Blog: HAMPTON'S REAL ESTATE, SOUTHAMPTON, NY Real Estate, Paula Hathaway, LBA, REALTOR

BLOGGING IS THE CHEESE!!...The "Cheese" To Draw The Public In

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 - BLOGGING IS THE "CHEESE"!!...The "Cheese" To Draw The Public InThis is the third in a series of posts about the importance of blogging to those of us in the real estate profession. We risk losing everything if we don't take the bull by the horns and use the platform of blogging to let the buying and selling public know that WE are the experts in our areas and not the big syndicated websites! BLOGGING AS AN *ART FORM *Art-form--from Websters Dictionary: an undertaking or activity enhanced by a high level of skill or refinement Blogging can be our salvation! I mean that!...how else are we, as a profession going to combat the rise and explosive growth of the syndicated websites?  We can join them and many agents are...every day.How is it now that these sites are well established and the market has recognized them as the "experts"? How do we make our expertise known to the masses? How do we handle the many issues arising from the distorted pricing and "Zestimates" in this second home market?How do we let the buyer know that if you go it alone in the purchase of a home you may face the ravages of obscure local laws and taxes that will make your experience a nightmare? How do we tell the buying public that an advocate for your best interests is the way to go, and that relying on a broker with the best experience for your needs is what created the brokerage business in first place!It is time to recognize the facts about what it is that is distorting our real estate businesses and what is causing the questioning of the need for a local agent with local knowledge in a transaction."WHO NEEDS TO USE AN AGENT ANYWAY?"  is a question that is being asked more and more, especially by the young buyer who surfs the syndicated websites all the time. Since this same buyer is already on the web, chances are they will find one of our local posts and read it.The syndicates are all a-glow with the idea that they can supply a nation with statistics, ( usually incorrect) a high volume of sales listings and claims of local expertise...all to give validity to their claims of authority over the whole world of the real estate market!"CONTENT IS KING"--REMEMBER THAT!We, as real estate professionals, are watching as the giant syndicated websites cut deeper and further into our brokerage businesses. I for one have observed the "taking" of our content with complete distrust and disgust--I have been blogging about it for years, 10 years to be exact!These syndication sites do know what they are doing. They invite all agents to hand over their precious life blood: their original content, listings with photographs and ad copy--all original content that pulls Google searches like a bee to honey! ....And they ask them to pay for the right to appear next to their own listings, and many do just thatITS LIKE A GIANT SUCKING SOUND AS THESE SITES TAKE BROKERAGE LIFEBLOODAgents willingly hand over their original content (listings) without giving it much thought and then pay for the privilege! They pay big time--sometimes as much as $2000 to $2500 a month just to get the cream off the top of the new leads. Does it pay? It must for some because they continue to do it with out any thought as to what is really going on or about the future of their profession.  "They will just scrape it off the brokerage websites if we don't give them the listings anyway!" is what many agents say. But they fail to recognize that the reason Zillow and others like it reach out to the agents is because those "scraped listings" do NOT pull good solid  Search Engine Optimization as only high quality, original content can! There is a "Brain Block" when it comes to the facts about these syndicates....there is also a fear that some other agent will get the position if they don't take it!IT TAKES A TECHNO-PARASITE TO UNDERSTAND WHY THEY NEED ORIGINAL CONTENTThis original content gives the syndicates an edge since they are run by "geniuses" from Silicon Valley. They are techno-parasites (my own word)  from California or Seattle who are only looking to make a fortune off the naive public--not to do a public service! They know they need the ORIGINAL content to pull search engine algorithms! THE TIME IS RIGHT TO TAKE A STAND AND CLAIM YOUR LOCAL REAL ESTATE MARKET---Claim your market place by writing about it! Find the obscure and the fascinating things about your area. Those things are there; they do exist!There is a wealth of real facts and data that you can uncover and write about to show your local knowledge--here are a few examples of what to blog about: A blog post showing the latest sales in a given area--How much higher are prices now? Or, conversely, how much lower? Sales trends i.e., finished lower levels and what is the important ingredient in that new addition to living space--showing great photos of the trend. A blog about the hiking or walking trails in your area. There are numerous local maps available in most areas; you can use those as well. lOCAL Restaurants that you love and why--listing the food and what you like about it--the crunch of the crust of fresh bread; the creamy, rich flavor of the soup or pasta. A blog about the best book store, or a place for yarn and learning how to knit, or a great organic health food shop.  