We ran stories this week — lots of them. You all read them, and you told us what you thought in the comments section.
I read the comments you all leave every day, and we’ve started highlighting the best of the week. Below, in no particular order, are the top comments from the week of February 8-12.
I think this article is fantastic. It is fantastic because of the brilliant comments that follow. A good article makes you think and should make you uncomfortable. We need to be ready to face these type of discount companies head-on and the insightful responses are well worth reading and many are objection handlers we all should use. We all know this is not a simple business and no transaction is divided into a “showing” or “writing an offer.” Agents who are doing this are risking their reputation as there is no incentive to provide a high level of customer service for 50 bucks.
Ross McEathron · Commented on How to turn Starbucks into a lead goldmine | Inman
My wife is a CPA and she and I went up to our local Starbucks one morning this past December and bought a $500 Starbucks card and told them coffee was on us until it ran out or we left. We spent $425 that day and the customers were truly grateful. We were able to pass out about 100 cards each and chat with people. Plenty of people told us they were planning on buying or selling this Spring. We didn’t hear from anyone until late January when a lady called me and the first words out of her mouth were “you bought me a cup of coffee one day and I have a rental property I want to sell. She went on to say she had another one that was occupied that she also wanted to sell and they were most likely going to move out of the area this year and she would like to hire me to work for her. The first rental is $375K, not your typical rental, the second one is $250K and her home is worth $600K. Not bad for a $450 investment and I feel sure I will hear from more people before it’s all over. I’m planning on doing this on a regular basis now and cutting out all of my ad money to fund it.
I totally agree about the photos, I really feel that agents are doing their sellers a disservice by not having great pictures on the MLS as well as all the other sites. When I am working with a buyer client that is looking for specific things for their new home and I search for listings to show, if there are no pictures or the pictures are such poor quality that you cannot make the interior out, I do not bother showing that listing and it might be exactly what my client is looking for. So agents make sure your pictures represent the home or condo.
Understanding the dynamics of search is a good way to initially get more traffic, but it is the UI / UX that keeps and ultimately converst the traffic to future business. And in the world of UI / UX it is quality content that holds users and keeps them coming back for more. That is when a high-level search experience is ultimately replaced by a known and liked url – great place to go the find great things. Rock on!
I have no issue doing this full time since ’89 and advocating that someone not a buy a home – not everyone should or can. This isn’t the end all – be all.
As for millennials riding in to save the day, please. Like every generation there is a segment of productive members but in my experience I’m seeing and hearing a lot of whining, moving back in with mommy and daddy and a reluctance to cut the strings. I know I was wearing camoflauge responsible for 40+ guys when I was 22 and married at 24. I’m not saying what pervious generations said about us dope smoking free love boomers but I’m not sold on the millennial savior idea.
Great article Sam, very thought provoking.
I think the reason so many want to break our model or blow up our commissions is because they feel what we charge is not fair. In my market you can sell just one median priced home and make more than many people make working the entire year. Then you can have offshore VAs handle the paperwork, other agents do the Open House for you, and at least from the publics perspective, we did not do a whole lot of work to earn that huge commission.
As long as that perception is out there, others will keep throwing million of dollars at ways to change our model. I welcome all this well funded competition, as it raises the bar and makes us all better. Redfin might only have a small market share, but their technology probably motivated a lot of large and small agencies to make their website better, and that benefits everyone.
My personal opinion.
Ten years ago, Rich Barton told CNN Money that new tools like the ones being offered by his company were going to make real estate agents less important, and quite possibly lower the fees homebuyers and sellers pay.
He also said that, “Realtors currently sit at the middle of the transaction. I think in the future they will sit more on the outside offering specific services.”
Different story today though.
Perhaps the real estate industry has done more to disrupt Zillow than the other way around.
Yes, Zillow’s success to date has no doubt helped thousands of agents earn more money as Premier Agents than they would have without those leads. That’s good (for those agents). It also awoke many “traditional” brokerage firms that sat on their hands far too long as the emerging Web provided meaningful opportunities to deliver more of what consumers really want as they move through the home buying/selling process. That’s good too (for the firms that have chosen to take action). There are lots of other “goods” that are the result of Zillow pushing the envelope when the industry might rather have stayed put. But before we bring out the ice cream and candles, remember this quote by Rich Barton from a Wired article less than 3 years ago. “People like to be provoked, and if you are provoking with information that is on the side of the angels, on the side of the consumer, the louder the industry reacts. And they just can’t win. It’s the greatest way to market, pick a fight with somebodywho can’t win.” And just a few days ago, another quote from Barton in the Seattle Times referring to what’s next on Zillow’s tech radar. “Then there’s the basic mechanics of home shopping and the way documents are transferred. That’s going to change. We are going to be leading on all of it.” No, Zillow is not going to become a broker. But just maybe they intend to create the end to end platform for all things residential real estate. Good? Bad? But when one of the founders says that the industry “can’t win”, one should wonder whether this is a party worth attending.
Catherine Richardson you never know when the owner has stepped next door for coffee with a neighbor, or is walking the dog around the block and didn’t take their key. And you don’t necessarily know that there’s another showing after you which the sellers/agent would like the lights on for. First rule I ever learned as an agent- Leave the house exactly as you found it, if that means not locking the doorknob but only the deadbolt, you’d better pay attention as you let yourself in. You also don’t know if a cabinet or drawer may have recently been painted and your closing it will damage the finish or stick it closed.
Oh you are so wrong on all points. One thing you didn’t mention is in some cases the seller may pay less commission in a dual agency transaction, which make it very attractive to the seller.
Part-Time Agent, truly available 24/7 and able to give my clients one-on-one service, and don’t pay for any Zillow ads. Happy part-timer and don’t care about their share prices.