Selling Real Estate Virtually.............

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC BK607690

http://buyproperty.ning.comHi folks. Earlier this week Fernando Herboso wrote a post titled “The Future of Real Estate….I experienced yesterday”. If you haven’t already please take a few minutes to read his post. I’ll wait…………. OK....are you done?

Fernando's post is talking about having a real estate closing where the only time he met the Seller was at closing. The transaction was done mostly via email.

I was surprised in the comments of Fernando’s post how many agents thought this was risky or that it wouldn’t work. This has had me thinking for days now.

It’s made me realize how cutting edge my business model really is. My company Tutas Towne Realty is a virtual real estate business. What this means is I do not have an “office” and about 90% of my business is handled over the Internet. Selling and buying real estate with folks we have never met or spoken to.

In the last 30 days we had 10 closings. 9 Buyer sides and 1 listing side. Of the 9 Buyer sides we had actual "face to face" contact with ONE Buyer. I did meet the Seller although I hadn’t seen him in several months.

Out of the 8 Buyers, we didn’t meet face to face, we only spoke to ONE of them. All other communications were done by email only. Including the closings.

We showed ZERO properties before the offers were accepted.  All offers were presented on properties we had not seen. They were foreclosures, short sales and some were regular listings.

The customers ALL got the properties they wanted and are extremely happy. We didn’t waste their time and they didn’t waste ours.

So you’re probably wondering how we do this. It’s simple. We market for experienced and qualified Buyers that are mostly out of the country. They are familiar with the area and they trust us to guide them in their purchase. We are brutally honest with them and we have systems in place to protect them.

We do “see” all properties before contracts are finalized. It could be me. It could be one of my agents. It could be one of our inspectors. But whoever it is we make sure to do a complete photo and video shoot that we then send to the Buyer.

We utilize Scribd.com to “send out” Short Sale Listing Packages.

We utilize Google Docs to get leads for Short Sales, for Buyers, to get offers and to pre-qualify and arrange showings.

I have numerous web sites set up to capture business. All potential customer/clients know how we work and have the option of not working with us.

So quit fighting the future and embrace it. If you think all Buyers and Sellers must see you “face to face” to do business then get over yourself. They really just want to buy and sell real estate. AND….they want it to be easy.

Want to learn more? We also use Google Docs for recruiting……

Bryant Tutas
Broker/Owner
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker
http://CentralFloridaShortSales.com

http://ShortSaleSuperStars.com

***The content of this blog is solely my opinion***

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 Tutas Towne Realty, Inc handles Florida real estate sales, Florida short sales, Florida strategic short sales, Florida pre-foreclosure sales, Florida foreclosures in Kissimmee Florida Short Sales, Davenport Florida Short Sales, Haines City Florida Short Sales, Poinciana Florida Short Sales, Solivita Florida Short Sales,  Orlando Florida Short Sales, Celebration Florida Short Sales, Windermere Florida Short Sales. Serving all of Polk, Osceola and Orange Counties Florida. Florida Short Sale Broker. Short Sale Florida.

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Laura Monroe 08/08/2009 09:08 AM
  2. Harry F. D'Elia 10/29/2009 02:38 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Groups:
Realtors®
The Art Of Marketing You
Tags:
educational
virtual office
opinion

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,136,378
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

David, Really the only difference is that my agents don't come to the office. I am there to assist them whenever they need me. I have a website that is set up specifically for training and we have conference calls when needed. It's really not difficult at all. Of course I know of no other way since I have always worked from my home.

The best thing about having a virtual office ios that my overhead is lower. By the way I ma not a discount broker. I actually charge more than most brokers in my area. The fact that I don't have an office rarely comes up. The consumer just wants to buy and sell and real estate. They know I'm good at what I do and that's really all that matters. Plus I have excellent communication skills.

Aug 09, 2009 10:27 AM #65
Ambassador
2,063,321
The Friendly Home Team
Realty Pro Oregon, LLC - Beaverton, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

I had this discussion with an agent that I met teaching a class on blogging and they thought I was crazy for not meeting buyers and sellers. They thought how could you know who they really are? I then asked them, have you looked at your clients SS Card or Drivers License? Not one had and just based knowing them, by having them at their office or in their car.

Todd Clark - www.LivingBeaverton.com

Aug 09, 2009 01:46 PM #66
Rainmaker
1,427,902
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

It sounds like you have a unique system where the buyers understandably cannot meet with you.  I would still be reluctant to offer on a property site unseen.  I have inspected properties for out of town buyer and then helped them put in offers. 

