Non-traditional broker, flat-fee broker, limited-service broker or simply discount broker, there are quite a few names for a brokerage that doesn’t run in the “standard” model. In this episode we interviewed one of our listeners who kindly volunteered to talk about her time at a discount brokerage. Michele started at a discount brokerage her first year in real estate and closed 113 transactions that year. Her office operated with about 350 listings going at any given time and a very small staff. She shares with us how the office got leads and how they served their clients. We learn about the general office philosophies plus lots of specifics on their processes. Talking with Michele was truly eye opening. As an agent on the other side of a transaction with a limited-service broker you can guess what is going on behind the scenes, but to hear a personal account of how this office ran was fascinating. This may be the first time we have truly been at a loss for words during the show. If you’ve ever wondered how a non-traditional broker operates, it’s time to pull back the curtain and see.
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The following is a rough transcript provided by Otter.ai.
There was nothing in our job description that said actively work to get these people under contract.
Can you write offers on all of these today? And let’s see if one of them sticks.
Constant repair negotiation because you get one person through
Google is that was like, yeah, probably
3% every four weeks off the price until you sell. That’s it. Sometimes you just need to hear a man’s voice. Oh, we had a local area code for each market. So that’s why people would be confused.
Hi, y’all. Welcome to hustle humbly. It’s Alyssa and Katie. And we are two top producing realtors in the Baton Rouge market.
We work for two different companies where we should be competitors. But we have chosen community over competition. The goal of our podcasts is to encourage you to find your own way in business to stop comparing yourself and start embracing your strengths. Okay, hi, Alexa Katie. It’s episode 192. And we’re here today with a guest, a friend who’s going to talk to us all about. There’s so many names for this.
Yeah, I was waiting
to hear what you were gonna say talk about what we call a discount broker, or maybe a non traditional broker or a flat fee broker, limited service broker, there really are a lot of names for this. So we’re gonna let Michelle introduce herself and tell us where she is and what she does, and why she’s a good person to talk to us about this subject. Yeah, so
my name is Michelle, and I’m a realtor in the Dallas Fort Worth area of Texas. I’m originally from San Diego. I’ve met my husband in 2018. He’s the one who kind of talked me into getting licensed and try real estate even though that wasn’t on my radar. So I went ahead and got my license at the end of 2019. I had no background in real estate, I didn’t know anyone in real estate. So I thought finding like an assistant position would be a good way to get my feet wet and see if I even like real estate. So that’s how I came across this discount a lot. The non traditional broker, they had posted an ad for ad real estate assistant position, and I applied interview with the broker. And I got the job. And I started in February of 2020. And that’s what I did for my first year as a realtor and I closed 113 transactions that first year. It was crazy. That while I know so And what’s funny is I didn’t even know what I was getting myself into. I was just like, oh, I guess you know, real estate is to say that sounds nice. And yeah, I had no idea.
Yeah, how did you close so many transactions as an assistant? So I guess you weren’t just an assistant you were.
So the thing is, like this specific brokerage was smaller. The job position was an assistant but it was only two months really as an assistant. And then they were so short staffed, that they needed someone to start taking clients that have license. So I just like to say yes to everything. You know, you write your take quiet shirt, ready to take another shirt. Sure, sure. And I was just, you know, it just went from there. So yeah, that was my first. That was my introduction to real estate. And I knew it just wasn’t for me. So I just took I told myself as an author for a year, take everything I could from it and all the experience and knowledge and then go off and do traditional.
Why did you feel like it was not for you?
