Lauren Taylor: Hey everyone, Lauren Taylor, the CEO of Savvy House Hunting and I am so excited, because today I have a very special guest with me. He is another Southern California real estate agent, Mr. Eric Harris.
Eric Harris: Hello everybody.
Lauren Taylor: Eric, I am just mind blown by your story. It’s truly unbelievable. Eric is one of our foundation members of Savvy House Hunting, which is the first virtual reality house hunting platform for real estate agents. Eric, how … First of all tell me a little bit about yourself. How long have you been a realtor? What got you into this business? Tell me a little bit about you.
Eric Harris: I just finished 11 years in the Navy, and I got out. I’ve been in real estate for two years. I spent my first year of real estate while still in the Navy, and this my first year as a full-time realtor.
Lauren Taylor: Wonderful. How long have you been full-time?
Eric Harris: I’ve been full time for a year now.
Lauren Taylor: Awesome. Before you house hunted, before you did video and virtual reality house hunting, how was showing homes different? How did it impact your schedule? How did it usually work?
Eric Harris: For my first year, I was doing nothing but house-hunting regularly, so it was hard being in the military. I only had the weekends to do stuff, or right after work, and it was really difficult, because if I had duty, I couldn’t show people homes. It was real hard for me. Then, transitioning into a full-time realtor, when people have kids, that’s the hardest part, because you have to compensate for the kids, make sure they’re eating, make sure people aren’t distracted. You have to make sure everybody’s okay, and they still have the energy to keep going to all these homes.
Lauren Taylor: Oh yeah. Kids bring a whole ‘nother aspect, right? It’s like snacking, potty breaks, all those things that we don’t really think of that can really impact how long a family can stay out and look at houses, which we also know as realtors, it’s hard to set schedules back to back, right? It’s like sometimes it could throw it off, and they miss an entire home because of the family schedule versus the showing schedule.
Eric Harris: Sometimes kids have games, or they only can stay out for so long, they only go out for an hour. It was always something that came up where we couldn’t go see all the homes that we had set up for.
Lauren Taylor: What changed when you started offering virtual reality and video house hunting? How did it change your schedule?
Eric Harris: It made my schedule a lot more easier, because I could go in the morning times before I went anywhere else. Sometimes there’s people who are still in the homes, and since they’re not going to be at home in the morning, they’re at work, it’s easier for me to just go take a video by myself, and get in the house, and then set up a time later when everybody’s schedule meet. We’re only going to see one or two homes versus trying to see eight homes all weekend. You’re seeing one or two homes that they picked out, because now they’ve seen the video. They have a better understanding, and it’s easier than just looking at pictures.
Lauren Taylor: How’d your clients react to that? Were they like, “Forget this. I don’t want to look at these silly videos,” or were they like, “Heck yeah. I don’t want to waste my time seeing crappy houses.”
Eric Harris: It actually helped me the most, because now when I first meet people, I can show them homes already. They’re interested. Okay, I know what you’re looking for, here’s a list of homes. When you see pictures, here’s the website. I already went and took videos of these homes. You already told me what you’re looking for. Here’s a couple homes you can look at right now. It may be more presentable, maybe stand out more to other real estate agents, because I’m showing you something up front, and I’m getting a better understanding of what you want.
Lauren Taylor: Absolutely. I mean, that’s phenomenal. I want to talk a little bit, because I have it here in my notes, and I kind of don’t even believe this. You have literally, using Virtual Reality House Hunting, in the last 30 days, opened $1.1 million in real estate. Is that true?
Eric Harris: Yes. That is very true. I’ve got two new builds out that we just put in escrow-
Lauren Taylor: So literally, they weren’t even resells. They were new constructions.
Eric Harris: New constructions.
Lauren Taylor: Okay. Every realtor out there that’s watching this right now is salivating. New constructions under contract versus resell using Virtual Reality House Hunting. How did your clients first experience it? How’d that work.
Eric Harris: Okay, so I went and made the video. I put one under contract, and I made videos while I was there, when the Virtual Reality was in beta phase and first came out. Then, I had another client who really couldn’t find a resell home that they liked, so when Virtual Reality came out, I was already at his house, and I was like, “Here, look at this.”
Lauren Taylor: Wait. Wait. So the video you shared with him wasn’t even for the original client. You kept that one and shared it with the second client.
