The little stuff in life:
Going to work at Compass came with expectations of high-tech, big-game, etc. on my part, but underneath it all has been a quiet and humble fit for us among the family of experienced agents who appreciate being on the right team.
All three recipients today (Donna on our behalf) mentioned how it felt like we are in the right place, at the right time with a brokerage who cares.
In one of the most curious things I have ever seen in my career as a realtor, Compass doesn’t award agents based on production. In truth, it kind of bugs me because competition is what drives me.
Instead, what is rewarded is those who champion the culture of being a team player, which is commendable.
You can probably guess that Donna had everything to do with this recognition, and it’s true. She is the ultimate team player, and deserves to be recognized by the staff of Compass for this honor. Thank you team!
When evaluating which agent to hire, the best thing a consumer can do is check their sales history to help determine the agent’s level of experience.
We’ve known that Zillow has the 12-month sales history of each agent, but those sales are inputted manually by the agents, and can be manipulated.
Homesnap provides the MLS mobile app to agents, and, as a result, has the direct connection to the sales history. They publish the data on each agent from the last 24 months, which provides a more extensive track record, and:
- Helps to iron out any hot and cold streaks
- Shows the average days-on-market and sales-price-to-list-price ratio
- Shows listings that didn’t sell (labeled ‘off-market’)
The average days-on-market and sales-price-to-list-price ratio gives you a good sense of the agent’s pricing accuracy. If listings languish too long on the market, there is an increased likelihood that buyers will offer less.
We know that 40% of all listings don’t sell, so failure can happen. Select an agent who has done better – in my case, one seller decided not to move, two decided to rent instead of sell, and the fourth was when I was mentioned as Richard’s co-agent on a listing.
If they have a huge number of off-market listings, they are probably a serial refresher, which means they like to manipulate the market time – which aggravates other agents and buyers.
Bottom line: An agent’s sales history verifies how successful they are at getting clients to the finish line. With the market changing, buyers are putting up a fight now, and you want an experienced agent on your side to ensure success.
Here’s the link to Homesnap (their mobile app is better):
Get Good Help!
Great news about the doc-film – it will be available on iTunes on June 4th. Here is Giorgio’s blooper reel of my actual homebuyer tips (and the first time I’ve cussed on video – beware):
Giorgio’s documentary film makes its local premiere today after nearly six years of anticipation!
To acknowledge in a small way those who participated, here are my videos:
The San Diego premiere of Owned, A Tale of Two Americas is scheduled for a matinee showing on Saturday, March 23rd at the La Costa Cinepolis!
The producer, Giorgio Angelini, will be here and we’ll do a Q&A session after the film. I’m hoping to talk him into bringing an outakes/blooper reel too. There will also be a reception/party afterwards onsite. Our two daughters, Kayla and Natalie will also attend!
This will be a private event, with no tickets sold. Seating is limited.
If you’d like to come, email Donna at email@example.com
Here is a link to previous blog posts and the five-year history of the project:Link to Previous Blog Posts
Here is the trailer:
Today, Ryan Gorman, the CEO of NRT which owns Realogy (Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Corcoran, etc.) took a major shot at Compass.
He released this two-page ‘questionnaire’ for his agents to use when interviewing with Compass, but he sure comes off as desperate and paranoid:
Our CEO, Robert Reffkin, shrugged it off, which is fine and what he should do:
“What you talk about is a representation of what you are focused on,” Reffkin said. “We don’t tear down competitors, we don’t pay attention to the noise, what we focus on is empowering agents.”
But as a Compass guy, I’m going to address some of Ryan’s specific concerns for those consumers and agents who might be curious and want to know the truth:
1. Robert Reffkin told us that because we’re in the Top 20 markets, the company was going to concentrate on supporting and growing those already in play – which sounds great to us agents. I don’t know how you rate the Top 20, but here’s where we are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Orange County, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington D.C., plus nine other smaller cities – which makes 24 markets. Close enough.
