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9 CosenzaTOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE, November 2009—Paula & Rick Cosenza
Cosenza Realty Consultants, Inc.
Years in real estate: Paula, 20; Rick, 13 years
Region Served: South Orange County, California
Average sales price in your market: $650,000
Average number of days a home spends on the market: 30-45 days for standard sales. Short sales can take considerably longer.

How do you distinguish yourself from other agents in the market?
Paula: We have lived in our community for 30 years and have enjoyed relationships with many wonderful families whether it is from involvement in youth sports, school or the community. I serve as Commissioner on the Parks and Recreation for Laguna Niguel. I love it and it gives me the opportunity to give back to the city that has given us and our children so much. We are both very involved in the Orange County Association of REALTORS® (OCAR). I have served as director on our board since 2000 and was elected President in 2004. We’ve both served on numerous committees throughout the years and chaired many as well. Each of us has had the distinct honor to have received The REALTOR® of the Year award (Paula in 2003 and Rick in 2007). We are also involved at the state level with the California Association of REALTORS® (CAR.). We attend the CAR meetings and I serve as a director. We are proud “Golden R” contributors of the REALTOR® Action Fund which is a P.A.C. that assists our state association to fight for property rights as bills come forth. Rick serves on the Professional Standards Committee as well as chair of Local Governmental Relations South and is past chair and current member of the BORP AC committee. People recognize us because of our involvement in the community and who we are professionally.

Last but not least, we stress service; consequently, we provide “5 star service.” And it works because 85% to 90 % of our business is repeat referral business. We are currently assisting second-generation clients.

How do you connect with today’s more savvy real estate consumer?
Paula: We are real estate savvy because of all that we do. We have a great Internet presence and we are always trying to stay one step ahead. Rick does all the technology research.
Rick: We utilize the newest technology—that means everything from computers to smart phones. We invest in anything that pertains to us. We use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter as well as LinkedIn for connection with our sphere and beyond.

How do you ensure you provide relevant, useful information to consumers?
Paula: Our marketing pieces are not about being number-one in the area. We distribute information that is useful and relevant to our clients.
Rick: In fact, we had one recent neighborhood mailing that provided relevant information to the area and talked about the fact that daylight savings time was coming up. A resident called and said, “I just wanted to thank you for this information about events in the area and the time change. I really appreciate it, especially because it’s not a recipe or a mailer telling me about how you are number one.”

Why did you become a Member of RISMedia’a Top 5 in Real Estate Network®?
Rick: We always want to keep our eyes and ears open to opportunities that represent value to our business. I have heard Allan Dalton speak in the past so when he was scheduled for a visit to our association, we decided to attend. For us, what we came away with was relevant to our business philosophy and we thought it would be foolish for us not to take advantage of this. We are very selective as to the programs and groups that we join; we are very happy to be part of Top 5.

How are you/will you utilize the Top 5 program to help build your business?
Paula: The Real Estate Matters digital newsletter is really great and; it goes out in a very professional format and sends relevant information to our clients. We have the Top 5 resource center link on our website that leads to real estate consumer videos that have become a great source of discussion with our website visitors. Each day we receive “Today’s Real Estate Advisor” via email. The information in this piece is great! Often we will take an article from it and send it to our agents and/or our clients as a very timely and useful piece.

What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
Paula: In this business, you must stay focused and keep your eye and mind on what you want to achieve and just go for it. You have to view the business not just for financial gain, but as a valuable profession for you and your clients. Get involved and give back to your community. It may take longer, but its well worth it.
Rick: Balance. We do a business plan every year and stick to it. Without a plan, how will you know where you are going? Attending different events like CAR and NAR is vital to keep us current with the ever evolving-industry. It’s extremely important to balance your personal life with your professional life. Take time away from the business and just relax! We all know that this is the key to happiness and success, so just do it!