Episode 55 - GRIT The Real Estate Growth Mindset with Sarita Dua

Brian Charlesworth
February 2, 2021

After 14 years in the technology sales and marketing industry, Sarita Dua decided to go into real estate. She quickly rose to become one of Portland area’s top producers. With her passion for helping people and by always putting the client’s needs first, she was able to build her real estate empire based on referrals and repeat business.

Sarita is also considered one of the most sought after real estate professionals in the world.  As a speaker and industry trainer, she shares her industry knowledge and valuable tips to real estate agents around the world. One of the topics she is currently focused on is how to sharpen our tool kit so we can win in multiple offer situations.

In this episode, we talked about:

(02:47) How Sarita became the exclusive broker for the Ritz Carlton residences in Portland

(05:12) How to train buyer’s agents to win in multiple offer situations

(06:56) The importance of confidence in competitive buying  

(09:11) Why you need to know the basics of an offer

(10:30) How to craft an appealing offer through great communication

(17:07) The question to ask the listing agent to help you make a competitive offer

(19:43) How adding creativity to the offer could mean victory for the buyer

(26:49) What’s the best way to reach out to Sarita

Episode Transcript

Brian Charlesworth  0:35  

Well, hello there. How are you doing?

Sarita Dua  0:37  

Hey there. Thanks so much for having me.

Brian Charlesworth  0:40  

Yeah. Welcome. Thanks for joining us. I don't know how to pronounce your name. Is it Sarita

Sarita Dua  0:44  

Sarita, yep, you got it.

Brian Charlesworth  0:45  

Okay. Thank you for joining us. This is my first time meeting you. It's a pleasure to meet you. We're excited to have you here today with us. We really appreciate you joining, you come from a really unique background and that you're the broker over Ritz Carlton residences. So when you think of that, I think most people least, I think of your selling some pretty exclusive homes. But tell us more about what you guys actually do.

Sarita Dua  1:11  

Sure, yeah. First of all, in Oregon, everybody's a broker. So I think around the country, right, you think of agents and then you think of brokers as being management or owning franchises, etc. In our vernacular, everybody's a broker. And then if you're a managing broker or principal broker, so that's just one subtle thing. And I think, you know, one of the sort of the takeaways already from the last day and a half of content here is, is really just kind of making hay when the sun shines, and kind of pivoting and doing what you need to do. And so I have a strong I've been in Portland 20 years now a real estate in real estate for 16 really strong referral-based buyer business. I, you know, obviously, it's because it's referral based, I do listings, and I do buyers, but really know the market from a buyer perspective, and I'm enjoying what COVID stay at home has brought us in terms of having to get creative, and now having to really sharpen our toolkit that we can win in multiple offer situations. But then yes, separately, we do have the Ritz Carlton residences coming to Portland in 2023. We've broken ground, and it's a 42-month build. So we're on track for Q1 2023 it will be the first five-star hotel in Portland and the first Ritz Carlton branded residences in the Pacific Northwest. So very excited to be the exclusive broker for that. So, you know, managing all the different hats, right being a luxury broker, but also understanding the market today and where we need to be today. We are definitely in reservations for that project and have a lot of excitement with that as well.

Brian Charlesworth  2:47  

So, like that's everybody's dream to win a project like that. How did you guys do that?

Sarita Dua  2:52  

Well, you know, I think part of it is, and this is one of the things I've been talking about in the content that we'll be talking about with multiple offers, I think having the confidence to go for it. Right, I think we have imposter syndrome. A lot of times like, Oh, I can't interview for that, or I don't have this background or there are 15 offers, how's my buyer going to win. And I think the first thing is truly believing that you know, you can make a difference. And if you don't have what you might lack of experience, you bring innovation or a different way to look at it or just a different perspective. I had just stopped Executive MBA at MIT. In fact, I just graduated in May, I was one of the few people that joined that program because I didn't want to change my career to learn. The problem is you never go into something saying you're not going to change because you change and you can't unsee things once you start thinking big. 

Brian Charlesworth  3:46  

Growth creates change, right?

