When the housing market is heading into free fall after months of steady decline, that might not be the best time to start a new real estate company. But Scott Sandler defied conventional wisdom and formed Sandler Real Estate just as the bubble was about to burst.
“Actually, the timing has worked to our advantage,” Sandler says. “The economic climate has forced everyone, particularly people who are thinking about selling their homes, to take a closer look at the value of real estate services provided. They know that even a small shift in the cost of their transaction can lead to significant savings.”
Sandler pinpoints his ‘SmartService’ marketing approach as a key factor in his company’s success. “‘SmartService’ lets clients select the level of service they prefer and then pay a proportionate commission,” he explains. “My clients can choose from five plans, from Bronze to Titanium, and pay only 3 to 5 percent of the sales price of their homes.” Sandler calls the standard 7 percent commission “antiquated,” and says many of his clients agree. “For example, I’ve had clients with multiple properties who’ve opted for the Bronze level of marketing service, which starts at a 3 percent paid commission. That savings allowed them to reduce their listing prices, and all their homes sold within 30 days.”
Each level includes a basic foundation of pre-marketing, marketing, showing and selling services, “including a thorough comparative marketing analysis to determine the most competitive sales price,” Sandler says. “Curb appeal is still important, but getting your home market ready requires more than cosmetic touchups—and ‘SmartService’ marketing covers all the bases.”
One of the most important aspects of getting ‘market ready’ is making sure your home is where the buyers are. “These days, that’s online,” Sandler acknowledges. “We market client listings on more than a dozen Web sites and classified search engines, including the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), realtor.com, stltoday.com, Google Base and others.” He’s confident that buyers will like what they see and read there, because he employs a professional photographer and writer to cast each listing in the most appealing, competitive light. “I feel so strongly about the power of top-notch photography and persuasive property descriptions that I include both services in all five ‘SmartService’ plans,” he says.
Sandler compares homeowners to business owners. “Rather than widgets, your product is your home,” he says. “As ‘CEO’ of that home, you need a realistic understanding of what buyers are looking for and how other properties compare, from features and location to price.” Ten years of real estate experience, he adds, have given him a network of connections, familiarity with municipality inspections, and a knowledgeable perspective on the brokerage cycle and property promotion. “I use everything I’ve got to help clients navigate the volatile real estate market,” he says.
Currently, Sandler Real Estate focuses on single-family, multi-family, condo/loft, estate and investment properties in St. Louis’ central corridor. “As word of this business model continues to spread, I predict we’ll keep attracting clients, even if the market continues on a slow path,” Sandler says. “Just read the testimonials on our Web site. When satisfied clients tell their friends and colleagues about us, it proves that our straightforward approach is working.”
On the Cover: Sandler Real Estate is known for its ‘SmartService’ marketing. The five-tiered approach lets home sellers select the level of service they prefer and then pay a proportionate commission, from 3 to 5 percent of the sale price of the home instead of the standard 7 percent. For more information, call 863-3106 or visit www.sandlerrealestate.com.
Cover photo by Clark Kincaid at MenagerieModels.com Studios