YouPlusDallas has hosted the blog of residential real estate rock star Julie Provenzano for quite some time now. The beautiful and personable Provenzano is relatively new to Dallas, but that didn’t stop her from immediately making a name for herself in the Big D. She was awarded D Magazine’s Top Producer Honors in 2011 and has been featured on HGTV as a real estate expert for the past two years. Find out what this real estate maven loves most about Dallas as well as her top tips for home sellers.
1. How did you first get started in real estate?
I was a sports media producer working in Washington D.C. and wanted to make a career move into commercial real estate so I took the test and got my license in the summer of 2002. Frankly, it never occurred to me to try the residential route because I pictured a bunch of ladies in chunky jewelry and fur coats trying to convince buyers how much their kids would love playing in a particular backyard. That definitely wasn’t me and I had convinced myself I’d be better suited in the more corporate environment of commercial.
As it so happened, the commercial market at that time was really suffering with a high number of vacancies in the aftermath of the Internet bubble bursting, so when I started getting calls from residential brokers, I went in to see what it was all about. I ended up meeting a broker at Coldwell Banker in Alexandria, VA who was extremely professional and knowledgeable about the market and I decided to give it a try while I waited for the commercial market to recover. As it turns out, I spent about a month learning the ropes and never thought about commercial real estate again. Residential sales was the perfect fit for me and to this day I could never imagine doing anything else. It’s hard work and it’s non-stop but I just love the business and the people you meet through it.
2. What do you love most about Dallas real estate?
Having started my real estate career in Washington DC, I can tell you that the cost of living there was not welcome news to people who were relocating to the area.
In Dallas, I feel like it’s the complete opposite. I work with a lot of relocating families from the East and West Coasts and it’s a tremendous thing to see them on the positive side of the real estate lottery. By comparison, you can get a lot for your money in Texas and people really can live in houses they might not have dreamed of elsewhere. We may not have the sales appreciation that you see in other states, but we do have a significant amount of market stability and that’s a good side of the fence to be on.
3. One of your strengths is that you take the time to build strong relationships with your clients and maintain those relationships. How do you think this has benefited you in the business?
In my opinion, that’s really the whole point of being in residential real estate. It’s a business built on relationships and cultivating friendships and nothing has been more rewarding for me in the past 10 years than creating those bonds. You have an opportunity to play an important role in a serious life transition — whether the catalyst for the move is positive or negative — and I never take that trust for granted. I can honestly say that I probably spend more time talking clients out of properties than into them to ensure that it’s the right fit long term. It’s not about a quick sale or a fast turnover but making sure the investment is sound and the house will fit the client’s needs.
4. Your blogs are always helpful and often very funny. What would you say are the top three things not to do when clients show their home?
I definitely tell it like it is and I’m not one to mince words. Sometimes I try to get a blunt point across by softening it with humor but the message is always pretty clear. For sellers, I would drive home three points:
- Don’t even think about being present for a showing. A buyer needs time to envision themselves as the owner of your home, cooking in your kitchen and waking up in your bedroom. That daydreaming can’t happen if you’re there — even on the sidelines — and your simple presence can translate as an “offer repellant”. If there are important points you want to make, that information can be left for the buyer as part of a marketing packet.
- The work that goes into selling a home should not be taken lightly. To get top dollar in a competitive market, it has to show like a model. You should spend 2-4 weeks ahead of listing just working through a “TO DO” list from your agent so that it’s in top condition when it hits the market. The tough part is continuing to live like that but it will translate into more money in your pocket, guaranteed.
- Do not decline showings unless it is an absolute emergency. If you take buyer traffic for granted, you’re overestimating the likelihood that they will circle back. If you decline an appointment, you may not get a second chance. Buyers have busy lives too. Make it easy for them to see your property on their time.
5. Was there a home that stands out in your mind as being completely outrageous or beautiful?
I’ve definitely seen it all. The homes that stand out as outrageous are the ones where you wonder if the owner actually knows the house is on the market for sale. Some people put little to no effort into staging or presentation and those are always the ones that sit on the market forever without interest. I’m not suggesting it’s easy but if you’re going to share your house with the public, you should be proud of what you’re presenting. Selling homes is essentially like matchmaking — you want people to fall in love. It doesn’t help your case if you show up in a dirty robe an acne mask.
As for impressive homes, we’re lucky enough to live in an area with a lot of architectural diversity and that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. What I react to most positively are homes with an open floor plan and lots of natural light where the yard feels like an extension of the house. Light and bright is the way to my heart.