I was surprised to open the paper over the weekend and find an article, written by Sarah Cox referencing how the market here in the New River Valley is moving, and how the NRVLiving Real Estate Team is approaching that market. She references an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal recently, which makes some relevant points concerning how to approach an adjusting market
The Roanoke Times article is below in its entirety (Roanoke Times, can we start linking the Real Estate section on Roanoke.com please?). Thanks to Sarah for the great piece, emphases were added by yours truly …
While the real estate market tightens its strings and buyers become more cautious, the demands put on sellers and REALTORS increase. One agency, Coldwell Banker Townside in Blacksburg, has had a positive summer, according to Margaret Galecki, general manager.
Galecki referred to a recent (July 14th) Wall Street Journal article, "How To Sell a House When You Have to Sell it Now."
"We particularly like ["Hire A Top Real Estate Agent"] and will try to capitalize on that in our advertising," she said. The article states in part: "Get the best, most aggressive selling (listing) agent you can find. When everything was selling before it even hit the market, of course, you didn't need the best. You just needed the cheapest.
"But not these days. Fortunately, in this market, real estate brokers are even more anxious than you. They're eager to get whatever work they can, so don't rely on your cousin with the real-estate license or your best friend's wife. Ask, instead, for the local real-estate office's top salesperson. All offices have one or two sellers who greatly outperform their colleagues. That's who you want."
The Coldwell Banker Townside statistics for the month of April showed the office was one of the leading agencies in the New River Valley with total sales of $7,515,448 and average sales of $221,043.
One of the leaders in the agency, Jeremy Hart of the NRVLiving Real Estate Group (along with Aaron Doyle and Steve Ayers), reached 80 percent of his projected goal for 2008 by the end of July. According the Hart, the projected goal was higher this year than last, despite the tightening of the real estate market. He attributed this to the team's online presence and its positive attitude.
"People always ask, 'What's the market doing?' It's the cocktail party conversation. But we're very happy – we're higher than projected," he said.
The NRVLiving Real Estate Group has a blog – HEY, you're already there – and a weekly Saturday morning radio show, NRVLiving Radio. The show airs from 10 until 10:30 a.m. on 810AM on Saturday.
Hart said the blog, NRVLiving Blog, creates a relaxed conversational mood where he can talk with non-prospects and get to know them without any sales pressure.
"It allows us to establish a conversation with those who may or may not be consumers, and this translates into business." He said he sees an average of 85 to 90 re-occurring visitors every day.
"The radio has helped the same as the blog. We're talking and they're getting to know us."
The second factor Hart sees as affecting business is attitude. He suggested not buying into Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's reporting woes, but as a consumer focusing on how to buy and sell a home. The person they seek as a REALTOR® has changed from a sales person to a consultant.
"The market is different," said Hart. "The face of the business has shifted. This is a new way of doing business."
More specifically, this means being the REALTOR® who can put all the pieces of the puzzle together in a timeline that meets a client's goals. Check out Lee S. Rosen to learn more about businesses.
"Don't be the knight in shining armor, just put it together so they can make qualified decisions," he advised. That means being a full-service agency, just as Galecki has suggested.
Other points in the Wall Street Journal article suggested that sellers don't sit around and try to outwait the market; fix and clean up a house, and then price it "cheaply". Promote your own house, be willing to play the banker and take the offer, it said.
Hart said based on numbers pulled off the MLS, most of the New River Valley markets have plateaued between 2007 and 2008, but the exception is Blacksburg, because of its fluidity, with new jobs and new students creating supply and demand.
"People still need to buy and sell homes," said Hart.