Work, Persevere, and Shine

John Metcalf, Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Inland Valley in Lake Elsinore, CA, began his real estate career in 1989, becoming versed in residential and commercial real estate, business opportunity sales, and brokerage management.

Equipped with a strong sales and entrepreneurial spirit, John has owned and operated several small businesses prior to real estate. Ranging from sales of home security systems and home theaters, to children’s clothing, a laundromat, and even a post office, John eventually settled into real estate.

“In the past I would buy a business, build it up, and sell it. My wife, Cerita, got her real estate license and started working with a traditional real estate company. I’ve always liked sales and have always been selling,” John said. “It occurred to me that real estate commissions were far greater than alarm company commissions, and I wanted to be involved. Cerita was already experienced, so I became licensed so we could get into business together.”

After spending several years in the traditional real estate model business, John and Cerita noticed the market was changing from the consumer standpoint.

John explained, “The 6% commission was being heavily questioned, especially in a high real estate market like California. What value were they were getting for 6%? Brokers and agents were competing over lowering commissions, and it seemed like a race to the bottom. Consumers sought another solution to selling. It was getting harder to stay competitive.”

They researched alternative business options. He shared, “We wanted to get ahead of the game. Help-U-Sell started in Orange County, which was a primary reason we chose it; People know and remember the brand here. We often hear folks say they sold with Help-U-Sell 20 years ago, and they seek us out again when they are selling the next house. That sort of name recognition has made it easier to obtain new business. The brand name sticks because people remember the savings.”

While there are misconceptions about a set-fee business model, John is quick to set people right. “Help-U-Sell looks like full service – because it is. We’ve been offering full service with a set-fee for two years now. Our office is comprised of Cerita and I, plus one agent. We plan to bring on one more new agent in the coming year. Last year we closed 26 sides. We set our goal for this year to 30 and we’ve changed some tactics that bring in new leads and business.”

John further elaborated, “When you explain to clients that the set fee is not a catch, we always get a great reception. We recently put our office in a storefront that is busy with lots of organic foot traffic. Having a storefront is huge for us. It is by far the best and smartest thing we’ve done and we did it completely on a leap of faith. We amplify this by offering notary services, and we have people’s undivided attention when we are helping them. We’re number one on Google searches for notaries in our area, and that links to our website, too. One thing that is priceless: the expressions on people’s faces when they learn about the set fee. ‘You sell homes for $6,000?’.  We know they will be back. We’re not in competition with the companies that list for 1%. We know their services can’t come close to ours. No one else does what we are doing.”

John also utilizes the OMS platform that is a part of the Help-U-Sell system. “We make sure to do the Center of Influence postcard mailings every month. We are in constant contact with our clients in one form or another.” Leads also come from working in the community and being involved with groups like the Women’s Club, and volunteering for cancer walks or cleft palate repair organizations. John is also known for being a reserve firefighter for 20 years. 

California can be tenuous and not just for real estate. John said, “When we bought the franchise, the market had shifted. It was very strange year with nature: between brush fires and the worst rains we’ve had in 25 years – there were at least eight evacuations. Residents have been through quite a lot, but will always be buying and selling homes. When the market is down, it’s actually an advantage for serious brokers and agents, because everyone else is a part-time real estate agent. Those folks don’t know how to handle a soft market. The upside of terrible environmental circumstances is a mass exodus of agents. People who know how to work continue to persevere and shine.” 

The housing market covers a broad spectrum. “This is an affordable area. People with young families can get a house for about $380,000. Prices have increased a lot over the last 10 years and jobs in San Diego and Orange County are not as attractive as they once were, but it’s still a great option,” he said. “There is more inventory today than there was a year ago. Average time on the market is about 70 days and that’s healthy! “

When not selling houses, John and Cerita spend time with their five grandkids, and enjoy boating off the river, and scuba diving. “When I learned about Help-U-Sell Real Estate, I believed the platform was the wave of the future. I think it is still ahead of the game. We made a great choice.”

January Top Producers 2020

On this day of love in February, we are seeing something to bring a flutter to our winter-chilled hearts: our very first Top Producers list for 2020! January’s numbers have brought an interesting change scenery and graced us with a change to the usual array of faces . 

Karen Detweiler of Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty in Carlisle, PA,  takes the lead with 12 total sides for the month. Karen’s team made several appearances on our list throughout 2019, and with a strong start so early in the year, we will expect more of the same from them.

Richard Cricchio

Burning a path to second all the way from the equator is Richard Criccio from Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties. The efforts of Richard’s team brought them just one side away from first with 11. 

