Today on the Listing Agent Lifestyle podcast we're talking with Lorne Cooper, another fellow Canadian who's from New Market Ontario, not far from where I grew up.
Loren has been in real estate for about seven years and has some really great traction. We talked a lot about implementing some of the strategies for getting listings and multiplying his listings.
The episode really went in a nice direction of realizing that picking a category like townhouses to dominate is going to be really valuable for him as he builds on some of the work he’s already done. It was nice to hear the light bulb come on as he realized the potential.
It’s going to be really interesting to watch everything unfold for Loren.
Transcript: Listing Agent Lifestyle Ep057
Dean: Hello, Lorne Cooper.
Lorne: It is I. Is it you Dean, the Mean Marketing Machine, Jackson?
Dean: That's me. How are you?
Lorne: I'm doing all right, how are you doing man?
Dean: I'm so good, lots of podcasting going on over here today at world headquarters.
Dean: Yes, so I appreciate your flexibility. That worked out perfectly.
Lorne: Yeah, no, it worked out, that's great.
Dean: Yeah, this is great. So now we've got the whole hour, we can talk about whatever is going to make the biggest impact for you. So probably good to fill us in on the, as we say, the Lorne Cooper story, as to where you're at right now and what's going on, and then we can kind of jump off from there.
Lorne: Sure thing. So I am located just north of Toronto, in Canada, the Great White North, so I'm in the Newmarket area, I heard you mentioned Aurora, so that's just north of there.
Dean: Yeah, I was in Halton Hills, that was where I grew up, yeah. And Greg Proctor was in Newmarket when I started out.
Lorne: Yes he was. Yeah, his home base, his office is still here, but someone else has taken over his team.
Dean: Oh there you go.
Lorne: All right, so this is my area. We've been hit pretty hard as you know, the market changed pretty drastically about a year and a half ago. And the 905, sort of the suburbs of Toronto, have been hit kind of the hardest, because our prices were I suppose inflated the most. So things are pretty stalled. Most people, their businesses this year have sort of cut either by 30 to 50%, so it's pretty drastic, myself included.
I've been in the business for just under seven years. The first two years in this business were brutal for me, like terrible. And what I ended up doing is I reached out to a mutual friend. I actually did a lot of research online, and I found you and your Getting Listings program. And I don't know if you're aware of this or not, if Diane told you any backstory, but I actually-
Dean: No, I don't have a copy of the backstory yet, so this is good.
Lorne: Okay, you're getting it all fresh.
Lorne: All right, cool. So I reached out to Chuck Charleton, because he's in Milton, and David Waters, and a couple other people, because I was in a state of panic basically. I actually just started a podcast as well last week, just sort of for realtors starting in the business and getting their take on talking sort of the most successful realtors, and what their start was like.
So my start, like I said, was brutal, which is why I find it really interesting to hear about everyone's start in the business. So yeah, it was difficult, I reached out to Chuck. He talked to me about your stuff. I checked it out, the Getting Listings program. I tried everything. I mean, I was doing that, I was door knocking, cold calling, everything that anybody would suggest, I would try. And it took me the first two years to really get any traction. By year three, I was off and running, but it took me that long.
So I've got a fairly stable business now, other than the market reacting the way that it did. But having said that, if I get off the hamster wheel, it dies. I mean, it just doesn't happen, which is pretty typical for most realtors I'd say.
Dean: Well perfect time of year, end of the year here, let's break it down. Do you want to kind of look through your last year here and see what we can uncover?
Lorne: Sure. So I can tell you that through where I got my business. Sources of business for me were realtor referrals out of city, out of province, and such, and through sources like geo-farming, so I've got an...
Dean: Sorry? Hello Lorne, I think I've lost you here.
Lorne: Still there? Can I here you?
Dean: There we go. Okay, here you are.
Lorne: Sorry. What happened is I mentioned old school geo-farming, and your phone had a heart attack.
Dean: It did. I think that's what I thought I heard, because in one breath I thought I heard you talking about getting listings, and then I hear this geo-farming, so tell me what's that's all about.
Lorne: Yeah, we'll get back to the getting listings story, yeah. So anyway, this is an area that I sort of lived and worked in, and was very intimately familiar with the product townhouses and detached homes. The newer, was newer at the time when I first started in the business, so I guess it's about eight to 10 years old now, it was about two years old when I started. So I've got business in that market from that, and those are the main sources of my income this year. So realtor referrals, geo-farming, sort of that type of thing, everything that goes along with that.
Now, regarding the Getting Listings program that I started years ago, I started it in this particular neighborhood. And for some reason, I did it for about eight or nine months, and I got like four people responding, that was it. So I don't know if the reason was possibly because, and you can tell me because you obviously have a lot more insight into this from other markets. But maybe it's just it was a younger demographic, a little bit hip to what's going on, more sophisticated so to speak. I don't know what it was, but I wasn't getting the response from that area.
