#170 Mail-Right Show With Special Guest Kathleen Bartos
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This is a series of special interviews with successful up and coming real estate agents
Kathleen Bartos is a single mom, retired elementary teacher, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and your realtor who last year sold 8 million worth of property in 2017 using Zillow, phone calling and her local community networking activities .
This is a series of exclusive interviews with successful up and coming real estate agents where we discuss what has worked and what hasn’t worked for them connected online marketing.
We also give some actionable advice during the show connected to their online marketing plans for 2019.
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the Mail Right show. This is episode 170. You have got the Jonathan. Then what you haven’t got my co-host Robert. He’s flying out today and he joins us. But we’ve also got a great special guest we got Kathleen Bartos joining us who’s a real estate agent. Kathleen, would you quickly like to introduce yourself to the listeners?
Kathleen: Hi I’m Kathleen Bartos from Century 21 Deanna. I live in the suburbs of. Cleveland. And I have an office in Elyria which is outside of Cleveland. And an office in North Wilton, which is outside of Cleveland.
Jonathon: Oh that’s great. So how long have you been a real estate agent Kathleen?
Kathleen: Years, I was an elementary school teacher prior to this.
Jonathon: Alright. This was before you changed your career.
Jonathon: So what have you personally found the biggest challenges so far in your real estate career Kathleen?
Kathleen: I think dealing with banks right now is the biggest issue. Financing is the biggest issue. I have probably 10 clients right now. Who you know they’re not that well off they all want to purchase a house as. Let’s say under fifty thousand. And can’t find a bank that will loan it to them. They say that’s not worth their while.
Jonathon: Well you know banks are interesting people to do business aren’t they?
Kathleen: Yep. So houses are supposed to be purchased with cash. And like well not everyone has the cash and the people who can’t afford those houses you’re not loaning the money to them. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Sorry had to get that out.
Jonathon: So when it comes to online marketing what have you tried? What hasn’t worked for you? What’s your attitude to online marketing? And also, what do you what is the method for getting new clients that’s been most successful for you so far?
Kathleen: Well my online marketing a lot of people doesn’t like Zillow but I do. I think they’re fabulous. I use them but I have a page in technology. So I do a lot of the my marketing myself. I’ll do a little funny videos and post them. And blog posts and try to keep something to keep my name in the air in their minds. Well they’re you know maybe they’re not even interested in financing real estate right now. But you know they will be a loan they will when they are. They’re going to think of my name because I’ve been knocking on their door.
Jonathon: Yeah we can we own the presence. You know you’re keeping yourself from your possible client base. So I use it to use Zillow quite a lot. So yeah I’m going to start it off with them and how much. Are you one of their premier agents on the Zillow platform?
Kathleen: Yes I am and I have a five out of five star rating. I started out with just one hundred dollars one zip code. And I now only spend three hundred dollars and I have several zip codes. And the office that I work for they also do Zillow so I’m getting leads from what they have purchased as well. I also get a lot of for sale by owners. By being on Facebook. Now go to the Facebook store area.
And some people post their listings in there. They’re for sale by owners in there. And so I will respond to them. Ask if I can come see the house blah, blah, blah. Bring a buyer blah, blah, blah. Next thing I know I’m listing the house.
Jonathon: Alright that’s a great way of using Facebook. So with Zillow what have been some of the challenges that you’ve personally found using Zillow?
Kathleen: Yeah the biggest challenge is that people don’t, the average person does not realize. The average buyer or seller doesn’t realize that a little doesn’t. automatically update immediately. It’s not live. So you know they’ll call you. They’ve been searching through Zillow and they’ve got these four houses they want to see. And all four of them are already under contract.
But it doesn’t say that on Zillow. Well it doesn’t because it doesn’t automatically update. So I make sure I send them out my app my Century 21 app. It’s branded to me and it’s connected directly to the MLS. So there aren’t any of those issues where they find a house and here it’s under contract.
Jonathon: You know I hear that a lot from my agents that it’s a problem. So also do you find that you’ve got a ready response really very quickly to the leads that you get from Zillow for them to turn out to be effective?
Kathleen: Absolutely, absolutely. I have found if I can’t reach them within a half an hour it’s probably going to be a waste of time. You have to do it within five minutes. I mean I usually do. And nine times out of 10 that works for me if I don’t. If I can’t get to it right away they’re gone. They’ve already moved into another house. They’ve already emailed another listing another agent now. They’ve already made another appointment. So you have to do it within that five minute time.
