Total Home Transition.
Caroline Carter is the Founder and CEO of Done in a Day, Inc.
Done in a Day metro Washington, DC and greater Palm Beach, FL based professional home transition company. Caroline Carter specializes in empower homeowners with a custom, step-by-step plan for each client to guide them through the two phases of a home transition (designing the house to sell, and preparing for and orchestrating the move).
Learn more about how Done in a Day, Inc. can help you with your next home transition by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. Stick around to the end of the show; we'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
And with us right now, we've got my good friend Caroline Carter, and Caroline, you're an author. You're a speaker. You're a home transition expert. And you are the founder of Done In A Day. Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining us.
Oh, Josh, I am so honored to be here. Thank you.
So Caroline, just quick overview, what is done in a day.
So Done In A Day is a company that focuses on educating and empowering anyone who's selling a home at any price point and in any location to understand exactly what to expect when you sell one home and move to the next, and how to be prepared to make the best choices for yourself and your family, based on knowing what to expect, where to spend your time and money and your physical energy.
And so, how did you get into this? So you weren't, you weren't dreaming of this in elementary school? Where are you?
No, no, actually, I sort of backed into it. I was newly separated with three little kids and had to figure it out financially because while I got child support, I didn't get alimony. So I went from living in a $2 million house to Oh, now what? And so I dug deep and tried to figure out what is it that I really Do best naturally and how can I monetize it? And around that time, my sister's college roommate had recently and unexpectedly lost her husband and she had two little kids was living in a different city bought a house sight unseen and Washington DC where I was living at the time, and said, I simply need you to handle this, go over there and figure out what I need to do to you know, make it livable, you know, light painting, carpet, whatever I need to do, because I am broken and these little kids are broken. And then by the way, can I send a 53 foot moving truck, and you just settle the place because I can't deal with it. Mm hmm. And that's really how it started. And it was sort of on the job training almost 16 years ago now and I realized that was a huge benefit. In working with sellers she happened to have a unique situation although, you know, the death of a loved one does often prompt us to have to sell But I realized that this was the emotionality of moving and moving on and how it really cripples so many sellers. There was an opportunity there. And I proved that I was really adept at making fiscally responsible choices, creating the look for less. I figured out where to go and, and, and it all worked. So I hung out my little, my little shingle in DC and said, You know, I'm gonna, I'm gonna put this out to other sellers who may need my service and I've never looked back.
So when you say that some people are resistant to change or transition, do you find that people self sabotage? Oh, no question. There's no question and I'll give you a huge example.
The most challenging part of selling a home and moving is what leads to selling the home part is to understand it's not about you. It's about the buyers. Yet there are so many sellers out there who resist changing their mindset. Because they say it you know, it's my home and I'll make the changes that I feel are fair. Well really the buyer doesn't care. They really don't care what you think or feel the minute you decide to sell your home it becomes an asset. And you know, buyers today are visually overstimulated with the concept of perfection. You know, in one click, they can show you their perfect chef's kitchen or you know, master bath spa and they are looking for perfection. So the seller that doesn't understand how to work with buyers today, and what they expect and how to produce an asset or package an asset, if you will, that will speak to that buyer is absolutely lost from the beginning. It's the wrong attitude and there, they will just chase the listing price, you know farther down until it until they find a buyer.
So Caroline, you have a book and it's called Smart Moves. The subtitle is how to save time and money while transitioning your home and life. And so if someone is in that current state and and they're they're not being their own best, you know, home presentation experts when they get the book, what do they learn?