Dean: So when you say, this is what I always look at, because it's good to troubleshoot things. Like I often can think about and uncover, sleuth out, why something would happen. So how many homes was it that you were focused on there?
Lorne: It was about 1,500.
Dean: Okay, so 1,500 homes. Like if we were putting a "Can you spot the differences?" game, with my exact postcard that we share and talk about, and putting your postcard up against it, would there be any differences that could be spotted?
Lorne: The only differences would be the picture, the name of the community, and the date.
Dean: Okay, so no logos, no your picture, none of that kind of stuff?
Lorne: Totally unbranded.
Dean: Okay great. And that's what I look at, is it exactly the same, so that's good. And then the other thing is, we start to look at the actual delivery of them. Were they being delivered by Canada Post into the mailbox, or were you using a flyer delivery service? Or how were they getting to them?
Lorne: It was Canada Post, in their mailbox.
Dean: Yeah, in the unaddressed ad mail, or their flyer service?
Lorne: That's sort of one and the same.
Dean: Okay. Yeah, because some areas have different, where you can be bundled with a bunch of stuff. So that's why I look at it, and sometimes people use other, like a flyer delivery service, and it's not getting delivered right into the, or it's coming along with a big stack of things that it's easy to discard altogether right, it's all wrapped in this canoe of the grocery store circular along with all the other things that are coming in there. So that's a challenge.
Lorne: I live there, so I saw. I made sure that I could see it on a monthly basis, and I did.
Dean: Good, good, good. Okay. So you look at it, and we start to see everything correlates to the turnover rate. So I look at things and say, if you only got four responses in eight months, you may have set the record for the lowest number of responses, because that's super-outlier, in terms of the responses.
Lorne: Sure. I got a few more, but they were junky information, so only four real ones.
Dean: Okay. So I look at those. Yeah, what were you instructing them to do? Were you going to the landing page that I had created, or were you sending them to another landing page? How were they responding?
Lorne: Yeah, I'm not that creative. Musically, sure, give me a guitar, I'm ready to rock. With this stuff, I was just following instructions. So for some reason, I was just using your stuff and your landing page, and I used the 1-800 number, I believe there was one as well. And it didn't quite work out the way that I would have hoped.
Dean: Okay, so I went through my checklist of what happens. Often there's some we can uncover it within there, but it sounds like you were doing everything right on your part, and that seems like super-outlier for response rates. And every time we wonder, it does make me kind of question, like you say, younger people or things of advance, people are hip to things. And every time I do this, I look at, because I'm always questioning and testing everything, to look for the control, to say what's the thing. Is there some better way for this?
So I look at what we're doing now with Diane here in Winter Haven as picking two areas, mailing out, I mean we're sending out the postcards, and I think this week's episode of the Listing Agent Lifestyle is with Diane, and we break down all the responses. And she just got her first listing from the mailings this week, came on the market on Monday. So that's-
Lorne: Which is great.
Dean: Yeah, it's all very exciting. So I'd love to figure that out with you. Did you test in other areas, like in detached homes?
Lorne: No, and this area was a combination of attached and town homes, and semi-detached. It was a newer area, little bit more transient. Fairly high turnover, close to 10%, 9%. So everything seemed to be ideal, but for some reason it just didn't click. And again, this was about six years ago at this point, right, so the area has turned over a bit. The actual turnover rate has changed as well overall, like I said, because market slowdown. But in this area in particular, I cut it in half in terms of continuing with just geo-farming, just in terms of doing a lot of business. And that turnover rate in that 600 homes is close to 6%.
Dean: Okay, so there's 36 potential, yeah.
Lorne: Yeah. So I'm down with trying it again, or maybe I should try a different area, maybe an older area. I'm not really sure. I'm open to your suggestions.
Dean: Well, one of the things that we've really been having success with right now is doing micro-targeted Facebook ads, where we can get down to targeting a specific townhouse complex or neighborhood.
Lorne: Yeah, I like that.
Dean: Yeah, and that's really been working well. We've been amplifying the postcard mailings with Diane doing a video standing outside the gates or the entrance to the community doing a video saying, "Hey, it's Diane reporting live from Cypresswood, and you've probably seen this postcard arriving in your mailbox to get this report." And then she tells a little bit about the updates of what's been going on, and instructs them on how to get the report, and that amplifies the response rates that we get both online and the postcards.
So that might be a really good way for you to kind of test the waters first, you know?
