By Paige Tepping
Staying ahead of your competition takes more than superior sales skills. From integrity to professionalism, Steve Roney, owner, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties in Park City, Utah, tells us how to stay on top of this ever-changing industry.
Region served: Salt Lake, Park City, and surrounding areas
Years in real estate: 30+
Number of offices: 17, plus several seasonal resort offices in Park City that are open during ski season.
Number of agents: 400+
Favorite relationship-building strategy: Building teams through face-to-face interactions.
Giving back to the community: We are very involved in the community and feel strongly about contributing to local non-profits. The majority of our agents are invested volunteers and board members of various organizations, creating a company culture of community service and civic pride. This is a big part of what sets us apart from competitors.
Describe the current trends in your market.
Our local real estate market has largely recovered, and development activity is on the rise. As Salt Lake continues on its trajectory of economic growth, we are seeing more businesses and homebuyers looking to relocate to our marketplace to capitalize on the area’s favorable business climate. In addition, consumer confidence continues to hold strong, in part as a result of Utah’s low, 4-percent unemployment rate. Salt Lake and its surrounding areas boast unique access to world-class outdoor recreations as well as a thriving business ecosystem, which makes it a tempting place to own a home. Overall, the local market remains healthy and shows potential for consistent future growth.
How do you stay ahead of the competition?
By taking a long-term, strategic approach to business growth and continuing to improve the marketing and technology tools we provide our agents. Our marketing, transaction support, and agent development personnel have a depth of experience that is unmatched by other brokerages. Not only do we have a very strong reputation for integrity, trust and professionalism, which is central to the success of the company, the firm operates on a strong, inclusive culture. Agents understand they can address questions or issues with any one of our staff members.
What strategies do your agents utilize to stand out to clients and achieve customer loyalty?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to the quality of service, guidance and knowledge our agents provide. Not only do we enjoy a significant lead over our next closest competitor when it comes to marketshare, but in Park City alone, 17 of the top 25 producers are with our firm. We also enjoy a long history of market leadership that extends back to the company’s founding in the 1970s by Bill Coleman. We’ve been heavily involved in the development activity that’s taken place in and around Park City over the years, and as a result, our agents have insider knowledge of Park City’s ever-evolving real estate landscape. Our agents possess the greatest understanding of the marketplace and have the requisite skills to communicate their superior knowledge to clients.
How are you successfully incorporating technology into the mix?
We’re very excited about what we’re seeing from Berkshire Hathaway in relation to new digital marketing tools. We have launched a new push to ensure that our agents have the latest tools to appeal to buyers and sellers online. In addition to the technology offered through our new brand affiliation, we provide our agents with strategic support and training in e-marketing and social media. We also employ a videographer and visual media director who produce high-quality photographic and video content, which allow agents to keep up with expectations of consumers who increasingly rely upon visual imagery when making real estate decisions.
How do you see the market evolving throughout the next year?
2013 saw significant market improvement over 2012, and I believe the market has stabilized. While we are not going to see the same increase in sales volume in 2014, we’re headed in the right direction just at a slower growth rate. That being says, Salt Lake and Utah are in the midst of an economic boom, and it is likely that our real estate marketplace will continue to experience greater than average growth as a result of our rapidly expanding business community.
You recently transitioned over to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. What was it about the brand that attracted you?
Finding the right flag for our agents, not just in name but also in character, was very important to me. As an owner, I am always asking, “What can I do over time to improve supportive offerings to agents?” When weighing the brand, I recognized that we needed some of the characteristics of Prudential, but we also needed a brand that was both fresh and established in the business community. The new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand comes with new ideas but also conveys a sense of stability. Warren Buffett and his company command tremendous name recognition and respect, and I believe that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices will inspire confidence in buyers and agents. I couldn’t think of a better brand for our brokerage.
For more information, visit www.bhhsutah.com.
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