Jonathon: How do you open your compensation> Have you found there’s a particular script to different opening to these conversations? With some practice you’ve kind of worked out is the best way to do that initial opening of the conversation.
Kathleen: Yes, I’ve revamped that a number of times and I’ll probably continue to do that to the rest of my career. You never know. Every day it changes you know. Today I had a call from someone about a listing that I have on East 270. Excuse me. Sorry about that. And that house is already under contract. So when she called me and asked about it I know answered and said that it’s under contract but that I could find her another house just like it maybe even better.
So you know give me your information I’ll text you my business card. And I’ll send you my app. I did that. We have three appointments set up for tomorrow.
Jonathon: Alright. So basically you got to learn to like think on your feet by screen and grab some.
Kathleen: Absolutely, Absolutely. When she first called me I was like oh well it’s under contract. And then we hung up. And afterwards I went what did you just do? What did you just do? That was somebody who was looking for a house. So I called her back and said. Let me introduce myself again and said if you’re interested in a property like that I can find you one. And that’s when we connected them.
So yeah you have to think very quickly on your feet.
Jonathon: So if you do your area used to you know in a lot of areas where a lot of agents are operating. The biggest problem, one of the biggest factors is a shortage of supply of homes. Is it a similar situation in your area?
Kathleen: Yes it is. It’s absolutely a seller’s market here. In fact in one town is very popular. It’s called Amherst. It’s like a country little town. That everybody wants Amherst and maybe one house will come up. For sale and a hundred people are there looking at it and they have you know 15 offers on it. I mean it’s a fight or whatever. You know you’re fighting for the place that you want to live.
Jonathon: So what about the other areas. Are they of a similar situation?
Kathleen: Yeah some have slowed down a tad and I think it’s because of the time of year. One area Parma in particular a suburb of Cleveland that is more of a buyer’s market now because there’s more houses on the market. Investors when they’re swamped and flooded it. And now we’ve got a bunch of clips. To sell but most of the other places are all. They’re. fighting over one house is for sale. The last five listings that I’ve had four out of five sold for over asking.
Jonathon: Right. So I know, what’s the average time for property being on the market?
Kathleen: In my area it’s about less than 60 days.
Jonathon: Wow so it’s still pretty hot isn’t it?
Kathleen: Yeah, yeah, and yeah. To me it slowed down like so much and I know you start getting nervous when you your phone’s not ringing as much as it was before. And you have time to think you’re like oh if I have time to think something’s wrong.
Jonathon: Well that’s real estate for you but you know the time just goes the whole day just disappears doesn`t it?
Kathleen: Yeah. Yes. Yes it does.
Jonathon: So have you got any insight how you deal with it because it’s difficult to plan to keep on playing with objective isn`t it? Do you know ways of dealing with that?
Kathleen: Yes, what I have done is I map out each day. And it in the morning from 9a.m to 11:00a.m every single day is lead generation for me. I am making phone calls. I am whether it’s cold calls or you know reminder calls or you know just calling cold customers. Or closed customers and trying to keep my name and stuff in their memory. I do that every single day from nine to eleven. After I do the calling then I do my Facebook posts, and Twitter posts, and Instagram posts. I do all my mark all that marketing that time to.
Jonathon: Oh that`s wonderful.
Kathleen: I schedule every day from 9 to 11. I cannot change that.
Jonathon: Now so you probably from bitter experience have learned that if you don’t do that the leads just die down don`t they?
Kathleen: Absolutely. You have to, you have to be going after them. And what was hard. What is hard for me is I have a heart of a teacher. Not a heart of a Salesman. So the cold calls are difficult for me. But I have learned that if you don’t keep at it and push and be aggressive you’re not going to get any sales. You have to be that way. And you know if they don’t like it they can find another agent that`s not like that.
But the majority of people want you to stay after them and say Oh yes. Oh look at she found my house. And I wasn’t even thinking that I really wanted it right now.
Jonathon: Alright. We are going to go for our break folks. We will be back and we will be having a further discussion with Kathleen about what her plans into 2019 are. And we’ll be diving a bit deeper. We’ll be back in a few moments’ folks.
