Those of us who are in the technology sector go through a constant cycle where we see a few grab on to a new opportunity and run with it, a larger bunch pass on the same opportunity because they are either too busy or, in a slow market, don’t want to spend the money, and yet another bunch, simply not bother because they know better or don’t want to get into yet another technology ‘thing’.
Ultimately, the group that is always open to learning about new things and always hungry to explore better ways to do business is the set that is often referred to as pioneers. Let’s call them Group 1. These are the trailblazers who everyone looks up to, later follows and constantly tries to emulate.
They are the early birds that get the worm, while Groups 2 and 3 snooze and lag behind.
The pattern is consistent and goes back to eternity, in advanced technology years. We need not go back too far. When cell phones came out, there was quite the resistance, for many reasons. The pioneers got on with it however, reaped the productivity benefits and set themselves apart. The rest then followed. That was one technology that the ultimate laggards, Group 3, simply had to cave in to at some point, or vanish.
The personal business website is another that many in the real estate market also resisted and still do until now. There are many REALTORS who to this day still work off of a web page given to them by their Association. And we’re already in 2013, going to 2014. Again, the pioneers were those who launched their own websites early on, and took advantage of the lead they had on their competitors. They learned early on about what worked and what didn’t, learned and applied more advanced search engine positioning tactics and in turn once again grabbed the worm at the expense of groups 2 and 3.
Social media came next and we all know that most agents are still trying to figure that one out. The early troopers already have it integrated into their systems and continue to look for new ways to leverage the trend.
Today whenever we discuss ‘out there’ technologies like online auctions and tele-presence video conferencing and video email, we still hear the same arguments from groups 2 and 3. They are either far too busy to look into something new because the market is too hot and they are turning away business (I literally got that one yesterday from one Realtor), or if we caught them not too long ago when the market was still very tough, their excuse was that business was too slow and they were not about to invest any money until the market turned.
If that is not a catch 22, I’m not sure what is.
So, too busy when the market is hot, and when the market is slow, too broke to invest in new technologies. And one wonders why Group 1 almost always leads.
Two trends that pioneer real estate agents (if you are reading this article, you obviously already are, or you are working to be in that category) are starting to embrace today are online real estate auctions for all types of properties including REOs and traditional listings, and video communication and marketing technologies. Have you watched the Million Dollar Listing NY TV show lately?
Next time you list a client property, early bird strategy suggests you auction it so you can maximize the sale price for the seller, increase your income and manage offers virtually without having to lift a finger. Among other great options, I’d give ListedBy.com a shot. It’s entirely, 100 percent free.
And when it comes to marketing the auction, or a traditional sale, do look into video marketing to support your push, even though your strategies still work. Video is the way to go going forward according to statistics from numerous leading organizations and research firms, and learning and applying video to your marketing sets you on the next pioneer path that others will undoubtedly follow. Here is one fully integrated video marketing and communication system that every Realtor owes it to themselves to take a very close look at. These tools are so powerful, simple and inexpensive. I use the platform and it is unlike anything else we’ve seen out there, by miles.
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.
You eat an elephant one bite at a time.
Often, having a clear vision and the courage to start working towards an opportunity is what stands between man and his or her ultimate goal. With a little bit of study and appetite for some risk, the goal may in fact be closer than one might think.
The first order of business is to spot the opportunity. The next order of business is to remove anyone from sight who’s job seems to discourage us from moving forward. This is frequently the reason why most people freeze. In his famous The Law of Success in 16 Lessons book, the success bible, Napoleon Hill specifically discusses how you must keep your chief aim shielded from others who are likely to challenge or resist it. Even your spouse. Take this as law in achieving the success that you want, even though it is contrary to all the modern guru teachings that you must publish your goals far and wide so you may be more committed to achieving them.
In real estate, an opportunity of a lifetime came to those who saw a buying window when everyone ran the other way in 2008, 2009 and even up until last year. Those who made the move and acquired as much property as they could, boarded or not, with spouse approval or not, are on a different plane now. We all know where these investments stand today. Up some 20-25 percent in the past year alone, in many states and cities across the US. They hopped on the Web and onto online auction sites to grab REO auctions, government real estate auctions, residential real estate auctions, commercial real estate auctions, you name it. Some flipped them right away while others rehabbed and held the assets for rental income with high annual cash on cash returns unlike we’ve seen for decades.
