Our Guest: Russell Laggan
VP of Recruiting – Fathom Realty
Russell is a Speaker, Trainer, Coach, Team-builder in the real estate industry and all affiliate businesses. He teaches people how to make money from any business that is a relationship business. Russell’s main goal is to make a difference. To live the example. To lead and be followed. To innovate and not look back. To learn it and then live it. To be in action. To live big!!
The Question Every Realtor is Asked: “How’s the Market?” – 10:59
How Do I Capitalize on the Question, “How’s the Market?” 13:21
What Kind of Market Report Should Agents Be Creating? – 22:32
00:00 Geoff: So, Russ, just a little bit about you, you’ve done a wide variety of things within the real estate industry, including being a vice president of a brokerage, a large brokerage, handling many hundreds of offices and agents and coaching and that kind of stuff. Maybe just share just a real quick bit about yourself and then we’ll jump into the content here.
00:21 Russ: Yeah, sure, absolutely. So I started in the real estate business in 2005. I don’t know if you guys know what was going on in 2005. I moved from Detroit, Michigan, down to Tampa, Florida for better weather, of course, and for the amazing real estate market that was going on in 2005 in Tampa, Florida. I got to meet a guy that was my wife’s cousin who happened to be a broker, and he said to me, “Russ, an idiot can make a hundred grand a year in Tampa.” And I looked at him and I was like, “I’m the biggest idiot I know, I’m in.”[laughter]
00:49 Russ: So I moved to Tampa [chuckle] and away we go. So I got to learn to build a real estate business, knowing zero people, in a market getting destroyed, and I always tell people I’ve had the unfair advantage… The unfair advantage for me, Geoff, is that if I didn’t make money, I didn’t get to eat, so you do whatever it takes. And I banged my head on the wall on some things, and I did all the traditional stuff they told me to do and hated a bunch of it. And I had to learn how to build my own thing and learn how to do my own thing and find my way of building business, and that’s where a lot of this stuff comes from. So in the process of doing that, I ended up running my own brokerage, I bought a real estate brokerage, I sold a real estate brokerage, ran the lower half of the country for another company, and here I am with Fathom Realty as a VP of recruiting, and my job is to help grow the company, and we do that by adding value.
01:38 Geoff: Very good.
01:38 Russ: The more value we add, the more we attract people.
01:40 Geoff: And we’re very glad to have you at Fathom here, and so, yeah, that’s what we’re about. We’re about helping agents grow their business. So one of those ways that you said right off the bat, would be a great topic. It has to do with a question that agents get asked all the time, but they’re not ready to capitalize on that question, or may not even realize, this is a great question for you to take advantage of when just your friends, family, acquaintances ask you this question. So maybe talk about the question and we’ll talk about how to capitalize on that.
02:10 Russ: Great, Geoff, I’ll tell you, this is kinda funny, I stood on the stage in Miami, and I asked this question in front of about 1,000 people, and the question went something like this, I’m a real estate agent, I’m out and about and I’m talking to somebody, and you meet people and you’re, “Hey, how you doing, what do you do for a living?” And then at some point, they ask you what you do for a living, and I say, “I’m a real estate agent,” and of course, there’s all these great little elevator pitches and all this other stuff that they can teach you to do when somebody asks you that question, but in reality, almost every single time we start this conversation, it goes something like this, “Blah, blah, blah, I’m in real estate business,” and then they ask me this question, and I asked this question in front of the room. It’s like, “Is it just me, or is anybody else get this question all the time, and that question is, ‘How’s the market?'” I mean literally, this happened to me yesterday, it happened to me the day before. I was at a place the other day talking to a guy and he’s like, “Hey, Russ, blah, blah, blah, I heard you’re in real estate, how’s the market?” And they ask me this question all the time. Do you see that one, Geoff, have you ever bumped into that?
03:06 Geoff: I’m not a real estate agent, so that’s… No, I don’t have the boots-on-the-ground experience like you do, but… Actually, I take that back. Even as a marketing director in the brokerage, people will say, “Yeah, how is real estate doing?” I mean especially, in light of the pandemic, people wanna know is, is it taking a hit, is it… It’s like, “No, it’s actually doing fantastic for most people, so… ” but yeah, so yeah, even as a non-realtor, I get that question.
03:34 Russ: Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s the most common question we get. Every time I ask a real estate agent, “Do you get this question all the time?” they respond to me with, “Yeah, I get that question all the time.” So my question back to the industry is, why do we do such a horrible job of answering this question? I hear this all the time, and I ask real estate agents when I start coaching, and I’ve been doing… I’ve coached a lot of real estate agents over the years, and I ask them this question, how’s the market? And they give me some really strange answers. They’re like, “Oh, the market is great.” Well, it doesn’t really do anything, so the way you answer this question completely shifts and changes the power, number one, that you have. Number two, it gives you the opportunity to deliver value consistently to people. Number three, it gets you the ability to get their information because they want to give you their information, and how you answer that question also shows whether you’re an expert in the real estate business or not. So really simply, knowing the information and knowing the math and knowing what the numbers are in your market, can be used to leverage a bunch of different directions, Geoff, and we can go through some of those here.
