Agent vs Lender

The Zillow Marketing Debate and Team Building

August 27, 2020 Ron Pippin
Agent vs Lender
The Zillow Marketing Debate and Team Building
Chapters
Agent vs Lender
The Zillow Marketing Debate and Team Building
Aug 27, 2020
Ron Pippin

This week we discuss the benefits of being on a team as well as the controversy around marketing through Zillow. We speak to top real estate agents Sebastian Varga, Cody Phelps, and Mike Carter. They each give their insight and opinions on how teams or flying solo has worked for them. You will also want to tune in to their passionate discussion on how Zillow can be extremely beneficial or a complete waste of resources, depending on the structures you have in place. If you are looking to join a team or expand your marketing to Zillow this is the episode for you!

Show Notes Transcript

This week we discuss the benefits of being on a team as well as the controversy around marketing through Zillow. We speak to top real estate agents Sebastian Varga, Cody Phelps, and Mike Carter. They each give their insight and opinions on how teams or flying solo has worked for them. You will also want to tune in to their passionate discussion on how Zillow can be extremely beneficial or a complete waste of resources, depending on the structures you have in place. If you are looking to join a team or expand your marketing to Zillow this is the episode for you!

Ron Pippin :

Welcome to another episode of agent versus lender. And today we have Cody Phelps and Sebastian Varga, and they're both with us from the Perry group. And we also have Michael Carter from ran life. Welcome, all three of you. And I'm glad to have you here.

Cody Phelps :

Thank you, Ron.

Sebastian Varga :

Thanks.

Ron Pippin :

So we are going to just introduce, just give them a little intro just to give them an opportunity to introduce themselves. So we're gonna start with Cody, and then Sebastian, and then we'll go to Michael. So tell us just a little bit about you, about each of you.

Cody Phelps :

I'm Cody Phelps, I joined up with Perry group about a year ago, just a little over, I came back to Salt Lake after spending a couple of years in New York, more on the property management side of things, but was also a broker in California for a number of years. So

Ron Pippin :

Sebastion tell us about a little bit about you.

Sebastian Varga :

Sebastian Varga. I'm actually going to be with the Perry group six months here in a couple weeks. And been doing real estate for three years now. So yeah, started on my own and finally decided to put the ego aside and join the team. Yeah.

Ron Pippin :

And we're going to talk about that here. Just a little bit. We're going to talk about teams and, and some differences. So what tell us about you?

Mike Carter :

Um, my name is Mike Carter. I've been a realtor for just under seven years, been with real life real estate the whole time. And I'm the Lone Ranger. Lone Wolf. No, team. Sorry, guys.

Ron Pippin :

No, that's, that's awesome. So we that this is going to be a great episode. So if you aren't, if you haven't listened to an episode all the way through, you need to listen to this one, because we're gonna have a little controversy because you know, we have, we're going to talk about teams, we're going to talk about some marketing. And we have definitely some differences of opinions between these guys. So this is going to be fun. So let's get right into it. Each of you are so Cody and Sebastian are both on a team. And Mike is not. So let's talk about the teams and kind of why they're different. Some pros and cons and why, Mike, you are not on a team and Cody and Sebastian, why you decided to join a team? And and so there is no right or wrong in these answers. I mean, there's, there's pros and cons both ways. So, so go ahead, guys. Which, what whoever wants to start, let's, let's start and let's talk about why you're on a team or why you're not on the team.

