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Mike Simonsen

Mike Simonsen is the founder and president of real estate analytics firm Altos Research, which has provided national and local real estate data to financial institutions, real estate professionals, and investors across the country for more than 15 years. An expert trendspotter, Mike uses Altos data to identify market shifts months before they hit the headlines.

In this episode of the Top of Mind podcast, Mike Simonsen sits down with Jimmy Mackin, CEO of Curaytor, to talk about best practices for communicating with buyers and sellers right now, as the market is changing. Jimmy discusses why the principles of communication are more important than the tools and technology, shares what agents who have transcended their local markets have in common, offers specific ideas and techniques for more powerful communication, and more.

About Jimmy Mackin

Jimmy Mackin

Jimmy Mackin is the CEO of Curaytor, a full-service digital marketing company focused on helping listing agents get more listings. In seven years, Curaytor has grown to over $10 million in annual recurring revenue and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The Huffington Post, USA Today, and American Express Open Forum.

In 2019, Jimmy co-authored Exactly What to Say: For Real Estate Agents, a best-selling book designed to help real estate agents with the most common, critical, and difficult questions they face. Jimmy is also the Host of the hit podcast #WaterCooler. With over 115 episodes and 8.5 million minutes watched, the show is a go-to resource for anyone in the real estate industry looking to grow their business in today’s digital landscape. 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Best practices for communicating with buyers and sellers right now
  • Why the principles of communication are more important than the tools and technology
  • What agents who have transcended their local markets have in common
  • Why asking questions is better than giving answers in a changing market
  • Specific ideas and techniques for more powerful communication

Resources mentioned in this episode:

About Altos Research

The Top of Mind Podcast is produced by Altos Research.

Each week, Altos tracks every home for sale in the country - all the pricing, and all the changes in pricing - and synthesizes those analytics to make them available before becoming visible through traditional channels.

Schedule a demo to see Altos in action. You can also get a copy of our free eBook: How To Use Market Data to Build Your Real Estate Business.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:02  

Welcome to Top of Mind, the show where we talk to real estate industry insiders and experts about the biggest trends impacting the market today. Enjoy the show.

Mike Simonsen  0:13  

Mike Simonsen here. Thanks for joining me today. Welcome to the Top of Mind podcast. This is where I talk to you the smartest leaders, thinkers and doers in the real estate industry. For a couple of years now, we've been sharing the latest market data every week in our weekly video series. With the new Top of Mind podcast, we're looking to add some context to the discussion about what's happening in the market from from the leaders in the industry. Every week, altos research tracks every home for sale in the country, all the pricing and all the supply and demand, we analyze all the changes in that data and we make it available to you before you see it in the traditional channels. People desperately need to know what's happening in the housing market right now. It's been so hot, so competitive, and now suddenly the landscape is changing. So when people ask me, Mike, can I get the data for my local market? The answer is yes. Visit for a free consultation about how to use the data in your business for your buyers and sellers right now. But without further ado, let me introduce my guest today, Jimmy Mackin. Jimmy is the CEO of Curaytor, a full service digital marketing company focused on helping listing agents get more listings. In seven years Curaytor has grown over 10 million in annual recurring revenue and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, the Huffington Post USA Today. All kinds of mediums Jimmy into 2019, co authored Exactly What to Say: For Real Estate Agents, a best selling book designed to help real estate agents with the most common critical and default questions they face. Jimmy is the host of the hit podcast #WaterCooler. And really a lot of what we want to talk about today is is about what to say for real estate agents like what do we say right now as this market is changing? So Jimmy, welcome.

Jimmy Mackin  2:12  

Well, first off my thanks for the warm introduction, thrilled to be on the podcast, you and I are kindred spirits, you focus on mark the market, I focus on marketing. So it's always fun to have a conversation with you about you know where the world is going and how agents can position themselves from a public perspective to connect with consumers in a meaningful way. So I'm excited to dive into today's today's topics. That's great.

Mike Simonsen  2:31  

And I really appreciate your the voice you use on social media and stuff about about, you know, here's what we need to think about. Here's how we need to talk about things. Here's how we structure our business. Like it's a real positive forward thinking space. How'd you get? How do you tell me? Let's start with Curaytor and like your background? And like, what? Let's talk. Let's start there. And then we'll dive in more.

Jimmy Mackin  2:54  

Yeah, well, Curaytor exists, because effective marketing is the number one deciding factor on how much market share you're going to have in your local area, especially now where there are so many different places where consumers can interact with your brand. Agents have struggled not only to think about what should I create, what should I post, but now where do I post? And how often do I post it. And so, Curaytor was really the the solution, the idea, the inspiration for the business was really meant to be a company that didn't just provide tools and technology, which we do, but rather provide the kind of guiding principles that agents need to embrace to sort of thrive in any market, regardless of whatever the social media platform of the day is. And so Curaytor clients who who are, you know, we work with 500 of the top teams that we have the privilege of, of leading, what makes them different is their willingness to get out there and try to add value try to try to educate the market try to establish themselves as an experts. And that has been one of the main driving forces behind not only the way we think about marketing, but also how we support our customers.

Mike Simonsen  4:06  

Got it? And and so so you see work with teams, young teams, and and the end you do the digital layer on the marketing on top, but also the principles of of marketing.

