While the figure indicated above may not be statistically valid, it should nonetheless worry brokers and raise some flags. Mainly because it is based on a real, recent experience a close business partner of mine had when attempting to purchase investment properties.
Another reason for concern is that responsiveness has been an ongoing issue in the industry. Considering it is well known that one of every four consumers will do business with the first real estate agent they connect with, one would think agents across the board would have by now figured ways to bank on the statistic.
The story I’m about to share is actually scary.
This cash-ready investor was out to make several property acquisitions about four weeks ago, in different parts of the United States. During one morning, he called one hundred real estate agents (yes, ONE HUNDRED) to inquire about one or more of their active listings. The intent was in fact to place offers on the properties, not just ask questions.
The shock came when most of the calls went unanswered. You’d think that 75 percent of calls in any sales oriented business would be picked up. If that was your guess, you were wrong. In fact not 50, 40, 30 and not even 10 percent of the calls were answered. Only ONE out of the one hundred agents contacted that morning actually picked up the phone!
Now if that shouldn’t sound the alarm, not sure what will.
It gets worse though.
This buyer left messages to all 99 remaining agents clearly stating his wish to place an offer on a property. I repeat. He told the agents to call him back because he wanted to BUY their listing. Most were traditional for sale listings, others were REO auctions or regular residential real estate auctions.
Not to belabor the point, only five agents returned the call at some point that day.
This puts six percent of agents at a clear advantage over the remaining 94 percent, with only one percent set to truly clean up.
The difficulty in answering the phone in real estate remains a mystery and obviously an insurmountable challenge. But if the industry is to edge forward, someone has to figure this out.
Maybe it’s time brokers took a closer look at the issue – and perhaps a more active role addressing it.
One thing is certain though. Sites like ListedBy that allow buyers to instantly place offers online are a breath of fresh air and great time savers. But even these would only be of real value if agents are more click than phone friendly.
The main message we delivered through our presentation (SJREI021313) at the SJREI (San Jose Real Estate Investors) two days ago was that transparency, or its lack thereof, is a critical catalyst that is preventing the industry from being what it can be, and the real estate professional, agent or investor, from being as efficient and productive as they should be. The underlying force being that a new paradigm shift in real estate is in underway, fueled by consumer insight, powered by technology and new business models.
We stressed and showed how these models will threaten the existence of organizations, large and small, that refuse to notice the oncoming change and tune in to new consumer expectations in how the real estate business is handled, especially online.
This would include real estate auction companies and real estate auction sites, sites that enable REO auctions and real estate government auctions, and organizations dealing in any shape or form with public real estate auctions or foreclosures and distressed property data and listings.
Notwithstanding, regular consumer portals were discussed in the same context, be it publicly traded companies or startup. That the threat is real.
The good news was that the undercurrent also brings with it potentially huge opportunities for those same organizations who tune in to the change and adapt, as many have magnificently done over the years.
Within the context of a session meant to explain to experienced real estate investors what ListedBy.com is, we took the path of focusing on industry concerns that when addressed by platforms and open environments such as ListedBy.com, should result in far greater efficiencies (operational and cost) and productivity for the investor and anyone engaged in the buying and selling of real assets. This, on the premise that all technology we elect to deploy in business is meant to enhance one or the other, in some shape or form.
The paradigm shift would consist of three key pillars with transparency at its core. From these new levels of transparency, the benefits far greater efficiencies and productivity will be drawn. Lack of transparency, today a detriment to economic growth and sales productivity will be replaced with an environment where full transparency is an expectation. Vis:
We have a long way before everyone buying and selling real estate realize how deep the benefits of transparency would run within an organization, and how much of a boost in operational and sales productivity such transparency and access to information can drive.
If participant feedback at the session was any indication, the thinking behind ListedBy.com is definitely something more and more real estate professionals will be gravitating to.
Not long ago, many markets were literally frozen. Today we went to the opposite extreme. Agents and investors in a number of markets are complaining from low inventory, with many having closed over one hundred deals last year. A good sign if banks are able to continue to manage the inflow of foreclosures into the market. While inventory control and Federal Reserve money printing policies have directly led to a demand-based market within an inflationary environment that further helped to boost prices, the reality is that agents and investors are now looking for ways to manage multiple offers more efficiently. Irrespective of market conditions, allowing offers to fall through the cracks has deep implications on sellers, agents and buyers, and must be effectively addressed.
