Armageddon Followup: How Help-U-Sell Works

I got the following comment on that last post when it was shared on LinkedIn (it is from a guy I don’t know):

“So Trulia and Zillow feel the days of the RE Agent are coming to an end? Let it be and soon sellers will find themselves perfect examples of what being penny wise and pound foolish is all about while leaving them wondering why their property has not sold! Ridiculous at best! “

First, let’s clarify something:  Trulia nd Zillow don’t want real estate agents to go away.  They LOVE real estate agents.  That’s where their revenue comes from!  They make money by selling ads to real estate agents.  Maybe in the future they’ll make money by also selling premium listing space directly to sellers, but for now it’s all about the agent.

At the same time, Zillow’s purchase of Trulia is not good news for agents.  Now the two companies don’t have to compete for agent business.  I think we’ll see a bump up in pricing as they both try to sell the same Zip Codes to the same agents.

My point was that, as technology has put tools Realtors once held as proprietary into consumers hands, the agent’s importance in the transaction has been diminished.  They don’t need us like they used to.  But, with ordinary brokers there has not been a corresponding decrease in commission rates.  Consumers still pay full fare for diminished service.  What will make Realtors irrelevant is this idiotic clinging to a pricing model that was stupid to begin with.  The moment consumers understand that they really CAN do it without paying 5% or 6% or 7% of the sales price, they will drop their friendly neighborhood Realtors like rotten tomatoes.

If you are a regular Realtor and understand that what I’m saying is true, there is something you can do now to ensure your future:  get into Help-U-Sell.  This is real estate that makes sense, that costs much less and delights consumers.  While Help-U-Sell brokers and agents do have magnificent personalities, this is a business model that is not personality driven (which, if you hadn’t noticed is what drives the ordinary real estate world).  It is driven by systems that work.

In an ordinary office the agent’s job is to build the broker’s business by listing real estate for sale.  The broker relies on the agent’s contacts and personality to establish the brand by getting for sale sings up in the local market.  The broker, therefore has to pay the agent who lists real estate huge (dare I say ridiculous?) commission splits, and that’s a cost that, without a thought, is passed on to consumers.

Help-U-Sell offices don’t rely on agents to go out and find listings.  Instead, they market for listings (what a concept!).  And because the offer to home sellers is so far superior to what ordinary agents offer, they tend to get way more than their share of listings.  And all listings – because they are generated by marketing, not agents – belong to the office . . . and that very expensive commission that had to be paid to the listing agent?  It goes away.  Now, in ordinary real estate offices, that saved commission would probably find its way into the broker’s pocket, but we do it a little different at Help-U-Sell:  we pass that savings on to the seller.  Imagine that!

But there’s more.

When a seller lists with an ordinary agent, agreeing to pay a % commission, that’s it.  Period.  When the house sells – no matter how it sells – that % is what the seller is going to pay.  There is enough commission there to compensate two offices and two agents (listing office/agent and selling office/agent), and most sales happen this way.  Fine.  But what if there is no outside broker and agent?  What if the listing office finds the buyer and we don’t have to pay the outside broker and agent?  It doesn’t matter.  The seller is still going to pay that silly % and the unused portion is going right into the listing office and agent’s pockets.  Even better, what happens if the seller, by some quirk, happens to find his or her own buyer? Believe it or not, that  happens all the time!  So how much does that seller pay?  The same silly %!  It’s so stupid!

At Help-U-Sell, the commissions agreed to at time of listing are designed to compensate 3 people, not 4 (remember, we eliminated that irrelevant listing agent because we get listings by marketing for them), so there’s an automatic savings there even if there is an outside broker and agent involved.  But if there’s NOT – the seller doesn’t pay for one.  We charge at closing based on how the home actually sells.  If we don’t have to pay an outside broker and agent, the seller doesn’t pay for one.  Are you starting to understand why home sellers love Help-U-Sell?

Look:  I don’t work for Help-U-Sell anymore.  But I believe in this model and I see it as the future of real estate.  If you’d like to talk about it with someone who has nothing to sell (that’d be me), Email me

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