04:33 Geoff: Yeah, absolutely, so yeah, how do I then capitalize on that question and position myself to be the expert with a… Building a long-term relationship with that person?
04:45 Russ: Absolutely, well, number one, first thing first, is you gotta know what the numbers are in your market. It’s super imperative you know what the numbers are in your market. It would be like let’s say, for example, you call up your brain surgeon and you’re like, “Hey, do you know how to do brain surgery?” And they’re like, “Yeah, I read a book about it once,” and they’re really vague, like no, you wanna have nuts and bolts like, “Yeah, first thing we do is…,” and they get in the nuts and bolts of what’s going on. You want them to have an intricate knowledge of that. And I’m not saying real estate is rocket surgery, as I like to say, but I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of moving parts to it, and having a high level of understanding, you need to know a couple of things, and I’ve got a quick list here behind me.
05:19 Russ: When you’re looking at market information, you need to know this basic information because as you’re having conversations with people, it helps you really delineate and talk like a professional and sound like a professional, sound like an expert. Total number of listings in your market, you need to know what that number is. Not that you have to quote it for sure, but you need to know what that number is because you need to know whether it’s going up or down. If listings are going down, what does that mean. If listings are going up, what does that mean? So when you’re talking to people, and you’re talking to people on my other list here, when you’re talking with sellers, you’re talking with buyers, as you’re walking through this information, knowing which way the market is going is absolutely imperative, and when you can spit out a number, it becomes really key that you know what you’re talking about.
06:00 Russ: So I had this conversation with a guy named Josh Otto, I’ll call him by name, he’s in the Naples market, and he goes, “Russ, I can’t believe this, I put out my real estate market update the other day, and what happened is, somebody calls me up and like, “Dude, you sound like a pro, you sound like you really know what you’re talking about,” and this is a newer real estate agent, and he’s like, “The guy’s telling me I sound like I know what I’m doing.”[laughter]
06:22 Russ: Just because he did a market update and he talked about how many listings you had, how many sales there were, what the month supply of homes was. And then we go into a little bit of details which people all wanna know, are housing prices going up, or are they going down. So you wanna talk about what is the median sale price doing in your market. And you can tell them last year it was 238,000, this year it’s $257,000, average… Median home sale price, which means means home sale prices that are being sold is going up. And people go, “Oh, that’s good info. I love hearing that.” Right?
06:51 Geoff: Right. Right.
06:52 Russ: You get to be the bearer of good news, which is great. And then you wanna talk about what the total supply of homes is. And then the last one, Geoff, is the most important part, is telling them what it means. I can tell 1.3 months supply of homes, and you’re not a real estate guy, so is that good or bad?
07:09 Geoff: No idea.
07:11 Russ: No… Exactly, right? So that’s exactly the problem. So we have to say 1.3 months supply of homes, and here’s what that means. What that means is… And by the way, that’s an actual number in Tampa, by the way. Last month, 1.3 months supply of homes, which means, there’s next to nothing on the market, which means if you put something on the market and it’s priced reasonably close to sale price, anything close to a sale price, you’re gonna get two, three, four, seven, 10 offers on the property. And it’s gonna be sold like that at top price, if it’s priced even close, right.
07:40 Geoff: Yeah.
07:40 Russ: That’s what 1.3 months supply of homes means. What that also means is that if you’re a buyer in that market, that means the buyers are struggling to find a house. So you’re gonna go out and you’re gonna look at two, three, four or five houses, if there’s even three or four that fit their criteria. And if you see something you like, you better put an offer on it tonight and you better go in strong or you’re not even touching it. Do you see how that verbiage changes the way you have a conversation with a buyer.
08:02 Geoff: Russ I can’t…
08:03 Russ: ‘Cause usually you have a conversation…
08:04 Geoff: I can’t help but see you right now as like the real estate weatherman. Partly because you’re in front of a white board, but because… To me the best weathermen or women… Weather people, are the ones that say, “There’s a bunch of complex data here.” There’s low pressures here, and the temperature change has dropped this much overnight, and there’s these trade… Whatever they are. And then they go, “What this means is we’re gonna be getting some cooler weather here in the next couple of days and probably some precipitation.” And then you go, “Oh, great. But thank you for dicing it out in front of me here before you cook the meal.” It actually was really interesting and helpful, and yeah, I trust you now. I trust that you know that whether it’s gonna be raining or not. So we’re gonna be talking here, I know at some point, about how you present that to people, but I can’t help, again, but to see that’s profitable, just to stand there in front of a board and say, “This is what’s going on in… ” In maybe Wylie, Texas, specifically where I live, so… Or Tampa or whatever. Anyways, I had to interject and…
09:13 Russ: I love it, man. But hey, full throttle, man. Us Midwesterners, we dig right in. That’s cool. It’s a full contact business. So the market update is absolutely priceless. For a couple of different reasons. Number one, it gives you the ability to look like an expert. Number two, you know the math, you know the numbers. And by the way, if you quote those numbers, you sound like you know what you’re talking about, even if you don’t. People are gonna assume you know what you’re talking about. Nothing worse in the world, Geoff, than when I ask a real estate agent, “How is the market?” And they’re like, “Yeah, it’s a pretty good market, and things are selling pretty quick.” That does nothing for me. It’s like, “Yeah, it’s gonna be weathery outside.” Right?