Lorne: Yeah, I like that a lot. When I was speaking to Diane, she mentioned that, and I loved that idea and I'm looking forward to trying that. Now in terms of actually doing it practically, are you choosing some address and then going sort of via a radius of a kilometer or something? Oh how is-
Dean: I know, yeah. I have a Facebook guy that we're working with who is able to figure out all these things. But essentially it's through inclusion and exclusion radiuses. So the smallest radius that you can do on Facebook right now is a one mile radius, so you drop a pin in the center of Cypresswood, where we're trying to attract, and that will go beyond the borders of Cypresswood. You'll have overlap that way. Then we take a pin and do say a 10 mile radius circle, so it has a flatter circumference, and do that to the east of Cypresswood, and imagine we're coming in and getting that up to the southern border of where Cypresswood is. And then we do one on the east and on the north and on the west, so surround it with exclusion groups, and then you've got this walled area that that's who you're showing the ad to.
And it's a brilliant little workaround for micro-targeting. And the way we treat those is like mailing postcards, because it's such a small group that all I look to do is we run them for 24 hours just like a postcard drop, and we may spend $20 in 24 hours to reach everybody that we're going to reach kind of thing.
And they respond similar to the postcard rates, because it's like a digital postcard, in that your screen, and they're all mobile, everything is mobile now, the way people are responding. So we use lead ads, the Facebook lead ads product, so all people have to do is push Download, and they get served a little intermediate page that has their name and email automatically pre-loaded, and they can fill in their address. And that's it, it's easy.
Lorne: Yeah, I like that idea.
Dean: And so that's a good thing where you can really then focus your attention in a very specific way.
Lorne: Okay great.
Dean: Yeah, so that would be where I would start. How many listings do you have right now?
Lorne: Right now I've got two.
Dean: Okay. And have you heard me talk about your listing multiplier index?
Lorne: Yes. It was a big question that I had. My index is pretty low. I heard about your idea of the drop box flyer, and really liked it, but didn't know the details. So I kind of created my own. And what it looked like was basically on one side, it's a very minimal feature sheet, and on the other side, it's a call to some landing pages that I have whether you want the free report for the value of your home or if you're looking for homes similar to this go to this website.
So it has not been overly popular. I'm willing to sort of succumb to the pressures of whatever you throw my way.
Dean: Okay. So are you in Go Go Agent? Are you using all those tools, or not yet?
Lorne: -End up there, and I'm in the free trial period.
Dean: Okay. So in there, we've got the exact info box flyer, and so when you are on your dashboard when you first login, one of the things is here's a link to kind of the initial trainings, the welcome ones. And one of the things in there is the instant open house and the info box flyers, because that's the thing you can do very quickly to get response. And so that's where I would start.
So the info box flyer, when you log right into Go Go Agent, as soon as you log in, the immediate screen that you see is your dashboard. And you're in the trial period, so up in the upper corner, there's going to be the green button that says Activate, but above that it'll say, "Welcome to Go Go Agent, and here's the best place to get started." And when you click on that, that takes you to a post in our member’s blog with the most popular trainings.
Lorne: I see, I see.
Dean: Right. So that's where the instant open house and the info box flyer are all right there.
Lorne: Okay, I see it. I see, yes, okay. So is it just a one-sided flyer?
Dean: Yes, that's all it is. And it's super simple, and the only purpose, this is really through thinking this out here, that what we really want to do is I want to know the name and the email address of everybody who drives by the house wondering about that house. So the only thing that I want to do, the purpose of the info box flyer is not to sell them the house, not to convince them that this is the house for them. It's not to give them all the information on the house. It's to point them in the direction of where they can get all the information on the house.
So one of the big mistakes that I see people make with info box flyers is that they're trying to do too much with it. They're trying to convince somebody to buy this house, right. All the selling language, all the stuff trying to really hype up the house. So I take the approach the only thing that I want to do, I want people to go to 22Graystone.com, or whatever the URL is, where we get the property address URL for that one, I want them to go to the instant open house page.
Now once they've gone there, that flyer has done its job, so they've successfully gotten them to go to 22Graystone.com, or whatever that property is. Now once they're there, the same thing applies, the job is to actually get their name and their email address, to give them the opportunity to get all the information. So the flyer says here's where to get it, here's where to get pictures and all the information on the house, go to 22Graystone. They go there, and the landing, the instant open house, we got the instant open house logo there. "Welcome to 22 Graystone." We got the big picture of it there. You're in the right place, this is the house, just leave your name and your email to sign in and come on in.
So that's the only purpose there. Now that gets us the highest response of visitors to leave their name and their email address. Now we program that instant open house landing page so that when people leave their name and their email address, they automatically get put into your Go Go Agent account, and we've programmed it so that they automatically then will get a follow-up message that gives them the PDF of all of the pictures, the photo tour kind of thing, a walk-through of the house. And that is building now your list of buyer prospects, and they're all flagged so that we know they were interested in 22 Graystone.
