Leanna Sellars joined the show and spoke about her journey from Alaska to Texas and her career in real estate. We cover a variety of topics, from tips for buyers and sellers, to why the demand imbalance, the impact of COVID on the business, and looking down the road to future trends. You will love hearing her perspective on these topics and more.
Shout out to episode sponsor R.D. Adair PLLC (https://adair.law)
Aaron Spatz 00:10
Good morning you’re listening watching to the Dallas Fort Worth Business Podcast. I’m Aaron Spatz hope that you’re have had a fantastic week so far. And I’m excited to bring yet again another another phenomenal story another another person that just continues to do just amazing things in business. But you know, for for those of you that have any feedback for the show, so if there are guests that you have just absolutely enjoyed, if there are other people that you’d love to see, love to hear from, drop me a line podcast at Bold media.us. And I’d love to pick up the conversation with you follow us on all social media, so you can follow the show. There’s company pages forum for it on LinkedIn. Otherwise, you can follow me Aaron Spatz on any social platform, you’ll see every episode of the show blasted. And if you’re an audio person watching this, know that hey, if you’re in the gym, you’re in a commute, you can pick this up on Apple or Spotify or whatever, whatever your preferences. So anyway, we’re gonna get right into it. We’re gonna jump right into it today. So we have Leanna sellers. Lena is a realtor. She’s a phenomenal person. I’ve been so excited to have you on Leanna. Thank you so much for joining.
Leanna Sellars 01:13
Thank you. Good morning, Aaron. Good morning listeners.
Aaron Spatz 01:16
Yeah, yeah. No. Well, so I always love to open the show up. So you know, are you a DFW native? If not, where are you from originally?
Leanna Sellars 01:27
That’s a fun, fun conversation. I am not I have been in DFW. Gosh, now for 23 years. I was originally born and raised in Alaska.
Aaron Spatz 01:35
Alaska. Well, that’s awesome.
Leanna Sellars 01:38
Big migration. Yeah. Born and raised up there left. graduated high school at 17. And moved to California. spent quite a few years there and came to
Aaron Spatz 01:48
Texas. Wow. Well, you just you just made the whole tour.
Leanna Sellars 01:52
I did I hit the big states, right. Yeah, no, it’s
Aaron Spatz 01:55
cool. I mean, such a beautiful state up there. So like what what were some of your fondest memories of living up in Alaska,
Leanna Sellars 02:00
when you live in a place I have learned as an adult you don’t? Always I’m sure there are people that do right. But you don’t fully appreciate where you are. Some of the, say tourist sites, right that attract. So growing up, there was everyday life. My parents were divorced when I was kind of middle school, my mom owned a business. And so mainly it was just sort of life as usual, right, and the hiking and the fishing and all the fun stuff that we have since taken up when we moved, or you know, as I’ve come back as an adult. And it wasn’t until really I went back to visit as an adult with my family that we’d literally take a week or two weeks and just go off grid and go spend time you know, in the mountains and ATV and fishing and those kind of things. So we did a few like train trips from Fairbanks to Anchorage or was to lower was we did some time in in Mount McKinley. My private most favorite outdoor memory, we used to always go hike on Mother’s Day, we’d have a big group of my mom’s friends and we’d go do hikes. So there was certainly some of that, but I appreciate it a lot more having left to go back to visit. Yeah, I
Aaron Spatz 03:15
think that’s true for so many people, though. It’s like you, you get conditioned to where you are you’re. And so it’s it’s one thing to see it as a tourist, it’s another thing to see it as a local and so I totally get that and all everything you just described. Sounds amazing. I need I need to make it a point to get up there. Yeah.
Leanna Sellars 03:35
Wonderful. And for anybody that hasn’t been I always recommend you do the interior and the coastal. Okay. And you know, there’s some that’ll say, Oh, I just did a cruise. But you miss so much of the beauty. If you don’t go to the interior some of the land. Yeah, sure. I’ve never done a cruise. And that’s something I think I’d like to do to see it from a different perspective, because I’ve done a lot of the land. Yeah, but I haven’t seen it from from the cruise side.
Aaron Spatz 04:03
Wow. So So then So fast forward, then moved to Alaska, moved to California for a number of years. And then you made your way here to Texas. So tell me tell me a story of coming here to Texas. And then tell me a little bit about your start into real estate.
Leanna Sellars 04:17
Absolutely. So I was living in California, went down there go to school, and so forth. My dad is is was retired while was active with American Airlines based out of DFW and a single man had him a German shepherd. And he kept saying, hey, why don’t you guys think about moving to Texas. He had been born and raised in California loved what there was to love about it, but knew what a difficult place it was to really get a start. And at the time I was in love with California. I loved everything it had to offer. But my husband and I came out and visited and it just really fell in love with DFW on that first Visit the people were much more like what we were accustomed to, I think the personalities and the speed of kind of our upbringing in Alaska. And we realized very quickly the cost of living was dramatically different than Southern California. So we made that move in August of Gosh, 97. And I was finishing college. And so I, we moved and got re enrolled at U NT and finished my degree there. And that was 97. Fast forward a couple of years. And at the time, I was with Bank of America. management track, I’d started as a teller in California and worked my way up from assistant manager was, was just offered a branch manager position. Well, I had about the time my daughter turned one, and we were starting to think staying home was much more appealing than dropping her off at daycare and in and going to work all day. Sure. So we made that transition. And on her first birthday, I left corporate America and stayed home for a couple of years. And it was real estate came about in the next couple of years, I got licensed in 2003. And we had a pilot neighbor friend that was talking about getting his license and working with another friend of his and asked my husband if he’d have interest in getting his real estate license. And they all team up and my husband said Nope, not at all. I remember sitting at that kind of roundtable conversation with our friends going. I think I might kind of have interest in that. So that’s sort of how it began. That neighbor friend of ours, and I got our license and and the rest is history.