09:50 Geoff: Right.
09:50 Russ: No, I wanna… It’s 85, and it’s gonna rain at 3 o’clock, and by the way, you better bring an umbrella or wear the Gorton’s Fisherman outfit because it’s gonna rain hard. That’s what I need to know. I’m not gonna drive around with a convertible top down at 3 o’clock ’cause I’m gonna get wet. So as we walk through this conversation, this adds credibility. When we talk about real estate agents doing business and not doing business, they say, “Russ, how do we get people to come to us?” How do we attract business? Number one, do things that make you sound like an expert. There’s nothing worse than seeing a real estate agent go, “Look at me. I just sold a house.”
10:22 Geoff: Right.
10:22 Russ: Like, “I know that’s part of the business, that’s great, but it does nothing for the market.” It does nothing to show that you’re an expert. It’s like, “Great, you sold a house,” but you gotta keep in mind they’re asking “What’s in it for me? What does that have to do with me?” It had nothing to do with me. It’s all about you. So when you’re doing a market…
10:36 Geoff: Right and…
10:36 Russ: It helps.
10:38 Geoff: I was just gonna say, to be fair too, it’s not just like you’re blowing smoke or just… Just looking smart. If you’re actually paying attention to these numbers and you’re able to teach somebody else, you’re obviously educating yourself to where you’re now paying attention to the market and actually know what you’re talking about. So it’s real.
10:54 Russ: Absolutely. So knowing these numbers comes into play in so many different avenues. You’re like, when you know the numbers, you’re finding places where you can use these numbers. So let’s go to benefits. Working with buyers. You’re working with a buyer and you’re talking to a buyer. It’s like, “Okay, Mr. Buyer, we’re gonna be out looking for houses, so let me explain to you what’s going on in the market. Here’s what the market numbers look like. Here’s what the market stats look like.” I wanna give them a market update so they know what to expect. I hear real estate agents talking all the time, it’s like, “My buyers won’t be realistic.” Did you do a market update and tell them what’s going on in the market and tell them if they see something they like, they have to put an offer on it today, and they have to go full price or over full price?
11:30 Russ: Or here’s the last five months, everything that’s going on in the market is going with five and six to seven and 10 offers. The last buyer I worked with, there were seven offers on the property. So here’s a couple of things that I do differently, knowing that, that helps you as a buyer be able to actually take your business to the next level and get buyers under contract with less argument and less frustration. Now the buyers don’t go, “You’re incompetent, Russ. You can’t help me get under contract.” You’re going, “Wait a minute, here’s what’s going on in the market, and here’s what we need to do.” And then… We can tell people all we want but you have to show them. And when you tell them specific stats, like for me, 1.3 months supply of homes in Tampa, that’s big. And like, “You know it’s around a two or three is what I hear.” Now, 1.3 means you know what you’re talking about. Two or three means you’re guessing.
12:16 Geoff: Right.
12:16 Russ: So when you start being specific like that, it carries over, and people’s level of confidence goes up with you. If their level of confidence goes up with you, are they more likely to wanna do business with you? Yeah.
12:25 Geoff: Right. I’m seeing it.
12:26 Russ: If I have a conversation with somebody at a bar for five seconds and they’re like, “How’s the market?” And I roll off, “Man, you won’t believe this. Tampa is at a 1.3 month supply of homes, which basically means, boom, boom, boom. And by the way there’s only 5,000 homes available in the whole market. Typically if we’re at 15,000, that’s a good number. We’re at five, which means if the market goes up, we have three times the amount of listings, we’d be normal.” So can you answer the question to me now, “Hey, what’s gonna happen?” “Well, what if we get a bunch of foreclosures in the market, Russ?” My response is, “Heck, yeah. Good.”
12:57 Geoff: Right.
12:58 Russ: If we get three times the amount of homes on the market, we’re still not to a normal market. And people go, “Oh wow.” Okay, so it’s not gonna flip over tomorrow and crash. Now, I can use statistics and show them the numbers and make sense. Right?
13:12 Geoff: Right.
13:13 Russ: Think about using this conversation with a seller too. Same exact conversation with a seller. Do a market update. “Here’s what’s going on in the market. Now, based on that, here’s what we need to do.” And they start going, “Hey, Russ. That makes sense.”
13:27 Geoff: Yeah, you’ve just quantified it for them. I mean, like you said, you kinda gave them, “Here’s normal. Here’s where we are right now.” And that’s easy and consumable. So when I’m creating a market update like this, there’s obviously the verbal opportunity. Like you said, we’re just… We ran into each other, and we’re talking about this. But you also mentioned putting together a regular market update that you would then project to your audience somehow. So are we talking about, “Here’s how the whole country is doing. Here’s how my state, here’s how my metroplex or here’s how my zip code’s doing,” when I’m thinking about this?
