What my Personal Butler Alexander Taught Me About Business

In April, I took a trip to Charleston for my first 30 Under 30 Mastermind.

First, let me tell you about my hotel in Charleston, because it was amazing. We stayed at the Spectator right off Market Street. When I arrived to check in, I was greeted by the staff, given a leather-bound key fob for my room, and introduced to my butler, Alexander.

I'm not kidding.

Alexander offered me a complimentary cocktail, and then escorted me up to my room. He then informed me that he was there to help with just about anything I might need. Their services included complimentary steaming and pressing, shoe cleaning and shining, luggage packing and unpacking, and small errands around town. Was there anything he could do for me at that moment?

At first I felt a bit awkward about this. Then I remembered how much I was paying for this room, and that it's not every day my personal butler Alexander asks how he can make my day easier.

After a moment of hesitation, I came to my senses. Yes, there was something he could do. I handed him a pair of shoes I've been meaning to get cleaned for months and mentioned that I had forgotten to pack razors, mouthwash and deodorant. Could he help?

He replied that it would be his pleasure. When I returned to my room later, my shoes were waiting for me, perfectly positioned inside the door, looking brand new. My cosmetics were placed just so in the bathroom, and soft jazz music was playing. Complimentary local gourmet snacks waited for me on the counter. I ate chocolate covered pretzel bites and key lime cookies while getting ready for happy hour and feeling like Audrey Hepburn.


Add to that I returned that evening to a tiny tiramisu dessert shot in a teensy edible chocolate cup "Compliments of our mixologist." I called Chris, giddy, and said "this is how celebrities lose their grip on reality."

What does any of this have to do with real estate, besides me bragging about how awesome my trip was? I'll get there.

Okay, the mastermind. About 50 agents from past 30 Under 30 classes gathered in Charleston for a day of networking, speakers and mastermind breakout sessions. It was so inspiring to be surrounded by agents running their businesses at the highest levels, and exchanging tips and tricks for how to do things better.

One big takeaway for me was client appreciation. We all know we should do it. Some of us do do it well. And others of us, like me, feel like we need some help.

I care a lot about my clients and my job. I put enormous effort into making sure that my clients are educated to make good real estate decisions, and that I don't drop the ball on transaction related items. I've built a team with Emma that prides itself on being very competent at our core job: getting you to closing and protecting your investments.

But I fall short on client appreciation. Sure, I send thank you notes. I host a few parties. I sometimes remember to send you your "Congratulations on closing!" champagne bottle on time.

But I'm not inspiring Spectator-hotel-level delight.

The founder of Shake Shack in New York built his business on the principle that he and his staff should inspire "rave moments" for their diners as often as possible. A rave moment is what it sounds like: they wanted diners raving about how great the experience was. It's what The Spectator did for me with their tiny dessert shots and free shoe cleaning and other awe-inspiringly well executed touches.

I think I do a solid job for my clients. I don't think I create rave moments.

So here's where I ask you. What do you really want? What would make you rave about the experience? If you have an idea, reply to my email.

Women Who Rock

This is a new segment I'm adding. Maybe every month. I don't know yet. But recently I realized I have a growing list of women who I think rock for one reason or another, so I'd like to give them a shout out. Maybe you'll think they rock, too. 

Let's talk about Josie Lewis, who inspired me to take up watercolors. I have no memory of what internet time-wasting rabbit hole I went down in order to find her, but I'm so glad I did. She posts mesmerizing videos on instagram of her work in progress. It almost always involves rainbows, and there are almost always people commenting who claim that what she does is "not art."

Instead of getting offended about it, she uses those comments as a catalyst for conversations about the nature of art and creativity. What is art? Who gets to decide? Does everyone have creative ability, or only a select few? Is imitating the art of other artists bad, or is it a great way to learn?

Josie, if you're reading this, I know I bought your book and comment on your Instagram stories and now I'm writing about you in my newsletter, but I promise I'm not a stalker and I know we're not actually friends in real life.

But I think you rock.


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The Market-Still Multiple Offers Every Which Way

I've been working with lots of buyers and sellers in Central Austin recently and I'm still seeing a very competitive market for buyers. I'm preparing my buyers now to expect to compete in multiple offers, and to expect to lose a few homes before they finally get one.

You can, of course, better your chances by making more aggressive offers up front. To that end, I audited my past multiple offer situations for clients. When did we win? When did we lose? What were the terms for each? Is there a pattern? There is. The two biggest determinants were price over asking and whether or not the buyer was willing to come out of pocket for a low appraisal.

If you want to see my analysis, email me.

For sellers, this is an absolutely fabulous time to be selling your home in Austin. Here's how you can take advantage of this awesome seller's market.

1. Make sure your home is cleaned, staged, and easy to show.
2. Don't over-price your home. It's the death of multiple offers.

If you want to talk more about whether it's a good time to sell your home, and how much it might go for, email me.

Here's a quick snapshot of what's going on in our market, by the numbers. I will say though that some of these numbers are misleading. Most of the homes my clients are listing and buying are not sitting on the market for 64 days. Try 4 days. Regardless, it's still nice to know what the averages are, just to get an idea. 


Congrats to Jeff and Katee who closed on a new Buffington home in Round Rock. Jeff is a long time family friend from New Jersey, and we're delighted to have them closer to us now. 


I'm fresh out of listings. They all sold with multiple offers already. If you're considering selling your home in the next 12 months, now would be a great time to be a seller.

Chris has some luxury listings in 78704 coming up in the next few months. Email us for an inventory sheet.

I had a lot of fun shooting this video for my listing at 3303 Garden Villa in 78704. It's now under contract and has a back up offer, set to close the first week of May. 

If you're not already following me on social media, let's connect.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isabel.tinker
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/funkyhomesofaustin/?hl=en

Posted by Isabel Affinito on


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