Weston Harding

Weston Harding • Largest Seller Of 2-4 Flat Units In Chicago

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In the past 12 months Weston Harding and his brokerage X Plus Real Estate has doubled their production from 20m to 40m. Aside from being a top 1% producer, Weston is also the largest seller of 2-4 flat properties in Chicago. During our conversation Weston talks about how he transitioned from West Texas to Chicago, why he focuses on investments and investors, and how he gives years of free value to prospects before he ever earns a commission!

Weston Harding can be reached at Weston.Harding@XPlusRealEstate.com and 312-669-4343.

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D.J. Paris 0:15
Hello and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real. The only podcasts made by Chicago real estate brokers for Chicago real estate brokers. My name is DJ Parris, I am your host through the show. And as always want to first thank all the people who are listening. So we appreciate you sharing this podcast with other realtors in your area. And also recommending realtors that we should be interviewing on the show, we have a huge backlog, I think we’re over 100 people now have written in with suggestions. So if we haven’t replied to you or gotten to your recommendation yet, we will might just take us a little bit of time. So thanks, keep sending them in. Also, if you are not currently following us on Facebook, we’d encourage you to do that. You can just find us@facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pot. You can also download and listen and stream every episode we’ve ever done right directly from our website, which is keeping it real pod.com. And of course, you can find us on iTunes, Google Play Anywhere else podcasts are served, just search for keeping it real podcast. And you should find us want to have a quick suggestion before we get on to our interview with great western Harding, which is that I was thinking about this the other day. I’m not sure that I’ve talked about it on the show before. So the the real impetus for putting this show together where we interview the top 1% of brokers in the Chicagoland area was because I went to a YPN event which stands for Young Professionals Network, which is put on in this case by our local association here in the city, which is called car Chicago Association of Realtors. Now there, those of you who are listening might not be in the city of Chicago, you might be in the suburbs, you might be somewhere else in the country or even other parts of the world. We do have listeners kind of all over. So odds are you belong to a local association, where you are and odds are that association has one of these groups and what what this YPN event showcased. And the reason why this podcast really exists is because I went to a meeting once and they had a panel of top producers and the producers were saying here’s how I grew my business. And I thought oh, that’s a cool idea, someone should make that into a podcast. So I really owe this podcast idea, a great deal of gratitude to the Young Professionals Network at the Chicago Association of Realtors. But again, if you’re a member of a different Association, you should reach out to them and find out what their version of that is. Many of them have actually YPN groups or something similar. And again, it’s just a great way to network. But more importantly, I think get information and advice from people who are already doing it. So you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and can learn from the masters. Again, that’s all of course what we’re trying to do on the show as well. And we’re almost at our 70th episode, and we’re so grateful that everyone continues to listen and continues to send in recommendations. So bottom line, contact your local board and say, hey, I want to learn from the best what programs do you have for me to get in front of top producers. And odds are they have something like yp and YPN does a lot of other things too. But anyway, I’m a huge fan of theirs. So just do that kind of stuff, and you’ll get better as a broker. And maybe you’ll be on the show one day so thanks so much for listening onto our interview with Weston.

Today on the show, we have Weston Harding of x plus real estate, Weston Harding founded x plus real estate in January of 2011. And he specializes in the brokerage of investment and residential properties in Chicago. As a dedicated real estate professional, Weston’s excellent customer service is reflected in a consistently strong sales record. Previously, he served as Director of real estate sales for RV savvy, where he established the sales division for apartment savvy Chicago West and started his Chicago career at Essex Realty Group where he acquired exceptional knowledge of the Chicago investment market and Chicago neighborhood opportunities originally from Houston West and graduated from Texas Tech he received his real estate license as an undergrad and was employed by REMAX of Lubbock while earning his Bachelor’s in agricultural economics. Weston is well respected in the Chicagoland real estate business and sits on the board of directors at the Harold Eisenberg Foundation. He founded the annual Harold Eisenberg Midwest real estate challenge which includes participation from the Chicago community in collaboration with students from major universities. X plus, Weston’s company is on track to close 40 million by the end of this year, which by the way, is up from 20 million last year and obviously incredible there. And they are also the number one seller of two to four unit properties in all of Chicago. You can visit Weston and x plus real estate at x plus realestate.com. Welcome come to the show Weston, thanks for being on our podcast. Thanks, DJ,

Weston Harding 5:02
thanks so much for having me. I can’t wait to tell you everything I’ve learned in real estate and pass on that knowledge. So

D.J. Paris 5:09
perfect. And then I’ll never have to do another episode because you’ll just give all the information that anyone would ever need. So this is a I’m really honored, I no longer have to. Perfect. Yeah, and let’s, let’s let’s dive right into it. Because originally, you’re from Texas, Houston, and then over to the Lubbock area. But tell us how you got started in real estate.

