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Keeping buyers educated is a crucial piece of the puzzle that real estate professionals can’t afford to overlook as we make our way through today’s challenging market. Here, Gretchen Pearson, president of Prudential California Realty in San Ramon, Calif. discusses how her company is pulling out all the stops when it comes to communicating with today’s consumers.

Gretchen Pearson
Prudential California Realty
San Ramon, Calif.

Region served: San Francisco Bay area, Northern California
Years in real estate: 25
Number of offices: 15
Number of agents: 500
Average time on market: 60 days
Average sales price: $400,000
Current market conditions: We are currently in the midst of a brisk market. While the market continues to move, we still have to deal with tight underwriting, which is keeping prices artificially low.

How are you keeping consumers educated about today’s buying opportunities?
Communication is key when it comes to keeping buyers educated. We stay in touch through our company blog, which provides a great avenue to share information related to real estate investments and the market in general. Our first-time investment seminars have also been popular. In addition, we send out a monthly report that includes information pertaining to the entire county, providing our agents an easy way to stay in touch with their client database.

What are some of your best marketing techniques?
We market every listing for our agents to ensure a level of consistency across the board. Every listing, regardless of price and location, gets its own website, QR code, texting code and premium placement on syndicated sites. The listings are turned around in a 24-hour timeframe, and are then electronically distributed to 26,000 agents. We began incorporating QR/texting codes into our listings three years ago, before the auto creation tool was introduced, which shows that we are on the leading edge when it comes to technology and marketing.

How are you incorporating social media into your business?
Our agents are blasting everything on Facebook, which provides an invaluable branding experience for both themselves and the company, as the information they share is getting passed around. We provide our agents with information related to current market data, financing, underwriting, first-time investment opportunities, REO information, etc., so they don’t have to take the time to create anything on their own.

What are your strategies for standing apart from your local competition in terms of online marketing?
We’re in the process of putting together a PR campaign (at press time) for a feature called “Make Me an Offer,” which we have on beta at the moment. “Make Me an Offer” allows prospective buyers to make an offer online on any property within the local marketplace and also includes time and response guarantees. “Make Me an Offer” will also allow us to take advantage of a more global market, making it easier for foreign investors to buy real estate in California. We’re also in the process of rolling out an online chat feature that expands the amount of time consumers have to interact with real estate agents. The feature provides an anonymous, service-oriented approach for consumers to get their real estate questions answered.

What is your biggest challenge in today’s market and how is your company taking it on?
The biggest challenge in today’s market is the lack of consistency within the profession. Consumers have also given up on the industry, so it’s crucial that we really challenge the industry both inside and outside the company to lift the bar.