Photo Credit – Christopher Thiemet
Over the years, I’ve become a master at every aspect of residential real estate.
I started my career working at a company that only worked with buyers. I spent every day working with people moving to the St. Louis area and helping them figure out which community would be best for them. After touring hundreds of homes with all kinds of buyers, I know how buyers will respond to just about any home.
Understanding buyers came in really handy when I decided it was time to transform my business by adding seller services. Starting with my first seller client, I made sure that every home listing was ready when it went on the market. I worked with sellers to de-clutter, rearrange furniture and make the easy cosmetic changes that would have an impact on the way buyers would react to the home.
Then I analyzed the housing market to make sure that the home was priced appropriately, and put together a marketing program that wasn’t designed to impress sellers in hopes they would hire me…it was designed to get homes sold.
My fist home listing sold in 7 days during the worst housing market in history.
It’s All About Results:
From 2007-2010 during the country’s worst housing market, my home listings sold substantially faster and for more money than the general market.
Karen’s Sales Stats from 2007-2010:
- 52% of sold listings got a contract in 0-30 days
- 64% of sold listings got a contract in 0-60 days
- Median days on market – 28 days
- Average days on market – 52 days
- Listings that sold in 0-30 days averaged 98% of list price
At the beginning of 2011, I teamed up with another agent with the goal of offering better service to both of our clients.
In theory, it should have worked. My new partner was a successful real estate agent who had owned her own brokerage at one point and had served as a brokerage Vice President. She was also currently the business coach at a large brokerage for agents who wanted to improve their business.
Instead of having 2 agents trying to be everything to all of their clients, we divided up the tasks that needed to be done the same way any large business would do it. I managed all home listing pricing analysis and marketing, and my partner handled seller contract negotiations, contract management and represented buyers.
Sometimes things don’t work out the way you hope. Homes weren’t selling as quickly, even though the market was getting better.
From 2011-2012, only 29% of their home listings sold in 30 days or less, and only 47% sold in 60 days or less. Median days on market increased to 62 days. Average days on market increased to 83 days.
That said, sellers were still getting a good price if they sold in 30 days or less averaging 97% of list price.
I recognized that too much energy was being wasted on operational systems and I needed to get back to providing 100% of the services to my clients. So at the end of 2012, my partner and I parted ways, and I returned to running my business the way I did it in the earlier years.
It was the right decision for me and her clients.
In 2013, the only home that didn’t sell in 60 days or less was a short sale. It actually sold fairly quickly, but since the bank took so long to give approval for the contract to go forward, the buyer walked away and we had to start over. The second contract came in just days later. Since days on market is calculated from the initial listing date when a contract falls through, the it pushed up the numbers on that one.
2013-2015 Sales Statistics*:
- 50% of sold listings got a contract in 0-30 days
- 70% of sold listings got a contract in 0-60 days
- Median days on market – 34 days
- Sellers sold for 97.4% of listing price (median) / 96.3% (average)
- 59% of listings sold without a price reduction**
- 83% of listings sold with just 0-1 price reduction**
- 91% of all listings successfully sold (only 3 didn’t sell – 2 were leased instead of selling at the owner’s request and 1 was foreclosed on because the bank refused to agree to the short sale contracts for fair market value)
* Closed seller sales through September 1, 2015.
** Price reduction statistics exclude 1 short sale listing since the strategy to get it to get the bank to approve the short sale was to start with a high price and make regular price reductions to demonstrate that it couldn’t sell for a higher price.
Photo Credit – Jim French
So how do I sell homes so quickly and for such a high percentage of the listing price?
When I left the safety of a company which provided me with all the clients I could handle to strike out on my own, I knew nothing about online marketing, but I knew I needed to master the latest in technology in order to best serve my clients and develop new business.
Within months I had a website and a blog.
Then I signed up for Twitter and Facebook, and a tech savvy agent was born.
One year later, I was teaching marketing to the other agents at my brokerage and providing the other agents with tools to market their listings through email newsletters. As I continued focusing on adding technology and social media to my business, I discovered that I was on a very short list of agents who understood how to use technology effectively to sell homes.
I also understands how to analyze data.
I know what to look at to determine home values. My goal is to set a price that is high enough to get sellers the best possible price while not being so high to turn off buyers.
I have also developed a custom report which allows me to monitor the micro and macro housing markets affecting each of my listings because things can change quickly as new homes come on the market or the competition drops their price. By sharing this report with my clients, we can make decisions together about changes we need to make to get a house sold.
Learning to Juggle:
Think about it…a single person can only do so many things at a time.
There are things that simply can’t wait. Incoming contracts, problems with existing contracts that could kill the deal and potential new clients who call and want to talk about hiring an agent need immediate attention. Buyers who are ready to find a house today also require focused attention of their agent.
When a real estate agent gets busy, everything else gets pushed aside.
What are those ‘everything else’ things that don’t get done when agents are busy?
- Actively marketing homes listed for sale that aren’t yet under contract
- Analyzing what is happening in the market that affects an agent’s active listings
- Keeping clients informed of what is happening day to day
I’m simply not willing to neglect my current clients in order to take on new ones.
The solution was to focus on working with a limited number of clients at a time. I’m not trying to be the agent who closes 100 deals a year. I’d rather work with 5-10 clients at a time and give them exceptional service.
When you hire me to sell your home or find a new home, you will be hiring a real estate market specialist who understands what works and what may look impressive, but won’t actually do a thing to get a SOLD sign in front of the house.
Isn’t it time you hired someone who is going to put your needs over everything else.