Jimmy Mackin  4:22  

Yeah, so like, if you think about, if you think about the consumer journey for a second, I think we sort of maybe look at the landscape of digital marketing in real estate as as category. What I see to be the most common mistake, Mike is when you think about how agents market their business today. So much of it is built on interrupting the customer, forcing the customer to do something they don't want to do, whether it's pick up a phone call, they didn't ask for respond to an email they never subscribed to, or even fill out a form on a website just to be able to view a listing. And so we've long justified these tactics because they they work, meaning if we do it enough times, and we annoy enough people, eventually someone will say, sure I'll, I'll meet with you. But what's what's sort of what's been the seismic shift in our industry, in the marketing industry for the last three to five years, has been sort of this consumer first revolution, which is now As consumers, we have control over what we see, we get control over who is able to contact us. And we're even starting to get control on what type of ads are able to be served to us. And this has been, there's been legislation on this, you know, as GDPR, or some of the laws in Canada, whether it's apple and the iOS 14 update, or it's just what you're seeing with can spam and all the regulations around phone calls, like we're now you see potential spam when you get a number from a number you don't recognize. So agents, when you look at the status quo, Mike, what you're what you're finding is a lot of agents are getting caught flat footed, because they're realizing in order for me to grow my business, I can't annoy people into doing this as me anymore, I have to come up with another strategy. And so what we have seen to be effective, has been agents who and this is a thing, a lot of why with altos research, why you guys have been so successful in your space agents who educate the consumer, build that connection with the consumer demonstrate, they know what they're talking about those agents that we talked about principles, that's the principle that that is, is more important than the platform, you know, we kind of jumped to the platform, but like, no, there's there's a fundamental principle, which is, if you can demonstrate you're really good at your job. And you can showcase your expertise. And you can teach the consumer you build an affinity with the consumer. And that can translate in any platform like email content marketing, on your website, twitter, TikTok, you know, the platform is not relevant is it relates to that basic principle.

Mike Simonsen  6:56  

Got it? So So So then, the principle is, we are the expert, and we are the adding value we're not, we're not leading with the annoying or we're leading with the value. So how does so then let's So then how do you implement that when you think about when you create a Curaytor? Yeah. How do you bring that to life?

Jimmy Mackin  7:18  

Well, it's, it's a, I'll tell you, I'll share my personal experience from and this might be helpful and instructive for your audience, because you're a content creator. And so Oh, my and so are the people that we look to in real estate that we follow. There's a common thread amongst the called the agents who have transcended their market, the ones who have sort of gone global, they are the they are creators. There's no one in real estate, who is who has become a breakout star and whose businesses thriving because they ran a good Facebook ad. Almost every agent you can think of whether it's Brian McCollum and his videos, he's doing touring homes in Calgary, or it's Glenda Baker, and her TikTok series, or it can pose Zach, who's featuring his community in Orlando, Florida, and highlighting what it's like to live there. These are agents who are content creators, first and foremost. And so one of the one of the keys to becoming an effective content creator. And I don't know about you, Mike, but for me, this is my this is what has always helped me kind of balance, like doing my job being the CEO of Curaytor, but also marketing the business is I focus on the inputs, which is where do I get my information from? And those inputs really helped me think differently about the world about the market, and certainly about the opportunities ahead. So what I do and this is, this is a tactic that I think everyone here who's listening to this podcast, whether they list live or in the reporting, this is something that you can do find the people that you admire the most. Alright, so find the people in our industry that you look to and say this person is really a blue flame thinker. Okay. And then and then ask the question, Who do they follow? Because what you'll find behind every great influencer is a just a, an incredible wealth of knowledge for people that they follow that they consume. And so it's funny because I follow you on Twitter, Mike, and I love the stuff you put out there. And guess what I did? You know, when I started really following you maybe a couple years ago, I'm like, Who does Mike follow? Right? And it's, it's a lot of economists. Is the short is the short answer, right? Surprise to TLDR. It's economist is who Mike follows. It's a great way to get introduced to people outside of your like, real estate, you know, bumble is like, okay, hey, there's other people out there that can kind of help help open the world up for

Mike Simonsen  9:35  

you. That's really interesting. I love that that concept of the great agents are actually content creators. And it's funny that it's like the old adage, that in business that at a certain level, we're all in sales. When you like, no matter what your role in the company at a certain level, you're all in sales. And really in this world, in this media world that we live in, at a certain level. We're all content creators, like we like to, once you achieve a certain level like that, that is, that's what we're doing in the world, we're, we're communicating out. I love that the great agents that the great teams have transcended their market and our creators. Cool. That's super neat. And and so So, in this moment, we're in this crazy, this crazy week, the markets been super hot, and it is changing very quickly. And so, you know, the content has to change. And you're so your book is exactly what to say, for real estate agents. So, you know, what do we say?

Jimmy Mackin  10:39  

Yeah, you know, I had the opportunity to co author this book with two of the great sales minds in our industry and beyond my partner, Chris Smith, and sales trainer, who's extraordinary sales trainer, Phil M. Jones. And one of the things I learned this process because we wrote the book now two and a half years ago, or so maybe a little bit longer, and it's it's sold, the hundreds of 1000s of copies now has 1000s of five star reviews on Amazon and on Audible. And it's been sort of a breakout success. And one of the things that I learned in this process of writing this book and taking this on this project on was, how much of sales is not about what you say, or what you ask. And Phil, my co author has this great line, whoever's asking the questions is in control of the conversation. So when you ask the question, Mike, what should people be say? I think my immediate responses, not necessarily what should they be saying, but what should they be asking? And this gives, this gives you maybe the empathy you need to help guide the conversation. So if I was interviewing a seller, and if someone's, you know, call them to think about listing their property, questions I might ask about that about about that, just to kind of maybe get to the bottom of where their heads at is, I might ask the question. Do you think the market is stronger now? Or do you think it was stronger six months ago? And the reason I might ask that question is to gauge how realistic are they about price? Because you and I both know, I follow your altos research, you know, tweet you put out there, like price reductions are rising, right. Sellers are sort of living in this fantasy world where they maybe believe that when they put their property in the market, they're gonna get 25 offers. So agents are having a lot of tough conversations about price reductions, and why aren't they getting offers? Why isn't people pulling up to my house, the Brinks truck dumping out money to buy my house, because the market has shifted. And when the market has shifted what we're really saying, and Mike's pressing incredible information about this. It's not just the fact that home values have gone up, but it's the cost of capital has also increased. So I've seen data on this mic where we're saying the house across the street from me is selling for $1.3 million. Okay, literally across the street from me, they bought the house in 2020. For $850,000. Okay, I live in Auburn, New Hampshire. This is not the new hotbed for civilization. This is not an area that's growing. And you got the research by getting growing 40% year over year. So consumers are saying, well, that house has effectively claiming they've appreciate over whatever 50% In the last two years, it hasn't. Right. And so the conversation, I think, or the conversation that's happening is sellers are are in Fantasyland about the prices, and they're kind of in this potential world of hurt. So agents need to sort of be pre emptive by asking questions that lead the seller to the conclusion that maybe we shouldn't overpriced this home, maybe we should list it at a reasonable price that will still get the attention and still get the interest and still help the home sell because it still can sell clearly. But overpriced homes aren't selling. And so that that will be the first thing that comes to mind. In my mind, Mike on the sell side at least.

