Not Business as Usual, But Open for Business

With the “sheltering in place” and quarantine orders extended until the end of April, one thing we still know is: lots of people still need to sell and buy homes. With an eye towards social distancing, the real estate  industry, and Help-U-Sell Real Estate “Experts Next Door” in particular, have changed business practices to adjust to current safety procedures and protocols. 

Some states have already had real estate deemed as an essential business, which provides some leeway as we strive to continue to serve our clients. Creativity in overcoming obstacles and problem solving is the theme of the day. Naturally, technology plays an enormous part. Whether working virtually, or with key staff rotating in the actual office, we are committed to continuing work for you in every way we safely can.

John Powell

“We are doing real estate in a different way. This is still a perfect opportunity to create new connections and reaffirm old ones. We are calling our previous clients to check in on them, and see if they need anything, especially if they are unable to leave home. We are recording our listing presentations and buyer consultations to have them handy to email to our current leads.”  – John Powell, Broker and Chief Development Officer, Help-U-Sell Real Estate Headquarters

“I’ve remodeled my business entirely. I’ve been doing listing presentations via GoToMeeting, and either going to the property to sign listing agreements or conducting it via DocuSign. I have had transactions where I do not see the seller until settlement time. Sometimes I have not seen them in person at all.” – Walt Hippuaf, Broker/Owner, Help-U-Sell Peoples Real Estate, Philadelphia, PA

Kimberly Zelena, Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate

“One of our agents walked through the house live with the client using GoogleDuo. She recorded a video, uploaded it to where the house is listed for other potential buyers to view it. Closings are limited to ten people or fewer – only the people who absolutely have to be there.” – Kimberly Zelena, Owner, Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate, Waynesboro, VA

“We moved up closings as quickly as possible for two of our elderly clients. We had the escrow officer go out and sign a client yesterday, and a mobile notary visited another client to get the job done. I’m doing as much as I can on my own. For example, my new phone takes great wide angle photos and video. I’m filming my listings, and post regularly on social media.” – Lona Lassen Murphy, Broker/Owner, Help-U-Sell Oregon, Eugene, OR

“Two of my recent clients, sisters buying condos in the same building, closed yesterday. One could not be in state at all. The tours, the inspection, and the final walk through were all done virtually. During the inspections, I was there, live on FaceTime so she was able to ask questions. The closings were done via email and with e-signatures. Electronic and mobile notaries were approved in Florida this year and that helps a lot.” – Chantell Stevens, Broker/Owner, Help-U-Sell Gulf Coast, Sarasota, FL

“We invested in the cameras to do high quality photos and virtual tours. The majority of people now view home listings on their phone, so we wanted to ensure they have the best viewing experience we can provide from where they are.” – John Metcalf, Broker/Owner, Help-U-Sell Inland Valley, Lake Elsinor, CA

“We are moving closing dates up to help clients close faster. Showing houses is still possible with the CBS (call before showing) code, and assigning a special window to view the home. No one else is allowed in during that time. Both safety and security are increased.” – Yasumi Davis, Broker/Owner, Help-U-Sell Golden Homes, Martinez, CA

“The market here is almost business as normal. Yesterday there were 22 new listings and 11 active contracts. Buyers and sellers who feel like they need to go are allowing showings, but no open houses, of course. It feels like a rainy day open house: you know there won’t be much traffic, but what you do get will be serious. I am telling sellers who haven’t listed yet to get everything ready in advance, so when the restrictions are lifted they will be ready for the burst of opportunity that is bound to happen.” – David Bartels, Broker/Owner, Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty, Westlake Village, CA

“Homes that are vacant are a gold mine, but when they are not, we’ve found virtual tours have been the most helpful.” – Kurt Steffien, Broker/Owner, Help-U-Sell Coast and Valley, Santa Ana, CA

“I have been able to work via text and email.  In one case I drove to escrow to drop off signed documents that had to have a wet signature. I wore an N95 mask, gloves, and used hand sanitizer.” – Raul Novales, Broker/Owner, Help-U-Sell Wisdom Realty, Ontario, CA

To find the Help-U-Sell office closest to serving your area, use our office locator tool. https://www.helpusell.com/OfficeLocator.html

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.

