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22 June 2021



In a previous post on How to Succeed in Real Estate, we mentioned that one way to rise to the top was to copy something successful.

Well, it’s hard to find a more successful real estate agent than Michael LaFido of the Chicago area. 

One of the things that have set him apart is that Michael was an early student of the virtual property marketing game. 

From virtual staging to item removal, Michael understands visual property marketing better than most. He has used our services many times on many different occasions, and whenever Michael meets BoxBrownie.com, great things happen.  

Michael LaFido might be an exclusive luxury real estate agent, but the marketing advantage he gains from us is far from exclusive. It’s available to everyone at a very low cost. 

As his LinkedIn page attests: “Michael learned the importance of high-caliber marketing versus ‘traditional marketing’ which has become pivotal to his success.”

The stories you encounter below might involve multi-million-dollar properties and luxury real estate marketing. But the visual property marketing techniques employed are available to any agent on a shoestring budget. They can, and should, be used by everyone.


Maybe it’s an Illinois thing. First, Nike invents the “Be Like Mike” slogan to refer to Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan. Twenty years later, the same slogan could just as easily be applied to another ‘Michael’ who has become a Chicago area superstar. 

We’ll try to keep the basketball analogies to a minimum here, but it might be difficult, given that we’re talking about an MVP (most valuable partner) named Michael from the Chicago area.

For those who are unfamiliar with basketball in the heyday of the Chicago Bulls there was one presiding strategy: if the game is close give Michael the ball. The results are written all over the NBA record books. It was one of the most successful strategies in the history of the sport.  

The same strategy now holds true of luxury listing specialist Michael LaFido. If you need a luxury property sold, give Michael the listing. The poetic beauty here is that even Michael Jordan believes in Michael LaFido. When Michael Jordan wanted to sell his $14.8m home, who did he give the listing to? You got it. 

Michael LaFido is one of the top realtors in the USA.

His luxury home marketing expertise has been the featured cover story in Crain’s Chicago Business and highlighted in Forbes and FOX News Chicago Business Hour. He is also the author of three books: “Luxury Listing Specialist”, “Outside The Box”, and “Marketing Luxury”.

In 2020, Michael set a real estate record in Naperville, Illinois when he closed the deal on a $4.75m sale. 

The beauty of this story, for us, is that our technology played a role in this sale. 

And it’s so easy to replicate. If you agree with us that one certain way to succeed is to copy something successful, keep reading. We’ll show you some ways that Michael LaFido has used our services to make big things happen in real estate. Anyone can copy them.


Those photographers must know something. 

Brad Filliponi our co-founder was a real estate photographer who started this company based on the philosophy that presentation is the key to selling property.  

The real estate photographers might have been the first to recognize the value of what we were doing because it was Michael Lafido’s photographer who first recommended us to him. 

LaFido began to study our capabilities. As an astute realtor, he immediately recognized the value and potential power of our virtual staging services. And this is where he first tried us out.


“First time I used virtual staging I was co-marketing a $17m property that was under 20 years old but based on the interior design and layout it looked like it was from the 1920s,” Michael told us.  

“We wanted potential buyers to see what the home would look like if it was updated because the owner did not want to make any changes or invest in bringing it up to the standards of what today's buyers are looking for.”

Staging a property of this value with real-world decor is unrealistic, especially if the seller is unwilling to invest in any large scale marketing strategies.

In this situation, virtual staging provided a beautiful solution. Not only was it thousands of dollars cheaper, but LaFido could virtually stage the same rooms in various styles at the same time.

LaFido recognized this immediately. He virtually staged the property using our photo editing expertise, and this helped him complete the sale.  

The success LaFido achieved through our virtual staging, led him to look into some of the other rabbits in our hat.


We mentioned above that LaFido set a record for a home sale price in Naperville, Illinois. As it turns out, our Day-to-Dusk Image Enhancement package was instrumental in this sale.

Here’s his version of how this sale took place:

“For a home we sold, a record sale in Naperville for $4.75M, BoxBrownie.com enhanced our photos by putting images on the TVs, cleaned windows, added fires in fireplaces and made the home pop!”

All the features LaFido mentions above - putting images on the TVs, fire in the fireplaces, ‘cleaning’ windows - are aspects of our Day-to-Dusk image enhancement package. Believe it or not, this package is available to any agent for US$4. 

Credit LaFido for knowing where the deals are and when to use them. In this case, he was savvy enough to use one of our least expensive virtual property marketing features to sell the most expensive home in the history of Naperville, Illinois.


How can you do this?

It’s so easy, so cheap and so fast.  All you do is send us a photo. Even if it is a horrible photo, we will take this image through 18 steps of total transformation that turns ‘meh’ into marvellous - all within 24 hours.  

Here’s what the package consists of.

  • Dusk Sky Replacement
  • Turn on Lighting
  • White Balancing
  • Image Sharpening
  • Vertical & Horizontal Straightening
  • Remove Minor Blemishes
  • Lens Distortion Removal
  • Brightness & Contrast Adjustment
  • Lawn Enhancement – Repair or Replace
  • Ocean/River Water Enhancement
  • Remove Pool Cleaners from Water
  • Tone Adjustment
  • TV Screen Replacement
  • Dust Spot Removal
  • Flash Reflection Removal
  • Add Fire to Fireplaces
  • HDR Bracketing with Indoor Window Replacement
  • Remove Photographer’s Reflection


Virtual Staging and our Day-to-Dusk packages are not the only services that Michael LaFido has used to pad his stats as the go-to guy in the Chicago area. 

Sometimes it’s not what you add to an image, but what you take away that enhances the appeal of a property. 

LaFido has also used our Item Removal service to help luxury home buyers visualize the potential of how a space can be. 

An old junky car in the driveway, hoses strewn across a lawn, garbage cans outside a doorway - all can diminish the wow factor of a property. This applies as much to the interior rooms of a home, as it does to the outside: shoes in a hallway, cluttered kitchen counters, electrical cords on the floor of a rec room. 

There are many ways that an everyday item can become an obstacle to a buyer’s vision. As LaFido points out, a smart realtor will know what this obstacle is, and virtually remove it, allowing the buyer’s imagination to flow free again.

“Only 10% of buyers can visualize a space differently than it appears to them, so either changing a bedroom into an office or just neutralizing and decluttering virtually really helps buyers see the potential in the home and how they can personally use the rooms, which helps drive up interest.”

Most realtors are not at the level of Michale LaFido. But nobody starts out on top. Even Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team. The encouraging news here is that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way property is marketed, bought and sold. 

The “tectonic shift” that Zillow CEO Rich Barton has spoken of in real estate marketing, points to the fact that massive opportunities exist for realtors who learn to use virtual property marketing to their advantage.

Michael LaFido is in complete agreement with this. 

“Because of the pandemic, people are buying homes sight unseen now more than ever and basing those decisions on virtual marketing.

“Agents realize that things need to continue to evolve and up their games when it comes to the way they position the homes with photos, and online marketing, etc, otherwise, they won't be in the industry for much longer.“

It never hurts to pattern yourself after a champion. 

Start an account with BoxBrownie.com today, we will do our best to help you be like Mike.

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