Aaron Spatz 06:44
Wow. That’s that’s pretty cool. So like your, you’d been it’d been kind of taking the corporate America track. So you’d so we’re, we’re in we’re in SoCal, we’re you Huntington Beach, Huntington man. Right now. Like I could so go for the beach right now. Yes. Yeah. Like California for as much crap as we give it, we love to make fun of it oftentimes as as a as a Texas State. It’s absolutely a beautiful, beautiful place. It really is. Weather is weather is perfect year round. There’s there’s plenty of things to do, but the cost of living. i It’s funny, because even back then, you know, late 90s, early 2000s. I mean, there’s a huge price disparity between SoCal and North Texas. So, so Alright, so you’d say you’d done you know, you’re doing big America, you felt this pool to to stay at home. And so you. So rather than go the branch manager track and continue that way, you stayed home, and then having this conversation kind of piqued your interest in real estate. And so like, Did you guys ever end up working together? Did you guys kind of go off to do your own thing
Leanna Sellars 07:50
we did. We went through our licensing together, I did work with him and his his buddy for a very short time. What I found in that is I was very naive, understanding what some of the dynamics of a team would look like, and just sort of jumped right into just jumped right into it. And then the sort of Team agreement and oh, by the way, you know, your role is this at my role is that, oh, by the way, there’s an added expense that I need you to cover and just just no expectations. Yeah. And after about three months, I realized that wasn’t a fit. I was living in North Fort Worth at the time, and the office was out in Mansfield. And I remember sitting down, I was up at that office, seeking some help writing my first contract, and you know, it’s a scary thing, right? Just like college, right? You get your real estate, your real estate license, or you get your degree and then you get into the workforce. And you realize it’s all practical application, what you learned in the book work doesn’t always prepare you for what the daily life looks like. And I remember asking, and kind of an elderly agent that was sitting near me in the workroom for some help, some guidance, and she just kind of looked at me and said, Why would I help you? You’re my competition, you know? And I remember just being so taken aback by that. And so I realized that coupled with some other things realized it was time to kind of leave that real estate environment and go go make my own way. Yeah. And so
Aaron Spatz 09:31
Leanna Sellars 09:32
it was brutal. It’s very brutal. And clearly something I remember so
Aaron Spatz 09:37
screw you, man. Go figure it out yourself. And it’s like,
Leanna Sellars 09:41
the brand new agent and not your competition, I promise.
Aaron Spatz 09:43
Yeah. Well, it’s like, it’s not like I’m asking you to like, you just drop a client. My lap was ready to ready to sign so. So I mean, did you end up figuring out the contract? I
Leanna Sellars 09:53
did. I did. I kind of chuckle you know, 17 years later, with lots of experience behind me I can comfortably We laugh and say I had some great friends and family that I got to learn the business on, they were kind of got to learn as I go. That’s cool.
Aaron Spatz 10:08
Sounds cool. Sometimes Sometimes that’s, that’s all you need. It’s like, if you’ve got, you got the raw talent, the ability, the drive to want to learn something, it’s just a matter of identifying an opportunity, and then just going out and do the very best you can with that, with that opportunities. That’s, that’s really that’s, that’s really cool. So then, from there, then kind of share with me a little bit of the journey from that from that point on. So you’d, you decided to not partner with folks and then go do your own things? What like, what, what does what does that look like?
Leanna Sellars 10:37
Yeah, so I went and joined Keller Williams in South Lake at the time, and and I’ve been there ever since, which is somewhat unusual in the real estate business. And fairly often, you’ll see agents come and jump around, looking for the next maybe shiny object, right, the place that offers them something. And at the time, it was just a small little office, and I just really found my home there at what I loved about it was, it was very, I mean, it was a real estate company for certain, but they were very, very focused on training, very focused on really growing the agents. And so there were training opportunities like crazy. And Gary Keller had written a book called The Millionaire Real Estate Agent that literally was a roadmap to building your business. And it was just a lot of the get to basics. I mean, like so many building business, it’s hard work. It’s following up, it’s doing the work learning the business and kind of out there trying to scour the business I’ve found, at first you kind of think, Oh, I’m gonna go to a real estate agent or brokerage. And they’re just going to give me all these clients like you see in the movies, where they’re just handing off leads, right, yeah. And quickly realized, it’s not like that at all. I mean, you’re out there having to build your own, build your own business. So
Aaron Spatz 12:03
wow, no, that’s, that’s a, that’s a perhaps the harsh reality for a lot of people face forehead is realizing like, holy crap, this isn’t just a walk in and start just start working a whole bunch of bunch of cases or a bunch of leads. And so having to do that, so I mean, you’re getting you’re getting like, like getting my marketing brain going. Because like, as like, the consultancy side of me is thinking just like, all like how important how vital it is, for realtors to embrace some version of marketing. And it’s going to look different for every agent. So like, there’s a ton and so you’ve had like, probably 1000s of hours of training on just all the various things that some of the best practices, I’m sure you’ve experimented with things over the years of like, hey, this worked great, this didn’t work so great, or hey, this is a new is a new thing coming up may want to consider doing this. And so I’ve seen I’ve seen 1000 different ways that people do do all that stuff. And it’s interesting to see the progression of how, like, Where have you found in like, I think I know the answer this but despite all that stuff, yeah, where have you found to be the biggest source of leads?
