Win over luxury consumers with digital storybooks

When it comes to selling a luxury property, we aren’t just selling a home. We are selling a dream. In order to sell that dream, we need to create a compelling story with our luxury property as the main character and present that story in an engaging digital storybook.

Creating the home’s “story”

Finding that right buyer can be a challenge for a luxury listing. You not only have to cast your net globally, but also create a story that will capture the imagination, stir emotions and give the consumer that special feeling to motivate them to take action and make a purchase. Affluent consumers spend more on products that have a compelling story and are relatable. Luxury homes are no exception. Your special buyer wants to dream of themselves living in that particular location, in that luxurious home and having that lifestyle that comes with it. Creating the narrative for this is key to capturing them.

The digital storybook

New technologies have come along to engage in meaningful interactions. Using digital tools is redefining what makes a story compelling. These aren’t your traditional e-brochures that are modular in which you have to scroll through images, find the text, then a video, then a Matterport, etc. Those can be very difficult for people to piece together and, frankly, can be quite boring. Good digital storybooks are sophisticated presentations with interactive media that create a tale to connect all the information that is meaningful and relevant — this is exactly what luxury buyers are looking for and what luxury sellers expect.

Keeping them engaged

Affluent consumers have higher expectations for their experiences on their smartphones, and for millennials and Gen Z, mobile devices are the first screen they go to. Younger consumers scroll through their feeds more quickly, making it difficult to capture and retain their attention. Agents often lack the technological finesse to create the right experience to engage them. Hiring a professional company will help bridge that gap.


I found one company that stood out. Toronto-based Studeo has captivating designs that are artfully presented and wreak of luxury — it’s like having your own ad agency working for you! It’s great to see a company that cares as much about design as they do the technology. There are a multitude of sophisticated layouts to choose from that can be custom-branded. A wide array of media can be embedded, including Matterport, cinemagraphs, YouTube and Vimeo videos, etc. It’s easy to use: Just drag and drop, and you’re done. They take care of the technical details.

Content is always key. Studeo assists you in developing a strategy and creating emotional content that will resonate with your targeted buyer. With the right combination of media and content, your property will tell its story and provide an incredibly immersive experience for homebuyers.

Their software works across every device and is seamless when shared on every channel of communication that you use. You can showcase your storybook to the world and engage sophisticated audiences. The storybooks are interactive, and consumers can go at their own pace.

Studeo can also provide and host custom property domains with analytics to measure clicks, the amount of time users spend on a specific page and general time of overall engagement.

Grow your business

Not surprisingly, digital storybooks increase engagement. The power of these storybooks is that emotional response you can get from your audience, which will boost your business and completely change the game for you. Having this tech tool in your arsenal will not only help you find that buyer for your luxury property, but also win you more luxury listings when sellers see how effective they are.

Anne Ewasko is a veteran Realtor in the Chicago area and a longtime techie. Visit her at

Hiring a virtual assistant doesn’t have to break the bank

The market has been fast and furious, and in order to stay productive, the need for efficient time management is at an all-time high. Attempting to do it all just doesn’t work, and you can easily burn out if you don’t find ways to delegate some of the workload. Hand off the mundane tasks so that you have more time to focus on your clients, build your business and have some personal time.

Time to go virtual

Consider hiring virtual assistance — and do not fear! Our world has become so accustomed to working remotely, and technology has kept up with it. This isn’t just for mega-agents or teams. If you are new or only completing a couple of transactions per month, there are affordable plans that will suit your needs. The virtual real estate assistants come already trained and ready to work for you. Going virtual could be perfect for the agents who are too busy to keep up but not busy enough to afford traditional assistants.

Cons for the traditional way

Traditional assistants can be hard to find — especially in this employee drought. They are expensive and may require another desk at an office that we really don’t spend much time at. Training can take valuable time away from you cultivating your business just to get them up to speed. Worse yet is when you have invested that time to get them to a certain level only to find out that the relationship isn’t going to work out. With a virtual assistant, you can switch out easily if things aren’t gelling well without wasting valuable time.

What do virtual assistants do?

Everything a traditional assistant does, just not face to face. Whether it is simple database upkeep, scheduling, prospecting, marketing or full-on transaction management, these companies offer virtual assistants who can do it all — some include social media management and even video editing! Most are already trained in e-signature software such as Dotloop, DocuSign and several CRM platforms, but they will work for you and integrate into whatever you are currently using. Think of it as Uber for your real estate needs, from full-on to a la carte.

Know what your needs are

If you are looking to go big for a “right hand” that can also double as your backbone as a part- or full-time executive assistant, then you can look at MyOutDesk, Virtudesk, Virtual VA Solutions, Zirtual, Ossisto or ShoreAgents, to name a few. Some offer by-the-hour or monthly plans, whether it’s part-time or full-time, and the rates range from $8.60 an hour and up to $1,800-plus per month for full-time. Some, but not all, source their talent from the Philippines, but they work in your time zone and have trustworthy skills and extensive training in our U.S. software systems.

Go basic to get started

If you are on your own or have a small team and just need some transaction management assistance, then Transactly may be the way to go. Why? Because you only pay when the deal closes — they don’t earn it until you do! And their fee is only $125 to $350 per transaction. If you do not currently have transaction management software in place, they can provide theirs to you free of charge. It can be customized to suit your workflow and comes with beautiful email templates that can be integrated with your brand as you keep your clients up to date throughout the process. But if you already have a system in place, they will adapt to your customized workflow.

Transactly claims that they can automate roughly 91% of the transaction tasks, and you can designate what you want them to do and what you will do to get the transaction to a smooth close. They are U.S.-based and bilingual and operate in all 50 states, plus Australia and Canada. It’s important to note that they are not virtual assistants at your beck and call. They are purely transaction coordinators and work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week but promise a 24-hour turnaround time on all communications. You are assigned a primary coordinator, so you will be dealing with the same person for each transaction, but they will also be managing other clients. They also offer listing management services as a separate item.

Balancing work-life while growing your business

Be open-minded and take advantage of the opportunities these virtual assistant companies have to offer. Research what is right for you, and take some of the weight off your shoulders with these cost-effective virtual assistance opportunities. This will not only enhance your business and bring you a better bottom line, but, more importantly, provide you with more personal time to balance your life and avoid burnout.

Anne Ewasko is a veteran Realtor in the Chicago area and a longtime techie. Visit her at