Happy 4th of July everyone! As we celebrate our Nation’s Birthday and our independence day in the United States, I thought it would be a fun episode to talk about creating a lifestyle and freedom to live and work where you want.
Our guests today are Scott Freerksen and Christine Mosier and they are the co-founders of Lakefront Living, a real estate company dedicated to lakefront property only. They share with us how there is a national trend of moving out of the city and over to the lake. They also franchised their business too and are the only national real estate company specializing in lakefront properties.
I thought this would be a fun episode to share as you are hopefully enjoying your Fourth of July holiday.
LINKS FROM THE EPISODE:
- Learn more about our guest’s business Lakefront Living: https://www.lakefrontliving.com/
- Learn more about their franchise at: https://www.lakefrontfranchise.com/
- If you are ready to franchise your business or take it to the next level: CLICK HERE.
ABOUT OUR GUEST:
SCOTT R. FREERKSEN
Co-Founder | Chief Executive Officer
Scott dedicated the first 17 years of his career to a variety of New England high-tech corporate management positions. This experience in engineering, personnel, documentation, and finance created the foundation for his future entrepreneurial roles. Scott started Lakefront Living Realty in 2009 with only the state of Massachusetts represented on LakefrontLiving.com.
CHRISTINE A. MOSIER
Co-Founder | Chief Operations Officer
Chris has been selling real estate since 2003. She started out at a large national real estate chain working with seasoned agents and learning from the best. As her business grew, she and her husband purchased a lakefront home in Apple Valley, Ohio, as a “neutral” blending ground for their three children. It was there that her love of lakefront living took root and her dream of a career focusing exclusively on lakefront property was born. As “Central Ohio’s Lakefront Specialist”, Chris could frequently be found ‘boating’ clients around the lake. With the help of her dedicated team of professionals, she soon expanded her Brokerage across the entire state of Ohio. Together, Chris and her team were consistently able to break sales records as they received honors awarded to only the top 10 percent of the state.
ABOUT BIG SKY FRANCHISE TEAM:
This episode is powered by Big Sky Franchise Team. If you are ready to talk about franchising your business you can schedule your free, no-obligation, franchise consultation online at: https://bigskyfranchiseteam.com/ or by calling Big Sky Franchise Team at: 855-824-4759.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:00):
Welcome to the Multiply Your Success Podcast, where each week we help growth-minded entrepreneurs and franchise leaders take the next step in their expansion journey. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team. And as we open today, I’m wishing you and all of your family a happy 4th of July. And today is the day that we celebrate our nation’s birthday. So happy Independence Day. Just happens to be July 4th on a Monday when we release our show, and I thought it would be a fun episode to talk about creating a lifestyle and freedom to live and work wherever you want. It’s a fun episode.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:37):
And today our guests are Scott Freerksen and Chris Mossier, and they’re the co-founders of Lakefront Living, which is a real estate company dedicated to lakefront property only. And they share with us how there’s a national trend moving out of the city and over to the lake. And by the way, they also franchise their business, and they’re the only national real estate company specialized specifically in lakefront properties. So I thought it’d be perfect. Hopefully you’re enjoying the great weather somewhere or vacationing and enjoying a hot dog or watermelon or hamburgers or somewhere for a 4th of July celebration. And as you’re doing so and maybe thinking about moving to the lake or vacationing to the lake, that this episode is timely for you. So let’s go ahead and jump into my interview.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (01:28):
Hello, Tom. Thank you for having us on here today. I’m excited to be on your show podcast. So Lakefront Living Realty, Scott and I both started this, what? What year was that, Scott? 2000-.