Leanna Sellars 13:12
It’s for me now it is referral business and past clients by far right. But that takes time. Right? Even not being originally from here. I had created a good network we had some family that had followed us out here and so I kind of got I already had kind of a small sphere and got to build it that way but in the beginning it’s working open houses trying to navigate capturing those those buyer leads right that walk in and kind of say hey, I’m maybe in the market for a house. Yeah, and the certainly where I’m at now is the goal right to get to where you’re not spending a lot of marketing dollars you’re just the business is coming to you and that’s definitely a wonderful place to be after years of kind of feeling like you’re hustling and hustling.
Aaron Spatz 14:10
Well you’ve worked really really hard so like for so what like what would be your advice then for like people that are newer into the real estate game right there. There may be just they’ve only been doing this for a handful of years one in one to five years like what what advice would you have for that for that agent?
Leanna Sellars 14:29
Building a good good good solid solid foundation. I know like many right you think okay, well I have the roadmap but maybe I can deviate and do it this way instead and just there. I did not track my business very well. Both from a financial standpoint, transaction like to be able to look back and and know exactly what my trends were right knowing my first quarter second quarter and being able to compare your Over a year, it probably took me longer than I’d like to admit, probably eight years or so before I really went, Oh, there’s really value in really keeping that database. Now, I do have that where I can mail monthly and call people and kind of keep notes and follow up. But, I mean, gosh, I probably miss five to eight years of business and opportunities by not, not really seeing the value of having a real organized database. And, and really tracking the business, you know, really keeping track of every dollar and every trend so that you can look back and see. See your norms.
Aaron Spatz 15:40
Yeah, for sure. And then and then just to clarify, so you deal. Is it exclusively with residential? Do you do any do any commercial work?
Leanna Sellars 15:48
No, no, we haven’t great commercial departments. I’ve got some great commercial departments are E and O insurance. Unless you are totally trained and an expert in that way, it’s not a field that we can kind of cross over. So sure, that’s an animal that I don’t know that I want to dive into.
Aaron Spatz 16:08
That’s fine. So, so on. So I’ll ask the question, and probably everybody’s wanting to know is, what are you seeing right now? Like, what’s the what’s the trends going on in DFW? I know COVID has had I’m sure. I’d love to one. I’d like to understand how did COVID impact your business? And then to what are you starting to see now in terms of the market here in DFW?
Leanna Sellars 16:29
Yeah, so COVID was an interesting animal, like for so many, about into February 1 of March, I mean, it kind of came to a screeching halt, right. There was about six weeks where it was just really quiet, I had a couple of listings to that I had literally hit the Live button on and started marketing like days before the stay at home orders went into place. So fortunately, six weeks later, I think everybody got tired of it, and maybe needed more larger spaces and was out there looking again, but the most immediate effect was video, right getting back to something, I immediately went to all of my active listings, and started doing video walkthroughs, so that there were as many resources as possible online for people to look. So I kind of like deadline scheduling, and hey, we’re going to take new videos, more videos, and upload them to all of those places. And then really digging into some of the backend tools that in all honesty, when the market is just kind of churning, you don’t have to or don’t always dig into as much to see some of the analytics and some back end deals that show on your listings, you can see agents that might have buyers in their pool that are looking at your listing. And so there was a lot of computer time of doing digging into those research and calling agents going, Hey, I see you might have, you know, buyers that that have expressed an interest on the you know, with a like button or something on the MLS portal and just a whole lot of, you know, just really trying to creatively market listings, there was quite a few that were still selling sight unseen. I didn’t experience any of that. I have, you know, stayed very active and in some great masterminds with DFW agents during that time to kind of understand what people were seeing. And there were a handful that were you know, still seeing some side on the scenes. I wasn’t fortunate enough to see those. But that was the biggest shift is is is that that virtual component and then virtual walkthroughs?
Aaron Spatz 18:44
Well, yet virtual walkthroughs for sure are gonna be like so important. Because if I can’t be there, I want to, I want to feel like I’m there. Right the extent I can, but like, I was gonna ask how much did the did the analytics, like, how much? How much did that help you then? And then how much? Is it helping you now?
Leanna Sellars 19:00
Good question. And it created a whole lot of busy work. Okay. I can’t say anything was dramatically produced on that. Okay. Yeah, and now I’m probably slipped back to the unless there’s a property that that isn’t seeing the kind of activity or attraction, it kind of goes back to the wayside. Because what it’s what it’s tracking, is, you know, if you’re my buyer, and I’m sending you new listings all the time, if you look at them, or you tell your click a button that tells your agent you saw it and you kind of like it or it’s a possibility, well, it doesn’t show me anything about the buyer or the agents buyer. It at least tells me that agent has somebody that’s clicked it but as a buyer, so many buyers click like on properties that may or may not ever come to fruition.
Aaron Spatz 19:53
Yeah, to like the mark 100 of them as favorites. Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. We may or may not have done that at some point.
Leanna Sellars 20:02
I’m not so sure not be alone.