Well, because it was the way that the company was set up, everything was just a number. So like the broker, the mindset, it was just go, go go on to the next everyone was a number. You know, say the seller received an offer or maybe two offers. At the time this was before like the crazy bidding wars started. But the broker would always push to have the seller to have us tell the seller just take the first offer, it’s always gonna be the best one. Just to eliminate getting into a bidding war, just anything to save us time and just keep it moving. Because you know, it makes sense. They paid a flat fee initially to be listed. No one cares how much they sell for when they sell. It’s like just get it done close onto the next and it was just so cold. And you know, my broker, his only complaint really, I mean was that I he literally told me I care too much. And I was like, that’s how I knew. That’s how I handled that. Yeah, that’s
for me. Oh, that is crazy. Okay, how many like clients would you have at one time and did they? Obviously you weren’t making a commission. So were you on salary or how did they pay you?
Yeah, so we were paid hourly. And we would get a very small commission, basically when someone would sign up to list with us. And then when that listing closed and we represented them, we would get a very small commission like, it’s laughable to. I remember when I was interviewing with brokers, when I was ready to go off and do traditional, the lady that the manager that I met with, she was like, I can tell she pitied me, she’s like, I’m poor girl, like the amount of volume and how much I need. It was like, it’s funny to think how little I made for the amount of work.
So in this type of situation, when you get a lead, and they want to list their house, what did that look like? How many times did you did you meet these people ever? Did you go to the house? Like what was the process,
so this office was based in the Dallas Fort Worth area, but we had sellers all over Texas, and we covered multiple markets, nothing was in person, everything was over the phone, through email. A company like a big majority of the sellers who would list with the brokerage a lot of them found that were either repeat clients referral clients or Google because it makes sense, you know, people are looking for a cheap option or searching flat fee brokerage and we would pop up. So it wasn’t it was all inbound, we didn’t have to do any type of like prospecting or marketing, I think they had really good SEO, they had some IT guy handling that.
So you would just take their information over the phone, when they were ready, they were in charge of getting their own photos did they have to get photos to you to upload.
So the way that it worked, they would have two options when they were listing with the brokerage, they would have the most basic plan which is basically for sale by owner, they would make a payment on the website that the payment would come in. And the assistant would basically handle that onboarding, call them confirm their property information. Anything else was extra, if they wanted to see in many that was extra. If they wanted photos, it was extra, we would provide the paperwork because it was on the website. And then the second option was called you know, they would have full representation, it was still a flat fee, it was just a little bit more. Same thing with that option, etc. It would include a CMA, one of the agents would do a CMA and suggested suggested price to them. And they would be assigned to an agent. Once an offer came in. I will say it was like a well oiled machine. They it was a very small staff, but it was like three assistants, three agents, the assistants would be handling all that inbound, you know, the orders being placed and people calling wanting to list with us.
You said they wouldn’t get assigned an agent until they received an offer.
Yeah. Which was one of the big problems that I noticed at least is that there’s so much that happens from when we list to when they actually do get an offer. It was kind of like a list it and forget it situation. Because again, like it doesn’t benefit them to put extra work into getting them that offer and getting them to close because it doesn’t matter. They already got paid. So
okay, that was my question. So it really doesn’t matter to the broker whether the house sells or not.
Right now doesn’t I guess remember, like someone would be tasked one of the agents would be tasked in any other free time to go through the people who were expiring soon and basically call them talk them into relisting for another six months. But there was nothing in our job description that said actively work to get these people under contract.
And so if they wanted to renew because they were approaching expiring would they repay?
Yeah, yeah. Okay, yeah, just like I know. Yeah, it’s just wow, you take another payment, put it back up or you know, extended the expiration date and just leave it I mean,
how was your I guess, service advertised just as a here’s the amount the fee and you’ll get basically like an admin person to put your your listing into the MLS and then you’re, you’re on your own right, like you have to schedule your own appointments and everything like that, right?
Well, the office would the assistants would set up each listing with a showing service and we they would be sent like a key box. So each each listing did get their own little sign and they would get a key box you’d have to pay a deposit for. So they were set up with the showing service. Really the way that it was advertised was you don’t need to pay traditional agent agent traditional agent makes so much money and kind of pushing the whole like agents don’t do anything You don’t need to pay that much for it all, all that really matters is the price and that you’re in the MLS. That’s all that matters. That was like heavily pushed, and then the price is like right there. So that’s someone looking for a cheaper option, obviously, I’m sure that looks appealing. Right? Yeah,
I understand. And you did say, you know, some of the clients that y’all had the option somewhat made sense for them.
