In this era of reduced inventory, Help-U-Sell Options Unlimited in Terre Haute, Ind., is one of the top Help-U-Sell offices for new listings taken in 2012. Broker/owner Brenda Fischer attributes this success to “going back to the basics.”
For her, this means answering your phone and following up as quickly as possible on all emails, phone calls, etc. She adds, “Use your buyer and seller data sheets and follow up. Don’t give up on these contacts until they tell you they are not going to list with you or they are not going to look at any more homes. We find that people may list three to six months after the initial contact.”
Fischer’s office attracts the leads that turn into listings and sales in a number of ways, many of which fit the “back to basics” theme. Every day, the office sends out handwritten notecards to all expireds and withdrawns in its target markets.
Traditional advertising works for Options Unlimited also. “We advertise weekly in the Valley Homes Section of the Tribune Star newspaper. Last year, we had an insert in the Tribune Star, where we placed a flyer in the newspaper once a month for three months,” she says. “During the peak listing season, we advertise on the local radio station.” Fischer says it’s a 20-second commercial that promotes how her office can save sellers money.
She uses her happy clients to help tell the Help-U-Sell benefits, too. “We get testimonials from anyone and everyone we can get them from – buyers, sellers, off Trulia and Zillow, etc. We place these in our local newspaper and on our website,” she says.
Fischer describes Terre Haute real estate as a buyer’s market and says that “buyers seem to be taking advantage of that in a big way.”
“They are asking for more personal items than ever before, and they know which houses are priced to sell. Buyers are looking at a lot more homes than they did in the past, and these include homes that may not fit their criteria. They want to make sure they have seen everything that may remotely fit their needs,” she explains.
Fischer says her office’s goals for 2013 are to have at least 50 listings by July 1 and to have approximately 65 sides in 2013. She intends to use her market analysis to plan when to advertise and where to advertise to get the most bang for her buck. “We are also planning a three-month trial period with Trulia and we plan to sponsor a Little League baseball team,” she says.
As an almost six-year Help-U-Sell veteran, Fischer offers well-earned advice for new franchisees.
“Some of the traditional real estate companies do not like our concept,” she says. “Kill them with kindness and be as helpful as you can to them.” For instance, she recommends making it easy to show your houses by being thoughtful about which lockboxes you use.
Fischer adds that a proper introduction is key when you’re first opening your office. “Send a note to all brokers in town that Help-U-Sell is here and what it means,” she says. “Everyone thinks they understand what we are all about, and they tell people their version. Get yours out there.”