Grow Your Real Estate Sales by Empowering Your Business with Technology – The Pipeline, Ep 05: Lucas Lechuga

The Real Estate Pipeline / July 12, 2022 / By: Carlos Concepcion
Grow Your Real Estate Sales by Empowering Your Business with Technology - The Pipeline, Ep 05: Lucas Lechuga

The Pipeline is a conversational podcast hosted by Carlos Concepción, Chief Sales Officer at IDXBoost.com, a real estate lead generation accelerator platform that combines the power of innovative technology, proven marketing strategies, and experts working alongside. 

IDXBoost has scaled real estate professionals to 9-figures in yearly sales, by helping them boost their brands, dominate their local markets faster and generate higher financial returns year over year.

The Pipeline’s goal is to share knowledge and provide awareness of how real estate top producers are leveraging the power of the internet to achieve their business goals nationwide.

Episode intro: 

In this episode, Carlos talks with Lucas Lechuga, a seasoned real estate professional with over 15 years of real estate sales experience and a member of the Master Brokers Forum – a distinguished, invite-only organization comprised of South Florida’s top residential real estate professionals. Known for his unparalleled market insight, Lucas is a consistent, top-producing agent, owner, and founder of the Miami Condo Investments website.

Video structure: 

  • The beginning of Lucas’ real estate career.
  • The beginning of Miami Condo Investments: A blog about real estate.
  • Content strategy across time: from blogs to videos.
  • The value of a digital ecosystem for real estate.
  • Recommendations for other agents: Find your niche.

Video full transcription

Carlos: Hi, welcome to another episode of The Pipeline. My name is Carlos Concepción and today I’m very honored to have our next guest on this show. His name is Lucas Lechuga. He’s known as the Condo King of Miami, and right after this show, I invite you to go to Google and type in “Miami Condos for Sale” and see who shows up number one organically there again. Welcome, Lucas! Tell us a little bit more about you and how you started. It’s a pleasure to have you today.

Lucas: So, okay. Going back to that question. Um, how I got into real estate is actually my mother. When I moved here, well, let me back backtrack a little. So when I lived in Chicago, I was an equity options market maker with the Chicago board of options exchange. So I worked there for 40 years. It was, I don’t know, like some of the audience members may or may not know what an equity options market maker is, but it’s basically like one of those guys that are in the pits that are yelling “Buy, sell, buy, sell!”, so I was one of those guys that you see on TV that are yelling and blah, blah.

It was an amazing job. I ended up moving to Miami in 2004, after that. And I got into real estate. But before that, I didn’t really wanna get into real estate because I didn’t want to do sales. I didn’t want to be that pushy sales guy. Cause like for me, sales was all about. Being pushed, you know, like, and I didn’t like that connotation of it.

So I remember my mother was like “Why don’t you get into real estate down there?” And I’m like, cause you know, she saw how hot the market was back in 2004, 2005, actually. Yeah, 2005. Um, I moved down here in 2004, but I started seriously thinking about getting into real estate in 2005. And she’s like, “Why don’t you look into getting into real estate?”

And I’m like “No, I don’t want to be a salesman”. You know, I don’t wanna be that pushy sales guy. And she’s like “Don’t think about it that way. Think about it as you’re an educator” And I thought about that. I was like “You know what? You’re right”. And I came from a financial background, you know, I was a trader from Chicago.

So I’m like “You know what, I’m gonna take the whole real estate game and put it into like price per square foot”. And makes sense to not only the average home buyer, but investors out there that are looking to invest in Miami because back in the day, the market’s different now, but back in the day it was a lot of investors.

Now you have a lot of end-users or second home buyers that are buying here, but 10 years ago, 15 years ago actually, now 17 years, back then it was a lot of people from South America, a lot of people from all over the world that were just putting money into Miami, just to park it, you know?

So they were buying condos and they wanted to know what made sense, what was a good investment, so I started miamicondoinvestments.com in 2007. And just to give some background on it, because a lot of people think this website just popped up, but it’s been a lot of work, you know, in 2007, I started it as a free blog. It was free. It was hard.

Carlos: I was about to ask you, why did you go that route? Why not print? What made you start Miami Condo Investments?

Lucas: So, I started it to be honest with you, because I was bored. In 2007, when I launched the website, the market was so low. You know, there’s a lot of people in that market. There are a lot of agents that I was friends with back then that got out of the game. Cause they’re like “The market’s dead, we need to go find another job”. I attended a conference probably a few months before I started the blog and I remember the presenter was saying “During a dead market, you need to spend more money than your competition because they’re all cutting back, you know, the market’s dead”.

