Today on the Listing Agent Lifestyle podcast we're talking with Jeff Jones from DeSoto county, Mississippi, just outside of Memphis.
I first had a conversation with Jeff on one of our GoGoAgent coaching calls, and I love the kind of market that he is in. He’s outside of a city, the whole county is about 180,000 people and four communities, and the main one is an area called South Haven. It’s almost 60,000 people and that's where Jeff lives.
We went through the Listing Agent Lifestyle elements and talked about Getting Listings, which he’s been doing now for a few months. He has all of the foundations laid, and he’s getting leads, with over a hundred people responding to both his postcards and Facebook ads.
So he has a really great foundation, and we talked about now, taking the geography, taking the area he has, and looking at it, dissecting it into the specific target audiences that we can set up what I call market maker triangles, a system for finding people who are looking for 55 plus communities or lakefront communities or golf course communities.
You're really going to enjoy the conversation as it unfolds.
Transcript: Listing Agent Lifestyle Ep075
Dean: Jeff Jones.
Jeff: Hi Dean Jackson.
Dean: Hey. How are you?
Jeff: I'm doing great.
Dean: Well I am excited to have this conversation with you.
Jeff: Me too. I thought about it for a while so thank you for asking me.
Dean: Oh good. I'm getting a lot of background noise. What do you got going on there?
Jeff: All right. Well I've got some headset, let me change the location.
Jeff: Is that any better?
Dean: It's kind of like a squeak.
Jeff: All right well, we'll change.
Dean: That should be okay.
Jeff: Doe that work now?
Dean: That sounds good. Okay, right now. Yeah.
Jeff: If it changes let me know, I'll just change off the headset.
Dean: I will do that. Okay. So perfect. So where are you calling from today?
Jeff: Olive Branch, Mississippi, and it is a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, the city line touches Memphis, the city.
Dean: I like it. It's Olive Branch.
Jeff: Yeah. Desoto County, Mississippi is the county directly south of Memphis in the Northwest corner of Mississippi.
Dean: I love it.
Jeff: There's four big small cities, five actually, none of them are huge.
Dean: What are the populations? So this is the reason that I wanted to have this conversation with you is because you're in a unique market in that your whole county is your market basically. Is that right?
Jeff: Right. It pretty much is. The whole county's population in 2017 was under 180,000.
Dean: Okay. And what are the cities that you're working in there?
Jeff: Fernando is the county seat. South Haven is the largest. There's Olive Branch, and then there's Horn Lake. And Horn Lake, South Haven, and Olive Branch are all three stacked across the top half of the county.
Jeff: And Fernando is a little bit further south. Fernando is about 15 miles from the Tennessee state line.
Dean: And are they pretty evenly like 50,000 each.
Jeff: South Haven is the largest, probably with a little more than that. Olive Branch is going to have about 25 or 30,000. There's still some in an area that's not city that's still part of the county that's still developed.
Dean: All rural.
Jeff: There are still some rural areas. There are still some places that don't have high speed internet. That's a big issue trying to get their-
Jeff: A new interstate just came through the middle half of the county that's helping trip traffic, bypassing Memphis area. And so when you look at these major cities that have a second ring around them, Dallas, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis now has a second ring, a second interstate ring around it. So as all of the growth has happened, 20-25 miles south of the first ring of interstate, that's going to continue to happen into North Mississippi into the other counties surrounding us.
Dean: Oh nice. So you're poised for growth.
Jeff: Because everybody's just kind of moving out. If you're in Nashville, everybody's moving out to Franklin. It's that second ring around.
Dean: I got it.
Jeff: So that's going to continue to be future.
Jeff: And Desoto county has recovered from the crash in 08. I believe last year there were 1000 building permits. I know that by the end of 18, all of the bank owned land that was taken back from developers had all been repurposed. Somebody else had picked those up. So there weren't any more bank owned lots available.
Dean: Oh wow.
Jeff: So stuff is still trying to be developed.
Dean: So ten years later, or twelve years later and everything is back to normal.
Jeff: Oh yeah.
Dean: Well how long have you been in real estate? What's the Jeff Jones story here?
Jeff: I got my real estate license in February of 17, so a little over two years.
Dean: Okay. Okay.
Jeff: I was full time employee previously. Was looking for this as a supplement to income and to possibly move into this replacing income. And at the end of 18, the vocation that I had went away for me. So it became real estate full time in January, even though it wasn't really up to speed to support me full time.
Jeff: It is full time now. Was trying to slowly build in enough to be able to manage and stay fully employed and manage what I had and just kind of learning the ropes, and was going slow and trying not to spend much money on the who.
Dean: Right. What was your previous occupation? What did you do?
Jeff: Well I'm an ordained minister, and I served on church staffs for 30 plus years.
Jeff: In every role you can imagine from a small church to a 1200 in attendance plus church.
