I quit my job as a mortgage broker in July 2009. Working for someone else really wasn’t my cup of tea and I knew for a long time that starting my own business was what I wanted to do. I learned an awful lot in that job; both good and bad but most importantly a lot about how to sell.
Just to let you know, I quit my job without a business plan, I’d never sold a house in my life and I had no name. Literally, I had an idea, and that was it. As a mortgage broker, I looked after 4 or 5 estate agents and worked from their offices, so my knowledge about the industry was pretty good. I wasn’t a complete noob.
In two months, with great help from John New Creative, I’d created a brand that I knew would stand out in the market place, I’d put together an offering that was 100% upfront and beneficial to customers with no hidden agenda and at a lower price than the competition. The idea was always to give more, with less risk to them and at a fairer price. I wanted to work hard and really earn the commission I would be paid.
Mr Green was born on 15th September 2009. I put an ad in the local mags and paper, I rang all my contacts and I had 20,000 leaflets printed (it may have been more than that because there were boxes and boxes of the things).
By the 1st October, I had my first two properties on. My first valuation took me 4 hours to prepare for (and the property was already on the market!). The guy liked my honesty and said my approach was very different. This was probably because I had absolutely n0 idea what a valuation currently consisted of, other than pitching for the business.
I walked a serious amount of miles delivering leaflets those first months. Between September and Christmas 2009, I did a few viewings, got a few more properties on but they were overpriced and couldn’t shift them. I had spent a lot of money on everything and was beginning to panic. (as you do when you experience things for the first time).
I thought business was going to be hard, but I was really naive. I’d never done this before, so how hard it actually is, was a bit of a surprise. People don’t like dealing with you unless you’re established. I lost the majority of my valuations in the first 6 months.
I agreed my first sale in January 2010. Full asking price and within about 2 hours of having the contract signed. Happy days! That property wasn’t my first completion. I had to sell it 3 times because the vendor couldn’t find somewhere and buyers kept moving on!! 6 months of frustration!
I agreed my second property a few weeks later. Been on the market with Palmer Snell (Countrywide) for 16 weeks (ish) and they hadn’t had a viewing. I sale agreed that place in under a week. Really, really nice couple. I was getting in to my stride. My key skills really are in dealing with people. Put 10 people in a room having a big row and I’ll have them calmed down pretty quick. Vendor agreed their purchase through Palmer Snell, which was quite funny. If they hadn’t heard about Mr Green before, they had now. Palmer Snell entirely lied throughout the process and nearly cocked up the sale. A complete bunch of morons. I managed to hold it together, but my vendor had to put their stuff in storage for a week. Learning very quickly.
2010 was such an eventful year with an election, a big budget announcement and a mixture of good and bad press ref. property. I worked my nuts off to make it work, but burned myself out by May. The same amount of work and stress I could now cope with, but I had no idea how to deal with it all. I’d got to the point where I was so tired I couldn’t function, no matter how much sleep I had. I had to get away. I went on a cruise. That cruise saved my business. If you’re running a biz, and need to get a break, make sure you take one!
Back off the cruise and I was really cooking. I went on a run of not losing an instruction for 4 months! The one that ended it came on the market at £20k over what I valued it at and is still on the market today. I would have sold that house. I still would if they come back, but people rarely do. They’re now on with two agents and it looks a right mess.
Within about 8 months of starting Mr Green, I personally felt an equal with the most experienced agents in the area. Some agents have been doing it for way over a decade.
There are agents in this area that sell far more properties than Mr Green, but none that do it anywhere near as well. 99.69% average of asking prices achieved in 2010. That’s mental. I sold a flat in under a month that had been on the market for over 3 years! So many success stories that it puts a big smile on my face to think about it. The greatest feeling is that I have made a massively positive difference to lots of peoples lives. One couple couldn’t sell their flat and were really disheartened. It had been on the market a long time. It took me 2.5 months, but I sold it for them. They have moved on to where they wanted to go. Without me, I 100% think it would still be up for sale and they’d be stuck there.
2010 was the most amazing year. Already agreed 3 sales in 2011, so I see this year being much better!
Lots of agents talk the talk, but very few walk the walk. In a very short space of time, I’ve moved the goal posts that have been stuck in the same place for far too long with spectacular results.
Follow me on Twitter @mrgreenhomes. If you’re selling a house and want some 100% genuinely honest advice that will certainly help, call the office 01202 387718 or drop me an email [email protected]