Everything Leads You to the Next Step

Matt Kellam of Help-U-Sell Keystone Realty grew up in Virginia and graduated from Shepherd University in 1976 with a degree in speech, drama, and mass communications with a focus on radio. He met his wife in 1977 and they married in November of that year. Matt then embarked on a career in radio. He started off as a DJ, became a program director, station manager, and ultimately a general manager.

It’s well-known that radio isn’t a career that pays well, so Matt made a dramatic leap.

He was hired by the developer of the golf course community where he and his family have now lived for 23 years. Matt recalls, “The developer asked me to be the Builder Liaison and Sales Manager. I was still in radio sales at the time, but real estate seemed like a much better option. So I got my real estate license and worked there for three and a half years. The community has about 1,100 homes and two golf courses. I noticed another resident had listed their home with Camp Hill Help-U-Sell Real Estate, which was owned by Ed Owen. I did some research and requested a VHS tape from the Help-U-Sell corporate office to learn more about the franchise.”

After viewing it, Matt made his decision. “I thought it really made sense. If I was going to start my own real estate company, I would do it this way. It has a built-in competitive advantage. I convinced my wife to go all in, we got a loan and I became a Broker. We packed our bags to attend the Help-U-Sell Annual Summit, which was held in San Francisco that year. We had a great time, learned a lot, and took the red-eye back on a Wednesday. The next day, we were manning a booth at the Franklin County Builders show with borrowed signage. No one knew we were coming, it was a complete surprise. It was a fantastic and impactful start. We later opened our physical office in May of that year,” Matt said. “Our first two years surpassed our expectations.”

Help-U-Sell is known for its single-sign-on platform, which makes it easy to do a number of real estate related tasks in one place, such as keeping contacts and leads organized, sending drip emails, customizing postcards, and platforms for text marketing and adding testimonials to your website. Matt explained, “I once sold personal computers, so I have always been ingrained in media and technology. One reason I like Help-U-Sell is they are always streamlining and improving.” Matt uses the Center of Influence postcards quarterly, and the Just Sold postcards. “I’ve also been doing more Facebook advertising for properties that are just listed. We get a lot of traction there,” he added.

The Help-U-Sell Keystone Realty office landed in our Top Producers sales report recently. “That has happened twice in the 14 years I’ve been in business. Many things came together for an exceptional month. Most months for me are good, but the holidays are usually an excellent time for home transactions. According to NAR, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is the time when houses for sale are the most viewed. During that week alone, I had three inquiries from sellers, eight listing appointments, and secured five listings,” Matt said.

The team consists of Matt’s wife, a licensed agent primarily handling transactions and administration, and two other agents. Together, they reached 53 transactions for 2018, and devised a 2019 business plan with a goal of 60. The Chambersburg housing market has a median price range of $173,000 but primarily falling between $150,000 to $200,000. However, during the recession, Matt found the Help-U-Sell name was still a draw. He commented, “So many people were upside-down on their houses. Distressed folks called in, asking what to do because they couldn’t keep their homes. I became really good at short sales and jumped into them. When people think of you to help solve their problem, you know you made a smart choice.”

The built-in competitive advantage persists and thrives for Matt. “Once I give my elevator speech, I’m getting that listing most of the time. Once they understand that it isn’t voodoo, meaning they’re getting the same representation and expertise as they would from a traditional broker, they are all in. When I first opened, I got a lot of pushback from competitors, to the point where I caught them telling outright lies about my business. After a polite confrontation, I never had any more trouble. Home sellers either understand or figure out they’re going to save money and everybody wins. I get a lot of referrals from the family members and friends of clients who were happy with our services; yesterday we had a walk-in, which is a throwback to before social media took over real estate marketing. We stand out, we’ve always stood out, even when inventory is tight,” he said.

“I originally looked at real estate as a means to an end,” Matt explained, “but everything you do leads you to the next step. I knew that I could create a secure future with this venture.” Matt has been in one of the Help-U-Sell coaching groups for more than five years now. He went on to say, “One of the reasons why I like it is, we all do the same thing, just in different markets. We share ideas constantly, and solve issues as stuff comes up. Everyone is always willing to help. There’s no holding back.”

“No holding back” sounds like a great motto for Matt and his team for 2019.

Doing Well and Creating Change

Cynthia Stevens of Help-U-Sell Central Properties in Chandler, Arizona went into real estate initially to help her friend’s business and earn extra income.

