Creating a Better Real Estate Company
By John P. Wells, Broker, Century 21 Wellsco, Realtors
Traditional Realtor business models have been based on networking, with the source of business being who you know. It meant trying to be everyone’s friend and constantly reminding them that you are a Realtor looking for them to send you business. It reminds me of the pyramid marketing companies, in which you are continuously trying to sell to your friends and family. Indeed, the national real estate companies still follow a similar pattern, where the focus is on having as many agents as possible who will do business with people they know, rather than having true professionals each doing a large volume of business. Salespeople at these agencies are recently averaging only a few transactions per year rather than gaining the experience and exposure of full time, dedicated Realtors.
With the advent of the internet followed by the decline in the real estate market, many things have changed. The national brands are struggling. Buyers and Sellers are now able to research agents online, and brand names have become increasingly irrelevant as they seek the right person to represent them. Less skilled full time Realtors became part time and took second jobs, or dropped out of the market completely. At the same time, the industry became increasingly regulated and complex, and the “buyer beware” attitude was replaced with strict consumer protection guidelines. Buyer Agency was created.
Following your heart and doing well what you love to do is the key to success, and that’s the route I had to choose. Real Estate companies train their agents to “get the buyer off the fence”. Make expansive gestures with their arms to suggest that someone should buy the home. I had to reject much of what I was being taught and recognize that, when representing buyers, my job was to look after their interests and not to sell them a home. When representing sellers, I had to focus on their objectives and at the same time adjust their expectations to reality, not focus on “getting the listing”. A listing and open houses are sources of buyer clients, so agents will take overpriced listings with that in mind. Also, the more signs you have in front of houses, the more successful and thus better agent you are in the eyes of the public. None of that is key to doing your job, which is representing the interests of the seller.
What Makes Wellsco Realtors Better?
A key element in Wellsco’s marketing strategy was the creation of a popular community website, “HappyInNewburyport.com”, where we post ongoing articles of local interest, information about local businesses and non-profits free of charge, allow them to contribute articles, and post on the community calendar. We provide very useful information about real estate. It is key that homes ww list are featured on the front page of the website, giving home sellers the best exposure available.
We have built this company based on the following principles:
1) Client Needs Come First! It is extremely difficult for most to put aside the need to make a sale and get paid and work solely for the best interests of the client, but we seek out agents who are able and will serve their client’s needs above all.
2) It is not a Buyer Agent’s job to sell the client a home.
3) Listing Agent: Price the house according to the market and represent the house accurately online. A house that sounds and looks better than it is will result in unnecessary traffic and disappointed buyers. We will disclose the issues we are aware of with the property up front, to avoid home inspection renegotiations as much as possible. Accepting an offer that is not based on full knowledge will only hurt the sale.
4) Don’t Pressure Customers! When contacted by potential clients, we will not harass them. They will be provided with as much information as we can give them to help their education in the process.
5) Better Service through Specialized Knowledge: Buying or selling a condo has very specific issues that need specialized knowledge. Antique homes are a focused market – why list your home with someone who does not understand how to present it? Buying a beach front home has issues of its own – use a Realtor who knows them! We assist our Realtors in becoming highly trained professionals in specialized fields to serve our clients better than anyone else can.
6) Marketing Your Home: We understand how buyers shop on the internet, and we understand how to attract attention to your home online better than anyone else. Our Newburyport Community website, HappyInNewburyport.com, has become increasingly popular and puts your home in the spotlight. Our specialized websites, both for specific towns and specific property types, reach the buyer who searches for your home more effectively than any other home marketing program.
7) Ethics and Professionalism: This is a serious transaction and we keep a small team of only the best professional Realtors to give you the best possible service.
About John P. Wells, Founder
John grew up in Winchester MA and spent much as his youth as an actor, performing in multiple theaters around Boston. On graduating high school, he travelled to Europe with an American theater company on a European Tour for two years. He landed in Antwerp, Belgium, and decided to stay. Rather than taking advantage of the scholarship offered him by Tufts University, he chose to pay his way through school in Belgium, where he studied International Management. He likes to talk of the frustrations he experienced in learning enough Dutch and French to follow the courses, and had to take courses in Belgium Fiscal and Commercial law… in Dutch.
He graduated with honors with a Masters Degree and went on to work for the university for 8 years, first as lecturer and assistant to the President, and later as dean of the undergraduate program. He left that post to start an international school at the request of the local community, where he remained for 3 years as the headmaster. When he felt the school had reached financial stability, he appointed a professional educator to take it to the next level, and started a company focused on speech recognition technology. In a few years he had branch offices in Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Florence and the South of France. After selling that company in the early 90’s he returned to the USA.
His lifelong interest in architecture and real estate led him into designing and building homes and communities in New England, until the recession in 2007 changed the market. He took the real estate exam and obtained his real estate license and started exploring that side of the business, and with the knowledge and experience gained founded Century 21 Wellsco in Newburyport at the beginning of 2012.