By Jim Droz
Record Number Qualify Despite Sluggish Housing Market
A record number of 24 top producers have been named to the 2009 HouseHunt National Hall of Fame by Michael Bearden, president and CEO of HouseHunt, Inc. The newest honorees join 35 member-agents already named to this select group over the last five years.
To qualify for Hall of Fame consideration, each member- agent or team had to close a minimum of $500,000 in commissions and/or a minimum 100 transaction sides in HouseHunt-related business generated solely from their exclusive HouseHunt territory.
Bearden said the production achievements of the 2009 group are even more remarkable because much of the nation is still in the throes of the worst housing recession in three decades: “Their focus is on their ability to deliver superior customer service. I congratulate each and every one of them.”
This validates the HouseHunt business model by promoting one individual agent as the real estate expert in their community. It proves that business can be generated in any market. Many of the new inductees have earned more than one million dollars in new commissions. This is business they would not have ever received without being part of the HouseHunt network.
Since 1995, HouseHunt has been a successful consumer-oriented Internet firm that provides valuable free services and information to homeowners, home buyers and home sellers through nearly 1,500 member-agents serving exclusive territories in 47 states and through its primary website sites, HouseHunt.com and move-up.com.
The honorees attribute much of their success to the HouseHunt marketing system and consumer related programs that enables them to respond quickly and meaningfully to the needs of their customers. Here’s a sample of their comments:
“Probably 95% of my business comes directly from HouseHunt leads, referrals and repeat customers” responded Mary Anne Farmen, of Realty World Tri-Cities Metro, exclusive HouseHunt member-agent for Kingsport and Johnson City, TN. “HouseHunt has helped me establish myself as a knowledgeable person to work with and someone responsive to their needs.” A former teacher, Farmen said she utilizes HouseHunt’s TIM (Total Internet Marketing) system to track and manage leads in her data base: “I establish repetitive contact with them through TIM. Some who have shopped with me have come back four or five years later and bought homes from me. I stay in touch with them and they stay in touch with me.”
Nick Hall of Scenic Coast Realty in San Luis Obispo, CA, also recommends the TIM system as an effective communications tool. “It’s great for following up leads and staying in contact with clients and prospects. I can say that 75 to 80% of my business can be attributed directly to HouseHunt leads and contacts.” Hall, exclusive HouseHunt member-agent for San Luis Obispo and the nearby communities of Cambria, Los Osos, Morro Bay and Templeton, is optimistic that 2010 will be better than last year: “To me, success in this business happens every time I’m about to meet with a buyer and help that person find what they are looking to buy. It’s an experience that happens many times.”
Another advocate of the TIM system is Teri Arbogast of Keller Williams Properties, exclusive HouseHunt member-agent for Davie, Plantation and Southwest Ranches, FL, in the Fort. Lauderdale metro area. “It’s my most valuable tool,” she said. “I use it for all my leads and for about everything I do. I have a client base of over 8,000 and I head of team of buyer agents who call my HouseHunt leads every day.” She estimated that 25% of her business comes from HouseHunt-related leads and referrals . Arbogast is also a heavy believer in spending money on marketing. “Last year I spent a lot of money on Internet and marketing materials and had a great year!. I’m not afraid to put money into marketing because I know my team and I will make it pay off. ” With lots of foreclosures and short sales available, Arobgast sees many opportunities for investors and first-time buyers in her marketplaces. “Properties priced right are selling quickly”, she added.
Roy Nelson of Coldwell Banker Honig Bell, exclusive HouseHunt member-agent in Orland Park and Orland Hills, IL, attributes 35 to 40% of his business to HouseHunt leads and another 35 to 40% to repeat clients and referrals. He estimated that 70% of my clients are first-time home buyers. “I’m still seeing lots of interest in the federal $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers.” He continued: We’re able to work with lenders okay but the new guidelines for FHA loans are making it more difficult for buyers to qualify. I tell my buyers -and sellers who are having a hard time selling — to be patient and work with me for as long as it takes. Meanwhile I’m building good relationships with them.” Nelson, who was with Commonwealth Edison for 34 years before switching to real estate, feels that the TIM system is the most valuable tool HouseHunt provides: “It allows me to set up a system of repetitive contacts with my clients for as long as necessary,” he said. “I’m hearing back from people I contacted a year or more ago, seeking market information.
Donna Forrest-Johnston of RE/MAX Executive Realty in metro Charlotte, NC, is a champion of customer service, effective communications and relocation skills. She is a member of Charlotte Premier Realty Partners, a group of real estate professionals who possess vast knowledge of the metro market, and is the exclusive HouseHunt member-agent for much of Charlotte and its surrounding communities. Johnston readily attributes 90% of her business to HouseHunt-related leads and contacts. “Our relocation business is finally picking up after a couple of slow years,” she said. “We always work our leads promptly and believe in delivering outstanding customer service. People that we sold houses to five or six years ago are now selling those homes and have become part of our data base as well as clients and friends. We have built a business out of what HouseHunt has given me.-quality leads.”
Twenty-Four Inductees Into HouseHunt National Hall of Fame for 2009
- Judy Dassinger, Keller Williams Realty of Brevard, Cocoa Beach, FL.
- Steve Hinrichs & Jean O’Reilly, Edina Realty, Maple Grove, MN, Twin Cities Metro.
- Geri Boyer, RE/MAX, Monarch Beach, CA. Laguna Beach, CA.
- Fred Smith Team, Prudential California Realty, Los Angeles CA Metro.
- Ruth & David Tannenbaum, Keller Williams Realty, Weston, FL.
- Dave Therrien Team, Keller Williams Flagship of Maryland, Annapolis, MD.
- Greg Olson, RE/MAX Suburban, Schaumburg, Chicago Metro, IL.
- Kim Thomson, Keller Williams Realty, Valencia, CA.
- Mary Beth Buckles, CENTURY 21 Beachside, Dana Point, CA.
- Martina Burns, Falls Church Real Estate, RE/MAX Allegiance, VA.
- Barry Newman, CENTURY 21 M.B., Deerfield, IL, Chicago Metro.
- Donna Forrest-Johnston, RE/MAX Executive Realty Charlotte, NC.
- Royce Knox, RE/MAX Masters, Southlake, TX, Dallas/Ft. Worth Metro.
- Roy Nelson, Coldwell Banker Honig Bell, Orlando Hills, Chicago Metro.
- David Newman, PMZ Real Estate, Modesto, CA.
- Alexia & Bill Gallagher, Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners, Gwinnett County, GA.
- Peter Gragnani, Power Brokers International, Westwood, Los Angeles Metro, CA.
- Allan Ackerman, RE/MAX Lakes & Land, Columbia, SC.
- Nick Hall, Scenic Coast Realty, San Luis Obispo, CA.
- Teri Arbogast, Keller Williams Properties, Fort Lauderdale Metro, FL.
- Rick Libro, RE/MAX Properties, Bradenton Metro, FL.
- Mary Anne Farmen, Realty World-Tri Cities, Johnson City, TN.
- Charles Jackson, Weichert Realtors, Washington DC, Metro, Burke, VA.
- Glenn Tinturin, Arrowhead Real Estate, Lake Arrowhead, CA.