Palm Beach Waterfront Luxury Real Estate and Homes for Sale – Sotheby's International Realty

Let Edmund DeSoto Find You a Home That Suits Your Lifestyle




The Pareto principle, attributed to Italian economist and philosopher Vilfredo Pareto, observed in 1906 an intriguing correlation which prompted him to say once. Eighty percent of results will come from just twenty percent of the action.”

Here is the perfect example: In 2002, Microsoft announced they had made initial progress on the Trustworthy Computing initiative which focused on improving the reliability, security, and privacy of their software.

As the initiative continued to develop over the year, Microsoft quickly realized that among all the bugs reported in their software a relatively small quantity of them resulting in some type of error.

Through further analysis, Microsoft learned that approximately 80% of the errors and crashes in their software were caused by 20% of all bugs detected.

So, Vilfredo Pareto began his famous work on the “80/20 rule” with the observation that 20% of the pea plants in his garden generated 80% of the healthy pea pods.

This observation caused him to explore more examples of uneven distribution. He discovered that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population. He investigated different industries and found that 80% of production typically came from just 20% of the companies.

His findings led to the concept that 80% of results will come from 20% of the action.

While it does not always come to be an exact 80/20 ratio, this imbalance is often seen in various business cases:

  • 20% of sales reps generate 80% of total sales
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of total profits
  • 20% of the most reported software bugs cause 80% of software crashes
  • 20% of patients account for 80% of healthcare spending


In order to understand the 80/20 rule concept has save me time not only in selling real estate but in my personal life in general. I have been applying the 80/20 rule since my time in The French Government Tourist Office in New York.

Applying the 80/20 rule, has help me from promoting an idea that may not be all together appealing. It has aide me in more ways than one and has saved many transactions both in personal and in my business life.

Applying the Rule

In the case of real estate, I have been able to successfully highlight the 20% of the property’s features that make it special and appealing. The remaining 80% of my listed property will still affects my buyer’s decision, so I do not neglect it, but in photographs and showings, I feature the elements that make my listed properties so very special.

I personally keep in mind, that my selling point won’t be the common features my property shares with the other properties on the market. Instead, I use my listed property’s home’s unique features to grab the attention of potential buyers who are interested in those distinctive attributes.


I once had a young couple that were shopping for a new home. He wanted an ocean view, so they looked at many desirable properties, but they couldn’t come up with any that were right for them.

Some were expensive; others had barricaded and obstructed views. It is hard to believe but their search went on close to a year until they finally found an older home not too far away from the ocean.

The exterior of the house was mistreated, neglected and dated, the interior was not encouraging, but when he stepped onto the third-floor balcony off the master suite, he was sold, the ocean was right in front of him.

Any shortcomings in wall color or fixtures faded away when he took in the view.

He was after the sunrise and now he could see it from his bedroom window every morning.

The 20% of the home caught the eyes of this young couple. It was all about the 20% magnificent third-floor view of the ocean!


When this other couple finally decided to list their home, they were in need of a buyer who wasn’t apprehensive that the house was on a dirt road.

Though the home was over ten years old, the interior was updated with fresh, neutral wall colors and carpeting to look brand new.

The rising soaring trees of the country in Florida and conventional yard gave the home a warm attractiveness.

The buyer had also looked at a home within miles of this one which also had soaring trees, as well as a koi pond and an ample patio. This home was comparable in the interior and exterior, but it was on a very busy street.

What 20% of the home caught the buyer’s eye and prompted him to choose their home? Well, it turns out that the buyer loved the secluded country feel of this particular home.

The 1.8-acre property was surrounded by pastures, with grand oaks dotting the landscape and they were sold just like that.


Remember what I said earlier about location? Well, here is a typical scenario of the perfect location purchases. A particular buyer paid extra for a townhouse because of its location in the complex overlooking woods instead of the parking area. Another seller took advantage of the fact that most of the surrounding homes didn’t have yards; only a few shared a half-acre grassy area.

An owner seller whose townhouse bordered this yard area sold his home for a higher price than other townhouses in the complex because he had a characteristic shared by fewer than 10% of others in fact, he had the only available listing offering that feature.

What did he do? He pointed to that feature in marketing the townhome. With this attractive point of difference, the house sold for a higher price.

