When the market fluctuates, it’s important to do all that you can to focus on the positive. In the following interview, Lance Stopper, Co-owner of CENTURY 21 Stopper and Associates in Myrtle Beach, S.C. offers insight on positive trends, an evolving market, and more.
Region served: Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the surrounding towns and cities, covering about 60 miles of the beach.
Years in real estate: 10
Number of offices: We merged two independent offices into one CENTURY 21® Office with plans to expand down the line.
Number of agents: 18, but we’re now in the process of recruiting additional affiliates. We wanted to make sure we mastered all of the products, services and tools the CENTURY 21 System affords us before we started recruiting in earnest.
Top tip for building relationships with clients: The best way to build relationships with clients is through the highest quality of service. We deal with a lot of second-home and investment buyers, and our client service goes well beyond just finding them a property.
What is your favorite time-saving tool that you use on a weekly basis?
Technology has helped us out in many ways, especially when it comes to saving time. Being organized, writing down your “to-do” list the night before and ranking these items in order of importance also saves me a lot of time.
How are you embracing mobile technology?
We have iPads for our affiliated agents so that they can pull-up additional information when they’re showing properties. In addition, we have wireless everywhere in the office, and conference centers that we use for learning connected to mobile devices. We put our affiliated agents front and center, and we ask for that same commitment from them to show that they’re here for the long run.
Describe the current consumer-confidence climate in your area.
Consumer confidence, like the economy, has been “up and down” over the years, but now it’s definitely coming back. From a development standpoint, there are more homes being built today than I’ve seen in my 10 years in real estate, except for the beginning of 2005. From a vacation rental standpoint, people are booking ahead of time, and with gas prices basically cut in half, we should have a great year. All in all, we’re definitely moving in the right direction.
What is the most significant trend positively affecting your business?
Primarily, historically low mortgage interest rates are certainly helping, but many borrowers, especially first-time buyers, are accustomed to lower rates, so we see a lot of sitting and waiting. If the economy continues to improve, and the Fed acts to increase rates, that may spark a bit of movement. Secondarily, the bad weather up north is generating a lot more inquiries down here. Lastly, people are coming back from Florida, too; if they have to go home to the Northeast, it’s just a day trip from here.
In what ways do you see your market evolving throughout 2015?
We’re busy. People are beginning to “pull the trigger.” They want to live and/or vacation in South Carolina. With the return of the stock market, nest eggs are growing, and that’s been a positive for us, for sure.
For more information, visit www.century21.com.