Weston Harding 5:31
Yeah, so I actually went to school at Texas Tech University, and I thought I was going to be a mechanical engineer. And I really liked working on cars growing up, and I thought that would be a great career for me. But as time went on in school, I actually started working for the owner of REMAX of Lubbock, a guy by the name of Tony Lloyd, and worked in their photo department taking photos of properties and loading them up and started to realize I really liked real estate and started to sell houses, to my fraternity brothers who could actually, their parents would buy a house, I mean, houses in Lubbock, or at the time are ranging between like 50 to $100,000, a couple blocks off campus. So my parents bought a house and my sister and I lived in it and then sold it and made money. But more importantly, I would sell to fraternity brothers parents who would pretty much have a three bedroom house, their son would live in one of those bedrooms, and then the other two bedrooms, they would rent out and pretty much cover their mortgage. And then we would just sell it, you know, three years later when that student was ready to move. So that’s where I got my start and then moved here and worked for at a great company Essex Realty Group that specialized in 20 Plus unit apartment buildings. And while working there, I realized that there’s a lot of smaller buildings, specifically two to four units up to about six units that just didn’t have anybody helping those sellers sell the properties or buyers buy the properties. And I was like, you know that that guy can be me. So

D.J. Paris 7:08
ya know that that makes perfect sense. If you don’t want me asking why, how, why the move from from Texas, West Texas to Chicago. Yeah,

Weston Harding 7:15
great, great question. So I actually went for a couple of job interviews in Dallas. For larger commercial real estate companies I wanted to get in, I liked the investment side of real estate. So I wanted to get into that. And at one of those meetings, my dad actually joined from Houston and knew the owner of the company. And afterwards, my dad and I went to get a drink at a local bar. And I kind of was like, you know, this sounds like a great job, I should take it. And he pretty much told me that, you know, they’ve lived all over the world and in New York and all over America as well, before they decided to put roots into Houston. And my dad’s like, you should definitely check out other places across the US or the world before you just take a job here. So that kind of stuck with me a little bit. And I was like, No, it would be kind of cool to be the guy who leaves Texas and does his own thing and makes his own mark. So looked around. And you know, Chicago seemed like the right city for me. So

D.J. Paris 8:15
well, yeah, that’s, that’s really interesting. I know, when I graduated college, I ended up in St. Louis, and I’m not from St. Louis. But I ended up there because that’s where this job that, you know, employed me, put me and I had not done the like, should I live in and there’s nothing wrong with St. Louis. It’s fine. But I wouldn’t have chosen St. Louis. But it was like similar to your situation in Dallas, like, you might have just gone to Dallas and nothing wrong with Dallas either. But like this idea that you can live other places is, is very cool. So anyway, that I guess that brought you here and then tell us a little bit about, you know, x plus. And by the way, we should also mention that for all the listeners. Weston is actually looking for someone to fill a position. So tell us a little bit about the company and ultimately what you’re looking