OfficeBuyerSellerTotal
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

December 2019 Top Producers

How appropriate that the final monthly Top Producer report for 2019 includes twelve soaring eagles to match our twelfth month of the year. We start in our favorite fashion: with a tie.

Familiar Top Producer, Patrick Wood and the team at Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties in Chino Hills, California, tops the month of December with twelve total sides.

First place is shared with our favorite Broker/Owner/Coach, Jack Bailey of Help-U-Sell Greensboro in North Carolina, top the month of December with twelve total sides each. Clearly the holidays did not stop folks from making deals – and probably helped stave off a few pounds running around from deal to deal.

In second place with nine sides is Kimberly Zelena and the team at Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate in Waynesboro, VA. We know they have been working hard there, because the name appeared here pretty regularly throughout 2019.

Perpetual eagle, Mario Ferrante and the team at Help-U-Sell Metropolitan, in Woodhaven, Michigan take third place with 9 sides for the month. 

With a three-way tie for fifth place, and four-way tie for sixth place, it makes for a very populated list. Congratulations to everyone for a great ending to the year.

OfficeBuyerSellerTotal
Help-U-Sell Greensboro6612
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties3912
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate549
Help-U-Sell Metropolitan268
Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate 437
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty246
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties66
Help-U-Sell Real Estate Masters156
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty224
Help-U-Sell The Smart Choice134
Help-U-Sell Select Real Estate134
Help-U-Sell Treasure Coast134

Over here in the Gross Sales Volume list is one of our most familiar faces, Patrick Wood of Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties in Chino Hills, California. His team pulled in an impressive $8 million in sales AND tied for first place on our sides list. What a spectacular end of the year for Patrick’s team!

The other favorite eagle on our Gross Sales Volume list is none of than Richard Criccio, of Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties. His team closed December with $4.6 million in sales.

Not to be outdone, Jack Bailey of Help-U-Sell Greensboro in North Carolina closes the year with $2.6 million.

We wish everyone the best with 2020 and their updated business plans and goals.

OfficeGross Sales Volume
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties$8,078,280
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties$4,623,000
Help-U-Sell Greensboro$2,669,545
Help-U-Sell Wright $1,843,125
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty$1,592,500
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes$1,540,000
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate$1,447,800
Help-U-Sell Select Real Estate$1,382,500
Help-U-Sell Real Estate Masters$1,328,600
Help-U-Sell Allied Realty$1,306,500

Real Estate is About Helping Families

Partners at Help-U-Sell Options Unlimited, located in Terre Haute, Indiana, Bob and Brenda Fischer are next in our series of Broker/Owners who are also husband and wife.

Brenda has now been in real estate for 20 years, after a career in coordinating continuing medical education for physicians. Bob joined her six years ago, after 32 years in the digital audio industry.

There was a logical attraction for Brenda to sell houses, as she and Bob had developed a brisk business of flipping houses. “After a short period of time, you realize that you’re doing all this physical work, and then paying somebody else to make a profit off your houses. We then transitioned from flipping houses into managing rental properties, and we both liked that a lot. Selling houses ourselves was a natural progression,” Brenda said.

After Brenda got her real estate license, she learned the industry with another flat-fee brokerage in Terre Haute. She explained, “They closed down after three years, and I went to a traditional brokerage. What you quickly find out is that you pay for everything there. You pay for copies, popcorn, the phone, and, of course, you still had monthly fees. The other realtors were part-time, and that’s no way to grow and establish a business. The Assist-2-Sell franchise where I once worked had been tried and failed on three different occasions, all by different people, so that was not an option.”

When they made their decision, they chose Help-U-Sell Real Estate. “If you look at how Help-U-Sell is structured, it really is different. With other companies, you’re out there on your own. There is no coaching. No one to rely on or ask questions. A stricter structure meant fighting that much harder for business. With Help-U-Sell, I started attending the coaching groups and began working on recruiting with John Powell. If he doesn’t know the answer to a question, he always finds out. That’s not common,” Brenda added.

Expanding further on the coaching group, she said, “John Powell’s group is excellent. It’s not just teaching ‘dos and don’ts’. He won’t let you shy away from the hard tasks of how to make your business more efficient, like planning an advertising budget or generating appropriate goals for your office. He wants to help you stretch, versus just helping you make goals that you know that you will easily meet.”