Jeff: Other than being the pastor and being the worship pastor.
Dean: I got you.
Jeff: For half of that time, I was kind of the go-to of, this is what we need done and I took care of it. Supervising what’s called an executive pastor role.
Dean: I got you.
Jeff: So I oversaw facilities, human resources, volunteers, all the educational programming, staff.
Jeff: Everything that made everything work except the preaching and the music.
Dean: Now how long have you been living in Desoto?
Jeff: We moved here a little over four years ago.
Jeff: And this is actually home. I grew up in Memphis, and being on church staffs, I was gone. And this was an opportunity to come back home.
Dean: Come back home.
Jeff: Parents are getting older, take care of them.
Jeff: And God just seemed to let the doors open and let that happen. And it wasn't something I had to force my way into.
Dean: Right. Until you wanted.
Jeff: And I had always wanted to an entrepreneurial spirit. My parents each owned their own companies. I had a lawn care and landscaping business early on, back in the 80's in college, before I went to Seminary. I just always had kind of done some other things.
Jeff: And remodeled every home that we'd ever purchased. So my dad was in the construction industry so it was either go into construction or do real estate, and I'm getting too old to be crawling around doing construction stuff.
Dean: I love it.
Jeff: so I decided that I could help people find a house, have some influence in their life, and say, "Here's what you could do with this wall, or with this room. And you find someone else to do it." But just to kind of give them ideas of opening it up. Because I've done some major stuff in the houses that we've done and I've done the work. And my wife would always say, "you know, I didn't see it when we first started. But you actually did what you described." So it turned out what you thought it would be.
Jeff: So and I kind of like the building, I like taking something and constructing it, and doing some change with it. But I also enjoy the helping people get a need met. Fulfill a dream.
Dean: Right. Helping people buy and sell homes, move into a dream is really a rewarding thing. It's a big thing in everybody's life. So there's a lot to be said for that. So let's talk about your plan then about your transition here. How is it all going so far? Like if we go through the elements with the lifestyle here, if we talk about getting listings as the first of them, where are we at?
Jeff: Okay. Well just a little bit more background in my first year, the brokers that I came on with was actually the agent that helped me buy the house that we own now. And so I went to him and said, "Hey I'm thinking about doing this." And he said, "Well, come on and try this." So after a year, we had two listings through them, through a company listing. And so I shared that with him to kind of learn and get my feet wet. One of those went under contracts within a day or two. But it took over a year to close because family issues, getting the court stuff worked out.
So in my first year with them, I didn't close any deals in my first year. And the first listing that I got was a really needy fixer upper. And it didn't sell until after I left that brokerage and so I wasn't part of that. But I did get a buyer lead from that, that I'm still working.
Jeff: And so we'll come back to that in just a second. So no deals in my first year. In my second year I closed the one that went under contract in my first year, and then I helped a friend buy a house. And then since January of this year, actually since March of this year, I helped a buyer, and I helped a seller sell and buy, and I've helped my daughter buy a house. So I've had four closings in the last eight weeks.
Dean: Okay. Look at you. So throw your hat on the fence and looks what happens, right?
Jeff: Yeah that looks really good. You know?
Jeff: So I started listening to Joe Polish and stuff, doing some walking in the neighborhood, just trying to find some stuff to listen to. I started listening to Genius Network podcast, and that led me to you, podcast. And so I've been listening to those. And we all think, well we know we can do a little bit better. Let's try to do it our way, put our spin to it. And I didn't have the capital to mail into neighborhoods. To do the getting listings postcard mailer. I could spend some money doing some Facebook advertising. And so instead of the postcards, I did some Facebook advertising that I started back in June I think. And ran that for about five months. And in that process, generated a little over a 120 leads that I generated from those ads.
And I spent maybe about 800 dollars in that. So some of the leads I got were 50 cents a lead, some of them were 15 dollars a lead, just depended on the ad at the time. But what I discovered, even though I had narrowed it down to an area, the area I had narrowed it down to, because of shopping districts, and school districts and stuff, was still 18 main subdivisions.
Jeff: And so trying to resource those main subdivisions on a monthly report was overwhelming, trying to do that, for one person having to create this report to send to them. So I just kind of sent a generic thing, and then I guess after the first of the year, probably in February, I said, you know what? I'm gonna narrow it down to one subdivision. Just one neighborhood. Get the addresses, mail out the postcards and see what happens. Because this particular neighborhood, there's 686 addresses, 37 of those addresses are owned by the subdivision. 83 of those, are nonresident owners. And of those, I identified at least 74 that are rentals.
Jeff: And in the past year, 37 houses sold, which is 5.7%. Their average price was 310, so for what I charge for a transaction, one side of all those transactions is $345,000.
Dean: Yeah. One side of a transaction, oh you mean total yield.
