TOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE, June 2010 –
Prudential LeClair & Associates Realty
Years in Real Estate: 15 years
Region Served: Simcoe County, Canada
Average sales price in your market: $272,000
Average number of days a home spends on the market: 54
Tell us about the current state of the Canadian market:
We saw a blip in the third week of September, 2008, which lasted until the third week of March, 2009. The market was down about 5%. But year over year, until April of 2010, we have recovered and we are up about 10%. We have seen consistent growth for the last 15 years. Some areas of Canada are depressed but we are a bedroom community outside Toronto and much of the growth is happening right here. The Canadian dollar is strong, which helps consumer confidence, and we have very low mortgage rates—we are now running with mortgage rates around 4.8%. Plus, we never had the mortgage debacle that the U.S. did. Our loan requirements are much more stringent—we are very cautious. This has all contributed to our healthy market.
Are you relying on technology more?
Without question. For ten years I have utilized the web, and for the last four years, we have had our own branded software: realtysitesplus.com, which is a very sophisticated suite of Realtor software.
How important is training?
I do a great deal of training and I get invited to do speaking engagements. In fact, the reason I developed realtysitesplus.com is because a few years back when I was speaking to a large group of Realtors who heard what I was doing with my website, they kept calling me because they wanted my software. So it took four years to develop but it is a growing concern today.
Where do you get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars?
Online. You have to drive traffic to your website. Everybody relies on search engine optimization but they are not prepared to do the work required to do a great job at search engine optimization. Realtors have to create current content and learn how to blog. It’s also all about “pay to play” or “boots on the bricks”—meaning, you have to spend money on branding or get out there and do sweat equity. I also love print advertising—it’s effective. Print is a really great opportunity for branding and we have created specific monitoring to continually track our print ad expense.
What are the top three things Realtors need to focus on to succeed?
Other than web technology, you should not be afraid to spend money on branding. That is the very first thing any Realtor must know to succeed. Next, is databasing your friends and everybody you know and then communicating with them regularly. And last but not least: implement a Power Point listing presentation. Even though some might feel it’s a canned presentation, it trains your client and it saves you time throughout the process. The Power Point presentation helps you hit the key points and makes sure you hit them. It keeps me very focused and I always blow their minds with my presentation.
What’s your best advice for time management?
I don’t want to sound self serving but my software is really great for time management. I was selling over 100 houses a year for 14 years with one assistant so I became very efficient. My software has a section called “Client Corner,” which is a mailbox that is password protected. In that mailbox, I can post all client documents, automated showing feedback, messages and more. My software was designed by a Realtor—me—not a techie who doesn’t understand what Realtors really need. We have built an amazing program and it is pretty diverse…and it only costs $49 a month.
What are your three top priorities for sellers when they first list?
Other than price, external staging is crucial. That’s your first impression. Interior staging is next. And then I ask clients to be extremely flexible to accommodate showings so that we can always show it at any time.
Why did you become a Member of Top 5?
I wanted to be associated with a group of individuals that have a high standard of business practices and to also be involved in a forward-thinking organization like RISMedia and a visionary like Allan Dalton.
How are you/will you utilize the Top 5 program to help build your business?
The current content is key. I think the network is also very important—the chance to be among an elite group of Realtors.
What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
Balance. You have to learn to say no. And you have to get rid of all the goobers in your life—the people who waste too much of your time. People who are never happy. Just get rid of them.