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Jonathon: We’re coming back. Robert`s not with me. He’s disappeared. He’s on a flight, on a business flight. I wish him well. He will be back next week though. But we’ve had a good chat with Kathleen. I think we’ve covered some of the things. So when it comes to your database. First of all do you have a database? And do you think you or you’ve been utilizing it effectively?
Kathleen: Yes I have a database. Couldn’t live without it. I use it every single day. I add things to it. Silly little things to it like what a client, what their preferred coffee is. Things like that and they start to think oh my gosh Kathleen remembered. The kind of coffee I like, can you believe that? Well then she’s going to start telling you he’s going to start telling other people and then. Word of mouth is the best in this business. Absolute best.
Jonathon: I totally agree with you there. It’s really strange that you bring that up actually Kathleen because I was listening to a podcast myself yesterday when I was driving and it’s a very large podcast. School social Examiner and The Social Examiner podcast. And they were talking they had a guest who’s an expert about getting word of mouth; promote yourself through word of mouth. And they said they just published a book where they were talking about you know just providing average service will not generate word of mouth.
They had a process and I’ll make sure that in the show notes folks that it’s in our show notes this book. And it gives a kind of five step of the mind steps that companies have utilized to generate clientele and it can be applied to real estate and real estate agents. About getting client, getting people to actually talk about you in obviously positive ways. And what you’ve just said is one of the areas they talk about is. That those small things build up.
So do you use a CRM customer management system to put all these notes in actually?
Kathleen: Yes. When I first started I was with a boutique a small brokerage. And then I went to Keller Williams. And now I’m with Century 21. And when I was with Keller Williams I used Market leader. But now I use zap and it is just remarkable. It links every aspect together.
Jonathon: I haven`t heard of zap. Actually is that supplied from the brokerage?
Kathleen: Yes and Century 21. It`s actually what we use for our websites and what we use for our database. It attaches and links everything together. So like when I send out my app. As soon as the person opens the app it asks them for some information put them right into my database.
Jonathon: Alright. So what’s your attitude about using the brokerage tools? Have you considered really trying to utilize your own tools rather than relying on the brokerage tools? It’s a typical one though isn’t it because most brokerages will charge you have to pay a certain fee a monthly fee and that mean that they provides these tools don’t they. So if you don’t utilize them you think it’s money wasted. But on the other hand you are in a kind of joint business arrangement with your brokerage aren’t you. But fundamentally you represent yourself aren`t you?
Kathleen: Right. Right. That’s where it gets a little confusing for your clients because they’re like don’t you work for Century 21? No I work with them.
Jonathon: But their business partners aren`t they?
Kathleen: Business partners yes. Personally having the background and technology. I look for a brokerage that’s going to give me as much education and technology as possible. I want them to be paying for it. Now when I first started I was paying for everything. Then I learned a little bit more and when I went to Keller Williams .I realized, hey wait a minute they pay for this stuff. I just give them a little fee and they pay for this stuff.
And then I went Century 21 and am like yeah I don’t have to pay a fee. They’re paying for all of this. So you just have to make sure that you’re staying on top of it using these tools. The tools don’t do any good if you’re not using them. If you’re not utilizing them.
Jonathon: So linked to what we were saying in the first off the show. How much, how many leads do you think come from Zillow? And how many come from other activities that you do? In percentage terms.
Kathleen: I would say probably 60/40. 60 is word of mouth, 40 Zillow right. Yeah. And I like to do everything with humor. I mean obviously there are some clients like an 80 year old client. I wouldn’t use this tag line but with most of my clients I do use this tag line. I tell them to pass around my name like the slut in high school.
Jonathon: Well that`s memorable. That will be suitable for some people thought but I’m sure you could make a judgment call.
Kathleen: I would make the call on that one.
Jonathon: That is a joke but I can see why you use it. But that one was a judgment call. We did the spokesman for the so there we go. But in English so there we are. So what are your plans in 2019 because this time of year it tends to traditionally do slowed down a bit. But you should be utilizing your time to be planning out what your strategy to. First of all do you think you can have a better year in 2019 than you had in 2018?
We will start off there. What do you think you are going to be able to achieve in 2019?
Kathleen: Well I think that I’m going to be able to double my sales in 2019.
Jonathon: There we go. Go for it. How are you going to achieve that? Any idea?