Jeff: The total yield if I had been on the other side, alongside of all those transactions, my yield would have been $345.
Dean: I got you. Right. That's a great thing to look at there. Out of those 600 homes, because when you look at it, that's how we kind of go through this process of picking the area is really comparing one to another.
Dean: And so when you're talking about 686 homes, I'm assuming that you're sending the postcards to the tax address?
Dean: So you're going right to the postcard.
Jeff: Right. The postcard is going to the tax address.
Dean: Yeah. Which is the right route.
Jeff: I'm not sending to some of them, because there's a couple of property management companies that operate 20 or 30 houses in there, and I'm not sending it to them.
Dean: Right. Perfect. So that's good.
Jeff: So it's individual homes, to their individual owners, to their homes, or whether they are absentee or not, that's who the cards are going to.
Dean: Perfect. So now the good news is where you’re at right now. You've generated a hundred and something responses. How many have you generated within those 686?
Jeff: In my first month I had five responses, which was February. My second month was March, was toward the end of March, so I didn't do an April mailer. Towards the end of March, and I got in ten. And then I did the video in front of the subdivision sign, I put that on Facebook, and I targeted that market, and I put it on a Facebook page for them. And I got six more from that video.
Dean: Yeah. That's perfect.
Jeff: Well actually four from the video. And then I was printing and cutting and stamping and mailing the cards all myself, until the May ones, and last Friday I got all the postcards from the Go Go Agent dashboard and ordered the postcards, and I actually got calls on Monday.
Dean: That's perfect.
Jeff: So from me pulling the trigger on Friday.
Dean: That's so much easier.
Jeff: They went out that fast.
Dean: I love-
Jeff: And my cost, just know that my cost for that, it cost me less than $100 more to send out those 575 postcards, and I didn't do any of the work.
Dean: Well that's the whole point.
Jeff: I know. But it's spending that money, and it's like-
Dean: I get it.
Jeff: I have a nice color printer because when I mail out individual things I don't want to have to run to a print shop and spend 30 or 35 cents.
Jeff: I'm going to print a color envelope, I can do it.
Dean: Yeah. Yeah.
Jeff: And so I have it. And I was doing them in house, but I realize I was just in my monthly reports, I'm generating over my minimum required that I'm paying for the month. And I don't have to do the postcards.
Jeff: And so by letting the postcards go out, yes it's $100 a month, it was $98 more dollars than I would spend on the card stock, the prints, the stamps, and my time of getting it all merged and printed and cut, and I'm going to experiment and see. And so far I had six leads come in from the postcards this month, and I discovered that I could record the subdivision video, Sunday mornings tend to be less traffic out on the roads.
So I expected I would have a little more time knowing that the postcard turnaround was 3-5 business days, and it was really only two business days. So I didn't get the video to drop in time to take advantage of the postcards. And I generated four without the postcards going out last month at all. So the video is still going to drop later this week.
Dean: Oh yeah it's still going to be a reminder.
Jeff: To see what's going to happen.
Dean: That's what we always find, that working in combination, because I always think about the actual scenario when somebody's getting the mail. If you're like most people you get the mail, when you're coming in the house and you got your hands full, and dinner needs to be made, and the kids or the dogs need to be fed. And even if you see the postcard and decide that you're going to respond, it gets set aside while all of the urgency of what is happening is done. And then when everybody's put to bed, and they are sitting down watching TV, and then a commercial comes on, people pick up their phone and start scrolling their news feed. And here comes the video to remind them, hey you got this postcard and you can get this report, and all they have to do is push the button. That just makes it's an amplifier. So that's been a really good strategy that we've been able to deploy.
So you've got all of this now, and by the way, now that you're all set up for mailing the postcards, it's literally going to be easy to do the next month because all that has to change is the months.
Dean: And so it's effortless. You can just set it up on auto and not even have to do anything to make it happen. Which that's where we really want to get, is that all of the things are just happening in the background here.
So I'm 100% confident you're building this asset base now, of all of these people who are responding to your postcard as future sellers in your Facebook ads. You're mailing them out the newsletters. When you do the monthly package, are you doing the nice envelope? Top dollar newsletter, the cover letter, and the updates all of it going out every month?
Jeff: I'll put it on the Go Go Agent form, but the envelope that I'm using is a 6x9 envelope. And it's got a banner running diagonal just below the return address label, and that says "Here's your current housing report," and then it names the subdivision.
Jeff: And it has their name on it. And then there is the monthly letter, the monthly newsletter. Then there is a sheet of what's currently available in that subdivision.
Dean: Love it.
Jeff: Plus at the bottom of it, I usually have enough room to put in there what sold that month. We're in a non-disclosure state. So I can't send out a list of what sold, but I can send a summary of what sold. 11 houses sold, this was their average price, their average days on market. And then what's currently available for sale. So that's what goes out every month to everybody. And I've been doing that for, even though I wasn't doing the postcards so much, I've been doing that every month since August.