Lorne: Right, right. I like that idea. I have a question. So at that point, once they sign in, does it flip them to the website, or you mentioned something about a PDF? It's sending them a PDF of it?
Dean: Yep. We put together a really nice looking, and I show you a video tour of it on that link that you just discovered.
Lorne: Yes I can see that.
Dean: There's a video tour that shows you all the elements of it. So we create a really nice property PDF, which is easily read on because you gotta imagine these people are on their phone probably when this is going on. So the PDF is instantly scalable, it's something they could print out, it's an easy thing to create, and it's really nice looking. And so we get to control all that, right, you don't have to worry about formatting for different screens or formatting for things, and it's also something that the purpose of it is just to show them what the house actually looks like, and encourage them to want to either come and look at it, or ask any questions about it.
We're not loading it up with every piece of information that they would ever need on this, we're just highlighting the stuff that would entice them to want to come and see the house. And that's why when we send them the message on Wednesday after they opt in on Monday saying, "Hey Lorne, I've got people coming to look at the house this weekend, would you like to join us?"
So now it's essentially saying, because they know it's got 22 Graystone, they know that's the house that we're talking about, and you're saying I'm showing the house this weekend, would you like to join us? That is an engagement where people, it gives them the opportunity to, "Yeah, I would like to see it."
Lorne: Let me ask you a question, because when we're selling ourselves and our services to these clients selling their homes, a lot of them like the idea of all these new 3D walkthroughs for the house, the tours, and videos and all that stuff, and some people do lifestyle videos. So what's your take on all of that?
Dean: You're going to love this. So we did a preliminary study, and we're going to wrap up at the end of the year here, a study on what actually sells houses. Because I saw a study that was promoted online, saying that houses with high def pictures sell faster and for money. That was the idea of the study-
Lorne: Yeah, I think I saw that same study.
Dean: Okay, but guess who sponsored that? Redfin sponsored that study, and the bottom of the study it says, "Redfin provides high definition photos for everybody who lists their house with them." So now all of a sudden, that is a tainted study in my mind, because it's loaded. So as soon as I saw that, we did a six month study and took the last six months of sales in Winter Haven, took the outliers, we took the swath of the middle of the market. And I had three people go through all of the listings, looking for the quantifiable things, right, like what actually helps houses sell.
So we looked at things like does the number of pictures make a difference, because that's something you can say that basically the parameters of the study were that we took 100% of the listings we were looking that, that we decided that the top 20% we'll call the winning group, and the bottom 20% we'll call the losing group.
And we took those quantifiable things of the number of photos, and then we overlaid that with, the question that we wanted to answer was does it sell faster, and does it sell for more money? So the way we determined whether it sells faster is days on market, and the way we determined whether it sells for more money is percentage of original asking price for the sale.
Okay, so we take the number of photos, and we look at it and say the maximum in our MLS was 25 photos. And some number of those people, I don't remember the exact numbers here, but some number of those people had maximum photos or in the 20s worth of photos. We ranked them by the number of photos that they had, from the most photos all the way down to no photos.
And what we found was that when you overlay it with days on the market and the percentage of asking price, houses with more photos did sell for more money, and they sold faster. Now what we also did, another layer of that, was that the only qualitative thing that we looked at was I had three people look at the pictures for them, and just unanimously kind of decide are these nice photos? So are they okay photos, are they nice photos, or are they bad photos, right? Would this be in the top group or in the bottom group of the photos, not the high definition or whether they were professional photos or anything, just were they attractive, nice photos that showed the house in a good light, or were they bad?
So we found that homes with nicer photos and more sold for the most amount of money. What we did with virtual tours, is we looked for either just the presence of a virtual tour or video, did they have virtual tour or video? And what we found was that the homes with virtual tours actually sold slower and for less money than the homes that did not have virtual tours.
That's just a purely quantitative look at the outcome, and that's why I wanted to have like a completely objective view at this, because I don't have a horse in the race. I don't care whether videos or virtual tours, I don't have a virtual tour company, so there's no advantage to me whether they do or do not. But the data showed that the houses with virtual tours sold slower and for less money.
Lorne: It's interesting that you bring all this up, because a conversation that I've been having over and over again with other realtors is what is it that we do that is actually effective versus fluff, in terms of selling the house for our clients.
Dean: Right, and that's the only way that you can measure effective is does it make the boat go faster, I often say. Does it equal more money or less time? That's the only quantifiable things that you can do. Actually, what prompted all of this was I was looking at over the last 30 years, what has actually really changed about the real estate business? And there's been so much change in terms of everybody has access to all the information, and all the online things, and people can do it. But none of the actual technological advances have had an impact on the only two things that matter, the length of time it takes to sell a house and the amount of money that people get relative to their asking price.
