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RISMEDIA, January 26, 2011—Knowing your local market is an important piece of the puzzle for any real estate agent. As consumers continue to demand more information at a faster pace, it is crucial that agents take the time to learn the ups and downs of their local real estate market. Here, Frank DeLoach, broker/owner of DeLoach Sotheby’s International Realty, St. Simons Island, Georgia discusses how real estate agents can take advantage of a local footprint in today’s real estate market.

Frank DeLoach
DeLoach Sotheby’s International Realty
St. Simons Island, Georgia

Regions served: Coastal Georgia, including St. Simons Island, Sea Island and Brunswick

Years in real estate: 23
Number of agents: 18
Average listing price: $400,000
Average days on market: 200
Best advice for real estate rookies: Nothing replaces hard work and knowing your market—and that means all listings, not just yours or your office’s.
Key to staying profitable: In this market, it’s managing your expenses and continuing to recruit good agents.

How would you describe the current market in your region?
Our market is beginning to show early signs of improving. If you look at the number of sales compared to the number of listings, listings seem to be going down each month, while sales are climbing each month. It is improving, but more slowly than we would like, that’s for sure.

What is your biggest challenge in today’s market?
Because we work with a number of banks and large mortgage companies, it’s playing the waiting game with them. In addition to waiting for them to respond to offers, it’s educating our clients about how long it takes these days to get a response and the difficulty we have in getting them responses that they’re satisfied with. It takes a lot of patience and persistence.

How are you keeping consumers educated about today’s buying opportunities?
The best way is through e-mail. I just affiliated with the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand in May 2010 and we have great hopes that will help us communicate with our customers. We’re hopeful to have a blog soon that will be tied to our website that people can follow.

What’s your best strategy to get buyers to see a listed home?
The Sotheby’s International Realty brand places a high level of importance on great photography. For us, that is the best strategy, in addition to detailed descriptions of properties. From there, it’s maximizing exposure both on the Internet and in print. But it starts with great visual imagery through great photographs.

How do you determine your marketing budget and how does this break down between print and online?
Our marketing budget in this environment is based on what sales will be like in the next six to 12 months. As the market improves, you’ll have to increase your budget because you may have more listings. We’re slowly working away from print and moving toward the Internet and all the different ways you can access people electronically. A majority of our money is still spent on print; however, it is something we’re moving away from.

What makes your company unique in today’s market?
Not only am I a local to this area, but many of our agents are locals to this area as well. I love this area and have been here a long time. That, coupled with our ability to reach outside this market through our affiliation with the Sotheby’s International Realty brand, clearly distinguishes us from those who don’t have the reach that we do.