Jeff: And there's always been, well maybe not the first few months, but there has been some type of super signature, or this month, trying to focus since it was listings I was focusing on either doing the pin point price analysis or doing room by room review. And I haven't generated any takers on any of that. I have had people that wanted to get a simple CMA done.
Jeff: And I've sent those, and I've explained, hey could be a little more thorough I need to come walk through, I need to make a visit, I need to see so I can have a better chance of making some better comparisons of what's out there than just here's so many square feet built in such and such, and so many rooms. You know?
Jeff: So far, none of that's happening now. Out of all of my Facebook ads, and my mailers, all of my follow ups, I've generated one call back in early November for actually a buyer, it was a target to a seller, and I discovered she was a buyer, and looking to buy something. And so we met, I got her under a buyer’s contract. She was going to start searching the first of the year, and she's fallen off the planet, because I can't get her to respond.
So I was so hopeful that hey, I've gotten one return from this-
Dean: Right that all happened.
Jeff: You know? And so right now, all of the people I'm actively looking at, have either been friends or referrals from other agents who aren't in the area.
Dean: Okay. Now when you talk about all of these ones that are all right in Olive Branch? Is that your main focus?
Jeff: They are either Olive Branch or South Haven, and where I live, I live almost in the middle of the north part of the county from east to west-
Dean: In the middle of both.
Jeff: The people across the street from me are in South Haven. So I'm at the western edge of Olive Branch. And really trying to focus on this corridor that's been seeing some massive growth.
Jeff: One of the subdivisions that I'm doing some Facebook targeting with the video, I'm not sending postcards into the home, but it doesn't cost me much to go make a video and then run it for a day.
Dean: Right. Exactly.
Jeff: Into that neighborhood. They're still having new areas open up, and most of those sales that happen in there, there's a higher turnover, or there's a higher percentage of houses sold but more than half of them are new construction. So I'm trying to weed that out when I'm figuring out what's the turnover. Because that's not accurate turnover.
Dean: Right. Will they cooperate with realtors? Do they have a program where you can sell the new construction?
Jeff: Most of these that are building already have like one neighborhood that's being built, has their own sales team.
Dean: That happens here too.
Jeff: What I'm discovered is that somebody may be the builder and their wife, daughter, son may be the agent who is representing.
Dean: I got you. But do you know whether they'll pay you a referral?
Jeff: Oh yeah they would. Yes. They would.
Dean: Okay. So that's the kind of thing where it's going to be interesting for you to watch what we're about to do in Lake Ashton here with Diane. Because it's the same kind of thing, Lake Ashton is about 1000 homes, and the builder is still building some new construction in there. But they will pay a commission to anybody who introduces someone. So all Diane has to do is just walk them in there, or introduce them ahead of time. They do all of the work, but they'll still pay 3% commission for her.
Dean: And they'll let her advertise. So this is where you may be able to, and this is where the developer may be an advocate, or a good partner with you. That what we need to do now, is we need to start looking at how we can start to find the buyers who are going to buy these homes that are bubbling under the surface here, right? You've got over 100 now people who you're sending the reports to that are potential home sellers in the next six months, 12 months, 24 months. Even if you didn't mail another postcard or do another Facebook ad, you've still got these 100 people that you're nurturing this relationship with.
Dean: And so one of the most valuable things that we can do to get listings in there, is to start to find the buyers for those areas. And often that new construction, especially if you don't have any listings in there, or maybe I spoke to soon, does your brokerage or the company that you work with have any listings in the areas where you're doing the getting listings program?
Jeff: No. I am keeping an eye on that. My brokerage has six agents in North Mississippi, it's a new brokerage to this area and still trying to recruit some agents and stuff in. So I am watching those things. And I don't know what it's like in every state, but in Mississippi there are some really strict guidelines on what we can advertise. And so very much has to be our listing or an office listing for us to be able to advertise that.
Dean: So you may be able to though, look at advertising a guide to house prices for an area. Is it a place where people are moving out to? Like is it kind of like there's a migration, immigration into the area as people-
Jeff: Yeah it has been for over 20 years.
Jeff: Back at the end of the 90s, Desoto County was one of the five fastest growing counties in the nation. And it's not there anymore. But it is still growing, our South Haven chamber of commerce told me that they send out 300 welcome packs a month, and you've got possible new people coming in, because of industry coming in.
Dean: And where are they coming from?
Jeff: They're coming from all over.
Dean: From Memphis?
Jeff: I don't think there's any-
Dean: Are they coming-
Jeff: Yeah some company's moving in and developing because of some pro-business-
Jeff: Sanctions in the state and in the county.