Weston Harding 9:05
Yeah, sure. So um, so I started x plus, like you said, the beginning of 2011 with the whole mindset that we would specialize in two to four unit properties. And I wanted to always be the number one seller of that and be the best broker I possibly can be in that field. So with that, I started working really hard by myself crazy hours and started to put together a database. So we actually put together a database of every two to 12 unit owner on the northwest side and specialize in neighborhoods where I actually at the time was personally buying property. So mostly 60618 Avondale Irving Park Roscoe village. Sure. And so we specialized in that area. And as the company grew more So myself and then I hired an assistant, and then two years ago, I actually sat down with a throughout another amazing agent here, Tommy Choi and Josh Weinberg, to kind of just catch up on the Marquette, and they really helped me kind of put together a team and gave me the insight on you know how they did it, and how they would recommend me doing it. So I decided two years ago to actually build a team, I just couldn’t be working the crazy amount of hours I was. Sure. So I started there two years ago. And since then it has allowed me to just totally expand the company massively. And it’s done amazing things marketing wise. And as well as just owning that market of two to four units. So about two years ago, I took on a buying agent, and my assistant moved over to like more of an assistant closer coordinator role. And then last year, I went ahead and double that. So I brought on like a full sales side person, a full side, buying broker for full time rental agent, and then my closing coordinator still there. And then the beginning of this year has been even bigger. So we actually expanded now I have two full time buying agents, full time selling agent, a rental specialist, and then my closing coordinator slash assistant. And that’s really allowed me to just focus on what I do best, which is market the company doing podcasts like this, as well as put together and meet more people that are that are looking to invest in smaller investment properties, or, more importantly, people that currently own that are looking help selling their property. So I’m actually looking for somebody to kind of take a sales role. That would be on our sales side, that would be somebody who would be looking to meet with the owners help kind of manage the team as a whole. This is a real great role. The perfect person I kind of see for this is somebody that’s already been in real estate for four to five years, understand the processes of real estate, and hopefully has done some sort of investment properties. But more importantly, it’s somebody who doesn’t really want to work as many weekends. So this role allows somebody who might have experience and might have a kid on the way, or is looking to not work weekends as much kind of stepped into a role where they’re managing a top 1% team. And the number one team in Chicago for two to four units. So

D.J. Paris 12:10
awesome. Well, if anyone out there feels like they’d be a good fit, what’s the best way they can reach out and submit their

Weston Harding 12:16
Yeah, so they can actually email me directly at Westin, w e s, t o n, dot Harding, H AR D ing at x plus realestate.com. And feel free, they can go online and check out our website, all my contact informations there, that’s x plus realestate.com. Or they can call in text our office line at 312-669-4343.

D.J. Paris 12:41
Awesome. Well, thank you for that I wanted to go back to the one of the original things that you did when you when you when you founded x plus, which, which was you sort of identified your geographic area. And then you said now we’re going to make a database of all the odors from these two to 12, sort of flat units, or, or two to two to 12 unit buildings. And wow, if you don’t mind sharing some of some of those tips, because oftentimes, it’s funny, you work a lot with investors, you yourself are an investor as well. And I’ve always heard that it’s never hard finding investors, it’s always the hardest part is finding the deal that the investors show up when the deal is there. And of course, finding those opportunities tend to be the hardest part. What were some of the ways that you started to create that database

Weston Harding 13:27
share, so I’m so kind of back track here. So it was kind of interesting. When I was working in Lubbock, I was doing mostly residential 100% residential. And then when I moved to Chicago, I worked in commercial real estate and commercial real estate is totally different. Sure, as far as they don’t normally have an MLS, there’s loop net costar, but most agents have their own database, right. And we’re constantly working with that where on a residential side you have more of an MLS and this like cooperation and people are all working together. And in commercial, there’s not so much so I kind of combined both of those worlds because a two to four unit property is kind of a little bit of both, it’s technically four units. And below is residential. And the commercial side is the investment side. So we’ve kind of combined those and part of that was creating a database so you you can get there’s plenty of websites like list source and even title companies can help you pull owners information and mailing addresses.

D.J. Paris 14:26
Just to interject for a quick second also costar can do that too. You just you have to pay for some of that information. But that’s another resource,

Weston Harding 14:34
right? So you’ll have to pay for the information and then the biggest part is is how to get those people’s attention. So we’ve done mailers cold calling, dropping by and knocking on doors, flyers, you name it, we’ve done all of that. So I think the biggest thing is creating the database and then working with that database and I think mailers is probably the best way to go about it. But really once you can get somebody to Get in contact with and really tell them what you’re doing. That’s really the best way to sell them. So

D.J. Paris 15:06
that you guys do the math, do you do management as well, or just

Weston Harding 15:10
so we do not touch management. We work with a couple of great management companies that we really liked working with. And we, we refer them clients, they refer us clients. But we don’t do that. I think it’s kind of a conflict of interest. Plus, we like to just solely focus on helping people, one, create more wealth in their properties by giving them rental comps sales comps in the area, showing them what improvements they can make to their properties to get a better value and creating that relationship where property management is just a whole nother beast.

D.J. Paris 15:45
So So you guys will reach out to these owners and say, Hey, if you’re ever looking to sell, you know, we can certainly assist you or if you need help getting, you know, some of the space rented residential or commercial you can assist in developing the relationships that way. Is that is that my understanding?

