By Nick Caruso
Building a real estate business in a small town doesn’t mean offering small services. Instead, it typically means you spend a lot of time strengthening your relationship with your local community. “Get involved in a lot of local events,” recommends Bruce Garber, Broker/Owner of CENTURY 21 BHJ Realty, Inc. in Sheridan, Wyo. “We align ourselves with non-profits such as the local YMCA, a local rodeo, and others. In addition to that, we’re big believers in long-term relationships with our real estate clients.” For more of Garber’s advice on small town strategies, read the following interview.
Region served: The Northeast Wyoming area
Years in real estate: 12
Number of offices: 1
Number of agents: 12
Favorite relationship-building strategy: Being an integral part of our community. We live in a small town and get involved in a lot of local events. We align ourselves with non-profits such as the local YMCA, a local rodeo, and others. In addition to that, we’re big believers in long-term relationships with our real estate clients. One of my personal favorites is the client parties that we host. It’s a great way to stay connected long after the purchase or sale is complete and it contributes to the spirit of community that is a part of our company’s culture.
Best advice for new agents: After they select their broker, they need to entrench themselves into their company’s training offerings. This way, they get started off on the right track.
Favorite part of your job: My work takes me to beautiful properties. I enjoy interacting with people and watching them “light up” about the many different aspects of the real estate transaction. It’s fun to just get out on the land and be with people.
What is your biggest challenge in today’s market, and how is your company taking it on?
We’re still coming out of a recession. Our market was hit late by the recession. The best thing we can do is put on a smile every morning; roll up our sleeves and work hard to help people.
How have you incorporated social media into your efforts?
It’s been interesting watching the evolution of social media and how it’s used in our industry. We are focused on providing great service to clients, so staying on the cutting-edge of social media and other innovations is a challenge. Fortunately, the CENTURY 21 System does that for us. We pay attention to what the CENTURY 21 National Marketing team is doing, including the tools they provide, and through that we’ve become involved with Facebook, YouTube, and Videolicious, to name a few.
What demographic segments are driving your business these days?
It’s hard to pinpoint a specific demographic, but one thing we know for sure is that there are affluent buyers who are buying in our market. They enjoy the lifestyle, the surrounding nature, low crime rates, great schools and our low income tax. We also work with a fair amount of Gen Xers and first-time homebuyers, baby boomers and other people who are ready to retire.
What strategies do you have in place to successfully reach out to first-time buyers?
Our people, and the market knowledge they possess, are our strategy. They understand local market conditions, the area’s neighborhoods, available properties, and mix that in with understanding the needs, wants and desires of first-time homebuyers. In doing so, our people are able to create a personalized plan that assures first-time homebuyers where they are in the market, what is available from a budgetary perspective, and that they’re going through the process with their best interests in mind.
What is your favorite time-saving tool that you use on a weekly basis?
My smartphone and iPad. I can sneak in work on the way to places, or if I’m sitting at appointments waiting, I try to utilize my time the best I can with technology.
For more information, visit http://www.century21bhj.com.
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