When it comes to making a name for themselves, signage is first. “We had to drill down to figure out where to put our marketing dollars. Signs are our number one thing. We get more comments on our signage than anything else,” Bob said. “We advertise as a company, not as agents. You will see names and telephone numbers, but anyone in our office is qualified to take a call. Whoever can run with it, we’re good with it. Right now, we’re working on a new postcard. We called the home office and gave them the idea of what we wanted. It’s a lot simpler than doing it yourself.”

The couple advertises in their local weekly newspaper that has a readership of about 100,000. “Newspapers here are still incredibly important. People want to see their home for sale in the Valley Homes paper. We have tracked how business has been affected by advertising there by cutting down to every other week, as opposed to weekly. We lost 31 listings as a result and quickly changed back,” Brenda shared. “We reach out to our Center of Influence contacts four times a year with a postcard,  written notes, or phone calls. We also put up door hangers, even in awful weather. We communicate regularly with clients who bought or sold a property. We often share articles online.”

They also embrace fun methods of gaining exposure. “We always participate in the Labor Day parade and we bring all of our buyers and sellers with us. Everybody’s has matching t-shirts. Anywhere between 20 to 65 people show up, it’s a blast.
We also do the ‘Shop with a Cop’ holiday program for children in need every year,” she said.

Bob and Brenda did well for themselves in 2018, closing 55 transactions. They have established a goal of 94 transactions for 2019. Bob shared, “It’s going to be tough to pull off, because we are experiencing a shortage of houses in our area. Right now there are 441 houses in our MLS, normally it’s around 1,300 in a five-county area. The median price of homes was $92,000 just a few years ago; Because of the lack of inventory, they are now over $100,000. During the recession, hundreds of houses had to be torn down after falling into extreme disrepair. Builders are now putting up houses that are between $200,000 to $300,000, in a market where the spending range is $100,000. These more expensive homes aren’t selling, and we’re desperate for more entry-level homes. Our area realtors and lenders convened about this issue and have conveyed the need for starter homes to the builders. We’re not just here as business owners. Real estate is ultimately about helping families.”

When planning for the year ahead, they embrace the positive and the negative. Bob explained, “In real estate you expect and accept that it is always going to be a roller coaster. We’re busy now, but next month, things will slow down dramatically. We’ve learned to account for those shifts. It takes a special relationship to work with your spouse, but we’re a team. I may be out getting a listing, while Brenda is out showing a home. We’re not sitting here all day long. When we are here together, we’re usually at opposite ends of the building because there’s always something to do. Our goal is to always help each other out because this is an old-fashioned family business, and we depend on each other to create success.”  

Top Producers for September 2016

Steve Vincent of Help-U-Sell Triad Realty in Greensboro, N.C.
North Carolina office Help-U-Sell Triad Realty finished September with 20 closed sides. Steve Vincent is the office’s broker/owner.

From coast to coast, our offices had a banner month in September.

1) Way out front, Help-U-Sell Triad Realty closed four buyer sides, 12 seller sides, and two dual-sided transactions for a total of 20.

2) Taking second place, Help-U-Sell Edmond/OKC completed 14 closed sides: one buyer side, seven seller sides, and three dual-sided transactions.

3) In a tie for third place, North Carolina’s Help-U-Sell Greensboro had a dozen closed sides, consisting of four buyer sides, six seller sides, and one dual-sided transaction.

3) Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties, located in Chino Hills, Calif., helped one buyer and 11 sellers.

4) Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties held fourth place with 11 closed sides, which were comprised of four buyer sides, five seller sides, and one dual-sided transaction.

5) Minnesota-based Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate was part of a three-way tie for fifth place. Their 10 sides were evenly split between buyers and sellers (at four each), along with one dual-sided transaction.

5) Help-U-Sell Jeff Braun Realty, out of Wisconsin, worked with six buyers and four sellers in September.

5) Last but not least, Utah office Help-U-Sell Legacy closed four buyer sides, four seller sides, and one dual-sided transaction.

Congratulations to everyone! We also want to add kudos for Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties. They helped a client sell a property for more than $1 million.

[Figures as of Oct. 7, 2016]