A year and a half ago, current Guinness World Record title holder Ben Caballero released his podcast series “Real Estate Lessons from the #1 Ranked Agent in the US.” After several thousand downloads, he just added a fifth episode that specifically targets big builders, and his timing is spot on. The Federal government, and most states, have designated residential construction an essential service, so home builders are continuing with construction. But builders also are looking for creative ideas to prepare for the market’s recovery. This new episode discusses ideas on how builders can do that.
Ben Caballero exposes builders “dirty” data problem
In Part 5 of his podcast, “How Production Home Builders win by maximizing the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)” – available on iTunes and Google Play – Caballero uncovers what appears to be a “dirty” truth in the home building industry that many agents know all too well.
While Ben would hate that characterization (and he never calls it that in this podcast), the truth is Builders have a data problem. Specifically, according to studies Ben has published, as much as a third of all builders are disclosing a different price for homes listed for sale on their websites than what appears in the local Multiple Listing Service.
Ben tells us in his new podcast about one big builder that he studied had pricing discrepancies that collectively totaled in the tens of millions of dollars!
Even more surprising– in this podcast, Ben explains that there are builders that do this purposefully. He explains the builder thinks that if the consumer sees a higher price on the builder’s website and it is lower at the MLS or when they visit the sales center, they think they are getting a bargain. But Ben notes that agents certainly don’t see it that way. Agents, who are Realtors, rely on the Code of Ethics and MLS rules compliance to curate accurate facts about properties for sale or recently sold. MLS have levied fines against builders who have violated this policy. While the issue may be limited to a handful of builders, Ben fears the builders who do this are risking not only the trust of consumers, but the trust of agents who sell 85%, or more, of all homes.
Builders need to better leverage the MLS
Ben claims that builders’ price discrepancies in the MLS are completely avoidable. He advises big builders to get rid of the manual systems and processes they use to list homes in the MLS.
While it is true that Ben’s company, HomesUSA.com, offers an automated solution, he makes a bigger point: Many big builders just don’t take full advantage of the power of the MLS, saying, “If you think about it, MLS is the most powerful and least expensive, most efficient marketing platform there is to sell homes.” Ben, in trying to educate production builders – which he defines as builders building more than 100 homes a year – about the value of the MLS puts it bluntly:
“If a builder is not using that (the MLS), and I don’t mean using it in the way that you just put stuff into MLS, slam it in there and forget about it. I mean use it where you have the information accurately, it’s being monitored and managed, then you’re just not with it. You’re not gonna be as successful.”
Sage advice for builders from someone who has been a builder himself and who as an agent has sold more new homes than any other human on this planet.
Episodes for agents
Most of America’s 1.4 million licensed real estate agents remain housebound, working from home. Many are taking time to learn new skills to prepare for a major rebound in the real estate business.
Ben’s other podcast episodes offer some great lessons for agents, including what agents need to know to work with builders (Part 3), as well as the story of how Ben became the top-ranked agent in the US (Part 1), according to REAL Trends, since 2013.
Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this review of Ben Caballero’s new Podcast are that of the author’s and not Ben Caballero.