Jason Gelios of Its All About The Real Estate On How To Get The Absolute Best Price When You Sell Your Home

An Interview With Jason Hartman

Jason Hartman
Authority Magazine

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The main focus of my real estate career is to educate others on the buying and selling of residential real estate. It’s through this focus, plus the hard work I put in daily, that has earned me the right to share my knowledge all over the world through multiple media outlets. Home sellers can benefit from my real world tips and experience to get them the most money possible for their home sale. It’s also my mission to change the perception of what a Realtor does for home sellers, and buyers, and to provide a solid experience as well. It’s not as common as you would think to come across a Realtor as committed to their real estate career as I am.

How can you get the best price possible when you are looking to sell your home? Sometimes it’s a matter of timing, the right upgrades, or simply the right negotiation. In this interview series called “How To Get The Best Price When You Sell Your Home” we are talking to successful real estate leaders, who can share stories, insights and lessons from their experience about how to get the best price when you want to sell your home.

As a particular part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Gelios.

Jason Gelios is a top producing Realtor in Southeast Michigan, Author of the book Think Like a Realtor, creator of the AskJasonGelios Real Estate Show and an expert media contributor of real estate expertise to major media outlets across the globe. Jason is known for his transparent and honest way of representing home buyers and sellers so that they have a deeper understanding of the process while walking away feeling valued.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to your career?

Thanks for having me! I had spent years working at jobs with no real opportunity to grow and advance in my positions. Not to mention I had no ambition for the work I was doing. After sharing this frustration with others, I was told that I should get into professional sales because it seemed like a perfect fit for me. After doing some research, I decided on a career in the lending industry and went on to spend many successful years in that space. As the housing recession hit, plus already having developed the feeling of being burnt out in this role, I had chosen a sales position outside the real estate industry so that I could prove that I could be successful in any type of sales role. Eventually this led me back to a career in real estate as a licensed Realtor.

Being on the Realtor side of the business allows me to have more interaction with the clients and the homes I was showing and selling. It’s very satisfying when you see home buyers fall in love with a home. The buyers begin talking about how they will design each room and how each family member will spend their time in the home. I didn’t get this type of feeling when I was on the mortgage side of the business. I also love when home sellers get to meet their financial goal(s) by selling their property and walking away from closing with a healthy amount of proceeds. Real estate can be a great way to propel someone’s financial position to help them achieve their goals. I can’t think of any other form of investment that can have such an impact on someone’s life.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away, you took out of that story?

I had a very amusing experience where I was showing a home in a secluded rural area placed on multiple acres of land. My clients and I were touring the dimly lit and somewhat creepy country home when we came upon a closed door with a little note that stated-please open slowly, cats inside. Considering that we must see every room possible in hopes of purchasing the home, we began to slowly open the door. As you can imagine, we were already a little edgy due to the homes hazardous condition and remote location. As we slowly opened the door, we were thrown back in terror as a herd of cats came spilling out of this room! While it may have only been a few short seconds that this chaos erupted, it felt like an eternity as these cats mass exited the room. It was soon revealed to us that this was an entryway to a rickety old staircase that led to a large attic area where the home owner had locked their array of cats in. Once we recovered from this shocking event, we enjoyed a pretty good laugh together. That day reminded me that anything can happen and that I should expect the unexpected. Whether its cats lunging out at you or something that life throws your way unexpectedly, we must be prepared for the unexpected.