Aaron Spatz 20:05
No, so Well, that’s I mean, that’s you’re you’re actually you’re making you’re making a point here. And I think it’s important for people to understand like, so I really do believe that data analytics is incredibly important and can really, really help a business. However, there is such thing as too much data, there is so much there is such thing as just having such like we, we live in a world now where like, there is an algorithm and a formula and a spreadsheet and a dashboard for literally everything you could possibly dream of. And so understanding how to one like, there is absolutely some truth to find and into see within the data. But there’s also a lot of other things that the data doesn’t show. And so, and it’s, you know, you’ve been in, in the fortunate position you’re in with just, you’ve been in industry for a long time. So you like you’ve seen, you’re seeing referrals, you have a solid customer base, so it’s like you’re not as dependent on that stuff. And you’ve seen it help you a little bit. But I also think it’s important, like, hey, you know, it’s helpful, but I’ve got a lot of other things that I do. Yeah. To help myself out as well
Leanna Sellars 21:09
being out in front of those people rather than sitting the computer.
Aaron Spatz 21:13
Leanna Sellars 21:14
I think what it’s done it well, I know what it’s done is it’s changed the face of real estate in a lot of ways, because you see videos remain. And I have to wonder years down the road. Say for the buyers that bought the home, they bought sight unseen during COVID. Does that change their perspective, when they go to sell 357 years later? Even if COVID? is a thing of the past? Are they going to have that expectation like, Hey, I bought this house without walking through it, somebody else can too. I don’t want people coming through. So to kind of lead to what are we seeing? I wonder how much of this will permanently change the industry?
Aaron Spatz 21:54
Yeah, it’s a great question. It’s a great question. So I want to get to that. And I want to get to some other topics of things that you’re seeing as soon as we come back from the break. So we’re, we’re so we’re so honored and humbled to be able to have some amazing sponsors that sponsor the show. And so I want to shout out today, our show sponsor, rd Adair, business attorneys. And so Ryan Adair and his firm, do a tremendous job representing businesses and helping businesses. So if your company or your business needs some solid legal help, I would strongly encourage you to reach out to Ryan, the solid, solid firm. They handle everything from business law. So we’re talking disputes, litigation, to business formations, business transactions, and all the messy and fun things that go in between all that stuff. So if you if you have a need in terms of your your business, I would, I would strongly encourage you to reach out to Ryan and his team phenomenal people grateful to have them as sponsors of the show, as friends of the show. So getting right back into it. Leanna. So you know, one, so and like I’m gonna give you a shameless plug right now, too. So Leanna Leanna is a tremendous realtor, if you couldn’t already tell. That’s why I didn’t want to say anything and just let her do her thing and let you guys fall in love with her because she she is a tremendous realtor very, very good at what she does. And we’ve had the privilege of working with her. And so now that I got you and all nice and embarrassing. That’s good. Let’s go ahead let’s go ahead and but I really do want to plug you there though. So talk talk to me now about how what you’re seeing now so because I’ll just tell you from the outs from outsider’s perspective, looking in on the real estate market of DFW, it seems like it is like white hot, like homes are being listed and they’re being sold same day, there’s like multiple offers at at or above listing price. That’s like, again, from from my perspective looking in. That’s what I’m seeing. I don’t know if that’s true. So like, what say you?
Leanna Sellars 23:57
Yeah, you are spot on. And I love that you articulated that’s what you’re seeing, but not sure if it’s true, because sometimes there is a discrepancy. But in general, I mean, there’s always little specific markets right within within the major market, but inventory is extremely low. It’s extremely low, which is, which is what’s driving that. And I pulled some some numbers that our local board put out for December of 2020. And at the time, it showed we had point nine months of inventory. And what that means mean REALLY like six months of inventory is considered a balanced market. And that means if no other homes were to be listed, and the current buyers that are out there currently looking it would take in this scenario, less than a month for all of that inventory to be gone if no other factors changed, where I said a six month inventory is kind of your balance your balance right? And so that tells the story Are you right there? Yeah, yeah. People are clamoring over the listings, there’s just not a lot of inventory. And so then
Aaron Spatz 25:08
why I’m gonna ask the obvious elementary question. So why, like, what, what, why is inventory low?
Leanna Sellars 25:13
That’s a great question. Um, some some opportunities, people staying in their homes a lot longer. There used to be that, you know, you’d see people move more frequently, you’re seeing people get routed in communities and stay put, you’re seeing with the increase of prices, people are going, Yeah, I can sell my home and make a great profit. But then what am I going to do? You know, where am I going to go? You’re seeing a lot more home renovations. And you’re seeing an influx as you know, in the business world of people to DFW? Yeah, I mean, people are coming like crazy.
Aaron Spatz 25:53
Yeah, I had a guest on either a few days or a week ago nowadays, friend together, but we were talking about how there’s a, there’s, I mean, a tremendous influx of people from out of state. So I, like I knew that was partially responsible. But I was curious how some other factors because because we’d like, like, for our home here, like we’ve we’ve done some home updates here. And so it’s like it when you do those kinds of things. It makes you feel like it’s more yours, and you start to kind of get attached to it. And so I’m genuinely curious, kind of some of the things that you’re saying too, is like, I wonder, to your point about like the whole walkthrough thing. So when people go to sell later, I’m also curious if this is going to have a long term impact on people holding their home for longer or once COVID. Like the whole insanity of this whole thing passes. And we were like, we don’t have to, I don’t have to, like you know, blurt out something when I forget my mask. And they always ask, what once we get past this phase of our lives, I wonder if things are going to return back to whatever that normal was in terms of people moving every few years? Or? Or did this just initiate a new, almost like a new era or a new phase where people are now going to hold and stay in their homes longer than maybe we’ve ever seen?
