Connect with us

Housing News

Salvation or Secret Agent Damnation?



look_to_the_cross_ii_by_aeternitasvenia1Top Of Mind Awareness Is Salvation

“You are doing all the business you’ll ever do, based on the number of people who are aware of you now.”  ~Rand Smith

You’re Screwed Without Top Of Mind Awareness!

Without it, you’re going to suffer the consequences of Secret Agent Damnation.  A painfully slow failure to launch and inevitable rejection, dejection and ejection or a quick and twitchy face-plant failure.  Either way, if nobody knows YOU as a Top Performing, Trust Worthy and Interesting real estate agent, you’re screwed. Secret Agent Damnation.

Wait!  You can save yourself.  Read on.

WTH is Top Of Mind Awareness?

Try this.  Talk to 5 people.  Look them in the eye.  Smile.  Ask, “May I ask five semi-personal questions?”  If they say yes, ask,

1.  When I say,  “to-die for dessert”, what tongue-taste comes to mind?

2.  When I say,  “greatest rock-n-roll band of all time”, who do your ears hear?

3.  When I say, “favorite cocktail”, what drink do you think of?

4.  When I say,  “romantic vacation destination”, where do you think of? (and who’d you take?)

5.  When I say, “top performing real estate agent”, who do you think of?

The answers are examples of Top Of Mind Awareness in action; who or what occupies first recall position in a certain category.  Your category is “real estate agent” and your salvation is Personal-Brand,-Top-Of-Mind-Awareness within your personal sphere. Do you have 1st or 2nd place Top Of Mind Awareness within your sphere?

Here’s Why You’re Screwed Without It.  

Internal tracking of thousands of transactions + performing agent testimonials + observation + 30 years experience + professional research, confirms; on average, over 60% of the business is attributable to a referral, a recommendation or a previous real estate related relationship.

Interested in factual and professional research?   Check these excerpts from the 2008 Houston Association of Realtors Home Sellers and Buyers Survey:

Home Seller Survey – HAR 2008

Q.  How Seller Found  The REALTOR Who Helped Sell Their Home

A.  Referral from friends/neighbors/co-workers = 52%.  I knew the REALTOR personally, had used before = 24%.   Total = 76%  (Note:  If you’re an invisible and unknown agent, you’re losing out on 76% of the opportunities.  Doh! You’re screwed.)

Q.  Most Important Factor To Sellers In Choosing a REALTOR

A.  Reputation, honesty and trustworthiness = 29%.  Most knowledgeable in the market area = 21%.  A referral from family/friends/co-workers = 20%.  Total = 70% (Note: Secret agents and invisible agents are royally screwed.  Obviously nobody knows if your trustworthy, knowledgeable or have friends.) 

Q.  Number Of Realtors Contacted By Sellers

A.  I knew the Realtor personally and had used before = 58%.   Interviewed 2nd agent = 27% .  84% of the time, sellers interviewed only 2 agents.  (Note:  If you aren’t the 1st or 2nd agent the seller thinks about – you’re completely and utterly screwed!  Again.)

Home Buyers Survey – HAR 2008 

Q.  Most Important Factor In Buyers Finding REALTOR Who Helped Them Purchase Their Home

A.  Referral from friends/neighbors/co-workers = 51%.  I knew the REALTOR personally, had used before = 12%.  Total = 62%  (Note: Let me ask you, how screwed is a secret agent?)

Q.  Number of REALTORS Contacted By Buyer

A.  I knew the REALTOR personally, had used before – 47%.  Contacted a 2nd agent = 27%.  74% of the time only two agents were contacted  (Note:  Not the 1st or 2nd agent they think of or contact – pack your bags, you’re damned, punch the ejection button!)

Now We Know Why!  What Next?

