Author: Suzy Lins

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Contact Your SOI

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of year for real estate agents to contact their Sphere of Influence (SOI).

Real estate agents should call their SOI because it can be an effective way to generate leads and build their business. The term SOI refers to the network of people that an agent has a personal relationship with, including friends, family, former clients, and other professionals in their industry. These individuals can be a valuable source of referrals for the agent, as they are more likely to trust and recommend the agent to their own network of contacts.

At Century 21 Discovery, we teach our agents to regularly reach out to their SOI because it helps them stay top of mind and build stronger relationships with these individuals. Often, an agent will comment that they don’t know what to say when they make the call. Well, right now is the perfect time of year to reach out to your SOI because you have a good reason. Call to wish them a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday. Who wouldn’t love to receive a call like that! Continue the conversation by asking about their family, holiday plans or plans for 2023. Keep notes about the conversation to refer back to the next time you call them. Which should be regularly.

If real estate is a new career for you, this is the ideal opportunity to let them know. It can open the door to a good conversation about the market because everybody has an opinion about real estate.

When you make the call be ready to answer questions about the real estate market, interest rates or homes for sale in their area. Be prepared! Staying in touch with your SOI can help you stay informed about potential real estate opportunities, as these individuals may be aware of upcoming listings or sales in the area.

These calls are ideal for staying in touch and if done consistently, can lead to more referrals, which can help grow your business and increase your income. Make time during the busy holiday season for these calls. Plus, getting used to making these calls will give you more confidence for the next time you pick up the phone.

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About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery and a Business Etiquette Consultant. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

Tools For Real Estate Agents To Work Virtually

By Suzy Lins
March 30, 2020

Most everyone is working from home at this point due to the Coronavirus, but with real estate you still need to talk to and interact with people. How exactly do you do that, especially if you’ve never done it before? Here are specific tools you can use to work virtually and keep your real estate career on track as you work from home.

Meet with clients virtually
Meeting “virtually” with your clients means to interact with them via apps and software that allow you to see each other and have conversations as if you were there in person. Here are a few different ways you can meet with your clients without leaving your house:

Video Conference Apps
These apps are perfect if you want to have a face-to-face conversation with a client or prospect.

  • FaceTime – This is an Apple app and only available on their devices. It comes pre-installed on your iPhone and iPad so it’s already at your fingertips.
  • WhatsApp – This is a messaging app that also supports voice and video calls. It’s available for Apple and Android devices in the App Store and Google Play Store.
  • Skype – This is a video calling platform available for Apple and Android devices. This platform requires the user to log in. This is a great option for computers and tablets.

Find out what kind of phone your client has to determine which app to use. Get familiar with more than one of these video conferencing apps so you’re ready for any scenario.

Video Conferencing Software/Apps
These platforms are an easy way to do a virtual property tour or hold a virtual open house. You log into a website and create a virtual meeting with your client. Once you send them a link, you both appear on the screen and are able to talk as if you were in person. To do this, both users need to have cameras on their computers.  Here are some of the most popular:

  • ZOOM – This is the one that we use and have had great results with our virtual meetings and agent training. There’s a free version that allows up to 40 minutes of video conferencing. Paid versions start at $14.99 per month. For personal meetings the free version should be sufficient. Find it here at
  • GoToMeeting – This is another platform for video conferencing. There’s a 14-Day Free Trial and the paid versions start at $12 per month. Check it out at
  • Google Hangouts – For this option, it’s easiest if everyone has a Google account. If someone doesn’t have an account, then the inviter or another invitee needs to have a G Suite Account in order for everyone to participate.

Show properties virtually
Once you have a chance to talk to your clients or prospects face-to-face you’re going to need some way to show them properties. By using one of the virtual conference software programs I mentioned above, you can share your screen to show them a virtual tour (video) or photos of the listing. They can ask questions and you can interact with them via the camera on your computer.

Virtual Showings
Select a day and time to meet “virtually” with your client and send them a link to the video conference. Have the property photos and virtual tours of the properties ready to go on your desktop. Share your desktop with them and give them a tour of the home with the photos and virtual tour.

Virtual Open Houses
Publicize the day and time you will be holding the virtual Open House and have guests request the video conference link. This gives you some control over who is coming and going at your Open House. If you decide to post the link publicly, take precautions to eliminate Zoom-Bombers coming to your Open House. A Zoom Bomber gets the public link to the meeting and once in the meeting wreaks havoc or displays inappropriate pictures on the screen. Don’t worry, there are several ways to prevents this from happening. Here are some reminders to keep those party crashers out.

