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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.

Buying a house can be challenging. Sometimes people try to find help from friends. But what’s the difference between hiring a well-meaning friend versus a professional?

In this episode of the Top of Mind podcast, Mike Simonsen is joined by Becky Babcock and Brad Nix, Co-founders of Path & Post Real Estate, to discuss why hiring a professional makes all the difference in your real estate journey. They talk about the core values at Path & Post, share advice for buying and selling in today’s market, and discuss predictions for the future of the real estate market.

About Becky Babcock and Brad Nix

Becky Babcock

Becky Babcock is the CEO, Founder, and Co-owner of the Path & Post Real Estate team brokerage. Becky is passionate about sharing her vision, challenging the status quo, and helping team members achieve success. She focuses on understanding each client's unique life transition to create a memorable experience for clients and meaningful work for team members. Becky is also the author of How to Sell Houses without Selling Your Soul.


Brad Nix is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of the Path & Post Real Estate team brokerage, where he oversees the operations of 26 team members. Under Brad’s leadership, Path & Post has received over 800 five-star reviews from satisfied clients and sold over 2,400 homes. Throughout his career, Brad has been consistently recognized by the real estate community for delivering exceptional experiences for both his agents and consumers.

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

  • Becky Babcock explains what sets Path & Post Real Estate apart from other real estate brokerages
  • Brad Nix describes the difference between a professional and an amateur
  • How does Path & Post reach new customers?
  • Path & Post’s company values: RUG
  • Questions to ask to determine if you’re ready to buy a home
  • Advice for buyers and sellers in today’s market
  • Where is the market headed over the next 10-20 years?
  • Surprising real estate trends in the last 24 months
  • Becky and Brad’s vision for the future of Path & Post

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by Altos Research. Altos is the #1 market data company for realtors, title, and escrow. 

Each week, Altos Research 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.

Altos Research is a full-featured lead conversion engine. Our system uses real-time market reports to attract and engage prospective buyers and sellers. Designed to work with minimal setup, Altos helps you move leads through the funnel automatically, alerting you when they're ready to take action.

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.

Visit Altos Research at for more information or set up a call with us here.

Episode Transcript

Introduction  0:03  

Welcome to Top of Mind, the show where real estate industry insiders talk shop about the big trends shaping the market today. Enjoy the show.

Mike Simonsen  0:14  

Mike Simonsen here. Thanks for joining me today. Welcome to the Top of Mind podcast. So this is where we are talking to the smartest leaders, thinkers and doers in real estate industry. You know, at altos research, we spend so much of our time talking about the data, we track every home for sale in the country, all the pricing, all the supply and demand and all the changes in that data and we make it available to you before you see it in the traditional channels. What we're doing with the podcast series top of mind is we are talking to the the the practitioners, the people who are in the industry, who can provide some context around that some insights that we don't necessarily see in the data already. So welcome to the Top of Mind podcast. And without further ado, here are my guests for today. Becky Babcock and Brad Nix from Path & Post real estate in Atlanta. Path & Post is a highly successful team brokerage in North Atlanta. It was co founded by Becky and Brad Becky began her career as a solo agent right after college and then evolved into award winning team leader and eventual CEO of Path & Post. She's also the author of How to sell houses without selling your soul. And I've never read the book Becky, so I'm going to grab it and read it right away. Brad co founded Path & Post with Becky and as the Chief Operating Officer. Together Becky and Brad have led paths and post to be COMM The top rated Real Estate Team brokerage in North Atlanta both in terms of sales, and in five star reviews. Their team also ranks among the top teams in Georgia and the US. These two are absolute superstars and innovators when it comes to developing a high performance, top producing team. They they do really amazing things with technology and innovation. And I'm thrilled to get their take on things as we start the new year. So Becky and Brad, welcome.

Brad Nix  2:27  

Wow, what an intro.

Mike Simonsen  2:31  

It's great to have you both here. And you know, what we're like I said, what we're doing with these these podcasts is we're we're talking to people to get the context behind the numbers. And so I am really interested today to talk about Path & Post what you're building, how you've accomplished what you have, how you're talking to clients, and you know, buyers and sellers today I'm interested in Atlanta, because Atlanta is one of the growth places in the country. So so let's let's dive in. First, why don't you tell me Becky about Path & Post and and why it's cool.

Becky Babcock  3:10  

Where we're unique in the marketplace, because we're a team and we're also a brokerage. And so what that means is we're more collaborative, more sharing, we have a weekly rising grind meeting where we share best practices. And when you take the collective experiences and knowledge of people from all different angles and put it together you end up stronger and better together. And so

Mike Simonsen  3:36  

more collaborative like in a lot of brokerages, you're end up sitting next to your competition. Correct. And in in in the team environment. You're working on one team and so you're a team brokerage? Correct. So everybody that comes to work for the brokerage is is on the team automatically. Yes, that's right. Help. Tell me about the team right now. How big is it? What do we need to do about it?

Becky Babcock  3:58  

We have 18 residential agents and a couple of commercial brokers, new homes, new homes agent and then five staff that would that covers everything from marketing to transactions to is a work and then of course, Brad and myself are both very active leaders. Hands on, you know, leading the ship. We don't sit in a fancy office somewhere. So factor our office is a co working space. We don't even have an owner's office.

Mike Simonsen  4:35  

Oh, okay. So you're so you have 18 agents doing buyers and sellers are they are they both buyer and seller do they focus on buyer only? Well, how do you how do your your agents work?