14:05 Russ: Yeah, so here’s the great part about that. People say to me all the time, it’s like, “Well, Russ, what do I do? What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?” It’s like, “I want people to come to me. I want people to want what I’ve got.” Market update is something that they want, right? Do they want it every single month? No, not necessarily. But if I put this out every single month and they start to notice it, and then when they’re interested in it, they’re gonna look at it. So on a monthly basis, every single month, I’m gonna do a market update. I’m gonna do two local market updates because I wanna make sure that my local people know what’s going on, and then every third month or like once a quarter, I can do a national market update so people understand what’s going on on a national level too. So I hear this all the time because we work on a national level. People in certain markets are like, “Well, Russ, you gotta understand. My market’s not like yours.” Understood, but as a nation right now, last month, an AR stat, 2.3 months supply of homes nationally, which is really, really low. Just so you know, six months is a good balanced market.
15:01 Russ: So when people talk about, “Well, Russ, what if inventory goes way up?” I hope it doubles ’cause if it doubles, we’ll be back to a normal market, and we could do better in a normal market. People can take time to actually look at houses and take time to make a decision instead of having to make a decision in the parking lot, in the driveway. So those types of things are important. So doing a real estate market update, you wanna do your hyper-local stuff, your Tampa or Northern Tampa, your specific market. If there are specific neighborhoods that you wanna target, you can do a specific one for your neighborhood. So you can utilize the same tool in two, three, four or five different ways. I could do a real hyper local real estate market for a local neighborhood that we know, and then I can do just Tampa, the whole Tampa market. So I could do like just Carollwood, or I could do all Tampa. So that gives me the opportunity to do two of those a month, instead of me trying to say, “Look at me, I’m a realtor, give me business,” or, “Hey, if you need somebody to help you buy or sell a house, call me.”
15:56 Geoff: Right.
15:57 Russ: Instead of doing that, say, “Hey, by the way, I’m a local real estate expert.” I call myself Russ, the real estate dude. [chuckle] So I’m like, “Hey, I’m Russ the real estate dude, and here’s the Tampa real estate market update.” And I walk them through the numbers. And then on occasion, I’ll do more specific neighborhoods, or if there’s an area that’s really moving, I’ll do a, “Hey, by the way, Wesley Chapel is one of the fastest-growing towns in the Tampa market, and here’s what’s going on in Wesley Chapel.” So you can get a little more granular, and then you could become a local expert that way too. So this is a tool that you can use 10 different directions, and you could do it bi-weekly, do it monthly, at minimum do it monthly, and then every three or four months do a national.
16:35 Geoff: Very good. Okay, so there’s kind of… All of them would be profitable, and again, I mean, I’m assuming if you’re kind of doing one, it serves as a template for the other ones. You’re just changing the data to a different zoom level.
16:51 Russ: Yeah, absolutely.
16:53 Geoff: So I guess maybe the next logical question, at least in my brain, is, “Okay, I do this update, how do I get it out there? Is it just a simple email, a text update with graphs that I might make in Excel or PowerPoint or something like that or am I making a video?” How am I delivering this?
17:12 Russ: Yeah, okay, so one of the things that’s really super, super, super important, and I tell people this, and I get the same response every time, Geoff. You and I are standing here like this right now, looking at ourself. I don’t know about you, but I don’t love seeing myself on video, and I don’t love hearing my voice recorded. I feel like I look like and sound like a Muppet, right?[laughter]
17:33 Geoff: Well, right now you’re a tiny, little thumbnail on a monitor in front of me, so I can’t see what you look like. I’m sure you look great. I’ve just reconciled with the fact that I’m just sort of a slave to video, but I will say, having worked with a lot of other people, they hate being on camera, so…
17:50 Russ: They do, they do. And the reality is, you just gotta get over it. It is what it is, and I’ve said to a couple of my coaching clients, I’m like, “Here’s a great part. You don’t even have to look at your face every day. We have to look at you every day. You look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and at night, I have to look at this every time I’m talking to you. So you should feel bad for me, not for yourself.”[laughter]
18:11 Geoff: Right. It is true. It’s like people that don’t wanna be on camera, it’s like, “Well, we all see you. In fact, you probably… ” My argument is people look better on camera than they do in person, sorry to say, but… So yeah, get over it, right?
18:25 Russ: Hey, I dropped 10 pounds for this interview just so I could add the 10 pounds and look right. [laughter] Kidding, but the number one way you can do this is on video, and I know everybody that’s watching, they’re going, “Oh, Russ, Come on, man, don’t tell me video again.” You know it’s funny because all the statistics keep showing over and over and over, Geoff, that video is one of the best ways that you can connect with people because it’s not just words, it’s not just… It’s you. It’s the live you, and you want them to buy into you and you want them to get a feel for that. You want them to see your eyebrows shooting all over your head, and you want them to see the excitement. And you convey way more with video than just words. People can tell you’re enthusiastic. They can tell you’re passionate. They can tell you know your stuff. It’s a massive difference in communication. Video actually works for communication versus just word distribution. So video is a great way to do this, and by the way, statistically, I think the last stat I saw is less than 6% of realtors are using video of any sort at all, 6%. So if you really wanna stand out in this business, just start doing video. Get used to it. Get over your voice, get over your face, get decent lighting, figure out a setup that works. Just say, “One day…
19:33 Geoff: And nobody cares. They just don’t care.