Sarita Dua  3:50  

Absolutely. And so being prepared and kind of having a mindset of also, what it would take to succeed. And having a lot of data as to who our buyer is and what our competition is, from a buyer broker perspective is knowing the persona of that buyer, what watch do they wear? What do they drive? How do they vacation that helped being secure that project but also is helping me marketing it today with the right brokers and the right clientele.

Brian Charlesworth  4:16  

Okay, so I'm really excited to dive into our topic today to win in multiple offer situations. I would think that this is probably the biggest challenge any real estate team is facing today. Because it used to be you might have multiple offers with two or three people. Now it can be 20 or 30 different offers very unique situation. Somebody described it to me as it's like we're all drinking out of this pond in the middle of the desert. And the pond just keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller. And so how do we make sure that we're the ones getting at home and so now more than ever, it's so important that a buyer selects an agent who can really make a difference in getting them into the home they want. Because it's not easy. And so she's hearing your tips on how do we do this? What do we need to do? And how do we train our buyer's agents to make sure they're doing the things they need to do so they can win in these multiple offers situations where there are 20, or 30 offers. And in some cases I'm seeing people offer in Utah Anyway, I'm seeing offers that 30,000-40,000 above asking price that is still not winning the offer.

Sarita Dua  5:36  

Wow, I mean, I just had one that was a listing of mine, 385, and it went for over 460. You know, it's just crazy out there. So I think the thing I mean, we don't have to spend a lot of time on how we got here, but it is the perfect storm, right. We had a dam built when we did stay at home where people didn't list because they didn't know what this COVID thing is going to be. And so all of our spring sellers didn't list. Meanwhile, the rates are so low sub 252 point 375. And, and ironically, if you have job instability, you almost want to buy a home even more and get placed before because if there's a layoff, you might be off for a couple years.  So this is kind of creating this perfect storm of nothing to buy and everyone wanting to buy it. And so what I'm loving Brian is I think, quite frankly, I don't know, I don't know if you remember being a new driver. And I remember getting my driver's license volunteering to go get milk for my mom or go get bread from the grocery store. You know, we were so excited, you know, putting the keys in shifting into drive, the car kind of moves itself, we were really aware. And then somewhere along the way, you're on autopilot, we can get from point A to point B, we don't even remember driving, but could go on a long road trip and not even really remember it. And I think that for me as an agent, that's sort of what was happening as I'd like to think of myself as a good agent. But we were just sort of going through the motions. And this time more than ever has had me really kind of check myself and get excited again as to what our craft is. So I use this sort of framework, three C's, the first C is confidence, actually having the confidence and not being intimidated by the situation. It really does boil down to expectations, right? You have to set expectations with your buyers that listen when you're 20 offers, and you're wanting to go off of asking price like below asking price with nothing out, you know, where' the teeth in this? Where's the skin in the game? I'll tell them straight up, I can't tell them exactly what the price would be. That'll take because if I knew that I'd be in Vegas counting cards, right like, but I can tell them if there's 10 offers that it's likely going to go up of asking and probably not just a little bit above. And so I'm pretty good at telling them what won't work. So setting expectations with them that hey, it's going to work the way it's supposed to. And you know, if you do everything right, but short of robbing a bank, if we lose to someone that's all cash or 50% down, and they were every contingency there is like at some point we just can't compete and that one wasn't gonna you know, we're just, it's not meant to be on that one. On the other side of it, though, is just having the confidence to share with them what it takes. And I think one of the biggest mistakes we all do is we focus on the price watch, and there's so much more to offer than the price. So I tell them the five parts of an offer is like price, earnest money, downpayment or loan terms, close date, and miscellaneous. Miscellaneous means inspection period, appraisal contingency, what are we going to do about repairs, there are going to be a rent back. That miscellaneous bucket matters now more than ever, and there are several ways to make an offer stronger without actually upping the base. So, you know, I think that you know, I guess the first takeaway here is to be a really great student of the game. How to Write offers know the mechanics. I use this joke, you know, we learn how to multiply in third grade, but we learned adding in a garden in first grade it once you realize multiplying is so much faster. It's like why didn't we learn multiplication? First? It's because you need to know the basics. know the basics of an offer. Know that sale agreement airtight? No. Like our job is like being a restaurant and giving them the menu of everything they can do. They don't they may not remove every contingency under the sun. But if they're willing to pay 50 K over ask, they probably would have been willing to waiver offers or limit repairs. But maybe their previous agent didn't tell them that that's something they could do. So at least giving them the full menu of different things they should be considering and then leaving it up to ban the buyer and their motivation for that house as to which lovers they're going to use. So I think that's the first step is just being confident knowing that you know you have anecdotes and stories and examples of how they can win beyond price. To me, that's the second part. And then I'm okay. Go ahead.