Mike Simonsen  13:51  

Yeah, that's that's a great question. The you know, where to be big fear right now is rising interest rates, rising mortgage rates? And so then the question is, do you think they're gonna be higher? or lower in six months? I wouldn't be I think there's gonna be more inventory or less inventory. Yeah, I Those are, those are really powerful questions to ask.

Jimmy Mackin  14:13  

And I think what you're trying to do there is you're trying to get people to come to the conclusion on their own. So you don't get combative. Meaning if I just, if I go into the conversation, this is typically what an agent would do. If an agent, anytime an agent is faced with an objection, they immediately get into justification mode. And when they get justification mode, now we're not having a conversation, we're having an argument or disagreement. So why do you charge 6%? Might be a question a consumer asks, now we immediately think that they don't value our service or they're trying to get a discount. But they may just be asking because they don't know the answer. And so a response to a question like that might be, well, what do you know about how real estate commission works? And there gonna say, Well, I don't know how it works like, you get the 6%, they don't know that 3% goes to the buyer, they don't know, my burgers collecting 15% They don't know that I'm investing, you know, $700 in advertising and marketing for the home, they just think I'm taking the full pie, and I'm sitting there and cashing that money in. And so I think many of the conversations and the challenges that we have with real estate, with the consumer are based off of our the narrative or the story that we tell ourselves, when someone asks a question. And if we challenge that wisdom, that conventional wisdom that maybe they're asking the question, because they don't know the answer, not because they're trying to be combative or trying to basically force us down a certain path, we can maybe get to where we want to get to get to where the consumer should get to, in a more kind of collaborative way with the consumer. So yeah, I think it's I think comes down to agents just being being empathetic in this market, asking good questions, helping the consumer get a feel for what's happening, as opposed to saying, homes, you know, like just going down the talking track that you and I both know, isn't really that effective?

Mike Simonsen  16:05  

Yeah, for sure. So So we go into asking questions. And we're asking about, you know, the, we know that this market is changing, and we know that the consumers are scared right now. So if you're buying, yeah, I'm worried that you're buying at the peak. Yeah, if you're selling, you worry that you missed the peak. Yeah. So so let's talk about that, like this. Like and, and, you know, we're worried everybody's worried that the economy's gonna blow up. And, you know, global uncertainty, and I was just talking with another podcast guest about, about the end of globalization meeting, like all kinds of assumptions we've had for the last, you know, 30 years about how the world works are, are changing. And so like, now, there's, like, all these fears out there in the world. And so are you saying that, like, through the questions, we can help move past the fears?

Jimmy Mackin  17:07  

Well, I think, well, there's questions can help you uncover what the real theory is. Right? So let's just let's just start there. questions? Asking intelligent questions can help you uncover what what what, where is the consumer coming from? Where like, what information do they have available? What are the blind spots they have? But at a certain point, you are going to have to educate them about what's going on. And that's the reason they're hiring you is they are expecting you to be an expert. Yes, there's a crazy stat. There's a there's a gentleman by the name, I think is a Morgan Housel, who wrote the book, The Psychology of Money. It's a fantastic book, great book. And in that book, he talks about how 90% of Warren Buffett's wealth has come after he turned the age 65. Yep. And so when people think about peak, the reason that's a hard conversation to have, is because my time horizon is very different than your time horizon. And so if I am in the business of buying and selling houses quickly, like flipping them, for whatever reason, I have a very short time horizon, then there are very real reasons why you probably shouldn't buy a house right now. Right? If you're if you're in the business of buying a house, putting some cosmetic updates to it and trying to sell it for 30%, above the ask price, or above the original purchase price, you're probably going to experience some serious headwinds, we I saw a report, I think by rismedia recently, and I might be misquoting this, but it was about sort of the slowing down of AI buying the percentage of AI buying as part of the market, you've probably had some debate on this mic. But you're seeing that like people who had this sort of like who are buying houses and and turning around and selling them quickly, they're going to be in a bit of a world of hurt right now, if you look at the next sort of 12 24 months. But if your time horizon is, let's say the average what does it mean? Like what is the median for homeownership? Like, how long are people I think we're over 10 years now. Okay, so let's put that let's put that in perspective. And I saw a tweet not too long ago, where they were doing an analysis of the last 188 Financial quarters, and of the last 188 Financial quarters, going back to 1975 168 of them, we saw homes appreciate. And if you take the 2008 910 out of it, there was only like three or four quarters where home values actually depreciated. And each of those quarters, the home values depreciated less than like, you know, 2%. So if the median length of ownership is plus 10 plus years, and if his history is a, at least some indication on where homes are going to go, you could safely say that yeah, you may be buying it, you know, this sort of this moment right now, but if we fast forward, if you ever you own a home, like most people, which is seven to 10 years or 1112 years, is incredibly unlikely based on the historical information we have available to us that this is going to be a bad investment for two reasons, even if the whole doesn't appreciate at, you know, 10% 15% annually, you're still gonna be paying down the principal balance on that mortgage. And if you make bi monthly payments, you can drop that down even further, if you get to take a 15 year mortgage, you can drop that any further. So you can build wealth through homeownership and a couple of different ways. It doesn't just has to be through rapid home appreciation over a really short period of time. So when we talk about, we talk about asking questions, it really is about understanding, it is about understanding where they're coming from, but at a certain point, like you gotta know your shit, right? You gotta, you gotta know, like, like, you got to tell a story that helps people understand these ideas, so they can make an informed decision. And here's the thing, like, selling isn't about convincing someone to do something. Selling is about providing clarity, so they can make an informed decision. And this is where a lot of agents screw it up. Which is if you're trying to push people into a decision, that's not right for them, they're going to resist it. We just have to give them the information, be as clear as we possibly can provide the best advice we can and then their decision to make. And that's, that's really when you we have a great salesperson, they understand that sort of

