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Pay-Per-Showing

We have another disrupter who is providing a service you didn’t know you needed until now.

Traditionally, a buyer’s agent accompanies their clients to show them the homes for sale, and to give expert advice about each house while on site. But other real estate companies – who don’t appreciate that valuable service – have dumbed it down by just paying door-openers that allow buyers into the house, but leave them on their own to figure out the rest.

A new company has taken it one step further, and is providing an Uber-like service where random agents can get paid for opening doors for other agents.

The company charges $39, and pays $24 of it to the door-opening agent – who agrees to not offer advice to the buyers, and to direct them back to the agent who paid the $39 showing fee.

https://showami.com/

Will it happen some day that the buyers will be charged a fee to see a house?

Disclosing Offer Prices

To say it’s the Wild Wild West out here is putting it lightly, and how realtors handle multiple offers is the primary reason. There isn’t a standard way to handle a bidding war – and heck, we don’t even agree on what is confidential, and what isn’t. Here is the variety of opinions from a FB thread:

Even when presented with a copy of the actual verbiage from our contracts, she comments, “Wrong”.

Is anyone surprised why buyers are so frustrated?

‘No More Showings’

We see it more and more these days – listing agents who shut down showings of their listings. I’m sure most would say, “What do you want me to do? I had 20-30 appointment times available, and they all booked up!”

When faced with having to work harder, smarter, or less, agents always seem to pick less.

  • But they owe it to their sellers to find a way to show their home to every possible buyer.
  • They owe it to their fellow agents too, and their buyers.

Work Harder:

An agent over the weekend was bombarded with requests to show a newer one-story home on a half-acre lot. She TRIPLE-BOOKED the whole weekend, and designated four stations – two inside, and two outside. As visitors arrived, she explained the process, and deftly guided everyone from station to station to keep the parade moving – and it went very smoothly.

Work Smarter:

Can we please require agents to produce YouTube video tours?

If you don’t like the way you sound or you’re afraid you might say something stupid, then just don’t talk. The video is a boost to understanding the flow of the floor plan, and and a way to highlight the biggest benefits. It’s not that hard to do – you’re doing videos of your grandkids every weekend, surely you can walk around a house with a videocam and pretend you’re showing the house to a buyer – of which you have plenty of practice!  Then the buyers who got shut out from an in-person appointment can view the video and have a fighting chance to compete.

Selling homes by video should have been commonplace by now. Let’s do it!

Realtor MLS Club

Selling a house is different every time – it’s truly the wild, wild west.

Because there are no standard rules of engagement on how to sell a home, everyone does it differently.  I had an agent accost me on why my offer was so low (it was full price), to which I said that it’s my preference to save my bullets for the highest-and-best round. She responded, “WE NEVER COUNTER”.

You just never know what to expect.

With real estate, every house is different, and so are the players (sellers, buyers, and agents).  Mortgage rates go up and down, loan-qualifying affects buyers differently, and resolving the condition of the home is a wild card on every deal.  Even if there was a simple way to navigate those, you still have to contend with the emotions and egos of the human beings involved – which can be extreme when dealing with a life-changing decision that might have to last you forever.

Now add the low-supply/high-demand environment, and it’s never been so crucial to get good help.

Yet, Zillow, Redfin, and others want you to believe that they can dumb down the process into a paperwork shuffle. They pitch lower costs, but never consider that a home’s sales price depends on who is selling it – and there is a wide variance in today’s market.

The NAR doesn’t get it either. They are creating a national MLS to compete with Zillow, but unless they spend multi-millions of dollars on advertising (very doubtful) the buyers and sellers won’t know they exist.

What we need is for realtors to stand up and save the model that has worked the best for all parties.

Last year was all fun and games as we got used to the new intensity.  But now it’s obvious that the low inventory is causing a sea change among buyers. In the Under-$2,000,000 market, the comps don’t matter any more, and winning at any price becomes the only goal.

Once buyers figure that out, they will appreciate getting good help like never before – and hopefully before it’s too late. If a seller picks the wrong agent, it only means leaving money on the table, which is the cost of real estate ignorance.

