:24
the store at 19 Yeah, nobody does.

Monika Strand 5:28
I was so in love with ballet. And I, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I didn’t go away to college and waste my dad’s money. I decided I’m gonna stay local, keep doing ballet. But I knew I loved business. So I just jumped right in. And then I went to night classes at a community college. So sure. Anyway, that’s what I was doing. But a few years fast forward, I got engaged. And everything changes in life when you get engaged. Yes. So I ended up moving to the Los Angeles area where my husband was working in the movie industry. And ultimately, after we we ended up opening a coffee house, and it was such a fun community space. We we helped everyone from homeless to famous literally, I mean, I had my favorite one of my favorite clients was a homeless guy, he would come in, and I would just give him free coffee. And one day he came in, and he said, No, no coffee today. And he threw a $20 bill in my tip jar. And I literally just started crying. I was like, wow, I built community for this guy, you know. And so communities always been a very important part of my life. But anyway, that was a cool place. I would give business advice to famous people, I don’t need to ramble off names, but quite a few would come in, hang with us. And then after we had our child, and there was an earthquake down there, we decided to move back to the San Francisco Bay area where we had four grandparents that gave us free babysitting. Anyone who has kids knows it’s just it was hard. We had our coffee house, and we would bring our daughter. And anyway, we moved back to the Bay Area. So what ended up happening is we started a fundraising national Fundraising Company with coffee, our backbone from previous but this time my husband roasted it. And we did sales and marketing. And I did all the packaging, custom labels for our our schools to raise money. And most of our clients were music programs. So we helped groups all over the country raise money. And it was it was an amazing adventure. We did it for about 1617 years. And then our kids grew up. And we decided we wanted to go into some other things. So I decided to jump into real estate. I took my first real estate class right out of high school, and I didn’t jump into it. Sometimes I wonder what would have been different if I did.

D.J. Paris 7:58
So many other things. Yeah.

Monika Strand 7:59
So all the things I’ve done kind of brought me to real estate, I’m really good with people. I love community. I love caring about people and their transactions and their livelihoods and how they’re going to get into a house and all those things. And then my husband went back into the movie business. So he’s been traveling back and forth from the Bay Area where we live now back and he’s working on just cool TV shows and movies. And so here I am in real estate, five years in and constantly trying to make my own way and figure out new things to do that I can bring to the table. So my clients know like and trust me. So that’s where I Yeah,

D.J. Paris 8:41
wow, that you will use that so much. So much there. And I’d love to let’s let’s talk a little bit about I want to talk about the book. So the book is called Welcome home. It’s a children’s book. And it you tell us about why you wrote it what what the impetus was and what the book, what the book is, who the book is for and why agents should should consider buying a bunch of them to give to give to their, to their clients.

Monika Strand 9:11
Well, what happened was, I was helping my niche right now is first time homebuyers. I love them call me crazy, but I love by the buyer side of the transaction. And I know everyone says, Oh, the listing side, but I kind of find I found my space with doing really fun open houses where I would let kids do events in the backyard with little bird houses and coloring. Yeah, let’s entertain them.

D.J. Paris 9:41
I want to stop. I want to pause for a moment because this is really, really a cool thing that Monica does. So we oftentimes have guests on the show who talk specifically about how they built their business and inevitably, in many, probably most of the interviews I’ve done, people say Open House So I sit open houses, even if I don’t have listings, I asked other agents in my office, Hey, can I go to an open house for your listing? But you do something that I’ve never heard anybody do. And I, and I don’t mean we’re sort of laughing about it, and you’re about to tell, but I thought it was one of the smartest and coolest things. So I just wanted to make that point before we jump in. So that doesn’t get passed over. Tell us about your open house.

