[schema type="organization" orgtype="LocalBusiness" url="http://4salebydonna.com" name="Real Estate Agent Donna Baker" description="Real Estate Agent showing homes for sale and available real estate in Monrovia, Pasadena, Arcadia the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California." city="Monrovia" state="Ca" postalcode="91016" email="donna@4salebydonna.com " phone="(626) 408-7766 "]

Four Personality Qualities Distinguish the Best Agents


If you are looking for a real estate agent who will do the best job for you, it’s logical to seek the best agent in your area. Less obvious is what traits distinguish the best real estate agents. If you look through summaries of commonly agreed-upon qualities, most are the same as for other successful people. A common #1 listed trait is “a problem-solver mindset”—but that would be true for most top producers in any number of occupations.

Going at it from a different perspective, the nature of the industry might make the most useful distinguishing characteristics largely personal ones. From my own point of view, four are all but indispensable:
The best agents are nice. The selling and buying of a home is serious business, so “nice” might not seem to be required…but even a hint of rancor is a bar to success. In dealing with the place that sellers call home (and buyers would like to call home), when ill will threatens to sour the atmosphere, it can thwart a transaction—even when all other factors are favorable. Although it may not sound logical, the ‘vibe’ surrounding a home’s sale can become as important as it is in establishing a business partnership, where good will is justifiably essential for success. Especially when nerves are ragged, misunderstandings are easily triggered. The best town agents adroitly handle nuances (like knowing how to prevent minor critical comments from being taken as personal slights).
They’re organized. The sheer volume of details that flood a busy real estate agent’s day has to be experienced to be believed. The best agents can’t be “snowed under,” because they have long ago figured out how to systematize fielding the daily load. You can tell an organized agent by their swift personal response to phone messages and email contacts.
They’re real. Eventually, artificiality wears thin. Sooner or later, a professional demeanor that’s out of phase with the same person’s private side betrays itself as what it is: a guise behind which reality resides. The best agents know that the strongest cooperative relationships are built on trust. Whenever an unexpected obstacle enters the picture—and in the search, negotiations, and completion of the sale of a residence in town, it’s surprising if at least some snags don’t pop up. The opposite of artificial cheer is authenticity; when the voice on the other end of the phone is unfalteringly bright and energetic, it’s that much easier to make steady progress. It’s why a truism about the best agents is seldom disputed: they all seem to have one personality trait in common—a sunny disposition. That comes from loving to do what you’re doing!
The best agents don’t fear confrontation. It’s built into the mix: the interests of buyers and sellers are often diametrically opposed. That isn’t to say that, after a fair deal has been struck, both can’t walk away with good feelings about the transaction and one another (in fact, that’s often the ultimate outcome). But to get there, each should feel that their conflicting interests are being protected. Strongly protected. The best agents don’t shy away from energetically representing the wishes of their clients, even if that places them outside their preferred comfort zone.
Real estate calls for a special combination of personality traits. Salesmanship needs to be tempered with diplomacy. Zeal with patience. And above all, the best real estate agents love doing what we do. I hope you’ll give me a chance to demonstrate: just give me a call!

In Summer Heat, Make Open Houses Comfortable


If you happened upon the Weather Channel’s site last week and were greeted with headlines like, “Massive Heat Dome Inbound” and “Excessive Heat in the East and West,” it could have let you feel better about Monrovia’s own weather. After all, what do you expect from August in the San Gabriel Valley? At least we weren’t under a massive heat dome… (or were we)?

The fact is, no matter how uncomfortable the warmup was here, the Weather Channel reported that “Russia and the Southern Ocean” reportedly had the worst of it. In Russia, fires were said to have broken out because of the heat spell. An anthrax outbreak was blamed on it. Since the “Southern Ocean” isn’t a country, it complained less than Russia. And with no anthrax at all in our area, we should probably count our blessings.

When it comes to holding open houses in this area, though, weather is always an issue. In the winter, really bad weather can derail open houses altogether: cascading re-scheduling has been known to result.

