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A few years ago, when the local real estate picture in Northern Wisconsin wasn’t so rosy, Ron Zahrt, president of First Weber Group in Wausau, Wis., saw the need to invest in—and teach his team about—progressive, new technology.

Especially technology that helps educate potential buyers.

“I’m approaching 35 years in the business, but through the down economy a few years back, we remained progressive,” says Zahrt. “When other companies were ducking and covering, we were looking at investing in new technology.”

In recent weeks, Zahrt and his team of 1,000 agents have found themselves in the midst of one of the nastier winters the area has seen in many years, and it’s having a momentary effect on home sales and purchases.

“Compared to last year, we are still much busier, but we didn’t have the snow. When it’s 10 below and snowing, how much of a house can you really see?” Zahrt asks rhetorically. “My motto is, when water runs in the streets, things will break loose. Today’s snowfall will make our spring season more robust. I don’t see a downward trend, just a weather-related hiccup.”

No matter what the weather, Zahrt is a big fan of Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®), which he says is one of the most valued and frequently used tools in his toolbox.

“If someone calls me, the first thing I do is put the listing in RPR to get base data. It’s my starting point every time—commercial or residential,” Zahrt says. “And we link the RPR report (to each of) our listings. You pull up that report with just a few clicks, and you have everything you need to know.”

Zahrt says having RPR linked to every listing provides a great competitive advantage to team members using the service, so he urges his sales team to use RPR to their full advantage to help add value to client interactions.

“When I get an interested buyer, I pull their property reports and show them right away,” says Zahrt, giving potential buyers a comprehensive snapshot—or screenshot—of the properties they are most interested in.

“It’s our job to educate buyers and sellers. Maybe homeowners go into the market every seven years or more, so they don’t have a clue as to what has changed. We are in the market every day.

“We see the RPR product as being great for our REALTORS® and the consumer,” concludes Zahrt. “At least half of our agents are using it now, but we expect many more to start using it this year.”

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