The Right Choice for Julian Team

Before Gary Julian decided to get his real estate license in 1990, he spent a number of years in service-related industries such as banking and retail management. His wife, Wendy, got her license in 1998. “What you learn from public-facing work experiences like mine is how to play well with others. It also prepared me for having my own business in areas like payroll and supervision. I flourished in those jobs, but I’ve always loved the idea of being self-employed; It means I have 100% accountability,” Gary said.

Gary spent the first portion of his real estate career with a traditional brokerage. “I can tell you from first-hand experience, it’s a completely different mindset. There is no support. You are 100% on your own. In 2002, I moved from the traditional brokerage to a flat fee brokerage. Like many others during that time, that business went belly-up in 2007. I became an independent broker and offered a flat fee to my clients. After three years, I started researching possible franchise business options and decided to open my own Help-U-Sell Real Estate office,” he shared.

When asked why he chose Help-U-Sell over other franchises, Gary said, “Starting a business from scratch is no easy task. It helps tremendously going into one by having a brand name with a great, nationwide reputation. As an independent, the incoming calls coming were a bit tepid. When I ran ads as an independent, I wouldn’t get much traction. Suddenly, I add the Help-U-Sell logo, with language like ‘low set-fee’ and ‘save thousands’ and the visibility goes way up and the phone rings more.”

He added, “When you’re independent it’s hard to get noticed by anyone. I’ve gone door-to-door to bring attention to our business. With a national franchise, we have offices from coast to coast, an especially strong local presence, and an exceptionally large presence in the state of California as a whole. People started listing with us. We’ve got full service at a reasonable fee structure, and we don’t overcharge. People respond well to brand names; It gives them a degree of comfort. After opening our shop, we immediately had two sales come in from folks familiar with the name. We knew immediately we made the right decision.”

Most folks in real estate remember the traditional means of advertising was once primarily newspapers, but of course much has changed when it comes to marketing. “We found newspaper ads were not faring as well in our market as they once had, when compared to our internet marketing efforts. Figuring out your advertising spend takes time and nuance. The trick is getting people to know that we’re here. With the brand name, the logo, and a lot of signage, we’re finding there are a lot of ways to help people find us.”

Some of the Help-U-Sell in-house technology for marketing is also in use. “We do greeting cards three times a year: New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving, and 4th of July. We use the ‘sold and saved’ postcards, too. Next, we’re planning on making videos for social media. As we upgrade our technology presence, we upgrade our community visibility in general. One of my recent Facebook advertisements highlights a seller savings of $45,850 in commissions. We find those get a lot of positive attention. Oftentimes, we have a tendency to overthink a lot of things and really it just comes down to figuring out who wants your service,” Gary explained.

Having spent nearly 30 years in the industry, Gary has learned to weather the tumultuous tides of the changing housing market with ease. “I never looked at this venture as just a paycheck. I ignore the commissions, because I know they’re going to kick in. We get referrals from people who trust us, because we did right by them. That’s a return on advertising you can’t buy, only earn. I recently closed two sales that were entirely internet-related. Someone else found us from the national Help-U-Sell website and zeroed in on our office. I get affirmation that I made the right choice constantly,” Gary added.

Goals for 2019 will have Gary and Wendy doubling the number of sides they closed last year. Situated in a rare lower market for Southern California, the median range of homes is $290,000, which attracts a greater volume of buyers. Gary added, “The inventory has exploded, increasing 33% more than what it was at this time last year. Pending sales are down 5%. Overall, the population has exploded for California, so it’s an exciting time for us.”

Reflecting on their time together, Gary says, “Between the two of us, we have over 50 years of experience! We are doing well as a family business. We celebrate robust times, and in tougher times, we just put our heads together and move forward. There’s always going to be people with this need and you just need let them know you’re there.”

Top Producers February 2019

Although we are still in the colder months, it’s nice to see home sales are heating up with our Help-U-Sell Real Estate Broker/Owners.

Mario Ferrante of Help-U-Sell Metropolitan in Woodhaven, Michigan continues his streak as the lead and early front runner for 2019. The tenacity of his hard-working team has landed him 16 sides for the month of February. It is heartening to see that Mario’s momentum from 2018 continues to carry him forward into a prosperous year.

Jack Bailey and his team at Help-U-Sell Greensboro continue to make the hustle turn into hard numbers by clearing eight sides for the month. They are a great example of what is achievable with a smaller team when your game plan is right.

Kimberly Zelena and her team at Help-U-Sell Direct Savings in Waynesboro, Virginia has been making more periodic appearances here  over the last year. We’re always pleased to see her back!