Third place brings us to the first of four sets of ties. Featuring Mike Bowling of Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling of Yuma, AZ and Kimber Regan of Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice in Hanford, CA, both clock in with nine sides for a great start to the year.

David Bartels and his team at Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty in Westlake Village, CA stands alone with seven sides in fourth place, and the sea of several flourishing ties cascades below, indicating strong and auspicious beginnings.

Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty8412
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties2911
Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling279
Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice459
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty257
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate336
Help-U-Sell Greensboro336
Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate 145
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties235
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes134
Help-U-Sell Keystone Realty134
Help-U-Sell Legacy134
Richard Cricchio of Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties

In our first Gross Sales Volume report of the year is, of course, Richard Criccio from Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties. It’s a fine way to begin the new year by stacking up $8.5 million in sales in a single month.

David Bartels, Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty

David Bartels and his team at Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty in Westlake Village, CA take second place here with $4.8 million in sales. 

Third place was secured by Patrick Wood at Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties in Chino Hills, CA. Having ended last year in second place, it’s great to see the trend continue in a positive manner for 2020 as he closed $3.5 million. 

Six of the offices that appear on the gross sales volume list are also featured on our sides list, illustrating that sometimes one good thing follows another when you put the right effort in. A great start to the year, everyone!

OfficeGross Sales Volume
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties$8,501,500
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty$4,876,000
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties$3,542,500
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes$1,975,000
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty$1,971,600
Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice$1,962,300
Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling$1,439,800
Help-U-Sell Greensboro$1,304,000
Help-U-Sell Silicon Valley Properties$1,300,005
Help-U-Sell Mid Peninsula$1,175,000

Chris Reed to Retire January 24

On January 24, 2020, Chris Reed will hang her hat on the doors of Help-U-Sell Real Estate and officially retire after 11 dedicated years of service to the company at the Sarasota-based corporate headquarters.

If you’ve ever spoken to Chris on the phone, it’s not difficult to guess she moved here from Massachusetts. Arriving to Florida in 2000 with her husband, she previously worked as a controller for a manufacturing company up north, but quickly found work with a Florida home builder.

“Once I started with Help-U-Sell, it was interesting to learn the aspects of selling real estate versus the building side of real estate. All of that knowledge has come full circle for me,” Chris said.

Whenever Help-U-Sell opens an office in a new state, Chris gets the Federal Disclosure Documents in order so the franchise will be allowed to operate there. She ensures the incoming franchisees have the right paperwork to get started, and handles anything from a change of ownership, transferring ownership from an individual to a corporation, taking care of location and name changes, and other amendments to the franchise agreement.

Moving forward, those duties will be handled by Joey Trowbridge.

Since Chris came on board during the economic recession, she has witnessed many changes. She added,“I saw first-hand how hard this industry became for everyone: the many broker/owners struggling to stay open, and the home owners and communities trying to stay afloat. What’s wonderful to see are folks who had the will to stay with us and make their businesses grow again. People with that spirit make coming to work a pleasure. They love what they do, and I’m definitely one of those people.”

Not surprisingly, once she is fully immersed in retirement, Chris will still be very busy. She will continue to volunteer for the Salvation Army, as an usher at the Van Wezel Performance Center, and will become more involved in her husband’s graphic design business. 

A huge bird lover, Chris also volunteers at the Birds of Paradise aviation sanctuary, and serves as a board member for the Florida West Coast Avian Society.

“I’ve been working towards this moment of retiring for a while. Five years ago, I cut down my work week to four days. More recently, I cut down to 2.5 days weekly. I’ve really enjoyed watching what Robbie (Robert Stevens, CEO) has done with the company since taking over. Working with him, all of the people in the corporate office, and the Broker/Owners and all of their people – they made this a really good experience for me,” she shared.

We wish Chris all the best in her retirement!

Final 2019 Top Producers List

After a year of marketing, leads, calls and emails, presentation meetings, enough docu-sign paperwork to circle the globe once or twice, photography, sign blitzes, home staging, open houses and more paperwork to sign when you are successful – all of that grind stitches together to bring us to this monster moment. 

The Final 2019 Top Producers list.

Starting off at 206 sides is Mario Ferrante and the team at Help-U-Sell Metropolitan, in Woodhaven, MI. Mario spent most of the 2019 reports at the top of this list, and beat his 2018 total sides by one. That’s pretty cool. Not only did Mario earn the first spot, he created a rather sizable lead while he was at it.

Jack Bailey of Help-U-Sell Greensboro in North Carolina, and his team cleared 144 sides. For anyone who has ever thought that you need an enormous office staff with tons of agents, Jack’s business model is proof that when you work smart and you work hard, the numbers speak for themselves.

