March Top Producers 2020

Spring has sprung!

Even if we are indoors far more than usual (and certainly more than we would prefer), we, as an industry, as business owners, and individuals in real estate, have rallied by finding new ways to innovate, work-around, and create flexible solutions in order to achieve the goal of selling and buying houses for our clients. Considering the quick and dramatic changes to protocols to protect one another, it would have been natural to presume that our numbers would have taken a hit for the March Top Producers report. Not so!

Starting off in the number one spot, is Debra Schmidt of Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate in Owatonna, MN. Her team made a perfectly even split between buyer and seller sides for a total of ten. A super strong month!

The second spot is a three-way tie between David Bartels of Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty in Westlake Village, CA ,Kimberly Zelena of Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate in Waynesboro, VA, and Jack Bailey of Help-U-Sell Greensboro in Greensboro, NC. All three offices came in with nine total sides.

Third place is yet another tie between Jeff Hedberg of Help-U-Sell Real Estate Masters in Port Huron, MI, and Roberta Pickens of Help-U-Sell Treasure Coast in Hobe Sound. Both offices closed eight sides.

Fourth place boasts a tie with two offices, and fifth place has a tie with FIVE offices.

March madness indeed!

OfficeBuyerSellerTotal Sides
Help-U-Sell Heritage Real Estate5510
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate369
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty279
Help-U-Sell Greensboro189
Help-U-Sell Real Estate Masters178
Help-U-Sell Treasure Coast268
Help-U-Sell Keystone Realty77
Help-U-Sell Mike Bowling257
Help-U-Sell Central Properties235
Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty235
Help-U-Sell Golden Homes235
Help-U-Sell Inland Valley235
Help-U-Sell San Antonio Hill Country145

In our Gross Sales Volume report, it would be a lot more miraculous if we managed to have a tie here.

First place is David Bartels and Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty. His team closed $5.3 million. Considering his office was in second place for Sides, March was a great month for them.

Yasumi Davis of Help-U-Sell Golden Homes in Martinez, CA, cleared $2.9 million for the month. Yasumi has been a frequent flier on our Top Producers list in the past year, and has been consistently putting up stronger numbers.

Perpetual eagle, Richard Cricchio, of Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties and his team brought in $2.2 million and take third place.

Considering the shock to our collective business systems, our ability to revamp on short notice is evident here. You persevered and did well. Please take a moment to appreciate your collective accomplishments and one another.

OfficeGross Sales Volume
Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty$5,331,000
Help-U-Sell  Golden Homes$2,951,500
Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties$2,285,000
Help-U-Sell Prestige Properties$1,873,000
Help-U-Sell Greensboro$1,830,700
Help-U-Sell Inland Valley$1,815,900
Help-U-Sell Central Properties$1,783,000
Help-U-Sell  Real Estate Masters$1,736,900
Help-U-Sell Treasure Coast$1,668,800
Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate$1,583,800

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

Help-U-Sell Real Estate Fundraiser Garners 4,000 Meals

Chris Reed and Kimberly Zelena raffle off prizes at the Help-U-Sell Real Estate Success Summit.
Chris Reed and Kimberly Zelena raffle off prizes at the Help-U-Sell Real Estate Success Summit.

Last month’s Success Summit was not only successful for us and our attendees, but it was also a boon for a food bank across the country from Las Vegas.

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, located in Virginia, has a place in the heart of Kimberly Zelena, owner of Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate. She and her office have donated to the food bank for the past three years. Knowing this, the Help-U-Sell home office surprised her with a fundraising raffle at this year’s Success Summit.

Prizes included agent recruitment signs, Help-U-Sell Real Estate cookbooks and branded promotional items. Chris Reed, an employee in the home office, collected money and distributed raffle tickets during the Summit. The raffle raised $550, and Direct Savings Real Estate matched the pot, donating a total of $1,100 to the food bank. Four meals can be provided for each dollar donated.

“I was surprised and overwhelmed by the generosity of the franchisees from across the United States,” Zelena said. “With the help of corporate Help-U-Sell Real Estate staff and the franchisees, for the second year in a row we are able to provide approximately 4,400 meals. What a great feeling to know that more people will not go hungry this holiday season.”

How is your office helping your local community this year? Share your charitable efforts with us.

Broker Focus: Kimberly Zelena and Leigh Anne Losh

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

Kimberly Zelena’s key piece of advice for all agents and brokers is “answer your phone.” She says this simple tactic has secured her office, Direct Savings Real Estate, four clients from other agencies in the past two weeks. “We have our phones 24/7. We don’t use an answering service or a machine,” she says.

Zelena’s tip may be basic, but her franchise office isn’t. Based in Waynesboro, Va., Direct Savings Real Estate doesn’t have the traditional broker/owner setup. Owner Zelena handles the marketing and the bookkeeping, along with Cathy Fields. Zelena’s husband, Mike, is the listing agent, and Leigh Anne Losh is the buyer’s agent.  “Our office works as a team, I would not have it any other way,” Zelena says.

The franchise has existed since 2005; Zelena joined the office in 2007 with no real estate background. Back then, people suggested to the office that it close its doors because Help-U-Sell would never survive.  Thanks to all the unlimited free training, the support of Help-U-Sell Corporate and their dedicated staff, Zelena says, “We are strong and moving forward.”

She values the training offered by Help-U-Sell, including her coaching calls with fellow franchisee Jack Bailey and the other franchisees. “Coaching calls are very important,” Zelena says. “I learn something new each week.”

Leigh Anne Losh, Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate
Leigh Anne Losh, Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate

Losh agrees. “Without all the free education and weekly trainings offered by Help-U-Sell corporate’s office, I would have never made my goal of being the office’s principal broker in just three years!,” she says.

Zelena and Losh plan to take advantage of ProCoach-U, Help-U-Sell’s online university, when it’s completed early next year. “In my opinion, all agents need to go through university before they open their offices,” she says.

Losh’s goal is to buy the office one day. With her background in title work, she had the foresight that the REO market would be big in the area that the office serves. “She got into BPOs and REO companies,” says Zelena.“That saved us.”

She says prices have stabilized but REOs still represent the best opportunities. One of the office’s goals is to increase the number of REO companies they work with. Direct Savings also wants to increase business by 25 percent and increase sales of equity homes in 2012. The office has closed 30 sides so far this year. The biggest challenges are financing and decent offers. They also want to work on educating sellers to realistically price their homes to get ahead of the market.

While these goals are vital to her business’ success for next year, Zelena’s sights are set on a closer goal of raising enough money to pay for 4,000 meals for the hungry. Combining a hobby, favorite charities and her Help-U-Sell office, her Candles 4 Canned Goods fundraiser will benefit a local food bank and an animal charity. “I was trying to find something that the office can do to donate money back to the community,” says Zelena. “My mother received a set of candles as a gift, and I thought ‘Candles 4 Canned Goods’ is a great way for our office to give back.”

She and her mother make the beeswax candles and sell them for $6 a pair. One-hundred percent of the purchase price goes toward purchasing canned goods for humans and pets.  The $6 price of a pair of candles will purchase 24 meals. She needs to sell about 167 pairs of candles to buy 4,000 meals, and she is more than halfway there. Zelena is spreading the word of the fundraiser through local events and is sending out candles to her clients with a letter of explanation about the project.

Through their prompt communication and charitable work, Direct Savings Real Estate truly serves the community. How does your office give back?