A founding member of the Compass South Bay office, Taya DiCarlo has been working in the real estate industry since 2008. She joined Compass five years ago and leads the Taya DiCarlo Group, a team of six women who focus on Manhattan Beach and the surrounding beach communities but also service clients outside the South Bay bubble. Taya is mom to two sons: Giovanni, age 7, and Luca, age 5.
How has social media affected your business?
“It’s wild to look back and wonder how I ever grew my business without social media! In 2015 I started making and posting content on my Instagram business page. I grew my following organically to approximately 5,000 followers by the end of 2019.
By March 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, I made a concerted effort to create more highly produced video content for my followers. I now have a weekly show, Taya’s 2 Cents, where I share real estate tips and other short-form videos that are meant to educate, inspire and entertain my viewers.
In a span of 22 months, I have grown to more than 23,000 followers on Instagram. My TikTok page has grown to more than 42,000 followers. But what’s even crazier is the direct correlation between that social media growth and my sales. Between 2019 and 2021 my sales volume has grown more than 238%. I’m proud to say that I have closed more than $84 million in sales volume since January 2020.
I love connecting with people on social media—more than 75% of my business comes directly from there now! My favorite part about it is that I’m doing business with people who feel like they know me already, which makes for a more enjoyable business transaction. People want to work with an agent they can trust, and social media has given me the opportunity to build trust faster through the power of video.”
What are key factors for finding a good fit when choosing a Realtor to work with?
“I recommend that sellers and buyers interview at least three Realtors. Research them online, read their reviews and ask them to present their value proposition to you. Everyone runs their business differently, and real estate is not one-size-fits-all. Make sure you like and respect the person you hire, because real estate transactions can be complicated, and most people underestimate how emotional moving can be—especially for families. I suggest hiring someone who not only has experience and a proven track record but also the bandwidth to give you the level of service you deserve, as well as someone who can communicate effectively and provide you with an overall enjoyable experience.”
Is staging worth it? Who pays for it?
“The cost of staging should be covered by the homeowner, since they are the one reaping the greatest reward from the investment. Buyers will pay a premium for a home that is freshly painted, professionally staged, freshly landscaped and has newer fixtures. Just because we are still in a hot sellers’ market doesn’t mean you should forgo getting your home in show-ready condition.
Homeowners may be apprehensive to spend money on staging because they’re not sure if they will recoup that cost. However, the data shows time and time again that staging and prepping a home for sale yields a huge return on investment—especially in our luxury market. I have seen my clients earn a ROI of 300% of the cost of staging and minor cosmetic upgrades. On the other hand, I have had clients who do not want to spend money on staging, and those properties take longer to sell and ultimately sell for less money.
If you were selling your car and wanted top dollar, you would get it detailed and tuned up before selling it, right? Of course you would! You would also want as many people to see it as possible, to get the highest price.
Your home is debatably your most valuable asset. Why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to make it look as beautiful as possible before exposing it to the market? Factor the cost of professional staging and cosmetic upgrades into your budget prior to selling your home.”
Do you anticipate that every property will feature a virtual home tour?
“If you are listing your home in 2022 and do not have a virtual home tour, I would argue that you are being severely underserved by your Realtor. It’s unusual to see homes for sale that don’t have a virtual tour, but sadly they exist. There is a common misconception in a hot sellers’ market that you don’t need to put in any marketing effort or staging/sprucing-up to get a home sold because there will likely be several buyers interested in writing an offer no matter what the home looks like or where it’s marketed online. This is simply false and a huge mistake that many homeowners make when selling their property.
Whether or not we like it, we live in a world where goods are consumed online. The consumer is looking to experience products virtually before they even consider going to see them in person. In fact, if a virtual experience is good enough, some buyers will purchase without ever seeing the home in real life before the closing! It is now expected that buyers will be able peek inside and around the property online before scheduling an in-person tour. This marketing cost is typically covered by the Realtor, so make sure you’re interviewing agents who are savvy with online marketing.”