- How shelter-in-place orders could affect consumers’ housing preferences [4:06]
- Why a new Fannie and Freddie rule may impact the mortgage industry [14:49]
- What real estate agents need to understand about mortgages right now [16:26]
- How the government’s efforts to help are hurting landlords [21:52]
- Why lower prices on listings aren’t a sure sign of home values decreasing [27:34]
- Advice on how to get out of a sales slump [31:54]
- Zillow to return to iBuying with new safety protocols [41:07]
- Real estate agents’ secret weapon [44:25]
- How to break through your goals.
- Plus so much more.
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- Get 6 Steps to 7 Figures by Pat Hiban for FREE
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- The BiggerPockets Podcast
- David Greene’s Mastermind Group
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- David’s LinkedIn
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Aaron Amuchastegui: Real Estate Rockstars. This is Aaron Amuchastegui. Here for state of the market 48 with everybody’s favorite Bay Area, real estate agent, and also a podcast host and the BiggerPockets podcast, David Green. David, thanks for coming back on the show, man.
David: Thanks, Aaron. I’m stoked, man. We get to talk about real estate and I get to do it from a sales perspective, not just an investing perspective.
Aaron: So many times you get interviewed on podcasts and things like that, you have so many different versions of that because you are definitely an investor and an agent. A lot of times, that molds together, but it’s different advice for different types.
David: That’s exactly right, but it’s all real estate. If you love real estate, it’s good to get information from every little perspective.
Aaron: Getting all the credit and we love real estate and your show, the Real Estate Rockstars podcast, it was in the high eights. We had so many messages come in, reviews come in that that was their favorite show. People had so much fun with you on here last time. Glad to have you back so we could talk about the news.
Last time when you were on, this hadn’t started yet, real estate market’s booming. You’re growing your team and then you’re in the Bay Area, Northern California. What’s happening in real estate out there right now? Are people showing houses, are they not? Is it an essential business, is it not?
David: I’d say about a month ago, maybe three weeks ago, we were not an essential business. We couldn’t show homes, we had to try to put houses under contract just virtually basically, and then figure out how’s the client going to see the house when it’s in contract and you’re not supposed to have showings. Even then, we were still selling houses.
The first point I would point out is, it’s totally specific to your market. I think if you live somewhere like in Kansas and everybody works in a warehouse that has been shut down and you can’t work, those markets will be affected a lot. In the Bay Area, a lot of jobs are sales jobs, tech jobs. They make a lot of the software or support systems that other companies and other parts of the country use where the workers do have to go to work, but they can work from home is what I’m getting at.
Three weeks ago, we were not essential and we were still selling houses. About two to three weeks ago, they changed that and they decided that real estate agents were considered essential. They could show homes again, but with stipulations. We had an extra form, it’s an acronym, P-E-A-D, I’d have to look up what it stands for, but it would be the form that you’d fill out saying, I understand I’m supposed to comply with all the rules of being safe. You could only bring two people with you to show a house. We were supposed to avoid showings if we could, but we could show houses.
Since that happened and now we’re getting into early springtime right now, which is typically when the market just takes off, it’s been crazy. Every listing I have all day long, my phone is blowing up with people showing homes. I probably average three to four showings a day for the average listing that I have.
Then the buyers we were working with, they were trying to put into a contract. We’re having a hard time because everything’s getting multiple offers. You would really have no idea that we were in a shelter in place or in the middle of a pandemic if you just looked at the numbers that are crossing my desk.
Aaron: In the Bay Area right now is springtime in San Francisco. It is the most beautiful time to be down there. You’re right. Zoom, did you see there was a news article that Zoom is now worth more than all of the American airlines combined? Zoom is now worth $40 billion. You and I are chatting on Zoom right now, everybody’s using that video technology. You take American Airlines and Delta and Hawaiian and Adam altogether and now, Zoom is more valuable. Man, that was not the case four or five months ago.
David: Isn’t that amazing? Zoom doesn’t have the risk or the overhead that companies like that have. They don’t have literal airplanes that they have to service and maintain. Running an airline, I would think it’s got to be very slim margins that you’re operating on. That’s why you have to just do a lot of volume and a ton of competition from other people. Running an online software company that I can’t imagine it involves nearly as much risk. It’s a much better business to be in I would think.
Aaron: Well, especially with this new world right now, as people are making transitions. Do you think that it’s going to impact real estate based on the idea of– People used to need to live in the city next to their office. That was the most expensive real estate and then you get an hour outside and values would go down a lot, but people were commuting. Do you think demand inside the city will go down because people can work from home now? Do you think it will be the same in San Francisco? Any ideas?
David: That’s such a good point you make. I was thinking of this yesterday for a long time that as real estate agents and investors, we were seeing a huge increase in demand for urban properties. Everybody, we would say millennials, but it’s really everybody that isn’t married that needs space that has kids wants to be in the city, close to the trendy restaurants, close to the cool stuff. They don’t want to have a car. They want to ride public transportation and demand in suburbs was decreasing significantly. It was all about getting into the inner city.