Yeah, I mean, I would say a small percentage would be investors, who are local and familiar with, you know, the the contract in Texas, and they’ve sold homes a bunch of times, they would do the most basic option for the most part, or they would pay a little bit more to have full representation, because maybe they’re a little too busy. And they wanted an agent to step in and just handle the negotiations for them once they did get an offer. Those clients I mean, that’s the only time I think it was not, you know, a terrible idea. But that was a very small percentage of the client.
Okay, when you talk about them having the choice between full representation, I’m doing my air quotes, y’all. Or just the plain, like lower level? What was the break? Do you know? Like, was it 50% of people would choose full representation? Or would most people pick just to put us in the MLS? And leave us alone? option?
I want to say most of it might have been close, maybe like 70%? Did the basic option? And maybe, or no, maybe like 60% of the basic option? 40%? Did the full representation, I guess?
Do they work with buyers,
they do? Not as much it was heavily the listing side, but there would be some buyers and they would actually rebate cash back to the buyer. So that was their selling point. When representing buyers?
So you would actually did you represent any buyers where you had to go show them houses and things? Oh,
no, and it’s kind of, and again, this is part of why I didn’t like working there, because a lot of the stuff was kind of questionable, it would be like use an agent to get in the door, will write the offer so that you get the rebate, which isn’t right at all i
so they were encouraging people to just get any agent there, another agent to show them, but then get with us and we’ll write your offer and give you money back.
Right, which never felt right to me. And I’m complaining about it for obvious reasons. I like Facebook groups and stuff. And it’s not right, you know, and that’s a big reason why I just didn’t like working there. But
how long was your broker?
How long was your broker in business? Before you started there? Was it an established like a long established company?
Yeah, I mean, the broker had been in business, at least for you know, decades and decades. I think the company itself was around for at least 10 years. I mean, it’s a well, that’s why so much. Yeah, so much of the business was past clients and referrals, just because I felt like they established themselves as a local coffee company.
This is so interesting, because I have one investor in particular, who is one of the reasons I don’t really work with investors anymore. Great person, but I would wake up to an email with 12 addresses, and with a number next to each one that said, Hey, can you write offers on all of these today? And let’s see if one of them sticks. Right? And it was very regular. And I’d be like, Sure, just give me two, three hours, you know, of my day for none of this to work out. So it makes me wonder like, could he call a service like that and be like, Hey, I don’t need to see them just make the offers. And let’s see what happens. And maybe it would work? Did y’all charge a flat fee upfront to write an offer? Or you just collected something at closing?
No, but I remember the the broker because time was money, and he would cut it off like you are not to be writing that many offers for any client like they’d better be getting under contract after like three offers, because he doesn’t want us wasting our time on that. But no, there was no. Yeah, right.
It does make sense.
Okay, you closed 113 transactions in one year, which literally is wild. I cannot imagine like about how many at one time. Are you kind of juggling? Is it? I mean, obviously real estate is seasonal. So was there a point in the year when you were working with like, a ton of people like how was how could they get in touch with you? Is that even possible?