Dean: So that's all good news. I mean if you start to think if we were to go upstream and start to think about where are the people coming? Like this reminds me of in Toronto is surrounded by 40 different communities within an hour of Toronto that are literally contiguous but just like you're deciding that one ends here, the next one ends here, it's not like anything in between.
Jeff: Like Dallas Fort Worth.
Dean: That's exactly it. Right? So imagine Toronto, a one hour ring around Toronto, completely full density. There are 40 different communities and I lived in one of those communities. It was called Halton Hills. And what I realized, this was before the internet was realizing that people coming out to Halton Hills, the way I would describe it is that Halton Hills would be like Connecticut is to New York that people would work in New York but live in Connecticut, or commute from there. So Halton Hills was a commuter community for Toronto. And I found that people coming in didn't have a kind of way to understand or know what you get for your money out here. Right? And the thing that I did has been the foundation of everything that we do now, was create a guide to Halton Hills real estate prices.
And so I would definitely think about this same model here, where if you had a guide to Desoto County real estate prices that would be an overall thing that would be almost like guided tour through Desoto County with pictures and narrative and price range that gives someone a sense of here's what you get for your money. Here's the smallest, the entry level things in Desoto County are maybe these condos, or these mobile homes, or whatever would be the least expensive things that somebody can get into Desoto County and then sort of walk all the way up from this is what the detached homes cost. Are there condos or town homes in Desoto?
Jeff: No. Not really.
Dean: Right. So it's all-
Jeff: It was all rural that just kind of grew up. And so there are some apartment places. There are some apartment complexes.
Jeff: And I've been working on the price guide, trying to put it together. But I think I'm just maybe trying to get too fined tuned with trying to do just South Haven and pick the subdivisions there. There's a ton of them. And I was trying to put in a little bit of history about how long it's been there.
Dean: That's great.
Jeff: Almost kind of like the high rises in Atlanta and looking at that and going, okay let me get a sample of each of the subdivisions and put them in. And so the one I'm really trying to get out now first, is the one for 55+, where are the places that the 55+ can live. Some that's new construction, some that's old construction. Some of their own subdivision and some are set up inside another subdivision that's just an aspect of it that this area is just going to be the 55+ area.
Dean: Right. Right.
Jeff: Trying to target that. Because I'm in that category. I'm 54. And I'm getting closer to that.
Dean: There we go. We're getting there. I'm going to be 53 on Friday.
Jeff: Okay. Well Happy Birthday.
Dean: Thank you, sir. Hey this episode will go out, we're celebrating my birthday. This will be Friday's episode, so it'll be celebrating my birthday on Friday.
Jeff: Well Happy Birthday.
Dean: Thank you.
Jeff: I hope it's going to be a great one.
Dean: That's funny. So yeah you're on the right track. Certainly that's the overriding thing is starting with that to give people a sense of what is going on, and Desoto County is 180,000 you could literally cover the whole county with all the stuff. Is it a vast area, or is it manageable to drive all around it kind of thing.
Jeff: Yeah. From the east side to the west side it's going to be from side to side or top to bottom, that width is going to be about an hour’s drive.
Dean: Okay. So that's what most counties are like.
Jeff: Yeah. And I did find in my notes, South Haven's population is 54,000. Like I said, that's the largest-
Dean: So any one of those -
Jeff: The 5th or 6th largest city in Mississippi. And Olive Branch is a little under 38.
Dean: That's like Winter Haven. That's where we are, that's like Winter Haven in Florida. You're in that same range.
Dean: You've got one of everything and two of some things, right?
Dean: That's the way. Or multiple things.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah South Haven just got its second Chick-Fil-A.
Dean: There you go. We just have one. But that's the kind of thing. You're right. Now and the funny thing is, even when you put that all in perspective. If you're South Haven is like Winter Haven that I live in Southeast Winter Haven, so one little quadrant of Winter Haven that I rarely ever leave that little quadrant. You know, it's like Northwest Winter Haven may as well be Alabama, for as much as I get up there. I never go over there. So that's kind of the thing when people think about how we kind of live in these neighborhoods, no matter what. You know?
So I think for people coming in, you've got kind of a different layer of it. Do you have people who come from Memphis out to Desoto County? Looking-
Jeff: Yes. Yes. Looking for better schools, looking for being away from traffic, being away from just whatever elements they think, greener grass.
Dean: Yeah. And are prices up or down compared to what you would get in Memphis?
Jeff: Prices are higher.
Dean: So you'd have to pay a little more because you get a little more land, and a little more-
Jeff: Right. A little more quiet life. And there's people here in Desoto County because on the interstate there like, "We moved out here to be in the county to be away from all this stuff, and now you all want to put in this building, and you want to do this." And it's like move further south.
Dean: Yeah I get it.
Jeff: Just move further south.
