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RISMEDIA, October 18, 2010—Whether the real estate market where you work is active or still in a sluggish phase, selling homes is still the name of the game. In fact, today’s market has forced real estate professionals to sell homes three times before a transaction is even complete. Once to the agent, then the buyer and lastly the bank. Here, Michelle Genovesi, owner of Michelle & Company William Raveis Real Estate & Home Services in Westport, Connecticut shares how her company is working to perfect all three stages.

Michelle Genovesi
Michelle & Company William Raveis Real Estate & Home Services
Westport, Connecticut

Region served: Lower Fairfield County
Years in real estate: 26
Number of agents/employees: Five buyer team members, four admin team members, one director of first impressions, one service and client care manager, two marketing managers
Average listing price: $2 million
Average days on market: 60
Best secret for time management: Having a really great team of talented and skilled individuals.
Most effective way to motivate agents: Acknowledgement. I’m also fortunate enough to surround myself with a team that is self-motivating. They enjoy what they do and are good at it.

How would you describe the current market in your region?
This market is very active, much more active than the prior year. We are finding ourselves with more sales; however, we really have to sell the house three times now—to the agent, to the buyer and to the bank. The third sell is the difficult one now; banks are very cautious of their loan values and they’re typically asking for two appraisals instead of one. The buyer is as cautious and conservative as the banks; sellers are more realistic knowing that it’s a buyer’s market. What’s going to carry us through to a great fall market is the all-time low interest rates and prices.

What is your biggest challenge in today’s market?
Making sure we can sell the house all three times. Also, helping to educate both the buyer and seller about where the market is so they can both make smart decisions on their purchase.

How do you incorporate local print advertising into your marketing strategy?
I’ve worked hard to build my site and the traffic to it, and I do that primarily through local and print marketing. Print marketing allows me to show a buyer a particular property and entice them to come learn more on my website. There, they learn about the property base, view photos and printable media, and take a virtual tour. The Real Estate Book has a large distribution and the only way to get on its website is to be in the book. It’s smart on their part and smart on my part—the book is everywhere and the website populates many more websites. By being on their site, I have the opportunity to be on many others.

What is essential to your company’s ongoing success?
Central to success is your reputation—building a brand and a name that is built on integrity and honesty. The rest can be learned. I find that continuing to build on personal relationships, as well as all the sources we use to generate sales with the Internet, is important to be able to build trust right away with a buyer. Our goal is to help them understand that they don’t need to look any further than Michelle & Company. Buyers feel all the information is out there and they think they only need a Realtor to show them a house, so we try to educate them about how much more valuable it is to have one team looking out for their best interests.

What makes your company unique in terms of keeping good communication with your clients?
I really pride myself on the business model I use and the service and experience we can give our clients because of it. The way I’ve built and set up my team, each person has accountability and responsibility to our clients. Keeping a really good database helps keep me in touch. I can continue to be in touch after the sale with info on what’s happening in the market and keep them involved in what’s going on after the sale. Hopefully, the only name they think of when they want to sell is Michelle & Company.