One of the emerging trends in real estate is fully transparent public real estate auctions. The idea of ‘auction’ is making its way into agent and investor plans, slowly but surely. But if the statistics offer any reliable indication, real estate auctions will become significantly more prominent over the next 2-3 years. In fact, NAR (National Association of REALTORS®) projects that the auction market will consist of one of every real estate transaction, by 2014-15.
As in any industry, there are visionaries and pioneers who embrace new technologies and adopt new ways to manage and grow their businesses. Automating offer management is now emerging as an effective means for real estate agents and real estate investors to manage incoming offers and counter offers while maximizing property value at the same time.
The idea and execution are both extremely simple:
1- Set a start and end date to auction a property online. Traditional on location auctions tend to be relatively cumbersome, resource intensive and expensive. New 100% online auction platforms are replacing the old model and are entirely free of charge.
2- Pre-market the auction to investors, brokers, agents, consumers and anyone you would usually reach out to through your usual marketing channels, and direct them to the online auction page. Include the auction open and expiry dates and times. Use email, post cards, your website and social media channels to create excitement around the auction, and include the link to the auction page.
3- Watch offers come in and get outranked automatically by other interested buyers, through your online dashboard and at your convenience.
4- Contact the buyer with the highest bid, at auction expiry (the auction end date and time), to begin the legal paperwork.
Along the way, advanced platforms such as ListedBy should enable you to view bidder profiles and contact information, so you may connect with them directly if you wish to flesh out the more likely buyers, much like you would in a typical, non auction environment.
Letting technology take in bids, update bidders and automatically increase bids based on preset limits each interested buyer inputs into the system is a surefire way to manage hundreds of offers simultaneously, especially important in a hot market. So you can seal that crack once and for all, and maximize sales and property value.
WOW Inman News was the best that we have seen yet with some great moments and great feedback for ListedBy from users and some of the top industry pros!
Also never a bad thing to get to play a bit in NYC!
- As my esteemed colleague noted, the industry is taking more and more of the home buying process online and seems to be a real drive towards completing transactions online and eliminating the paperwork nonsense that we have dealt with for so long. This obviously was a big part of why we founded the ListedBy.com site. To allow users to not only research homes online but actually buy homes online, and we are excited to be a part of that for the industry as a whole. Ideally we would like to incorporate a paperless system into our site that would perhaps make it even easier for our users to not only submit offers on homes online but actually complete the transaction. Who knows, we might have made a partnership for that at this event.=)
- NYC is enjoyable and one heck of a place to go, but those stories that you hear about the airport at JFK are all true!
- It was a pleasure for me to get to chat with a couple of industry rockstars in particular that had some sentimental value for me. Won’t state their names as don’t have authorization to, but one CEO in particular still owns the site where I bought my first Detroit, MI property online that to some extent started the whole idea for creating the ListedBy site. It was great to chat with someone of his caliber for an hour and hear he actually really liked the concept of our site! Also, great to see a few good friends and partners like Bill from Revestor, the boys from NuOffer, my main man Hector from Trycera (All great companies to check out) and many more.
- We REALLY got some positive comments from a lot of the industry’s top agents about the website and saw that they really love the ability that ListedBy allows for them to have direct offers from the buyers, which allows them the opportunity to double their commissions by representing both parties. Also, agents and users all loved the new and improved page for service providers where you can search services for free like you would on a servicemagic.com and other similar websites, but with us of course it is all for real estate management and purchases.
- We once again had a helicopter to give away to one lucky user. Roger always tries to get it out of the box and fly it around, which sometimes results in the police being called. Luckily I was there to save him from himself! Another personal note highlight for me is that we got to have a great dinner with a killer view of the city with my big guy Roger. It was nice to have a moment like that with a great business partner and friend to look at where we have come and where we hope to go with the site as we continue to grow. As we all know, running startups and really any business has ups and downs, and takes a certain level of dedication. So moments like that, events like NAR Orlando and this one are really a big part of what makes it so enjoyable and rewarding, and why I am so thankful to all of you for using the site and allowing us to keeping putting out those 15 hour days to try and get better all the time.
