How would you describe today’s new-home market?
It is a very tough environment. Banks that are willing to work with the developer to get the project sold are the ones we work with. There are some banks that just look at their guidelines and are not willing to negotiate. In those cases, everyone loses. But banks and developers that work together—both giving and negotiating—allow both sides to come out ahead. I am working with developers who have good relationships with banks. The developers want their projects to succeed. Everyone is looking for a win-win situation.
What are your best strategies for working with developers in today’s market?
When I have a development to sell, I do everything to get the word out and bring the project to fruition—so, I am keeping my advertising up. A lot of agencies are cutting back but in this market I have to do more, not less, to get my properties looked at online. One thing that I find very helpful is Floor Plan Online. This service gives me floor plans for each home. The photographs are very professional and the floor plans are put to music. It’s expensive, more so than a typical tour, but it gives me the best exposure possible. Consumers can see exactly what each home contains and all its dimensions. This is very important.
How are you handling projects that were started before the market collapsed and remain on the market?
Developers are finding they have to cut prices to the bone. Once they do, my job is to keep at it. I have to be tenacious and not quit until the project is sold. I like the building business. I love going to the wonderful conferences and conventions. I love helping people pick out the lots for the new homes they are buying. It gives me a lot of satisfaction.
What are you doing differently to stand out?
I am the broker/owner of a boutique agency and have been since 1994. What sets us apart is that we stick with the project—you may run into problems, but we never give up. My slogan has always been, “Service plus experience equals sold.” As a small boutique agency, I have the ability to be more flexible and more creative. I can also stick with a project longer than a giant agency would and I know what it takes to get something done. It takes finding out what the problem is and solving that problem. I think like the seller. I think, “What would you like this firm to do to sell your property?”
What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
Enjoy what the day is going to bring—every day is different. I wouldn’t want to do the same thing day in and day out punching a clock. Working with developers, there is always something new going on. With new construction projects, I find there is always something different. I am always learning. You get to go from conception to completion with the developer—the process is very creative.