One thing that ordinary real estate brokers doubt about Help-U-Sell is our claim that we Charge Less but Make More. Their disbelief is understandable. Usually they are charging thousands more for the same service we offer and having a very difficult time turning the smallest profit. So they think, “If I’m not making it charging 5% or 6% or even 7%, how are they making it on a much lower Set Fee?”
The problem with that kind of thinking is the Paradigm surrounding it. The ordinary broker looks around and sees office after office doing essentially the same thing, broker after broker trapped in a recruiting treadmill that is supposed to pay off someday, agents coming and going and demanding ever increasing splits . . . and concludes that’s just the way things are in the real estate business . . . for everybody (us included).
Well, it’s not. Our reality is very different. Our Paradigm is built on almost 40 years of success in the field with a business model that is remarkably and proudly different than the status quo. It’s a model that strips a lot of the fluff and nonsense out of the real estate business and gets down to the brass tacks of: what does it take to market a property? And, what should that cost?
Let’s start with the Listing. Ordinary real estate would have you believe that the fine art of selling a home requires the careful handling of a near super-hero, a professional who routinely works miracles with the wave of his or her mysterious, magic real estate wand. That may have been partly true in the 50s and 60s when most Americans were pretty naive when it came to home buying and selling and we didn’t have the wonderful marketing tools that are readily available today. But today, it’s pretty simple. Here’s the formula:
- Price the home competitively
- Get it up on the Internet, syndicating out to as many aggregator sites as possible (especially Zillow and Trulia)
- Put a sign in the yard with a QR code so SmartPhone enabled buyers can get the information
- Do a Virtual Tour and include lots of pictures in all marketing
- Price the home competitively
- Put the listing in the MLS if and when you believe the extra local exposure is necessary*
- Mail or hand deliver Just Listed information to as many neighbors as possible
- Instruct the Sellers on how to effectively hold an Open House and provide them with enough directional signs to lead guests to the property.
- Price the home competitively
- Distribute information about the home to your Centers of Influence and anyone in your Buyer Pool for whom the property might work
- And so on (yes, there is more you could do . . . but really: this will do the job for most properly priced homes in any marketplace.)
Getting this job done does not require a magician, a super-human agent, or anything of the kind. It requires a well-organized person who knows the local market and has a predictable and repeatable system for processing all listings the office takes.
At Help-U-Sell, you’re not paying to have a super-star agent’s name sitting on top of your for sale sign. You’re paying for a proven marketing system and a team of professionals to do a complicated job for you. We believe that all listings belong to the office, not to an individual agent and it is the office’s marketing system that will bring a buyer, not the personality of an agent.
So the seller pays a Low Set Fee that is sufficient to cover the cost of carrying and marketing the listing until sold plus a reasonable profit for the office. When the sale closes and the Fee comes into the office, we don’t lop off the lions share to give to the ‘Listing Agent.’ The ‘Listing Agent’ was the office and the full fee goes into the company coffers. It’s one of the reasons we are able to charge less but make more. Take a look at the numbers:
Assume a $250,000 house. The ordinary agent working in an ordinary office charges, say . . . 6%. The Help-U-Sell Broker has a Set Fee of, say . . . $3,950.
- Commission Earned on the Listing Side: $7,500
- Less 70% Commission Split to the Agent: $5,250
- What’s left to run the business and make a profit: $2,250
- Set Fee Earned on the Listing: $3,950
- Less Agent’s Commission: $0
- What’s left to run the business and make a profit: $3,950
The Help-U-Sell office, in addition to having a delighted Seller, has $1,700 more to apply to expenses and the bottom line. It’s one of the reasons our brokers are able to out-market their ordinary competitors: they have more funds available!
Now let’s take that delighted Seller and multiply by, say 300. Can you imagine how quickly business would fly through your door if you had 300 former clients in the local marketplace singing your praises every time they had a chance? Add to that the fact that your offer to home Sellers is far superior to anything else anyone is doing and Listings get easier and easier to take. And you know what all those listings produce, don’t you? Yes: Buyers.
And this is where Agents enter into the equation in a Help-U-Sell office. We hire agents to handle the Buyers our listings generate.
Once again, we have to make a Paradigm shift when we start talking about hiring agents. The ordinary broker believes that the only way to expand the business is to add more and more agents. The ordinary broker has been taught that Recruiting (with a capital R) is his or her single most important function. The ordinary broker’s mantra is something like: Always Be Recruiting, Recruiting is the Lifeblood of the Office, Recruit the World! Recruit! Recruit! Recruit!
At Help-U-Sell, we don’t Recruit. We Hire agents when the flow of Buyer business is so strong that we cannot handle it with our current staff. We Hire agents to help handle the business the Office has created. It’s a great job, too, because we don’t ask our agents to list, to call FSBOS, to door knock, to do any of the things agents generally hate to do. We ask them to take the Buyer leads the office has created and do a decent job of converting them into sales. And because we have taken responsibility for expanding the business off their shoulders, we are able to pay them a reasonable commission split.
Did you hear that?
That was the sound of push-back as dozens of real estate agents read that last sentence. It’s that ‘reasonable commission split’ part that gets them. But hang on just a moment. Average per agent production today is in the 6 closed sides a year range. Yet average commission splits are in the 70% range. I think everyone would agree: if you’re doing just 6 sides a year, you’re failing. So what good is that 70% split? It’s not enough to boost your income above poverty level, is it?
How many more Buyer side transactions could you produce in a year if you never had to generate a lead, take a listing, fight for a price reduction, pay for marketing, wait for the phone to ring, and so on? And how many more could you do if every time you put one under contract, you were handed another? You see, the ordinary broker has little to offer an agent other than a lofty commission split. At Help-U-Sell we offer you leads. We also offer you training, coaching and accountability.
I was an ordinary broker years ago. I was a good one too. But at times I just felt like a beggar. I spent my days begging people to come to work for me and begging the ones I already had not to leave. My program was exactly like everyone else’s so all I could do was beg and wave around a big commission split. The agents I hired went out into the field and begged people to list with us. Again, our program was exactly like everyone else’s so all they could do was beg and hope their personality would win the day.
At Help-U-Sell we don’t beg. Our Seller offer is so good that sellers reach for it, without the begging. Our systematic marketing is so effective that we have a flow of buyers coming into the office. We hire agents to help take care of that business, without the begging. It’s a real business with no smoke, no mirrors and no magicians.
*MLS is a wonderful tool, but it is expensive. Selling through MLS usually means having to pay not one company but two. So when you elect to go into the MLS, you have to be prepared to pay that other company, that outside agent. Sometimes market conditions are such that MLS is essential. But sometimes it is not, especially if the home is priced competitively. Where most ordinary brokers insist every listing must go into MLS (and every seller must pay enough commission to cover the added expense), at Help-U-Sell MLS is an Option. You’ll discuss this with your Broker and make a decision.