Monika Strand 10:24
Yeah, I, I think a lot of agents hate doing open houses because they think oh, you know, you’re just waiting for people to come I treat it more like a party, I’m I’m hosting a party, I do not just show up with business cards. It’s so boring. I bring I bring food. During the pandemic, I had to lighten that up. I’ll be honest, it so kind of depressed me, actually. So now we’re starting to get back into the normal, so I can’t wait. So I bring music, I bring food I bring, you know, at least water something to drink. So we can chat that I also bring stuff for the kids to stay entertained. And this is critical. If I’m in California, so a lot of times I’m blessed with really great weather. So I can, if it’s a single family home, there’s a nice backyard, all set up an area where the kids can do some kind of a craft. And it’s not anything that will take them too long, but long enough so that the parents will hang out and chat with me for a while. And I’m telling you, when you put love on the children, the client, the parents just start to fall in love with you. If they’re the right match. Of course, you can’t help everybody and I don’t want to help everybody. I don’t have time to say I can. I’m the agent for everyone I’m not. But if you have kids, and you want someone who’s going to care about your whole family, the doing something in the backyard with the children, keeps them safe and entertained. And now it gives me the opportunity to connect with the parents. And it works. It’s just a nice conversational piece. And then they get to take something home. And I’ve had these little bird houses go home from open houses and community events. And then the parents will call me later. Hey, Monica, I drove by this house. And I really would love it if you could help us by it. I didn’t even have to help them. Look, they found the house and remembered me. Yeah, it’s it’s cool. It can really work for people.

D.J. Paris 12:26
I think the birdhouse thing is so cool. So So are there just those little like birdhouse kits that you buy? Or how does it work.

Monika Strand 12:33
Um, these were just little wood birdhouses that I bought either at Michaels or JoAnn Fabrics, you don’t have that near you go online and find them in there probably about $1, maybe a little bit more, but such a fun investment. And then I would get markers and stickers and things for them to put on him. Just don’t use Sharpies, just markers up, they’re not gonna get all over their clothes. But every time I bring out the birdhouses, the adults are always this is amazing. This is such a nice gesture for you to have something for the kids. And now I’ve kind of morphed that whole idea during the pandemic, the book was born because I just was sitting on my couch one day thinking, what else can I be doing for the kids that can really benefit and also ultimately benefit the agents? Building lifetime clients? Because on key day, that shouldn’t be the ending of the relationship. It should be the beginning. So

D.J. Paris 13:33
I yeah, I think absolutely the I couldn’t agree more. And I want to just go back to the birdhouse idea just for a moment. Yes, I think it is. So such a brilliant idea. If we think about the psychology of it, the the idea or the branding and the marketing side of it. It is you know, your first of all, kids are fascinated by wildlife and animals and any, especially for kids that don’t have pets in the family. One way that you can sort of satisfy a little bit of that urge is to have a bird a birdhouse, right? So people, families, oftentimes at some point, and in most families lives, they create a birdhouse or they make one or they want to make one or the kids ask about it. So you’re providing this opportunity to satisfy a little bit of a pet sort of urge. And also, it’s it could be a permanent thing. I know like, birdhouses oftentimes get put up and then they stay. And then kids get to it’s just it’s a fun, exciting experience with very little downside. And also, like you said, they get to bring that home, there’s something tangible they get to do with them, which they maybe they visit you know, five other open houses, those buyers, and they’re probably not getting that same experience anywhere else. So I think that is it’s a very hyper specific thing. And but again, having crafts, having things for children to do, really does give the parent that free time to actually explore the property, knowing that the children are being, you know, taken care of and doing something that’s entertaining and engaging and fun. And really, and staying safe and yard. Yeah. And the idea that that every time the parent looks out of their window to see the the birdhouse that might be hanging up now, as they brought it home, they’re going to be reminded of you. And so what a wonderfully smart and just fun activity to, for children to go to an open house, probably not that much fun, I would think in many cases, but giving them this sort of activities,

Monika Strand 15:48
look, so like the minute, the minute they come into my open house, I bend down to their level. And I’m like, Oh, my goodness, thank you so much for coming to my open house today. How many houses have you seen today, and I and I let them know Are your parents dragging you around town and they look at me like, I’m so tired. You’ve hit it on the head, it’s, you know, you come to the level of the children and the parents just open up to you, they really do. And the funny thing about the whole birdhouse thing, when I created the book, I let my illustrator know, I’m a freak about birds, and I love squirrels. And there are birds like scattered through my book, like she drew them in in different places. So I just find it kind of the birdhouse was how I started interacting with the children at my open houses. And now I’ve got this book, and I I’ll bring them to my open houses. And I usually will give one away when you know, I’ll find one family that I’ll give one away. And the parents always just light up and it’s cool.