They learn exactly what to expect from the moment you decide to sell one house and and begin this home transition to the next house. So what I do is I take the time to demystify in very simple terms. This is not a book to hold your hand, because there are plenty of sources for that everybody's an expert today on you know, how to how to hold someone's hand and emotionally empower them. This is about understanding exactly what stages you'll go through what decisions you'll need to make During each stage, how to consider the process of packaging your home to sell and move is one continuous process. Even though it's two separate industries, we think to ourselves, I'm going to sell the house first and then I'll deal with the move if that's even a conscious thought for us, right? The process that I developed, the total home transition process combines packaging your home to sell, with moving so that you're preparing for the house to sell and packing to move at the same time, so that you put yourself in a better position as a seller so that when you get an offer with a faster clothes, you're not overwhelmed saying, well wait a minute, now I haven't even sorted. You know, my whole entire house, it's going to take me so much time to go go through the house, you're ready to go. So it's about proactively understanding and preparing for the stages, the 10 steps you need to actually go through and how to make the best financial emotional and physical decisions for yourself and your family. This is not rocket science, but you're talking about two very different industries, residential real estate and moving. And and, you know, what do you need to know?
So, Caroline, when you did your first two, you helped, you know, with your with your first home transition? He said, Hi, I have kind of a knack for this. Where does how does someone learn the skills? I mean, so did it just come natural to you? Or, obviously, there's the art to it. But then there's the science to it. And so where did you pick that up?
You know, I think that when I had to dig deep and figure out what my particular superpower was, it was creating order out of chaos for people being able to engage with an overexcited or overwhelmed seller to be able to listen to them. Understand Truly what they needed, not what I thought they needed, because in the beginning, I really didn't know I was flying by the seat of my pants and use my instincts, but really listen to them about what they needed to be able to guide them to focus on the things only they could do, for instance, and you'll you'll find a lot of this if you've moved recently, you know, sold a home and moved recently, you'll realize that there are only certain things that you can do. So I built the company based on, you know, having the sellers focus on what they can do, and allow others to support their efforts to move the family forward in the rest. There's no one that can go through your personal files. Yeah, for instance, the medical, the financial, the kids schools, I mean, it's endless, okay, there's no one that can make a decision based on what you'd like to keep, donate, dump or sell. So you, you have to understand that you're the main decision maker, and to go off and spin your wheels in other areas where other people could support your efforts and help you does not make the most sense, you have to understand that this whole entire process really is a marathon, not a race. And you have to be prepared for for each aspect of this particular race in order to be successful. Not only that, but you've got to worry about your your family and your pets. And, you know, so it's it's a huge process. And I think that people underestimate, always and that's their biggest mistake is they underestimate not only the cost of a home transition, and where those costs come from, it's only in retrospect where we go, oh my god, that was really expensive. But we underestimate the cost and we underestimate how emotionally brutal this transition can be for all concerned the entire family.
And Caroline, so you have this great, you find that you've got this great passion for doing this. And how do you turn that into a business, which is now a very successful business, I might add, and you've received a lot of accolades for your work. You've done a lot of great media. You were just on with Jean Chatzky, who's kind of a she's a hero of mine for sure in the room or, you know, in the consumer space. But how did you how did you start getting business on the regular?
You know, I started by understanding what was the fastest access to sellers and the gatekeepers are the real estate agents. So I began the dog and pony show with meeting with, you know, the top real estate agents. You know, anybody that knows me knows I go from, you know, zero to 100 in 22 seconds. So I was interested in working with the upper bracket homes and the upper bracket clients, they often had, you know, large homes, multiple homes, and seemed to this is a luxury service, by the way, or it was when I started because no one else was doing it in the DC metro area. And I priced my services, my per hour services at at $50 an hour when I started, which made it worth it for me with three little kids to leave the house. And, Josh, you know, when building a business, a lot of it's trial and error, I didn't have a huge mentor. I didn't even have a business plan. What I had was the necessity to create income immediately in order to minimize further changes for my three small children. And a lot of this was on the job training, but I realized that you know, there is a need for this because essentially, people want things done the way they would do them themselves if they had the ability or the interest. And so the other thing about it was I was always a truth teller. I wasn't scared to be the skunk at the garden party. I wasn't scared to say, you know, there's there is a better way to do this. Let me offer you an alternative. So the gateway of the agents proved to be the