It’s Friday, January 5, 2007, the final day of our 2007 Real Estate Goals Group Writing Project. Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen some incredible posts from other real estate bloggers out there. While I’m a bit disappointed in the turnout (I was expecting at least 50 posts – I guess my goals were set a bit too high! lol), I have to hand it to everyone who participated — you are all winners in my book!
While this post is coming out early in the day, if there are any other submissions today, they will still be valid for our random prizes, and they will be included in our shared linking strategy.
Today’s posts include:
- Real Estate Goals for 2007 Group Writing Project by Spencer Barron
Special Guest: Real Estate Goals Post by Teresa Boardman
We also have a special guest today, who emailed me with their goals. Teresa Boardman is one of my favorite real estate bloggers. Her St. Paul Real Estate Blog is a shining example of what a successful blog can be. With that said, I thought you’d like to hear her goals.
My business plan has been done since November. I do a formal plan each year, I figure out how much money I want to make, then based on my average gross commission I figure out how many homes I need to sell, subtracting my expenses to arrive at my net income. It is a simple process for me at this point because I know my numbers and my conversion rates so I can figure out how many appointments I need each week to get X amount of sales each month. The rest of the plan is really about the activities or tasks I must complete to get the appointments. Business planning and goals are an essential for all businesses big and small.
My plan has not yet been printed because before I pressed print, I started thinking . . . How is it that the world has changed so much over the last few years but real estate companies have pretty much remained the same? In fact they are not even being talked about by the people that talk about how our industry needs to change. As an agent my marketing expenses have gone down because I use the internet more and print media less which works out well considering my potential clients also use the internet more and print media less.
Even with homes are on the market longer and each needing a virtual tour and it’s own domain name, my marketing costs are still lower. Buyers no longer come to me through open houses or mailings they come in through my web sites and contact me via email or telephone which saves a lot of money.
My life has changed a lot in the last year. I used to work out of a real estate office at a big real estate company and now I work out of my own home, and am with Keller Williams. I can rent an office but the closest one is just too far away. My conference room is the coffee shop a couple of blocks away and I get my faxes through my email or my cell phone. My real estate forms are all electronic and reside in cyberspace. and I have a contract with a local copy store that gives me a great discount on copies. When I need business cards I upload them, and 3 days later I hear the thunk of a box being dropped on my front porch with 1000 high quality business cards for $37.00.
My sales were down this year because of market conditions and because I moved my business from one real estate company to another. I did just fine because my business expenses were so much lower that my profits were enough to pay the bills and stash some money away just in case. I have enjoyed my job this year, more than I ever have before and feel as though I have learned more in this past year than I did in the previous ten years. I struggled for the first few months as I broke away from a large national internet presence and went about creating a strong presence of my very own. The process became more difficult when one of NAR’s attorneys asked me to cease and desist using the domain name that I have used since 2002 and had built much of marketing and branding around.
My plan is done but I can’t press the print button. Why is our industry operating the same way as it has for the last 30 years? Why are we still using similar fee structures when in most cases our costs should be lower? There are some road blocks to passing the savings onto our clients, one of the biggest obstacles is the traditional real estate company. They take a cut of each commission making it harder to charge less and make a profit. They provide one stop shopping which is supposed to be convenient for buyers and sellers. A single agent can provide one stop shopping just as easily since it seems to be about referring clients to ancillary services like lenders and title companies. The big companies have these services to raise profits by getting revenue from multiple sources from the clients that individual agents bring in. From a business point of view they seem to be there just grabbing the low hanging fruit.
My plan is done but I can’t press the print button. After doing some research I have concluded that the newer non-traditional real estate companies are probably worse than the traditional in that they charge consumers less but give the consumer almost nothing in return and seem to use a lot of miss-leading advertising to get business. The agent centric type of real estate companies seem to give agents more money but it is even less clear what they do for the home buyer or seller. Maybe the idea is that if they take care of the agent, the agent will take care of the clients. I take care of my clients because they put food on my table and I
like to eat.
Most of the real estate companies charge the consumer what is called a broker commission. They tack a fee of $200 to $400 onto each transaction and charge it to the buyer or seller, or both if the agent is representing both in a transaction. The money is in addition to their cut of the agents commission and helps keep them profitable. How does this fee help the buyer or seller? What value does the consumer get from the fee?
My plan is done but I can’t press the print button. I talked to some people in my neighborhood and asked them what they thought about real estate companies. It was enlightening. When I asked them who they worked with the last time they bought or sold a home each gave me the name of an agent, none gave me the name of a real estate company. This makes sense because real estate companies do not sell homes, but real estate agents do.
After hours of research my world has been turned up side down. I move into 2007 with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and energy because I love what I do, but I can’t seem to print my business plan. I started thinking outside the box and now I can’t get back into it. I actually stopped seeing the box and am not sure I want to find it ever again.
There is still time to get your goals in! It’s not over until midnight tonight!