Scott Askew, president of Engel & Völkers Intown Atlanta, knows the ins and outs of the real estate industry. With over 35 years of experience behind him, Askew is working hard to redefine the marketplace. Read the following interview for his sage advice, from working with appraisers to dealing with picky buyers.
Region served: Metropolitan Atlanta, with a focus on the area inside the Perimeter Highway, I-285
Years in real estate: 35 years, 3 months and a handful of days
Average sales price: For the entire MLS market, so far this year it’s $185,400 for attached homes and $224,500 for detached. Our average sales price is right around $400,000.
Average market time: 59 days
Must-have technology tool: Normally, I would say my smartphone, but we recently joined Engel & Völkers, and going into the future it’ll be their Brand Central site where we can go in and do all of our marketing production in one location.
Best source of industry news: The National Association of REALTORS®.
What is your best tip for dealing with a picky buyer?
You have to qualify them not only financially, but emotionally, and determine whether they’re realistic in their expectations. If you think they are and you spend 2-3 days showing them properties, and it’s evident that their expectation level isn’t in line with the marketplace, I think you need to move on to someone who’s ready to move forward. It’s easy to say “I want to buy a home,” but when you get started with the process, a lot of times, the consumer begins to realize it’s a bigger move than they anticipated.
What are some of the current trends in your market?
Six months ago, we had many people trying to sell property privately and not including other real estate agents in the sale, but that has waned a little. Sure, we can sell a house by just whispering among ourselves, but what some agents have actually done is damage their own business by not allowing this data to go to the MLS service. We have a lot of appraisers joining our MLS service because they’ve lost sources of data, so they’re very reliant on the MLS to provide sales data. If I don’t put my listings in the MLS, it’s damaging in two respects:
1. I don’t have the comps there when I go to do the CMA for the next home. Appraisers have late information because the counties recording the sales at the court houses are backed up and it can be months before sold data will show up on a property. If the appraiser doesn’t have the data, we’re sunk.
2. The seller can be harmed because while it’s easy, fast and painless to sell a property to a neighbor or friend, they might not be getting full value. We’ve heard stories of lawsuits where sellers have gone after real estate agents for the mere fact of them not putting info in the MLS service so a true market value can be determined.
What demographic segments are driving your business?
Young professionals who are starting to feel more secure in their careers and are either buying their first or second home.
Describe the current consumer-confidence climate in your area.
I think we’re still walking on eggshells, though consumer confidence appears to be rising. Our job is to move forward and help people as best we can, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty out there. Despite that, this has the potential to be the best year in our history.
What strategies do you have in place to successfully reach out to first-time buyers?
We’re actively trying to recruit high quality, highly ethical folks who are younger and who want to learn how to do business the right way. We’re always looking for individuals who put their clients’ wants and needs before their own interests.
You recently affiliated with Engel & Völkers. What was it about the brand that attracted you?
Atlanta is a thriving community and we have a very solid international community as well, therefore, we chose Engel & Völkers in order to join a global network that’s really connected in hopes of being able to reach people across the waters who want to invest in America, and hopefully, in the Atlanta market. Engel & Völkers is also a fresh face with great ideas, and our agents are truly excited about the client management systems and collaborative marketing strategies we now have access to. I think we’re going to redefine the marketplace when it comes to providing premium quality service.