Summer open houses are generally less risky, scheduling-wise…but when true heat waves send those massive heat domes our way, even uncomfortably warm weather can be countered via a few simple countermeasures. Four common suggestions for creating happier open house visitors:

  1. Move the air. Whether your home has central air conditioning, strategically-placed window units, or a heat pump cooler setup, the comfort factor advances when inside air is on the move. Fan power settings should be set to minimize noise while assuring that the atmosphere isn’t stuck in one place.
  2. Adjust the shades. This is a rare circumstance when you can abandon the open house commonplace that advises maximizing sunlight. If it’s a hot afternoon, pull the shades lest the sun-facing windows magnify the blast furnace effect.
  3. Put out chilly refreshments. Let’s face it: those whose open houses happen to fall on 90+ temperature days could probably turn a nice profit if they let Junior run a lemonade stand out front. Even if Junior isn’t around, pitchers of ice water in the kitchen are a minimum. Instead of the standard chocolate chip cookies, consider putting out a tray of chilled watermelon cubes, or ice-cooled grape clusters. And if the neighbor’s kids have a lemonade stand going down the street, consider bribing them to move it onto your lawn (when a ‘free lemonade’ sign is added, open house success is in the bag)!

    Inviting Swimming Pool

    This inviting swimming pool from one of my listings looks enticing on a hot day!

  4. For Monrovia, Duarte, Azusa open houses with swimming pools—make the most of it! Short of inviting your visitors to jump right in, you can capitalize on what makes a pool such an asset. Consider setting your listing literature out there on the table beneath the welcoming poolside umbrella, with a few chairs inviting a sit-down. The prospects will be grateful for the breather…and won’t be able to help drinking in the poolside ambiance is at its best!

We’re still in the summer selling season—which has been “hot” in more ways than one. Open houses can definitely do well in Monrovia, with a little creativity. And it’s definitely still a great time of year to give me a call!

10 Least Popular Listings Amenities – some surprises!

You don’t have to be planning to add your own home to the local listings to be curious about how it would do if it were up for sale. If you are considering a change of residences, it’s twice as likely that you have been checking out the latest listings in the San Gabriel Valley area to see what comparable properties are asking, which are already under contract, and which have been listed for the longest times…

Most important in the interest any listing elicits is the photography—combined with the Big Three: Asking Price; Number of Bedrooms; and Number of Bathrooms. But there is also the list of possible amenities—and how each stacks up with buyers across the nation. Some of them seem to attract the most eager buyers, while others seem to draw the most yawns. I’ve done an informal (and definitely unscientific) audit of what the leading commentators have come up with as “least popular” home amenities. Here’s a sampling of the 10 top least exciting contenders:

  1. Elevator. Almost every source mentioned this. People don’t want elevators in their homes, except for a small percentage of seniors. This is fortunate, because very few area listings ever include them.
  2. Two toilets in the master bath. Not terribly surprising, but not to be confused with two sinks in the master bath, which (at least here in Town) is a definite plus.
  3. Cork flooring. Cork has excellent thermal and acoustical qualities. It’s lightweight, warm to the touch, hypoallergenic…but, alas! None of that seems to matter. Unpopular, apparently.
  4. Wet bar. This could have some connection to the next:
  5. Wine cellar. The vintage wine storage problem is, apparently, not high on most folks’ gotta-have-it lists.
  6. Daycare center nearby. This is a surprise—you’d think it would be a strong positive for professionals with little ones. Perhaps this is a reaction to negative news stories about daycare centers in places other than our area…or perhaps, since other properties are within the same “nearby” radius, it’s just not enough of a differentiator to make it a listings winner.
  7. Two story family room. Although this can be a delightful architectural feature, to some buyers it might hint at would-be grandeur that could make a family room less cozy.
  8. Two-story foyer. Ditto.
  9. Laminate countertop. Not surprising: stone seems to rule the roost in countertop mentions (as it has for years). One commentator found that Gen Xers “hold laminate countertops in the same disregard” that their elders hold for next-door baseball or soccer fields.
  10. Pet washing station. Sorry Fido; looks like it’s off to the groomer for you.

There they are—but if your own area home has one or more of these attributes, never fear…we’re experts at coming up with creative approaches for marketing them in new and exciting ways. Give me a call when it’s time to start creating your listing!

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