What you can learn in real estate from a $59 pound of potatoes

Services for Real Estate Pros with Crye-Leike, Realtors

Buying and selling real estate is an emotional experience. When we are buying we are trying to imagine our life in each house. When we are selling, we are trying to detach ourselves from a place in our life that has meant so much --all in order for buyers to be able to imagine their own life there. It's a delicate balance.

potatoesThe other day I was flipping through a cooking catalog with beautiful pictures and product descriptions of specialty foods and kitchen equipment. One ad really caught my attention... Would you pay $59 for a pound of fried potatoes? If you are laughing hold on, because I would bet that someone out there is buying them.

Here's why some may consider the purchase (paraphrased from catalog):

  • They are Latkes.
  • They are classic companions of caviar and smoked salmon (strategically pictured with high $$$ products).
  • They are savory, enriched with onion, and seasoned to perfection.
  • They are a holiday tradition.
  • They are handcrafted from a family recipe.
  • They are expertly pan-fried.
  • They are delicious with a crispy, golden-brown outside, and a moist tender interior.

Is your mouth watering yet? Imagine if the person writing the description had said, "Shredded potatoes, fried with onion, salt & pepper. Great with Spam."

I think the person writing these catalog descriptions should get a commission of the catalog sales. Why on earth would you pay $59 for fried potatoes? Because the description and suggestion made you feel a certain way - made you envision the lifestyle associated with these handcrafted delicacies.

So, how can I bring potatoes and real estate together? Look at the effort that went into a description for a $59 product. Let's apply some of that to - what is usually - the biggest purchase in people's lives - their home purchase.

  • Selling a Home? Really look at your home. What can you do to stage your home to remove yourself from it and put your buyers in it? What emotional aspects of your home can you bring attention to? How will I feel when I live in your home?
  • Buying a Home? Every home has its pros and cons... consider the characteristics that really make it home to you. 
  • Real Estate Agents - Look at what can be done with a description of fried potatoes... are there ways you can enhance your property descriptions and marketing to appeal to the emotional advantages of the property?

Crye-Leike, Realtors helps buyers and sellers of real estate throughout the South. Search for homes for sale,  find over 4,000 realtors, and over 125 real estate offices.


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Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

Sometimes we wish we could fry a house. Or sell it by the pound. But we get and appreciate your point.


Nov 29, 2007 09:14 AM #1
Karen Richards
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - McKinney, TX
Bravo! I have come to the conclusion that most of the agents who list houses have no real desire to "sell" homes rather they just want the listing. This is made clear by the poor photos and one line of abriviations that even I have a hard time discerining. So once again Bravo, I hope many agents will take this to heart.
Nov 29, 2007 09:15 AM #2
Maya Thomas, Broker
Tampa, FL
Please see my client recommendations.
Lovely post.  I'm CRAVING potatoes any of the ways they've been described.  Thanks so much for reminding me how important our "ad copy" is.
Nov 29, 2007 09:21 AM #3
Deborah Burns ~ Seattle Real Estate Agent
Realty Executives -BRIO - Seattle, WA

Wonderful, visual analogy Angie! 

Yes, effective marketing is about creating an emotional conection to the consumer:                            Who is your target buyer?  What appeals to them?  How are you going to appeal to them? 

You have sold me!  I just had a lovely lunch and now I want some of those potatos...Yum!

Nov 29, 2007 09:24 AM #4
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552
Think of how much per pound we could get for a HOUSE if we described it in such glowing emotional terms...
Nov 29, 2007 09:26 AM #5
Cary & Kim Johnson
Coral Shores Realty - Margate, FL

Good one!!


Nov 29, 2007 09:37 AM #6
Aggie Friend Kay Perry, A&M Class of '94 & '97
Kay Perry, Broker - College Station, TX
Emotions sell...that is a fact.
Nov 29, 2007 09:45 AM #7
Angie Vandenbergh
Crye-Leike, Realtors - Memphis, TN
A Crye-Leike Blogger

Thanks for all the feedback.

If anyone is interested in trying the "Latkes" to see if they are worth the price tag you can check it out here... $59 Latkes 

Nov 30, 2007 01:57 AM #8
Matt LaClear
Matt LaClear Enterprises - Lansing, MI
Having made a ton of money selling ebooks for a living I found outearly on that your best writing should go in the ad copy that sells the ebook rather than into the ebook itself.  Because a poorly written ebook with great ad copy will outsell a superbly written one with poor ad copy every single time.  But what does that have to do with the real estate industry?  Much for sure.  Too many agents view themselves as order takers rather than professional marketers.  Mostly because they must put so much effort into marketing themselves to get the listing and by the time they finally get a listing they have little energy left to use some of their marketing moxy on the house they are trying to sell.  
Nov 30, 2007 02:04 AM #9
Angie Vandenbergh
Crye-Leike, Realtors - Memphis, TN
A Crye-Leike Blogger
Matt - there is definitely some truth to that... anytime I buy a book the description and jacket cover has a lot to do with the pull in.
Nov 30, 2007 02:56 AM #10
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

I'm glad I didn't miss this post.  Very clever.  Now, if we could inject some of the "magic" in the $59 potatoes into the real estate market...we might get back on track with sales again. LOL

Nov 30, 2007 09:12 AM #11
Angie Vandenbergh
Crye-Leike, Realtors - Memphis, TN
A Crye-Leike Blogger

Hi Lola - Thanks for stopping by... I like that... the magic

Dec 01, 2007 12:15 AM #12
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!
Very cute Angie, and I "did" miss this post so I'm glad you did that sixpack!  And congratulations on passing your 50th....getting old! lol
Dec 11, 2007 10:59 AM #13
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495


This is a wonderful post!  I'm glad you included it in your 6-pack.

Mike in Tucson

Dec 11, 2007 02:19 PM #14
Midori Miller
Talk 2 Midori, LLC - Daytona Beach, FL
Online Marketing For Real Estate Professionals

Wow Angie-I love this post!  It's all in the marketing!  Now let me go order those $59.00 potatoes...I am a marketer's dream...a great marketer that is!  Congrats your post was selected as a Blogger's Choice Winner!


Feb 14, 2008 04:04 AM #15
Angie Vandenbergh
Crye-Leike, Realtors - Memphis, TN
A Crye-Leike Blogger
Thanks Midori! That is really nice to hear.
Feb 14, 2008 05:26 AM #16
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Angie - yummy!  Doubt I'd ever pay $59.00 for a pound of fried potatoes, but I surely do get the analogy.  Great way to tie potatoes and real estate.  I understand for really good homemade latkes, one must befriend Neal Bloom, and he just might make them for you.....   ;-)


Feb 14, 2008 10:48 AM #17
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