Before deciding to start Help-U-Sell Real Estate Specialists, Michelle Morgan was managing a French bakery and cafe, and then segued into retail management, hoping it would be less demanding and stressful. “I was married to those jobs, but when I became pregnant, I looked at getting into real estate because it was something I could do from home,” Michelle shared.
She learned the ropes with a traditional style office in San Clemente, California, and later was asked to join a real estate office that had a flat fee model. Michelle bought her first Help-U-Sell franchise office from another Help-U-Sell Broker/Owner who was leaving real estate, and stayed in California for a few more years, until trading her California location for Lake Havasu City, Arizona, in 2005.
While the first few years of operation were normal, by 2008 Lake Havasu City was looking like the rest of the country during the economic crisis and beset by foreclosures. What made Lake Havasu a bit different from other cities experiencing the depression is the designation as a resort town. “A lot of the homes here are second homes for people,” Michelle remembered, “I became really good at doing short sales to keep the business going and got good enough where other agents were referring the short sale business to me. The downside of short sales is that the paperwork took forever, sometimes upwards of a year because banks were still faxing the documents then, and there would be hold ups due to incomplete transmissions or people would say they didn’t receive it. You’re talking about over 100 pages before they embraced sites where you could upload and email the documents. It was a ton of work but it was the only way to survive.”
By 2013, the economic recovery had started and there were many people who still had marginal equity in their homes, but the popularity of the Help-U-Sell model was still going strong for Michelle regardless of the short sales aspect of business coming to a close.
To keep her business in the forefront, Michelle uses a lot of Help-U-Sell’s “Just sold” marketing, which heavily features the “sold and saved” concept popular among Help-U-Sell Broker Owners. She also advertises in a local publication called “The White Sheet”, which gets her a lot of traction, as well as leads from realtor.com. While there are three total licensed agents in Michelle’s office, one focuses on property management to round out Michelle’s total customer offerings.
“I’d say that because of the name recognition, in combination with the great service me and my team provide, a large portion of our business comes from repeat clients and referrals from past clients. That’s what you work hard for – building trust and a great reputation in your community where people recognize your brand and what it stands for so they feel comfortable coming to you with their real estate needs,” Michelle added, “The rest is just putting in the work!”