By Karen Monroe
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Everything matters. In real estate, it's all about appearance and curb appeal. This applies to your agent and your property. As the saying goes, there is no second chance to make a first impression. We decide immediately – within seven seconds of initial contact – how we feel about a person or piece of real estate. We can't help it; our brains are hardwired to compute first and lasting impressions this way.
To make the best possible seven-second impact on others, personally and when trading real estate, the name of the game is to dress for success. This can lead to the next step: creating new opportunities.
The way I present myself on the outside, like curb appeal for a Brooklyn brownstone or a post-war multi-unit apartment building, is important in doing my job. So is body language and demeanor. Everything from clothing and accessories, to hair and make-up (or lack thereof) merge to make that lasting impact on others. Smell matters, too. Who wants to work with an agent with bad breath, or go for a showing in a condo that reeks of something dead?
Whether we agree with this or not, it's the real deal. Presentation. Granted this means different things in different places. Take business attire, for example. The definition varies as widely as the types of properties on the market in New York and beyond. From brownstones and vertical apartment living in the east to ranch-style houses and bungalows in the west – and everything in between – properties and people are different. We dress, speak and live differently. However, we all operate the same when it comes to the seven-second first impression.
I get it, and try my best to look appropriate and presentable as often as possible. The challenge for me is that my world is a small Brooklyn footprint. I certainly venture beyond the borders, but everyday life is mostly contained in the Heights. My commute to work requires crossing one street. It is always possible I'll bump into a colleague, client, neighbor or friend when I'm out. Gone are the days of running around in my workout clothes and bad hair for the entire day.
Dressing for success is now a routine, regardless of what day of the week it is. I'm always mindful that appearances matter, and to succeed I must look the part. Just like the curb appeal of our listings is imperative to attract buyers. Everything matters.
On the Run
I enjoy going to open houses and private showings. Checking out real estate is fun. Empty apartments allow the imagination to flourish with decorating and arranging possibilities. Occupied spaces provide the opportunity to approve the furnishings, configuration and use of space. Or not. From a small college dorm room to an expansive mansion, the occupants always leave a personal mark on their place.
The way we live and "dress" our home says a lot about who we are. Tidy and orderly, dirty and sloppy, cluttered or minimalist, homey or modern, all appeal to different individuals. It's that special something we all cherish that, at the end of the day, makes a house our home. For me, my pets and artwork make my home personal. I'm curious to learn from you; what makes a house your home? Share your thoughts with me.
Karen Monroe practices real estate at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 156 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. She lives in the neighborhood and represents buyers, sellers and renters in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Karen can be found walking her dogs and running the parks, paths, streets and bridges of Brooklyn and beyond. For feedback and all of your real estate needs, contact Karen at [email protected].