Sebastian Varga :

I did what, two, two and a half years, but not on a team. I was doing great. Some of my brokers said this today I was the only reason you need to join a team is if they can provide something that you're not getting. And it made sense, because at the end of the day is you know, leads and, and sales and I have generated most of my leads on my own to my SOI more than provided which I think is a good thing. But I saw

Ron Pippin :

All right, I'm gonna interrupt you. So you said they're providing you something that you weren't getting? Is that is that like leads? Is that? Is that accountability? Like what is it that they could provide that maybe you weren't able to do on your own? Um,

Sebastian Varga :

I mean, definitely accountability. And that that's sounds a little silly, because you should be able to do that. At the end of the day, whether you're a team or not if you're an adult, but not an adult. Yeah. The back to me was that surrounding myself with people that had a bigger dream inhibition, the match mine. I saw, I guess I see this theme being much much bigger than what it looks like today. And I want it to be Onboard now, and you know, not 3-5 years later. So um, my vision is thinking of where I'm going to be set up five years from now, instead of worrying about my split, you know, what I'm paying the team and at the end of the day kind of came to sixtus, young painted team to be part of it, but there's so many tools that I would not be able to afford or even. Yeah, it allows you to code an app to do the things that we have. So

Ron Pippin :

I agree. So it makes a huge difference. Sometimes when you're on a team, there's just so much so many more tools you can do, you can have at your disposal. Instead of you trying to pay for them all. It's it's gets a little overwhelming, right, Mike?

Mike Carter :

Sure, sort of.

Ron Pippin :

Well, tell. Tell me Okay, so Sebastian just gave us some good reasons to be why on a team and I'm gonna get to Cody here in just a second. So, Mike, tell me tell me why you have decided to be the lone wolf, as you said.

Mike Carter :

Um, I, I don't know that. Like, I really chose that. I think that just kind of happened through getting my license. And deciding that I was going to do real estate where I landed, which was, you know, I'm still there around life. I didn't know that. Like, there really, there were teams even to begin with, I really thought it was just like, Here you go, your realtor, like, Get to work. But for me, and for like my situation, I mean, you know, if I think back, like, would it have been good to be on a team? I think it could have been beneficial. But I think also for me, and you know, obviously, just me personally, the situation whereas in and where I decided to become a realtor, I think that like that just like lit up like a different fire. For me personally, that if I would have been with a team, I honestly don't think I would have been as successful as I have been over the last, you know, seven years. If I was on a team.

Ron Pippin :

Yeah, you know, what, I'm a lone wolf kind of guy, I run a team myself. And although I've learned that, that I cannot be a success successful without my team behind me, because there's just no way to do the volume. But being an entrepreneur, entrepreneurial minded person, sometimes it doesn't, it doesn't work for for everybody to be on a team. So it's nice that that as an agent, and as a lender, that you have that option.

Mike Carter :

I think it's, I think it's phenomenal. Like, that's kind of the beauty and like, simultaneously, like, the chaos of the real estate industry, though, right is like, that's what's cool, right? Like, we're, we're not just put like in this box, and then all of a sudden, it's just like, like, figure it out. Like, there's so many different ways. There's so many different styles of people, you know, that are super dialed in. It's like, you know, I don't know, like, what these guys and their team is like, but you know, I've heard of teams where it's like, you're in it this time, you're prospecting, this time that you're doing this, you're doing this doing this, right, like, they're very, like, methodical, they're very, very structured route structured and rigid with like, their routines and like what the expectation is, and there's some people it's just like, they just fly by the seat of their like, coattails. In what's crazy is both of those ideas still work? And there's people that are successful in both of those realms.

Ron Pippin :

Yeah, yeah, they are. So Cody, tell me, tell me about teams and pros and cons. And

Cody Phelps :

Well, I want to kind of give a nod to something that you both touched on. And that's every team is different. Every team I've ever been on, has been structured differently, has, you know, leadership with a different personality than the last. You know, and I would say, For right now, I'm very happy to have landed where I landed with the Perry group, I think Sebastian kind of touched on this sense of the team being something bigger, having a bigger dream. And I would say that, you know, this particular team is one of the most, you know, inclusive of all of its members that I've ever, you know, had the opportunity to participate in. I've worked with smaller formal teams in New York. I've worked with very informal team structures and you know, Los Angeles years ago. And at the end of the day, I think I've had the most resources and the most opportunity, where I am now.