That’s if you look in the big cities where there’s a lot of development going on, like Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, even Dallas, it’s a ton of skyscrapers being constructed and cranes in the city. There’s not a whole lot going on as new builds are. Now, that’s scaring everybody because we look at the cities that got hit hardest Detroit, New York, there’s a large concentration of people in the same place.
Now, that’s scaring everyone and so you’re right. You’re seeing a whole lot more people saying, “I want to get away from everybody else. I want my own space, I want a bigger house,” because I think a lot of us are realizing shelter in place probably isn’t going to be a one-time unique situation. It might be something the government repeatedly goes back to when we have an outbreak like this.
Aaron: It might become a solution.
David: Yes. The problem with that would be, we are now expecting that to happen. People are going to want to have a nicer house with more amenities. Having that really nice backyard and that pool and a lot of space starts to become more important when you’re cooped up in the house with four kids all day long, as opposed to, “Well, I can live in a 300 square foot studio because I’m only going home to sleep.” Now, this is affecting your life quite a bit. The downside of suburban living, you get more space, but you have to commute. That’s what everybody hates and you have to have a car, but if you’re working from home, that’s not as important.
What I’m anticipating is a big shift in demand from being in an apartment complex in the middle of downtown, where you’re sharing an air supply with everybody else that lives in that same building to more of the suburban area. I think the hinge that determines how successful that is will be, will cities allow developers to build properties at reasonable rates, or are they going to still regulate it, tax them really high so that that housing ends up being really expensive? It makes it harder for people to move that way.
Aaron: I think especially while shelter in place is fresh in people’s minds, the demand for close-knit housing downtown, where there’s like a cool fun feel to it. Living in the city is so neat, but if you’re not actually able to go walk outside and experience that, I could see that living. We moved into a new house the day that shelter in place was starting in Texas. I tell you what, we were so grateful that we did because we love the new house. There’s so much more space here. A bunch of times, we’ve been like, “Oh, man, we’re so glad this happened right before.”
Right now, so many people are in their houses saying, “I can’t wait to move because of this, this or I want to look,” and now people are looking. It is different everywhere throughout the United States, but that is one of the trends that I think. Last year, they kept saying self-driving cars is going to totally change the value of city home values compared to 30 minutes outside and now, Zoom and businesses being able to say, “Hey, all of my workers right now that run my property management companies, they’re all working from home right now.
They were working in an office the day this happened, they’re all working from home right now. Right now their kids are home too. They would rather just stay.” I said, “Do you want to go back to an office now that we’re allowed to in Texas?” They said, “No, we’d rather stay at home.” They’ve done a fine job over the last couple of months of really thriving.
David: I think it’s better for the economy overall if we do make that shift. If you look at where the whole 9:00 to 5:00 work in the office punch a time clock model came from, it was from like factory workers that basically just had to stand at an assembly line and assemble some form of a widget all day long. There’s actually like, Aaron, you probably are very aware of this.
There’s a lot of studies that show the reason that the educational system is set up the way that it is, go an hour, have a break, go to recess, come back, sit in there is because they were molding and training people to be mentally prepared for working in a factory, stand at the line for an hour and a half, do this thing and get a 15-minute break to rest your back. When the buzzer sounds, go back, stand at the line, you get a lunch in the middle.
Now, we’ve moved away from that being the way that most jobs are. It’s hard to have kids try to adapt to that, then get out of that world and now you got to go be a little more entrepreneurial. I think most owners would totally prefer to have employees that work from home and just pay them for their productivity, as opposed to paying them for their time. I think most workers are seeing like, “That’s nice that I don’t have to sit in a commute for an hour each way and I don’t have to pay this much money in gas or insurance on a vehicle.”
I don’t think that we’re going to see a change in the next year or anything like that, but I do think we’ll look back at this as a, kind of how the iPhone changed the way that cell phones were. This will be one of the very first things that paved the way for the working from home and being paid according to what you produce for the company, as opposed to getting paid at an hourly rate, and then just hoping that the work that you do gets noticed and you get promoted.
Aaron: It’s a great point. Three to six months from now, we may be very close to the old normal or nine months from now, very close to the old normal, but we’ll look back at this time as being that was the trend where– 9/11 was the trend where people started having cell phones. Back then, people didn’t need cell phones. They were out, but there wasn’t a need to really need to get ahold of anyone.
During that time when all of a sudden, so many people went missing and no one was able to figure out where they were, there was a huge cell phone boom after that of people realizing they wanted people to be able to get ahold of them all the time. You don’t think of 9/11 as the time where that’s when everyone decided to have a cell phone on them all the time.
David: Good point.
Aaron: Yes. That was one of those big changes. A fun piece of news that you just sent over to me. SFGATE article says, “Real estate, there was a list of things that are now deemed to be open in the Bay Area.” It says, “Real estate, partially open. Real estate around the state is open with restrictions. The state has specific guidelines,” but the best part about this is the picture is a coming soon sign with David Greene on the top. It’s got your first sale sign out front that they said, “Hey, real estate is partially open,” and they grabbed that picture. Is that a listing that already has multiple offers on it?
David: Yes, it has been getting oddly enough. It’s a flip that a partner and I are doing and I put my for sale sign on it and offers come in. They’re usually not that good when before it hits the market. People are trying to snag a deal. There’s a client of mine that sent me that, he’s like, “Hey, I was looking up real estate online and I found this article and they got your picture and your for sale sign in the article.”