19:35 Russ: Nobody… I think, Geoff, the thing is, people are like, “Well, I just don’t do it professional.” The real, super, highly produced professional stuff actually doesn’t kick as well as the stuff like this, with me at a board, and just a normal dude on a board. Because people don’t want a pro, professional, full-polished. They want real human beings. They wanna do business with real human beings. And it shows that you’re real. Make a mistake. I make mistakes all the time when I’m doing video. You trip over a word like statistics, I have to say that like Will Smith says it, “Statistics.” You gotta over-enunciate it like he does. Because otherwise, it’s like, “Statistics.” And if you mess it up, you’re like, “Oh great, easy for me to say. Let’s start over. Statistics.” [chuckle] And you slow down. So, you’ll find your ways of working through that. Get over it, get past it. Video gives you the ability to send it… Drop it on YouTube, so you can have a YouTube channel.
20:23 Geoff: Very good.
20:24 Russ: You can drop it on Facebook, which is brilliant. You can use it on Instagram, you can use it on… You can use it in a bunch of different forums. So, you take one video that you shoot that’s two to three minutes, and you can use it in two, three, four different social aspects. So, you can reuse the same thing a bunch of different directions. When you see market updates, market update info, you gotta put the info together anyway. Once you shoot the video, now you’ve really ingrained it. Now, when you’re with a buyer, you’ve got it ingrained with you. Now, when you’re with a seller, you’ve got it ingrained in your head. When you’re talking to somebody else that’s new, you’ve got it embedded in you because you’ve practiced it. And the best way to get really good with this information is to practice it and be able to spit it out like that. And then say, “By the way, I have a real estate market update that I do every month. Would you like me to send that to you?”
21:07 Russ: And when you’re meeting new people and adding people to your sphere of influence, and you’re meeting people playing golf and going out and having a drink, or meeting people out socially, things, and playing tennis, and doing the things that you do in life, or sitting, watching a football game or a baseball game, watching the kids play… Somebody says, “How’s the market?” “Hey, great question. By the way, I do a market update every single month, and I can shoot that over to you. Why don’t you give me your info, and I’ll send you a copy of my last one.” And people usually go, “Okay, Russ.” “Great, perfect. Okay, let me get your info,” and I plug their info into my phone, and then I send it to them the next day. So now, not only do I have something they want, but now I deliver something they want that adds value, and I can do that month after month after month. So, this one tool and technique alone, you can use every single month to build your sphere, add value and get people to come to you, because I become the expert.
21:54 Geoff: Should I be looking for… Well, a couple… Two questions, I guess, they’re unrelated. The one, should I be looking for a length in my video?
22:01 Russ: Yeah.
22:03 Geoff: Nobody likes to hear somebody droll on about for 15 minutes on statistics. How long should this be…
22:08 Russ: Totally, totally.
22:09 Geoff: If I was to be ideal?
22:09 Russ: Two minutes.
22:11 Geoff: Two minutes or less.
22:13 Russ: Three minutes maximum. If you’ve got something really interesting going on, something major shifting or something major happening going on, there are big events happening, you’re like, “Hey, by the way, here’s what’s happened over the last three months.” COVID. COVID, like, “Okay, by the way, here’s what was going on before COVID, here’s what’s going on now during COVID, and here’s what’s happened after COVID.” So, you give them a little more context. Sometimes, the context takes a little bit more time. So, you’re gonna start your video off, like, “Hey, I’m Russell, the real estate dude, and here’s the market update for Tampa for September.” And then, you go into the real quick stats. “Here’s the basic stuff. Total number of listings.” And you can have this written up on your board, and you can just point to it. You’re a weatherman, yeah, you’re a weatherman thing. “Here’s what we got a storm front coming in.”[chuckle]
22:58 Russ: So, total number of sales. If you know these two stats, you know what the monthly supply is. Now it starts to make sense, and you’re starting to tell a story. So, you wanna tell a story, and you wanna tell it quick. And you can bust through this information super fast.
23:11 Geoff: Very good. Where do I get the data for this? I know NAR produces stuff for the national level, but where am I getting it for Wylie, Texas or Tampa, Florida?
23:22 Russ: Geoff, that’s a fantastic question. See, you’re not a real estate guy, but you’ve been around enough real estate people, you’re asking good questions. I love that.
23:29 Geoff: I do my best. You know what? I just try. I… [chuckle]
23:31 Russ: It’s really quite… [laughter] You’re just like, sometimes you gotta… You learn the lingo, you hang around a little while, you start…
23:36 Geoff: Well, I have the benefit of ignorance, because then I can ask a question as if I don’t know anything, ’cause I don’t know anything. So, teach me.
23:47 Russ: I can answer your question. I can answer your question as if I don’t know anything. I don’t know anything either, but nobody’s figured it out yet. [laughter]
23:53 Geoff: Fake until you make it, bro. Yeah, yeah.