The best chance to ensure that the traditional model endures is for realtors to create our own private listing club, and these guys are on to it. They had 700 agents on this call, which is impressive but it’s early and they would need to commit massive resources to reach the entire country.  The word-of-mouth among agents could take them a long way, however.

Here’s a peek behind the scenes.  Decide if you think they can sell it, or if they might hit the eject button when the heat gets hot – because the outsiders are going to challenge this idea:

Get Good Help!

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No More Love Letters

The time-honored tradition of buyers hoping to sway sellers with a personal introductory letter came to an abrupt halt this month with the new FHDA form (see snip above).

Not only has it been customary to submit a letter of introduction with your offer, but if you don’t, the listing agent usually asks about the buyers. I had one last week say, “Tell me their story” which probably wasn’t meant to gather information to use against them, but who knows?

Paragraph 8A mentions ‘actual or unconscious bias’.  Agents who are stuck in their ways may not realize how this information is being digested.

It’s not just for agents either. Paragraph 7 specifically includes sellers and landlords too.

Nobody reads these forms so the practice will probably continue for a while, which means that those who DON’T include a love letter could be hurting their chances if other agents keep doing it.

(hat tip Annabama)

Being A Realtor in 2020

Here’s what it will take to be a successful realtor from now on – hat tip WSJ!

“It’s an attention game. It’s not who has the better postcards, it’s about who can attract the most eyeballs,” Mr. Serhant said. “I can walk into an appointment with a seller and say ‘there are 30,000 active real-estate agents in the city, there’s hundreds and thousands of us all over the world, but I have a level of exposure you can’t buy.’ ”

Mr. Serhant has decided that it’s time to cash in on his name recognition. After more than a decade at the brokerage Nest Seekers International, he is starting his own company, which will be known as “Serhant.” The new firm will have its own film studio, digital-marketing lab and a tech team dedicated to tracking the reach of the brand and its content across the web. Mr. Serhant said he decided to launch his company now because he believes “the traditional real-estate brokerage model is broken.”

“The brokerage company, open houses, and pretty photos don’t sell homes today the way they did 10 and 20 years ago,” he said. “Buyers of high-end real estate, and their children, go to YouTube and social media on their phones to research homes and agents now. I was already doing things differently from everyone else and it has been working incredibly well so I thought why not do it differently and build a firm from the ground up?”

Eddie Shapiro, Nest Seekers International founder and chief executive, noted that Mr. Serhant is not cutting ties with the company entirely. He will close out the business he signed at Nest Seekers, including his listings and new developments. Mr. Shapiro said that the company’s agents are now involved with a new reality real-estate show on Netflix called “Million Dollar Beach House.”

Mr. Serhant’s new business will crank out social-media content and multiple, dedicated short-form series for its YouTube channel, “Listed by Serhant,” based around his agents and listings. One series, provisionally called “3 in a Million,” will invite regular people into three listings and ask them to guess the price. Another, called “Meals in Mansions,” will be hosted by an agent at the firm who enjoys cooking and who will make meals in the kitchens of the firm’s high-end home listings.

Mr. Serhant, whose YouTube channel has one million subscribers, already produces his own YouTube videos weekly, putting together a mix of listing reveals, personal day-in-the-life style vlogs that showcase his family and personal life and business advice tutorials with titles like “How to OVERCOME self-doubt” and “How to SUCCEED in a VOLATILE market.” While these videos don’t directly sell his listings, Mr. Serhant said, they help him build a global following, which, in turn, gives his listings better exposure.

These tactics aren’t for everyone and some competitors snipe that Mr. Serhant is more interested in being famous himself than dedicating his time to his clients. Others said these stunts are more likely to attract voyeurs than actually result in deals, since ultrahigh-net-worth buyers aren’t likely to be shopping for multimillion-dollar properties on Instagram.

But Mr. Serhant argues that the numbers prove out his concept: His team at Nest Seekers did $1.4 billion in closed and in-contract sales last year, mostly in New York and in the Hamptons, making him one of the most successful agents in the country. He estimates that since he started in the business, he and his team have sold over $4 billion in property. Last year, they sold a $40 million house in Bridgehampton to a prominent executive who reached out to Mr. Serhant after finding him on YouTube, he said.

