My Experience and How I Came to do What I am Doing
I became a realtor about 10 years ago- working for Better Homes and Gardens, Coldwell Banker and Equity. Everyone in these offices seemed to be doing what they had always been doing- for years and years and years! But the world was changing …and fast! People were getting cell phones, using the internet, having access to fax machines etc. We were told to do open houses, not because they sell the house, but because that is one thing we do to get the listing! And to get buyers! That didn’t make sense to me. Why do something that doesn’t really work? We were told that the company would pay for the advertising- so we could put our listings in all the black and white newspapers and those little home sale brochures that come out once a month and are outdated by the time they come out…..and then the company would take half of our commission! No wonder realtors have to charge so much!
I realized that things were changing- and we, as realtors, had to change also. I decided to get rid of the things that we all knew didn’t sell houses-that just waste time and money… and then I would pass on the savings to my clients. I also realized that housing prices have come up so much in the past 5-10 years- but realtors are still charging the same 6% commission they did when houses were under $100,000! In 2003 I decided to try doing 1.5% listings- and doing more of what really sells the house- and less of what doesn’t! And it worked!
I found a good company that didn’t take half your commission, and that was willing to let me try out my idea. That company was Oregon First. It was a wonderful company to work for- they were on top of everything- extremely involved in what was going on- and they taught me a lot. I was their top producer month after month – and the top in sales for the whole year in 2005. But other agents in the company began to get calls asking them if they would do 1.5% Listings. They didn’t like that. So I was told that I couldn’t advertise the 1.5% anymore! That went against everything I believed in- so I decided it was time to start my own company. That was how Portland Creative Realtors was born!
How my Family got involved
Since then my three daughters have gotten their real estate licenses also- one by one. My youngest, Hayley, was the first- she had her license by the time she was 18 and had sold 35 homes by the end of that year! My oldest, Wendy, was next- and she is doing awesome! Finally, my middle daughter, Lisa, got pregnant. We all offered to help her with her baby- and help her get started so she wouldn’t have to leave little Oliver! And she is doing awesome too. She had 5 pendings her first month! You can read more about my daughter-partners by clicking on their photos. We have tried to portray our personalities and styles- our experience and our goals, so that you will be able to pick which one of us would fit your personality the best.
Also, my husband is my web guy- and he does an awesome job. It’s up to him to keep all the new listings updated on our website- and make sure it’s all running right! He is my best friend and my partner!
How I work with Buyers
I also love working with buyers! Each time I go into a house, it is an exciting adventure! Each home is usually shown off at its best- it’s always fun to see other people’s taste and style- and I’ve always loved people….. and helping them. So its fun trying to put myself in your place and help you find a house- in your price range- that you can fall in love with! I’ve become an expert with the Portland neighborhoods- each one has its own unique flavor and personality- and I love to help people learn about the different areas so they can choose the one they would be happiest in.
I call myself The Creative Realtor because I am creative in the way I look at houses. I can see the potential- but, because of my extensive remodeling and building experience, I can also see serious problems that would be hard or expensive to work with. I've been a Real Estate agent for 10 years, and have lived in the Portland metro area for 15- so I know the, prices, what is a good deal, where the safe areas are, the up and coming areas, etc.
I’ve done lots of remodeling my whole life- started when I was in my early 20’s with a 1914 house that we completely redid- from the plumbing to the electrical to adding windows, building a full brick fireplace and chimney, taking out walls, adding additions and a building complete huge separate shop! Then we built a huge house for my parents up in Seattle on the Lake- we did all the labor! I learned a lot- and have been doing it ever since.
I also worked at the Tigard Home Depot for 5 years – 3 of them in the Electrical Dept. I wrote and taught classes on electrical, plumbing, tile, flooring etc etc-sometimes teaching full 8 hours days! I even wrote and taught the 2 hour Home Depot University Electrical Class! I learned a lot while I was working there-from both the other associates and my customers- and I can use all these things that I have practiced and learned when I help you look for a house. I’m not an expert-and would certainly never think to take the place of a certified home inspector- but I have a good sense as to what can be easily fixed and what could be a serious problem. This can help you when you are looking at homes, trying to narrow them down and figure out which ones would be a good fit for your remodeling skills.
I have a good sense of the market- and what houses and areas will have the most chance of giving you good future equity- It’s fun and challenging to look at each house and analyze it in every way- whether it fits your personality and needs, your remodeling skills, your family and future plans etc. I can’t think of anything better than helping someone find a real home that they are going to love and make their own!