During the Open House show the photos and video of the listing and answer any questions visitors may have. Depending on the length of the Open House, you’ll probably have to run the video tour and photo slideshow over and over again depending on how many people attend and when they pop in.

Video Conferencing Tips:

  • Set up your video conference in a room that has a distraction-free background.
  • Make sure the room is well-lit and that the lighting is not behind you. Back lighting will make your face difficult for them to see.
  • You’ll be on camera so make sure you’re dressed properly.
  • Look into the camera when you are talking to them instead of looking at their face on the screen.

I recommend that you practice using these apps and tools with a family member or friend before you use them with a client. A couple of practice runs and you’ll be open for virtual business.


About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

Do’s & Don’ts of Real Estate Photography

By Suzy Lins
July 17, 2018

One of my pet peeves are poor quality photos of real estate listings. It drives my crazy! I get it that not all properties are “photogenic” but there are some basic things you can do to make sure the photos of your listing look good. Do me AND your client a favor and check out my Do’s & Don’ts of Real Estate Photography.


About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

CENTURY 21 Rebrand

By Suzy Lins
April 14, 2018

We have been a member of the CENTURY 21® System for 32 years. In March, they introduced a complete rebrand of the 47-year-old company and we are thrilled.

The new look is modern, clean and aligns with the new mission: Defy Mediocrity and Deliver Extraordinary Experiences. This mirrors the mindset we have at CENTURY 21 Discovery that earned us our reputation of quality customer service and integrity.  We are challenging everyone in the industry to be relentless and obsessed with better because ALL our clients deserve it.

The new look was revealed several weeks ago and we just get our hot little hands on the images. I’m like a kid in a candy story and excited as we begin to unveil our brand-new look at CENTURY 21 Discovery. Stay tuned as we roll it out.

Watch this for a sneak peek of our new look!


About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

Marketing a Listing

By Suzy Lins
April 19, 2017

Don’t be a secret agent with a listing nobody knows about! As soon as you take a listing let everyone know about it. First, you need great photos of the home. Hire a professional photographer. You can hire a good photographer for about $200-300. For more photos or larger homes the price goes up. Get a video made of the listing too. Century 21 creates a video slideshow set to music for every listing that has 6 or more photos. If you have a high end listing consider getting a drone video. Keep in mind that these images are in investment in you and your business. You’ll be able to use them when you go on your next listing presentation because that would-be client will not be impressed by photos taken on your phone vertically.

Now that you have your photos, maybe a video or drone images too, this is how you get the word out.

Email blast

Send an email to your database to let them know about the listing. The email should include a great visual image of the home or an embedded video with some details and the price. Include a Call To Action (CTA) in the email like: “Call/Text me for a tour” or “Do you know someone looking in this neighborhood?”

Send an email blast like the one above to all the agents you know. Add the agents in your office to your database as well as agents you meet at Open Houses, Broker Previews, etc.  The CTA should obviously be different, something like: “Do you have a buyer looking in this neighborhood?”

To promote your business or to create an ad on Facebook you need to have a Facebook Business Page. Use these strategies to get the word out about the listing via Facebook.

Make a JUST LISTED post on your business page. Again, use a great visual image or video of the property. Don’t stop there. After you make the post go back and BOOST it to target the specific area and demographic that you want to reach beyond your Facebook followers.

Another option is to create an ad on Facebook about the JUST LISTED property. Creating an ad from scratch, rather than boosting a post, allows you to put multiple images in the ad (carousel ad) or a video plus you can target the ad to reach a more specific demographic. Here’s an example of what I mean: You have a $2 million+ listing on a golf course – target the ad to reach people with the income level needed to buy that home who like to golf AND who are likely to move.

The great thing about advertising on Facebook is that for dollars a day you can get your listing in front of the right people. An added bonus is that you have the option for your ads to appear on Instagram too. When Facebook bought Instagram they added this option. You need to have an Instagram account in order for your ads to appear there.

Other Social Media
If you use any other social media channels for your business get it out there too.

For Instagram, place an ad discussed above or you can post an image of the property with details. Instagram does not have the ability to include a hyperlink in the posts. Instead, direct them to your Instagram profile and include a hyper link there back to the property website.