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (01:43):
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (01:44):
2015. That’s been a while now. But Scott has grown up on a lake. I’ll let him share his story, but I live in Columbus, Ohio, and I was blending a family and we had three little kids. I had two daughters and my husband had a son, and we thought let’s buy a lake house to blend this family together. So in Ohio, lakes are destinations, unlike where Scott’s at, everybody’s on a lake. So we ended up buying a little cottage about an hour from our home at Apple Valley Lake and just fell in love with lake life. I mean, we live for the weekends. In fact, one of the best things growing up for my kids is all their friends would come on the weekends, and it was just the best family time and family memories. And we just loved it there.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (02:34):
And I was sitting on the end of the dock one day with my husband. I’m like, “I’m loving this and I just want to be here all the time.” So I decided just to start selling strictly lake homes, and that took off like crazy. I was an hour from all these different lakes from where I lived in Columbus, Ohio. So I decided to call myself central Ohio’s lake front specialist. And it took off. I couldn’t believe it didn’t exist. There were so many people that wanted a lake house, but they didn’t know about the lakes. They wanted a lake house within two hours of their home. They wanted a cottage.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (03:12):
So I became a specialist at all these different lakes, and it just took over and overwhelmed me. And I just saw a need for a niche with that. And when I wanted to expand and go further, I had been with RE/MAX for years. Their programs the way they are wouldn’t allow me to do that. So I just started searching out there to see there has to be a niche company that sells just strictly lakefront homes, and it didn’t exist. And in that search, I met Scott online and we collaborated, and here we are years later and franchised and now going into nine states. We’re just growing. So it’s been great.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:57):
Great. Thank you. Thanks, Chris. And Scott, how about you?
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (04:02):
Well, as Chris mentioned, I’m pretty fortunate. I was born and raised on the same lake that I still live on now. And I’m here in Mansfield, Massachusetts, so my parents still live three doors down. My wife’s parents still live across the lake. So we’re pretty fortunate to have this in our blood. So it’s interesting to be able to take something that you’re really passionate about, which to me was the lakefront lifestyle, and then turn that into a business and hopefully something that keeps growing throughout the country.
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (04:33):
But I was in the corporate world for 17 years, so went through documentation and management and everything there. And I just, for all those people who are in the corporate world now listening to this, I never felt like I belonged there, and maybe there’s other people who feel the same way. But for me, it was 9/11 actually that I finally decided just to get out and do something completely different and follow my passion and go that route.
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (04:59):
So that had a pretty profound effect on me and I decided to get into this lakefront real estate thing a lot like Chris did. And we found out that there was a severe need out there for people who wanted to live that lifestyle but didn’t know anything about the lakes. How many lakes are out there, what kind of lakes they are, the quality of lakes. Can you boat?can you fish? Can you swim? I mean, all those questions people had, they couldn’t find anywhere else. So when we developed lakefrontliving.com, it grew pretty quickly, because obviously we tapped into a need that wasn’t being met out there. So that began our journey.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (05:36):
Wow. Wow. Well, thank you guys for sharing that little background here on that. And speaking of the lakefront living, and just curious about current trends you see happening. And we’re in summer. I guess summer is underway here, and so people are out and about. They’re getting out hopefully to the lakes and rivers and beaches and so on, and they’re vacationing and going and doing things in the nice weather now. So what trends are you seeing happening in your space for lakefront living that maybe have been impacted through the COVID lockdowns and shutdowns and such, or just this change with employees and people having this awakening of saying, “I want something more out of my life.” How are you seeing that impact what you’re doing?
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (06:28):
Oh, my goodness. It has completely impacted our industry. There’s always been a high demand for lake house. I mean, it’s always been, I mean, as soon as you put a lake house on, there’s always been a lot of showings and stuff, but now it’s always a multiple offer situation. The recognition that our website has gotten on a national basis since COVID hit, and we really saw it when COVID hit, like our Tennessee partners and Missouri and Alabama. The influx from further out west from California, especially, just moving here, wanting to move to beautiful lakes in the mountains or just anywhere. They just want to move. All of our listings go like that in multiple offer situations, even before they go on the market sometimes. It’s the new putting homes on is coming soon. So we’re seeing a huge influx, whereas before, for me, it used to be people within a two-hour distance of a lake. Now it’s from all over the country, and that’s had a huge impact on our sales throughout our entire company. So it’s been awesome.
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (07:44):
Yeah. The pandemic really what we found was obviously people wanted to get out of the cities, and now with so many people working from home, the stats are just through the roof. A lot of them said, “I want the ability to be able to work where I play.” In fact, we have a whole campaign around live, work, play, because so many people are coming in out of those cities and they just say, “Well, if I can work from home, why not work from a place where I love? And I get to hang out on the lake and look at that all day and play out there.” So we’ve just seen a just tremendous increase based on this pandemic.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (08:21):
Yeah. And one of the things I saw that you offer, you have this 10 things or 10 questions lakefront property buyers should know or first time buyers should be aware of. So I’d love for you to walk through those. I don’t know if we have time to go through all 10, but people listening in may be potential customers for you and looking to maybe take advantage of some lakefront living. So I’d love for you to walk through some of those items that you’ve put together there.
