TOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE, March 2010 –
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Ocean City, Maryland
Average sales price in your market: $350,000
Average number of days a home spends on the market: 180
How have you evolved your strategies for the second-home market in this tough environment?
In this environment I find you have to use everything you can and use a multi-tiered approach. I pay close attention to the rental market because most homeowners in an ocean/second-home community were renters first. I make sure my current renters know that if they’re interested in buying a particular unit, they can contact me.
When working with sellers on listing and pricing vacation homes, I focus on what has sold recently and show the client exactly what their options are. If they price it correctly to start with, we can get it sold in 60 to 90 days. Also, since real estate is all about referrals, I belong to the NAR’s Resort and Second Home Committee, which represents Realtors all over the U.S. and resorts outside the U.S. It’s a great referral network.
What is the current trend in second homes?
I am seeing increased interest in the last couple of weeks (at press time). People are coming out to see second homes because, number one, prices are down to 2001 prices, and, number two, mortgages are 5%, which is the same as primary homes. This is a super time to buy and people who have been priced out of the second-home market in the past few years are finding that now is the time to buy. The good news about our area is we are two hours from Washington D.C. and two and half hours from Philadelphia.
Are you relying more on technology and social media?
The old days of waiting for someone to come in the front door or call you on the phone are numbered. You have to have a presence on the Internet. Being around younger Realtors, I have learned that if you are not online with social media, you are not going to be around for the long run. I am on Twitter and Facebook and I have added sites like Active Rain to my marketing tool kit for listings. I show potential clients that I can do a better job of marketing their listing because of my use of technology and social media.
As part of Coldwell Banker we flow into about 40 websites automatically so I can offer that exposure as well. We also have something called FlexMLS through our new MLS system. Flex has portals and I can set up new customers with daily e-mailings through these portals. The program lets me know what listings clients have looked at—I am getting a lot of positive feedback.
What about print advertising?
I am still using a little print here at the beach. For the secondary home market I still use local papers…not as much as I used to, but it’s important for sellers.
What are your three top priorities for sellers when they first list in this market?
I always tell them to use a home warranty. It helps them while we have it listed and they don’t have to pay until settlement. I also try to tell them to offer some type of closing help. But the most important thing is to make sure the home is in good shape. There are 1,300 condos for sale today on this one 10-mile strip. There is a lot of competition and you have to make sure your condo looks great.
How are you/will you utilize the Top 5 program to help build your business?
I really like the e-mail blasts—those are great. Also, the presence of the Top 5 logo on any literature causes people to stop and ask about it. This gives me a chance to sell myself, which in turn, helps me sell property. I also am excited to interact with other Top 5 members in order to learn from each other.
What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
A positive attitude. Where else can you go to make a living in this surrounding? It is such a great opportunity. Also, I like working with people’s discretionary income. This is money that they don’t have to spend, but that they want to spend. That means I am dealing with people who really want to be here.