Ron Pippin :

Yeah, I know that some people will say that being a team you get less of a commission and you know if you're on your own which is true in almost every case that I've ever seen but there are often times that a team will offer so many more resources that like like we said earlier that it's depending on the person like so I'm not trying to not trying to pick on there but but they're oftentimes people are much worse except successful in a team atmosphere. And so sometimes you have to you have to think about you know, the why do I want a piece of a watermelon or do I want the whole grape you know, I just like I want a piece of watermelon because all said done at the end of the day, that piece of watermelon it's still bigger than that grape that makes sense. So yeah,

Sebastian Varga :

Yeah, that was the biggest thing for a long time was not giving my money to someone else, you know what I mean? And and

Ron Pippin :

It's a concept to overcome.

Sebastian Varga :

Yeah, it was especially when you are driven and an entrepreneur you know, you count in why pay this amount when I could have an extra you know, 20 grand a year 30 grand a year and this last little while actually had a sit down and broke it down to the penny or oh, like I suppose this best decision? Am I doing this? Could I buy some wave runners and, just kind of something like that. And my wife was you need to take a step back and really see you know, what, you're looking at the numbers where you're not seeing the money you're saving as well. Yeah, really.

Ron Pippin :

So I think that decision sometimes it just comes down to the person. It just like, just like Mike was saying, it's,

Sebastian Varga :

it's if I were to pay for the same, you know, services, I mean, definitely, yeah. wouldn't be able to afford a ZilloW marketing, that's for sure.

Ron Pippin :

Yeah. Okay. Well, since you brought up Zillow marketing, let's talk about some marketing for a second. No, here we go. Here we go. We are getting into it. So I just talking to Sebastian and Cody, a little bit about marketing. And they said that they their team heavily uses Zillow. And so I'll tell you, everybody here right now I've been on both sides of the coin. I've been I've been successful and not successful with Zillow. And there's a lot of controversy surrounding Zillow right now. So let's talk about Zillow. And why you'd like them and why you don't like them. Hey, Cody, go ahead.

Mike Carter :

You know, that was gonna say, Cody, you got the stage, man.

Cody Phelps :

All right. So, Ron, I think we were talking earlier about this. And, you know, I recognize Zillow is controversial with a lot of agents with a lot of brokerages. In fact, it's not a fan favorite at Keller Williams at large. So the fact that the Perry group has built a relationship, you know, the length of time the dollar spent, and just the intensity that we have with Zillow is, is pretty incredible. And, you know, I definitely attribute a lot of our success to that relationship. And, you know, it comes back down to, you know, the idea of the team and having the systems and people in place to keep you accountable. You know, coupled with team resources in general. And, you know, I know a lot of individual agents out there struggle struggle to Zillow, and that's something that, you know, you'd touched on earlier, too. And, you know, maybe Mike can speak to the reason that he as an individual agent doesn't like it. I probably echo what we were saying earlier.

Ron Pippin :

So if you're listening, if you're listening to this podcast, sorry to interrupt Cody, replay this, that part, go back a minute or two, and replay what Cody just said, because it's really important what he just said. You said that in order to make this successful, you have to have the systems and people in place to hold you accountable. And without that, almost any system is going to be mediocre at best. And so it's the Perry group, where Cody and Sebastian are, they have been able to, to use Zillow to their advantage, but only because they have the system and the people in place and they're held accountable. I've talked to so many people that have not that do not like Zillow, and they've tried it. And one is because Zillow is not a place where you can go spend 200 bucks a month and make it successful. It's just not gonna work. It's you're talking far more money than that. But but also as an as important is, without the systems in place, it's just really hard to make something like that to work.