So if the days on market and the percentage of asking price hasn't changed, why go through all of this if it's not making a difference. We want to focus on the things that do make the difference. I think what's ultimately happening in a lot of cases is that the virtual tours are helping people eliminate a house more than it is encouraging them to want to come and look at it.
So maybe the thing is that maybe people have to actually look at less homes, but it doesn't feel like that's the case. So there's something about it, but when I release this study, we're going to do it now for Winter Haven here, because at the end of December we're going to look at the whole year and recreate that study, and then show how you could do that same thing. We'll publish the study and our methodology for it so you could do it, because I'm ultimately going to build a nice lead generation thing around it too, because that market data is going to be a valuable lead generation and lead conversion tool too.
That stuff of being able to know kind of what's actually working, that's going to be a big advance, and people will be very curious about that too.
Lorne: Yeah absolutely, I agree 100%. So along similar lines as to what works and what helps our clients get top dollar, I have a question about, how do I put this? So there's in the listing multiplier something about the story of my clients need to sell because they need to move to this place, that type of thing. Can you go into that a little bit and explain how that works?
Dean: Sure. Every listing, every seller, has a story, right? The story is very important because you're either going to control the narrative and give people the story to tell, or they're going to be telling their own story. And so the big thing that people often shoot themselves in the foot with as sellers, is being married to the perception of winning. And what I mean by that is that they get hardline, and they kind of say things like, "Well we don't have to sell," and, "We're not giving the place away." Or, "If they want it, they can pay for it." Or, "The one down the street just sold for that and ours is nicer."
They get married to these losing stories, right? And if we can get them to really come to the point where they realize that there's a higher chance if we can set aside your, I use ego in the dramatic sense of the word, that if you can set aside your need to feel like you've won or to look like you're winning, posturing, if you can set that aside and realize that the best thing you can do is make the buyers feel like they're winning. And then it makes it okay because now you realize then that you're actually doing it, that you can create this.
So if you think about, I told you those are losing stories. "We don't have to sell. We're not giving it away. It's worth every penny. I've put a lot of upgrades into it." All of those kind of justifications, right, like they're digging in their heels and staking their ground for this. Those are losing stories.
Winning stories are things where the seller's actually have to sell. Like, "We've been transferred to Ottawa, and we need to be there by the end of next month." Or, "We found our dream home, and we had to put in a conditional offer because we need to sell this house in order to get that one." Or, "We're pregnant, and we've got another baby coming, our third child, in our two bedroom house, so we need more room." Or, "We're pursuing our dream of building a house in the country." Or, "We're moving out of town," whatever it is. All these things, there's some legitimate real reason why people are moving, and if we can lean into that story and tell it with some sense of urgency, and price it in a way that is very right at what the market would be, not overpricing, that the market will always find its top dollar.
That's why, you've seen it happen, and it's become really a thing in Toronto, more than even in other areas, competing offers, multiple offers, where it has become a strategy where they price it $20,000 below what it's actually worth, and then let the market bid it up to $20,000 more than what it's worth. That happens more and more.
Lorne: Yeah, that really depends on the market. If it's a hot sellers' market, than that works, or did at that time. But now that the markets flipped it doesn't. And also, when that happens for a while, people tend to get frustrated, buyers tend to get frustrated, and then just stay out of the game completely. "Well, I'm not holding offers, there's something fishy going on here. I'm not putting in an offer."
Dean: Yes, exactly. Exactly. So that's why having these stories really makes a difference, because now you can tell that story in a way that makes the sellers seem like reasonable people who need to sell.
Lorne: So in terms of winning the sellers over on this idea, let's say the house is worth $500,000 on the market, using the comparables and everything else. So we then say they're willing to sell it for $5,000 below market value of $495,000, or we think it's worth $505,000 so we're now going to sell it for $500,000, so we're just painting a story? Like how is it that we're really portraying?
Dean: Well when you say market value, market value is whatever, If you can get something appraised and that you're willing to sell it for below that. Like the first time that I did that was, and I show the ad that we actually did in the member blog there in Go Go Agent, that was very specific. So a current appraisal, that establishes what the real value is. And it just turns out that this guy really had a legitimate reason why he wanted to sell, and he was legitimately offering them for quite a significant discount.
So to tell that story in a way that revealed the situation more than hid the situation, was the thing that turned it over. You know yourself, so you're in Ontario, you know that if you're selling properties in Muskoka, that kind of Labor Day is the end of the season. Once Labor Day's over, it's all winter then. Cottages become in style again.
