After completing her college studies in India, Meena Gujral met and married her husband, a resident of the United States, and emigrated with him to begin the next phase of her life. She worked in hotel sales, but felt a pull towards real estate in 1986.
“I got my real estate license the same year my son was born. It was clear early on that I wanted a career that would enable me to spend more time with him. Of course, what I did not realize at the time, is that real estate can be a 24-hour business. You work on weekends and in the evenings, but you can create your schedule around the needs of a family. Aside from the flexibility, one of the things that attracted me to real estate was the concept of home ownership. Helping people move into new homes and sharing in their excited feelings when they achieve that is very satisfying. You get to share in their happiness,” Meena said.
Meena’s Office, Help-U-Sell Achievers Realty in Pleasanton, California, cropped up in our year-end list of Top Producers for 2018, which highlights brokers that have the strongest sales numbers. Meena attributes her strong end-of-year close in part to being very social, with a strong push towards marketing herself. “I participate in a lot of networking groups around my city. There are a lot of social groups in my neighborhood, and I’ve built a good reputation doing short sale transactions. I also regularly publicize the amount of money I save clients on home transactions,” she added. Meena’s husband, Jasbir, is also a broker and involved with the business, primarily functioning as a mortgage broker.
Plans for 2019 have Meena doubling what she did in 2018. “I’m really looking forward to what we achieve this year. I started January with three listings out of the gate, and I am working actively with two buyers. I’ve got a great focus on my goals,” she said.
Pleasanton, California is in the Bay Area, just outside of San Francisco. “The market here is always high, with the median price of houses around $800,000. The downside of that means home sales can move a little slower because there is a smaller margin of people able to buy in that price range. It’s always interesting to watch how a house is received by potential buyers. One of my recent listings was priced similarly to a neighboring house that had a lot of expensive renovations. I had concerns my listing wouldn’t be as well received, but buyers raved about it and it ended up selling quickly,” Meena explained. “The Bay Area has always experienced a tight inventory in the housing market.”
When it comes to branding and reputation, Meena finds just the name Help-U-Sell is a benefit. She shared, “People call the office because they know someone who used Help-U-Sell and were extremely happy with the results. Other people call because they are curious to find out what we’re about. Once we explain, they generally want to list with us. With the market always being so high here, people love the fact that we save them money. When I point out some other differences between myself versus the offerings of a traditional brokerage, I let them know they’re getting the best marketing and same exposure on the MLS. I tell them exactly what is going to happen, and they are impressed.”
Social media has shifted a lot of the home buying and selling experience, and Meena has adjusted her practices accordingly. Meena shared, “Some things change and others stay consistent. I do a lot of marketing on social media, with a heavy emphasis on Facebook, as well as generous use of Instagram, Pinterest, Google My Business, and LinkedIn. My shift in strategy has resulted in my listings on social media getting 150% more views over my competition. That’s positive and different. What stays the same is people see they are saving money. They are gaining the expertise of a person with longevity in the business. They see your marketing plan and understand they are not going to be missing out anything.”
The in-house marketing that is a hallmark of the Help-U-Sell Real Estate system is something that Meena finds useful in creating awareness for her company. She said, “The marketing system that is a part of the single sign-on platform is very easy to use. I create many of my postcards in there, and it’s easy to customize. Social media, in combination with the more traditional methods of marketing like signage, have been keeping me at the right level of exposure. When people call us, I hear ‘we see your signs all over the place’. This goes for outside my typical market, too. When I meet new people, I often hear they have already heard my name. I know I’m doing well as I continue to build my reputation.”
Moving into the new year, Meena is pleased. “Working with my husband is a huge asset. With his expertise in mortgage lending, he is able to quickly share information to make buyers feel comfortable with the lending process. With the two of us working together, it makes it feel like a one-stop shop. I really love the situation I’ve created,” Meena said. Which is a fantastic goal to achieve in anyone’s book.