2. Compass agents grow their business quickly after joining Compass? I don’t remember that claim specifically, but every agent knows your business usually takes a hit when you change companies. Ryan said York at MoxiWorks contradicted the claim, but that’s not true. York said that the Compass market share was lower than claimed, but he checked the Compass production only, when Compass said it was the agents’ cumulative total for the year. Agents count their annual sales volume, regardless of their brokerage, so the Compass and MoxiWorks measurements were apples and oranges – for Ryan to misconstrue what happened is disingenuous.
3. Ryan says Cigna isn’t our insurance company, but looks like they are to me:
We saved $4,000+ per year and have a lower deductible.
4. Ryan claims Compass is losing money and wants to know about the turn-around plan? There’s $1 billion in the bank, and Compass will likely do an IPO in the next 24 months. But agents are focused on selling homes – if we make any money on stocks or stock options, it will be icing on the cake.
5. Ryan said that Compass ‘strongly encourages’ agents to use the in-house tools. Nobody has ever asked or told me to use the Compass tools. Furthermore, the Compass agents I know are all seasoned professionals who used their own tools long before working at Compass.
After his release went public, Ryan said this:
“I believe competition raises the level of play, and I welcome it,” Gorman said. “But when a competitor fails to uphold the basic ethics and integrity that this industry has together worked so hard to build, and puts the people I care about in jeopardy, I cannot sit on my hands.”
“The ‘talk’ coming from Compass behind closed doors is disturbing, and yet even in public forums, such as this publication, the inconsistencies, exaggerations and flip-flops by Compass executives are deeply concerning.”
The NRT sales volume is around 5x what we sell at Compass, and this guy goes ballistic over half-truths and innuendo, most of which is wrong or inconsequential? Why?
My mom fell and broker her hip last week, so I’ve been visiting her in the Bay Area over the last few days. It was a clear day on the way up, so I took a few photos – note the water discoloration from the runoff (click to enlarge):
Yesterday, we celebrated the life of Gary Thompson, the greatest salesman I’ve ever known. Gary and I worked at ReMax by-the-Sea together for a couple of years, and then he was with us at Klinge Realty for 10+ years.
Gary honed his craft by selling cookware door-to-door back in the 1960s, and became the company’s #1 salesman nationwide. He trained dozens of others, and his impact was evident – more than 100 people showed up yesterday, and twenty rooms were booked at the Carlsbad Inn by old friends who flew in from across the country to pay their respects.
He started selling real estate for Re/Max in Colorado, and eventually made his way to Carlsbad 20+ years ago. He joined the local Rotary Club, where he was a very active member, and was an Oceanside Senior Angler – Gary loved to fish!
Locals will remember his toothpicks (his anti-smoking device), and his love for Carlsbad. He used to walk the beach every day, and was a regular around downtown – you may have seen us having breakfast at Don’s Country Kitchen! Gary took pride in having sold the proprietor his first house, and he may have ate enough breakfasts there to pay it off!
I loved seeing him at his open houses, where he would be conducting a clinic on salesmanship. Nobody worked an open house like Gary; because not only did he know the right things to say, but he also delivered them in a way that caused people to appreciate his expertise, and want his help.
Gary was a fan of the blog, and described it being the new-age way to educate clients. He loved talking real estate with people, and helping them become better consumers – which we agreed is an agent’s primary responsibility.
In our new era of flashy advertising and teams hustling buyers into homes, Gary’s old-fashioned style of caring about his clients will be sorely missed.
Good-bye my friend – we will carry on!
We ended up with three offers on our Gladstone listing, and a bidding war!
Bidding wars don’t just happen; somebody has to spur them on, coordinate them effectively, and keep the focus on winning and losing, and not the price.
The home had its foibles too.
It only has two bedrooms, the third ‘bedroom’ is unpermitted, the kitchen and bathrooms were gussied up but mostly original, and it backs to the full assortment of power lines. The worst part was not having any recent comps that painted a solid picture on value, leaving it up to the buyers to get comfortable – I helped, and thankfully they had good agents too.
We are listed for $499,000, and I nudged two offers north of $530,000!
If you are thinking of selling, hire me!