Dean: Okay. And then are there-
Jeff: Where we are, we actually bought it was part of a ten acre tract that the family had that raised horses that we bought the half with the house, part of the pond and the barn. So we've got five acres, and less than six miles away in the opposite directions are two Lowe's, two Walmarts, two movie theaters, two Chick-fil-A's, a Sam’s, I'm extremely convenient but-
Dean: Yeah you are.
Jeff: I can fish in my backyard every day.
Dean: Oh that's great.
Jeff: Enjoy whatever wildlife out there.
Jeff: And I could drive a half mile and I'm on one of the busiest streets in the county.
Dean: Well this is great. This is part of the thing now, starting to think about without having to have a listing to find the buyer, this is part of the thing is having information to find the buyers, right? Like people who are coming and looking out in Desoto County, that this is going to be a very helpful thing. Like the guide to the 2019 guide to Desoto County house prices. And showing the different communities on a top level. Like what's the entry level number price wise to move into Desoto County, what's the-
Jeff: The top end of those entry level houses are going to be in the 130-140.
Dean: Okay. So here's what you get for under $150,000 that's kind of the thing. And here's what you get for $200,000 and here's what you get for $250,000.
Jeff: When I did my weekly market watch email that goes out to all of my leads. When I did that yesterday, the under 150's I think there were 14 new ones that came on in this past week.
Jeff: And 150-300 there was 60 of them.
Dean: I love it.
Jeff: So the bulk of those houses are going to be in the mid 200's and up. Mid 200s to 300.
Dean: Perfect. And knowing that kind of thing is valuable.
Jeff: Yeah and the subdivision that I picked, the four big subdivisions in the corridor that I really want to focus on, the one that I picked, they all have about the same percentage of turnover of non new construction. But the one I picked, the average sales price is $60,000 more than the rest of them.
Dean: Okay. Perfect.
Jeff: So trying to market that neighborhood first to generate some leads and hopefully some listings from that.
Dean: Yes. Perfect. Because what's going to be the valuable thing for you is when you have now some buyers. Because we're looking to create those market maker opportunities for you. So that when you have a buyer who's looking and you're going out to do a tour of homes with them, that you now can communicate with the 100 people who've raised their hand and say, "Hey I'm showing houses to this couple from Memphis this weekend. And we're looking for this." That's where we want to get to ultimately. Because you're at the point right now, you're getting all of the ducks in a row and everything is kind of percolating right now. And so it's literally you want to stay the course with the getting listings. You're coming up to full maturity on that.
This is what was happening with Diane is that we started in August of last year with her and then all of a sudden things just started popping. And that's the whole thing is everybody's starting to gestate and get to the point where they're ready. Now you'll be able to watch what we do with finding the buyers because Lake Ashton is a 55+ community as well. You mentioned that as a target audience for you. Are there many 55+ communities in Desoto? Or are you focused primarily in South Haven?
Jeff: Anywhere in Desoto, and I've identified and they aren't all obviously identified as 55+, you have to do a little digging.
Jeff: Like I didn't even know there was one in this new subdivision that's being built and they said, oh yeah we're putting in a section of 55+. I'm not seeing any advertising for that.
Jeff: So I've been able to come up with, I think I've got eight on my list of areas that would be 55+.
Dean: That's perfect. That's the kind of thing where now you've got something that because it took a little digging. It's not so easy for other people to get the information. The more that you have to do to sort of compile it, the better it is for you because they're gonna-
Jeff: Just doing a search for 55+ in Desoto County yielded me three. And I knew of others just from pulling up in our MLS of what's been sold, and if there are any like that, trying to find some of those areas, and I've identified the others that I know of.
Dean: Yeah. This is great. So I love the way you're thinking here in terms of getting into those things. And I think that that's going to be a big piece of it going forward. Like right now there's 10,000 people a day are turning 65 right now. And that's going to continue for the next 20 years. So that means there's that many people turning 55 right now too. So that's a really great thing. I like to look at it that you were born in 1964? Or five?
Jeff: Five. January of 65.
Dean: So you're right in the transition. You're technically the first year of Generation X, like me. Like I'm 66, and 64 I think was technically the last year of the baby boom. So you and I are kind of pushing everybody up here. But you looked at it that's the biggest population shift. And as things are going people looking for great places to retire, so if you're looking at that as an approach. That's a really great thing to be the information source for that. Start really creating assets of those, that are there.
I'll show you, in the forum, we do a lot of work with Cain Cabe who does the reverse mortgage for purchase. And we've got a really great ad that we use to attract those buyers. And that'd be something that you could model in your area there, looking for the buyers as well. Because now you've got all the information and the research there. And then you start to triangulate those owners of those homes in the eight communities there, however many that may be. Maybe there's 1000 homes, or more that are qualified as those 55+. Those aren't' going anywhere over the next ten years. Those are the 55+ communities. Right?
