Real Estate Disruption and Passing the Torch

John Powell, a long-time Broker/Owner at Help-U-Sell Real Estate with several decades of experience, now the Chief Development Officer, weighed in recently on the current trends facing and affecting today’s real estate industry. He also serves as a coach and mentor.


What’s Going On Now

Trends in today’s real estate market tend to validate the business model that Help-U-Sell Real Estate invented more than 42 years ago. The industry has been in turmoil for some time, and we’ve reached a tipping point. There are many “new” business models coming into the fray with options like instant offers from well-funded groups who will buy a house from the seller for cash with a quick closing and then flip the house for a profit. Several other companies have emerged mimicking Help-U-Sell by charging a single flat fee. While their fee structure may resemble what we do, these new competitors have little in common with Help-U-Sell.

It is important to note that none of these well-funded, new competitors are using the old, traditional 6% commission model. Investors are not willing to invest in an outdated business model. Instead they are impelling the shift to consumer-oriented, consumer-centric business practices. It is remarkable that, given the shift in the industry, many traditional model companies are doubling down on the agent-centric system. They are offering new technology to agents and 100% + commissions. Some are offering multi-level type schemes where agents can get a percentage of the commissions of agents they recruit to the company. These brokerages consider the agents to be their clients instead of the consumer who actually generates the revenue. In the end, the consumer will determine the model that gives them the best value for their money.

Disruption is the Model

Help-U-Sell is the original disruptor in real estate. We have been disrupting the standard idea of how brokers and Realtors do business for more than 42 years. When we started, most people were doing business the same way they do it today: list the house for a percentage commission, usually between 5 and 7% and put it in MLS. We pioneered the consumer-centric model by going directly to the consumer.  We asked home sellers and buyers, “What did you like about your real estate experience? What did you not like? What would you change?” We based our model around those answers and formed Help-U-Sell Real Estate.

Competition and Changes

Today’s technology supports our original vision of a consumer-centric real estate experience, making the whole real estate purchase and sale process easier than ever. In the past, Realtors held the key for every house on the market and controlled access. Today, consumers use online tools to control their home search. Home sellers can look up a valuation online, or area statistics on crime or school ratings. The role of the Help-U-Sell Broker has shifted over time, but our value proposition is the same: “Full service. Big savings. The experts next door.”

Other companies are currently experimenting with a set-fee. A popular new company just raised their rate from $3,200 to $3,600. As the original real estate disruptor, we are not experimenting, we are experienced. We’ve been doing this for 42 years. As a franchise organization, we offer an opportunity to entrepreneurial Realtors that they can’t get at Purplebricks, Zillow, or Redfin. In those organizations and others, all the offices are corporate owned and the brokers are mere employees. One must wonder how quickly a corporate employee can respond to a situation that arises threatening the successful closing of a transaction. As a locally owned business offering set fee pricing, saving sellers thousands and providing full service, Help-U-Sell is perfectly positioned for today’s changing real estate world.

Flexibility and Potential a Big Draw for Maria Powell

While living in Mexico, Maria Powell was working as an executive in banking but had bigger ideas for her life and career. So Maria emigrated to the United States in 1995, determined to carve out a better life. She wanted to pursue real estate for the flexibility to be more available for her children. “When I was in banking, it was difficult to leave work for emergencies, even if your child broke an arm,” Maria said.

Maria sought a real estate mentor, from whom she would learn everything about the industry: John Powell. In her first year, she closed 16 homes. “I’ve always liked sales,” Maria shared, “but one of the reasons I was attracted to real estate was because it is one of the highest-priced items and most important things a person can buy. Being in business for myself was the best possible move because you can earn as much as you want. There is no limit.”

2018 is turning out to be far busier for Maria because she is returning her focus to her business after having spent a lot of time last year caring for a friend in hospice care. “It was important to give that time and attention, because being present for someone like that is an honor. My team at Help-U-Sell Galleria Realty has done a fine job of holding down the fort for me. I joke that my office manager is my second brain. Last year we closed 35 sides. We’re on track this year for somewhere between 45 and 50. The months of April, May and June were crazy for us, we had a ton of leads coming in,” Maria explained.

Although there are many traditional real estate offices and several set-fee style competitors in the Tucson area, Maria has never had an interest in those business models. “To me, the number one company to work for is Help-U-Sell Real Estate. I’ve never been with another real estate company. The support is tremendous, the name recognition is often what gets me in the door, and the coaching is key,” Maria said.

As a matter of fact, Maria just got involved with coaching this past year. “I needed the accountability because I want to do everything,” she laughed. The coaching helped Maria to pinpoint her talents, and concentrate on her strengths while delegating the big time drains to someone else.

Help-U-Sell is bringing more to the table for Maria. She went on to say, “Help-U-Sell Real Estate is the number one set-fee real estate company in the United States. It’s a huge advantage because the possibilities are as endless as the potential. Much of what I need to get a listing is provided for me. The scripts are polished, the marketing pieces are professional, fresh looking, and easily customizable. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, leaving me time to work with clients.”

Talking about her own real estate career, Maria says, “There’s three big reasons I’m successful. One, the Help-U-Sell name recognition alone gets a lot of play; people call me because they know the name and what we stand for. Two, my own experience and expertise. I’ve sold hundreds of homes in Tucson and know my business. Three, and most importantly, we save consumers a lot of money. Home sellers get excited by the savings and tell all their friends. My past clients do most of my marketing for me!”

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