Brian Charlesworth  10:04  

You move on from that. I just have a question for you talked about like waiving repairs, somebody's not waiving repairs. Like, how important is it that you communicate as a buyer's agent that you communicate with the listing agent? And find out what's important?

Sarita Dua  10:22  

You're cracking me up, because we obviously did in our pre-talk because you didn't really clarify and clarify, you know, pronunciation of my name, you're leading me right to my second C, which is communication. The main thing I do is after I tell the buyer, these are the things to start thinking about with the offer. I also give them the outright, like, I know, you're thinking about this house, is there any concerns you have like you've slept on it now? Like, what are the issues you have? While I tasked them to think about price and some of the mechanics we talked to, I tell them now I'm gonna go talk to the agent and figure out everything I can. And then I call the agent, and I just introduced myself, I just say, Hey, you know, my client, Brian, is digging your house. 123 Main Street, what can you tell me besides the price that will make this a win for your seller? And then I like to talk I'm a Leo, I will bite my tongue to lip bleed so that they don't talk. And I just listen. It is amazing to me how much they tell you. I've had agents tell me literally the price it has to be. I have some agents Tell me Hey, they don't know where it's going? Well, the minute I hear, they don't know where they're going. That means some flexibility and rent back sometime after close would likely be you know, welcome for them. Because they don't they have a little bit of risk, and that they don't know that we're making them homeless, and they don't know where they're going. Or they had three sale fails. So now for them, they could care less about price. They want to know every single way that this thing can fall apart. And what are we doing to bulletproof the transaction? So having? Yeah, yeah, go ahead.

Brian Charlesworth  11:56  

Yeah, I just said, Yeah, they just want to guarantee, give me a guarantee this is going to close, right? That's, at that point, that's all I care about if it's falling apart,

Sarita Dua  12:05  

I tell my sellers when I list a house, and I tell my buyers when we're writing on a house that the sellers want two things, they want the best price, and they want the lowest risk, they want the highest probability that this horse is going to cross the finish line. And that's a combination of firms, great lender, amazing agents. You know, it's unfortunate, but you can't wake up and be a good agent today, you've actually had to be a good agent and have a great reputation throughout. You know you can't, you can't be one of those agents, that's like sort of known to be a shyster and then all of a sudden try to turn the leaf. And just be a good, honest, responsible, responsive, high integrity agent that has a good reputation. Because many times truth, if we were just playing on price, it would be prices. Right? Right, like the highest offer wins. But that's a tough game. It's a game show, we don't know you know what the price will be. So we look at price, but we look at other parameters. And sometimes they'll take escalation clauses, sometimes they won't. Sometimes we can do a love letter, sometimes for fair housing, who doesn't want the love letter? So and the listing agent won't take them? So I think the truth is, there are many times where I've gotten the call, and they've said, Hey, sorry, your client isn't the highest, you were four k away, or you were eight k away. But we know we've worked with you before we like so many elements of bureau are would you either bump up? Or could you match this term? Now, again, it's not exactly what we offered that we said was best to invite. But my buyers in that situation I thrilled because now they had the first right of refusal, right? They at least had the option, they could either match it or walk away. But at least they're in the game. And it's their decision versus just the sellers decision. So that communication, Brian is so key, and I gotta be honest, it's embarrassing to me as a 51-year-old with Millennial kids that are 19 and 21. It's embarrassing to me as agents, we're forgetting that as agents we prefer time each other. we're forgetting just the art of conversation, and picking up the phone. And when you pick up the phone, you don't realize that every conversation you have is rapport building.

