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Viewpoints Part II

RISMEDIA, January 10, 2009-Looking back at 2008’s major headlines, it may be hard to imagine a positive outcome in the months to come. So, considering the fact that it’s a New Year, with a new president, and hopefully, a new economy, can we expect a new outlook, too? What does it mean for real estate? This month, five top-notch industry pros tell us what we may find over the next 12 months-and how to face it.

Scott Dixon
President, Real Estate Division
Network Communications

Typically, at this time, we reflect on the past year and make new resolutions. The industry shift and changing global economy represent unprecedented events and the future is uncertain at best. It is arguable as to whether there has ever been a time of such concentrated and dynamic change.

For 30 years, we’ve endured good times in the industry and bad. Launched in Albany, Georgia, in 1978, The Real Estate Book now covers more than 500 markets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. We’ve adapted our overall product-integrating online and other emerging technology into our tried-and-true print exposure to remain responsive to the consumer and our advertisers.

And, while our business fluctuates with the market as well, we’ve remained profitable, relevant, credible, and a trusted source of real estate information. Over the years, we’ve asked ourselves the same question you do-how do I continue to thrive in this ever-changing industry?
I’d like to share some insight with you.

Homes will sell. The National Association of Realtors estimated that 5 million homes would sell in calendar year 2008. The basic need and desire for homeownership still exists and will continue. The difference is that consumer perceptions change. Today, their confidence has been shaken and they are much less risk-tolerant.

In an uncertain economy, consumers interact with brands and people they trust. They consider more strongly the quality of the product or service in which they invest and are more selective. When they interact with you, they are asking themselves, “Can I trust this person with my largest investment?”

You are competing for consumer trust. Are you in the consideration set? It bears saying that the days of using your brother-in-law or a part-time agent to sell your home are quickly disappearing. It is paramount that you proactively promote yourself as engaged in the local market and closing transactions. Advertise that you’ve sold homes. Show buyers how you will help them make a strong investment and prepare for the closing table.

Your reputation as a trusted professional is more important than ever. When you are advertising yourself, are you relying on a free listing site to promote your brand, or a trusted media partner that reaches out to a qualified group of prospective clients through an integrated and active advertising campaign?
I, personally, take our advertisers’ and the consumer’s trust very seriously. We will continue to provide an affordable, effective and results-driven advertising solution that serves as the solid source of real estate information to consumers.