- Ben Caballero, who has been ranked as the country's No. 1 Realtor since 2013, earned $1,022,000,000 in total 2015 home sales and became last year's first billion-dollar agent.
- The tally of Caballero's sales earnings from 2010 to 2015 is $4,503 billion.
- His success is largely accredited to the development of his own online listing management platform, HomesUSA.com, which streamlines information, requests and leads for new home builders.
What does it take to eclipse more than $1 billion in home sales within a year as an individual agent — and make history?
For Ben Caballero, who has been ranked as the country’s No. 1 Realtor in number of transactions and cumulative transaction volume since 2013, it takes selling 2,491 single-family homes in 12 months, an average of 47 per week (that’s more than one every business hour) and a self-invented Internet tech platform, HomesUSA.com, of which he is the president.
What does this milestone mean for him?
“What it means to me — I guess it just means that some gratification that the work that I’ve done has been successful,” he said. “I really never set out to set any kind of milestone like that but it just happens. When you’re in the middle of the contest, you don’t think about anything but just performing.”
Sell what you know
Caballero’s path to on-fire success was a creative but diligent slow burn that began at the age of 21 when he got his broker’s license.
His journey includes starting one of the first apartment rental services and co-founding a custom home-building company, which he discovered was a “particularly difficult business ” especially in the “1980s when banks were charging 22 percent interest for construction loans,” he told Inman in a February interview.
In his development of a guaranteed buy-out program, he noticed the inefficiencies and disorganization of builder clients’ home listings on the MLS.
“I reserved the [HomesUSA.com] URL in 1995,” Caballero said. “At the time I was trying to put together a new-home search engine, and a few years later it morphed into what I’m doing now manually, and it’s just a progression.”
“We were constantly trying to improve our product and improve our service. We have a number of clients who appreciate and see that who have been loyal to us and allow us to grow.”
In the news announcement, Caballero described the scope of the platform as it exists today: “Our Internet-based technology allows us to maintain an average 13-minute turnaround for posting requests to the local MLSs, which then syndicates the listing to sites such as realtor.com and Zillow — with the utmost attention to data accuracy.”
The marketing service for homebuilders requires a flat-fee versus a sales commission.
Patience and experimentation
The advanced and streamlined nature of HomesUSA.com started with just an idea at time when Caballero “barely knew what a Web browser was, much less how to go about developing Web-based software,” he said in Inman’s Q&A.
“But I just kept trying, and I went through several years of trial and error before I felt I had a good handle on what I needed.”
HomesUSA.com offers builders more than 40 different benefits, including market intelligence report generation, information about days on market, automated email alerts, comparable market analysis reports and listing inventory breakdown. Buyer leads are delivered directly to builders’ sales representatives.
According to the news announcement, “the system tracks the status of each assignment, from the acceptance by the professional photographer to confirming that matching the images were uploaded to the listing in the HomesUSA.com system and are ready for distribution to the MLS and syndicated sites.”
For new agents or those hoping to up their transaction game, Caballero urges them to find their niche and specialize. “For example, if you were raised in a rural area … you have a great head start on probably 99 percent of all the other agents when it comes to representing buyers and sellers of farms and ranches,” he further explained in an interview.
The total tally of Caballero’s sales earnings from 2010 to 2015 is $4,503 billion. The Wall Street Journal and Real Trends will release their top real estate agent rankings in June, and Caballero is expected to hold his lead at No. 1.