Leanna Sellars 27:09
Yeah, I think we’re seeing in every industry right new normals, I don’t know what normal even is anymore, right? It will look like and some of the big big changes that have come out of this right, as people are looking more to needing zoom rooms, you’ve heard this right, this is kind of the builders are now talking about adding zoom rooms to their new construction, and your home office and somebody that I think went virtual. I’ve talked with a ton of people that thought their companies would never allow Permanent Virtual and they are making that decision to keep the majority of their workforce virtual. And what we’ve seen how we’ve seen that impact us is people looking a lot of the buyers that I’ve had or sellers is because the house is too small or doesn’t have the right space, right? Home gyms, and zoom rooms, office rooms and a space for the kids to do school are all things that never were on a buyer’s wish list that are very much now becoming important features.
Aaron Spatz 28:19
So like so if you were so if you’re one of families that has like a three bed two bath house now you’re probably looking for a four bed house just so you got that extra room for us. Or if you’re in a four bedroom home you’re looking for maybe a five or you know multiple little other places where you could hold up because I mean we’ve like we’ve completely like completely took over one of the bedrooms and our home like it’s like, if you could see this the way I got the studio setup, it’s insane and like, now we don’t so now we don’t we don’t have a we don’t have a guest guest bedroom now, right? Hey guests, if you want to come join us, you’re gonna have to bring your own crap or we’re gonna get like a like a sleeper sofa or something put in the game room. So I know that there’s I share that level of detail cuz I know there’s 1000s of people that that aren’t. Exactly exactly right. So zoom rooms up. That’s that’s funny to think that builders now consider the way they do their plans. That’s crazy.
Leanna Sellars 29:17
Yeah, the first time I heard that, I mean, it makes perfect sense, but I just had to chuckle because it was you know, they’re right on the forefront like oh, we’ve got a modifier plan so that was it. Yeah.
Aaron Spatz 29:26
That’s That’s insane. That’s insane. Yeah. So so for you like what what part of the market do you cover? Are you mostly for work you do any Dallas work as well? Or is it for us?
Leanna Sellars 29:38
Wow. So you know, if you’re a Texas State license, you can go all over the state. Sure. And I’ve been Gosh, out to Terrell and down south of Fort Worth and everywhere. The best answer is is that kind of north northeast Tarrant County and I’ve really grown into Wise County now as well and probably my past Well, my passion and if you look to the trend of my sales where the majority of my sales over the last five to seven years have been, is that kind of South Lake towards Decatur corridor almost especially that really Alliance corridor. And mainly because that’s the area that I’ve lived in for so long. I was in that kind of North Fort Worth area and then moved to Haslett before it became the big place that it is. And so those were the areas that I just knew, like the back of my hand, I love to be the buyer’s agent or the listing agent that can offer lots of information that is relevant and not just and filtered from my client, but to be able to say, Hey, these are the schools that we’ve had this experience with. And these are the teachers and that’s gotten a little bit more challenging as things have just boomed right in. But that’s, that’s been the corridor that I have been most active and most passionate in is that probably North Fort Worth and Haslet market. always expanding but that that’s the area that I’ve just been the most, most passion my niche, if you would say,
Aaron Spatz 31:10
Yeah, sure thing. So what do you enjoy the most about real estate? I mean, cuz you’ve you’ve stuck, you stuck around. So like, I’m curious, like, what, what have been what have been some of the tough seasons that you’ve gone through in real estate? Because I think that would be an encouragement for other realtors that maybe you have. I mean, we all go through cycles, business cycles, right? So what what have been some tough challenging times that you’ve gone through? And how and how did you? Like, how did you make it through?
Leanna Sellars 31:37
Yeah, having been in as long I’ve certainly seen buyer’s markets and seller’s markets, right, and unbalanced markets, where you’ve got agents that have come in, in the last three or four years, they don’t really know what it’s like to really aggressively have to market a property or get creative when. When it’s sitting and sitting and no showings, because, you know, our job has shifted from not as much on the marketing and more of the negotiating and keeping it contract to close, peace. Gosh, I wish I could remember the year but when we were just when it was, gosh, probably what 12 1314 When, I mean, we saw some really slow, slow times. And there was one year, I mean, I’m pretty consistently in the last five years 30 to 40 transactions a year and there was one year I remember, I think I had like four, wow, total. And you kind of go Oh, I hope that wasn’t my last year in real estate, right. As within a that certainly created a shift in habits and probably when my tracking became important, where I hold holding every dollar that I spend on the business side accountable, as well as is really digging into personal and making sure that that our financial houses in order because that was a real awakening of no matter what you do, sometimes there are outside factors that you can hustle and hustle and, and just not get the results you want. So it was a good wake up to, to trim and be lean and know that we can get through a market like that.
