Bonus Module Interview with Kelli O’Keefe Part 2

by | Mar 6, 2019

That’s three techniques right there on one transaction. That’s the kind of stuff I preach. Leverage your license in multiple ways. I promise you’ll be grateful you did. Instead of just doing a linear one-for-one, you get multiple commissions per client deal.

Something else I really want to commend you on is for coming up with an accurate After Repair Value. If priced accurately, the property will sell quickly within 30 days. That comes back to your integrity. When you are authentic, genuine and sincere, the world is your oyster. It will open up and people will refer you to others. You’re doing it the honorable, ethical way. But if you don’t, the opposite will happen. It’s a small, small world out there. Your reputation means everything. Particularly in the world of investing, you know?

Kelli: I totally agree. And that’s why I’m happy Keller Williams is offering this now. I do try to mentor some agents, but time is an issue for me. That’s why I was glad you were coming here. I sent everybody.

In terms of integrity, keep something else in mind. When I partner and team with contractors and electricians and plumbers, I tell them, “Be kind to my investors on your pricing.” Because over time it’s going to create a long-term relationship. They’re going to make more money over time by taking care of my clients and being kind on charges. They’ll make a lot more money.

Develop a team of vendors and contractors who are going to work with integrity. If they’re not getting it done and they’re not showing up and they’re not doing it, it’s going to reflect upon you. If my contractor as a partner is taking three or four months longer, who’s responsible for putting the investor and contractor together? Make sure when you’re doing this, you assemble a good team.

A lot of people know contractors and electricians. If I need something at Keller Williams, I have my front desk say, “Hey, Kelli’s looking for something.” Other agents will be more than happy to refer people to you. Use those resources at your brokerage.

When people ask why I don’t have my own office, I tell them I really like Keller Williams. Keller Williams lets me do my thing. You know, I have my purchase and sales. They’re not a company that has to micromanage you, which allows you to do a more open business, too.

You have to develop your own style. For example, to help when people ask about that buyer agent bonus I charge, I say, “Look, I’m going to hunt through many properties. We’re going to make several offers. We’re going to do all this. We’re not going to get paid for luck.” On that one property we say yes to, that we get and we close, I’ll take $1,500. When you budget it in that way, nobody says no. So these are things you develop when you’re figuring out how to do this for yourself.

Gary: What an excellent point. Okay, I want to transition now to talk about location. I have students from all over North America, literally coast to coast. California to New Jersey, all the way up into New Hampshire, Maine and up into Canada, Montreal, Toronto and all the way down into Florida. Everybody is wondering about their marketplace. And I’m telling you, we’ve done this in Dayton, Ohio, where the average home price is only $70,000 and we’ve done it out in the San Francisco Bay area where sometimes there’s an average home price of $1.3 million. The fact is wherever you live, every community in North America has investor properties. People are paying rent to somebody. It might as well be you.

So Kelli, describe a little bit about where you are. And maybe how that has affected your strategy? Or did you use a strategy in any particular way?

Kelli: Well to be honest with you, I don’t listen to the news. I don’t listen to the trends. Has the foreclosure market here reduced a bit? Yes. Which makes investors actually come back to the marketplace? What happened is some of them overpaid for properties, worried they weren’t going to get the deals. Here in New England, I have to be honest with you, the inventory is a little less. But because the market has gone up, everybody is selling their house. So there’s actually inventory, but with regular sellers instead of investors.

But if you hunt and find, there are still foreclosures. There are still estate sales. Each week someone on my team sends out probate letters and we get an average of 2-3 each week. As an investor you want to find properties off-market.

The market here now is very strong for selling. I don’t know if it’s a result of the TV shows or whatever, but in my investor group there’s an average of 6-7 new people each month wanting to get into investment. You’ll find engineers are a very strong investment-savvy profession. Some people will want to get into wholesaling. Don’t be afraid to talk to them.

Whether the house prices are only $70,000, or $1.5 million, there are people willing to invest and they’ll do it. Don’t listen to the real estate market ups-and-downs. Go out and you will find it. If you work hard enough, there’s a deal there and you’ll have investors that want to buy. Like I said, it’s the new retirement plan, because a lot of people want to quit their jobs. They want to ride around and look at real estate. They want to flip homes. That’s their new dream.

Gary: You and I talked about this topic before. I love my little letter. It’s worked wonders for me over the years and I’ve started to share it with the students. Now it’s really gone viral. I’m teaching in new areas only to find agents saying, “Hey, I got your letter from somebody up in New Jersey who already took your course. He said it’s a great letter.” So our MLS only gives us part of the inventory for our investors. But on the flip or resale, it makes sense to list the property because I can usually get a lot more money for the current owner. You’re still servicing your buyers.

And I remember years ago when I turned off my TV once and for all, too.

Now I have to admit that last Thursday when I was doing a webinar in Massachusetts and the Patriots were getting ready to clobber the Steelers, it was the first time I’d turned on the TV in two years. But all it does is mess with your mind. The news has a horrible habit of getting people into a negative mindset. I don’t care what the economy does. I’m out there every day buying and knocking doors down. And I know you’re doing the same thing.

So let me ask you this. You mentioned going to the investor clubs. A lot of people are always wondering how you actually do this, Kelli. Could you expand on one of your techniques? Have you done your own workshops, for example? Maybe something you’re proud of that you’ve developed or taken another idea from someone else and gotten innovative. Is there something you can think of that might resonate with people here?

Kelli: I have done hundreds and hundreds of transactions and my spin is this. I partner with a property manager who I invite to our classroom at Keller Williams to lead training on property management. He gets paid for his time, and I get connected to investors from the investment groups who want to attend the training.

I stand up and say, “I’m an investment specialist. If you’re new, I’ll mentor you. If you’re seasoned, I’ll help you. We hunt properties.” The key as a realtor is that I can give additional advice. Investors are great people but they always want the deal. They want something that somebody else doesn’t have. So I let it be known that I don’t invest. I’m not competing against my investors. As a realtor, you’ll get the first look.

This goes back to integrity and reputation. If you do invest, don’t tell them. If you do get a property, they’re going to think you’re going to take the deal out from under them. They want the deal. They want the inside “in.” So don’t compete against them. I do very well with my income not doing investments.

The beauty is honestly I can partner people. They use their money. I get paid. Their money is at risk, mine isn’t. I list the property on MLS. I get my commission. Honestly, I have no risk other than being the realtor. So the thing is I’m telling you to get out there and find out where the investors are.

If it means going to an auction on the side of the street to meet people you should. I’ve met some people at auctions where I tell them, “Instead of wasting your time at the auction—because if the property’s in the old seller’s name, it still means the bank is going to buy it back today—let me help you. Instead of you chasing auctions, let me put you on MLS. Let’s meet. Let’s talk.”

I mean I’m not a salesperson. I don’t like to push myself on people. Just have conversations. I’ve picked up a lot of businesses and commercial properties by stopping and talking to people. You know, and just listening. Then you build rapport and your reputation. It’s a small business. I get calls from realtors looking for renovated properties all the time because of the reputation of what I do with my investors.

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