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TOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE, January 2010—Marilyn Davis
Prudential Preferred Realty
Years in real estate: 13
Region Served: Pittsburgh area

What is your game plan when it comes to marketing your business?
I do a lot of advertising. I also believe in giving back to my community. We have a tremendous need in the community and I put a lot of my focus there. I am in a smaller community about 25 miles southeast of Pittsburgh where I have done a lot of volunteer work over the last 35 years. I sponsor local events, like a fundraiser for our local synagogue, Mardi Gras night for the local YWCA…things like that. My holiday gift for the last few years has been a donation to the food bank. I am local, I live here, I raised my kids here so I am very loyal to the community.

In terms of other marketing, being part of Prudential Preferred Realty is invaluable. We are linked to so many websites and people have found me through different affinity programs. We have lots of tools in our online tool chest! I have one customer who found me because he receives air miles by using my services. I was floored with that!

What’s your approach to print versus online marketing?
In our marketplace, especially with the elderly, we could never totally get rid of print advertising. However, online marketing is the future. A great percentage of buyers search for homes online before contacting me.

How is the new construction part of the market faring in your area?
We represent a few new construction developments in the area. Palmer Place was our first gated community in the area with 44 single family homes and 44 villas. Palmer Place is an upscale development with a premier location in Latrobe. We have another development called Gleneagles in the final phase of the Cherry Creek Golf Course with a total of 15 patio homes, which have sold very well. We had a good year last year. We didn’t break any records but we held steady.

What is the impact of the expanded and extended tax credit on first-time and move-up buyers?
The credit has done really well for us. Everyone thought the tax credit for first-time home buyers was ending in November so there was a mad rush to take advantage of that, which helped our business a great deal. The tax credit has really made a difference for first-time home buyers. They are able to move from renting to buying lovely homes.

How are you promoting this credit to drive business?
We are promoting it through our advertising. Buyers need to know this tax credit is not going to last much longer. There is housing inventory out there and the buyer needs to take advantage while they can. We try to inform clients and also advise them to meet with their tax expert to find out more details.

Why did you become a Member of Top 5?
I don’t tweet or blog so one of the aspects of Top 5 that I really like is that it handles social networking for me. I can easily send out Top 5’s newsletters and social networking articles. The articles are well written and the format is great—I like how Top 5 takes care of that aspect of my business for me.

What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
Balance. Enjoy what you do every day and find humor. If you do the right thing you can sleep well at night. I have a great team for the last four years and we all take care of each other’s jobs. Letting go of all the control was really hard to do at first, but now I could never go back to doing it alone.