That was cool, but on the for sale sign, their picture of me is before I had facial hair. I really looked like a cue ball with eyeballs, just a completely round, straight face, no hair, just eyes and a nose on a perfectly symmetrical roundhead. It’s funny.
Aaron: The through GoBundance and from Brandon, all these everything’s, there are many faces of David Greene. There are many versions of the David Greene. Yes, your real estate picture would be– I think we even used it for your podcast is a very clean cut David Greene. I’ve seen the David Greene with a giant beard and all sorts of different versions too. You’ll have to just change up your real estate sign now and then you’ll see, is that the one with the beard, one with no beard?
David: Yes, that’s exactly right. I got to wait till I’m having the best hair day I’ve ever had and then get my picture taken and put that on all my signs.
Aaron: One of my business partners got on a call the other day and he had grown out his beard, but he looked like Santa Claus. His beard is a fully white beard. I’ve never seen him with a beard and he decided to grow it out. Instead of having dark brown hair, he had a bright white beard and thought, “Wow. I wasn’t quite ready for that.”
I kept looking outside because earlier today, my internet line got cut. I had no internet for three hours. I used to say, “Hey, first-world problem, no internet, but when you’re on shelter in place, the internet becomes this crazy utility, and to be able to get on Zoom and everything else.” It becomes this totally necessary utility. We haven’t seen internet prices go up or down yet based on this, but I wonder how all of that will be impacted.
David: It’s like your business oxygen line for an astronaut. If you can’t get internet coming out of your house, all of a sudden, you’re transported back to the stone ages. You’re cut off from all your opportunity. That’s another point you’re making though. As more people are working from home, access to internet, high-speed internet, I’d expect companies that provide that to start entering into the space and to get more competitive, much like the Zoom is probably going to see a lot more competitors if this continues. There will be new companies that rush to the space of providing the opportunity that Zoom provides and seeing if they can do it better and cheaper.
Aaron: They do the same thing. I think it’s over the last five years, the type of internet available at a property has impacted the value a bit. My property in California in Loomis, we don’t have high-speed internet. We have to get it by putting this antenna on our house and pointing it to an antenna on top of the hill. It’s totally old style to be able to do that. You think of now as internet becomes more and more important, people are going to be like, “No, I’m actually trying to figure out where Google Fiber is as we do this.”
Another article came out on Housing Wire it says, “Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac: Borrowers and forbearance can defer all missed payments until the end of their loans.” This came out on May 13th. A couple of months ago, we were talking a lot about forbearance and that was the lenders telling people, “Hey, we can postpone your payment for a few months, but you’re going to have to pay it back in a few months.”
Some people went to forbearance, a lot of people went to forbearance, a lot of people didn’t. Some lenders, at that time, pushed it to the back, some lenders said, “Hey, it’s just going to be a three-month delay.” It says, “With nearly 4 million borrowers in forbearance on their mortgage, we still don’t have a complete picture of what happens. When it ends, borrowers got some clarity on this last month when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said that borrowers are not required to repay all their missed payments at once. As it turns out, borrowers in forbearance may not have to repay their missed payments at all until the end of their loan, thanks to a new repayment option from the GSEs.”
Now, not all loans or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and not all, but that’s a super high percentage of them. Have you heard other Bay Area, people talking about forbearance much? How do you think that might impact real estate out there?
David: I think more than anything out here is it stokes all these fears that the market’s going to collapse because of forbearance. Most people that are somewhat financially literate understand it’s better if I don’t have to make my mortgage in a time of economic uncertainty. Then the rumors are going around that you’re just going to have to make all three months payment that you missed at the end of the three months. That doesn’t really make a lot of sense for a ton of people. Now that they’re pushing it to the backside of the loan, I think that that’s better. More people will take advantage of it.
What we as agents have to understand is the ripple effect that that has on the mortgage industry and then how that bleeds over into our own industry. This is good if you already own a mortgage, this is bad if you’re trying to get one because if you understand how the mortgage industry works, I’m not going too deep into the weeds. I know a loan is originated and given to you to buy the property when you’re the client and then that loan is sold to somebody else, who sells it to someone else, who package it as a whole bunch of loans and sells it to someone else, and it ends up as a mortgage back security on the stock market.
Now, this is a good thing because it keeps liquidity moving through the mortgage industry. If you only had, Aaron, $6 million to give out as loans, in my market, you’d give out 12 loans and you wouldn’t be able to do anymore. Then there’d be no mortgages available. The problem is, the people that ultimately buy those mortgages, what they are buying is a revenue stream.
They’re saying, “I will pay this much money to get a share of the mortgage money that’s coming in from the homeowners paying their mortgage payment.” When they’re being told, “You may not get a payment for the first three months,” nobody wants that product. They all say, “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. I don’t want to buy those until the forbearance thing is over,” which affects how much money is available in the mortgage industry to give out loans, which affects either the interest rate that is being given at, or the lending standards that lenders use when they’re giving away loans.