Weston Harding 16:00
Yeah, so we’re in a long term game. So most of our clients we will meet with and talk to once every three months for two to three years, sometimes longer, till they’re ready to make that sale, and is really just keeping that relationship. So whatever they need is what we like to supply. So whether that’s Hey, we’re thinking about reappraising our property, who do you recommend we go with, and we’ll give them a lender, or we’ll give them comps for that. Or we’re looking to maybe make some improvements, we have a tenant moving out, can you come by and tell us what you think improvements we should be made, and you have a contractor for us. So we’ll supply all of that to owners at no cost. And one, helping them build a relationship with us, but also helping them improve it, what their property is going to be worth when they sell because if they make the right improvements and increase their rent, their properties can easily go from, you know, 500 $600,000 to 789 $100,000 properties within a year or two time period.

D.J. Paris 17:00
I’m so glad that you, you mentioned that this is a huge point of distinction. You know, there are tons of brokers who have these ideas of I’m going to call on or see if they’re ready to sell and you know, just sort of pile on the phones or pound mailers. And if they’re not ready, then I’ll just move on. And the fact that you start the relationship before someone’s actually ready to do a transaction is obviously this huge value add, which of course separates you from all the other brokers out there. So do you have you found that that’s true that that’s pretty, pretty unique proposition?

Weston Harding 17:31
Yeah, we get a lot of people one specializing in the niche that we’re in, which is the two to four units, we there’s not a whole lot of I guess other brokers doing this. But supplying this type of stuff is great. I mean, we get we get a lot of a lot of times we’ll make cold calls, and talk to people or people call us and be like, No, I don’t want you to do any of that. But then after we’ll just send them over some stuff as like a show of good faith. They’re, they’re really impressed. A lot of times they don’t believe we’re actually going to do any of it for free. Like they keep asking us what’s what’s the cost, and it’s like, it’s it’s free, like we really just want to help you. So that when you are ready to sell you, you’re the first person you think of

D.J. Paris 18:10
so yeah, that’s, that’s really, really smart. Because of course, when they sell, they are going to use a realtor almost certainly. And you know, might as well be the person who has been helping them for several years without obviously, any sort of direct compensation. So there’s that law of reciprocity that kicks in and, and obviously, you guys being so, you know, so consistently at the top of this, two to four flat sales obviously helps lead some credibility. But obviously, you were we were just talking about this offline that you were like, it is a ton of work for two to three years meeting with somebody every, you know, quarterly. But you know, for years before they’re really, you know, actually able to make the transition and use your services is huge.

Weston Harding 18:53
Yeah. And I think you had mentioned, you know, the growth from 20 million plus sales last year to, we’re on track to be 35 to 40 million this year. A lot of that is because of the relationships we’ve formed over the past couple of years. But that hard work and being able to have the team to really stretch out and perform all those services is, is really what’s helped us grow so fast.

D.J. Paris 19:18
Yeah, let’s talk about that. Because your team is very specifically structured. Obviously, there’s a million different ways to build a real estate team. And oftentimes, they’re just a bunch of agents kind of grouped together who all do similar tasks and kind of share things. Yours seems parceled out based on duties and responsibilities. Was that was that super deliberate instead of just hiring a bunch of brokers that could all come in and, and work kind of similarly?

Weston Harding 19:46
Yeah, um, so the reason why I did it that way is because because I was an agent all by myself and running like, ever wearing every hat for every transaction. It got to the point where I just noticed that certain have duties, for instance, for taking up more time than others. And if I, you know, I would go out with clients on by side and show them places and then write a contract for them, but then also have to worry about the follow up of making sure the inspection and all that and sometimes the amount of paperwork would just pile up. So I kind of read a couple books and looked at what I thought the way a team should be set up as well as the help from other realtors. And really, I thought, you know, especially what we’re doing on the buy side is that, you know, we supply a first time investor, a lot of our clients are actually what’s called House hacking or living in one of the units and having their other two to three units pay off their mortgage. So sure, that takes a lot of education to kind of help people with that, as well as putting together pro formas and information for them. So in my mind, if I could have my buying agent, only focus on one helping buyers be educated on that type of purchase, but also helping them find it so that when a property comes on the market, we’re the first person and they’re not worried about having to go to an inspection, or follow up on an appraisal or whatever the case may be. So that leaves our buying agents, all they have to do is worry about educating clients and showing properties. And putting them on negotiating deals, they don’t have to worry about finding their own clients, those are all supplied, and they don’t have to worry about making sure those clients get to the closing table. And the same thing on the sales side. Like I would like my sales agents to be able to call every agent they know that to looking for that type of property really heavily market that property and not have to worry about inspections or finding new clients or dealing with putting together CMAs all the other work, but really just hone their craft and become the best at it.