23:56 Russ: I said to Wendy Forsyth more than once, “You know the monkeys are running the zoo, right?” [chuckle] That’s me being in charge. But yeah, that’s a great question. Almost every board, real estate board, compiles this information. If they don’t compile the information, a lot of the states do. So like say, for example, in Florida, I can go to floridarealtors.org, and they have that information.
24:15 Geoff: Great.
24:16 Russ: Right on Florida realtors. They usually have it under a consumer page, which is weird, but I found it under Consumer Information more than not, and they typically call it market statistics. Easy for me to say, got it that time. Market statistics. So, if you go to Greater Tampa Association Realtors, gtar.org, click on the Consumer button, and then there’s a little drop-down that pops down that says Market Statistics. So, you can go on to most of these sites, most of the state sites, type in “market statistics,” and they will actually have those statistics available. They compile them from the MLSs and so forth. I know they do that in Michigan also. So Michigan-Detroit market, there’s an MLS called Realcomp Then you open up Realcomp, and on the very bottom, on the right-hand side, it says, “Market Statistics,” and it shows you the history of what’s going on in the market. And you just wanna tell people where you’re getting it from. “Here, I got these from Florida Realtors… ”
25:07 Geoff: Sure, yeah.
25:07 Russ: [25:07] ____ MLS, and for what month and what area. Get specific. Where are we talking about here? So that people know what you’re talking about. So, almost every board has that available, and if they don’t, it’s almost always available on a state level too. Or, it’s in your local MLS. So, if you can’t find it, call your local MLS and say, “Where do I find market statistics?” There you go again. “Statistics for the market for last month. Where do I find that?” And they’ll probably be able to tell you where it is. Worst case scenario, you can actually pull it out manually and just say, “Within a 20-mile radius of this area, three-bed, two-bath, two-car garage.” And I can pull the statistics manually. It’s like, “Here’s how many listings there are that fit this criteria within 20 miles of downtown Tampa.” And you can get real specific on that.
25:51 Russ: Say, “By the way, here’s what that house cost last year. Here’s what it costs this year. And here’s how many sold last month.” And tells you what the market supply is for that. So, I had a buyer that’s looking for a three-bed, two-bath, two-car garage. I said, “Here’s what’s going on in the market.” And that point, it’s a 1.7 month supply of homes and three-bed, two-bath, under 300,000, within 20 miles of downtown Tampa. And he’s like, “Wow, that’s not a whole lot, is it?” I’m like, “No, so that means, what we gotta do is… ” And see, just knowing that information and having that market update information available to me gave me the ability to talk to him in a way nobody else would talk to him.
26:24 Geoff: Right, you’re actually helping him make a decision. So, excellent, excellent.
26:27 Russ: Yeah, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Clarity.
26:30 Geoff: I know we could continue talking about this at length. And I think right now I’m seeing a pretty clear action plan of, I get the information, I compile it into consumable information for people that have no idea, like myself, what you’re talking about, with supply of homes. I can put it together in text form, but ideally I can put it together in a quick video update. I could have a PowerPoint next to my head if I wanted to do it like that.
27:00 Russ: Yeah, you could.
27:00 Geoff: Or I could have a whiteboard behind me, however, and then I send it out social media, maybe my website, I have it on email, and then I have it… I could just text it to somebody if I wanted to put it on my YouTube channel or something like that.
27:13 Russ: Totally, absolutely, right?
27:14 Geoff: Cool.
27:15 Russ: And don’t forget the old school snail mail. There are people that are not gonna look at Facebook, they’re not gonna look at… But if you print this up real simple, so I have my sister-in-law who’s a new real estate agent, and I have her put together a little thing, “Hey, by the way, I know it’s been a wild year for everybody, we’re getting into the fall and looking forward to Thanksgiving with the family. And here’s a couple of things you need to know about what’s going on in the market. If you need anything or you wanna know what your house is worth, or what has changed in your market in the last six months since COVID, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.”
27:44 Russ: So she’s got the basic stats on what’s going on in the market, here’s an overview, and while everybody would think the market would stop, it didn’t. It did the exact opposite, and house prices are still driving up. And she tells a little bit of a story and she mails that with a stamp, lick it and stick it, put it in this little blue box, and it goes somewhere else. It’s amazing, it’s a magical tool, and it goes into their… And they always open it ’cause they don’t get mail like that. They open it up, they look at it, and some of those people, they’ll never connect on Facebook, they’ll never open the email, they’re never gonna click on the YouTube link, they’re going to open that, they’re gonna look at it and they’re probably gonna throw it in the garbage, but at least they saw your face and they got some bit of information.
28:18 Geoff: That’s right. Right. Those few seconds are… Yeah, are crucial in staying top of mind, and it is valuable information.
