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Consumer Confidence Making a Comeback

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By Paige Tepping

As the weather warms for spring, so are consumers—for home buying, that is. “Now that interest rates are at such a low level, people are beginning to realize that buying a home is more affordable than renting,” says Rob Sibcy, President of Sibcy Cline REALTORS®. “As people continue to have the ability to sell their current property, they are jumping on another and buying.”

Sibcy’s market is warming, and he is taking advantage by making sure his team of agents is in an optimal position. Read on for his top tips for recruiting, retraining, and keeping up with technology.

Rob Sibcy
Sibcy Cline REALTORS®
Chairman of the Board, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
Cincinnati, Ohio

Region served: Greater Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana
Years in real estate: 47
Number of offices: 23
Number of agents: 1,200
Most effective way to motivate agents: Talk to them.
Must-have technology tool: Our website. We were one of the first companies in our marketplace with a website, and it has proven to be an invaluable tool for us to convey what we have to consumers.

Please describe the current consumer-confidence climate in your area.
Since the beginning of the year, the confidence level has started to go up significantly versus the last four years. Our January sales were up 35-40 percent over last year, and February is on track to be up significantly as well. There seems to be a positive attitude prevailing in the marketplace among clients, the public and our agents.

What is the most significant trend positively affecting your business right now?
In the years that I’ve been in business, I have never seen interest rates in the 3s, nor did I ever think I would. Now that interest rates are at such a low level, people are beginning to realize that buying a home is more affordable than renting. As people continue to have the ability to sell their current property, they are jumping on another and buying. And they are getting great bargains because of the low interest rates. There is a lot of activity in the market right now as well. Not only are we seeing multiple offers on properties, but homes that are priced right and showing well are being sold immediately.

When it comes to recruiting/retention, what is your best strategy?
When it comes to recruiting, it’s simply a matter of getting back into the practice of talking to people. As far as retention, we are keeping our agents in the loop by making sure the lines of communication are open when it comes to what’s happening in the market and where it’s headed. We are also taking advantage of technology to enable our agents to better communicate with clients through programs and systems that are necessary to continue to attract business and referrals. It’s crucial that you treat the business as a partnership so that you and your agents are working toward a common goal.

As we continue through 2013, what are you most looking forward to in your respective market?
The mere fact that there appears to be a confidence coming back to the industry, and the way that plays out, is what I’m most looking forward to. There has been a complete shakeout in the banking and mortgage industries, and everything is getting down to a very sustained level of activity that everyone can participate in.

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