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RISMEDIA, September 17, 2010—Being unique in today’s market is one of the simplest ways for real estate companies to stay ahead of their competition. Here, Robin Rose, general manager of Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley in Napa, California discusses how her company’s team approach creates a successful atmosphere.

Robin Rose
General Manager
Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley
Napa, California

Region served: Napa Valley and the surrounding North Bay area
Years in real estate: 33
Number of agents: 100
Average listing price: $493,000
Average days on market: 128
Best tip for running a successful agents’ meeting: Our weekly business meetings start on time, stay on agenda and most importantly, provide valuable information and content that agents can’t get anywhere else. Our agents don’t want to miss a meeting because they feel like they’ll miss something important to their business. We try to keep things lively and fun for our group.

How would you describe the current market in Napa Valley?
To quote The Beatles, “It’s getting better all the time.” Our area unit sales are up 9% and the volume is up 13% during the first six months of 2010 over 2009. While most of the area sales continue to be in the under $500,000 range, we are seeing an increase in our median and average sales prices. The month’s supply of inventory has reduced in most categories. One of our biggest challenges is a lack of inventory in the under $500,000 range.

What tools and resources are most critical to ongoing success?
Education and technology are critical to the success of our agents today. We have expanded our education, mentoring, coaching and training programs over the past couple of years. We have some type of training going on almost daily. We try to provide continual education that allows our agents to shift in the marketplace as needed. We have also partnered with a local CPA and attorney to assist our sellers with properties in distress.

What makes your company unique in today’s market?
It is our total team atmosphere. Our group of full-time associates, management and staff is committed to the best interests of our clients. Agents are always willing to give another agent a helping hand. The staff is always willing to go the extra mile. Our management team is very focused on assisting our agents in any way possible.

What have been some of your most effective strategies for working in the slower market?
We have maintained a focus on support and services to our associates. While many have taken a path of cutting costs, we made a bigger commitment to our team. This allows our agents to provide the support and service that their clients need in this marketplace. Our agents appreciate the IT support, transaction coordination, marketing assistance and administrative management. Our company transaction count is up over 31% and volume up over 52% for the first six months of the year. Our market share has grown by an incredible 29% in the past year.

What is the best advice you have for today’s sellers?
Partner with a local, full-time Realtor who can help you understand today’s complex real estate environment. Pricing and showing condition have never been more important. Sellers need to understand lending, appraisal and other complexities that may have a big impact on the marketability of their property. If the seller has issues of distress, they need to team with a Realtor who understands the issues they are facing and helps them make good decisions.