28:26 Russ: Yes, so here’s the thing that we know about working your sphere of influence. The person that’s top of mind, the person that’s their expert, the person that they trust to ask for info is the person they’re gonna call when they’re talking about doing something in real estate. And you gotta be that person, you should be that person. 10% of your sphere of influence should be sending you one deal or referral every year, 10%. So if you don’t have that 10% number, start with this and that number is gonna go through the roof over the next three, four, five, six months. The big key with this one, Geoff, is consistency. Every single month, every single month, every single month, every single month. If you’re gonna do mail, you can mail it every other month or every third month if you want. But you gotta do the video every month because people are gonna rely on it. And for me as a recruiter, I send it to every real estate agent I know, and they’re all like, “Russ, thank you so much for sending that market update, ’cause if you didn’t send that to me, I’d never look it up.” And I’m going… I’m like, “What the… ” It’s like a brain surgeon is saying, “Thanks for telling me how to cut that brain out of there. I would have never looked that up. I would’ve just winged it.” I’m like, “No, no, no, no, no. No winging it.”
29:29 Geoff: Alright, do your homework, put it together, educate yourself and do it consistently. Very good.
29:34 Russ: Basic 101 you need to know.
29:35 Geoff: So maybe that’s a good segue then to just what I wanna wrap up our show with, and this is something I know you could talk at length about, we could do a whole another show on it, but we’re heading into 2021, and it’s a good time to kind of re-evaluate your business and assess how the last year went and think about what I wanna do in the future. So, one of the things that you’ve come to do a lot of, I understand, is kind of mindset coaching. Maybe talk about the mindset that realtors will struggle with and how they might overcome that.
30:08 Russ: Yeah, so a couple of things are really key within the real estate business. Geoff, I think probably most people get into the real estate business and they’ve seen it on TV and they’re like, “I like houses and I like people, and I just wanna look at houses and look at people,” and they do the love it or list it, flip it and flop it, and all this other stuff. And they see those things… And the reality is that’s like after you do the hard part is when you get to do the fun part. But they’re like, “But I just wanna do the fun part, Russ.” And I’m like, “Yeah, so if you wanna do the fun part, you gotta do the part where somebody gets to the point where they trust you enough to call them to be their real estate expert, to be their real estate consultant.” So the mindset shift needs to be, number one, we gotta figure out between now and 2021, how can I simplify my business? That mindset shift 101, I’ve never seen anybody, Geoff, say, “Russ, you know what, my business’ plan is so ridiculously complicated it’s gotta work.” Not once. It’s like, more simple you can make it, the better.
31:09 Russ: That’s why I’m talking about this market update because this is literally the simplest thing in the world. You need to know this info anyway. So get this info, collate the info, put it out to your people and just do that on a monthly basis and say, “Where else can I put this?” Simplify your business. Stop looking and chasing for the new shiny object and go, “What is the simplest, smartest thing I can do every single month that works?” And just do that, and do it consistently. So from a mindset perspective, two things I wanna make sure you’re clear of, number one, you can make way more money than you need to have a really great life doing this real estate business. Start to believe that, it changes your actions. And number two, the story where everybody says, “Well, Russ, but you know what, if I’m gonna make that kind of money, I’m gonna have to work 60 and 70 and 80 hours a week. And you hear these people talking through the really… Like, “Boy, I work 70 hours a week, I work seven days a week.” And my response back is, “You’re an idiot.” I’m like, “Sorry, did I say that out loud?”
32:06 Geoff: Well, they’re not helping themselves out because the life that you’re hoping to… Yeah, you’re working to work. That’s all you’re doing, you’re working just to exist to keep on working and to keep… Do to do things that you hate doing all the time. And, hopefully, work is a means to a better life, not to an end itself.
32:25 Russ: Listen, I love what I do, but I also love the fact that I can do it and then I can stop doing it, I can do a bunch of other things.
32:30 Geoff: Turn it off, yeah.
32:31 Russ: Yeah, turn it off, right. So if your goal isn’t to say… One of the things you need to shift in your mentality is, “I’m going to make more money than I need and be able to invest and do the things I need to do for my family, and be able to take the vacations, be able to take the downtime and shut the thing off and have the backup people so I can really shut it off. And I’m going to be focused on working 40 hours a week or less for the next year.” If you set that goal and you fail, you only… “Oh, horror, I worked 45 or 50.” If you don’t put some type of governor on this thing, this business will take over 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
33:05 Geoff: Right, right.
33:07 Russ: Your mindset shift is, “I’m going to work really effectively for a very short period of time, work really hard, and then shut it down, light switch.” You’re working full throttle or you shut it off. Not this, “Oh, I’m kind of picking away at stuff all the time, all day,” and you feel like you’re [33:24] ____.
33:26 Geoff: This happens in upper level management. There’s so many articles and things written that the people that work 60 hours a week, most of the time are not getting anything more done than people working 40 hours a week. And I know for myself that, it’s certain whether it’s within my job or a job that I’m doing and I have other jobs, if I am limited to 40 hours a week, I work way more efficiently than if I’m working more ’cause I know, the end of the day comes, I gotta be done with whatever I’m doing. And it definitely makes you think smarter about your work.
34:02 Russ: Mindset shift is I wanna work like the day before vacation.[laughter]
34:08 Geoff: That’s great. That’s really good. I like that.