“If a listing video gets 10,000 views or a million views, that’s a big difference,” he said. “I tell clients, ‘I work incredibly hard to grow my brand for your benefit so I can put your listing in front of more eyeballs than anyone else in the business.’ ”

Mr. Serhant said many of his wealthy clients have secret accounts on Instagram that aren’t registered in their real names. One former client, so privacy-obsessed that his chauffeur-driven car had blacked-out windows, had an Instagram account and mentioned several of the properties he’d seen on Mr. Serhant’s account.

“Instagram isn’t a joke now,” Mr. Serhant said. “People will go to your Instagram to see who you are as a person before they pick up the phone. You don’t need a business card, you need a powerful social-media profile.”

(more…)

Getting Started in Real Estate

I’m going to help a few people get started in the business, and hopefully make a career of selling real estate.  I figure I should just publish my guide right here on the blog, and Fridays are a good day to do it!

Let’s explore what it takes to become a realtor in 2020!

Where to get your license: First Tuesday

It’s so easy to get a real estate licensee, demonstrate your commitment to yourself and get one.

Online training courses give you the basics and prepare you for your state test, which is 150 multiple-choice questions – get 70% of the answers correct and you pass! You can’t sell real estate without one, so if you’re in it, to win it, get a license so you can get paid right away!

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There are two sides of the business; sales and transaction coordinating.

If you are a great people-person, then being in sales is for you.  It’s called a ‘salesperson’s license’, but so far all you’ve done is pass a test.  Getting out and speaking with people regularly about buying and selling homes is the job.

If you’re not a people-person, or want to work your way into the sales business, you can take a more clerical job in transaction coordinating. Once the salespeople have brought a buyer and seller together and completed a written purchase agreement, then we have staff assist with making sure all the necessary details get done to close the sale.  This job pays around $30,000 – $50,000 per year if you don’t mind working a few 12-hour shifts along the way. There is a limited future unless you can create your own company.

Oh, you want to be in sales? What’s the difference?

You don’t get paid anything along the way. You’re paid on commission. You need to sell, to get paid.

It’s not that comfortable for the first twenty years, but you’ll get used to it.

What’s realistic?

You probably won”t make much money during your first year, so have sufficient financial backing that you don’t have to sweat it.

Expect to spend money on your business.  You are an entrepreneur – a business owner – and it takes money to make money. But if you are a socialite who can generate leads from the yacht club then more power to you. We will help you pursue leads. Compass is touting our new AI engineering, and it promises to help.

You need someone to teach you the ropes. You need a mentor.

The big brokerages offer a mentor program with classroom training and a manager.  It’s the basics, and better than nothing.  But ideally you want on-the-job training where you are learning while doing.

In summary: Get a license, have some money in the bank, and find the best mentor you can.

More next week!

Industry-Disruption Podcast

Here’s a thorough discussion on the the state of realtor disruption – early on, Rob refers to this post:

https://notorious-rob.com/2020/07/two-steps-forward-one-step-back-the-story-of-innovation-in-real-estate/

For every tech platform that sets out to disrupt real estate, there’s a story of slow evolution to working with brokers and agents. And while companies like Zillow, Opendoor, and Offerpad have brought about minor changes to the home buying process, they always end up morphing into our traditional system. Why is it that these so-called disruptors just can’t change the way we do real estate?

In this episode of Industry Relations, Rob and Greg are exploring why would-be disruptors have such a hard time changing real estate. Greg walks us through his five-stages-of-grief analogy around how tech platforms always end up working with brokers and agents, and Rob compares real estate with the auto industry, reflecting on how little buying processes have changed despite advancements in technology.

Rob and Greg go on to introduce the idea that the human connection is what prevents tech disruptors from succeeding in our industry, speculating that agent teams have been the biggest disruptor in real estate in recent years. Listen in for insight on how human knowledge and connection factor into making tech platforms successful and learn why the human need for approval is not disruptable.

What’s Discussed:

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