Rounding out our top three: Debra Schmidt at Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate in Owatonna, MN.  Over the summer, Debra and her team started making substantially bigger numbers, and so they end the year was 123 sides. Well deserved.

Four of our top ten 2019 Eagles on the Sides report are women-owned, and two offices were just established a little over a year ago. This is strong evidence that the 43-year-old business model based on disruption continues to be smart choice for brokers looking to create and maintain a competitive edge that really works.

Help-U-Sell Metropolitan74132206
Help-U-Sell Greensboro5787144
Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate 5568123
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties2084104
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties297099
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate425597
Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice395493
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty295685
Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling374077
Help-U-Sell Real Estate Masters225173

The top three positions in the Gross Sales Volume report’ have primarily been held by the same three offices all year long.

Richard Cricchio

Coming in at a staggering $67.1 million, is of course, Richard Criccio at Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties. If Richard’s team stays on this trajectory for 2020, it’s easy to imagine that they break a $100 million is sales, which would be a lot of fun to witness. We’ll get the popcorn started.

Naturally, Patrick Wood at Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties in Chino Hills, CA is right here in second place with $58.1 million. By all accounts, not only did Patrick have a great year, but the last quarter in particular was a significant showing from his team.

David Bartels, Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty

If there is a broker owner who is due for an update with an interview profile, it’s likely David Bartels of Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty in Westlake Village, CA. Always at-the-ready with solid numbers each month, David ends the year was $39.1 million in sales. 

It’s worth noting that women and men are evenly split among the owners on this list. The larger offices and leaner offices have put forth big efforts and both achieved impressive results. Best of luck to everybody as we march into the new year with fresh ideas, a continued drive to serve clients, save them money, and provide superior full service.

OfficeGross Sales volume
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties$67,172,798
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties$58,164,945
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty$39,110,500
Help-U-Sell Greensboro$29,503,484
Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice$23,087,700
Help-U-Sell Metropolitan$21,562,658
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes$21,158,888
Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate $16,981,896
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty$15,938,625
Help-U-Sell Select Real Estate$15,718,700

Top Producers Q4 2019

The 2019 fourth quarter report for our Top Producers list shows that small daily efforts have substantial cumulative results. In this edition, the familiar eagles are soaring high and newer established offices are also climbing the ladder and making a place for themselves and creating big impact.

Mario Ferrante and the team at Help-U-Sell Metropolitan, in Woodhaven, Michigan takes first place with 40 sides for the quarter. Way to go!

A very close second place is landed by Jack Bailey of Help-U-Sell Greensboro in North Carolina, with 37 total sides.

Third place is secured by our favorite friend in Pennsylvania, Karen Detwiler of Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty in Carlisle. Karen’s team cranked out 30 sides. 

Special shout-out to two offices that have joined the Help-U-Sell family last year: Mike Bowling at Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling in Yuma, AZ and Jeff Hedberg at Help-U-Sell Real Estate Masters in Port Huron, MI, with 21 and 20 sides, respectively.

Tenth place is a three-way tie between David Bartels at Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty in in Westlake Village, CA, Lona Murphy at Help-U-Sell Select Real Estate in Eugene, OR, and Kimber Regan at Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice in Hanford, CA.

Help-U-Sell Metropolitan112940
Help-U-Sell Greensboro132437
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty102030
Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate 161329
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties62026
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate111324
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties41822
Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling81321
Help-U-Sell Real Estate Masters61420
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty5914
Help-U-Sell Select Real Estate41014
Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice6814

In the Gross Sales Volume report, Patrick Wood and the team at Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties in Chino Hills, California, soar to the top with a staggering $15.8 million in sales for the fourth quarter.

Richard Cricchio

Not too far behind is Richard Criccio, of Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties. His team closed out the quarter with $14.3 million in sales.

David Bartels, Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty

Steady appearance-maker on our Top Producer lists, David Bartels of Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty in Westlake Village, CA, secured third place with $8.2 million in sales. 

High-fives to all of our eagles flying high. What a great final quarter!

OfficeGross Sales Volume
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties$15,830,580
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties$14,328,500
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty$8,228,500
Help-U-Sell Greensboro$7,251,515
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes$6,265,888
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty$5,072,225
Help-U-Sell South Santa Clara County$4,789,785
Help-U-Sell Select Real Estate$4,613,800
Help-U-Sell Metropolitan$4,095,473
Help-U-Sell Real Estate Masters$3,690,800