Eric Harris: The second client is when they came around when we just went to beta phase, and everything was coming out. I had it in my car, because it’s so easy just to carry … You have your phone, you pull up the videos, you have the Virtual Reality. You can keep one in your car for yourself, and then you can leave one with them. I was like, “Oh, you know what? We weren’t finding what you were looking for going through these houses. You know what? This might be the house you … ” He was like, “I don’t have time to go look for it.” I’m like, “You don’t have to go anywhere. I have it right here for you, and you can watch the video to make a decision on if you really want to go see this or not, versus me taking you out everywhere.”
So, I just start explaining to him what it was, and he liked it. It was like, “Okay. I can sit here and watch this now.” He was like, “I love the house.” So, when he finally had time to go see it, I actually end up taking his wife, because he liked the house so much, and he didn’t have time, so I took her. She fell in love with the house, and it was everything was good to go. He was getting ready to PCS to Virginia, so [crosstalk 00:05:42].
Lauren Taylor: So, did he see the home before they went under contract, or was she just like, “Thumbs up, babe. We got to get this one”?
Eric Harris: He seen the home on the video, and he told me to take her, because he was leaving.
Lauren Taylor: Oh, that’s awesome. He never even stepped foot in it before they got under contract.
Eric Harris: Never even stepped foot in it. Got to see the whole home. Got to see the regular video. They also got to see the virtual reality, which he said was better, because he got a better feel of the home.
Lauren Taylor: Oh, that’s so cool. For those of you who don’t know standard southern California commission rates, that means that Eric’s doing about $30,000 of gross commissions based on one video he did one time and shared with another client.
So, then, what was the other client’s experience? How did that work? Was it the same? Well, it wasn’t the same video, was it?
Eric Harris: No. I have my very first client I took them over there for the first phase, before Virtual Reality came out, and I took a video while I was there after I was done with them. So, I was already setting myself up to start using it. So, my second client got to see it. They loved it. Then, my third client, that’s the one who had the best story. When I first met them, I talked to them on the phone, and then we actually-
Lauren Taylor: How’d you meet them? Was it a referral, or an Internet lead, or …
Eric Harris: Referral.
Lauren Taylor: Okay.
Eric Harris: Yeah, most of my clients are coming in by referral from people I worked with in the military already.
Lauren Taylor: Okay.
Eric Harris: So, when she came in to meet me, I already knew. She told me on the phone which type of houses she wanted and everything, and the price range she wanted. I already knew what she wanted. I knew exactly which, because there’s three different residences over there. I knew exactly which residence to show her. I just pulled it up on my phone, put the goggles in there I had in the car, put it in, set her in front of it, and that was … We went out the next day, because she only had a little time. So, we went out the next day, and we seen one home, and she picked it. That was it. It was everything she wanted. It saved us so much time.
Lauren Taylor: You know what I love? You’re almost unfazed by this. The beauty of a lot of our agents who are starting out, and some of our agents who are newer agents, they’ll never know how much it sucked before this. Now, it’s like you’re walking around with closed escrows in your pocket, especially on the new builds. I mean, you could go out and create a complete library of new builds in your area, and help people house hunt from their couch before you ever even take them to an office. That’s out of control.
Eric Harris: All right. What I do now, to learn from that story, as you know, when you first talk to somebody on the phone, they tell you want how many bedrooms, how many baths, square footage, I can go do a full search in the area on the MLS of what they want, go take videos before our first initial meeting, and have homes ready for them to show. So, I look better than other agents, because I’m putting stuff in front of you already. You feel like I’m better. You feel like I’m trying to actually give you … already know what you want. They have a better feeling, like, “I really like you.”
Lauren Taylor: That’s brilliant. That’s the most proactive I have heard. That’s phenomenal. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so excited. I know you don’t have much time, so I’m going to let you go, but I mean, I just have one more question. I know that our baseline membership starts at $99 a month, and obviously, with your $30,000 pending commission, do you think that that was a worthwhile investment into your business?
Eric Harris: $30,000 all for $100, and I only went out to make a video on the day I already sold another, I wasted no time, no money. It’s over 100% increase.
Lauren Taylor: I have one more question. How long was the video you made? How many minutes?
Eric Harris: Depending on the residence size, average residence size is about 22,000 square feet, was about five to seven minutes, depending how fast I walked through the house.
Lauren Taylor: So you basically sold $1.1 million in seven minutes.
Eric Harris: Yes, and they didn’t even watch the whole video, so I would say in five minutes I sold two homes.
Lauren Taylor: That’s amazing. Hey, keep us updated. We want to know if you sell any more of those residences based on those videos.
Thank you so much for joining us today. I am so excited to continue to watch you just kill it in our program.
Eric Harris: Thank you very much for having me. Appreciate it. Have a nice one.
Lauren Taylor: Thanks, Eric.