She started her career as an educator having earned a B.S. in Economics, followed by an M.Ed (Master of Education).

“I started teaching in 1989. It was fun and I loved working with my students. When I got into real estate in 1999, it was an exciting way to earn more because the real estate market was hot. I thought it was a great industry to be involved with,” Cynthia said.

Drawn by the prospect of owning her own business, Cynthia opened her own Help-U-Sell Real Estate office in June of 2007. “My timing was terrible! There wasn’t a lot of time to enjoy growing my business before the recession. Real estate prices had plummeted in my region, and throughout the United States. I worked really hard, and learned how to do short sales.

For example, if I had 20 properties listed, 18 of them were short sales, that trend lasted until 2010. Soon after, I got certified with Fannie Mae to sell REO properties (real estate owned), and primarily worked in REO sales through 2015. I did a ton of them! They are great because once you understand them, they are cut and dry; you do the task and it’s done. Prices were so good on the REOs, they were attracting many first-time buyers, which helped with my efforts,” Cynthia shared.

During the last quarter of 2018, Cynthia’s office was significantly busier, and recently made an appearance on our November edition of the Top Producers list for total sides closed. She attributes the recent growth to a multi-faceted approach that started with attending the Help-U-Sell coaching groups over the past year. After attending the sessions regularly, she focused her energies on a specific target market. Cynthia said, “Additionally, I’ve been taking what I’ve learned in coaching, and sharing those methods with my agents so they can benefit. I have two other producers aside from myself, they have been with me from the beginning. We also have a licensed agent covering administration to keep us sane and on top of all of the details. We warmly refer to her as ‘Radar’.”

The in-house marketing platform that Help-U-Sell incorporates is another reason Cynthia cites success. “The Arounds postcard program, the Sold and Saved postcards, and the Just Listed cards are what I use the most. The branded material looks great. The willingness to create custom materials that are high quality and attractive is also something I appreciate,” she added.

The targeted diligence has been paying off. She said, “We closed 45 sides for 2017. We got close to that for 2018. Because of my involvement with the coaching groups, I created a solid, comprehensive business plan for 2019. In the coming year, I am expanding our FSBO and expired listing efforts. I would love for my office to get up to 100 sides for 2019, but I’m setting my goal on paper at a realistic 25% increase, because I know that’s an attainable and realistic goal for everybody.”

Chandler, Arizona is in the East Valley, and includes Tempe, Gilbert and Mesa. Arizona boasts a fairly steady housing market, with houses in the median range of $250,000 to $300,000. “There is a lot of competition from traditional real estate companies. I’m also seeing an influx of online-only companies that pay cash. I see a lot of companies trying to copy the Help-U-Sell model. Around here there has been a consistent Help-U-Sell presence since 2004, it sticks with people as a sign of trust and a positive reputation, which is an advantage for me. I’ve been working on our messaging, which is centered around not being new or a gimmick. We’ve been here and we know what we’re doing. When people say they’ve heard of us, it validates the brand and brings us business.”

Often times, when the New Year rolls around, people think about how they might create change in themselves. For 2019, Cynthia had a different idea and wanted to help others have the means to create change. She explains, “We put together a list of vetted charities from which to choose. When people list their home with us and it sells, we will donate a portion of our fee to the chosen charity. There are organizations to help animals and children, as both are close to my heart. We’re all very fortunate, and this seemed like an easy way to do something positive. It gives our clients another reason besides saving thousands of dollars to feel good about listing with us.”  

Top Producers, End of 2018 Extravaganza!

For our official close of the 2018 Top Producers list, we’re seeing a lot of action in the numbers. While there are names who don’t surprise us at all, there are a few Broker/Owners that have been quietly gathering buyer and seller sides throughout the year, and when all is said and totaled, they earned a place at the top.

Naturally, Mario Ferrante of  Help-U-Sell Metropolitan of Woodhaven, Michigan, came in first with 205 sides. His team has been in the first or second place for the majority of 2018, and coming in first by more than 50 sides if nothing short of WOW.

Richard Cricchio with Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties comes in second place with 153 sides, which is an incredible end for the year.

In third place, Jack Bailey’s team, Help-U-Sell Greensboro ends the year with 129 sides. Proof positive that if you run your ship tight, you don’t need a lot of agents chasing down leads.

OfficeBuyerSellerTotal Sides
Direct Savings
Real Estate
Detwiler Realty
Heritage Real Estate of Steele
County Inc.
Federal City
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty334477
Richard Cricchio

On our Gross Sales Volume list, Richard Cricchio and his team, Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties, end 2018 with $88 million in sales, outpacing the competition by $19 million.