D.J. Paris 16:53
Let’s let’s talk about the book. So the book is called welcome home and tell us what it is and who it’s for.

Monika Strand 16:59
Yeah, okay, well, I created it last. Last year, during the pandemic, I was sitting on my couch and I just I always was struggling to find the perfect gift for the kids on closing day. I like to give gifts on closing day I’m that kind of agent, the warm and fuzzy agent that not everybody is that I you know, lean into who you are. So I love giving gifts. And there was nothing out there in there in the market. I looked I just you know, basic, basic gifts. So I said I need to create it. So I sat down and I literally wrote it in one sitting. It’s just it you know, it’s a small, it’s a 28 page book with that Dr. Susi kind of rhyme thing going on. Basically, it’s the journey of a little boy moving. And he’s scared to leave his old house, mom’s pregnant, and they’re moving to a new home. And you know, he just he just needs a little help. He’s now I’ll show you a picture of him. He’s right here. Yeah. And he’s, he’s just like, you know, I, I’m scared. But the reason I wrote it was I wanted to be able to hand off something. And my vision is for agents to read it right before they hand the keys to the family. And if if the child is old enough to open the door with the key, let the child do it. And let them be excited about moving into their new home rather than nervous because what I’ve seen is children hanging on to like mom’s side for dear life, like what are we doing today? And all the attention with the agent typically is eye level with the parents adults. Focus. Yeah, and the parent and the kids are just, you know, they’re, they’re lower because they’re shorter, and they’re not getting the attention. And I really started to clue into that. And I thought, This isn’t right. So what I ended up ultimately doing was writing this book with two intentions was relieving some anxiety for the child that everything’s going to be okay, they’re more important than the house, home is them, you know, the family, and wherever they go, they’re going to be the most important part. And so that’s kind of the story and journey of the book. And at the end of the book, there’s a place for the agents to send a photo of, you know, we always take a picture of closing day, and it’s usually to promote, look what I just did on social media, so much of that in our industry, but how about send it to the family to put in the book, and then they can maybe put their business card at the back of the book, but this book, I guarantee will not be thrown away or consumed like a bottle of wine. You’re not going to wipe your feet on the doormat it the book will go in the kids room and they’ll probably read it over and over and keep it and ultimately I think it’s going to build referral network and when they want to sell the house they will remember this agent if that agent is still in business, and that’s so there is two fold for the book. It’s obviously for the piled. And it’s, it’s for the agent, and I’ve created the book so that you can purchase it in bulk. So that if you’re a busy agent or you’re on a team, you will have the book out there ready to, you know, go ahead and get it ready to bring to closing day with the keys. So,