Aaron Spatz 33:21
Yeah, well, for sure. And important for people to know and this is true in any area of business, not just real estate, but to understand like it’s not if you’re enjoying a feast right now, enjoy it, right like don’t don’t like don’t have this fatal, like Debbie Downer mentality, same time, but have something set aside, like understand, like the importance of saving and understanding some some, you know, some planning that can be involved in that that way you’re prepared when when it when a downturn does happen. I mean, I mean, we have there’s so many heartbreak stories where it’s like the 2008 2009 time winner, you know, when all that stuff happened and so not impacted different parts of the country in different ways. And so there’s, there’s gonna be tough times but you know, you you have a good, you have a good way dealing with that. Or if you’re, you’re if you’re multiple income house, maybe you’re gonna lean on the other income heavier that year than you did on on this side of things. So yeah, no, it’s good that that’s really interesting. So, you know, like, but what, what do you enjoy the most about what you do? I mean, again, you you’ve been doing this for 20 years, so it’s like, you know, what, what makes you continue to stay motivated?
Leanna Sellars 34:28
The people? Yeah, I love the relationships. And I know I could not be Gosh, when I mentioned during COVID having to sit at the computer for eight hours you know, doing analytics that that’s not me and I know absolutely could not do that on a regular basis. My eyes were crossing by lunchtime. The people I love the relationships. One thing I strive to do is just stay in touch with my people and hopefully you can as a past client of mine can attest to that. What I every year over year tried to do better at is making phone calls and stopping by I’m real good at sending note cards and males and just touching base that way. But but it’s the people, I love the people that relationships and I have had the unique opportunity to really shift with Keller Williams in kind of a leadership role and teach and train and coach newer agents, and rewind 30 minutes ago, when I shared the story of the lady that was so snarky to me. Yeah, it’s kind of been my passion to figure it out. It’s kind of been my passion to help to help the new agents. Because if they’re successful, overall, the industry is successful. And it’s neat to see them come in with a dream and, and help help them them grow. So the people and then the agents in terms of the coaching Sure, has, oh, what keeps me going?
Aaron Spatz 35:53
I think if anybody who meets you for more than two minutes, I think it’s very obvious that you’re about people. And so I think that just shines through. And so I and I’ll give you some feedback on your, on your on your marketing stuff. There. So people. And secondly, I, again, like working with with tons of different companies on some of their some of their marketing efforts and the things that they do, right, there’s going to be stuff that you see that you can clearly point to like black and white, hey, this is this is an ROI on this, like, I know, I spent x on this campaign, and we received X amount of sales. And so there’s a lot of that that is quantifiable. There is so much so so much that is not quantifiable. And this is a great example that So you send us I think, like you send us some email stuff every once in a while you do a good job of not blowing up my inbox, I thank you for not being annoying, right? It’s really good. But then you also make it a habit of you like you do you send mail pieces every every once in a while, right? Like, so, there’s a good, there’s a good pace to it. And he even if he get no feedback on that, or even if you get a call that you think is random, like, hey, you know, I just want to call you and they may not think to tell you like, Oh, I was looking at the card that you sent me two and a half weeks ago or six months ago that’s been sitting on my counter I’ve been meaning to, like, call you whenever the time is right. And now the time is right? They’re not gonna like give you that preamble a lot of the time, they’re just gonna, they’re just gonna jump right into what they have. But what’s like, what I feel like, it’s so important to know is like, those are little touches that people like they feel like they’re connected to you. They feel like they know you. So when the time does come, it’s like, man, like, I feel like this relationship has been just, it just it never really stopped is continued. And so for for you. I just feel like that’s been like you’re part of your secret sauce. And I know we’re talking about your secret sauce right now. But you know, but I think that’s been, I think it’s been incredible for for what you’ve done. And I think it’s a I think it’s a great model for people to follow. Yeah, yeah. So
Leanna Sellars 37:54
that’s great feedback. Because I have had that question before of like, do you think it works? And just as you said, like, I don’t know how quantifiable it is. It’s not relevant, and at least in their minds, and what I want to be is if you think real estate, you think Leanna Silver’s. That’s it. That’s it. Hey, I gotta move Lee and the seller. So good. I’m glad.
Aaron Spatz 38:16
That’s exactly right. That’s a tough one to get me all, like jazzed up now. So it’s like, it’s all it’s all about that top of funnel. Brand new, it’s all about that brand awareness. So I mean, exactly what you just said, when like, whatever that industry, whatever that market is, and you want to be associated to that, that that is the goal. That is the dream that way. I mean, there’s a guy who’s got to talk to a lot a while back, Bob Berg, he’s written he’s written a lot on on selling and things like that is very, very similar thing when it comes to pay. You want to be the first person that is thought of when people are talking about this industry? And how many times have we missed out on sales? Because Because you and I are both we’re sales professionals, right? So there’s times when, you know, probably not so much for you anymore. But I know for me, I’ve missed out on sales. Because the top like I was not top of mind for this particular product or service. And like, man, if they if they had known that though, it would have changed, it would have changed the outcome. And so I think I think the way that you’re doing it, I think is a great model. So go postcards, the you know, the once a year or once, you know, like you’ll I don’t know how much COVID has impacted that but some like some of the events that you’ve done or the email stuff, the you know, a lot of the other things that although a lot of things. It may it may seem like a cost, and I’m sure it is a bit of a cost center at times, but I really do think that’s part of what’s keeping, keeping things kind of moving for you. So thank you.