Yeah, so I would average about 20 to 25 at all times. And depending it could get up to like maybe 30 Plus, and a lot of those were actually pending contracts. Majority of them would be an actual contract. So I was basically in a never ending inspect same period every week, it was just constant repair negotiations because you get one person
that does that make brings up a once your pending, okay? Our other eight I mean, I have had this happen to me personally where I just got confused and didn’t fully understand. And I was nervous to do something wrong. Like I felt like I was going behind the sign by not going and speaking to the other agent. But then when I spoke to the listing agent who was with a limited service company, she was like, you don’t have to talk to me. And I was like, Oh, I’m sorry, let me call your client, you’re not client, but let me call the seller. Did you have the coop agents calling? Yeah, it’s like confused store. Okay, what did that look like? These four
agents would be so confused. And we were just so busy, the environment was so stressful. And these agents would be calling in the middle of like our day, and we’re so busy and they’d be upset thinking like, who am I supposed to talk to? And he would say just call the number and we would kind of, we wouldn’t say we would initially say that’s the seller talk to the seller, we’ll try to play it like Just call the number in the MLS because we’d have private agent remarks call this number for all questions. But if they really pushed it, and they said, Well, is this a seller and I feel comfortable, then we’d have to say we have an agreement in place, you’re allowed to talk to the seller, you don’t need to be talking to us, please call them. And there were a lot of times when the agent would be really frustrated, for obvious reasons. But it would get to the point where like, just please call the seller, like we’re not handling this, that would be for the most basic clients that didn’t do the full representation. If it was full representation, they would talk to me, but
so they negotiated repairs and everything directly with the seller, you were not involved in that.
For the clients who did the basic option that was basically for sale by owner, they did everything themselves. And what was kind of sad is that we would be like CC on a lot of the communications between the seller and the buyer’s agent. And we would actively be watching them agree to things maybe that they didn’t need to agree to or, you know, granted a huge credit when they just shouldn’t be agreeing to that or, you know, the deal is falling apart. But because they paid for the most basic plan and they don’t have full representation. We couldn’t step in, and you couldn’t advise them on anything.
Make you feel as an agent, like how was that hard for you not to want to step in?
Yeah, definitely. For sure. And that’s, again, just another reason why I was only there for a year it was it didn’t feel right, you know, to be able to watch them their deal falling apart and not be able to step
by. Okay, so that that leads me into my next question. At if that the flat fee, not the full representation, but the lowest level, what were some of the roadblocks that you saw your clients getting into? Like, did a lot of those contracts not work out? Like what were they reaching out to you? And you’d have to say, sorry, you didn’t pay for the hire like full service? Did that happen? And could they pay for full service later? Like added on?
Yeah. It wouldn’t be a lot of questions about the contract itself, which is kind of crazy. But they didn’t fully understand the contract, or they’d have a question. Like, if this happens, does this happen? And it’s just, you know, just they did not understand the contract? And they would ask us, and we would say, we can’t really answer that question. But yes, we would push like, if you do want full representation, you can pay more and have an agent stepping in, but a lot of times they didn’t want to do that. They would just continue to just say thanks. And just, you know,
last Google is that what that
yeah, probably, goodness gracious.
Yeah, I guess so or like a scenario where they’re negotiating repairs, and maybe the they would try to call the office and ask, like, is this something that they have to agree to? Or what happens if they don’t agree to it? And again, we just can’t help them like Sorry, you’re on your own. Oh, my God,
this is so interesting to me. Fascinating. I
also think it’s interesting Michelle, I’ve never really delve into any particular limited service brokers structure. I never knew that there was like, like, what you have like a level like flat fee nothing. This is what you get into the MLS, and that’s it or maybe a more Buller service where you’re getting a few things for your money and an agent assigned to you. I didn’t eat I had no clue that was a thing. So I do find that to be very interesting.
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I mean, were there things that your clients expected of you that like, would never have been included? Even if they were full service? Like, was there anything that clients wanted that that never was included?
Um, a lot of times, they’d be surprised that photos weren’t included. I mean, any marketing, nothing like that was included, it was simply professional photos, if they want to pay for that, put it in the MLS, and that’s it. There were no extras, you know, it was no. Like open houses there. I just remember there were a lot of things that we would say you don’t need to do. Don’t do just because we were told to say that because it would just be extra work for us. So like, coming soon, we would say, oh, no, that’s not a good strategy. It doesn’t work. Because we didn’t, the broker didn’t want us doing that. It would just be extra work, when maybe that would have been a good strategy. So I just remember, it was kind of just like a one size fits all for every client. And maybe they thought that they were gonna get more good real estate advice from an agent. But we were just so focused on transactions and getting the deal done. But we just, you know, no marketing, no open houses, no coming soon, you can list any day of the week, it doesn’t matter. So,
right. It’s just like pushing paperwork and getting them in and out the door.
