I’m talking with Shannon Quagliata who has been a real estate agent for the past fifteen years. In the most recent two she has created a new app for phones called Pre Open House which is an open house directory with some amazing features.
LAS007: An Entrepreneurial Journey of a Real Estate Agent
Real Estate Beginnings
Shannon got her first taste with the housing market when she relocated to China with her now ex husband. A girlfriend of hers was involved with a relocation company and she came on as a relocation consultant in order to help people transition to China. It felt great being able to be the familiar face to people who needed guidance in a new country.
She realized she loved helping people find homes. Shannon came to Arizona in 2007 when the market was tanking and it was hard to get into real estate. However, she found a job with someone who needed a buyers agent. He boasted having too many homes which at the time seemed unbelievable but she went from having nothing to writing 10 contracts for homes a month. She notes that it was a lot of work and she wasn’t making a lot of commission. The plus was that she learned how to write purchase contracts and caught the bug of wanting to work with getting people into homes.
It all seemed worth it when the market came back and everyone who bought houses from her put them back on the market and helped her business blow up. She also realized that relocating to a new state wasn’t much different than relocating countries in the sense that people still aren’t familiar with the area, how good the schools are, etc.
Shannon decided that with her success she wanted to go out on her own as an agent. She knew that she wanted to hold open houses and when people would come to them they wouldn’t have a realtor and would in turn hire her. Shannon says, “Open houses are truly the way to get in front of someone who needs help in real estate. Realtors are a relationship business and everything is so digital and cold now so being in front of people is great.”
What made you realize there’s a need for the app Pre Open House?
In 2016 Shannon’s business was grossing a lot and she needed other realtors to hold some of her open houses. The only downside was that she wasn’t allowed to put their personal contact information on line. She still had to be the point of contact for all of the people coming to open houses or having questions that needed answering. She called her phone “a crying baby” at the time because it was constantly ringing.
This is when the idea of the app was born- she wanted to make a directory of open houses.
What sets the app apart from others, Shannon says, is that they offer a direct connection between the open house agent and the client in real time. You know exactly who you’re connecting with. You can message the agent. You’re able to have the agent walk you through an open house if you’re not able to physically be there.
Shannon says that the app puts the control back in the consumers hands when looking for homes online. Information isn’t shared with other agents unless you decide it. You can engage in a live conversation with the agent in the open house. You can look at homes casually without being bothered by agents afterwards.
The greatest thing about Pre Open House is that you can create relationships and you feel more comfortable with realtors. You have a rapport with the agent before you even physically meet them because you’re able to message them about questions you may have. It’s a great way to begin your home search online.
The app allows realtors to put more detailed information about an open house event, for example if they will be providing food and drinks, and it also helps to bring in the community and get new eyes on the property.
Shannon brings up a great point about the app: the need that’s being fulfilled is for the consumer and the realtor.
On Her Journey
Shannon notes that one of the most stressful parts of being an entrepreneur is fundraising and getting things off the ground. She says the creation of her app and finding the financial backing took longer than anticipated and ending up being much more work. However, Shannon knows that the people who invested in her idea also invested in her and that helps to keep her going. She knows that this is something that helps both parties and brings them together. At the end of the day the app is a live link to a live person and personal relationships will always get you farther.
A book that changed her approach to her business is “Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller. The book is about being able to take a step outside of things and work on breaking down what it is the customer needs. For Shannon, it meant being able to tie in emotions to her home selling. She knows that she can fulfill the need for a connection people are looking for when buying and selling homes.
What surprises you about the real estate business today?
Shannon says she’s surprised at how much realtors rely on the internet for leads or marketing. She thinks that we’ve become too dependent on technology for success in our careers. In the world of home buying and selling technology has depersonalized the entire interaction. People add value to the home buying and selling profession. The internet can’t make a personal connection with people.
Shannon notes, “We need to care about customers again as much as we did in the past. What better way to meet a realtor than to meet them in person. You can’t auto generate a relationship.”
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