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Debord_SamThe Seattle metro area has a severely constricted supply of homes, resulting in agents working twice as hard for the same number of sales in the current market. That’s why for Sam DeBord, managing broker for Seattle Homes Group/Coldwell Banker Danforth, keeping agents motivated in a difficult environment is a primary focus.

“Many areas have less than one month of available inventory. That has required brokers to focus on their spheres to generate listings,” he says. “Rising prices and competitive bidding are increasing individual sales commissions, while the influx of tech workers continues to strain available housing supply.”

Working with homeowners to help them understand their opportunities is priority one for DeBord, and he works closely with management on recruiting, technical strategy and team leadership to ensure this is done correctly.

“Generating listings requires us to help sellers understand where they’ll move to next,” DeBord explains. “By helping our clients understand the current interest rate environment and the opportunity it represents for selling and buying in the near future, we can create more sorely-needed listings.”

Agents are experimenting with new models every day, and whether they’re solo agents, partners or teams, the firm attracts them with a flexible office environment.

“They want the support and technology foundation of a trusted office, reasonable costs for doing business, and the ability to innovate within their own personal model,” DeBord says. “That seems to be driving our growth.”

Things are done a little differently at Seattle Homes Group, and it has found the sweet spot in the market, combining low overhead costs, trusted branding, technology support, and a flexible business model.

“Our agents who engage with Internet leads are trained differently,” DeBord says. “They understand that the new consumer expects to receive value before signing a contract. We engage with the consumer via text, email, or app—whatever they prefer. Communication has to be prompt. We provide information and a foundation for a relationship before asking the lead to become a client.”

The firm has also partnered with companies that understand consumer technology and the role of the real estate agent, important to success in the eyes of DeBord. “Many vendors only understand one side. We are using website platforms and mobile apps that engage consumers and entice them to interact with us—not force them to contact us,” he says.

While financing has become slightly easier to obtain, DeBord feels the measures currently built-in regarding verified income and credit still seem safe.

“We want more people to have the opportunity for homeownership, but we don’t need lax guidelines that lead to erratic booms and busts in the real estate market,” he says. “TRID has created artificial impediments to closings. The goal of more clarity for consumers is a good one, but we’ve simply created more bureaucracy and unnecessary delays in transactions.”

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