In the following interview, Mary Lee Blaylock, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in San Diego, Calif., discusses her approach to growth, agent- and client-centric technology, and the Southern California market.
Region Served: All of Southern California, including Santa Barbara and Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties
Years in Real Estate: 23
Number of Offices: 58
Number of Agents: 3,000
Most Important Thing You Learned in 2016: No matter what’s happening around you, if you surround yourself with great people, you can accomplish anything.
How do you see your market evolving throughout the next year?
Statistics show that more than 90 percent of homeowners in California have some equity in their homes, which should bode well for our industry and market to aid sellers to consider a move in 2017. Additionally, only 4.2 percent of housing is currently turning over in California, suggesting a slowing in the market; however, and conversely, 70 percent of homeowners statewide have not moved since 1999, presenting a large population of potential homeowners to the market.
How do you use technology to better serve your clients?
We’ve expanded our reach through our enhanced website to include access to international markets so our clients have the luxury of their properties being exposed to over 17 countries worldwide—and in that native language. When considering a technology purchase, we first consider our clients and the benefit the tool may bring to them. We also invest large sums of money in technology that’ll assist us in diminishing the possibility of our clients’ personal information falling into the wrong hands. In addition, we’re constantly challenged to better our technology to support our agents in their daily activities, which ultimately supports our clients. That being said, we’re fully committed to constantly exploring newly available products for the betterment of our valued customer.
What strategies do you have in place to successfully reach out to first-time buyers?
Our company has a robust digital marketing campaign that includes communicating with first-time buyers. We provide pertinent information related to the cost of renting versus owning, and what the difference could mean to them in the short and long term. Our agents consistently hold open houses where many first-time buyers are seeking tangible information on available homes. We believe in the “client for life” philosophy and respect that a first-time buyer today could mean another sell and buy later on down the road. Additionally, we have the full array of lending products available to first-time buyers through our affiliated company, HomeServices Lending. They have products that have been very successful for first-time buyers who previously thought they weren’t able to purchase.
How does your company stay flexible and current?
As an organization, if we believe that our job is ever done because we’ve arrived, we’re dead in the water. We’ll always challenge ourselves to remain flexible, and will continue to lead our markets with innovation and expertise.
What do you like most about the region in which you work?
Southern California is a desired lifestyle, fully equipped with ample sunshine, outdoor activities, the ocean, the mountains, the desert and exceptional people. Being in Southern California allows us to participate in real estate markets ranging from first-time buyers to elite luxury properties.
Gabrielle van Welie is RISMedia’s editorial intern. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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