D.J. Paris 20:18
I think it makes so much sense because an agent may, you know, representing a buyer may show up at the day that the key day and keys are transferred, family moves in agent goes home, and now all of a sudden, family is now dealing with oh my gosh, the children or the child is, is freaked out, they’re there, they’re anxious, they don’t know. The scary, this is new, this is this is unknown. And so to be able to provide them with something saying, hey, you know, here’s, here’s a little guide for for you and for the child is really demonstrating a high level of consideration and care. It’s, it’s it’s very thoughtful, right. It’s a very thoughtful idea. And so, you know, I think it is a really smart thing that agents should consider having just with them, saying, Hey, Are your kids you know, how are they feeling about the move or nervous, you know, I’ve got something for them. I think that in and of itself, like you’re saying, it’s more of the intangible sort of value that you can provide? Yes, of course, anyone can sell somebody a home. And anyone can negotiate and do all the things that Realtors do. And there’s lots of super competent realtors out there. One way to differentiate yourself from all of those super competent Realtors is also to demonstrate care, and care and thoughtfulness. And I think this book does something that I have really not seen, as much of in this industry, as I think it needs to be brought to is is dealing with the move itself. And how stressful we know that psychologically, on the scale of stressful life events moving is right up at the top of the highest. Like it’s up there with, with with death, it’s up there with loss of a job, it’s it’s very even if it’s a oh my gosh, we’re moving to this amazing place, it’s still as stressful as as some of the more difficult life events that we all experience. So anything to help make that transition. And of course, realtors or like yourself are so fortunate because you have the ability to help people achieve these wonderful dreams of homeownership, but also then saying, but I’m also going to guide you, you know, through the process and, and be there to care for maybe even the children to some small extent by providing a book. So I think this is such such a smart idea. I’m curious, yeah, no, I love it. And and I know that, like because I just was thinking I moved when Well, I’m gonna tell you a story actually not about me moving. So the last time when I when I moved, I was six years old. And I absolutely could have used a book to explain, you know, and but that was that was, you know, a long, long time ago.

Monika Strand 23:22
I was six two, I swear that was that’s so funny that you said that. Weren’t you freaked out?

D.J. Paris 23:28
Yeah, I was completely freaked out, we were moving to another city. And it was it was scary. And, and again, I’m sure the realtor who worked with my parents at that time, it probably just that those resources weren’t available. So the idea of even thinking about that is you now have this opportunity as an agent to really provide emotion, more emotional support. Because I think what’s really cool about technology is technology has allowed the consumer to get access to information to help the transaction itself. So finding a property, you know, getting the data for schools and and crime rates and all of those things. Thankfully, the agent doesn’t have to spend as much time doing as they did before. And the agent can then pivot and focus on Hey, but you know, let’s talk about how how’s the stress level? How are you guys doing? How are the kids doing? Oh, by the way, I have this book for the children that will help like it’s a win all the way around. I see. So I’m I’m a huge, huge fan. I’m curious. Yeah, I’m curious how how you see agents utilizing the book. What’s the best way you think agents should you know should they give the book to the person at the closing table? Should it be before that after then what are your best your thoughts?

Monika Strand 24:52
I my main vision was, I see buyer agents or listing agents purchasing it strong Smart listing agents, if they had a really good closing, a good escrow with a buyer agent might want to leave a copy on the kitchen counter and text the buyer agent saying thanks so much for an incredible escrow. So glad you know we could close on time, I hope the family loves it if they know of families moving in, it’s a small investment for making maybe another transaction down the road go smooth with that agent. Again, it’s a great, thank you gift to the other agent, I don’t think we do enough thinking of other agents who work really hard to get business done properly and take care of everyone. That’s kind of my thought. And the buyer agent could actually bring it to the key day, not closing day, because a lot of times the kid isn’t there or the children. So but a lot of times on key day, if it can be planned when school’s out and it’s closer to dinnertime or whatever, then the the keys and the book and whatever other gifts they want to maybe have in the kitchen or what the agents doing, they can read the book on the porch before they open the door for the family to let it be kind of a really cool little moment for the family if they wanted. And then they could hand the key to the kid and let them walk in. And that’s my vision. But I’m sure agents will do it how they want. But I do see it as a great tool to to utilize your heart to do the right thing for the family moving. It’s a big big day. Scary for the kids. And when you said you moved when you were six. So did I and I kind of forgot about that when I wrote the book. And then I remembered Wow, wait, I was really pretty young. And I remember hanging onto my mom’s like, pants or whatever. And she was dragging me through the house and it was a little bit of a fixer upper. My dad found a good neighborhood a house they could fix up. And I remember my mom telling me Don’t touch anything, don’t touch anything. And I don’t remember the agent at all. Like as a six year old in my memory. I’m trying to remember back. Do you remember the agent? Like I don’t remember an agent talking to me or interacting with me. So the presence wasn’t there. But how cool if you take a moment to do something for the kids? I think that the parents really, I’ve had, I’ve had a lot of families pick me because I’ve showed kindness to the children, whether it’s at a community event or my open house. Those are the typical places where I’ll meet families. But yeah, the birdhouses have kind of responded to that. And now this book is is my my new baby that’s I’m hoping to share it with a lot of agents because I think it’s I think it’s needed out there. I think we work in such a fast paced business and we’re going from deal to deal to deal chickens with our heads cut off mentality. And if we just slow down a little bit and nurture that one client and you’ve got to remember closing day is the beginning not the end of the road with that client because they’re going to maybe refer you to someone else if you did a good job for them. Maybe they’re going to have to move again and then they’ll remember you and a book like this staying in their house I think can help do that. I do