Mike Simonsen  21:13  

instinctively. Yeah, for sure. The the ability to get them to make their own decision is the powerful place to be the the. So what's interesting to me now is is so our messages are change. Our language is changing right now. Yeah, the questions that we asked, are changing, and so that the principles still the said, How is the actual technology, the digital layer of marketing changing in a world where things are slowing down? Notably, how does that change? Yeah, it's

Jimmy Mackin  21:51  

what's what's so amazing about the advanced technology is sort of, you know, the expression, the world is flat. What's so amazing about technology is we no longer have to wait permission. If you're a new agent, or you're an agent who's trying to build market share. You don't have to wait permission for like the top agent to retire for you to start to actually build up some of that market share. You're seeing some of these really fast growing teams who are quick to adopt the latest technology start to absolutely dominate. And it usually goes like this. Somebody comes out doing something and it's different and unique and tools like well, Glenda Baker, as an example, kind of Baker has a fantastic presence on TikTok. She's got, you know, millions and millions and millions of views of her videos that she's produced. I'm sure when she put out the first few of those videos on Tiktok. I'm sure a bunch of agents in our market said well, that's stupid. Right? And I'm sure when she started to get a little bit momentum and sure a bunch of agents in our market say, Well, you know, yeah, Glennda is popular online, but she doesn't sell that much real estate. Right? Now, they can't say shit, because guess what? She's popular and she's successful. And the reality is, is that agents who adopt technology early early on, it's not about necessarily just gaining the the call it the first mover's advantage, which is now they sort of like are able to capture an outsized amount of attention, because they're the view of the only agents out there, what they actually develop is the skills needed to compete in this digital first world. Meaning if you are good with short form video, well, guess what? Maybe TikTok  isn't the platform, but you've got IG reels, you got Facebook reels, you got YouTube shorts, you've got other mediums in which you can take those same skills, human honing on platform a, and translate over to Platform B platforms, the Platform D. So I think when I think about the technology landscape in the digital marketing landscape, what's become clear is that your ability to connect with consumers has never been easier. Your ability to stand out has never been harder. And so you have got to figure out ways to say what is the area or my my superpower that I can lean into. Some of us are great writers. And we should absolutely use things like email newsletter and writing long form content to communicate our ideas. Some of us are some of us are fantastic on video, and we have a personality and we light the camera up and we can communicate in a really clear way. Well, then clearly we should use video as an opportunity as a platform, right? Some of us are just better, you know more on that one to one you know world where we get this you know, you meet somebody have a built an instant connection, well, then we should live in the DM, right? We should that's where we should operate from a social perspective. So it depends on what your superpower is. And that should be kind of where you focus your attention. But the landscape is changing, Mike, people's attention spans are unlimited. They're getting any shorter settings, a lot of misconceptions around that, but the demand for quality is rising. You know That's an that's a really interesting piece here, which is like, the average gets ignored. And so your ability to be really good and really compelling is essential if you're trying to stand out because it's very crowded out there online.

Mike Simonsen  25:13  

Yeah, and sometimes that crowd that is makes it harder. You know, we I only started doing video work for my for altos research two years ago. And, and I thought for a long time, that video is probably not for me, I think I'm more of a writer and that people are on video or doing you know, that there's, you know, you watch Tom Ferry, and he's awesome on on video. Yeah. And so I resisted for a while. And because of the crowdedness of it. What I observed, of course, is that, you know, once, if you do good work, and you do it consistently, then all of a sudden, you know, like, you start to stand out, you start to actually get work done. Yeah.

