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Building a Virtual Brokerage with Strong Agents and Superior Online Leads

Apr 2, 2018 by

Monroe_LucasFor Lucas Monroe, broker and chief executive officer of Kendrick Realty, Inc. in Pleasant Hill, Calif., it’s all about accountability, systems and success with online leads. In the following interview, learn how in just the first few months of the year, his office has already surpassed last year’s sales.  

Region served: Greater San Francisco Bay Area
Years in real estate: 8 in real estate, 2 years as a broker
Number of offices: 1 in California under Kendrick Realty, Inc., and a second in Florida under a different name
Number of agents: 17 in California; 19 in Florida
Average sales price: $ 550,000 in California; $ 285,000 in Florida
First thing you do when you arrive at the office? Power up the computer and have an assistant give me the daily schedule.

Can you tell me about your office structure? I got my start on the real estate investment side of things, and this approach has carried over to the way in which my co-owners Dan Sundberg, director of people and culture, and Lisa Sickman, director of learning and performance and I operate Kendrick Realty. Our view is agent investment-focused. We spend a lot of our time looking at our REALTORS® as individual businesses that we as a brokerage are investing in.

Do your agents work from your office or remotely? We own our office outright, and it’s available to our agents, but while we get agent traffic every day, not everyone comes in every day. For the most part, our agents are virtual, which is how we set up our business model. Our view is that agents are most productive when they’re out in front of clients, so we try to provide enough opportunities so that they can do that daily rather than spend time in the office.

Since your agents spend less time in the office, how are you creating camaraderie within your company? Once a week, we have a team huddle call, which is a quick phone call with each agent where we go through stats, goals and company announcements. Since real estate is all about community, we’re very involved in ours, so we participate in monthly charitable events. We rotate month to month between our covered counties. We might do a local beach cleanup or a food packaging day, and we invite our whole team to come help with those events to do something social together and give back. We also do a monthly all-hands meeting where we invite the entire team to our office to go over new company updates.

All of our agents have a unique level of access to us as owners. We make ourselves accessible for one-on-one discussions to make sure our agents can continue learning and overcome difficulties to maximize productivity.

Who pays for the marketing and advertising? We put our money where our mouth is: we invest about $ 4,000 a month per agent, just in lead generation.

What gives you confidence that these opportunities are not wasted? Our custom CRM gives us a lot of transparency. We can look at agent leads and see how our agents are planning their day to make sure nothing falls between the cracks. We also have a core team of 20 full-time employees that we refer to as our client concierge. They are responsible for following up with our pipeline of leads and focusing on lead engagement.

Where are you getting your leads? We get the majority of our leads from realtor.com®.

What kind of results are you getting? Realtor.com® has allowed us, as a brand-new company just over a year old, to build up a lead pipeline of about 22,000 leads between California and Florida, which is incredible for any brokerage, but especially for one as young as ours. In addition, realtor.com® has enabled us to grow and scale into new areas, providing us with a predictable look at a fixed cost and a fairly consistent pipeline.

How do you train your agents to close online leads? Dan and Lisa have put together a new agent boot camp that all our agents go through. This boot camp is a week-long, eight-hour-a-day intensive intro to the way Kendrick Realty approaches the business, and a big part of that is focusing on how to be successful with online leads. The biggest problem other real estate professionals typically have with online leads is a lack of consistency. A typical real estate professional investing in their own business might spend $ 400 – $ 700 a month and that might bring in 4 – 8 leads, which is not a sufficient volume. So, a big focus for us is making sure we have enough lead scale that we’re able to sift through everything. Some will be golden, easy sales, some will be hard work, and some won’t turn into anything. But with a sufficient volume, we’re able to make consistent money for our agents and ourselves as a brokerage.

Any projections for the future of the company? We have intentions to open two additional offices this year. On the financial end, our sales from January and February 2018—plus what we have in contract—is already equal to our entire sales for all of last year. So, we’re having phenomenal growth. Last year was all about making sure our fundamentals were strong, that our systems were in place. Now, we’re looking forward to continuing to grow in 2018.

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com/brokerwin.

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Home Prices Charge Upward, Stoked by Strong Sales Pace

May 15, 2017 by

Home prices continue to escalate, charging upward 6.9 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The increase, stoked by the strongest quarterly sales pace in a decade, marks three straight quarters of growth.

“Prospective buyers poured into the market to start the year, and while their increased presence led to a boost in sales, new listings failed to keep up and hovered around record lows all quarter,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “Those able to successfully buy most likely had to outbid others—especially for those in the starter home market—which, in turn, quickened price growth to the fastest quarterly pace in almost two years.”

Single-family home prices went up in 85 percent of the markets assessed in the report, or 152 of 178 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Seventeen percent of, or 30, metro areas saw prices up by double digits. At the national level, the median existing single-family home price was $ 232,100, and the median existing condominium price was $ 218,600.

Home prices in the South grew at the highest quarterly rate, 8.8 percent to a median $ 209,000, according to the report. Prices in the West followed at 8.4 percent to a median $ 342,500, while prices in the Midwest tracked up 5.7 percent to a median $ 176,600. Prices in the Northeast grew at the lowest quarterly rate, 2.2 percent to a median $ 255,000.

Affordability, in addition, contracted in the first quarter. A homebuyer with a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $ 52,251 to afford a single-family home priced at the national median. A homebuyer with a 10 percent down payment would need an income of $ 49,501, and a homebuyer with a 20 percent down payment would need an income of $ 44,001.

“Several metro areas with the healthiest job gains in recent years continue to see a large upswing in buyer demand but lack the commensurate ramp-up in new-home construction,” Yun says. “This is why many of these areas—in particular several parts of the South and West—are seeing unhealthy price appreciation that far exceeds incomes.”

The most expensive metro areas by median existing single-family price in the first quarter were San Jose, Calif. ($ 1,070,000); San Francisco, Calif. ($ 815,000); Anaheim-Santa Ana, Calif. ($ 750,000); Honolulu, Hawaii ($ 746,000); and San Diego, Calif. ($ 564,000). The least expensive metro areas were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio ($ 79,200); Cumberland, Md. ($ 81,800); Decatur, Ill. ($ 86,100); Elmira, N.Y. ($ 90,000); and Binghamton, N.Y. ($ 91,200).

Existing-home sales, including condo, rose 1.4 percent to 5.62 million in the first quarter, according to the report—the highest since the first quarter of 2007. Existing homes available for sale were down 6.6 percent to 1.83 million at the end of the quarter, with an average supply of 3.7 months.

“Last quarter’s robust pace of sales was especially impressive considering the affordability sting buyers experienced from higher prices and mortgage rates,” says Yun. “High demand is poised to continue heading into the summer as long as job gains continue; however, many metro areas need to see a significant rise in new and existing inventory to meet this demand and cool down price growth.”

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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