That’s a good point. So you said any day of the week, you all had staff working on the weekends to get things input into the MLS?
Yeah, so the office was open 8am to 8pm during the week, and then weekends, it was like nine to seven, and there would be someone working in the office. So we would constantly be No, actually, we wouldn’t put listings in on Sundays, but we would on actually, I think we only put listings on Monday through Friday. But basically, if someone had a question, what day of the week is best would say any day? Because it’s just to get the listing of get their money and
doesn’t matter to us. What do you want? Yeah, exactly.
Okay, well, how did you handle client communication? Did they have a phone number for someone? Obviously, maybe not in the flat, the bottom of the rung. But could they call you? Because I mean, can they? Do they have to email or they told like, you know, basically, you can only email what is the communication? I guess, structure?
Yeah, I guess it was agent to agent. I personally would give my clients my cell phone number, because I did want to be able to handle stuff outside of my office hours. But there was another agent in particular who refused like absolutely not, did not let any client had my phone number. And stuff would just be blowing up. And he would just be nowhere to be found. Because it he could hide behind it. And I you know, boundaries, of course are great, but I’m pretty sure he did it as a way to just shield himself from what was going on and let the let the assistants handle a lot of it. So can you if I was
working for this type of company, I would probably have to keep it email and not let anybody have my number because I don’t think I could hear their voices.
Well, I don’t know, I’d have to service like how do you be like, Oh, I can turn service on or off? Yeah, I just felt like
they were respectful. I mean, most of the communication was done through the office phone, they would call the office and the assistant would pass the phone, pass them over to me and a lot of the communicate communication was done through email. But I knew that stuff happens outside of office hours. So I wouldn’t, you know, they can have my cell phone number, but they no one was really blowing me up. I think they’re respectful that way, but because sometimes things really needed to be handled outside of when you’re in the office. So what wasn’t really right was the agent who didn’t want anyone to have their cell phone number, he would have us share his home office phone number as if that was his cell phone number. It was just a lot of misleading the clients. And it just it just didn’t feel right.
Right, right. Oh, my gosh,
what about what was your number of cancellations were? Were contracts often getting canceled and you’re having to go into MLS and make it back active? Or were they making it to the closing table pretty often. How did that look with cancellations?
That’s a good question. I don’t at me as an agent, I didn’t really handle like the basic plan clients. So I’m not sure. I would assume that a lot of their deals probably fell through but I would say the ones that I represented, mostly made it to closing for the most part because again, the broker was pushing. Get it done by any means necessary if it means accepting the first offer getting the seller to agree to like lower terms maybe or, you know, negotiating credits wherever possible very low credits. So deals for the most part would make it to closing, at least when I was representing them. But I do remember, you know, cancellations coming in at least for the flat fee clients?
Quite a bit. Sure.
I mean, it makes perfect sense. Okay. What about something like, feedback from showings? Obviously, you’re not? Are you collecting that on the higher level or no,
that was also set, everything was set up with a showing service. And if they would be set up, so all any feedback would go straight to the seller, the office had, you know, give or take three 303 50 listings at all times, and it just would have been not feasible for any of the feedback to go through the office. So that’s why it would just go straight to the seller.
What’s the y’all did set them up? You said in the showing system that kind of automated that.
Yeah, yeah, out here we have showing time. So yeah, it was just all automated and everything would go straight to the seller, and the seller would approve and decline showings, and they would just handle all that themselves.
Yeah, wow. Okay, let’s dig into what now that you’re on the other side. And you go on to a regular full service brokerage? What are some of the things that you would maybe caution the public about when they consider a discount or limited service broker? Like what are some of the things they need to keep in mind?