Jimmy Mackin  25:52  

Yeah. It's a really interesting conversation you had with yourself, which is, you look at someone like Tom Ferry, who's in exceptional order, who is a is fantastic, and camera like, well, I'll never be as good as him. Right. And that's like, a reason to like, not get started, which is a dumb reason not to get started, right? Clearly, clearly, like, no one will be as good as Tom Berry's fantastic on camera, he's got this, you know, electric personality, he's a great communicator, okay. But that does not mean that you don't have information that's not worth sharing. And so one of the things that, you know, my mind one of my employees, a net, Doris, who was just a fantastic part of our marketing team, she's the one who really pushed me into building my Instagram following, gotten close to 12,000 followers on Instagram. And if you guys want to follow me on Instagram, it's at Jimmy Mackin on Instagram, but I started I had like, maybe 1000, or 2000 followers last January. So it's only been about 18 months since I adopted the platform. And so she's like, You got to get out there. You're the CEO of the company, you're the face of the brand, it's really important for you to be on Instagram. And so I resisted it for all the reasons that you suggested, right? Like, I don't want to share pictures of my food, I don't want to share pictures of where I'm travelling. Like, I'm, I'm like working for a living here that like I'm not this is not my job to be out there. And what, what, what switched for me, and what really helped me kind of overcome that. As I said, Listen, if we're going to do this, I have one simple rule, our goal is to become the most useful brand to follow on Instagram. So we ain't putting out anything that is going to waste people's time. And so I have this idea where I'm not looking to become the most popular, the most funny, the most charismatic, most interesting, I'm not trying to build envy, about my life and who I am and what I do, I am trying to be useful. And that in that mission to be the most useful person to follow, has allowed me to, to focus my energy and attention on creating content that empowers my audience, that helps them get better at what they do. So whether it's Twitter, whether it's Facebook, whether it's Instagram, whether it's email marketing, whether it's webinars like this, like my job is, if everyone hasn't had time, I don't want to waste their time. So if they're gonna see me in their feed, Mike, it's gonna be something that's going to help their business or help them get better, or what they're doing. And what's been crazy about it, is that the, like, there's a great quote from like, lamella ball, which is he says, I'm your favorite players, favorite player. Like, I'm the I'm a lot of people on Instagram, who are who are people that I admire, like, on their favourite follow, because I don't waste their time I give them ideas that they can then help ship spread to their, to their, to their audience. And it's been incredibly rewarding. So I don't have 100,000 people follow me on Instagram, I got 12,000. But my impact is far greater than the average person because I'm focused on that. So my advice to an agent who's listening right now, is if you ask yourself the question, or start with the question, How do I become the most useful person to follow, then that helps kind of like, it strips away all of the I, you know, I'm not interesting, I'm not funny, I can't dance for shit, right? Like, it takes all those objections, and then allows you to focus on what you're really good at. And that helps you helps you build an audience and helps you get an impact from the work you do.

Mike Simonsen  29:10  

That's, that's a great another principle, you know, to follow. That's terrific. We, it's been really a fun transition cycle for me working on our YouTube channel, building that and and in roughly that, with that principle in mind, you know, we're just, we're just gonna talk about it, we started, you know, that the pandemic hits. And I said, well, people are going to need to know, as this market cratered, which I assumed was going to happen. Yeah, when it didn't happen suddenly have yet to be in this. The fun place is when you get to be contrarian and bullish at the same time. And so we got to like we we got to do that. And it was a it has been a really fascinating ride in the last few years so I got some Instagram work to do, but you know, I'm but I'm getting there.

Jimmy Mackin  29:58  

Yes, less than less than I It's a the work you've been putting out there has been awesome. And I know a lot of people who are watching and listening to these podcasts appreciate the insight you provide. And I think what's actually interesting is if you go back to the consumer for a moment, one of the things that I've learned, being in this industry and working with so many of the top teams across the country, is that a really good real estate agent is obsessed over the customer experience. I mean, they are they really try to understand how to make things easier for them. And if you look at some of those structures in our space, you know, I tweeted this recently, I said, I said, You shouldn't worry about the disruptors because they couldn't last, you know, one day doing the job of an average real estate agent, they have no respect for the industry, they have no respect for the agents, they have no respect for the work they do. They think that you're all lazy, overpaid, entitled idiots that are going to be replaced by a button on a website. That is there. That is That is how they actually feel. Now, they may say other things to you publicly because they need you for the time being. But it's kind of like Travis calkin, with Uber, where he's like, the problem with Uber is the person sitting in the front seat. So a lot of the disruptors feel that agents are simply a necessary evil needed on the path to basically truly disrupting this industry. But here's the thing that that they don't understand, they don't appreciate is that buying and selling a house is an incredibly emotional decision. And my mother and my father who lived in St. Louis, are selling a house with a Curaytor client, the same agent that I use, Lisa Johnson is a rockstar, shout out to Lisa. And the amount of stress they have around the sale of property, pricing, preparing it right my mother is a clean freak, she spent 12 hours cleaning her house for the agent to come over to show it to the agents, right. Like this is if this is part of the experience that people don't people in the outside industry don't appreciate is that if you're not sitting across the kitchen kitchen table with a consumer, it's hard for you to empathize, but it's really like to make this decision. So they think it's about price, they think it's about convenience, they think it's about ease of use permission, they think it's about commission, like it's, it's really not about that, you know, those are those are sort of the checkboxes, you got to be in the range. But it's really about feeling a sense of confidence in the person you're working with. And the reason I share all of this, is because agents do a terrible job of marketing their actual value proposition. And that's it. So if there's one lesson that everyone takes away from today's podcast, is to understand what your value proposition really is. Because it isn't that you're going to help someone see a bunch of properties online, it isn't going to be that you're going to put a sign in the yard and help sell their house. What you're really selling in real estate, especially on the sell side is you're you're selling confidence, you're selling trust, you're selling safety in an experience that protects the consumer and sets them up for success. So whether that's pricing the property, marketing, the property, negotiating the property, these stories that happen every day in your life, if we can start thinking about communicating, sharing those stories, then we will we will get so much closer to clearly articulating how we add value. And this you know, and it's really important part of people's lives. But what you see online like is you see people say we make sell easy, right? We make buying easy, right? We charge 1% Commission, like this is not what consumers care about. That's like that's, that's so far from why they're hiring or agent. You know how many times my mom has brought commission, when we talked to talk about selling the house, zero, like it literally zero, you know how many times like human touch to talk about, oh, I really wish this was this was easier, zero. Like she's like, I just I'm hoping I can get a good price for my property. I want this to be like a smooth transaction. I don't want to have to do like a tonne of open houses. Like I'm really nervous about this. Like, this is the real work of selling real estate and this is what needs to be marketed. And so I think that's, I think it's an important lesson for your audience here is to understand that part of being a great marketer in today's world is clearly demonstrating how you add value in going beyond the platitudes. Right going beyond the now's a great time to sell now's a great time to by like going beyond that stuff and getting to the heart of it. That's where you build that human to human connection that can scale and digital world.

