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]

What’s New at Help-U-Sell Real Estate

Charles Herget is returning to the company as owner of Help-U-Sell Hunter Herget Real Estate.
Charles Herget is returning to the company as owner of Help-U-Sell Hunter Herget Real Estate.

As we head into fall, we’re ramping up our activities, from welcoming new offices to meeting with prospective franchisees. We also have some award news.

New Offices: Two new offices are opening in California within the next month. Please welcome Joseph Sampson, owner of Help-U-Sell Marquis Properties in Del Mar, and welcome back Charles Herget, owner of Help-U-Sell Hunter Herget Real Estate in Alameda.

In-Person Seminars: In October and November, we will be conducting free in-person seminars in Ontario, Calif., and Chandler, Ariz. If you are a potential franchisee in one of these areas who would like to attend, please register. The Ontario seminar is Oct. 7, and the Chandler seminar is Nov. 9. Event locations and times are on the website.

Top Low-Cost Franchise: We’ve been named a top low-cost franchise by Franchise Business Review. The publication highlights franchises with an initial investment of $100,000 or under and the highest owner satisfaction ratings, based on a survey. Read the entire guide.

Watch for more growth and harvesting this fall. We have a lot more in store. If you are interested in becoming part of the excitement, visit our Franchise Opportunity Center.

Top Producers for August 2016

Jeff Braun of Help-U-Sell Jeff Braun Realty
Jeff Braun and his team at Help-U-Sell Jeff Braun Realty closed 10 sides in August.

In August, the South was hot! Three of the month’s top offices reside below the Mason-Dixon line, and a few in other parts of the country had sizzling success.

1) Virginia’s Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate completed 15 sides: one buyer side, six seller sides, and an amazing four dual-sided transactions.

1) In neighboring North Carolina, Help-U-Sell Triad Realty tied for the top spot with four buyer sides and 11 seller sides.

2) Also in North Carolina, Help-U-Sell Greensboro did 13 sides consisting of six buyers, five sellers, and one dual-sided transaction.

2) Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties, breaks the South’s dominance with 13 sides. The Hawaii office helped four buyers and nine sellers.

3) Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties, in Chino Hills, Calif., landed in third place with 12 closed sides. Four buyer sides, six seller sides, and one dual-sided transaction made up the office’s tally.

4) Wisconsin-based Help-U-Sell Jeff Braun Realty‘s 10 sides were four buyers, two sellers, and two dual-sided transactions.

We also want to extend an honorable mention to Help-U-Sell Westside Realty, in the Los Angeles area, which helped a client sell a $3.1 million property.

[Figures as of Sept. 12, 2016]

Coaching: A Path to Success

Jack Bailey, Help-U-Sell Greensboro
Jack Bailey serves as a coach for Help-U-Sell Real Estate offices.

Coaching isn’t just for professional athletes. Real estate agents and brokers also benefit from the guidance and support of a coach. More than half of respondents to a 2014 survey by Inman said their business increased by at least 25 percent during the first year of working with a coach.

Of course, it can be pricey. Personal coaching costs most of the Inman respondents between $300 and $749 per month. Did you know that Help-U-Sell Real Estate offers small group coaching to our franchisees for no fee? Groups are limited to a small number of members, and they’re segmented based on the goals of the participants.

Coaching group members have weekly assignments such as creating a marketing budget and tracking their leads. They also learn from each other during open discussions.

In 2015, our brokers who participated in an internal coaching program saw an average revenue increase of 41.4 percent over 2014.

John Powell, one of Help-U-Sell Real Estate’s coaches, attributes this improvement to the change in point of view a coach is able to provide to a broker.

“A coach can stand outside of the business and view it with a different perspective than the broker who’s involved in the day-to-day operation,” said Powell. “The great thing about our program is, there’s no charge to our franchisees. It’s just a time investment.”

Participants see positive results from the guidance they receive.

“I think our business has benefited considerably,” said Eric Stalter, broker-owner of Help-U-Sell East Valley. “By setting goals on paper and tracking my leads and conversions, I am able to follow my business growth and actually see where I need change and improvement.”

If you’re interested in being coached, contact the corporate office. Jack Bailey of broker-owner of Help-U-Sell Greensboro, and the corporate office’s Powell and James Dingman all have openings in their weekly groups. Not yet one of our franchisees? Visit www.helpusellfranchise.com to learn how to become one.