I think the big thing that the public should be aware of is that, you know, this is a flat fee, company, all they care about is they’re getting the flat fee up front does not matter to them when you sell or how much you sell for because they already got paid. And I think a company like this, you know, it’s a one size fits all formula for all listings, anything that makes it easier for them to take on more listings, pushing through getting close move on to the next. So real estate isn’t a one size fits all. You know, that doesn’t work for every house. So I just remember, you know, the the listing not selling, we would tell them drop the price. 3% every four weeks, same thing.
Oh my god, there’s your money you saved,
right? Every four?
Oh, yeah, that’s the same thing. What happens?
No, keep going.
I was just gonna say not once. Did we ever consider any other factor, like take the time to look at the listing? Look at the photos. We didn’t know the area, you know, it could be a market that’s like four hours away six hours away. You didn’t know that area? We didn’t know. We didn’t look into anything. It was just a formula that our broker told us, which was 3% every four weeks dropped the price until you saw that’s it.
Wow. That’s incredible. That’s really sad.
What was the final straw? Like, what made you leave? And how did you take that plunge? How did this transition happen?
I think it was really kind of building. That working, there was very high stress. Like I said, I wasn’t getting paid much. I didn’t feel right with a lot of the stuff that was happening. So I think it was really a build up. I knew I was just going to be there for a year. And then it was going to go off and do my own thing. But I remember one of the last the last deal, I was representing a buyer and whenever you’re representing a buyer, the buyer is getting paid more than anyone else’s, he’s getting the majority of the commission with that rebate. And I was dealing with someone that was so difficult and trying to get the brokers help, you know, freaking out over some repairs. And this isn’t another market I can’t go to the house and I can’t really handle it like a traditional agent should would be handling it you know, nor did I make enough money to be able to throw in some commission just to remedy the situation. It was just it was a lot and I was just so stressed out and I was trying to go to the broker for help. And I remember he was just saying well sometimes you just they just need to hear a man’s voice. Oh and I was just like, man, you you take it well, that was the last Yeah, okay. Yeah,
that’d be my last
good straw for break the camel’s back. Wow.
Wow, I did not see that coming quite honestly.
happening and then that just like a little cherry on top, I was like, I can’t do this.
Husband think about this whole situation.
Um, I think he saw it for what it was, which is just a learning experience. Just how I knew it was it was hard to remember that when I was in it, but I think he just was watching and just watching from a distance, letting me learn. And I remember one day, it was like, I was just so overwhelmed. I had so many clients, so many things blowing up at once. And everything was fine. I went through the day. And I feel like I handled the high stress environment very well. But I got home and I parked my car at the house. And I just sat there and I just cried. And he came out and basically, like, I got my bags, and we went into the house. I was like, this is a lot. No, right.
Not for me. Oh my god. Right. Okay. But like on the last deal you did where you were representing the buyer. I think I caught this. Did you never go into the house? Like it wasn’t even in your area?
Yeah, no, nevermind to the house. Yeah.
Like, this is a hard episode for us to record because we have no words, I actually don’t understand. Right? Like, the buyer found them on Google and was like, get your like commission rebated back to you. And then they just let them submit the offer after some other poor agent showed them the house, right?
Yeah. And then we would, you know, they would have an inspection done, they wouldn’t go to the inspection, they would just meet with the inspector, the inspection would be sent to us, we would walk through that report with them, you know, talk about negotiating a credit?
How did they get into the house for the inspection or a walkthrough? Or like, you’re not there is the listing agent going to let them in.