Mike Simonsen  34:33  

Yeah, I I've been watching Silicon Valley Technology disruptors in real estate for 25 years. And it's been It's always fascinating to me, because the the tech guys go into it thinking, well, how hard can it be? 6% is too much. And so starting ZipRealty 25 years ago, they were like, we're gonna do it. online ads can be a discount. And you know, Redfin started whatever 18 years ago, and hey, it's gonna be online, or we're going to do it at a discount. And, and, and, and what they all rapidly realize is how much of the market wants full service full price? Yeah, you think that that you want a discount? But you actually don't you actually want to want to pay people to do this work for

Jimmy Mackin  35:23  

you? Yeah, yeah, it's such a such a really important point, because I think it's something that everyone gets hung up on right now. And I think I think what you're gonna see as the market transitions is, you're gonna see a lot of listing agents, right, who have been controlling the market, right, are now going to have to work three times as hard for the same amount of money. Yeah. Because their listings are going to sit in the market for more than seven days. And all of a sudden, you know, you ask any seasoned agent, like, what is the toughest conversation to have, and they're gonna say, calling a seller who has no offers on the property, and the homes are on the market for 30 plus days, and you don't have a plan B. And Plan A is through the price structure, they want it they want, they want to do that, right. And so there's no like Plan B. And so what happens is, what we have to appreciate is, if you think about the sort of economics of our business, is that we can only handle a small real estate team can only handle service a certain amount of clients at any given time. So if that if the average time to serve as that client doubles, or triples is going to apply a tremendous amount of downward pressure on the volume that you can handle comfortably, and as well and service at a high level. And so what agents are going to have challenges with now that we should talk about Mike, is, how do they avoid taking on listings that are overpriced, because the cost of doing that is actually now you're going to rob yourself the ability of servicing clients who actually will sell their house for a reasonable price within a short amount of time. And then what agents can do to kind of still demonstrate or add value once the home has been on the market for seven or 14 or 21 or 3031 days? Like these are some of the real conversations that people are going to have. That's why I said even 18 months ago, I said, you know, buyer agents are going to remember how you're treating them right now. So like keep the if you're a listing agent keep in mind like buyer's agents have to have a long memory right? It's like as the old that was it as Margaret Thatcher quote like that's like you know, our reach is long and our memories long I think it is like our reaches a wider memories longer, like eight buyer agents, remember what the last 18 24 months or had been like, and like their their day is now coming. So they're all really looking forward to that.

Mike Simonsen  37:39  

That's faster. Yeah, you know, the how do I take on? How do I avoid taking on overpriced listings? And how do I have that price reduction conversation are super powerful ones. And we talked about it with the data, you know, in setting that up in the listing presentation in the advance and it's like, the way we like is, is you have your altos report in front of you and you say, Are you a big geek or a little geek, like if you're if you're a big gig, I got all the data for you, and you can dive in and you can. But if you're a little geek, I want to put this report in your inbox every Monday. And I just want you to look at one number. And this number in ours is the market action index. And that thing is falling. While we have your house listed, that's the market telling us that demand is weakening your supply competition is increasing. And so if that thing falls far enough, that's the market telling us that we may need to get in front of it. And then now the house is listed. And then the the client is now looking at that report every Monday, and then they pick up the phone they go Jimmy, this number you told me to watch is falling, maybe we need to do a price reduction, like they initiate the conversation because the market is telling them and you've set that up as the expert in the initial conversation in front

Jimmy Mackin  39:00  

of them. Yeah, it's a it's Well, one of the best ways to overcome an objection is to actually, like assume it's going to happen and be able to kind of get ahead of it. I think it's also, you know, it's I love that line, your big Ico little geek. I think what's really interesting when you're thinking about working with a client who has a price in mind, it is it is important to set sort of rules of engagement in advance, which is to say that, so let's say you have a listing that you know, is worth 1.1 million, the seller saying, I want to sell this house for $1.2 million, you know, it's not going to sell and is $100,000 difference. Now, you're in business and rule number one and businesses don't go broke. So I don't blame any agent who takes on that listing, because they're telling themselves that hey, eventually if I can just show that I'm adding value, they'll trust me and then we'll get the price as they actually sell his house. What you can do to avoid all the stress anxiety and fear and frustration is set the rules of engagement up front, which is say, okay, Mister Mister seller, the market is rapidly changing. So no matter what price we put out there today, whether it's your price or my price, at the end of the day, the market is going to tell us if we're right or wrong. And so my job is to get you the most amount of money for the home period. Here's how we're going to do that. We're going to market your home through a through B through C, I'm going to call these people and these people and this is like, this is the process. But if the home doesn't sell, or we get 12 offers or 12 showings and 15 showings, we get zero offers, that tells us one thing and one thing only the home is is overpriced. And we have to adjust it to basically be at the market level. If that happens, are you comfortable moving it down to that price, right? So it's almost like if we do a B, C, and then we don't get this result? Are you comfortable then doing this? And so you get that upfront commitment from the seller, that, hey, I'm going to go all out promote this property, I'm going to pull it pull out every trick in the book, I'm gonna get drone videos, I'm going to do you know beautiful photography, I'm going to host a broker caravan, I'm doing an open house, I'm going to spend 500 bucks in a Facebook ad, this listing will be seen by every single buyer who's thinking about buying a house in our market. But if we don't get the results we're looking for, then would you be willing to come down and and that now, when that eventually happens, you can now have the ammunition Mike to turn the corner say okay, hey, this is where we're at in the process. We got to bring it down. And now you don't get in the conversation. Oh, yeah, I'll do a price reduction while reducing by $5,000. Right. Okay, well, like, like, what do you think a seller is gonna say, when they see a $1.2 million property drop by $5,000. Or buyer, whether you say when I talk about $5,000, right, like, give me like, if people think I'm a moron, like that's, like they're gonna that's gonna be the reaction. So I think a lot of the stress and anxiety around this conversation can be, can be avoided when you have this kind of social contract with the seller. And then by the way, do your best to sell the house for their price, but also realize, like, you know, you gotta have, you gotta have a clear plan of action. If and when you don't hit that number.

