Patrick Wood, Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties in Chino Hills, California, is invariably one of our top three Top Producers. A friend from Fullerton is credited with bringing Patrick into real estate in 1977.
The friend bought a traditional real estate franchise, and the numbers were enticing. Finding real estate clicked with him, Patrick ran with it, and has been on the go ever since.
Eventually Patrick opened his own Help-U-Sell Real Estate office. “There was an excellent reputation built around the brand name and being able to do 40% volume was a big attraction. In the beginning, I had some seller participation, but I only wanted to offer full-service. I was also working with my agents on a commission structure. Now, everybody who works for me is hourly or salary, plus a monthly bonus. They are paid for everything that they do, which means everyone is invested. I have found it is better for my clients that my office is as service-oriented as possible, and with my dedicated team, there is always someone available to show a house, attend an inspection, meet an appraiser, or just be here to manage something in the office and pick up the phone,” Patrick said. Including his indispensable office manager, Val, there are eight realtors on Patrick’s team.
He continued, “When I first opened, there was some pushback to overcome from the real estate community, and objections from consumers. Yet in my first year, we had 110 sides to show for our efforts. Consumers like keeping equity. We’re in a market where homes are regularly $900,000, and the house across the street sells in just 10 days. Consumers are looking for reason. When we present the facts, they gladly list with us.”
Naturally, we wanted to know about some of the secrets to Patrick’s success.
“We have streamlined ourselves continually over time. The name recognition of Help-U-Sell, combined with our branding efforts, gives us great visibility. We advertise in local media and social media. We keep up with our sign exposure: our regular signs, as well as open house signs – both do a great job of taking advantage of free exposure. Our general presence in the community is also strong because we all live here, work here, and serve our clients here. Our office is situated in a main thoroughfare of a retail center. After 15 years we still get walk-ins! We are involved in our community with children’s charities and sports teams where we get to put our name and number on t-shirts. It’s a foundation we are always adding to and reinforcing,” he said.
To aid in that reinforcement, the team is sending out ‘sold and saved’ postcards every time there is a closing. “In addition, we actively pursue Yelp reviews. Any ad spend always emphasizes full-service and savings. Every listing includes professional photos of the property, including aerial drone photos. We’re providing a seasoned agent to guide clients through this process. One of the bigger compliments we get is a constant stream of listings from other real estate industry professionals, like the appraisers who help us. The consistent effort keeps everything running on track. I see competitors looking at other ways to do business, but we find the old-fashioned efforts get the best results,” Patrick said.
In addition to streamlining efforts, Patrick attributes much of his success to a highly-motivated team, all of whom share certain qualities. He explained, “My team members are extremely confident, detail-oriented, efficient, and personable. Everyone is a rational problem solver. It takes a certain strength to be in front of people presenting information and handling their objections. It’s a great position to be in where you can assign people to places where they’re most needed. We treat people like we’re talking with neighbors rather than strangers, because we do share this community.”
One hallmark for success is the ability to adapt during times of instability. Patrick said, “During the recession years, people had their equity position severely compromised. I made it a point to develop excellent relationships with the banks and became good at handling foreclosures. When the foreclosure market dried up, I evolved into short sales. Most homeowners have equity now, and since they remember all too well what it was like to not have equity, our service and fee structure makes sense to them.”
Patrick’s favorite time-saver is an app called ShowingTime. “It has had a huge impact on how I do business presently. It is simply an extension of my team, and only adds about five or six dollars more in overall listing fees. It easily saves me and my staff 3 to 4 hours every day, because we’re not calling back buyer’s agents who are trying to show the property,” he shared.
With so many years dedicated exclusively to one industry and one region, Patrick offers a lot of insight on the current conditions of his market.
“There are a lot of Californians leaving, and my fellow Help-U-Sell Broker/Owners in Arizona and Texas are seeing the influx of business from those leaving this state. I am seeing a huge inflow of buyers of residential and commercial properties from mainland China. We tried advertising in the local Chinese daily news but learned that buyers from abroad were finding us the same way as local buyers do: online. I’ve seen another trend of international buyers investing in properties without putting eyes on it. It’s a tight market here. Right now there are only 215 homes for sale city-wide, and when you consider the million-dollar or luxury homes, it shuts a lot of people out. It’s a healthy seller’s market with homes selling in an average of just 26 days. Sellers recognize our branding and value.”
The culmination of these efforts speak for themselves when the results come in. In 2018 Patrick and his team closed 119 transactions. For 2019, he has set a goal of 125 to 150. “Our track record of sales, in combination with the savings we offer is pretty compelling when we present to potential clients. The best thing my team does is fast follow up. I often hear from clients that my team members are as trustworthy as I am. That’s as big of a compliment as is possible to give. Being on top means you’re always in the grind, but this is a great place to be.”