If you have a client who had a questionable interest rate or their debt to income ratio–, sorry, not a questionable interest rate. A questionable credit score, or their debt to income ratio wasn’t as strong, or they already own a couple of properties, you may find that lending guidelines have changed and they can’t get the loan that they thought they were going to get. If you just tell your client, “Well, COVID, you can’t get a loan,” they hate that. That’s not fair.
You have to understand how this whole thing works so you can explain to the client, “This is how our current environment has affected our industry and this is what we are going to do to combat that or counter that. We’re going to ask for an extra-long period of time to get your loan wrapped up.” If you’re in my market in California, we have an extra form, the coronavirus addendum that we submit that gives each party an additional 30 days to perform the things that they need to perform if an unforeseen circumstance due to COVID happens. A lot of that has to do with loans.
You can’t get the loan you thought, especially if it was a non-conforming loan. Where I live, almost everything is what we call a jumbo loan. It’s more than the conforming limit for a normal house in the Bay Area. Those people that were all trying to get loans, they can’t. Now, we have to run around to try to find a jumble lender and the interest rates are going to be higher. We need more time to get everything worked out. If you understand how the mortgage industry works because it’s so closely related to the real estate agent industry-
Aaron: It’s crucial.
David: -it gives you a huge advantage with your clients or you can go pick up clients from other realtors who couldn’t explain to their buyers why they can’t get a loan, and then you step in and you explain it and you go find a lender that can, boom, you picked up a new client. This is one of the things that I really think it’s great for agents to hear a podcast like this because it equips them to have the conversation to make them look like they’re the expert and they’re in good hands.
Aaron: I think you’re right. A normal buyer’s going to say, “Hey, I thought interest rates are lower right now. Hey, am I going to get a better rate,” or “Hey, can we re-lock?” You’ve got to be telling, “No, actually, we should just keep it. If you’re still approved right now, we need to not try to muddy the waters at all because someone that was approved two weeks ago, now it is a riskier thing.” We’ve heard of lenders saying that now, some lenders are only going to give loans to people with essential jobs, people that are still working. Forbearance will, yes, for the people that are in forbearance right now that struggled making payments with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will definitely help them. For anybody hoping to get a loan right now or investing in that, it’s going to hurt because it makes the whole deal a little bit riskier and it is saying, “Yes, interest rates are still low, but there’s less money to give out right now.” They’re going to be really really picky until forbearance gets over. Really interesting news.
Every week, we’ve been sharing what’s new with forbearance and that was the big thing this week. It also depends if that lender is a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. My house that I’m selling out in Texas that we got into Escrow right after quarantine started, we closed in two days and we ended up listing way below market to get that thing sold right away.
The loan and everything is done so now we’re just relieved but I tell you what, if I was listing a house right now, or I just accepted an offer a couple of days ago, I’d be a little nervous with this news saying, “Hey, let’s double-check if they’re still qualified, if they’re still going to be able to buy it.”
Let’s see some of these other news pieces out there. Bloomberg say if landlords get wiped out, Wall Street wins, not renters. This is a lot like what you were talking about when loans get pushed through. The word that gets invested is the stock market. Right now, it says renters aren’t getting forbearance, the evictions are postponed for 90 days.
If somebody has a house, as they own the house, their mortgage, they can get forbearance for a few months, but landlords that have loans can’t get the forbearance. They aren’t offering forbearance for investor properties so a lot of small investors have tenants that aren’t paying rent and it’s tougher for the landlord to pay their mortgage but there’s no help.
This article on Bloomberg talked about, a lady on there who profit last year was– She had a bunch of rentals, and she had made $24,000 for the year, but now she’s behind on $1.2 million in mortgages because her tenants aren’t paying. It talks about the provisions of trying to do that.
Do you think when the government steps in to try to prevent foreclosures, they’re trying to help the individual person, but when they’re looking at that, do you think there’s a perfect way that could have helped everybody? It’s like they want to help people on their loans but not everybody, not investment loans, but the tenants aren’t paying. Would you have done anything different if you’re in that one?
David: I’ve got two analogies, I used to understand this. The first comes from this old movie called Edward Scissorhands. Remember that movie?
Aaron: I sure do.
David: When I was a kid, that movie was out and there’s this scene where the character Edward Scissorhands is named out because he has scissors for hands and he’s in love with this girl and she gets hurt and he’s trying to help her by brushing her hair out of her face, and like caressing her face to reassure her, but because his hands are made out of scissors, he’s cutting her up. The more that he’s trying to help her, the more he ends up hurting her and it’s just really sad, seeing with your eyes what it must be like to be like him.
I often see this in capitalism, the more that we try to jump in and prevent pain from occurring, the more we screw things up and create even more pain. I think of that scene all the time when I hear stories like this. The government wants to help and they’re under pressure, because what do we Americans all scream, “What are they doing? How are they going to fix this?” We’re always looking for someone outside of ourselves to keep us safe, or protect us or provide for us. That’s a whole another topic but oftentimes, the things they do to make us happy, make things worse and this can be an example of that, where they interfere with the environment, they make things harder.
