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RE Moments

Plan B

Opportunity timeOur office is the #1 brokerage in our area, doing about twice the next highest brokerages production, and we’ve about 20% or so of the entire market share.

We – as in the entire office of like 45 people – took just 4 listings in November.

That is “4” as in “four”. I swear I’m not making this stat up. According to Wikipedia “the number four, is a number and a numeral. It comes after the number three, but before the number five.”

See where I’m going with this?

Plus I’ve seen in the last month or so two heavy hitter agents just turn around and take management jobs. No doubt their… well I can’t say “age”… lets say “time in the business” has worn on them a bit, but these are pretty dyed in the wool cash queens. One bitches about every top producer trophy she gets saying, “why don’t they just send me $50 instead of wasting their money on this” as she tosses them in the trash.

To cut a long story short, there is markedly limited potential to make a full time living at real estate in my area. Both for right now, and I strongly suspect for at least the next two years. I’m a positive guy, but I ain’t standing in the snow imagining a beach.

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It’s time for Plan B.

Actually it was probably time for Plan B months ago, but I am slow on the uptake and too positive for my own good sometimes.

Plan B… code named “Operation Survive The Storm”.

Post secret1.  Get an actual job that pays money. Luckily I’m still a nurse (NEVER LET A LICENSE LAPSE), so no real concern about managing to find something that pays the bills. The opportunity cost for not working as a nurse and getting paid benefits etc has been pretty heavy. By that token I’ve seriously lost money this year.

2.  Worry less about the damn blog. Honestly everyone that seems to be getting actual lead traction from these things are already pretty established as agents. For a new agent in terms of leads and income generation they seem near completely worthless. In terms of getting an education and forcing personal growth and knowledge of the business, they are pretty good.

3.  I have produced an awful lot of content in the last year and a bit. That is going to get repackaged into one shiny beautiful PDF white paper that will amount to the be all and end all of my real estate marketing attempts. Then it’s tracking FSBO’s and Expireds in my database and mailing regularly to prompt a response to down load and read the white paper and then, and only then, call me for an appointment. It won’t be for everyone of course, that is exactly the idea though.

I want nothing but sellers willing to do what it takes to sell, and will be referring off the buyer side of the equation, or maybe even simply paying for someone else to show properties.

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The goal is four or more listings in 2008 to simply break even on my REALTOR fees, MLS fees, Errors and Omissions Fees, a second helping of MLS fees, Direct Mail Expenses, and the Opportunity Cost of spending my time shoving letters into envelopes instead of picking up an extra nursing shift every once in a while.

Rodman4.  I’m getting a tattoo. I’ve just always secretly wanted one.

5.  I’m going to stop bothering to try and sell photography services to other agents. The more you guys suck, the better I look, so it’s not really in my interest to help you out any. It takes about 50 photo shoot fees to equal 1 commission, so I figure it’s less work to just try and pick up your leftovers as an expired. I will sell photography services, but everyone is getting the same rate ($100 or a blow job) and you call me.

I will most definitely be taking a lot of photos and refining my photo skills further.

6.  I’m not doing fluffy bunnies floor time, or open houses anymore. These are horribly inefficient ways of meeting qualified people who might actually want to…. oh I dunno… actually have a transaction at some point.

7.  And importantly – I will not be holding a funeral service for Plan A.

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  1. Kelley Koehler

    December 4, 2007 at 1:44 am

    That’s one way to charge for services. Hard to make that split with the broker though.

    Amen to no floor or open houses. Stopped those about two years ago. And if that’s the decision that feels right for you and your family, amen to #7.

    So what’s the tat going to be?

  2. Patrick Hake

    December 4, 2007 at 2:37 am

    My wife and I worked as a team up until August 2006.

    Our plan B began then.

    She began her pre-requisite courses for nursing school and is now preparing to enter an accelerated RN program sponsered by Sutter Health.

    When you factor in benefits and a very strong hourly wage, nursing can easily give real estate a run for its money as a career.

    You rarely here someone have something bad to say about nursing as an industry. Realtors on the other hand are not looked on kindly as a profession. At least not in the past 2 years.

    I have been ruined and can never work for another person again. I am determined to make real estate work, because I hate working in a cubical and no one else will pay me to do what I want to do.

    I made the decision last year to avoid the sellers that are “not going to give their home away” and to focus on foreclsosures, first time buyers and buy and hold investors. It has worked well enough to survive.