D.J. Paris 28:25
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Monika Strand 31:21
Like I said, my niche right now has really been first time homebuyers. I love helping them and I know some agents necessarily don’t they think it’s too much work, or it’s just going to be a headache. I love the challenge. And I love I love key day I love you know, getting them into a single family home. It’s like the American dream. It’s coming true. So taking it from someplace like an open house or a community event where I might have met someone from their care and kindness, things like making the birdhouse, you know, spending the money on these items they can take, you know, something that’s tangible that they can take away, and then they might remember Oh, yeah, Monica, I remember her, you know, they’re gonna remember you if you stand out with kindness. And from there, if I can get them to actually trust me, I always invite them to my office for a one on one meeting, which is a pretty standard practice. But I think a lot of agents are missing that step. The key for me right now is the California contract switched from 10 pages to 16 pages in December. And one of my questions at open houses, I never asked, Hey, do you have an agent I always ask, have you been making offers are ready to try to find out if they’re working and if they’re losing. And if they have, you know, I’m happy to give a little advice, even if they have agents just for small talk. But if they don’t have an agent, I always invite them. If you want to learn a little more about the buying process running from Open House to open house isn’t the best way to do it. It’s really good to sit down. I love to share a sample of the contract. I know that is like basic 101. But I think a lot of agents right now are missing that. And in this fast paced industry we work we just assume they know everything we do. And they don’t I when I share the contract with first time homebuyers, we sit down I did one last night at five o’clock at my office, we sat for an hour and chatted, I went over all their you know, hopes and desires and dreams and let them know, you know, in this crazy market right now you might have to give up something and they like that reality check. And then going over the contract, I sometimes tease them I say you can treat it like bathroom reading, take it home, read a bunch, take another page, read some more, and then ask me questions. Because in the heat of the battle, when you’re at work, and you’re at work, and we need to make an offer at two o’clock on a Tuesday, you’re going to just get the DocuSign click, click, click, click and now you’re making an offer on a home. This this business is kind of crazy when it comes to the largest purchase most likely of your life coming down to a clickable Docusign. I mean, we have that business, you know, yeah, it’s

D.J. Paris 34:11
crazy, right? It’s crazy. And right now, it’s Oh, and we need it in the next five minutes because there’s exactly 15 other offers. And so I think what you just said is really important, I want to unpack it a little bit because I think it’s really an a huge huge differentiator for you, which is sitting down and saying, Hey, before we get into all of this, let’s let me just kind of show you what a contract looks like. And let’s go through it. So that so that when we when we do need to make offers, we can do it quickly. We you you understand what you’re doing. And that’s actually a really, really smart thing to do because I know too. I recently bought a property or my primary residence, which I had done before this wasn’t my first time But it was the largest purchase I had made up until this point in my life. And even though I’m in the industry and I have a podcast, and I have we have 800 agents here at our company. So you would think I’d be like, I know, I know how everything works. I really don’t know how everything works, I’ll never know. Yeah, well, that. And it’s just an incredibly emotional experience, who you know, where people no matter what industry they’re in, but even if they’re in real estate, this is going to be a stressful experience. So this idea that, you know, people outside of the industry know anything about real estate is is the extent what people know is that they know how to go on Zillow. They know how to search for properties, they know how to look at pictures. And they go, that looks cool. And, and that’s probably why I always say, you know, that’s what everyone’s doing. But the knowledge, the emotional intelligence, the understanding about lending the understanding about the attorney, if you’re an attorney, state, escrow all of negotiations, all of those things are probably not known by the consumer.