We saw a lot of this leading to the last housing crash, although it doesn’t get talked about a lot. The Bush administration wanted to make it easier for more people to be homeowners because they looked around and they said, “Well, owning a home is the single most significant thing someone can do to build their net worth as an individual so let’s make it easier to own a home, that makes logical sense. Let’s lower the amount of money people have to put down. Let’s boost up FHA loans so that the credit scores can be much lower.”
What they did in essence was make it easier for people that were not prepared to own a house to own a house and they focused on the benefit of homeownership at the expense of the responsibility of it. Most of those people were not ready to be homeowners, that’s why they didn’t have money saved up. It’s why they were in debt. It’s why their credit scores were lower, which led to this huge boom, and everybody buying a house, which led to lending standards loosening, so they could sell houses to more people, which ultimately led to the crash.
That reminds me of when I was in first grade, we had this farmer come into our school and bring in an incubator for all these chicken eggs and he would tell us, I remember it’s 30 days time when the chicken is in the egg, and at the end of 30 days, you’ll start to see these chickens starting to come out. One day, one of the kids in class saw the little beak starting to poke through the egg and then the next day, there was a couple more and then four or five days later, almost all those chickens were trying to get out of the eggs.
As a little first grade kid, everything in your soul wants to help them, you want to get in there and pull that egg apart and be like, “Come on little guy, you can get out.” It feels like the right thing to do. It feels uncompassionate to sit back, but the farmer told us, “If you do that, if you get into your emotions and you open that egg, you will kill that chicken because A, the ones that are not strong enough to get out of that egg, they’re going to die in the world anyway and B, the ones that are strong enough to get out, their muscles are developed through the struggle of escaping the egg, that’s where their lungs first start to learn to work to get oxygen to give them the strength to get their new muscles to get out of the egg. If you open the eggs, they’re all going to die because there’ll be out of the egg, but their lungs aren’t strong enough to breathe. You have to let them go through this process, you’d actually be hurting them to stop it,” and I think about that all the time, how so many of us grow through pain and if we don’t have pain or discomfort, we don’t adapt.
When the government lowers the bar, and they make it easier for certain people to get something at first glimpse, it always looks good. Oh, you’re helping people but then later on, we look back and we see oh, that was the worst thing we could have done. We created big problems for ourselves because we made it easy for people to own a home that probably shouldn’t.
Aaron: Those are two fantastic analogies. I’m going to think about the Edward Scissorhands all the time now and the chicken that needs to go through the struggle. As a parent, we see that all the time with our kids. They need to go through the struggle to get the strength that you don’t want– You don’t want to see people experience pain but when we think back to the most painful things I’ve ever been through, man, it sure made me who I am today. I’ve been able to do what I do. I love that stuff.
There was an article that realtor.com posted videos like the COVID-19 housing market update. This was the weekly update, May 15th. In there it talks about, 25% of the homes listed for sale are priced at a discount compared to pre-COVID 19 levels. One out of four houses are listed for less today than they were pre-COVID. It’s not surprising as housing sales have been plunging, is what the article says.
Now, part of me says that if you look at any listings at any time, and say, “What was it listed at 90 days ago, what is it listed that today?” It’s going to be less than 90 days later if it hasn’t sold yet. I think that there’s almost like adjusting for inflation. Maybe shake out a little bit of a grain of salt but that still is a big number. Around the US, one out of four. What do you think about that in– It sounds maybe you haven’t experienced that rewrap, but do you think you’re going to and what’s your big crystal ball for the country?
David: That, first off, is probably not intentionally misleading but it’s a misleading stat in the sense that they are referring to what houses are listed for, not what they sell for. Those of us that work in real estate that sell homes, we know it’s almost impossible to underprice a house, especially where I live.
You can list it for anything you want, you can list it for $1, it’s going to sell for more because a bunch of people are going to write offers on it and when you have 10 offers on a house, the agents are going to look up what the comparable sales are and the client who really wants the house is going to pay what the comp says if that’s what they have to pay to get it.
I think agents are listing houses lower than before, but I don’t know that they’re necessarily selling lower than they were before. I’d be curious to see what that number looks like when you see these houses that listed now 30 days later, 45 days later, whatever the average days on market is for a house to sell on those markets, where they’re actually selling. I think it’s making our job as listing agents easier because the struggle of a listing agent is always to convince your client to price their house more competitively to get more interest so you can get a bidding war to sell it for higher.
The client always looks at it like it’s a used car and they say “No, let’s price it for $20,000 because then we’ll get offers for $15,000. If I price it at $15,000, they’re going to offer $12,000.” The fear that’s going around, you can use it to your advantage as an agent to make it easier for your clients to use a more reasonable listing price and then go impress them when you sell it for more.
I’m sure it varies market by market. In my market, I’m not seeing a decrease in prices whatsoever. I’m still seeing prices going up and up and in areas where I invest, I’m not seeing a ton of deals hitting the market. They’re still getting snatched up really, really fast. I haven’t seen a market yet where I’m like, “Whoa, they’re struggling. This is creating a ton of opportunity for investors.” I keep hearing all the investors out there saying, “Oh, just wait, it’s going to crash, there’s going to be all these deals that you can just go swoop up.”