Brad Nix  4:47  

Yeah, we believe that specializing helps the consumer experience so we try to coach up our agents to be a specialist in one area or the other by side or selling side.

Mike Simonsen  4:57  

Oh, interesting. And How does that play out? How do you illustrate that that works? Well?

Brad Nix  5:05  

Yeah, well, I everybody knows that the buy side and sell side are opposed to each other. And what one wants is the opposite from the other. So really, it plays out like if we've got a listing and a lot of brokerages or teams, if you have a listing, you end up on both sides of the transaction. And if a buyer comes, so in our situation, we would assign a buyer specialist to work on that side of the transaction. So there's no dual agency ever in our brokerage. And it's hard for a brokerage level to hold that line. Right. But at a team level, we can because we designate someone to represent them if it comes to that. So not only is that the dual sided situation saw, but also all other consumers who need just that one side buying or selling, they get a true specialist who understands that market those needs and is really available at the right times. Because the times that a buyer is shopping for homes is different than the time the seller, oftentimes sellers having to negotiate offers coming in, while the buyer is out looking at homes. And if you're the agent trying to do both, you're either in the car on the phone or in front of a consumer and negotiating you're trying to wear too many hats at the same time.

Mike Simonsen  6:12  

That's really interesting. For sure you get the you know, you get a traditional environment where you get. You might have a you interview the team lead and then you have somebody who's not the team lead, or you have you can't get a hold of your person because they're off doing the other thing. That's fascinate. Okay, that is that is that unique. I mean, I haven't really looked at that. And that is that is that.

Brad Nix  6:39  

There are some other teams that do it that way, but not as many as you think. Yeah. So we're pretty unique. And we really develop specialists.

Mike Simonsen  6:47  

That's great. And, and so you have 18 active agents, which is pretty big for a team but but small for brokerage, how does that work as a business?

Becky Babcock  7:00  

Well, we have the highest per agent production in the entire county, and pretty successful rate of recruiting and retention, we have people that have been with us for 18 years as agents who love they love the team model because it's it's pretty much a consistent experience. And they like the values and the brand we've built and their clients like it and we have a pretty strong following of repeat business as well.

Mike Simonsen  7:30  

That's great. Yes, the brand the Path & Post brand new, you work very well. I'm interested in, in learning more about the brand philosophy. But But first, tell me about so you're at 18 plus the rest of the team. Where do you see the future for the for the company? Are you adding a lot?

Brad Nix  7:52  

Yeah, we need to add agents right now. We have opportunities that are hitting the ground. And that kills us as leaders. We have advertisers that we know we can serve we can meet the market demand is bigger than we can fulfill right now. So we are actively recruiting, hiring interviewing right now. So that is something we're focusing on?

Mike Simonsen  8:14  

Is it as difficult to hire in the real estate sales world as it is everywhere else in the country right now?

Brad Nix  8:24  

I would say yes, for the right person. Right. So it's easy to get a license. It's, it's hard to find the true professionals that share the same value. So we're a little pickier than most brokerages, which, you know, they really just need more bodies. And we need the right people.

Mike Simonsen  8:40  

Uh huh. And and what's the right people look like?

Brad Nix  8:44  

Well, you asked what was top of mind, and this has been a common conversation recently is the difference between a professional and an amateur. So we believe that the average agent in the industry is just an amateur. They're they're doing it part time as a hobby, they are not truly professionals at it, it's not a full time thing. They're not trying to improve skills, you're just, you know, hoping they network their way into some commission. Like, let's be honest, that seems like a lot of the amateurs we come across. So our ideal agent is looking to become a professional if they're not already. And they they need and desire the training and accountability that comes with being a professional. So that's something that's definitely top of mine. They have to share our core values were values based business. So every decision we make filters through those values, so that's got to be the right human. And they don't always fit that sometimes it's just you're not going to work out whether you're professional or not. Uh

Mike Simonsen  9:41  

huh. Yeah, two questions. Well, what one tell me about you. Do you have the opportunity to hire and train like real early agents? Is that part of your or do you end up hiring people with more experience?

Brad Nix  9:58  

Both will take you or if it's the right person that fits our values and is going to be a true pro. So, you know, recently we've, we've had a couple of new ones this year that have ramped from zero experience zero into, you know, 1518 transactions in their first year, wow, which is multiple times the average agent in the industry. So we know we can take a beginner from zero to 60 at a quick rate. And, you know, we also get those season agents who, you know, they've either got tired of running through their Soi, and the friends and family network or their burnout of spending all their time, money and resources, marketing and trying to prospect for the next thing, and they want something that's got a proven, you know, opportunity flow through the system. And that's what we've built here at Path & Post, like, I think Tom Ferry, you know, someone breaks the industry down is real estate is just prospecting and nurturing. And I believe that to be true, you've got to really care about humans and relationships and nurture that relationship and find out what's best for them. And what matters most to the buyer or seller before you can add value in their life. And if you're good at that, then you just need to go and prospect and find those opportunities. But it's hard to do both right? You're either prospecting or nurturing. Are you one of the other but we've taken the prospecting off the table for our agents

Mike Simonsen  11:20  

got it. So I love that framework, prospecting and nurturing. I mean, in, in many ways, it's such as life, right?

Brad Nix  11:28  


Mike Simonsen  11:31  

And so, so but, but really, that's what you've done so well is in a lot of your embrace technology and things like that. So So talk to me about that prospect. What do you do to reach new consumers?

