For more than 25 years Carole Smith has held court with the real estate elite of South Florida. But the Senior Vice President at EWM Realty International unknowingly began preparing for real estate success long before that. “I believe my marketing background has served me immeasurably,” says Smith, who honed her people skills and talent for marketing in her first career in the world of advertising. But after working with national accounts such as Ford and Kodak, the burgeoning Miami real estate market came calling, offering Smith the opportunity to bring a new and unique viewpoint to the business.
Today, Smith and her team of seven serve clients in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Ponce-Davis, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, offering what she calls “concierge, white-glove service” to a client base that returns sale after sale— fifty percent of Smith’s business is generated by repeat and referral clientele. With so much time and energy invested in South Florida, Smith prides herself on being on top of what’s happening in the market. Here are just a few of her keys to success…
Over the past 25 years, Smith has seen the South Florida market grow and watched real estate agents evolve as well. “The real estate market has become so intricate that a real estate professional must be extremely knowledgeable in things besides putting a sign in the ground and writing a contract,” Smith explains. “In any given transaction come questions about escrow, real estate law, construction, engineering, setbacks, roofs, septic tanks, mortgages, surveys, liens, permits, and code violations, just to name a few.” And even when Smith doesn’t have an answer at the ready, she knows exactly where to find one. “I have, at my fingertips, a list of preferred vendors that I share with my clients with the confidence that if I cannot answer their question, my referral can,” she says. “I like to call this service CAVE: Constantly Adding Value and Expertise.”
Make It A Team Effort
Smith sees the creation and building of teams as the next wave in the real estate business, allowing her to retain her reputation for attention to detail while remaining connected daily to each and every client. “We are there for everything—we are very responsive and we want our clients to say that they had the best real estate experience of their lives,” she says. “Together, the team and I spend plenty of time communicating, planning, and continuing their professional education so as to best serve their clients.”
Embrace the New…But Respect What Works
As someone who has spent much of her life ensconced in the world of marketing, it’s no surprise that Smith has warmly embraced the rise of social media in her own career. “It is such an effective way to get the message out,” she says. But even with “fabulous” photography and compelling copy, Smith says it’s not enough to just post on Instagram and wait for buyers to roll in. “Buyers are receiving their information from many sources so I make sure that print marketing is evident, as well,” she says. “I have people coming to see my listings with their iPad in their hands and people coming to see my listings with a newspaper ad in their hands. I try to throw everything into my marketing, as I never know where that next buyer is going to come from.”
Never Underestimate the Power of Visuals
Smith says some of the best advice she can give clients comes down to first impressions; and that means attention to staging. “Whether they do it individually or hire the stager I recommend, it is a game changer.” Smith recalls one Pinecrest home that drew little attention online as a result of it’s brown-heavy décor. After removing the furniture and staging the home, Smith took new photos and updated the listing. “The photos received maximum exposure within every marketing channel. The first person who came to see the house after the staging was completed bought the house.”
Never Stop Learning
Smith prides herself on being continually ahead of the curve when it comes to what’s new and next. As one of the first residential agents to launch her own website (veryspecialhomes.com), she became part of a cutting-edge group called “Cyberstars,” who began looking into how technology could benefit their business and their clients. More recently, she spent time at Harvard Business School, studying the art of negotiation. “I don’t care if a Buyer is spending $300,000 or $30 million for a home; to that individual this is one of the most important investments they will ever make and it is my job to make that dream become reality.”
For more information, please call the office at 305-329-7770 or visit veryspecialhomes.com for the latest listings.