I’ve got exciting news to share. Bill and I have been nurturing a secret for several months, but now we’re ready to spill the beans. Read all about Spot On Images and spread the news.
A Little of This and That
So what happens when you take a husband with an entrepreneurial streak, an MBA in business and a passion for photography and you match him with a wife with three decades of marketing experience and a degree in Creative Writing, who’s heavily into blogging and social media. Well, if the two shared a successful real estate business for several years before the bubble, you might end up with Spot On Images.
If you’ve ever wondered, “What am I doing here,” but in the next moment realized you’ve been training for this opportunity all your life, then you know how we feel right now. If I were to try to tell you where it all started, I have no idea where I’d begin. It would be sometime after we were born on separate continents, but the story would have to start long before we ran into each other one day at the Dallas Museum of Art.
So, let’s start with the day we learned a real estate photographer friend was moving out of the area. While most people would discuss the details of departure dates and moving vans, Bill wanted to know if they would be interested in selling their business.
Real Estate in the Days Before Smart Phones
OK, I know my husband is a great real estate photographer, but his question took me by surprise. Back in the days before the bubble, when all this online real estate shopping was brand new, you were lucky if a listing had a picture on it. If a For Sale sign had a brochure box, chances are it was a printout from the MLS. That’s not how we sold houses. Mr. Bill would go out with our new-fangled digital camera and take pictures. We’d upload as many as we could to the MLS (I think you could only post 11), along with descriptions that went far beyond “3/2/2 in desirable neighborhood with ocean view” which seemed to be the norm.
We weren’t the only ones there on California’s Central Coast who appreciated the advantages the internet offered to real estate agents, but we were unique enough for our listings to really stand out and I took it a step further. I created a unique brochure for every home. No MLS printouts and no sticking the pictures in a pre-formulated brochure and filling in the blanks. Each brochure was an individualized masterpiece. I’d labor over matching the right font with my carefully crafted words and mix the text with Bill’s pictures. We’d even print the brochures in color on coverstock, an expense most agents thought was a complete waste of money.
Nowadays, that just sounds like business as usual, but back then, we were mavericks. What’s more, it worked. People contacted me to show my listings and then as we wrote the offer, they’d say things like, “I knew the minute I read the brochure I wanted to live here,” or “When we saw the pictures and read the description on the internet we knew it was our house.” Meanwhile, most real estate agents were still doing it the way they always had – working the desk at the broker office, sending out postcards to their “farm”, lowering their commission and then spending most of it on advertising.
Unfortunately for our career, the real estate bubble burst. Our lives brought us back to Texas and that was a good thing. However, the real estate bug had gotten into Bill’s bloodstream. Come back next week and I’ll tell you about it.