Brad Nix  11:44  

Yeah, I mean, customer acquisition is all I used to focus on is how do you grow the brand? How do you grow opportunities to real estate, there's a lot of channels, like you can partner with Zillow is your partner the, you can you know, pay per clicks and social media ads, you can network. So we've decided to do all of it in a diversified manner, so that we don't have all our eggs in one basket. We are a Zillow flex team. So we are in a partnership with Zillow as premier agents. But we are also investing and leads and our own generated Pay Per Click lead social leads. And by that we can track on that as are we growing our brand, delivering a five star experience, you've mentioned the reviews in the intro. So we get that word of mouth, we get that organic search in the local market by having our signs out. So that's been really good to see grow. And we've we've got about 40% of our business is either repeat or referral at this point, which is a healthy size book of business for a brand. That's, you know, we're doing almost 400 transactions this year.

Mike Simonsen  12:56  

Yeah, that's terrific. That's really neat. So I love that it's it's all of the things. It's all very first of all of the things is there anything that that worked particularly well or change during the pandemic, that surprised you.

Becky Babcock  13:18  

We actually had our best year ever in the first year of the pandemic. And then this year, we're going to beat that by our gross volume is 50% greater. So we went from 100 to 150 million this year. And we found that the things that we were doing PR for the pandemic, with our we call it our Pathfinders, which are our clients that we've closed with and we love on them and they send us referrals and interact with us on social media, we found that we had to do things differently. So we introduced last year a new event, it was dinner on us just order your pizza and either beer or soft drinks and do a drive thru and we brought it out to their car and we have people send us written thank you notes, who were just so grateful for a meal out and some of them were in their 70s or 80s and hadn't been out to eat the whole year because of the pandemic. It was such a big hit. We repeated it this year even though we were in a law with a pandemic and we added game night for the team to that and after we served our clients we all enjoyed dinner and game night together and everybody loves us so much we're gonna make it a regularly occurring event.

Mike Simonsen  14:34  

I love it. That's amazing. I think there's a real gem in there that I heard in that so you're obviously strong with your branding Path & Post and it's that must help things like referrals you know as opposed to just like oh what was my Realtors name and you know, but but Path & Post is a is a real strong brand. I love that you I labeled your clients, pathfinders. I love the act of naming anything that we want people to pay attention to. And in the technology business is naming the technology that you have. It's naming the architecture. It's naming the market that you're creating, naming your customers or your teams do you have do you have? Is your team? The employees, the team? Do they have names? Is there a special name?

Brad Nix  15:31  

No, for our team agents, yeah. They're just real estate specialists,

Mike Simonsen  15:34  

they just specialist Altos, the Altoids. Ah, like it,

Brad Nix  15:40  

we have a monthly Trailblazer among a team that gets recognized.

Mike Simonsen  15:45  

That's great. But calling your, your, your clients the Pathfinders is is terrific. And it really, I think is is goes is one of the elements that goes into doing things like remembering to serve them properly. And they you know, like, that's really neat. Is that was that original thought? Or did that happen along the way? How that when that come up?

Brad Nix  16:09  

Yeah, we've been doing that for years is definitely original organic, can't come to like, you know, what would you naturally be at the completion of a journey of a path? Like you'd be the path? Right? So yeah, everything we've done is, you know, from the closing gifts that we give everyone is a curated experience and into you know, you're invited to a private Facebook group once you're a pathfinder, so you can be in the community post closing and follow up, you get special invites to events. I mean, we have special benefits like Braves tickets that we give away throughout the year to Pathfinders and slash lead. So it's a nice treat to be a Pathfinder.

Mike Simonsen  16:44  

Yeah, that's neat. I love the private Facebook group idea. Tell me, let's talk one more question about Path & Post. And well, let's talk about all kinds of things market and stuff. But tell me about your values.

Becky Babcock  16:57  

Our values are, spell the word rug, rug, yes, respect, unity, and the golden rule. And then we had a plus to that. So respect, of course, is obvious. And unity means that we're we're all working together towards the common goal, we're not uniform, you know, we allow some individuality amongst our team members. And then the Golden Rule plus is more of a pay it forward version of the golden rule. So we we want to do unto others as we should not to necessarily extract something back from them. So we give before we receive, I love that. And that rug, that rug is kind of the foundation of a room, or house, of course. And we use that pay it forward. We're in the midst right now of our Giving Tuesday program where we select a cause that matters most to us for this season. And we're we're paying it forward with servers in the community. So we'll give everybody $100 to go out and pay extra tips on top of what we consider a basic tip of 20% to thank our servers for what they do serving our community. And that's part of that pay it forward. So we and we don't have those values on a poster anywhere in the office. They actually reside within us. And they should be exuded in the kind of work we do and how we treat other people.

Mike Simonsen  18:26  

I love it. Rug. It's a this is The Big Lebowski really brings the room together really held the room together. I love it. I love that rug, man. Too terrific. Okay, so it's now the end of the year, we'll probably have this episode on maybe like the first week of January or something like that. record low inventory. Demand is super high. Some of the national stuff we're seeing demand seems like it's accelerating over the holidays. What are you seeing in Atlanta right now in your markets? And what are you telling buyers and sellers?

Brad Nix  19:05  

We tend to follow the national trend line. So I've been following your office updates. Throughout the year, we share a lot of the teams like almost what you say nationally can apply to Atlanta, I think we're a pretty good benchmark. It's tight inventory demand is high. We're still in multiple offers. It's a little bit seasonality right now, which I think is a good thing, you know, so you may not get 20 of the view to 10 or so maybe three to 10. All right, this switch is good, but that's the seasonality of it. But the problem is you still have less inventory, right? Yeah. We we track local MLS data, and we saw a little bit of an increase of new listings, but the new pendings were like four times that rate. So we do have some coming. They just get eaten up so fast.

