Hello everyone!

 

Hope everyone is having a great spring now that the weather has finally turned around.

 

Going to touch on ComFree this month.  I get so many questions about my thoughts on the other options available to sellers when selling their home.  I am using ComFree as the example just because it is the most well known. There are other options like "Sellerinvite" "2% Realty" etc. that are pretty much the same thing.

 

*Disclaimer....this is solely my opinion on this subject.*

 

First things first.....I personally have absolutely 100% no issues with any of the discounted home selling options like ComFree.  I never have and never will.  I think all the attention that these companies have generated to real estate in general is a good thing.  There has always been FSBO's (For Sale By Owners) now, there is simply an avenue for them.  One very smart man decided to open a company for them and give them proper internet exposure.  There is zero risk to him so why not?  Give me $599 and I'll put your house on the biggest real estate website around......if it doesn't sell, I'm still gonna keep your $599.  Genius!  This company has made WAY more money off people than the commissions they've saved.

 

The realtors that complain about ComFree are the ones who didn't have business to begin with, they now simply have something to blame it on. Ouch!  Sounds harsh and it is.  Biggest pet peeve amongst my colleagues are the ones who constantly complain about ComFree.  "So if ComFree wasn't around, you'd be top 10 realtors in the city?" Wrong.  Love it or hate it, ComFree is now part of our industry.  Either you learn how to work with them or you will be washed away with the other cavemen of the industry.  Constant evolution and change is part of every industry in the world, real estate is no different.

 

"Ring ring ring....Hello? Hey Rick it's................how's it going?" 

"Hey! Great to hear from you, what's going on?"

"Well we've been trying to sell our house for 6 months on ComFree and just can't seem to get it sold...maybe you could help us out?"  STOP!

I received 7 of these phone calls last year alone!

 

My first response to every one of these calls was and still is "there was a time and place for ComFree and it has come and gone......it will come back, but not for a long time".  

 

I sold every one of those houses within a month of listing them.  Why? What makes me different than ComFree? They were all nice houses and reasonably priced? So what was the problem?

Simple answer is "exposure"......I like to think I'm a pretty good realtor too Wink  

 

There is nothing I love more than getting a new listing that was previously on ComFree....brought a smile to my face just typing this.

 

ComFree gained ALL of its momentum during the great rise and fall of 2006-2007.  At the time ComFree made up close to 50% of the market and why wouldn't they! Houses were selling within hours of being listed....not days, hours! I had clients calling me to sell their house during this time and even I was telling them to save the money and sell it themselves but be careful.  You simply didn't need a realtor to sell your house then, the market was going squirrely and the media played this card to a T to generate pandamonium in the Alberta real estate market.  Alberta was so grossly under priced in the real estate market compared to similar markets across the country that something had to give.    

 

ComFree has now fallen to about 6% of our market....that's it! They simply don't have the exposure any more....they will again someday, but not for a long time.  Realtors are currently making up 94% of the market....stand up, say it out loud, look into a mirror and say it if you have to.  94%!!! All the buyers are working with realtors!!!  That's it, there's no long, drawn out financial reports or graph charts to show you, that's just the current market facts.

 

Which houses do you think realtors are going to take their clients too first?  The ones that are going to pay them the standard industry commission or one that is offering them 1 penny and a handshake? 


The only thing I try and explain to people when they decide to sell their house themselves is this....DO NOT be angry that no realtors are showing your house.  You are offering us NOTHING!! Why would we show your house?

 

The problem with most ComFree listings is that they simply are not COMmission FREE like the name says.  These houses are priced the same (or quite often higher) as every other house but theres no commission to pay so they should be cheaper but they are not.  Also, who determined this asking price?  My neighbors house just sold for this much so my house must be worth that much....right?  Maybe you're asking too much, maybe you're not asking enough???  Quick example....a $400,000 house on ComFree should be listed for $384,000 because standard commission on a $400,000 house with a realtor is $16,000 (split in half between both agents involved).  Pretty easy math.

 

The other side of this conversation is people who insist on buying ComFree because they're saving all the commission?!?!  WHAT????  No you didn't save the commission, you actually bought a house above market value and did it completely on your own without the trained eye and knowledge of a professional with professional contacts like home inspectors, lawyers and mortgage brokers.  The single biggest misconception about real estate is that the buyer has to pay their realtor?  Realtors get paid from sales, buyers do not have to pay their realtor anything.    

 

ComFree has truly saved a lot of money for a lot of people but I'd be curious to see how much of it was in 2006-2007 and how much since then?  There are a lot of horror stories that you don't hear about in those catchy radio ads about ComFree as well.  People losing thousands on their homes because they got swindled by a very intelligent investor, people paying way too much because they simply didn't know how to properly negotiate a deal with an aggressive seller.  My advice to anyone considering going the ComFree route is to just quite simply be careful and do your homework, there's an age old saying that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.  There will always be people who want to do it on their own and sell their homes by themselves...kudo's to you, just do your homework.  But on the other hand, there will always be people who truly understand the value of hiring a professional and the service and knowledge we have to offer.