34:09 Russ: Do you know how much stuff you get done the day before vacation? You’re like, “Get everything done, get everything cleared off your plate. Whatever’s not done, the heck with it. I’m out.” You’re being cut off from the planet. So for me, if you say, “Hey, Russ. What’s your ideal version of a vacation?” Me on a bicycle in Oregon doing 260 miles with zero Wi-Fi. That’s my idea of a vacation. Me in a forge with a blacksmith, making a sword for four days with my phone broken in half. Throw it in the forge, melt it down, and four days later, I’ll go get a new one. That’s my idea. Just…
34:40 Geoff: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Wait a second. This is… Do you… Forging swords. Do you do re-enactments and that kind of stuff?
34:48 Russ: No, no.
34:49 Geoff: What’s the sword forging?
34:52 Russ: I smash metal pieces into knives and swords and cleavers, and all kinds of…
34:58 Geoff: Is that a separate YouTube channel that you have?[laughter]
35:02 Russ: Yes, I call it Russ’ Forage and Fire. No. I just, I do stuff for fun.
35:06 Geoff: It needs to be. It sounds like it.[laughter]
35:09 Russ: I won’t tell you about building 50 different bass guitars. I won’t tell you about that. This is… So here’s me. This here is pretty good stuff. This is me, right? This is my man-bag, right? [chuckle]
35:21 Geoff: I’m looking at my other monitor here.
35:23 Russ: Yeah, there we go. This is my man-bag. This is my… I built this for my Mac. And I did the wood work, and I did the leather work, and a lot of stuff…
35:29 Geoff: That is fantastic.
35:31 Russ: Yeah, so I got all kinds of stuff.
35:33 Geoff: That’s why you need to hear this. So you can make handbags, man-bags and swords.
35:39 Russ: People, yeah, man-bags. I love that. It’s like, people go, “Russ, how do you do that?” I’m like, “You get in. You work your butt off and you shut it down. Like 7 o’clock, man.” Are there things that I have to do after 7:00? Yeah, but typically, if I can’t get done by 7:00, it probably should go on the next day. And if you start telling your buyers and you start telling your sellers, “Hey, by the way, I’m available Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00, Monday through Friday and here’s why,” shift your business. Start telling people, “Here’s why. Because everybody’s available. Mortgage people are available. Title people are available. Insurance people are available. I can get more stuff done way more efficiently. If you reach out to me after 5:00 or 6:00, leave me a message. If I can get back to you, I will. If not, worst-case scenario, I’ll catch you first thing in the morning.” Now I’ve got the evening off.
36:21 Russ: If we’re negotiating a contract, I’m on until work done. I will be sitting in my driveway drinking wine until midnight ’cause that’s how you make it till midnight when [36:32] ____. I don’t know. That’s like realtor code 101, right? If you have wine, we’ll negotiate all night if we need to. So you gotta find your way to do that, right, but you gotta start setting up some parameters. Set up some boundaries. You’re gonna set up boundaries with your family. You’re setting up boundaries with your spouse. You’re setting up boundaries with your buyers and sellers. If you tell them what to expect, most of them get it, right? They’re like, “Russ, how do you do all this other stuff?” Oh, I don’t watch TV. And what do you do after 7 o’clock? I don’t have children, so I go out and smash stuff in the garage and make wood dust and make a racket until the neighbors are upset. That’s what I do. [laughter]
37:07 Geoff: Very good. Very good. Well, we probably better wrap things up, and we will definitely have you back on the show, come the New Year’s, but any last words as people head into 2021? I know it’s not like December yet, but we’ve got one more show left, so go ahead.
37:27 Russ: Here’s the deal, right? This business is the most amazing business in the world. It’s one of the few businesses in the world where you can literally write your own ticket and make it happen. And if you believe it’s possible and you say, “I’m not gonna stop until I’m living the life and living the dream that I want and I’m gonna create the business that I want,” you don’t stop until you find the people and surround yourself with the right people so that you can make that happen. There are people out there that’ll help guide you and teach you and train you and help you learn how to live the life of your dreams, make more money than you’ve ever thought about making and do it in less hours so you can have a life. Right? It’s not all about money. It’s what you get to do with the money. And if you don’t have time to do this stuff with the money, the experience of life is diminished, and that’s not what we’re in it for, right? So you gotta get in, make a bunch of money, have a bunch of fun with it and enjoy the ride and have some control over it. Think like that, and you’re gonna figure out a way to make it happen. And if you can’t, reach out to us we’ll help you any way we can.
38:22 Geoff: Awesome. Russ, thank you so much. I really appreciate you sharing both of those kind of different worlds of things, and like I said, we’ll have you back on for sure. And I hope you have a good Thanksgiving as well, and I’ll talk to you…
38:37 Russ: We can’t do gatherings of more than six people in Michigan now as of today.
38:42 Geoff: In Detroit?
38:42 Russ: Yeah, but you can have 30 people at a funeral. So we’re having a funeral for our turkey.
38:47 Geoff: For your turkey? [chuckle]
38:47 Russ: Yeah, may he rest in gravy.[laughter]
38:53 Geoff: That’s right. And everybody needs to bring potluck to pass.
38:56 Russ: Yes, totally, totally.
38:58 Geoff: There you go. Alright, well, you do have a good Thanksgiving.