Leanna Sellars 39:50
Yeah, good feedback events is something I love and got to see you and your sweet family at an event I did gosh, now it’s been over a year I think because I ended To COVID That, I think we were just planning an Easter. Okay, what the Easter Bunny and we ended up having to cancel it. Yeah. COVID hit so
Aaron Spatz 40:08
freaking COVID man. Yeah, I
Leanna Sellars 40:10
love that. To bring people out,
Aaron Spatz 40:14
for sure. Well, because you’re making it about people, right? So like, that’s, that’s, I mean, people love to do business with people that they like, know and trust. And so if I like know, and trust you, you’re going to be the first person I think of. And so that’s the goal, right? So like, how do we So so how does the real estate community? Or how do we as business professionals to develop and cultivate a culture with people that, that helps us to be liked, known and loved? And so it’s like, if people if people know that about you, then you know, there’s there’s a lot of business that’ll come through that. So anyway, I can, I can go off on a rabbit trail all day and talk about that stuff. But anyway, the getting back into present day and like what you’re seeing, so yeah, are there things that people need to be aware of either as sellers, or as buyers? Given the craziness of our environment right now, like that may or may not have been or may not have been true? Three years ago?
Leanna Sellars 41:16
Yeah. So I’m so glad you asked that, because I had two different kind of things to hit on that. With the low inventory, who you work with really does matter. Because when kinds of industry trade secrets here, when when you’re working with a seller and say you’re getting 810 12 offers, on paper, so many of those offers look the same, right? You’re scrolling through it, and you’re looking at the price, you’re looking at the close date, the warranty, the financing. And so the agent can make a big difference. And how personable Are they are they submitting your offer with a little bit of an introduction versus here’s my clients offer, and send it off. Because let’s be real, it’s all done via email and a few phone conversations. There’s no sitting in the office presenting, you know, these are my people. And, and so it still baffles me how many times I get an email that just says please see my clients offer attached. And if you get another one that says, hey, please meet this bats. And you know, they’ve got three beautiful kids and they’re looking to you know, I mean, they’re you’re kind of telling a story, it’s human nature, to have a little bit of an affinity to a picture of that family are, what their goals are, what they love about the home, and then their communication. Because some there are some agents that just are not real communicative, and that can do their their folks a disservice. So in a market, where you just really have to stand out having those kind of conversations about how that offer is presented, and what unique strategies are there. Gone are the times in most scenarios where you know, as the buyer, you can go in and ask for the seller to pay your closing costs, because again, sellers gonna kick that one to the curb when they have eight others. Yeah. So just really knowing maybe the, the value that your realtor brings, okay, something a little more relevant to a lot of your audience that I wanted to tap into is the the veteran buyer. There can be challenges for the veteran buyer using veteran financing VA financing, in an environment like we’re in with multiple offers. And and it’s um, I wish I could say there were, there’s no real reason behind it other than often with a VA buyer, they have the unique opportunity to do 100% financing. Well, if a seller is looking at multiple offers, their first inclination is always to want to support that veteran, but when they’re looking to numbers or an overall likelihood of contract to close and you’re just running scenarios, the buyer that’s putting down 20%, versus the buyer that’s putting zero down can make an impact in the business sense of it. And so I have found a lot of VA buyers get very frustrated in that scenario. So there are some creative ways to work through those options. And back to really knowing the agent and the network. I close to yesterday to to a buyer and a seller that we’re both off market, meaning they never hit MLS. And in that off market scenario, we can only mark it to our brokerage. So it’s one of those great times that having Being a part of a large brokerage family is so critical. I had gotten my buyer under contract on an or my, my client as a buyer under contract on an off market property. And then we had to switch gears and get his soul to meet the timelines that we needed. And I was able to dig into some networking at my office and find an agent who had a VA buyer who had lost out on many properties. And so they jumped at the opportunity to come look at an off market home, made, you know, very strong sale, or offer. And they were just thrilled, because through their kind of association, we were able to do a couple of off market deals, and it was a huge win. And so I think we’re going to start to see more off market deals happening. Where you can just go to those that pocket of agents and see what you have, so you can try to avoid some of the mass hysteria that’s out there. So, no, that’s good. That’s not relevant for VA buyers, certainly.
Aaron Spatz 46:07
Man that yeah, that is some gold, right? They’re really, really good things too. So in and I’ll ask the obvious question, cuz I think a lot of people just don’t understand this. Okay? Like, so if on paper, the offers the same, right? So like, money’s money, right? So but what differences the downpayment make, if, if the if the VA buyer is 100%, finance, like, right, at the end of the day, the money is getting wired, no matter great. But what so what what makes a difference,
Leanna Sellars 46:38
a lot of it is a mental difference, okay? For the sellers, just looking going, Wow, they must be a stronger buyer, because they have 60 grand to put down. And there’s always that conversation of, hey, this is one of the unique benefits to VA, and most of the VA buyers have plenty of money in the bank, right? And what where that can go in terms of contract to close is appraisals, if the appraisal comes in a little lower than contract price, if you’re putting down in excess of 20%, that appraisal becomes irrelevant, right. But with 100% financing, that property has to appraise at that contract price, or, you know, the buyer can be approached to bring more money to the table. So looking to the the back end, business side of it, there’s that thought of okay, well, we have a little less risk.
Aaron Spatz 47:28
Yeah, you got to deal with the the appraisal process, which could possibly jam things up.
Leanna Sellars 47:35
Especially where you’re seeing, as you noted earlier, prices elevating, like crazy and multiple offers. I mean, it’s not uncommon to see things going anywhere from you know, gosh, I mean, I’ve seen some going up to 100 304% of list price, if not more. Wow. Right. So, so that that can be kind of that that mindset, and I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m just saying it happened?