Another interesting story is one that involves not making assumptions. In 2019, I had completed and launched my real estate book titled Think Like a Realtor. This book was created to be a helpful read for anyone looking to buy or sell residential real estate, offering real world situations that I have come across. While I was doing multiple promotions for the book, it wasn’t until 2021 that I had decided to send a copy to one of my most admired sales topic authors, Jeffrey Gitomer. At first, I had some reservations about sending Jeffrey a copy of my book because of the doubts I had about whether or not he would actually see it. After all, this is a guy who is very busy handling many projects of his own. Once I overcame the self doubt of sending the book and convinced myself that I should just do it, I mailed a copy. I had gotten his office address, which he openly shares, and sent him a signed copy of my book. While I don’t remember the exact words I had written, the message went something like, “Jeffrey, you inspired me to write this book, and I thank you for that”. Some time went by without a response, but I was ok with that. I felt confident he did see the book and that he was just busy. One day I get a voicemail on my phone because I was unable to take the call. It was Jeffrey Gitomer! He had reached out to me, referenced my book and invited me to call him back. Later that day, we connected and had a great conversation about books and sales in general. Jeffrey provided me some tips that I happily took note of and we ended the phone call with me being inspired beyond all imagines. Who knows, maybe he was inspired as well.

Not only is this the most interesting story of my professional career, it was also a lesson on how important it is to overcome the self doubt we have and the feeling that we are not worthy of positive recognition and success in whatever we do. I could have easily missed out on this opportunity by allowing myself to not take that step in sending my book to this famous author. Believe me; I had some reasons floating around in my head as to why it would have been a waste of time and postage. But as I just shared, it was well worth the time and effort spent.

Do you have a favorite “life lesson quote”? Can you share a story or example of how that was relevant to you in your life?

I love the quote by the late life coach Zig Ziglar, it goes “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” This quote sticks with me because it reminds me of my own personal and professional mission, to be a beacon of expertise and value that others can count on to solve their problems. This quote is not about giving to get back, but to give and allow the universe to give back to you in multiples.

In my real estate career, I’ve shared my professional advice on branding and lead generation with other agents, who technically are my competition. However, I didn’t allow this fact to sway me from helping them in their own business. By taking the time to give to others what we have learned, it can only come back to us ten-fold. You never know the impact you can make in someone else’s life simply by being a person that provides them help. The quote I mentioned earlier doesn’t just apply to clients, family or friends, but to everyone I interact with. When we live by a positive example, others will take notice.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am working on my second book which is a passion project that I’ve wanted to complete for some time. The book will be about how we can change our lives for the better to live a life that is truly on our own terms. The readers of this book will learn how to design a life that they can look forward to waking up to, filled with purpose, ambition and success. I know from my own experience that we don’t have to settle for average, that we can tackle the very things that seem to hold us back. I’m very excited to be working on this project and I can’t wait to share it with everyone in 2022.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Aside from being a part of my broker’s office, I operate as my own brand and business. Everything I do is based on the premise of building my personal brand and providing value to as many people as possible. I make it my mission to help others from my home state of Michigan to well across the globe with my expertise.

One of the best ways I stand out from the sea of realtors is my ‘client for life’ philosophy. It’s this philosophy that keeps me effective in building relationships with my clients and has them referring me to somebody they know. For example, I spend more time with first time home buyers because they command that type of attention, when many other realtors won’t. These clients have a multitude of questions and expect each one answered in a timely manner. Many realtors will not afford this time to first time home buyer clients because they think it’s a waste of their time. This is ok, because it makes it that much easier for me to stand out and offer my great service by putting their needs first. This is the best way that I stand out from my competition.

Another way I stand out is by sharing where my expertise has been featured. I have been blessed to have been featured in various media formats from magazines, interviews, major news websites, podcasts and videos. Most people prefer to do business with someone that knows what they’re doing and are trusted by other reputable experts and platforms. It’s this method that has really been a game changer for me.

A great story that I can tie into this is about a client I gained from one of my past clients who referred her to my weekly real estate show. This lady was looking to sell a condo and had gone on social media to ask for a referral. After receiving an absorbent amount of names and reasons why the referrer felt the person they were referring is great, my past client had shared my name and a link to my weekly real estate show. After watching some of my content, this potential client decided to hire me for the sale of her condo. We set up a meeting at the residence and met as though we had known each other for years. Not only was this a great feeling, but it reminded me of how impactful it is to provide value first without expectations. To help others solve their problems and make them feel compelled to work with you again.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have to give credit to my wife Erica for her support and belief that I could be whatever I wanted to be in life-especially in the early days of my career. Without her, I probably wouldn’t have made the necessary change in my career and life that allowed me to reach for more than just the lower hanging fruit. It was my wife who stood by my side, motivating me along the way, to go after the success that I was seeking.

