Being a top 1% real estate agent doesn’t happen by accident. It takes dedication and plenty of strategy – just ask Texas REALTOR® Katie Day of the “MOVEMETOTX” Team. She sat down with HighNote to talk about her success and how a pre-listing presentation recently helped her win a multi-million dollar listing.
Thanks for calling in from Houston, Katie! Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into real estate?
Sure. When I graduated college, and for a few years after that, I was in the field of property management. I got my real estate license in 2016 and decided to go full-time in 2017. Shortly thereafter, my husband joined me and got his real estate license. In 2018, we decided to start a team together and we’ve continued to grow since then.
This is an interesting time to be in real estate. How’s the market in Houston right now?
Things are definitely busy here. We’re about 57% down in inventory on a year-over-year basis, so it’ll be interesting to see how the year continues to progress.
So we know that buying a house is a competitive process due to lack of inventory. Are agents in a similarly competitive situation when it comes to winning listings?
I would definitely say it’s competitive. You know, most people have been told that they should interview more than one real estate agent, so they follow that advice.
How do you market yourself to stand out against the competition? What tools do you use?
HighNote is definitely a great one. You know, we used to send a FedEx listing presentation to sellers and we’d overnight it to their house or have a courier bring it to their house. It would have our listing presentation and some samples of our brochures, information on why they should choose us. It was like a little resume. And we would send that to their home with a handwritten note, letting them know we were looking forward to meeting with them.
Then I was introduced to HighNote by some agents out in the Bay Area, and it just made sense because we were having to put the physical packets together, we’d have to get a FedEx label, we’d have to send it out, and make sure it was going to get there on time.
Now it’s so much easier. I have a conversation with a seller, I hang up with them, and I send them a HighNote to their email. And I can see if they’ve viewed the HighNote ahead of our meeting. I think that’s one of the biggest things, is getting as much information as possible in front of the potential client prior to meeting with them. So then when we meet, all we’re talking about is why they want to sell, when they want to do it, how much they hope to get, and the game plan to get them there.
A lot of people give feedback about the HighNote presentation, they say they appreciate us sending it over. That’s because everything is in one place, and it covers a lot of the questions that normally arise. We deal with a lot of sellers (about 80% to 90% of my transactions are listings) so they really appreciate what we send over; all of the information is there for them to review and have, as opposed to losing that information because it was sent via FedEx or in multiple email attachments.
Since the majority of your clients are sellers, I presume you mostly use HighNote for pre-listing presentations?
Yes, that’s the biggest reason we started using it. But we’ve since created a buyer presentation and are working on getting the team on board with that, so they can send that out to buyers with all the steps and things to budget for, etc.
With the pre-listing presentation, we include a profile about us and our team. It’s like our resume and shows the number of homes we’ve recently sold and our awards and video marketing information. We also have photo prep tips, open house and showing tips, information on what impacts the price of a property, and contract documents. But it’s also something that’s continually changing. If we answer the same question over and over again from different clients, we’ll usually decide to put that information in the pre-listing presentation.
I also heard that you just won a major listing with the help of a HighNote pre-listing presentation!
Yes, basically a few months ago I received a call from someone who was planning on building some properties in town. He left a message asking me to call him back, saying he had some questions. I called him back and we had an initial conversation. He didn’t give me a ton of details but he told me that he was building some homes in Northwest Houston, in an area that’s kind of gentrifying and seeing a lot of development right now.
So I sent over the HighNote and when I met him at the consultation he was super impressed by all the information I had sent over in that pre-listing presentation. And the cool thing with HighNote is that it’s super organized so I could see on my end what he had looked at and how long he had clicked on things, etc. So I already knew he was interacting with the presentation.
A couple days after meeting him, we executed the listing agreement for the project, a 58-unit community of single-family homes and duplexes. The project is intended for both investors and people that want to live in one unit and rent out others. We’ve divided them into 23 listings, totaling around $12 million.
Do you have any other tools or methods that help you in your day-to-day life as a real estate agent?
Well, one of the things that’s always been important to me is social media, just staying active on it. I started out by just connecting with people on there, but in 2019/2020 I really started to see business coming from social media – from Instagram, YouTube, Facebook. And that’s both from the consumer side and from agent-to-agent referrals. So it’s something that I think everyone uses at some point, but unfortunately when some people don’t see any immediate result they stop posting.
I also use Calendly to get things scheduled, to avoid the back-and-forth of trying to schedule things. We use Folio to manage transactions, both on our end and client-facing. Then we also use tools like Google Workspace and Dropbox.
It’s impossible to talk about real estate right now without also talking about COVID-19. How has the pandemic influenced the way you do business?
We were obviously very fortunate that real estate was deemed essential about two weeks into the stay-at-home order here. So we were able to get back to work pretty quickly. But that being said, obviously we still had to adjust because we were in the middle of a pandemic. We were already using Zoom and a lot of tech, and most of our team stuff is in Google Drive or Dropbox or the Cloud. So it wasn’t like we had all these paper files in the office. But we started to double down on social media and relied a lot more on things like HighNote and Calendly. We weren’t going to open houses and hosting them and meeting people in person. So we asked ourselves how we could get our name and brand out there to people in other ways. So that was the biggest pivot – not having stuff in person, and relying more on the tech basics that work.
I’ve sold probably five homes where I’ve actually never met the seller in person, we did a Zoom consultation. I sent the photographer and videographer to the house, they got measurements while they were there, and we listed the home. We never met in person, even during the closing.
I think even after the pandemic is over, a lot of those conveniences will stick around because they’re really efficient. But real estate is still a people business, there’s still going to be face-to-face conversations that need to be had. There’s a significant human element that I don’t think is ever going to leave, it just may not look exactly the same as it did before the pandemic.
You’re a top 1% agent. That’s an amazing accomplishment. How did you achieve it?
To be honest, I just kind of winged it at first, and then realized there was a better way of doing things. Being open to learning was really important. I did fine on my own, but then I decided it made sense to hire a business coach and I realized there are people out there who have already done this and done it way better than we’re even doing it now. We’re able to learn from them and their mistakes. That was a game changer because it shortened the learning curve and the amount of issues and problems that we run into.
If I only knew in the beginning what I know now, things would have been a lot different back then! I always joke around with our team members because I just think, I wish I had known what they know now, back when I was in their seat. As far as mistakes I’ve made, I went in blind in the early days. I didn’t have a pre-listing presentation in the very beginning. I would just show up with my little book and read it to people and it was like a 16 minute presentation of me just, you know, giving information that they really didn’t care about, that they had probably already heard from two or three other agents. Now we have checklists, we have processes to everything we do, we have an action plan spreadsheet. We role play about two to three times a week; we practice scripts, practice conversations. We go over situations that I think we could have handled better.
Katie, it’s been a pleasure! I wish you the best for 2021 and hope your amazing track record continues throughout the rest of the year and beyond!