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Tips from the Top – Power Brokers Get Back to Basics

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RISMEDIA, April 14, 2009-RISMedia’s 21st Annual Power Broker Survey, which gathered responses from more than 950 brokerage firms, shows that while 2008 was an especially tough year for many, brokers were still willing to rise to the challenge. Candace Adams, president at Prudential Connecticut Realty in Rocky Hill, Connecticut took a proactive approach and set her company on the right foot to deal with today’s turbulent market.

What strategies have been critical to keeping your company afloat in today’s turbulent market?
While the fourth quarter was challenging, the decline really started a couple of years ago. Most of us saw this coming and took measures months ago to position ourselves in this market. We’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing, and that’s being conservative. From expense reduction and improving inefficiencies, to streamlining and consolidating offices. We have focused our efforts, significant efforts – on training and educating sales executives – sales, market, negotiating, back to basic strategies, and hard work. The industry will change as a result as these last couple of years, so we’re going to see fewer offices, larger offices, more regionalized, less brick and mortar – decrease in print advertising.

How did you manage profitability in 2008?
We’ve done audits on energy use, staffing, and our leases in a quest to “right size” our organization and make sure we’re within equal percentages of our benchmarks for those particular costs in our organization.

Also, while we’ve been decreasing print, we’re enhancing our online efforts. One of the things we’ve enjoyed watching is social media and so we’re providing our agents with extensive training. Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn are all exciting to me because they’re an example of when you have challenges in the marketplace, you also have changes-which can be exciting.

What role do you need to play as a leader during a difficult market?
I think we have to stay positive and focused. It’s important to streamline initiatives and have a back-to-basics strategy. We have to learn how to work the market- and we may very well be in this market for another year or longer-so we must seize the opportunity and stay optimistic about what it’s all about-sales.

Where should agents focus their time in order to stay afloat? Sales executives need to have a positive attitude and work on keeping their energy focused on the basics-open houses, prospecting, education of the marketplace, and understanding pricing strategy. Pricing properties is one of the most important things we do. We have a pricing strategy class right now that’s standing-room only because sales executives are so eager to be armed with information to go in to a seller to make sure homes are priced properly.

Through Prudential we also offer Prudential Value Range Marketing, (PVRM) which removes the need to set a fixed asking price for a property. This way, sellers will entertain offers within that range, giving buyers more of an excuse to make an offer on the home.

What are your predications for the year ahead- when will the market start to uptick? What affect will the stimulus bill have on the real estate market?
While the stimulus was not as robust as we had wanted, it will be an opportunity for first-time home buyers to come off the sidelines. If we see that momentum continue, we should then see movement for midrange priced properties for second-time home buyers. We will then go through 2009 with a very slow and steady market and see an uptick in 2010.

Now that there’s an actual package, it will help people make a decision from sitting on the sidelines. Now they know how it will affect them and if they’re a first-time home buyer, they can take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit. Also, the fact that the stimulus package will help prevent foreclosures will certainly help in maintaining home prices.

To read the entire story and to view a complete list of those who ranked in this year’s Power Broker Survey, click here.

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