For Twitter or Google +, post about your new listing with a link back to a video of the property or a property website. At Century 21 every listing automatically gets a Unique Property Website that has a URL using the property address. If you have a YouTube channel, upload the property video and share it on your social media sites.

Meet the Neighbors

After you take the listing get out there and introduce yourself to the neighbors on either side of the home. There’s something called the 5-5-5 rule. Knock on the door of the 5 houses to left, 5 houses to the right and 5 houses across the street and let those neighbors know you just listed a house on their street. Invite them to an upcoming Open House and ask if they know of anybody who has been looking to move into that neighborhood. This is a great opportunity to ask them if they’ve considered selling their home. If so, they’re going to be watching very closely how you market their neighbor’s property.

Print Marketing
Some “old school” marketing would be a “Just Listed” postcard to people who live in that area. You can mail it but if you door drop it yourself it’s a great way to meet people in the neighborhood. You can also place an ad in the local newspaper showcasing the listing. Print marketing is expensive compared to online marketing so use it wisely.

Open House
Now that you got the word out about your new listing you need to have an Open House. Again, you need to get the word out about it. Use the same tactics listed above for an email blast, Facebook post and BOOST and a Facebook ad. Just tweak it for the Open House. Next, create an EVENT on Facebook. List the date & time of the Open House along with all the details and invite your friends. Promote the Facebook event by selecting your audience and budget and you’re good to go.

Make your Open House an event. Make sure you have a lot of signs directing people to the property. Add some balloons and include food. Invite the neighbors to the Open House. Do a give-away for a gift card for people who sign in and give you their contact info. Consider doing a Facebook LIVE video from the Open House too.

Broker Preview
Put it in your office caravan or local broker preview. At CENTURY 21 Discovery we have regular sales meetings followed by a caravan of our new listings. At our meetings the agents have an opportunity to “Pitch” a property that is not on the market yet. We also have several broker previews in our area that allow agents from any office to place their listing on the weekly caravan.

Most of these marketing strategies cost very little except time and creativity on your part. You’ll be a real estate marketing guru and your seller is going to love you! Do you have any marketing strategies to add? Please share in the comments.


About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

Unique Property Websites

By Suzy Lins
March 30, 2016

The fun part about working at CENTURY 21 Discovery is that I get to see all the cool marketing tools that our agents have access to through the Century 21® system. One tool that benefits our sellers as well as our agents is the Unique Property Sites. These are websites that are dedicated to selling the home. We all know buyers are searching online and these sites provide them with the property details and photos as well as allows sharing the sites through social media and email. These sites are designed for mobile devices too so buyers can access them from anywhere.

Check out this short video about the sites:



About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

Videolicious is a great marketing tool for Real Estate Agents

By Suzy Lins
April 21, 2015

Recently, a group of our professional REALTORS® attended a webinar by Alan Haburchak of Videolicious. Videolicious is an app you can use to create on the spot videos. It’s a great marketing tool for real estate agents to use to create a Listing Video, a “Come Check out my Open House” video or even a Client Testimonial video. It’s all done on your iPhone or iPad. Within about 15 minutes you can create the video and send it out to your social media sites, email to clients or upload to YouTube.

I know most of us don’t like how we look in photos let alone in videos. It took me a bit to get over how I looked on screen. But then I realized…that’s how I look. It was a blow to my ego but I got over it. If you can’t get over it and still don’t want to be on screen you can do a voice over of video clips and photos to create a marketing video.

I put together this short Videolicious video to show our agents just how easy it is and to motivate them to give it a try.

Our CENTURY 21 Discovery agents have access to an upgraded version of the app because of a partnership with Century 21 and Videolicious. Right now it’s only available on IOS products but there are plans for an Android version soon. Once you give it a try you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to use!

About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

Your Digital Presence is an Extension of Your Business Card

By Suzy Lins

February 9, 2015

Why does a real estate agent need a digital presence? During a recent New Agent Orientation at our firm I explained to our new recruits why they need a digital presence. What exactly is a digital presence? Simply, it means your online activity through either your website or blog, social media, comments you made on a video, etc. When someone looks you up online, all these should appear in that search. I like to think of it as an extension of your business card. That’s why it’s so important for REALTORS® to have some sort of digital presence.

Your digital presence is an extension of your business card.

