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Beginning the Upturn

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By Maria Patterson

RISMEDIA, April 29, 2010—As the market continues to slowly recover, there is still a lot of opportunity for buyers and more than there has been for sellers as buyers return to the market. Here, John J. Adams, General Manager, Adams, Cameron & Co. Realtors in Daytona Beach, Florida discusses how he is preparing his company to take advantage of the upturn.

John J. Adams
General Manager
Adams, Cameron & Co. Realtors
Daytona Beach, Florida

Regions served: Daytona Beach, Volusia and Flagler counties
Number of offices: 9 total; 5 primary
Number of agents: More than 200
Company in business since: 1963
Years you’ve been with the firm? My whole life! This is our family’s business, and I was away pursuing other ventures, but I’ve been back for six years now. I always wanted to get back to the Florida region where it’s warm and enjoyable and work with my family.
Current market assessment: We’re starting to see the market slowly recover and also see more action from buyers. But at the same time there are loads of short sales and foreclosures affecting us by holding prices down on traditional sales. There is still a lot of opportunity in this market for buyers and more than there has been for sellers as buyers return to the market.

What impact is the first-time home buyer tax credit having in your market?
It’s somewhat hard to judge—it didn’t take off with a bang but there’s certainly interest and we do have people taking advantage of it. Our people are out there talking about it, though, and consumers want more information on the first-time and the move-up credit all the time. We offer lots of training on those topics.

How has business been so far this year?
The good news is, the transaction volume continues to pick up. We have more activity each month and we have had more activity for several months in a row. We’re watching it closely and we want to keep getting that transaction count up. I frequently tell the agents, “I’d rather have 10 sales at 100,000 than none at a million.”

How have you outfitted your company to survive in today’s marketplace?
We changed our training dramatically. There are totally different topics that agents have to cover today, like explaining short sales and tax credits. We’re also offering home-buyer and -seller workshops where we invite our accountant to come in and talk about the complexities of these issues. Additionally, we have an arrangement in place with a third party to help us streamline short sales. Some of our agents are hesitant to work with short sales, but now that we have this third-party involvement to help streamline the process, they are more receptive.

How do you handle recruiting in today’s market?
We continue our recruitment efforts and from a retention standpoint, we’re focused on providing all the service we can to help agents from a training perspective. We just had a speaker come in last week to discuss business planning and goal setting.

How does technology factor into your retention efforts?
Home buyers are getting their information online so online marketing is more important than ever before. We offer a website for each agent and we maintain it for them. We are trying to take some of the complexity out of technology for agents and support them as much as we can. We provide them with a contact management system to keep track of all their clients and systems to get leads out to agents immediately as they come in. We also promote their listings in a wide variety of online and print venues to ensure that they get as many leads as possible. That’s good promotion for both the agents and the sellers.

Why is offering home warranties from AHS an important part of your strategy?
We have a great relationship with AHS. One of the things that has changed in the market is the number of short sales and bank-owned properties. Most buyers are wary because they’re not going to get the same amount of seller disclosure that they would on a traditional sale. AHS home warranties are a good way to relieve some of that anxiety for the buyer while at the same time protecting the seller. For the broker and the agent, it reduces the amount of liability associated with these sales.

When do you predict the market will begin to turn around?
I think we are at the start of a slow and steady recovery—I think we’re further into that than we realize. From a transaction-count perspective, the low point was January of last year (2009), and we’ve seen increases over the last 12 months since then. I

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