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By Lesley Geary

RISMEDIA, July 9, 2008-When it comes to helping buyers and sellers navigate through today’s market, there are many ways agents can help set their expectations accurately-from the start. Here, Dean Selvey of The Condo Pros with RE/MAX Excalibur Real Estate offers his tips for working in a new market with both buyers and sellers.

Dean Selvey
The Condo Pros
RE/MAX Excalibur Real Estate
Years in real estate:
Years as an agent team: 15
Number of team members: 22 now, but we have had as many as 50.
Region served: Greater Metro Phoenix, Arizona
I formed an agent team because…I wanted to do a lot more business and there are only so many hours in the day.

What are you doing differently this year than last with your buyers?

We have three agents on our team who work with buyers. This year, they are working their buyers a lot harder, hanging with them an extra day or two because it’s such a buyer’s market. The days of dumping a buyer because you are impatient with them are gone. The majority of our business is not resale. We mostly do on-site sales for our condo communities built by developers. Two years ago, our closing ratio was just slightly over one visit and now it’s three visits. Buyers have more choices; they know it and they want to know they are getting a good deal or the best deal possible, whereas two years ago all they wanted was a fair deal.

What are you doing differently this year than last with your sellers?

This year, it’s all about price. We are working price reductions hot and heavy and we are reframing sellers’ expectations when it comes to price reductions. If it doesn’t sell today, we tell our sellers, “Let’s think about reducing the price immediately.” If it didn’t sell two years ago, we were casual. Now, we are relentless in our requests for price reductions. We say to reduce the price every 10 days to two weeks until it sells. Another distinct difference is that two or three years ago, we could tell a seller what a house would sell for and be about 99% correct. Today, we just don’t know. We look at comps and the only thing that comps tell us is what it won’t sell for.

What are the three most important things your team does for sellers in today’s market?

1. Set their expectations clearly from the start.
2. Tell them they have to be patient. In the Phoenix Metro market, the average number of days on the market is about 130. Three years ago, it was about 130 minutes-and you would have multiple offers.
3. The best thing we can do for a seller is to tell them the truth-nobody is going to get what they want for it.

We show up and tell the truth about the market. That’s all we can do.

Are you spending more or less on advertising and marketing than last year?

We are spending less; however, it’s a direct reflection of the overall market. Three years ago, we were selling 1,500 to 2,000 units a year; this year, we are only going to sell about 600 units. So our spending is proportional. We have had to scale down everything. We tell everyone to forget about waiting for the market to turn. The best thing we can do is to learn to sell in this market and that means keeping our bottom line in tact.