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Navigating the High-end Market

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By Lesley Geary

TOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE NETWORK, June, 2009-Colin Dibley
Jordan Baris, Inc. Realtors
Years in real estate:
20
Region Served: Northern New Jersey counties of Essex, Morris and Union, with a very high market share in the city of West Orange, New Jersey.
Average number of days a home spends on the market: 60. The market is so price-sensitive, however, that if it is priced right, it will go in 10 days.
Career Path: When I graduated from high school I worked for the Department of Trade and then the Department of Customs in Australia. I also played tennis. For six months all of the top Australian players used to compete overseas, so I became the best player left in Australia. When I was 26, I also went overseas for six months and played in a lot of tournaments. During the whole trip, I made $500 profit, so when I returned to Australia, I went back to work for the Customs Department-but only for six weeks. By the age of 27, I was Australia’s top player and I could accept prize money. When I was 29, I turned professional and had a very successful career until I was 36 and hurt my knee. I did go on to play on the Legends Tour for the next ten years. After that I got involved in real estate as an investor. One of the things the tour helped me with was “thinking on my feet.” You are out there in a one-on-one situation and I don’t like to lose. You have to compete very hard-and it’s the same way in real estate. All you can do is compete as hard as you can, give it your best, and find the opportunity to win for your client as much as possible

colin__bw_no_writing-2How are sales in the upper end of the market faring during the real estate downturn?
Things are turning around now. They have been a bit slow primarily because we didn’t have a lot of first-time buyers here. But now, with the government incentives and new, first-time home buyers out there, it has started the whole chain of people moving up.

What are the most significant differences in dealing with higher-end buyers and sellers?
It’s a matter of marketing. You want to appeal to both the New York buyers and the people relocating from other places. You have to put out quality brochures and invest a bit more in higher-end marketing. You also have to be more creative because you are dealing with fewer people in that market-and they are likely to be more sophisticated with the Internet.

How do you market yourself to this clientele?
A lot of it is word of mouth. I used to be the director of tennis at a large tennis club in the area, so people know me through tennis. They knew me as a tennis player, but now they have to know me as a Realtor. I make sure that while people know me because of my tennis, that these days I am a full-time Realtor.

What sort of information is of utmost importance to this clientele?
They want to make sure that their home is top priority and that they are getting plenty of exposure for their property. I want to give them a special experience by enhancing their listings through using the maximum number of photos, adding special features and making their property stand out from all the other listings. I do anything I can to make sure I am giving them something special.

How do you build future business/referrals from this clientele?
Keep in touch with them through newsletters, phone calls and general communication so they continue to remember your name, refer you or use you again. Communication is key.

Why did you become a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network?
I wanted to stand out. When I went to the seminar, I thought it was innovative and had great ideas and marketing material. Although it is a tougher market, you have to use the dollars that you do have in the best possible way and show buyers and sellers that you are unique in this market. I think Top 5 does this for me.

What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
Communication. You have to be in the e-mail age and you have to respond to people quickly and communicate regularly. I keep aiming to get better. I also try to make it fun and laugh a little.

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