We have a three-way tie for fourth place. Debra Schmidt from Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate,  Karen Detwiler of Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty, and Patrick Wood at Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties finishing out the tie.

For places 6 through 12, it’s a SIX WAY TIE. Perhaps John Powell or James Dingman could explain how market fluctuation works to create this situation, but we’re happy to say congratulations to all teams who made the board.  

OfficeBuyerSellerTotal Sides
Help-U-Sell
Metropolitan
61016
Help-U-Sell
Greensboro
178
Help-U-Sell
Direct Savings
Real Estate
246
Help-U-Sell
Heritage Real
Estate
235
Help-U-Sell
Detwiler Realty
235
Help-U-Sell
Prestige
Properties
055
Help-U-Sell
Advance Realty
134
Help-U-Sell
Southeast Rita
Ranch Realty
134
Help-U-Sell
Bakersfield
Equity Savers
044
Help-U-Sell
Distinctive
Homes
224
Help-U-Sell
Mike Bowling
314
Help-U-Sell
Treasure Coast
314

On the Sales Volume side, we see some familiar faces and places.

Patrick Wood of Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties takes first place with $2.7 million. Patrick’s team usually makes both lists, and is always exceptionally busy. I’m pleased to add that after much coordination, we will finally be seeing a Broker profile on Patrick later this month.

Mario Ferrante of Help-U-Sell Metropolitan comes in second place with $2 million.

Third place is, of course, Help-U-Sell Greensboro with Jack Bailey’s tireless team.

Special note: For the second month in a row, we are seeing Jean Salter from Help-U-Sell Town and Coastal Properties make this list. We will certainly reaching out to her for an interview soon, too!

Overall once again it looks like it’s been a productive month for everybody.


Office
Gross Sales volume
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties $  2,747,000
Help-U-Sell Metropolitan $  2,006,500
Help-U-Sell Greensboro $  1,481,255
Help-U-Sell Town &
Coastal Properties
$  1,458,000
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties $  1,452,500
Help-U-Sell Folsom $  1,269,000
Help-U-Sell Distinctive Homes $  1,185,000
Help-U-Sell Advance Realty $  1,126,000
Help-U-Sell Bakersfield
Equity Savers
$  1,028,000
Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty $     942,600

Building Her Brand and Great Reputation

Meena Gujral

After completing her college studies in India, Meena Gujral met and married her husband, a resident of the United States, and emigrated with him to begin the next phase of her life. She worked in hotel sales, but felt a pull towards real estate in 1986.

“I got my real estate license the same year my son was born. It was clear early on that I wanted a career that would enable me to spend more time with him. Of course, what I did not realize at the time, is that real estate can be a 24-hour business. You work on weekends and in the evenings, but you can create your schedule around the needs of a family. Aside from the flexibility, one of the things that attracted me to real estate was the concept of home ownership. Helping people move into new homes and sharing in their excited feelings when they achieve that is very satisfying. You get to share in their happiness,” Meena said.

Meena’s Office, Help-U-Sell Achievers Realty in Pleasanton, California, cropped up in our year-end list of Top Producers for 2018, which highlights brokers that have the strongest sales numbers. Meena attributes her strong end-of-year close in part to being very social, with a strong push towards marketing herself. “I participate in a lot of networking groups around my city. There are a lot of social groups in my neighborhood, and I’ve built a good reputation doing short sale transactions. I also regularly publicize the amount of money I save clients on home transactions,” she added. Meena’s husband, Jasbir, is also a broker and involved with the business, primarily functioning as a mortgage broker.

Plans for 2019 have Meena doubling what she did in 2018. “I’m really looking forward to what we achieve this year. I started January with three listings out of the gate, and I am working actively with two buyers. I’ve got a great focus on my goals,” she said.

Pleasanton, California is in the Bay Area, just outside of San Francisco. “The market here is always high, with the median price of houses around $800,000. The downside of that means home sales can move a little slower because there is a smaller margin of people able to buy in that price range. It’s always interesting to watch how a house is received by potential buyers. One of my recent listings was priced similarly to a neighboring house that had a lot of expensive renovations. I had concerns my listing wouldn’t be as well received, but buyers raved about it and it ended up selling quickly,” Meena explained. “The Bay Area has always experienced a tight inventory in the housing market.”

