Five Questions With: Joe Luca

Joe Luca, a Rhode Island Realtor since 2006, and former president of both the Northern Rhode Island Board of Realtors and the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, has been the host of the Joe Luca Real Estate Show on WNRI 99.9 FM for more than seven years. In that role, he shares his real estate insights and provides market updates to listeners.

Luca also hosted the RI Living radio show in 2018. For the past few years, the North Providence-based Realtor has been working his day job as part of a duo, together with Dawn Marano as the The Luca and Marano Team at RE/MAX Preferred. Luca met Marano after connecting through the Facebook Live broadcast of his radio show.

PBN: For the past year, you’ve been working as part of a “tag team” together with Dawn Marano. How does that compare to working solo as a real estate agent? Are there downsides?

LUCA: Sometimes it’s a challenge being everywhere and always being available to each client. As a team of two, we can better serve you. It’s easier to manage all aspects of the transaction and provide you with high-level service and attention.

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Dawn handles much of the branding, marketing and advertising and building relationships with our clients and ensuring we are on track meeting targets. Dawn’s background in corporate finance has been beneficial to the team, as she is a statistics and data guru with a marketing degree.

I assume more of the negotiations, dealing with inspections and ensuring the transaction gets to the closing table. The team works extremely well together, and it’s been a win-win for our clients.

PBN: You’ve taken some pretty creative approaches to marketing? Can you tell us an example of your outside-of-the-box style?

LUCA: We became the first distributors in the country of SpinTopSigns and started to use them on our property listings. They spin manually and are solar powered, so they market a home 24/7. No other real estate sign can say that. They hold six 8-by-10-inch photos on the top of the sign, which we call the sphere. We add interior photos of the property into the photo slots, plus a property description with a QR code and another photo contains our mortgage lender with their QR code to their mortgage application. Our sellers love them, and it has become the icing on the cake of a listing presentation.

Also, during COVID, we designed a direct mail postcard program to help the restaurant community. Along with a sponsor, we pay for all the marketing, postcard, printing and mailing to approximately 1,200 to 1,400 households in the area, and the restaurant offers a free item to incentivize consumers. It’s a win-win for us and the business.

PBN: What’s the difference between a licensed real estate agent and a Realtor in Rhode Island?

LUCA: While a Realtor is a licensed real estate agent, a real estate agent isn’t necessarily a Realtor. A Realtor is part of a trademark brand name, and it means we are a member of the National Association of Realtors. The NAR provides us with education and resources to provide the best value to our clients. Through the NAR, we are required to complete a code of ethics training every two years, and we also have to abide by 17 additional articles. We are, therefore, held to a higher moral standard than just an agent. The training teaches us how to treat our clients, customers, the public and other agents, and elevates our fiduciary responsibilities. We are more than just a real estate agent.

PBN: How important is curb appeal when selling a home, and what should a homeowner do to best prepare to sell their property and why?

LUCA: It is tantamount to effectively marketing a house. The adage, “The first impression is the only impression,” applies to the marketing of a house too. Most home searches are completed on mobile digital devices, so many times the consumer is looking at the house in a 1- to 2-inch image. Crisp, clean images are important.

We help our sellers prepare for listing their homes by providing advice on what repairs/upgrades to make and not to make. We help them declutter their homes and then stage their homes.

Lastly, we hire a professional photographer to take the pictures. While mobile phones may have high-quality cameras, we are Realtors; we know how to sell homes, not take pictures. This assures that your home will make the best first impression possible, without you spending unnecessary money to update your home.

PBN: What have you learned from your time as a radio host with a focus on real estate? What kind of knowledge is there to be gained from your guests and callers?

LUCA: My show is for the consumer. So, I gear my content to the consumer. It is not a show for investors, and I don’t use technical words. What I have learned is that there is a lot of bad information and misinformation out there. This is unfortunate because a consumer may make a decision about the largest financial transaction of their life based on bad information.

My goal is to educate consumers so they do not make costly mistakes. All of my guests, whether they are in the real estate business or a charitable organization or a local business, provide information to the consumer that is timely, informative and hopefully will increase their awareness not just about real estate but about their local community too.

Marc Larocque is a PBN staff writer. Contact him at Larocque@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter @LaRockPBN.