I also have an awesome search tool on my website- I call it Auto-Search-Send. You sign up for whichever neighborhoods in the Portland Metro area that you like, plus price range and size- and it will email you listings from those neighborhoods -as soon as they come out! You don’t have to be constantly searching every day to find new listings. Then when you see one you want to take a look at, you can email me right from the program – tell me you would like to look at the house- and I can get right on it and show it to you. This is by PDX Homequest. They also have an option that lets you do searches right from my website by clicking on a little house that shows where the neighborhood is, or by the name of the neighborhood. It will bring up all the houses in that neighborhood that are for sale. Again- you can call me or email me, and I’ll meet you there as soon as possible! If for some reason I can’t…..I have 3 daughters! We work together as a team, to make sure our clients are well taken care of.
One last thing, I only take on so many clients. I always want to make sure that if I am working with a buyer, I will have the time to devote to him when he needs it!
My 1.5% Listing Program
Below you will find a description of what I do as far as selling your house-what my business plan is and how I carry it out. I wrote this plan 3 years ago when I started doing 1.5% listings, and it is still working very well. Every month we seem to discover some new way of promoting our listings on the internet- and we try everything we find. Some work, some don’t. I haven’t listed them all here- but can explain all the different ways we can try selling your house. After watching what was going on in real estate, I came up with a plan that works really well.
My main goal is to get people to my website. If they go to my website, they will call me or email me, ask me questions, and then I can offer to show them the house. This ups your chance of only paying 1.5%. The way I get people to go to my website is that all my advertising is geared that way. I have 20 or more photos of your house on my website - so in all my advertising, flyers, Craig’s List etc, I have people “Click here” to see extra photos. Most people want to see extra pictures, so it’s a natural step. Here are some of the things I do:
• I co-List all my listings with one of my daughters. So you have two of us working for you- and we both have cell phones that we keep with us all the time! We make sure to answer clients questions as soon as possible, call people back, and schedule showings at the earliest time the buyer can look. This is extremely important, because a lot of agents just have an answering machine, or a talking house recording or maybe an unlicensed assistant, taking messages. People in our society want to have immediate action and response- and cell phones make that possible.
• I take lots of quality photos of your home- I’ve taken up to 80 of one house! We 8 of them on the realtor RMLS website, and the at least 20 more of them on my website. I've been doing photography for over 30 years- have a Cannon Rebel, a high quality digital and digital movie camera. I am very picky about my photography- the pictures are what bring the buyers! I edit all photos with Adobe Photoshop or Fireworks-(which works best for photos shown on the internet), and I do my flyers on Adobe Illustrator- so my flyers and photos are very professional.
• I am a writer by trade and my ads are quite descriptive. The photography and descriptions of the home are what bring the buyers- and I make sure mine are top quality!
• We put your house out on Craig’s List twice a week. This is part of my business plan for getting you the 1.5% listing price! All our listings are also featured on realtor.com- with a huge write-up, extra photos and a link to my website to see extra photos.
• I will show your home for you if you have a buyer that is interested. This takes the pressure off you, and allows the buyer to feel free to check out your home thoroughly, without feeling uncomfortable that he is imposing on you! And if you find the buyer, or if the buyer finds me and doesn't use another agent, you will only have to pay me a total of 1.5%, which is the listing fee that we agreed upon! And I have to do all the paper work for both sides! We sell about 25% of our homes ourselves, without another agent involved- which means a lot of savings for you!
• I will put an RMLS lock box on your home and have a professional sign put up with a flyer box. I use all the awesome photos I took to create high quality color flyers and we keep your flyer box full!
• I will do all the paper work. There are alot of things to take care of when you are selling your home- and "Time is of the Essence!" Someone needs to stay on top of all the deadlines, and make sure everything gets out on time- or the deal could fall through!
• If another agent sells your home, you will have to pay him 2.5% which is a total of 4% instead of 6% or 7%. On a $400,000 home- that adds up to a savings of $10,000 to $14,000.
• I will make sure buyers are pre-qualified, stay on top of the inspections, repair addendums, negotiations between buyer and seller, keep in touch with the other realtor, the loan guy and the title company- to make sure your home will close when it should.
• I also do lots of other creative advertising- and get alot of action that way. We use trulia.com PDX Homequest Virtual Flyers that are sent out to the search engines and other internet sources. We are always trying new things. My houses usually sell quickly- If we price them right, and I do high quality photos and advertising- your home should sell easily!
So, as you can see, I am a little bit different than most realtors! I do alot online- it works quite well, because you are able to see lots of color photos, maps etc, and you can give me feedback as to what you like. That helps me narrow the market down for you. In fact, if you email me your price range, location wanted, size, # bedrooms, style of home or condo and anything else that is important to you- I will research it for you and send you some listings that fit your needs- with lots of pictures that you can look through so you will get a good idea of what the house is like. Then if you'd like to see any of them, we can set up an appointment to go check them out! Make sure that you send me your full email address, though, so that I can link it to listings- that way you will be able to click on the pictures.
Phone Number: 503-998-4429
Email Helen at email@example.com