Haus Schwatz: Cati's DC Real Estate


The Shark on The Kitchen Counter

Here we are: It’s late in the day, and I’m trying to pick out properties for a buyer I’m going to meet in the morning. It doesn’t help when all the places look alike in that price range, does it?

Next on the list is just one more renovated condo, number 17 of 23, or something like that. It’s in a nice place in a charming landmark DC building on 16th St, but the interior looks rather non-descript. I must have seen this a thousand times: blonde cabinets, black granite counters, stainless steel appliances, stackable Euro-style washing machine, exposed duct work—you know what I’m talking about.

As I said, it’s late in the day, and I’m going through the motions, clicking through the virtual tour. Kick this one off the list, or keep it? But then -- HA, HA! There’s another picture of the kitchen, but this time, a bright blue stuffed animal is sitting on the counter, showing its even brighter white teeth.

“Angela the Shark” reads the caption. Huh??! Are they taking me for a ride here?

They sure are. And they have my attention. This one is going to stay on my short list! I’m going to show it tomorrow!


(P.S.: I surely hope there wasn’t any deeper meaning attached. Anything I’m not getting? Loan shark? Gourmet kitchen for your fresh fish? And who is Angela?! The agent’s ex? Did she try and eat him alive? Did she take all his money? Does she love gourmet seafood, such as shark steak? I might have to ask the listing agent for disclosures asap...)

P.P.S. on Jan 19, 2011: I finally heard from the creator of Angela and her shark buddies!  Read about it here.

© 2012, Catarina Bannier


Comment balloon 25 commentsCatarina Bannier • November 02 2010 11:41PM


Catarina, I think Angela served her purpose.  This condo's gonna stick in your mind.  Just one of the ways to differentiate herself.  Brilliant actually!

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528, Real Estate Salesperson (Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956) over 8 years ago

Hi Catarina, great post, great photo and an excellent idea, thanks for sharing it!

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) over 8 years ago

Leah, you're so right--it's brillant!  And I'm still thinking about it.  (Maybe I should come up with some strange trademark item to plant all over my tours and flyers?)  I don't know the agent, but if I have some time later today i'll check out if that's what it is, or if it was just a sponteneous, fun idea.

Dan, thanks for stopping by!

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 8 years ago

That is so cute...and memorable!

Posted by Gloria Ledesma (ZipRealty, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Gloria--isn't it?  (However, I didn't get to see the place--the listing seemed to have disappeared!  I'll have to find out what's up with that...)

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 8 years ago

What a great way to get some extra attention and stick out from the crowd.  Worked for you, eh?  

Posted by Marcie Sandalow, Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate (Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894 ) over 8 years ago
Marcie, I'm already considering ways to "incorporate" that idea. No shark of course... how about a RAT? Gotta have the guts, though, and a client who appreciates the approach.
Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 8 years ago

Cati, this is totally hilarious!  It does make it stand out in a rather crowded market.  We have a colleague with a sense of humor!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Hi Pat -- yes, he really sounds like a fun guy.  Now that I'm really curious about the idea, I went through the trouble of checking out his other virtual tours -- and there's the shark in each of them!  On the couch, on the counter, and once even in the bathroom!  Oh, and I just sent the agent an email, inviting him to AR.  Might be a valuable addition!

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 8 years ago

This is funny - and as you said, made it stand out from the crowd. 

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I wonder if my accountant will let me deduct stuffed animals as a necessary business expense.

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA over 8 years ago

Clever....scary....but clever.

Posted by Kirsten Lindquist, Realtor - Sonoma Wine Country (Pacific Union International) over 8 years ago

The one that got my attention wasn't in a picture in MLS.   I walked into a bedroom in a house where there was no sign of life, until this "dog" began barking and wagging its tail.   Big dog, big bark.   It took me a second to realize I didn't need to run from it.    Maybe that's because there had been a real one a while before that - with no warning in MLS, no sign on door, etc., this monster came out from under a bed and was not welcoming, to say the least.  I flew to the front door, slammed it behind me, and then realized that my purse was in that living room.   This was before cell phones (which would have been in the purse anyway, and it was out in the country, not near neighbors.   I remember sitting on the front porch waiting for the folks to come home.

Posted by Mary Sheridan, Creative Marketing, Buyer Agency 423-943-7655 (Keller Willliams - 1033 Hamilton Place,Johnson City TN 37604) over 8 years ago

Love it, i am going to implement something like this immediately.  Of course, your client is going to have to be on board with this one, I would hate to have to answer to an angry client about it after the fact.

Posted by Sarah Moore, We Open More Doors! (Southern Homes of the Carolinas) over 8 years ago

Sure hope the agent's name was not Angela. That shark is making quite a statement. Would love to hear the listing agent's comment.

Thanks to Pat Kennedy for pointing me to your blog.


Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 8 years ago
What a novel idea! That's one way to have your condo listing stand out from the bazillions of others. Thanks for sharing. :)
Posted by Coleen DeGroff, Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

Catarina, now I'm itching to find out what's happening next. Did the guy join AR? 

It's a great idea with the shark - especially for "I've seen them so many times" - because CLIENTS will also remember them. We as agents can remember - at least some info about the property we just showed, but often clients don't. I ask them: what did you like the most today: they say, that yellow house, yes, with the manicured yard (but yellow house had all paved driveway around it, and the one with manicured yard was dark brown. And we've only seen 5 houses!) Clients sure will remember "that one with the shark". 

Now we all have to think of an animal - or insect? - or? 

Posted by Anna Tolstoy (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Margaret--it sure did; let's hope not everybody in the DC condo market will try and copy it, though!

Cynthia--LOL, I'm sure you could make a good case as long as you can document the expense with the virtual tours...

Kirsten--scary because you wonder why the guy picked out a shark, huh?

Mary--was it an actual fake dog that was barking, of just the sound? I've heard of motion detector-activated barking devices to deter intruders (actually would love to have one of those!).  Not sure it would be a great marketing idea, though. :-)

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 8 years ago

Sarah, I've been thinking the same:  did he get permission from the sellers first?  (There was one place he had that looked more like it might be a more mature seller, and "Angela" was more discreetly sitting on the sofa.)

Margaret--what an honor to have you visit!  Pat speaks very highly of you.  :-)  I have not heard from the listing agent; either my email got stuck in his spam filter, or he thought I was nuts.  (Then again, he seems to have a sense of humor, so why would he...)  Oh, and unless he leads a double life, his name is not Angela but Nathan.

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 8 years ago

Coleen--yes, and I'd love to know what else he's come up with! 

Anna--I know!  I'm getting so curious as well.  Really too bad he hasn't replied (see my previous comment).  Maybe I'll give him a call, even if only so i can report here. :-)

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 8 years ago

Survival of the fittest! In the world of competition, you have to do something to make your listings stand out!   This could become a theme and have her hidden in the listing pix of all the agents listings!  I like that idea, adds a little fun to work!

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) over 8 years ago

Robert--if we all want to use her, we'd probably have to kidnap (sharknap?) her first.  Or--as suggested here before--just go with some other colorful creatures.  I could see a bright gold giant cockroach or a plush green baby crocodile as alternatives; of course, only insiders would know what this was all about.

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 8 years ago

Or perhaps a LOGO Bear/animal to help brand the listing... We may have something here!

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) over 8 years ago

Robert, nice idea, too, but maybe doesn't have the same element of surprise.

Sadly, the agent never got back to me--but maybe i just got stuck in his spam filter?

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 8 years ago

Easy to remember--the one with the shark in the kitchen-is a pretty memorable line.  I always appreciate a sense of humor, especially in a crowded real estate market.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) over 8 years ago