fastest, most direct route to empowering and educating these sellers who really benefited from this service first service because agents typically their part is done when when the house closes. Yeah, right. But yet the sellers needs last until the last boxes unpacked in the new home. So I was able to take that initial introduction. And of course, you know, the, the business grew by word of mouth. I was very lucky because DC like a lot of communities is a very tight community. And everybody knows everybody else. Yeah, you know, so I never did any advertising. But I was careful to treat each and every project. And now of course, there are over 2000 of them as if it was the only project on my dashboard. And I wasn't afraid, regardless of who it was because of course, I've worked with, you know, plenty of people that I had to sign NDA for, but their needs are still the same. And that's and that's why this process is so important, Josh, is because it doesn't matter what price point you your houses or where you live, we all have to go through this total home transition process. And there's an easy way and there's a hard way. Yeah, and, you know, I just kept focusing on honing the easiest, fastest, most effective ways we can do this. Um, to get to the other side successfully without being a you know, A bad dinner story, you know, at a cocktail party or you know, a dinner. Everybody has those stories where they're absolutely, you know, they're they're horrible their move experience or sales experience was horrible. So I wanted to really focus on that particular niche and see if I could make some headway. I really being there emotionally. For sellers. So,
yeah, so Carolyn, you talk about? So in answer to the question, I said, Well, how do you get more business and you shared? Well, I do great work. Important. Yeah, I'll know that there's, I mean, you can't do your work in a vacuum. And of course, now, obviously, your work is on stage the way that you do this. But how do you then get other realtors to real estate professionals to share you when maybe they don't want their best kept secret? You know, getting out there,
right? I focused
When I started the business 15 years ago, I looked at where I wanted to be in 510 years, even though as a single mother with three kids, you know, I wanted to wake up in the morning and throw up in the sink. I mean, the fear was almost paralyzing, because I didn't know how I was going to do this. But the one thing I had was myself my track record of success, both in terms of when I worked before I stopped to get married and have children. And I really believed in my ability to help so I believed in my own story, if you will, I believed that I could make a difference for these people, and my neurotic need to be present on each of these products helped me to really speak from a position of authority. It's not like I started a company and was never present. I did everything in order to be able to effectively train my teams, to know exactly where to focus what to do, how to support The client, you know, so I really dove deep myself to understand the business. And before I was able to step away and run multiple teams and service, multiple individuals, and I really had to be in it knee deep myself, when I had a successful project, which hopefully was always more often than not, I would ask for referrals from both the seller and the agent. And when you work within the two top companies, I typically focused on the two top realtors in the Washington DC area. It was it was fast, it was like wildfire. Wow. And I became a go to I I didn't try to service all agents everywhere because that would have been unrealistic. I picked two firms that did the most business with the type of client I felt would benefit the most. From this service and was able to pay for it.
And I would imagine then, you've had the opportunity to work on properties or work with properties that maybe some of our elected officials.
Absolutely. I mean, the who's who in every, you know, Washington is this, you know, interesting city full of, you know, politics and media and, but yet there are families, you know, like you and me, that that that say, okay, we've made the decision to move we're putting our house on the market, we've signed a contract. Now what? And they absolutely deflect, they say, okay, all I want is a cheat sheet. Now, I was known and known as a truth teller with a strategic plan. That's what I am. I've never deviated from that. I have the hard conversations with people. You know, you may walk into their home and it shows such delayed maintenance. But you have to start there. Because the agent very often doesn't want to have those hard conversations. They want to stay, you know, touchy feely and nice. I say to them, Listen, I'm on your side. But I want to help you maximize the value of your asset. In order to do that you have two choices. You have to assess the delayed maintenance issues. Let's not even talk about the value add, you know, the fast, easy and inexpensive updates. Let's talk about how you assess the delayed maintenance and what you need to do to position the asset to be seen as a viable option. Or you need to adjust your your pricing and sales expectations period. It's that easy. It's your choice, but there is a way to strategically invest okay to be able to amplify the value of your asset without losing your shirt and what I did was I focused on each asset while there are commonalities, right across all different price points and all different style homes and so forth and so on. There's some major things we look at, like paint lighting carpet, you know, I mean, I could go on a whole other podcast about how to get your house, right. But essentially, you you have to deal with sellers objections immediately, and I've always been effective at doing that. Okay, assuring them look, I'm on your side. But here's the deal. Look in the mirror. Okay, your house is not what you think it is. And here's why.
so go ahead.