Um, I don’t think it’s really an issue with the inspector because at least out here, the inspector can access the property. And then usually us as the agent, we meet with the buyers, we meet with the inspector. So I don’t think that part was the issue. But the issue was the walkthrough. And that’s another thing that I’d never felt right. Like, it was always kind of, uh, oh, you know, talking to try to get the listing agent, please let the client into, you know, you make some excuse, because we didn’t tell them what the situation was. I never said I’m not even in your market. Because we would have an offer. That’s another thing. We had an office phone, and we had a local area code for each market. So that’s why people would be confused, you know, they don’t know that I’m not local. So I’d have to just say, like, something came up, can you please let the buyer in for a walkthrough? And I remember towards the end, that last deal, the broker said to me, like, well, we shouldn’t even be, that’s not a part of our service is doing the walkthrough. Like if they want the rebate, and they want to use us, they either don’t get a walkthrough or they have to figure out their own way to get into the walk there. But I know there were times when I was paying agent outside an agent or a Facebook group, and say, Can you please let the client in for a walk there? I’ll pay you and yeah, but it was
not even believe it. The thing is, is that the public probably real. I mean, they made their decision. They, they, to some extent, know what they’re doing with what they’re paying for, you know that they shouldn’t be expecting this high level of service. But I’m most shocked that it’s the agents, the co op agents that really have no idea what’s going on and understanding it. Yeah, that’s, that’s really tricky.
Some something. So at this particular brokerage, no one had any real real estate experience. And I think that worked for the broker. So we had never been traditional agents. We didn’t know any better. So that’s why when someone would say, Well, what day of the week is best for me to list I truly didn’t know, you know, Sunday, Monday, what? Who cares? But now as a potential agent, obviously, that’s not the case. But the broker, I think, would take in agents that didn’t have any real real estate experience, and then train them to see it in his viewpoint and to tell the clients what he would tell the clients. So yeah, looking back on it to know that the how the other agent was dealing with this is, I feel bad. I mean, I know how frustrated I would be if I was dealing with one of
a lot of these. Are there a lot of these companies in your market? Or is it just kind of one that sort of dominate?
I want to say there’s maybe at least, I think there’s quite a few I want to say maybe like a handful that I regularly will see if I do see a flat fee. Option.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, they’re, they’re not uncommon. We have them here too.
Right. You know,
I think they’re pretty common throughout the country. I think that the problem is that realtors in general aren’t really good at explaining to the public what they do when they are a full service. So then when they think they can get a discount by you know, hiring a different broker that may He’s gonna give them you know, a rebate, or it’s not going to cost as much if I didn’t if they didn’t understand what Realtors did in the first place, and then you even as an employee of this business didn’t really know what Realtors did like the full service picture. There’s, they might just be like, Oh, well, this is why everyone doesn’t like realtors, because this whole process sucks. And really, it’s because they weren’t educated. And then they hired you. And obviously, there’s only so much you were even allowed to do. How much stuff did you have to unlearn? When you went to to the traditional side? Was it like shocking for you to like, learn that maybe these are not like going down on price 3% every four weeks is not solid advice you would ever give your seller,
right? Yeah, it was, I think unlearning the transactional ended very cold. And yes, I should have systems and I should be organized because they were very organized. And they did have very good systems, but kind of scaling a little bit back on that and bringing more of like a personal touch to it. That’s kind of what I had to figure out. And I always knew that dropping the price. Having that specific formula, obviously isn’t making, you know, it’s a case by case basis. So I don’t think I had trouble taking that into any of my listings as a traditional agent. But I think it was just adding more of the personal touch to it. I remember I had a listing as a traditional agent, and I had set the seller up to receive the showing time and getting the requests and everything. And I thought that would be good, because that’s how it was at the other brokerage. And he was this old man. And he was freaking out wondering who’s texting me and but that’s a perfect scenario, like it’s a case by case basis that that wouldn’t have been a good setup for him. So I needed to make it more personal. Let him know when the showings were happening, which I did a quick pivot. And I did switch to that. But it was a good example of me having to get away from that cold, you know, discount model?
did it feel weird going from you know, 25 to 30 clients at a time to just a few.
