Ben Caballero started off in real estate creating an apartment rental service, before moving toward the home building industry and pioneering a guaranteed sale program with builders. Working with builders is how he realized there was not an easy way for builders to list their homes on the MLS for agents to find.
In 1995, Caballero bought the domain HomesUSA.com and created a manual system for listing new construction information for builders on the MLS. In 2007, he launched the online platform, which helps builders market and manage their properties through the MLS for agents and homebuyers.
Below, Caballero talks about starting HomesUSA.com and how he ended up being named a Guinness World Record holder.
Q: Can you talk about HomesUSA.com and how it works?
Our platform helps builders market and manage their properties through the MLS for Realtors that have homebuyers. There are around 300 fields for each listing, so it is a difficult task when you have hundreds of listings like the larger builders have. Our system provides an easy, efficient way to list new properties. We can manage this information in MLS for them and be sure that the Realtors are get the right information.
Q: You were named the Guinness World Record holder for the most annual home sales transactions through MLS by an individual sell side real estate agent in a single year with 3,556 transactions in 2016. How did you do it?
Our responsibility is to help market the builders’ homes to the buyer agent, so it’s a matter of scale. If you are trying to do this on an individual basis, you can do 15 to 20 homes at a time without too much damage. But as you get into the hundreds and thousands, there’s no way to do it. With our platform, builders can add in 10 to 25 subdivisions and we can populate the information into the system with a few changes and details that need to be adjusted.
Builders can change the price on 50 homes at 5 p.m. on a Friday. We can process it in 10 minutes and we have 32 built-in validations that ensure accuracy. So the speed, accuracy and timeliness is what we bring to the table.
Q: What advice do you have for people who are just starting off in real estate?
I recommend that everyone should specialize. If someone wants to specialize in new homes, they should know a lot about it. I had a background in new construction, but even with my background and the people that I knew, it was difficult to get started. In the beginning, I had met with the sales manager at a local Lennar division. I took him to lunch and they told us no originally. I got him to agree to let me do it free of charge for 60 days and if at the end it’s not worthwhile, don’t pay me anything. That lit the fire 20 years ago. Now, Lennar corporately mandates that every home needs to go into the MLS. So now it is not only a common thing, but mandatory for any builder of any consequence.
Q: You currently work with builders around Texas, including Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin and San Antonio. Do you have plans to expand to other Texas cities or even to other states?
We do plan to make a push to recruit builders on a national level. We haven’t been highly aggressive in that yet because our platform is being rebuilt. Within 60 to 90 days, we’ll have all our markets on the new platform. It’ll be much faster, more powerful and a better user experience. It will be better in every way. That’s when we will be doing the push to get builders on a larger scale.
We are definitely going after the large public builders. We feel we have something that they really need. Our job will be to convince them that they need us.
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