Kelly and I created 1 Percent Lists at the end of 2015 but that actual story began much earlier. I was a former basketball coach and substitute teacher and Kelly had just recently left the Navy where she served as a corpsman and was studying to become a nurse. We were planning on a move to a new house in a new area.
Our home buying experience
In order to make that move we hired an agent and paid 6% just like many others have done. The experience was horrible. The agent was borderline rude. I had to convince her to show the property to a client at our price point which wound up writing an offer so my agent got paid double after I did the heavy lifting.
So we moved to our new location and we had no friends, family, or even acquaintances. Like many entrepreneurs we saw a problem and we wanted to fix it. Kelly and I decided to become realtors in 2011 and immediately got to work reaching out to people.
Our first attempt at real estate
We did print marketing and put flyers everywhere. We called strangers. For Halloween, we put trick or treat bags on doors. At the end of the year we spent a lot of time, did exactly 1 deal, and had lost a lot of money. For that 1 deal we closed we gave half of our money to our broker, which got us thinking……..
- The public has a problem because selling your home is outrageously expensive
- The public is forced into paying a high fee or going it alone as a For Sale By Owner which isn’t the best way to have a pain free home sale for the best price
- The agent has a problem because the public believes (rightfully so) that virtually all of us charge the same high fees to do the same job
- The agent is forced to work harder or spend more money to acquire business because NO ONE competes on price in this industry
We needed a new strategy
So logically, if we found a broker to take less of our money, we could pass along those savings to the public and use that savings to do more deals and make more money off the volume of deals. This would solve the public problem of paying too much money and our agent problem of struggling to find deals.
Discount real estate
Shockingly, it worked like a charm. Despite the fact that we just marketed it through word of mouth, it exploded. We had been trained to charge 6% (or more) and started charging 4.5% and everyone from home builders, investors, developers, and the general public all wanted us to save them money and still do a good job. Overnight it seemed our business exploded and we made more money than we ever thought we would. Fast forward to 2014 and we started hearing rumblings from other agents about how frustrated they are that we were charging less money.
“You should know your value”
“This is bad for the industry”
“You aren’t being a team player”
Where do we go from here?
These little daggers were pointed at us seemingly everywhere we went because our secret got out and we were slowly changing the market. These little daggers got me thinking again.
- If this is good for my family (which had just added little William and Emily)
- If this is good for my clients (because I had saved them tons of money and still maintained a very high level of service)
- Why am I keeping it a secret?!?!?!?!
1 percent lists is born
So in November of 2015 we officially stopped keeping it a secret. After crunching the numbers, we realized we could charge even less money and still be highly profitable. So we stopped charging 2% to list homes and we became 1 Percent Lists, a full service, lower fee real estate brokerage who was now shouting our value proposition from the rooftops. We still offered a buyer’s agent the market average but our listing fee became just 1%. 1 Percent Lists would offer full service with professional photos included.
Early Marketing Efforts
Our branding was awful. Our website changed, then changed again, then changed again countless times. We tried a million different marketing strategies to find out which worked best. But through all this time where we were just finding our way our volume continually grew. We doubled our sales volume every single year since we started our business and our branding continued to improve.
Since our founding, more and more agents have decided to join our company for varying reasons. We began selling real estate franchises in the fall of 2020 and quickly opened 24 franchises by the end of 2021. The reasons why brokers and agents have joined and stayed with us are varied but here are some of the top reasons:
- I feel like this is the future of real estate
- Doing deals is what I love.
- I hate prospecting for deals
- Saving my clients money feels great.
- I feel like I’m truly helping and bringing value
The bottom line
Our mindset is simple. If we focus on delivering maximum value to where I clients can most appreciate it, their bottom line, our growth and profitability will take care of itself.
Founder and CEO of 1 Percent Lists