So your competition is cutting back on marketing expenses and is your opportunity to put yourself forward. So spend more money during the down markets, and then you’ll put your face out there, and I mean, I didn’t have money back then to do that, but I’m like “You know what? I could put my time”, which to me back then was my equity. You know, that was my value. So I started the blog and I started writing about the market and I figured: “I’m gonna invest, not money, but my time into this venture and you know, it may be two, three years, whatever, but at the end of it, when everything’s said and done, this audience hopefully will trust what I’m saying and what I’m writing, and then they’ll work with me”.

And I remember I was actually working for a broker back then and he was like: “You’re writing so negatively about the market, you’re not gonna ever get any clients”. I’m like: “Trust me. I’m earning their trust. It’s a process”. And he was like: “You’re not gonna be around by the time that happens”.

And I’m like: “I’m gonna wait it out”. And trust me, those were lean years. I mean, those were very, very difficult years.

Carlos: But as a pioneer in the industry and the internet as well, you invested your time into writing all this content, but I’m assuming that there was a time when that trust was acquired. For people that are just joining, you have a massive amount of traffic and visitors now per month on your website. Everybody mentions Miami Condo Investment today. When they’re talking about real steady Miami, they have to mention Miami Condo Investment.

For those who are maybe now wondering how to start a website, when did transactions start to happen?

Lucas: To be honest with you, it was a long time. I mean, there were clients in the beginning. I started the website in 2007.

We actually just celebrated our 15th year anniversary. So 15 years it’s been in the Rudi, which is a huge accomplishment. To have a website for any industry for 15 years… I’m very happy about that. But, to be honest with you, in the first five years, there were a lot of people that were like, “Hey, you know, we trust this guy, but we don’t really know him yet”. Like in a lot of times maybe they were working with other agents, honestly, it didn’t hit really big until maybe seven, or eight years and it was because I was consistent. The people came to me seven, eight years in and they were like “Hey, I’ve been following you since you started, and I told myself, I was gonna work with you”. But let me backtrack. There were some people in the beginning that started following my blog right away and said “Hey, I wanna work with you”. But it didn’t get really, really big until probably seven or eight years.

So, I definitely got business. You’re one, you know, because I was very consistent and not only was I very consistent, but I was writing back then about the market, which was kind of negative back then. It was about foreclosures and short sales. The market in 2007, and 2008 was like one of the worst real estate markets that we’ve ever seen. And like I said, I started the blog because I was bored because the market was dead. So I started writing about all the foreclosures. I started writing about the short sales and all that, and I started getting mentions from the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, I mean, huge publications. So they were all linking to my account investments because they would interview me and then they would mention me and be like “Hey, this guy’s writing about the mortgage implosion that’s happening in Miami”.

And I was not only writing about the mortgage implosion, but I was writing about mortgage fraud, which was a big issue back then. And a lot of people didn’t even realize that it was going on, but I remember back then, probably around 2009, Somebody reached out to me and said “Hey, the FBI is noticing what you’re writing, because you’re writing about the mortgage fraud, and they hadn’t realized what was going on in Miami, but because of what you’re writing, they now have their eyes on it and you’re right, it’s going on”.

Carlos: So much value in the content that you put out there through the years. You know, for everybody, especially for real estate investors, as you said, and people looking overall in the real estate market. But that’s an amazing story Lucas, and again, for me, it’s very interesting to have you here today because everybody mentions your site. I keep repeating myself because it’s daily. Everybody comes to us and it’s like “Hey, I wanna know what he’s doing. We wanna know what he’s doing”.

And through the years we have seen Miami Condo Investments also change, you have switched your content and you have also gone more into video creation and switching your strategy and have, you know, we are in the digital side of it, so we also want for those viewers out there to also know what makes you create your content on the way of switching the strategy? What are you trying to go after? What’s your audience for Miami Condo Investment today?

Lucas: Well, I mean, it’s an evolving market. I think back in the days in 2007, and 2008, when I watched my blog, that was pretty much the only format to get your word out. And now, because of technology, things have changed, things have progressed and technology has gotten better.

After blogging, people started using social media to get the word out, and I’ve always used a combination, I’ve always used my website and social media, and then it became video. Actually, I started doing videos back in 2010, but the quality back then was terrible. It was so pixelated that you couldn’t really even see anything. Now the quality’s amazing, it’s like you’re in the same room as people, I’ve actually sold a lot of properties from videos alone.