Monika Strand 36:15
They’re not top of mind yet for them until we educate them. And I take lots of other little pieces to try to make myself stand out. I’ll do things like, once, you know, like, last night, I sat down for an hour with some new buyers, I met at an open house last weekend. And now they’re in the pre approval phase with one of my preferred lenders. And after that, because people work so much, and they’re busy, and maybe they have to travel a little bit to the area they want to come and purchasing. I’ll do things like maybe all tore the home on my own, if it’s close to where I am, because this is my area. And I’ll take a quick video tour. And I’ll I’ll text it a video and send it to them and say, hey, does this even interest you? So I’ll save them time. And it makes them know Oh, Monica is thinking about me today. And if they don’t like it, great, fine, I saved you time. But if you love it, then I’ll say okay, I need you to be ready. Today. There’s one opening at five o’clock, we’ve got to tour it today or we’re going to lose out the market here in California is so fast paced, it’s it’s absolutely crazy. So, you know, I let folks know, coming to open houses is great to to see a few homes. But if you want to get serious, you need to get connected to an agent who’s going to show you private tours. So you can walk in and feel how do I like this house? Does it fit me? Do I like it? And I’ll even step out and say I’m gonna let you guys be in there for a minute alone. Just feel the home Do you know, and you can’t do that during an open house? So they’re like, Wow, we never thought of it that way. I was like you should, you shouldn’t have to run around to every single open house. Let me weed out the things that didn’t make it on your dream list. And they they appreciate that so much. That’s that’s a big one.