Kathleen: Well I doubled from 2006. 2017- 2018 I doubled. So now am going to double in 2018 to 2019.
Jonathon: So if you don’t want to tell us it`s no problem. How many homes did you sell last year then?
Kathleen: Well It’s 8 million.
Jonathon: You did really well. You have been active haven`t you?
Kathleen: Yes I have. I told you pass my name around.
Jonathon: So what, you’re looking to double that. So in your mind is it just doubling down doing more what you’re doing? Or are you looking to bringing a system to help you oversee the brokerage provide resources? But I don’t know if you’re going to have your own assistant or what. But what is your, how you going to do. What’s your strategy to doubling and how are you going to deal with the increase in everything linked to doubling that up?
Kathleen: During the slowdown time you know during Christmas time and stuff like that I’m going to be working my sphere fervently. I’m going to be calling everybody and asking them all to refer me to someone else. Think about please think about stop and think right now. There’s probably someone on your street or in your friends or your relatives that they’re interested in buying or selling real estate. Could you pass along my name to like two of them just this week?
That would be a really big help. I think I’m going to do that. And I’m also going to make some more connections with local businesses like salons. I have a couple of salons in Strongsville here. That’s when there’s when the stylist gives my information and I get a call from that person. When that person buys they get a gift certificate from that salon. And so that’s when we try to widen that so it’s not just women.
I want to widen it so that you know bigger businesses. You know maybe Wal-Mart, maybe home depot whatever. I would like to expand on that. And that’s my major goal for 2019 is to expand on my local business co-ops.
Jonathon: Have you considered having your own website that’s separate from your brokerage website? And have you considered looking at Facebook advertising as well?
Kathleen: I already do Facebook advertising. And I do have my own website. I had it prior to coming to Century 21. It’s kathleenshome.com. And yes I do like having that separate so that people understand that I work with Century 21. And our values are the same. But you can find me here. Or here or here. Just like a lot of people believe they still have that mindset that. OK, so the first question they ask you when they find out you’re a realtor is. Oh so where is your territory?
We really don’t have territories much anymore. Now it’s like I tell people hey if you own it, can sell it or want to buy it in the state of Ohio. I will come to you.
Jonathon: Well you know. There is this to me carefully. You know I think you you’re right. But we were talking to our agent based in Houston in Texas. And you know a lot of our agents say they find it helpful to niche. And they do that by selecting specific areas where they live in or have a lot of experience. And they you know in a competitive market one of the things that I found personally you know following is to find a niche. But you know it depends on the circumstance and the agent you know. But you know some are agents are great. Like for example you know you’ve sold.
You were busy last year. Sounds like you’re going to be busy in 2019. So it really depends doesn`t it?
Kathleen: Yes it does. Well it depends on the agent’s attitude. I believe how many I have come across that I can’t get them to call me back. Or how many people how many clients I get because they’ve said oh my goodness you responded to me at 1:30 in the morning. And gave me an answer within 15 minutes I’ve been waiting. I have I’ve been waiting for two weeks from my realtor to get that information.
I just sold three hundred thousand dollar house to a couple for that exact reason. 2:30 in the morning he had requested a comparative market analysis on a specific property. I happened to be up. I did it emailed him right back. And then I spoke to him the very next morning. And I sold a house within two weeks.
Jonathon: That’s the way to do it. We’re going to wrap up this interview now folks. And Kathleen’s been really gracious with her time. Obviously with the amount of housing she’s selling. You can tell that she’s been busy. So how can people find out more about you and what you’re up to? What are the best ways and the best channels to find Kathleen?
Kathleen: You can go to my website kathleenshome.com or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can call me at 440-794-1786.
Jonathon: We do have a lot of agents listening to this show. So if you’re looking for somebody in Kathleen`s area to call a client and refer it to I’m sure Kathleen will be available to have a conversation with you and make a business arrangement of you.
Kathleen: Oh absolutely.
Jonathon: All right. We’re going to wrap up this for this week. Hopefully Robert will be back next week folks and we will be having over another series in our special interviews with up and coming real estate agents. All we’ll be talking about the latest technology that can help you get more success for yourself and your family in your real estate career into 2019. We’re back next week folks bye.
Here’s Kathleen’s Contact Details
Century 21 DeAnna