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (08:51):
Yeah. We can talk through a couple of those. In fact, if you have listeners who are really interested, we have an extended list of 37 items that have just come from over the last 15, 18 years of doing this, where buying lakefront property is completely different than any other property, because there’s so many other factors involved. And we’ve learned the hard way a lot of times, in fact, 37 times that there are things that can get you in that process. So we put a list together of all of those.
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (09:20):
But for example, flood insurance. Not all lakes require flood insurance. So how do you know what you need or don’t need? And that can be a big deal, because flood insurance rates could be anywhere from $900 a year to $15,000 a year. Well, that’s a big difference. So you really need to know what you’re getting yourself into. So one of the first things we always do is for our clients is pull a flood certificate they call it and make sure it is or is not in a flood zone. So that’s pretty important.
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (09:49):
Other things are based on the lake itself. The lake itself, you can have … What’s interesting about lakes is you can be one neighbor to the other and the experience can be completely different. So your shoreline conditions, the weeds that might be in there, whether you have shallow entry or deep entry, or whether you can put a dock in or not put a dock in. There’s just all these dozens of questions that come up for lakefront that you probably wouldn’t think to ask otherwise that are included in those 10 steps.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (10:20):
Great. Well, and thank you for sharing those. And for someone who’s maybe listening in, where can they get that? How can they get access to the 10 or the 37?
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (10:30):
Yeah. Lakefrontliving.com is the place to go, and any form they fill out on there, it will give them access to those things, or they can just request it through the contact us.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (10:39):
And you know what we’ve done p.m. our website, too, when you go on there and look for those, each lake … We do over 2,800 lakes on our website now … gives a full description of from what fish are in there to the depth.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (10:55):
But what’s really nice that we have is we have specialists that know each lake like the back of their hand. They live it. They boat on them. So even though you may not be able to read even on our website, well, this part of the lake is a lot shallower, so the weeds are a lot higher, but the property prices are a lot cheaper. Specialist is going to know all that kind of information, too. So it’s nice to reach out to our agents just to even ask general questions. Like if I want to live on Lake of the Ozarks, but I only want to spend this much money, what area do I need to be in? And what’s my frontage going to look like? Do I have to be on the very back of a cove with no view? Or can I be on the main lake with big, huge views? So it’s nice to reach out to our agents, too, through that.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (11:43):
Great, perfect. Well, this is a great time. I’d love for us to transition to this to ask the same question we ask every guest before we go. And the first question we ask is has there been a miss or two you’ve had in your career along your journey and something you’ve learned from it?
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (12:05):
Yeah, I think, for me, as I was thinking about that, I wish I started earlier, and you probably get that a lot. But for me, spending 17 years in the corporate world where I didn’t really feel right, it wasn’t the best thing. But the only good thing that came from that is I think without the corporate world experience, I really couldn’t have put a lot of the things in place that I needed to put in place for this franchise. I mean, I was a documentation manager there for a lot of years, and so the documentation piece of this to me came very naturally, and for others it may not. But things like doing the blog posts that we do and newsletters, things that Chris, for example, hates to do. I absolutely love doing that kind of thing just because it’s ingrained in me. But I would’ve started this whole process a little earlier, and I think that’s probably my biggest miss.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (13:03):
I think for me it’s, oh, my God, I’m the feeler. So I’m the expressive person, but I always let fear stop me from taking steps. And for the longest time, for years, I let my business run me and I didn’t run my business. I was either not … Fear for me stands as false expectations appearing real. So I would fear that it would take too much time to lead a team or I’m not smart enough to lead a team or oh, my gosh, being a broker of a business, there’s so much responsibility that comes with that. What about errors and emissions insurance? And I can’t do that. So I always was my worst enemy with fear.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (13:48):
So I just said, “You know what? Nope, I can do this. I have the faith to do it.” And once I started leading people on my team and handing things out and delegating and building and serving others, then I was leading my business and it wasn’t leading me, and it’s completely changed my life now. I have evenings and weekends. I can work from anywhere and I don’t work ungodly hours and I’m at peace and I’m happy and I just love what we’re doing. So fear was the big thing and I let it stop me. That would be my answer for that one.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (14:28):
Yeah. Thank you both for sharing. And how about this idea of a make? You’ve already shared some of the successes you’ve had, but are there other makes or wins along the way that stand out that you’d like to share?