Mike Simonsen  42:16  

Right. If the market continues to cool, while we have your house, on the market, we may have to change. And I

Jimmy Mackin  42:23  

think I think there is something to be said about going back to alto switches for a second here. I think there's something to be said about looking at the data in a way where what is the, you know, how does price reductions impact days on market? What, like in terms of like, the percentage of price reduction? How does it impact days on market? Is there a, maybe you could speak this mic? Is there a danger zone? Where, like, you see, I see homes, like homes D list, right after a certain amount of price reductions? Like is there? Is there a period where like, Hey, we're like, what happens if we put the property out there? And we do three or four price reductions, because the home is overpriced, like, you know, what happens then? Like, is there a danger zone that can come into where all of a sudden, like, you know, the like, they could have actually got more for their property if they priced it appropriately, as opposed to like, trying to reduce down from, you know, their fantasy number, if you will?

Mike Simonsen  43:18  

Yeah, and, you know, three or four price reduction is actually pretty rare. Like, it's, you had to miss the mark, by long way. Or sometimes it's in the weird properties or the like, the high end properties, the multimillion dollar things that that, you know, where it's really hard to, what is this house actually worth? You know, there's very few comps in that way. But but you can see things in that line. It's actually relative. We started a long time ago, we started tracking percent of homes that get relisted on the market get pulled off, and they get put back on. And we started tracking it because when the bubble burst in places like San Jose, this is the you know, 2008 Now the bubble is bursting. The bottom is falling out of subprime. And if homes that prior to that, and this is where we are now prior to that homes that are on the market for 30 days. That is something is wrong with that home. And so people are even afraid to go look at it. And so what they started doing was 30 days, boom, pull it off the market, relist it reset the days on market, get it pushed out and Hey, new listing all the things and you start seeing like, Man, I get this new listing alert email, and there's 40% of these I've seen before. Yeah, you know, and it's we started tracking the realist percent. Now normally, the percent of homes that get relisted is it's a one 2% It's a couple percent. But then when it started, when the market starts cooling contracts start falling through those kinds of things happen. You start you start seeing that listing that relisting percentage climb. And so that's another way for agents to communicate with their sellers like We're watching list realist climb. And you know why they why they're relisting because they were not priced. Right. Right. Yeah. So you can really hit that home in that boat with that step.

Jimmy Mackin  45:10  

Well, what's what's, you know, think about the world that we live in today, Mike, where everybody wants to self serve until they're ready to make a decision. So if he asked if you asked me, if yesterday, I'll top listing agent, hey, when do sellers reach out to you? When they when they're When? When are they? What's the first point of contact? What does the seller typically reach out to you? The answer is, well, when they're ready to sell, and like so. So the so the the thought is like people, it's you can't convince someone to sell their house by your marketing. But what you can convince them to do is call you when they've made the decision. And so what I wouldn't be doing if I was an agent, in hearing, what you just said, is I would put out a video explaining how I priced properties to sell. So what I might say is, an average agent might take on a listing at any price point because they're desperate to get that home and in a listing is beneficial in the sense that it helps them maybe get some buyers. So your listing, even if it doesn't sell, they can generate business off that list. Right. That's why an agent might take on a listing as overpriced. So they're either going to leverage your listing to generate more business or they're desperate. So what I want to do in today's video is I want to walk you through how we price properties to sell for the maximum amount of money, so you don't end up with having to do multiple price reductions. So you don't have to end up with with being on the market for 3060 90 days and have all the uncertainty and stress. So you don't end up having to basically take the property off the market and then wait a little while then relist it. So here's how we start and then walk through the X's and O's of how you actually price a property. Now imagine if a seller watches that video, before they pick up the phone and call you see how much more likely it is that they're going to actually be receptive to hearing what your price is versus their price. You're the expert. But the problem is they think they're the expert. And the reason they think they're the expert, because you have a demonstrated that you're the expert. And so the way you do that is making an information readily available so people can self serve, so they can actually consume it on their own time. So when I hear stories, like what you're talking about my the thing that I think is important is because sellers don't understand the risk or cost of overpricing they think it is, I can just get there because I can just choose a number and see if see if someone wants it. They don't understand the costs. So there's no pain in like this initially, they don't understand the pain and the stress and anxiety and the fear and the potential costs it actually has and selling the home for the right price. They don't understand that. So we can't blame them for living in fantasy land. And listen to Sue's property for $1.4 million. I don't blame them, right, because he doesn't know any better. And so I think this is an opportunity. We talked about marketing, going back to marketing here, this is an opportunity where you have to kind of pull back the curtain and share a little bit of your secret sauce without any fear whatsoever that your competition is going to see it and steal your ideas like that is a has the least of your problems, you know, growing your real estate business.