D.J. Paris 21:52
Yeah, and I think it’s worth repeating again, that that Weston and his team, they have their own database, I don’t know what percentage of deals you do even hit the MLS. But obviously having this non MLS database, we’ll call it of, of owners and units is so important and really worth doing. If you’re a broker looking to either work with investors or work with, you know, people who own these types of properties. So important and takes time, but absolutely worthwhile. And then like what Weston and his team does this actually build those relationships, providing this the sort of pro bono value for years and years before the person might be ready to actually sell or or an investor ready to buy?

Weston Harding 22:35
Yeah, exactly. I mean, the database is a huge part to it, I would say, you know, the mountain, we we do a lot of reaching out to the database. And we also do a lot of events. So we do a bi monthly event that will teach clients on the ins and outs of certain types of real estate. So we did one on Airbnb, which is kind of changing the whole market for investment properties. We did one on House hacking, how to buy your first investment property in everybody you need to know along the way, we’ve done stuff on property management and brought in property management companies. But to add value, but that also gives us a debt or buy side, we have somewhere close to actively 30 to 40 buyers at any given time that are ready to pull the trigger. And then we have somewhere close to about 100 to 200 investors who are looking to buy two to three properties a year, throughout the year. So you know a lot of times our deals if we’re on the sales side, we’ll get pitched to our clients first. Which is kind of a great bonus for us. We can keep it in house and be able to really control the transaction and make sure that there’s not any hiccups along the way. But yeah, I mean, having that database is a huge part of that. So

D.J. Paris 23:49
just out of curiosity, and this this the answer this could easily be No. But I was curious if you’ve developed any strategic partnerships with true commercial brokers as well, oftentimes, what a lot of times residential brokers or brokers who mostly do residential don’t realize about commercial is many commercial firms don’t even allow their brokers to do any residential. So I was curious if you develop any of those partnerships with, you know, people at some of the larger or smaller, even commercial firms where they’re like, oh, we have something for you. So I didn’t know if that ever comes? Yeah,

Weston Harding 24:20
so I don’t get a so I actually sent the Harold Eisenberg Foundation Board is a huge Board filled with a lot of commercial real estate agents, brokers, developers all across everything from retail to industrial. So a lot of those guys, especially if they’re not in the three to four unit market will send me stuff if they get it, as well as people that I’ve worked with in the past on commercial deals will send me deals and say, Hey, I’ve got this so we don’t have like a distinct written partnership with anybody but a lot of the times still stuff that will come across the desk. I’d say the people that reach out to us the most and we definitely do a lot of deals with wholesalers, so some of the bigger wholesalers in Chicago and depending on what your listeners know or don’t know, but a wholesaler somebody who’s puts a property under contract and then tries to resell it, either within 30 days or at the same time as when they’re closing, we get a lot of wholesalers that as soon as they put a two to four unit under market where their first phone call, they don’t reach, they don’t call their database of investors, they call us because they know that our buyers are going to be able to close that deal. Super fast and easy as is and don’t have any issues with you know, they’ve been most of our clients aren’t the pastor’s for 10 plus years. So they’ve seen it all. So we work a lot with wholesalers recently for deals that will be selling or just bringing in the buyer to take the deal over from them.