 

"The only thing more expensive than hiring a professional is hiring an amateur"


Rick Reinhardt

Realtor

Remax Real Estate


.......Look for next months blog titled "Will you cut your commission?"


 

 

 

 

 

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I was recently asked how I generate business from a client. So much has changed with real estate over the past 8 years since I started (I sound like an old man).

 

Here are the top 5 ways that I personally have been able to generate leads and more business...

 

5. Real Estate Weekly (newspaper insert that gets mailed out once a week in the local newspapers). Unfortunately this used to be number one about 7 years ago. Barely makes my top 5 now. No one looks at newspapers anymore, no one. Only Realtors who need their ego pumped use this to show off to their family, friends and clients. Sounds harsh but it's the truth. Where is the first place people look when they want to buy a house now.....INTERNET!!

 

4. Open Houses. Also barely squeeking into this list. This is the biggest farce in my industry. Less than 4% of homes actually sell through open houses. Realtors use it as an avenue to get new business from people walking in the door. The right price and the right Realtor sell your home, not open houses.  Again, sounds harsh but this is the reality of open houses.

 

3. Mail outs. Sending a simple 4 page mail out to my clients every 3 months is such an easy and cheap way for me to stay in touch with them. So many Realtors complain when a former client lists their house for sale with another agent.....first thing I ask "Have you even talked to them since they bought their house 5 years ago?....Have you sent them any sort of mail out to let them know you are even in the industry still?" If they answer no, the conversation is over. If they answer yes....refer to number one on this list.

 

2. Social media. FACEBOOK!!!!!! Over 80% of my business is generated through Facebook and office websites and now my own personal website to add to that list. Posting the occasional market stat, market trend or just talking about a recent transaction peaks everyones interest. People are ALWAYS interested in knowing what is going on with the real estate market whether they are considering buying or selling in the near future. Who do you think they're going to call.....probably the guy who has random updates and rants about the real estate market. It creates the image that I am constantly on top of the market...which I am. Never understand why more Realtors don't use Facebook as a marketing tool.

 

And the number one way to generate leads......with number 2 being a long second away.....


1. Make every transaction as fun and worry free as possible!!! 90% of my business is based on referrals. Clients are banking on us to know what the hell were doing. The public has become so much more educated with real estate in general since the great rise and fall of 2007 and no longer have to rely on Realtors for buying or selling their home. It is my job to turn that around and make people WANT to use me. Just like my rant from last week....TRUST your Realtor, Trust your mortgage broker, Trust your lawyer.....it's what we do all day every day! What the hell good are we to our clients if you can't trust us?!?

 

Rick Reinhardt

Realtor 

Remax Real Estate

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There are 3 Seasons in Canadian real estate.


Low season: November, December, January, February

Hands down the slowest time of the year for real estate sales!  Realtors will typically do 10% of their yearly sales during these months.  The winter months tend to put everyone into a hibernation state of real estate, sellers lack motivation and buyers honestly just don’t want to look at houses in the colder months of the year and have to move over and around Christmas.  However, this is when the investors show up every year.  The investors see this as “prime time” to purchase properties due to the lack of competing buyers and sometimes desperate selling prices.  The homes that are usually “left over” at this time of year are the ones that were too highly priced in the summer and fall months and now the sellers have hit a desperation state and are almost forced to give their homes away and price them at a “bargain” price. 


High season: March, April, May, June

Just like the previous months were hands down the slowest time of the year for real estate, these 4 months are hands down the busiest.  Realtors will typically do 60% of their yearly sales during these months.  No smart realtor goes on holidays during these months.  This is probably the most consistent season every year, all realtors gear up for it in February/March and we all know it’s coming.  The spring weather seems to snap people out of the winter “funk” and sparks interest in real estate like clockwork.  This is always the best time of the year to sell your home as there are just so many buyers during this time.  The reasons for buyers choosing this time of year for purchasing is that possession dates are typically May/June/July which means the kids are out of school and the weather is great for moving day.  Buyers can take possession of their home and be settled and still have time for summer vacation without really affecting their holiday schedule much.  Canadians really only get about 4 months of good moving weather so everyone tries to take advantage of it!


Cooling off season: July, August, September, October

Time for realtors to catch up!  After a chaotic 4 month stretch this is when realtors will typically do 30% of their yearly sales.  This is also when 90% of the realtors go on holidays….myself included.  These months offer everyone a chance to catch up.  There is typically one last rush in September/October with buyers purchasing the remaining homes from the summer and taking possession before the snow flies and/or before Christmas.  This is when I usually recommend to sellers that if your house isn’t sold by the end of October that we should take it off the market until the spring and take advantage of “high season”.


Rick Reinhardt

Realtor

Remax Real Estate

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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.