With its beautiful beaches and endless sunshine, Florida was a desirable location for buyers long before the US housing market became the highly competitive space it is today. But now the real estate scene has kicked into overdrive, like it has throughout the entire country. This means that having an excellent real estate agent is more important than ever, especially for buyers. Sarasota agent Kaisen Mitchell sat down with us to share the three things that every agent should be focusing on if they want to get their clients’ offers accepted.

Hi, Kaisen! Thanks so much for joining me today. Can you tell me a little bit about your background and how you got into real estate?

Of course. I actually come from a customer service background. I used to work in the patient registration office of a hospital here in Sarasota, and I just got sick of doing the same thing every single day. I reached out to a friend who was in real estate and he had a mentor, so I kind of shadowed him. 

When I saw all the things he was doing at just 20 years old, it excited me. So I went out and found someone who was doing real estate at a high level and asked if I could work for free! They helped me get my license and I joined their team before starting out on my own. Now I’m on my own as a single agent with Nest Group – Coldwell Banker Realty. I have a partner and we have two assistants.

Photo by Julien Maculan

Working for free is true dedication! How long did that last?

About six or eight months. I just wanted to prove my initiative to them, I just kept showing up and they liked that. They had me making calls for investment properties at the time – I was calling probate leads, calling “for sale by owner” people to see if they’d be willing to sell at a discount. They actually bought 12 properties based off my efforts and the efforts of another young hustler. I’m not sure if they actually believed we could do it at first, but we proved ourselves to them. And they paid for me to get my license and asked me to join their team. 

I’m glad the free labor paid off! What’s the market like in Sarasota right now?

It’s insane! Most houses are getting five or more offers. One particular house that was listed yesterday received 12 offers in just a few hours. We’re seeing people waiving appraisals, waiving contingencies. I like to encourage my buyers to think outside the box so they don’t waive the inspection period. I try to shorten it rather than waive it, because I don’t want them to be completely exposed. 

I have to say – one thing that’s really helping my clients stand out against other buyers in this competitive market is HighNote. 

That’s so great to hear! Do you have a HighNote success story you could share?

I do! One of my clients recently beat out 37 other offers – and we weren’t even the highest offer. I used the exact template that HighNote provides, and I sent over the offer letter. I put my logo on there and recorded a quick little video with BombBomb. I sent the HighNote link over to the listing agent and I was able to see that they viewed it multiple times. Then the agent called and said the seller chose my client! So I really believe that HighNote is an extremely powerful tool. I use it every single day now.

Photo by Matin Keivanloo

I think that’s a really important point that needs to be made in today’s market – the highest offer doesn’t always win, even though most people assume it does. 

No, the highest offer doesn’t always win. I think it’s really about the heart of the seller. In this case, the seller lived in the house for a very long time and she wanted the property to go to a family, rather than an investor.

One of the strategies I’ve been using in this market is reaching out to the listing agent and asking them what the seller is looking for, what’s going to help them during the transition. Is it the purchase price? Is it the timeline? Do they need extra time in the house, a leaseback agreement? I just try to figure out what’s important to the seller and then cater to that. When the agent mentioned that the seller wanted a family in the house, I typed up a little bit about my client and how they liked the neighborhood. I complimented them on having the house clean and ready when we came through for the showing, and added a video of me explaining our offer. 

That’s great – having a proven strategy is extremely valuable in today’s market! You mentioned that you made a video which explained the offer. Can you tell me more about that?

I just explained the offer in a more human way, a CliffsNotes version of everything that was in the offer. It was a way to personalize the offer, rather than just sending over a bunch of documents. On the other side of those documents is a person, so I wanted them to see that, and to see how excited I was to be submitting the offer on behalf of my client. I wanted to show that I was going out of my way to do all these extra steps, and that if they went with me it was going to be a smooth transaction. I also wanted to reiterate that my client was very well qualified to purchase the house. I think all of that helped win them over.

Photo by Jacques Bopp

It’s great to hear how you use HighNote when it comes to buyers. Are you also using it for selling?

I am. When a seller contacts me, I send over information about me, the power of our brokerage, our stats, what we’ve recently sold in the area. I also send a video of a previous listing, because every time we get a listing we do a professionally produced video. I send them some other examples of our marketing pieces.

I also saw the marketing timeline that [HighNote founder] Mark Choey uses as an example, and I made something similar to that. I also explain the steps that will take place throughout the selling process. Thanks to the HighNote analytics, I can see when someone is opening the presentation, and what they’re looking at. So I know I’m not just throwing it out into the wind and hoping for something to happen. 

What are some other things that you do, in order to go above and beyond for your clients?

It’s all in the details! I think it boils down to these three things, especially for buyers in today’s market:

  • Knowledge – Knowing your local market, what you’re selling, what’s coming up
  • Availability – Being there to immediately go see something that just popped up on the market, always being there to take your clients’ phone calls
  • Communication – Constantly communicating with your clients, letting them know what’s going on, showing them all the steps you’ve taken to make them stand out, showing them the HighNote presentation when you’re writing the offer

Photo by FilterGrade

Setting realistic expectations is also really important in this market. For example, I might show a buyer a house that was recently listed at $330k but sold for $375k. Then I’ll let them know that there’s a very real possibility of the same thing happening this time around, and I’ll ask if they’d will be willing to come up with the difference (for the down payment and any additional amount, if the appraisal comes in lower than the selling price). 

One thing that I’ve also implemented recently is calling 100 people a day – specifically sellers whose homes used to be on the market, just to see if they’re considering selling. That gives us an opportunity to avoid the bidding wars and multiple offer situations. So having knowledge of that inventory is a really big thing. 

Knowledge of any inventory right now is certainly a great thing! Thanks so much for sharing your secrets and successes with us, Kaisen. It’s been a pleasure!

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in the Sarasota area? Be sure to contact Nest Group with Coldwell Banker Realty and follow them on Facebook!

…And if you’re a real estate agent looking to take your business to the next level, click here to get started with HighNote!