Aaron Spatz 48:01
No, it’s good. No, I just love to dig into the reasons why. And so then, then again, I’m not I’m not I’m not asking I’m not asking you to tell the future with us. But I know right? So but asking, asking from the perspective of cuz there’s a lot, there’s a lot of people out there that are very, very skeptical of a an ON FIRE housing market. And so whether is this just localized to DFW? Is it national? Or is there is there any resemblance to any type of housing bubble? Like do you does that? Is that even a phrase that we should use? Or is this just simply unique in the fact that DFW is a rapidly growing place? There’s a lot of people coming here. And that’s just it is what it is?
Leanna Sellars 48:45
Yeah, that’s a great question. And I wish I had the perfect answer to it. Cool. Historically, my answer has been, we have not seen that kind of bubble here. Because our market has kind of had a slow and steady increase versus your coastal markets, right. You can usually kind of predict what’s going to happen when you’re watching the to East Coast, West Coast markets tend to be it’s sort of starts there and trickles in. Okay. And obviously, you saw some really aggressively inflated prices there. Our markets always been fairly slow and steady. But there’s a lot of argument over the last two years that it has increased dramatically. And the area we’ve seen it the most is that first time homebuyer market. I mean, you used to be able to find homes under 200,000 under 250,000. And, gosh, 23 years ago, we moved here, we built a home for $95,000. Right, our mortgage was less than our apartment rent was in Southern California, and that’s the market that’s really hurt the most Okay, is that entry level buyer? I wouldn’t use the word bubble. I don’t think we’re in a bubble. I think it makes sense, we will start to see prices sort of level balance a little bit. But I really don’t think that we’re in that bubble that you’re going to just see the bottom fall out of. Yeah. Does that make
Aaron Spatz 50:16
makes makes total sense? It makes total sense wins, especially when? Yeah, well, but when you see a ton of growth coming to the to the region, it’s not like we’re continuing to build and prop up homes when there’s there’s not this, you know, this mass, this massive expansion of, of the local market in terms of just, you know, business strength and things that are going on here. So it makes sense again, I’m not I’m not trying to put you on the spot.
Leanna Sellars 50:42
Great question. And one that almost everybody asks.
Aaron Spatz 50:45
Yeah, so I’m gonna do Yeah, exactly. So but I’m curious, what else did you have on your paper that we haven’t gotten to yet? Funny, cuz I had to have my notes, ya know, like, you’ve got like, you got a bunch of other notes down. So I just want your I wouldn’t expect anything less. Now, so. But if I guess what I’m saying is, if there’s if there’s, there’s a topic that we haven’t had time, or I just have not had the sense to ask a question that I should have asked, help me up here. So is there is there anything else that you want to cover before we before we wrap things up? Anything that you would want to share? Whether it’s a buyer, or a seller, or a or an agent of anything at all? Well, I
Leanna Sellars 51:32
would say if there is anybody out there that is looking to or Pete has piqued their interest in real estate from a career standpoint, and I would love to be a resource and just kind of help guide some of those schools, coaching. Obviously, it’s no secret, I’m a big fan of Keller Williams, because I’ve been with them for so darn long. And I love what they stand for. And there are a company that puts their agent first and kind of has a philosophy of God and family first business second. And one of the things I had to learn and go back to one of your early questions that a lot of business owners can probably relate to is work life balance, because when you’re the business owner, there’s no clocking out at a certain time. And, you know, you’re kind of always working. So that’s something I’ve had to strive for. And how do you do that? It’s a it’s an everyday strive, planning, trying to protect my calendar, I’ve learned everything has to go in my calendar. And I have learned to set boundaries as hard as it can be. And really not answer the phone not returned calls. I’ve set up my voicemail now to Hey, thank you so much for your call. If you’re calling after seven o’clock, or on Sunday, I’ll call you the next business day. There are certainly exceptions if you’re an active client, and we’re negotiating something that’s of utmost importance to me, regardless of the time, but it kind of helps create a little bit of boundaries. And I’ve had a lot of really positive feedback, like Oh, I love that you don’t work on Sunday, or I love that you take that time. So that was a more positive response than I expected
Aaron Spatz 53:13
when I started that. Well, it makes people respect you more like you’re like, hey, this is the standard that I operate out. Like can I expect you to operate it that to like you may not be you’re not like saying that. But you’re but you’re kind of helping elevate everyone’s game like hey, look like, you know, you know, you cannot call me at 230 in the morning to ask me a question. Not gonna come down race. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Right. So I think that’s important because I’ve always marveled I to be honest, I’ve always marveled at how Realtors do pull it off and like man how hot like how do you do it people are getting off work at five o’clock and that’s probably when for you a lot a lot of the action starts and you’re running from probably five to nine o’clock at night and working on contracts and linking things up so I’ve got I’ve got mad respect for people who’ve been have been in that game for a long time. So my hat’s off to you here for for doing it so yeah the time
Leanna Sellars 54:09
Time is of the essence on some of those things to being so contoured time sensitive, right? Right.
Aaron Spatz 54:15
Yeah, for sure. Well, I’m gonna throw your email up here so that people can get a hold of you. That’s the email right? Yes, sir. So awesome. Well, this has been this has been a blast Lena you’re you’re a true treat. Thank you for spending so much time with me this morning on on on the show and for sharing some your some your experience.
Leanna Sellars 54:34
I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you