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RISMEDIA, February 24, 2010—Home sales are creeping up, short sales and loan modifications are being streamlined and consumers are recognizing the value of Realtor guidance. It’s all having a positive effect on many agents whose businesses saw a marked slowdown in the past few years. The ingredients for a successful rebound are brewing, which is good news for the industry. However, we should all realize that it’s not the focus for most people.

The Baby Boomer couple on a fixed income whose home equity and retirement savings have been cut in half, the recently laid-off father who’s on the verge of losing his home to foreclosure and the motivated first-time buyer who struggles to secure financing aren’t concerned with boosting housing activity. They’re concerned, rightly, with improving their own situations. Agents whose messaging speaks directly to customer needs and concerns will attract the most attention.

The Big Picture
According to the NAR 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, nearly 80% of buyers consult a Realtor during their home search, and just 11% of sellers opt not to list their home with an agent. That puts FSBOs at a low not seen in more than six years. Buyers and sellers continue to seek out expert guidance, insight and encouragement in this tough economic climate.

It’s likely that you’ve worked hard in recent years, especially, to get additional training, boost your credentials and designations, and gain new knowledge in areas such as distressed properties and green real estate. You’re well-qualified and well-prepared to help. It’s up to you to convey the value of your enhanced services and expertise in meaningful and tangible ways.

Refine Your Pitch
Messages like “I get more buyers into their perfect place,” “I’ve helped 20 families avoid foreclosure” and “There’s no home I can’t sell,” may appeal to potential clients because they really want to know that you can help them through a difficult process. Keep in mind, also, that most people don’t know what an REO or a short sale is. Highlight the benefits of working with you in plain, accessible language.

Customers remember you for a positive outcome more than for your resume. Address their needs, help them find the best solution and the bottom line will take care of itself. If buyers and sellers realize they can turn to you when times are bad, they’re sure to remember you when times are good again.

Margaret Kelly, CRB, is chief executive officer of RE/MAX International, Inc.

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