I get it I mean, I get a call from Marriott or some timeshare every minute, I get so much robo calls that there's a lot of us that don't pick up the phone real time. However, even if that agent is too busy, and you offer to talk and after multiple attempts, then you're texting. I mean, I can't tell you how many times I've received an offer without a phone call without even a message. I'm now about to present offers and I happen to check my spam and there's an offer sitting there. But that agent never even tried to tell if they're sending an offer.

Brian Charlesworth  14:54  

Yes, they were like what is the percentage that you're going to take that offer if they haven't even communicated with me all right,

Sarita Dua  15:00  

It is because at this, I mean, I can look at everything on paper, but I'm counting on that agent to do their job when the appraisal doesn't come in or when there's a crazy repair. It's that agent poaching the buyer. And if I'm not communicating with them, I don't know enough about their ability to do it, I had one situation where it happened to be my listing multiple offers, I got my managing broker involved, so there'd be no conflict of interest. But my buyer's agent happened to write on our listing, we were not the highest offer. But the highest offer didn't call us, use the wrong form. I mean, literally had a septic tank form when there was it was just public sewer line, like didn't have to fill out the paperwork. And I just, I just presented it to the agent. I'm like, hey, just so you know, like, this one's five k higher, but like, there's a little bit of risk here. And I'm not, you know, I'm just telling you everything. This is a spreadsheet here. And they're like three to five K's nothing for peace of mind, I need this thing to close. And we were able to bring this one up three K, and they had such peace of mind, they had a free rent back that they didn't even use. But it just they were you know, definitely risk-averse, didn't take the risk. So we gave it we left it to them, but prices and everything. And it is amazing to me. I mean, I know if I told the audience, but like, I know, I'm not the only one that has had this happen where you get offers and you haven't had a conversation or, you know, people not even attempting to present I bet we don't have time to present in person and safety and health. Like we may not do it in person. But at least make sure that you send the offer and say look, I need five minutes, we're going to walk through the salient points of the offer, make sure you don't have any questions and paint that picture I bcc the lender so that the lender magically by the listing agent as well and say, Hey, just so you know, you three to mention that she's got a VIP client offering this house before you even call me I want to tell you that credit and common assets have been verified, these people are solid, and should just little things like that. What are we doing is those two things, right? Best terms, but lowest risk, we're having that risk for that listing agent, knowing that we're doing everything we can to assure them it's a strong offer.

Brian Charlesworth  17:06  

I love this if every agent just knew this little secret. I mean, it's so important. But we've got away from communicating like you say, will you give me that question? One more time that you ask when you call the agent?

Sarita Dua  17:19  

Sure. Hey, Brian, my clients are digging 1234 Main Street. Can you tell me besides price? What would make this a win for your seller? We're definitely gonna write an offer besides price, what would make this a win for your seller? And then jump up and listen.

Brian Charlesworth  17:34  

And then when you listen right there, I've seen it, which the way you say that is magical. And then I've seen it where they'll actually say sometimes they'll tell you everything I've seen where they'll say, yeah, if you will bring me an offer that has this, this and this and it will accept it.

Sarita Dua  17:51  

Yeah. I mean, I had some I can't remember it was like nine years ago, but I still remember it, the agent, it was sitting around the room 74 bit 370 or 380 re we're gonna kind of lowball it at 360. And when I call the agent, just feeling her out. Also make sure nothing had happened because it's sort of been sitting there a long time. Obviously, this wasn't in this market. But still, I called her and she goes to Rita. They take 350 I mean, we're gonna go with 360 Yeah, they take 350 Well, we offered 340. We put it together at like 342 or 344, or something like that. But it was a good almost 20 off of where we were expecting to come in because she told me now maybe she's a bad agent not doing her fiduciary. Maybe she's a brilliant agent. It may be that that seller said Listen, I want it sold and you're free to tell them that this is the number I'll take. I'm not going to pass any judgment. All I know is by having the conversation, my buyer had a better outcome and got the house. So you never assume anything. I mean, at the end of the day, you can't I would just say can't blame a girl for trying you know, like I'll add I won't say numbers but like I'll just ask and if they won't tell me even if they shut me down a bit. I'll still immediately text them after Hey, thank you so much for your time. We're gonna be in touch we're gonna get you a good clean offer. Thank you I mean already they're gonna start recognizing my name I guarantee you Brian if push came to shove and they really offers and they were all exactly the same we know offers aren't exactly the same but let's say they were exactly the same. You know, they're gonna still remember Ben she did all this to get her buyer this house you know, once we're together we're gonna be on the same side here which is a smooth and successful clothes for all because she has a hard for her buyer. She's doing her job, right. So if nothing else, it suddenly is going to give you an advantage that you took the time to have the communication.