Mike Carter :

I think the both of us really kind of touched on that. And that's, you know, you know, you're kind of you're getting there, Ron and, like, I'll just, I guess, be like, more like, forthright and saying is the advantage that you guys I think have as a group being with Zillow is the number one is like, the your your ad, spend your budget that you're going to spend per month, like on these leads, is probably gonna like outweigh what I can do as an individual agent by 2-10 times. And so it is more advantageous, exactly like what Ron was saying, right? It's like, you can't go spend 200 bucks a month and like, get your one lead a month, or whatever it is, and think that you're going to have like success with Zillow. I mean, we all know that, like on realtors, we look at like, the average numbers, like decent conversion rates are like 3%, right? And then on top of that, like, you know, for you guys, and I assume, you know, the pair groups got good systems in place, you know, that it's, you know, if Cody can't answer like, they're grabbed this new lead to Sebastian's on top of it, or maybe someone else within like the team. And so for me, like to try and do those leads, and especially where, you know, you're sometimes competing against other agents, I can like that market does it code or whatever, like, you've got to be like on it, right? Like you see that lead come through, you've got to snag it, or else, you know, Mike Carter down the streets calling up that lead as well. So, you know, the budget i think is big, and being able to respond quickly, I think is also huge. I will so my big gripe my big grief with Zillow or even say realtor.com is just the cost. You know, I've I've gone through like all of those avenues. And I think that just for me personally what I've what I've ran into and what my experience is, is just the cost per lead, right? Like I think a lot of those, your Zillow, your realtor.com, like, you know, whatever else you can buy, like those bigger name leads, right, the cost per lead is pretty high. Most of the time, you know, Zillow is pretty good about filtering stuff out, you know, realtor.com says that they're pretty good about filtering out. And so they're trying to say that they're going to give you a higher quality lead, for me as an agent, or like, you know, when I'm out on appointments, or I get like a new lead, like, it just, it just didn't work out. For me personally. Um, and you know, and it's something you know, both you guys sound like your individual agents at 1.2. And, for me, like, they're, you know, if I ever had a couple, like a slow month or a couple slow months, you know, when I'm trying to keep my head above water and like, maintain, like my business when it comes to spending one, two or $3,000 a month, like, in ads, like when you're not closing deals like, that hurts, that hurts a lot.

Cody Phelps :

Right? It? Absolutely, and that was my first experience with Zillow was not a good one. I was talking to sales reps in California, seven years ago. And even then, you know, zip codes, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and, you know, the market that I was based, the least you could buy, that was like $450 a month. So it's, you're absolutely right, that cost per lead is a driving factor. And it's, you know, I, I think it's one of the I know, it's one of the reasons that I joined the team because I wanted access to that, you know, reliable stream of new clients, you know, whether it's one in 10 that convert or one and 20 you know, I needed certain assurances that I'd have some type of minimum income realistically, because, I mean, people forget, I think sometimes this is a commission only business in most cases.

Mike Carter :

We got near I mean, carrying the weight of that, right, like I agree, like, that's one of the advantages of being on a team I think is cool. Like, I mean, I have like the split like you know, what you're gonna get, and I don't have to worry that like my my stream of leads and all this kind of stuff is gonna dry up.

Ron Pippin :

Yeah, so that is that is that's the advantage of of just like Mike says, the advantage of being on a team as long as you don't have to absorb that cost yourself. So I'm going to bring up the elephant in the room is there's a lot of controversy about Zillow. And because Zillow now has Zillow real estate, they have Zillow mortgage, just like there's a couple other companies that are, you know, delving into that type of realm as well. So what do you guys think about Zillow and having their own real estate team? And are they are they taking the cream off the crop top? Are they have you seen that Cody and Sebastian are they? Are they leaves coming in or obviously, you're doing well. But there's a lot of controversy surrounding Zillow. So let's let's address that. Um,

Sebastian Varga :

I think there's a we have given Zillow this rep, which is from stories from other states where Utah's one of the few that's an agent owned. So we don't you know, all the info that we have on the sales and prices are owned by the board now the state. So if the state runs out of money, or they want a little extra cash, you know, they can't sell, sell that to Zillow. And I think that's what more than Zillow, I think it was the state and the city that screwed the agents or the industry in in those places. Now that our agents I think that trade info for for leads. I still don't think that's enough to make a difference. When it comes down to them having their own team was the difference with Mike having his own team, just competition. By the end of the day, is whoever is the best pig for that client. And it just because they're Zillow doesn't mean they're gonna use Zillow if they're talking to someone that sounds like an idiot. Yeah.