So he had been trying all summer to sell those lots with the same discount, but he was doing it in a way that was just hyping the discount, right, without really giving the reason why. And when we told the story and the reason, we sold them all in the next two weekends.
Lorne: Mm-hmm (affirmative). See, I think the challenge that we'll face here is twofold. Number one, we've got somewhere between 60 and 80,000 realtors that we're competing with in the Toronto Real Estate Board, so it's absolutely insane and unheard of. You get some wackadoos coming in for presentations telling people their house is worth an insane amount of money, and then sign them up and beat them down on price. So that's the one thing.
Number two is the buyers, a lot of them are vultures right now. They're just throwing crap at the wall to see what'll stick, and throwing these ridiculous offers out there. So if you show any sign of quote/unquote weakness, the sellers would be worried about that because then they know automatically without that, people are already throwing garbage at the wall the see what'll stick, so with it people will really be low-balling, that's the fear and concern.
Dean: Yeah. But then if there are multiple people low-balling, or doing whatever it is, they're not selling it for a low price. You're still setting the guidance for it. You're still going to determine, they're not going to sell it for anything less than what they're willing to take. But it's certainly going to give them the opportunity to let the market say what they're actually willing to pay for things right now.
Lorne: Drive the interest is what you're saying?
Dean: Absolutely. And with the interest, then it's psychological. It's deep down that when other people are interested in something, that's a cue that this must be valuable because everybody else seems to be interested in this. Now I gotta have it, right, because now they've gotta win to get it.
And the importance of the story is not, whenever somebody's buying a house, there's always all these backseat drivers that are in, and they know that they're going to have to tell the story. They're going to have to justify what they've done here, right. So the story, we're thinking about giving the buyers the story that they're going to tell that's going to protect their ego and make them look good.
Like which story would be better for them to tell Uncle Leo, who's the real estate expert in the family from Kingston, who is second-guessing everything at Thanksgiving and has an opinion on everything? They gotta go and tell Uncle Leo they didn't want to sell, they didn't have to sell, they were hard on their price, and we had to pay more than we really wanted to. But we really love the house Uncle Leo. And he'll be going, "You're idiots. You should never pay more."
Then you contrast that, and the same number, they could sell for the same number, but if they say to Uncle Leo, they're able to say, "Yeah, yeah. We got a house we love, and it was just perfect timing. They had found a house that they really loved, and they had to put in a conditional offer, so we were able to get it because they were really motivated." That now appeases Uncle Leo, because there's no way Uncle Leo's going to do a full CMA and have the thing of what it is. This story sounds like that's my nephew right there, looking for an opportunity to swoop in.
And you give them that. You give them that. You realize that that's what's happening. There's never anything more powerful that you could do is to bet on people's self-interest. When you bet on that they're going to act in their best interest, that's going to be the winning realization for you.
And so you can take comfort in it that you're telling the story, you're setting the narrative. How about all these realtors that want to stir up interest in something. You got a new listing, you put it on the market, and you're telling the other agents that, "Yeah, they don't have to sell. They're really holding out for top dollar," they're not going to be excited about telling their clients about it. But if you've got this story, and you're telling the other agents, "Listen, they got transferred. They gotta be in Ottawa at the end of the month. They're panicked. They're really nervous about being able to sell in time." That's going to be now the energy and the enthusiasm that the buyers' agents are going to be able to convey to the buyers.
Part of the thing that you have to do as the market is in transition like that, is really have that kind of conversation with your sellers, to be able to say this is what's happening and we've gotta get everything that we can do to give you an advantage here in the market, that there's more and more listings competing for fewer and fewer buyers. And so we've got an opportunity to, in a sea of people who are not facing reality and not being forthcoming with the real situation, it's an advantage that you can use.
And you have to really use it too, to evaluate with your listings whether they are listings or whether they're sellers. And that makes a big difference. So if you think about what is the real story? What's one or two of the stories that you have right now? What is the situation with one of your sellers?
Lorne: One of my sellers is they're selling their mother's house. She passed away.
Dean: Okay, so that's-
Lorne: So they're sharing the costs on it.
Dean: Yeah. And so that is a seller, it's an empty house and it's an extra house. And so if you can buy an estate sale, that's usually a winning story for the buyers, right? What's another story that you have?
Lorne: Another story that I have is the husband was transferred from work and lives too far to travel now, so he's traveling an extreme distance every day to get to work.
Dean: Perfect, so that's it. So there's the thing where now we get to tell that story. That's a legitimate seller, right, there's a reason that they're selling. And so getting into those things, sometimes it's just the slight that gives you an advantage over all the other homes that are just silently sitting there on the market with no story attached to them.
