I get asked that question a lot: how come Help-U-Sell hasn’t exactly blossomed forth over the past half dozen years? Why are new members of the franchise so rare? Why has the number of offices remained, well . . . stagnant?
I understand the question. After all, I’m ranting away like a maniac about this wonderful new way to sell your house, but, in the words of Clara Peller, “Where’s the Beef?!?”
Here’s the key: Help-U-Sell is a competitive advantage for brokers working in normal, equity-seller markets. Our ‘Sell for a Low Set Fee and Save Thousands’ offer to homeowners is so superior to what Ordinary brokers have to offer that we win by a mile . . . when equity sellers in a normal market seek real estate services.
But what has the real estate market been for the past six years? Um, let’s see . . . how about Devastated?
Almost everybody was upside down: their homes were worth less than they owed. Millions lost their jobs or, worse, got sick and couldn’t pay their mortgages. Lenders took them to foreclosure. Others who simply needed to sell, found that the only viable route was the Short Sale. The market quickly shifted from equity-sellers to REOs (foreclosures) and Short Sales.
In an REO/Short Sale market, the decision makers in a real estate sale change. It is no longer Bill and Sally Homeowner. In an REO/Short Sale market the decision makers are Banks and Lenders. They call the shots. They decide which company gets the listing. They decide what the broker will be paid.
From 2006 – 2012, Banks and Lenders decided that real estate brokers would be paid a percentage based commission – usually in the 5% range. They didn’t know anything about Set Fee pricing except that it was something that Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Re/Max and Keller Williams DIDN’T do . . . and frankly: they didn’t care.
So, the Help-U-Sell superior offer to homeowners who need to sell was neutralized. The competitive edge we have always enjoyed evaporated when the person making the selling decisions became . . . a bank.
We shrank Oh, how we shrank. But we didn’t become extinct. Many others did: Advance, Nextage, and thousands of individual offices all over the country. The Help-U-Sell brokers who survived learned how to talk to Banks and Lenders, how to get and market REOs and Short Sales, and made it through the harshest real estate market in history. Many not only survived, they thrived.
We’ve had many inquiries about franchise opportunities over the period, but it’s a different universe than it was in 2005. Back then, a sharp person, with the desire to open an office, buy a Help-U-Sell Franchise and set the world on fire had sizable equity in their home to fuel the opening Lenders were almost throwing money at anyone wanting to start up anything. Today it’s very different. Home Equity is rare. And Lenders have become so tight with their money. Anyone wanting to start a Help-U-Sell company pretty much has to have the one thing they never had to have in the past: cash. And that’s a rare commodity in today’s world.
But here’s the thing: the real estate market in 2013 is waking up. It’s shrugging off the hideous downturn of the past few years and is starting to come back to life. In some markets, inventory has disappeared at such a pace that a new desperation has set in for home buyers. House values are rising, and rising rapidly. People who were upside down last year suddenly have equity!
And when homeowners have equity . . . well, THAT’S when Help-U-Sell thrives!
Every homeowner watching their equity return realizes how precious that equity is. They don’t want to squander it on real estate commissions when they sell. What could be more absurd?
Bill and Sally, after five years of being upside down, finally have equity in their property. Today it stands at $30,000 and it seems to be increasing at an annual rate of 5%. But here comes an Ordinary Broker charging a percentage based commission that will have Bill and Sally paying $18,000 to sell their $300,000 house! They are faced with giving MORE THAN HALF of their new equity to a real estate broker . . . and that sure doesn’t feel good! When they learn that there is a low set fee alternative in the market place, they are going to dial Help-U-Sell with a passion!
To every thing there is a season . . . and, get ready: this is the season of Help-U-Sell!