Jeff: Right. Right.
Dean: So you start to really build these assets that have long term value to them. That you're building this it's like a snowball that you're starting to now, if you've got 10% of all of the people who own these 55+ homes, have responded for your report on 55+ house prices. That's a valuable thing, and you at the same time are running away to find the buyers who are looking for those homes. Now you've got that market maker position which is really great. You mentioned that you fish in your backyard, but I would start looking at Desoto and looking at South Haven specifically if you want to focus there, looking for almost like this cat scan perspective of the whole community. How is it divided up? Are there golf course communities? Are there lakes? Is there a river? Are there waterfront homes? What are the features, kind of thing?
Jeff: Yeah there are three or four subdivisions that are built around some type of lake. And I'm aware of three golf courses in the county that houses are built around. And one is an older one, and it's a public golf course and that's where more of the starter homes are going to be, even though it's near a golf course, and you're near a lake, they are more starter homes than anything else.
Dean: Yep. And so you look at this, how many homes do you think there are on the lake in South Haven?
Jeff: Maybe that would be considered lakefront homes, maybe 1000.
Dean: Yeah. Well then you're going to be rich. This is great. So you're probably-
Jeff: So do the lakefront homes?
Dean: Well why wouldn't you? Those are typically the most expensive homes, right? On the lake. And so same thing here in Winter Haven, there's about 2000 lakefront homes. But they're the most expensive homes. A lot of them over a million dollars. And when you start to look at this, now that that's definitely an aspiration. Right? When somebody's living in South Haven they may think, I would love to be on the lake. But the people who own those lakefront homes, they're going to see that, "Oh that's me." Right? If you're offering the report on lakefront house prices. Now the fact that they are potentially not all within the same subdivision kind of thing. And even if they are, not all of the homes in that subdivision are on the lake, it's going to take some hand selecting for you to assemble, to compile that list of just the lakefront homeowners. But once you do that, that asset that you have now is an advantage.
Jeff: Right. Well and I did the work myself to build the listing for the subdivision I'm going into using the tax records.
Jeff: I didn't hire a who to do the what.
Dean: Right. Right.
Jeff: I was the who that did the what. And went through all that, and so it'd be easy to sit back down with the tax... our county that's got all that identified very well online and I can pull up the lakes, and go around and identify the parcels and get the address and the owners and stuff.
Dean: And that's the kind of thing that people ask me. Because once you get things setup and in orbit, like getting everything up and running and you're getting listing stuff going. That all takes a little bit of time to get launched, but once you're launched. Then there's a period of time as it's kind of loading up. As everything is kind of doing its thing, that you have extra time now. And you start to think, well what should I do with this time? This is what you should be doing with the time. You should be investing the time in creating assets that are going to be a big piece of things over the next ten years.
If you look at it that those lakefront homes aren't going anywhere.
Dean: The homes that are on the lake right now. Those are the 1000 lakefront homes. And if there's empty land or empty lots on the lake, guess where all of the new lakefront homes in the next ten years are going to be?
Dean: They're going to be on those lots, because that's the only place they can be.
Dean: So building that as an asset and really kind of thinking about how you can dominate that lakefront niche. So we've been talking, now we've identified the 55+, we've identified the lakefront homes as one, that's kind of a cool thing when you start to look at it that way.
Same thing with the golf course homes. If you're looking for homes that are on the golf course, there may be another thousand of those.
Dean: Then what about the rural properties there. Do you have acreage? Like ranches? Or what is it that would be the desirable thing that people are looking for in the rural areas?
Jeff: In the rural areas some of them are going to three or four acres is what they have. And all of that is trying to be developed, just because we need more houses.
Jeff: Anytime a listing comes on that is a decent house, there are multiple offers. Like I had a listing come on a little over a week ago and by the end of the first day, there were four offers on the property.
Dean: Right on.
Jeff: But I still did an open house, and we had the offers, but nothing was accepted and so I still did an open house to just make sure that there wasn't anything else out there. And it generated some buyer leads for me to work with. So now I've got more buyer leads that I'm working with that came from that one. And I even said, actually it went under contract about ten minutes after the open house started.
Dean: Yeah. That's great.
Jeff: So I had to tell people, hey sorry, but this is under contract right now. It was too late to stop all the social media and do that, and so it's generated, and actually I left out the Open House signs at the corners in the subdivision of the area, and forgot about them. And that night I got a phone call that said, "I just saw your open house sign, are you going to be doing another one?" I said, "aw actually it's under contract. I guess I need to go pick up my signs." But that led to a potential buyer lead.