Mike Simonsen  19:55  

They're just getting eaten up so fast. Yeah, and it's funny the total transaction volume Isn't down that but they just get eaten up so fast that there they are like this. Nothing on the market if you look around, so Okay, so now you get a new Byerly lands in your inbox. Hey, I'm a first time homebuyer What do you tell them? Like, they're like, should I buy now? Should I wait? Is it? I'm afraid? What am I going to do? What do you tell them?

Brad Nix  20:27  

We've gotten really good at asking questions and letting them because we felt like if we tell them what you know, to be true on the market, like it prices are going to go up. It's only gonna cost you more if you wait, like if we say that it sounds like a sales pitch, right? Like, yeah, sure you want me to buy now? Right? Right. So we found that if we just ask the right questions, they can determine it themselves. So it's simple. A couple of questions we asked like, do you think mortgage rates are going to go up or down in the future? And the buyer tip is like, well, they're pretty low right now, kind of historically low. They know that they've been falling, like, yeah, probably go up long term. So okay, if that's true, you think it'll cost more or less than the future for the same payment? And they're like, Yeah, okay, I get it. And like, do you think homes are going to go up or down? And that's the one that people will pause on, right? There are some buyers are like, wow, this is gonna crash? Yep. And for no reason. They think that right? They don't they kidding. But if you ask, so why do you think that? And then you can start picking what really is driving their thought patterns, like something like, well, it was overinflated in Oh, eight and nine, and we saw what happened. And I'll just wait until that happens again. And then if you look at what caused it, so they started like, I don't know, four, or how long you willing to

Mike Simonsen  21:49  

wait. Right?

Brad Nix  21:51  

Exactly. So it just asking the right questions, and then they kind of become self educated. And they, you know, do their own deductive reasoning. And then at that point, you can insert some real market data from altos to show like, here's, you know, the trend lines. And here's what experts think. And you don't have to google too many to find predicted increase. Yeah.

Mike Simonsen  22:14  

That's interesting. So So, then they are okay. They're like, okay, yeah, I guess I'm gonna jump in this market. How do I prepare? What do I do for this year?

Brad Nix  22:30  

Yeah, that's the thing. It's like, you've got to have the right guide to ensure that you win in this kind of market. And we get that the true story on last week, we had a consumer switch from an agent that they had found on their own. It was also their like, gym coach instructor with a part time real estate license and fits the average amateur agent description. And had been looking at homes and making offers made like 10 or 12 offers and didn't want to single one up. Okay, and then they call that I need to buy a house. Can you help me win? And literally, we went show two homes made two offers one both, and they got to choose which one to move forward with. Wow. So that is the difference between having an amateur agent a professional agent is someone who knows how to structure and offer to win in a competitive environment.

Mike Simonsen  23:28  

That's really fascinating. You don't hear a lot of distinction on buyer's agents. You hear like people are like, Well, my agent didn't do anything at all. Why am I paying this commission? You're like, you hear those kinds of things?

Brad Nix  23:44  

Yes. But it happens now more than I think the industry realizes I don't think it's being talked about enough that there are so many agents wasting buyer's times right now. It's sad.

Mike Simonsen  23:57  

Yeah, and then the same

Becky Babcock  23:58  

agents complain on social media about I can't I'll never recommend my buyer pay over list price. That's ridiculous. And I'm thinking well, our prices are going up on a typical $400,000 home by 4000 a month so why would you not pay 12,000 more to close in 90 days because you're paying you're gonna pay is gonna be worth out in three months. And if you wait, you're gonna pay that anyways on the next house and the interest rates will go up at the same time.

Mike Simonsen  24:31  

That's fascinating. That's what a what an interesting way to look at it like you're you're when you're over bidding, you're really only you're only paying a few months out of change. Yeah. And you get all you

Brad Nix  24:45  

want for you know, at this time of year, like maybe April's price if you bought it now. Yeah. Are you gonna own it past April? You're probably okay. Like, sure. It feels like you're overpaying today. But come November next year, you'll be fine.

Mike Simonsen  24:59  

You'll be fine. Yeah. I exactly have a

Becky Babcock  25:01  

lot of strategies like that. And we, that's what we coach and train on is how to get out there and not just be the professional, but to give the level of guidance that it is a strategic advisor level to help them to help them win and not just on the price, we actually can help people win sometimes with a contingency to sell another house, just by how we craft the offer. So it's not just price, because that would not take a lot of strategy. But it's a lot. We've got, like 15 different strategies and stipulations that we use to help our clients win.

Mike Simonsen  25:36  

That's amazing, I can understand how you would help a brand new agent with that kind of framework. They're not just landing at a desk somewhere. That's, that's super, super deep. Okay, so then tell me Becky, what do you tell him to this sellers, right now.