List the items that are the best from those shops and why you keep going back. A blog about the latest new shops or stores that have opened and what you have noticed about them: hours of service, a terrific sales person who helped you out, anything that can inform the buying public. A blog post about the most beautiful park or a place to go to relax in your area---what it is that you notice the most? The sweep of high growing grasses...the flowers growing there....What is the favorite thing to do in the park or a relaxing place? Is there a place to kayak?...a dog park? Blog about a little known cooking class or if there is one, a cooking school---talk to the students to see what they love about cooking and their classes. A Jewelry making class, a glass blowing class---anything of real local interest. A great farmers market or farm stand---Farm to Table and organic foods. Mention the care taken  and how these farmers changed their farms when offering their  healthy wares. A BLOG POST IS BEST IF IT IS SHORT, TO THE POINT. Original content is the key and great photographs help as well. If you have a link to an interesting shop, school or other place of great interest, add that to your post--it all adds up to great Google juice and cheese!! Search engine optimization (SEO) comes only from the algorithms that are set up by search engines; Google Juice is a term humorously given to good content; original and high quality content!BLOGGING CAN BECOME A PRIMARY FORM OF MARKETING FOR REAL ESTATE AGENTS                       You don't have to be a literary genius, just write like you talk. you write ad copy, no? Keep that in mind!Keep it clear, concise and interesting and you will have rich content that Google algorithms love.  Keep at it because once you do it, it will be very easy the next time....and the next time! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005 Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:  http://www.elliman.com/paulahathaway http://www.hathawayhamptonhomes.com MY REAL ESTATE SHOWS: http://www.realestateshows.com/671362 http://www.realestateshows.com/671345 http://www.realestateshows.com/651587 http://www.realestateshows.com/flyer.php?id=654265

HOW TO PERSONALIZE YOUR PITCH...If You Really Want To Win!!

Sun, 04 Jun 2017 - HOW TO PERSONALIZE YOUR PITCH...If You Really Want To Win!! After getting featured on several of my past postings regarding "Pitching A Listing" I decided to share with all of you some of the techniques I used on my more successful pitches. One of my most favored posts is:  "PITCHING" AS IF YOUR LIVELY-HOOD DEPENDS ON IT!..It Really Does, You Know!  This was written years ago but it still fills the bill when I sit down and take the "local" approach.Using a similar idea of taking the "story" about the home and property and applying it to the latest pitch that I am doing works so well that I have had agents ask if they could use the template--I find that to be the highest form of flattery and so I always welcome sharing it with anyone who wants to use it! I decided to post the whole "Pitch" Package for you all to see...The only thing that is missing will be the properties that I took the owners to see for comparable values.I want to acknowledge *Barbara Hensley  for her "14 Day Action Plan" contribution to my "Pitch Package"--without that I would not have had such a complete and detailed offering for these homeowners!It will be interesting to see if you all are able to take the format here and do something similar (If you want to...)!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  MARKETING AND ADVERTISING PROPOSAL PREPARED EXPRESSLY FOR:Owners Name and addressBridgehampton, New York  PERCEIVED VALUE In keeping with the rolling lawns and the exquisite landscaping of the property, my marketing strategy will be to put an emphasis on the grounds, the tennis court, pool, spa and pool house and the gracious way the 2.4 acre property can capture the imagination and inspire an emotional response.The Mid-century Modern house design  is growing in popularity and this particular design and outstanding positioning on the property will allow a buyer to see if they choose to keep the house and add on to it or to replace it with the ever popular large shingled traditional with pool, pool house and tennis. Either way I am confident it will attract a multitude of potential buyers. The proximity to ocean beaches, world class restaurants, special and historic Bridgehampton Village shops makes this property an outstanding offering to selective buyers from here and abroad. The person whom I perceive as the target buyer for your beautiful property has an abundance of family and friends who are fully engaged in the life of the potential owner. The buyer may be from Europe, Brazil or Chile and may even be