D.J. Paris 25:51
Yeah, it makes sense. I mean, they know that you guys can get things closed quickly, you have this database of investors ready to ready to go who are just looking for deals. So that that makes perfect sense. I have a question, what advice would you have for maybe a traditional residential broker who doesn’t hasn’t worked with investors or not worked with a lot of investors, either on the buy or sell side? And it hasn’t worked in the two to four flat space? What advice would you have for them about starting to dip their toe in that water? Like what should they be reading? Where should they be learning, if you have any suggestions,

Weston Harding 26:26
share so. So a couple places one, our website has actually has a bunch of educational videos that we’ve put together on it. So you can check out our website, all for sharing information. But another big one is bigger pockets, of course, apps, they’re incredible source of information. And just the websites in general, if you type in investment videos, or two to four unit or house hacking videos, there’s 1000s upon 1000s of them on YouTube. So I really think bigger pockets is probably your best source for information on those types of properties. And just getting in there and just learning as much as you can. And then if anybody wanted to team up or was looking to sell a property and said, hey, you know, I don’t know how to do that we’re more than happy to cooperate with other agents or give out referral fees and work with other people as well. So

D.J. Paris 27:19
yeah, and by the way, I’d like to, to mention something that you just briefly discussed. And I met I wanted to interrupt at the time, but I didn’t interrupt you. But I wanted to. So I’ll interrupt now, because this goes back about 10 minutes. So I apologize for this being a bit disjointed. But this is really important you had mentioned and I think this is such a great metaphor for how to run a business. And ultimately, really what this podcast is about, and like this podcast, very, at its most basic level is talking to top 1% producers and saying how to do that. And that’s essentially all we do. Everyone does it a bit differently. But what I love that you’d mentioned, and I just want to highlight this for the listeners, is before starting your own company, or rather before building your own team, you went to Tommy Choi and Josh Weinberg, who are now at Keller Williams and said, Hey, guys, how do you do this? What should I do? What’s the best way to do this? And you know, obviously, those guys have an amazing reputation. They’ve been on the show as well. Super nice, of course. And but just I want to highlight like, what’s that is such a smart way to go to a really successful team and say, How did you build a team? And I suspect a lot of people maybe listening wouldn’t think to necessarily do that. So you should always be reaching out to people who have that specialty. So I just wanted to sort of highlight that. That was probably a really good idea.

Weston Harding 28:39
Yeah, I’m a very firm believer in not reinventing the wheel. I mean, if somebody else has already done this, and I listened to this podcast all the time, I mean, it’s amazing. You know, people always say the same thing over and over again, that it’s a lot of hard work. And, you know, talking to other brokers I think is a huge, a huge part of becoming a better broker yourself.

D.J. Paris 28:59
So yeah, and just to go back to bigger pockets, as well, like that probably is the best, you know, resource to really learn investment. I mean, there’s a million books and obviously a lot of great what seminars you can attend and videos, if you really want to get immersed in the community of investors and be able to talk sort of in real time to them online. And then they also have a million different meetups as well as bigger pockets is a really great, great resource as as Weston mentioned. And it’s I don’t know if it’s 100 bucks a year or whatever the cost is, it is absolutely worth and they have podcast too. And obviously they do all sorts of cool things. So that is a not like a resource worth re mentioning. Because I’m a huge fan of them as well. So tell us sort of where do you see x plus headed? Are you going to just stay on track, keep doing what you’re doing? Do you see you see it shifting or changing? In where I’m asking is do you see the investment market changing as well here in Chicago?

Weston Harding 29:54
Yeah, so that’s a great question. We get this all the time, especially lately with taxes going up and rentals. Looks like their pricing will probably be going down a little bit here over the next couple of years is, is the investment market going to stay as hot as it has been, and I firmly believe that in some areas, and most areas, it will, I mean, there’s a lot of places like Pilsen, Avondale, Albany Park, urban, Irving Park, Portage Park, that is all just making a huge change over the last couple of years of gentrification. And I think those markets are going to continue to grow, as well as markets like Lincoln Park, Lakeview Bucktown, Wicker Park that have been very solid rental markets with some amazing increases in rents over the last couple years, will stay hot as well. The thing is, is that there’s just so many two to four flats and two to 12 unit properties out there that those people that have a lot of longtime owners are getting to the point where they’re looking to cash out and maybe make a move somewhere warmer, or are looking to not have to manage these properties long term for the rest of their lives. So there’s going to continue to be people that are looking to sell those properties. And I think there is actually a huge increase of the number of people that are looking to buy properties, especially in the millennial generation, with the amount of information that’s online resources, like bigger pockets and other places about House hacking. And the idea that you can buy a property with three and a half percent down and grab the other two or three units pay your mortgage, a lot of young people really liked that idea. It allows them to live in the property or if they need a move, they now have an investment that they can leave in their portfolio as investments. And that gives a lot of younger people flexibility to go do whatever they want, whether that’s change jobs, or travel for a year, or whatever the case may be. So we’ve seen a huge increase lately of buyers in that market. And I think that’s going to continue to push the market in Chicago.

