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CENTURY 21 Consumer Content

Build Your Brand By Being A Better Person

In the following interview, Mark Fields, president of CENTURY 21 Mark Fields and Associates in Asheville, N.C., discusses branding, culture, luxury marketing, and more.

Region Served: Asheville, N.C., and surrounding areas
Years in Real Estate: 40+
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 10

Favorite Way to Communicate With Clients: Face-to-face. A lot of communication is nonverbal, so when you text, email or speak on the phone, a great deal of nuance can be lost. It’s the expression on someone’s face that can identify best how a person is feeling, and it could also lead to solutions to challenges and overcoming objections.

What is your top tip for real estate newbies?
Affiliate with a company that represents your values and provides the culture of learning and support you will need to get started—one that ensures its people provide the highest possible level of service to your buyers and sellers. Second, learn the real estate contract. Know all the legal ‘ins and outs,’ but remember that more than 50 percent of being a great real estate professional isn’t what you learn in real estate school. Third, learn how to be a good communicator, which starts with being a good listener.

How do you build yourself as a luxury brand?
Marketing. I have a background in marketing, not through formal education, but through experience. I’ve watched the best people market themselves, and so I learn from the best. Early on, I asked myself who was doing great luxury marketing. I take inspiration from the “greats.” I built my company reputation by becoming the best I could be.

Please describe your company culture.
We are a family. When I hire, I make sure the person’s heart is in the right place. They’re not going to be competing with our family or undercutting the people we work with, and for. We are here for each other. We support each other. No matter how big we become, we care about each other.

What sets your team apart from other brokerages?
When I bring people in, I make sure they’re committing to my company for the right reason—not just to make money, although that’s an important motivator, but to provide the very best service they can. I can’t have mediocrity. I need people who strive to be the best they can be—to provide the best service they can, no matter what. As high-end real estate professionals, we make a lot of money. If you’re going to play the game, you have to truly earn it. You have to offer equal value for what you’re earning. My goal is to never get to a closing table without feeling 100 percent sure that I earned that money.

How are you staying abreast of industry and market shifts?
We’re in it. We’re living it, so we feel it. Every time there’s even a small ripple here, we feel it.



This article was originally posted on RisMedia.com.

CENTURY 21 360 Photography Tutorial

With the majority of potential homebuyers using the internet as part of their search, photography is crucial. Flattering angles, good lighting, color editing―it all matters. But sometimes, a regular photo just doesn’t cut it. That’s where 360-degree photos come in. If you want to bring a new listing to life, develop a stunning panorama to show it off. Follow these tips to highlight every angle of your new listing.


Step 1: Download a 360 Photo App

First, you’ll need a program on your phone that’s capable of taking 360-degree photos. There are a number of reliable options available for Android and iPhone. If you use an Android phone, take advantage of the “photo sphere” mode in the stock camera to take immersive 360-degree panoramas. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use app, download Street View to capture the best features inside or outside a home.


Step 2: Capture the Perfect Photo

Once you’ve successfully downloaded your software of choice, it’s time to take the actual photo. First, decide on a location. Choose a room with a good amount of natural light and stand in the center so objects aren’t too close. Now that you know where to take the photo, it’s time to learn how. If you’re using Street View, tap “Camera.” The photo-taking process is pretty straightforward, and the app will guide you through it―just stand in one place and keep the camera centered on all of the orange circles. When you reach each position, an image will automatically be taken, so there’s no need to press the shutter button.


Step 3: Review the Final Product

Once you’ve recorded all of your images, you’ve come full circle. Tap the check mark, and the app will turn all of those little photos into one 360-degree panorama. Take a look at the result. If you aren’t satisfied, retake the photo as many times as you need to capture the image you’re looking for. Even if you are satisfied, it never hurts to take a few more so you have options.


Step 4: Share on Social Media

Once you’ve captured the perfect picture, you’ll most certainly want to share it. Tap “Share” and upload your picture to Facebook. Facebook automatically recognizes the 360-degree photo and uploads it. Once the upload is complete, fill in any pertinent details in your post copy. After that, your work is done. Sit back, relax, and let your potential buyers take a virtual trip around their future home.


Use this strategy with your future listings and take note of its outcomes. If they’re positive, you can even consider a 360-degree video. It’s only up from here.


Watch the CENTURY 21 360 Photography Tutorial below to see these tips in action.