Brian Charlesworth  19:39  

I absolutely 100% agree with that. Sarita. So tell me about the third C.

Sarita Dua  19:44  

So my third C is really creativity. And again, like I said, I'm enjoying this again. I had a weekend. I mean it's kind of crazy, but I had a Memorial Day weekend where we had 10 multiple offer situations, three on my listing, seven on buyers, and never happens but I want to Seven, it was really fun. And part of it was being creative, right?

Brian Charlesworth  20:04  

That's when you know you have mastered the craft.

Sarita Dua  20:08  

It's fun, right? And like I said, it helps 16 years in the business with it. You know, I was joking with Sharon, Serena I Can I have one of those names, I could use only my first name. And people know me in my market. And they know I've been at three different firms. So they know, you know, many of the different brokers and have volunteered as well. But that creativity comes from, like, again, knowing those menu options, like, Hey, you know, I'll say this, I'll tell my buyers like, unless you're an inspector, or unless you're like, tearing down the house, it's not wise usually to just give up your right to terminate due to the inspection. But you can say something like, hey, if we move forward with this transaction, we're waiving our right to terminate. But if we move forward, after the inspection, we will do so with either no repairs or be only asking you for items that are 15 $100 or more per line item. So just the major safety structure type items, not crooked light fixtures and you know, scuffs on the wall or whatnot, right. And appraisal waivers to you know, we're waiving the appraisal, as long as it appraises Atlas price, we're not going to back out due to the upgrade, and we do have enough money to adjust our down to be 20% of the lower amount and bringing the rest of cash. Right. Again, most of the time, it's even with this craziness, it's been pretty rare that I've had a huge gap on appraisal lately. But just knowing that we've talked about it, and we've sort of workshop that scenario, and we know that the buyer has the cash. And then it's another way for me to go and stay back in touch with the agent like, by the way after a recession. I talked to the lender, I talked to the buyer, we reviewed how much cash she has, we've created a spreadsheet. We know the worst case and best case, we can handle the cash. There's no hesitation at all right? That just gives that agent an added sense of confidence that these aren't just words, and we're not going to freak out and have more because we've put some thought into it.

Brian Charlesworth  22:03  

And there are a lot of people writing offers today that are writing them way over with the anticipation that they're going to bring it down with the appraisal. And addressing that. Yeah.

Sarita Dua  22:15  

Yeah, the seller has the leverage at the offer time, but the buyer has the letters at the inspection time, right. And so making sure that we know that but we're kind of acknowledging the seller that we're going to behave and not be, you know, hold them hostage after another creative thing we've been doing is you know, I know my friend via call it a bully offer, I call it sweeping in and stealing a house. Like I had one where we showed it Thursday, we had the offer. And Friday morning, the deadline was Monday night. And I knew if we waited like my client knew this was the house, they had looked at everything. And we wrote even some offers that didn't work. And this was the one. And it was amazing to me to see how his motivation changed. Part of it was two teenagers in an apartment due to COVID. You know, now home 24 seven, right? Like, things changed. And he was way more willing to play by the rules to get the house than he was before. And we said hey, listen, we're giving you an amazing offer. And we dialed every portion of the offer over asking higher earnest money short inspection period, no repairs, no appraisal waiver, or no backing out due to the appraisal. And we said listen, this guy loves his house, he has to have it, he's not going to be able to wait till Monday. In fact, I have an inspection on hold for Monday. And we can close in three weeks. And I'm obviously respectful. Like I get it. You said Monday and here I am doing this 24-hour offer on Friday. But I'll tell you this, he loves it. He wants it and it's a bird in the hand for your seller, you can be done no more people through your house, you know, etc. And will we be here on Monday if you don't accept this? Of course, they will like they love the house. But I can't guarantee the sweeteners that they've put in now are going to be there. This offer as written expires on Saturday at five or whatever, Saturday at four comes around. They call me Hey, Sarita, we're gonna do it. Because at the end of the day, I mean, it's a hedge for everyone, right? They might have more offers and better offers, or they may not the first hour of this, they don't know. And a bunch of showings doesn’t always translate to offers. In fact, sometimes people get discouraged with an offer deadline that like Ah, it's gonna go crazy. I don't want to play. So I've done some creative things like that. The trick is like I know people who might be like, well, that's kind of you know, that's, that's you're being an ass. You're being disrespectful. You're not listening.

