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What’s most on the minds of today’s homebuyers? In the following interview, Duane Duggan of RE/MAX of Boulder tells us his about experience with working with today’s housing market, from its most critical challenges to creative marketing ideas that really make a difference.

Duane Duggan
RE/MAX of Boulder
Years in real estate: 33
Principal region served: Boulder, Colo.

What’s most on the minds of today’s homebuyers? What are some of the most critical challenges sellers are facing today?
Getting sellers to price correctly is the No. 1 challenge, and then helping them get through the remorseful period after they have priced the home correctly is the No. 2 challenge. It can be painful for sellers to find out what their house is worth in today’s market. I am at a stage in life where I don’t need to get a listing to be able to put food on the table, which means I can take the time I need to work on solving sellers’ problems. Sometimes the correct answer is to rent the house. Other times it might be to refinance. Sellers trust me to guide them to the correct answer.

How do you work to get the best possible price for sellers?
Many REALTORS® head to a listing appointment with three comps on their CMA (comparative market analysis) form. I do something different. For example, if the house is in an area where 60 houses have been on the market in the last year, I bring comps for all 60 and show them how those 60 houses fared. Then we decide together the best price for their house. I also use another very powerful tool I call “the unsuccessful seller story.” Taking these same 60 houses, as high as 50 percent of them may have never sold. I show the potential seller what the “unsuccessful” house was listed for and how long it was on the market at that price before the seller gave up. This also helps my sellers determine correct pricing.

Please describe the impact your Web presence has on your business.
We use our website to communicate with our clients. I blog, I offer timely tips, and I have a business referral directory. With the directory, clients can log on and get whatever they need for their move, from plumbers and painters to lawyers and swimming pool contractors. I also have my buyer and seller presentations on my website. Instead of giving clients hard copies, we give them access to an online buyer or seller packet, which are password protected. My website is not structured for lead generation, but rather I view it as the best method I know of today to communicate with my clients and provide seamless service.

What would you point to as one of your most creative marketing ideas?
I have an extensive database with a list of 1,200 customers, past and present. I send all 1,200 customers a beautiful calendar each year. Only 500 of the people who receive them are local. An additional 700 customers have moved out of the area. Most REALTORS® stop the relationship and forget about their clients who have moved. But we get many, many referrals from these calendars. It is important to keep in touch with anyone you have helped.

What’s your best idea for time management?
We are working on that right now. The key is to synchronize our calendars so that all four of my team members are on the same page and up to the minute.

What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
Balance and accountability. I am on foundations and I am an elder at my church. I try to call one member of our church every day. I am also mentoring REALTORS®, which really excites me. It’s really all about connecting with people and being in their lives in a meaningful way.