a Wall Street executive, looking for his or her own “statement” property. The desire for a wonderful vacation home and a stimulating creative retreat  can be realized in Bridgehampton's Estate Corridor and the best thing is, it will not be hard to envision it right here on _____ Road! Broker Open House                                                                      A select group of agents who handle high end properties will be invited by hand written invitation to attend an open house at the property. This will minimize the intrusion of many people walking all over your property. Any further open houses for the brokerage community will be scheduled to conform to an agreed upon day and time. Special Note: This unique property is a perfect example of a selection for a featured article in a number of magazines and other publications. I will pursue all possibilities with our corporate office and our Marketing team in New York City.  Advertising space will be available from our marketing department in New York City. JULY 2017--LAUNCH ADSouthampton Press full page adSocialite Magazine SEPTEMBER, 2017 Hampton’s Magazine                        Dan's PapersOCTOBER, 2017                                          Florida Cottages & Gardens   New York Post ¼ page NOVEMBER, 2017  WSJ ad                                                                                             DECEMBER, 2017                                        Florida Cottages & Gardens                                                                  Homes and Land                              JANUARY, 2018                                            Southampton Press Full Color                                                                                                        Please Note: These ad spaces may or may not be available at the time I want to schedule the advertising; I will leave some flexibility so that I can run an ad whenever space opens up in other good advertising vehicles.   Presented by:  Paula I Hathaway, LBA  DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE70 Jobs Lane, Southampton New York Direct: 631-204-2712Cell:    515-319-4223phathaway@elliman.com                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *ACTION PLAN (Thanks to Barbara Hensley!)2 WEEK QUICK-START STRATEGY---- ------- Residence-----RoadBridgehampton, New York Preview property with owner to determine a pricing strategy Determine the property details and featured assets for marketing purposes Execute Listing Agreement Determine showing schedule and arrangements to show. Set Up Open House Schedule, both Public and Real Estate Agent Open Houses Install Sign Enter Listing Data on OREX Activate Individual property website Order rider and sign with Company website and texting information Detail Amenities—Place Amenity list in  OREX Add any additional Data and refine graphics in OREX Send seller a copy of signed Listing Agreement Immediately order professional photos to be taken Arrange for a second photo shoot if necessary Submit multiple (25) Color Photos to ORE Submit 25 Color Photos to Realtor.com Obtain Current Survey from Seller—check with Town Hall/Village Hall to see if all C of O’s are in order and up to date Design Color Graphics/Brochure and New Listing Postcards—Place inside home Design/Produce “JUST LISTED” Color Flyer with Photos and Details of Selling Area Design/Produce Virtual Tour /Slide Show—Email these to members of OREX and DOUGLAS ELLIMAN, New York City Produce “JUST LISTED” Postcards and Mail them to Prospects. Enter and Check Data on Various Websites—Realtor.com, NYT.com, 27East.com HathawayHamptonHomes.com, ActiveRain.com Set Up For Automatic Neighborhood Email Updates  to Seller Enter Multiple Photos on additional internet sites Sign up for and schedule advertising on the Internet, Banner Ads, Print Ads and all other forms of advertising Produce Virtual Tour and Property Video Determine Target Market for the Property Plan and Execute Email Marketing Campaigns Blog Complete Property Details with Photos, Virtual Tours, Videos, etc. to show up on Google Update Seller Often—Provide Final Update for 14 Day Quick Start = DONE! The above are a few of the activities that will take place during the first two weeks of listing your property. This period is very intense as your property is entered into the various systems.After the first two week period, the marketing activity will fall into a well planned and executed process, and you will be receiving regular updates. Watch for your “DONE!” report.