43 years ago, Help-U-Sell Real Estate began as an industry disruptor by offering home sellers a way to save thousands of dollars with a set-free commission structure. David Bartels, the Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty, has such an impressive history with being a disruptor himself, you could say he disrupts as a way of life, and it has served him well.
Initially, David worked in the automotive industry, and was recruited to California where he conducted training that taught car salespeople how to provide a better experience for car buyers. This completely overhauled how cars were sold, and created a new industry standard. David’s career in disruption was born. In 2004, David had an ”ah-ha!” moment when he was trying to refinance a mortgage. He thought, “This is worse than buying a car.” So he created his own software solution, started conducting training and proving that his model was closing more leads into loans. He caught the attention of the largest provider of mortgage documents in the industry and sold the company.
When the market crashed, and David transitioned into helping people facing foreclosures in 2009. David Bartel’s loan modification assistance company was charging no upfront fees, and no charges unless the loan was approved. Over 18 months, the company lost a million dollars. Rather than turn people away, he sent a letter to clients stating they were still committed to helping folks avoid foreclosure. “Morally, I didn’t want to quit,” David shared. That moment led to David ushering in his first short sale transaction, and the founding of Home Loan Advocates. He was conducting so many seminars on short sales transactions, he caught the attention of the folks at Help-U-Sell Real Estate and David was invited to present at the annual sales meeting being held that year in Irvine, California.
That talk in 2012 led to David’s company becoming a resource for Help-U-Sell Real Estate, working with several of the offices with clients that needed short sale transaction help. “At this point, I didn’t have my real estate license yet, let alone a franchise. But when the market shifted away from foreclosures to people who had marginal equity in their homes, it became clear to me that more people would have a need for this type service. So I got my real estate license and broker’s license and became a franchisee,” David said. “Help-U-Sell’s history of market disruption and business model was a great fit for me.”
The relationship between David Bartels and Help-U-Sell Real Estate was a mutually beneficial one for certain. During his first year in 2013, he closed 10 transactions. In 2014, that number jumped to 39, then 53. In 2017 David’s office and his team of 11 people closed 70 transactions. “We place a lot of emphasis on marketing with a message centered on disruption. Our favorite new slogans are: ‘Progressive. Different. Better. ’ and ‘Where we pay for your move when you buy with us!’ People are responding to it, but the secret to our success is, we run the same processes every single day. The repetition of our marketing in its various forms works incrementally.”
In addition to providing great service and savings to home sellers, David worked hard to create a strong differentiation in the marketplace by developing a panoply of value-added services available to both buyers and sellers. David went on to explain, “We provide 4 hours of free handy man services to both buyers and sellers, we offer free use of our moving truck, and free use of our legal services before, during and after the home buying/selling process. Additionally, if you bought a house through us, we offer you a satisfaction guarantee that’s hard to beat. If you decide you don’t like the house you bought within 12 months, we will sell that house for free and help you buy another house. We are committed to offering a better than full service experience.”
In spite of being quite busy, David still makes time to participate in the Help-U-Sell coaching groups. “I find the coaching groups enormously helpful. The chance to bounce around ideas and reason things out with other franchisees creates a team of supporters that feels more like family than competitors. When I started, I had no idea how to list or market a house. The coaching groups gave me the space to ask any question early on, and some of the things we develop in those groups ends up having a positive impact company wide.”
Yet there are still new things on the horizon for David Bartels and his team. “Our new website just got put up, a new FSBO program was just introduced by the corporate Help-U-Sell Real Estate office, and I am looking forward to seeing how our sales are going to be positively impacted by both. We’re growing sales and revenue every year. I’m very clear on what we’re doing and why it is working. My goal is dominate this market.”
Spoken like a true disruptor.