The biggest complaint circling the sector today is lack of inventory, especially distressed assets. Whether that’s in Detroit, Las Vegas or any other market.
The next time I come across a hot deal in Detroit or otherwise, boarded or not, shabby or not, I’m jumping on it. That’s just what I did earlier today, when opportunity presented itself. I bid on five residential properties in Detroit on ListedBy.com, going for just tens or mere hundreds of dollars to anyone willing to take on just a few thousand dollars of back dues taxes. A great deal if you ask me. At worst, the land will always be there for me or my kids to farm someday. Each will have their profiting strategy. Some will resell the assets immediately for a bit of profit, taxes still unpaid. Others will hold till values increase, then sell at that time, still passing due taxes to the next investor. Yet others might pay due taxes in order to obtain title insurance, rehab the properties and rent them for regular cash flow. That is, if the neighborhood and overall conditions are adequate, an insurance provider is willing to provide the service in the area, and the risk of another round of vandalism of the property has been well considered. Risks are out there and professional advice and due diligence on any investment is always necessary.
But first I must win those bids. Some astute investors seem to have spotted the same properties. Until then, I’ll keep scouting the site for more. Here great deals still do come by.
I also like it here not just because of my obvious bias towards ListedBy, but because I also don’t need to pay registration and technology fees like on most other auction sites. Nor do I have to contend with buyer premiums like most everywhere else. Here it’s all free. So each bite I take at my goal, goes further. In English? More dollars in my pocket to go towards buying more assets (with or without spousal approval), instead of handing them to the auctioneer.
There you have it. That’s one of my paths. I’m pulling ahead in the game of real estate just one small bite at a time, until the elephant is in the bag.
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.
An exciting development for all ListedBy users and site visitors today, as well as for service providers who offer services to the real estate industry in the U.S.
We just launched the Service Providers section of the site, which allows ListedBy users to research and find services related to real estate from across the country. If anything, the Service Providers module roll out is another example of our commitment to making ListedBy.com the place for everything real estate.
Whether it’s painters, movers, insurance providers or any other service, and whether you know the area or if you are from out of town or out of state, this is a key peg in helping you to find and get information about the services that you need, at a local level, as you make either an investment decision or need a service for your own property.
As a service provider, the exposure is entirely free. Just drop by the Service Providers page and add your company to gain exposure. We’ve also added enhanced placement options, which gets your company to the top of the search results in the states of your choice.
Here is the full announcement released earlier today on the wire:
Public Real Estate Auctions Site ListedBy Launches Service Providers Directory
Self-Managed Search Database Gives ListedBy Users Access to Information on Local Real Estate Related Services, and for Service Providers, Free Exposure and Leads
NAPA, Calif. – January 28, 2012 – ListedBy (www.ListedBy.com), the first free online real estate marketplace and social network with live bidding public real estate auctions and ‘Best Offer’ functionality today announced the launch of its Service Providers module, a self-managed, self-populated directory designed to give ListedBy users convenient access to information on local real estate related services across the United States.
“As a platform that truly stands out among other real estate sites and real estate auction companies, part of our mission at ListedBy is to constantly elevate user experience and value,” said Stephan Piscano, CEO and Founder, ListedBy. “Whether it’s homeowners, buyers and sellers, or investors involved in REO auctions, government auctions and regular assets, identifying and connecting with local service providers is an on-going requirement. ListedBy is now positioned to deliver on this need like no other site online.”
Free to join, the ListedBy Service Providers tool is organically populated and currently covers all U.S. states and territories. International search is planned for release later this year.
Service providers can join the new directory at https://www.listedby.com/ServiceProviders/ServiceProviderMaster. Additional categories can be requested through the company’s online Forum.
Enhanced placement in the directory is available as an option in one of two packages offered at $50.00 per month per state, or for $248.00 dollars per state for a full year subscription.
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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!