D.J. Paris 38:04
Definitely I you know, my mind is just spinning from from everything you just mentioned, I was thinking if if I was practicing agent, and I saw a property that I thought was really cool or interesting, whether I’m on a showing, or maybe I just go see it on my own, like you were saying, filming that video and in whether you’re sending it directly to your customer, or your clients, hey, I’m thinking about you. If this interests you, let me know. But you can also post that on social media say I am, I love this home, this is really cool. Here’s some interesting features. That’s another opportunity to so sending it to, you know out on social media, if that’s appropriate, or to the client say, hey, so and so I was just thinking about you, I think this might be a good fit. What do you think? Again, demonstrating care demonstrating like I’m thinking about you? I think that that seems to be the overall theme for your business is is I’m thinking about you. And I’ll finish it just with this really interesting story that just happened. I’ll just love to get your thoughts on it. So I have I have a friend and I’ll keep this very vague to protect everyone who’s who’s involved in the story. But basically, I have a friend who had this is someone who will say it’s a he and he had one of his biggest listings ever and it was a we’ll call it a let’s say it’s a $10 million property. So it’s a $10 million property. He was a referral from a client. This was a listing. The family wanted to sell this $10 million property, which is obviously an amazing property probably anywhere in the country and this single family home kind of scenario. So the listing agent took took the listing and found a buyer and when we’re dealing with with those kind of high net worth kind of properties, it’s not as easy as just throwing it on the MLS waiting for the offers to roll in, you have to really go out and find those people who can afford those types of properties and really seek them out. So this this individual did this work this guy, he did it, he got a buyer. And then on the last day of attorney review, once the contract was was in place, the seller decided got cold feet, which is, yeah, and basically said, I’m out, I want to keep the property. And so this was a massive, you know, a loss to the listing agent listing, and you said, Well, okay, you know, uh, well, you win some, you lose some and the seller does change their mind, what the seller did. And this is the part I wanted to get your opinion on. So the listing agent was going back to the seller to like, cancel the listing agreement and just kind of, you know, be done with the whole thing. And, and she, he was rather licking his wounds going, oh, gosh, I just lost this the sale, and the seller changed their mind. And then the listing agent looked at the next door property and said, you know, that’s a comparable property, it probably is worth about the same amount of money. And wonder if the next door neighbor might be wanting to sell that, that his property to this other buyer who might want also to buy this property now that the seller on the first property got cold feet. So literally, this agent, he went next door next door? Yeah. Well, he actually called he found out who the owner was, he called the owner and said, You don’t know me. I was trying to sell your neighbor’s home and it didn’t happen. But I have this buyer. Even though it’s a listing agent, I have this this agent with a buyer who wants a property like this, would you be interested in selling your property at for, you know, X amount, 10 million or whatever? And, and the owner said, Yeah, I think I would. And so all of a sudden, all of a sudden, now, this transaction happens, right? Yeah. And And what’s amazing to me, is it the story itself was great, the listing agent did the right thing. So another property called The owner said, Hey, I got a buyer. What what do you think? And yes, so that’s Lesson number one is, of course, look around, and make those kinds of calls. But the second thing, the thing that I was most interested in, as I said, Wait a minute, that person would use the realtor to buy that property. I don’t know how long they lived neighbor, I don’t know how long the neighbor lived in this property. But let’s say it’s five or 10 years, they used an agent to buy that property. How upset, you know, must that agent be who represented the buyer who bought to now not get the sale, the sell side all those years later? And I think what you’re talking about is maintaining those relationships, in providing value after the sale for as many years indefinitely for the whole lifetime of the relationship, because I thought you know, it, you know, if you if you do the math, let’s just say maybe the commission is I don’t know, 250,000? I don’t know, somewhere in that neighborhood. So imagine losing that, you know, and simply because you didn’t reach out to your person that bought this amazing property all those years ago, go, Hey, what’s going on? Are you happy? Are you thinking of moving? Are you thinking? No, I’m assuming that that’s probably what happened. And so I just wanted to share that, because that is it. We hear those stories all the time.

Monika Strand 43:32
Absolutely. And you never know what the neighbor wants to do. I didn’t it wasn’t a $10 million listing I had when it was a it was a historical little home. And it was around 600k. But it had commercial real estate scenario building permit problems. So it was a hard one to sell. But in the open house, I met folks that ended up not offering on it, but I connected with them. And I realized the next door neighbor’s house was almost the exact same thing. And sure enough, I sold, sold it, I got that person in next door. And then the guy selling it wanted me to buy help him buy a house somewhere else. So I ended up getting three deals out of just paying attention to the guy next door. So power of paying attention. But I’m telling you, our brains are so hard wired with so many things to do as real estate agents, it does get to be a daunting task, where to spend your time and who to reach out to and sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and care about ourselves too. Because we can’t care about anybody else until we take care of ourselves and just start listening and try to defuse some of the noise because I know I’m dealing with that myself personally right now the pandemic really altered. I think a little bit who all of us are I don’t know if you know what I mean like being I’m actually filming right now in my home office I built in my back Back Yard last year, because of the pandemic, we got kicked out of our offices. And ultimately, I ended up building this, which is a great place to do zoom calls now. Yeah, that I missed, but I missed seeing people. So I’m really looking forward to going back to big open houses, community events, I crave seeing people and I’ve, I’ve really missed them for the last two years. So

D.J. Paris 45:28
I had the same experience last night, I had an old friend Reach Out who lives here in the city, who I haven’t seen many years in the pandemic, certainly did that make that easier for us to get together and we just haven’t got together. And she reached out to me, her and her husband said, Hey, why don’t we get together this weekend. And I definitely had a little bit of a bigger spark. I mean, I would always want to hang out with these people. But the fact that it came sort of at this time, I think, I noticed myself getting more excited than I normally would be because we are I think a little bit, not a little bit, my lot starved most of us for interpersonal interaction. And so I think open houses, events, you know, whether it’s, you know, you’re having people come to do a volunteer thing, or a client appreciation event, or a seminar about how to build, you know, buy your first home, or a dance party, or a bird or a bird.