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (14:43):
Well, for me, I think no doubt, a long time ago, when we were first getting into real estate, I went to some marketing seminar and they talked about specialization. They talked about the power of niche marketing, and that really stuck with me. And the whole concept is when you narrow you focus, you expand your appeal in the marketplace. And we work in an industry where there’s thousands, hundreds of thousands of other agents. So how do you stand out?
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (15:09):
So the best thing I’ve ever done in this career so far has been to specialize in lakefront property. And when you specialize, all of a sudden you become the answer person to solve problems people that have out there. So the people that were looking for those, like Chris said, that will look for lakefront property but couldn’t find information on the lake. They couldn’t find specialists to help them with what they do, and they couldn’t find a website that was at one-stop-shop to get them there. And all those things we able to put in place. And to be honest, since then, Zillow has come into play, Trulia, realtor.com. Those are big companies that are trying to be all things to all people. But for the people we’re trying to sell to, buyers and sellers of lakefront, those companies can’t dive deep enough, pardon the pun, to get into this niche as much as we are. So that decision has really made all the difference going forward.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (16:05):
That was good. For me it would be, and I was thinking about this before we had this call. I think it was fun to see HGTV reaching out to us, not just once, because there’s a lot of realtors that are on it, but repeatedly. We’ve had many times they reach us for many. We’ve been filmed so many times now, and we have Hollywood producers reaching out to us. We kind of feel like, “Oh, my gosh. Wait. We’ve been working on this each year, but now people are actually coming to us, not just for real estate, but for other lake needs, too.” And I feel like we’ve created something that’s gotten that recognition. So that’s been fun to see that happen, just to make something that’s now getting some notoriety in a way.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (16:53):
But then also I think on a more personal level, too, leading my team and with my partners, too, just the relationships I’ve developed with them. It’s not what it’s in it for me. It’s about building them up. But I used to be so focused on what do I need to get done to get my list done for the day and focus on what I need to do. But now that I’m serving and focusing on others and building them up and helping them out, helping them to be a success where they’re at, not just so that I make more from that, but it’s so fulfilling to see people having success, and that’s just fun. That’s a big make.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:35):
Oh, great. Thank you guys for sharing. And let’s talk about a multiplier. And you guys are obviously franchising your business, so I’m always a huge proponent of franchising. I’ve spent my career helping companies franchise. But I’d love for you to talk about a multiplier that you’ve used in growing yourself, your business, or another growth opportunity you had throughout your life.
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (18:01):
Well, real estate’s a funny thing. I think when I first got into it, I thought I was in the sales business, and that’s an end result, but make no mistake, we are in the lead generation business, and that’s what this is all about. I think any real estate agent that doesn’t make it or any broker that doesn’t make it is just because they didn’t have enough quality leads flowing in constantly every day. And so we built our entire systems around the ability to get quality leads coming in. And when you specialize, that’s obviously an easier way to do that, because people can know, like, and trust you before they meet you, and that’s a big qualifier.
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (18:43):
But that lead generation piece is really what we focus on daily, and we’re constantly improving how we get those leads coming in to all of our partners. I mean, there’s about 18,000 leads we got last year that were all new leads. So that’s per year, and you divide that per state, that’s a good amount of leads coming in to everybody. And then it just becomes conversion. But conversion you can teach. I mean, there’s too many pieces of real estate we can’t control. We can’t control the market. We can’t control the pricing. Can’t control the time of year it is. But what we can control is the amount of leads that we get from buyers and sellers, and that’s what we’re focused on.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (19:25):
I think, too, going along with getting those leads, it’s been fun for me. So I started out in central Ohio, but now I’m statewide and I run the entire state now, because I have specialists at each lake. But what I’ve had happen is Candlewood Lake is about an hour and 15 minutes from Columbus. Had a brand new agent come on. He retired. He moved out here from California, retired, and then he decided he wanted to get his real estate license. And new to real estate, but lived on a lake and passionate about it. So he joined our team, and within one year, within one season being a new agent, having no presence at that lake, the following year, he dominated the listings. And it was all because of our systems and the leads that we bring in, but then all of our systems and our marketing plan to just pop him right up there. And that was so exciting for him as a new agent. I’m like, “You don’t understand. This doesn’t happen with new agents. This is not normal. This is crazy.” But it’s just fun to see that happen at Candlewood Lake. So I think our system also is another one.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:39):
Oh, that’s great. I love it. And so it sounds like, now, would this be a franchisee that came in the system or just a new agent and just in terms of the kind of person that came in?
