By Lucy Gagnon, Intern
Recently, I visited John P. Wells, the owner Wellsco Realty located at 40R Merrimac St in Newburyport, MA. Below is the interview for the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce’s #portpeople campaign which is a weekly profile of members of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry!
Lucy: How long has Wellsco Realty been open?
John: Since the beginning of 2012.
Lucy: What inspired you to open Wellsco?
John: I felt it was time for a different model, and we are very much focused on only having successful agents, not 30-40 agents where only a few are making decent money. This company supports its agents and we promote them, we advertise, we invest in our agents. We give them a successful career.
Lucy: How do you work to stand out among other real estate offices in Newburyport?
John: Just high integrity customer service. One of the most important things that we focus on is not thinking about our commissions when we are dealing with clients. That’s the hardest thing for a lot of agents, and a lot of agents fail at that; they focus on getting the deal done so they have their commission, whether or not it’s in the best interest of their clients.
Lucy: What do you think is the most challenging part of finding the perfect home for your clients?
John: The lack of inventory, and also we advise clients not to buy something unless they really love it, and so they’re better off renting longer or not moving yet until they find the right place, so that can take some time.
Lucy: How long have you been working in real estate?
John: I was doing real estate development from 1998 to 2007 when the market collapsed…but I did stay in the real estate business and started working as an agent, I got my broker’s license, and started this agency.
Lucy: Have you noticed any changes in the industry, and how have you adapted?
John: The industry is changing enormously. Technology has had a huge impact, and now there are so many models for consumers, things that they can do online to find their homes…We go and we look at houses critically, and look for problems, we guide them through the process; that’s a huge change from the way we used to be. The other big change is that there are a lot of companies now promoting iBuyers, or instant offers… whereby the consumer can make an offer online on a property. How far that’s going to go is questionable because it’s not like buying a shirt, but there is some activity in that area… There are also some companies that are uncomfortable from the buyer agency standpoint that are promoting the idea of eliminating buyer agents and streamlining the services… I do a lot of sales to first time buyers, young couples, and I asked two different couples last week [about these new services] when we were at closings, [and] they said, “John, we couldn’t have possibly done this without your guidance”, so [new buyers] really need this [personal aspect of realty]… Zillow is becoming a strong market leader, and we’re very affiliated with Zillow, and we have been from the start. And for a small, private company, that affiliation is very, very important because they are ahead of the curve in technology in the market.
Lucy: What do you think makes your office so successful?
John: Our reputation for integrity, and a lot of the marketing we do. We are very marketing-oriented. We’re doing things that nobody else has been doing. There are a lot of ads in the newspaper for real estate companies. We devote half a page to our listings; nobody does that. This is typical: a whole bunch of different properties [from other companies], and then you see ours. As a seller, what are you going to prefer?… .
Lucy: Is there anything you would change about your business?
John: [We] just need more people, that’s our biggest need here; more agents, more high quality agents, and because we actually have more business coming in the door than we can handle. But it’s because of all of our marketing…[that] we get a lot of leads coming in.