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Best Practices – Preparing for a Balanced Market

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By Paige Tepping

RISMEDIA, March 5, 2008-In 2008, smart brokers are taking a step back and putting a special focus in on putting business back into the business of real estate. According to Steve Barnes, President/COO of Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, he’s noticed that many brokers have become somewhat complacent due to the double-digit sales increases seen over the past few years. “Maximizing our facilities and marketing dollars to reflect our strategies and market conditions will be important,” he says. Here, learn how Barnes has set out to redefine his company’s value proposition.



Steve Barnes
Coldwell Banker United, Realtors
Houston, Texas


Region served: Houston
Years in real estate: 29
Number of offices: 27
Number of agents: 904
Average sales price: $234,000
Average time on market: 72 days
Favorite thing about Houston: “I really enjoy the diversity in Houston and the genuine, caring people.”
If I weren’t in real estate: “I would be traveling across the United States, experiencing the vast beauty of the country with my lovely wife.”
Motto: “Focus more on strategic doing, and less on strategic thinking.”

Describe your current market conditions.
Houston is actually holding steady while most of the nation continues wrestling with the persistent effects of the real estate downturn. Although sales were down by 4% for 2007, the average sales price has increased by 4%. I expect 2008 to witness a reduction in sales and construction, but these issues will be offset by the continued, though modest, price gains.

What are some of the biggest trends and changes for 2008?
Brokers and owners will have to focus on “putting business back into the business of real estate.” We’ve all become somewhat complacent due to the double-digit sales increases seen over the past few years. Maximizing our facilities and marketing dollars to reflect our strategies and market conditions will be important. Our firm is implementing a strategy for the new year cemented in redefining our value proposition along with a strong emphasis in recruiting, performance coaching and increasing target market share.

What role do professional partners, like American Home Shield, play in your business development efforts?
Our relationship with real estate service providers like American Home Shield allows us to provide additional value to our buyers and sellers through a one-stop-shopping experience. Co-branding products and services with AHS enables us to bring more power to the marketplace.

How do home warranties help with home sales?
A property with a home warranty is less likely to have a lawsuit associated with it. Pre-purchasing the home warranty gives the seller peace of mind, as well as reducing days-on-market. The Coldwell Banker Home Buyer Ready Program we use calls for the placement of a home warranty by the seller during the listing period.

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