Another townhouse seller in the same complex found a different unique feature. Although she did not have a yard, she was still able to use the location to her advantage. Her property backed up to a lake and fountain. This unique feature helped her to sell the townhouse swiftly and for a better-than-average sales price.


I encourage my sellers to decide upon, improve, and spotlight the unique features of their home in marketing copy, photographs, and showings.

I recommend not to spend much time clarifying and explaining how the storage room can be transformed and converted to another full bath; instead, lead the dog-owning potential prospect to the fenced-off dog run in the remarkably and unusually large backyard.

If the home has a certain feature a buyer is specifically looking for, I highlight this aspect in my marketing efforts and I will attract interested buyers willing to pay for the asking price.

Each house will have its unique pros and con features. Here are some of my suggestions for those who aren’t too sure:

  • Hilltop views or high vantage point, offering a spectacular view of the surrounding area
  • Open fields frequented by wildlife
  • Unobstructed views of sunrise and sunset
  • Patios, decks, dog runs, garden areas, and gazebos — highlight items neighboring houses don’t have, or differences in size or quality; that one vital feature could help you sell your home
  • Location can set a property apart, even in the same area, adding value to a home on a cul-de-sac or corner lot
  • A private location or lot partially concealed by trees
  • A unique, shady, or larger backyard; a fenced backyard is a big selling point (If your yard can be fenced but is not, consider making that improvement.)
  • Finished basement, large attic or garage, swimming pool, or anything else that makes your home stand out

I know that following the 80/20 rule can reduce and lessen time showing to people who aren’t interested.

What I do is that instead, I will be showing my listed properties to buyers who are eager and motivated to make a purchase.

I find that doing this I won’t have to show as frequently. I also don’t have to filter through low-ball offers from casual shoppers. Keeping this in mind, I take the time to uncover my listings most attractive and unique features and improve them to their highest potential.

I am constantly comparing my listed properties with others in the neighborhood to see what makes mine stand out.

There, I just gave you another golden nugget that has worked for me through the years. Now go on and use it.


Here is another golden nugget and a great example.  There once was an out-of-town home shopper with no specific requirements nor requests who contacted me and asked for my services. He engaged me as his real estate agent to look at available homes for sale. I literally drove him from house to house and became his tour operator.

In each case, the buyer suggested offers 10% to 20% below the asking price without budging. As the days, weeks and months progressed, my chances of finding a suitable home for the buyer were becoming extremely dwindling unless I expanded my territory.

So, we stopped at one last house as the sun was setting. The exterior of the house was dated, and the yard was in desperate need of help. My client and I had spent that entire particular day looking at houses that shared 80% of the same features.

Nevertheless, once the buyer walked into this one home, he wanted to offer the full asking price. What set this house apart from all the others? He wasn’t too interested in the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. A bedroom was a bedroom, as far as he was concerned. He fell in love with the one remarkable feature of this otherwise uninspiring, I thought, house.

The house sat on a hill with a beautiful view out a large window. As they entered the huge room, the sun was setting below the distant far away tree line. That gorgeous view sold the buyer. The condition of the rest of the house didn’t matter because he understood that the remaining parts of the home could be upgraded.

This home buyer centered his choice to purchase this home based on the window view from the hillside. The 20% of the home’s qualities inspired him to proposition the full price right on the spot. Such is the power of the 80/20 rule.

In many cases, I have seen the 80/20 rule help people make a sale without even conducting a showing. I will share with you a house in the following example. It had languished on the market for months, actually close to a year.

Unlike the previous home, this one was attractive, and everything was up to date. It was a brand-new, custom-built home, yet it sat on the market for over nine months without a single offer.

The builder hired a real estate agent friend who knew the importance of finding that one special feature. He drove out to give the house a thorough investigation and examined it thoroughly.

Here is an interesting observation. He soon discovered what the property had that the competition did not.

The house had a five-acre yard. Other houses being sold in the area had one to two-acre lots.

Not only was the yard bigger, but it was also more private than the other properties.

So, my friend marketed the property by highlighting the five acres.

Because the house was no longer the main selling point, interest in the property increased.

There you have another example of the 80/20 rule in action.


“When Selling Your Home”