Dean: Yeah right. That's the perfect thing. I'm encouraged Jeff, that you've got everything at the stage now where you're in orbit. You've got your market watch email that's going out every week. You've got your get top dollar newsletter with the reports for the sellers. The mailings you've got all that established, and going out. So now it's literally just a matter of time and things will pop on that. You just need to stay the course with that. And now all these things that we're talking about with the finding the buyers is going to be a big piece. But I don't want to finish up here without talking about your after without talking about getting referrals.
Dean: And your top 150. How are you doing with that? Where are we at?
Jeff: There's 108 on the list.
Jeff: They've been getting the postcards for six or seven months.
Dean: Okay perfect.
Jeff: I have generated a couple of leads from it, but it was like my mother in law, I don't think it was because of the postcard, I think it was because she was my mother in law.
Dean: Right. You never know.
Jeff: And it was interesting though that I did have actually the people that we bought this house from, he stopped by my house I was out doing some work in the yard last week and he stopped by and said, "Can I get a couple of business cards from you?" And he was on the postcard list.
Dean: Yeah. Of course.
Jeff: "We saw that there was an estate sale just a couple of houses down from me and I think they may be selling. If I can see them out there I want to tell them to give you a call."
Dean: That's great. And that's the thing now. When you look at this, that your 108 people, when you look at this, that's less than $1000 for the entire year to send the world’s most interesting postcard to them. And that's going to build its own momentum there.
Have you created your map layer for those exporting the data into the google map so you can look at the pins of where those people are?
Jeff: Yes. I have done that.
Jeff: And right now the buyers that I have worked with aren't in those areas. And about half of that list is in Tennessee. And I do have my Tennessee license. I haven't done anything with it yet, but I've had it since the first of the year. Because I really want to make a go of it here, and then once I'm able to take over Desoto County, I can go take over Shelby County.
Dean: Right. Ah there you go.
Jeff: You know, we'll see how that goes.
Dean: I like it.
Jeff: And I have had some referrals come in from other outside of the area agents needing somebody in the area to try to help people. And most of our family lives in the Memphis area, Memphis metropolitan area, the Tennessee place.
Jeff: So I went on and got my license for that. So that's about where half of these come from. But yeah, I do know that when I do have buyers that I'm working with to reach back out to those top 150 to say hey do you happen to know anybody-
Jeff: Make it happen, when I'm able to do that.
Dean: Yeah I love watching in the Go Go Agent Forum that we have a whole thread called Market Maker Monday.
Jeff: Right I like those too.
Dean: Get the results and Ron Reed for sure has been the most consistent with that. And it's one of those things, it's just like if I can get people in that Market Maker Monday mindset where it's just a natural reflex to look through everything. And just constantly be thinking that way, makes all the difference.
Well I think you are right on track, Jeff. I mean, this is going to be a fun story to watch unfold through the rest of the year here, because you've laid all the foundation and now it's just a matter of sticking it out.
Jeff: Well thank you. I appreciate it. And thanks for your investment in real estate agents and putting this stuff out there, because I didn't work in my first year I wasn't in a brokerage that really did a whole lot of lead generating.
Jeff: And so I haven't gone through some of the training that other people have on the hamster wheel of calling all the expireds and calling all of the FSBOs and I've done a little bit of targeting to that but without any results. So I'm kind of at this, and you're the only plan I got. So I thank you for the encouragement to keep trucking along.
Dean: Oh this is great. I'm super excited Jeff. Thanks for sharing. And I'll talk to you soon.
Jeff: Yes sir. All right. And Happy Birthday.
Dean: Hey thank you. I'll talk to you soon.
Jeff: Okay. Bye.
Dean: And there we have it. Another great episode. I really enjoyed that conversation. It went exactly in the right direction. I'd love to be able to lock these things in and then fast forward, six, eight, twelve months from now to see how this matures. But he's definitely laying the foundation with all the right moves. I'm super excited to see it all unfold.
If you'd like to continue the conversation here, you can go to ListingAgentLifestyle.com, you can download a copy of The Listing Agent Lifestyle book, and if you'd like to be a guest on the show, just click on the Be a Guest link and we can brainstorm and come up with a plan for you.
If you want to join our community of real estate agents all over the world that are living and deploying our listing agent lifestyle elements. Then come on over to GoGoAgent.com. All of the tools, and all of the programs that we talk about on the podcast, like our getting listings program which is a complete turnkey program with postcards, landing pages, Facebook ads, newsletters, cover letters and a book called how to sell your house for top dollar fast. A room by room review booklet. All of the tools to support you in running a getting listings campaign that gets sellers to call you, without you having to chase people.
We mentioned the world’s most interesting postcard, as a monthly newsletter style postcard that we send to the top 150 people in your life. The ones who you want to refer you or to consider you to be their realtor. And we do a new postcard like that every month for you. We write it, we design it, it's all set up so you don't have to do any of the creative work, you just mail them out to your top 150 and watch the referrals happen.
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