Mike Simonsen  48:13  

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, it goes back to our initial part of the conversation, where were that the agents that that have transcended our creators. And that's an excellent example of what we're creating. Right? It's, it's not about, I'm not pitching you on anything I am giving you, I'm giving you some some free expertise, and I'm giving it out to the world. Other agents can look at it if they want to, but but I'm creating that for the world. And that's, that's very, very powerful. I love that. Look, we're getting actually really close to the end of our hour. But I got a couple of things. I'm interested other things I'm interested in, you've built quite a business. And I'm interested in your approach as an entrepreneur. And also what are you looking at? In you know, we're we're in a place and I don't know if you saw today, but both a compass and Redfin announced layoffs today. Well, you know, the recording will go out in a couple of weeks, but like, how do you think about your business in this environment?

Jimmy Mackin  49:11  

You know, when COVID hit, we were experiencing revenue declines of 10%, week over week, right in the first few weeks of COVID. And so one of the things that after you experienced initial shell shock, right of okay, this is this is this is something that none of us could have predicted, obviously, or and we're just reacting to what's in the moment. One of the important lessons I have, that I that stuck with me to the early stages of COVID pandemic as a business owner, was, how important it is to play offense and defense. And what I mean by that is, there are businesses today who are laying people off and those businesses are largely businesses who lose money. They operate at a loss, but there's Redfin or compass or Uber or you name it, insert whatever fast growth, VC backed tech comm You can think of Open Doors certainly going to be probably coming close to that list. If they actually they haven't already gone through around a layoffs I'm not mistaken. I don't think they make a little bit of money as of late Do you shouldn't mistake that with these companies are now becoming conservative. The reality is many of them just over hired, or they hired way ahead of growth. So I personally don't read a whole lot into the headlines of companies doing layoffs. But there is an important lesson here, which is says who can figure out ways to make a profit can thrive in any market. And so much of what we have to do as an org as a business is we have to lead with revenue. And we have to think about ways to be efficient with how we generate money, we cannot operate, you can't cost cut your way into growing a thriving business. At a certain point, you've got to play offense. And so the ball Curaytor will know this because his ad nauseam is that when you innovate, you grow. And when you don't, you don't. And so when I look back at our history of Curaytor being on this now for almost 10 years, every juncture that we have had where we experienced great growth has been on the back of innovation, some new innovative products, and new innovative service, some new new, new innovative offering. And so part of what I want the agents who are listening today to think about is, this is an opportunity for you to step on the gas for you to be aggressive, while others are, are conservative. Now, this is where it you have to fight all ethic of becoming a good investor might get to fight all of your natural instincts, right, you have to fight the herd mentality. But the thing that I remind my team of I said, I said, Listen, like, we're not gonna go out of business. Because we made some bad bets, we are much more likely to experience pain and challenges, because we are afraid to make decisions and afraid to sort of like put, you know, actually get out there and try and do things like this is where we have an opportunity to really, you know, aim higher and try to try to actually create some game changing and some innovative ideas and actually help our customers and their businesses. So I think my message to those have to my overall my overall outlook is the old Warren Buffett to quote him twice in one interview, but it's like, you know, be is it be greedy when others are conservative and be conservative, and others are greedy? Like, you know, I'm paraphrasing there, like, that is like my mindset right now is the market is changing. People are retreating. Every CFO and every company is cutting costs, and you shouldn't invest in this are we going to cut back from that, like, I'm saying, Hey, listen, we got to make a profit, because we've always been a profit. But we are reinvesting every dollar we have in new ways to add value to our customers, because that is where the growth is going to come from. So if I'm an agent listening to this, right now, I'm gonna You gotta play offense and defense. At the same time, get a cut your cost your waste, gotta get rid of people who aren't adding value, you got to make sure that you're being as lean as possible, but you are making forward facing investments in your business, to help establish you in the future and to continue to grow. If you're unwilling to do that, then you're just sort of you're the white pages, you're sort of salt you're dying is slow death, right, by 1000 cuts. And that is not a business that I'm interested in being a part of, or supporting org and running for that matter. So yeah, I think it's my attitude. And my posture is, and I should give, I should give a disclaimer on naturally like this, but like, my posture is ultra aggressive. Like this is like ultra aggressive while not being wasteful. I think the way the way to describe it, be lean, be scrappy, but like, be aggressive. Like the step like there's a great quote by James Dyson. He was when you start to feel tired. That's when you accelerate, because that's when you win. And so for a lot of agents last few years, man, it's been a it's been it's been a it's been a race, but like this is when you got to get your mind right, get your head, right, like, Let's go because this is going to be an opportunity for people to lead from the front and you have an opportunity, everyone's listening. See that person. So that's my mindset, going into the next six to 12 months, Mike?

Mike Simonsen  54:07  

Awesome. That's a terrific place to leave it. Jimmy, I appreciate you very much. Thank you for being on the podcast today. I love your wisdom. I took a bunch of notes. It's super, super great. Where should people find you and Curaytor?

Jimmy Mackin  54:21  

Yeah, so the best place to stay connected with me is on Instagram at Jimmy Mackin get the same handle on Twitter and the best place to stay connected means out of those platforms and you can follow Curaytor as well as myself on those platforms Mike

Mike Simonsen  54:35  

terrific. So Jimmy Mackin Instagram and Twitter. I don't I do I do follow you on Twitter, so I'll have to go check catch out your see if I can be inspired by your Instagram. Well,

Jimmy Mackin  54:46  

that's it like follow subscribe. That's

Mike Simonsen  54:49  

fabulous. All right, everybody. This is the Top of Mind podcast. I'm Mike Simonsen. Join us at Altos Research if you're listening to this and you realize that you need to get data into your hands and your customers today. Go to and join us because we can make that happen right now you can talk about your local market and you can help prepare your buyers and sellers for what's coming right now. All right, more, another nother Top of Mind next week, Jimmy Mackin thank you so much

Outro  55:22  

Thanks for listening to Top of Mind. See you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.

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