What demographic segments are driving your business today?
PK: The Phoenix market is very diverse. People move to Phoenix from all over. Investors have had a major impact in our market over the past few years, but it looks like we may be transitioning into a more traditional market where first-time buyers make a comeback and play a bigger role.
JS: With the number of agents we have, we’re probably hitting all of them—investors, first-time homebuyers, normal and equity sellers. Boomerang buyers are also coming back into the marketplace.
How does your company make its agents’ jobs easier?
PK: Realty ONE Group provides a full-time, non-competing broker in each of our offices to assist our agents. We also provide our agents with technology-based tools, allowing them to be more productive.
JS: We have a transaction management system that is intuitive, allowing agents to easily manage their files wherever they are. We also have an intranet that contains company forms and resources, which acts as our information center. In addition, we have broker support in each of our offices that serves as the agents’ first point of contact for any of their questions.
What is the most significant trend positively affecting your business right now?
PK: Boomerang buyers who are currently renting because they had a short sale or foreclosure in the past 2–3 years but are now eligible to purchase again.
JS: Low interest rates. The fact that interest rates are going up a little creates a sense of urgency among buyers. Even though prices have increased 25 percent in the past 12 months, it’s still an affordable market. We’re in a recovering market, but if you wait another year or two, you might be kicking yourself.