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RISMEDIA, September 2, 2009—Pricing a home at market value is one of the best ways to get a home sold, especially in today’s market when home buyers are looking for a deal. Here, Linda Sherrer, President and CEO, Prudential Network Realty explains why you have to play the numbers right in order to get prospective buyers off the sidelines. 

Sherrer_LindaLinda Sherrer
President and CEO
Prudential Network Realty 

Years in the industry: 30
Number of offices: 7
Number of agents: 300
Region served: Northeast Florida, spanning across five counties
Average sales price in your market: $190,000
Prudential Network Realty’s Average Sales Price: $250,000
Average number of days a home spends on the market: 3-12 months, depending on price point and location. The market is primarily first-time homebuyer driven at this time, therefore higher priced properties are taking longer to sell.
One way to help sellers understand the importance of pricing is…to get the seller in the car and have them see competing properties. That’s a real eye opener. You also have to show them a history on the property and show them how property prices in their area have responded to this market. It truly is a mathematical equation—not emotional.
Words of inspiration: Stay realistic, focused, and positive—giving it your best. I’m proud that our folks do just that—such a professional team.
Keep meetings productive by…Setting an agenda and a time and sticking to it. Empower agents by educating them—they need factual data and sound bites. Agents, like customers, need to deal in fact. 

What’s the best strategy to get buyers to see a listed home?
Today, pricing is clearly the most important thing—list with a skilled real estate professional, price at market value and make sure the home is in the best showing condition possible. It also means allowing a sign in the yard, staging the home so that it’s ready to show and insuring all marketing is in place the first day it goes into the MLS. In our area we have a regional MLS and agents can get the MLS lockbox that allows your property to be shown by all Realtors. It’s a numbers game. 

How can local real estate professionals team up to find success?
Events can help draw people to a home, neighborhood, or subdivision. Team up with other brokers and give the public many homes to preview in one area. These events also say to your seller, “I’m going all out for you—maximizing the opportunity you have rather than going about selling the home in a passive way.” 

How are you reaching out to first-time home buyers?
When we saw the market getting soft three years ago, we decided to make a large investment in technology. Our agents are very dialed-in to social networking and have really invested in themselves. I’m so proud of them. When you have more time on your hands, it’s the best time do so. Your sphere of influence, personal websites, social networking, blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook—all of those. I think today you have to keep your business fresh and out there. Also, whenever we have a success story from social networking, we promote it throughout the company. I do think that Gen X and Gen Y are communicating that way and that’s how you can reach these groups. 

How are you staying one step ahead of the local competition?
Like most people, we could see things were not going to remain the same. We went out, negotiated a suite of products—, Googlebase, websites, flyers, home tours, etc.—so we could drive the price down for our agents. We revamped our company’s website for a strong back engine and site optimization and gave every agent in the company a website. Most had websites but were paying way too much, not keeping it fresh, not optimized, so we knew if we took our optimized website and linked every agent’s site to ours, it would make a difference for our agents and customers. 

Where have you stepped up your training initiatives for today’s marketplace?
A big push that we’ve had in training is a real dynamic class on short sales. We have a manager and sales agent that have truly broken the code on working with the lenders. How to price the property and how to use the lender check list, for example, because every lender has different short sale package requirements. If your package is missing one piece, it goes to bottom of the heap, and the homeowner and buyer wait. We made a commitment to embrace this and make sure our agents are the best trained in this particular niche. There are always things you can do better but that’s one area in which we’re proficient. And now that the banks have become more efficient, having the two working in tandem gives us a higher percentage of seeing short sales go to closing.