Yeah, I was gonna say Caroline, what, what are some of the hottest or most unusual things that you see? And it makes you just do total facepalm I'm like, What are these folks thinking? I know you've seen some really funny stuff over the
years. Sure. No, no question. I mean, everything from full toilets to Oh, no more
Ha. And it's, you know, it's disgusting. But here's the deal. Our home is our sanctuary. Yeah. Okay. And one of the first things you need to understand is that in order to effectively market your property or for your agent to effectively market your property, you have to make the emotional jump from home to house. Mm hmm. Right, you buy a house, you create a home, but then you have to turn it back into a house to sell it. And you have to put your buyers hat on, you have to think like a buyer. So in order to really decide whether or not your house is able to compete, you have to assess it and that means looking non objectively, emotionally, not objectively at how you're presenting. And if you're not able to say wow, dirty toilets. Yeah, or peeling wallpaper, or standing water or You know, any number of issues, doors that don't work windows that don't open, I mean, again, I could go on forever. If these don't affect you, then you are clearly not in touch with today's buyers and what they're looking for and what they're willing to pay for it, you're just not and you will not succeed in this game financially or emotionally. In unless you start at the beginning and change your mindset entirely and say, okay, we may live like this, because this is our choice, but the moment we decide to put our house on the market, it's an asset and, and the return we're going to get, and the time in which it's going to take to sell this asset at this price point is going to be elongated, if we don't get with the program, you know, day one. So, Oh, sure, I've seen it all. And, you know, I just wish that those sellers could read the book for 1699. Right? And a cup of coffee read, you know, they could have they could have. They could have changed their mindset they could have. There's so much that they could could have done that they didn't do. I mean, you can just look online and see the way people present properties. I mean, hair in the sink and toothpaste. Look people don't mind toothpaste in the sink as long as it's their own. They mind you. All right, dirty dishes in the sink. odors, have it odors, you walk into a house and oh, yeah, it's like, you know, pet urine or feces or last night's fish or, you know, again, there are so many so many different issues. I think you just need to be mindful if you want to make money and smooth the transition to a new home. You got to change your mindset period.
Yeah. Well, Caroline so the book is The book is titled Smart Moves. It's on Amazon. It's on your website, CarolineCarter.com, anything else selling maybe favorite articles or any other things that people could go and enjoy to kind of get to feel, you know, learn more about what you teach before they continue on?
Sure. I mean, I've written a series of articles for articles for real t times, which I think are real t times .com, which I think are you know, they're they're very basic. They're, they're spoken with truth because you know, Josh, everybody's an expert today. I just focus on my little tiny niche and, and really try to educate people in in almost almost like soundbites. This is this is a long process and the the part that I think is a little unnerving about the processes that, you know, sellers don't know what they don't know. And the worst part about it is they don't know what they don't know if you follow me meaning there's so much about the the residential sales process and packaging your home and the moving industry we didn't even talk about that good lord they still ask you to fax in your you know your application are your you know so so how to protect yourself where to spend your time and money i think that you know I also on my website CarolineCarter.com, try to keep up with sharing information that I believe will really truly benefit sellers and I'm not going to take the time to write it unless I believe you really need to hear it. So I'm really happy it's been so thrilling to to share with your your listeners today. I'd love to be of service to any and all of them if they have questions about how to package their, their house to sell or any aspect of the The transition process moving i'd love them to email me at Caroline@CarolineCarter.com or, you know, reach out to me across social media I'd be happy to, to, you know, strategize with
Caroline, you're a good person to know you're an author, speaker. The book is of course, Smart Moves. The or a home transition. And you are the founder of done in a day. You're on the web at Caroline carter.com. Caroline, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you, Josh. It's really been an honor to be here.
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