Patrick Wood and the Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties team sealed second place with a sales volume of $69 million.

David Bartels and his office, Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty, place third with $41 million in sales.

Everyone on this had an amazing year, and every single Broker/Owner, every agent, transaction coordinator and office manager have every reason to be proud. You crushed 2018.

OfficeGross Sales volume
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties $  88,725,400
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties $  69,826,355
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty $  41,118,500
Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty $  35,204,196
Help-U-Sell Greensboro $  25,161,417
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes $  24,311,375
Help-U-Sell Metropolitan $  21,149,863
Help-U-Sell Distinctive Homes $  19,872,670
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real
$  19,771,893
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty $  17,625,518

Top Producers Q4, 2018

The last quarter of the year was a mix some of our high-flying familiar eagles and other Broker/Owners who have been seeing a big pay off from solid efforts.

Mario Ferrante of  Help-U-Sell Metropolitan of Woodhaven, Michigan closes the 4th quarter by more than 20 sides ahead of his closest competition. 52! A most impressive result.

Richard Cricchio

Richard Cricchio with Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties comes in second place with 31 sides, which is a great way to end the quarter, especially given that they were mostly seller sides.

Trailing just two behind is the powerhouse team that is Jack Bailey’s office, Help-U-Sell Greensboro, with 29 sides.

OfficeBuyerSellerQ4 Total Sides
Heritage Real
of Steele County
Direct Savings
Real Estate
Federal City
Real Estate
Help-U-Sell Full
Keystone Realty

On our Gross Sales Volume list, Richard Cricchio and his hardworking Honolulu team, Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties, ended the last quarter with $19.9 million.

Patrick Wood and the Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties team climbed to second place with a sales volume of $16.2 million.

Marc Dosik and his team in  Washington, DC, Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty clear third place, bringing in  $8.4 million in sales.

Office Q4 Gross Sales volume
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties $    19,978,500
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties $    16,266,800
Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty $      8,479,755
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty $      7,579,000
Help-U-Sell Greensboro $      5,788,840
Help-U-Sell Metropolitan $      5,364,292
Help-U-Sell Distinctive Homes $      5,207,500
Help-U-Sell Select Real Estate $      4,938,900
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes $      4,928,125
Help-U-Sell Folsom $      4,751,000

Top Producers for December

Just because the holidays were in full effect, that didn’t slow down our busy Broker/Owners a bit.

Mario Ferrante of  Help-U-Sell Metropolitan of Woodhaven, Michigan claims December for his office with 16 sides.

Matt Kellam, broker/owner of Help-U-Sell Keystone Realty

We are excited to see a new name in second place. Matt and Tara Kellam of Help-U-Sell Keystone Realty in Chambersburg, PA had a tremendous month with 11 sides. With eight of those sides being sellers, we wonder if there were folks who just couldn’t handle one more winter!

Congratulations of a different kind are in order for David Bartels. In addition to his office, Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty, placing third (in a tie) with 8 sides, he recently tied the knot with his lovely bride! Warm wishes for a long and happy life together, David.

Richard Cricchio with Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties also ties for third place.

Also notable, is the five-way tie closing out the list for December, proof that December is a great time to sell.

OfficeBuyerSellerTotal Sides
Help-U-Sell Metropolitan61016
Help-U-Sell Keystone Realty3811
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate448
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties88
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty257
Help-U-Sell Greensboro347
Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty426
Help-U-Sell Central Properties325
Help-U-Sell Folsom235
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes235
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties145
Help-U-Sell Select Real Estate145

For the Gross Sales Volume list, we almost always expect to see Richard Cricchio and his hardworking team, Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties, closing December at $4.7 million for the month.

Marc Dosik, with his Washington, DC office, Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty comes in second place at $2.9 million.

Patrick Wood and the Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties team remain in the top 3 of this list by closing $2.8 million.

Congratulations to everyone for a great December closing.

Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties $     4,780,000
Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty $     2,986,900
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties $     2,881,000
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes $     1,842,500
Help-U-Sell Keystone Realty $     1,762,350
Help-U-Sell Folsom $     1,716,000
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate $     1,657,000
Help-U-Sell Central Properties $     1,594,285
Help-U-Sell Select Real Estate $     1,558,500
Help-U-Sell Greensboro $     1,554,190