The 3 R’s of Top Of Mind Awareness

Here’s the deal.  If you’re not IN all the way, leave now, save yourself an ass kicking.  To create Top Of Mind Awareness will take hard work and commitment.  Wondering what it takes specifically?  Wondering how to manufacture salvation, how to become the 1st or 2nd person that comes to mind when someone thinks about real estate and a real estate agent?

Repetition. Relevance. Remarkable. 

To grove righteous recall, you’ll need to rain your sphere with these 3 R’s.

Repetition – consistent and remarkable contact, conversation, information, entertainment, education and engagement (Marry Old School and New School Media to do this)

Relevance – you can’t puke worthless, pointless or pinhead-mediocre. You must share the opposite; valuable, relevant and remarkable.  Sit and think!  Think about what people want.  What questions do people ask all the time.  What things make people smile and nod.  

Think  > Come To A Conclusion Or Two > Take Action > Share Relevant, Remarkable Stuff > Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  I’m repeating myself.  That’s what it takes.

Remarkable – you can’t walk, talk, chew gum, act, look, work, communicate or engage in ordinary or expected ways.  Average and ordinary is forgettable. Remarkable is memorable.

Want Specifics?

Guess what?  There’s no Magic Bullet.  Wait.  Actually there is a Magic Bullet.  It’s YOU.  

Here’s my recommendation.   

This site is crammed full of bright ideas, read up.  I have shared several odd angled approaches, choose a few and take action.  The Name Tag Guy, has a practical approach on this topic, read his book  “How To Be That Guy“.  Seth Godin has an easy read on how to be a Purple Cow.  Hugh MacLeod will open your eyes, check him out.  Brand You 50 from Tom Peters will change things for you too. 

What Next?  Salvation or Damnation?

Pretty simple, but not easy.  Get BUSY.  Or, get OUT.

Clink-Cheers.  Thanks for reading.


Photo Credit:  Look to the Cross_II by *AeternitasveniA on deviantART

Disclaimer:  This is commentary.  This is not journalism or advertorial.  But, some day, I may collect up the good, bad and ugly of my commentaries and slap them into a book.  There are ads on this web site.  You will recognize them because they look like ads.  Although I recommend some books in my post, I’m not a book agent, nor do I receive any commissions or referral fees from the authors of the books I’m recommending.  I want you to know that I consider my blog posts a form of “Personal Branding”.  This “Personal Branding” may lead to opportunities that enrich aspects of Id,ego and super-ego, my professional and personal personas, my finance and romance relativity and possibly, hopefully,  my spiritual and metaphysical life or lives.  Then again, these could sink my opportunity ship.  Oh well. Ummmm….that’s all the disclaimer I can think of.

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

Continue Reading


  1. Joe Loomer

    June 8, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Spot on, Ken.

    Market reports, condensed and including graphs and charts, are a big part of what I use on my Sphere – via old fashioned mailouts quarterly, through email campaigns the other months.

    Many of my past clients are VA, and since Uncle Sam will no-doubt have other plans for them within a couple of years, they are very receptive to this approach. They worry about the market conditions and their ability to sell. They tell me they consider me the top agent because others send them useless personal promotion postcards. I just promote myself through analysis of the the market.

    Didn’t know how well this was working until I had rotator cuff surgery and sent my 2008 wrap-up out late January – had already gotten several “where’s my data” calls and emails by then.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Matt Stigliano

    June 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Ken – Looks like I have some home work to do for the next few days. Thanks for all the tips on good things to read. I’ve found that there’s a lot of agents out there like you who have read them all, tried them all, and discarded the garbage a million times over. What people like you provide is excellent for new agents or even agents who need a kick in the pants. Thanks Ken!

  3. Ken Brand

    June 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Rock it Joe – Old School + New School + Joe Jazz = Pazazz Cheers

    Matt – Thanks. The irony is, as you know, whether your new or experienced, when it’s time to amp it up and either add or polish a skill or mindset, you begin like a student, start fresh and grow what you know till your a master or mistress, large and in charge. Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

Continue Reading

Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

Continue Reading

Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!