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   PRICING STRATEGY AND PROPERTY PREPARATION------ -------Residence-------Road l. PRICING Price is crucial to get the attention of the buying public, especially in today’s real estate market. There is a public perception that prices need to reflect value like never before—even in the rare and special offerings such as yours. Value does not need to reflect “bottom of the market” price points however and in my research I saw properties in the $8.5m range that have nothing on your property, in both size and presentation. My suggestion is to price the property at the higher price of $7.995m to start and look to lower to $7.495 within 30 days if it does not get the attention it deserves. The size of the lot is quite large and gives the feeling of sprawling grounds with endless possibilities. ll. Preparation Your property is one of the prettiest I have seen in a long time and I really have no suggestions for a major preparation before selling. The two things that I did notice that would help with “first impressions” would be the artifacts that are on many of the walls--masks are terrific but can scare people so removing most of them and leaving only one wall above the book shelves will work well. There are too many chairs in the living room--I would remove the straight back chairs since they are dining room chairs and maybe add them tothe bare walls in the dining room.The pool furniture is also in need of power washing so i would do that before we shoot the photograph The landscaping is lush and lovely; just the right amount of shrubbery and trees make this lavish lawn look absolutely stately and perfect for the buyer who is looking for the austerity of a modern manse. I know that there was a thought that you may want to sell the furniture with the house. I have a suggestion regarding that because in my experience, furniture can be a deal breaker—So it is best left until after you have a deal on the property and sold as a separate transaction if someone wants it. This is a wonderful property for me to sell—I have sold several modern homes, among which were two of Norman Jaffe contemporary ocean front houses. I have always been able to sell a property for the higher price point when I list a home, although there are no guarantees of that! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the price suggestions and the property preparation ideas presented here. Also, the advertising plan and marketing strategy are flexible and I would want to include some international advertising as well, since we have a Alliance with the Knight Frank Company in Europe and SouthAmerica. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005 Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:  http://www.elliman.com/paulahathaway http://www.hathawayhamptonhomes.com MY REAL ESTATE SHOWS: http://www.realestateshows.com/671362 http://www.realestateshows.com/671345 http://www.realestateshows.com/651587 http://www.realestateshows.com/flyer.php?id=654265

A MISSING LINK IN REAL ESTATE "BRANDING" ADS?

Sat, 03 Jun 2017 - A MISSING LINK IN REAL ESTATE "BRANDING" ADS?*With a greater need for homeownership amongst qualified first time buyers I am seeing a widening divide between those buyers and large corporate brokerages. Do these brokerages really understand the needs of this buying demographic?...It is beginning to look like they do not!There is an increasing effort to market the real estate business as about the BIG plans and "Branding" of these large brokerages than about the local home buyer and seller. There appears to me to be a missing link in the way big brokerages promote themselves and the way the average home buyer looks for a home. THE BIG DIVIDEI noticed this divide especially after the latest trend on the part of large brokerages to brand themselves more and more as high-end experts, letting the $1million and under part of the market go fish! I personally feel that the Luxury market finds its own pace and is not neccessarily one that needs defining or branding efforts for that matter. The luxury buyer is a buying demographic who seems to buy on impulse more than out of need. This buyer buys only when they see the financial advantage of owning a property in the $5million to $10million and up range.The luxury home buyer does not need to be "led to water" so to speak, whereas the under $1million range buyer needs the guidance and support that is required by a first time home buyer since most of them are just that!THERE IS A HIDDEN DANGER There is a hidden danger in focusing only on the high end of the real estate market, as most who have been in the real estate business have long ago figured out. When the luxury buyer sees a financial trend they act swiftly and decisively because they know the financial implications of a slowing market place more than the average homeowner who is more apt to buy out of need.WHAT IS MISSING IN THE MARKETING TO THE UNDER $1MILLION BUYER?First of all, the buying public is apt to feel less and less that they can benefit from these larger companies. Nothing wrong with being a large dominant real estate company but I have seen massive efforts in getting attention on luxury properties as if that is where they find their largest source of revenue.It is true that a $5-$10million-plus property will bring in larger revenue but it is also true that when the high end market softens it leaves a brokerage and their efforts to market the $1million and under properties way off target. LOCAL TARGETED MARKETING IS THE MISSING LINKIn my experience, when the large real estate brokerages use the typical corporate attitude to show "Local knowledge" in their corporate advertising they miss the mark in a major way. So many times what they see as important to the local market place is nothing more than a myth that is projected upon that particular community by a celebrity mindset and not what is sought after by the buying public.Local targeted marketing is an essential tool to find the way to this first time buyer. Marketing to this buyer and offering accurate and detailed local information about an area will work magic in the way of building this "Grassroots" buying population. Nothing speaks "Local" better than a website with it's focus on informing the public about a community and it's laws and points of interest...realistic and accurate local information that fills the needs of a new home owner and all their requirements!  