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Real Estate Best Practices from a Neighborhood Expert

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By John Voket

RISMEDIA, June 11, 2008-Barbara Godson, executive vice president for Halstead Property, LLC, says that in order to best serve her clientele, she has found it beneficial to specialize. “You can’t specialize in all of New York City. I can serve my clients most efficiently by knowing every single building in the area where I work,” she says. Here, meet Godson and learn her secrets to succeeding as a neighborhood expert.

Barbara Godson
Executive Vice President
Halstead Property, LLC
New York, New York

Neighborhoods served: Manhattan-Greenwich Village, SoHo, below 37th Street
In real estate since: 1983
Number of offices: 2
Number of agents: 1
Best tip for dealing with difficult customers: I try and put myself in everybody’s shoes. In the case of a seller and issues regarding pricing, I go to the comparables. I take the knowledge from every deal I’ve done and use those resources and information to present the honest facts.
Best time management tip: I ride a bicycle everywhere on the job, so I can manage my time by the minute-whether it’s checking out properties or attending closings. I can gauge meetings down to 30 seconds. I’m never late.
Most effective way to motivate agents: The New York market always has deals being made. There’s always someone looking for deals. With a little creativity, you can find a way to appeal to almost any client. When listings come through, you can find the upside to a listing-especially in a soft market.
Tech tool you can’t live without: I find my BlackBerry has been my best tool. I have all my appointments in front of me, and I can forward or transact documents and send or receive e-mails.

You recently heard from a client you worked with a decade ago. Can you tell us why they called and how you helped them then and now?

I met her 10 years ago when she was looking to buy an apartment. Now, she called me to sell it and help her purchase a new one. I’ve found that when I work with someone, they end up becoming my friend. Since I socialize with so many past clients, I know from what’s going on in their lives they-or anyone they know-have a need for my services. 99% of my clients come to me by referral.

What do you tell new agents about client retention-and what are some of the ways you successfully keep in touch?

I gain people’s trust by being totally honest with them. My database has several hundred people in it and when I have a new property available, I treat my new listings like the subject of a greeting card-and send it to my entire database with an e-blast. Otherwise, it’s basically just through socializing.

How do you deal with negative reports in the media about the market when clients become concerned with what they hear in the rumor mill?

We have our own in-house chief economist who has a full research staff. He generates reports monthly and quarterly, so when there is an issue in the media, he may have data that validates the strength of the market, and we can share that with clients. And in Manhattan, there really isn’t a lot of bad news. Our research can point to trends improving when the media twists the numbers to look bad.

Why have you stayed in the Greenwich Village market for your entire career?

I want to specialize, and you can’t specialize in all of New York City. I can serve my clients most efficiently by knowing every single building in the area where I work.

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