Becky Babcock  25:54  

We're telling the sellers, they're going to get the optimal equity out of their home right now. And we're going to be able to use some of those same strategies to protect them on the selling side. With occupancy after closing, we're frequently getting a month or two after closing rent free to stay in the home so they can have an easier smooth transition to the next home. And we're also vetting those offers really thoroughly to make sure that they're rock solid. So we don't have a lot of terminations, you know, during the process. But our sellers are, you know, we're hitting some of the top numbers in communities that have been like exceeding them in our market. 400 is a good price in 100, in an area that's never sold for more than 700. Like 700, like in the past two weeks, so we're still exceeding current market values, and showing sellers that kind of data and showing them the trend lines there, they're eager to jump in and cash out. Yeah,

Brad Nix  26:58  

did you get more important than, like sales price? Because we all know, it's like all time sales prices are being said though, it's educating them on the net to seller and and how that compares in a multiple offer scenario. Because you know, there are a lot of other terms and an offer that could impact the net, if there's any closing costs being contributed, if there's any repairs being factored in, or an instant offer or buyer situation, what are the fees that may come with that? So focusing on that net, the seller and figuring out what matters most of the seller, we can really optimize different strategies and counters and stipulations to make sure they get the best

Mike Simonsen  27:37  

net. That's That's great. And that actually is a great segue to the next thing that I'm thinking about which is let's talk about it Lana in general, and you know, what's happening there, what do you think about long term and and I'm interested in like the I buyers, how is that impacting your market,

Brad Nix  27:59  

like under Atlanta was undervalued for years, decades, maybe nationally, and I feel like the pandemic allowed people to look around the country and say Shetlands is a really great place to live and a low cost of living. So I think that's been like the, the secret's out a little bit in Atlanta. I may not be like the buzzy crazy as Austin but like Atlanta is here to stay as a growth community city. For the next 50 years. I think we've seen just like an elevated step up to a new base level for Atlanta,

Mike Simonsen  28:34  

did what it moved somewhere in the last 1520 years from like, B city to a class city in the US.

Brad Nix  28:42  

It is you can get anywhere in the world from our airport. And we have world class businesses here job opportunities here. The city really has no growth boundaries, geographically anyway. So like we have the ability to get large, and I think we're in for a long run of that breadth.

Mike Simonsen  29:01  

Fascinating. Are your buyers, out of state? Do you have a lot of out of state folks or what's that look like?

Brad Nix  29:07  

Yeah, definitely, definitely a lot of out of state, we get a lot of the west coast and a lot of the Northeast, moving down to the South for that cost of living and still great quality of life.

Mike Simonsen  29:17  

And do you specifically market to those guys? Like do you have geographic stuff going in California or New York?

Brad Nix  29:26  

No, we don't do outbound to those markets. But what we found is when we're buying local leads or partnering with a zip code level, they're coming in searching our level so we naturally pick those up. And we've also picked them up you know, when they find an area like I want to live in Woodstock or Marietta, some North Atlanta city. We were like top Google Search to thanks to our reviews and in the longevity we've had succeeding for clients.

Mike Simonsen  29:53  

That's great. Yeah, that's straight up Google reviews for that it works. It's amazing. So what do you tell that guy from coming from San Francisco? Says, Hey, what I'm interested in Atlanta, I'm a little bit worried about too many Republicans. Where do I go? Graphics are in your favor.

Mike Simonsen  30:13  

Okay. Just demographic shifts,

Brad Nix  30:15  

I think in the country politically. So I just don't feel real is that palpable? Israel is powerful. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, you can feel it, especially in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, where we operate, that's just as real and went from very red to very purple real quick. And blue areas for sure.

Mike Simonsen  30:39  

That's great. That's really fascinating. Becky, what do you think about the next 1020 years, for the area in for for like home buying and owning, in particular,

Becky Babcock  30:53  

with Atlanta's top for business in this in the country, we're ranked number one for business in the country and a really diverse economy, including filmmaking, we're taking that away from Hollywood. We also have a lot of biotech technology, manufacturing is just a really good diverse economy. And I think that our cost of living is so low that we're going to stay an attractive hub. For people like Brad said, you can fly anywhere in the world from from the busiest airport in the world. Plus, we have access to mountains and beaches, and a lot of different kinds of topography. So we have people that like to live in a live work, play or out in the country on a few acres, I think that's going to be sustainable for the next 10 to 20 years. I think the biggest thing is, we've seen more change, I think Brad and I with our combined 50 years of experience have seen more change in the past 24 months than we've ever seen in our 50 combined years in real estate. So to try to project out how that technology or cultures could change the market, we have no idea. But as leaders, our job is to stay in front of that abreast of it. We both are very avid listeners to podcast, we read. We're consuming everything we can including your videos, to make sure that we're staying on top of things and so that we can leave that ship and we can gain market share, and help our clients win. And if we help our clients win, our team members win. And if they win, we all win.

Mike Simonsen  32:30  

That's terrific. What are so big changes in the last 24 months for this some that were particularly shocking or surprising to you.

Brad Nix  32:41  

Yeah, I mean, I think the ibuyer movements been phenomenally interesting experience here in Atlanta, we're almost like a ground zero of like us and Phoenix and nationally where they come and test their ideas. These big companies like you know, the open doors and xolos we have a mall here offer pad, they're all here in Atlanta, testing their ideas. And, you know, we went from no ibuyers to all here, like overnight, it seemed like and then going through the pandemic, they all kind of pull back. So it all went away. And then they all came back surging over the last, you know, 12 months. And then recently what Zillow has done with pulling Zillow offers out of the market. So we've seen a lot of stops start up influx, and that's been a huge adjustment at the consumer level. But it's confusing to them, like what is this? And where did it go? And can I get it back? And now Is it dead? And so here like, you have to explain it all, no, kind of a new concept to begin with. So we have to not only keep our agents abreast of you know what's available and what's coming, but the consumer level education has been a real effort. That's been pretty drastic over the last couple years.

