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RISMEDIA, March 1, 2010—Being realistic about today’s market realities is one of the best ways for real estate professionals to face the market head-on. Whether it be presenting accurate information to sellers, staying cost-conscious in today’s tough economy or communicating with clients the way they want to be connected with, Jim Napier, President, Napier Realtors in Midlothian, Virginia discusses how his company has taken a heads-on approach to real estate.

Jim Napier
Napier Realtors
Midlothian, Virginia

Years in real estate: 34
Number of offices: 4
Number of sales associates: 150
Average sales price: $270,000
The Central Virginia market began to change: About four years ago
Sage advice: If you pay close attention to the nickels and dimes, the dollars will take care of themselves.
Communicating with sellers: The best thing you can do is be realistic with your sellers regarding the challenges in today’s market and about the value of accurate pricing. Then, based on their needs, they need to decide whether it’s really the best time for them to be selling their home.

How have you altered your business to be more cost-conscious?
We’ve been working very diligently on our expense footprint and trying to adjust to what the market will accommodate. For example, we consolidated from six offices to four.

What are you telling sellers about this market?
Inventory management is key. We are optimistic, but realistic with our sellers. When the market is up, that conversation is easy. But when the market is as it’s been, unfortunately, that’s when you have to have a sobering conversation with them. We present accurate information and sometimes the answer might be that now is not the time to sell. However, if they still need to proceed with listing their home, they need to be very realistic about pricing. Ours is a marketplace that continues last year’s pricing war, but it’s also a beauty contest. To sell, you have to stage your home and take care of the things that need to be taken care of—painting, landscaping, etc. The home has to be as presentable and move-in ready as possible. It’s all about positioning. When you have more homes on the market, buyers are looking for that. They want the best price and condition…that comes when you have more choices.

Your company recently merged with Tetteron & Associates Realty, LLC. This activity seems like a strong signal to your sales associates.
Absolutely. Obviously, we, as a company, are looking to recruit sales associates who want to produce. This type of merger is really mass recruiting. When you see that you have an opportunity to bring a group of like-minded professionals into an existing location, you take it. Overnight, we have almost doubled our sales associates and listings in that location. Additionally, it creates a positive energy and buzz.

Can you explain your company’s social media efforts?
We have started the initiative at the company level. We have a company fan page on Facebook and encourage all sales associates to create their own profiles. We offer training sessions on how to set up Facebook, Twitter, etc. There’s more activity these days on social networking sites than there is on e-mail. The big thing everyone hates is junk mail; this is permission-based so you eliminate that. We see enough importance in social networking to have signed an agreement with a local marketing firm—in addition to what ERA Real Estate provides—to help with our social networking efforts.