Brian Charlesworth  24:45  

I mean, the way you're doing that is it's really totally respectful. It's Hey, you know what, here's an offer that is you're giving them the highest confidence that it is going to close and close quickly.

Sarita Dua  24:59  

Exactly. Yeah, and honestly, like full disclosure, we couldn't even meet the terms. If we waited till Tuesday right up, we had such a compressed timeline part of it was accepting it right away. And it was a bird in the hand and they can take it or not. But the trick with doing that stuff, especially when you're like, literally blowing off the roll that has been set up right for you, which is a deadline, is to do it respectfully, right, my client has instructed me to put this in front of you, we hope it works, we understand if it won't, but like, if nothing else, the message you have here is they want this house and they're willing to pull out the stops. We'd love to have a conversation. And so here you go. And it's it's amazing. Like I said, People get a chance to sleep on it. They see all these offers, they're exasperated by the whole thing. It's stressful for everybody. And I've done that multiple times this year, and it's worked. But you just have to do it, you know, professionally and respectfully and not. I think sometimes as agents we forget, we're not on title. It's not we are client, right. So we get a little emotion, sometimes our emotional, our egos sometimes come into play. At the end of the day, we're working hard for our clients, not I mean, this isn't about us. And we have to just again, give our clients a choice and see if this is something they want to try. But my client had new brightto Well, not only did they know, but this was the one they also knew at a certain level, it wouldn't work for them. Like they were willing to go above asking and pull out all the stops. But if it would have got out of hand, they just would have been too rich for their blood, they did have a limit. They were very motivated by the conventional limit of 510, 400. So every dollar over that is money out of their pocket, right? So. So at some point, even though they were well approved for hire, to not go into jumbo trades, like they really wanted to keep it at a number that would work for them.

Brian Charlesworth  26:47  

Yeah, well, there's one thing that's really obvious that I've discovered in the last 30 minutes, and that's what an amazing agent you are. So congratulations on that. I'm wondering, I think a lot of people listening right now would be like, Hey, I wouldn't mind her spending some time with my team. Is that something you'd be open to if somebody wants to?

Sarita Dua  27:07  

I would love that. In fact, I've been doing this training a little bit adhoc and getting some good feedback on it. And I think it's so timely so that if anyone did want to have me speak or take some of this and expand it beyond 30 minutes, it'd be an honor so just reach out to me find me on Facebook. My handle on my right is askSarita asksarita.com. And usually, my cells plastered everywhere as well. So just reach out to me directly.

Brian Charlesworth  27:31  

Okay, so asksarita.com, and, and you have access to read it to just work with your team to make sure they've mastered this. So. So some great tips. I really enjoyed having you with us today. So thank you so much for coming on and joining us at the summit.

Sarita Dua  27:48  

Thank you for this summit. It's been really just first class all the way under being part of it. Thanks, Brian. 

Brian Charlesworth  27:52  

Yeah, great to see you. 

Sarita Dua  27:54  

Take care. Bye bye.

About the Author

Brian Charlesworth
Chairman and CEO

Brian is an entrepreneur and business builder. He has built and sold companies in the software, telecommunications, and franchise space. He’s passionate about technology and focused on changing lives through driving technology forward.