Mike Simonsen  33:48  

Yeah, that's really the ibuyers in particular being there was I think about it as a financial innovation. The whole industry was looking for a technology innovation and an open door came along with infinitely cheap money and said, Let's just buy the houses. And so as a financial and so and not just the the eye buyers, per se but a whole this whole sub industry of financial products around buying and lease backs and all of these kinds of things. Are there any of those that you're working with that are interesting that are working? Well that that you like find your clients using over and over again?

Brad Nix  34:32  

Yeah, the power buyer stuff instead of the eye buyer that you're talking about where they come in and make

Mike Simonsen  34:37  

cash offers or whatever that Yes. convert

Brad Nix  34:40  

into cash. Yeah, yeah, we've partnered with a couple of different than not to name brands. What we found is that sometimes our stipulations and strategies can be that so by the time they add their fee, and I like to call it one or 2% on the mind so they can make money on their cash. If If we say, well, let's take that amount if you're willing to pay it anyway, at closing to this other company, what if we use it in the way we structured the offer? And that opens up my now I've got an extra one to 2% to play with as a strategist in the equation. Do I put it in as option money? Do I put it in as you know, additional purchase price, like there's ways to play with it or both? And, and we found that we can actually win on a competitive thing without some of that

Mike Simonsen  35:28  

power. And it's fascinating to hear. And, ya know, and often one of the challenges of innovating in the space is, you got to have your fees, and all of a sudden, it's not that good a deal anymore. Right? That,

Brad Nix  35:43  

I think in the hands of the right, professionals, strategist, they can use that to their advantage. Like why don't we just skip paying a fee? Go ahead and write the check to the seller, we'll skip from 20th in line to number one. Venom omega.

Mike Simonsen  35:59  

Yeah. Interesting. Wow, that's really fascinating. Because Because the ibuyers and that whole sub industry is such a force of change in the last few years. And it's an it's a curious to see where how much market share they can take? How much do you think they can take?

Brad Nix  36:23  

Yeah, I would be comfortable saying anywhere from five to 15. Now, I don't know if it goes any higher than that I have I could be completely wrong. Yeah. And there's, I think there's gonna be a segment of though so I think it eats away some of the for sale by owners. It's definitely it's a way a lot of the We Buy ugly houses stuff, you know, and the guaranteed cash offer stuff that was, you know, a little bit of a gimmick for a while from burgers and stuff. So I think it takes a little bit of all of that and grows a little bit of a pie. And there are some though, and we've, we've even created our own ibuyer program, we purchased a home as bath and postal brokerage, for someone who wanted an instant offer. And it was unique, because if you go too far north of Atlanta, you get out of there by box, right? So these national companies said, we can't make you an offer. Well, this seller really needed to move, they had a really good compelling reason that they couldn't list they couldn't go to market a, they needed a cash offer. Backing, I looked at each other and said, you know, we could do this and help them out. And so we bought a home. Wow. And we were the eye buyer. So it doesn't have to be a national company. You just have to have that the resources and willingness to do it.

Mike Simonsen  37:37  

That's amazing. That's fascinating. Yeah, you know, in an era of infinitely cheap money, it's infinitely cheap for you to Yeah,

Brad Nix  37:48  

what they've done is not hard. I mean, it's hard to scale, but it's not hard to execute.

Mike Simonsen  37:55  

If you just need to do it for one or two clients here to make a deal done. That's really neat. That's a See this is why I want to have this kind of conversation, right? Like, that is really insightful. Did you guys get any impact? Becky from the from Zillow change? Did you notice anything?

Becky Babcock  38:13  

We didn't notice really any change on the ground from that. And we still have the Zillow flex partnership, that that that we do. I don't think have you seen anything, Brad from it as far as impacting us? Because,

Brad Nix  38:29  

no, I think the really the only impact from Zillow offers pulling out was what does that mean? The agent industry turned around and like, what does that mean? Consumers? I don't think notice, you know, yeah, like, wait, wait, what was that really mean?

Mike Simonsen  38:44  

Yeah, there was a lot of fear. Like what Zillow knows that you know, they're getting out before a crash, but nothing, you didn't notice any dynamic different. You weren't competing with them every day and all of a sudden not competing with them?

Brad Nix  38:59  

No, we were actually partnering with them. Often they were buying some homes that we were helping. There wasn't a lot of people, I think agents think it's either us or an eye buyer. And it can be both. So we've actually got paid on ibuyer transactions, even though we didn't bring the buyer.

Mike Simonsen  39:14  

Interesting. You're the you're the you're the you're the broker on that side. Rocker. Exactly. That's an interesting. Alright, Becky. Okay. So, big changes, big changes in Atlanta. A big changes in the market. Tell me about your vision for like the team, like where does the where does the world go and, and, you know, where to? What's it look like for us in the next few years?

Becky Babcock  39:46  

I think we're bullish on 2022. We think it's gonna it's already we've got a lot of pendings teed up for the first part of the year, and we're seeing phenomenal buyer activity. On our website and strong two way communications, which we also track. So I believe that 2022 is going to be another great year, I do think that it'll, it'll take some additional finesse to navigate rising interest rates, rates and inflationary pressures, especially on the new home construction, because we're seeing those prices going up substantially, and they're not able to keep up with the demand. So that's gonna push those buyers out further that it may end up helping our resale market in the, you know, shorter term buyers will say, I don't want to wait 15 to 18 months to be able to close I think I'm going to go for a resale.