Lorne: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Definitely, definitely. So I'll give that a shot, and I'll try to sell that to my sellers for sure. A couple more quick questions about other points of the program if that's all right?
Dean: Sure, yeah, yeah.
Lorne: If we can get through it.
Dean: Right, exactly.
Lorne: So on the actual Getting Listings postcard, rather than putting the date itself, get your January report, can you not just put get your current report?
Dean: Well you can, but you're looking to make something just logistically easier, but not making it more appealing. Like December is the currency of it, right, that's what makes it feel and denotes that it's up to the minute.
Lorne: I know, I know. I hear you. I'm just trying to figure out a way to save expense on the front end by printing more in a batch.
Dean: I got you. Well you can still batch up. In Canada, you can batch up, depending on the size sheet that they use, but even let's say 11 by 17s, I print them four up on 11 by 17. And so, you can print four months' worth that way, right. December, January, February, March, that way.
Lorne: I don't know that the printers that I use would be willing to do that, but I can ask for sure.
Dean: Well it's just one sheet, of course they would. When they're printing postcards, they're not printing them the finished size. They're printing them on big sheets and trimming them to the finished size. So if they're doing it on 11 by 17 would probably be the minimum size paper that they would be printing them on, that means that each one's surface of that has four unique opportunities. So you could put on one sheet December, January, February, March, and then when you print that, as they trim them you've got four months' worth. So if you're sending 500 postcards, you'd just print 500 sheets, and they cut it in four, and you've got four months' worth of those.
Lorne: I see. Interesting. No, I'll definitely see if they're willing to do that. Okay great. Now regarding the sphere postcard, the world's most interesting postcard. So I love that idea. Now in terms of the logistics of it, am I putting a stamp individually on each postcard, and writing their address? Oh how is that?
Dean: No. So you're in Canada. Here we can do the whole thing, the printing and the mailing. But what we can do is get the cards printed and addressed, and then all you'd have to do is apply the postage. That's it. So that way it kind of makes it easier.
Lorne: Okay, otherwise I'd be doing it basically individually with mailing labels or something like that.
Dean: Exactly. But you would never be doing it, let's get that straight. We'll get you into abundant time mentality that-
Lorne: That's right. Well, and actually I'm going to be hiring an assistant this year, so they'll be able to help me with this stuff for sure.
Dean: Okay, then there you go. That's one of the things.
Lorne: Yes, thank you for bringing that up. Now I was speaking with, what really drove me to try this again, is I was speaking with Tony Kalsey about a month and a half ago. And we were discussing over a beer the whole experience, and we were talking about the idea of maybe going after something like townhomes in Newmarket. But the problem with that that I see is that they're spread out all over town, not in one area. I wouldn't even know how to hit them.
Dean: Well, certainly it's going to take a little bit of just research to get the right postal routes for them, to set up the micro-targeting audiences for Facebook. But once you do it, and the reason that Tony suggested that, is because we've been having a lot of conversations about category dominance. Like categories are one thing. Somebody is looking for a townhouse, it's like a horoscope right? If they own a townhouse, they're curious about what the other townhouses are selling for. And if somebody's looking for a townhouse, there might be several different townhouse complexes that they're looking in.
So if you can find a category buyer, that's what we really look for, is that you can run the guide to Newmarket townhouses. That's going to be-
Lorne: I love that concept, and that's why I brought it up, because even in this market, the lower end stuff will still sell in any market. So I like that that'll move, and they'll typically move up to something else. But the challenges with postal routes, or routes as they say over on your side of the border, is that they're not clumped together. They're mixed with detached and semi-detached and towns, it's all-encompassing in the postal routes so you can't really specify just the townhouses to get this.
Dean: Yeah, I get it. And so there's workarounds or ways to figure that out, because anything that, and you gotta depend, is there 20% waste, or 20% overlap, or what percent is it? How much is it? How much is the overlap? You've gotta do some investigation and just figure it out.
Lorne: Yeah, I think the only way to do it would be to hire a delivery service to deliver it to their, or just sort of stick it in the door, because I don't think it would work financially otherwise. It's so spread out that each delivery route would be so different in terms of the ratios.
Dean: It depends how many townhouses are in each complex, you know? So that's where you just do the investigation, because some of the times the particular complex maybe its own postal lock.
Lorne: Yeah, I looked into it. Definitely it's not the case here unfortunately.
Dean: Okay, then it's just a matter of figuring out how much overlap there is, and making that decision, because it's all just economics. But what's the price range of the townhouses?
Lorne: So in Newmarket now, generally speaking you're looking anywhere from, and we're talking just freehold towns, you're looking around $600,000 to $750,000. Well, I've seen as low as $550,000. And then on the condo towns, you're looking lower at about $450,000 up to $600,000.