Ron Pippin :

You know, like there's there's so many different ways to generate leads in this business. And cielo is just one of them. And so Mike doesn't use Zillow. I haven't asked Mike what he does. But we have had, we have and and I don't know if he wouldn't even tell us but a lot of people use past database, you know, their soI, and they talked about social media. There's lots of different ways to generate leads. Zillow is just one of them. So what do you think, Mike, what do you think about Zillow and the controversy surrounding that? And do you feel good about putting money into into Zillow?

Mike Carter :

Um, no, not at all. You know, I went down that road, and it, just like I kind of mentioned before, you know, I felt like most of the time when, you know, I was getting leads, I'm either dead asleep, or I'm like out on an appointment. And yet, you know, maybe you guys can tell me if I'm wrong. But it obviously again, the dynamic of a team might be a little different. But I was just up here, I already talked to Cody over at the Perry group. I'm like, perfect. Great. Well, they'll take over. Yeah,

Cody Phelps :

I think you hit on kind of the connecting theme that, you know, we were talking about in the beginning, and you know, the, the benefit of Zillow and the way that it's tied to, you know, the benefit of being on a team because you're absolutely right, I feel like 80% of the time, I get a call when I'm in the shower or on the phone with someone else, or in the middle of a showing or, you know, on a podcast like today, I'm sure when I look at my phone, I will have to miss Zillow calls. But the other side of that, and you know, at least the way that we have is structured and I would assume the way that most teams have it structured is you know, it rings to multiple people at the same time. So, you know, theoretically we almost never missed a call. Now. I mean, some still slip through the cracks every once in a while. I have a voicemail from Zillow. And that's when I know that no one answers but it's you know, it's just one of those. One of those things I think it's nice.

Unknown Speaker :

I hang up on people when people if I'm on the phone with you. And so a call comes in I'll hang up and I always say I'm just going around the mountain losing service.

Taylor Archibald :

We'll get back to you. Yeah.

Ron Pippin :

That's awesome.

Mike Carter :

Hey, I want to I want to you know, you asked kind of like the the thoughts are like what I think about Zillow though, too, I want to I want to get this out there and I want to share this really quick. There's, I have two things. Number one, if if I'm gonna sit there and I'm super concerned about like what Zillow is doing what their model is doing. You got to get out there and get business. I don't like Cody Sebastian, though. I don't know you guys that Well, look, I love you, but sorry, I don't care what you're doing after we get off this podcast, right? not concerned and like, honestly like, So, as far as Zillow goes, I guess I'm just ignorant. Just I don't care. I hear stuff like through the office, right? There's people here that are buying Zillow leads, I don't care, I'm not going to like, spin my wheels trying to figure out like, Oh, crap, this is my competition. And number two, the thing I'm going to say along with that, business is truly just like unlimited. If I want to go and I want to try and close 1000 deals this year, Well, number one, I'm going to tell you, I'm probably not going to be able to do it by myself. Really. And then like beyond that, though, too, like, we can work like as late as long as like we truly want and we can try and drum up business. And what's funny is we're still not even like be scratching the surface, potentially, of who else is truly out there and actively trying to buy and sell real estate.

Ron Pippin :

Mike, you totally. Here's another one that you need to go back and listen to that it totally is right. If you don't like the Zillow that don't use them. If you don't like social media, then don't use it. It's just like there are so many different avenues of drumming up leads and drumming up business. That if you write if you worry about what is going on and if you're comparing yourself to somebody else. stop comparing yourself because Mike, you just compare yourself against Mike and Sebastian compare pairs himself against Sebastian and Cody compares himself against Cody. Are you doing better today than you did yesterday? And that's all that matters. It doesn't matter Mike, just like you said it doesn't matter what somebody else is doing. So I love that. That was that was like a golden nugget.

Sebastian Varga :

There really is more than enough business to go around for everyone. And you can so people like door knocking some people like Zillow, you know, I mean, it's you got to find what your niche is and what you're good at. And just keep doing that over and over again. I've done a lot with Zillow but my my SOI has been my main source of deals. So I feel Zillow is the cherry on top for me.

