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RISMEDIA, September 8, 2010—Staying ahead of your competition is a huge advantage in any real estate market, especially the one we are experiencing today. Here, Bill Fandel, vice president/managing broker of Peaks Real Estate Sotheby’s International Realty in Telluride, Colorado discusses how he has set his company up to gain substantial market share from their competitors when we come out of this downturn.

Bill Fandel
Vice President/Managing Broker
Peaks Real Estate Sotheby’s International Realty
Telluride, Colorado

Region served: Telluride and Mountain Village areas of Southwest Colorado
Years in real estate:
Number of agents: 35
Average listing price: $7.2 million
Average days on market: 365
Most beneficial background experience: I was the concierge at a Relais & Châteaux property, where I dealt with very upscale clients for several years. It gave me a great level of comfort servicing these clients’ needs and interests.

How would you describe the current market in your region?
Specifically in Telluride, we’re seeing a stabilizing trend after a challenging 2009. We’ve seen our gross dollar volume double in the first half of the year and transactions have done the same. Deeply discounted opportunities are being called out of the market. It’s a very opportunistic time for buyers to exploit historical lows in the market. I’m finding that people are buying the very best locations and properties of the highest quality at the deepest discounts relevant to those properties.

What is your biggest challenge in today’s market?
Getting clients to commit substantial financial resources against competing assets in other classes is a big challenge. You have to build a compelling story because they have opportunities to buy other assets at deep discounts.

How do you determine your marketing budget and how does this break down between print and online?
It’s a reallocation process. I’ve moved away from some of the high-dollar print media campaigns and have been reallocating dollars between local and regional print campaigns where there’s still relevance. I’m also developing an entirely brand new website, which is currently in beta.

What role, if any, does social media play in growing your business?
I’ve been refocusing on social media. Though I’m not a Twitter fan, I see the opportunities with LinkedIn and Facebook and am beginning to explore them. I want to be very effective. I want someone who’s very capable to launch me. I want my new online initiatives and website to be put forth simultaneously to create synergy. I’m also very closely focusing on exploring the mobile app market. I’ve just become the first and only broker in Telluride to work with SmarterAgent, a company that creates mobile phone applications for real estate. We’ve had over a million downloads already.

What tools and resources are most critical to ongoing success?
Exploiting the downturn in commercial property rates, I just secured a signature retail station in the town of Telluride for my office. I also use the Sotheby’s International Realty® network of top brokers—I’m a big advocate of the brand and networking through our top brokers. Also, the quality of my marketing campaign is very well-known and established. Personal branding is a component of that.

How are you staying one step ahead of your competition?
I see that there’s a great opportunity for a smaller universe of highly professional brokers to gain substantial market share from their competitors coming out of this downturn. As opposed to our competition, we have a vertically and horizontally integrated network and intranet that gives individual brokers and brokerages an incredible array of marketing platforms that can be delivered immediately and in a very cost-efficient manner to both brokers and sellers alike. If you understand the resources and infrastructure we’re given, it’s very difficult to lose listings, especially high-profile listings.