When it comes to branding and reputation, Meena finds just the name Help-U-Sell is a benefit. She shared, “People call the office because they know someone who used Help-U-Sell and were extremely happy with the results. Other people call because they are curious to find out what we’re about. Once we explain, they generally want to list with us. With the market always being so high here, people love the fact that we save them money. When I point out some other differences between myself versus the offerings of a traditional brokerage, I let them know they’re getting the best marketing and same exposure on the MLS. I tell them exactly what is going to happen, and they are impressed.”

Social media has shifted a lot of the home buying and selling experience, and Meena has adjusted her practices accordingly. Meena shared, “Some things change and others stay consistent. I do a lot of marketing on social media, with a heavy emphasis on Facebook, as well as generous use of Instagram, Pinterest, Google My Business, and LinkedIn. My shift in strategy has resulted in my listings on social media getting 150% more views over my competition. That’s positive and different. What stays the same is people see they are saving money. They are gaining the expertise of a person with longevity in the business. They see your marketing plan and understand they are not going to be missing out anything.”

The in-house marketing that is a hallmark of the Help-U-Sell Real Estate system is something that Meena finds useful in creating awareness for her company. She said, “The marketing system that is a part of the single sign-on platform is very easy to use. I create many of my postcards in there, and it’s easy to customize. Social media, in combination with the more traditional methods of marketing like signage, have been keeping me at the right level of exposure. When people call us, I hear ‘we see your signs all over the place’. This goes for outside my typical market, too. When I meet new people, I often hear they have already heard my name. I know I’m doing well as I continue to build my reputation.”

Moving into the new year, Meena is pleased. “Working with my husband is a huge asset. With his expertise in mortgage lending, he is able to quickly share information to make buyers feel comfortable with the lending process. With the two of us working together, it makes it feel like a one-stop shop. I really love the situation I’ve created,” Meena said. Which is a fantastic goal to achieve in anyone’s book.

First Top Producers List for 2019

Welcome to the first official edition of the Top Producers report for 2019!

We’re hoping with the new year being well under way that everybody has had an opportunity to put their business plans into full effect and are reaping the benefits that come with careful  planning and fresh momentum.

Our Don Taylor Award Winner of 2018 was Mario Ferrante of Help-U-Sell Metropolitan  in Woodhaven, Michigan. Once again, Mario is making a spectacular start to 2019, coming in strong with 18 total sides.

Kimber Regan of Help-U-Sell Hanford Lemoore, out of Hanford, California, came in second place with eight total sides. Kimber’s hard-working team consists of herself and eight agents. Kimber’s office popped up pretty regularly our Top Producers lists in 2018, so hopefully we can get her in the spotlight soon in a Broker Profile to learn her secrets to success.

Third place comes in as a three-way tie.

Marc Dosik of Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty has a total of six sides. Mark’s team of 7 serves the Washington DC area, as well as Maryland and Virginia.

Tying Marc for third place is Richard Cricchio of Help-U-Sell Honolulu properties, and Patrick Wood with Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties in Chino Hills, California.

It’s a good sign and an auspicious start whenever the top 10 is not a top 10 because competing offices tie for the same place.


Office
BuyerSellerTotal
Help-U-Sell
Metropolitan
61218
Help-U-Sell
Hanford
/Lemoore
358
Help-U-Sell
Federal City
Realty
246
Help-U-Sell
Honolulu
Properties
246
Help-U-Sell
Prestige
Properties
156
Help-U-Sell
Direct Savings
Real Estate
325
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty145
Help-U-Sell
Greensboro
235
Help-U-Sell
Sims Realty
235
Help-U-Sell
Detwiler Realty
224
Help-U-Sell
Options
Unlimited

224

Our Gross Sales Volume list starts of as equally impressive for 2019.

Richard Cricchio

Quite naturally,  at the top of the list is Richard Cricchio from Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties,  coming in with nearly $6.7 million in sales.

Patrick Woods office, Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties in Chino Hills, California comes in second place with $4.9 million.

The ever-busy David Bartels is in third place with Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty and $3.1 million dollars in sales.

Marc Dosik of Help-U-Sell Federal City does double duty by making an appearance on this list too, with a cool $3 million.

Congratulations to everyone for a substantial start to 2019!

OfficeGross Sales volume
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties $6,698,000.00
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties $4,907,000.00
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty $3,120,000.00
Help-U-Sell Federal City Realty $3,075,000.00
Help-U-Sell Hanford/Lemoore $1,772,900.00
Help-U-Sell Metropolitan $1,594,850.00
Help-U-Sell Sims Realty $1,234,791.00
Help-U-Sell South
Santa Clara County
$1,191,000.00
Help-U-Sell Julian Team $1,180,000.00
Help-U-Sell Town &
Coastal Properties
$1,137,000.00

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.