Who Moved My Cheese? - Bramlett Residential

Who Moved My Cheese?

Posted Jan 22, 2021

I sent this to our office this morning and thought I would share it here:

I recommended this to an Austin real estate agent yesterday and thought I would share with everyone. It’s another one that you don’t really need to read the book – the concept is basically a parable and fits nicely into a Wikipedia plot synopsis. Couple of links:

Who Moved My Real Estate Market?

You guys can probably tell that the 2008 recession impacted me pretty deeply. The recession hurt our industry for a lot of years and I was completely unprepared for it – negative savings, no real plan, etc… Life was pretty good up to 2008 b/c I had figured out SEO and it brought in as many leads as I wanted for what seemed like free (it wasn’t – it took a bunch of time.) Pre-2008, you could sell a house to pretty much anyone who called in because there were literally no financing qualification guidelines. (Please watch or rewatch The Big Short – it’s not an exaggeration of what was going on.) Then, 2008 hit (or really, late 2007) and all the banks went out of business. All of a sudden, you could sell a house to maybe 10% of the people that called in. It was a shock. Holy sh#t! What am I going to do? This was the first time in my business that the cheese moved. I had to figure out a different strategy.

Finding a New Real Estate Strategy

I figured out that I had to spend a lot more time qualifying folks on the phone and explaining to them that, yes, they did need to talk to a lender. I learned hard qualifying questions to ask in real estate:

  • Do you have a w2 job or are you self employed?
  • Do you currently own a house? (It was super hard for people to unload houses then.)
  • Oh, you just sold a house? It didn’t happen to be a short sale, did it? (You can’t buy a house with trashed credit anymore.)

I started spending more time up front qualifying and talking to lots more people than I used to (and wakeboarding less – that was the only real downside.) It took some time, but I figured out where the “real estate” cheese had moved. I learned a lot about efficiency and became a much better real estate agent as a result.

Adopting SEO in the Real Estate Market

In SEO, you’re basically trying to understand (or trick, depending how you look at it) Google’s algorithm. Google updates their algorithm regularly and they used to do it in big waves. The SEO community would name the updates like hurricanes. In 2012, Google rolled out the Penguin update. It completely tanked my website and we lost 95% of our traffic. All of the “free” leads and traffic went away. Holy sh#t! This was the second time in my career that the “real estate” cheese moved. I stared at the wall for a few days refreshing Google Analytics before realizing that the cheese wasn’t coming back to the same location. I knew/know internet marketing pretty well, so started exploring other paid sources. I very luckily hit on something within a couple of months. This time, I didn’t stop after finding one good real estate marketing source and kept working to find multiple sources. I learned how important diversification in marketing is. This is why we have 10+ profitable marketing sources today.

Moving Forward in the Texas Housing Market

I won’t list every time the cheese has moved in my career, but there were certainly others. Every time it happens, you learn something and you become better. I can absolutely see that the cheese moved on us in December/January of this year. Our old strategies aren’t effective anymore. You can’t meet w/ home buyers and just make offers on houses until they win one. I have a lot of thoughts on what we can do to work more efficiently in the Texas real estate market. I can also tell that you guys are figuring it out on your own (the leaderboard shows me that.) It’s tough when there are market shifts. Lots of people fail. Those that don’t fail become much stronger and they ultimately become much more successful. No one here is going to fail. Everyone here will be better, stronger, & more successful by the end of this year. I guarantee it.
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If you are looking for more information on the Texas real estate market feel free to contact us and speak with one of our professional real estate agents. At Bramlett Residential, our Austin real estate company is always here to chat and lend some insight on the housing market!

Additional Readings:

2020 Texas Real Estate Market Year in Review: What Happened Out There?

Is Austin Real Estate Overpriced?

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Jaish S.

It was such a pleasure to work with Shaun Duffenbach at Bramlett Residential Real Estate! Shaun helped me to buy an investment property in Austin, Texas. Shaun explained everything in a way that was easy to understand from making the offer, to working with the mortgage banker. This made it really easy to buy a house within a month and that too during such tough weather in Austin, Texas in the last few weeks. Shaun never left any questions unanswered and always responded promptly. He is a very professional, experienced, and helpful realtor with excellent knowledge of the local market. I would highly recommend him as well as take his help for any future investment.

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Lewis cox

Bailey did a fantastic job. She was very good about keeping us in the loop about everything going on. She knows her job well I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you and your company for making this easy for us.

Jaish Kumar

I felt overall the transaction was very smooth and fast. I think communication was the key and he did pretty well. His excellent idea about the local market and communicating the same was very good throughout the process.I didn’t find anything missing as all went smooth. Hoping to get Shaun’s to help again in the future as well.