Aug 09, 2009 01:59 PM #67
Rainmaker
811,739
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Bryant -- I just love your business model. You ARE the future. Thanks for posting all the tools you utilize.  I'm going to investigate this thoroughly.

Aug 09, 2009 02:32 PM #68
Rainmaker
171,809
Christine McInerney
The McInerney Team with Realty Executives Associates - Knoxville, TN
The McInerney Team, Knoxville TN Homes For Sale

Your results are fantastic- most of our clients come via the internet.  We have sold 3 homes to buyer who have did not see the home till closing.  Most of the time we communicate back and forth over the internet and then the clients come into town and buy (we still have to drive them around though).

So how do you get so many non-US contacts?

Aug 09, 2009 02:38 PM #69
Rainmaker
241,252
Roger Johnson
Hickory Real Estate Group - Hickory, NC
Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate

BB, glad it works for you, but I think you said it yourself.  It may not work for everybody.  I agree.  Both you and Fernando are speaking primarily about selling short sales/foreclosures virtually.  With this niche, the virtual model would work especially well as you're much more likely to be dealing with buyers that are extremely experienced with real estate and sellers that are, let's say, in a 'specialized' situation that works for this model.

My issue with Fernando's post is that he was slanting this as the "new" way to do real estate.  I think that there are a number of issues with that.

State laws vary greatly.  In many, a virtual model simply wouldn't work from a legal standpoint in many cases.  As such, agency laws will come into the plan as well.  In FL, the transaction broker would work well with a virtual model.  However, in states where you must represent at least one party, I think fudiciary responsiblity may be an issue.

Finally, if the "virtual agent" actually hits as mainstream, I think that the agent pay structure will also see a dramatic change.  It could be just me, but if we get to a point where the agent doesn't represent any party, doesn't show the house, doesn't see the house, doesn't see the client, doesn't even get out of their pajamas the whole time the deal is going through, then I'd think that the general consumer is gonna want to question the current pay structure.

Just my opinion.

Aug 09, 2009 03:38 PM #70
Rainmaker
677,365
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Bryant,

It seems as if you are in an area where this virtual office model can work as an accepted practice. I am not so sure that it will work in many of the old northeast cities and towns, but, I could be mistaken. Your post gave me some ideas to run by several investor buyers that I have. I'll get back to you to let you know if it worked.

Aug 09, 2009 09:50 PM #71
Anonymous
Marcia Hawken

Have not yet had a transaction like this but am getting close to that day, I am sure. I am interested in doing a virtual closing.  I think this will be the next leap where the clients sign docs on line.  The technology is in place.  Anyone done one?

 

Aug 09, 2009 11:00 PM #72
Rainmaker
1,288,200
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

BB, your right we should embrace the new things available in technology and run with it.  Time savers, you bet.  Ease of use, you bet.  It's a little hard to 'hug' a short sale package on Scribd though.  Some people are just so 'touchy feely'.

Aug 10, 2009 09:09 AM #73
Rainmaker
407,599
Alexander- Slocum
Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate

BB, I must say I like your model compared to what I've seen the discounters use in our area.  Their offer is a discounted listing fee, the marketing plan is putting the seller-provided photos in the MLS, and sending the seller a disposable sign for the seller to hang up.  There is NO representation when the offer is presented and negotiated; merely send the listing agent the closing statements when the deal is over and they'll change the status in the MLS.  Thanks!  John

Aug 11, 2009 03:25 AM #74
Ambassador
1,175,794
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

I've had several sales with Buyers I've never met and it is quite refreshing :0)  I look forward to more and more of these transactions as the public becomes more comfortable with technology.  Sadly, here in Canada, we Realtors have been made to police the industry with no one being able to buy or sell property without providing a passport or driver's license in person - ridiculous concept as it is supposed to stop money laundering and terrorist purchases !!!

Aug 13, 2009 03:19 AM #75
Rainmaker
189,905
DEBORAH STONE
PACIFIC HOME BROKERS, San Diego, CA - San Diego, CA

Bryant:

I have been a "virtual agent" for the most part since 2000, since at the time many of my clients were located in other states. My niche was "1031 Tax-Deferred Exchanges" and all communication was via phone, fax or e-mail. Many of the "uplegs" they exchanged into were in different states (and trying to find a local Realtor back then was a challenge.)  I had many co-workers appalled at my lack of "touchy-feely" and thought for sure I was doomed.