Even to this day, my wife still jumps in and helps out when my life-balance is out of whack. She knows what I’m doing is for the benefit of our family and my career. Real estate can be demanding at times, and it’s her commitment that has helped me achieve what I have accomplished thus far. It’s something I am grateful for.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. For the benefit of our readers, can you please tell us why you are an authority about the topic of getting the best price when selling a home?

The main focus of my real estate career is to educate others on the buying and selling of residential real estate. It’s through this focus, plus the hard work I put in daily, that has earned me the right to share my knowledge all over the world through multiple media outlets. Home sellers can benefit from my real world tips and experience to get them the most money possible for their home sale. It’s also my mission to change the perception of what a Realtor does for home sellers, and buyers, and to provide a solid experience as well. It’s not as common as you would think to come across a Realtor as committed to their real estate career as I am.

By being in the trenches, so to speak, I am able to share with others the valuable experience of selling a home so that home sellers can avoid any potential pitfalls that could cost them thousands of dollars. I have spent countless hours, days and years studying and practicing real estate-which is expertise that I pass on to those who want it. There are mistakes that I have seen home sellers, and their agents, make that caused them more grief than it should have. I have seen homes on the market that were not properly presented or effectively put into the spotlight-only to sit on the market for longer than they needed to, causing lowball offers to come in, or in many cases no offers at all. I have seen home sellers try to sell their home on their own, only to get stuck not knowing what to do should a buyer want to present an offer, or not knowing what the laws are in their state when they do end up selling the home. All these mistakes could be avoided if the proper research is done before venturing into selling a home. My hope from our interview is that your readers will gain a much better understanding of the basics of selling a home so that they can sell their property effectively and for more money.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry, as it is today? If you can please share a story or example.

First, I would say the potential of what real estate can do financially for the average person. Real estate investors are not the only ones who can make money on a property. Those who qualify could purchase a home and gain a sizable amount of equity through the years and later apply that money towards a financial goal they have. Investing in real estate provides more certainty than most other investments such as stocks. Real estate is also more predictable and easier to understand for many people. People will always need a place to live, making real estate one of the best ways to invest and build wealth.

Second, I love being a part of someone’s dream when they close on their new home, especially first time home buyers. When home buyers close on their new home and they get their keys, it’s a whole other level of emotion that’s rewarding and an honor to be a part of. I haven’t had any other career that has provided me with such a rewarding experience. I love hearing how home buyers will use each of the rooms in a home they chose and how each family member will spend time in that space. It’s a great feeling to have.

Third, the opportunities that real estate has brought me are unlike any other type of career or business I’ve had. Being a realtor allows me the flexibility of my own schedule, the ability to increase my pay by obtaining more sales, and the benefits of networking with some of the best and brightest in their fields, from home inspectors to mortgage officers. Being a realtor allows me to be business minded while running my real estate career as such. These benefits are why I’m attracted to this type of career. I love every minute of what I do. Not to mention I have a hard time sitting still, so this works great in a career that keeps me moving. Lol

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry as it is today? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest? Please share stories or examples if possible.

The first concern I have about real estate is the lack of proper training that many realtors don’t have. It’s no secret that many agents do the absolute minimum to maintain their license. Real estate changes often with new laws and procedures being introduced all the time. Realtors need to stay on top of these changes as well as current issues that have happened in other cases to better serve their clients. A lack of training will not allow them to be a proactive professional for their clients. I would like to see an increase in the required training and education for realtors. This could easily be mandated by the state that holds the realtors license.