Now that is a terrific way to "Brand" your real estate name!*I have used prices that apply to the Hamptons and may not apply to most selling areas... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005 Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:  http://www.elliman.com/paulahathaway http://www.hathawayhamptonhomes.com MY REAL ESTATE SHOWS: http://www.realestateshows.com/671362 http://www.realestateshows.com/671345 http://www.realestateshows.com/651587 http://www.realestateshows.com/flyer.php?id=654265

A MEMORIAL DAY MEMORIAL

Fri, 26 May 2017 - A MEMORIAL DAY MEMORIAL  In 2014 on July 4th weekend I wrote a post that was featured. It was about things to do on a holiday such as the 4th here in the Hamptons...I had someone comment on that post and it was an unforgettable piece of writing---from the heart and soul of a man who valued his Father and the service he gave to this country...It was his Memorial to his now deceased DadI wrote the post below at the time just so I could share it with all of you here on Activerain---So here it is again in case you never saw it: SOMETIMES THERE ARE TREASURES IN THE MOST UNEXPECTED PLACES: This morning, when I got the following comment on my 4th of July post from last year, I knew that I had to let you all see it. I couldn't figure out how he wrote this on that old post but it does not matter---he did and it is so inspiring that I had to put it out there for those of you who agree with what it is like to have been awakened to the awe-inspiring service of our soldiers. Whether he wrote it or not makes no difference; he at least put it in a place where I found it and it struck a chord. This man put into words something so inspiring yet chilling that it must be heard and read by all in this, "My Country, 'tis of Thee": Edward F. Moore My Father “The American Soldier”:My Father the American Solder is the closest man to God I know.​He was there to give me birth.​He protected me as I grew to man hood.​He sheltered my body and freed my soul and provided for my every need.​He put his own Life and Liberty on the front battle field of war for his family.​He became my Closest Friend and Mentor.​He taught me Love by example and spoke very few words of love.​He worked humbly in the factories of Life and bowed down to no man.​He did not seek wealth or power but the joy of a smiling face from the Children.He never told a lie as he feared no man and sought no dishonest gain.He simply taught by example the simple truth of the Gospel.My Father The American SoldierHe lived a Life that said in deed:Take care of your family, your friends, and your fellow man and ask no thing in return; be there for them when they need you and be strong, give to the day you leave this Earth. My father the soldier simply puts in deed what most of us put in Words. My father the Soldier like Christ on the Cross simply heals and transforms the world by taking on the suffering burden of his fellow man, his family, his friends, and his whole world. My father the Soldier like Christ the son so loved his fellow man that he takes upon him-self his suffering and through his own Faith, Courage, Love bears this burden until his father in Heaven brings him Home. Those that equate the American Soldier with the terrorist who kill women and childrenwhile they commit human suicide have no understanding of the American Soldier, his history, and have never, been loved by an American Soldier.To protect the weak and the un-armed, to put him-self in harms way with the goal of returning home;back to his family, his Nation, his freedom.My father the American Soldier knows that he is the one that stands tall as a wall to protect his family and the environment; his world where his family, his Children live and play, His Nation.My father the American Soldier understands that the wave of destruction must be stopped before it reaches his Home Land. The end ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005 Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:  http://www.elliman.com/paulahathaway http://www.hathawayhamptonhomes.com MY REAL ESTATE SHOWS: http://www.realestateshows.com/671362 http://www.realestateshows.com/671345 http://www.realestateshows.com/651587 http://www.realestateshows.com/flyer.php?id=654265

DO YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL?...A Story Can Make Your Marketing Sing!

