Continued on page 4
Traveling to the West Coast
An update from my corner of the world concerning life, love, and the pursuit of happiness while being a mom, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur.
Lesley Burger, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
RealtyUSA 57 Monroe Ave Pittsford, NY 14534
595-381-4400 x240 (office)
Question of the Month: Why did you hire a professional photographer to take the listing pictures of my home and not use your iPhone?
Answer: I love using my iPhone for quick pictures - I have them handy at all times but we are talking about YOUR INVESTMENT here - it deserves only THE BEST representation and that's what Paul does!
page 1 - Traveling
Page 4-5 - Travel continued and who's Paul
Page 6 - What's Next?
Page 2-3 - Differentiation and your Home SAle
What is Mount Saint Helens Like?
That was the question I was asked by people when I returned from my trip to Vancouver, Washington in early June. Shockingly, I couldn’t sufficiently answer that question! The short answer is AWE-INSPIRING! Honestly, the whole trip was life altering. My main purpose in traveling to Washington State was to better develop my business but I added a day on to my trip to visit the active volcano. I had never been further west than Indiana so I was going to make the most of my time on the West Coast.
Driving north from Vancouver, WA to Mount Saint Helens takes about 2 hours. Now I was ecstatic the speed limit up I-5 is 70 mph but the little rental car I had was hard pressed to go that fast! The scenery was breathtaking though! After I exited the highway and started onto Spirit Lake Highway (a two lane state road) it felt like any other two lane road I had driven while growing up in Allegany County. After about 20 minutes though that feeling changes as you start to see the mountains rise before you and the damage of May 18, 1980 becomes visible. There were many places to pull over and observe on my way up to the Johnson Ridge Observatory, which of course I did and took many pictures along the way. The observatory is 5 miles from the volcano and looks directly into the crater that was formed when she exploded. When I first arrived at the Observatory a Park Ranger was outside talking with visitors and she and I struck up a conversation about the rocks, magma, etc. After a few minutes a 10 year old and his grandparents came over and added the Native American history to the lore of the mountain. The Park Ranger had been an anthropology major in college and told about one tribe’s beliefs and warnings about Mount Saint Helens. When explorers were trying to find ways to mine ore from the mountain they would hire Native American guides to take them into the forest and mountain range. Most would not go as the legends warned of death when you go near the mountain. They would not go above the tree line for fear of eruption, unless it was for a specific ritual such as a spirit quest. I was NOT prepared to hike far or long as I didn’t pack hiking clothes on my trip and I need to head back to Portland in a few hours to catch my plane. The park rangers suggested a trail to fit my parameters and off I went. With the image of Native Americans on a spirit quest and what that must have been like, I headed out on the Boundary Trail which will take you quite a ways around and toward the volcano. I was by myself on the trail, passing strangers on and off and talking to some locals who visit often. One couple who I struck up a conversation with has lived in the area their entire lives and described the eruption and its aftermath. They went on to tell me how fortunate I was for the clear sky. According to them, the mountain is often hidden behind fog and mist. In the quiet of the trail, where the only sound was my feet on the gravel, I thought about what brought me to this mountain and what it meant for my future. I stopped to notice how small I was compared to the mountain and the trees the eruption picked up and moved like toothpicks. I was reminded of how short our time is on this planet is and how long the earth has been testing humans. It was with these thoughts that I was able to focus myself and understand why the only word I could use to describe the trip as a whole was MAGICAL.
I realized how invaluable the park rangers were to my experience. They asked questions and with the information I provided placed me on a path that led me to see what I wanted to see and have an extremely enjoyable experience. It reminded me of how I ask questions of my clients so I can get the information to place them on the correct path to either home ownership or a successful home sale based on how prepared they come to me.
Never would I have thought a 3 hour hike around a mountain would teach me so much about myself! Everyone I met and every experience I had reinforced my CORE BELIEFS:
1) Life is precious - let the people you love know that you love them often and without trepidation or condition
2) I am here for just a blink in time and I need to make a POSITIVE impact while I’m here
3) Family is who you define it as – for me it is those who value my heart and let me into theirs
4) Life is an adventure to be explored and devoured, get the right guidance and dive in
Next month I’ll tell you more about the people I met and spent time with for the business side of the trip. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed a few of the pictures I took!
Volume1, Issue 2
Differentiation and Your Home Selling ProfiT
I realize the image to the right may look a little Howard Hughes-ish, but there is a method to my madness. And this sketch, if you’re thinking of selling your home, may have a profound and direct impact on your bottom-line profit. You’ll also want to share this with friends and family members that you care about too.
When I set out to study Warren Buffett, his investment philosophy, to find out what made him the world’s greatest investors, and, ultimately, how his methods could be applied to my clients’ home sale — I stumbled upon a book called Differentiate or Die. This book changed my entire perspective on real estate. Jack Trout was the author. In the book he laid out the fundamental reasons why a business must differentiate from competitors, not just to be successful, but as the key ingredient to thrive in our current era of Killer Competition. Now, admittedly, from a business perspective, this is common sense. Every entrepreneur knows he must differentiate his business. As a mentor once told me, “Nobody needs two left shoes.” In business, if two businesses are the same, then one is dispensable. But, this got me thinking.