CENTURY 21 Photography Tips Tutorial

As an agent, it’s vital that you make a big splash with your listing. In most cases, great photography is your only chance of enticing prospective buyers into coming by to take a look. First impressions are everything. Follow these tips to showcase your listing in the best possible light.


Step One: Use a Tripod

Whether you’re using a smartphone to take your pictures or a nice digital camera, a tripod  makes the picture taking a lot easier. An uneven or blurry photo will immediately turn off potential customers, so it’s essential to get this step right. Low light is also one of the main reasons tripods are important. Why? To cut down on blurry pictures. Tripods make taking a steady and stable shot possible. If you’re taking a panoramic photo, a tripod allows you to pan seamlessly through a room. This is a great tip for capturing wide rooms, entranceways, and exterior shots. And yes, you can use a tripod with a smartphone if that’s your camera of choice.


Step Two: Take Advantage of Natural Light

Any photographer will tell you that nothing’s better than natural light. Flashes can saturate an image, and they don’t always illuminate what you want to showcase. Try to take your pictures on a sunny day, and take advantage of the early mornings and afternoons. This varies depending on which direction the house is facing and where the room you’re shooting is. But be mindful of bright light and use it to your advantage. Don’t forget to open those curtains to allow natural light into the frame.


Step Three: Adjust Camera Settings

If you’re using a digital camera, there are many settings to choose from. The different options at your disposal can seem endless, but it’s important to try and follow a few fundamentals as you get started until you become comfortable.

In the beginning, follow these simple steps:

  • Set your camera to manual. Default settings can only get you so far.
  • Select the lowest ISO setting. ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The lower the number, the less sensitive the sensor is to light. A lower ISO will capture more detail, which is ideal when you’re trying to bring a listing to life.
  • Adjust shutter speed for good exposure. A slower shutter speed allows more light into the camera sensor. Use this setting for low-light photos. A faster shutter speed helps freeze motion. Use this setting if you’re trying to capture movement.  
  • Adjust aperture to allow a low amount of light to reach the image sensor. Aperture controls the amount of light entering the camera.

If you’re using a smartphone, test out its various modes in different conditions like direct sun and low light. Android phones and iPhones are both well-equipped with features, from fast processors to high resolution displays. When using a smartphone, select a high resolution. The higher the resolution is, the better quality image you’ll get. This is perfect for showcasing key features inside a home.


Step Four: Adjust shot to highlight features

Every home has unique features, so show them off! Keep in mind that this is an advertisement for the home you’re trying to sell. Try to exclude obstructions and unsightly dumpsters, trash cans,  or electrical wires.

When photographing inside, remember that interior rooms almost always look better if they’re being shot from the doorway looking into the room. If you want to make a room look big, use a wide-angle lens. Exterior shots benefit from shooting at low angles. This technique allows viewers to see the depth and scale of the listing.


Step Five: Edit your photos

Always take more photos than you think you’ll need. The more images you have to work with, the easier the editing process will be. Smartphones and most digital cameras have editing functions built right into them.

There are two basic principles to editing photos—adjusting color and light. No matter which tool you’re using to take your pictures, follow these steps for best results:


  • Temperature: affects the yellow and blues of a photo. If you want a warmer photo, add yellows. If you are creating a cooler photo, add blues. Ideally you’ll end up with a balanced photo.
  • Tint: adjusts greens and magentas. Making these adjustments will alter the tone of the photo as well.


  • Exposure: evenly distributes brightness throughout the photo.
  • Brightness: adjusts midtones in the photo.
  • Highlights and shadows: if the photo is overexposed or underexposed, use this feature to even out the detail in the photo. For example if an area is very bright, you can lower the lights to bring out detail in the highlights of a photo. Shadows will only alter dark parts of the photo.
  • Contrast: makes shadows darker and highlights brighter. Contrast adjusts the separation between the darkest and brightest areas of the image.

Feel free to go a step further and use editing software for more dynamic edits. In the end, remember to be selective and only post what best represents your listing. Let your pictures do the talking. After all, we live in a scrolling world, so make sure your listing doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.


Watch the CENTURY 21 Photography Tips tutorial below to see these tips in action.

agent photo
Yama Schams
Associate Broker / Realtor

Century 21 Golden Sun, Inc
Phone: 916-803-3795
Fax: 916-373-0304
Email: yama.schams@century21.com 
CA BRE#01435014

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