Mike Simonsen  40:44  

Yeah, that's interesting. Yes. So there's a ton of new construction starts, but they're not finishing very quickly. Right. So your buyers are looking at 15 to 18 months before they can actually get into that house. Is that right? Yeah,

Becky Babcock  41:01  

in a lot of cases that you know, they're you get on a waiting list now to be able to have the opportunity to write your offer next April. So you're five months out from the opportunity to write the offer with no guaranteed pricing in place. And then from that point, it is usually going to take nine to 12 months to complete because there's so many supply chain issues with Windows and appliances and even labor. I mean, they're short of labor in our area.

Mike Simonsen  41:30  

Oh, for sure. They're shorter labor shorter labor everywhere. I just redid a kitchen and my, my Mountain House and, you know, they my friends and all that good counters. Terrific. Where did you get that idea? I was like, that's the one that was in stock. That's what I got. So does that. Does that new homebuyer experience feel different than it did a year ago? What or is it getting tougher, longer? Or is it? Is it the same?

Brad Nix  42:02  

Yeah, I mean, it's definitely getting longer. tougher, it depends. Timing is the biggest problem The To Do It does someone have to sell to buy? And how do we time that and when you've got new home construction thrown in the mix where you don't know the timing? It becomes really complicated. Yeah, that's the biggest, it's really like a puzzle that depends on you know, what are the consumers capabilities? Can they buy without selling? Or do they need to sell first? And if so, what's their timeline? What's the motivation driving that? And that'll drive them whether they can consider new construction or not.

Mike Simonsen  42:41  

And if I'm if I've, if I've got an existing house somewhere, it's revenue and I want to buy a brand new construction. When I buy, do I can it's 15 months before that place is completed. Do I am I am I like putting everything down and getting that transaction done now, like do I have to as it is a pretty common that I have to sell my house,

Brad Nix  43:05  

the bank is my love is a lot deposit. So you're putting a small deposit down on a future lot that has yet to be released for purchase. So it's like a next phase. And once we get that developed, you can buy one of those lots. So it's a lot deposit, which is a small commitment now. And even sometimes those are refundable. Sometimes they're not just depends on the neighborhood. So you're kind of like half committing now on a future order.

Mike Simonsen  43:31  

Yep. Yeah. So that makes it a little easier. I don't have to sell my house to pay that down.

Brad Nix  43:37  

Right. But it stops you from like, maybe I found something better, and then do I lose my deposit? So do you want to stop shopping is really the question.

Mike Simonsen  43:46  

Yeah. Okay. The, the. So, how much of that new construction is is that pushing further out? Like, is it getting further and further ex urban or is there is there infill stuff happening?

Brad Nix  44:05  

Yeah, there's some infill stuff happening, but Atlanta has notoriously been a drive until you qualify market.

Mike Simonsen  44:14  

And does that change in a post pandemic world?

Brad Nix  44:20  

No, we're starting to see it in some of the outer counties that they can't keep up with the permitting and development side where they need to put some new locks on the ground for the development actually in our in our home county that we're headquarters in. They have a moratorium right now on new construction. You know how much we need new construction in this country. And we have a local municipality saying no more new developments.

Mike Simonsen  44:45  

We're just so far behind is dead stop. We

Brad Nix  44:48  

just can't get them all through the hearing process and permitting process inspections,

Mike Simonsen  44:52  

all of the things right. Wow. And what county is that?

Brad Nix  44:57  

That is Cherokee County, which is you know, a couple North Fulton County worse Atlanta, Atlanta's and even if it's just for

Becky Babcock  45:04  

60 or 90 days, I you know, it may very well be a short term. It's going to cause another hiccup by the time we hit spring when people want to move, and there's just nothing coming out the ground. Yeah,

Brad Nix  45:18  

the counties are overwhelmed. Yeah. And they've got infrastructure to maintain, do they need to adjust impact fees, all of that. So they just stop everything. I wish there was like a slide instead of an on off.

Mike Simonsen  45:30  

Wow, man, everything's backed up everything everywhere in the world is that is incredible. Let's, this has been terrific. Before we wrap up today, is there anything that you're working on it Path & Post that you want us to be aware of anything that you're excited about? For the coming year,

Brad Nix  45:56  

I'll just circle back to like, the consumer should demand a true professional guide, not just an average agent, if the consumer can get to that level. And if you're, as an agent, listening or watching this, if you're not a professional guy, you don't feel like it didn't work as hard as you can to become one. Because I truly believe long term, there will be less agents, and those who are less will become more professional and have more of the pie. Do

Mike Simonsen  46:21  

you think there will be fewer agents in the future?

Brad Nix  46:25  

Yes, do I think I think the more options whether it'd be odd buyer, or power buyers, like the More Options consumer have, the more expertise the agent needs to present them. And so you don't just trust my brother in law at the gym? Because Does he really know all the options available to me? Is he really an expert on all of them? Can you hear me effectively? So I think because the options to the consumer become gonna become greater and greater, you've seen all the innovation the last few years, it's only going to expand. So the desire for the consumer to have access to those is gonna necessitate a better agent experience.

Mike Simonsen  47:03  

That's interesting. So what's fascinating to me, that's like, I love that as a prediction, it's something I always try to think about. But we haven't yet seen any decline in the number of agents. Now we have it's a vector, do you have thoughts on that?

Becky Babcock  47:20  

I do, I think the velocity of change is going to squeeze out those those agents that are doing one or two or three deals a year, there's just no way to stay abreast of the changes and adequately represent a client if you if you're not living it and breathing it on a daily basis, all in staying on top of things. So you know, I think that team brokerages like Path & Post are going to actually grow market share through it. And it's going to start squeezing out some of the lower performers, part timers, and we call them amateur agents. And I think that, I think that our industry would be healthier, and better if we had that happen is the business. It's too easy to put your license somewhere and really not do much with it. And I think it actually drags everybody down in the industry.

