Three years ago, January 2012, I had a crazy notion to ramp up my fitness so I decided to set a goal of running one hundred 10K’s. I had no idea if I could do it. I liked running, just not THAT much. I’m a busy guy so I knew I would have to do it early in the morning if I had any chance. I ran in the cold, the rain, the snow. Often I woke up at 5am to get it done and just when I got close, a terrible thing happened. In early November I got hit by a car. I remember lying on the ground it total agony. Life in a wheelchair flashing before my eyes I remember being so terribly sad that after 890km in the bank, I would not achieve my goal. I spent the next six weeks hobbling around. Propping myself up with pillows just to sit upright. As time passed I watched any chance of my goal slip away. Then someone said that since I started my journey in mid January, I technically had two extra weeks to hit my goal. On Boxing Day, in a crazy snow storm, I put on my big Canada Goose Jacket and Sorels and went for a walk. After two and a half hours I completed run (walk) 90. Two days later, and in much lighter clothes I went out and did it again, and then again and again. With a day to spare, I finished my 100th 10k.
Along the way I learned some incredible things about myself and what I was capable of achieving. I recognized that there were some serious similarities to prospecting, because it starts with getting up, even on a lousy day, and “getting it done”! I started blogging about my experiences. It was awesome.
The following year I put another theory to the test. If running was like prospecting then surely I could run more and go farther. That would be like Prospecting more and for higher priced homes. So in 2013 I ran one hundred and fifteen 12k’s. That’s over 1300kms in one year.
Hot on the trails of that theory I thought that this year I would put my last theory to the test. If you were a successful realtor who made prospecting second nature, then surely, without set daily goals you could prospect without even thinking about it. Essentially you were hardwired to prospect. So this year’s goal was just to go out and run when I felt like it (of course I still kept track of my distances). Well today I hit the midway point and guess what? I am well over 500kms. Some of my runs were little 5k’s others were epic 25k battles. I just ran when I felt like it.
To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of running but I’m getting better at it and for a guy with a busy schedule it has a few other benefits. I don’t have to spend money on a gym, I can do it anywhere, and it gives me time to spend an hour alone with my thoughts.
mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.
I like video. I’m a visual person, and maybe a bit lazy too. If I’m trying to do something around the house I will almost always see if there is a how to video first before I read ANYTHING. So it’s no surprise that video plays an important role in our company’s strategy and I wanted to share some of those successes here, if only to demonstrate how important video is becoming. For years our agents have done virtual home tours. There are any number of companies out there that will show up at a property, take some still shots, shoot some video, add some titles and stitch together a 2 minute clip that gets uploaded to our YouTube account. No fuss, no muss. On the Bosley Real Estate YouTube channel, those videos can generate 20-30 views and may hit 60 if we’re lucky. These videos also show up as attachments to agent’s listings on MLS and Realtor.ca and get a lot more views outside of YouTube.
Several years ago someone came up with the idea of shooting “lifestyle” videos. Conceptual in nature, these videos add a unique angle to the traditional home video by using actors to show what LIVING IN THE HOUSE is like. Cool idea. These videos have gained some success and have contributed to the house being sold. In fact some of our agents are using them quite successfully. Of course they are more expensive to produce and once the property is sold the video has limited appeal except as a tool to get other listings. Which begs the question, if a potential client says he wants a lifestyle video and the house is a dump, how are you going to back out of that one?
For our part, our video success has come from two sources. First we recognized that Bosley Real Estate has deep and long-lasting roots in the various communities in Toronto and so we were the best ones to talk about neighbourhoods. We created a video series called “Neighbourhood Navigators”. Currently we have 13 done and another 4 in post production. We also have one of the most experienced management teams and advice that is worthwhile and relevant so we created advice videos with topics like “Do I have to accept a full price offer on my home?”. These videos have responded to the statistics that are available. A 2013 Google Consumer Survey reports that 47% of RE researchers use YouTube to view video home tours, 21% use it to learn about neighbourhoods, 18% use it to learn about RE companies of agents, and 13% use it to watch “how to” and “advice” videos. With barely 9 months under our belts our success has been extraordinary. Check out a snapshot of or analytics. We were basically flatlining but the major jump happened the moment we published our first neighbourhood video in June of 2013. . Video continues to play an important role in our online presence too. On our new website we created a Neighbourhood Navigator and Advice page. Our agents are embedding the videos into their own websites and are reporting additional traffic. Of course we still have a lot more up our sleeve. Version 2 is coming out in a few months and will see some video content coming out in our app.
It is no surprise that video is an important tool for the real estate brokerage. In our fast paced, no time to read, life, video plays a critical role. We are also a big fan of agent videos as they give a consumer the chance to meet someone before they meet them face to face.
mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office.
Technology talk used to be the dominant topic of conversation at real estate conferences over the last few years but these days there has been a noticeable shift to discussions on brands and brand building. I think we are talking about brands more because our industry has become so fractured that it is tougher and more expensive for agents to succeed.
Consider this, in the early days of real estate sales, agents worked for a neighbourhood brokerage who fielded calls and handed out leads. Upon successful completion of a transaction, the brokerage would keep a substantial portion of the earned commission. In return, the brokerage office was responsible for advertising listings and managing day-to-day operations. When independent contractor status came out agents assumed more responsibility for the sales function thus opening the doors for new brokerage models. Now take a look at what is happening now.
In Toronto we are closing in on 40,000 agents who are all competing for a piece of the 90,000 sales that happen each year. The sharp increase in the number of agents in our market has caused significant shifts in the real estate industry. The first is a downward pressure on commissions, and the second is the rise in popularity of the “discount brokerage”, a model that relies on fees rather than commissions. Both of these shifts have benefited the consumer in some way but have also put pressure on the traditional real estate brokerage model.
Now agents are faced with a new dilemma. Their competitive advantage is no longer their ability to offer lower commissions. They need to create a lot more value for the consumer. That may come in the form of neighborhood videos, access to a research department, market and/or neighbourhood reports, rich demographic information, media coverage, websites with killer SEO, and, least we not forget… training. For the average new agent coming into the business with nothing more than a few hundred dollars in their pocket and a dream, it is next to impossible to shoulder the costs of these tools. For the savvy brokerage, it is clear that an opportunity exists to share their offerings and create a new competitive advantage with their agents …at a cost.
For further clarification and a hint of what is to come, it is worthwhile to look south for additional trends. Following a catastrophic real estate collapse, the US market is finally returning to health. But something happened along the way. The primary objective to staying in business moved from saving money to creating an experience for the client. Several companies that operated VOWs in the past are now embracing bricks and mortar models. Others are moving away from the fee based systems and returning to traditional brokerage business models. Take a look at these great videos from Go Realty in North Carolina or Red Oak Realty in California. They are creating an experience for the consumer who may have come to the realization that buying and selling real estate doesn’t work in a virtual environment.
This is not to say that a virtual office or fee-based brokerage can’t succeed. I am all in favour of consumer choice but from where I sit it is clear that the full-service real estate model is about to make a giant come back.
As the old expression goes…what comes around goes around. Years ago independent contractor status destroyed the big brand but just like the circle of life, the independent contractor status is bringing the concept of brand back.
The opinion expressed here are the opinions of Mark Mclean and don’t represent the opinions of Bosley Real Estate.