Dean: Okay. And so when you look at that, when you compare what's happening there, you've got a high price range relatively speaking, compared to the rest of the country and the rest of the States, and you've got a low delivery cost because you're using unaddressed ad mail, which I've said if I lived in Canada I would have a printing press in my basement right now.
Lorne: Like Tony.
Dean: Yes, exactly, and that's why Tony did it. I said that to him, and that's really the truth, because it's the bargain of bargains. It's such a low price to be able to do it. So when you look at the delta there, is that you can deliver them printed and mailed for less than 20 cents per piece probably right?
Lorne: I think printed and mailed would be around 20 cents, yeah.
Dean: So $200 to mail a thousand of these. $2,400 for the whole year to a thousand homes, and you look at if you sell one, if you're going from $450,000 to $750,000, let's call it $600,000 as the median kind of thing of it, how much money is that for you?
Dean: Right, it's a minimum of $18,000. $15,000, $18,000, whatever it is. Multiples, multiples, multiples of what the cost is, right? So I always look at the big picture of this, that the odds are that a townhouse seller is going to be moving to a detached house, and so you get that transition. Transitional sellers are really a wonderful thing. And you're also at the end of the market where the townhouses are appealing to first time buyers.
And if you're doing your guide to Newmarket townhouse prices that shows all the complexes in a map, and shows where they are, and all these things that let people know that if they're considering a townhouse, that's really going to be a valuable list that you're able to generate, even without having any townhouse listings.
Lorne: Yeah, absolutely. Now in terms of putting that guide together, do you have something on the site that walks you through putting together a guide?
Dean: I do, yeah. There's a post in there called Dominating South Beach. We did a South Beach oceanfront condo guide that you can see as a template for it. We've done cape and oceanfront. People do things even on the highest end things you can imagine.
Lorne: Okay. And then advertising that guide, would that be like a Facebook ad?
Dean: Yeah, Facebook is a bargain right now for everything. I would also do it in print. Do you have a Wednesday Friday paper that goes just to Newmarket?
Lorne: Yeah, yeah, there's some local papers.
Dean: Yeah, with a real estate section?
Dean: That's where you can advertise in there. You're going to see, we've got examples of print ads and all the stuff. It's still a really viable, profitable thing to do.
Lorne: And are you leading them to a landing page or a number where they can download the guide, or are you sending it to them physically?
Lorne: Both, okay. And is that also the case for the monthly reports that you're sending to the people responding to the Getting Listings postcards? Are you sending it physically-
Dean: We're sending it physically.
Lorne: -Or digitally, or both?
Dean: Physically for the listing side. For Getting Listings, we're mailing physical-
Dean: Yeah, the Top Dollar newsletter, the Cover Letter, all these things that I've already written. Well you know, because you have seen the Getting Listings program. So all of that is already done.
On the buyer side, what we do is send a weekly email update of all of the new townhouse listings that have come on the market, or all the new oceanfront condos in South Beach, or oceanfront homes in Cape Ann, or wherever. And that all feeds together that way, that you're coming into a situation where there's a good chance you've already got a buyer for the townhouses, and as soon as somebody's ready to come out and look at townhouses, you're doing a daily tour of townhouses? Well you'll see all the way everything we did in South Beach.
Lorne: I think this is something that I'd really like to focus on, forgetting about sort of my initial geo-farm area. I think townhouses and focusing on that would be something that I'd really like to take over this year.
Dean: Yes, perfect. It's a good move, it really is.
Lorne: Well, let's do a follow-up, and I can tell you how many billions I've sold.
Dean: Yeah, that's it. Well that's the fun thing, is now we get to do all the... You see the field reports inside the member blog of all the things that are happening there. So we'll definitely keep that going. And we've got other people who are also about to set off on the townhouse adventure too.
Lorne: Excellent. As long as they're not in my area that's great.
Dean: Right, exactly. That's it.
Lorne: Perfect. Well Dean, thanks so much. Sorry about the technical difficulties cutting in and out there.
Dean: Yeah, that's okay. Stuart's going to love that, I don't know who he's got on the team that's doing the editing now, but they're going to love stitching it all together. It'll be great.
Lorne: And just as a quick note before we go, I want to let you know that you've been called out on my podcast from Chuck and Melissa. I had them on separately doing interviews, and you were mentioned and we plugged your podcast as well.
Dean: Oh that's perfect. Well thank you, perfect.
Lorne: All right. Well maybe one day I'll get you on mine, and we'll do a whole thing there. That'd be fantastic.
Dean: Awesome. Thanks Lorne.
Lorne: Thanks Dean, really appreciate it. Have a great day.
Dean: Thanks, I'll talk to you soon.
Lorne: Take it easy.
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