Wed, 24 May 2017 - DO YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL?...A Story Can Make Your Marketing Sing!  In 2013, as we began our climb out of the great recession, I wrote the post below. It was a challenge because I was assuming that anyone can write! What an assumption! But, what I found out was that anyone CAN write if they get the encouragement and the right guidance. Now the idea that "The Story" about a product, a place, a home and every single thing you want to convince someone about will make the "sale"! People fall in love with a good story!!!: TELL ME A STORY....A Story About Real Estate and Local Information..Note: This is the third in a series of posts about the importance of blogging to real estate agents and brokers--starting it, keeping it going and doing it with continuity. We are in the middle of a major shift in real estate brokerage; I feel we, as professionals have an opportunity to lay claim to what we thought we had but we don't--our local real estate market. Trulia and Zillow and the like have taken the most valuable thing we have: Our listings and our content! Now we can reclaim them by becoming the informed as well as the informer in our niche areas! The public NEEDS our local knowledge in order to make informed decisions!Seven years ago, I decided to start blogging---Barely knowing what Blogging meant, I jumped into it with both feet and started telling stories about where I live. I found that local history about Southampton was rich and available to those who cared to seek out and study details of this very early English settlement.I did that at the urging of fellow members here on ActiveRain--"You need to tell people what is going on in your area" was the theme of most blog posts at that time...So I started in.I used sales data and photos of houses, the Village and surrounding areas and I used the "tales" of the area for local interest stories.Little did I know that what I was doing was beginning a story line; a story line about where I live and what I love to do here...a story line that I have kept going now for many years. It has made a huge difference in my reputation as a local specialist; many sellers now contact me directly to list their houses and in most cases they found me on the internet. Buyers too appear, because they found me and my posts as they did a web search about this area, or because they were "house hunting" online.OUTWITTING THE COMPETITION...This story line has unfolded now for all these seven years, and now I see that what I was doing has put me in a very different place compared to where my competition is.I have made the mark of a local expert now. As to the history of Southampton, I was astounded  when I got an email from a descendant of one of the founders of Southampton, New York! He is a Great Grandson of the founder of Southampton Village, eight times removed! He and I connected via email and since he lives in the UK and may never ever get here to see the place his ancestor founded, it was gratifying to communicate with him! He found me when he did a search of Southampton Village and found a post I had written about Post Lane, a little known and historical street here in the Village. Named after his ancestral family, the street is less than 1/4 of mile long and was the original driveway to the Post Family Estate.His name is Richard Post and he carries the same name as the man who owned most of Southampton Village in the 17th century. The first Richard Post was one of the first settlers here in 1640's and the King of England had bestowed upon him the greater piece of land that now lies in the central part of the Village.When I got that email and then connected him with the Historical Society here in Southampton Village--I got the thrill of a lifetime! I was able, through my blogging, to connect a whole missing piece to the history of this beautiful Village---What a story to tell my family and friends!...and it goes on, because as long as there is another story to tell about this area, I will tell it!KEEP IN MIND:Blogging is a great way to get the publics' attention.In order to tell a story that will get read, you need to focus on the little known facts about an area. Keep this at the forefront of your mind as you blog about your selection.I find the following methods work for me:Keep your eyes open for the latest NEW happenings in your area, i.e. museum exhibits etc.Write from the "place" you found in your own mind when you saw it or read about it--what peaked your interest?Look for the unusual or little known event, i.e.: there is an antique building in Southampton Village that was an original silversmith shop--situated on Main Street, it is an obscure, tiny gambrel roofed building separate and very different from all the other Village store fronts. It is now used as a school room for teaching precious metal jewelry making and it is one little known event that happens every 6 months. Limited to 3-4 people per class, it is one of the most interesting classes you could ever take--maybe even begin a business with the knowledge?Make sure you keep a log of all sales that take place in your area. Write about that as often as you can. Each time you write a piece about your area, you build upon the whole story line. Keeping it "Pithy" is crucial and this will work towards building your reputation and your business!Take advantage of local lore; many stories have come about in an area from the earliest families and the early existence of businesses, i.e.: "Flint Michigan is a city founded for the Automobile industry--a place where the founder of GM lived in the Applewood Estate; Charles Stewart Mott lived there from the turn of the 19th century until his death in 19--" (I spent most of my early adult life there) This is the stuff stories are made of and can be discovered simply by talking with the local folks. CONTINUITY...These pointers may help you as you gather your thoughts about telling your story; build it and make it rich and full of life and full of data, people will read it.People will read your blog posts and they will think of you anytime the possibility of buying a house in your area arises---or anytime a friend or friend of a friend needs a real estate service.Keep it going and the public will find you. If they feel that you know the area so well, they will want to use your real estate services and their friends will too!... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005 Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:  http://www.elliman.com/paulahathaway http://www.hathawayhamptonhomes.com MY REAL ESTATE SHOWS: http://www.realestateshows.com/671362 http://www.realestateshows.com/671345 http://www.realestateshows.com/651587 http://www.realestateshows.com/flyer.php?id=654265