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (20:50):
So this was a new agent in my team in Ohio. So if I were franchise, so I would run the franchise for Ohio, but then it’s been fun for our Lake of the Ozarks. Annie and Jesse, they run Lake of the Ozarks and they have grown to the whole lake now. And that place is enormous. Oh, my gosh. They have big yachts. We can only have 23 feet long boats in Ohio. On Lake of the Ozarks, it’s yachts. It’s crazy. It’s so big. But watching then our partner or franchisee, we call our franchisees partners, and to see her have the same experience, it’s been fun.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:30):
Oh, that’s a lot of fun. That’s great. Well, the final question we ask every guest is what does success mean to you?
Scott Freerksen, Lakefront Living (21:42):
Well, we have a tagline you see all over our marketing that says, “Changing lives one lake house at a time.” And that’s really the cool part to me is that we’re building something that really does change lives. It’s always about a year later we’ll get a call from the client that’s been on the lake for a year and they’ll say, “Okay, now we finally understand what you’ve been talking about all this time.” Because it really gets in your blood and changes your life. It’s hard to describe unless you’re part of this little cult that we got going here, but living that lifestyle is a life changer. And the nice thing is that same tagline we can apply to our partners. We’re hopefully giving them an exit plan to change their lives forever, and they get to do the same for their clients. So to me that’s what success is, that we just continually get that feedback that people’s lives are now different than they were previously just because of what our business does.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (22:40):
Well, how can I top that, Scott? I mean, anything else is going to sound self-centered. But I agree with that. That’s huge, and it’s fun watching all of our partners and agents with their lives, just their lives change, but even the clients that we serve.
Chris Mosier, Lakefront Living (22:59):
But I think, too, honestly, we have the exit plan, the one year, the three year, the five-year plan. But honestly, if I get my head just wrapped on those, sometimes I’ll go nuts. So mine is success. If I can get through, take on each day, each morning I start out for me in The Word, and how am I going to serve everyone that’s around me that day the best and get through that day? If I’ve had a successful day at the end or learned from my trials, then it’s a success. I just take it one day at a time along my trying to plan everything along the way the best I can.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (23:35):
Chris and Scott, thank you so much for a fantastic interview. And let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. So takeaway number one is one both Chris and Scott talked about, people are pursuing a lifestyle of living and working on the lakefront. And as you might be considering, maybe living, working on the lakefront, they have found that there are 37 items you need to be thinking about when you go to do that. So if you’ve been living in the city or in the suburbs somewhere, now you’re buying a new property to go out on the lakefront, there are a lot of different things to be thinking about if you do it.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (24:15):
For example, when they shared you should be thinking about flood insurance. Are you able to put a dock or no dock? The kinds of weeds that grow at the front of the lake or at the front of the property.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (24:27):
Take away number two. Scott talked about how he wishes he would have started sooner into entrepreneurship. And I think that’s a common sentiment many entrepreneurs face. So if you’re thinking about starting or developing a new something, whatever that is, go for it.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (24:46):
Takeaway number three is when they shared about specializing and how specializing was so important to the growth of their business. Scott and Chris both talked about that and shared examples, but really focused on this idea that specializing in this niche really changed the trajectory of their company and their growth.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (25:09):
And now it’s time for today’s win/win. So today’s win/win is when Chris talked about not letting fear stop you from taking action or leading your team in the direction you want to go. Don’t let fear get in the way. Don’t listen to that fear of doubt, because if you can have the courage to stand and take that leap, take that step, take that just little teeny turn of a direction that you want to go, big, exciting things can happen.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (25:48):
And that’s the episode today, folks. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast and give us a review. And remember, if you or anyone you know might be ready to take your franchise company to the next level or franchise your business, please connect with us at bigskyfranchiseteam.com. Thanks for tuning in, and we look forward to having you back next.