To clarify, the gentleman noted in the photo there is Hector from Trycera, not Roger.
All in all it was exceptional and we look forward to being a part of many more events like this one in the future and hopefully seeing some of you there also. Who knows, you might win a helicopter, or even better, private dinner with me and Roger!
The INMAN Connect conference in NYC just wrapped up. After three long, tiring and extremely productive days, what stays with us is how grateful we are for yet another opportunity to see and spend time with many of our long time business partners and customers. As well, all the new executive level contacts and subscribers who decided to join and try out ListedBy.com.
Not many conferences bring together decision makers with this intensity. The event was very well managed, so kudos to the INMAN team for a job very well done!
Some of our takeaways from the conference is that optimism amongst industry professionals and vendors of all types of solutions is at a high we have not seen for several years. That is extremely encouraging.
In addition to learning how to effectively use social media in real estate, there was clear interest in figuring how to more effectively manage multiple offers, specifically in this relatively hot market. With many Realtors telling us they closed over one hundred deals in 2012, what they are now interested in, besides more inventory of course, is increased efficiency in managing multiple offers and deals.
Certainly this made paperless oriented technologies more interesting and attractive, and it showed on the conference floor. We had extremely great feedback and support regarding ListedBy’s buy/sell online negotiations and public real estate auctions tool, as well as for the site’s free, advertising supported business model and the built-in social networking module.
To note was the realization by many top producers we spoke to that they can now rely on one of ListedBy’s productivity enablers, the live online auction tool, to manage incoming offers practically without lifting a finger or answering a single email. For those not familiar with ListedBy, strictly by allowing bidders to see who else is on the bid side and what the latest bid is at, multiple buyers move the process forward by increasing their bids directly through the system, without the listing agent’s personal involvement until the auction expiry (the date and time the agent sets for the auction to end).
Brokers also showed solid interest, underlined by commitment, to ListedBy’s broker solution. The solution allows a company to market its agents and listings more widely for free, but in a way where the agents get to receive not only leads and traffic to their sites, but also actual offers that they can accept, reject or counter with a click of the mouse while logged on to ListedBy.
Thanks again to everyone for all the new ideas and input, which in ListedBy land is of paramount importance and goes right into our planning for future upgrades and releases.
For those new to ListedBy, here is a How To Video series to help you get started. We look forward to working with you and to supporting you in any way we can.
What do you tell potential clients that others haven’t yet pitched? What do you have to show to stand out from your local competition?
The single property website story has been played. So has listing syndication, property videos, commitment to doing open houses and other typical advertising and marketing strategies. In a distressed market, pre-forelcosure and short sale experience also tend to make a huge difference. But on any day, highlighting online auction as one of your strengths and unique strategies to marketing client property is a significant differentiator.
Whether you are working to win a large commercial or residential deal, your prospect will be delighted to hear how you can use online auction technology to market their property to buyers worldwide, and set up an environment that can ignite a bidding competition on their house or office building.
The next generation agent is going paperless, and negotiating deals is a critical piece of the puzzle. So is the ability to bid buyers against each other to maximize asset value, without breaking a sweat. Online auction delivers these benefits easily and efficiently, and is a rapidly growing trend that pioneering agents and top producers are and must pay attention to.
A house that’s walking distance to Union Station in DC recently listed for $337,000 and sold for nearly $761,000 after approximately 170 bids in just two weeks, as reported today by the Washington Post. Imagine enabling out of area, out of state and foreign bidders to chime in as well, online. Now how about firing up the bidding process even more, by allowing bidders to see each others’ bids online, and enabling them to increase their bids with a click of the mouse, while you and your client watch in real time?
New online commercial and residential real estate auction technology is extremely easy to use, and is completely free of charge for all parties involved. It allows you to manage and oversee hundreds of bids without lifting a finger, and gives you the chance to market to buyers out of state and across the world, with no added effort.
Now that’s the kind of pitch that stands to snag you more listings, while others stand in wonder.