Mike Simonsen  48:16  

That's interesting. So it previously, in previous years, you could be an amateur agent, because the the market isn't so nuts that, that you can provide pretty much the same level of service as a professional. But now as things get more competitive, as timing happens as all these crazy financing things come in, then, therefore the ability for an amateur agent to provide professional service decreases. Correct. And they you just, it's more and more risky to go with somebody who isn't a real professional and I can see that playing out. That's a that's a real interesting way. And have you noticed I don't notice no, the the average transaction stats, but But you know, watching the average number, there's a lot of people who keep their license in real estate who aren't doing transactions for other people that are keep their keep it for other reasons. Yes. And, and but so then the average number of transactions per agent is whatever, like for a year or something really low. Is that changing? Do you know have you noticed?

Brad Nix  49:34  

Well, we did the numbers on our local MLS. They were like

Mike Simonsen  49:38  

2.7 2.7 is the average

Brad Nix  49:41  

the average right? Yeah, so that's pretty low when you're

Mike Simonsen  49:46  

brand new agents are doing 12 to 14. Yes. That's incredible. Yes.

Brad Nix  49:52  

Yeah. But that's that's got to be the standard expectation moving forward, right. You can't just get by on water. because you're not even current in the market, you're only selling two or three a year. Yeah. It's moving so fast.

Mike Simonsen  50:07  

That is interest. Oh, right. Wow, that's such so many things I get to learn about it's exactly why we're doing these conversations is, is we get to take all the data and put some context around it. So thank you so much. Before we go, where can more people find out we're going to find out about Path & Post. And you both in particular?

Brad Nix  50:32  

Well, we should be Google. So just Google, we should be the first thing you find if we did it, right. If not go to path. I mean, you gotta learn about us. Yeah,

Mike Simonsen  50:43  

that's terrific. Your, your website is really rich with local information, and a lot of resources for buyers. Do you find that that? Buyers, when you get new clients in the funnel, do they go? Do they like recognize that your website is really good? Do they notice that?

Brad Nix  51:07  

Yeah, we do because we get buyers who don't always originate on our site, like they may have come from a Zillow or, or for some other site, and we'll import them into our database and suggest our site as an alternative resource. And then we see the adoption rate of that suggestion is really high. Using our site, so that confirms that yeah, they do like it, whether they verbalize it or not. We found that the behavior is more important anyway, what they're actually doing. And so we see the searches, they're running the properties viewed for my favorites per month. We see that real time.

Mike Simonsen  51:41  

Yeah. Do you notice they do things like they come in from a some random internet lead, and then they get to your site? And now they go like up? I'm doing the longer drive time or I've like starting to search further out or change those kinds of things once I'd really starting to learn.

Brad Nix  51:58  

Oh, yeah, the behaviors fascinating to watch. Yeah, it whether it's price point, or geography or both, like you see their search more for time. Yeah, it's it's fascinating human behavior. Watch. It's like a live laboratory.

Mike Simonsen  52:15  

That's really great. Really good.

Becky Babcock  52:17  

We've had people actually register on our website and and say they, they chose us because of the website. They actually watched every video. They looked at our blog post, they liked the way it worked. And they registered just to use us and they said, I want that path in post experience. And that's how you know, you built it. Well, yeah, I have to deliver it. Of course. That's

Mike Simonsen  52:42  

right. But it's really indicative of what you're going to deliver. Yeah, it's, it's really clear. I got a I'm on a lead. Somebody some brokers lead, drip, the frog, some Zillow thing. And in the email that they sent me. They sent me like one a month and it says things like, Hi, Heather, who is my Heather's my ex wife says, Hi, Heather. And it's Ed. And it says, And and we have a cash offer for your house. And we had, you know, it's just canned email. And it's a you know, there's a broker but it's got Zillow branding, and it's got like some mortgage company brands. And it's, it's like, Man, I, I, you know, I, of course, you know, the leads. Yeah, sure this guy looks and goes, well, these internet leads are really lousy. Nobody ever reads response to my emails.

Becky Babcock  53:36  

I think the first problem is we have to stop as an industry calling them leads. And remember, they're humans. There's a there's a person behind that name and email and phone number. And they're just reaching out saying, Hey, I'd like a little help with real estate. And then what are we doing for them from that point forward?

Mike Simonsen  53:54  

Yeah. Do you have a different name for them? Do you call them clients or something individual? They're not yet path lenders

Becky Babcock  54:01  

and buyers your clients buyer's or seller's? Yeah. Is your sellers. Potential clients, but yes,

Mike Simonsen  54:08  

and future Pathfinders buyers. Absolutely. I love it. Guys. That's really, really terrific. I thank you so much for taking your time with us today. Anything else where they can find YouTube? individually? Twitter, LinkedIn,

Becky Babcock  54:29  

if they they can Google us as well Becky Babcock and Brad Nix or Path & Post and you'll definitely find this. We love to have conversations across the country with other other folks and share best practices because we're we're always learning something.

Brad Nix  54:45  

Yeah. Thanks for having us, Mike. Thanks for sharing your knowledge every week. I love following you. It's

Mike Simonsen  54:50  

a real pleasure. Thank you both. All right, everybody. That's the Top of Mind podcast for this week. Thanks to you. Thank you for joining me And we will see you all again very soon. Thanks, everybody. Thank you.

Outro  55:09  

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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