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mark_pessinIn the following interview, Mark Pessin, managing broker, Carlsbad, regional manager, San Diego of Realty ONE Group, discusses education, social media, training and more.

Region Served: San Diego
Years in Real Estate: 18
Number of Offices: 3
Number of Agents: 238
Favorite Vacation Spot: San Diego

What is one of the challenges your market faces, and what are you doing to overcome it?
Listings are in short supply as buyer demand remains strong throughout San Diego County. Many of our buyers have to compete when purchasing a home, and it’s not uncommon for buyers to end up in multiple offer situations. We’re teaching our agents to have a buyer consultation when they first begin working with a new client. The purpose is to both educate and prepare our clients on what to expect from the home-buying process. By properly setting their expectations, we’re better able to help them achieve their goals faster and with far less frustration. We’re helping our clients understand the current market conditions, and showing them how to get their offers accepted over the competition. Oftentimes, it’s not just about offering the highest price, but the most favorable terms that cause our clients’ offers to get accepted.

What demographic segments are driving your business these days?
We continue to see a large number of baby boomers purchasing homes in age-restricted communities. In many cases, they’re downsizing from a larger home, which provides them with significant funds for a down payment or a cash purchase of their new home. Our agents are able to assist these clients with both the sale of their current property and the purchase of their new residence. And our agents’ knowledge of the many areas that cater to retirees makes them invaluable to our clients. We’re also seeing a significant number of foreign investors purchasing property in our area. Through our international marketing systems, our clients’ listings are getting worldwide exposure. Buyers from China, India, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico are finding our listings and contacting our agents directly. More than 50 percent of these foreign buyers are purchasing in cash. As a result, we encourage our agents to provide high-quality photos, virtual tours and drone photography of their listings. This allows interested buyers to truly explore our listings from anywhere across the globe.

What are some of the most creative ways you’re using social media?
Many of our agents are using social media to connect with a wider audience. By utilizing video and Facebook Live, we’re capturing the attention of considerably more prospects. Video is in high demand among homebuyers that begin their home search online (more than 90 percent of today’s buyers), and yet, the vast majority of agents are not using video as part of how they market their listings or their services. We’re helping our agents embrace this trend by giving them easy-to-use video creation tools. In addition, our agents are heavily promoting their open houses via social media. Doing so has increased the attendance at their open houses dramatically. They are able to promote them in advance, and target the most likely prospects through interests, preferences and specific criteria. They’re no longer depending on signs alone, and often get higher attendance from their social media campaigns.

What do you like most about the region in which you work?
Everything! But seriously, what’s not to like? San Diego boasts some of the most beautiful geography in North America. We offer miles and miles of gorgeous beaches, moderate temperatures year-round, lush green rolling hills and both rural and suburban communities. Outdoor enthusiasts have an abundance of activities to choose from. There’s endless hiking trails, campsites and opportunities to explore. In addition, our housing inventory is made up of absolutely beautiful properties, offering unique architecture and great design. We offer a wide variety for homeowners and renters alike. There’s truly something for everyone, no matter where you live in San Diego.

How does your company make its agents’ jobs easier?
We provide our agents with all the tools, training and support they need to succeed. Everything from home search and video apps, global marketing campaigns, customizable listing presentations and premium online exposure. In addition, we give them access to multiple office locations to operate from, full-time broker support, ongoing and relevant training classes and the most efficient back office systems available. We also provide a comprehensive new agent training and mentoring program that sets new licensees up for guaranteed success. And we top all of that off with one the most competitive fee structures in the industry. With our business model, our agents have the ability to reinvest that huge cost savings into the growth of their own businesses. It’s truly a winning combination, and the reason we continue to grow by an average of 100 agents per month in California.

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