Monika Strand 46:32
I’m telling you, the things I would love to do, and I think maybe I will this, we need it. I mean, I feel like we’ve all been pushed down and sent home and for two years to reflect on whatever it was we needed to reflect on and, you know, a lot of sadness and a lot of grief and all kinds of things. And I think I’m just usually a happy person. And I feel like I was pushed down a bit over the last few years, it’s time to come out of our shells again, and, and help one another. And, and again, I don’t like to compete with all the other real estate agents. I’m me, I’m unique, and I know it and so I’m just in my own lane doing my own thing. But if I can help other agents build their business, I this is a brand new thing for me. Matter of fact, I didn’t even mention, my husband and I are the publishers. This is our first book storytellers publishing it because my husband writes books too. So Wow. So it’s sort of like a fun new venture for us. But you know, whatever I can do to help others come out of their shells. start caring again, start start doing events start start talking to people, you know, it’s like we were in our masks that whole time and all we could see was their eyes. And yeah, it’s it’s nice to start feeling like maybe we can see more people.

D.J. Paris 47:51
Yeah, we can we can, we can touch we can congregate we can do these things. Yeah, a little bit more safely.

Monika Strand 47:59
My tomorrow, I’m doing my first Twilight tour. I haven’t done one in years, like actually with food and just invite the neighbors. You know, I’m excited, you know, turn it into a little party, you know,

D.J. Paris 48:11
yeah, I your enthusiasm is so infectious. And I absolutely, just think it’s the right energy for this time right now. And, and so everyone, please think about this, you can be a hero, or you know, small hero, Big Hero, some sort of hero to your or if not a hero, at least somebody who demonstrates care for a family going through a move, which we know is crazy and stressful, and a big pain in the butt for everybody. If you you consider giving this gift to the children, which is called Welcome home. It’s a book about moving, helping kids deal with cope with moving, have giving the parents a little framework for how to introduce the home to the child. And we’re big, big, big fans. You can find the book and order the book and you can buy it in bulk. Honestly, if it was been I’d just buy like 50 copies, keep it in my trunk and hand them out whenever I ran across an agent who are sorry a family who is in the process of moving and you can find that at Monica strand.com and Monaco’s again with a K m o n ik a stranded.com. Also Monica is an agent and she is a wonderful agent in the Freeport area. And she is with Compass and what’s and you can also if you’re interested in working with Monica directly, she is absolutely willing to speak with you whether you’re a first time homebuyer or veteran investor or somebody who is just looking to work with a top real estate agent to find their next property. What’s the best way someone should reach out to you if they are interested in talking with you?

Monika Strand 49:53
Absolutely. If they are on Instagram, just follow me on Instagram. I’m always there at Monica strand or if you want to email me, Monica mo n i k, at Compass doc actually Monica at Monica strand would be the easiest. I have two emails. So it’s my name. And then my name Annika and Monica Monica at

D.J. Paris 50:14
Monica strand.we. Will put those links in our show notes as well. Monica, thank you so much for being on our show. We had such a fun time with you, on behalf of our audience want to thank Monica for her time and also hope we there’s more books to come. I think you could create a whole series around around this. So I’m sure you do. And on behalf of Monica and myself, we want to say thank you to our audience as well. And please remember to always, the best way you can help us is to support our sponsors, as well as by telling a friend, think of one other real estate agent that could benefit from hearing this great interview with Monica send them a link to our website, keeping it real pod.com Is our website or you can find us anywhere podcasts are served. Just send it over keeping it real to a friend and have them hit the subscribe button. Monica, thank you so much and we will see everybody on our next episode. Thanks Monica.

Monika Strand 51:09
Bye bye. Thank you so much.

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