Since accepting the Leasing manager position at the brand new Engel & Volkers at The Domain, 2 questions are consistently asked by my budding new agents. First: “How do I farm an area, which area, does it work?” Second: Why do a lease if it lots of work for a couple hundred dollars, is it worth it?”
I know what you’re thinking… Thats more than 2 questions. True, but the point is: How do I farm? Why lease?
Here is a story that is a nice lesson for investors and agents alike in how leasing has turned into real money.
The Joe Story
Names and addresses have been changed to protect the savvy and the successful!
As a young agent I was eager to get new clientele. I was full time, had lots of time on my hands, and no real connections or clients just a love for architecture, design, and helping people. Farming and leasing were 2 pillars my sales and leasing manager at the time pounded into my head every other day at the office.
These are 2 proven activities to cut your teeth on contracts, client services, and negotiation.
78746 was my self designated farm area. My mother lived in the neighborhood and there was a lot of investor and developer activity in the area and I genuinely enjoyed servicing the charming homes and authentic neighbors that lived in them.
On weekends I would walk up and down every single street and put my business card in the door seal. I had received hundreds of cards as a welcoming package from my previous brokerage and I figured why not. I can’t get rid of all of these cards but Ill try. I especially focused on properties that had the potential to be “flipped” or remodeled and FISBOS (For sale by owner properties).
Leaving your card in the door seal is key. You can’t put postage in an individual’s mail box without the proper postage as that is a violation of the U.S. postal code, but if you put something directly in front of the person who is entering the domicile, it demands their attention. The next person to enter the domicile hopefully is an unrepped buyer window shopping or the owner. Don't wait for them to call you but always call them first. Take initiative and ask for their business.
FISBO’s and FLISBO’s are great prospects because if a property has been sitting for a while, which was rare in 2012, you can call up and offer your services to assist and actually help an individual who is eagerly looking to sell or lease his property to better himself.
One particular property on Windfall St. was a beautiful 1930’s white bungalow. A “For Lease by Owner” sign hand scribed, stood boldly in the front yard. I walked up to the rustic porch and stuck my card firmly in the door seal. The next morning I opened my computer and went to the Travis County Appraisers District’s website and looked up the owner- Joe Terrill. I gave him a call. He did not answer, so I left him a voice mail.
“Hello Joe,my name is John Chriss and I noticed that you are trying to lease your beautiful property at 1338 Windflow St. I’m not sure if you've noticed but I left my card at your property and would love to speak with you on how I can offer my services to assist you. Thanks!”
A day passed and Joe returned my call.
“Hello John, I did receive your card and I appreciate your call. I actually am good friends with your mother and we have met before!”
I couldn't believe it, in my eagerness to hunt down a new client I had failed to put 2 and 2 together that this was THE Joe Terrill from Dallas that had been a family acquaintance my entire life.
“Lets go to lunch and talk,” he said.
Needless to say I got the lease listing, and a week later I leased the property.
After spending more time with Joe he disclosed to me the story of his properties… Yes properties PLURAL! In fact Joe owned the home to the right of 1338 and also to the left of 1338.
1339 needed to be leased some 6 months later and I got that one done. A couple of hundred dollars in my pocket and barely enough to cover my ABOR dues due that week.
Joe had bought these three properties in 1969 while at The University of Texas and after working long nights, he saved up enough to buy 1338, then 1339, and eventually 1337.
All of these were acquired through owner financing as he didn't have the appropriate credit to take out a bank loan. His original plan was to build his dream home by combining all three lots, but as most of our plans do in life, they changed.
He instead leased the three properties for over 30 years, collecting income the entire time, little by little, month by month.
Joe called me some months later and declared:
“You know John,I missed the hot sellers market in 1999 when people were writing offers on the hoods of their cars and Im not going to miss out again this time! Ive been approached by countless agents and developers over the years but due to my confidence in you and your successful previous leases with me, its time to sell and Ive decided to use you!”
I was flabbergasted, ecstatic!
We listed for over 7 figures, and 3 months later, we seller financed to a developer.
Not only did that single deal launch and perpetuate my real estate career, it gave me access to other investors across town who wanted their own “Joe Story.”
Joe is now retired on a beach somewhere drinking a cocktail with an umbrella in it or whatever retired people do these days and me, Im still in real estate servicing both buyers and sellers, lessors and lessees in an attempt to one day when the timing is right acquire my own “Joe Story!”
For more info on John Chriss visit www.JohnChriss.evusa.com