    Blogging can be a great lead generating tool, but only if it is organized around leading buyers to an IDX search and leading sellers to a CMA request form. If the content on your blog is centered around topics a Realtor would find interesting, you may get a lot of traffic, but you will not close any transactions.

  3. Benjamin Bach

    December 4, 2007 at 6:13 am

    Athol,if you’re blogging with the intention to get leads, you may be dissapointed. If you blog to provide value, eventually people looking to buy and sell real estate *will* find you.

    I have 3 deals and 2 offers on the go this week, all from clients who found me (in november) from my blog.

    Are you spending 3 hours every day in lead generating activities (and I don’t count blogging in there) ? Calling your sphere of influence, past clients, door knocking etc. Hold a seminar – I get great traction at those – maybe on investing, or selling your home in a down market etc. Lots of ideas for lead generation if you put your mind to it!

  4. Benn Rosales

    December 4, 2007 at 9:15 am

    Here is a success for you Athol (we all need them from time to time).

    I know who you are.

    Two years ago, I knew who Russell Shaw was, I knew who every “for real” volume agent was- but today, thanks to blogging, I Know Who You Are.

    I would imagine a good 5-10 folks there in your town know who you are too. That is a win.

  5. Jonathan Dalton

    December 4, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Et tu, Sock Puppet?

  6. Teri Lussier

    December 4, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Been having an internal Come to Jesus meeting myself which would be a much easier decision if I didn’t love this business. When the going gets tough…

  7. Mariana

    December 4, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Oh Athol, I am getting a tattoo too! We can be twins, now.

  8. Athol Kay

    December 4, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks to everyone who left comments.

    I think the tattoo will be some kind of kanji on my upper arms. Going to say something like “tao”, or “joy” or “ask me about real estate” or something.

    What tattoo are you getting Mariana?

  9. Vicki Moore

    December 5, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Athol – My love for you grows. Your honesty and humor are much appreciated. I let my court reporting license lapse – I could never stomach the idea of going back to that. No matter how I rationalize that decision, I wonder how good of an idea it was.

    On Monday I went to a pep ralley where Dave Liniger made a presentation. He said that of 1.3 million NAR members, 400,000 had not sold even one house this year.

    If it were just me struggling, I almost think it would be easier to deal with. It’s incredibly difficult to watch my friends in survival.

    If it takes to Plan Q to get where you need to, do it.

  10. Joy Canova

    December 8, 2007 at 9:13 am

    I think I will wait it out. I am also stuck by my senseless love for this business.

    Nevertheless, a tatoo sounds interesting… Although, I think I am a better choice for the “joy” one, Athol.

    Cheers to us all.

  11. Toby & Sadie

    December 17, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    I feel your pain Athol. I weathered the storm for as long as I could, and thought I was in good shape in October. Then all three deals fell through. Suddenly, the light came on.

    I am not ready to give up the dream, so I went to work part-time at Best Buy to get through the winter. I’m fighting every day to make this dream work, and not sleeping enough, and it really becomes frustrating when I figured out that I’m making about $2 an hour right now working 100 hours a week.

    I’ve had a couple of calls about other jobs, but I’m not ready to go part-time or walk away from real estate. I’m now on Plan A2 and am not ready to go to Plan B.

    However, it might not be too long until economic situations force me to.

  12. Athol Kay

    December 17, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Hi Toby,

    my advice would be to proactively get a job before the economics force you into something really horrible.

    Working 100 hours a week for $200 seems like it’s going to destroy you on multiple levels.

  13. Toby Boyce

    December 18, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Am I excited about working 100 hours per week. No. I haven’t had a closing since September, however before that I was averaging one a month for the year. Hence, I was able to build a small reserve which helped us get through this time.

    I am working very very hard right now, and am seeing enough fruits from the labor (4 new listings, 1 offer) that it keeps me moving forward.

    I have started to look at some public relation and writing jobs, but my heart isn’t in it yet.

  14. PDX

    June 1, 2008 at 3:47 am

    We just ran out of signs in our office. Listing are plenty. Sales are less.

  15. Sue

    July 10, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Well Athol, its been a while and I am wondering how Plan B is going. The market my area has picked up, but its different. Its like a late spring market.

    I thought you Plan B had some very good points…not doing open houses or floor time for starters. You’d be better off sitting in Starbucks or a diner with your name tag on. I’m glad I didn’t miss any services for Plan A!

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