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By Lesley Geary 

RISMEDIA, May 10, 2008-To better meet the needs of consumers, most agents are realizing that they need to specialize in certain areas, or niches. According to Mary Keen of The Keen Team, her team is made up of both those who like to work with first-time home buyers and those who like to work with older, empty nesters, like herself. By doing so, clients are treated fairly and their particular needs are met and attended to.  

keen-team-photo.jpgMary Keen
The Keen Team
Prudential Gary Greene Realtors
Years in real estate
: Since 1977
Team members: 7
Region served: Southeast Houston
I formed an agent team because…”I had my own company. We were part of a GMAC franchise and when I moved to Prudential it was a way to keep all of my agents together.

What different types of consumers do you service?
We have certain team members who like to work with first time home buyers. My husband and I like to work with older, empty nesters-what we like to call, “last-time home sellers.” I think we are really unique in that we really care about the older buyers and sellers, and want to make sure they are treated fairly and honestly. Older clients may be anxious knowing this may be their last purchase or their last sale. I don’t know that anyone else really strives for that market because they do not represent the highest sales price. Our average sales price is probably under $150,000 and it takes a lot of transactions to do the kind of volume that we do.

How does having a team help better service your clientele?
It helps us personally in that there are other members who can pick up where we are. Having a team means most anybody can call in and we always have someone who specializes in what their needs are.

What are the biggest challenges in meeting the varying needs of customers?
In my mind the biggest challenge is advertising. Where do you advertise and how do we get it across in just a few words that we work really well with older customers? We know how anxious someone who is buying their last house can be. Older buyers and sellers do not use the Internet as much as first time younger buyers. So even though everyone says you have to have this fantastic website and the Internet is where you have to spend money, we really do not see much return from the Internet.

Success Strategies

What percent of your budget is dedicated to marketing?
We probably do not spend enough. About 10 – 15% of our budget is spent on marketing. But you have to remember so much of our business comes from referrals.

How would you describe your relationship with your broker?
It is very good. I have known Mark Woodruff for years. They let me do my thing and I get along really well with all of the people. Prudential Gary Greene is really a great organization.

What is the one thing your team can’t live without?
The MLS. People who think they can do it without an MLS system are so misled. We all have to work together.

What is your philosophy for successful life in real estate?
Honesty and fairness.