I find myself doing the majority of business the same way now, even though my clients are located in San Diego and my business has shifted from "1031 Exchanges"  to just sales. How many times do you really need to physically be with a Seller after the listing is taken? The challenge is Virtual Communication: "selling yourself" and "communicating well" on the phone and via e-mail.

I just joined a "virtual Broker", and although they do have a "bricks and mortar" location, I work out of my home office or on the road. I love that I can do 8 hours worth of work in 3 or 4 hours. I take no glory in working 60 hours per week, when I can work 25 or 30, and spend the remainder of the time enjoying my life.

Whoever says this lacks the "personal touch" should understand the reality of the future of this business. Like it or not, the "touchy feely" part of business has (sadly for many) been replaced by technology.

Aug 16, 2009 06:09 AM #76
Anonymous
Irena Gorski

It's great working "virtually". I have though question about out of town investors. Do you preview homes for them in person before they make a decision regarding the offer, especially if REO's or short sales are involved? If yes, do you charge extra fees for doing this? Going and preview every single house is a time consuming especially if price range is $80,000-$120,000 and if they want to check 20 houses before they chose only one to make an offer, and you are not sure if their offer will be chosen anyway. This way you can not make sure that you will be compensated either. What exactly is your practice if they want you to preview homes for them?

Sep 15, 2009 02:09 PM #77
Rainmaker
1,136,378
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Hi Irena, I look at propeerties after the offer has been accepted. Here's an article I wrot ethat will explain what we do,

http://activerain.com/blogsview/1128240/my-buyer-only-wants-one-house-why-make-14-offers-

 

Sep 15, 2009 11:35 PM #78
Rainer
17,757
Irena Gorski
Champions Real Estate Group - Sugar Land, TX

Bryant, thank you very much for your response and the link. It is very helpful, and certainly I will not go to preview those houses before any offer is accepted by the bankl. Your practice has absolutely sense! Our Houston area market has lots of good foreclosure deals as well, which sell very fast, so it is impossible to go and preview those homes, because in meantime, they are not available anymore. I know that in our area, some agents are collecting up front deposit of $1,000 - $1,500 or charge up front fees of $80.00 -$100.00 per house and photos if out of town buyers want them to preview houses before they make any decision regarding making an offer. I think though it is still waste of agent and buyer's time, which is extremely crucial since good deals go off the market fast.

Sep 16, 2009 05:33 AM #79
Rainer
34,165
Rebecca Fisher
Winter Haven, FL

Hi Bryant!

 

I love this business model! I remember, back in the day, when my husband and I owned our title company. The county was installing a computer system enabling us to check an indexed database of documents rather than using index books. To search a name from 1953 by books took about 10 to 15 minutes if we were lucky and the computer took under 30 seconds. The Deputy Recorder of Deeds discouraged the use of it, saying it would put people out of work. We disagreed, saying it would allow us to spend more time with our family!

Eventually, in 1997, we closed our B&M office and moved the business home, doing all our business by fax or email. At that point, our business tripled and our time with the family doubled. Win-Win! We were able to retire at 45 from 22 years in the title business and move down here to the sunshine.

I will be getting my license in a few months and, once I am experienced, will be knocking on your door-- I'm in Eastern Polk County, a stones throw from you. Keep that doorbell ready!

I am excited about getting started at this time in history :-)

 

Becky

Sep 21, 2009 02:04 AM #80
Rainmaker
1,136,378
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Hi Rebecca, Give me a call before you hang your license any where. I'm expanding and I'm hiring.

Sep 21, 2009 02:25 AM #81
Rainer
34,165
Rebecca Fisher
Winter Haven, FL

Hi Bryant!

 

I sure will! You come highly recommended by Jennifer Allan! :-)

 

I'll get with you when we are close :-)

 

Becky

Sep 21, 2009 03:24 AM #82
Rainmaker
92,179
Kerry Jenkins
Prime Properties - Crestline, CA

Much of my business is all online also.  There are some sellers that I have never met before, and we managed to get their property sold all through email and phone calls.  We have a large second home market, and many of these homes haven't been seen by the sellers in a very long time(in one case, over 10 years).  They usually live out of state, or 2 or more hours away.  I usually meet all of my buyers though, haven't had too many buy without seeing the property first. 

Sep 24, 2009 08:58 AM #83
Rainmaker
337,282
Don Anthony
Don Anthony Realty ~ www.DonAnthonyRealty.com - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte & Triangle NC Discount Realtor

Glad it is working for you.  It'll be interesting to see how the industry will change over the next several years and how virtual the business will be.

Sep 24, 2009 06:40 PM #84
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