Aaron: I think those deals are going to be heavily dependent on government intervention, too, as it changes. I’ve got a couple of flips right now that I was probably pretty aggressive on, bought them six months ago, and I can’t wait to sell them now, just for a fresh start to start over. It’s like, “Hey, let’s clear out our inventory so now we can start fresh and relook at whatever the new market is.”
Maybe the new market is, “Hey, you’ve got to be faster, you’ve got to be better, you’ve got to not cut corners on this or this.” What we’ve been saying for months is, real estate is still selling but you have to work harder, you have to do a better job. Whether that’s, the way the virtual tours and the way that people are doing and showing remotely and having to do like video calls showing the houses first. Houses are selling, but agents have to work hard right now.
Before I get to the next one, when you were on here a couple of months ago, you had said, you were going to try grow your team. Did anybody reach out to you after the podcast to go join the David Greene team?
David: I thought they would, I don’t think I got even one email from someone that said they wanted to work on the team, which might be that they’re just not thinking about real estate now or maybe the listeners aren’t in Northern California. No, I didn’t have anybody that reached out.
Aaron: It was right before lockdown but if you’re listening and you’re in Northern California, David’s team is growing up in Sacramento, over in the East Bay all over the place so reach out to him. He is serious. He’s trying to get some people on there.
David: Thanks for that, Aaron.
Aaron: No, it’s always about remembering that. I was curious. I was hoping you’d say, yes, you did get a couple of them. I’m a little surprised. I need to make sure that listeners actually hear that. We did have somebody email. Last time you’re on here, we said, “Hey, if you need help, send us an email.”
There was a gal, sent me email just a couple of days ago. She has hit a stopping block. She’s hit a rough patch. It’s been a few months since she’s been able to get a listing. She had a lot of success early as an agent and now she’s hit that wall. You and I were talking before we came on here, that she had so many sales up until November, and then they slowed down and what should I do?
On here, we’re telling people a bunch of things, what they should do. Before, when you and I started talking, we thought about just the idea of, “Hey, look back to when you got those deals,” If you were successful, and now you’re not. I do that mentally all the time, “I was in such a good place six months ago, where am I now? Oh, those were the days I was getting up early, and I was meditating and I was working out, I was drinking lots of water.” If you were doing really good, but you’ve hit a stopping point, reassess. Did you experience that much when it comes to real estate?
David: Yes. What I did is, in 2017, 2018, I remember listening to Real Estate Rockstars podcast, this podcast here and hearing the agents that were selling like 900 houses a year. These incredibly big teams that, to be frank, they’re not even doing the same job as a real estate agent. They’re not selling houses anymore.
They’re trying to build teams and understand profit and loss statements and generate leads. You’re in that role where you’re providing the resources to your team members and letting them go apply those resources instead of doing it yourself.
Aaron: They’re two different jobs.
David: I was hearing all these– Yes, completely different jobs. I was trying to reconcile, in my mind, what does it look like to go from selling houses to building houses with wood to being the person who goes and gets the deal to cut down the wood and hires the people to chop it down and then transports the wood to the people who are going to build the house. I noticed that they would talk a lot about lead generation sources, where they get their leads? We got this percentage from Zillow, we got this percentage from open houses, we got this percentage from whatever. The phone calls that we make, our agents make, the expired FSBOs, the type of stuff that agents hear all the time on listing.
What I hated was that I knew I was not going to go call expired listings, it just is not my personality. I’m never going to call this guy with who I am, and beg him to let me sell his house when I know I’m going to do a better job than everyone else did. You should be coming to me.
I don’t mean that to be arrogant. I just know it wasn’t worth it to me to go fight to get in front of the person, fight to get him to listen to me, fight for a decent commission, and then have to try to sell a house where he didn’t change anything or she didn’t change anything in it making their own case harder.
Other agents were just masters at that, they were so good at talking their way in front of those people and being really persuasive. It hit me, we don’t need to do everything we hear everyone else say. We got to figure out the things we’re good at and then figure out how do I amplify those things.
I just wasn’t going to go door-knocking I knew that that’s not my thing so listening to people tell me all the time go door-knocking wasn’t wise. What I did was I just pulled up my Zillow and I looked at my past sales for that year. I made a little spreadsheet and I put in the address, I put in the client’s name and how I met them, that simple.
I went through and I noticed pretty much every single client on that list, I either met them from an open house, they were in my sphere, or they were a referral from another agent that I had met, usually at a marketing thing or a networking event, like somewhere I was speaking, I was teaching people how to flip houses. These agents would meet me there.
I realized there’s three places I get leads from open houses, my own sphere, and these events. What would happen if I just tripled how often I do those things? If I did three times as many open houses, if I went to three times as many events, and if I talked to my sphere three times as often, as I do right now, that was so simple and scalable and doable that I didn’t feel overwhelmed like I can’t take action.
That’s what I did. I said, “Okay, I hold about two open houses a month, I have to get to six open houses a month.” How am I going to do that? Well, I get about three of my own listings so I need to get three listings from other agents in my office. I made a little flyer, I said, “Let me hold your open house, this is what I’ll do for you. I’ll give you a list of everyone that came, I’ll give you feedback to give to your client about what people said about the open house. I’ll market it all over my social media.”