D.J. Paris 31:54
Have you seen any increased competition to to for the for listings? Has there been an increase in when you’re talking to these owners? Who may or may not be ready to sell in the moment do Do you find that there’s more brokers reaching out to them? Are you competing with more brokers in that respect? Or?

Weston Harding 32:15
So yeah, I would say that people are getting reached out to more. If you look at just like the data and the matrix, I think the next closest person to us in two to four unit sales is doing like half what we are. Gotcha. So it’s, it’s when we sit down to a listing appointment, you know, it’s I would say that, at least in my opinion, we’re the best brokerage for it. But we’re able to sit down and just give numbers that a lot of people aren’t able to give. I mean, last year, our average two to four unit sales, days on market was 13.8 days, and our average sale to list price or list the sale price was 98.9%. So being able to sit down and show just the value that people get by working with the x plus team, we rarely lose a listing.

D.J. Paris 33:03
How often is that is that all done in house where it’s the you guys have the buyers as well is that most of the time or some

Weston Harding 33:09
I would say probably about like 15% of the time, we’ll get it in house or a lot of that stuff is like wholesale deals where people bring us bring it to us, it’ll never hit the MLS. And we’ll just sell it directly to one of our buyers or we work with a couple of developers as well, that it’ll eventually hit the MLS, but it’ll hit the MLS once after sale. So a large number of those deals get done in house. But the stuff that hits the MLS and we tell most we actually tell most of our sellers, that we like it to hit the MLS because we’re not always going to have the highest Sharpe paying client and our goal on the sales side is to get you the most money as possible. And the most qualified buyer and not all the times our buyers aren’t going to be that. So we’d rather give another agent the opportunity to bring in that person to allow our client to get the highest price.

D.J. Paris 34:02
Makes perfect sense. Just to wrap up, do you so we have you know, a lot of listeners, almost all of which I believe are brokers. So is any blasting advice for brokers who, you know, would like to do more of what you guys do? Aside from of course going to work for you. Any steps aside from like joining bigger pockets, that you would sort of advise on brokers looking to increase production, maybe add some investors into their portfolio, or be being maybe be an investor themselves? Yeah,

Weston Harding 34:35
so I would say get on bigger pockets. I would say get online, really just dive in and educate yourself if you want to go that way. If you’re looking to actually increase your brokerage sales. The biggest thing I was ever able to do was hire my first assistant and I think I was capping out at somewhere around 12 to $15 million worth of deals. And I just couldn’t you just can’t go any higher. without hiring somebody else to help you, you can’t be in two places at once. So if you find yourself being like, how do I go to the next level, the fastest way to do that is to hire an assistant and then hire your next person. There’s that’s no other way that we’ve been able to grow. In fact, this fast is without one hiring more people. And more. So hiring quality people, like don’t just hire the first person you meet off the street, make sure you spend a couple of months really finding out who you want in that position and the most qualified person.

D.J. Paris 35:32
Awesome. Well, less than we should mention, again, at the beginning of the show, we went and talked about a position that he is looking to fill. So if that is something you are interested in exploring, you can reach out to Weston, can you give your your email and phone number once again?

Weston Harding 35:47
Yeah, for sure. So again, we’re looking to hire a sales position, kind of a sales manager position to kind of help run the team a little bit, as well as to manage the sales side. And my email is Western W E s, t o n, dot Harding, H AR d i n g at x plus realestate.com. And you can call or text at 312-669-4343.

D.J. Paris 36:15
And if anyone out there is who is not a broker, but is an investor or it really with any real estate needs, it’s not that Western team doesn’t just solely focus on investments, but that is obviously one of their specialties. So if you’re interested in working with Weston and his team, for anything real estate related, of course, you can contact him the same way you can visit their website as well at x plus realestate.com. And obviously Weston is super easy to to get in touch with he was we were very easy. Even getting him booked and scheduled and not everyone is that way. So we appreciate it. And anyway, so I wanted to thank Weston personally for being on the show. We really appreciate he is too busy to do the show and he still did it. So we thank him for that. And any we’re actually we already we went through everything so I think we’re good. So Weston, we appreciate your time.

Weston Harding 37:08
Thank you so much for having me. I really do appreciate it.

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