The second concern I have is the perception that home buyers and sellers have of realtors due to a bad interaction with a less experienced or less caring professional. Whether it was a lack of communication or a terrible interaction they had, when someone develops this perception of a realtor, it affects the industry as a whole. The only way I can see this being turned around is if realtors increase their level of commitment to their clients and to present themselves in a better light. While I know many great realtors who also feel this way, the industry as a whole could use a refresher. I would love to see more training on the basics of communicating with potential and current clients to increase that level of satisfaction.

The third concern I have is how technology companies advertise their software to potential home sellers. Not every home seller will feel comfortable selling their home through these automated systems that are offered to them. Home sellers may get attracted by the technology because they promise to sell their home for less money than what a realtor would charge. In many cases, this is not the case with the fine print not being read carefully. While there are some home sellers that will prefer technology over an actual live realtor, many will learn that using the technology could be cumbersome and even cause them more work than they had thought. The only remedy I have for this is that home sellers should really do the research before signing up for these online services that promise them a lower cost way to sell their home. It’s been my experience that many home sellers don’t dive into the in’s and out’s of a program because they only look at cost. What it’s really about is doing their due diligence to see if the technology makes sense for them.

Based on your experience, what are a few of the biggest mistakes you have seen people make when they sell their homes? What must be done to avoid them?

I know this question has passionate opinions on both sides, but we would love to hear your opinion. Engaging a realtor is costly. Should people use a realtor when they sell their home? Please explain why you feel the way you do.

Many realtors would argue the fact that a home seller should hire a realtor every time to sell their home. I would be fooling myself if I thought that a home seller couldn’t sell a home on their own. While I do know that the process can be a lot smoother and with fewer hiccups if a realtor is hired for the job, I also believe that someone could sell a home on their own-provided they do their homework. I have to say though; it’s been my experience that many home owners come to realize they don’t have the time and effort to properly sell their home on their own. Many home owners fail to sell their home by owner because they have not done the proper research, or they feel that all it takes to sell a home is to stick a sign in the yard and handle the buyers coming in to view the home. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Home sellers must understand what is needed to properly sell a home in their state so they don’t put themselves into a bad legal situation.

I have viewed many homes that were on the market for sale by owner, with one common mistake being made; not having the proper forms. It’s extremely important to know which documents are needed and how the deal will be handled, from beginning to end. Not having the required forms can not only make a home seller look bad to a buyer, it can also put the seller in a bad legal position should something go wrong and the buyer decides to pursue legal action.

For example, most states require home owners who are selling a home with or without a realtor to provide what is called a sellers disclosure form. This is a form with a series of questions that the home owners complete to provide a better idea of what they know about the condition of the home. If the basement has ever had a leak and the home owner is aware of it, that information goes on this form. The seller’s disclosure form goes on to ask about other areas of the home including how old the roof is and what type of plumbing exists. In many cases, this is the most referenced form in legal proceedings when a home buyer sues a home seller after purchasing their home after an issue arose. Not having this form could put the former home owner in a bad situation-costing them thousands of dollars. Of course, there are various other forms that will be needed during the process as well.

A second mistake I see home sellers making is setting the wrong price right from the get-go. Sometimes I will see a home that has been on the market for a while, yet it looks really nice with nothing appearing to be wrong with the home. More often than not, the home is sitting stagnant because it was listed at the wrong price. Home sellers should never try to test the market with too high of a price unless they are not really serious about selling. By placing a home on the market at too high of a price, a home seller is starting off on the wrong foot and making a bad first impression to potential buyers. This is why it’s crucial to research other homes in the area and what they sold for, what they are currently on the market for, and any other helpful information. Setting the right price out of the gate will get a lot more interest from home buyers than a home that is overpriced from the start with no attraction.

A third mistake I see home sellers making is not separating their emotions from their property. Home owners, who have spent years, or even decades, in their home without making any type of upgrades to any areas of the home, will want to sell their home for the most money possible. The problem with this thinking is that the housing market won’t allow that to happen. Nor will home buyers pay top dollar for homes that are outdated or lacking the upgrades that appeal to them. This is why it’s important for home sellers to take a hard look at their home, have a third party tour the home, to determine how the home will match up to other properties that are currently on the market. Separating themselves emotionally will make for a more profitable sale.

Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider.” Can you please share five things you need to know in order to get the absolute best price when you sell your home? If you can, please give a story or an example for each.

The first thing home sellers should know is what the homes in the general area are currently doing, and what they have sold for within the past 90 days-at minimum. Knowing what similar properties sold for and which ones are actively listed can give a home seller a better idea of where there pricing should be for their own home sale. This research should involve more than five minutes and diving deeper into what those comparable properties are offering. If a realtor is involved, this could be accomplished by looking at the photos on the former and current listing.

For example, a home seller should be looking at whether or not any of the areas were updated in the home such as kitchens and bathrooms. If a home with similar square footage and bedrooms sold for a higher price, further research needs to be done to determine why that home sold for more. Is that home on a larger lot? Did the home sale come with high end appliances? It’s all about seeing what the competitive homes are offering in the area.

The second thing home sellers should know about selling a home is how important it is to have everything ready for the day the home hits the market. If a home is placed on the market without everything it needs to sell, it can look really bad to potential buyers and other realtors looking to view the home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen homes placed on the market without having all the pictures and information readily available. This is a huge turnoff not only to home buyers, but to realtors conducting their home search. All these things need to be ready for the day of launch; not after the fact.

Third, I recommend finding some unique qualities or features about the home and plan your marketing around that. For example, in the rural parts of the area I work in, pull barns on acreage are in huge demand. The majority of home buyers searching in these areas tend to look more towards the outbuilding or buildings on the property instead of what the home itself has to offer. This means if the home seller has a great pull barn or structure that is appealing to buyers, they should be highlighting this in their listing with additional pictures and features that it offers. Some example features are having its own heating system, having dedicated electricity run to the structure, etc. Home sellers should highlight the unique qualities of their home in the listing description and draw home buyers in.

Fourth, home sellers should know that nasty odors turn off home buyers causing the majority of them to leave the home faster than they should. A home seller’s goal should be to have the home buyers taking their time looking at the home in hopes they write an offer. You can have the most beautiful home on the street, but if you have nasty pet odors, smoke odor, or anything else that can turn off home buyers, they will leave your home fast. To avoid this issue, I recommend having another person who doesn’t live in the property walk through the home to potentially identify any smells that may have been missed by the home owner. People living in a home can get so used to the smell that it becomes unnoticeable to them. By the way, the most appealing odor to a human nose is orange. Take advantage of that!

Lastly, try to make the basic upgrades to the most important rooms in your home, which are the kitchen and bathrooms. Home buyers spend more time in these rooms than in any other room when viewing a property, so take advantage of affordable ways to spruce up these areas to appeal to more home buyers. This could be as simple as adding a backsplash in the kitchen, repainting the cabinets, replacing the caulk in the bathroom or reglazing the bathtub to shine, or any other affordable way to make these areas pop. Take the time to upgrade these rooms and watch the home buyers swarm to purchase your home.

Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I am a huge fan of the Pay It Forward movement that we are seeing in the world. When someone is a stranger to you, and they do something nice for you, it can cause a huge positive in your day. That person you don’t know who buys your coffee or food order, the person in traffic who kindly let’s you into their lane, the individual who goes above and beyond to assist you at a retail store. These little acts of kindness can go a long way in someone else’s life.

Let’s say you decide to grab a quick coffee because your morning is starting off terribly wrong. As you are waiting in line, you are dwelling on all the things that have gone wrong in the day so far. As you approach the counter, provide the barista with the details of your order and prepare to pay, you are told that someone paid for your coffee. This little gesture just might have changed the trajectory of your day. Such a small gesture can move mountains for some people-which is what I love about the pay it forward movement. I would love to see more of this in the world.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I invite everyone to visit my website at www.ItsAllAboutTheRealEstate.com and to connect with me on Social Media from the website.

Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.

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Jason Hartman
Authority Magazine

Author | Speaker | Financial Guru | Podcast Rockstar