By Nick Caruso
RISMEDIA, December 1, 2010—Overcoming consumer confidence is a challenge that real estate professionals across the country face today. While today’s market represents one of the best real estate markets we have seen, buyers, sellers and tenants are more focused on the national news. Here, JB Goodwin, CEO of JB Goodwin Realtors in Austin, Texas discusses how his company is working to show their clients why now is the best time to buy.
Region served: Austin and San Antonio
Years in real estate: 38
Number of agents: 301
Average listing price: $240,000
Average days on market: 68
Best secret for time management: Write it down, touch it once, plan it every day and review your plan every day.
Most effective way to motivate agents: Dollars, recognition and training. Depending on the market, that flips, but right now it’s dollars.
How would you describe the current market in your region?
Austin and San Antonio residential sales are stable. They have good inventory and a good selection, and we also have a good number of buyers. We have stable jobs and some growth; that’s unusual compared to the rest of the country. The commercial market I would describe as very soft and getting softer. Residential leasing is hot, hot, hot. Every good property that comes on the market gets snapped up within days or even hours.
What is your biggest challenge in today’s market and how is your company taking it on?
Our biggest challenge is overcoming consumer confidence. We are in the best real estate market in America, but our buyers, sellers and tenants read and hear the national news.
We’re in an unusual environment—our real estate market really isn’t awful. Some markets are awful; the news reports there are spots where foreclosure rates are 10 times ours. It’s a confidence issue from a residential perspective. From a commercial perspective, availability of capital is the biggest challenge.
How do you incorporate your home warranty provider, AHS, into your business?
AHS is a part of our initial training program, and we explain to any new agents that it’s a valuable protector for both buyers and sellers. It’s recommended to every customer for every transaction. We urge this in every sales meeting. We feel that home warranties will soften the blow if any system develops any sort of problems after move in, such as a water heater, air conditioner or major plumbing problem. Now there’s some protection. To a prospective buyer, we tell them that they will have minimal expenses. If mechanical issues occur, those expenses aren’t going to be added to their first few months of move-in costs. When we explain these advantages to them, they really respond. Home warranties provide peace of mind.
What tools and resources are most critical to staying successful?
Highly qualified and trained agents who are property-knowledge experts with mastered sales and professional skills. We are constantly recruiting and telling our story at real estate schools and to agents who do co-op transactions with us. We have in-house loan and closing officers at every one of our offices. A number of agents come to us because we have that support on a daily basis. We’re constantly asking agents to become experts on neighborhoods. We have neighborhood expert programs to do this, and put leads in the hands of the appropriate expert. We also run weekly, monthly and quarterly training on sales and negotiation skills.
What is your online marketing strategy and have you incorporated social media?
For online marketing, it’s our philosophy that the customer’s desire is for information, first and foremost. They want information about properties for sale and for lease, so our online marketing strategy is to make the online experience for any customer going to our site as easy as possible. Secondly, after they find the website, they want information about agents and the company, which we also make available. Our site has more unique visitors than any other real estate site in this market.
For social media, we incorporate Facebook into our marketing plan and are currently working on strategies for other platforms. We post articles about real estate that apply to our market. These are also available on our website so anyone can learn more about the city. We also have a mobile phone application that allows you to use a GPS system out in the marketplace, so users can pull up an address and get full details.
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