Mike Carter :

You know, like it's just like crazy. Just little side tangent now. Like I got an agent in my office. Who she just crushes it on Instagram. Hey, where did you get that? I posted some stuff on Instagram like,

Ron Pippin :

right? Like Instagram, really Instagram,

Mike Carter :

but like but like that's the thing is like, truly like, another belief that I have is, you know, like we've said like there's a million different ways to generate leads, right? We can pay for leads, buyers and seller leads. You can do open houses. You can go door knock, you can do flyers, you can do mailers, like you can just pound like your soI, your friends and family. Like there's so many different things that you can do. And what's crazy is none of those things like you said Ron are wrong. And what's so funny. Is there so many people out there that love to Door knock. Are you gonna see me out door knocking? I did it once and I'll tell you what, I'll never do it again. Ever.

Cody Phelps :

I'm with you on now. And Mike.

Ron Pippin :

If you're not watching this right now, we're all everybody here is all picking their heads. It's like Yeah, because door knocking is not the most favorite. But you're right, I think are people that are successful at it.

Mike Carter :

There are and I you know, talk for them. Yeah.

Sebastian Varga :

Yeah, I'll see if I do door knock on door knock on like, a rainy day or a cold day. So they think I'm a hard worker, the normal. Sunny There you go. Yeah. Today, maybe, maybe they'll think differently.

Ron Pippin :

That's awesome.Awesome. Man. I think we have talked about quite a bit today. And I think we've gotten some a lot of good info about teams and the reasons why teams could be good for you and why being by yourself could be could be your choice, you know, and there's what I like is there's no wrong answer, man. It's just like, whatever whatever's best for you. So, I think this is a good place that we're just gonna we're gonna call this one. And I want to thank Sebastian, Cody and Mike for being on on the podcast. It's been real. It's actually been pretty fun. It's been fun to talk to you guys. So, so Cody, tell me a little bit about how we can get in touch with you.

Cody Phelps :

ah well go to the Perry.group and find my profile there Cody Phelps you can shoot me an email [email protected] or find me on Instagram I guess if you want to see photos of my garden from last year because I haven't updated it at all this year and that's at Cody Brian Phelps Brian was an I.

Ron Pippin :

Cool Sebastian?

Sebastian Varga :

Same on a different Instagram but uh is needed apparently Perry group website Zillow Zillow profile Instagram and, and Facebook as well. I think it's at Sebastian F Varga. I always have to look at my wife's phone to figure it out. But yeah, it's uh, I think that the easiest thing that everyone uses Zillow, whether whether we use it as agents or not, I think a lot of people use it.

Ron Pippin :

So awesome. Mike, how can they How can they reach you?

Mike Carter :

Um, my Facebook is Michael Carter Home Authentic. You can find me on home authentic co reach me at Michael C at round life calm. Or like, I mean, I'm practically famous. So if you just Google me like I'm bound to like, be there.

Cody Phelps :

Oh, well, will we find you on Zillow. That's the question.

Mike Carter :

I'll admit, I have a Zillow profile. But actually true, honestly. And truly It was like three days ago, I was like, Oh my gosh, that's like my first headshot. They're like I ever have like, I haven't been on there. I created like, oh, seven years ago.

Ron Pippin :

Oh, you know, I have seen I have seen people that have their, their business cards and it's, it's like a 23rd shot and you kind of look at their business card you go you look at the card, you look at them, you look at the card again, it's just even the same person. So

Sebastian Varga :

That's that's called cat fishing right in today's world.

Ron Pippin :

Hey, thanks so much for being on on the show today. If you got gone want to meet Taylor, or if you want to get hold of Taylor and I you can reach us at 801-628-7667. podcast is that agentvslender.com. And our our website is helpmewithmortgage.com again. Thanks, Cody, Sebastian and Mike, and we'll catch you again on another episode of agent versus lender.