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.