Your digital presence is an extension of your business card

According to National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 40 percent of buyers and 38 percent of sellers found their agent through a referral from a family member or friend. That same report stated that two-thirds of buyers and 70 percent of sellers only interviewed one agent before they found the one they wanted to work with. Most clients are not shopping around for agents once they get that referral but there is a pretty good chance they are checking you out before they call you. Google yourself to see what shows up. Is this a good representation of you and your business?

The same NAR research showed that 92% of buyers used the internet in some way during the home buying process. Many buyers find the homes they are interested in online and sellers go to third-party aggregator sites to get an idea of what their home is worth but very few find their agent online. The reality is that everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who is in real estate. If not, they’ve been living under a rock! If I was looking someone to help me make the biggest purchase of my life, first, I’d get a referral and then I would probably check them out before I called them. I’d “Google” them. That’s why it’s so important for real estate agents to have a digital presence that is current.

While there are a lot of ways to beef up your digital presence, these are the 3 things I tell our agents to focus on right away:

  • LinkedIn – Get a LinkedIn profile with a professional photo and complete the profile with your experience, education, certifications, volunteer work, etc. If you don’t have a professional photo headshot, get one. We have a local photographer that will take 12 professional portraits with the proper lighting and background and give it to you on a disk for $75. You own the photos and can use them across all your marketing efforts. On that same note, if your photo is more than five years old get a new one. It drives me crazy when I see agents use a photo from 20 years ago. I hate to break it to them that they don’t look anything like that anymore.
  • Website – Get a personal website. There are plenty of affordable websites out there for real estate agents. Through Century 21 every agent in the system is provided a free website. These are template based sites that allow the agent to personalize them with their own information. FYI – Most buyers will probably not go to an agent site to start looking at homes. They will most likely go to sites like Zillow,, Trulia, etc. But when that potential client does research you, that site will come up in their search results. It’s another way to show you’re knowledgeable and legit.
  • Facebook – For those who are already on Facebook I recommend they create a Facebook business page. This is an easy way to market yourself and your listings within your own circle of influence. Facebook business pages also have the ability to do micro-targeted advertising at just dollars a day. It’s a great tool for advertising that new listing or an Open House. Also, since Facebook is the largest social media site out there it will appear high in a search engine ranking when you get “Googled”. One other thing I tell our agents is that if they are going to have a Facebook business page they need to post to it regularly. I suggest a minimum of three times per week. You don’t want people coming across your Facebook page only to see you haven’t posted anything in six months. That looks like you don’t care and are not engaged in your business. Plus Facebook makes it easy. You can schedule your posts in advance.

Additionally, I recommend that every agent set up a free profile on third-party real estate sites like, Zillow, Trulia. These sites allow you to customize your profile, show your recent sales/listings and even get client reviews.

There are many more ways for agents to market themselves, but this is what we recommend to our agents as they begin to develop their digital presence. Remember, just think of it as an extension of your business card.

About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

Giving Tuesday Celebrates Giving

By Suzy Lins

December 2, 2014

Today is the 3rd Annual Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving back. It’s the Tuesday after we give thanks (Thanksgiving) and the Tuesday after getting great deals (Black Friday, Cyber Monday). What a nice way to kick off the holiday season!

CENTURY 21 Discovery celebrated our version of Giving Tuesday exactly two weeks ago. Our Celebrate Giving with CENTURY 21 Discovery charity event is our annual fundraiser where we get together for a night of dinner, bidding on auction items and a little fun to raise money for local charities in our community.

It’s always held the week before Thanksgiving to kick off the season of giving and it’s usually on a Tuesday. This was our 20th year of the event.

Our first event started out as a little dinner and small auction at a local Italian restaurant to raise some money for a charity. It was just agents, a few spouses and some title reps. Over the years we started inviting clients and others in the community. We’ve had to move to a larger venue twice to accommodate our growing guest count.

We are excited that it has grown, because it’s important to all of us at CENTURY 21 Discovery to give back to the communities we serve. Since its inception we have raised over $279,000 for local charities and this year we raised $19,000 in one night!

Many of our agents serve on non-profit boards or volunteer with organizations in the community. We encourage that and are proud of that because it’s part of our Core Values and it sets us apart from other firms in this industry. We at CENTURY 21 Discovery are grateful for all the #Unselfies who came out for this year’s event to help us make a difference even though we were two weeks early!

About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000