And so there are people and it’s not because of the content. It’s more because they get to know me and I think that’s how blogging and social media and video have evolved. It’s all been about getting to know you because these people don’t have realtors in Miami for the most part, a lot of them don’t, especially the international buyers, they find websites or social media or videos and they get to know you and the person that they feel the biggest attachment to. They’ll hire you. They’ll trust you. They create that trust with you because of the amount of content, quality content, and the strategic content that you put out there. And, you know, that’s a hundred percent, we agree with you a hundred percent on that.

Carlos: And that’s why some reviewers ask, and I would like to ask you based on your website now, based on your digital ecosystem. How would you value that today? Like, if you were to say “You know what, I’m gonna retire”. How much would you value your digital ecosystem?

Lucas: I’ve actually been asked that question a lot. If you would’ve asked me probably like five years ago, I would’ve probably said something small, like a million or something. Maybe 10 years ago, I’m gonna say a million, but, um, it goes up every year because every year I’m putting in more and more content into it. So it’s growing. Now I have three full-time employees. I have a weekend assistant and we’re all pushing content to the website. We’re adding more buildings. So to me, the more buildings I have on the website, the more money. The website brings in because obviously there are more leads and all that. To answer your question, I hate to be put on the spot, but 10 million, let’s put it that way.

Carlos: A lot of people come to us and ask us and they tell us “Hey, I want to build that website”. And I keep telling, I can’t quote you because this is years and years and years of work, and it’s a very, very time-consuming product.

Lucas: Yeah, I don’t even know how would I duplicate it. Let’s go backward. Let’s say that I lost the website today and I wanted to do it all over again. The thing is I would be able to do it again twice as fast as anybody’s starting from scratch, cause I’ve already done it, you know? So I’ve already learned the ins and outs. I already know exactly the pitfalls of running a lot of websites and all that. I know how to do Search Engine Optimization, which is probably one of my expertise.

I’ve never hired an outside company to do the SEO for me. I’ve always done that for myself, which, um, yeah, I’ve read about it. 

Carlos: How do you see the SEO going along now with Google algorithms and AI and Cortana? 

Lucas: I think the video’s a big part of it. As human beings evolve in the content that they wanna see, I think Google’s evolving with them. I think video is a big part of it. The questions we ask in Google, that’s a big part of it too. Cause that’s AI. I mean, AI is what’s providing those answers. 

So, if you’re in the top, I don’t like to say top three, because the third position probably doesn’t even get clicked on very much, but the top two, you need to be number one in order to drive a lot of traffic. 

Carlos: For sure. And Lucas, I always like to ask this question at the end. What would you recommend to a new agent today, especially when you are in such a competitive market, and like you said, at number one for a long time now? What would you recommend to a starting agent who’s maybe thinking, you know, getting their brand or creative website out there, what would be your personal advice to them? What would you recommend them to be doing?

Lucas: That’s a good question. In your previous question, you asked about me selling the website and you know, what it would be worth. So I’ve actually put myself in that position and said, “Hey, what if I sold the website and started all over again? What would that look like? What would I do?” Because it’s such a saturated market right now. There are so many agents that would, I started the website in 2007. I was pretty much the only blog in Miami that was writing about real estate. I mean, there were a lot of blogs, but I think I was the only one that was writing about real estate back then. So I didn’t have any competition. Now it’s much, much different. Everybody’s trying to write, there’s a lot of content out there that doesn’t even really circulate because it just doesn’t get any traffic. But to answer your question, um, I would go niche and that’s my best advice to anybody that’s starting brand new is to find your niche. If you’re doing condos, find a building or two buildings that you wanna specialize in and be the expert in those two buildings. If you’re doing single-family homes, find a subdivision or two, and that’s your bread and butter, you know, that’s your niche. If you’re into your niche, do equestrian houses, you know, it’s a perfect blend.

Carlos: Oh, awesome. Lucas, thank you so much. The whole meaning of this podcast is to bring light to agents like yourself who have leveraged their internet. You have put your knowledge out there. You have brought value to your community and to thousands of other agents that use your website as a resource for their own work. I definitely thank you for being here today. It has been a pleasure for me to talk to you. Anything that you wanna say for those viewers or that maybe today’s the first time they’re meeting you? 

Lucas: Find your niche, you know, work at it. It’s not gonna come easy. It’s all about dedication. It’s all about consistency. That’s the key. You have to be consistent about it and you can’t expect quick results. You really need to go into it and say, you know what? I’m not gonna get one sale from this for six months, but I’m gonna do it every single day. I know after the six months I’m gonna get some clients. That’s the mentality that you need to go into. 

Carlos: Lucas, thank you very much for your time. I can’t wait to have you back on The Pipeline again. 

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