Business, and the fight for new customers, really, is no different than real estate and the fight for home buyers.
Your home is a home, yes, but analogously speaking, it is also product no different than Tide laundry detergent, where you are the owner of that product, no different than Proctor & Gamble is Tide. Therefore, when you look at your home through this lens—the profit from your home sale; its ability to compete in the marketplace—comes down to your ability to differentiate.
Is your home no different than the many other homes on the market? Is it just a commodity? Or is it different, and could it be judged superior? In my sketch in the sidebar, you’ll notice there are three scenarios. Each scenario describes the starting position of your product, your home, in relation to other competing homes on the market. Each of these scenarios can also be thought of as a race.
The more and better you differentiate your product, the faster you move forward toward higher profit. Of course, the less you differentiate the faster you move backwards toward lower profit. All the while the other homes on the market, in your neighborhood, in your price range, with similar square footage, amenities, etc., are competing in the same race.
In scenario #1 – you, your home, you start even with your competitors. You are neither ahead of behind. There is no discernible difference between your home and others. No apparent advantages and no apparent disadvantages.
In scenario #2 – you, your home, starts out ahead of the competition. This could be for a number reasons. But through some means of differentiation, you have the advantage of a 5-second head start. So as long as you run the race appropriately, and don’t trip over your feet or make a fundamental mistake, you have increased odds of winning.
In scenario #3 –you, your home, starts out at a notable disadvantage to the competition. You are now the underdog, not the front-runner. And to win, and bank the most profit from your home sale, you’ll have to run the race of your life.
“Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions.”
"With reality, we can get to true strategy.”
Part of my job then becomes, prior to creating the actual “race strategy,” is to determine where a clients’ home’s starting position is. If you’re running the 800-meter dash, for example, someone running on the inside lanes—from a strategic standpoint—must run a very different race than the runner who runs in the outside lanes. Similarly, the runner with a known disadvantage, like Aimee Lee Mullins who I wrote about last month, who set multiple NCAA records despite having her lower legs amputated as a child, must run a very different race than the runner who doesn’t have that handicap.
Now you would think that every home, given the three scenarios above, either a) starts out even, b) ahead or c) behind the competition, right? Wrong. There is actually a 4th possible scenario.
In scenario #4 – you, your home, starts out ahead of the competition but…only “in your mind.” For obvious reasons, this is dangerous.
When a homeowner is blinded to their true starting position in relation to other competing homes on the market; due to pride of ownership, ego, arrogance, lack of understanding of how true differentiation works, how value is created, etc., almost always, in my experience, they sabotage their chance for maximum profit.
There is, by the way, nothing wrong with starting from behind. The fabled underdog story exists for this reason, to upset the odds-makers. But the underdog, to win, must realize he is the underdog and, through strategy, offset his handicap. David versus Goliath: An apparent mismatch, but in this fight Goliath’s size is no match for a small well-placed stone, shot from a distance, out of reach of Goliath, from David’s high-tension slingshot. Bing! One stone upside the head, and Goliath is out.
This is why, in my book, The Warren Buffett Approach to Sell Real Estate: How to Protect Yourself from Real Estate Greed and Bank an Extra $30K in Profit by taking a Value-Driven Approach, I talk about the importance of getting an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis—for this very reason—to identify your homes’ true starting point.
The last scenario in the world you ever want to participate in is scenario #4. One interesting tidbit too, about how true differentiation works, when done correctly and effective, you not only control whether your home moves forward or backward “in the race” toward higher or lower profit, you also control whether other competing homes (with yours) move forward or backward too.
I suppose its kind of like cheating, that is tying a rope around your competitor, and anchoring him to a tree before the start of the race, but hey – that other homeowner should have hired someone who understands true differentiation, then they wouldn’t have been in that position, chained to a lower potential profit.
The biggest secret, though, for maximum profit, you must know your “product’s” starting point in relation to its competitors. Without this, nothing else really matters, as the details are fiction and hypothetical, and not reality.
But with reality, we can get to true strategy. If it turns out that we’re the underdog, so be it, we’ll run the race of the underdog and in accord to the facts, to strive for the upset.
"I love the article about telling a story, can you help me and write one for my house that's on the market in Michigan?" ~ Bob
"This is your book?! I love the way it looks and feels. Can't wait to read it" ~Jen
"Loved the newsletter...Mom article rocked it!" ~Joan
Thank you for your kind words! I appreciate you taking the time to continue to encourage and support me.
We Were "On the Move"
Dave, Kelly, Kevin, Emily, Kraigen, Fallon, & Kyler
Caitlin & Tom
Monica & Keith
All the best with your new properties!
Continued on page 5
Who is Paul?
Paul Baker is the owner and photographer of Rochester Real Estate Photography and I'm proud to say he's on your team when we get your home ready to sell. His photos get buyers' attention and help to sell your home faster than my photos ever would!
Lesley Burger RealtyUSA WNY 57 Monroe Avenue Pittsford, NY 14534
The book is here!!!
I'm now on Periscope. What is Periscope? It's live video feeds linked to Twitter. Find me on Periscope @LesleyRocHomes to see what is going on.
To request a copy be gifted to a friend send me an email at: Lesley@BookForCharityForFree.com