Jacob Noga

We recently purchased a home and used Bramlett. Katie was fabulous! She was hard working, very friendly, and communicative! We were moving from out of state, so Katie would go see listings that we were interested in and take videos. They were extremely helpful for us to help make a decision. She always kept us updated! We couldn’t have asked for a better experience! Thanks so much Katie and Bramlett

Steve P.

We worked with Lauren Yoder to purchase our new home in the Austin area. We could not have been happier with the work that Lauren did for us. Lauren was referred by a friend of ours and we are glad we gave her a call! She listened and understood our goals to ensure the homes we viewed fit our parameters and finances. Much of our home buying process was done virtually and Lauren did everything possible to make it easy for us and worked out better than we could have wanted. Lauren works extremely hard for her clients, she is thorough, responsive, and knows her stuff. Give her a call for your real estate needs, you’ll be glad you did!

Katie H.

Lauren came recommended by two completely separate friends to me and my fiancé when searching for our first home and we are so thankful that we got set up with her! Lauren was phenomenal to work with. She did all of the things you would hope for from a realtor in terms of timeliness and organization; AND she went ABOVE AND BEYOND for everything else! When we walked through houses Lauren was able to use her expertise to guide us to a house that would be within our budget, a smart investment, and a house that does not cause us an insurmountable amount of work.
Lauren was able to guide us through the incredibly competitive offer process to get a house.  She was able to get us moving quickly to see the house and put in an offer quickly. Even more importantly she was able to make sure we offered a competitive offer not only with knowing the market and prices but also by changing up our contract creatively to get the seller’s attention.
After the offer process Lauren was even more helpful by making sure we were coordinated with all of the folks we were working with and that we knew all of the tasks that we needed to get done.
And even when Lauren was temporarily unable to meet us at houses she made sure to set us up with Katie who was able to help us through the processes! It feels challenging to even sum up everything that Lauren did throughout the house buying process – we are so grateful to have worked with her and recommend Lauren to anyone and everyone who is interested in buying a house!

Steven Primm

Overall the transaction went great, but Lauren was the main reason it went well especially since we were out of state.  There were many follow ups and walk throughs for a new build and she was instrumental in helping with those. Lauren did everything well, but especially just owning the whole process and being persistent with the builder.  She had great insight to anything we asked and brought up things that we hadn’t considered and she clearly had our best interests in mind.  We’ve used many agents in the past and Lauren is above and beyond the best we’ve used.  She was a referral from a friend of a friend and I’m glad it worked out!

Jill Jeranko Primm

Lauren was over and beyond our expectations and was by far the best real estate agent we have had. Her detail to everything was amazing, especially since we were out of state. She is smart and knowledgeable and would highly recommend her to anyone.

Matt McDonnell

Lauren was superlative as always.  There’s a reason I’ve worked with her on a dozen transactions or so and will continue to do so.

Melissa Brierley

The transaction was easy as could be. Lauren is amazing and makes transactions so easy. She goes above and beyond to make sure everything runs smoothly and even helps to coordinate inspections, repairs ect. We have now bought two homes and sold one with Lauren and all three transactions have been a breeze. Not to mention that both purchases were highly competitive and she was great at strategizing and we got them both. Since working with Lauren we have also bought and sold homes in other states and both times we had to do so much more and it was a much bigger hassle. We often talk about how we need a Lauren in the other states we own in. We actually had a conversation recently about how we may as well keep investing in Austin because Lauren makes it so easy.

Zdenek Suda

We were in Austin in December 2020 for home leave from my assignment overseas, and had been planning to buy our retirement home in the summer of 2021 and just look around in the week before Christmas. I reached out to Bramlett – having had a very good experience working with them in the summer of 2016 (Tara McGuire was out agent then) to buy our first house (also in Austin). Our agent, Craig McGuire, did thorough research that he shared with us, and advised us – without pressuring us – to consider buying then, given that what we wanted would be well beyond our price point by the summer because of the conditions in the Austin market for the foreseeable future. Observing all the correct COVID-19 protocols, he showed us houses that fit what we were looking for, and once we saw one that we really wanted, gave us the advice needed to help us to win a bidding contest without breaking the bank. This was really important, as after putting in our bid we had to leave Austin and do everything at a distance. Craig was key to making that possible. He found us a good mortgage company that qualified us quickly and, thanks to all his efforts and consistent support, we were able to close in a little over a month – in the time of COVID, doing everything very long-distance, and in a crazy Austin housing market. We’re very happy with our home purchase, and with Craig!