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How a 1st-year rookie landed the $20M ‘Friday Harbor Retreat’ listing

By March 17, 2017 No Comments

Melissa Boucher is a real estate “rookie” who just completed her first year in the business.

But don’t let her first-year status fool you — she’s had a number of home runs, the latest being a $20 million estate simply known as the “Friday Harbor Retreat,” located in the scenic San Juan Islands.

Boucher, who works for the Windermere Real Estate Midtown in Seattle, was an oncology nurse before she leaped into the real estate world, looking for a more flexible schedule that allowed her to have more time with family.

“I have children now,” explained Boucher, and she wanted to get away from 14-hour days.

Still, “I think I was mistaken by that — because I still have long hours!” she admitted.

Boucher says she doesn’t mind the long days, though, and the skills she learned as a nurse still come in handy.

“I liked the idea that [real estate is] still a very similar business,” she said.

It’s about “helping people, it’s guiding them, and listening very carefully to they’re looking for and what their needs are.”

‘Practice makes perfect’

Before she took on her first client, Boucher spent six months listening, watching and learning from Windermere giants Bonnie Sanborn, Patrick Chinn and Shelley Rossi — something she says is critical to her current success and helped her get a listing some agents only dream of.

“I think there’s something to be said for someone being there for you, watching what you’re doing and making sure you’re on the right track,” she said emphatically.

As she takes on her largest and most expensive listing thus far, Boucher says having Patrick Chinn by her side as a co-lister was one of the keys to beating out a number of other agents who were vying for the job.

Before the listing presentation, Boucher says she conducted extensive research into all the listings more than $10 million in the Pacific Northwest and bound them into a comparative market analysis (CMA) booklet for the sellers to review.

She also reviewed Windermere’s W Collection marketing materials and ordered a presentation box for the sellers to review and keep.

Finally, Boucher says she practiced the listing presentation several times with Chinn before heading into a 12-hour-plus day with the owners to seal the deal.

The listing presentation was more than an hour long, and she also spent three hours attempting to walk the entire 100 acres of the property.

After presenting her ideas for a listing video, a single property website, and national and international marketing campaigns, the sellers chose Boucher and Chinn to list their property.

“I had the connection and he had the experience,” she said. “That’s a great way to make sure you’re bringing the best.

“I think having someone with that experience makes it that much better for everyone.”

Bringing the listing to life

After securing the listing, Boucher and Chinn went to work executing their marketing plans and hiring professional photographers and filmmakers to bring the expansive estate to life.

Boucher says she researched all of the real estate property filmmakers in the Pacific Northwest before choosing Ryan Reese of Reese Films and Andrew O’Neill of Clarity NW to take on the task of filming and photographing the private island in only two days.

“I had a vision of what I really wanted included in the film, and Ryan understood perfectly what I wanted to produce to showcase the property,” she says.

“The hardest part was cutting out certain areas of the property and shortening beautiful sweeping shots of the barns, etc.”

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Boucher says O’Neill used large drones to capture still shots of the FAA-approved private airstrip and 765 feet of private waterfronts.

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Beyond the visuals, Boucher says she uses a marketing outline to craft the print and digital strategies.

“The marketing outline I use, I tailor to each property,” she said. “I try to research the property as much as I can — current market value, property features, etc.”

Boucher says she considers “what would sell the property best” and includes a mix of photos, film, Matterport models, single-property websites and staging resources.

She also considers whether the sellers will be living in the home or not and provides clients with a detailed timeline so they’ll know when various marketing and advertising materials will be sent out.

The listing has been up for less than a week, but she says the positive feedback from buyers and fellow agents has been overwhelming, and the listing has been featured Puget Sound Business Journal, Seattle Curbed and Mansion Global. 

Newbies, run your business like a business

Boucher says the success she’s experienced thus far is due to being organized and listening to her mentors. She’s also invested plenty of time into taking classes to further her training.

The one she feels has been most helpful is a class entitled “Run your business like a business,” which is taught by fellow Windermere agent Nate Short.

Boucher says Short’s class helped her to craft specific goals and come up with a game plan on how to reach them.

Her sales goal for her second year in real estate was $10 million, and she’s set to blow past that goal with the $20 million “Friday Harbor Retreat” — along with a handful of other listings she’s currently representing.

Email Marian McPherson

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