I started handing it out, lazy agents, or maybe not even lazy agents, agents that don’t like holding open houses. That’s not one of their things. They started coming to me and saying, “Hey, will you hold my house open?” I got to eight a month without even really needing to, I was doing two a day sometimes. Then I did the same thing with my sphere, I put together a high touch campaign that said, you need to talk to this person on this day. This is what you talked about last. I made more phone calls.
I engaged on social media more to get more people talking to me. Then I went to more events. Then my business almost tripled. It was really weird how simple it was when I just focused on what I do good instead of trying to guilt my way into taking actions that other agents did that worked for them.
That’s why this podcast is so great because we’re not all the same. We do not have the same skills just like an athlete. If you’re a basketball player, and you look like John Stockton, trying to play like LeBron James is stupid, you’re never going to be very good. You got to play like the person, like Steve Nash, he’s going to play more like John Stockton. Understand, we’re just as much of a superstar in our own world, we have skills, we have abilities, they’re not athletic in this world.
In this world our mindset is our athletic ability, how much we believe in ourselves, how confident we are. With that drive, we can then incorporate the unique skills we have. Some of us are high Is on the DISC, we’re really personable and fun. Some of us are high Cs, we’re really smart, we know all the data. Some of us are high Ds, and we just push through people’s objections and get to where we need to go
You got to understand who you are first, what you enjoy doing, then you got to look at what worked in the past and do more of it. I really think it is that simple. If agents just do that, and that alone, they will watch their business grow.
Aaron: It’s such a great way to take the stuff from this podcast. Every episode, somebody says, “These are my two or three things that I do and here’s extra tips.” An agent should take those and say, “All right, I’m going to go try that and see if it works for me. Oh, that’s a good idea. I could see that working with my personality. Oh, I did calls before but I didn’t try it that way. Let me try it that way. I didn’t have that mindset.”
One of the kids that was just on here this week, he had said, “I got to a point where I hit a wall in the afternoon and I realized that if I was hitting a wall and want to give up, everybody else was, so that meant I had to keep going because I was going to beat everybody else.” Listen to the podcast, get the things that you want to try and find the ones that fit yours.
Then all through there, after you’ve tried whatever you want to try and you’re doing that, take stock, periodically look back to the last 10 deals that you’ve done, last 20 deals that you’ve done, and just do that little analysis that David just did. How did I get that client? Where did they come from? Maybe how much did the house sell for? How big of a deal was it?
Then figure out, “All right, those are the two ways that I’m getting most of my deals.” It’s the same way if I look at houses I flipped or anything else. It’s like the Tim Ferriss 80/20 method. I love doing this but actually these are the ones I did the best at. Every time I went to one of those, I got a client. Why don’t you just go to those and not do as much as the other stuff? I think that is great advice for anybody that’s stuck right now.
David: You want to take it next level, take that same list of all the clients’ names that you made, and how you met them, make another category that says why they chose me and call all of them and say, “Hey, I want to ask you a question, completely no judgment. You can say whatever you want. I love you. I think you’re an amazing person to work with. I just want to know if you can be honest with me. Why did you pick me?”
Write down what they say, “Well, you weren’t the most prepared, but I could tell you were very honest and genuine.” You’ll see that feedback show up all the time. Or, “Well, to be honest with you, you were so assertive, and I knew you really wanted this deal that I knew if you worked out hard to get in front of me that you were going to work that hard to sell my house,” and watch how it changes the way that you look at yourself.
Where you used to feel like I don’t want to be too pushy, I rarely ever hear people telling me I was too pushy, even as a pushy guy. I hear people say, “I wish you had pushed me harder to write that better offer or to price my house lower because I made a mistake, not listening to you.” Get that feedback, see what everyone says and know that’s how you’re perceived so be more confident and comfortable being that way with people. That’s your superpower.
Aaron: That’s just great advice too because as we evolve as people, sometimes we’re making the wrong decision without even knowing it. There could be a habit that someone stopped doing because they thought that it wasn’t the right one and you could call these people and go, “Hey, what I really liked was this.” You’re like, “Oh, I thought I was being too pushy. I’ve tried to start doing it different.”
Yes, reaching out to those people and figuring out this is how I met them and why did they pick me and focus on those and double down on that and that’s how you’re going to increase your business. I only got one last piece of news that I want to talk about today. It’s been so fun getting to catch up with you.
As always, I don’t know if I’ll see you. In a few months, we might be in Colorado to GoBundance. We might be at home. We’ll see if the world gets to open up. I read an article. It just came out today. It says, “Former surgeon general taps to help Zillow safely buy homes again.”
Two months ago, there was no iBuyers. Zillow stopped, everybody stopped, Opendoor stopped. Last week, maybe a week before on the news on here, Opendoor started doing iBuyer offers again but only in Phoenix and North Carolina. Now, it says Zillow is wanting to come back so the company is bringing out Regina Benjamin, the former US surgeon general to consult on and develop new safety protocols as it returns to iBuying. How crazy is that? To me, iBuying, you don’t even go into the house. My first thing has been like, “Why? If you’re going to be an iBuyer, go back.”