It did, but it was refreshing. And I knew it. I remember when I was juggling that many deals out mines. I just kept thinking like I do want less that can get my more of my attention. I didn’t like the high volume that can barely get any my attention. Because I’m just so busy. I didn’t like that. So I wanted to take less. It was refreshing. And I liked that change for sure.
Yeah, that makes sense. I feel like I’m pretty good. Do you have any other questions or thoughts on this?
Like, I’m gonna be thinking about this all day? Yeah, I’m just like, still so blown away. I also have to say, Michelle, you’re not what I expected. I don’t know what I was expecting. I just You’re so kind. And I can’t picture you in this environment.
She didn’t know any better, right? Like you just were like, I’m going to be in.
Like, yeah, I just need to have some guaranteed income. Right. She was too nice for the biz. Right. Right. Well, I’m really glad you found your way. Right. And I do think you this was, I do think this was an invaluable experience. Yeah,
for sure. I think we all need to understand how other people run their business. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with a flat fee, or a discount broker or a limited service. But the public needs to be made aware of what that means. And what are the actual fundamental differences between getting advice from a full service agent who walks you through the whole, you know, transaction and hiring someone to simply type in your listing into the MLS. These are two very different experiences. Is there any are there any, like parting words or final thoughts? You’d really like the public to know.
Yeah, I mean, I think in the big picture, the reason why we have a problem with something like this even being an issue where the public thinks that, you know, they don’t need to go the traditional agent route, they can just do the flat fee route. I think it’s because, you know, there’s just such a low barrier to entry for realtors, to become realtors. And the public does have this image that agents don’t do much, you know, how many times do we see on the realtor Facebook groups, someone telling an agent, like you’re just a glorified door opener, we don’t really need you for the paperwork. And they only think that I can because the barrier to entry is just so low. So I think it should be more difficult for agents to become licensed. There should be maybe an apprenticeship or something to make it more difficult to be a realtor and allow the public to respect us more than maybe we wouldn’t have so many sellers out there looking for a flat fee option because they know the value of a role of a traditional realtor.
And that’s absolutely one of the big reasons that we have this podcast is to just bring professionalism and risk Fact back to the realtor brand and remind people to conduct themselves as a business and hopefully with time will will gain some credibility back. And it’s just so hard because you’re right you can people come and go so quickly because it doesn’t take very long to get licensed. And so they get in and they make a big mess and make us look bad. And then they leave. And we’re just here with the realtor name tag on trying to, you know, fix the do damage control to our reputation all the time. So yeah, definitely. This was so fascinating. Thank you for being willing to share.
Yeah, thank you for having me. I do feel like it’s important to get it out there so Realtors know about it, the consumers know about it. I don’t think unfortunately, it’s gonna go anywhere. I think there’s always going to be this year. So there will be
Yeah, there will always be but at least if we educate the public on what it is, they can make an informed decision. Maybe they need more advice and assistance. Maybe they don’t. Michelle, did you bring a toast? Do you want to test someone today?
Yes, I want to test to two people. And these are the two girls that I worked with at the flat fee brokerage. It was such an important part of my career that I have to toast to them. And they trained me when I started and they’ve just been really supportive of me since I’ve left. But their names are Cassidy Bradley and Kathy when
Oh, okay. Well, cheers to Cassidy and happy. Nice to have someone Shepherd you into any new environment. Right. So that’s awesome that they were helpful. Thank you for being here. Before we go. We’ll take a quickie photo. Okay, and then we’ll have your episode airing. I think at the beginning of April, we’ll send you a little message. Okay. All right.
So if you change your mind on if you want to, or not.
You want us to blur you out? We totally well. Okay, smile.
Okay, we thought it would be funny to have like the little pixelated like
we were we would blur you out like a Dateline review. But I think you were very respectful. Were very respected. This was totally fine for your name to be on it. Thank you for sharing this side of the business with us because it’s always important for us to learn the things we don’t know. Mm hmm. Hey, thank you.
It’s a great episode.
It was great. So good. Thank you. Okay. Hey, Michelle. That was fascinating.
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