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RISMEDIA, April 24, 2010—Recruiting new and existing sales associates is a challenge that many real estate professionals are facing today. Here, Gloria Frazier, Broker/President, ERA American Realty in Shalimar, Florida discusses how her company is utilizing a multi-faceted approach to both recruit and retain agents.

Gloria Frazier
ERA American Realty
Shalimar, Florida

Region served: Northwest Florida, aka the Emerald Coast
Years in real estate: 33
Number of offices: 5
Number of agents: 75
Average sales price: $200,000
Average time on market: 118 days
Run an effective meeting by…Having a meaningful agenda and sticking to it. In addition, make good use of visuals so that you are showing the data instead of simply telling it.
Best way to motivate agents: Show your sales associates how to be successful and give them the tools in order to achieve success. Motivating sales associates begins with making sure everyone is skilled in as many areas as possible.

How would you describe the current market in Florida?
Northwest Florida is made up of two distinct markets: the tourist market (second homes and condos) and the regular market. Our tourist market is showing signs of coming around again as condo sales were up about 13% last year, which is a good sign. While prices are down about 30%, they seem to be getting into the range where people are taking interest in investment properties again. On the other side of the market, sales are up 13%, prices are down about 20%, but these numbers are trending in the right direction.

How are you effectively reaching out to first-time home buyers?
Over the past year, we have been hosting home-buying seminars for first-time buyers on a regular basis, since they have been a vital part of our business. We have reached out to potential buyers in specific geographic areas through postcards, TV commercials and print advertising in order to get the word out about the home buyer tax credit. While the tax credit has been a huge incentive, it has been more difficult to promote the move-up credit. The move-up credit doesn’t take into account that most homeowners need to sell their home before purchasing a new home, so there hasn’t been enough time to effectively capitalize on that market.

What is your company doing to be cost conscious in today’s market?
Being cost conscious is crucial in today’s market and we have made it a priority to carefully monitor all of our budget items. By looking at our budget line by line, we have been able to cut expenses on a reasonable basis. We have also cut back on our print advertising, which has helped us save money while allowing us to reach our consumers most effectively.

What is your biggest challenge in today’s market and how is your company taking it on?
We had 100 sales associates in 2006, and we would like to be back at that number by the end of the year. In order to achieve this goal, we are utilizing a multi-faceted approach to recruit new and existing sales associates. In addition, we hired a recruiting director whose sole responsibility is to recruit and train sales associates. Our biggest challenge is to attract good, quality people that want to make real estate their career in this market.