In March of 2012, Nick McLean Real Estate Group’s guaranteed sell program was going nowhere. The program, which is now heard on radios across the Wenatchee Valley and seen on the web and billboards alike, was implemented to assure potential clientele did not assume all the risk in selling a home.
“If Nick McLean Real Estate Group can’t sell your home for a price you agree to in just 29 days, we’ll buy it!”
For a full year at the business’ infancy, zero potential clients took the group’s offer. Other real estate groups chided the program for being too good to be true, a scam. It all changed one year later in March of 2013.
“My competition was saying that it wasn’t true, it can’t true, it’s too good to be true,” Nick McLean said of his guaranteed sell program. “At the time I told my wife Emily; ‘I think I am going to stop this program. I don’t think it’s working, no one is responding to it, no one knows who I am.’ Then this lady called me, I don’t want to say her name, but an 80-year-old woman called me. Her husband passed away a year previous and they had owned their home for 50 years here in Wenatchee. Since her husband passed away, she got behind in taxes and she was going to lose her home due to those taxes. A house she had lived in for 50 years. She called me and she wanted me to guarantee I could sell her house. She was scared, she was very scared. This was right when I was going to drop the program, and she was the first one who called me on the offer. I’ll never forget this: she told me that day, ‘Honestly, I was going to wait until I lost my home, but because I heard your advertising, it gave me the confidence to call you.’ Long story short, we sold the home, we didn’t have to buy it, she kept her equity in the house. I later found out she had cancer and had to go into assisted living and treatment. How important do you think that equity was for that woman?”
Now a staple in the North Central Washington real estate community, McLean wasn’t always a businessman. After graduating from Central Washington University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in business management, McLean wanted to aim for something big. He looked up in the sky and saw airplanes.
McLean went across the country to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.; one of the most respected universities for aeronautics not only in the United States, but the world. He finished the program in two years and started flying international freight on Boeing 747s for a startup airline called Focus Air Cargo.
McLean was laid off twice with the airline and during a stop in Bangkok, Thailand, in his third stint with the company, he got very ill.
“I was sick for like eight days in Bangkok,” McLean said. “I decided to sign up for my real estate license because you can do it online. So I sat, literally eight days straight with my computer, doing my real estate license. When I flew back, I signed up for my test and about two weeks later I got laid off with the airline for the final time. So from there, I wanted to sell vacation homes. So I thought, ‘Let’s sell big vacation homes on Lake Chelan,’ that’s what I thought. Well, that was 2008.”
The financial and housing crisis of 2008 complicated McLean’s new career path. He said a belief in himself and a belief that he could do anything he set his mind to made the decision easy to stay in real estate.
“I sold one house my first year,” McLean said. “It was pretty tough. But at the time, online lead generations were pretty new to everyone. Nowadays, all businesses and companies market themselves online through targeting and other means. I was kind of on the forefront of that when I first started.”
To generate more leads, McLean said the thing that kept him going in times of trouble and uncertainty was working on his website to target markets outside the area. Seattle, in particular, was a market McLean focused on and yielded great results from.
McLean steadily rose the number of houses he sold from one in 2008 to 13 in 2009 to 32 in 2010 and 64 in 2011. Since making the change from real estate agent to the owner of Nick McLean Real Estate Group in 2012, he and his team of 25 brokers sell more than a house a day. McLean prides himself on how he runs his team-oriented business.
“We want to be the agency in town, we want to be the best team in town,” he said. “There were no other teams in North Central Washington when we started, so I started looking for other teams around the nation. Most major cities had teams, I think it’s the future of real estate. Most corporate sales environments are teams. So I then started networking with other real estate teams in the nation. Through that, I have met some of the top real estate teams and I am part of a nationwide group that does a mastermind group. We had some pretty influential speakers come talk to us one year.”
One of the influential speakers McLean refers to is ABC “Shark Tank’s” very own Barbara Corcoran. The real estate mogul sold her real estate kingdom for $66 million a few years ago and after the conference at which she spoke, McLean approached her to inquire if the two could work together.
“We were able to put together a partnership of sorts, an agreement that we would do some advertising together,” McLean said. “There were about 20 of us that flew out to New York and shot a commercial with Barbara Corcoran … where she basically endorses us. She said, ‘Well, if I’m going to endorse someone, they have to be the best.’ So, luckily — I don’t consider myself the best, I consider myself one of the best - through that meeting, I met Daymond John and Mr. Wonderful, as well.”
When you call Nick McLean Real Estate Group, instead of the customary ringing sound you usually hear, Corcoran’s voice comes through the receiver blaring praise about Nick McLean and the group he has assembled on Wenatchee Avenue. The team approach McLean has implemented allows quick, reliable, and professional service to clients from around the area.
Charles Steinberg, founder of and lawyer at Steinberg Law Firm, bought his office on Fourth and Mission through Nick McLean and said the process couldn’t have gone any smoother.
“I was on my way out of town going to Ellensburg with my wife to buy a horse,” Steinberg said. “My wife turns to me and says, ‘Did you put in a bid to that property over on Fourth and Mission yet?’ When I returned her question with a ‘Not yet,’ she told me to turn around immediately and that we weren’t going to get the horse until I did. When I called, I was immediately able to get through to one of his brokers and told them that I would like them to write an offer on my behalf. The assistant broker at the time, Greg Wright, told me there were a few offers on the table already and that the building was a competitive property. I told him what I would be willing to offer, asked him if he could email me the document to electronically sign, and took off out of town. I remember we didn’t have any service over Blewett (Pass) and once we got to Ellensburg, Nick’s office had already put together the Realtor purchase of sale agreement, the preliminary title report was emailed to me with places to sign. The app they use for electronic documents at the time was DocuSign, and they had even emailed me a link to download the app if I hadn’t had it already installed. Being a lawyer, my time is quite valuable, so I appreciated the expedited process. Everything with Nick Mclean Real Estate Group was smooth and easy.”
Now, from those early struggles in real estate in North Central Washington, the end is nowhere in sight for McLean and his team of agents.