While running a successful business, it’s important to continuously move forward. “I continuously evaluate our marketing and track the results so that I can cut what isn’t working and invest in what produces results,” says Teresa Ryan, broker/owner with Ryan Hill Realty. Read the following interview for Ryan’s top advice for running a winning company.
Ryan Hill Realty
Years in real estate: 23; owner of Ryan Hill Realty for 12
Region served: DuPage, Will, Kane, Kendall, Lake and parts of Cook County, Ill.
Average market time: 100–200 days
How are you operating your business more efficiently? Where have you cut back and where have you invested?
I am operating my business more efficiently by using technology in many areas. For example, I am using a program called Broker Brain to manage all the tasking for our properties. This allows us to make sure our valuations, inspections, reporting to our clients and marketing is all done on time. I am also using Cartavi and DocuSign. Both programs are cloud based and make signing documents very easy for all parties involved in a transaction, no matter where someone is located. This also reduces the need for copiers, toners and paper.
As far as places where I have cut back, I continuously evaluate our marketing and track the results so that I can cut what isn’t working and invest in what produces results. With more agents working from their home offices, we decided to move our office to a more efficient space that has faster Internet service and more parking, but still costs less on a monthly basis for rent.
How do you stay educated and informed about market conditions?
I attend between 14 and 18 conferences per year to stay on top of market conditions, collaborate with other brokers around the country and learn about new systems and technology.
How do you most effectively communicate with clients?
When I am working with a client on a transaction, I always ask the client how he or she prefers to be communicated with. Some want a phone call anytime there’s something to discuss; other clients prefer an email or text. When in the middle of a transaction, a phone call or meeting in person is my preferred way to discuss the transaction. After a property closes, I try to stay in touch with clients using a variety of methods. I send a quarterly newsletter or magazine, write notes by hand on special occasions and hold 4–6 client appreciation parties a year.
What are some of your best strategies for overcoming low inventory?
My best advice for overcoming low inventory? Work! And that means calling your past clients and friends and marketing yourself and your services. There are always people who need to sell their homes and always people who want to buy homes. You just need to look for the opportunity and go get it!
In 2007, when our market dropped, homes were not selling and buyers were afraid to buy. I went to conferences to find out what was happening around the country and learned all about foreclosures. Foreclosures really hit Florida, California and Las Vegas, and I knew they were coming to Illinois as well, so I started our Foreclosure and Short Sale Division to serve banks and investors wanting to purchase these properties. This is what got us through the last six years. And today, with the market stabilizing, our foreclosure unit gives us an additional revenue stream, serving investors looking for distressed properties for a buy-and-hold strategy. So overcoming low inventory has actually made us far stronger as a company.