For the past 117 months, I’ve published this newsletter – nothing canned, no copy-and-paste stuff, everything from scratch. The average length is about 600 words and most of the visuals are homegrown, too. After the month-end email distribution to about 400 people, I post each newsletter here on my website – ReSeattle.com.
Creative real estate, is it possible?
Why would I do such a thing for nine years and nine months without skipping a beat? Simply put, I like to write and nobody is stopping me. When I first started in real estate after a 30-year career in graphic design, branding, and corporate communications I feared my creative days were numbered. Today, 18 years later, I can say that I’ve successfully channeled that creativity in a field not known for its artistic expression. Creative real estate is possible.
Back in the day, when I wrote the letter to shareholders for the chairman of a Fortune 500 company, I had to know the company’s business and the mind of the CEO. To test my knowledge of anything it helps me to write it down. When I began to write about real estate, I realized how unsure I was about some things. So I looked things up, checked different sources. Essentially I wrote for myself because I wanted to become a better agent. The more I learned, the better the agent I became, and the more I wanted to write.
Eventually, I wrote about topics other than real estate – how I bought Jeff Bezos lunch and why typography fascinates me. Here’s the link to various topics I’ve covered over the years.
Real estate has given me other opportunities to be creative. Take, for example, the 500 characters including spaces, that the local MLS allows for the description of a property listing. Judging by some of the listing prose, even spell check has taken a leave of absence, say nothing of basic literacy. Abbreviated real estate lingo is not only unattractive but it wins no flower pot at the search engine optimization ball.
It took me a while to realize that these 500 characters – about 85 words – presented an opportunity. I accepted the challenge to create something special in a very constrained space. I wrote real sentences with verbs and subjects. Avoiding cliches, I tried to express the familiar in new ways. Whatever these few words were, they had to capture the essence of the home and make the reader want to know more.
Update: the MLS has just increased the character allowance from 500 to 750. After two decades, it was about time.
Creativity finds many expressions, including the ‘offer strategy’ for a desirable property or negotiations after a home inspection. But in the artistic sense, listing a property for sale offers the most enticing creative opportunities. I treat each listing as if were a unique product, a very expensive one at that.
It has taken me a while to realize that I didn’t change careers 18 years ago. I just changed the field in which I practice. 2020 was the most successful year in my real estate career.
Creative real estate? It can be fun.