Blogging for Real Estate: an Interview with Mary Pope-Handy

Blogging For Real Estate an interview with mary pope-handy Staged4more Podcast

This interview originally aired as a podcast episode. If you would prefer to listen, you can find it here.

Cindy: Thank you so much, Mary, for joining us on the show. Tell us a little bit about how you got into real estate.

Mary: I started in real estate in early 1993 when I had decided to change careers. I used to be a school teacher and I have a Bachelor's and Master's in theology and I taught religion at Catholic high schools, which I loved. Then we had two kids. I stayed home for four years. And even then, Silicon Valley was an expensive place to live.

Looking at the cost of childcare and education, I made a decision to follow my mother into real estate rather than to go back to the classroom. It wasn't that I didn't love what I did before, but just the practical realities of living here really nudged me in the direction of trying to make more money as a better living for my family. So I just started for practical reasons. I really love it, but it's changed a lot over the years.

Cindy: I bet. What are some of the biggest things that have changed, you think?

Mary: When I was growing up, my sister and I used to make money by getting my mother's updates and swapping out the sold homes for the new listings in her binder every two weeks. And then we had thermal paper on the MLS, which was really exciting that you could be at home and get the MLS. But you know, being thermal paper, if you left it in your car or in the sunshine, it was toast. So I mean, those kind of changes have happened.

The biggest one has to be where the data is available. I mean, we had trouble getting the data except in certain locations and now anybody walking down the street can get data on their cell phone. So it's really revolutionary.

Cindy: Consumers have so much information and they have so much power, in a way, to be able to ask us anything that they want, almost anything that they want about the market today or competing listings in their area.

I know you've also called a coauthored a book on home selling. What are some of your top pieces of advice about selling homes?

Mary: I did that book in 2004, so some of my advice would change, but the basics are still the same. The first, the most important thing is hire well, hire a good agent to help you. It doesn't cost more to hire somebody who's experienced and knowledgeable, or ethical than it does to hire somebody who just got their license and means well, but maybe doesn't know what they're doing. If you hire a good, honest, hardworking, successful agent or even a new agent who's teamed up with a more senior agent for the guidance, then they will help you to find good providers, good inspectors, good stagers, and all those things will reflect on your home and the way that it sells and will make a difference in whether it sells fast and how much it sells for.

As part of that, if you hire somebody good, they're going to have you do pre-sale inspections, at least in my area. That might not be true anywhere else in California, but they're giving you guidance on what you could do to maximize your sale price. That might be cleaning, repainting, taking care of surfaces that are just visually very big, like walls and floors and ceilings. A good agent will guide you through those things and we'll guide you through doing a careful job with the disclosures. And those are extremely important because if you don't disclose something, it may come back to bite you in a lawsuit.

Cindy: How did you get started blogging in real estate?

Mary: I like to write. In fact, growing up, I thought I was going to become a writer. I started college as an English major. In 1999 or 2000, I got a website and I started adding custom content to it and I didn't know anybody else who was doing that. Within about a year or two, I started getting business from the website, which was weird, but I was grateful. Then I wrote this book because I liked to write and I thought, “Well, the website thing worked, so maybe the book will work.” And it did. I did get some business from the book, but it was a lot more work. It didn't have the kind of staying power that blogs do.

A few years after that, I started hearing about blogging. In about 2005 or 2006, I started dipping my toes in the water and didn't know what I was doing and I did a very bad job. In 2007, I was being coached by Joanne Fossil. She's a wonderful coach and a wonderful human being. And I told her that I really want to learn how to do this blogging thing because it would be wonderful to make a living focusing on doing what I love as opposed to doing what I don't love. One of her taglines is “life is too short to spend it perfecting your weaknesses.” So her thing is that you should kind of delegate out the stuff you don't want to do. Like hire a bookkeeper if you don't want to do your own taxes and bookkeeping and focus on what you love and let that expand. It was just a matter of wanting to do what I like rather than cold call or door knock, which I tried in 1993, hated, and swore I'd never do again. So that's kind of where that started.

Cindy: Many people feel like they have to be very tech savvy to start a blog. How do you feel about that?

Mary: I would say Wordpress is the way to go because you can do anything you can imagine and you can always hire somebody to help you if you run into a problem. And I'm not afraid to do that. I mean, you don't want to spend 14 hours fixing a problem that would take an engineer 10 minutes to fix. What's your time worth?

Cindy: How much do you blog now and what do you blog about?

Mary: I have like six blogs now because I didn't know when to stop and that was a mistake. I think it would have been smarter to have two or three or one really strong blog rather than six. But there are pluses to having a bunch. I can ping off of each other and all that.

I blog about everything. Sometimes I blog about events, but the people going to the events like the music festival are probably not interested in buying and selling homes. So 80% of the leads online in real estate are buyers. So I would love it if I could shift it to make it 50/50 buyers and sellers. But that's just not gonna happen.

I blog about things to attract my ideal client. My ideal client is somebody in a specific price range and in specific locations, right? I don't want to attract a home buyer in Alaska because I don't sell there. It's really important to think about who you want to attract and then kind of mentally fill out in your mind who is this ideal type client. The explanation I use is if you were going to talk about fire safety, you wouldn't have the same conversation with a kindergartner that you would with a man or woman who runs a nursing home versus a high school student. You have different conversations for different audiences. And so whatever I write about is what I get.

Cindy: How has blogging changed your business?

Mary: I like to write, so this is not a burden for me. Somebody who hates blogging or hates writing probably wouldn't do that. I always go back and look at where did my business come from in the last calendar year. So most years now it's between 50 -75% of my clients are from the blogs. In 2017, 55% of my income was from people who met me through my blog. Another 15% were repeat clients who had originally found me from the blog. It's a huge impact. The thing about blogging that's so nice is that it doesn't cost much money. It does cost time, but once you've written a post, it's out there.

Wow! So much great insight on how blogging can help your real estate biz! What is one new thing that you learned?

About Mary

Mary Pope-Handy has been in the real estate business for more than 25 years. She is a prolific real estate blogger who is nationally known in the field. The majority of her business comes to her through her blog or are repeat customers who came to her through her blog. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and loves speaking to real estate groups.
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube

Looking to start your own home staging business?

6-Figure Floor Plan

Our 6-Figure Floor Plan is a complete course to build a profitable home staging business and take the kinks and guesswork out of building your business.

Whether you’re brand new to the business or have a few years under your belt, 6-Figure Floor Plan will push and challenge you to go to the next level.

Think of this course as a giant Q&A session. This course is designed to build and refine your business systems and strategies that take the kinks and guesswork out of creating a profitable, book solid home staging business.

Learn more here!

Older Post Newer Post