As you go into the articles, it’s from listing to shopping, to closing documents, we need to minimize risk and protect each other. Title companies have started to make those changes already but do you feel like in San Francisco, they’ve given you guys guidelines to show houses and stuff again. Do you think that we’re going to have to take it back to that level?
David: I’m trying to think of how I could delicately word this. I think Zillow’s very smart and they understand this is a gimmick because the minute you put surgeon general on the label for the person who is in charge of health and safety, all the consumers feel safe. “Oh, there are surgeon generals in charge of it.”
I don’t think whatever they decide will have any impact at all on how safe you actually are. I think, in general, a lot of the things that the government has done to try to protect us won’t really end up protecting us. It’s because the people need to feel like they’re protected but I don’t think it’s bad Zillow’s doing this.
I think it’s smart that they’re being responsible and they’re looking to how to make people feel safer but I think for the people that are listening, you’re better off to understand that the government can do very little to actually keep you safe from a virus that they can’t control, that this is a part of what happens in the world. We have pandemics like this where a lot of people get sick and that you’re better off to look at this and say, “Okay, there’s been a shift. Things are different now. People aren’t looking at houses.” Or, like we talked about earlier, people don’t want to live in the inner city as much.
The whole novel concept of I ride the subway every day and I get to meet new people and you’re all squished like sardines into a train is not appealing when you’re trying to figure out which of these sardines is the nuclear bomb that’s going to blow up and get us all sick. You don’t want to do that anymore.
As agents, look a step ahead and say, “How do people feel and how can I change my marketing strategies or the advice I give people to capitalize on that shift?” This is good for business. When there’s a change in the market, when there’s a change in strategies, it opens up doors for new people.
The iBuyers that every agent was talking about for the last two years, “Oh, they’re going to change the industry. They’re stealing all of our business.” They all dropped the second the market wasn’t rising. The second that it wasn’t a guarantee that the market’s going to go up, iBuyers dropped out. That’s not really a credible threat to our industry but we were so worried about it.
Changes like this are good for business in the sense that the big dog, the big company that we feel like we can’t compete with, their whole model goes right out the window as soon as this happens. I think Dave Osborne was on your show talking about that. I thought that that was really good. Real estate is always going to be a relationship business.
That is your secret weapon. The relationship you have with the client where you have the opportunity to share information that’s coming out and give them a plan to make them feel better, much like Zillow is trying to do. We can learn from that. We should be doing the same thing in our own businesses.
Aaron: Yes. Make your client feel happy and okay. Last little tip on that. I just told you Opendoor started in Phoenix and Raleigh. Just said Zillow’s home buying aspect of the platform will be relaunched first in Phoenix, in Tucson in Arizona and Raleigh in Charlotte, North Carolina. Two of the places where Opendoor has started iBuying again is two of the four that the Zillow is.
There’s something about those markets where people that are very smart with a lot of money feel like it’s safe and manageable and really forecastable that they could easily say, “Hey, this is what’s going to happen.” All you listeners out there, Real Estate Rockstars, getting to talk to David Greene today was a ton of fun. You could reach out to him. He runs a podcast. You have the BiggerPockets podcast every week, you and Brandon Turner, the host of BiggerPockets podcast, you guys have so many listeners. You do. You’ve got several books out there and others coming out. What is the thing you want to tell people to go find you and do?
David: I would love it if they listen to our podcast because it helps you as an agent in two ways. One, it helps you grow your personal wealth in addition to your personal income. Aaron, I think you can testify. Your wife was an agent for a while and she was selling a lot of homes, right? The wealth that you build from owning real estate dwarfs the wealth that you create from selling real estate. I’ve never heard an agent that said any different.
For every agent that’s out there, you should be looking at what you need to learn to own real estate yourself. Then second, the more you understand about how investing in real estate works, the better you can make your client feel about what to them is a very scary purchase. It gives you more tools in your tool belt to help them feel better when they’re worried about is this the right time to buy? What am I going to do if I have to move? When you can explain how renting and owning real estate works over the long-term, makes it much easier for you to be a better salesperson. That’s another reason.
Even if you don’t want to invest in real estate, learn about it, so that you can be a better agent. That’s one of the reasons I think that I did really well. For the people that want to reach out to me, I’m on Instagram, Facebook, all that stuff, @davidgreene24. There’s an E at the end of Greene. I also run independent of BiggerPockets, a Mastermind where I teach people how to be more successful, how to make more money and how to grow their net worth.
You can find me at davidgreenemastermind.com. That’s a group that I run where I teach people the techniques that I have learned to write best-selling books, to become a top producing agent in my first year. All the kind of things that I’ve incorporated that we talked about today, I teach that group there.
Aaron: That is awesome. David Greene Mastermind. Greene is spelled G-R-E-E-N-E. Dave, thanks for coming on again. I can’t wait till we get to hang out again in person but I’m sure the next time we chat will be on Zoom until further notice. Thanks for joining me today.
David: Thanks, Aaron. I had a blast. Keep doing what you’re doing, man. We all rely on you to give us the new state of the market information so we don’t have to look it up ourselves.
Aaron: It’s the cliff notes to the news. State of the market. Thanks, everyone.